Book 6, Chapter 54

I’ll Raid Your Nest

Richard quickly realised that the possibility of an open murder had been precluded by the secret assassination attempt and the poisoning. They couldn’t afford to face him directly about these things. Perhaps he could blow up the issue, he thought, but this idea was immediately rejected. He was in the enemies’ backyard, and forcing a confrontation would only guarantee his death. He started cursing himself fervently; in all his calculations, he hadn’t expected the barbarians to stoop so low!

He took a deep breath and forced himself to calm down. His first thought was to escape anyway— if the elders killed him here, then he wouldn’t even be able to avenge Mountainsea’s fate. However, just as he turned around he saw two shrine warriors step forward, “Richard, your battle is first. Let’s go.”

He looked back and glared at the older warriors, “The elders really arranged this well.”

These words caused the barbarians to look away in shame.

……

The road from the camps to the shrine building wasn’t particularly long, but the ten minutes provided Richard his last opportunity to make a decision. He examined his condition as they walked along, finding that he had already dropped to level 17 and was falling further. Fortunately Manacycle hadn’t been stripped away in the process, but his bloodlines were shrinking in from the erosion of the poison. Even the astral world tree and the well of stars were growing sluggish, with the elemental world tree even starting to shed and degrade.

Only the Archeron blood retained its violent nature, clashing with the poison and refusing to give way. He tried to mobilise his powers from there, and despite the damage the power of his truename still erupted within. This meant he could use his abyssal flames and the powers associated with them.

He already understood that the elders hoped he would die in a “fair” battle. This would partially placate Sharon and the Sacred Alliance, while Mountainsea and the barbarians wouldn’t complain either. However, he just sneered at the thought; they would get an intense battle, whether they wanted it or not!

Along the way, he saw the heads of nearly a hundred barbarian tribes sitting on one side of the field, alongside the elders of the Council. Urazadzu was also amongst them, someone he had greatly admired during their few meetings when he was a child. Now, he knew that the Great Shaman of the Azuresnow Shrine was worthy of no more respect than dirt. Forget just knowing about it, the old man was likely one of the masters behind the scenes.

However, as hard as he looked, he couldn’t find Mountainsea anywhere. She was likely being kept away because she would realise that something was wrong. Eventually he just shook his head, climbing up on stage.

Heavy footsteps rang through the arena as a buff warrior with short, spiky hair headed up from the other side, raising the heavy hammer in his hand, “My name is Pangun, but most people in the Shrine call me Bloodhammer. I like that name.”

Richard looked at Bloodhammer’s eyes and could immediately tell the killing intent within. Surely enough, the Council had planned to kill him off in the very first battle. He silently pulled Carnage out of his sword case.

“Aren’t you a mage?” Bloodhammer snorted, “Don’t you lot use staffs?”

Richard didn’t answer, not even looking at the barbarian as his gaze focused on Carnage and poured his bloodthirst within. The blade immediately felt its owner’s intent, starting to buzz gently with a sound only he could hear. It was like a thousand soldiers were ready to fight at his beck and call!

There was some doubt in Bloodhammer’s eyes, but he was an experienced warrior himself. He started walking over, every single step booming like a war drum.

……

In the depths of the Azuresnow Shrine, the grand elder of the Council was walking towards his office. One of the warriors of the Shrine who was rushing across the corridor waved to him, “I heard the battle has begun. Damn it, I’ll be late again! Grand Elder, are you not going to watch the battle? Some of the warriors this year are very powerful.”

“No, I have something to do,” the old man said with a smile, sending the warrior on his way. He then returned to his office and sat down, feeling an inexplicable fatigue. He had entered the legendary realm a hundred years ago, and this was the most tired he had ever felt since then.

Just as the Grand Elder sighed, one of his confidants knocked on the door and came in, “Grand Elder, the battle between Richard and Bloodhammer has begun.”

“Has everything been arranged?”

“I have already confirmed that Richard ate his breakfast this morning. In fact, even without these means he would not have been Bloodhammer’s opponent. Pangun’s ability is powerful and his totems are not weak. With his wealth of exp—”

“You are correct, but we do need to be safe with these things. Make sure to remain discreet, we do not know what will happen if Mountainsea finds out.”

“Yes!” the elder said humbly, before handing over a letter, “This came from the Sacred Alliance, and it was addressed to you. They also sent a message that messengers will arrive at the Shrine within a week.”

“The Sacred Alliance? What do they want, we haven’t made contact in years…” The elder frowned, a bad premonition overcoming his heart as he tore the letter open and started to read it carefully.

“The battle between Bloodhammer and Richard should have ended. You should come see the ceremony, you rarely reveal yourself in recent years…” the younger elder commented.

These words immediately caused the Grand Elder’s face to warp, “Wait, what did you say?”

“Hmm? Oh, the battle should be finished by now…”

“It’s done?!”

“Yes, it has been nearly ten minutes. How could Richard last so long after the poisoning?”

The Grand Elder threw the letter in his hands and flashed out of the room, disappearing down the corridor. The other elder was shocked by a change, unable to understand just what had happened, but seeing the letter fall to the ground he picked it up for a quick glance.

The content was quite simple:

“I heard that Richard has come to Klandor. The kid is very important to the Sacred Alliance, so keep that in mind. I hope you will entertain him this time, but I cannot control just how. I only have two requirements; he needs to come back alive, and his abilities with magic and runecrafting cannot be damaged.

“If that happens, then I will owe you a favour. If that does not… Don’t blame me for what happens next. I’ve never really cared about the big picture, only that the kid is worth multiple fortresses to me.”

The letter had been sent by Emperor Philip. Most of the words had been scribbled, but each stroke was ripe with the power of laws. As a legendary being himself, the elder could quickly surmise that Philip was almost completely healed.

The elder took another look through, but the power of laws gushing out of the words left him pale. He forced himself to calm down, but his hands started to tremble at the mountainous weight of the words that had been conveyed. Although Klandor didn’t normally participate in planar wars, the battlefields of despair were an exception. Emperor Philip had already taken a Daxdian fortress almost single-handedly, their own would be like paper before his might!

The most powerful emperor of the Sacred Alliance since its founder, and the Sword Saint of the Millennial Empire… The Sacred Tree Empire could not compare. Cooperating with them was for the future, but offending Philip here would completely destroy them right now.

But… But Richard’s opponent was Bloodhammer! And Bloodhammer had been told to kill! The elder flashed out of the office as well, running towards the arena at full speed.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo