The woman was dressed in a weird suit of armour that was littered with scratches and traces of repair. There were also large swathes of purple, marks of corrosion that from what Richard knew could only come from powerful creatures like demons. This alone was proof enough of the numerous battles she had experienced, an indication of how frightening of a character she was to walk through mountains of corpses and seas of blood.

There wasn’t the slightest trace of vitality from this beauty’s body. Her aura was rife with death and desolation.

The man beside her was quite tall, his entire body wrapped in a cloak to reveal only a shiny bald head. His skin was a rosy bronze, with muscles bulging out even at his neck. He was just as expressionless as the lady beside him, the corners of his lips almost pointing straight down as he stared at Richard coldly. The man’s eyes were bright and almond-shaped like those of an animal, the depths of his pupils a dark red.

He seemed to be brimming with energy, already at level 19, but next to the woman he was nearly invisible. This wasn’t a lack of power on his part; she was just far too overbearing, as though seizing the light of the entire world.

The two of them walked up to Richard. The woman seemed surprised that Richard could still sit straight and look at her calmly, her arrogant gaze growing a little more gentle.

The door of the study suddenly opened and Fuschia rushed in, long hair fluttering in the wake of her roused aura as she wielded a dagger in each hand. “RICHARD, ARE YOU—”

Fuschia’s scream stopped instantly; the woman’s gaze had fallen upon her. “Beye!” she cried out in surprise.

The woman named Beye frowned, evidently not knowing who Fuschia was. The bald man beside her immediately leaned over and said respectfully, “Fuschia, level 19 blade dancer. Earl Alice Archeron’s right hand.”

“19… A passable level.” This was the first time Beye had spoken. Her voice was just like her aura, full of a murderous intent like the clash of countless swords.

Fuschia’s face flushed red. Beye’s words were extremely arrogant and rude, basically holding her in contempt. If her level was only passable, didn’t that mean her actual combat ability was nothing much?

However, she pushed down the surging shame and refused to act rashly, actually taking a step back. It had taken her but a moment to think of the many legends surrounding Beye; this woman was never arrogant or rude, only speaking the truth. She did not need to lie and deceive to achieve her goals.

Fuschia also remembered Beye’s identity. If this woman wanted to kill Richard, even two of herself would not be able to stop her. Forget that, she wasn’t even a match for the bald man nearby.

Since she recognised Beye, Fuschia naturally knew the man’s identity as well. The great Fire Dragon Warlock, Canskal Orfidi. The same level as her, but just like Beye his power far surpassed his rank. His true abilities only showed themselves in his true form; Canskal was not a human, but a fire dragon. He only maintained his human form through a transformation spell.

Beye was not a public name, her legends only known within specific circles of those with true power. This was why Richard did not know her. Fuschia immediately realised that they hadn’t come for his life.

Seeing Fuschia back away tactfully, Beye no longer paid attention to her and continued towards Richard, “Agamemnon recommended you.”

“Agamemnon? Then you’re... “ Richard relaxed upon the mention of a familiar name. At least this person didn’t have completely bad intentions.

“My name is Beye, that good-for-nothing’s sister,” Beye said indifferently.

Richard subconsciously frowned, albeit not because of her words. Every syllable that came from her mouth gave off a murderous aura that pricked into his body like a needle. However, that was the end of it. The chase by Red Cossack and the war to the death with Sinclair back in Faelor had built up a life of daily bloodbaths that had toughened his heart.

Richard smiled, “Good-for-nothing? Why do I remember Nyris saying ordinary people are no match for him?”

“I am no ordinary person.” Beye’s reply was straightforward, without the slightest bit of embellishment.

Richard withdrew his smile, growing serious, “Alright. Jokes aside, I’m not sure what he recommended me for exactly.”

Beye towered over Richard at nearly 1.9 metres tall. A slight turn of her white pupils and Canskal took out a blueprint from his robes, handing it to Richard. “Make this,” she said in a commanding tone.

Richard opened the blueprint up, only to see that it held a complete blueprint for a rune. Every material required, every step in the process was marked upon it. As long as the runemaster was powerful and skilled enough, they would be able to craft the rune properly.

This surprised him. Custom rune designs almost never had blueprints in circulation. Normally, the only way to learn a runemaster’s personal designs was to acquire them through an inheritance or by exchange.

Richard composed himself and continued to look at it carefully. This rune was to be positioned on the arms, extracting the user’s life force to provide a substantial boost to one’s attack speed. There was also a small chance of additional effects like laceration, bleeding, necrosis and the like as well.

This vicious creation had a name to match: Life’s Bane.

Richard looked over it for ten whole minutes before letting out a deep breath. He lifted his head, looking straight at Beye’s eyes and asking dully, “This is a grade 3 rune, why come to me? Lunor is a grand runemaster, you should have gone to him.”

Beye’s response didn’t hold the slightest bit of anger, “He can’t do it.”

“I c…” Richard swallowed the words at the tip of his tongue, looking into Beye’s eyes without flinching. Locking eyes with her was torturous, but he was not afraid, “How does it benefit me?”

Something shifted in the depth of Beye’s white pupils. “One day, if you step into the Battlefield of Despair,” she said in a deep voice, “I will guarantee your life.”

“Alright, but you have to wait,” Richard said bluntly.

“I’m very patient.” Beye turned around, leaving with the Fire Dragon Warlock in tow. Her figure disappeared the moment she stepped out the door; Richard knew she had left through the window in the corridor, but he had no idea how exactly she had accomplished it.

It was only a long time after Beye left that Fuschia let out a sigh. She looked at Richard with sincere admiration in her eyes, “You actually managed to joke around with her.”

However, Richard did not respond; he was still wondering about Beye’s words. “What is the Battlefield of Despair?”

“A plane used especially for wars, where we fight to the death with our enemies from other planes. It is a world that belongs only to powerhouses; anyone who can actually make their way out of it is a lunatic!” There was still a tinge of lingering fear in Fuschia’s voice.

“Isn’t that basically a planar war?” Richard asked.

“No!” Fuschia responded immediately, “The enemies we fight in the Battlefield of Despair are other primary planes!”

Richard shivered.

He opened the Life’s Bane blueprint once more. He could see an endless rain of blood that reaped countless lives from this rune. It had soul.


Three months after Richard had left, the Lighthouse of Time in Bluewater lit up once more. When Richard walked out from the portal, the first thing he did was to take a deep breath of the intoxicating blazing air of the Bloodstained Lands. Having spilt blood here for almost an entire year, having gone from a nobody to laying the foundation for his rule, he had already developed deep feelings for the place.

“Master, you’re back!” the broodmother’s voice immediately rang out in his mind. He was surprised by her words at first, only remembering after a moment that the week or so he had spent in Norland was three months here.

“Is something going on?” he replied.

“It’s time to sweep away the Bloodstained Lands!” the broodmother declared, her voice laced with killing intent.

“Hmm… It still seems a little early for that.” Richard had never expected the broodmother’s words. She didn’t seem like a contract beast at all. Only a year had passed since he had acquired her, but she felt no less wise than anyone else present.

“No! I need more food, I’ve been stuck at level 5 for too long!” Her bloodthirst was quite clear and intense.

“Alright, alright.” Pacifying the broodmother, Richard turned to look over the team that had followed him this time.

A total of 26 men— a mix of knights in training and free Archeron soldiers— Flowsand, a surprise appearance in battle priest Io, and Demi. This was the entirety of the troop Richard had brought, costing a grand sum of 600,000 gold to transport. The soldiers were carrying giant magic chests in pairs, holding the enchanted equipment as well as some runecrafting materials.

The return to Faelor caused Richard to feel smug. The only awkward thing was Io.

Flowsand had brought this level 12 battle priest out from the Church of the Eternal Dragon. One level higher than even herself, his large-scale buffs and other spells were extremely powerful and cost less to cast. On the battlefield, especially in Richard’s comfort zone during smaller scale wars, there was no way to exaggerate his impact.

And yet…

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