Book 6, Chapter 43

A Complicated Situation

After a short conversation with Krangma, Richard continued on his road to the Azuresnow Shrine. He was still quite the distance away, but Krangma had mentioned to him that the prince of the Sacred Tree Empire had only set foot on Klandor recently as well. This meant he had time.

As he crossed the various obstacles en route to Azuresnow Mountain, his heart and mind grew ever so colder. The frozen canyon was passed without issue, as was the crocodile river. Even within the dense forest there seemed to be no threat, and ever since Krangma he hadn’t met any barbarians challenging him either.

He used the free time to analyse his own strength and the chances of victory. Heaven’s Armour was famous as the best rune set in existence; even though that was just an exaggeration by the Sacred Tree Empire, the set was certainly more powerful than Mana Armament and Lifesbane. He had only needed his martial arts to deal with Balibali, but even Umur had forced him to use Mana Armament and Carnage. Krangma forced him to use the power of Manacycle as well, leaving only the power of his truename and Lifesbane hidden from the barbarians. In fact, Thundercloud borrowed some concepts from Schloan, the well of stars; even when it came to his truename, the only power he had hidden was Dizmason, destruction.

He was actually confident in being able to kill even a legendary barbarian if he used all of his powers alongside Carnage, but such a battle could only end with death. Even with Umur, stopping himself from killing had been hard; if Carnage saw a legendary barbarian, he was almost certain the bloodlust would consume him until he was sated.

Such a victory would soon be followed by death. Seeing Carnage’s power, the barbarians would stop at no cost to eliminate him and destroy the blade. Stuck right at the core of Klandor, he would have no way to retreat. This was a problem he had no answer to despite repeated thought. The only vague answer he had was Lawrence’s solution, relying on the power of the Sacred Alliance. However, even if Philip would for whatever reason have rescued him when at peak power, the Emperor was most certainly injured heavily. No matter how much he racked his brains, despite all the power of his blessings, he had no answers at all.

……

A strange caravan was currently making its way across the plains of Klandor, guarded by thousands of knights in pure white capes. Interspersed amongst the escort were long flags of gold and white, containing the crest of the Paladins of Purity of the Sacred Tree Empire.

The few dozen carriages in the caravan all looked luxurious, each one having magic arrays installed to help with stability and even a short period of floating when in rough terrain. A full dozen of those at the back carried the golden lightning bolt that was the crest of the royal grand mages, while the one in the middle had a striking sword and wing emblem that signified an Angel. The Sacred Tree Empire loved to flaunt Heaven’s Armour whenever they could.

Behind the Angel carriage was another luxurious carriage with the royal crest. The curtains were drawn open to reveal an elegant young lady and a tall man within, the former staring out of the window blankly and the latter reading through a thick old book.

“It’s been so long!” the girl whined, “When will we get there? This place looks the same everywhere!”

“You will see the mountains after seven days and six hours,” the tall youth answered.

“God, seven days? Why did nobody tell me it’d take so long, I would just have stayed home. It’s so suffocating here!”

“You would have to come regardless,” the man said without raising his head.

“If you’re just here to breed then why should I come with?” the girl waved her fist angrily.

“Because I am not suited to being Uriel, and you are not suited to being Raphael. That is the outward reason, anyway, you may ask the Archbishop if you want to know the truth.” The youth was still staring at his book.

Hearing the word Archbishop, the girl immediately recalled a wrinkly old face with pockmarks and drooping eyes. Visibly recoiling in disgust, she shook the image out of her mind before snatching the tome out of the man’s hand, “You’re reading this thing every day! Is your brain completely fried?”

The youth smiled, “There are new things to learn every time you look at it. You might want to go through it a few times yourself, it might improve your situation as Raphael.”

“But you’ve seen it so many times, how can you not adapt to being Uriel?”

The young man shook his head, “I have read it too much, giving me doubts about the power. I am beginning to feel that the Lord’s teachings aren’t entirely—”

“Not interested. Hey, I don’t have to breed too, right? I’ll vomit if I even think about the dirty hands of these primitives!”

“Sigh. The barbarians are no worse than us as a race, they merely do not form large empires like we do. Don’t use the word breed again; if you offend the Shrine and cause our mission to fail, then you will certainly be sent to the depths of the abyss.”

The girl’s face immediately paled, her voice turning hoarse, “Don’t scare me!”

“You know I speak the truth.”

“… Okay, okay. I’ll pay attention when I get there.”

“Do not say it now either. If the Archbishop finds out, he will be upset.”

The girl snorted, “That old man will die any day now! Does he even have the skill to lecture me?”

The young man sighed once more, a helpless expression crossing his face, “Raphael, we are no longer in the territory of the Empire. Your mother can no longer protect you. If you cannot control your mouth, I suggest you don’t speak a word in front of outsiders.”

“Why are you lecturing me now…” the girl muttered, “I’m not Raphael, I have my own—”

“Raphael. That is your name, don’t you forget it.”

Seeing the youth so serious, the girl just nodded in a daze.

It was at this point that the Archbishop in one of the rear carriages opened his eyes, revealing a creepy smile as he whispered to himself, “You ignorant little woman, Once Midren is retrieved, you’ll be useless…”

This carriage was decorated in a magnificent gold and white, but the rotting stench within could cause anyone to vomit.

……

Stepping out of the forest to see rolling hills in the distance, Richard basked in the sun’s glory for the first time in days. He sighed at the sight of the enormous totem pole that indicated the direction of the Azuresnow Shrine, setting off for the snowy peak.

Only a few steps into the journey he suddenly looked into the sky, his hair raised in full alert. All he could see were a pair of goshawks, an enormous bird of prey unique to Klandor, but he immediately felt that something was off.

High in the sky, the two goshawks were actually talking to each other, the one with the smaller body piping up, “Teacher, he’s found us.”

“Not completely,” the other bird replied, “But it does not matter. He still cannot see through our camouflage and identify where we come from.”

“But how did he find out anything?” the younger one asked.

“The myriad planes have an endless number of mysteries. You will encounter more such experts in the future, always ensure that you stay in awe of the world.”

“I know! You keep saying that all the time! Why did we want to see this fellow, what does he have to do with anything?”

“He might be the key to stopping the Sacred Tree Empire.”

“Huh? What are they going to do this time? Is it worth it to pay so much to father the Beast God?”

“There must be another reason behind it, we just do not know.”

“But you said we need to stop them…”

“They are the Sacred Tree Empire. We have to stop anything they want to do.”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo