The fighting was almost at the portal! Richard felt the earth shudder as an explosion rocked the sky, white light filling his eyes for a fleeting moment. A shrill whistle rang out as a human figure was thrown out from far away, compelling him to activate Insight to determine who it was. Remembering that this plane didn’t have any native humans, he intercepted the figure in mid-air and gently slowed its momentum, cushioning the tremendous impact before placing the critically injured man behind him.
*Whoosh!* Before he could even land, Richard saw an enormous battleaxe whizzing towards him, barely crouching down to dodge its path. The axe whistled past his head, singing some of the hairs on his scalp.
For a brief moment, the sequence reminded him of his first forays into Faelor and the Forest Plane. There, too, he had been attacked the moment he entered, but both of those had been arrows. He was much stronger now, but apparently the level of threat was growing correspondingly; this axe would have left him crippled if he took it on without preparation.
Glancing at the enormous axe that looked even more outrageous than Tiramisu’s hammer, Richard turned towards the battlefield that was only a short distance away. Even from this distance he could see three giant humanoids, each over a dozen metres tall. Their builds made it clear that they were extremely strong, and one of them was only a hundred metres away with an arm still outstretched and hand empty.
The giants were currently embroiled in battle against the Archeron troops, every single blow sending several warriors flying. The power of these blows was so immense that some warriors started gushing blood even before they hit the ground, destined not to survive, but the soldiers themselves were clearly elites as well. They huddled up in a tight formation around the giants’ feet and defended with their shields, using spears to stab deep into the soles and calves. The stronger ones flew up the side to stab into the back, swords cutting off skin and flesh in relatively small yet significant chunks.
One of the giants was already covered in injuries, howling wildly in pain as it tried to retreat. However, the warriors around its feet were like a thorny bush that wouldn’t let go. The pain drove the thing crazy, and in its rage it suddenly lifted its right foot high and stomped towards the ground. The large foot that was several metres long would smash dozens of the tightly-packed warriors into pulp.
The warriors beneath the foot had no way of dodging at all, but they didn’t seem to intend to either. They instantly stabbed their spear shafts into the earth, ducking down to take cover behind their shields. In the end, the giant stepped on what was effectively a board of nails, more than a dozen spears piercing into its foot while some even went all the way through. Howling in pain, the creature collapsed backwards to the ground.
Even so, a dozen warriors had been crushed to death. The fallen giant was stopped from getting up, but it quickly switched tactics to just grab the closest warriors and stuff them into its mouth. Metal creaked and bones cracked even as countless spears stabbed into a weak spot below its ribs.
A river of blood quickly started flowing in the battlefield, most from the giant but a significant amount still from the Archeron warriors themselves.
The giant closest to Richard went wild after tossing its axe, flailing its fists wildly while smashing things at will. Sometimes it crouched and pounded its fists towards the ground, a sickening squelch sounding as humans were popped like berries. Yet, these warriors were all well-trained and not afraid to die for the sake of victory. So long as they wouldn’t be able to dodge, they would instantly erect their spears and shields in the goal of dealing the maximum harm to the opponent. Only a few pounds left the giant’s fists a mangled mess with more than a dozen spears stuck in, causing the creature to roar in pain.
“CHAINS!” an officer shouted loudly, prompting a dozen strong warriors to hurl spear after spear towards the giant’s back at lightning speed. Each spear was about two metres long, the first half covered in barbs angled away from the flesh while the end had a long chain attached to it. A faint glow covered these harpoons, making it clear that every thrower was level 14 or higher. The harpoons quickly cut into the elephantine skin, going all the way to the end of the shaft before coming to a stop at the bones.
Richard noticed streaks of blood running down the giant’s eyes as it howled; it was clearly blinded and unable to dodge. The throwers flung the chains to over a hundred warriors behind them, who immediately formed up in groups of seven to eight and started pulling with all their might.
The giant let out a thunderous snarl, but it couldn’t fight against the sheer might of over a hundred warriors. Its fifteen-metre-tall frame was slowly pulled back before collapsing to the ground, the embedded spears doing even more damage.
“Get out of the way!” the officer roared, taking the lead and jumping on the giant’s chest. Waving his broadsword, he cut right into the giant’s throat. Fresh blood spurted out and covered him, but the giant grabbed him with both hands and stuffed him into its large mouth. More disgusting cracks sounded as mixed crimson started flying out from the giant’s mouth. Fortunately, this was the last casualty; it wasn’t long before the creature’s head tilted to the side and it stopped moving.
Although he had only been observing for a few moments, Richard could tell just how tenacious these giants were. Their retaliation on the brink of death was certainly fatal, and the officer had taken it upon himself to execute the last attack despite knowing that the last attackers wouldn’t escape death.
Or perhaps it was because of that knowledge that he did it.
The last giant roared and turned around, fleeing into the distance. Although the surrounding warriors took the chance to add a few dozen spears to it, they didn’t manage to force it to stay behind. The towering figure took large strides and shook them off, gone in the blink of an eye.
The battle had only taken a minute or so, but it was an absolute tragedy. Richard had practically watched without even breathing, only pulled back when the portal flashed once more and Asiris stepped out.
“NO!” the Dark Priest screamed immediately, rushing towards the figure that Richard had saved the moment he stepped out. This average-looking fellow with his chest caved in and face covered in fresh blood was the Odd Thief, Cyrden. One of his eyes had completely burst open, while the other one was tightly shut; the injuries were extremely serious, even if Richard could feel that his life force was still holding strong.
Asiris crouched beside him and opened the Book of Darkness, tearing several pages out and burning them. The accumulated divine power formed a stream of life force as it rushed into Cyrden’s body, causing his broken bones to crack as his sunken chest began to push out once more. The blood flow was stemmed as well, and new flesh started growing out as the wounds closed up. Even the hole in his right eye was beginning to fill up with new flesh as a replacement was being formed.
However, it wasn’t long before the speed of recovery was slashed considerably. The divine power from the burning of those pages had already been used up, forcing the Dark Priest to grab a few more.
Richard immediately grabbed Asiris by the hand, pulling him away. He could tell that the Book of Darkness was similar to his own Book of Creation and Holding or Flowsand’s Book of Time in that it had few pages that were filled with power, and every page torn would take ages to recover. If this continued, the legendary tome would be ruined.
Asiris was about to argue, but as he looked up he saw green power concentrating in hand as he reached behind him and summoned Moonlight from the sword case and touching Cyrden’s chest with it. The sword lit aglow and seemed to act as a conduit, transferring all of the green radiance to Cyrden’s body without the slightest bit lost.
For a moment, the sheer power of nature in the air caused Asiris to recall Silvermoon Palace from decades ago. Lowering his head, he saw countless blades of grass having erupted out of nowhere with dainty white flowers in blood scattered all around. Everywhere within ten metres had turned to a patch of grass.
With his understanding of the laws of life alongside the slightly unlocked powers of Moonlight, the power of Richard’s Sacred Prayer had doubled. Still, just as fast as they had formed, the flowers wilted and the grass shrivelled. Richard’s face paled as his accumulated moonforce depleted completely in one go, more than half of his mana being used up as well. Thankfully Cyrden’s condition had rapidly improved as well, dazed eye regaining its light while the new one was being reformed. From the looks of it, he would make a complete recovery soon.
“A… Asiris?” the thief huffed out as he opened his left eye, “Bastard… Finally… What’s the little scoundrel been making you do? He’s… been pulling you away more and more these days. Hmph, what does that brat even know? All he wants to do is conquer this and conquer that, conquer my ass! Even the Lord didn’t think of conquering us back then! If only he hadn’t left us in charge of this mess, I would have enjoyed a comfortable life in retirement. You know how annoying it is to see the equipment he sends? I have to…”
“Ahem. Don’t spout nonsense, Lord Richard is already here.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Hestia
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA