Book 6, Chapter 26

Marching In

Barian seemed extremely agitated, but Richard was extremely calm in contrast, “I hear Salwyn won’t dare fight me even with three times the size of my army now. You seem to think you’re better than him?”

Although Richard said that, Barian had 500 armoured cavalrymen behind him, a tenfold difference. “This is not a war between countries,” Barian said in a low voice, “I am Barian, not Salwyn!”

He then turned around, “I need fifty men who are willing to die with me!”

The earth rumbled as all five hundred knights stepped forward, radiating killing intent.

“I SAID FIFTY!” Barian roared.

The five hundred knights all looked at each other, refusing to budge. Eventually, one of the captains shouted out, “Those born with a noble title to step forward!”

This time, around fifty men stepped out from the formation. Barian turned back and looked at Richard, knocking on his own breastplate, “Now our numbers are even. Come!”

Richard surveyed his opponents. The youth was only level 16, no easy feat in Faelor, but far too outclassed against any member of his party. Even the strongest knight he had brought was level 10. Honestly speaking, he alone could destroy this enemy ten times over with a few spells.

“You…” he started playing around with the elven sword, “Did you get knocked on your head as a child?”

“What?”

Richard sighed, “There’s no other way to describe your actions. Your arrogance definitely doesn’t match your stupidity, but… whatever, hurry up and get on with it.”

Barian immediately flared up in his rage, a billowing crimson aura flooding out from his body as he drew his sword, “CHARGE!”

“CHARGE!” the fifty knights roared, following behind him on their horses.

Richard only got off his horse when they were less than thirty metres away. Waterflower, Flowsand’s group, and the shadowspears stepped forward in unison like a well-oiled machine.

A loud clang rang through the battlefield as the knights rammed into the barrier of steel, followed by multiple dull thuds. Richard jumped over towards Barian and kicked him off his horse. In a single collision, every single member of the charge had been left on the ground.

The remaining forces that Barian had brought shuffled about, but they kept themselves from interfering. Fifty versus fifty was more of a duel than a war, and duels were sacred. Although they were Barian’s subordinates, saving their master at this time would be a worse humiliation for the prince than death.

Barian felt the sky turning, his head buzzing for what felt like minutes on end. When he struggled to pick himself up, he found the blade of a sword flashing just before his face to bury itself into the ground. Seeing Richard walk over, finding that all of his select soldiers were already lying on the ground despite the enemy not even having moved, he finally realised that he had suffered utter defeat.

Richard pulled his sword out of the ground and sent it back into its case before turning around, mounting his horse and leaving for the Crimson Dukedom. Still shivering, Barian barely mustered all of his strength to stand up and roar, “Why don’t you kill me?!”

“I don’t kill children,” Richard replied lazily.

“I’M NOT A CHILD! MY NAME IS BARIAN!” The prince’s shouts were the loudest they had ever been, but Richard had already left.

……

The broodmother’s mounts were surprisingly quick despite being designed for sustained combat. In less than half an hour, Richard’s troop had already entered the Crimson Dukedom.

“It looked like you care about the boy,” Flowsand commented along the way.

“Maybe I will. He’ll be a bigger threat than Salwyn in the future.”

“Just because Salwyn wouldn’t fight you? I don’t think that’s wrong, he was just smart enough to know that it was a hopeless battle.”

“Sure, he’s always been smart,” Richard sighed, recalling his first experiences in Faelor, “Thing is, I can predict what a smart guy can do, I can’t predict the stupid or the crazy. Those kinds of people will fight a losing war anyway and drain us.”

“Alright. So where are we going?”

Richard pointed west.

“The ancestral plains? I don’t think they need your help there.”

“I figured we’d get some rest,” Richard said with a smile, “We’ll be fighting multiple gods after we destroy the Highland Wargod’s church.”

“But you still can’t do anything about their divine kingdoms.”

“Sure, but I can raze all their mortal churches to the ground. I want this expedition to be a show of force. The gods should know just what it means to provoke me.”

Richard knew that he would inevitably be fighting against the local gods, especially after the discovery that Neian was secretly raising demigods. He already knew of perhaps three others that were doing the same, and that knowledge alone would make them eternal enemies. While deities pretended to be omniscient, that was only true within their divine kingdoms. Having come from a different plane and civilisation that was millions of years older, Richard knew even more than the gods of Faelor about certain things.

Although they were called bastard children, cursed demigods weren’t necessarily the offspring of any deity. These demigods were almost the antithesis of deities, and it was in their very nature to destroy and betray. Having been born into the power of laws, they held great power from a young age and grew at a surprising pace. If such a demigod attained full control and achieved the legendary realm, they would immediately plunge Faelor into an era of darkness. Such a creature’s final evolution would absorb the last dregs of energy within the plane, destroying all of existence and shattering the crystal sphere before returning the plane to the void.

He wasn’t sure if the gods of Faelor knew all of this, but from the looks of it they had no clue. At the very least, they didn’t realise the full repercussions of what they were planning. Even in Norland, such demigods were hunted down and killed on sight.

Of course, it wasn’t like they would listen if he told them that; he couldn’t exactly reveal that he came from another plane that knew these things. Ironically, this meant an invader was currently fighting for the fate of all life in Faelor.

……

The Crimson Dukedom immediately rushed to action the moment Richard returned, soldiers constantly marching out of the garrisons towards the barbarian plains. Richard mobilised a total of 80,000 soldiers, conscripting a large number of slaves and other commoners and placing them on the borders with the Iron Triangle Empire and the Sequoia Kingdom as a display of warning.

Andrieka’s spider banner was placed atop the Iron Triangle Empire on his war map, with Gangdor being assigned to the rest of the human kingdoms. Both were terrifying generals in their own right; one for ‘his’ unpredictable deployment of troops, and the other for his sheer might and upfront leadership.

However, the true terror was the volcano and world tree insignia of Richard himself, what was now known as the apocalypse tree. With this flag sighted heading west, the entire plane knew that the Highland Wargod’s life was forfeit.

The Highland Wargod had long since issued a decree to gather every able-bodied worshipper near his church, planning to fight Richard to the death. A large number responded to the call, but a great number also fled to the mountains or highlands. The barbarians were courageous, but the names of Richard’s followers had resounded through the ancestral plains in the past years. Gangdor, Tiramisu, Flowsand, Io, Nyra, Andrieka… these names alone had the strength to induce nightmares.

A few drones were quickly sent to the ancestral plains, proclaiming that all who resisted would be enslaved. The women, elderly, and children would be spared regardless, but all males would be turned into permanent slaves. Those who surrendered in the midst of combat would be given the same treatment as the rest of the slaves in the Crimson Dukedom, able to regain their freedom with time, but their lands would be confiscated. Those who didn’t resist would retain their lands, but their warriors would have to respond to any calls to war.

It was a simple proclamation, but within a few weeks Richard had over five thousand new barbarians and ten thousand from other races. Many necessities and luxuries like rations, clothes, alcohol, and metal tools were pumped into the ancestral plains to improve the lives of the tribesmen who followed him, while the enemies were constantly worn away. Richard solved the issues of hunger, illness, and cold.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo