Book 5, Chapter 89

Powerhouse

Richard walked outside and returned moments later, carrying a bunch of wooden boards, metal pieces, and simple workshop tools. A few minutes of sawing and hammering gave rise to a shoddy workbench.

He didn’t even raise his head, “I don’t know why I’m keeping you alive, but it looks like you can understand me so you’re not too stupid. If you want to live a few more days, then don’t do anything foolish. Sometimes, I just kill people out of instinct.”

The Daxdian just stared as he finished up the desk before speaking awkwardly in Norland common, “You… Why don’t you… kill me?”

“I already told you,” Richard said lazily while inspecting his work, “Don’t waste my time. Do all of you demons know our language?”

The demon went silent for a while before answering, “No, only we of the Dranicus.”

Richard pressed down on the top of the table to test its balance before looking at the demon with some interest, “Dranicus? Hmm, your tribe has a high position amongst the demons?”

The young demon seemed to grow more fluent in Norlandic as he spoke, and this time he said proudly, “We Dranicus are amongst the apex of demonkind, one of the royal tribes of Daxdus.”

“And what are you in your tribe?” Richard’s interest was piqued even further.

The demon went silent for a moment before answering, “Just a normal warrior.”

“Lies. But then, it doesn’t really matter who you are. I just didn’t hand you over on a whim; maybe one of these days I’ll be in a bad mood and kill you.”

The young demon looked as Richard opened up another piece of hide on the newly assembled workbench, taking out his pen and starting to craft once more. His eyes were focused on Richard’s steady hands, starting to break out in cold sweat before he panted loudly and slumped to the floor. It was as though he had just lost a great battle.

Richard glanced at him sideways as he continued to draw, “Did you guys lose so many that even a child was sent to the Land of Dusk?”

“I am a powerful warrior! No more than ten people of my age can defeat me in battle!” The youth stood up, but seeing Richard’s wordless smile he suddenly remembered how he had been knocked unconscious in a single blow. All the indignation faded away and he dropped his head.

“You know, I’ve killed plenty of your kind. You’re the weakest one I’ve met, and you don’t even have the will to fight.”

“It’s not like that! I’m not weak! It’s just… just… you’re too strong. Your aura isn’t great, but you are a Starbreaker just like the royal demons. It takes great talent to suppress yourself in order to be stronger in the future.”

“Then what about outside the royals?”

The demon stopped to think, “There are many unique people in our plane that are extremely powerful. We call them monarchs.”

Richard nodded his head and didn’t question any further.

The young demon slowly grew more and more indignant, continuing, “I’m not a coward, but your power… Even the other tribes wouldn’t be better, only the weaklings who can’t sense your power properly will fight you to the death!”

Richard was somewhat surprised, turning around to look at the demon. The youth’s body trembled as he instinctually looked away, but then he shook his head and stood ground.

“My power, you say?”

“My tribe has legends about it. The power of Truesight.”

“Truesight?” Richard’s brows furrowed, “And why would you fear it?”

“I… I don’t know. It’s… instinct.”

Richard didn’t press any further, just returning to his runecrafting. The demon’s knowledge seemed to be limited, and even if otherwise the power of Daxdians was useless to a mage like him.

Time passed slowly, and the panting of the demon grew louder and louder. He quickly had to lean against the wall, and as he watched Richard at work he slowly slid down from that. At some point he had been mesmerised by Richard’s unerring accuracy, feeling as though his soul was being sucked away. He tried to look away multiple times, but each attempt was a failure.

Eventually, the demon started sweating heavily and muttered in Daxdian, “Star-eater! That’s right, he can eat souls and stars!”

“What did you say?” Richard asked without turning his head.

The demon answered truthfully, causing Richard to pause for a moment, “Hmm… Perhaps you mean… It isn’t surprising, my movements and aura can resonate with your soul. Many artists can do this too, and unlike an actual expert you have no control over your body. Speaking of, what do you normally eat?”

“Meat, but we can eat almost anything.”

“Then grab what you want, you know where the food is. Don’t take anything you shouldn’t.”

The demon was stumped but quickly rushed over to a basket of bread and smoked meat before gobbling it clean. Only after he was satisfied did he look at Richard and ask, “Why did you let me eat? Don’t your people always cut off the… offerings, when you catch us?”

“Stop it with the useless questions, there aren’t any answers,” Richard said before recalling something else, “What’s your name?”

The young demon hesitated for a moment before speaking up, “☺︎□︎♒︎■︎♎︎□︎♏︎…”

Richard memorised the long string of syllables, but he was certain that his vocal chords were not capable of pronouncing them. Thankfully, the demon also attempted to translate, “It means something along the lines of… Eyes of the Black Light.”

“Blacklight it is. Stay in this house from now, don’t go outside or try anything stupid. Who knows, you may even live a few days.”

Blacklight nodded his head; he had no choice but to agree. All of his ferocity just melted away before Richard, and every time their gazes met he felt as though his soul was being seen through and he lost all of his determination to resist.

……

Somehow, the next few days passed by peacefully. Richard ate and slept regularly, spending most of his time runecrafting. It was as though he had forgotten the existence of the demon in the room as he even meditated in front of Blacklight, leaving the youth in anguish. It felt like one could just rip off Richard’s head, but each time he thought of doing so, Richard’s words rang in his ears, ‘Don’t go out or try anything stupid.’

The days passed by without a change, and corpses continued to pile up and get taken away. Richard killed at least one Daxdian each day, and every time it was right in front of Blacklight’s face.

The demon had extremely complicated feelings, but he could only watch as his comrades and even kin died before his eyes. Thoughts of stopping Richard always crossed his mind, but Richard was just like an apparition that killed without warning. There were many times where the enemy was dead even before they entered the room. Richard would return to his work in the blink of an eye, as though nothing had happened at all.

A few days in, Blacklight couldn’t hold it in any longer. He started to tidy up the corpses and placed them at the front of the door before cleaning up the traces of blood in the room. He knew these dead comrades would be sent to be harvested, just like when his own people ate the Norlanders they caught, but he wanted them to have some dignity in death.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo