Back when he was still a teen, Richard wouldn’t dare look Sharon in the eye. That wasn’t just the pressure from her sheer might; the legendary mage was just so flamboyant that every glance at her lit a flame within his heart. He didn’t have any space for rebellion during the night of destiny, but he hadn’t wanted to either. He couldn’t imagine any man in Norland unwilling to accept her so-called bullying.
But Nyris wasn’t the same. Even ignoring that he was a man, Richard considered him a friend and nothing else. He was also fully confident that he could put the prince down in less than a minute; it was just that his heart would twitch at punching that innocent face.
Even so, heartache was better than being kissed. Richard comforted himself and silently activated Blaze, Mana Armament on the verge of running to resist this “suppression” that could come at any time. Nyris was a true talent from bloodline to body, only lacking actual combat experience; he couldn’t be underestimated.
“Nyr… You aren’t serious, are you?” he asked cautiously.
“Why wouldn’t I be?” Nyris said solemnly.
The more serious the Fourth Prince was, the more scared Richard felt. He forced a smile, “But… you weren’t like this before, were you… You used to be beautiful before too, but… What’s with the… Umm… charm?”
Richard believed he had gotten his point across, and Nyris did nod, but then he smacked his lips as well, “Well, I’ve recently come to agree with a quote from Wilde.”
The moment he heard the word Wilde, he knew it was bad. This was a name that had left its mark on the history of Norland itself, carrying a number of auras like Marquess, bard, playwright, and philosopher. It was said that even the gods were envious of the man’s beauty, and in terms of talent he was the first bard in history to enter the legendary realm.
During his time, the Millennial Empire had been at war with the Naga Empire to its south. 30,000 imperial soldiers marched on 100,000 enemies, but Wilde who had been serving the Empire at the time had improvised a warsong called Exodus that covered the entire battlefield. The imperial soldiers were strengthened so greatly that it was a rout, allowing them to defeat their enemies despite being only a third of the size. The coalition of nagas, lizardmen, and draconians had been pushed down into the sea. Wilde had become famous after the battle, bringing his profession into the limelight as well.
However, even more famous than Exodus were the words he had said to a beautiful woman who offered herself up to him right after the battle: “At this point in my life, only men interest me.”
Richard at this point was drowning in sweat, his self-control weakening as a soft heat emanated from his body in precursor to Eruption. Nyris suddenly stood up and laughed, reaching out and lifting his chin as he chuckled, “I’m letting you go for now.”
Richard couldn’t bring himself to laugh, the words “for now” still resounding in his mind.
Before Richard could snap out of his confusion, the prince got back to his seat, “Alright, we don’t have much time to play around here. Let’s look at the deployment.”
Richard was left speechless. Nyris still seemed to be skirting around the edge of joking and reality.
The next morning, the surrendered soldiers of Maplefire City were gathered in the square and swore a simple oath to abandon the Silversword Family and become loyal to the Archerons. They weren’t forced to do it, but those who swore were allowed to walk free while the rest remained prisoner in the dungeons. As with the previous conquered cities, the freed soldiers would be left in charge of the city.
The binding force of oaths could be big or small. They meant nothing in a world without honour and faith, but Norland wasn’t such a world. The power of an oath also depended on one’s strength; swearing in the name of a deity or one’s truename could cause serious consequences for oathbreakers, while a casual promise wasn’t nearly as bad. Ordinary warriors really faced no problems at all, but Richard wasn’t expecting loyal warriors anyway. His plan was just to cause as much chaos in the enemy ranks as possible.
Despite numerous cities being abandoned by Richard, none of the Silversword lords dared to fight back. His lightning tactics and terrifying advantage on the battlefield had already subdued them thoroughly; none of them wanted to attract his attention. Besides, every small lord Richard came across had been taken captive or killed; the only exception was Fouen who had been released intentionally to sow fear in Swordwind City. The lords knew that they would be able to retake these cities at the negotiating table, so they had no desire to fight.
Just like in previous cities, Richard made a show of selecting the guards before marching out to Swordwind. The entire journey only took a few hours, and all the scouts scattered nearby grew frightened and ran back to the city walls as fast as they could. Of course, they only managed it because Richard didn’t bother sending anyone to chase; even watching the gates close, he didn’t try to speed his way in and cause chaos.
As the army began to camp, he took some people in a full circle around Swordwind City to analyse its defences. He occasionally had his javelineers throw a few explosive javelins at the walls, or a few rune knights target a noble or officer who was looking at them from above. He quickly had to admit that the city was well-fortified, likely because it constantly suffered attacks from across the border.
By the end of his small trip, a large number of fully-armoured soldiers had rushed up onto the walls and were prepared for the fight. Although Richard’s men had only killed a dozen officers and two nobles by the end, everyone was quivering in fear of the fact that they could be next.
A few times in the middle of this trip, Richard had even flown a hundred metres into the sky to look down on the entire city from above. This was an arrogant move, but the Silversword Family didn’t dare to send anyone to intercept or even to shoot him down. They were far too frightened of the retaliation from the rune knights below.
Once done with the lap, he returned to the barracks and spoke to Nyris, “The old man’s way too scared, he can’t even keep his army’s morale up. Just watch how I take them down.”
Nyris looked at him blankly, “The Silversword Family doesn’t have any legendary beings. What are some common saints going to come do, just die? Who do they have that can fight even Tiramisu?”
Although he disagreed on the usefulness of sending a saint to fight, Richard didn’t argue and started setting tactics. Swordwind City didn’t get any sleep that night, but by the stroke of midnight, all of Richard’s soldiers seemed to be scattered. There were knights in all directions, but one couldn’t predict where the attack would come from.
Ever since midnight, even rune knights had been pushing right up the walls before retreating, keeping the defenders tense and vigilant of the true attack. Ordinary soldiers were getting killed by the dozens, forcing Fenlier to send his own rune knights and saints, but they were forbidden from leaving the protection of the city wall.
Once the saints were dispatched, Richard used a dozen small skirmishes to determine the position of a saint and quietly concentrate his rune knights in the area, suddenly sending a volley of javelins raining down to kill the unlucky man. Fenlier’s response was to rush all his saints back into the inner city, commanding them never to climb the wall.
At the end of the sneak attack, Richard pulled back most of his rune knights and let them continue resting, leaving only ten around Swordwind City to continue harassing them. It was at this point that Nyris was finally allowed to make a move.
The Fourth Prince was obviously depressed, and he decided to take it out on these enemies. Covered from head to toe in armour and wielding a one-handed axe, he jumped directly across the wall and took a fight with an enemy saint. The man was chased a full kilometre along the wall before he fled into the inner city, bleeding from a hundred different wounds.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: OMA
Edited By: Theo