Early the next morning, Richard had already packed his luggage and was heading out with Waterflower in tow. Beye, who had stood silent all this while, finally asked, “Do you have to leave?”
“I’ll still be around, it doesn’t make a difference which specific fort I’m at. I might go to the Snowstorm Mountains or the Neverwilting Forest too.”
Beye sighed and nodded, “Stay alive.”
“Haha, I lived through this hell, what can kill me now? You be careful yourself, I won’t be around to save your ass every time you rush in. Think before you run in, okay?”
“Pfft, how could I die before you?”
The two shared a few moments of laughter before a heart-rending silence filled the room. Eventually, Richard spoke up once more, “You’re not coming?”
Beye shook her head, “The old man will only be alive for a few more years. I’m going to stay and watch him, if I’m not here those fellows will make him angry.”
Lawrence was approaching death, but he still had a lot of wealth. The older residents of the City of the Unsetting Sun respected him greatly, but that didn’t mean there would be no unsavoury elements trying to take his offerings from him. Richard grunted in acknowledgement, “Take care, I’ll come back to see you regularly.”
“You better, or I’m haunting you like a ghost! Also go talk to my brother when you get there, you two haven’t seen each other in a while. Now, get out. Maybe you’ll just get killed on your way there!”
“Hmm… Maybe.” Richard nodded solemnly before walking forward and spreading his arms apart.
“Oi, what are you trying to do?!” Beye’s eyes went wide in shock as she took a step back.
However, Richard continued to walk forward and wrapped her up in a tight hug as a gentle smile crept up his face, “Well, might as well enjoy myself a little before I die.”
Disdainful as ever of retreating, Beye had originally let Richard hug her to see just what he would do. However, his words immediately seemed to melt her stiff muscles, and despite a grunt she eventually returned the embrace, “… Might as well.”
The two eventually separated, and Richard took Waterflower along as he jumped across the walls and outside the City of the Unsetting Sun. Many powerhouses of the city watched silently as his figure disappeared into the depths of the dark wilderness.
A few minutes later, another renowned sky saint walked outside the city gates. Unlike with a normal hunt, he was carrying multiple fully-packed bags.
“Do you need any assistance, my Lord?” the gatekeeper asked, “Where are you going?”
“Moving, I’m going to the Snowstorm Fortress,” the man answered with a smile. The guard was surprised by the amiable tone, but it wasn’t until the silhouette disappeared into the distance that he finally realised just what he had heard.
Moving? Panic immediately filled the guard’s heart, but before he could even digest the information he saw another famous expert jumping off the city walls with a bag in tow. Some of the other guards nearby started whispering that he was heading towards the Fort of Dawn.
It wasn’t long before the third saint left the city gates, and then the fourth…
As the enchanted clock started ringing at dusk, Marshal Rundstedt stood before his large looking at the stack of reports upon it. Every report was about another of the city’s pillars leaving for another place.
The office was large and wide, with six magical lights normally keeping it bright as day. However, with only a few days having passed since the bloody battle, nobody had the spare mana to recharge the enchantments keeping them lit. Only two of the lights were running, leaving the office quite dim.
Rundstedt eventually sat back down on his chair, leaning forward with his hands across the desk as his brows locked together. His hair was now mostly grey, and it looked like he had aged ten years in the month since the battle started.
“Come in!” he said just as a knock sounded on the door, already knowing who it was. The guard opened the door to let Lawrence in before closing it once more and retreating. Lawrence huffed as he walked to the sofa across the desk and plopped down, staring at Rundstedt in silence.
“He’s gone?” the Marshal asked.
“Yes. You should have known this would happen, he was just waiting for an opportunity.” The perverted old man had faded away into the aura of a saint runemaster. Looking at the stack of papers on the desk, Lawrence commented, “It looks like there were others?”
“A total of 31,” Rundstedt said with a sigh.
“A tenth of the survivors, and this is only the start.”
“What am I doing wrong?” Rundstedt grunted with frustration.
“You don’t listen to me when I tell you. I’ve been saying this for decades: if you think you and Hasting alone can take care of the City of the Unsetting Sun, you will suffer the consequences of your actions.”
“But…” Rundstedt clenched his fists again and again, but he couldn’t find any retorts.
Lawrence stood up, speaking softly, “I’m not a good commander, so I don’t qualify to advise you, but if a lord’s subordinates are leaving after a victory then that speaks volumes about their ability. I’m telling you this as an old friend; I’ll try to be as fair to you as I can when the investigation comes my way. However, there is only so much I can do. Honestly, you should know the answer to that question yourself…”
As Lawrence left, the Marshal’s office fell into a dull silence. It took an entire half hour for the Marshal to heave a low sigh, “The answer…”
A black-scaled draconian was roaring within the dark wilderness as he stared at the two Norlanders before him. His four red eyes glowed with excitement at the impending meal, but he was rather confused with how the prey was still talking calmly after seeing him. Didn’t they know plans were useless here? Unable to understand Norlandic, the draconian just moved forward to attack.
The male of the duo pulled out a sword with a serrated edge and pointed it at the incoming enemy, “Instant Assault is basically an integration of Shadow Seal and two Lifesbanes. The best way to use it is quick, accurate attacks. This one should be able to last through a demo, you can try after.”
Screams of pain started ringing through the dark wilderness a few moments later, disrupted by constant admonitions, “No, not accurate enough. Don’t attack so high! Oi, start with three layers, what are you trying to do? Even I can’t do twenty yet, you need to be able to concentrate the damage to one spot!”
The roars quickly subsided, and the wilderness grew quiet once more. It took half an hour for Richard’s voice to sound once more, “Devilfish? Meh, take care of them!”
Devilfish were the nemeses of mages, but Waterflower spelt their demise. Following the devilfish was an enclave centaur captain, followed by a rough-skinned reptilian.
A few days later, the Fort of Dawn was already on the horizon. Along the way, Waterflower was finally unable to suppress her progress any longer as she broke through to level 18, becoming a true saint. Her saint ability greatly increased the pace at which she gathered her energy, allowing her to erupt with full strength in a single moment. Combined with Breath of Darkness, Guide of Secrets, and Instant Assault, her one-strike potential was terrifying even to some legendary beings.
The fortress still looked largely unchanged, with only minor transformations to some of the buildings, but a rudimentary teleportation gate to Faust shone from near the city’s top and one could see the dim glow of a new defensive array protecting it.
The entire city was filled with the stench of Daxdians, so heavy that someone new would be unable to bear it. Fortunately, both Richard and Waterflower were accustomed to the odour.
Richard looked through the city for a while, but couldn’t find Agamemnon anywhere. It took a while of asking to find that he had returned to Norland, escorting the bodies of his dead siblings. The Ironblood Duke had left a total of eleven boys and seven girls within the Land of Dusk, most concentrated within the Fort of Dawn, but even with such a big group three of them had died. The news was a little shocking, but such was the reality of the battlefields of despair. Enemies from another plane did not care about the prestige of your family.
He found a decent house in the fortress and cleaned it up, making it his own as he started his life of runecrafting, meditation, and hunting. However, this time he was no longer alone. Waterflower was always around him.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: OMA
Edited By: Theo