The barbarian mage suddenly let loose a cry of surprise as a demonic figure flashed in front of him, pausing on the head of the giant beast before a pair of swords were buried into its head. The skull of the creature was even thicker than the new entrant's swords, but the moment they pierced skin the beast roared pitifully. All eight legs lost strength in an instant, the enormous body crashing down to form a huge crater in the ground.
"BEYE!" a roar rang through the dark land, the dazed barbarian now enraged at the sight of the person who had robbed his prey. "What are you doing here instead of staying obediently in the Land of Dusk?"
"I need some materials right now, so I decided to check elsewhere." Beye was grim as ever.
The young mage gave her an icy look, narrowing his eyes, "Then your luck must be pretty bad for you to have met me!"
"Who knows? It's not like we haven't fought before, Yori."
"If I don't teach you a lesson, you'll keep thinking you can go anywhere you want." The barbarian named Yori lobbed a new ball of lightning at Beye, but this one was different from before. The light had almost withdrawn into itself, only giving it a greenish-blue hue.
Beye waved her blade without another word, disappearing from her original spot to appear within arm's length of him in an instant. However, what welcomed her was a web of lightning that sent sparks flying everywhere!
All the clothes on Beye's body tore apart, her short hair immediately turning to ash. However, Yori was no better off. The barbarian frowned as he looked down at his abdomen, noticing seven tears in the black hide where he had been injured.
The two didn't say another word as they resumed the fight, one using the power of magic while the other shot around with the strength of internal energy. Their figures flashed all over the place until it was impossible to distinguish between them, the battlefield only a mix of greenish-blue light and flashes of metal.
It didn't take long for the ball of light to fade, revealing both combatants a hundred metres apart. They glared at each other fiercely, but neither had any strength to attack. It was a draw.
"Bah!" the young barbarian spat out bloody saliva, unresigned to the result, "You were just lucky." He was slightly stronger than Beye overall, but he had never been able to win. That being said, he had never lost either.
Beye snorted with ridicule, "Her Excellency Sharon wouldn't care about an opponent's luck."
Yori went red, unable to make a sound.
At that moment, the huge black beast that seemed to be dead suddenly flipped onto its feet, fleeing at full speed. In a mere instant, it had disappeared into the horizon.
"Damn it!" Yori palmed his face, "I forgot that guy was best at playing dead!"
Beye was just as startled.
On a certain plain in Norland, a fully bearded barbarian with copper skin was dozed off against the body of a tyrannosaur. He wasn't all that tall nor muscular compared to the rest of his race, but his figure still seemed to ooze strength. He was sleeping like the world's most comfortable mattress was underneath him, but the beast skin clothing he wore was badly damaged and worn to the point of glossiness on some parts. However, for some reason it seemed to fit his aura just right.
The man's ear suddenly twitched as he opened his eyes halfway, lazily shifting his body in a bid to get up. However, he was defeated by his sleepiness and just turned around, mumbling, "Isn't it just the promised fellow? There's no need for me to go, there are plenty of morons with nothing better to do. I don't want to fight that doll right now, I'll keep my strength for four years later… *Yawn*, I'm so sleepy…"
Sounds of snoring arose from the plains once more. The tyrant of a creature he was resting against was curled up obediently, not moving at all. Its simple mind had long since been filled with terror, leaving not a thread of strength to move its paralysed body with.
Numerous powerful barbarians from all over Klandor rushed over in Richard's direction, the sound from the tooth of the Beast God no different from a red-hot iron pressed into their bottoms. The eyes of these prideful youths were red, nostrils puffing out air as they swore to bury him in a swamp and stomp him to death.
However, the boy himself had no idea as he wandered around the dry wastelands like he was strolling through a small garden in his family castle. He was dressed like a normal adventurer, the hood over his face only revealing his sharp chin and lips with clear lines. The two swords were wrapped in cloth that was tied to his back, the Twin of Destiny hung by his waist.
His leather boots touched the ground at even intervals, every step calm and steady but still taking him a good distance forward. Most mages wouldn't think of using a featherfall spell in such a way.
He was gradually speeding up as he advanced in a straight line, scaring off a herd of gnu goats who immediately took off wildly. They left him far behind in the initial few minutes of their escape, but he slowly caught up to them and eventually left the charging group behind. All the while, it looked like his footsteps never changed.
A warm wind blew in from the depths of the continent, growing drier the further in he got. The outline of the scenery in his peripheral vision slowly blurred away, turning into dark and light lines. Speed had an excitement to it. Richard's body gradually got used to the quick pace and adjusted to an optimal state, senses extending in all directions as he seemed like he would fuse into the winds.
The world tree within him grew increasingly silent, the leaves not so much as trembling as all the trunks seemed to fuse with the earth. The sleeping lava within his blood awoke instead, golden characters scattering like sunshine on the surface of his mana pool. The crimson flow gradually sped up to match his rhythm.
The lava awakened by his truename somehow made its way to the foot of the world tree, calm as the spring water of the gods. For now it did not bare its destructive fangs, instead brimming with vitality.
The lone figure thus zipped across the vast plains. Countless animals and birds were left startled in his wake, escaping in all directions. A few bloodthirsty tyrannosaurs widened their eyes, watching him head into the distance, but the very thought of chasing this unknown prey left them filled with unease. Their instincts of survival made them abandon any plans for a challenge.
Dozens of mounted barbarians were casing after Richard's traces at full speed. Most were riding gnu goats that were famed for endurance and speed, but the young warrior leading from the front rode a tyrannosaur instead! They didn't care for terrain at all, moving in a straight line without pause for dozens of kilometres on end. Even when they stopped, it was only for an aged hunter to look through the tracks on the ground and the scent in the air before adjusting their course.
These barbarians didn't live far away from the small port village Richard had set off from. They even had an experienced hunter who had seen Richard before leading the way. Still, although they had only been an hour off from Richard when they left, they didn't manage to catch up to him even after dusk.
Incredibly fatigued, the group had no choice but to set up camp and rest. A hundred kilometres away, Richard himself was lying under a large tree and admiring the view of the sky through the gaps in its crown. The daytime sky in Klandor was incredibly distant, but things were different at night. The stars here were even more resplendent than in Norland, making one feel as though they could reach out and touch them if they got high enough in the sky.
Sharing the cover of the tree were a few tyrannosaurs that were deep asleep. They were only a dozen-odd metres away from him, but he was in no danger of harm. He just lay down casually with his hands behind his head, allowing the dazzling starlight to confuse his senses as his mind flew back to events on the past.
He couldn't quite explain how he was feeling now, how he felt about Mountainsea. The same could be said about Sharon and Flowsand as well. His relationships with the three were completely different, but there was some degree of overlap that he himself didn't quite recognise.
Was it love? He had no idea, he had never learnt to distinguish that feeling. The only thing he did know was that they were just as important to him as Elena or Gaton. They were family.
He didn't understand why he wanted to visit Klandor the moment he could. His blessings wouldn't allow him to deceive himself, sending him warnings time and time again that the risks he would take on were not worth just visiting Mountainsea. However, sometimes life just couldn't be explained with rationality.
He pondered quietly under the starry skies. He knew there would be no results from his thoughts, but he also knew that he had no lack of courage in facing what was to come.