Precursor To The End
Richard didn’t know whether it was intentional, but he and Uriel had been placed on opposite sides of the bracket only to meet at the finals. The next morning he faced Zawu, and this time he had returned to level 16.
“I hear you’re the boy Mountainsea wanted, she’ll be mine,” Zawu said coldly when they got on stage. However, Richard didn’t even pay attention to him; Insight was working to dig out as much information as he could from the barbarian’s body. Seeing this, Zawu growled in anger, softening his voice until only Richard could hear properly, “Once I win, I’ll fuck her to death! That bitch has never given me the respect I deserve!”
Snapping out of his half-trance, Richard smiled casually, “You won’t have the chance.”
Zawu sneered and entered his fighting stance, roaring as giant phantoms of a black panther and a six-eyed boar appeared behind his body. He was the strongest barbarian of his generation, and the only one his age outside of Mountainsea who could use multiple totems at a time.
Seeing the black panther which was known for offensive speed, a deadly counter to most mages, Richard simply raised his left hand and sent five thunderclouds into the air.
“You think I can’t destroy this trick?” Zawu laughed, merely punching into the air. A wave of energy burst forth and hit the thunderclouds, blasting them apart.
However, Richard didn’t stop there. Five more clouds flew out from his fingers, but this time they spread out to different places while being only a single metre in diameter each. Looking at them, Zawu just shrugged it off and focused down for a direct charge. Attacking in different directions was quite taxing, and he believed he just had to kill Richard before the clouds became a problem.
As Zawu charged forward with a flexible bone sword, Richard took a black jade bottle out of his pocket and poured a drop into his mouth. His fair skin immediately started glowing red, hot steam erupting from his nostrils.
“Bloodthirst essence! How can you have the holy medicine?” The barbarian’s eyes immediately went wide open with greed, a peculiar glint in his eyes as he rushed even faster, ”I’ll take this medicine after you die!”
Just as the two were about to meet, Zawu suddenly forced himself off trajectory in the middle of his charge. A single hard jump pushed him dozens of metres away, but even so he turned around in shock with his sword prepared to block. He almost hadn’t noticed Richard moving his sword at all; had he not evaded, Carnage would likely have pierced right through his body.
Zawu immediately forced himself to calm down. Richard was an unpredictable enemy that had overcome impossible odds before; being careless would only spell death at his blade.
Seeing Zawu dodge like a cat, Richard smiled in satisfaction. This enemy was extremely sensitive, but that was not an issue. A drawn-out battle was only to his own advantage.
“Heh, you want to waste time? What a joke, how long do you think the bloodthirst essence will last?” Zawu sneered. His voice hadn’t even stopped ringing before he was right next to Richard once more, bearing down with full strength. However, Richard no longer just dodged either; this time, both were trading blows in battle.
Zawu had estimated that Richard would last for half an hour, and Richard’s thunderclouds took at least an hour or two to reach dangerous levels of strength. He could afford to wait until then.
Half an hour quickly passed, and despite some close parries Richard hadn’t ever been hit. The five clouds in the sky were now of a decent size, and the lightning bolts started to fall down. Zawu grew more patient, waiting for the moment when the bloodthirst essence wore off and Richard would grow weak.
An hour since the start of the battle, and Richard didn’t show any signs of wavering. The lightning was starting to grow painful, and the thunderclouds were continuing to expand.
By an hour and a half, Zawu could barely contain his shock. The lightning bolts were hitting harder and more often, making him more and more uncomfortable.
At two hours, everyone in the audience was dazed. All of the elders and shamans of the Azuresnow Shrine had rushed over to watch.
Two and a half hours in, there seemed to be no gap between the thunderbolts anymore. There were a total of seventeen floating in the sky, and at this point Zawu was just madly chasing Richard everywhere. The barbarian didn’t even shy away from Carnage’s strength anymore, only wishing to make it to a melee fight.
Two hours and thirty-seven minutes in, Zawu finally fell. The two strongest barbarian youths in Klandor had now fallen at Richard’s hands in succession, leaving even many of the older experts quivering in fear. Even as Richard left the battlefield, there were no signs of the weakness that was to come. Great Shaman Urazadzu’s long eyebrows were completely locked together.
By his own calculations, Richard expected the effects of the medicine to last a little under thirty minutes. It hadn’t been his plan to fight a protracted battle against Zawu— he’d originally wanted to make use of Lifesbane and end the battle quickly— but the moment he ingested the bloodthirst essence he had immediately felt the tooth of the Beast God he wore reacting to it and lengthening the amount of time he could last in that state. Deciding to keep his remaining cards hidden, he had chosen to eliminate this opponent in another war of attrition.
This time, Uriel was nowhere to be seen. His enemy had been Musen, widely acknowledged to be inferior only to Zawu and Kunzhi, but even so the prince had only displayed his golden wings before knocking the enemy out with a single blow. Looking at the other battle, he had just yawned and left.
In the middle of the night, Archbishop Hendrick and Uriel were staring each other in the eye. The Ninth Princess Raphael was sitting nearby as she observed their silent clash, not daring to speak a word.
Hendrick eventually snorted, “Uriel, you cannot be willful here. Let Raphael go with me, and your opponent tomorrow will be a corpse. You will then stay in the Azuresnow Shrine until that savage wench gives birth to a child.”
“I can handle the opponent myself, why must Raphael do it? She is still young and has never killed before, a small child like her should not have her hands stained with blood.”
Hendrick smiled with mockery, “Someone with royal blood is actually so naive! Regardless of her age, Raphael is the strongest of killers once she wears Heaven’s Armour. That is why she was brought here. I will contain Hidden Sword and anyone the Council sends, she will kill Richard.”
“Never!” Uriel roared, ramming his fist into the table.
Hendrick didn’t seem to be angered by the response, “I hear your mother once consorted with a devil. This is just a rumour of course, but anyone with such history will have a mark of the summoning left behind on their bodies. Within the Cathedral of Glory, all who have communicated with the Hells will be revealed.”
“You…” Uriel’s face changed dramatically, “What do you mean?”
“Anyone who consorts with devils must be staked to death immediately. The greatest benevolence one can give them is a lifetime of imprisonment in Baylen Island. I hear Duchess Romilda is still very beautiful at her age.”
“HENDRICK!” Uriel stood up, radiating bloodlust from every fibre of his being.
“Of course, rumours are only rumours. Now, I can ask the Duchess to visit the Cathedral of Glory to verify her innocence, or I can pretend I’ve heard nothing. The choice depends on you.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: OMA
Edited By: Theo