Book 6, Chapter 165

Unexpected Challenge

In the battle of Swordwind City, Richard had lost a little below a hundred each of his shadowspears and regular knights. On top of that, three of his rune knights had met their demise. However, the Silversword Family had been completely decimated and Swordwind City suffered a devastating loss. One would need master gnomes to even begin repairing the city properly; ordinary craftsmen would leave it with reduced defences that would make it a prime target for a siege. The Silverswords who had ruled the western fringe for hundreds of years were now on the verge of collapse.

It should have been impossible to take the city in the first place, but Richard had done so with very few losses. Once one considered the fact that the shadowspears were replaceable drones, the result was even more amazing.

As they calculated the damages on both sides, Nyris remained quiet for a long time before asking, “Why didn’t you bring more rune knights? We would barely have lost anyone if we had a hundred.”

Richard smiled, “I could bring out 250 rune knights and an enormous number of shadowspears. Would Fouen have fought me with his 7,000 men? Would Fenlier have tried to hold the city instead of just surrendering?”

“You… You’re an actual bastard, you know that?”

Richard laughed and patted the prince on the shoulder, “They need to think they have a chance to win, that’s the only way they’ll go all out. Even though I suffered a few losses, theirs were much worse. When we grind away, I always come out the victor. If I brought my full force everywhere, nobody would fight me.”

This prompted the prince to carefully recall Richard’s prior battles. There had been many instances recently where Richard actually chose not to mobilise his full forces, using armies somewhat equal to those of his opponents. It was difficult for these opponents to resist the temptation of using their more numerous armies and they chose to fight, but his absolute command over the battlefield eventually sealed their fate.

It was easy to look at these people and call them fools, but most people tended to think very highly of themselves in spite of the failures of others. Those who fought Richard generally didn’t live to tell the tale, while those who had not still thought they would be the one. There had been a genius commander in Faelor called Salwyn who had once thought he could beat Richard so long as he had a three-to-one advantage; even with that in hand, his military career had been brought to an end by a Richard who wasn’t nearly as skilled as he was now.

Nyris thought to his own situation. If he hadn’t fought by Richard’s side and known of his sheer terror, he would have considered pulling thousands of what he considered superior knights to battle and tried charging Richard down. After all, his private army was better than that of most nobles. That was only a testament to Richard’s strategy.

When Earl Robert and Earl Silitus received word that Swordwind City had fallen in less than a day, neither of them could believe the casualty counts. This wasn’t a result anyone would have guessed, and it wasn’t like the Silversword Family was particularly weak either. Fenlier might be cowardly, but his tactics were still sound.

Looking at Richard’s remaining strength, the two old men began doubting their plans to invade Silversword territory.

……

It was nearly dawn by the time the city was taken over, and by noon Fenlier had sent a messenger asking for talks of peace. Richard had just finished all the formalities by this point and taken off his robes to get some rest, but he could only wear them once more and push the exhaustion away. Holding onto his pillow with eyes half-open, Nyris grumbled about old foxes and rolled off his bed; the Earl must have sent a messenger even while on the road to escape.

However, this decision was quite wise. The Silversword Family was now on the verge of extinction, and even the slightest of delay would lead to other invasions. Richard had expected the request; any competent patriarch would focus on preserving their family over vengeance. He had also considered his demands already; one was compensation for military expenses, the other was Baron Canaan, and the third was the right to freely pass through the Silversword territory. He also added that Maplefire City and its surroundings had to be ceded to the Archeron family, although it could be governed by the same baron that ruled it before.

These four conditions were quite standard for civil wars, and the messenger heaved a sigh of relief. The Earl was obviously quite prepared as well; the messenger had come with a one-time communication circle.

An hour later, Fenlier’s reply arrived; all conditions were accepted, with the monetary offer being 1.5 million gold and negotiable. However, the Earl asked that Canaan be allowed to commit suicide by poison to protect his family reputation. Feeling quite refreshed at the frankness, Richard agreed to the truce. The messenger left before dusk, and Fenlier was already on his way back.

With Maplefire now in Richard’s hands, the two sides had a formal relationship. If Robert and Silitus tried to invade Silversword territory, Richard would have a reason to interfere. In addition to the pleasant scenery, Maplefire was also a city that overlooked the largest trade route to Swordwind City; it would give him a solid hold on the Silversword Family’s loyalty.

Once the messenger was gone, Richard asked the guards to prepare some griffins; his work here was done, and it was time to go back. However, just as the guards left he heard a loud shout, “Richard, come out! Fight me if you’re a man!”

Richard frowned in confusion; the sound was very clear, but it was also from outside the city. This was the first time that someone had openly challenged him since he invaded Silversword territory, and he didn’t understand why someone with such power would have remained hidden until now.

Nyris looked at him and smiled, watching as he paced back and forth with anger.

“Do I look so easy to bully?” Richard grumbled, his followers already being sent towards the city gate.

Nyris just raised his hands, “Who knows.”

The challenger’s voice pierced through the entire city, but the volume of her shouts constantly fluctuated between loud and soft. Both Nyris and Richard quickly realised that whoever it was had only just reached sainthood; even if she had decent control of her power, which she certainly didn’t, she just didn’t have enough in reserve.

Even before becoming a grand mage, Richard had killed saints in the Land of Dusk like he was cutting vegetables. Phaser and Tiramisu had already reached the gates, but they weren’t moving.

“Richard, come out! Don’t hide, can you only rely on your men?!”

“The hell?” Richard’s face filled up with confusion. He had led a thousand men towards Swordwind City and decimated more than 50,000 troops. How was he the one relying on his men?

He started to move, but Nyris grabbed his hand and smiled, “Don’t be in a hurry, let’s hear what she has to say.”

“What? No! She’ll keep blabbering and ruin my reputation!” Already having a hunch about the situation, Richard ordered Phaser and Tiramisu to just stand their ground and walked out himself. There was a possibility that killing this woman wouldn’t be in his best interests.

Seeing him walk out, Nyris hurried to catch up, “What are you afraid of anyway, it’s not like your family had a reputation to begin with. Keep listening, let’s see what she says!”

The Archerons did have a bad reputation, but it wasn’t one of cowardice. Richard snorted and jumped up to the keep, flying directly towards the city gate. He was still a little confused, but even he found himself almost agreeing with Nyris. This really was a position he was rarely in, and the sheer conviction in the voice was almost laughable. It was like someone who had been fooled into thinking a lion was a cat.

When he reached the city walls, he saw a teenage knight waiting outside. She seemed to be only seventeen or eighteen, a little child fat still on her face, but her silver armour glowed brilliantly and seemed to be at least epic-grade. Her mount was also quite rare, looking particularly tall and with an odd head that almost looked like a dragon’s.

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OMA's Thoughts

Theo: Sorry there was only one chapter yesterday, had to get a wisdom tooth extracted and the procedure ended up with a few complications. Nothing's happened and I'll make it up soon.


Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA