A Reason For War
Once he understood how to approach capturing stars, Richard set one of his minds to mapping out new orbits constantly. Some preliminary calculations told him that five bodies orbiting him would provide the same amount of recovery as when he had the well of stars active now, doubling his mana recovery rate. Extending these calculations, 81 bodies would speed up his recovery to the point where it matched the full output of a normal grand mage. In other words, he could fight with the full output of a grand mage endlessly.
The thought was exciting for a brief moment, but that was short-lived. Calculating that number of orbits was a task comparable to mastering a plane’s laws; by the time he did it, he would be at least a few levels into the legendary realm and lack the need to fight on such a level.
Now with the possible addition of new paths in the future, he had to pick and choose his sources of power. The best choice was naturally the origin energy of a plane, but that was extremely rare and difficult to control. Still, the energy of the Boulder Highlands didn’t suit him much and would be a waste of a precious slot when he did finish mapping the fourth orbit; he would much rather look at the Goldflow Valley and the mana-oriented energy there. Outside of that, pure astral energy was the best choice as it could also strengthen his bloodlines.
Richard spent a few more days observing the Boulder Highlands and the prospective mines, waiting for some more troops to enter. Once more than a hundred of his trusted knights arrived, he left them to act as mid-ranking officers amongst the troops before returning with his rune knights and drones. Rae was left in charge for now, but he would move into more of an assistive role once Olar was transferred from Faelor.
For some reason, Richard felt like the atmosphere in Faust was quite strange. However, there seemed to be nothing amiss; there was no word of any significant upheaval, and he couldn’t point out the source of the oddness either. He even went to Noelene, but she said the same thing; with both his own sources and the Church saying everything was alright, nothing major could have happened. However, he still felt uneasy throughout the day.
While he was preparing his griffins for flight, Nyris had gotten word of his arrival and rushed over. The Fourth Prince was covered from head to toe in form-fitting armour, wearing a pure silver mask and covering himself with a cloak. It looked quite strange.
“You’re looking to fight the Silverswords?” he asked immediately.
“Yeah… My soldiers are almost there, I need to go lead them. Fenlier isn’t an issue at all, but whoever is backing him might make a move behind the scenes.”
Nyris took off his mask, revealing his beautiful face, “What if you don’t draw out their backers?”
“Then I’ll just wipe out the pawns. I can take the time to destroy Canaan too.:
Nyris frowned, “How will you explain it away?”
“Heh. History’s always proved that any war can be fought without reason. You only need to look for one in the aftermath.”
“Sounds deep, but you need to win first.”
Richard laughed, “My soldiers are powerful, well-equipped, and loyal. You really think I’d lose?”
“Let me come with you,” the prince patted him on the shoulder.
“Hmm? Are you that jobless?” Richard eyed him suspiciously.
“I’m in a bad mood right now. Besides, I can learn some things about leadership from you.”
Even as he continued to speak, Nyris didn’t take his hand off Richard’s shoulders. Feeling a little awkward, Richard grabbed the hand and shook it, “I don’t mind, but there isn’t anything for you to learn from me there.”
“Eh, enough talk! Didn’t you say you were leaving? Let’s go!”
Richard nodded, letting him run away for a moment as he fastened his bags to the griffin. Seeing Nyris return with only a single small bag, he frowned, “Is this all you’re bringing?”
“Yeah, just some clothes. I’ll get anything else I need from you.”
Feeling rather strange, Richard nodded and hopped on. Thankfully, he had bought new high-class griffins recently; even loaded up as they were, they could still accommodate Nyris as well. Six creatures quickly took to the skies, heading west.
“So, why the bad mood?” Richard probed along the way, but Nyris remained silent and refused to answer the question. Instead, the prince buried his head into the griffin’s fur and continued flying forward.
Even with a short rest, Richard and Nyris caught up to the troops in two days. This set was marching at full speed, consisting of 50 rune knights, 200 shadowspears, 100 javelineers, and 800 cavalrymen. Phaser and Tiramisu were at the lead, with the Thinker alongside them. Even without Richard this group could take over an entire earldom, and with both Richard and the powerful Fourth Prince assisting their victories were guaranteed.
It took half a day of further marching before they arrived at the Silversword territory, a tight coalition of many nobles from the family that all occupied land on the western fringe. The family was an old one, and as such had blocked the attempts of many other families from expanding nearby; they were one of the only powers on the west end of the Sacred Alliance,
Had Richard’s soldiers not travelled so quickly, Earl Fenlier would have managed to gather more than 10,000 troops. However, even now they had 7,000 men ready to “welcome” the incoming army. Richard didn’t bother killing their scouts, so by the time he approached the borders of the territory he was faced with a wall of soldiers blocking the main road.
Richard swept his gaze across the opposing troops and nodded slightly, “Not bad.”
Nyris piped in as well, “This is an old family that managed to take root on the borders of the Alliance. Feeling the heat now?”
“The heat?” Richard laughed and pointed towards them, “I don’t see any rune knights. Do you?”
The prince sighed, “And who’d be foolish enough to feed their precious rune knights to your shadowspears?”
“Then where’s the heat?” Richard urged his unicorn onwards, moving forward alone to meet a few nobles from the other side.
He looked over them for a moment before asking, “Where’s Fenlier?”
A middle-aged noble bowed slightly, “Father has other matters to attend to, he is not in the territory right now. I am in charge of internal affairs until his return.”
“That means you’re Viscount Fouen, the first heir to your family?”
“The only heir,” Fouen corrected.
Richard chuckled, “Then I’m dealing with you now. Tell your troops to get out of my way.”
Fouen frowned for a moment, but the anger seemed to fade away as he smiled pleasantly, “This is Silversword territory, my men have the right to stand where they please.”
“Oh, so we just need to detour through. Got it.” Richard turned around, starting to march back towards the army. However, the faces of the Silversword nobles changed immediately. Most of the land was flat, so Richard could easily go off the road and head wherever he wanted. What if he marched straight towards Swordwind City?
“Hold!” Fouen called after him, “This is Silversword territory! You cannot enter, please turn around!”
Richard suddenly stopped and smiled, “So you’re saying you want to declare war on the Archerons.”
Fouen laughed coldly, “Declare war? We only wish to protect our territory! Lord Richard, I’d advise you not to torment others just because of your status.”
“You’re blocking my path to breaking new ground for the Alliance; what is this if not a declaration of war? As one of Faust’s fourteen, I haven’t heard of any family that won’t retaliate when provoked.”
“Lord Richard, I do not understand what you mean to say. You have many other options for land to expand into for your dukedom.”
“But this is what I chose. Is this not the fringe of the Sacred Alliance? Am I not permitted to expand my lands here? When did this place become the private property of your family?”
Fouen didn’t seem bothered by Richard’s stance, “Whatever this place is, you are not permitted to enter Silversword territory.”
Richard looked at him seriously and broke into laughter, “I don’t know if you really aren’t scared of death or you’re just too stupid to understand what’s going on. Listen, I’m going through whether your troops step aside or not. Let’s see how strong your resolve really is.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Styles
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA