Heaven’s Armour against the god-like Richard who never made mistakes.
Many had expected this duel to be a war of attrition where Uriel would be aiming to catch Richard and kill him before the thunderclouds grew overbearing, but the fight was much more thrilling right from the start. Uriel raised his sabre high above his head and swung down in Richard’s direction, sending a golden arc of energy flying dozens of metres in that direction. Angel’s Demise being dragged behind him on the ground, Richard put his left arm up and sent five wisps of crimson flames rocketing forward to meet the attack. The flames quickly joined into a dull red pillar of fire that blasted forth to collide with the sacred light.
The arc of energy made it halfway through before starting to grow sluggish, the enormous attack clearly being resisted by the tiny pillar of fire in front of it. The holy light and abyssal flames quickly reached a standstill, just eating into each other without end.
“H–How?” On the observation deck, Raphael suddenly stood up in shock. The divine power of Heaven’s Armour was extremely powerful, capable of easily suppressing most types of power. It was extremely rare for it to even meet a match, but Richard was still weaker than Uriel in terms of level; this meant the energy powering his flames was even more powerful!
Archbishop Hendrick’s face wrinkled further with a frown, his low voice sounding, “It’s not surprising, those are abyssal flames.”
“Abyssal flame?” the Ninth Princess exclaimed in alarm, “Isn’t that the power of demons?”
Hendrick just nodded, his eyes narrowing as he stared hard at Richard’s back. He suddenly felt a stinging sensation on his face and turned, just in time to meet the gaze of a cloaked man. The man had only exposed a single eye, but just his gaze was sharp as a blade. The Archbishop reached up to feel his face and his fingertips touched blooḍ.
A gaze that was bright and kind, yet could cause harm without any contact. This man was the Sword Saint of the Millennial Empire.
The battle continued to remain in a stalemate, the aftershocks from the contact of the two attacks leaving thousands of holes in the hard ground. Many of the younger barbarians paled as they realised that neither contestant was going all-out yet.
Both Uriel and Richard started to pale, but the Sixth Prince who was supposed to have the upper hand with Heaven’s Armour slowly started losing out. The flames coming from Richard’s hands turned thinner and thinner, but the colour grew correspondingly darker until it was nearly purplish-black.
Most of the barbarians had no reaction to this change, but both the Grand Elder and Great Shaman stood up immediately. They exchanged a glance before realising they had drawn a bit of attention, slowly sitting back down. However, they could no longer look as calm as they once did. Mixed into the audience, Hidden Sword looked down to hide his expression from the rest.
Finding things strange, Raphael turned towards Hendrick only to find the man bleeding from his palms. His hands were curled in tightly, his long fingernails obviously having broken skin. Yet, he seemed completely unaware as he muttered a word to himself over and over, something the Ninth Princess picked up with lip-reading, “Arbidis…”
Arbidis? She had no idea what that was supposed to mean. She gathered that it had to be related to the abyss somehow, but the abyss had innumerable levels where even legendary beings rarely wandered. Humans knew very little about both it and the hells.
Hendrick suddenly stood up, yelling loudly, “URIEL! KILL HIM!”
Uriel was startled by the change of directive, but he immediately dispersed the flood of holy light and raised his sabre once more, turning into a rumbling meteor that hurtled towards Richard.
Richard’s eyes narrowed as Angel’s Demise started trembling with a low buzz, the crimson of his hands now leaking onto the blade.
Uriel was extremely quick, appearing in front of Richard in the blink of an eye. His golden flames were already blowing at Richard’s hair and clothing. His sword fell down with overbearing might, all of his power condensed into this one strike to end the battle immediately.
It was at this point that Richard moved.
It was a simple strike; a single step forward followed by a downwards slash. However, this was something he had practised tens of thousands of times in his life, something he had worked to perfect with as much effort as he could spare at any given time. It was finally displayed perfectly, the reflection from the blade like a lightning bolt that lit up the earth for a mere moment before fading away.
The next thing you knew, both Uriel and Richard seemed to be a dozen metres apart, each leaving uncountable afterimages in their wake. Richard’s seemed to show every single motion of his attack, while Uriel’s remained in his one pose of preparing to slash down.
In that moment, everyone only had one thought: this was the pinnacle of speed.
The world seemed sluggish, slow to catch up to the reality of what had just happened. The natural silver glow of Carnage cut through Uriel’s divine energy and quietly disappeared. The holy power seemed to fill the gap as though nothing had happened, but Uriel cried out as he skidded to a halt. His sabre struck the ground, leaving a mark that was a metre deep and more than ten metres long.
Just how had he failed to control his attack? The Sixth Prince wanted to ask himself this question, but the buckle of his right gauntlet fell off on its own as it flew into the sky powered by divine energy.
Hendrick’s entire body shivered as he slowly sat back down.
Still stunned, Uriel, watched as his helmet, breastplate, faulds, greaves, and boots took to the sky as well, forming a suit of armour that started rotating in place.
“Uriel… abandoned me? Why…” The prince could not accept the reality. Heaven’s Armour was a partially sentient rune set and could choose its successor, but it very rarely abandoned its user. Unless…
“I’m… already dead?” The prince who was once Uriel finally understood his situation and raised his hands, finding a web of red on the palms. He frowned and started turning around to look at Richard, but found himself unable to complete the motion.
A body erupted into bloody mist without a single sound, following which abyssal flames started burning it from within. In only a moment it turned into a huge pillar of fire, spurting dozens of metres into the sky. When it finally died down, one couldn’t even see ashes. Without the runic armour set floating nearby and the damage to the arena, nobody would be able to tell that the Sixth Prince had battled here just now.
Richard looked up and heaved a long sigh, gazing into the soft snow in the distance.
Finally. He’d finally won. At this moment, he didn’t quite know what he was feeling. It was more relief than happiness; Carnage quickly lost its lustre, seemingly growing bored the moment it lost its enemy, and he himself felt rather empty as well.
That final battle was like a meteor striking the earth, leaving everything dead in its wake. The audience was still mute, and even the elder who was supposed to be the referee couldn’t speak for a long time.
It was Archbishop Hendrick that broke the silence, “Richard! That power you use… Hmph! This isn’t over.”
Richard just flashed a bright smile, raising his middle finger and beckoning provocatively, “Let’s meet on the battlefield.”
Hendrick’s voice immediately went mute. He had planned to say the same thing, but now he found Richard’s smile to be indescribably hateful. How could a minor noble be so confident as to want to battle the Church of Glory?
It was only then that the judge finally realised his failures, announcing the end of the battle. Richard was the victor of the sacred ceremony, the one with the right to be Mountainsea’s husband. The elder didn’t know how he felt about that. The holiest moment of the barbarian race had been won by a Norlander; had they really fallen that far?
However, the elder was aware that this wasn’t the truth. Zawu, Kunzhi and the rest were only the public faces of the younger generation because they were the strongest who still remained in Klandor. The handful of warriors their age with true power were deep in their exploration of the myriad planes, and they wouldn’t care for something meaningless like fathering a child. They had their own pride, and those who were still interested in these battles would voluntarily give up purely out of their respect for Mountainsea. The elders had even ‘persuaded’ two very powerful youths not to participate, just so the Sacred Tree Empire was likely to win.
It wasn’t just this elder. Everyone in the Council had their own thoughts, but they agreed on one thing; the humiliation today was one they had brought upon themselves.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Theo: Storm had taken out power for a little more than a day, back now.
Translated By: Ying
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA