Book 6, Chapter 4

A Forced Battle

Jaaron knew that he could beat ten rune knights if he used both his army and had the help of Yuria. However, that was only for ten. There were still twenty more potential rune knight waiting behind Richard, and he himself had showcased great potential in the past. Just as he was wondering if he should take the risk, the rest of Richard’s knights finally stopped hiding their abilities and started glowing with magic.

It was only then that he and Yuria realise that they had stumbled into a trap.

“The Archerons truly are rich and imposing,” Yuria mocked with a glare, “Even the patrolling knights are rune knights.”

However, Richard just laughed cheerily, “Not really. We Archerons only have two things, offerings and rune knights. Hehehe.”

Richard’s reply caused Jaaron and Yuria to blanch, but the royal knights that had finally arrived on scene maintained a few dozen metres of distance. The two could only watch on as more and more Mensa soldiers were thrown on the ground, every downed knight a slap to the face. The only reason they weren’t blowing up was that they knew that thirty rune knights were too powerful a force for them to stop. With a grand mage standing behind to support, they would be grim reapers on this battlefield.

However, Richard himself was clearly not done. Once the Mensa knights were subdued, he then turned towards the caravan, “Everyone is to move twenty metres away, my men will be checking the cargo.”

“Richard!” Jaaron was astonished and furious, “Those are offerings of the Mensa Family, how dare you touch them?!”

Yuria started cursing softly at Jaaron’s impulsive behaviour. She could feel them being drawn closer and closer to a trap, but there seemed to be no way to get Jaaron to stop.

However, Richard’s next words caused her to completely explode, “What? A caravan being escorted by two imbeciles actually has offerings in it?”

This was the last straw. Yuria stepped forward, speaking icily, “This is a grave humiliation, Richard.”

“So what?” Richard maintained his eyesore of a graceful smile, throwing out a suggestion that was almost impossible to decline, “Don’t tell me you want a duel or something.”

Duelling Richard? No matter how the two thought of it, that wasn't a good idea. Except for the fact that Richard wasn’t hiding his power anymore, almost flaunting that he was a grand mage with the sheer power of his aura. The two certainly knew that he had to have advanced recently, but they also knew that Richard had been in the Land of Dusk all this while. Their experience might perhaps win out in battle, but that wasn’t a guarantee.

At this point, even Jaaron started to hesitate. Richard was clearly directing the incident ever since he showed up, and now he was pointing it towards a duel. There was likely a plot hidden within. However, it wasn’t like they could back down from the idea easily; nobles greatly valued martial spirit, and they had an audience here that would quickly spread the word if they backed down.

There were still quite a few people who weren’t afraid of Jaaron or Yuria’s power. The two weren’t from the direct line of the Mensas, and while they were talented they definitely would never reach the legendary realm without a miracle. Neither of them were particularly special characters within the Mensa Family.

Richard took the duration of their hesitance to add more fuel to the fire, snickering as he spoke, “I knew it, there isn’t a single Mensa who dares to duel me at the same level. Alright, I don’t have the time to waste on you lot anymore. Knights, check the cargo!”

The rune knights immediately swarmed forth, beating back the footsoldiers who had gathered to guard the carriages. Those who refused to retreat were sent flying tens of metres away, unable to stand up once they hit the ground. To those who could send enemies weight literal tonnes flying into the air, the human body was almost no weight at all.

One rune knight passed right in front of Jaaron’s face, kicking away the resisting driver before tearing the door of the carriage straight off. The container within was dragged to the ground and bent open, turning the steel into scrap metal. Neatly cut steaks fell out from within, still emitting a chilly air and a faint aura of magic. These were high-grade cooking materials that could only be stored at low temperatures, but the rune knight’s blow had destroyed the enchanted chest storing them.

Jaaron’s eyes started to blaze red, “HOW DARE YOU ROB A MENSA CARAVAN?!”

“Rob?” Richard smiled, “I’m just checking. I still remember when we Archerons made the mistake of putting illegal goods on our caravan and it was unable to even enter Faust. As a new family to this duty, we just want to ensure we do the job just as well. Why, can’t bear it? Surely you don’t just plan to stare and grumble then?”

Another chest was quickly smashed open, this one loaded with all sorts of exquisite art pieces. Some were destroyed the moment they hit the ground, but the rune knight didn’t even spare a glance as he crushed the glass beneath his feet and walked to the next carriage.

“STOP!” Yuria immediately pounced towards the rune knight. Everything loaded in that cart was an offering! However, she had only taken a step forward before being forced to stop her momentum completely, even taking a step back. Richard’s gaze had focused on her back, and the killing intent he radiated in that moment made it clear that moving another inch forward would spell her death. Even worse, all of the other rune knights stopped their tasks to stare straight at her, the three squads more than enough to kill her countless times over even with a grand mage by her side.

“What do you want?” she turned towards Richard, “A duel?”

“I am merely fulfilling my duties,” Richard smiled like a devil, “Of course, I can also keep you two company in battles to the death.”

“Okay then, let’s have the first round tomorrow afternoon and the second two hours after that!” Yuria shot back, “How’s that?”

Richard smiled softly, “The Mensas truly understand fairness very well, huh. Whatever, I’m already used to your ways. It’s set then, we have many witnesses here and I don’t think Duke Mensa values you two over the family’s reputation. Let’s go!” His unicorn immediately changed direction, making its way up Miracle Peak. The rune knights returned to formation, their auras rapidly fading away until they looked like harmless patrol knights once more.

It was only when Richard had disappeared into the distance that Jaaron managed to tear his gaze away and look at Yuria, “Are you crazy? Can’t you tell he was just trying to force us into a duel?”

“So? Do you think His Grace wouldn’t kill us if he found out that all of the offerings were robbed? Know your worth,” Yuria said coldly.

Jaaron was immediately rendered speechless.

……

Faust’s nobility had found a new topic this day, bubbling with fervour as they discussed the two battles to the death that were to occur the next afternoon. Richard would have to battle both a saint and a grand mage within a two-hour time span, which meant he definitely wouldn’t be in peak form for both. It was almost as good as fighting them right after each other.

The first reaction was that Richard had lost the last dregs of his sanity. He had just agreed to the one way the Mensas could possibly kill him given his current status. Even just a debilitating injury would end his career completely. Neither of the enemies was mediocre either.

As this gossip picked up steam and overpowered the discussions about Marshal Rundstedt being investigated, however, the nobility finally put its information network to use. By the evening everyone knew that Richard had already become a grand mage, heating up the discussions further, and the gap in information between the Land of Dusk and Faust was quickly bridged as even the more aloof aristocrats started to pay attention to the battlefields of despair for the first time in years.

Even in the Land of Dusk, news about Richard was admittedly scarce. Few people had seen him fight before, and even fewer knew the extent of his powers. While there was a certain amount of reverence that had to be afforded for someone who could stroll into the city with ursa penises on hand, that wasn’t the same as seeing his abilities in person. However, the noblemen truly were capable of figuring out anything for the sake of a bet. They dug up information about Richard’s deeds in the City of the Unsetting Sun overnight, including his conflict with Marshal Rundstedt and Hasting.

Yet, neither was the most important piece of information. Most people who heard just how long Richard had been in the Land of Dusk before advancing gasped in shock, while others started checking history books for other such similar occurrences. Three years was an astonishing amount of time to restrict one’s own progress intentionally, and it was clear from Richard’s achievements that this was exactly the case.

High society finally realised that the Archerons were beginning to roar once more. Now that their stint in the Land of Dusk had come to an end, they were ready to shake Faust once again.

Everyone began to feel curious, and the betting syndicates of the city found themselves faced with an enormous influx of cash..

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Hestia

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA