The troop quickly made their way into the distance, the quiet forest now broken solely by Richard’s clear coughs. However, it only took a few minutes before the roar of a wild beast masked everything else, a mutated elf jumping right towards Richard’s face. The creature ended up pierced by Moonlight, with Richard taking only a single step back in the process.
Other elves followed soon after, enveloping Richard from all sides. However, a momentary blur flashed past them before they were all cut into two; Waterflower showed herself beside Richard, only half a step away just like back in the Land of Dusk.
Richard shook Moonlight to throw the pierced elf aside, “A bunch of soulless creatures, but they have the numbers. Afraid?”
“What’s so scary about a bunch of imps?” Waterflower said harshly, turning into a spectre once more as she disappeared into the woods. The rancid odour of the mutants’ blood started to permeate the forest.
It wasn’t long before the battle was in full swing. Waterflower killed multiple enemies with every slash, but even more came forward to take their place. It was like they were besieged by a pack of wolves, most from the ground but some even pouncing from the trees. A cold glint flashed in her eyes as she swung left and right, the Shepherd of Eternal Rest reaping lives without end. Even just the ripples of energy from her swings could cut apart two or three mutants every time.
Waterflower had never been one for direct combat, but she plunged into the battlefield and screamed loudly to attract attention. Enemies fell wherever she went, but even with her best efforts she couldn’t pull all of the mutants away from Richard. When a few made it past her to run in his direction, she sent an invisible ripple of energy to tear them apart.
In the beginning, Richard just leaned against a large tree. A single mutant managed to make it past Waterflower to get to him, but he simply positioned Moonlight perfectly to pierce it in the chest. Another elf was decapitated by a casual swing, and as he circled around the ancient tree slowly he pierced another two through the ribs.
“Rear right!” he shouted to Waterflower as he blocked an attack, and the girl immediately rushed over to the position. He left cover and took a few swings of his sword, cutting down the transformed elves around him before rushing towards another tree. Using it to limit the number of enemies who could fight him, he killed a few more before dashing ten metres away again. The two creatures who were in the way didn’t even realise how they died.
The two ran out almost perpendicular to each other until they were a hundred metres apart. With another shouted signal, they changed directions and arced back to each other to meet again. He pointed a finger forward and she charged to clear the way.
The battle continued to drag on, but they constantly drew close and apart as they weaved through the woods and killed all the enemies along the way. Elves were considered the rulers of the forest, but right now Richard and Waterflower were turning this advantage on its head. Their murderous auras seemed to resonate with each other as the girl occasionally shot out blasts of energy so concentrated they bent space; energy-consuming attacks, but very powerful ones at that. Richard couldn’t use such strength now, but he showed a new height of swordsmanship that even many legendary beings could not hope to match; constantly shifting between fast and slow, Moonlight was unpredictable and killed with a single blow each time. In terms of casualties alone, he wasn’t far behind.
Within an hour they started to feel the pressure; Waterflower wasn’t used to such scenarios and Richard was currently weak. There were just far too many of the mutated elves, almost as though it would be impossible to finish killing them. Richard felt Moonlight growing heavier by the minute, and despite his best attempts at being miserly he was losing more energy than he could recover. A majority of his strength was locked up in dealing with the grey energy that was trying to weaken him further.
The first hour turned into two, and time continued to pass by. Waterflower was starting to grow numb as well, and Richard was almost out of energy. However, as they reached a certain point in the woods, his eyes suddenly lit up and he let go of all his inhibitions, activating Lifesbane and speeding into the waiting horde. In only seconds he pushed through hundreds of enemies, tearing them to shreds and leaving a trail of flesh and blood in his wake. It didn’t take long to break through the horde, and with Waterflower following behind he sped a hundred metres away.
The mutant elves were taken aback, but they reorganised and continued their pursuit. They weren’t nearly as fast as Richard or Waterflower at full speed, but the hive mind knew that he would quickly tire and could then be captured.
Richard stopped after only a minute of running, but as the first of the chasing creatures lunged at him Moonlight lit up in a green glow. It seemed to disappear from sight for a moment before returning to place, leaving a mist of dark blood sprayed onto the foliage. He slowly turned around, taking a deep breath and smiling.
The suppression of the forest had faded away!
Richard’s perception spread far and wide as all three minds returned to full speed, making contact with hundreds of nodes all across the forest. He could feel Waterflower relax as their connection was restored, and even chuckled as he suppressed the grey energy circulating in his bloodstream and locked it away. His wounds started regenerating at a visible pace, and with the activation of Schloan his mana pool skyrocketed as well.
Seeing the horde of mutant elves rushing towards him, sparks flashed around him and he raised his glowing blade; the thirty creatures in the first group were reduced to a puddle of blood. Seeing the rest starting to growl at him in wariness, he stopped Waterflower from charging towards them and retreated further. Within the unsullied woods, these creatures immediately grew listless.
A short while later, the black-robed man and the elders arrived at the battleground. The man kept absolutely silent, while the elders all had shocked looks on their faces. A skilled tracker quickly started inspecting the corpses to try and reconstruct the scene, but the conclusion left him stupefied.
“There were… only two people?” he muttered quizzically.
The tracker’s voice was soft, but everyone present had extraordinary perception. The black-robed man started trembling in obvious rage— he had just announced that three thousand mutants would be enough to kill the enemies, but they had all been eliminated by only two.
Emerald City was currently buzzing with activity as all the troops were mobilised for battle. Richard’s original plan had been to push back immediately, but with the tree of life killed he had no reason to do any such thing. The rune knights who had just returned needed time to heal, and the elves would need to be given a place. Ordering the army to be ready in three days’ time, he quickly returned to Norland.
“Ugh. You… How even?” Noelene couldn’t seem to find the right words to scold Richard, a situation that wasn’t helped by her breathlessness. She had just rushed over the moment one of her subordinates informed her, and seeing the grey energy trying to break free within his body she recognised the power of laws within. Giving up on speaking, she started to mutter a number of counter-curses as she sent a great amount of timeforce into his body to erase the residue.
Richard finally relaxed, “An assassination plan, and the opponent has a better grasp of laws than I do.”
“Bullshit!” Noelene raged, “The elves don’t know who they’re messing with!”
“Is it that serious?”
“These aren’t secondary laws!” Noelene said with a frown. The grey energy started to fade away under the power of her timeforce, but there was still a small lump of black left behind.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Styles
Edited By: Theo