Book 5, Chapter 81

Mysteries Of The Godnest(3)

148,000 days. Richard knew that it was impossible for him to live that long right now, so this method was as good as no method at all. Unfortunately, it was impossible for people to help him decipher the laws encoded in this barrier.

“Let’s go. Just keep guard over this place, we’ll return when we have a way.” He cast one long glance at the depths of the Godnest before decisively turning back to the curtain of light, starting to walk away. One after another, the followers took a final look at the awe-inspiring battlefield before following him into the distance.

They didn’t meet any troubles on their way back. The mountain path was still as long as ever to traverse, but there were no real dangers outside of potential exhaustion. However, both Richard and Flowsand were extremely quiet during the return, clearly having something on their minds. They constantly exchanged furtive glances, each realising that the other was troubled, but they silently encouraged each other and continued on. They were both thinking about the same thing: the scenery from that cliff was familiar. It had appeared amongst the fragments of the future that they had seen, albeit much more blurry.

Richard was starting to experience what they had only assumed would be in the far future. That meant all of the other possibilities could be right on their doorstep as well.

……

Richard reallocated his forces the moment the party made it down the Godnest, leaving Senma with thirty rune knights to guard the plane. Zangru had already sent news that he and Phaser had caught up to Stardragon and dealt a heavy blow, but the fellow’s legendary ability seemed to be the art of fleeing. He had been injured greatly, but he had eventually gotten away and hidden himself. These thirty rune knights were a safeguard against his return.

The aftereffects of a cursed demigod’s attacks were not easy to dispel. Zangru had even used some of his own divinity in the attack, so Richard would definitely have enough time to strengthen the passageway before he dared to show himself again. Senma could stabilise the situation in this plane while he continued his campaigns everywhere, growing stronger until he could eventually find and capture Stardragon.

While the rest of the rune knights started the march back to the portal at the bottom end of the continent, Richard and his followers flew there that very day on the astral chrysalis. Senma had been instructed to prepare for the arrival of some spatial mages who would build a new teleportation gate in the City of Saints. It was the place closest to the Godnest, and Lina’s tomb was there as well.

The astral chrysalis landed right in front of the portal, but Richard stood in place for five minutes before choosing to stay the night on this plane. His followers all nodded and dispersed, understanding that he wanted to make his final peace with Lina’s death.

……

“Sigh. I can’t seem to meditate at all,” Richard commented as Flowsand entered the room, slowly opening his eyes.

“You’re thinking about Lina, aren’t you.”

“Mm. She… I never expected…”

“I never did have a good grasp of her. She seemed like she didn’t understand her own emotions, but then it might just be that she only kept quiet all her life. However…” her tone suddenly filled with anger, “Why did you put her in that position? Why did you kill her?”

“What?! I di—”

You’re the one who flew up when the Smiting Ray was launched. You should have understood it could track you.”

“What else could I do?! All the shadowspears were used up.”

“Then you should have used the rune knights!” Flowsand pressed on.

Richard’s smiled helplessly, but he didn’t cover beneath her clear gaze, “I can’t send someone to certain death. Those rune knights are living people, and they have their own dreams— ”

“So what? Do you know what sort of responsibility lies on your shoulders? Do you know how many people have their hopes pinned on you? You think ten rune knights are worth more than your future?”

“I…” This time, Richard had no response. He knew exactly how delicate the Archeron Family’s situation was. Gaton had been a prodigy of war that expanded incessantly, backed only by the sheer power he and his knights wielded. He was a miracle that had saved his family from the consequences of Gaton’s recklessness, but there was no contingency for him being lost as well. His followers, rune knights, and the newly recruited soldiers all depended on him.

He was no longer that stubborn youth with nobody to call his own; now, every decision of his affected thousands of lives, capable of shaking up the Archerons and the rest of the Sacred Alliance. Gaton had beat up the Schumpeters and hurt the Mensas and Josephs, while he had destroyed the Schumpeters and crippled the Josephs, hurting the Mensas greatly as well. At this point, his achievements weren’t much worse than his father’s.

While his top-end strength wasn’t comparable to Gaton’s, he had an endless supply of rune knights that could decide almost any battle. Even that shortcoming in high-end power was quickly being made up for, but that came with the side-effect that his responsibilities were ever-growing.

“So what should I have done?” Richard asked.

“You should have hidden behind your rune knights! If you did that, Lina wouldn’t have needed to die!”

Richard looked up at the ceiling, considering Flowsand’s statement in a daze. A few minutes later, he sighed heavily, “You were trying to block me yourself, weren’t you.”

“Wha!” Flowsand immediately blushed, not expecting him to have noticed this little detail. She struggled for a bit when he pulled her close, but then she tucked her head into his chest and went quiet.

Richard softly stroked her short hair, endless complications flashing across his mind, “I really can’t bring myself to sacrifice others on my behalf. My place is in front of everyone, that’s the path I’m most suited for.”

Flowsand just sighed, “And what am I going to do if anything happens to you?”

Richard kissed her head, “I promise this will never happen again, alright? I’ll become stronger as soon as I can, you don’t have to worry.”

Flowsand buried her head in his arms, not saying a word. He resumed stroking her hair, cradling her with a smile, “You don’t trust me? The Smiting Ray was an accident; I can kill off saints easily right now, it’s just that I didn’t have many opportunities to show my strength. Don’t worry about me, I know my path and I’ll walk it. Your man is fated to be powerful.”

My man? Bullshit, you have so many other women, how would you actually care about me?”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA