Book 6, Chapter 13

Land Of Sin

As Richard’s small party continued their revelry, a youth dressed in animal fur pushed open the inn’s door. He looked to be somewhere in his early twenties, but Richard immediately noticed that he was level 17. This was someone who could perhaps reach the verge of the legendary realm in a few decades.

The hook-nosed man’s eyes lit up as he noticed Richard’s group, and he immediately walked over and occupied an empty chair with a snort. Everyone continued to eat and drink while completely ignoring him, but Richard felt a moment of pity. The youth had chosen to sit between Io and Waterflower, the most irritable members of the party by far.

The man didn’t seem annoyed by this attitude, however, instead staring at Richard with excitement. “Richard Archeron,” he said softly, “I know who you are! Don’t deny it, I rushed hundreds of kilometres just because I learnt that you were in the Empire.

“No need to be afraid, I’m a descendant of the famous legend Meade and I came here for a duel. You’re a legendary mage’s disciple, are you not, let’s fight! Or are you afraid of me?”

Richard finally looked up and smiled, “The Empire’s tradition says that heroes need to be worth something. The nobler the hero, the greater the bet on a duel. If you’re a legendary beings descendant as you say…”

The youth immediately understood what Richard was talking about. While he was a legendary being’s disciple as well, Richard was also the ruler of a powerful Dukedom, a chosen of three goddesses, the one who repelled the planar invasion a few years ago, and many other things. There was almost nobody on the entire plane who didn’t know the name of Richard Archeron.

However, he had come prepared. He immediately reached for his waist, “I’ve brought an epic dagger, a family treasure! This is something worthy of people like us… Huh?”

The youth grunted, finding both the dagger and his usual sword missing. He immediately shook his head, sweat pouring down his face. “Damn it, where is the thing… Whatever, I have other things. There’s my coin purse, a relic that the last Emperor used. It’s extremely beauti—WHAT THE HELL?!”

The man screamed in rage as he searched everywhere on his person, finally realising that something was wrong. Even the cloak he had hung on his chair was missing. Just as he started looking around for the thief, however, a soft voice rang out behind his head, “Behind you.”

The man subconsciously turned back, his forehead immediately slamming into Io’s fist before falling to the ground. The battle priest shrugged it off, “I didn’t beat him, he just headbutted my fist.”

Richard just snorted in annoyance and returned to his food. These shameless fellows were robbing someone in the daylight, but if that meant he didn’t have to deal with this so-called challenger himself they could do whatever they wanted. The two robbed him down to his clothes, finding a tiny blade hidden near the heart. If the youth didn’t get back up in time, Io would have torn off even his pants.

A few people turned around when the man went down again, but they just shrugged it off as a common barfight. Such things happened all the time, and nobody was of the mind to interfere. Richard just had his followers throw the now-unconscious youth into one of the rooms.

……

It was still dark when Richard and party awoke and headed down for breakfast, but the legend’s descendant was nowhere to be seen. He likely understood just what had happened after he woke up, and finally realised just how ridiculous the idea of fighting Richard was.

After this minor annoyance, Richard’s group didn’t face any more obstacles. Their whereabouts weren’t any real secret, but the Empire certainly didn’t have the heart to send assassins or even an army to waylay him. After all, even if they somehow managed the near-impossible task of killing Richard off that would just focus Gangdor and Andrieka’s wrath on them. Both had 10,000-man armies stationed right across the border, ready to kill their way to the capital and behead the Emperor personally.

That didn’t mean Richard was unprepared, however. The astral chrysalis had been following him all this while, holding fifty elite shadowspears in case of emergency.

A few days later, the group finally arrived at the Valley of Darkness. The dense forests and white snow gave way to barren grey soil, the landscape marred by black mountains while a somewhat pungent smell alike that of burnt leather covered the entire place.

Amidst these black mountains lay the land of punishment for those who offended the God of Valour. Richard bent down from his horse and grabbed a handful of soil, feeling its texture before taking a whiff, “There’s a strong sense of corruption and darkness here. It really does feel like a god-forsaken land.”

Io stretched out his hand sparks of divine energy flashing across his fingertips, “I can still use my powers here, this isn’t truly isolated.”

“Do you want to announce our presence so much?” Nyra smacked the battle priest’s hand.

“You… I’ve already adapted, you know. I made sure to limit the visible range to ten metres.”

“I have seventy ways of sensing that power even if you limit it!” Nyra remarked coldly.

“Not everyone is a monster like you,” Io grumbled softly, but he still retracted his hands and stopped.

Richard didn’t really take notice of the friction between the two heavenly guardians, dismounting and taking off his boots before walking barefoot on the soil. The earth was rather lukewarm, keeping out the freezing snow of the rest of the north. He stared at the land, eyes glowing as he tried to analyse its composition. Truth had advanced a level once he became a grand mage, enhancing the strength of Analytic, while his blessing of wisdom had finally reached grade 5 and branched off a third consciousness.

These two blessings hadn’t really advanced because of his level, but his analysis of laws over all this time had come to a head during that meditation session and allowed him to take the last step. There were currently three sources of laws he had a rudimentary analysis of, the laws of life in the Forest Plane, the source laws of the Land of Dusk, and the source laws of the Godnest.

The soil almost vanished in his vision, revealing a black gas bubbling up from the depths of the earth before radiating into the ground and the air. There were traces of deep red and faint pink within this black, and the depths were still far beyond his current ability. “Hmm… The power of darkness and some fire. And… the aura of an ursa overlord?”

The moment Richard said this, his body reacted automatically. He quickly glanced across his party, but outside of Waterflower blushing a little there was no real response. He himself had learnt to ignore the random outbursts, so he completely brushed it off, “This land is very strange. It’s completely incompatible with the surroundings, even artificial.”

“A land of divine punishment,” Nyra said.

“Then let’s go in and see,” Richard smiled.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo