A pained roar rang out from the forest, followed by sharp coughs. The assassin was clearly tormented by the sudden barrage of spells. Position confirmed, Richard shot out a flame arrow deep into the forest, bringing the coughs to an abrupt end.

With the would-be assassin eliminated efficiently, Richard finally had the time to properly inspect his surroundings.

The portal hadn’t formed within the camp, instead in an empty space nearby. A small team of ten warriors were stood on guard, but the battle had started and ended so quickly that they didn’t even have the time to run over from their rest areas.

Thirty metres from the portal was where the dense forest began. The camp was completely surrounded, only a single side exposed to an open area.

Lina stepped out right behind Richard, paling the moment she saw Richard covered in mud and an arrow not far away, “Oh dear! I forgot to tell you, some of the archers from this plane attack when you exit the portal. Their arrows are very powerful, often even poisonous! Are you hurt? Where are they? The shouldn’t have run far, I’ll go catch them immediately.”

Richard’s expression did not change in the face of Lina’s late warning and her concern, “No need, I’ve already eliminated them.”

“Eliminated?” Lina was shocked. She knew just how cunning the snipers of this plane were. The forest was their world, and the well-known figures amongst their ranks were extremely talented at archery. It was impossible to ascertain their positions based on the trajectory of the arrows alone; even she had lost track of some.

If one wanted to catch these people, level was secondary. Most important was a quick and accurate response coupled with high cast speed. That was something one only accrued over countless bloody battles. Richard was only seventeen… Just how many battles had he experienced that he had such ability?

Richard’s heart skipped slightly at Lina’s reaction, making him wonder if he had done something amazing. But of course, he wouldn’t let this thought show on his face. He instead turned to the dazed warriors standing at the side, “You lot, go find and retrieve the assassin’s body.”

The warriors hesitated. They obviously didn’t know who Richard was, but the defence he had just executed with the storm of spells left a deep impression. It was rare to see such a violent barrage even from Lina. Still, the clearly unusual relationship this youth shared with their commander wasn’t enough to make them obey his orders.

These warriors had all been fighting in planar wars for a long time, something that made them all fierce and untameable. Threading the line between life and death all year round, none of them knew if they would survive the next battle. They had the guts to fight even legendary powerhouses, using their very lives to bury the enemy.

Seeing them not moving, Lina immediately shouted, “This is Lord Gaton’s son, royal runemaster of the Sacred Alliance, Young Master Richard Archeron! His orders are equivalent to mine!”

Only then did the warriors make their way towards the forest, dragging a dead body back after a while.

Lina’s curved brows couldn’t help but lift at the sight of the body. She squatted next to it, carefully examining all traces. At the same moment, the portal flashed incessantly as Flowsand, Nyris, and Agamemnon stepped out one after the other. The first thing they saw was the native’s body.

Flowsand only took a simple look, not paying any more attention, but the two youths grew extremely serious. They surrounded the corpse with Lina, carefully checking it without missing a single detail.

All three had sharp eyes. They immediately noticed that there were four traces of magic on the body: two fireballs, acid fog, and the fatal blow of the flame arrow. However, judging from these traces, the spells had been unbelievably fast.

There were many criteria on which one could judge a mage’s battle ability. Even if casting speed wasn’t the most important, it was still incredibly useful. This native was undoubtedly eliminated by Richard, the question was how a mere level 12 mage could cast as fast as most grand mages.

The being on the ground looked very similar to an elf from Norland, with long and pointed ears that were meant to use the wind to detect movements. Their face was handsome, with a big nose and a pair of large, bright eyes; clearly, they could also smell and see very well. The proportions were great as well: long, athletic body with powerful muscles. The skin had mostly been destroyed by the spells, but a small portion that still remained seemed to be a bluish green. In the gloomy forest, this would serve as natural camouflage.

The Schumpeters had termed these beings forest elves; when the Archerons acquired control of the plane, they continued using this term.

Agamemnon suddenly flipped over the forest elf’s body, revealing a totem tattoo on a piece of the skin that was still intact. He scraped off a bit of the ink and tasted it with his mouth, his face changing a little, “Strong antimagic properties, enough to drop a spell by two grades.”

Nyris’ expression changed a little at this, and he couldn’t help but glance at Richard. Neither he nor Agamemnon had been shocked by the forest elf’s magic resistance, the surprising thing was that Richard’s spells had still caused a normal amount of damage despite it. Was the fellow so lucky that he also had a spell boost or magic penetration?

Lina was very excited as well. A grand mage herself, she could tell that all of Richard’s spells had been augmented with a magic penetration effect, something both mages and antimages hated the most.

Her gaze was different when she looked back at Richard. She now knew that no mage at the same level could ever defeat Richard. Forget the strange casting speed and the magic penetration, his incomparably keen reaction alone would leave him undefeated in most battles. If she hadn’t been sure of his level, she would even have suspected that some grand mage had taken care of the attacker, just with spells below grade 6.

Richard’s boosted thinking speed from the blessing of wisdom already put him on the level of a normal grand mage. On top of that, the endless bloodbaths in the Bloodstained Lands had honed his battle sense greatly.

The expressions of the three surrounding the corpse grew more and more interested. Richard had originally wanted to suppress Lina a little, to pacify her, but he didn’t think they would take so much information from this body. His true battle strength was revealed a little.

He didn’t know what they were thinking, but instinct told him something was not right. Their gazes made him feel very uncomfortable, but because he didn’t understand he just pretended to sigh calmly. It was also a convenient way to let out the heat from his Archeron blood.

Blaze was stronger than Eruption. Every time he activated it, Richard felt like his blood had turned into lava. As the Archeron bloodline grew more powerful, Richard felt like the way he did things was slowly changing as well.

Lina suddenly gave a shout of surprise, lifting her head to look around until her gaze finally fell onto Richard. Her expression was complicated, the frighteningly bright gaze causing Richard to feel incredibly uneasy. Unable to tell what it meant, he could only barely put on a faint smile and wait for her to continue.

Yet, there was no continuation. The Dragon Mage just buried her head into examining the corpse once more.

Richard didn’t know that the hot breath he just spewed out filled the air nearby with a blazing aura. This aura contained a faint scent of sulphur, just like the smell of magma.

Every rise of Gaton’s sword, every spur of his horse as he waved his army forward was always accompanied by a thick, volcanic smell. This blazing aura always increased the confidence of Lina and her companions a hundred times over, regardless of whether their opponent was a peerless powerhouse or a magnificent army with thousands of soldiers. They would always swing their weapons, charging forward without hesitation!

Head bowed, Lina couldn’t completely suppress the expression of happiness that started to cover her face. In the midst of the joy sprouted a faint expectation: this kid had more surprises in store.

The guards placed the forest elf’s weapons next to his body: a longbow that was more than 1.5m long as well as a dagger. Richard tried to pull on the bow, but he discovered that he couldn’t send the string back completely without Eruption. As for the dagger, it was extremely rough without a single enchantment. This alone was enough to give him a basic understanding of the style of the forest elves.

It took a bit of effort to get the three people off the corpse, heading to the camp. The first thing Richard did after taking command was to have all the battle-worthy warriors line up according to their class, checking all their names against a roster one by one.

He worked fast, but even so it took nearly two hours to check the more than two thousand warriors from beginning to end once.

Nyris and Agamemnon were stood at the side throughout the entire process, watching on with a surprising amount of patience. In fact, Agamemnon’s eyes had followed Richard from start to finish.

When an hour had passed, Nyris had been unable to hold it in as he asked in a low voice, “What is he doing exactly? Did he read too many memoirs or something?”

“He’s exactly the same as when he started,” Agamemnon had mentioned.

This had immediately perked up the prince who watched carefully to realise that it was indeed the case. Richard had spent almost the same amount of time on each soldier, asking the same old questions, but most important was that the boring and monotonous process had seemingly had no impact on him. He had been just as focused and serious as at the start, not omitting a single word even though the same questions had been asked hundreds of times.

It was a terrifying amount of patience.

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