Book 6, Chapter 42

Earning A Place

Loud roars shook the plains and mountains as the centuries-old tree swayed and crackled amidst the explosions, finally broken down by a powerful shockwave and sent flying dozens of metres away. The black tyrannosaur had lost all hints of ferocity, a number of wounds covering its large body. It had only tried to get close to the battlefield once, and a few stray beams of energy from Richard had sent it running away.

Richard had discovered that Heisa’s soul had actually been absorbed and locked in by Carnage, used to boost the blade’s power. The sword now had enough spare energy to launch a few dozen ranged attacks at a time, or it could infuse that power into itself for added sharpness or a single powerful strike.

One couldn’t even see Richard or Krangma in the centre of the battlefield, dust and dirt obscuring everything in sight. The earth was starting to fill up with pits of varying sizes, even the smallest one a few metres wide. Only the flashes of magic in the sky revealed that Richard was still alright.

More than ten minutes into the battle, a small cloud gathered in the sky. This dark cloud was extremely low, only suspended a few dozen metres in the air during a cloudless sky, making it abundantly clear that this was not natural. Lightning flashed within for a moment before dozens of finger-width bolts smashed down into the dust below, each one tinged with the red of the abyssal flames. Nearly a hundred bolts had struck down in the blink of an eye!

A pained roar rang through the battlefield before a blue orb of energy shot into the sky, crashing into the dark cloud and destroying it. As Krangma panted from the effort of destroying that threat completely, she heard a soft voice behind her, “You lose.”

The barbarian immediately went stiff, feeling a small tingle at the lower back. If she so much as moved, Richard could cut directly into her spine. Any other Norlander, even a saint, and she would choose to continue the fight; after all, it wasn’t as easy as one would think to cut into her very bone. However, with Richard and his magic sword, her powerful body felt as fragile as dead wood.

Seeing her continued hesitance, Richard asked with ridicule, “Planning to escape?”

“Don’t think we’re as shameless as you Norlanders!” Krangma threw her sword to the ground, the giant blade digging into the earth with a loud thud. Richard had just experienced the sheer power of that blade first-hand; just the shockwaves from an attack spread more than ten metres and were a threat to any mage below level 18. Even a grand mage’s barrier couldn’t withstand more than a few of the aftershocks.

Seeing her weapon put away, Richard returned Carnage to its case. The blade was just far too dangerous to those of Klandor, the already-powerful sword seemingly waking up from slumber ever since he stepped foot on this continent. It radiated killing intent, almost drowning him entirely in bloodlust. If not for his sheer control, it would even have forced him to activate Lifesbane by instinct for every strike, ensuring that even the tiniest of slashes could kill.

Krangma turned around to look at him, snorting with hatred, “I would beat any other grand mage unconscious!”

“I’m not any other grand mage,” Richard replied. Her shockwave attacks truly were dangerous for any mage, capable of shattering instant barriers with a few strikes and not giving one the time to actually chant out a full cast, but with Manacycle and Mana Armament he was different. It wasn’t difficult to instantly replenish his barriers to full power, and more than half of her strikes missed even with the ten-metre window, forcing her to add more power to her attacks and thus exhaust herself faster.

Even worse, he was constantly bombarding her with curses that forced her to fight with discomfort, while he himself had been buffed for speed, strength, agility, and any other thing one could imagine. His magic was growing more integrated with melee as well; that last spell was Thundercloud, a modification of Lightning Storm that was his latest magical achievement. While each lightning bolt only dealt a moderate amount of damage, the barrage was endless and could draw upon the free energy in the air to support itself. Krangma had been forced to respect that attack and destroy it, giving him the opening to threaten her life.

“Your sword is also quite powerful,” Krangma glared at him.

“That is also a part of one’s strength.”

“I am not saying that you won because of your sword, that thing is just very frightening. It seems especially harmful to my race, I would advise you not to use it at the ceremony. It might bring trouble upon your head.”

Richard nodded in understanding. He had felt the difference as well, its sheer power leaving even him surprised. A simple flick of his wrists with it allowed him to break skin, something he might not manage with a regular blade without putting in all his strength. Even a divine weapon didn’t normally have such lethality; Krangma had constantly been avoiding it throughout the battle, afraid of so much as a nick. If she was so scared, then this sword was a great threat even to legendary powerhouses.

It felt strange, almost as though Carnage as a weapon had been conceived and designed purely for the barbarians.

“Okay, I’ve won. Now, about the ceremony. Why was it advanced?” he shifted the topic.

An expression of disgust crossed Krangma’s face, “That’s also because of you Norlanders. A sixth or seventh prince of the Sacred Tree Empire is named to be the father of the Beast God in the mortal world, so the ceremony was advanced.”

“The shrine actually promised that to someone from the Sacred Tree Empire?”

“Why not? They are paying a considerable price, an entire set of Heaven’s Armour. The elders only agreed to ‘let him participate,’ but Zawu and Kunzhi have been ordered not to join. The prince himself will have a set of Heaven’s Armour, so what’s the point with the farce?”

“But won’t one have to beat Mountainsea during the ceremony? Do you think he can beat her?” Richard held a last glimmer of hope.

“Sigh… Her Highness… She will not be allowed to use her totems during battle. I think… she will lose.”

She couldn’t use her totems? Richard was shocked. Although he didn’t know just how strong Mountainsea was, the barbarians claimed that totems had even more power than runes. For her to be barred from using her totemic strength was like him being denied Lifesbane and Mana Armament. It wasn’t a fair fight.

“And all this for a set of Heaven’s Armour?”

“How would I know? Maybe it’s just a set, maybe more. But rumours have been spreading that the set actually can work with our totems too.”

Richard was surprised once more. It was common sense that runes and totems couldn’t coexist, but if that paradigm was broken, a Klandor powerhouse would skyrocket in strength.

Heaven’s Armour was an extremely precious rune set, with only seven currently in existence that were all in the hands of the Sacred Tree Empire. Each set functioned differently, but together they were called the Seven Angels. He finally understood why Mountainsea had sent him a message: there was something quite sinister afoot, and the enemies were stronger than even she could take on.

He thus stretched his hand out in front of Krangma, “Give.”

“Give what?”

“The qualification to participate in the sacred ceremony.”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo