A Simple Thing
Richard didn’t fall asleep the moment he returned to his tent, instead thinking about the current situation. He hadn’t had the time to prepare in his rush to Klandor, and now that he was here he realised just how much he had underestimated this continent. At the same time, his current decision was the only one he could have taken. If he’d wasted time to prepare an army, an endeavour that would take weeks on end, the sacred ceremony would already have come to an end.
And yet, participating in the sacred ceremony was a gamble. He was hoping the barbarians wouldn’t openly desecrate their code of honour and kill him, but having to expect that unknown was extremely embarrassing. Such things could be found in youths or real rulers, but it definitely wouldn’t be found in any council of elders.
However, there was nothing he could do about it now. Hoping for the best, he just closed his eyes and tried to adjust himself to an optimal state.
There were three more battles the next day, and this time Richard felt quite a few gazes concentrated on his body. He turned his head and saw a few wrinkly old men in the robes of the shrine quietly watching him from the side, but then he just ignored them and looked at his next opponent. He would attract attention at some point anyway, it didn’t matter when that was.
“Elder, that is the person recommended by Krangma. He showed great promise yesterday, knocking down all of his opponents with one blow,” a warrior was explaining to an elder.
“Let’s see him for now,” the elder said softly.
The day’s battles were much more intense than before, many lasting for hours on end. However, Richard’s fights continued to be complete blow-outs, with him eliminating his opponents in one strike. Even a burly fellow with a tower shield had been knocked out cold.
He returned to his tent when the trials ended, preparing to rest. The warrior and elder continued to stare at him as he left, the latter even trembling a little at the sight.
“I don’t think this person is much worse than Krangma herself,” the warrior stated.
“Worse? Heh, Krangma doesn’t even qualify to be his opponent. What is his name?”
The warrior in charge of the preliminaries was called to check the information, and he immediately recognised who the two seniors wanted to know about, “That person is Number 1098, Richard.”
“Rich… Wait, Richard?” the elder’s voice rose slightly, his face warping in surprise.
“Elder? What’s wrong?” The shrine warrior asked in a hurry.
However, the old shaman’s face immediately returned to normal, “Nothing, let him continue. One of you go talk to Richard and tell him to be soft on the rest. Also inform the rest of those present not to provoke him. Let’s go!”
The elder quickly left the arena, leaving a confused warrior behind. He knew that Richard was quite powerful, but he didn’t think it was to such an extent. Still, since this was an order from an elder he had to carry it out.
Richard thus slept well that night, and nobody tried to move the sword in front of Gesang’s tent. Lying in his own tent, his index finger was constantly tracing something in the air. His fingertips were glowing red as he seemingly wrote at leisure, but his hand was moving at a speed indistinguishable to the human eye. Years of practice had finally brought his skill into the realm of Beye, and with his more powerful Lifesbanes and the power of his truename his killing intent was actually beyond even hers.
More tribal warriors came to Snow Cliff to participate in and watch the holy ceremony, with many inserted into the queue despite being late. This was perfectly in line with Klandor’s chaos, and Richard didn’t care if he faced three opponents or five. Every opponent he came across was knocked out cold, and all he revealed was a tiny fraction of his martial arts.
Three days later, eight people made it out of the preliminaries and joined the remaining twenty-four for the final selection of the sacred ceremony. After five more battles, only a single victor would climb up Zykrama and take Mountainsea.
Atop the peak, Mountainsea was currently holding her head in her hands as she looked down at the mountain shelf. She already knew Richard was there, but she would not be allowed to see him. Great Shaman Urazadzu was standing quietly behind her, looking extraordinarily old.
“Richard won all six of his fights today, each one in one strike,” the shaman said with a smile, trying to make the girl happy.
However, Mountainsea responded with a soft question, “Shaman, was this really the decision of the Beast God?”
Urazadzu was shocked, his long eyebrows almost twisting together, but before he could answer she followed up with another, “Does the Beast God even know.”
“That… Of course…” the Great Shaman suddenly stopped talking. Facing this pure and once-innocent girl, he could have said anything but he couldn’t find the heart to speak. Had she grown up overnight?
“When did you find out?” he eventually asked.
“I knew the moment you told me. You might have a hundred ways to explain it away, but there are things the Beast God likes and things it doesn’t. This it would definitely hate.”
The response caused the old man’s brow to wrinkle further. Sometimes, the reasoning was just that simple. “Your Highness… You… You should change your clothes and wash… up…”
Mountainsea didn’t move, “You mean I should wash away my totems so that prince can rape me when the competition is done?”
The wrinkles on Urazadzu’s face grew deeper and deeper, his head hanging down with shame, “You must understand. Even if you don’t want to—”
“If I don’t want to, Richard can’t go back to Norland alive.”
The Great Shaman coughed, “There… might be an accident in the sacred ceremony.”
“Sigh. Does Mother know?”
“This is a joint decision of the Azuresnow Shrine and the Council of Elders. She naturally knows.”
Mountainsea just remained sitting quietly, not responding to the news at all. The Great Shaman didn’t know what to say, only speaking up after a moment of silence, “Your Highness… You’ve grown up.”
“I was always grown up, I just didn’t want to think so much.”
“Sigh. You really shouldn’t have called Richard. Now that he is here, you have no room to refuse.”
Quite unexpectedly, Mountainsea actually chuckled, “No, I told him to come because I wanted to show him to someone.”
“Who?” Urazadzu felt quite strange. He really didn’t know who it was that could help Mountainsea right now; both major powers of the continent were in agreement on this.
“It doesn’t matter if I say it now; it’s my useless father.”
“Greyhawk? But he has been in Klandor for twenty years…”
“Some people can fly even if they’ve been crouched down for centuries,” Mountainsea said softly, her braids fluttering in the wind.
Urazadzu remained silent for a long time, “Your Highness… Maybe… Maybe your hope is too great.”
“No, you people just overcomplicate things. You don’t have the ability to think rigorously like the Norlanders, but you’re trying to do it anyway.”
Urazadzu suddenly felt like Mountainsea was exceptionally strange this evening, leaving even him suffocated. This was unprecedented for the Great Shaman who had been to countless planes.
“Great Shaman,” one of the shrine warriors whispered from behind him, clearly shivering from the cold, “Richard is resting in his tent once more.”
“Okay,” Urazadzu nodded, his expression turning gloomier than ever. Richard was doing the simplest and most straightforward of things, trying to win Mountainsea fair and square. However, letting him do it was impossible for the elders of Klandor. This was a contest in front of the Beast God, the most sacred of traditions. If he won and they refused his rights anyway, they would lose all credibility in Klandor and be reduced to dust by the rebellion.
“Your Highness,” he eventually said to Mountainsea once more, “Maybe the Grand Elder should talk to you. His vision on these things is further than mine.”
“Whatever,” Mountainsea stood up, “I just have to lose my totems, I’ll do it. It’s not like I have a choice.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: OMA
Edited By: Theo