Book 5, Chapter 87

The Perfect Lifesbane

Three days later, when the roars of the Daxdians could be heard even in the Sunset Shrine, a raging ball of fire rose into the sky from the Church of the Eternal Dragon, stopping a hundred metres above the fortress. A bright white light covered the entire city, as though there was now a new sun in the sky. The fighting thus began in full force.

The Eternal Glory formation was somewhat like a mountain range or an ocean. It was undoubtedly grand, but after regular exposure to it one could even forget its existence. However, it was always present and constantly burned away at the more powerful Daxdians trying to enter the City of the Unsetting Sun.

In stark contrast, the surroundings of the fortress were completely dark. Countless Daxdian powerhouses were roaring in rage, knowing full well that the energy hurting them came from sacrificing the corpses of their brethren. Several large darkness formations had been laid down in return, fuelled by the flesh and souls of Norlanders.

Such was the reality of war. From between siblings to between entire planes, war’s cruelties never ceased; struggling against each other was the only guaranteed thing with intelligent species.

Now, war was a part of Richard’s daily life. Be it day or night, the sounds of metal striking armour and claws rending flesh and blood constantly bled into Richard’s ears. In a normal battlefield he would just tune out the noise, but here he paid close attention. It was only when the noise stopped that he would be in danger.

Danger… It increasingly dawned on Richard that this word did not describe his situation, but he didn’t have a better word for the feeling.

……

It was currently dusk, and Richard was stood before his workbench. His pen constantly drew beautiful arcs on the hide he was working on, while his mana extracted the essence of the different materials into the ink. Many of the lines were starting to overlap each other, layering the power of their ingredients. This was one of the most tedious tasks for a runemaster, mixing different materials without having them adversely affect each other.

Just as the line reached its end, Richard suddenly vanished from his workbench. Carnage’s dagger form started vibrating as he stabbed down on the head of a Daxdian that peered in, cleaving it apart at the neck.

“Wait, NO!” he screamed as the blood and flesh splattered on his face, arm slightly trembling as he ran to inspect the rune he was almost done with.

“Fucking HELL!” His fears came true. Some of the Daxdian blood had fallen on the partial rune, corroding it beyond repair. Daxdian blood was extremely toxic to mana.

“The fourth time. The FOURTH. FUCKING. TIME!” He fumed. As a runemaster, this was the first time in his life that he was making a loss.

With how bloodthirsty the crafting process for Lifesbane made him, Richard couldn’t really control his strength. Three layers of attacks would have taken the enemy apart, but he had layered an entire eighteen strikes onto each other without holding back. This was already the fourth time with this very attempt that his rune had been destroyed this way.

However, he quickly calmed himself down and picked up the pen once more. He had chosen to live in the most dangerous section of the fortress, and that would not change because of such a small matter.

With no break between two attempts, the current Lifesbane started off filled with killing intent. Richard could already sense slight deviations from the standard, but he shrugged it off and continued to delve in. The pen swept across the hide like the wind, the surrounding materials slowly extracted into ink one by one. Over time, the murderous aura pervading the room had grown almost tangible.

A skaven came over at some point, but it was split apart in the courtyard. A devilfish followed soon after, enticed by the smell of dense mana, but its tentacle was torn to shreds and the gap revealed a hole in its skull. A couple other creatures tried to sneak in as well, but they were all cut down before they could even reach the building.

……

Two nights thus passed, and Richard reached the verge of finishing the Lifesbane. However, he was interrupted by a loud scream not far away, coming from a human voice and clearly in great pain and fear.

Richard immediately raised a brow. Most of the residents of this city were saints, while a majority of the rest were prodigies like himself who were suppressing their growth. All of them had extremely strong wills, so while the battle constantly raged it was rare to hear such terrified screams.

He put down his pen and walked up a floor to the balcony, peering out across the fortress walls. A human saint was less than a hundred metres away, hands and legs nailed to the ground while the body was devoid of all clothing. Two skaven were running around him, throwing some sticky substance on his body that Richard knew to be a sort of condiment. Not far away, ten more Daxdians were drooling.

They were actually planning to eat him, right at the city gates!

Richard almost scoffed at the clumsy trap, but the wails constantly rang within his ears. No matter how strong a person’s will was, there was a chance of breaking down if one was about to be eaten alive. He walked back to his desk and thought about it for a while before grabbing his sword case, popping out Carnage and the elven sword before heading out to the main street.

He stopped for a moment as he saw Beye, but neither spoke a word as they approached each other and headed for the city gates. Beye took the lead while he guarded the rear, hands gripped tightly on his two blades.

……

Only a few minutes later, the two casually sauntered back in. Their bodies were riddled with wounds, with an unknown mix of blood staining their clothes. The hostage had also been returned, but he was already split in two. Beye was carrying the torso and above while Richard was dragging the legs and abdomen. There were some signs of gnawing on parts of the body, but the corpse had been returned.

The guards nearby looked blankly at Richard and Beye before staring at the body of their comrade that had almost become a feast. They couldn’t believe that the two had returned.

There was no applause, no cheering. Only one thought filled the minds of the onlookers; the lunatic Beye had a crazy friend.

*Thud!* Richard tossed the corpse in front of the guards, “This one sure screamed a lot. Go bury him.”

The guards immediately grew embarrassed, knowing how much of a blow such screaming was to morale. However, the man was already dead and nobody would desecrate his memory. His name would be carved into the Obelisk of Heroes, alongside the others that had sacrificed their lives for this city.

Richard and Beye thus separated. He returned to his residence, casually knocking out a Daxdian lying in ambush with the hilt of his sword. He returned to his workbench and picked up the pen, inhaling deeply before burying himself within the accumulated bloodthirst.

Crimson light flashed as the rune was finished, accompanied by a distant roar. Richard shuddered, snapping out of his trance and starting to examine his work. His brows immediately locked together; this really was Lifesbane, but there seemed to be a difference from his normal work.

Dense crimson light flickered on the surface of the rune, filling his mind with several disordered thoughts. This rune almost seemed conscious!

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo