Melia silently walked to the side, but a storm had been set off in her heart. This was the first time she’d actually fought Richard, and even despite her hesitation she could see that his sword skills were far beyond hers. The next two hunters learned from her mistake and went all out, but they didn’t do any better. One’s sword was sent flying into the ceiling while the other’s was turned away and smashed to the ground. Both fights were decided in a single exchange.
Richard showed no joy at this easy victory, instead frowning as he moved on to the druids. The first one buffed himself with a number of traditional barriers, but Richard’s sword lit aglow and crashed into the shields. They held, but the druid himself was sent flying away. The longsword was clearly ordinary, but the attack had at least three different effects: Mana Annihilation, Shield Piercing, and Barrier Break. Any one was a headache for a spellcaster, but Richard had all three. The single strike had decimated most of the druid’s defences.
Richard followed on with another strike, the glow on his sword changing in mid-air. His sword bounced off once more, but this time the druid turned green. The effects were different now: Weaken Elements, Brittle Armour, And Shield Shatter. Again, all three were a nightmare for a spellcaster’s defences. This time the druid’s shields broke apart completely, with the first two enchantments reducing his magic resistance and physical strength respectively.
Fortunately, Richard’s third sword was merely a pat on the druid’s shoulder, “Next.”
The druid left in cold sweat, as did the replacement only a few moments afterwards. Looking at the old mage, Richard just shook his head and threw the longsword to the side. He had done this for two reasons: the first to test the strength of the evernight elves and the second to test the power of Disintegrator. The rune set had two abilities, and the one it was named after allowed him to attach three magic effects to any of his attacks. Alternatively, he could add abyssal flames or strengthen existing fire magic as well. The other effect was more passive, increasing his casting speed and dropping mana costs by more than a fifth.
With his blessings pushed to the limit in the battle with Iskara, Wisdom had levelled up once more in record time. He could now think much faster than the pace of a saint-level battle, which reduced his reliance on instinct to zero and gave him an absolute advantage in fights. His original analysis of the Church’s martial arts had already been expanded in scope towards developing a full style of his own, and he was currently a quarter of the way there. With his blessing having advanced once more, the rate of his analysis would only continue to grow. Every new type of enemy he met would feed into his style further and help him perfect it; when it approached completion, he would be twice as effective in battle as he was now.
Originally, he had been focused on the perfect sword strike; a single attack that compressed all the power of Lifesbane into one devastating attack. That was what Decapitate was born out of. Now, however, he had Mana Armament and all the other runes of his set to consider. His fighting style would have to comprehensively make use of those and his blessings themselves until eventually it would evolve into an entirely new type of martial arts. He could already defeat these saint hunters instantly, and even Melia would only be able to last a short while if she went all out.
Of course, this was all with respect to physical battle. The number of possibilities when magic came into the picture were just far too large; he was much better off improvising based on the situation than developing a specific style for that.
Finally taking a seat, he turned to the elves looking at him, “Now, let’s discuss the situation of the tribe.”
The elves looked at each other, and one of the druids eventually spoke up. Richard listened quietly, his eyebrows locking together in anger as time went on and his guesses were confirmed.
The Evernight Tribe had just over 1,300 members, 700 women and 600 men. About 600 of these members in total were qualified warriors, 350 of whom could be called hunters with more than thirty druids across all levels. There were also a hundred treants that could help in battle.
However, Richard had no use for slow, lumbering treants and was more concerned about the elves themselves. Greyfeather had sent three entire teams of 50 men each into a mission in the forest, leading them straight to an ambush. A lot of those in these teams were in opposition to his rule, so this had been a way to consolidate his power.
But this was 150 archers! The one thing Richard lacked was stable long-range strike power. He had mages and some drones, but the broodmother’s creations couldn’t hold a candle to a true elven archer who could shoot more than thirty arrows a minute. When they channelled their bloodlines, they could even triple this speed for a short burst! Elven hunters were quick and nimble, and once he armed them with full enchanted longbows and arrows a force of 350 would be terrifying. Greyfeather had nearly halved this force in one go, and the losses would only have increased further!
Elves were well-known to be slow breeders; to replenish the 150 elite hunters would take at least three to four decades. Richard started to regret just burning Greyfeather, wondering if he should have just tortured him personally in public instead. Hoarse groans were still ringing out from outside the window, but he was already losing resistance. Once the report was done, Richard eyed the druids, “Every quarter hour, heal Greyfeather up a bit. Everyone else is to rest, prepare for war with the Duskword Tribe tomorrow; Melia, you stay.”
The druids’ paled at the realisation that Richard wanted to continue Greyfeather’s torture, but they nodded and left. Melia stayed behind as instructed, but she had her head hung low.
“You disappoint me,” Richard said the moment they were alone, leaving her unable to reply. Richard had left her with the Skylance upon his return, effectively leaving the tribe in her care while he was gone, but she had allowed the formation of the council of elders and even let three hunting teams die. Amongst those teams were many childhood friends.
Melia hadn’t stopped Greyfeather when he wanted to use his blood relation to Tzu to form the council and seize control. She opposed him, sure, but she hadn’t used force. Her weakness had led to everything over the past few days. She might have been a daughter of the forest, but she had no skill in politics at all.
Richard sighed, “Give me the Skylance, you clearly don’t have the ability to guard it.”
Melia lowered her head and gave him the spear before leaving the room in tears.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Theo: 1/9 for the day, hopefully. Storms continue to cause power problems apparently, but I'll edit whenever I can.
Translated By: OMA
Edited By: Theo