Once the speech to the veterans was taken care of, Richard spoke to Asiris once more, “I’ll transfer ten rune knights and ten mages to help with stabilising the situation for now. Come with me to the Boulder Highlands, we still have some unfinished business there.”
“As you wish, my Lord.” Asiris was respectful as always.
Richard didn’t pay much attention to the Dark Priest’s behaviour, simply smiling and turning to Cyrden, “Oh right. Since you can’t defeat me, you shouldn’t have any ideas on my wallet in the future.”
“I was injured!” Cyrden snorted, “I’ll take you out one day.”
However, even the thief himself was unsure of those words.
They continued with some more small talk as Richard prepared to leave immediately, but after a few minutes some of the veteran warriors walked over. The one at the head bowed deeply to Richard, “Lord Richard, we have discussed your grace of returning us to our homes. None of us wish for the extra compensation you mentioned, it would be enough to be given something to do in the family. Also, we can send the ten oldest of us back first, and then send ten more every year. This should save you some of the teleportation fees so you can buy more spears, armour, and shields. The giants have been destroying our supplies, and every time it’s like we’re paying the beasts with our lives… We can’t get on the battlefield anymore, this money shouldn’t be wasted on us.”
Richard shook his head and smiled, “I already have weapons and armour sitting in caravans on the other side; they’ll be transported here in the next few days. Look, you’ve done enough for the Family; return to your own houses, there’s no need to worry about fees. One has to do at least this much for their warriors.”
Noticing the time, he turned to Asiris, “Let’s go, time is money.”
When he first stepped foot out of the teleportation gate back into Blackrose Castle, the Dark Priest was left stunned for a moment. He could see a large army of knights gathered before him, consisting of a total of 200 rune knights and 400 shadowspears. Half of the rune knights were Rose Knights, but even then these warriors were plenty powerful. In addition to the cavalry were a hundred heavily armoured barbarian infantrymen, and one could see men feeding the astral chrysalis a number of chests near a distant warehouse. This was the sign of a full war.
“My Lord… This…” Asiris felt a shiver down his spine.
“An army for the battle, if there is one. What do you think, not bad is it?” Richard responded.
The lowest level soldier amongst those gathered here was level 13, and each one was armed with superior-grade equipment that was on par with the personal guards of most earls and even marquesses. Asiris had seen the drones in battle before; although he didn’t know what exactly they were, he was certain that they weren’t human. These creatures didn’t fear death or pain, and were completely incapable of mercy or pity. They followed orders through to the end, no matter how dangerous or gruesome they were.
How could this army just be considered not bad? Asiris suppressed the uneasiness in the pit of his stomach, “My Lord, where do you intend to deploy them?”
“The Boulder Highlands,” Richard answered.
“Uhh… That isn’t necessary, is it?”
“Remember two weeks ago when I said it was time for Ward to make a decision? My threat was specifically that I would bring an army to bear if he continued to ignore orders. Anyway, do you think it’s enough for a takeover? I don’t want to spend too much, but I can still double the number.”
The Dark Priest felt Richard’s sword-like gaze weighing him down, having to force a smile as he said, “There isn’t any need to be this aggressive. Perhaps there was some trouble in the Boulder Highlands; Ward can be a careless fellow at times…”
Richard laughed, “His loyalty is the most important matter right now, no matter how careless he is he shouldn’t be neglecting it. Besides, do you expect me to believe that Gaton would hand an entire plane to someone careless?”
Asiris merely forced another smile, unable to refute. Richard looked at him and asked once more, “So. Do you think I have enough troops?”
One couldn’t afford to be careless in answering a question like this. Asiris sighed heavily, “The rune knights alone would have been sufficient. How many families can afford to just mobilise 200 rune knights?”
“Alright, if you say it’s enough. You, sound the horns. We’ll be leaving!”
A moment later, a long bugle horn sounded throughout the ancient castle. The earth trembled as groups of knights gradually set off, making their way over to the teleportation gate leading to the Boulder Highlands. The hundred infantrymen took the lead, shields held in front of them as they marched in with standard formation. These soldiers would protect the vicinity for the more offensive troops to give them a chance to prepare.
A warrior led the sacred unicorn over alongside a regular magic mount. Richard flipped up onto the unicorn and turned to Asiris, “Let’s go.” The Dark Priest had no choice but to get on the mount and follow.
Right before entering the portal, Richard suddenly sighed, “An army like this shouldn’t have to be used on one of our own.”
Asiris’s hand shook slightly before he stepped into the portal.
It was currently twilight in the Boulder Highlands, its three suns slowly sinking below the edge of the horizon. The fiery glow cast a blood-red tint on the desolate desert, the sparse few trees looking like burning torches in the afterglow.
An army brimming with killing intent was stood opposite the teleportation gate, a diverse mix of forces ranging from light infantry and archers to heavy cavalry. Every soldier of this rag-tag group was in perfect formation, the 2,000 men maintaining absolute silence without moving a single inch. Their aura was so intense that it was almost tangible.
Stood before this army were a few generals, the leader of whom was clearly larger than the other people around him. The man had an almost-naked upper torso save for thick pauldrons, but where his body was bare all one could see were steel-like muscles. He almost felt like a volcano that was about to erupt.
The portal started to flash as a group of heavy infantrymen walked out in formation, taking a few steps forward before thrusting their tower shields into the ground and shrinking their bodies behind. Once a hundred such infantrymen had walked out, hundreds more knights split up to cover each flank.
Seeing the heavy infantry and cavalry, the expressions of the generals beside Ward turned grave, their breaths now heavy. They had weathered many wars, but they could tell with one look that this was an enemy they had never faced before. However, it wasn’t long before the portal flashed once more, two horses leaping out side by side.
The generals almost froze up as they fixed their gazes on the portal; the rune knights were coming. Every one of them subconsciously held their breath, beginning to evaluate the incoming force. Rune knights were always the basis that Norlanders used to measure an army.
2… 4…. 10… 20… The number continued to rise quickly, leaving the generals’ eyes growing wider and wider. By the time all 200 rune knights were out, many of them were shuddering with fear; they had never witnessed such a powerful force in battle before!
When Richard and Asiris walked out of the portal, they saw that the two armies were already facing off against each other. He spurred his unicorn forward to jump ahead of his shield wall, landing in the gap between before dismounting and walking towards the mountainous Ward. The rune knights immediately made to follow suit— they alone could decimate the army in front at half power— but a wave of his hand forced them to stop. The one thing Richard would never tolerate was ignoring orders.
Seeing Richard walking towards him, Ward squinted and headed over as well. The two met close to the midpoint between the two armies, but despite being closer to Ward’s men Richard seemed calm and composed, “I still remember meeting you in Gaton’s study all those years ago. I was still very young back then.”
A slight smile appeared on Ward’s face, “You were a great talent.”
Richard nodded, “Only a talent then, but it’s different now. You know, Asiris thinks I’m doing rather well at the moment, that I have a chance of surpassing my father not too long in the future.”
“He doesn’t get these things wrong,” Ward said unexpectedly before gesturing to the rune knights, “Looking at them, you’ve already overtaken Lord Gaton in a few ways.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Hestia
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA