Book 6, Chapter 61

Best Effort

Uriel sat back down, but the blood vessels on his neck were bulging from his rage. However, he was well aware that Archbishop Hendrick was a man of his word. The Church of Glory already rivalled the royal family in terms of power and influence, and contacting devils was a taboo that no noble would want to associate with. It was already obvious from the fact that he was here that the Emperor didn’t favour him either. He could only suffer this indignity in silence.

“Good, you understand.” Hendrick flashed a terrifying smile, standing up and throwing an aging metal plate towards Raphael, “Here, you have everything you need. Put it on and get moving! It nears daybreak and we have to finish our tasks before then! Stop acting so delicate, what good can you be with that mother of yours?”

Raphael had been clutching the metal plate in terror, tears streaming down her face, but the moment she heard the insult she jumped up and dashed straight towards the Archbishop, “My mother isn’t—”

*THWACK!* Hendrick sent her flying with a slap to the face, the girl’s cheeks instantly swelling up with blood dripping down the corner of her mouth, “Duchess Mandy summoned a devil far before Duchess Romilda! Where do you think the talent you pride yourself on comes from? It is the devil blood flowing in your veins! The only reason you two haven’t been thrown into prison for all eternity is that your filthy body can still serve as a slave to the Lord. There will be no mercy if you disobey orders!”

“What? No… Impossible! I can’t be a devil’s child!” the little princess cried out.

The Archbishop pointed a finger out at her, white light streaming out and searing the girl’s arm. Uriel stepped forward as he heard the pained cry, but then the ray stopped and Hendrick said coldly, “Look.”

Seeing the purplish black mark on her arm, Raphael let out a shrill cry and slumped to the floor. Most nobles of the Sacred Tree Empire recognised the mark that came from the bloodline of a greater devil; the ray of light had only been used to reveal it from within.

“Well? What do you have to say for yourself?” Hendrick’s voice was icy, his expression that of a snake staring at its prey.

“I… I…”

“Behave and I can overlook what happened today. I can even help you forget, just like this.” Hendrick raised an arm and cast a healing spell, wiping away the devil’s mark from Raphael’s face, “Alright. We have wasted enough time, now follow me. The enemy is weak right now, there should be no surprises… Wait.”

Hendrick frowned before walking over to the other side of the room and opening the door, looking at a priest dressed from head to toe in black robes. The priest nodded softly, handing over two envelopes, “Archbishop, we have urgent letters from the Church and the royal family.”

“Hmm? Alright, you can go.” Hendrick opened the letters and read through them as he closed the door, rage overcoming his face. Not long after, he threw the letters at Uriel’s face.

Both contained identical messages. Effective immediately, the young mage called Richard from the Sacred Alliance was not to be poisoned or assassinated, or otherwise hurt from the dark. He could only be fought in the open during the sacred ceremony, but even then it was advised not to kill him.

Uriel was puzzled by the order, while Hendrick’s eyes were closed and lips quivering as he whispered to something invisible. This was a spell used by legendary priests to communicate directly with their gods or other high-ranked priests. Shortly after, the old man snapped out of his daze and cast a cold glance at Uriel, “Do you want to know the reason?”

Uriel nodded.

“If I kill Richard now, the Church of the Eternal Dragon will close itself off for thirty years.”

“What?!”

“Even we have to look to the Eternal Dragon for certain things. Thirty years without access will put us far behind the other two empires… This Richard is so highly regarded by them, are you confident of defeating him?” Hendrick asked.

“Of course!”

“You had better win that match. You will not be the only one to suffer the consequences of your loss. Both of you, every movement of yours from now will be watched and used in your sentencing if you lose.” Hendrick then left the room, leaving Uriel and Raphael to their own silent thought.

……

At noon, both Richard and Uriel appeared punctually on the battlefield. The Sixth Prince removed his robe to reveal golden armour covered completely in magic arrays, a broad sabre held at the waist. The sabre looked slightly larger than a one-handed sword, and had magic arrays all over it as well.

Richard remained in barbarian garb, something that was useful for the cold in the mountains. His gaze stopped on the weapon at Uriel’s waist for an instant before moving away; as a grand runemaster himself, he knew just how special that armour was. Melded right into it were runic arrays that interfaced with those on the user’s body, combining the two together into the ultimate armour. The sabre was the same, part of the complete Heaven’s Armour set. This set truly was amongst the pinnacle of runecrafting.

Interestingly, the lance Uriel used was not a part of the set. Richard didn’t know why the prince would use this weapon instead, but so long as the sabre was not in use the set could not achieve full power.

The elder that was presiding over this match looked at the sky before looking back down, declaring the match to have begun. However, neither Richard nor Uriel moved; their eyes were glued on the opponent, running tactics through their mind. A small frown crawled up Richard’s face; the armour was blocking his vision.

Uriel eyed him up and down, exclaiming in surprise, “You changed your weapon!”

Richard was still holding Carnage, but the weapon had turned from black to bright silver. Even the jagged edge had changed to what looked like feathery speartips, giving it a sacred aura. He waved the sword around, “It makes no difference.”

However, it made all the difference to the Sixth Prince. Just looking at the thing he could feel an innate fear as though he was already being cut apart. He had watched Richard battle the barbarians only a day ago, but there had been no such feeling then.

His assumptions weren’t wrong. It wasn’t just the shape; the characteristics of Carnage had changed as well. Richard had refocused his hatred during the past day, and Klandor’s Carnage had thus transformed into Angel’s Demise.

“I won’t give you the chance of a drawn-out fight,” Uriel waved the lance and threw it aside, drawing the sabre immediately.

Richard knew that he had lost that one advantage, but he still maintained his composure, “I don’t need it.”

Uriel raised his weapon up high, the armour lighting up as a pair of huge wings flapped open on his back. On the other hand, the blood-red of Richard’s fingertips quickly spread to his arms and upper body as he clutched Angel’s Demise, orbs of energy forming seven shields of blue and white lightning that surrounded him. He drank a drop of the bloodthirst essence and his breath immediately turned fiery, the abyssal flames being roused by the savage blood.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Hazel

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA