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TS2 Launch on Wuxiaworld (And More Advanced Chapters!) 2019-08-16T15:33:06+00:00

Dear Readers.

We are excited to announce that we will be launching TS2 on WuxiaWorld in addition to its current home on Volarenovels! We've all been great fans of Wuxiaworld. We both started our paths onto translation and editing with the interest in webnovels born from the projects hosted on the site. The company has lead the charge on legalising and standardising the webnovel translation industry, and has been home to countless amazing projects. This move is a great opportunity for us to share our work with more people and bring enjoyment and entertainment to many more than we've already reached.

This move will not impact our Volarenovels release, as the novel will continue to be hosted and updated there as well. We will, however, be moving our advanced chapters from Patreon onto Wuxiaworld and Volare's internal system. This move coincides with one of the other major new developments we are happy to announce: TS2 is getting over 30 additional early chapters! That's right, over 30 additional early chapters will be available for sponsors on Wuxiaworld and Volare!

Please take note that you can only pick either Wuxiaworld or Volare to become a sponsor on. Feel free to pick your preferred site to read on as the content will fundamentally be the same.

We hope you will continue to enjoy TS2 with us as we head into the final stretch of the story! We will see in the world of wuxia!

Happily

Ryogawa and Prince

Links:

How to read advance chapters on volare

You'll need to create a user account on either site of your choice first.

Become a sponsor on Volarenovels!

Become a sponsor on Wuxiaworld!

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TS2 to Go on a Short Pause 2019-04-03T15:00:00+00:00

Dear Readers,

As you all know, we have updated to a new website. Unfortunately, there were some minor errors when it came to porting TS2, so I apologize for having to take a few days off to sort that out.

Currently, reading the older chapters wouldn't be much of a problem, but the table of contents could be a little confusing as I get things in order, so bear with me in the meantime.

I hope to see you guys back again on the 9th!

Best regards
Ryogawa

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TS2 taking a rest for a week. 2019-01-16T17:35:05+00:00

Hey guys.

Prince here.

So TS2 Book 2 just finished with today's release, and it's been almost a year since we launched, and a year without a single break. Can you believe it (the year, not the break, that's to be expected :P)? Anyway, we're going to take a short rest for the rest of this week, but we'll be back next Tuesday with book 3, and BIG will continue as usual.

Look forward to it! There's much more yet to come, a world still awaits young Leguna!

Kind Regards

Ryogawa and Prince

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Links to Chapter Pages 2018-12-01T15:12:08+00:00

Due to the influx of BIG chapters, some of you may find it difficult to navigate between TRL and TS2 pages. One way to access them is by using filters in the 'posts' tab of the page, but for convenience, we have included links to the filters for the chapters below.


TRL

https://www.patreon.com/TalesofLord/posts?tag=TRL


TS2

https://www.patreon.com/TalesofLord/posts?tag=TS2


For our new novel by the author of TRL, Black Iron's Glory, please use the link below!

BIG

https://www.patreon.com/TalesofLord/posts?tag=BIG

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Completing TRL and reincarnating into BIG. 2018-11-29T15:01:01+00:00

We’ve done it!

All 590 chapters of TRL have been completely translated in little more than two years (the project started back in July of 2016). The journey was arduous and humbling, but ultimately rewarding. It allowed me to share a story I enjoyed with thousands of you.

“But it seemed like there’s so much story left! Lorist’s not king yet!” some of you may shout. You discord frequenters will know, however, that the author was forbidden from continuing with the story unless he removed certain material from the story to comply with new censorship regulations, which he refused to do. The thus stopped sometime last year.

I’m sure most of you are concerned with what’s next. Fortunately, Smoke is a Path, TRL‘s author, returned with his new project, “Black Iron’s Glory” (BIG) this June and has been updating at a stable rate since. We decided to pick up his new story so we can continue to bring this beloved author‘s work to you all.

Starting next week, we will release 7 BIG chapters a week (for the time being). That means daily chapters! There’ll also be minor changes to our Patreon tiers (more early access chapters for the same support tier!) to give the story the momentum it needs to kick off.

We thank you for your continued patronage and pray for your continued support.

Ryogawa out!

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Comments (9)
user avatar
User #7132156 - 29 Nov 18 16:18
Well I not sure what was wrong with the story that needed to be removed seemed okay to me. And I will give the other story a go If its kingdom building and Waring times story
user avatar
TalesofLord - 29 Nov 18 16:19
We're all baffled, but who ever really understands the Chinese government?
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User #7132156 - 29 Nov 18 16:24
Oh Chinese well that explains it he did not have anything that was shouting out we are China we are above all other races. Damn lots of novels I love are Chinese stories and they hate us Aussies why we are bloody good blokes yeah we may cuss at you. Its If we do not cuss at you that is when there is something wrong haha If I call you a cu*t then I like you if I call you dude then I give no fk about you
user avatar
User #8786268 - 29 Nov 18 18:25
I was hoping to see Lorist meet those ancient magi or those that fought them. Thank you for the hard work.
user avatar
User #8138213 - 29 Nov 18 16:05
One of the Greatest Kingdom Building novels of all times. When Lorist and the northbound convoy started heading north I new I found something special. Shame it has to end like this
user avatar
TalesofLord - 29 Nov 18 16:12
At least the author is starting on a new novel which looks to be in the same hemisphere as TRL. Hopefully you come to enjoy that one just as much as you did TRL.
user avatar
User #15042415 - 29 Nov 18 21:03
Wondering what you guys mean by "updating at a stable rate". Once a month? Twice a month? Once a week? A bit more information would be useful so I can see how fast it might go in the future if you guys catch up with the raws. Also, thanks for the hard work. Probably the best story i've read.
user avatar
TalesofLord - 30 Nov 18 00:50
To be specific, the author is writing 8 BIG chapters each week.
user avatar
User #15042415 - 30 Nov 18 08:01
ok, cool.
Out of Surgery. 2018-11-16T07:32:02+00:00

Hey Guys! Prince here.

So I made it through surgery, now four and a quarter teeth lighter; three wisdom teeth, one molar, and a quarter of a poor bystander which will have to be fixed once the mouth is in working order again.

The worst part for me is always waking up from anaesthesia afterwards. That feeling of being awake but with only half your head working is the worst! Anyway, I look and feel like I've been through a boxing match, and I suppose you could say I have. The pain medication is doing its thing, though, and, whilst making me feel like I haven't slept in days, it keeps the pain at bay. So I can get back to editing and you guys can get back to reading.

To celebrate, TRL will be releasing early today. So look forward to the chapter in a few minutes.

Don't forget to join our discord server if you guys want to hear about these kinds of shenanigans as they're happening or just want to argue with people over which of Lorist's concubines makes the best waifu.


Toothless regards.

Prince

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Black Iron's Glory (BIG) Soft Launch 2018-10-05T08:47:57+00:00

Hello dear readers, Ryogawa here. Some of you may have been wondering what we'd be up to once we finish translating all available chapters for TRL, and we're going to address it with this post.

Sometime in August, the author for TRL, Smoke is a Path, returned from his long hiatus with a new project.

The story is set in a Renaissance society in the midst of industrialization, where citizens are split into four castes and early firearms are used for waging war. Magic does apparently exist, but it has faded into obscurity as the greatest taboo since the exile of the evil magi that used to rule over the continent.

Follow Claude, our protagonist, a unique transmigrator, more than aware of his predicament, on his story, including warring faction and nations, as he learns magic and unravels the truth behind continent-spanning conspiracy. And all thanks to a humble cookbook.

We will release the project tentatively with a slower release schedule, but we'll transition to a full release speed once we catch up with TRL. We are eternally grateful for your years of support and hope you'll stay with us as we start on this new, exciting journey.

Kind Regards
Ryogawa and Prince


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Comments (9)
user avatar
User #5079972 - 7 Oct 18 15:40
What are the chances QI wanting the novel on their site?
user avatar
TalesofLord - 10 Oct 18 14:34
Going by the author's previous work, not much.
user avatar
User #12193877 - 12 Oct 18 13:47
Was TRL really stopped because of censorship issues?
user avatar
User #11243587 - 5 Oct 18 11:44
Is he really dropping the TRL?
user avatar
TalesofLord - 5 Oct 18 14:20
Currently, the project is on an indefinite hiatus as the author is still unable to obtain authorization to continue with TRL because of the censorship issues. Given that's the case, we believe the author will be more careful as he crafts his new tale this time around.
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User #8826333 - 5 Oct 18 12:39
Do you already know which site you want to release BIG on later?
user avatar
TalesofLord - 5 Oct 18 14:20
It's already listed on Liberspark.
user avatar
User #7803826 - 5 Oct 18 09:09
Ive been wondering. How many chapters are there left for TRL?
user avatar
TalesofLord - 5 Oct 18 14:19
There are 590+ chapters of TRL in total. We hope that you'll stick around for BIG as well.
TS2 Delayed. 2018-08-31T15:00:04+00:00

Hey guys.

TS2's release has been delayed due to circumstances beyond our control. We'll release the catch-up chapters by the end of the week.

Thank you for your understanding.

Sincerely

Ryogawa and Prince

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This Week's TS2 Question! Answer it Right and Read 1 TRL Chapter Ahead! 2018-08-29T15:06:00+00:00

This week's quiz question is: "Leguna and Annelotte are both the gifted. Name both their gifted roles. (Example: Legg - earth binder)"

Those who answer correctly will get to read a chapter ahead of their current tier for all of next week! Remember to send your answers along with your patreon name (or write "public" if you're not a patron) to ts2_answers@outlook.com.

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Don't forget this week's quiz question! 2018-08-22T15:00:03+00:00

This week's quiz question is: "Who saved Balor during his childhood confrontation with the necromancer?"

Those who answer correctly will get to read a chapter ahead of their current tier for all of next week! Remember to send your answers along with your patreon name to ts2_answers@outlook.com.

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Quiz Post (Read 1 TRL Chapter Ahead from Your Current Tier!) 2018-08-14T15:06:27+00:00

Here's this week's quiz question! Get it right and you will be given a chance to read ahead one extra chapter from your current tier!

What is the east and west continent called in the world of TS2? Please specify which is east and west.

Send your answer to ts2_answers@outlook.com and include your name and patron tier (submissions without patron tier and patron account name will be considered as a submission from a public release reader). We will give access to the early chapter during the end of the week's release.


For those wondering what this quiz is about, it's an event where TRL readers will get access to one chapter ahead of their patron tier (one chapter ahead of public release for public release readers) by answering the quiz question correctly. The questions will all be about our other novel, The Sword and The Shadow (TS2) that is being hosted on volarenovels.com so go there to check it out if you haven't already!

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TRL - Chapter 495 - To Deploy or to Not Deploy 2018-08-02T14:47:34+00:00
"Let not your lust for war blind you to its dangers."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lorist initially refused, but eventually agreed to give it serious consideration. He called another meeting of his confidantes the moment the two dukes left.

"Should we consider it?" he asked after explaining everything.

"Do we even need to discuss it? The Union doesn't know what's good for them. We should teach them a good lesson. They should just sit in Morante like good little boys and not bother us. Plus, we can make a good profit while we're at it!" Loze chimed in almost before Lorist was finished.

Then again, he was a freak for battle so it would be stranger if this wasn't his answer.

"No! We shouldn't. The king can't make a good offer and we've never had a close relationship with him. The Union knows how thorny we are and they'll be stretched to the breaking point by the time they reach our borders; I seriously doubt they've march into our territory. Our men and stability are worth much more than the king's throne and delusions of grandeur. Besides, as Your Lordship just said, the plains are meat grinders. If we march onto them, we'll just be throwing our men away and we might become just as embroiled as the king and be unable to withdraw," said Charade.

He'd never had a good impression of the king. He'd also not grown up in the empire and had no loyalty to it. His only loyalty was to Lorist personally. He had no issue with abandoning the kingdom altogether. Lorist, however, could not be so carefree. House Norton was famous for its loyalty, and -- until recently -- only for its loyalty. If he had any hopes of preserving his house's standing and legitimacy with the rest of the continent's nobility, he could not just stand by and watch the kingdom crumble.

Charade, however, however much he disliked the king, didn't support abandoning him purely based on his distaste for the man.

"Next year will be crucial," he explained, "If we don't settle the immigrants, complete the palace, and complete our restructuring, we will be unstable for years to come. We can't afford to divert attention and resources from these endeavors. We've also not yet fully healed the wounds from the rebellion. We can't afford to move our forces out of our territory, especially not whilst those that stay behind will be in disarray while we restructure. You also can't go on your own, we need you here to keep what remnants of the rebels have yet to be uprooted at bay and the peasantry calm. You've just returned from a year's absence and injury in this very war, the people will be restless if you go back now. If you must help the king, at the very least wait for a year or two."

Lorist saw through Charade's charade. He wanted Auguslo to suffer a lot more and be in a far worse state. That way they could extort him for much more benefits and he would not be in a position to meddle with them for several years. He would have been inclined to go along with it as well if this did not concern the whole kingdom and not just the king. If nothing else, Houses Kenmays, Shazin, and Felim were still in an alliance with him, he had to step in and help them.

"What do you think, Pog?"

"We'll have to take the field eventually, even if it's only when the Union is on our doorstep. If the king can't hold on, the Union will not stop until they've wiped out every man, woman, and child that call themselves subjects of the king or any of his vassals. If we wait until they're on the river banks, we'll have to face them alone. Best settle this far away from our lands while we still have allies that can stand on our flanks.

"At the same time, fighting on the plains is definitely not acceptable. That whole area has been trodden into mud and both sides are completely entrenched. We won't be able to break through there no matter what plan we come up with. Especially not now that the Union also has siege weapons -- as inferior to ours as they are."

"We have to teach those merchants a lesson, even if just for the fact that they dare march blademasters into your lands and steal your plans!"

Freiyar's fervour was understandable. Until recently he'd served as the sentry legion's general and was only involved in logistics and security. Now that he'd been moved to a combat legion and finally had the chance to go to war, he would naturally jump at the chance. Ovidis, similarly, also wanted to take revenge for the blademasters sent into Lorist's dominion. The merchants would only get the message that House Norton was not to be trifled with through a beating or two.

"Well said!" Loze chimed in happily.

Lorist shot him a glare, and he shut up. He motioned for another bottle of wine, which Jinolio quickly supplied.

"Spiel, what are your thoughts?"

"Potterfang is right. We cannot allow the Union to defeat the king and march on our lands. The best option is to keep the war on the plains. If things are going to get wrecked anyway, we might as well make sure it's in the Union's territory. If we can get Yungechandler in the process, all the better."

Lorist saw Spiel in another light. He did not think the stingy man could think so far ahead.

"The king didn't mention anything about covering our costs, though, so this will be a big investment. At the very least we'll have to clean out any land we occupy to lessen the burden."

Lorist rolled his eyes immediately.

I knew he had another angle. He really only sees coins. Does he really think we can do it again so easily? Even if we do break through and get onto virgin territory, the king won't let us just take whatever we want again.

"With the king and the Union bogged down on the plains, we could just go around them and march straight into their under-defended territory. We can both take some pressure off the king, and will have untouched land to clean out."

It sounds great, doesn't it? But does he really think Auguslo hasn't thought of trying it himself? I knew you weren't a genius when it comes to military matter, but you're a complete idiot! Why'd I even ask you?

Charade was currently the house's chief administrator, but he had extensive experience with war. He knew how obscene Spiel's suggestion was and didn't know how to respond. In the end he decided to explain everything to the old man.

"That won't work. At best we'll just move the front-line a little, at worst we'll be surrounded and lose all the men we marched across the border.

"We caught the Union off guard last time, but they'll be ready for us this time. Even when we caught them off guard, we still lost 20 thousand men. This time we could easily lose everyone."

The Union was present in the area in force and woefully outnumbered the king's forces. Their recruitment and training machinery was also in full swing. It wouldn't take them long to respond to the new enemy with overwhelming force. They'd either be crushed, or, if they pulled out in time, they wouldn't even have raided enough to cover their deployment costs.

Spiel turned red in the face. The Union was a far bigger foe than he'd thought. The Union outclassed them in every metric that counted in a grand and long war like this. If they joined the fight, they were doomed to suffer heavy if not total casualties, but if they didn't, they would smear their names with shit and ruin their reputation. Besides, even if they could keep the enemy off their land their economy relied heavily on trade with the lands outside their own. If they were cut off from their trade, they would crumble within a few years. Even if the Union didn't besiege them, they certainly wouldn't allow them to trade, which was no different. Even if they someone managed to not crumble, they would not be able to grow at a rate comparable to the Union, if at all, and in a decade or maybe even less the Union would be big enough to steamroll them.

"I've thought things through, Your Grace," Malek interjected, "We have to strike the Union a fatal blow in one move. I have one idea that might let us do this. I don't think it'll defeat them, but it should damage them enough that they have to stop their attacks and recover, and it might even do enough damage to force them back to the negotiating table, even if only to sue for status quo."

He pointed at the map.

"Impossible!" Loze shouted, "We can't even march around the enemy to strike right behind their front line, how are we supposed to strike at Morante?"

"Who said anything about going in over land?" Malek asked, "Tarkel said Morante is their logistics hub. We can get in, burn their stores, and be out again before they can react. And since it's a port city, we can go by sea.

"Senbaud always boasts about Northsea's invincibility -- even the king agrees. I suggest we move Northsea on Morante. We can burn the Union's Invincible Fleet on the way there as well, then pull back to Hanayabarta to resupply before returning to Silowas."

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Comments (4)
user avatar
User #7803826 - 2 Aug 18 15:38
This is repeat. You to post the 2 chapters after this one
user avatar
TalesofLord - 2 Aug 18 21:28
The old chapter vanished from our feed, so I reposted the chapter.
user avatar
User #8378950 - 2 Aug 18 16:57
instead of just land pirates, it's time to be sea pirates
user avatar
User #12712557 - 4 Aug 18 15:13
Lul
TS2 - Chapter 177 - Gerd the Faithful 2018-08-01T15:01:01+00:00

"Do you see that guy?" Gerd sounded a little out of breath after taking on two opponents in quick succession. As he huffed, he said, "I think he should be a gifted. Those kinds of people will see their power multiply once they use their gifts, so it's best if we don't mess with him."

Leguna looked at the giant silently and nodded before he followed Gerd to seek out other exploitable opponents. Soon, 20 minutes elapsed.

Even though many of the fighters in the match had formed their own small groups, those groups were only temporary. While they stood a better chance to survive in that match, the competition only soared the longer the match went on for. Conflict erupted as a natural consequence among many of the groups.

"Oi! That's my badge! Why did you take it?"

"The hell? You didn't bother to put in any effort when we dealt with that fool over there and now you want to have the badge?"

"But our agreement was for us to distribute the badges based on turns!"

"Hmph, if we continue to use those rules, you will only continue to slack off!"

"Stop arguing! The match is still going on!"

"Shut up! This ain't your business! Don't think we are afraid of you just because you're the team leader!"

"Leader, I want you to settle this matter!"

Soon, infighting broke out among the teams across the arena. Leguna could easily spot two teams that were fighting over the distribution of medals.

Every time that happened, Leguna and Gerd would sneak in to take advantage of it. The two of them carefully patrolled the border of the commotion and made sure to only target places where there weren't many people.

That was an extremely smart move. Even though there were quite a number of participants at the more chaotic areas holding lots of badges, the risk only grew as the potential benefit soared. Though Gerd believed that he was powerful enough, he didn't think Leguna could handle it if he brought him to those areas. So, the two of them only fought carefully without bothering with the larger groups and never approached the center of chaos.

Their aim was simple: picking out the pitiful weaklings who weren't in teams. Even though those targets didn't have many badges, they were really easy to deal with. Picking those guys out was a really firm strategy.

Apart from that, Gerd and Leguna would also take advantage of smaller teams that were fighting among themselves and on the brink of collapse. Though groups were riskier to deal with than individuals, it was still within Gerd's abilities to do so.

Even though Gerd fought defensively, his results were pretty good. The two of them had gathered nine badges in total so far. Gerd had five and Leguna, four. Though that wasn't nearly enough for Gerd and Leguna to remain after the elimination match, the two still retained their low-risk fighting strategy to try their best to survive to the end of the match. Only by surviving could one advance through a battle royale match like that. If they were wiped out by others in the middle of the match, the badges would be useless no matter how many they manage to collect.

However, some people weren't willing to let them have their way.

"So you were here all along. I wondered why I wasn't able to find you," hissed Vincent. There were still three comrades remaining by his side. It seemed that those few weren't foolish enough to fight amongst themselves. It was worth noting that the three of them stood behind Vincent as if they hailed him for their leader.

"Hey, Vincent, can't you let that matter go? If you eliminate Ley here, you'll really have pissed Kurdak off," said Gerd with a grim look. However, he did still try to make his best effort.

"Piss him off?" Vincent's anger turned to laughter. 'Why didn't you think of how he pisssed me off?"

Gerd looked at the venomous Vincent and wondered how a man could be so small-minded. "Well, you'd still have to take me into consideration. I promised Kurdak that I would protect Ley throughout the tournament. Do you really want to make me break it?"

"Hmph! What does you breaking your promise have anything to do with me?" Vincent snapped, "I'm giving you a chance now. Leave him and I won't mess with you. But if you insist on protecting him, don't blame me for being ruthless!"

Gerd looked at Leguna and gave him a comforting gaze. He then shook his head at Vincent. "I won't give up on him."

Leguna couldn't help but feel touched from hearing. He had opened his mouth and wanted to say something, but he stopped thanks to what Gahrona told him. All he did was look quietly at the few before him.

{It's far too odd,} Gahrona said, {Even though Gerd is a pretty decent person, it's a little weird for him to go so far for someone he had only met a few times before. Also, I'm sure you've seen Gerd's training center. Even though it's well-equipped, it's not luxurious. I doubt that a mid-order warrior of his caliber would actually be a mere instructor of a training center. It's far too weird.}

{Is he plotting against me?} Leguna asked, {But what would he get out of it?}

{How would I know?} Gahrona snapped with dissatisfaction, {Alright, the situation's still not too out of hand yet. Gerd and you weren't injured badly, but Vincent and the others don't look that well-off. Also, for Vincent to be able to lead them around, he must be the strongest in their team. Even so, Gerd's still a tad stronger than him, so he still stands a good chance of winning. It's still not the kind of situation where you have to show your true abilities.}

{But...} Leguna hesitated and said, {The way this will play out, Gerd will definitely get hurt rather badly.}

{I'm sure he has already considered that scenario. Yet, he chose not to abandon you despite that. That probably shows confidence on his part,} Gahrona said, {I feel that Gerd's friendliness to you is a little too unnatural. It's best if you keep your guard up.}

{Alright,} agreed Leguna unwillingly. Even though he felt a little sorry for Gerd, since Gahrona had already spoken out, he still didn't dare to disobey her. After all, she was the one who truly cared for him.

"Think of a way to hold Vincent back. I'll deal with the other three," Gerd said in a low voice, "Hold on for a bit and I'll come to help you once I deal with those three!"

"I..." Though Leguna had wanted to say something else, Gerd had already rushed in and fought with the other three.

Gerd was a 14th-stratum warrior himself and was just a little bit shy of the high order. Those three fighters he fought were far from his match, with one at the 13th stratum and the other two at the 12th. Had all three of them been in peak condition, Gerd would only be able to barely defeat that 12th-stratum warrior after suffering some injuries. He could do nothing against the 13th-stratum one and would have to escape.

But the current situation was different. Half an hour had already passed since the match began and Gerd had already predicted that he would use most of his energy in this fight. So, he resorted to the most stamina-savvy method of fighting during the past half hour.

That was a really wise tacti. So far, Gerd had only expended a third of his stamina and only had two not serious bruises. While Gerd wasn't in tip-top condition, that wouldn't affect his capabilities much.

Those three fighters fared rather differently. Vincent originally had six people in his team and even though he didn't have any magus or priest with him, all six of them were 12th stratum and bove. They could be considered among the strongest teams in the group of hundred. But precisely because of that, he started to look down on the other contestants.

That fellow had brought his five comrades into the center of the fight and already lost two of them before he was able to collect enough badges. The others were covered in noteworthy injuries as well. There was a large gash on the 13th-stratum fighter's left arm and it seemed to no longer be able to attack. The other two 12th-stratum fighters didn't fare well either. One of them had his left eye wounded by a blunt weapon and couldn't see with it. The other sprained his right leg and had to limp to move around.

Gerd naturally wouldn't dare to force his way if the three of them were unharmed. But they were only three fighters on the brink of defeat right now, so Gerd did indeed stand a chance to defeat them.

He calmly analyzed the situation before setting his sights on the bow-wielding one. Enemies who could attack from range must be wiped out first. Gerd gave a loud grunt as he charged straight towards his target.

The bow user was a ranger; rangers had to have agile movements apart from good marksmanship as that was the key to keeping their distance from an enemy to ensure their survival. Unfortunately, he had fallen prey to a magus's slip spell earlier in the match and lost his balance. He sprained his leg during the fall and that greatly decreased his mobility.

Seeing Gerd rush at him with fervor, that ranger knew that things were looking bad for him. He retreated backwards as he called out for his comrades' support while he shot out arrows nonstop.

The panic caused him to lose his accuracy. A number of arrows barely grazed Gerd, with not a single one actually wounding him.

"Hargh!" cried Gerd as he increased his speed when he wasn't too far away from the ranger. The sudden burst of speed caught the other two off guard and they failed to block Gerd completely.

Following his sudden boost, Gerd held his gloved right hand to his waist and sent out an explosive straight towards the ranger.

The mithril gauntlet infused with 14th-stratum impetus struck the ranger dead center in his chest, causing the poor fellow to spit out a mouthful of blood and lunch before he flew backwards five meters and landed heavily unconscious.

Leguna was entangled with Vincent half-heartedly and he was still able to take a look at Gerd's fight. After seeing Gerd's sudden advance and attack, Leguna's eyes widened uncontrollably. Gerd's move seemed really familiar, just like Balor's Swiftshadow Slash.

The two other fighters watched with shock as their comrade was instantly knocked out. They quickly approached Gerd and tried to attack when he was off balance.

Gerd was also slightly fatigued by the forceful attack he just used. He avoided the attacks of the two with some difficulty but was pierced in the chest by the longsword of one fighter inadvertently. A wound half a centimeter deep and a five centimeters across was left on his chest.

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Comments (2)
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User #8826333 - 4 Aug 18 13:36
>"Piss him off?" Vincent's anger turned to laughter. 'Why didn't you think of how he pisssed me off?" I could be wrong like I am always with quotation marks in English but " here instead of '? Also there are far too many 's' later.
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User #8826333 - 4 Aug 18 13:37
>That was a really wise tacti c MIA
TRL - Chapter 496 - Invincible Fleet 2018-07-31T15:13:27+00:00
"Treat your ship as you would your women, and the sea as you would your mother, and you shall have fair sailing all your days." ~ Old sailor's saying.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Northsea fleet, Hidegold Bay; Invincible fleet, Morante...

Everyone was shocked by the suggestion. The room was so quiet you could hear a needle drop. Lorist raised his brow, considering the proposition. Malek's suggestion was far too shocking. Even Lorist didn't think Northsea could defeat Invincible and still have the momentum to go on to Morante. It wasn't that his foresight was lacking. Invincible was known for its perfect record.

When the Union first formed it, it was known simply as Union. Its purpose was to defend Morante from pirates and keep Hidegold Bay safe. Eventually, but the scope of their operations soon expanded to the trade routes through the sunshine seas and the golden coast. They curbed piracy in the territorial waters of other nations. It had not suffered a single loss in the century of its commission thus far and its name was changed to Invincible somewhere along the way.

The merchants clamored for a downsizing of the fleet and their military in general when the empire fell into civil war. They first cut the garrisons, but when they went after the fleet, the big-seven vetoed their motion and nothing happened. While they could reform their mothballed land forces in a matter of months in the event of war, it would take years to bring the fleet back up to strength.

Can we really do it?

Senbaud declared Northsea undefeated and Lorist was keen on agreeing but there was a difference between claiming invincibility and actually having it. They had indeed never lost a fight, but they'd never faced an established navy, and they were just two-thirds the size of Invincible. That said, they did have the bronze cannons...

But Invincible had a completely different operation protocol and structure. They had decades of experience. At least eight tenths of their sailors and marines at any given time were veterans. He heard of their exploits almost every six months back in Morante. The thought of facing them had never even crossed his mind.

Northsea wasn't meant to be a wartime fleet. They were formed only to patrol local waters and take on small bands of pirates. Their ships, training, doctrines and command structure was not meant for fighting large scale naval engagements against even a similarly sized fleet, nevermind one one-and-a-half times larger.

It wasn't that he didn't have any ambition. Grindia was a single, massive landmass. Whilst travel by sea was faster, it wasn't necessary, besides a couple of islands, you could get everywhere without ever having to use a boat. He'd never made his fleet big enough to fight Invincible because it didn't mean much against the Union's incredible influence in the world of trade. If they announced a boycott against Norton goods and trade, then even if he could dominate the seas, the ports would still refuse to dock his ships and it meant nothing.

A strong fleet was neither necessary nor sufficient to keep a nation safe. Nor was it needed for trade. It made trade faster, easier, and less expensive, but one could still do just as much trade over land.

This all made it a pointless endeavour to invest in Northsea. Lorist might as well toss the money directly into the sea for all the good it did him. He had an unspoken agreement with Chikdor to not meddle in each other's waters. Each had their territory and neither would make trouble for the other.

The two fleets were the most powerful to have ever existed, each with its own speciality. Northsea excelled at mobility and immense ranged attack capabilities while Invincible used numbers and superior crew for close combat. Invincible did not sail into the northern seas because the ships they had weren't suited to the stormy conditions there. Northsea also did not enter the southern seas because it was uncharted territory and they didn't want to face Chikdor on its home turf. The only time the two interacted was during the yearly House Norton's annual meeting and Chikdor and Peterson's fleets docked at Silowas, during which many spices and daily necessities would be traded. In some sense, the two guilds treated House Norton as a supplier. The two completely withdrew when the war started, however.

Northsea had 16 Blitz class warships were fitted with bronze cannons, 28 LLDAM, 56 MSM class and 26 Swift class. They were split into two flotillas and a patrol detachment. The flotillas each had a unit with 20 LLDM class because Northsea was also in charge transporting daily necessities to Hanayabarta and spices from Shyarsia. They had to escort the merchant fleets to the two archipelagos every year.

The great majority of Northsea's power was vested in the 16 Blitz class ships. The rest were almost entirely transport vessels. The fleet's combat detachment was far smaller than Invincible's. They had a good chance of winning if Invincible fought them in the north, but those chances dropped drastically the moment they went south.

"Tarkel, briefing them on Invincible's status. Jinolio, check the logs. See when your father will arrive for the celebration."

"Understood, Your Grace."

Tarkel took out a few files on Invincible.

"Invincible was formed 136 years ago with just 20 vessels. Now it has enough ships to fill four Northsea-style flotillas. It has at least a thousand ships. There is no fleet that can compare. It has a force of about 43 thousand men. Its operating cost stands at two million gold Fordes a year. And it's mostly responsible for patrol and escort duties in the sunshine seas and the golden coast. They charge a fifth of profit as tariff for their protection. We have on record two instances of noble fleets in their area of operations being attacked and wiped out by pirates, but we suspect Invincible to be the true culprits.

"Chikdor is in direct command of the fleet and take four tenths of the fleet's profits. The rest is split between the other big guilds. As for the fleet's structure, it is split into several flotillas. Each has two floating fortresses, known as Sabnim class vessels. They are only deployed when the fleet plans to annex a location.

"Each flotilla also has 50 LLDAM and MSAM class vessels and at least a hundred rammers. The small ships form the largest part of their combat operations. They're typical approach is to swarm the enemy and ram into them. If they want to wipe out a fleet, they'll just keep ramming the hips until they sink. If they want to take the ships intact, they'll ram into the ship and deposit their contingents of marines.

"In dire situations they have used the small ships as fire ships.

"Each flotilla has ten thousand crew and armed personnel. Civilian detachments, mainly traders and transport vessels and their crew add another 10 to 20 thousand. Whilst their assignments change from year to year, they always have at least on flotilla at Hidegold Bay--

"You mean the ships in the bay is only a quarter of the whole fleet?!" Lorist shouted.

"This is would be the case under normal circumstances. We're at war now though. While I don't know how much of their fleet is now in Hidegold, it's definitely not just one flotilla."

Lorist nodded. He was just about to speak when Jinolio returned.

"I've checked the logs and Admiral Senbaud left Silowas five days ago. He's expected to arrive in Northsea tomorrow and be in Ragebear in three days."

"You little rascal. He's your father; why call him 'Admiral Senbaud'?" Lorist asked, stroking the child's head.

"This is a formal meeting. You were the one that said private and official matters must not be confused."

"Hahaha," Lorist laughed, "Let's end it here for the day. It goes without saying that this is confidential and top secret. I'll speak with Senbaud about Malek's idea when he arrives. We can make our final decision with Senbaud's input. Dismissed."

Senbaud entered Lorist's study, the snow still perched on his shoulders.

"I can sink Invincible any day you want me to!" he proclaimed when he heard the plan.

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Comments (4)
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User #9569894 - 4 Aug 18 13:21
Is there no 495??
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TalesofLord - 4 Aug 18 15:54
It vanished from the feed. It was reposted, so it should be in the more recent part of the feed.
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User #12287875 - 4 Aug 18 19:19
next chaper- Naval war, the r*pe of the invincible fleet
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User #8378950 - 3 Aug 18 17:35
it is time for the glorious naval battles
A Little Update for the Patrons 2018-07-31T15:24:46+00:00

Hey Guys!

Winter and summer are past their prime in their respective hemispheres and will soon begin winding down. At the same time we are about to hitting our final hundred chapters in TRL, and they are more exciting than any that have come before!

We've decided to implemented two new patron tiers so you guys can binge the big buildup and look forward to hearing what you guys have to say. Things are heating up and the stakes are becoming greater and greater. What new twist or turn will Lorist's journey take? The new tiers, Extinct Swordgod and Ancient Magus have the answers.

We'd also like to let our patrons know that we're implementing charge up front on our Patreon page. Which means you'll be charged for any new pledges or increases in your pledges as you make them, not just at the end of the month.

We look forward to this new chapter and can't wait to find out where the novel will go in it's final 100! And, since we can't wait, and have recently come onto some extra free time, we've decided to put up a new goal! If you guys can help us reach that goal, we'll put out 6 chapters a week until we finish TRL!

Also, it has almost been half a year since we launched TS2, but we're already done with the first two volumes and are now well into our third! Things are finally going to get more heated in this part of the story, so we hope you tune in to volarenovels.com to read up on it!

Excited Greetings
Ryogawa and Prince.

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Comments (11)
user avatar
User #2824650 - 2 Aug 18 19:29
The publishers wife has implied copyright infringement would be levied against him at his publisher. Also the U.S. is less than kind to those with chronic illness. Hed br bankrupted by our shitty hospitals.
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User #12048650 - 31 Jul 18 16:20
You guys are missing chapter 494. It skips to chapter 495 which is a $20 tier.
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TalesofLord - 31 Jul 18 16:23
The chapter can be found here. https://www.patreon.com/posts/20369189 Some chapters aren't properly displayed on the home page. You can easily find it by using the featured tags function to sort through TRL posts, TS2 posts and announcement posts on the lower left corner.
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User #2824650 - 1 Aug 18 01:40
Kevin sadly the author is in conflict with new censorship laws in China and his publisher usbt accepting new chapters. His wife says he had at least six ge had not posted yet and extensive notes however. Hes also writing a new sword and sorcery novel more in a western style while ges recuperating from illness.
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User #12481534 - 1 Aug 18 03:08
What would you have to censor in TRL? I saw nothing to offend China.
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User #8826333 - 1 Aug 18 14:59
Most likely you cannot just make your MC go and rebel against the glorious leader^TM trying unify your suppressed by others and splintered motherland just because he does some questionable^TM things.
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User #7767997 - 2 Aug 18 18:00
Wish author would load it up in the ?? instead to avoid ?? law.
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User #2824650 - 1 Aug 18 03:43
Something about tuning down the sexual content. I dont know that it's a permanent ban or anything but coupled with the authors illness the authors wife has said his publisher doesn't intend to continue it at this time. Ut wasn't the auhthors decision.
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User #5051848 - 2 Aug 18 17:41
That is such a BS reason. Other novels goes straight into rape which afterwards turns the females magically into (mindless) lovers. Harems are also a HUGE part of almost all Dao/martial arts novels from China so how can they use "sexual content" as a banning factor? I think it goes more into what we all want to happen, which is Lorist rebelling and forming his own country.
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User #725806 - 31 Jul 18 15:46
Thanks for the update. Sad to see that the novel got dropped by the author. If it gets picked up again by the author will you translate it again? Prefer supporting you guys over another translator.
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TalesofLord - 31 Jul 18 15:46
We'll keep our eyes peeled and definitely continue it if it keeps going.
TS2 - Chapter 176 - Earth Binder 2018-07-31T15:01:01+00:00

As the prize for the tournament was really high, it attracted lots of participants. An official announcement placed the figures at 3762 people in the low-order segment, with 3320 of them being impetus fighters, and the rest being magi or priests. The mid-order segment had far less participants than the former segment, with there being around 427 people, 386 of whom were impetus fighters, and the rest priests and magi.

Given the sheer number of participants, the organizers resorted to a crude selection method for the preliminaries: every hundred participants from either segment would be grouped by the hundreds and they would fight in a battle royale for an hour. Everyone in the same group was an enemy and whenever one enemy was defeated, participants could claim the badge worn on the enemy's chest. The total number of badges would be totaled up at the end of the battle and after four such matches were conducted, the top 50 participants that had the most badges would be allowed to advance.

Killing was forbidden during the tournament and enemies who lost the ability to fight back were not to be attacked. However, the organizers knew that it wouldn't be surprising for accidents to occur during the tournament, so each participant had to sign a declaration that they were willing to participate in the tournament willingly and in the event of their untimely death, the Empire of Hocke and the organizers of the tournament were not to be held accountable for it. Similarly, if the organizers discover anyone that intentionally broke the rules to commit murder during the tournament, the Empire of Hocke would prosecute and punish them according to the rule of law.

Even though the empire had an iron grip over the tournament, the staggering number of participants coupled with the empire's inexperience in organizing such tournaments allowed for somewhere around three people to die during the first day of the competition. More than 20 others were either out-cold or crippled from heavy injuries.

The group Leguna was in, the third group, would be fighting on the second day. Kurdak and Vera were fortunate enough to be allocated into the fourth group together. Due to the small number of people. the last group numbered less than a hundred participants, so the competition wouldn't be that stark. Their match would begin on the third day of the tournament instead.

Leguna came to the tournament hall and inspected his surroundings. He had already watched the matches of the first and second groups, but he wasn't able to locate Annelotte at all. Not only that, he had checked the name list of those in the third group extensively but he didn't spot Annelotte's name in it. He began to suspect what that maidservant told her. Would his effort have been wasted if Annelotte didn't actually participate in the tournament?

But no matter how much he wrought his brains over the matter, the familiar ice-blue color had never once entered his vision. Traces of disappointment flashed through his eyes.

"What's wrong? Are you nervous?" asked Gerd. He had come to the tournament hall together with Leguna. Kurdak and Vera didn't come along and were instead sleeping soundly in the inn during the day their 'little brother' competed. They justified it by saying that they had to replenish their energy for their own match the next day.

The two of them weren't worried about anything happening to Leguna at all since he had already defeated far stronger opponents. A small tournament like that wasn't a big deal to him anymore.

"A little," said Leguna with a bright smile. He had maintained his disguise over the course of the past few days. Even though it was rather troublesome, he felt that it was best to do so for his own safety.

"Alright, it'll be fine. Just stick to my side later," Gerd said, "Remember. Try to hide yourself the best you can and don't provoke enemies carelessly. Only strike when you are certain that you'll be able to defeat someone."

"Thank you, Mister Gerd," said Leguna sincerely. Even though he could also easily breeze through the tournament without Gerd around, Leguna was still rather grateful for how willing Gerd was to help him.

Gerd gave him a deep look before smiling without saying anything else.

Vincent and five other warriors mingled together. He was whispering something into his comrades' ears and his eyes darted to Leguna from time to time. Any sharp observer could tell that he didn't have any good intentions in mind.

"It seems that Vincent isn't going to let me off easily," said Leguna with a troubled look.

"Don't worry. It'll turn really chaotic when the match starts. Even though they are strong, they will also easily provoke other enemies. I don't think they will have the time to bother it us when it begins," said Gerd relaxedly.

"Alright." Leguna looked around distractedly but saw only unfamiliar faces. The face with the extremely cold expression from his memories didn't show up.

It went without saying that the matches wouldn't be hosted within Melindor itself. Hocke's palace guard had built a temporary portal nearby Melindor that connected to a colosseum outside Melindor. It was a huge circular building that had a dueling platform at the center with layers and layers of seats for observers stacked up in a terrace-like fashion.

The audience seats were already filled with people. Most of them were commoners, but some nobles of the empire could be seen in their luxurious viewing boxes.

After Leguna passed through the portal, he was sent to a corner in the colosseum. He looked all around and hurried to regroup with Gerd. Even though he didn't fear a fight like that, he would save a lot of trouble with someone helping him while hiding his abilities at the same time. He had only come to seek Annelotte out and it wouldn't be worth it for him to expose all his trump cards.

"Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon!" said the announcer with a deep voice from the center of the colosseum. Leguna knew that the announcer was the manager of the current match. Even though Hocke had hosted the tournament to seek out talented people, it was also an entertainment event. Anyone could spectate any match so long as they bought a ticket for it. Not only would the empire be able to gain quite a haul that would offset the cost for hosting the tournament, it would also help huumor the masses.

Leguna listened on as the fellow at the center of the colosseum muttered on. While the colosseum was incredibly huge, the announcer had his own methods. His voice could be heard clearly in the voice of everyone present, though Leguna didn't know whether he had achieved it using impetus or an elocution spell.

"Alright, those were the basic rules of the match. The rules are set by the empire itself, so I hope none of the participants break them." The announcer took a look around and continued, "I guess both the audience and participants are already raring to go! Without further ado, let the match begin!"

"Follow me and don't run around!" instructed Gerd once more.

Leguna drew Lighteater from his back. That sword had turned even darker after consuming the souls of two high-order magi. It looked very close to grey-black and looked much different from its former gleaming look. But Leguna knew that the sword was multiple times stronger than it used to be. He flicked his wrist, but the sword didn't cause the slightest sound as it cut through the air.

"There's a lone fellow two o'clock up front. Let's go!" Though Gerd was a decent fellow, he was no fool. He couldn't be bothered to moralize at a time like this, so he set his sights on a poor two-hand-axe-wielding fellow not far away. That was a 12th-stratum warrior. Even though he looked quite huge, he wouldn't stand a chance against an experienced fighter like Gerd.

Gerd didn't bring any sharp weapons with him. Instead, he used a set of mithril gloves.

"Since the competition doesn't allow killing, using a blunt weapon can allow me to fight more unrestrainedly," explained Gerd back then.

That warrior roared when he noticed Gerd approaching. He heaved his two-hand axe in a destructive semicircular arc.

All Gerd had to do to avoid that strike was take a slight step back. After that, he ducked, paused and advanced all of a sudden.

Though that warrior's attack was powerful, it was quite apparent that he couldn't control his strength well. His body had lost balance slightly as a result from the momentum of the axe and Gerd didn't hesitate to exploit that mistake to approach him.

It was common knowledge that weapons such as two-hand axes and spears had huge ranges thanks to their long handles. However, those weapons could hardly be used at their full potential once the enemy managed to close the distance. In fact, the long handle might even prove to be a burden.

After Gerd approached, he didn't give the enemy any chance to step back. It was as if he had glued his body to his enemy's. Following that, Gerd used his shoulders, joints and fists to launch a flurry of attacks on the enemy. Within two minutes, that warrior had already been pummeled unconscious.

Gerd removed the badge on his chest without trouble. He turned back to see Leguna fighting with an 11th-stratum warrior. Gerd couldn't help but smile at seeing how agile Leguna was. He rushed in to help Leguna take care of the enemy.

"This was your enemy, so you get to keep the badge," said Gerd as he tossed the badge of the second enemy to Leguna.

"Thank you, Mister Gerd," said Leguna with a slight nod.

"You don't have to be so polite with me. Just tell Kurdak to treat me to a drink or two when you get back," Gerd said with a smile, "Alright, it's not time to discuss this. Liven up! The match is still young!"

Right at that moment, a shocking roar could be heard from the other side of the colosseum.

Leguna looked to the direction of the sound and only saw a giant taller than two meters tossing an enemy away like a piece of trash. Not far away from him were four nervous-looking participants. What shocked Leguna the most was that one of those four was clad in a robe; that was a magus! That magus is teaming up with three fighters to take on another fighter? What kind of guy is that?

Not only did impetus improve one's physical abilities, it also helped sharpen one's senses. Even though that giant was 150 meters away from him, Leguna could more or less make out his size.

The muscles on the giant's upper body were stunningly huge. His skin tone was also rather odd. Even though it was slightly yellow, it seemed to look a little like mud and gave off a heavy and stable vibe. That kind of color was not one Leguna had ever seen on a human before.

Even though that giant faced three fighters and one magus alone, he didn't look the slightest bit terrified. Instead, the ranger facing him couldn't hold on anymore and he drew an arrow from his quiver in a panic and started shooting.

The magus als snapped out of it and quickly dictated a spell, causing a fireball to form gradually in his hand.

But a shocking scene played out in the next moment. The giant didn't panic the slightest during the situation. Instead, he knelt halfway on the ground and punched his right hand into the ground. Just as the others were trying to figure out what he was trying to achieve, he cried out and drew his right hand from the ground. The difference was that it held onto a piece of rock-formed shield which he used to easily deflect his enemies' two attacks.

Leguna's eyes narrowed. If he wasn't mistaken, the yellow skin on the giant and the huge shield he drew from the ground wasn't any skill nor spell. Instead, it was the result of gifts!

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TS2 - Chapter 175 - Vincent and Gerd 2018-07-28T15:00:02+00:00

Leguna turned more hardworking in the next few days. In fact, he had begun to strive for first place in the tournament after being lectured by Gahrona.

At the end of the day, he understood how weak he truly was. While he might already be someone normal people couldn't hope to match up against, he was well aware that his abilities were still insufficient for him to stand unperturbed in the world. If he wanted to protect himself and those he loved, he would first have to grow much stronger.

That sense of danger may be senseless, but Leguna felt it ever so clearly. He always had a feeling that lots of complicated and troublesome things would befall him in the future and he had wanted to rely on his few gifts to solve everything. But ever since being given a scolding by his teacher, Leguna understood the error in his mindset and started polishing his skills. He resolved himself to never use his gifts again unless it was absolutely necessary.

One day passed after another and Leguna trained during that time with Vera and Kurdak at a nearby training center. That was a place specially designed for those who could use impetus and magic. There were special equipment prepared for their use and even a training class for rookies. However, those classes were only available to physical fighters as that was not a place where magical knowledge could be procured.

"My beautiful Vera, it must be fate that I got to meet you again," said Vincent.

"It's you again... Haven't you gotten beaten up enough? You want another round, huh?" hissed Kurdak. That fellow had set his sights on Vera during the past two days they were training. Even though it was already autumn, the thick clothing Vera wore was still unable to hide her tantalizing curves well. So, that fool began to ignore Kurdak and instead stuck around Vera like an annoying fly.

Vincent was a 14-stratum warrior and could be considered rather strong. Even though Kurdak was only one stratum beneath him, his physique was far better than Vincent's. At the same time. Kurdak was still a mercenary with more than a decade of experience despite his relative youth, which no doubt meant that he had oceans more experience in battle than Vincent.

And so, the two men began fighting over the woman and Kurdak emerged victorious, but not without leaving Vincent with a bruising eye while suffering only light injuries on his chest. Fortunately, those two still knew their bounds and didn't cross them. They were in the capital of Hocke and a huge commotion there would ensure that the two would have lots of trouble in store for them. So, they made sure to rent a space in the training center for their fight.

Vincent returned home to rest for a few days and it seemed he had already recovered, given how he was all over Vera again. Even Kurdak had to be impressed by that fellow's stubbornness.

"No, the tournament's just about to begin. I'd never waste my energy on something like this," said Vincent with a shake of his head. They were all aware that they were participants in the tournament.

"Then what have you come here for?" asked Kurdak sinisterly.

"I'm only here to check this little fellow of yours out," Vincent said with a cold smile, "I believe that you still don't know how the fights are allocated yet, given how hard you've been training. I am proud to tell you that I have been matched up against your friend here, Leguna, in the third group. Just think about it. I wonder if any accidents will occur during our first match. You should know that it's really dangerous for a 9th-stratum assassin like him to be in such a chaotic slugfest."

"You're saying that you intend to focus your attention on Ley during the tournament?" asked Kurdak with doubt.

"I never said anything like that. I'm only here to give you a reminder," said Vincent with a snicker and a shake of his head. He knew that he was slightly weaker than Kurdak, so he had only come to provoke him in hopes that he would lay his hands on him before other witnesses in public. Should that have happened, Kurdak would be held up at the constabulary for a few days at least. If he dared to fight the constables, then it'd turn out far worse.

Kurdak's reaction, however, wasn't what Vincent had expected. The strong man nodded oddly and said nothing but, "I see..."

"What'd you say?" Vincent thought he didn't hear him clearly.

"I said 'I see'," repeated Kurdak.

"What kind of reaction is that?!" Vincent said with a frenzied expression as he pointed at Leguna, "Isn't he your brother? Your best brother?"

"That's right," said Kurdak with a serious nod.

"Then aren't you worried one bit that I'll target him during the tournament? I say, if I go hard on him, he might not stand a chance to live! Aren't you worried in the slightest?" Vincent looked at Kurdak as he would a fool and didn't understand how the latter could remain so calm.

Kurdak merely gave Leguna a glance and read the latter's expression. Leguna signalled that he didn't wish for his abilities to be exposed.

So, Kurdak tried to act as badly as he could while he feigned a worried expression. "I... I'm really worried!"

"Worried my ass! Are you going to get him to quit?!"

"No, I won't. He wants to fight and I won't stop him!"

"Then you aren't f*cking worried about him at all!"

"Trust me, I really am," said Kurdak with a furrowed brow as he forced himself to look worried.

"What the f*ck just went down here?!" complained Vincent. He really didn't understand why Kurdak actually looked so unconcerned despite knowing that his little follower was in for a beating. It then came to him that Kurdak was possibly behaving like that to insult his intelligence.

But there was no way he would know that the reason Kurdak was so nonchalant about it was that he was completely unworried about Leguna's safety. He had trained with Leguna often in secret and knew well where he stood.

What a joke! He could even suppress me without using Host of Darkness! What if he uses it if you really piss him off?! Hehe... If you are really able to defeat him like that, I Kurdak swear to not take a shit for a whole month!

"Alright, Vincent. Coincidentally, I'm also in the third group. As Mister Kurdak's friend, I won't let you harm Leguna so easily," said another tall, handsome middle-aged man as he approached. Although he wasn't as hugely built as Kurdak, his body proportions were really well-balance. Coupled with the air of maturity he exuded, he truly was a really attractive man.

"Brother Gerd!" greeted Kurdak with a smile. Gerd was a new acquaintance of Kurdak that he only recently met at the training center. He was far more likeable compared to Vincent and got along well with Kurdak and the others. They even had a drink together a couple of days ago.

"Mister Gerd," greeted Leguna with a nod.

"Don't fear, little one!" Gerd said with a hearty laugh, "With me protecting you, Vincent won't be able to try anything against you!"

"Thank you, Mister Gerd," said Leguna, feigning surprise. He also knew the extent of Gerd's strength. He was a 14th-stratum warrior. While he could give Kurdak a good fight, he still paled slightly in comparison to Leguna. But as Leguna wasn't intent on revealing his abilities, he naturally wouldn't mind it if Gerd stood out to shield him. That middle-aged man seemed like a decent person after all.

It was worth noting that Gerd was the head trainer of the training center. So, the things he learned was markedly different from Leguna and Kurdak's. As he was only a head trainer, the skills he thought were for subduing enemie. Leguna and the others were different in that they focused mainly on taking the lives of others given that they worked as mercenaries.

In other words, Gerd might stand even less of a chance against Kurdak in a real life-or-death fight. Despite that, Gerd stood to benefit a lot in a tournament that forbade killing.

"Mister Gerd, do you really want to antagonize me, Vincent? You should know that I have a good number of pretty strong friends in the third group. Though you're stronger than I am, would you be able to take on a few others on my level?" hissed Vincent.

Gerd merely smiled and patted on Leguna's shoulder. "Since I was fateful enough to make this little fellow's acquaintance, I'm willing to oppose you. Also, do you think I'm not able to get in touch with a few friends myself? I mean, even someone like you has a few pals in the third group!"

The look on Vincent's face changed. He knew that Gerd had quite the reputation where they were. In terms of connections, Vincent really couldn't compare to Gerd. So, he didn't dare to get on Gerd's bad side. He merely gave Kurdak and Gerd a glare before he left, not before checking Vera out with a lustful gaze, however.

"Are you worried?" asked Gerd with a smile.

"A little," Leguna said, pretending to be fearful, "Vincent's really strong."

"Don't worry, my little friend. Nothing will happen to you with me around," Gerd said as he patted Leguna on the shoulder again while turning to Kurdak, "Ain't that right, Kurdak my friend?"

"Of course!" Kurdak nodded with a hearty smile.

"Alright. The tournament will start two days later. Since there's nothing else tonight, let's go get a drink," Gerd said, before he added, "My treat!"

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TRL - Chapter 494 - Reinforcement 2018-07-28T15:00:02+00:00
"When a side is willing to fight to the death, then, no matter their disadvantage, they will win."

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There were some things Lorist had to do, but couldn't let his three disciples handle. Though Reidy was loyal, he was far too straight-laced and dealt with things too straightforwardly. While Howard seemed like he could handle everything perfectly, Lorist didn't want to stain his hands, at least not this early in his life. Most of all, though, he didn't want Howard's impression of him to change. And Jinolio was simply still too young.

The other reason was that everyone knew they were his disciples. He had no plausible deniability if any of them were caught doing something. Their involvement in something immediately implicated him. He needed a pair of hands that were not associated with him that could be stained on his behalf, a pair of gloves, as it were. Tarkel was a suitable candidate, but he was too well-known. It was not at all uncommon for random people to recognise and call out to him whenever he was out and about.

Kriston was another candidate. He was neither well-known nor closely linked to Lorist personally. Also, his position as the head of the Bureau of Internal Affairs made such things part of his job description.

Kriston had visited the bastide on the day of Irina's death to investigate a drowning. They didn't finish in time to make it to the first town on the road back to the capital, so they stayed over for the night. He did not join his two subordinates in the tavern below to drink and make merry, but had his food brought up to his room instead. The waitress that took it up to him praised him as a gentleman on her return. She was a little baffled, though, at how the madam's nightly wailing didn't seem to bother him at all. When she asked him about it, he just said she had lost her mind after losing her child so he didn't want to make a fuss.

Moved by his compassion and understanding, the waitress almost jumped into his arms to hump through the night. Now back in the tavern, she was even considering waking him in the middle of the night to a beautiful moonlit surprise. For some unknown reason, however, she chose not to, and she was happy she did the next morning. Just imagine, she'd have been bobbing away whilst the madam was dying just a couple dozen meters away. The thought sent a shiver down her spine.

It had to be admitted, though, that the madam, for all her insanity, had picked the perfect time to kick the bucket. She died on the very night the biggest shot in crime investigation was staying in the bastide and could quickly solve the case.

Lorist took the folder from the baron and tossed it in the fire. He didn't take his eyes off it until its ashes scattered up the chimney.

The peasantry were very disappointed by this turn of events. They thought the only reason Lorist had yet to execute his old flair was because he couldn't be bothered while he reorganized his forces. But they'd hoped he would get around to it eventually and give them a good spectacle. Why did the hag have to be so inconsiderate and die before the duke could deal with her properly? Everything was pointing in the direction of the lord executing her in a grand fashion. Her curses and wails had spread through the lands very quickly and everyone was waiting to hear about her dramatic execution, only to hear that she'd went and died of a heart attack. God, how selfish.

Lorist buried everything in the darkest corners of his mind and abandoned the bastide all together. It might be the place his family had come from, but did orphans revere their shitty orphanage when they were adults? When Glacia asked what he was going to do with the bastide, he told her to let it sit for now. He would just give it to Helias when he graduated from the academy.

Helias, Lorist's nephew via his elder brother, would thus get the family's ancestral homeland. Unlike his bastard cousin, the kid was revered and praised by everyone he met, even Lorist fancied him quite a bit. Leaving the bastide for him would be considered a great honor by both the kid and outsiders, and let Lorist rid himself of the place easily.

Glacia asked to be made commander of the garrison forces in Wild Husbandry. Most of the old garrison forces now banished from the Northlands were now in it and she wanted to once again be their leader. Lorist agreed but refused to let Koboshik go with her. She insisted however, saying that it could only do him good, and that, since he was now her foster son, Lorist could not stop her.

Lorist called for another house meeting near the end of the 11th month. This time the meeting dealt with the main projects and targets the house would be undertaking in the following year. The administration would mainly be occupied with settling the immigrants in The Northlands. They would also resume construction on the palace, delayed by the rebellion. Their new task was to build the various constable stations across the lands.

Camorra was now the head of the armory under the Ministry of Defence. The reconstruction of the artillery brigade and the establishment of the Bureau of Internal Affairs were not on the docket since they were secret matters.

Lorist returned to his room to relax a little once the meeting finished. Winter was coming. Apart from the household forces, most of the officials had already gone on break. Only the last vestiges of paperwork were left. Charade and Spiel would be in charge of the celebration so Lorist didn't have to worry about it.

Dilianna and Maria were pregnant again, so they were off his back, but Sylvia and his two other concubines rode him enough to compensate, determined to be pregnant by new years.

Two unexpected guests showed up with the arrival of the 12th month. Kenmays and Fisablen had travelled all the way from the plains across the kingdom for the celebration, well, officially, anyway. They'd actually come to get reinforcements.

Lorist suddenly remembered the kingdom was at war. News from the front-lines was grim. They were at a stalemate. The Union had launched five offensives in the last 7 months alone, three of which were repelled, but two of which had forced them to give up land for better defenses. They'd lost control of Krido and Ritt, Bluwek was their last stronghold in the region. If they lost that final city, they would be driven back to the empire's historical borders.

Kenmays was particularly sour. He only had a single legion, and it was the one Auguslo put in front of the enemy the most. He only had 18 thousand of his original 45 thousand left when he left the front-lines. His losses meant that, despite having made a lot of money from plunder, he only just broke even. As things stood, however, he was not going to get anymore wealth out of this since he couldn't plunder friendly territory -- and even if he did, it was already cleaned out -- and he was still losing men. If this continued, it would turn into a loss and he couldn't get out of it.

Whilst Kenmays had suffered pretty badly, he was not the only one with severe losses. Less than a dozen nobles still had more than half their starting forces. Shazin's two light infantry divisions were completely lost, and Felim's Pegasus only had a third of its original forces. Whilst Fisablen's two legions looked to be in a much better state, most of their men were new recruits; of the original soldiers, only a tenth were left, if even that.

"Is Auguslo intentionally trying to cripple his vassals?" asked Lorist.

Fisablen shook his head. Apparently even the king's legions had lost at least 50 of his original 300 thousand men, a full sixth of his army. That was before the last five attacks. He only had three legions left over when the two left.

"He's losing too many men too fast," sighed Fisablen, "All-in-all we've lost 200 thousand men. No one has not suffered and no one will not have it hard after the war is over, if it ever ends. We can still just barely afford the loss if we win, but that's not going to happen. The Union has the upper hand. If the king takes steps to withdraw they'll charge in and we'll lose.

As far as they're concerned we're the old empire reborn. They won't let us stay united. They'll throw peasants at us until we crumble, even if their cities are left empty. They won't even take a rest between attacks and plan their moves properly, they just keep throwing people at us hoping to bury us under their corpses."

"Aren't they suffering a lot as well?"

"Yes. They've lost at least 300 thousand, maybe even as much as 400 if you count people who died of their injuries. The problem is they can afford to take the losses, and they're fine with taking them. They're willing to rebuild everything from scratch, but they're not willing to let us live in peace. Their new territory has also seen centuries of peace so they have a good population they can afford to thin out.

"We're different. We've seen non-stop war for nearly a century. Our people are few and our land barren. We can't neither stomach so many losses nor replace them easily. Auguslo wouldn't have accepted your conditions otherwise. If he'd known this would turn into such a slugging match, he would not have started this war. Now he can't back out and he can't keep going. He's been forced to send his personal guard onto the field more than once recently. If this keeps up, the Union will really bury us under the corpses and just walk over them into the kingdom. And if they do, they'll turn every inch of land into a desert so we won't ever be able to recover.

"Auguslo's even willing to give back some of the land he currently controls to end the war, but the Union will have none of it. He's willing to give you jurisdiction over Yungechandler if you'll help us end this.

"What will I do with that place?"

"You've already invested in it under your agreement with Duke Forund, Lorist," Kenmays reminded, "While you never finished the work, you would still start off far better than if you worked on any other province."

"The Union's using inferior versions of your catapults. They're not as strong or effective as yours, but they can field them in enough numbers that it doesn't matter. They've been the main killers on the battlefield," Fisablen chimed in.

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Comments (3)
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User #8150978 - 28 Jul 18 22:45
The king is still as greedy as ever with that terrible reward for saveing his entire kingdom! Can’t wait for when he pisses off Lorist and then off with his head! Thanks
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User #12481534 - 3 Aug 18 16:04
I think the royal family will be murdered by the Union.
user avatar
User #8378950 - 1 Aug 18 15:57
time to declare independence
TRL - Chapter 493 - Tying Up Loose Ends 2018-07-27T15:01:00+00:00
"A government is at best a necessary evil, and at worst an intolerable one." ~ Andinaq Auguslo

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Kriston had come to submit his report on the Bureau of Internal Affairs -- as the department was now called. Lorist initially thought he was there to ask for a bigger budget and more manpower. But such was not the case.

"How did you come up with using the constabulary? I thought you'd want to form a new department."

"In the old empire, Krissen III felt the garrisons were useless and made mistakes too frequently, so he formed an independent constabulary to patrol the settlements and keep the peace. When Krissen VI came into power, he gave the constabulary charge of solving crimes and combating the spread of underworld syndicates.

"They were also later put in charge of taxes and spying on political enemies of the crown. They were pretty much what you want me to set up now. So I thought we might as well make use of a similar model. Plus, it won't take as long as setting the bureau up from scratch."

"Did you forget about the constabulary cage incident at the end of Krissen VI's reign? They were given too many responsibilities so it could do none of them effectively. The citizens had also become afraid and untrusting of them.

"When the cage incident happened, the entire city took to the streets. Even the nobles, who usually never got involved in protests, much less joined the commoners in doing anything, joined in and demanded the emperor disband the constabulary. The emperor was so furious when he learned what had happened that he executed three thousand of their leaders in a single day and banished every constable and their family from the empire. He only formed a similar organisation ten years later and explicitly limited their powers to managing the cities.

"It's not a bad idea, mind you, but I cannot let the constabulary get involved in anything other than just doing some basic peace-keeping. Do you know why I decided to form the Bureau?--" Kriston shook his head, "--I need an organization that'll keep enemy spies off my lands and out of my organizations. I need an organization that'll stop anything like this rebellion from even coming up as a thought for any of my subjects, subordinates, or vassals. And I need an organization independent of all the others that'll keep my officials in line and punish them if need be.

"Think of it this way: if the house is a great tree, then I want to make the Bureau a gardening that'll prune the tree and keep it growing properly. That'll cut off all the dead and rotting branches and nip any ill-growth in the bud. At the same time, however, it must not have the size and power to take large scale action on its own. It's fine to reprimand a few solitary officials, but if you need to tackle something that requires a reasonably sized force, then you can just contact the constabulary or the guard and have them deal with it."

More than anything else, Lorist wanted to avoid something like the constabulary cage incident. It was a well-known scandal on the continent. The constabulary had gained too much power and had become the de facto rulers of the capital -- for as long as they could keep the emperor ignorant of their doings. They accused people they disliked or that crossed them of treason left, right, and center, often hanging entire families from the gallows at a time. Countless rich merchants disappeared overnight, families included, their property and estates were seized, and the story would be spun as the constabulary successfully unearthing yet another conspiracy against the crown. People were so terrified they didn't even greet each other in fear of it being used as an excuse to kill them.

Some nobles came home from their studies in the capital telling stories of hearing wails all over the city at night, like ghosts haunting the streets in search of revenge, especially near the canals. A small group of them went in search of the cause of the wails one night. They stumbled through the underground network of sewage tunnels, following the noise, until they found a stuffy room. Inside it large iron-barred cages hung from the roof, each had a single occupant, most barely any more than a skeleton with skin.

They ran away as fast as they could, their faces looking much like ghosts as well, and told their instructors. The news quickly spread to the citizens, whom were in an uproar. The constabulary could detain people for questioning, but they had no authority to imprison anyone, and yet here they were, locking poor souls up in cages and letting them slowly starve to death and rot away.

The entire city was whipped into a furor and marched in the streets in protest, joined even by the nobles. This had all be done behind the emperor's back, and he was just as furious when he heard what had been going on. It only took two days for the entire constabulary to be uprooted, their leadership executed, and the rest banished from the empire. Unfortunately, whilst their expulsion rested the hearts of the capital's citizens, it didn't make the city any safer. Gangs and syndicates quickly rose to fill the power vacuum their absence created. Krissen VII was forced to reform the constabulary when he took the throne a decade later. It was all fine and well to limit the new constabulary's power as he did, but he didn't create other bodies to do the jobs the constabulary was no longer allowed to. With their vigilant gaze keeping rebellions and conspiracies at bay, the emperor's death years later plunged the empire into a civil was which lead to its eventual break-up.

The rejection took the wind out of Kriston's sails, but he didn't give up.

"Your Grace is right. We must learn from the past, but that's just it. We did. We know how to avoid such a future now. Using the constabulary as the base for the bureau is the fastest way."

"Don't get me wrong. I'm not against the idea completely. While I won't allow you to merge the two organizations, you're welcome to poach some staff from the constabulary. Rather than merging the two to make a massive, bloated new constabulary, just work closely together, making use of each organization's strengths.

"I have other plans for the constabulary. The Northlands now has 3.2 million inhabitants. We have a lot on our plate to keep them safe. I want to have the constabularies specialize in peacekeeping and law-enforcement. They operate in the open light of day to keep the dominion safe from those who conspire against it in the open. The Bureau, however, works in the shadows to fight those that conspire against me and my people in the darkness. D'you understand?"

"I do, Your Grace. The constabulary will work to keep us safe from small criminals and those that conspire in the open, while the Bureau works against those that move in the shadows or whom the constabulary can't touch. I'll go revise my proposal immediately."

"Hold on. I have another job for you." Lorist turned to his desk and took out a black folder.

"This has been troubling me for a while but I don't know how I to deal with it. Take a look. I want nobody to get wind of this. If you have any bright ideas, have Reidy help you out. Return the folder if you can't think of anything."

Kriston took the black folder and shuddered.

"I will think with something."

Lorist waved without a word. When he was alone in the study again, He sighed deeply, a conflicted expression on his face.

An eagle arrived from the bastide three days later carrying news of Irina's death. He had died from a sudden illness while under house arrest.

Lorist was too busy, so he sent Glacia to handle the funeral in his stead. He also had her bring his second son, Koboshik back with her.

The council meeting lasted five days and the military department's name was settled by the end. It would henceforth be called the Ministry of Defence. It was also decided that any mobilization of more than ten men without Lorist's personal order or the Ministry's stamp of approval would automatically be considered treason. Even people like Charade had to go through the ministry to get permission.

Besides the 220 thousand men who stayed in active service, the rest were declared either reserves or civil defence and lost their benefits and half their salaries. 240 thousand were moved to local garrisons, now classified as reserve forces. About two legions' worth of garrisons spanned the Northlands, and all the other territories under Lorist's jurisdiction each had a legion of their own which had to protect every settlement, not one man more was allowed to be hired. With these reforms Lorist had cut his armed personnel in half.

Spiel had finally won a small victory; the military spending was finally less than a third of the entire annual budget. His euphoria was quickly shattered by all the other officials' protestations. Charade, Camorra, and several other official were dead set against demilitarization.

Their biggest issue was with the constabulary's downsizing in both manpower and responsibilities. Yes, it had been involved in the rebellion, but they all considered it an indispensable part of the house's forces. It was the only force over which the administration institution had any control. The constabulary was also only ever used by the administration. They were never involved in any military actions. Lorist had nearly entirely forgotten they even existed.

"This cannot be avoided. I've thought about this a lot. We must separate the branches of the government. And we cannot let any branch be a threat to the role of the other. The constabulary has no need for its current size, it can do its new job just fine with the numbers I am willing to give it. Anymore just makes it a threat to the military, a threat I will not tolerate. If you really want them to stay as big as they are now, then they have to become part of the military, which would only create more needless bureaucracy.

"We'll move the responsibilities I took from them to the military police. With the separation, no administration's official can mobilize the garrison on his own authority. Each garrison, barring a special order from the Ministry of Defence or myself, will have no right to mobilize outside the towns and its surrounding farmland.

"Everything else will be handled by the military police. We'll set up constable stations and booths in the towns and city neighbourhoods manned by the constabulary. They are the only ones the administration will get to control."

Lorist also made it clear that the administration would be responsible for covering the cost of running the constabulary, not the military, as had been the case thus far. Kedan was given interim command of the constabulary until a permanent appointment could be made.

When the meeting ended, everyone jumped into action. They wanted as much as possible done before the new year's celebration. Lorist had no free time until the 11th month came around.

Glacia was back by then. Irina had apparently died from a heart-attack after hearing what had happened to her son. She'd cried in her room for days on end, literally crying herself into the grave. In that time she only opened her mouth to curse Lorist to hell and back. She'd died in the evening. She cried herself to sleep every night, but not before midnight came around. The guards, confused as to why tonight she fell asleep so early, peeked into the room, and found her lying on the floor. They didn't check any further since she had fell asleep like that a few times before. When her maidservant went to wake her the next morning, however, she found her cold as ice and blue as water, still lying on the floor exactly as the guards had seen her the night before. Glacia had checked the corpse herself, and there were no wounds anywhere on her body, not even a needle prick or insect bite.

Glacia wanted to adopt Koboshik. The kid was completely terrified, having lost both his mother and brother in less than a month. He wasn't even thirteen yet. Lorist agreed after some consideration.

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Comments (3)
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User #12481534 - 2 Aug 18 16:24
He has just created the KGB.
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User #8826333 - 31 Jul 18 17:08
>He had died from a sudden illness while under house arrest. She
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User #12481534 - 2 Aug 18 16:25
I thought he was just going to banish her.
TS2 - Chapter 174 - Gahrona's Rebuke 2018-07-27T15:01:00+00:00

During the next few days, Leguna could feel the already prosperous Melindor get even more busy. All sorts of mercenaries, adventurers, and even Stokians made their way to the capital in droves.

The champions of the tournament could get ten thousand gold coins in prize money and that was a sum that even elder mid-order magi found attractive. That caused so many people to approach Melindor like flies to fresh droppings in hopes that they would be able to gain that wealth.

Naturally, many of them didn't really think that they could rely on their own abilities to get first place. So, those who thought themselves intelligent did some things here and there. Some tried to become bet takers, some ostracized their opponents and some even tried to make the stronger enemies disappear before the tournament.

WIthin three short days, tens of attempted murders attempts sprouted in Melindor, with seven people ending up dead. Most of the victims were rather reputable people on Chino and they were killed because they were considered to have a high chance to become the champion. There was a possibility that some were killed off by those who held grudges against them.

All in all, the constabulary was fraught with matters faced with the chaotic situation, which also incurred the wrath of Emperor Larwin. In the end, the chubby king got the city guard to help maintain security of Melindor. Faced with military suppression, those who took it a step too far toned it down a bit.

{Why don't you seem anxious at all even though you're participating? Look at Kurdak and Vera. They're been training nonstop the past two days,} said Gahrona.

{Ah, well, I wasn't planning to get first place anyway. I came here only to look for ANnie. It doesn't matter to me whether I win,} replied Leguna lazily. Perhaps because he still felt rather troubled from missing Annelotte, even Eirinn and Innilis could tell that he didn't have much drive to fight.

{What kind of attitude is this?} Gahrona complained, {You're my disciple you know.}

{But there will be a large audience watching the tournament. I can't be exposing my gifts before so many eyes, right?} Leguna said as he rolled his eyes, {Without Host of Darkness, I don't feel confident that I'll get decent results in the first place.}

With a cold smirk, Gahrona said, {So, you finally know the extent of your abilities?}

{Huh?} Leguna froze.

{You finally realized that you're nothing without Host of Darkness, right?} asked Gahrona coldly.

Leguna didn't know how to respond to that.

{If I'm not mistaken, ever since the trouble with Innie's family, you've been relying on your gifts in every single battle,} Gahrona said after seeing Leguna speechless, {Well, isn't it convenient for you to switch Host of Darkness on and raise your stratum to force your way to victory? To be honest, I don't think I've seen you fight a real battle even though I've been with you for so long.}

{I...} Leguna finally opened his mouth and said, {But, my own abilities are indeed weaker than theirs.}

{But you possess greater strength than they do!} Gahrona said with a raised voice, {I admit that your gifts are powerful, really powerful. Even with my experience, I'd rank their combined powers at top three. But I must tell you that your gifts are only your perks, nothing more. They shouldn't be your solution to everything! If you continue to rely on them in the mid order instead of continuing to polish your own innate strength, I can guarantee that you will find it hard to break through to the high order, not to mention making your way to the saint realm!}

{Is it... really that serious?} asked Leguna hesitantly.

{Hmph, even though the gifted are few in number, given the total population of you humans, there should be a handful of them across the spectrum!}

Oh, then we're not that rare after all, thought Leguna without sending it through the mental link.

{Well... do you think that number is low?} asked Gahrona.

Leguna didn't respond.

{Relative to the total number of humans, a number below a hundred is indeed small. However, do you know how many saint ranked fighters or mythical magi there are in total among you humans?} asked Gahrona.

{Around 20 or so?} guessed Leguna. Even though saint ranked fighters or mythical magi were rare, Leguna had met a number during his years of travels. There was Kreighdon, Wayerliss, Marolyt, and his own teacher, Gahrona. That caused his impression of those at the myth or saint realm to be a tad lower. Those immeasurably powerful people weren't as rare as he thought they would be.

{Hmph! 20 or so? Even though you humans reign supreme right now, I can guarantee you that there are fewer than ten that actually make it to those realms!} Gahrona said, {Now guess. How many among them are gifted?}

{I... don't know...}

{Half at most!} Gahrona said, {Gifts are only a stepping stone in your climb to power. If you don't work hard, you'll end up losing to others nevertheless. There are some people who aren't gifted but are able to rely on their own talent and unbreakable determination to reach heights far above those that many gifted can only dream to achieve! If you don't believe me, think back at my evaluations on the four saint-ranked experts we encountered.}

Leguna continued to brood on silently. He had asked Gahrona about the four saints about the extent of their abilities once when he had nothing better to do.

At that time, Gahrona said, {Well, I guess you can consider Wayerliss a rare genius. However, his ascension to the saint realm has more to do with luck and fate. If everyone had his fortune, I'm sure that saint-ranked experts will be as common as dog hair! So, I am certain that Wayerliss is the weakest of the four. As for Marolyt, even though he's a rather crazy one, he does possess great power. I'm afraid that I'll be on the weaker end if I were to fight him even if both of us use our gifts. But if you let me catch him by surprise, I am certain that the old crazy wouldn't know what hit him a hundred out of a hundred times! As for Kreighdon... Even I, Gahrona, must admit that he is a rare miracle produced by us orcs. I definitely wouldn't be his opponent in head-to-head combat and even if I take the jump on him, I'm only half confident that I'll be able to heavily wound him. I don't think it's even possible to kill him through ambushing. Kreighdon is indeed fit to bear the title of Wargod.}

Gahrona's rating of the saints from strong to weak were as follows: Kreighdon, Gahrona herself, Marolyt and Wayerliss. The weakest one, Wayerliss, didn't have any gifts. The same went for the strongest, Kreighdon!

{To reiterate, while gifts are powerful, they are only perks. If you think you can rule the world with only your perks, I can tell you to dream on right now! And, don't forget...} Gahrona said solemnly, {Don't ever forget the side effect of Host of Darkness. It's even started affecting your psyche.}

Leguna felt a chill down his spine as he thought back at his weird behavior over the past few days.

Ever since the matter with the female tavern owner, Leguna had talked it over with Gahrona and decided that he wouldn't use a bit of Host of Darkness's power in the next few days. It was soon apparent that his aberrant behavior was indeed related to Host of Darkness. During the time he didn't utilize its power, he felt and behaved normally and was no longer in that bloodthirsty, trigger-happy state.

That gladdened and disappointed Leguna at the same time. He was happy because he finally pinpointed the cause to his abnormal behavior, but sad that it was actually his largest support: Host of Darkness!

{So, Ley,} Gahrona said with a calmer tone, {As your teacher, I hope that you will no longer have a wrong impression on this. Strong as gifts are, you are not to rely on them completely. Otherwise, you're the one who will lose out in the end.}

{You're right, Teacher,} Leguna said with a sigh, {I think that I've been relying on my gifts a little too much lately.}

{Well, that's hardly your fault since your past few enemies are truly much more powerful than you are. Even I must admit that you wouldn't be able to overcome those obstacles without using the gifts,} said Gahrona. She had spent the past few months with Leguna, so she knew what he had went through. It was indeed a little harsh for a kid below the age of 20 like him to have so many near-death experiences within such a short period of time.

That youth's fate had been set to be fraught with hardship ever since his birth. It was something unchangeable. Since fate couldn't be changed, Gahrona would endeavor to change Leguna. She didn't count on that kid to be able to change his fate with his own abilities as that was truly something too difficult to achieve.

Despite that, she hoped that Leguna could at least shout and express his rage and frustration before his fate came. That was what she had wanted for herself, but she wasn't able to achieve it in the end. Now, she only hoped that Leguna wouldn't retrace her footsteps.

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User #8826333 - 31 Jul 18 18:20
>look for ANnie
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User #8826333 - 31 Jul 18 18:19
> WIthin three short days,
TRL - Chapter 492 - Heavy Military Reorganization 2018-07-26T15:01:00+00:00
"The analogy of the 'chain of command' is completely wrong. A proper command structure is set up not as a chain, but as a net. When a strand in a net breaks, the strands running perpendicular to it keep it from unravelling while the strands running parallel to it take up the slack. The chain breaks the moment any single link fails. The net is as strong as the sum of its strands, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link." ~ Norton Basil, military theorist and historian

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lorist decided to reorganize his military yet again. He'd learned his lesson from the rebellion. This time he'd completely separate the military and administrative branches of the house. The only forces that had been separate from the administration thus far were the three legions and the Northsea fleet which could and would only move by Lorist's command. The rest of the house's forces, the sentry legions, the constabularies, and the other guard forces not associated with a legion, could be commanded by any household official of appropriate rank. Technically even Spiel, who was as far removed from a military commander as could be, could order any of the forces to do anything.

This was, as far as institutional structure was concerned, why the rebels could so quickly and so easily take over the forces within the Northlands. Take the local sentry legion, for example. It recruited almost exclusively from the house's captives. Since the legion worked almost more as a general labour force than a military unit per se, it was only natural for it to be closely entangled with the local administrations. It was neither uncommon, nor untoward for the legion to dispatch units to help administrative officials.

Hansk had asked for help with suppressing the mountain barbarian revolt during his final months as a legitimate household official, and Spiel had also asked for help on occasion with transporting spoils of war. Even Charade had, at times, mobilized the Ragebear Knights.

Lorist's plan now was to have dedicated and independent bureaucracies to deal with his military and administration. The department that was to handle the military would deal with everything related to it, from logistics to recruitment to compensation and deployment. Officials could only be part of one of the two bureaus and only officials from the military bureau could command forces.

Lorist's biggest issue was what to call these two new institutions. Maybe he could call it the military department, or perhaps the bureau of military administration? The People's Liberation Army? Or maybe the Self Defence Force? No, they all sounded to cringey. A severe headache pending, he decided to put the naming aside for now.

Lorist didn't have an issue finding people to head this new institution. Potterfang and Malek were the two most obvious choices. Putting either in charge of the institution was really no different from making them his knight commander. They would be answerable only to him and had authority over everyone else in the institution.

Charade had been Chief knight for over a decade now, but everyone knew he was not the most suited for the title. Charade's strength lay in his administrative capabilities to begin with. He was the only one to have not made a breakthrough in the last seven years and was the weakest of his peers in his rank. His father-in-law, being a blademaster, was not very happy this abysmal state of affairs.

If the position only needed combat ability, then Loze would be the obvious choice. His nickname, 'Fiercetiger', was indeed very apt. He stood above all the other knights -- whether it be as a general or a warrior. His approach to combat was simple, almost thuggish, he kept attacking like a crazed madman until his enemy collapsed. He was currently on the edge of becoming a blademaster and no one would be surprised if he announced a breakthrough in the next three years.

Unfortunately for Loze, the position required more than personal combat ability or general military leadership. He would no longer be the commander of a legion, but would stand at the head of a bureaucracy. He had to win people over with charm, not just brute force. In this regard, few could not best him. Loze was a proud, stubborn, and arrogant man. He didn't listen to anyone besides Lorist and a few close friends. Even Charade, as his superior, could not get him to do anything. He was the penultimate medieval warrior, fantastic at combat, to a fault, but horrible at everything else. Not only did he have a completely unlikable character, he was a drunkard and a lecher. If he was measured by any metric besides his combat ability, his uprightness as a man would be in doubt. Well, even if none of this was an issue, even if he were the perfect candidate, his recent insubordination meant he could not be trusted with overall command of the military.

Besides, Lorist did not think Loze would want the position, anyway. He was made for the battlefield, he would never be able to stomach the idea of sitting in an office thousands of kilometers away from the front line. Even if there were no battles to be fought, Lorist couldn't picture him sitting behind a desk and signing paperwork.

Potterfang one of the other options. He was the only knight able to compete with Loze in the arena. He was Loze's antithesis when it came to their combat style. If Loze was a thug, then Potterfang was a turtle. Make no mistake, he stood no chance of winning a fight against Loze, but Loze also stood no chance of winning a fight against him. While Potterfang had no strikes that could take Loze down, Loze had no strikes that could break his defence. All the fights they'd fought over the years also went the same way. Loze would attack furious and Potterfang would just defend until Loze either got exhausted or became completely furious with frustration and gave up.

The general defined the army. Tigersoar, which Loze commanded, was a ferocious beast on the battlefield. They specialized in offensive operations. Firmrock, on the other hand, under Potterfang's command, could hold any enemy force no matter how big, at bay. Tigersoar was Lorist's spear -- or, more aptly, his bludgeon -- and Firmrock was his shield.

Making Potterfang would be the obvious conclusion, and certainly the one with which the rest of the military would be most happy, if not for Malek. Lorist was of the opinion that Malek was the best candidate for the job. Lorist biggest concern with Potterfang was that he was too timid. He would likely try to play the good guy and would consequently be unable to make cold decisions. Malek, had no such inclinations.

He was the most feared night under Lorist's command. Some even questioned if he could even feel anything. He could not only make tough, impartial judgements, but he could enforce them no matter who the victim was. Even Loze could not escape him. He was also a very decisive man, and unwavering loyal to Lorist, almost to a fault. As far as Lorist was concerned, there just was no competition. The only issue was that Malek didn't have the greatest reputation, which wasn't surprising. Not many could like the stoic. He had few friends, and they were mostly officials of similar rank with whom he'd served for years.

Lorist would face stiff resistance if he tried to appoint him to the office. In the end he decided to compromise. He'd appoint both Potterfang and Malek to the position. Potterfang would be the head of whatever the military ended up being called, and Malek would be his second-in-command. Potterfang would be the military's face, whilst Malek would be the one doing all the actual work.

Besides preserving the military's integrity, Lorist also wanted to separate his government to bring down its overhead. The near constant war since his ascension had forced him to build a massive military, but now that the house was in a stable position and unlikely to expand in the near future, it could not afford to maintain such an extravagant force, much less justify the expense. Lorist could not afford to spend two thirds of his annual income on the military.

Hansk's rebellion was a painful wake-up call. The five sentry legions stood at 200 thousand men and manned his lands' defenses. They were reserve forces for all intents and purposes, they never saw combat, nor would they ever unless the house was put in a dire position. Certainly they didn't need to enjoy the same benefits as his front-line troops? In the past he had used these reserves as a way to quickly absorb the immigrants, but now that he would not see large force migrations for some time, he had no need of this bloated setup.

And Hansk's rebellion showed him how unreliable the setup was, anyway. The men in the reserves served there out of a pragmatic understanding of their need for money, not out of any sense of loyalty to him. Then again, this should be obvious, would Lorist serve a lord that had just ripped him and his family away from his ancestral homeland, marched them across the continent and told him that he now had to live here and serve him and that he didn't have a choice in the matter, loyally? Of course not. If the Auguslo had done this to him, he would have sworn on his ancestors and honour as a man that he would one day kill him. At the very least he would have no qualms joining a rebellion or in some other way betraying the man.

Since the reserve were only doing the job for the money, and had no sense of loyalty to him, they followed orders without questioning whether they were appropriate or not or whether they came from the right people. As long as their pay would be handed over as always, they didn't care. In that case there was no need to pay them any more than was necessary.

Lorist wrote down the names of the forces he considered part of the active military. 'Firmrock', 'Tigersoar', 'Jaeger', 'Northsea', 'Ragebear', and 'artillery brigade' were on the list. The rest were at best reserves. He decided to form a single legion out of the five current sentry legions which would join the others as active forces. The men not put in this new legion would be transferred to the local towns guard.

Each of the legions would be 48 thousand strong; Northsea was 12 thousand strong; and Ragebear 15 thousand strong. Lorist's personal guard had three thousand members, and the artillery had another three thousand. With this the military would stand at only 220 thousand. Until now no legion had less than 60 thousand men, but there was no need for such a bloated military. Years of experience had taught him why no legion was bigger than 50 thousand.

Most militaries actually only had 10 to 12 thousand men in a division. A few divisions would be groups together into a legion, which was what a general commanded. While his legions had 60 thousand men, his generals would only ever deploy about 40 thousand at a time, no more than a standard foreign legion. The rest stood in reserve. He had a force which looked impressive, but was no bigger than a small legion in effective size on the battlefield.

What, then, was the point to the extra 15 to 20 thousand troops? They were an extra expense that clearly had no effect on the actual combat strength of the legion in any given engagement. They were only a further financial, logistical, and command burden which slowed the legions down and meant that they couldn't respond as rapidly and effectively as their enemies. It wasn't, then, just about having the bigger force, but having a force of the right size that is used effectively.

Lorist cut one division out of each legion. The new legions were no different in size from other kingdom's legions. He could do this so easily now because none of the legions were at full strength after their last campaign. Had they been fully staffed, he would be trouble with what to do with the troops he removed, but, as things stood now, even with the cuts the legions would likely still need to recruit men to fill in their shortages.

With this matter dealt with, Lorist moved on to appointing new officers. Potterfang would stay in command of Firmrock; while he was the entire institution's head in name, it wouldn't add anything to his workload, so he could stay on as a field commander. Malek had an actual job to do, so his old position needed filling. Lorist put Belnick's name in the spot. It would be a demotion from general to legion sergeant-major and put him in a position that would see combat if they got involved in another war.

The commanders of Firmrock's third and fourth divisions were old schoolmates of Lorist, Wilson and Sybra. Wilson had asked for a leave of absence to focus on his training so he could break through to the gold rank. Lorist transferred the third sentry legion's general over to fill his command. It was technically both a demotion and not. While his rank dropped from general to colonel, he was also being moved from a reserve legion to an active force, so it balanced out. And, since his legion was going to be scrapped anyway, he couldn't really complain since this was the only way he could keep his job. Lorist decided to give him a fief, just to be on the safe side.

Tigersoar was the legion that would sea the smallest shuffle. Loze, Messen, Dulles and Eid Modrak all remained in their positions as commanders of the first through fourth divisions in order.

Jaeger would see the biggest changes in leadership, Colonel Freiyar, currently commander of the legion's fourth division, would be promoted to general and put in command of the entire legion. Josk would take his place as commander of the fourth division with a corresponding demotion to colonel for his disobedience. Loze and his legion were justified in returning to the frontline since they were responsible for moving the migrants and had to go back for the rest, but Josk had no reason, and no permission, to move. Lorist was already being very soft by demoting him just one rank. He could have stripped him of all command authority entirely if he wanted.

Besides being general of the army, Freiyar also took over command of the first division, Yuriy, Josk, and Waxima had command of the second through fourth divisions. However, Waxima had also submitted a request for a leave of absence for training. Rather than fill his spot himself, Lorist decided to leave it to them to decide.

The men and commanders from the now defunct sentry legions that weren't moved into the active units, were moved out of the military entirely and put into what was effectively civil law enforcement. They either fill in for the positions cleared in the constabulary by the rebellion, or joined town guards and other garrison forces. Lorist promoted Els to general and put him in command of the sole sentry legion, which he planned to make an all-rounder. Els would also command the legion's first division. Ovidis had command of the second division, Pajik would be put in command of the third, and the fourth would be filled at some point in the future. With the current leadership setup each legion had three gold-ranked knights in its senior most positions, so they wouldn't lose out to any enemy force.

Senbaud would stay on as Admiral and have command of Northsea and Terman stayed with Ragebear. Ragebear's function and position in the command structure was changed, however. They were no longer just a knight brigade, instead they were made effectively the military police and put under the direct command of whatever the institution would be named in the future. They would answer to Malek and Potterfang only, and to Potterfang only in his capacity as the institution's head, not as general of his legion.

Reidy stayed on as the captain of Lorist's personal guard, with the rank of major. As Sergeant-major Park had taken a leave of absence to focus on training for a year now, he was fortunate enough to not be embroiled in the rebellion. He had now successfully broke through and would return to his post at the end of the year. Howard was given command of the artillery brigade and was promoted to major. Sergeant-major Jim wanted to take a leave of absence once he recovered to focus on training as well.

As the sun grew lazy in the sky, Lorist finally finished the plans. Jinolio knocked on the door as Lorist stretched.

"Baron Kriston requests an audience."

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Comments (6)
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User #7166193 - 26 Jul 18 16:31
I think the chapter number is wrong...
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User #9176288 - 26 Jul 18 19:17
It's only off by 3... hundred
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User #12481534 - 1 Aug 18 15:58
What happened to his son's mother?
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TalesofLord - 2 Aug 18 05:04
Her fate is discussed in a few chapters, just sit tight for now.
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User #8378950 - 28 Jul 18 20:10
when is the independence war going to happen
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User #8826333 - 28 Jul 18 20:43
>He was the most feared night
TS2 - Chapter 173 - Registration 2018-07-26T15:01:00+00:00

Unlike Lance, the humans of Chino occupy 80 percent of the land on the continent. Most of the continent's land was also fertile and scenic. If humans were the main race on Lance, they were the rulers of Chino.

The humans formed two large powers on Chino, namely, Hocke and Stok. However, only one empire, Stok, existed on the continent a century ago. It was colloquially known as the southern empire and its power spanned almost a whole continent.

Stok had existed for almost a millennium since its formation. The imperial capital used to be known as the city of Sorn, but with the passing of time, people began to forget that name. The reason for that was that the Stokians began to call their city with a more impressive name: Millennium Capital.

Millennium Capital was situated at the south of Chino and it was where the empire was governed. The culture of the northern and southern ends of Chino also differed quite a bit. Perhaps because they were affected by the highland barbarians at the far north, the northern Chinoans held martial power really highly. Even though it wasn't to the point that every single family trained in combat, the status of impetus-using warriors in the north wasn't that much lower than a magus of similar rank.

But the southerners didn't think the same. The way they saw it, those crude muscle heads were lowly creatures. What they worshipped was the arcane and powerful art of magecraft. They considered the path of a warrior to be one undertaken only by those without brains or talent.

As a result, not only did they look down on warriors, they also didn't hold the strength-mongering northerners in a good light. The southerners saw the northerners as magi saw warriors: brutish, stubborn, brainless, weak and useless.

Thanks to the cultural differences and the pressure from the Stokian administration, the conflict between the northerners and southerners gradually intensified and they began to fought over the course of centuries. It was only until a few decades ago that one northern duke raised the banner of rebellion and declared himself free of Stokian control.

His name was Hector Hocke, father of the current emperor, Larwin, and founding emperor of the empire. He led the northerners on their fight against the Stokian forces that attempted to quell the rebellion and declared the founding of his own empire, making Melindor its capital in the process, ushering in a new dynasty of rulers from the family of Hocke. The insignia of the Hocke family was a golden eagle that spread its wings wide.

Five years after the founding of the empire, Hector passed away and his only son, Larwin, who was only 26 back in the day, ascended to the throne. He inherited his father's intelligent and bold personality and quickly stabilized the chaos that broke out in his empire from the death of his father. After that, he responded fiercely to the probe attacks carried out by Stok.

Larwin spent nearly two years to stabilize the internal situation of the empire and after he consolidated military power, Hocke fell completely into Larwin's hands.

In the following years, Larwin didn't allow the empire to expand. Instead, he expressed sincere and friendly attitudes towards the barbarians up north and the continent of Lance. The chubby, middle-aged emperor knew how weak the newly founded empire truly was and knew that he had to prepare a relatively safe environment for the sustenance and development for the empire.

So, Larwin didn't undertake any huge moves in his dozen years of ruling. But with the gradual development of the economy, the subjects of the empire could tell that their standard of living was improving and that made them appreciate their chubby king even more.

Seeing Hocke getting more prosperous by the day, the Stokians in the south could no longer sit quietly. They had instigated conflict here and there along the borders of Hocke in an attempt to widen their territory and that ended up launching a full-out war.

"So that's the case..." said Vera after she finished listening to Leguna's narration.

They had decided that they would register for the tournament on the following day. Even though there was no doubt many would be tempted to try their hand at winning the alluring prize, the three of them were still shocked at the huge line stretching all the way outside the registration building.

Fortunately, it was already autumn and Melindor wasn't too hot given that it was located nearer to the north. Otherwise, the heat-fearing Kurdak would no doubt bail on them.

The three of them chatted as they queued up for their turn, so Vera eventually had Leguna tell them about some basic knowledge about the two empires. He obliged since he had nothing better to do anyway.

Those things were what he heard from the old guy that raised him. Even though Leguna was young back then, he was more mature than those of his age given the environment in which he grew up. So, he was able to more or less absorbed what the old guy told him.

What was surprising was how Kurdak also had some understanding about Chino's history. He would correct some errors here and there throughout Leguna's lecture.

"Boss, have you stayed here before?" asked Leguna curiously.

Kurdak only smiled and said, "Alright, it's almost our turn to register."

Leguna turned back only to see a sweet, beautiful girl at the booth. Even though she had been working for a long time already, she still wore a warm smile on her face and she called for the next applicant in a practiced tone.

"Good day, youngster," said the girl with a smile. For some reason, Leguna didn't want to show his real appearance on that day, so he gave himself a disguise like usual.

He only changed his appearance slightly without changing how old he appeared too much. He still looked like a man in his teens, only emphasizing some of the masculine traits of his face and dampening his fairness.

"Good day, beautiful lady," said Leguna with a smile.

"Your name?" The girl didn't seem inclined to talk much and started her work promptly after the greeting.

"Ley," said Leguna plainly. Since he didn't want to show his face, it went without saying that he should use an alias.

"Age?"

"Eighteen," replied Leguna. He didn't really bother to lie about something as trivial as that.

"Oh, you do look more mature than your age suggests," said the girl with a smile after guessing that the youth before her lied about his age.

However, that didn't really matter. The age restriction wasn't absolute after all. Would anyone be denied participation just because they were one or two years above the limit? That would be far too strict. Naturally, that didn't mean that any white-haired old man could join the low-order segment. Even the audience would no doubt pick up on that glaring fault.

So the receptionists wouldn't question further as long as the rough age wasn't an issue. However, if one made bold claims about their age, they would have to be tested by a magus.

"I am indeed older than I look," said Leguna with a smile.

"Then, are you going to take part in the low-order segment?" asked the girl as she prepared to fill the details in. She trained a bit herself and she could tell that the youth before her didn't emit that strong an aura. He should be around the seventh or eighth stratum, so the girl estimated it to be around the peak of the seventh stratum instead of the eighth.

While the mid-order segment was open to participants from the eighth to 14th strata, no idiot on the eighth stratum would actually dream of joining. While it was still considered to be the within the mid order, whether they could perform during the tournament was another story. Should one in the eighth stratum encounter someone in the 14th, they would be separated by six levels in total! That kind of power discrepancy wasn't something that skill could make up. Even the fiercest and largest rabbit wouldn't be able to defeat a weak lion.

So, most participants in the tournament fell into two categories. The weak one had people from the fifth to seven stratum joining the low-order segment while the stronger ones were around the 11th to 14th stratum to join the mid-order segment.

The girl thought that Leguna belonged in the former, but she still asked nevertheless to make sure. There was no saying when she'll meet a rare exception after all.

And that very thing happened.

"No, I'm joining the mir-order segment," said Leguna plainly.

"Huh?" The girl thought she misheard.

"That's right, the mid-order segment," repeated he.

"But..." the girl said after some hesitation, "Please forgive me, but you need to be in the eighth stratum at the very least to participate in the mid-order segment. You..."

"Feel free to get someone to evaluate me," said Leguna. He wasn't intent on revealing anything. Being able to achieve the 14th stratum at the age of 18 was a feat that was bound to draw attention to him. As he didn't want that to happen, he retracted his aura and made it seem like he was barely on the eighth stratum.

"Eighth-stratum impetus! You qualify to join the mid-order segment," announced a middle-aged appraiser. There were some people who had a good ability to sense impetus even though they were of average strength themselves. That middle-aged man was one such person.

"Are you sure you want to join this segment?" asked the girl once more.

"Thank you for your concern," Leguna said with a smile, "I'm certain."

"Okay." Since the applicant himself had already confirmed it, a receptionist like herself wouldn't go out of her way to stop it. She asked Leguna for some other details and quickly filled the form before she said, "Please pay the registration fee."

Leguna then took a gold coin from his pouch and handed it to the girl. The registration fee was there to deter weaklings from trying their luck at the tournament. It cost around ten silvers to join the low-order segment and one gold to register for the mid-order segment.

That was a sum not too low nor too high, just right to dispel those weak dreamers that wanted to chance a victory.

"Thank you. The first match will take place in another eleven days. Please prepare well during the wait," said the girl as she nodded.

"Alright, thanks." Leguna stepped back and waited for his other two comrades as they registered themselves.

Kurdak and Vera's registration went without a hitch. Even though they were considered to be rather young to take part in the mid-order segment, they appeared far more normal than an oddity like Leguna.

It was worth noting that the girl suspected Kurdak when he said that he was only 24. After his stubborn insistence, the girl had no choice and wrote down 30 helplessly.

"Hey! That's six years about how old I really am!" Kurdak almost jumped from the anger within him.

"Forgive me, Sir, I believe that 30 is ten years younger than how you look," replied the girl with a smile.

He only left while complaining nonstop after being persuaded by Leguna and Vera, who were struggling to stifle their laughter.

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User #8826333 - 28 Jul 18 21:39
>I'm joining the mir-order segment mid
TS2 - Chapter 172 - Tournament 2018-07-25T15:00:02+00:00

"Someone from the constabulary... Oh, their uniforms look much better than before," whispered Leguna to Kurdak and Vera. Even though their uniforms have changed, Leguna could still recognize the badge on the man's chest at first glance. It was quite obvious that he was from the Melindor constabulary.

"What do we do?" asked Vera. It was her first time in Chino and she wasn't too familiar with the various laws and regulations of the Empire of Hocke. She knew that it was best to rely on Leguna during times like these.

"Let me deal with it," said Leguna softly as he looked up to the middle-aged man with a smile. "Sir, you should be from the constabulary, right?"

"Sir's a bit of an overstatement. I'm just a simple patrol constable," the middle-aged man replied with a calm tone without much arrogance, "The three of you are not locals, right?"

"Oh? Why would you say so?" asked Leguna.

"Lately, quite a number of foreigners have come to take part in the tournament. I guessed that you were rather powerful warriors from how you carry yourself, hence my guess," said the patrol constable with a laugh, before his tone cooled down once more. "However, why are you over here and even got into trouble with those of Galestorm Mansion?"

"Please understand that we're definitely not here to cause any trouble," Leguna said with a sincere bow, "I was here to look for someone, but maybe I acted a little too rashly just now because I was in too much of a rush. I'm sure those of Galestorm Mansion can explain it on my behalf. I hope you investigate this matter more deeply before coming to a conclusion."

As Leguna said so, he approached the unmoving constable and stuffed a gold coin into his hand.

The constable was quite surprised at having been given a gold coin. He could tell that the three of them were more powerful than the average troupe and he had never thought of causing them much trouble in the first place. He couldn't help but reveal a smile after how generous that youth had acted.

"Since it's only a misunderstanding, I won't press the matter." The constable squeezed the coin in his hand before putting it back into his pocket.

"Thank you, Sir," said Leguna enthusiastically with emphasis on the title. However, that wasn't without reason. He continued to ask, "Oh, I wonder if I can ask you something, Sir?"

"Oh? What do you want to know?" The constable was much softer on the three after receiving some money.

"I'm rather interested in this tournament you mentioned. Could you explain it to me in detail?"

"Naturally," said the constable with a nod before he spent the next five minutes explaining to the three what the tournament was about.

The two empires, Hocke and Stok, were already at war. It went without saying that the situation at the southern battlefield wasn't hopeful. When the battle first broke out, the forces of Hocke advanced unobstructed and used to possess the most advantage on the battlefield. They were even able to push the fight all the way into the territory of Stok somewhere near the northern provinces of the enemy empire.

But in the recent year, Stok launched their counterattack and quickly demolished the assault front of Hocke. Not only did Stok reclaim its lost territories, it also began its advance and had fought all the way to somewhere not distant from the borders of Hocke.

The subsequent losses caused the Hockean soldiers' morale to tank and that caused the vibe among the empire's subjects to worsen. If that was allowed to continue, the higher-ups were worried that the situation would only continue to deteriorate to the point of no salvation.

That was why Emperor Larwin decided to host a tournament within the empire. First, they would be able to put the forces of the empire on display during the tournament to spread the might and reputation of the empire. He could also recruit some talented fighters to alter the situation of the battlefield.

The tournament would be split into two segments, the low-order and mid-order levels respectively. Individuals from the first to seventh strata could sign up for the low-order segment while those from the eighth to 14th strata could join the mid-order segment. As for the high orders, there was probably less than a hundred high-order warriors in the empire. High-order magi were even rarer. Given how valued a resource high-order individuals were, they would've long been hired by the empire already, so there wasn't a need for that segment in the tournament.

Apart from some adventurers that weren't affiliated with any other power that would participate in the tournament, Hocke also got some people from their army, garrison, court magi and palace guard to participate in it.

Not only that, there was an age restriction to the tournament. Those participating in the low-order segment had to be below 20 years of age while those participating in the mid-order segment couldn't be older than 50.

It was quite obvious why the empire had that restriction. The low-order segment was for picking out talented youths, so they made sure that the restriction was as low as possible. If someone in their forties was still in the low order, that meant that they probably didn't stand a chance to advance beyond that point. Low orders weren't only as good as they went.

The mid order on the other hand was different. Practically speaking, the stronger mid-order individuals could be considered elite fighters in this world. As long as they weren't too old, they were still useful in the eyes of the empire. That was why the age limitation for the mid-order segment was set at 50, giving many a chance to show off their abilities.

After hearing about it, Leguna made some estimations, thanked the constable and left with Kurdak and the rest.

......

"What are you planning to do next?" Kurdak asked when they returned to the inn, "Are you still going to look for Annie?"

Leguna gave it some thought and said, "Naturally."

"Then that means you'll be participating in the tournament, right?" Kurdak guessed Leguna's intentions right away.

"That's right," said Leguna with a nod. The tournament would be held half a month later, so it was still not too late to sign up even though the decision was a little rushed. He had no choice but to join the tournament to see Annelotte again. Even though there were quite a number of servants at Marolyt's residence, it seemed that they didn't know Annelotte's whereabouts either. Leguna couldn't count on waiting there for her to show up too. The only option available to him was t3o try his luck in the tournament.

Leguna was certain that given Annelotte's abilities, she would definitely put up an amazing performance during the tournament, so looking for her shouldn't be an issue if he joined it.

Kurdak cracked a smile and shot Vera a glance, before he said, "Alright then. We'll join with you."

"Huh?" Leguna was speechless.

Kurdak shrugged. "It's not often we get to do something like this anyway. Since Vera and I have nothing better to do for now, we might as well get some exercise over there. I heard that the prize money is rather attractive. Everyone in the top 32 will be given one gold coin."

"Sis Vera, you think so too?" asked Leguna as he turned to her.

Vera stretched lazily, showing off her alluring curves, Smiling, she said, "That's right. This ol' gal here hasn't had any action lately. I've been bored to no end."

"Alright. Then let's go sign up this afternoon!" decided Leguna.

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User #8826333 - 27 Jul 18 15:56
I honestly shouldn't be surprised there is a tournament arc...
TRL - Chapter 491 - Human Resources 2018-07-25T15:01:01+00:00

Lorist didn't attend the execution. He shut himself in his study, turning away all audience requests. Charade and the other officials understood how he felt and made sure not to bother him. Sylvia couldn't hold back any longer and went to visit him that evening. She found him sitting in his chair, facing the window, watching the moon quietly as tears rolled down his face. This was the largest single-event execution the house had ever carried out. They hanged and beheaded 349 people in one go. Lysecott, the king-endorsed heir, was also hung from the gallows. Thousands more were exiled from Lorist's demesne.

Unsurprisingly, it sent waves across the entire kingdom. Outsiders considered it excessive for a bloodless revolt put down without incident. The rebels neither killed nor tortured anyone. Lorist looked like the tyrant by contrast. Especially on the matter of his son. Lysecott may be a legitimized bastard, but he was still the duke's son. His crimes were made public, but they were nothing untoward for nobles. No one in the nobility considered it something worth an execution. Even the strictest of nobles usually only demanded an apology and some form of compensation. Lorist had reacted way to excessively.

The other thing that brought up big discussions, was the fact that, under false impressions or not, the boy had the king's endorsement -- sealed decree and all. How it was obtained was irrelevant. Custom and norms dictated that Lorist accept it, or at the very least find a way of dealing with his son that wasn't a clear disregard of the royal decree. Instead, the duke just hanged his son. He acted like the decree didn't exist. His status as the country's only swordsaint protected him from public criticism, however.

Only the duke's inner circle knew the reason for his fury. Hansk's rebellion destroyed years of his hard work, especially where his cannons were concerned. Only the few that had seen them in action knew how much of a setback this was. The rebel had indeed sought his own death. When Kedan brought him his last meal, the old man cursed his lord for being blind to his loyalty and ignoring his advice. He cursed the house a fall from grace and a descent into ruin, proclaiming that he would laugh at the fools from beyond the grave.

Kedan watched on silently. He didn't speak until the old man was done with his food.

"Hansk, you've been blinded by power. Your talents weren't enough. I understand what you want. You want to be the next Gleis and control almost everything in the house. You would have been, too, if the house was still just a backwater barony, but it's not. His Grace has a full provinces and the equivalent of a second as his demesne, and two more under his jurisdiction.

"Lord Norton is the one that led us to the glory we have today. You just had to follow him obediently and serve him loyally. You're delusional if you think you can compare to Gleis. It's too bad your delusion is now your end. Why do you still pretend like this is out of loyalty?"

Kedan left as Hansk slumped. The man knew Kedan was right. Gleis had been in charge of everything, baron in all but name, until Lorist returned. Lorist's father couldn't be bothered with the small things so he left everything to Gleis. All he did was hunt magical beasts and barbarians. Hansk wanted to be the same for Lorist. He wanted the kid to go off hunting beasts and barbarians and leave him in command of everything. Had the new lord been anyone but Lorist, this would have been the case, but Lorist was different.

Hansk could not compare to any of the new officials, the only reason he and the rest of the old guard hadn't been forsaken already was because Lorist didn't want to step on Gleis' wishes. In his resentment he didn't work hard and even split the house between factions. He had undone the trust Lorist had in him himself. Lorist didn't give him special treatment, despite technically being the most senior servant, he was passed over for promotion and it took him years more to be enfeoffed than the newcomers. Rather than get his act together, he blamed everything on Lorist and the greenhorns and even started openly disobeying and lecturing his lord.

Some things could be tolerated, but this disrespect was not one. He had brought about his own downfall. If only he'd obediently reflected for a few years in his fief, but, instead, he returned to the bastide and fanned the flames of insurrection in his lord's son.

He'd dreamt of splitting the house's ancestral homelands off from the greater dominion and governing it under Lysecott, but dreams were far-fetched and reality cruel. His forces surrendered without even complaining when Lorist returned. They'd let the core of their plan, Lysecott, be captured. If they had kept him out of Lorist's reach, then even if the rebellion failed, they could still return with the heir and the decree when the house was weak and push their claim. But with him captured, there was no way out. They were tried for treason, heir included, and were now going to be executed.

His greatest mistake was underestimating how much control Lorist had over his lands. He now understood that the rebellion was only allowed to happen so Lorist had an excuse to get rid of him and everyone in his faction.

Three days after the execution, Baron Kriston rushed to Lorist's study. Lorist was back to normal, save the gloom in his forehead. He held a scroll containing Kriston's personal information.

"Please have a seat, Kriston. You have done well for several years now as security chief. You've formed multiple constabularies and organized the drafting of laws and regulations, with appropriate punishment for crimes. You've even been given a fief."

Kriston rose the moment his toosh touched the cushion and bowed.

"I'm only doing my duty. I do not deserve your praise."

"I'll get straight to the point. I summoned you because I have a new job for you. Furybear, my intelligence service, is being broken up into two smaller departments. Each will focus on a particular domain of security, one internal, the other external. The former I'll call the Department of Internal Affairs. It will be in charge of counter espionage, counter insurgency and maintain a stable, peaceful internal environment. Howard recommended you for the position of Head of Department. Any thoughts?"

Kriston's mouth dropped. He paid great attention to detail, and was aware of the two's relationship. So this was why the lord had sent a messenger directly to his castle to summon him.

"I am willing to serve you unreservedly, You Grace. I give you my word."

"Very well. I am happy you're up to the task. You have three days. Have Tarkel give you a crash course. I expect a report on my desk by sundown on the third day with your thoughts on how to structure the department and a complete preliminary budget."

"As you will, Your Grace."

Belnick entered the room shortly after Kriston left. The old white-haired man shuffled in and knelt as soon as he was through the doorway.

"This whole debacle is my fault, Your Grace. I beg for your punishment."

Lorist hurriedly pulled back on his feet and consoled him. The man had only been captured because he had been too trusting. Belnick was one of the house's oldest and longest-serving gold-ranked knights. His greatest claim to fame was facing a bear to save Lorist's younger brother when he was just a three-star silver rank. His efforts, unfortunately, were for naught. The young lord died soon after of the wounds from his fall from his horse. The fight injured him severely and a plot by the denizens of Wildnorth to poison him saw him bedridden for three years.

He only learned what was going on when Lorist informed him. Not only had his lord saved his life, he'd even given him the manual that let him finally break through into the gold rank. His loyalty was above reproach, which was why he was given command of a legion and stationed in the house's home territory.

His origin was his downfall during the rebellion. Being from the bastide as well, he didn't want to offend Hansk, so he went to the bastide at the latter's invitation and was captured. He would have been executed if Hansk did not believe he would eventually come round and join his side. Belnick could not contain his shame at being poisoned twice in his life.

Though Lorist spent lots of effort on consoling him, he wouldn't accept it. He had to be held accountable for his failures. Frustrated, Lorist relieved him of his command and fined him two years' bonus and salary. He transferred him to the three main legions. Belnick was only willing to leave after he heard he had a chance to go to the battlefield.

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Comments (3)
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User #8378950 - 27 Jul 18 16:35
time to create the Norton kingdom
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User #8359735 - 25 Jul 18 18:27
Finally the rebellion against that stupid King will start soon
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User #12481534 - 1 Aug 18 03:12
Will the Augusto will take the opportunity to attack the lorist? I don't think lorist will rebel.
TS2 - Chapter 171 - Return to Melindor 2018-07-24T15:01:00+00:00

Leguna and the rest arrived at Melindor a few days later.

"Three years ago, I left here in a pathetic state. But now, I'm back again! And from today onwards, nobody shall boss me around!" Leguna couldn't help himself from making that oath given his good mood.

"Hey, Ley! Come and pay the coachman, quick! We must pay our bills!" cried Kurdak,

"Ley! Come take Innie and Eirinn's luggage for them! They don't have much strength! Why aren't you the slightest bit aware about these matters despite having traveled with me for so long?" rebuked Vera.

"Big Bro Leguna, I'm hungry. Let's get something to eat quick!" beckoned Innilis.

"Thank you, Big Brother." Eirinn was the only one who spoke to him with some reservation.

The good vibe Leguna felt had been dissipated just like that. He and Kurdak were the ones who had to carry the luggage throughout the journey. Given that Kurdak was Leguna's 'big brother', Leguna was the one who had to suffer the most over the course of their travels. In other words, his status in the party was not so different from that of a slave.

Before he realized, he had become the one with the lowest status in the party. This ranking system didn't have anything to do with strength, and it was as follows:

Ranked at the top was Vera Trikel. It had to be said that one's personality decided one's fate. Vera's bossiness and overbearingness was something everyone had experienced before. Even though she had moments when she was gentle and obedient, she was a tigress most of the time. That manifested in the form of a phenomena in the party. When Vera said 'west', nobody dared say 'east'. When Vera asked them to eat, not one of them dared to drink. Her power was large and unchallenged by any one of them there.

Fortunately, that woman didn't give orders often and cared much for her two subordinates. Strictly speaking, she even won their hearts. So, Vera's position was practically unshakable.

The one occupying the second rank was Innilis Leit. Even though that little girl was the youngest of the troupe, even Vera had to admit that Innilis was the smartest and best at learning among the three women. Compared to Vera, Innilis was more obedient. However, she was a little more forceful when compared to Eirinn. A perfect fusion of gentleness and forcefulness, Innilis gained a huge advantage over the others. The two laborers, Kurdak and Leguna, spoiled and fear her all the same. Apart from the dominating Vera, Innils's position was untouchable by anyone else.

The one bearing the third rank was Eirinn. That poor half elf girl was pure, gentle and and fearful to the point of being cowardly. But thanks to camaraderie for someone of the same gender, the two huge figures like Vera and Innilis definitely wouldn't let their poor sister be bullied by the two idiots. So, thanks to being propped up by the two bosses, Eirinn's status soared above that of the two laborers.

Ranked number four was none other than Kurdak. Even the most distinguished of men wouldn't be able to climb the ladder of hierarchy in a group mainly dominated by women. Kurdak was the perfect example of that. Though he was powerful and graced with a thorough and flexible mind, being a natural born leader, he was quite pathetic in the women-ruled group. Pathetic, laughable and pitiful was Kurdak. The only thing he could be thankful of was that he wasn't the most contemptible and pitiful one because he wasn't ranked the last.

Leguna was naturally the one who took last place. That was a rank he settled on himself. As a proud young man, he didn't really hold himself with that low regard. However, he had no choice because never in his dreams would he dare to challenge the supremacy of the three women. And even though Kurdak could no longer match up to him in a fight, he was still Leguna's boss. As a proud man, he wasn't shameless enough to contest for his boss's position. That was a principle he held. As a result, he could only bear the burden of being the lowest in the pecking order.

He acted as befitting of his position. After he negotiated the price with the coachman, he hauled Innilis and Eirinn's luggage onto his shoulders. When he was done with all that, he carried three people's worth of luggage and ran frantically into the city to order some food for the rest first.

......

"How are you going to seek Annie out later?" asked Vera as she wiped her mouth with satisfaction.

The few noticed the visible twitch of Leguna's eyes when the name 'Annie' was mentioned. It was no surprise, as most of them understood Annelotte's personality. Even though she was usually cold and indifferent and didn't seem to be bothered by anything, they were well aware how scary she could be when she was really angered.

Even the cold Annelotte was angered so badly that she left the party. It could be seen how deeply her grievances with Leguna stretched.

All they considered was whether Annelotte was still angry with Leguna. They knew it was impossible for her anger to disappear completely. The question was how less angry she was towards him and whether she would shower him with icicles the moment they meet. They were also deliberating whether they should step in to hold Annelotte back. But the mere thought of the girl's temperament sent chills down Vera, Kurdak and Innilis's back, causing them to shake their head in unison.

"I don't know either," Leguna said as he scratched his head with frustration, "I think it's best to go ask her dad first. I believe the windstorm swordsaint should know something about this."

"Mister Marolyt lives in Melindor?" wondered Kurdak. If that really were the case, he felt that he should pay him a personal visit as well. After all, that insane old man did save them twice. It was only proper for Kurdak to properly offer his gratitude.

"I'm not really sure," Leguna said, "He did live here three years ago. Had it not been for that old fellow, I would've still been digging for food in the trash. But now... Who knows where he ended up during the past few years? He has gone to Lance a couple of times in that period and it wouldn't be weird if he wasn't at Melindor right now."

"Well, it's still better if he go to check," Kurdak said after some consideration, "We'll find a place to stay first for today. After that, we'll go check it out with you. Do you remember where the house is located at?"

Leguna furrowed his brow. "I don't remember it too clearly. However, it shouldn't be hard to find. We can just ask around if need be. After all, the Galestorm Swordsaint is quite well-known in the city."

Kurdak nodded. "Alright. We'll settle on that for now."

......

It was a grand residence built in a prime location. That was a huge mansion built in the central part of the capital and there was a sign to denote its owner with the words 'Galestorm Mansion' on it.

"Whoa! I didn't think that Mister Marolyt actually stayed at such a luxurious place," exclaimed Kurdak. Even though Melindor wasn't as majestic as Starfall, it wasn't the least bit less prosperous.

As a resident of Starfall for such a long time, he knew how difficult it was to procure a residence at the center of the city, not to mention in a capital where the administration of the empire was situated. The palace was even in the vicinity.

"Ah, you just haven't been in there yet. It's a huge mess inside. I even thought that I made my way into the outskirts of the city when I was there." Leguna rolled his eyes. Even though he was there for only a few short minutes back then, the impression Marolyt's mansion left on him was rather deep.

Kurdak knocked politely on the door. Even though Marolyt was a rather nonsensical old man, he was still a swordsaint and Kurdak's benefactor. Given that was the case, even if the other party was a dog, Kurdak would still show his due respect.

The one who opened the door was a young maidservant. "Who are you looking for?"

"Good day. I wonder if this is Mister Marolyt's residence? I am his friend," said Kurdak with a gentle smile. The maidservant looked pretty good; her fair skin gave others the urge to give her a little bite on her cheek.

The maidservant didn't fail to notice Kurdak's gaze. She furrowed her brow in annoyance, but she still said, "The old master isn't here."

"Where has he gone?" asked Leguna hurriedly.

The maidservant's eyes brightened when her gaze set on Leguna. The youth's looks were considered rather fair, but the smile on his face was sinister to say the least. She shook her head and said, "I don't know. It's never easy to say where the old master is. How could servants like us know so much about him?"

"Then... then..." Leguna hurried to ask, "May I know if you've seen an incredibly beautiful girl about my age with blue hair?"

"Are you referring to Miss Annie?" The maidservant smiled. "How could I not know who Miss Annie is?"

"Where is she now?" Leguna's face brightened.

"She isn't here. She's gone to participate in the tournament. Hmph, given our mistress's talent, she'll no doubt become the champion of the mid-order segment of the tournament!" said the maidservant proudly.

"A tournament?" wondered Leguna. He recalled seeing something along those lines on the notice boards all over the city. But as he was looking for Annelotte in a hurry, he didn't bother to give it a closer look.

"Well, you can find out about that by checking the notices out yourself!" The maidservant prepared to close the door.

"Hey, wait a second, can you tell me how to find Annie?" said Leguna as he held the door open.

"How would I know?" The maidservant grimaced from hearing Leguna refer to Annelotte so intimately. Who do you think our mistress is? A stinking brat like you can't just refer to her like that! Coldly, she snapped, "Alright, let go! I have other things to tend to!"

"Can you please help me out?" Leguna took out a gold coin from his pouch and said, "If Annie or Sir Marolyt comes back, please tell them that Leguna came to visit them."

Leguna had thought that the gold coin in his hands would work, but the maidservant didn't buy it in the slightest.

He offended the mistress, and that's a slight on me, Lianne. How would I fall so low to accept money from someone like this?! She pushed Leguna's hand aside and said, "I don't want your money, so don't even think about bothering the old master or our mistress."

"You!" Leguna started to panic. Even though he was already outside where Annelotte lived, he wasn't able to see her in the end. How could he not get frantic?

Leguna tried to push the door harder to take a peek inside.

Seeing that Leguna was trying to force his way into the mansion, Lianne called out immediately. "Aaaaaaaaaaaah! Someone's trying to barge in!"

Her cry was so sharp that Leguna was shocked silent. His hands gave in at that moment and the maidservant shut the door when she got the chance.

"Hey! Open the door! I really am Annie's friend! Open it! I have some more questions!" cried Leguna as he knocked on the door.

"Say no more!" the maidservant hissed from behind the door, "You better leave soon, or I'll get the other servants here to chase you away!"

Seeing that there was not much he could do, Leguna stopped knocking on the door.

His face was filled with thick disappointment. Even though he felt a little fearful of meeting Annelotte again, he knew that he had to do something either way. So, he wanted to wrap the matter up in a hurry. Leguna felt a void in him during the months he was apart from Annelotte and he had to admit that he really missed the glacial girl. He missed her so bad that he wanted to force his way to meet her even if that meant being turned into an ice sculpture.

"What should we do next?" asked Kurdak. Even though he was the leader of the party, this matter was between Leguna and Annelotte and he didn't feel comfortable ordering them around about it.

Leguna mucked about as he thought of his next move, but someone disrupted his train of thought.

"Alright, ladies and gentlemen. Forgive my intrusion, but I have to request you to explain to me what just happened. If you don't give me a satisfactory answer, I might have to invite you to the constabulary for some tea," said a middle-aged man.

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TRL - Chapter 490 - Various Matters 2018-07-24T15:01:00+00:00

Charade and Spiel rushed back to Ragebear a day later. Lorist felt a heavy burden lift from his shoulders when he saw them. He instantly let Charade, Spiel, and Kedan deal with the aftermath. Punishing Hansk and the traitors wasn't the highest priority at the moment. The highest priority was dealing with settling the hundreds of thousands of refugees in Winston.

Lorist rushed to the artillery range in the mountains with Reidy. It was the greatest insurance of their future and had to be set back on track. Howard had already taken up his post. He told Lorist that, so far, 342 artillerymen had recovered and rejoined the unit, which brought their functional size up to about 1300. A hundred were crippled and could never return even after they healed though. A full 1563 men died during the blademasters' attack and most of the unit's top artillerymen were among that number.

Lorist went to check on the brigade's former commander, Major Jim. His injuries had more or less recovered. He could sit and tell Lorist about his experiences, at least. He was now convinced, more than ever, that the cannons were the single greatest threat to blademasters. However, they complicated to operate and they hard to move.

When the blademasters attacked during the day, he lined up 46 cannons and fired a volley which broke the attackers. He didn't think the rest would attack again that night. He could do nothing once they were up close. Three thousand men faced the blademasters, but it was a complete slaughter. Paulobins leapt into the fray with a barrel of gunpowder and a torch. He blew himself up to take a few of the enemy with him. They couldn't find even a scrap of his flesh or armour to bury. The rest of the men also grabbed barrels of gunpowder and dozens blew themselves up as the blademasters got close. Another blademaster fell, and the rest retreated cursing the insane bastards as they let. Tears covered Jim's face as he described the scene. Lorist listened to him solemnly. All he could do was console the man. After telling him to get some rest, Lorist left.

In stark contrast to the two commanders, Professor Balbo and his wife who were hard at work in the research facility. Jim moved them to a safe location before the blademasters came to attack. Though the facility was flipped over, Balbo was unharmed.

Balbo introduced his latest breakthroughs as soon as Lorist arrived. He had successfully made the gunpowder into pellets. Though Lorist had only casually brought it up, Balbo managed to make it after years of work. It wasn't a small breakthrough either. It let the cannons fire with far greater power, or achieve the same power for much less gunpowder. He was currently working on how to dissipate the heat build-up from constant firing. He was just about to meet the two other masters for another consult in that regard, in fact.

His other great breakthrough was a new saltpeter harvesting technique. Lorist was convinced this, more than almost any other discovery, was the man's greatest achievement. Grindia wasn't Earth and the chemical principles of this universe were slightly different. On Earth, gunpowder was mainly made of one part sulfur, two parts nitrate or saltpeter, and three parts coal. The mixture added to some other ingredients produced standard black powder. But on Grindia, the recipe had one more part powdered fire crystal to react the way it did on Earth.

It was too bad Lorist had been just a workshop owner. Chemistry and physics weren't his strong suits. Though he had some basic knowledge, Grindia's laws were rather different from those of his former world, so the knowledge he had wasn't of much help.

On the continent there were two key factors that got in the way of his dream to make firearms. The first was the material. Grandmaster Sid's refinery still relied on ancient metallurgical methods to refine steel. Though he provided the man with the idea of water-powered machines that greatly increased House Norton's production efficiency, it was still far from what was necessary to produce the right materials required for firearms production. Before they could mold metal like liquid, the firearms from Lorist's world were still a pipe dream.

The second factor was the lack of saltpeter required to synthesize gunpowder. It was said that the dwarven kingdom had an underground saltpeter mine already running out. The dwarves considered the material very valuable. Lorist used nitrate in the soil to make what gunpowder he had. The biggest obstacle was the limited supply of gunpowder.

Lorist also had rather different experiences on Earth and Grindia. For instance, making gunpowder into pellets was easy on Earth. The powder only had to be wetted, shaped into pellets, and dried. However, the same process produced smoke-emitting powders on Grindia rather than gunpowder. Balbo thought the process destroyed the gunpowder's explosive effect. It took him three years to find a work-around.

Using gunpowder pellets not only raised its quality and increased its power, it also decreased the amount of saltpeter needed. At the same time, over his long years of research, Balbo found the ideal method of producing nitrate, doubling the yield. House Norton's gunpowder stores could now finally be stocked properly.

Lorist was sad and angry at the brigade's losses, but Balbo's good news lifted his mood considerably. He made Balbo a viscount on the spot. Balbo was pumped as he no longer had to act humbly around Sid since they were now all viscount.

Lorist loitered around the facility for ten days before going to Sid's refinery and staying there for half a month to optimize the production process and arranging for the construction of another batch of cannons before he returned to Ragebear.

He arrived back in the city on the 7th of the 10th. Sylvia, his concubines, and his children had returned to Ragebear at the end of the 9th. They welcomed him warmly. Everything would have been perfect if the slow-witted Arriotoli had not bragged about her latest pregnancy in her latest communique.

Sylvia, being the jealous vixen she was when it came to Lorist, subjected Lorist to a thorough inquisition. It didn't help that his other concubines demanded fair treatment. Dilianna was completely unwilling to see someone not even recognized as a concubine have more children than her. It took Lorist several days to escape.

His three subordinates were ready with their reports when he got out. Each stared at him with a different expression. Charade appeared troubled, Spiel looked like he'd just walked through a field of flowers, and Kedan was completely stoic.

Charade was up first. He had completely the planning for the migrant settlement and was ready to begin implementing everything. Shadekampf and Camorra had already moved the migrants to their final destinations and they would be set by the 11th month. Once they were settled, the region's population would officially be over 3 million and all their goals would have been achieved. Charade was adamant that, at least for the time being, they not bring in anymore people; the natural population growth from those already present could take care of any future needs.

Mass immigration was not a sustainable model of population growth, least of all when it was done forcibly. It made for an unstable and volatile population and fundamentally changed the values and loyalties of the peasantry. It was also a pain in the neck to manage. Just looking at Charade was enough to convince Lorist. The poor man looked two decades older than he was. Lorist thanked him for his hard work and told him to take a long vacation. Shadekampf could handle things from here.

The final topic was reorganizing the military. Charade was put in charge of the new year's celebration for the foreseeable future. This upcoming one would be the first since Lorist's disappearance and was bound to be the grandest yet.

Spiel was next. It turned out his jubilance was because of the wealth the legions brought with their return. They had swept several provinces during their campaign and had brought back six million gold Fordes' worth of wealth. And this was before they were untethered from Lorist. The legions went haywire after Lorist vanished. They cleaned out five more provinces. Loze and Josk knew Lorist would be furious at their disobedience, so they were careful to bring back even every shiny stone they found. In total, they brought back 15 million gold, previous artwork, decorations, wares, jewels, and other valuables included. This was the second most profitable campaign in the house's history, only surpassed by the Hanayabarta campaign.

Lorist immediately got to work getting rid of his money like he was allergic to it.

The house had done nothing but fight for several years now. They needed rest. He decided to give everyone a fat bonus and a long vacation. Two million was gone immediately. Another million vanished into the research projects in the mountains and the pensions for the losses suffered there.

Spiel's wailed internally. His eternal crusade against the devil had not ended. He finally thought he'd won a small reprieve, a small victory, only to have the beast rear its head again. Ah, if only he could shoo it back off to the battlefield. It just kept bleeding money. At least when it was off on campaign it bled everyone else dry and wasn't his problem, but now that it had returned he had to fight again. Please, please, someone piss the devil off again!

Kedan was the last to report. He was in charge of the trials. He brought out the folder. The first row's names had yet to be judged. Their judgements were up to Lorist. First on the list was Lysecott. He was Lorist's eldest son, so Kedan didn't feel he had the right to judge. Lorist just asked what kind of punishment a peasant would get for such a crime. The answer was simple: death by beheading or hanging.

"Alright then. I said this before, but everyone will suffer the same fate for the same crime. He'll be hung then. I would kill him ten times in ten different ways if I had the choice. Letting himself be made a puppet is the worst shame he could have brought on himself and, by extension, to the house. His cruelty and lack of self-control are also unacceptable. If he didn't have such a rotten personality, and if he hadn't done those horrible deeds, I would have forgiven him. He would never have become my heir, but he would at least be able to live a normal life as a commoner or low level family official. But I will not suffer him to live and continue to stain our name, even if he's already been stripped of it."

Lorist filled his son's fate in personally. The kid was literally condemned by his father's hand. He didn't love the kid, he barely even knew him, but they were blood relatives and this came about because of his own shortcomings as a man and his failure as a father, so it was only right that he be the one to correct it. The memory of the first time he held his son came back to him and he couldn't stop the tears from rolling down his cheeks.

The fate of his erstwhile son and his role in bringing it about, both in terms of making the judgement that sent him to his death and letting it get to the point where this judgement was necessary, weighed heavy on his heart. Since this was his son's fate, he would not let those who also played a part in it get off any lighter. Hansk was stripped of his title and all his entire family's, all 17's, heads would roll along with his. Lysecott's personal guards would be hanged as well, their families would be spared but exiled to Hanayabarta. Every official and officer who openly supported Lysecott and his rebellion, about 300, and their families would suffer the same fate as his guards. The rest would be tried for whatever offences they committed during the rebellion, like robbery or murder. Those innocent of such crimes would be moved out of Lorist's demesne to Wild Husbandry, and those who served time for their offences would join them once their time was done. The judgements were to be announced publicly, ten thousand in all. It was a huge political shift in the house.

"As for the sentry legion's fate… Put them back to work for now. We'll deal with them when we do the restructuring."

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Comments (4)
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User #8378950 - 26 Jul 18 17:05
I wonder when he will declare independence
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User #7166193 - 24 Jul 18 15:25
Atleast things "Seems" to be getting back on track.
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User #8826333 - 26 Jul 18 15:43
>previous artwork I am very certain it should be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iz-8CSa9xj8
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User #8145855 - 24 Jul 18 16:15
Spiel is awesome! xD
This Week's TS2 Question! (And the answer for last week's!) 2018-07-24T14:56:00+00:00

Hi guys,

As some of you may know, we are holding an event where you answer questions about our other novel, The Sword and The Shadow, to win access to one extra early access TRL chapter (which our patrons can also benefit from!). In other words, folks reading the novel in Liberspark can gain access to one early access chapter following the publicly released one and patrons can read one chapter ahead the furthest one afforded by their pledge tier.

The answer to last week's question, 'Name Leguna's childhood friend', is Eirinn! Congratulations to those who won. The links to the early access chapters throughout the week has already been sent out and the chapters should be accessible shortly.

And now, we have this week's challenge:
Name two of Leguna's gifts (aspect abilities).

It's not too late for anyone to participate! Those interested can start reading TS2 at volarenovels.com! We're going to hold this contest weekly, so don't worry if you don't make it this week! Read on and look forward to participating in the contests in future weeks!

Send the answer to our email at ts2_answers@outlook.com with "TS2 Answer" in the subject! This week's contest concludes after the last release of the week, usually on Saturday GMT+8 2300 hours.

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Week 1 Quiz Winners!!! 2018-07-21T15:05:00+00:00

Hey guys!

So with today's releases the week's competition has also come to a close. This week's winners will receive the links to the folders shortly. The bonus chapters will become available in the folders with each release next week.

Congratulations to our winners and we hope everyone will take part in next week's competition which will be announced with Tuesday's release as well!

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User #5051848 - 21 Jul 18 15:29
Give the answer after you post the results.
TS2 - Chapter 170 - Losing Control 2018-07-21T15:00:01+00:00

Leguna left after hearing Kurdak's explanation.

An hour later, he returned to the tavern and knocked on the door of Eirinn's room.

Leguna knew that her hands haven't completely recovered yet, so he didn't want her to move unnecessarily. After hearing her reply, he let himself in the room.

"Has Innie left?" asked Leguna.

"She has. She said that now that you're back, it's about time we left this place, so she went to get some early rest," replied Eirinn.

"Isn't she a rather bright one?" said Leguna with a laugh. He realized that even though Innilis was rather naive, she was still a rather active and smart little girl.

"Innie is really likeable!" Eirinn said with a laugh, "And she seems to like Big Brother a lot."

"Well... That might have to do with what happened before," said Leguna as he scratched his head rather awkwardly.

However, Innilis wasn't willing to give up. She pressed, "What about you, Big Brother? What do you think of her?"

"I..." Leguna hesitated for a good while before he said, "I see her as my little sister..."

"But that girl doesn't treat you as an elder brother!" said Eirinn with a smirk. Even though she was 50 percent dark elf, that didn't affect her affinity for gossip one bit.

"Hey, let's not talk about this for now," Leguna said with a forced wave of his hand, "I have something I want to tell you."

"Oh? What?"

Leguna proceeded to tell Eirinn about the circumstances behind the original owner of the tavern, Cook's death. He couldn't bear to hide it from her in the end. "That's right. The one who caused him to die is already dead."

"Is that so..." A hint of darkness flashed past her eyes.

Leguna took note of that and hurriedly said, "Eirinn, I did this for your well-being."

"But he didn't harm me at all," the girl said softly, "Since the owner is already dead, why would you have to cause more innocent people to die?"

"He's not innocent," Leguna said, "I am certain that someone like him has taken the lives of at least four to five people. If I didn't kill him, many more innocents might die from his hand in the future."

"But, Big Brother, how many lives are your hands stained with?" asked Eirinn hesitantly.

"You!" A trace of anger could be seen through the windows of his soul. The gaze he shot Eirinn turned unbearably cold.

However,. Eirinn stared back without the slightest bit of fear. Even though she knew that many died by Leguna's hands, she wasn't afraid at all because Leguna had promised that he hasn't changed from before. At the very least, he was the same Leguna to Eirinn.

Leguna glared coldly at Eirinn before he humphed coldly and clapped his hands.

The fat female owner of the inn walked into the room, shivering. She didn't understand what was going on at all. Even though Leguna had killed somebody in her tavern before, he had promised that he wouldn't harm her back then. So, even though the female owner was rather on edge over the past few days, she wasn't frightened to the point of having to run for her life. But that night, Leguna had knocked the door to her room open coldly and asked her to follow him.

The owner didn't know what he planned. But one single look at his eyes told her what to expect; those black eyes were filled with obvious hate and killing intent. Thinking back at the horrible deaths of those bandits half a month ago, the owner couldn't help but panic. But no matter how afraid she was, she didn't dare to escape because she was aware of how terrifying that youth could be. Running was definitely going to be futile.

"This sow was the one who poisoned the owner,Cook. How do you plan to deal with this?" Leguna drew Ebony and slapped it against the owner's fatty face.

"No...no... Cook wasn't killed by me... I didn't kill him! I had nothing to do with it!" The owner knew what Leguna intended and started crying out in terror.

"Hey, be quiet. Otherwise, I'll make sure that your mouth is sealed shut for good,' said Leguna as he placed the dagger against her mouth.

"Don't do this, Big Brother," said Eirinn in an attempt to stop him.

The owner hurriedly pleaded to Eirinn, but she did so without screaming out from the fear. "Eirinn... Eirinn... I admit that I wasn't the greatest to you, but at least I gave you food and didn't let you starve! Eirinn, help me! Put a word in for my sake! I know you're a good person, a fine lady! Gods above, I beg you!"

"Then first admit to what you did!" hissed Leguna as he tugged on the owner's hair with his left hand.

"I admit, it was me! I poisoned him!" the owner said with her tears and snot flowing all over, "Back then, the syndicate boss forced me to do it! Otherwise, he would kill me! I had no choice!"

"Then there's nothing left to be said. Now that you've killed someone, you shall make up for it with your life," said Leguna plainly as he raised Lighteater and prepared to drive it through the back of the owner's head.

"Big Brother!" Eirinn cried as she jumped to hug Leguna's right hand with her eyes bloodshot, "Didn't you say that you'll leave this matter to me?"

"What? You want to let her go?" Leguna said with a furrowed brow, "She was the one who killed your benefactor!"

Eirinn remained silent.

"Then there's nothing left to be said. Let me avenge Mister Cook and we'll leave this place. We'll settle it this way!" Leguna raised his hand once more.

"No!" Just as Eirinn wanted to jump forward once more, Leguna pushed her back with some annoyance. The half elf had always been a rather frail girl, so how could she have withstood Leguna's strength? She staggered harshly from the push and fell to the ground on her back.

{Brat, snap out of it!} roared Gahrona's voice in Leguna's mind.

He was stunned. He looked at himself with a daze and hurriedly helped Eirinn up from the ground.

"Eirinn, are you alright? Eirinn?" asked Leguna frantically. Now that his mind had cleared, he just recalled that he had acted completely unacceptably.

"I'm fine." Eirinn stood back up, but her face was full of tears. "Big Brother... What's going on? You... you shouldn't act like this..."

"I... I..." Leguna looked at himself and shook his head with a bitter smile. "I don't know myself..."

"Can you please... let the owner go?"

Leguna looked and Eirinn and nodded. "Alright."

He turned and said to the terrified owner, "Since Eirinn has made her decision, I shall spare you. However, you must swear that you won't divulge what happened today.."

"I definitely won't say a word about it! I swear!" said the owner hurriedly.

"Alright. You may go," said Leguna with a nod.

Looking at Leguna, Eirinn felt that he was really foreign all of a sudden.

Leguna also didn't really dare to look Eirinn in the face for what he just did. He could only hang his head low and apologize. "I'm really sorry for just now."

"It's fine," Eirinn said as she shook her head, "I only fell for a bit. But Big Brother, you..."

"I don't know why I did that myself," Leguna said with a sigh, before he turned to her with a solemn expression and promised, "But I assure you that this won't happen again, alright?"

"Okay..." The half elf nodded lightly.

"Okay..." Leguna took a deep breath and gave her a pat. "Alright, go get some rest. We'll leave this place tomorrow for Melindor so you can get some good rest. Also, don't tell anyone else about this."

"Okay," Eirinn said after some hesitation, "But you must promise me that you will tell me if you require any help. I and the others will definitely help you out."

After some silence, Leguna nodded. "I promise."

......

That night, Leguna flipped around his bed alone, unable to sleep. What happened just before was truly too weird. Though he had very clearly felt something off about himself throughout the past few days, he couldn't pinpoint the exact reason.

{I realized that you've been really bloodthirsty in the past few days. After you kill someone, you'll always lose your sense,} said Gahrona after seeing him unable to sleep.

{Teacher... what is going on with me?} asked he through their mental link.

Gahrona made a soundless sigh. {I don't really know either. But you've been rather dangerous in the past few days."

{Then what should I do?}

{I will continue keeping an eye on you. You make sure to control yourself better to. And... it's best if you use Host of Darkness less frequently,} said Gahrona after a period of silence.

{Host of Darkness? What does that have to do with it?} Leguna didn't really understand. Host of Darkness was his core ability. Without it, his power would be halved!

{I'm not really sure either, but here's a guess. Host of Darkness injects the power of the shadow aspect into your body and converts it into a shadow-like state. I believe that you...} Gahrona paused in thought and continued, {can't be considered a human in that state.}

{Then what am I?} Leguna didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Could he become a dog using Host of Darkness?

{A shadow creature,} Gahrona muttered, {Your body would be made up from shadow aspect energy. Most beings in the shadow realm are such creatures.}

{I...} Leguna was completely shocked from what Gahrona said.

{Shadow creatures have no feelings nor sense of pain. But they are sentient and they are filled with killing intent,} Gahrona said, {How you behaved just now was rather similar to how a shadow creature would act.}

Leguna kept silent because he was unable to refute what she said. When he killed that syndicate boss of that small town just before, he did use a stage of Host of Darkness's power to save himself some trouble. Perhaps it was just as Gahrona had said. That was probably a side effect of using Host of Darkness.

{Well, it's only a guess on my side in the end,} Gahrona consoled, {Just pay attention as much as you can in the future. There are still many things we don't understand about your abilities. Maybe we can solve these mysteries if we look into them further in the future.}

{I sure hope so...} replied Leguna worryingly.

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User #8826333 - 25 Jul 18 17:07
>the owner,Cook blank missing
TRL - Chapter 489 - The Loyalty of a Scoundrel, The Loyalty of a Traitor 2018-07-21T15:00:01+00:00
"The law is the law. Princes and paupers are punished the same!" ~ Norton Lorist

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Spiel stared at Hans, who stood in front of the reception team, and felt like laughing. Hansk had held power for a few days, far above the command of anybody else and with the power to jail anyone, even Kedan was forced to go with the flow to make sure the administration's operations weren't impeded. However, when Hansk received word of Lorist's return, he aged ten years overnight. His aloofness and arrogance vanished; he now acted with earnest sincerity and a twang of fear. He had, after all, named himself chief administrator. Though Lorist might tolerate his son's appointment to heir, he wouldn't let Hansk off scot free.

Hansk appeared a martyr as he awaited Lorist's arrival. He instructed Lysecott in hushed tones how to greet his father and how to deal with his questions. He might even believe making Lysecott the heir in exchange for his life was the right and best thing he could do. If one viewed it in that light, he was indeed loyal to the house. Unfortunately Lorist didn't care for loyalty to the house, but about loyalty to him, personally. Besides, the house to which Hansk was loyal wasn't the same house Lorist was in.

Horses rumbled up the street. Lorist soon appeared round a curve in the road. Glacia rode behind him. Reidy, Tarkel, Potterfang, the guard brigade, and Firmrock followed behind her. The reception group started chattering, Hansk and Lysecott included. When Lorist stopped in front of them on horseback, they bowed. Everyone understood Lorist was House Norton's sky. He was now a swordsaint and the proudest protector of the house.

"We welcome Your Grace back to the house..."

According to noble etiquette, Lorist should get off his horse and ask them to drop the formalities before tending to the officials there to receive him one by one. He didn't need to say much, only a word or two of greeting and a pat on their shoulders to thank them for their hard work and express his gratitude. But their lord sat firmly in his saddle. Everyone felt his eyes stab the tops of their heads. Everything was quiet as a soft gust of wind blew across the yard. The pressure made some who knew what they did lower their heads further and bow deeper as if it would help them hide in the others' shadow.

"Your Grace!" Hansk finally stood straightened up proudly to dispel the atmosphere.

Lorist waved his hand without saying anything. Reidy, astride his horse, trotted in front of the group. He took a silver tube out of a pocket on his saddle. He removed from it a scroll which he unrolled and read.

"Grus! Ivanson! Ikefall! Moslin! Byschuss!..."

Two guards vanished into the reception party and dragged someone out with every name announced. A few realized they were all either Hansk's confidantes or people from the bastide. Most were retired soldiers who'd moved to the constabulary and had been deeply involved in the rebellion. Reidy didn't name either Hansk or Lysecott though.

"What are you doing?!" Hansk panicked and ran up to Reidy.

Reidy tightened his legs round the horse's middle, and it sidestepped Hansk, who now stood at its flank. Reidy slipped his foot out of the stirrup and slammed it into the man's face. The old man stumbled back several feet and fell to the ground. He raised his head heavily. A dirty boot print and bruise straddled his face. He spat out a mouthful of blood and two teeth. The names continued to be announced.

One after another the culprits were dragged out of the group. Reidy rolled the scroll up and return it to the tube when 45 stood on the side. Lorist dismounted behind him and walked up to the remaining officials, a sincere smile on his face. He raised each from the ground and thanked them warmly.

Kedan apologized to Lorist, tears running down his face incessantly on behalf of the thirty or so left.

"No apology can make up for this, Your Grace. It is our fault this could not be stopped or avoided."

Lorist waved dismissively.

"Don't say anything. You did what you could. You did well to not spill blood. You continued to perform your duties and waited for my return loyally. You did the right thing. I cannot express my gratitude adequately. But let these two words stand. Thank you."

The officials in the centre of the yards shuddered, tears running down their faces. The ones held by the guards on the side paled. Lorist had declared the incident a rebellion with these words. There were all now officially traitors, at least as far as everyone else was concerned, and they would be recorded as such in the house's records, if every mention of them was not erased entirely.

"We... we're not traitors! We're the ones most loyal to the house! We will not stand for this insult!" Hansk shouted, his face crimson. There was no greater insult to his loyalty. He stepped in front of Lorist in spite of his swollen face.

"Ho, look who we have here," Lorist chirped as he finally noticed Hansk's existence, "I'm curious, Baron. What are you doing here? Didn't I tell you to buzz off to your lands and reflect on your shitty attitude and behaviour? I resolved myself to not mention things further out of consideration for what you did for me in the past, but here you are. Tell me, who gave you permission to come here, and who told you you could open your mouth?"

"I..." Hansk suddenly realised his dilemma. His prepared arguments were useless. Lorist didn't recognise him as an official of the house, but spoke to him as just another vassal. Clearly he had no authority to meddle in the house's affairs as an outsider. Without recognition as a member of the house, he had no foot to stand on, no excuse for his presence or actions.

If he were indeed a loyal house official, he should have stayed in his dominion as ordered. He had no right to leave his lands if he still regarded himself as a house official. Being here was itself basically a declaration that he was no longer a house official, just a vassal.

"I... I was here to support Young Master Lysecott as regent and heir de jure. I was only doing my duty as a loyal servant," he replied after some thought.

"Hehe, regent? Heir de jure?" Lorist turned to the shivering ostrich. Hate flashed across his eyes as they gazed at the fat figure.

"I don't remember ever naming an heir," the man murmured, as if in thought to himself. "Lysecott, my son, time really flies. You're seventeen already. I was too busy, so I neglected your upbringing. I didn't think you were in such a rush to become heir de jure. Is this really what you want?"

Though Lysecott didn't frequently get to see his father, he feared him down to his bones. Lorist had tossed him to Malek's family to be disciplined. The man even had Reidy cane him thirty times in Nico Academy publicly because of a simple mistake and sent him back to the bastide, bloody and battered. He remembered the lessons and froze though Lorist asked him nicely. He couldn't stop teeth chattering.

When his father's gaze fell on him, he remembered his mother's instructions and Hansk's encouraging words. 'No matter what, you're His Grace's eldest son. He won't do much to you'. He mustered his courage and answered.

"Mo-mother a-and Ha-- Uncle Hansk said I am your rightful heir. Everything that belongs to the house also belongs to me and no-no one ca-can take it from m-me..."

"My rightful heir?" Lorist laughed, stretching out his hand.

Tarkel handed him a scroll.

"I was injured and lost contact. You declared yourself heir on your own, I never endorsed you. I can't fault you, having ambition isn't a bad thing, but you listened to others. You're just going along with the ambitions of others. Others used you and you were happy to be manipulated. You're nothing but a brainless fool--" Lorist opened the scroll. "--You've been in Ragebear for seven months, right? Let's see what you did."

"Wow, how amazing! You raped 21 maidservants, killed four servants and a cook because you didn't like their cooking and tossed their heads into the fire. Your uncle even went out of his way to gag everyone for your sake and buried the corpse in the garden...

"You ordered Dawn Academy to tie up Helias and send him to you so could get back at him for calling you out when you were harassing your half-sisters. The academy refused, so you ordered the legion to burn it to the ground. Luckily Glacia refused. In turn you cursed her in front of a lot of people.

"You sent your guards after Madam Malek so you could pay her back for the years of hard work she put in to raising you properly. Luckily she wasn't at the mansion, but in retaliation you burned it to the ground.

"You went out four times in the last seven months and raped three women and killed their families. You ran thirteen people over in the streets with your carriage, killing three and badly injuring the rest. You demanded tributes of interesting trinket from the merchants in the city...

"I admire that you did everything I wanted to, but didn't. I've always wanted to act like you did and ignore everything, I've always entertained the idea of being a tyrant. You know why I didn't become one? If I did, my father, your grandfather, would hang me to apologize to the ancestors and strike my name from the registry.

"Your mother spoiled you and raised you into a monster. You don't have empathy or humanity. As House Norton's lord, as your father, I have to correct my mistake. You are hereby struck from the family registry. Neither you, nor anyone else, may ever use your name and House Norton's name in the same sentence. You are unfit of my name, unfit to be even a bastard. I shall uphold my father's honour, the honour of my ancestors, and the honour of my name. The world will be told of your crimes. The names of every victim and the crime you committed against them will be tattooed on your body and you will be hanged in the city square. Once you're dead, your body will be left on the gallows to rot."

Lorist turned to everyone else present and raised his voice.

"From this day forth this shall be the fate of every man, woman, and child who tarnishes the Norton name! Be they peasant, soldier, official, noble, or family member!"

Lysecott paled and stumbled backwards as he listened to the lord. He never dreamt the man had been keeping such a close eye on him. His gaze flitted to the house's officials. He was certain they had ratted on him.

"F-f-f-father... F-f-forgive me..." he tripped and fell on his ass. His pants darkened, and a puddle formed under him.

"You can't do this, Your Grace! The king had recognized Lysecott as your heir. I have a sealed decree from His Majesty! You do not have the right or authority to harm him!" bellowed Hansk frantically as he scrambled in front of Lysecott and fumbled for Auguslo's decree.

"The king's decree?" Lorist chuckled, "Are you joking? Or did I hear wrong? Baron, when did I give the king the right to meddle in my personal affairs, or in the internal affairs of the house? Do you really think he can just appoint my heir on a whim? Is he trying to incite a rebellion and start another civil war?"

"H-He made his decree because you were absent and no one knew if you were still alive! We asked the king to endorse Lysecott because you weren't here to do so yourself!"

"And who told you I would ever have made him my heir?! So you didn't hear from me for a while, do you assume I'm dead the moment I walk out of the door and you can't see me? Do I have to stand in front of you every minute of every day so you can be sure I'm alive?! How quickly do you want me to die?" Lorist was a swordsaint, he could easily live for two or three centuries even if he never improved his cultivation another step. His endorsement aside, even if Lysecott was the best heir in the world, if he didn't become a swordsaint himself, he would never live long enough to inherit his father's position.

"Is that why you let the enemy blademaster go around looking for me? You were fine with revealing our secrets to the enemy as long as they could take me out of the picture for good, huh?! You killed 2000 of my loyal men!"

"I... I was just trying my best to ensure the house remained stable... and helping Young Master Lysecott manage the dominion. I am loyal..."

"Loyal? Ha! You soil the word with your lips!" Lorist sneered, "Even if I were dead, you of all people had the least right to step in! Imprisoning a gold-ranked knight and forging his order to take over his forces and attack the capital; sealing the dominion's entrances; cutting off supply to our forces on the front lines; and burying Lysecott's crimes... Is this what a loyal man would do? If it is, then I want nothing of this loyalty! This is the loyalty of a scoundrel, the loyalty of a traitor!

"Take them away. I don't want to soil my eyes with their visages. I will personally announce your crimes before I execute you!" ordered Lorist coldly. He watched on as the guards took the traitors away.

Glacia walked over.

"I'm sorry, Locke. I didn't understand what the brat was doing. I would've stopped him if I did. Are you really going to kill him? He's your eldest--"

"The law is the law. Princes and paupers are punished the same!"

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Comments (14)
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User #5671438 - 22 Jul 18 07:48
It would be awesome to see a visual manga of this actual scene.
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User #12584991 - 28 Jul 18 20:48
thx for the good qualitie so far
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TalesofLord - 29 Jul 18 15:28
Really glad you're liking it!
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User #6377435 - 21 Jul 18 19:29
Welp, Irina and the second son are next!
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User #8378950 - 25 Jul 18 15:44
is he going to burn the whole maplewood bastide to the ground
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User #12584991 - 28 Jul 18 20:47
hi im new
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TalesofLord - 29 Jul 18 15:28
Hey! How are you doing?
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User #7803826 - 22 Jul 18 02:47
When do guys think that lorist will launch canon navy ships against morante and their golden armada?
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User #8150978 - 22 Jul 18 16:15
I hope so
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User #8150978 - 21 Jul 18 15:14
Yes glad they get what was coming to them!!! Even if Lorist was one terrible father☹️
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User #5041398 - 21 Jul 18 21:52
seems to be the case with a lot of great figures. too busy doing great things and forgetting about the other "less important" details.
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User #11522824 - 22 Jul 18 13:42
It's a pitty though, I always imagined Lysscot to poison Lorist with BattleForce destroying poison. Only for Lorist to then go "You dumb bastard, I don't use BattleForce".
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User #5671438 - 23 Jul 18 21:46
That would be hilarious.
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User #8826333 - 25 Jul 18 16:03
>There were all now officially traitors They
TS2 - Chapter 169 - The Reason behind Cook's Death 2018-07-20T15:01:00+00:00

Emily's Tavern operated as usual during the night within Doen.

"Have you heard? Something big went down in Kent a few days ago!" said one of the drunk patrons.

"Of course! Wasn't there a huge brawl? I heard that the constabularies couldn't do anything about it either," muttered another drunkenly.

"You know balls!" the first patron cried out, "Do you know why the brawl broke out?"

"For territory of course! What else can it be about?! Hmph! Those syndicates are truly too audacious! How could they fight for territory so publicly like that?!"

The first hurriedly cupped the mouth of the other. "Are you drunk or are you insane?! A few of them might be here you know! Be careful not to piss them off!"

The other man snapped slightly awake and looked around. After making sure that he didn't catch anybody's attention, he sighed in relief.

"Actually, it's got nothing to do with territory," the first man said in a low voice, "Have you heard of Dark Requiem?"

"You mean that lone assassin who caused a lot of trouble for Bloodhand?"

"That's him alright," the man said with a nod, "The whole reason for the chaos in Kent is that person alone."

"Oh?"

"Did you know?" The man took another look around before he whispered, "Dark Requiem allied with Blackjack to kill Bloodhand's boss, Taewon."

"Whoa!"

"Not only that. All of those with high positions in Bloodhand in Kent were dealt with. Before the chaos in Kent, Blackjack and Taewon already fought outside the city."

"How did it end?"

"Blackjack won in the end. He managed to defeat Taewon thanks to Dark Requiem's help. After that, he began to take over Bloodhand's operations in Kent. The commotion in Kent happened because of that."

"I see..." That man gave it some thought and suddenly asked, "How do you know all this?"

"One of my nephews swing with Blackjack, you see. He's a fourth-stratum warrior and he was there too when Taewon was dealt with!"

"He saw Dark Requiem? How does that person look?"

"I heard she's a woman in her twenties. A really sexy one too!"

"Tch, bullshit!" the man said in disbelief, "Why have I heard that Dark Requiem looked like a man in his forties?"

"You know nothing. Dark Requiem knows how to use disguises, you know."

"You know nothing! How can Dark Requiem change genders with disguises?!"

And the argument went on...

Vera got two mugs of beer from the counter and laid them on the table. "I heard many people discussing the incident in Kent a few days ago. Ley's gotten pretty famous."

"Ley didn't," Kurdak said with a smile, "Dark Requiem did. Apart from us, not many know about his true identity."

"That's right." Vera began to recall the years prior.

Back then, Leguna told them gleefully that he had been granted the sobriquet 'Dark Requiem' by someone really impressive. Vera, Kurdak and Annelotte mocked him for how over-the-top and childish it was. Having had his ego hurt, Leguna blushed and made an oath to spread that name all across the world.

Fast forward to two years later, that moniker spread to the ears of many following the death of two high-order magi. However, Leguna didn't have any reputation at all in Chino. Vera didn't think that Leguna had managed to spread his name all over Semralsin within a mere two weeks. It seemed that it wouldn't take long before it spread all over the Hocke Empire.

Vera gave it some more thought and froze. Turning to face Kurdak, she said, "I think there are two others that know his identity."

"You mean the owner, Emily and Hans?" asked Kurdak. Back then, Leguna had announced that he would exterminate Bloodhand and vanished all by himself. Not long after, Bloodhand really did fall at the hands of someone known as Dark Requiem. Only idiots would consider that a mere coincidence.

"That's right," said Vera with a nod.

"I'm not too worried about Hans, but the owner..." Kurdak furrowed his brow as he considered his options. He then shook his head and said, "Forget it. We'll let Ley decide what to do when he comes back."

......

"I didn't think that Big Bro Leguna would be a crybaby in the past!" said Innilis with a giggle.

"That's right! Big Brother loved to cry back then, but he would always put up a strong front when he was with me. Sometimes, I showed up suddenly and found him crying, but he would always wipe his tears clean in a hurry. Innie, do you know how funny he looks when he tried to look proud with his face full of tears?!" said Eirinn with a laugh. Innilis often came to talk and play with her over the past few days and Eirinn found herself liking that bright and lively girl a lot.

"Hey, Eirinn, since when did you learn to talk behind others' backs?" Leguna appeared within the building before anyone noticed.

"Big Bro Leguna!" cried Innilis as she leaped straight into his embrace.

"Alright, that's enough," aid Leguna as he patted on her small head.

The half elf was also quite surprised at Leguna's return. She took two steps forward, but after seeing how excited Innilis was, she stopped and merely smiled at Leguna.

"You're back," said she with a smile.

"Yes I am," Leguna said as he returned the smile, "Have you recovered?"

"Mostly," said Eirinn with a nod.

The atmosphere turned awkward in an instant. Though Leguna had wanted to say something to Eirinn, he wasn't able to find the words for it. Innilis was looking at him with her big eyes. He suddenly felt rather uncomfortable being stared at by two girls at the same time, one beautiful and one ugly.

Fortunately for him, Kurdak was there to save the day. He pushed the door open and revealed a bright smile with his head poking into the room. "Brat, now that you've greeted your women, come over. We have some things we need to discuss."

Eirinn's face flushed red as she lowered it quietly.

"What are you saying, Uncle?! You're his woman!" Innilis was blushing as well, but she was far more daring than Eirinn and snapped back.

Kurdak shrugged nonchalantly and pulled his head back out.

"Alright, I'll have to talk to Boss about something. I'll come to see you again later," said Leguna as he hurried to escape.

......

"Where's Uncle Hans?" asked Leguna the moment he stepped into Kurdak's room. He hadn't seen Hans since he returned.

"He left," said Kurdak casually.

"Oh." Leguna wasn't that surprised. It could be seen that Hans was rather fearful towards Bloodhand. Seeing as how Leguna had went to seek trouble with them despite his warnings, Hans was worried that he would be involved in the trouble. Given that he only got to know Leguna again for less than a month and helped each other with a couple of things, he didn't want to be involved in something that might endanger his life. It was completely reasonable for Hans to leave so as not to be dragged in.

"Was the potion I gave you useful?"

Kurdak nodded. "During the full moon two days ago, I left with Vera just in case. We ended up enjoying the night breeze in the wilderness without anything happening. Your potion was really effective."

"That's good. Then, what about the other matter?"

"It wasn't hard to dig this up. I asked around nearby and found some thugs to question, then I got a clear answer."

"What's the reason for his death?" asked Leguna. Even though he's never met Cook before, since he had helped Eirinn escape her predicament and saved her life, Leguna wouldn't allow his death to be unanswered. Favors had to be returned and vengeance had to be exacted. That was a principle he held to heart. He would try to do something to pay Cook back even though he was already dead.

"He was poisoned," Kurdak said with a shrug, "It's not complicated, really. Mister Cook hasn't paid the protection fee to the local syndicate in the past few years. The reason he was fine all this time was that the former boss here used to be in Mister Cook's debt. However, that fellow was wiped out by the current boss, who is sinister and cruel. Since Cook didn't want to pay the protection fee, he was poisoned and killed."

"How did they do it? They couldn't have kidnapped him and forced him to drink it, right? I recall that he died after he drank a lot," said Leguna.

"It's the female owner," Kurdak said with a sigh, "She was the one who poisoned him. She was probably forced by the boss to do so, or perhaps she only wanted to take over Mister Cook's tavern. I can't be sure about this myself."

Leguna appeared pensive before he nodded. "Understood. Thanks, Boss."

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TRL - Chapter 488 - Bad News 2018-07-20T15:01:00+00:00

Lorist's return to The Northlands was a breeze. No one was willing to fire at him. Wherever he went, the rebels surrendered obediently. They let Firmrock march across the river as well and didn't resist when they were arrested.

On the 21st day of the 7th month, Year 1789, Lorist, led the Northsea fleet to the city of Northsea. The sentry legion's third brigade, first division received him and surrendered. Lorist headed straight for Maplewoods and rescued Belnick, who was still sitting prisoner there, and arrested everyone related to the bastide, Irina and her sons included.

From there he retook the town of Poplar and marched onwards to Nico Academy where his visited Telesti and his daughters. He rested there for two days and then left for Firmrock Castle, making an appearance at every town along the way. The castle was taken without incident and Lorist ordered news of his return be spread to the rest of the world.

The first to bring bad news was Howard, who came from Cherry Blossom Ridge. The cannon foundry and training grounds were discovered by the blademasters after him. They thought he was hiding behind the guards, and attacked. Lorist read the damage report and exploded. Of the 200 cannons, 141 was destroyed, and 1377 of the 2000 artillerymen were dead or injured. The sentry regiment suffered 824 casualties. Their captain, Jim, was still recovering from his wounds and Regiment Sergeant-Major Paulobins was dead.

Lorist managed to keep himself under control, but completely lost it when he heard about what happened to his refineries in the Bladedge mountain range. Grandmaster Sid's research facilities and foundries as well as Grandmaster Felin's workshops were searched, by enemy blademasters, lead there by the constabulary. Most of the blueprints for his weaponry was stolen.

"Who... who gave the order?! Who revealed our top secret industrial centers to the enemy?!" Lorist's demanded, eyes bleeding.

"S-Supervisor Hansk. He sent the constabularies and the blademasters. He said he was forced to do so because they held Madam Irina and the second young master hostage, so he had no choice but to yield to their demands. He even said that since Your Grace wasn't there, there was no harm in letting them go...

"He even said the house spent too much money there without seeing any returns and wanted to uncover what was going on there. He said the mountains were part of the old house's domain and was thus under Lysecott's jurisdiction. As such, he had to root out the corruption there. He planned to investigate the accounts personally when he had the time.

"When the blademasters found the cannon ranges and the explosives research center, Sir Jim refused the search order and got into a fight. Several dozens were killed before they could chase the blademasters away. Which roused their suspicions.

They attacked the facilities 14 days later. Jim was prepared and had several canons aimed at the valley entrance. The first volley killed three blademasters and heavily wounded four. The remaining seven retreated with the dead and wounded. They snuck into the valley that night and slaughtered everyone and destroyed the cannons..."

"Where are they now?"

The cannons and the men that operated them were his trump cards. They were his house's greatest security. It had taken them years to build the cannons and train the men, this was an unbelievable setback. It would take years to recover, maybe even a decade.

"They left The Northlands in the 5th month. Supervisor Hansk issued arrest warrants for them, but he has no strength to actually carry it out. They left by sea and we only know they're heading south."

Lorist stroked his chin. So he had seen so few during his stay in the barony because they were mostly busy here.

"How many blueprints?"

"The ones for the super steel ballistae, three types of catapults, and 16 types of armor. They also took the designs for Jaeger's new crossbows. The rest are designs for failed projects. Fortunately, Master Julian's material recipes were kept safe. I don't think they knew what those recipes were so they just left them. Without them, it should be almost impossible to make the designs work."

Lorist breathed a sigh of relief. That they'd left behind the recipes was his only consolation. It was manageable to lose the designs, but the recipes could not be leaked. The former were pretty much useless without the latter.

"Is Sylvia and the others alright?"

"Lady Sylvia, your mistresses, and your children are fine. They told me to tell you not to worry about them and deal with the situation first. Lady Sylvia said they would spend the summer in the palace and return to Ragebear come autumn."

"I heard Jinolio and Shuss went there with the city's garrison. Reidy and I are worried, why didn't they come with you?"

"Jinolio's helping me investigate what let all this come about. Supervisor Hansk played a huge part, but he certainly can't be the sole reason behind this."

"No worries. You did well. Jinolio did great too. I heard the blademaster actually barged into the mansion in Ragebear and you even held one back for a time. Is it true?"

Howard scratched his head.

"I was at a disadvantage and even hurt my hand. I had no choice but to have Jinolio write the reports. He has pretty handwriting at least. I'm only at the level of a two-star gold rank. Your training is what let me fight a blademaster.

"Six came over to search the mansion. They were really careful since they knew you were a blademaster. They didn't cause anyone any trouble or hurt anyone. Apart from Blademaster Shuss, Lady Xanthi and Grandpa Engelich was there too. They were the ones who chased the blademasters away."

Howard didn't blow other people's horns, nor was he greedy with credit. His humility was refreshing.

"Since the cannon range is damaged, Paulobins is dead and Jim is injured, I need someone to take care of the mess. You will be the artillery brigade's major. Rebuild the brigade. I will have Sid restore the cannons. You can fill your command as you see fit. What do you think?"

"You wish is my command, Your Grace," Howard saluted, "It's just... Is it okay to hand internal security to Jinolio?"

Lorist shook his head.

"Jinolio is still young and naïve. He should focus on his training instead. He'll stand by my side again. Anyone else in mind?"

"Baron Calliston is a suitable candidate."

"How so?"

"Internal security is basically spying on the people in the house for the house's safety. I didn't get a grasp on things quick enough, Hansk rebelled before I could get everything in place. Baron Kriston is in charge of investigating crimes in a whole region and I've met with him a number of times. He was the one who pointed out the odd prejudice the constabulary and sentries have against the immigrants. I didn't take his warning seriously and investigate. I would have caught this before the rebellion if I had.

"While the constabulary is important, we shouldn't waste Baron Kriston's talent there. He is bright, capable, and -- most of all -- loyal. He is a perfect replacement."

"Alright. I'll summon him when I go back to Ragebear."

Lorist arrived in Ragebear on the 25th of the 7th. The moment the city gates opened, Glacia, the new general of the first sentry legion, paid her respects to him with her subordinates. Firmrock relieved the local garrison, which left the city, leaving only Glacia and Lorist to walk to the castle and mansion.

"This isn't fair, Locke. The men were just following orders. They didn't know they were betraying the house. They were actually the most loyal. You can't treat them like this."

"So I should, what? Reward them? Knowingly or not, they betrayed me and rebelled against my authority. You're my elder cousin sister. I really appreciate that you're willing to step out of the shadows to serve the house. I'm thankful for what you did for Sylvia and for keeping a battle from breaking out. But there's something you're failing to understand. You may think this is what's good for the house, but it's not. I'm already doing as little as possible. I am going to execute everyone involved in this rebellion knowingly, the legion should just be thankful their heads aren't going to roll as well."

"No! You can't, Locke! The men were following orders. They're loyal!" cried Glacia. She didn't understand why Lorist would be this angry.

Lorist smiled bitterly.

"Firmrock, Tigersoar, and Jaeger's men are the loyal ones. While the sentry legion are obedient, we don't know for sure where their loyalties lie. You know almost all the men in the legion used to be our prisoners. They're all former enemies. They were only recruited because they served us well for years. This is nothing but a way to feed their families to them.

"The policies I have for my men make them increasingly loyal over time, yes. Whether it be Firmrock, Tigersoar, or Jaeger, even if their general went missing and many of their superior officers were replaced, I am willing to bet they would never march on my capital even if they were ordered to. I would have to order them to do so myself, in person or they would kill anyone who showed any sign of listening to the order. They would never believe I gave such an order in my absence and would arrest the messengers immediately.

"Even a letter written in my handwriting and carrying my personal seal might not be enough for them to carry out such an order. Were they really following orders or are they just fools? Did they never question their orders? Is someone who follows a wrongful order loyal to the house?"

Glacia was speechless.

"...Then how will you deal with the men?"

"I will not let them stay in my demesne. They can settle in Wild Husbandry. If they don't want that, they can move to one of my other jurisdictions, but I will not let them set foot on my land again."

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Comments (5)
user avatar
User #9553600 - 26 Jul 18 17:04
Maybe i missing something but where and how Hansk did get that many blade masters, and maybe i'm reading to much but i don't want to think he was an accomplice with the Union?
user avatar
User #2657914 - 27 Jul 18 04:59
Pretty much Hansk was like I hate all the money we use on technology so he told the Union the location of the secret research facilities.
user avatar
User #8378950 - 24 Jul 18 15:01
that reminds me of napoleon after being exiled to elba
user avatar
User #8150978 - 20 Jul 18 15:40
Hansk’s head better be rolling!
user avatar
User #9553600 - 26 Jul 18 17:07
and where did it say they capture him? (and he need to be put in misery before death)
TS2 - Chapter 168 - Taewon's Death 2018-07-19T15:01:00+00:00

Blackjack gathered his impetus and waved his left hand in a semicircular arc with his body at its core. A few members of Bloodhand to Blackjack's left had a deep cut manifest on their bodies as they cried out and stepped back so that they could be as far away from Blackjack as possible.

Taewon responded to that by raising his two one-handed handaxes almost chaotically without form. But his strength was too huge given his size, so even though his swings didn't have any technique, some of the enemies before him did get injured, with some dying for good too.

All the small fry quickly backed off in horr. Apart from the mid-order warriors from both gangs, nobody else was able to approach the two. That was how impetus distanced those who practiced it and those who didn't. It was a huge disparity in power.

The several mid-order warriors soon found their opponents and fought in a circle that had a five meter diameter around the two leaders. Beside them, the weaker gang members continued to clash. They didn't have to care about their bosses nor the elites of their gangs as they couldn't get involved in their fights, so they opted to deal with the small fries from the other gang.

Even though Bloodhand's hold on the surrounding territories was impacted, their power at Kent was still complete and whole. Though Blackjack could be considered among the most famous figures in Kent, he was slightly inferior to Taewon. Even his gang was a league lower than Bloodhand.

So, Blackjack's gang was at a disadvantage against Bloodhand. Quite a number of their weaker goons had already been turned into minced meat, with two of their mid-order warriors dying as well. Blackjack lacked the punch to duke it out with his enemy. It would be no surprise if Bloodhand easily wiped out Blackjack's group in another half hour.

Even though the situation was to his advantage, Taewon didn't look the slightest bit relaxed. He knew Blackjack and his personality well. Even though that man's methods made others disgusted with him, Blackjack was still a steady planner. He definitely wouldn't try something like this unless he had some sort of assurance.

So, Taewon was sure that Blackjack had something else up his sleeve. What he needed to do now was to kill Blackjack before the mastermind showed up from behind the scenes. The moment Blackjack dies, the rest of the gang would be eliminated and Blackjack's plan would be wasted no matter how well thought out it was.

The moment he came upon that thought, he let out a loud cry and attacked even more savagely. He knew that Blackjack's physical abilities couldn't keep up with his both in terms of strength and stamina. So, he had used that factor to pressure Blackjack, even willing to trade light injuries to deal heavier ones.

Blackjack suffered a slash from Taewon's handaxe and lost his balance slightly, causing him to take a few steps back. Before he recovered, Taewon leaped over once more and raised both his hands to the left side and slashed down diagonally towards the lower right.

Here it comes! thought Blackjack with a fright. Taewon had finally used his two-hand swing.

The two-hand swing couldn't really be considered a skill. It was a martial technique at best. Taewon would use his robust physical capabilities and heavy weapons to unleash a few savage swings to break the stance and form of the enemy. Quite a number of those in the same line of work fell to Taewon's move. It wasn't that they couldn't parry that attack in time. It simply broke through their defenses.

As those subsequent strikes were too forceful, the enemy and their weapons would be cut through by Taewon if they didn't have good physical strength and equipment to back them up.

Blackjack had suffered that move once before. Even though he managed to block two of those strikes, his weapons were knocked flying by Taewon's heavy strikes and he wasn't able to block the third strike, leaving him no choice but to jump backwards. It was during that jump that he had his abdomen cut by Taewon, causing only a thin layer of skin to be left behind from that strike. Had it been the slightest bit deeper, Blackjack's stomach would've been cut through.

Blackjack held the scimitars in his hands tightly and raised them crossed, infusing all the impetus he could in them, in an attempt to block Taewon's first strike.

The humongous force passed into his arms. He felt that they were as weak as thin bamboo branches. Blackjack was knocked backwards by Taewon once more, but he managed to maintain his balance because he knew that he would no doubt die if he didn't.

"Haaaargh!" roared Taewon as he raised both his hands high up again. The second swing would fall soon.

Darn it! He's not acting yet?! thought Blackjack in a panic. Hearing Taewon's battle cry made his eyelids twitch. He roared with his hoarse voice and raised his scimitars to block the second strike.

Clang!

Blackjack was barely able to resist the second strike. Even though he tried his best to grip his weapons, they were once more sent flying from the huge force of Taewon's strike.

"To hell with you!" screamed Taewon like a wild best. He crossed both his hands at the bottom and prepared for an upwards cross slash. This time around, Taewon learned his lesson from last time. He intentionally approached Blackjack by ten centimeters and he believed that the skinny monkey wouldn't be able to avoid his swings this time.

It was as if time slowed down at that moment. Blackjack's eyes darted around as he hoped to see the silhouette that instilled terrifying fear in him. However, he didn't see what he wanted, so he closed his eyes and awaited the moment of his death.

But two seconds later, he didn't feel the extreme pain he expected. He opened his eyes curiously and saw Taewon fall back with a look of utter shock. Behind him was a face whispering something by the side of his ear.

Who's Eirinn? What three fingers? That was Taewon's last thoughts before he died.

Blackjack stared at the person before him with his mouth agape. He had seen that person before. Instead, he was really familiar with him too.

"Loden, you..." muttered Blackjack.

"I'm not Loden," said Leguna as he dissipated Shadowedge from his hand.

Anyone would recognize him as Loden based on look and voice alone. There was only one difference: this version of Loden was much taller than the original one. However, Leguna had to remain by Taewon's side most of the time after disguising himself as Loden, so he always had to bow to show his respect. That allowed his flaw to remain undiscovered all this time.

"Mister Dark Requiem..." Blackjack realized who that person was right away. Even though he was still in that dangerous, chaotic situation, he still hurriedly bowed.

"You did well," Leguna said with a nod before he pointed at the surroundings, "Bloodhand has more or less been cleaned up by me. Deal with the rest on your own."

Blackjack looked around. Even though the members of Bloodhand had the winning edge in the fight between the goons, four out of five of Taewon's mid-order warriors were already dead. The last one was still struggling from being jointly attacked, but there was little doubt that he'd be reduced to a corpse in less than half a minute.

How in the world did he do it? Blackjack felt a numbness on his scalp. Even though he was confident that he could work with his subordinates to deliver surprise attacks under such chaotic circumstances, he never would be able to achieve it at Leguna's speed. This assassin is truly dangerous...

"Mister Dark Requiem..." Blackjack raised his head and wanted to say something, only to realize with shock that the person before him had vanished. He looked around but saw not the slightest trace of Leguna.

"I think I just saw a ghost..." muttered Blackjack, stupefied.

{Blending in successful!} Leguna hid in a dark corner and looked at the stupefied Blackjack with a sense of satisfaction.

{You even used one stage of Host of Darkness for this? Not to mention Shadow Blink and Shadowedge?! Are you retarded?! Those gifts are your trump cards! You can't use them just like that!} rebuked Gahrona with a palm on her face.

{Hehehe, well...} Leguna said with a dry laugh, {I just couldn't resist after achieving my goals...}

{I won't allow this to happen in the future,} hissed she.

{No worries, it won't happen again!} promised Leguna solemnly.

{Hmph!} Gahrona spoke no longer. In fact, she understood what was going through Leguna's mind rather well.

Putting everything else aside, Leguna was only a youth around 17 or 18 years o age. It was no surprise that he would be a little capricious and shallow at times. He had been pressured by powerful figures such as Wayerliss, Annelotte and Balor for quite some time. Now he had finally traveled to Chino and found out how strong he actually was. Even the boss of a province-wide bandit organization was no match for him, not to mention some strong leader thug on the streets.

That sudden gap in power would definitely make Leguna feel rather proud of himself, so there was no surprise how he acted.

However, that didn't mean it was okay to do so. Revealing his gifts without much thought like that was a really bad abit. So, Gahrona scolded him heavily right after Leguna was out of trouble so that he would pay attention to what she was saying.

Even though Leguna seemed apologetic and understanding of his mistake, Gahrona didn't know to what extent he absorbed the lesson, given how happy-go-lucky he usually acted. So, she made a mental note to keep on hammering him on the matter over the next few days.

Not far away, Blackjack was crying out loud as he pointed at Taewon's corpse. It seemed that he didn't plan to kill off all the members of Bloodhand and has started taking them under his wing.

{This fellow is rather obedient, huh,} said Leguna as he looked at Blackjack.

{The power you revealed was not something he can afford to resist, so there's no surprise there,} said Gahrona. She knew how hard Leguna messed with Blackjack over the past few days. But it was only thanks to that that Blackjack was willing to act out something like this with Leguna.

In exchange, Leguna offered to get rid of the elites of Bloodhand so that Blackjack could devour the Kent forces of Bloodhand without trouble.

So, Blackjack's original plan to extort for a portion of the commercial street's profit turned into a plot to swallow Bloodhand's power with the help of Dark Requiem. Now that it had been achieved, it went without a doubt that Blackjack's position would soar once more and he would replace Taewon for good.

However, Leguna didn't care about that in the slightest. All he wanted to do was to exterminate the bandit organization that had such a terrifying reputation. Now that he had achieved his goal, he couldn't be bothered to care about anything else.

"I've already been out for half a month, huh," Leguna mused, "Time to go back."

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TRL - Chapter 487 - War on the Plains 2018-07-19T15:01:00+00:00
"He who fights in the rain, dies sogging wet." ~ famous Grindian proverb

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On the 10th day of the 12th month, Year 1788, Andinaq launched another assault in the Falik Plains. Auguslo led Whitelion and crushed the first line of defense, strongholds across the man made canals, within four days and arrived at Robertway. Andinaq was among the first to use the catapult and almost all the Union higher-ups believed Robertway would fall in less than three days.

However, the defenders filled the walls and turned them into ice fortifications. No matter how many times Andinaq fired, they couldn't breach Robertway's walls. Angered and frustrated, Auguslo led Whitelion on a couple of direct attacks without any successes and moderate casualties.

Auguslo had planned to use no more than a month to deal with all the strongholds in the plains and conquer the three cities before moving on to Morante. He'd either conquer the city, if there were exploitable weaknesses in its defences, or besiege it and force the Union's leaders to surrender. In the following negotiations the Union would either have to ceded vast swathes of territory, or give up most of their wealth.

It wasn't that Auguslo wasn't willing to fight a protracted campaign; his vassals were getting tired and wanted to go home. They'd only joined the campaign because they thought it would be a quick campaign, not this now three-year-long war. They'd also been fighting for most of the three years and had suffered many casualties. Fatigue had weathered their resolve and enthusiasm. Some had even started finding excuses to sit out on battles.

Things had gotten worse much faster after the Nortons left. He had to move Pegasus and Fisablen's reserve and frontier legions in to fill in. They did well, but they didn't have the Nortons' staying power, they were being whittled down much faster and the two dukes had already asked to be allowed to return home and recouperate.

Auguslo had made the audacious declaration that he wouldn't stop until he set foot on Morante's central square as the city's new master, but he was actually fine with ending the war as it was now. The old empire had fought with the Union for centuries and had never even made it near the city, but he'd taken three of the Union's most powerful citadels on the plains and taken back everything the empire had lost and then some. This was already enough to cement his name in the history books for centuries to come. He was already on part with the Empire's founder.

The forty years of peace since the empire's fall had made the towns on the plains rich, especially the three citadels. The nobles didn't believe their eyes when they saw the inside of the vaults, filled to the brim with plunder. And this didn't even include House Norton's plunder, which they hadn't even let him see. This would normally be considered a supreme lese majeste, but since Lorist was now the kingdom's most powerful warrior, its sole swordsaint, Auguslo let it go.

Auguslo now turned his mind to the coronation ceremony he was going to have when he returned to the capital to crown himself First Emperor of the new empire. First, though, he had to wrap up this little war. He wanted to make sure it would be centuries before the Union ever thought of making trouble for the Empire again, and millennia before they actually could.

He didn't think he would be stopped at Robertway, the fucking ice-fortress. Karitoke, the leader of the city's garrison, had been holding him at bay for over a month now. He'd also heard that the man was made a baron for his efforts. He used to be one of Auguslo's subordinates, which stung even more. He'd defected to the Union several years earlier, and the Union made every effort to mock him for his inability to keep good subordinates on his side.

His advantage on the field in his most recent campaign was not because of his own tactical brilliance, or the power of his forces, it was thanks to the catapults he got from Lorist, in that sense his glory was only partially his. Karitoke's use of the canals to counter his tactic, however, was entirely to his own credit, all of that glory went to him. It bit at Auguslo's pride.

It was in the midst of this struggle that Tarkel and Reidy visited Lorist in his cabin again. Camorra had taken note of his lord's orders and had dealt with the situation. Loze and Potterfang had arrived with their legions and the immigrants and were resting up. Josk and Jaeger were still lagging behind though.

The great borrowing didn't run into any trouble, apart from a few unwilling nobles who had to be convinced with a firmer hand. Camorra had, however, sent word back with the messengers asking how to settle the immigrants since the food would only last them till the end of the rainy season and Winston couldn't accommodate anymore people.

Lorist prepared a letter to be taken back with Tarkel and Reidy ordering the baron to send 500 thousand to Wild Husbandry and start resettling the land. Josk would accompany them with Jaeger and see to their safety. A hundred thousand of the most skilled among the immigrants were to be settled in Windbury and Pedro to boost their industries. The new settlers in Wild Husbandry would also jumpstart the abandoned trade routes to and in the province. The rest would be used to finish any unfinished infrastructure projects. They would be settled in the Northlands once Lorist had taken care of the rebels.

Lorist continued his training after his two messenger boys left. The rest of winter and the rainy season passed, soon it was harvest season. Lorist was now back to rank 3 blademaster level and only needed another two month to be back to full strength.

Arriotoli was declared pregnant in the 6th month, finally putting and end to Lorist's torture.

Tarkel and Reidy came round again on the 17th of the 6th. Only Tarkel came to the cabin however, Reidy was rolling in the bedsheets with his little lover back at the castle. Tarkel brought news of Auguslo's defeat on the plains. He'd retreated to Krido and was standing his ground there. The confrontation had cost the two sides 170 thousand men, two thirds of which were Union dead.

Lorist was speechless when Tarkel informed him that it wasn't a set piece battle at all. Neither side had thought a big battle would happen. It had started as a skirmish, but both sides, each unwilling to lose it, kept piling in reinforcements. They only realised what was happening when it was already too late, and they were completely committed. Auguslo only withdrew because he realised he couldn't match the Union.

Tarkel also talked about the winter campaign between Auguslo and his former subordinate. Auguslo kept going at it until the snow melted, but was completed swamped when the rain fell. He couldn't cross the morass the excess water made before the Union's reinforcements arrived and was forced to fight the now numerically superior enemy. He called up his vassals, but the morass between the two forces kept both from making any decisive attacks. The forces were separated into many smaller units scattered across the morass on the small firmland islands.

Auguslo's forces were upstream of the Union and one of his vassals suggested they send fire boats down the river into the Union's wooden fortifications. It didn't do much, only burning a couple bridges and setting fire to a few camps. The Union retaliated a few days later. They set Auguslo's main camp on fire one night, killing almost a hundred men and burning almost a third of the camp to the ground.

Auguslo retaliated in kind, which prompted the same from the Union in a to-and-fro which lasted several weeks. In one of these exchanged, the attacking side got bogged down in the fight, and both sides kept sending in reinforcements, which eventually turned into a full-on battle. By the time the two sides realised what was happening, neither could back out. If they did, the enemy would push their forces forward and rush their camps, driving the other side out of the morass altogether and possibly crushing much of their army in the process.

Auguslo was slightly faster than the Union in committing all of his reserves and got the early upper hand, but the Union wasn't far behind and the stalemate was soon re-established. The forces were eventually forced to return to their camps, but the fighting didn't really stop. The islands became like a chess board. When one side lost an island, they would soon take another.

Seing where this was going, and with less forces he could afford to lose, Auguslo was forced to withdraw. Auguslo lost 60 thousand in the month-long campaign, the Union 110 thousand. Despite their heavier losses, however, the Union now had the initiative and drove Auguslo back to Krido. Auguslo had lost fewer forces, but he also had fewer to begin with.

"It's time I returned home," said Lorist.

"Is Your Grace fully recovered?" asked Tarkel.

"Yes. Come, let's go home. I have some house cleaning to do."

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Comments (4)
user avatar
User #8378950 - 21 Jul 18 17:07
time to become a kinslayer
user avatar
User #12261601 - 21 Jul 18 17:40
While I don't think it will go that far I respect the enthusiasm.
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User #8378950 - 22 Jul 18 03:04
too much ck2
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User #12481534 - 25 Jul 18 17:41
Imagina o jantar em família.
TS2 - Chapter 167 - Brawl 2018-07-18T15:00:01+00:00

"What do you mean by that, Blackjack?!" Loden roared, "You intentionally led us here and blamed it all on us. Do you think that Bloodhand is so weak that you anybody can just take advantage of us as they please?!"

"You know full well who is responsible for this!" Blackjack cried, before he gave the men of Bloodhand a glance, "Hmph! If I'm not mistaken, you seem to have brought up all the elites in your group here. I'd like to ask you, Boss Taewon, why you bothered to do so even though it's only a small negotiation about the commercial street we're having?"

"Oh, so you're saying you're not doing the same thing?" Taewon barked, "Look how many men you brought with you!"

"I'm just being wary of the great Bloodhand," Blackjack said with a shrug, "After all, you did call me out to the wilderness. I had to bring more people with me just in case you were going to pull something."

"Boss, I think that it won't be easy to leave amicably today," Loden whispered, "It seems that Blackjack had intentionally brought us here. Seeing how many people he brought, I'm afraid he's probably not here to negotiate."

"I can already tell," Taewon replied in a low voice, "What do you think we ought to do?"

"Blackjack isn't idiotic enough to try to take us with only that number of people," Loden surmised, "He must have some people waiting in ambush nearby. So, I think it'd be best for us to strike back and deal with them before they catch their footing."

Taewon knew that this thing couldn't be allowed to drag on. So, he made his decision quickly. "Get our brothers ready and await my signal."

"Understood," Loden said with his head lowered as he backed off. He secretly gestured oddly with his thumb and index finger using the hand he held behind his back.

Bloodhand had their own set of signals. The one Loden just made meant: prepare to act.

Taewon had brought five mid-order warriors with him and a dozen others who were near mid-order in power. They were the elites of Bloodhand in Kent and they often tagged along by Taewon's side. Naturally, they've experienced quite a bit and didn't really react much when they saw Loden's signal. Some of them however rubbed their shoes together while others stretched to make it seem like they were tired from standing. Some even stretched their hands into their clothes to scratch their itch.

While those actions appeared to be without intent, those in the know would realize that the members of Bloodhand had put their hands near their weapons.

"Blackjack, I think that there has been some misunderstanding," Taewon said, "Loden had explained to me that the one who informed me was a new face. Are you sure it wasn't you?"

"I'm sure," said Blackjack as he shook his head.

"Then there must've been some misunderstanding somewhere. Alright, it's no big deal. What do you say we start negotiating now?"

"Of course. I came here because I wanted to talk to you about the commercial street in the first place," said Blackjack as he squinted.

"I wonder how much of the profit you want?" Taewon said with his hands behind his back as he gradually approached Blackjack, "I must admit that Bloodhand is indeed probably unable to hold onto the commercial street now. I can let you take some of my profits, but there's only so much I can give. How does ten percent sound?"

"Are you joking with me, Boss Taewon?" Blackjack said with a laugh, "Ten percent doesn't sound like a sincere offer from you."

"Then how much do you want?"

"Half," Blackjack said, I believe that this is the fairest distribution."

"Heh, Blackjack, a small lion shouldn't open its mouth too wide," Taewon said, "Half of the profits? How's that different from robbing us outright?"

"But I believe that Bloodhand can only hold on to half of the commercial street given your current strength," Blackjack explained, "Even though we're taking advantage of the situation, you still have to admit that Bloodhand has been weakened quite a bit lately."

Taewon kept silent for a moment. "How about this, I do have a suggestion that I'd like you to hear."

"Oh?"

"You better come closer. This matter is best kept secret," said Taewon.

Blackjack gave it some thought before he gave his subordinates a glance and walked over.

"Alright, now only the two of us are within earshot," whispered Blackjack. The two of them were at the center of the two groups, roughly ten meters away from each side.

"I can give you 20 percent of the profit," said Taewon.

Blackjack furrowed his brow. Just as he was about to say something, Taewon stretched his hand out and said something else. "Naturally, that's not all. I can offer you something else."

"What would that be?" Blackjack's interest seemed piqued. Perhaps Bloodhand had something appealing other than the commercial street in Kent.

Taewon beckoned for Blackjack to get closer with his finger. He whispered by the other's ear, "That is..."

Two cold flashes intersected in the air and the sound of metal clashing rang out. In Taewon's hand was a incredibly sharp dagger. Blackjack on the other hand held an oddly shaped scimitar.

Unlike Blackjack, Taewon fought in a rather heavy-handed style, so the dagger wasn't his best weapon. Blackjack on the other hand excelled in speed and dexterity, so he was most suited to be an assassin.

If Blackjack was armed with a dagger just now, Taewon would've been heavily injured by Blackjack's surprise attack. However, that fool had chosen the odd-looking scimitar in his main weapon and gave up on the more flexible dagger for the sake of looks.

So, the two of them were wielding weapons they didn't excel in. Even though Taewon was no expert at surprise attacks, the distance between their power levels saw to the clash evening out. Neither of them held any advantage over the other.

"I knew you were going to do that, shameless!" Taewon and Blackjack cursed in unison. "Attack!"

"Go, brothers!" roared Loden as he led the charge. However, that sneaky fellow slowed himself down intentionally. So, even though he was the first one to charge, he ended up near the rear of the rest.

The battle on the scale of near a hundred men started outside Kent immediately. Impetus waves of different intensities reverberated amidst the crowd. Even those two gangs sent out their elite, not everyone of them had the same impetus stratum. So, quite a number of weaker ones were sent flying by the enemy's impetus and turned into minced meat by the blades of their foes.

Flowers of blood bloomed immediately as one life after another fell like wheat being harvested by the sickle of Death.

But as they looked at their men falling, Taewon and Blackjack didn't make a single move. They only observed their adversary alertly and neither of their subordinates intercepted with them. How could those weaklings possibly involve themselves in a fight between someone in the 13th-stratum and 14-stratum?

One of the goons behind Taewon took handed him a handaxe. He was far better at using it.

"I made a cut in your stomach half a year back and your guts almost spilled out. Why have you come to seek death so soon?" said Taewon as he warmed himself up with handaxe in one hand.

"I'm the forgetful type, you see," said Blackjack with a chuckle. Another scimitar could be seen in his left hand. That weapon's full potential could only be unleashed when he used two at the same time.

"You ignorant, death-seeking fool!" roared Taewon as he rushed savagely towards Blackjack.

Looking at Taewon charging at him without holding back, Blackjack gulped and thought back at the time when he fought Taewon. In the end, his foe only suffered some light injuries on his left hand while he had his stomach cut open.

Even though Blackjack was rather impetuous, he wasn't a forgetful fool. Otherwise, there was no way he'd have made it to his current position. Blackjack felt a rush of fear when Taewon began his impressive charge, but when he thought about the other person, a horrifying surge of fear filled his heart. That fear overcame the feeling Taewon gave him and boosted his confidence and courage slightly.

Thus, Blackjack cried out and began charging for Taewon as well.

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TRL - Chapter 486 - Karitoke 2018-07-18T15:00:01+00:00

The white snow was already wiped away. Only the damaged walls and the burning farms of the small towns remained. Corpses, frozen green, and large black blood holes littered the ground. The wind carried stifled moans and agonized cries. The once prosperous plains were now the gateway to hell.

Of the seven cities, Morante was the sole shining pearl. The rest were built solely to protect it. The Union, having angered King Andinaq had lost 300 thousand men on the plains around these cities. It was the biggest blow the Union had ever suffered, not even the centuries of war with the old empire had anything comparable. The slap still sat red on the Union's faces. It was a painful lesson to learn, without a strong military, no superpower would be one for long.

Three of the cities had been lost to their enemy -- Bluwek, Ritt, and Krido. Two of the provinces on the plains, Gudlink and Mauvlin, and five neighboring provinces were also now completely empty wastelands, raided clean by two Norton legions.

Their only saving grace was that the offensive stirred up memories of the old war and whipped their citizens into a furor. Twinhead Dragon's president swore an oath to wipe Andinaq of the face of the world if it was the last thing he did.

"For two centuries we have stood against those wolves in the north," his words had rung, "They have lusted after our plains for centuries. For generations our people have shed their blood to keep them safe, in return they've wanted nothing by freedom! Four decades of peace our ancestors won with blood, sweat, and tears. Now, having barely licked their wounds clean, the wolves come for the plains again! Once again we must fight, bleed, and die for our freedom! Let us put them down once and for all!"

His words were fuel on the fire. Tens of thousands answered the call and the Union now had another legion to throw at their enemy. The new forces were moved to Mass, Gypsy, and Robertway, the four yet to fall to the enemy.

"Does the Union think the last two hundred years haven't happened? Do they really think we have not learned from our predecessor's mistakes? Ptooey!" Auguslo spat as he watched dozens of catapults smash another stronghold's walls and the grey mass of Whitelion soldiers storm through the gap.

The plains were rich and prosperous because of the natural causeways and man-made canals that ran through it like veins through flesh. They fed fields and carried goods year round. During war, they were barriers to hold back the enemy. A simple fort became an impenetrable citadel when there was water between it and it's assailants.

"Your Majesty, even if the Union knows we can attack in the winter they can't counter it. They can only watch their us streak across the canals and smash their walls!" Ripleid commented.

Auguslo finally had a successful winter campaign last year. The spoils meant he could finally afford form-fitting winter wear for all of Whitelion, which he promptly ordered from House Norton. It didn't look any different from their usual winter wear, so they could easily launch surprise attacks. He wanted to clear out the rest of the plains in one swoop and march on Morante.

Though the Union made some preparations, it didn't occur to them that their man-made canals would freeze over. The usual barriers were rendered useless and one stronghold after another fell to catapult barrages. The garrisons defending the strongholds had nowhere to run and could only fight to their deaths or surrender. In just tens of days, Whitelion broke through the first line made of hundreds of ad hoc strongholds and made their way to Robertway.

Karitoke stood on Robertway's walls and watched the distant crumbling strongholds and enemy gathering in the ruins. All of the soldiers understood the enemy would begin their attack at noon, and none could say for sure whether they would survive. He used to be one of the enemy. He used to be one of the enemy king's direct subordinates, actually. Now, however, he stood opposite his former liege. Where the king used to trust him, he now hated him.

Eighteen years earlier he was a student in Dawn Academy. He was enamored with Iron Locke, and joined the swordsmanship society to be close to his idol. He was excited for his bright future, certain he would be the next legendary swordsman in the academy.

His life changed radically when Lorist left for his ancestral home. Charade convinced him to give everything up and join his idol. He was excited to use his talents to make a name for himself and maybe even become a noble. Would it not be great to be a vassal under his idol? The journey was arduous, but it polished his swordsmanship. He was one of just ten councilors chosen from the 36 students and instructors that followed Lorist, he could weigh in on the convoy's future in Lorist's absence. He even stood at the head of a small faction loyal to him.

When they set foot in Andinaq, he ran into the king, then known only as the second highness, who spared no effort to woo him into switching sides. Maybe it was the thought of being an imperial knight, regardless, he accepted and switched sides with seven of his fellow former students. He could still see Charade, Terma, Dulles, and Lundmorde's looks of disdain as he left the convoy. They cut to the bone and his self-esteem had yet to recover. He, however -- being the arrogant, naive idiot he was, covered up his pain with anger. He thought they were the fools. Lorist would just be a count and they could never be anything more than simple knights. He now served the future king as an imperial knight!

Oh how great it all sounded in his head. His fantasies were quickly shattered. He and his companions were just pawns, used and disposed at their king's leisure. A single fight with Madras saw two of them dead. Flowater Creek followed, and, while Auguslo became famous as the new generation's first god of war, only two of the original seven remained, Karitoke and Sander.

Lorist came to find him for the paradise gathering, and, on hearing of his misadventures, offered him a chance to return to his side, promising to take care of any objections or obstacles in his way, but he hesitated when he thought of the disdain his former companions would have for him and the humiliation he would have to suffer and didn't rejoin his idol.

Sander fell in Auguslo's crossing of Cloudsnap. With his last friend, and his only reason for staying dead, Karitoke left Auguslo and snuck back to Morante. But he found both himself, and the Union unrecognizable. They had recently implemented their nobility system and occupied their neighbouring territories. His plan was initially to become a mercenary, but there were all but no mercenaries left. He tried to become an instructor at his old academy, but they could barely keep their doors open. He could not fathom what had ripped the world apart so thoroughly. He stayed at home for a full year before he had the strength to walk outside again. If not for the fact that his parents were industrious citizens and that his elder brother was afraid he had come back to fight him for their parents' inheritance, he might have stayed there until he died of old age.

His parents were thrilled that he had become a gold-ranked knight. They prettymuch threatened him with suicide if he didn't join his father's guild so the man could get a promotion.

Now, he stood opposite both his idol and his former king. His mouth smiled bitterly as he watched Whitelion's flag flap over the Union fort. The seven pale-faced men around him were fellow garrison commanders. None were from big guilds and none had fought any real battles.

Karitoke currently had the rank of colonel and command of the second sentry legion's eleventh division. A command of eight thousand men. Apart from the thousand men from the first regiment directly under his command, all the men were passionate and idealistic Morantians and guards from various merchant guilds.

"No reason to be nervous. Our walls are tougher than the small strongholds. The catapults will do nothing to them. They can only shoot 300 meters,which our ballistae can match. As long as we destroy the catapults, they have no hope of taking the walls," Karitoke consoled his subordinates.

"I'm not kidding! The catapults are nothing to fear. You know why I had you stack the walls with sandbags? It'll make them much stronger against the catapults. As long as we hide behind them, the catapults can't to anything. You don't think our luck is that bad, right?"

"B-but... The catapults could make a hole in our walls for the enemy to rush in..." said one of the pale-faced leaders.

"I already envisioned that long ago. If they make a hole in our walls, we can use these sandbags to fill it up," replied Karitoke calmly.

"W-we're definitely going to die! I-it's better if we run immediately..." Everyone was on the brink of breaking down.

"Bastard! Where do you plan to run, huh? It's snowing and freezing all over! And do you think you can outrun the two wooden sticks the enemies wear beneath their feet? If you say anything else that'll affect our morale, I'll kill you myself!" raged Karitoke. Just as he was about to give that man a slap to snap him out of it, what happened next was beyond anyone's imagination. A thin layer of ice that formed on the ground caused him to slip and almost fall.

"Who the f*ck poured tea on the ground?!" yeled he, before an idea popped up in his head. He recalled what Lorist said about watering the walls to reinforce them to fend off the magic beast attacks.

Elated, Karitoke proclaimed, "I have a way! A way to prevent the catapults from pulverizing our walls!"

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Comments (2)
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User #2657914 - 24 Jul 18 17:12
of course there are a few chapters before we learn about what happens to the traitors :/
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User #12481534 - 24 Jul 18 19:13
Eu acho que ele vai acabar se livrando da punição. I think he'll end up getting rid of punishment.
1st Week TRL Bonus Chapter Question 2018-07-18T00:16:31+00:00
Here's this week's question:
Please give the name of Leguna's childhood friend!

Send the answer to our email at ts2_answers@outlook.com with "TS2 Answer" in the subject!

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TS2 - Chapter 166 - Blackjack and Taewon 2018-07-17T15:00:00+00:00
"Even a lion, if wounded, can be killed by hyenas."

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Taewon had been feeling strung up for the last two days. The reason Bloodhand became the largest gang in Semralsin wasn't because of the vast amounts of territory it controlled. They also enjoyed many connections with the administrators and officials in power. Taewon had some status in Semralsin as the gang's leader. It should've been perfect; he had money, women, and power. However, the gang suffered blow after blow for half a month now.

It'd lost seven mid-order warriors in just a fortnight. Most were leaders of the town branches. The core members also died along with them. The thugs fell into disarray without their leaders. Some fought over the empty positions, some joined other factions while a third group quit entirely and started upright lives. He had to admit that, regardless of what happened in the towns, they were no longer under his control. Their loss amounted to 3 tenths of the brotherhood's income. He was struggling to keep up with his contributions to the authorities already.

And he hadn't even gotten to the worst bit yet. He just got a small note the day before. 'I am Dark Requiem. Your goons have offended me. I will wipe out your entire brotherhood in retaliation. I've already done seven of your branches in. Kent is next.' it read.

"F*cking hell... What game is this 'Dark Requiem' playing?!"

The f*cker's sudden appearance was terrible. He appeared out of nowhere just a fortnight ago and started killing the brotherhood's people. He made a mound of pulp out of the first group he killed and left a note with the words 'Dark Requiem' written on it. The first group only had a branch commander in it, so Taewon didn't really care about it at first. He thought the idiot just provoked someone he shouldn't have and paid the price. The loss of a mid-order warrior wasn't nothing, but it didn't compare to the loss of an entire branch. That said, it was at most a mild irritation. If only it had ended there.

He received news of a second branch being wiped out just as he was sending out a group to stabilize the first branch. Again a note with 'Dark Requiem' written on it was found at the scene. He nearly tore his shirt when he received the news. He sent people around asking about this Dark Requiem but they couldn't find even the shakiest rumors no matter how hard they looked. If he was of a more religious mind, he would have been convinced the figure had fallen from heaven.

Did the heavens send him to mess with me?! he thought, a chill running down his spine.

Several of the brotherhood's larger branches were wiped out in the days that followed. Some were poisoned, others were killed in their sleep -- most's throats were slit-- the most laughable death took place during a cleanup operation. A new branch nearby, made up entirely of newby, rebelled and he left to quell it. He was found dead a few days ago. Taewon refused to believe the greenhorn rebels were the ones responsible.

It must be an experienced mid-order assassin.

Dark Requiem might have wiped out seven branches in a fortnight, but Taewon didn't think much of him. Apart from the first instance, he'd not faced any of his targets head on. His tactics were those of a weakling punching above his weight. They were effective, but showed that he wasn't a match for his targets in a fair fight. The first report might have cause him some pause, but he didn't think the report was accurate. What assassin was dumb enough to take on a whole branch in a face-to-face clash when he clearly wasn't strong enough? He might be an experienced assassin, but he wasn't very strong, mid-order at most. Taewon controlled all of the brotherhood and he was only a high-level mid-order, so this assassin had to be quite a fair bit weaker than him.

The thought that this mysterious figure might actually be able to fight and kill high-order opponents never even came close to crossing the yard, nevermind crossing Taewon's mind. In fact, he would think it completely delusional to even entertain the thought that this Dark Requiem didn't barge into the branches because he couldn't be bothered rather than not having the strength.

The brotherhood's recent losses were finally getting big enough to cause a stir among his subordinates. The province's other bandits were also now eyeing their territory and assets. Were this just a fortnight earlier, he would have slapped them across the face for their idiocy. But now? He couldn't no matter how much he wanted.

How the f*ck did I irritate this bastard?

How could he know his life's work was being wiped out over three fingers? What would he say if he did?

"Boss, tonight's the negotiation with Blackjack. He's teetering on the edge as well," Loden chimed.

Taewon trusted the man implicitly. He'd been his aide for over two years. He was responsible for managing all the tedious day-to-day stuff of the group and had a real knack for the stuff.

"I know," Taewon nodded.

"How many will you take with you?"

"This is my territory. I'll just take a few elites as a show of force. Blackjack doesn't dare actually do anything."

Blackjack was only a mid-order warrior, and the strongest in his gang. He would not dare take on Taewon, even if he were dumb enough, neither he nor his gang had the strength to face Taewon and the brotherhood even in its current weakened state.

"Dark Requiem's forced us into a corner. Blackjack must have something ready to trouble us. It'd be best to take a few more just to be safe."

"Fine. Pick the people you want to go with me."

"Alright. We can leave in half an hour." Loden nodded and left.

An hour later, the two crime bosses met. Blackjack was a tall, reedy fellow. His face was cracked by a disgusting smile and he acted like a pretentious noble. Taewon hated this about him the most. The people in their line of work were piles of shit. They might be kings of their mountains, but they were still mountains of shit. They could climb the biggest one in the area and stand tall enough to look nobles in the eyes, but they could never hide the fact that they were still covered in the shit and the nobles weren't. But Blackjack did not seem to know this.

"I'd like to thank you for the opportunity, Taewon," Blackjack spouted, greeting like a noble. His slender form covered in leather made him look like a monkey bending down to check his bananas.

"Get to the point, Blackjack. For what did you drag me over here?"

Both factions' headquarters were in Kent's inner city and both owned a number of places in the city they could have used for this meeting. There was no reason for them to be meeting outside the city. Blackjack's reasoning was beyond him. Was the idiot really going to start a fight? This might be a trap, but Taewon couldn't chicken out -- everyone was staring at him. If he didn't show, it would be taken as a sign of the brotherhood's weakness and everyone would go after them. Even a lion, if injured, could be killed and eaten by hyenas.

Taewon inspected his surroundings. Blackjack had brought quite a few men along, but, thanks to Loden's suggestion, Taewon had also brought out almost all the elites in Kent. Even if a fight broke out, he didn't have to be afraid of losing.

"I admit I was the one that wanted to meet, but you were the one that picked the spot. I wanted to meet in one of our brothers in the city, but you insisted we meet here."

"Are you f*cking messing with me? When did I mention the spot of our meeting?!"

"Hey! Your aid told me personally. Are you telling me he isn't your aid?!" Blackjack humphed coldly. He didn't think Taewon would refuse to admit something this trivial. He didn't like the man's tone at all. He had a lot of subordinates with him; his reputation would be damaged if he didn't react sternly.

"Loden!" Taewon shouted, "Were you the one who told him I wanted to meet here?!"

"I just conveyed Blackjack's request! Blackjack, did you forget what you said? You told me it wouldn't be fair to meet in either of our territories. You were the one that suggested we meet outside the city!"

"When did I say anything like that?! Taewon, we've been toyed with."

"Boss! I've followed you for years and did whatever I could without dissatisfying you! Do you still remember?!"

Loden shuffled to Taewon's side and whispered.

"Blackjack must be trying to get rid of me and weaken the brotherhood even further!"

Taewon shook his head.

"Loden has been my subordinate for years. I trust him over some rival gang's boss."

"So you don't trust me then?"

"I never trusted you. We're here to negotiate. It doesn't matter where, so just get to

"Business?" Blackjack laugh, "You brought so many men here and dragged me out to the wilderness to talk business? You think I'm a fool?!"

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TRL - Chapter 485 - The Feral Wolves and the Magical Bear 2018-07-17T15:00:00+00:00
"A man who can cook for himself, will never go hungry, but a man who can get a woman to cook for him, has made it in life." ~ Unknown mercenary.

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Snow drizzled outside the window, everything was a wet white. The frozen wind descended in frigid gusts. The cabin jutted out of this white blanket, breaking the seamless purity of the mountainside, like a nail only half-hammered, three days abandoned.

Reidy and Tarkel had left for Windbury on skis a seven days ago. The letters they carried didn't have the customary household seal, but Lorist's handwriting was unmistakable, and his personal seal was worth far more than a household stamp in these trying times.

The order of most immediate concern was for Camorra. Lorist suggested a solution to the coming predicament, a simple, one word solution written in large bold strokes over half the page: borrow. No peasant, merchant, or noble household, no business, factory, storehouse, or other enterprise in his own lands or those of his allies was out of reach, as long as they had food, they had to lend it to him.

War had indeed ravaged the kingdom for years now, but none of the fighting had been done in either his or his allies' lands, so most of their stores were still wholly intact. On top of that, the years had been fair and gave good harvest, it would take a miracle, or an absolute idiot, for a house to not have full stores. Even Arriotoli's barony had overflowing vaults. The house usually bought most of their harvest, but they always held back some as a failsafe in case of famine or, indeed, war. Food was the most stable resource in the world, after all, because it was always needed, it always had value, and that only skyrocketed in wartime. Lorist trusted the three legions wouldn't have any problems borrowing from the nobles. No one would dare cross his forces when their master was the kingdom's only swordsaint, especially for a little food that was promised to be repaid with interest.

In a few more days the convoy would set out on their great pilgrimage. Even Arriotoli would not be spared. It displeased her quite a bit, but she knew how crucial this was to salvaging the situation so she could only stand by her lover's side.

The new year had rolled around three days ago, hence the abandoned cabin. Lorist spent the celebration in the castle with his lover and child. His injuried recovered, his lover had been demanding his undivided attention for these three days, determined to give Terryke a sibling.

"Crazy woman..." complained Lorist as he slapped his waist.

It was expected of lovers to be in each other's arms a lot of the time, but three days of uninterrupted loving was just punishment. If one put him out of commission for three days, what would five more, all two years deprived of his care, do to him? The thought sent shivers down his aching spine. Swordsaint or not, he could not handle so many women.

I'm overthinking... Lorist slapped his forehead.

He knocked the icicles off the sill above the door with his batons and entered. He took off his ludicrously thick clothing and put on something more reasonable, quickly lighting the brazier and fireplace to begin heating up the place. Next came the snow in the yard, lone man or not, housework had to be done.

It took him until early afternoon to finish the work needed outside and decided to patrol the forest before moving to dealing with the inside of the cabin. The decision came neither of a sense of duty to fulfill his temporary guard duties, and most certainly not out of a desire to avoid the work still needed inside the cabin. He just wanted to check the traps for any catches.

Many of his traps had indeed caught prey, but his three day absence was long enough for most of them to be devoured by passing predators, leaving only a bone or two connected to the actual snare. Some had no carcass at all, and only the blood and disturbance of the snare revealed they'd caught something. It was a shame. His traps had been set to catch turkeys and hare. They were plentiful and easy to find, and were the most delicious of all possible catches in early winter, having fattened themselves up for the season.

Seven of the 18 traps he'd set were undisturbed but empty. Three located in harder-to-reach places gave him two turkeys and a wild hare, but the remaining eight had been poached and the traps themselves ruined. The devastation he found at these traps and in the areas around them, convinced him several large predators had descended the mountain. At least two, maybe three wolves, and one magical bear. It seemed he would not be getting his much desired rest for a while.

Lorist had no thought of lighting the beacon though. He had returned to the peak of the Dan Ocean Ki-refining Technique's third stage, about rank 1 blademaster level, so the four pests, while irritating, were nothing he could not handle. He would be insulting himself if he lit the beacon, after all, the strongest person that could come to his aid would be Arriatoli herself, who was just a two-star silver rank.

He returned to the cabin, cleaned it, and made dinner -- turkey, hare, and mushroom soup, and a few sausages and several slices of black bread. He downed a few cups of raspberry wine, took another herbal bath, and went to bed.

The time was nearly right to begin training the Aquametal Technique again. The sooner he became a swordsaint again, the better. It would let him solve the house's troubles once and for all.

He found himself questioning the worth of being duke more often here in the mountain. It was true that nobles led far more luxurious lives than the peasantry, but with it came far greater stresses and troubles, most draining of which was the backstabbing and internal politics of their families. He had been the foreman of a workshop in his last life, these tribulations were far beyond his desire to deal with, and he didn't feel he really needed the luxuries he got in return. For all his stress and work he didn't get a television, a computer, the internet or a mobile phone. Had it been is old life, the only troubles he had to go through for all of the above was a day job and a little saving. No matter how high he rose in this worlds ranks, he could never even come close to the peasantry of his old life, and he certainly would never be as worry-free as them; if anything his worries would only grow and multiply. Oh, how he wished he could give all this up for a simple life like he'd had.

It did him no good to dwell on such things, however, however much he wished for it, he would never have his old life again, and pining for it would certainly not solve the very real tourbles he faced now. Besides, he was kept safe in this world not by his power or his position, but his cultivation. And what made it worthwhile for him were his loved ones, his responsibilities, and the joy of cultivating. His previous life could not give him the thrill of breaking through in his cultivation; he could not experience the pleasure of playing god with his enemies within his domain… He didn't think the joys of his previous life, missing them as much as he did, was worth giving up what he had now.

Besides, his family, friends, subordinates, allies, and vassals pinned their hopes and dreams on him. He could not let them down. And then there were his three disciples, the three stooges. He certainly could not give up the joy of teaching the young ones.

Young ones? Am I growing old? I never used to bother with this much idle pondering. Lorist stroked his finally smooth chin.

Arriotoli refused to let him keep it. 'It's all for your disguise and you don't have to be afraid of the blademaster anymore'. They both knew it was only a convenient excuse. She just didn't appreciate his grand facial hair. He eventually caved and let her shave it, but she even went as far as to apply oil to his jaw. It now felt like an egg, or a baby's arse...

The hare sizzled as it's fat dripped on the coals.

They had a really good fall, huh? Just a bit more. A pinch of salt… There we go. Now it just needs to crisp up.

Last night's put was heating up again, the leftovers of the soup slowly turning liquid again. Its fragrance slowly wafted out the half-open window and chimney and drifted into the forest.

Hmm! Not bad.

Lorist wasn't a chef by any stretch of the imagination, but he believed he had quite decent skills, it was definitely above average for males of his age and background. He moved the pot to the table, shifting the brazier into a corner with his foot and brought over the bread and a flask of wine. He was just marvelling at his handiwork when he heard claws scratching at the front door.

He shut the door to the kitchen, moved the brazier to one of the rooms -- plunging the rest of the place into darkness -- and made his gingerly way to the window. Below him three cattle-sized wolves circled the house, scratching at the door in turns. They stopped and sniffed the air every time the wind shifted, as if to make sure the sent was still coming from the odd landscape feature in front of them.

Great! I was going to look for you today anyway, but you were kind enough to spare me the trouble.

He closed the window carefully, got the sword on the table, and headed for his bedroom. He climbed out of the window onto the roof there and moved to the edge. The wolves continued to claw at the door and circle around in blissful ignorance of the devil looming over them, their minds wholly focused on getting to the source of the scent.

Lorist stepped off the roof and sunk into the soil beneath, crushing one of the wolves beneath him. His sword flung out and impaled itself in the second wolf through its eye. The poor puppy collapsed to the ground silently. The final wolf reacted in time, however, and flashed to the edge of the yard, preferring to stare at the intruder from a safe distance.

Lorist walked towards it calmly, sword in hand. The wolf glared at him but didn't make any moves. Instead, it backed of slowly, keeping a good distance. Lorist dashed at him the moment he reached the edge of the yard himself. The wolf responded in kind, leaping at him. Lorist flashed his blade and stepped out of the way, letting the lump of flesh crash into the other two lumps by the cabin.

"Dumb as always. Why do they insist on chasing everything they come across and think I'd stand nice and still for them to hit? Well, thanks to that the pelts are mostly intact so they should be worth a bit, and I don't even have to waste too much effort on cleaning them."

He returned to the crushed-but-still-whimpering wolf and finished it off with a stab through what remained of its eye socket. Just as he was about to open the door, however, he suddenly vanished. A miniscule moment later, a claw streaked by where he'd been standing. Leaving several deep etches on the door.

Lorist landed three meters away.

Today seems to be my lucky day! All four of my prey came to me. I didn't even have to leave the yard!

The beast that faced him now stood at least 2.5 meters on its hinds, about as big as a magical beast could get. Oh, how happy Arriotoli would be to get its pelt. She had a few magic pelts, but they were nowhere near as big as this one would be, and they were certainly not as intact.

She'll probably brag about how brave her house was and how valiantly they fought against the bear. I doubt she'll consider me an outsider for this, well, even if she did, I doubt she'd admit it and give up the glory.

The bear stared at its paw incredulously. How had its prey just vanished? It was certain it should be a paste by now. Its attention suddenly drifted to the wolf carcasses by the door and forgot about Lorist completely. It just wanted to enjoy the feast.

"Fuck off! They're mine!"

Lorist appeared in front of the beast and sheathed his sword in its eye. The bear roared in pain and flailed wildly for a few moments before it collapsed.

Arriotoli arrived a few hours later to check on her hubby, having heard the beast's cry all the way down in the valley. When she saw the creatures in the yard, she buried her tongue in Lorist's mouth for a few seconds before taking the carcasses away.

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Comments (4)
user avatar
User #8408198 - 22 Jul 18 02:36
Huh ever since June I wondered why I stopped receiving TRL updates. It seems as if only certain posts gets sent to my email?
user avatar
TalesofLord - 22 Jul 18 03:19
Patreon changed the way they send email updates. It's best to check our page manually. We update give days a week and take two days in between usually around 2300 gmt+8. Break days are on Sunday and Monday GMT+8.
user avatar
User #8408198 - 23 Jul 18 02:21
It is possible to change it back to the way it was (sent by email)? The patreon website is very hard to binge read on mobile.
user avatar
User #8378950 - 19 Jul 18 15:15
dang filler
New Weekly Quiz Contest - Bonus TRL Chapters at Stake! 2018-07-14T14:49:57+00:00

Hey guys.

So, Ryogawa and I have been thinking of awesome ways to reward those of you who know your stories inside and out. We've decided to run a weekly quiz contest with bonus TRL chapters at stake. Here's how it'll work:

We'll publish a question about TS2 every week with the first release of the week (usually Tuesdays). You guys then have till the moment the final release of the week (usually Saturdays) goes live to submit your answers. We'll go through them and those who answered correctly will get access to one chapter ahead of what they currently have for the week that follows.

This means that non-patrons will get access to Iron patron chapters for 1 week, Iron patrons will get access to Silver patron chapters for 1 week, and so on. Swordsaint patrons, who stand at the peak, will also get access to one extra chapters for 1 week!

So, how should you submit? Just send your answer, no longer than 1 sentence to ts2_answers@outlook.com. Include "TS2 Answer" in the subject. Answer the week's question in 1 sentence in the body of the email, and include your patron name if you are a patron.

We'll email you the link to the folder where we'll post the bonus chapters for the week if your answer is correct, or let you know if your answer was incorrect.

Please note that if you send us multiple answers we'll only look at the first one, so be sure you're certain you're right before sending them in.

Look forward to the first question in Tuesday's release! We hope you guys will swamp us with correct answers!

Good Luck!

Ryogawa and Prince

P.S. You can read TS2 right now over here at volarenovels.com! We're going to hold this contest weekly, so don't worry if you don't make it this week! Read on and look forward to participating in the contests in future weeks!

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TS2 - Chapter 165 - Exploiting Misfortune 2018-07-14T15:01:00+00:00

"I don't think there's much to negotiate about. The commercial street is my territory anyways," said Loden coldly. He was initially curious why Blackjack sought him out and he just found out that they wanted to take a bite out of Bloodhand Brotherhood's meat.

"Please forgive my frankness, but I doubt you can make that decision for the whole brotherhood as an individual, Mister Loden. Unless, you're saying that you've gotten the agreement of your leader, and that you're conveying Mister Taewon's will," said the other man sneakily.

Loden kept silent for a moment before he replied, "I have come here to represent only myself."

"Alright then," the man said, "We don't need you to make the decision right now. All we ask is that you pass these words on to your leader. That's all there is."

"You don't even need to think about it to know that Boss Taewon won't agree to something like that!" Loden said without hesitation, "I am sure of that!"

"Is that so?" the sneaky man said once more, "Does Mister Loden really think so?"

"Our leader is no idiot. Why would he do something that would compromise his own profits? Boss Taewon aside, are you telling me that Mister Blackjack would do the same?" said Loden with a smirk.

"Of course he wouldn't. Most normal people wouldn't do something to harm their own benefits, however..." the man suddenly closed in and asked, "how can you be sure that there isn't a reason for it this time?"

"You..." Loden felt a chill run down his spine. He knew that someone had gripped his weak point.

"I admit that I've held a sense of respect for the brotherhood in the long time I've been here. However, that person's appearance changed everything" said the other man. When he mentioned 'that person', a look of respect flashed through his eyes.

"Dark Requiem..." muttered Loden.

"That's right, Dark Requiem indeed," the man said with a nod, "In fact, I'm curious how Bloodhand Brotherhood managed to make that kind of enemy."

"That's none of your business," said Loden without a change in expression. In fact, he wasn't aware of the reason himself.

"This is but a fact," the man said with a shrug, "However, after deliberating over it, I came upon a thought: don't you think that such a sinister assassin has an even bigger power standing behind him?"

"What do you mean?" Loden kept his poker face.

"An even stronger faction," replied that man.

"You can investigate it yourself," said Loden.

"We don't have to," the man said, "But regardless, I believe that Bloodhand Brotherhood will no doubt be ripped apart by Dark Requiem."

"So you're saying that you're here to exploit our predicament?" A cold glint could be seen in Loden's eyes.

That man nodded frankly. "That's right. We are here to do exactly that. In fact, apart from us, quite a number of other factions in the city are just staring and waiting for a chance. That's especially true with regards to the commercial street. If our estimations are not mistaken, the street brings the brotherhood a quarter of its income. Others, us included, are pining for that kind of profit."

"Well, you can try. Stretch your hand into our mouth to take our meat and I guarantee that your hand will be bitten off," hissed Loden.

The man merely smiled. "Mister Loden, I'm sure you're a pretty smart man, seeing as how you've managed to secure your current position. Why would you say something so stupid then?"

"I'm not sure I follow."

"Oh, you do," the man continued, "With seven of your branches destroyed, I'm sure that Bloodhand Brotherhood will be in for a hell of a ride even without our interference. We'd definitely wouldn't dare demand the things we did in the past. But now, the great lion has already been wounded and its fangs and talons are sharp no more. Naturally, we have to rebuild the natural order and restore the equilibrium of power once more."

Loden humphed audibly, neither confirming nor denying the man's allegations. Blackjack was well-prepared for the negotiations. Since the name of the Bloodhand Brotherhood no longer threatened them, it was their turn to play their cards.

"And Boss Blackjack is willing to stretch out an olive branch right now," that man said, seeing as Loden wasn't going to say anything else, "In exchange, Boss Taewon should give us part of the profits of the commercial street."

"Exchange? For what?" Loden said, "You guys aren't contributing one bit and yet you demand part of the profits from the commercial street? That's no trade. It's robbery!"

"So you're telling me that the brotherhood has never robbed anyone before? Or are you saying you had a hand in building the prosperity of the commercial street with your own hands?" responded the man without holding anything back. After that, he softened his tone and said, "But, if you are willing to give us a part of the profits, we'll ensure that what remains will securely be in your hands. At the same time, Boss Blackjack will help your brotherhood to survive this predicament. This is our offer."

Loden looked at that man without saying a word as he considered the pros and cons of the matter.

The man added, "I believe that Mister Loden is also aware that apart from Boss Taewon, Boss Blackjack has never feared anyone in Kent. Even if we don't take anything from the commercial street, there's no doubt that the other factions would try to stretch their hands in. How could you weather the pressure from all the factions in Kent alone? You'd be unable to keep the commercial street to yourself anyway, so why not trade a part of its profits for Boss Blackjack's friendship? I believe that this is the optimal choice and the best deal you can get. We assure you that our price is the fairest."

Loden kept silent as usual. After some consideration, he said, "I will bring this matter up to Boss Taewon, but I'm not sure if he'll agree to it."

"That's more than enough!" the man said with a confident smile, "We thank you for giving us face today, Mister Loden. Well then, we'll be waiting patiently for Boss Taewon's reply. You should know how to get in touch with us."

"Got it," said Loden with a nod.

"Very well. We'll be taking our leave. The bill has already been paid for, so feel free to help yourself," said the man before he left the room.

Loden sat in the room alone without making the slightest sound. After who knows how long, he stood up and left it. A few of his goons were patiently waiting outside.

"Come on, let's go back," said Loden. But at that moment, an immeasurably alluring woman entered his line of sight. 'She' had a head of long, lush black hair. Paired with her soul-tempting face and enchanting figure, she was the finest thing to ever exist. Loden had also noticed 'her' revealing clothes, which told him that women like that were easy to conquer.

The woman only gave him a cursory glance before entering the washroom.

Having just participated in an infuriating negotiation with Blackjack's faction, he felt that he needed to vent on a woman. It seemed that he had gotten the very thing he wished for.

"Be on the lookout for me. I'll go in for a bit," instructed Loden.

"Don't worry, I'll make sure that nobody comes to bother you!" The goon understood his intentions and promised his superior privacy.

Loden nodded with satisfaction before he entered the washroom impatiently. He ignored the 'ladies' sign completely and pushed the door open.

As expected, that woman seemed to be waiting for him within.

"I wonder who a beautiful lady such as you is waiting for at a place like this?" said Loden with a smile. Even though he was small and weak, his face could still be considered handsome. His trademark smile had allowed him to successfully conquer quite a number of women.

"Well, you're not wrong in that I'm waiting for someone," replied the woman in a husky, sexy voice.

"Oh? I wonder who that person might be?" Loden's smile intensified, but he began to feel a sense of discomfort because the woman felt almost too easy to get. It was as if she had sent herself into his embrace.

The woman smiled, before she revealed a piercing gaze. 'She' suddenly said in a grossly different-sounding male voice, "Why for you of course."

Loden was horrified. He knew that something was off when that woman's gaze shifted. But before he could react, the woman's dagger had already been held against his throat.

"Ssssshhh! Relax. Don't make any weird sounds. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to stop my hand from shuddering," said Leguna with a laugh.

"Who are you?" Loden tried hard to suppress the stutter in his voice. He knew that he couldn't afford to show any weakness at times like this.

"Dark Requiem," replied he softly.

Loden began to emit cold sweat.

"Loden, right?" Leguna said, "What were you doing in there just now? You had me waiting for a long time."

Loden merely looked coldly at Leguna without saying a single word.

Leguna sighed. "Why are you all always like that? Well, I guess I can try out some new things today."

......

"Wow, it sounds so exciting," said one goon who was respectfully standing guard outside the washroom. They listened to the rough moans coming out from within and couldn't help but picture what was going on.

"Did you see that? That woman truly is the cream of the crop! I've never seen someone so hot in all my life!" said another as he drooled.

"Of course I did. Darn it, if I were inside, I would be willing to give her my life!"

If Loden had heard that, he would've no doubt said, 'So you want to give it a f*cking try? It's not so good that I'm going to heaven! I'm literally dying!'

Within the washroom, Loden could be seen with greenish-purple bruises over his back and abdomen. Even though they weren't too obvious, Loden only knew how pain he currently felt. However, the hateful Leguna had sealed off his voice box and impetus. Even though he wasn't completely silent, he could only make a few soft sounds that were not that different from moans during intercourse.

"Well, you will tell me what I want to know now, right?" said Leguna with some annoyance.

Loden caught his breath and waited for the pain to subside. After that, he answered Leguna with complete honesty.

"Good," said Leguna with a satisfied nod. He thought for a bit before he brought out a small pill and stuffed it in Loden's mouth. "This is a poison I made myself. You'll be fine for the next five days after ingesting it. But if you don't get the antidote by then, you'll bleed out from your seven orifices and intestines before dying. The pain you felt just now is nothing in comparison."

Loden glared at Leguna wordlessly.

"You might not believe it, but I'm sure you can feel a slight pain in your abdomen now," Leguna said, "By the time that pain rises to your heart, that will be your death."

It was then when Loden was truly frightened. He did feel a subtle pulse of pain in his abdomen. If it really was as Leguna had said... He shivered to imagine the consequences.

"That's it." Leguna could tell that Loden was completely in his control after seeing his response. "If you want the antidote, just do a few simple things for me..."

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TRL - Chapter 484 - Internal Strife (2) 2018-07-14T15:01:00+00:00
"All men are ambitious. Most lords know this all too well, which is why a rebellion by one's subordinates is rarely what kills or brings down a lord. Most forget that women are just as, if not more, ambitious as their brothers, fathers, and husbands, and mothers love their sons more than their husbands. Poisonous women kill ten times as many lords as ambitious men." ~ Unknown

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"In his fucking dreams!" raged Lorist.

Hansk's plan was insane. He wanted to use a royal decree to suppress him and raise Lysecott as successor, maybe even force a split? He could go screw a magic goat! Did he really think he could create a Norton dominion within a Norton dominion? Did he know Lorist so badly that he thought it would help him avoid punishment?

Then again, he was an old man, he'd never actually left The Northlands in his entire life, so he was way too ignorant of how things worked. Charade, Camorra, or Hector, who were familiar with how the house worked, would never dare rebel. Certainly not for something so futile as getting Lysecott to be heir de jure. Did he really think Lorist, now a swordsaint would care about some lousy royal decree?

Gleis would have known better as well. Had he still been alive, and obviously thus the head of this faction, he would not have let this happen. But he was dead and had left his position within the faction to Hansk, the idiot. He'd also left behind Hansk, Spiel, and Kedan as the house's administrative talents, his dying wish had been that they help Lorist make the house prosper. The house now was already far beyond what the old man had dreamt. It stood at the zenith of vassal houses, in terms of reputation, size, might, and rank. It could only climb higher by switching to the mountain of independent forces.

Each of the three talents had their own specialty. Spiel was great at saving money, even stingy, Kedan was slick, and quick to adapt, and Hansk was great at managing the normal day-to-day goings-on. Had he stayed in the house's old lands, he might have been known as a great servant, he might even have been mentioned alongside Gleis, by future generations.

But, the house broke out of its three-century mould when Lorist took over. It underwent historical, if not legendary, growth. No house of similar size had ever risen from bottom-of-the-barrel to cream-of-the-crop in such a short time before. It usually took several generations, two at least, working their entire lives to see this come to pass, but Lorist and House Norton did it in just ten years. Hansk, having lived in the middle of nowhere his entire life, was very conservative, shortsightedly so. Lorist, on the other hand, had spent half his life at the time of his return in the continent's capital. When given the choice between such a shortsighted man and his long-time friend and fellow progressive, he naturally trusted Charade more, and thus gave the position of head administrator to him.

He didn't neglect Hansk on purpose, the man just wasn't capable of performing satisfactorily in the positions Lorist had given him. Rather than learn from his mistakes, and ask for advice so he could become better, he resented the newcomers and formed his own faction to try to force things back to how they used to be, where he could do well. He'd also grown bold over the year and crossed Lorist numerous times, the worst of which saw him all but expelled from Lorist's inner circle and exiled to the bastide.

To think that would not be enough punishment for him, that he would come back with even greater schemes for trouble, going as far as to plunge the house proper into chaos just so he could get some power for his corner of it, was unbelievable. Lorist was reminded of the old saying, 'the enemies at the door will never kill you, it is the ones sitting at your table that will deal the killing blow.'

"Did the king agree?" Lorist asked.

"He did. I arrived too late. Hansk had already announced Lysecott's appointment to regent. Charade smuggled a letter to the king explaining everything, it reached the front-lines long after everything was done. The king only realised his mistake after reading the letter. The three legions returned after they read it as well."

So that's what Tarkel meant when he said the king was regretful. He'd not acted as the mastermind in this rebellion, but was instead a victim as well. He had thought he was doing Lorist a favour, instead he was throwing him under the bus. He thought the house was asking for his support in making Lysecott regent, and, by extent, heir de jure, because Lorist didn't want to play the bad guy and make his bastard son heir when he had a legitimate son that had a stronger claim to the position.

The king must have thought that he might as well do this favour for Lorist since he could and win some points with him. There would be no problem for Lysecott to become the heir de jure with the king's endorsement, so he didn't hesitate to write the decree.

"Hansk declared Ovidis the rebel the moment he received the decree and prepared to assault the city. He ordered Glacia to take command of the assaulting forces, but she refused. Instead, she went to Lady Sylvia, and the two negotiated a short ceasefire.

"With Kedan and Glacia, Lady Sylvia your concubines and children escaped the city and are now in Cherry Blossom Ridge. Howard and Ovidis left the city as well and, along with the forces they have with them and the three blademasters, are all now at the palace as well.

The only good news out of this whole debacle was that no one important had died yet and no major battles had been fought. This did not have to turn into a full blown civil war.

"Where are the three legions now?"

"They're still in Frederika. They've run into a little trouble."

"Oh? What kind of trouble?"

"Firmrock and Tigersoar occupied Bluwek and Ritt in the plains. The king had Whitelion take Krido and Jaeger raided the countryside in Gudlink and Mauvlin--"

"Wait, where is is that? I haven't heard of those places before."

"They're in the former Teribo kingdom. They split the kingdom into five provinces, those two border the plains."

"I see. Continue."

Lorist stroked his beard, somewhat embarrassed. He remembered now Tarkel had told him this in a report long ago but he was too focused on his own lands to listen properly.

"The Union is extremely rich, even its minor nobles are quite wealthy. We've inned quite the haul. We need at least a thousand carriages to transport everything, and then there's the 500 thousand migrants we caught as well."

Tarkel's face reddened somewhat as he spoke. If this was told to any outsider, they would think the house were nothing but land pirates. All they did was raid and plunder. Even Lorist had to admit that was pretty much what his armies were at this point; a bunch of well-trained nobility-sanctioned privateers. He would never admit it to anyone else, of course.

"That's all fine and good, but what's this trouble they ran into?"

"They're short on food, Milord. There are too many people for their current supplies. They can't start the journey back without a large resupply, and, given how things are looking in The Northlands, that won't be happening anytime soon."

"I know what you're thinking, Milord," Tarkel quickly added, "We did prepare enough for our forces in Winston, but then you sent back the immigrants from Anderwoff, Bodolger, and Kanbona. Three hundred thousand have been settled in The Northlands and can feed themselves, but 500 thousand are still waiting in Winston and are being fed by that stockpile. The only place that can spare the resources needed to resupply the legion and the refugees still in the south is The Northlands, but that's now under rebel control, so..."

Fuck you, Hansk!! Lorist slammed the table, disintegrating it.

"What are Potterfang, Loze, and Josk doing about it?"

"Potterfang will stay at Frederika to watch over the immigrants while Josk and Loze return to the plains. They hope to plunder enough supplies to be able to return by winter. They'll skip back on the snow."

"And what will they do when they're back in Winston? It's not like the city will have supplies waiting for them. Without proper preparations they'll only make things worse. We can't just suck in a million people like it's nothing," Lorist critiqued.

"I think they're planning to attack the rebels."

"Attack The Northlands? Do they think it's easy? There's a reason we chose to haul up there for so long before breaking out! All Hansk needs to do is destroy the bridges and all the forces in the world will do us no good! He'll just declare them rebels the moment they arrive.

"How is the situation on the information front?"

"When Supervisor Hansk gained control of the first local guard legion, he sent his men to take over the eagle hub at Firmrock Castle and forbade any contact with the outside world. We can't send letters in or get anything out. The Northlands is completely cut off from the rest of the world. Our only chance is by sea through Northsea. But Hansk sealed off that route as well. The ships are stopped at Bullhorn Bay and forced to anchor. He ordered the Northsea Fleet to stand by Lysecott's side, but Admiral Senbaud moved it to Silowas instead."

Lorist would have moved the eagle hub to Ragebear when he moved, but he couldn't do that without retraining them all, so it had been left there. It turned out to have been a fatal mistake. He had established a second hub in the capital, but it was still in the process of growing and was nowhere near ready to take over from the old hub. Hansk made brilliant use of this weakness and cut off all hope of calling for help and letting the world know what was really happening before anything could be done.

"--Apart from the messenger eagles, though, the rest of our network is intact, outside of the Northlands, of course. Without the eagles, however, we can't get the information within anything approaching a reasonable time," Tarkel continued.

"Silowas and Northsea?"

"Not good. I escaped The Northlands through a secret cave Furybear uses for covert travel. I headed for House Kenmays and switched to a larger ship from there and headed for Silowas. When I arrived I saw the island and Northsea were facing off. Hansk had sent word ahead of the fleet in case they didn't obey him. He told Pajik that the fleet was the one rebelling and ordered him to capture or eliminate the fleet. Pajik has no clue what's happening, so he believed you were the one that sent the order. When I told him what was going on, and to ignore all orders accept those coming directly from you, he stood down and the fleet was allowed to dock.

"I went to the plains from there to deliver news to the generals. The three nearly collapsed when they heard what was happening and began mobilizing immediately. The king tried to stop them, but Loze nearly jump on him and beat him, so he shut up and let them leave. I was heading back to The Northlands when I ran into Reidy on Silowas and he brought me here."

Lorist paced around the room, stroking his beard furiously. Hansk's rebellion was shaking the house to its core. Even if everything ended immediately and went back to how it was before, his plans were still set back by years. First things were first, though. The most immediate issue was the immigrants still waiting to go to Winston. In his dominion's current state, they would be nothing but a burden and a source of unneeded trouble. Luckily, Camorra wasn't in The Northlands when the rebellion broke out, but in Windbury, so he would deal with things in the short term.

"The rebellion isn't our biggest problem right now, I'll deal with it myself when I've completely recovered. Right now we need to settle the unrest in the rest of my lands. The immigrants should already be on their way to Winston, we need to deal with that first.

"I'll have orders ready for you shortly. Take them to Camorra. Hand it to him directly, the letter will only leave your hands to enter his, no one else's. First have him clean out our forces, anyone that rouses even the smallest amount of suspicion is to be executed. As for our legions, have Tigersoar and Jaeger borrow food from nearby friendly nobles. They have my permission to promise on my personal honour that the nobles will be paid back double what they give us.

"Also, Reidy, find the strongest whip you can and give Josk and Loze each a hundred lashes. Punishment for disobeying my orders and marching off on their own. Give their subordinates fifty lashes each for not stopping them. Potterfang will move two Firmrock divisions to Silowas where he'll wait for further orders. Senbaud and Pajik will get as many transport ships as they can together in the meantime."

"By your will, Your Grace."

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User #8378950 - 18 Jul 18 17:05
so lorist is going to do a d day landing
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User #2657914 - 20 Jul 18 14:28
The wait is killing me lol
TRL - Chapter 483 - Internal Strife (1) 2018-07-13T15:24:55+00:00
"Emperor Norton was far from a perfect man, despite what the volksongs and chroniclers would have you think. His path to glory very nearly wasn't. He had wisely oiled the wood that was his house to protect it from the weather, but he failed to treat its inside, and it rotted beneath its shiny veneer. The same year he revealed his ascension to swordsaint, he very nearly fell to pauper, the wood cracking and collapsing from within, eaten away by the termites he had failed to excise due to his own lack of determination." ~ excerpt from 'Building an Empire' by Nico Talia.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Arriotoli brought was confusing news. The news didn't come from The Northlands, it was brought by Massa. He said a rebellion had broken out within Lorist's domain which drew the three legions back home. Massa and the men had also returned.

However, because of their loot and the distance they had to travel, they would only be home in the middle of the following year. Preparations were already made for the unit to stay over in the imperial capital for the winter and the following rainy season. But they would bring with them a considerable haul. They'd also only suffered a few casualties for it. In total, they were bringing home three thousand gold Fordes.

Lorist had no comment, nor was he interested in their wealth. He was only concerned with the rebellion. Unfortunately, he only had what little Massa had mentioned in his letter.

"Arri, remind me again, the servant you sent to check on the situation was turned back, right? So the first local defense legion cut off all contact with the continent?" asked he.

"Yes," Arriotoli nodded, "Metropoulos' floating bridge has been disassembled. Only two ferries connect the two banks but they've been prevented from crossing. Their explanation is that they've cut off The Northlands for you to recover, until you do, no one will be allowed to cross."

Did something really happen?

Lorist stroked his beard, half an inch long by now. His reflection reminded him of the ancient general Zhang Fei. Arriatoli missed her brother. She'd not received word from either her sister or her aunt this month. She'd tried to send several, but none were allowed to cross the river. She made sure to quell any suspicions of Lorist being with her, she kept asking if anyone knew where he was.

She'd only come to Lorist once her letter were returned. He'd not thought it strange at the time. He'd given Belnick command of the forces when he left, and trusted he was acting in the best interests of the house. The lockdown made sense as well, since the Union's hunting parties would naturally gravitate to The Northlands; it was the natural place for Lorist to flee too to recover, after all. The news Arriatoli brought, however, put everything in a new light. Something massive was happening.

What did Massa mean when he said His Majesty didn't like it that the three legions were heading home? Don't tell me he started this? Impossible, he's stupid, but no fool. I'm a swordsaint, going against me is suicide and he knows it.

No matter how much he thought about it, Lorist couldn't understand what was going on. Belnick would never betray him, and he trusted no one more than Charade. Ovidis used to be a bandit, but he was one of Lorist's most loyal subordinates. And Furybear's headquarters was there, surely they would have uncovered any untoward goings-on long before anything could have gotten this bad.

Well, fretting over it from a distance would solve nothing. Reidy had to return and find out what was happening. Lorist had recovered enough that he didn't need Reidy for the rest of his recovery, so the kid could go and find out what was going on. He was also quite clearly bothered by this; refused to marry Sunirulu despite the two getting along so well.

Reidy departed the morning after he received his mission. His little wannebe lover cried her eyes out as she watched him leave, but he didn't stop even once. He would head to Silowas and take a ship home from there. It would take him at least three months to reach harbor. Just two months later, though, he burst through the door to the cabin amidst a blizzard with Tarkel.

Tarkel carefully explained what had transpired. When news of Lorist's injury reached home, everyone grieve for him, but excited at the same time. Their lord was a swordsaint, so of course they were happy. If only he hadn't gone and gotten himself injured. Charade deployed to Wild Husbandry to fill in the gap Josk and Loze left when they marched off. Their departure left quite the mess.

They disappeared completely, leaving 500 thousand migrants untended, all of whom now had to be watched over by just two legions. Poor Freiyar and Els could barely sleep, they just didn't have the manpower to keep everything under control. Charade sent them one of the second garrison legion's divisions. Only one was now left defending Ragebear. Charade had Belnick lock down the river to make it easier to defend with their understaffed forces.

After the assassination attempt in the capital and Lorist's escape, all contact was lost with him and Reidy. Shuss and Jinolio successfully led their pursuers away, but they caused trouble in Ragebear when they realised Lorist wasn't there. Xanthi was present, luckily, and, together with Shuss and Engelich, they drove the blademasters off. They couldn't however, keep word of Lorist's disappearance from spreading, however.

Hansk invited Belnick to a banquet under the guise of finding out where Lorist was. During the banquet, held at the Bastide, Hansk suggested they make Lysecott the acting Lord until they knew where Lorist was. Belnick refused, but was quickly captured. It turned out Hansk had been prepared for his refusal; he'd employed two blademasters to help with his rebellion. He rallied his subordinates and co-conspirators to the bastide and declared Lysecott the house's head before marching on Ragebear.

"Wait, I thought I removed everyone with such inclinations from our forces. How did Hansk rallie forces to his side?"

"You didn't clean out the constabulary, Your Grace," said Tarkel.

Of course! The constabulary was made up of retired soldiers. The old coots naturally had loyalties to the old guard! Many of the constabulary's high-command came directly from the bastide's old guard! They were undyingly loyal to the house, but Lorist was only one member of the house, their loyalty wasn't necessarily to him directly. They felt marginalized in the greater house Lorist had established, so they would of course gravitate to having an heir from the bastide itself. Lysecott was the perfect candidate!

Lorist's face turned violet.

"DId Charade not take care of this?"

"They were the first ones outside the bastide to be captured. This whole thing was very carefully planned."

Hansk marched on Ragebear once he had control of the local defense legion. Ovidis held his ground however, and fortified the city with the division he had at hand. Charade and Spiel tried to convince Hansk to step down. They warned that when Lorist returned to find the dominion in this state, Hansk and everyone involved in this rebellion would be put to the sword. But he would not listen. If Kedan hadn't placated Hansk and agreed to make Lysecott the next duke, he might have hanged the two on the spot.

Hansk considered Charade a crook. He saw him as the source of all the current house's malaise.

"What the fuck is Hansk thinking?!" Lorist yelled, "Hansk can win as many fights as he wants, he can take as much of the dominion as he wants, it will all turn to dust when I return! All he's doing is making his fate worse and worse when I return!"

"He's asked the king to officially declare Lysecott regent. He promised the three legions would return to the frontlines if the king did this. He plans to let Lysecott stand by the king's side. If the king backs him as your heir, there will be little you can do to change it, he will be all but guaranteed to inherit your title and lands one day. If possible, he even wants the king to split your demesne in two. You'll have the lands you conquered, but Lysecott will have rule over the ancestral homeland of the house."

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Comments (8)
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User #8378950 - 17 Jul 18 16:18
its time to become a kinslayer
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User #3604122 - 13 Jul 18 15:43
Well, now we know hansk won't be invited to the next celebration.
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TalesofLord - 13 Jul 18 19:23
He'd be super lucky if that were all that happened to him.
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User #3974882 - 19 Jul 18 02:01
I knew it . I knew he should have beheaded them when he had the chance
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User #11522824 - 13 Jul 18 17:24
I really want a "ow f*** it's Norton" right about now.
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User #6377435 - 13 Jul 18 17:24
Well, at least, Lorist has a reason for removing Irina's children from the line of succession now.
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User #5041398 - 13 Jul 18 15:54
the lord of slaughter cometh...and his ignorant family will feel his rage
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User #8826333 - 17 Jul 18 17:27
>"DId Charade not take care of this?"
TS2 - Chapter 164 - Loden 2018-07-13T15:01:00+00:00

Leguna sipped a bit of coffee and quietly observed the crowd of people walking on the streets outside the window.

It was the eleventh day since he left the town of Doen. The boss back there wasn't lying. After suffering a bad beating from Leguna, he had honestly pinpointed the Bloodhand Brotherhood hideouts he knew off. Leguna had been traveling over the past few days, wiping out one hideout each day as he did so.

He had just arrived at the city of Kent not long ago. That was the final destination of his quest. The main hideout of Bloodhand Brotherhood was located at that very city.

Even though Kent wasn't the provincial capital, it was located in the center of Semralsin and could be considered to be an important transportation hub. It underwent rapid development thanks to its strategic location. In the few short years since the formation of the Empire of Hocke, Kent had become one of the most prosperous cities in the whole of Semralsin.

It was precisely because of the fact that it wasn't the provincial capital that the security there was a little messed up. A prosperous city that didn't have good security was only asking to be the hotbed of illegal underworld syndicates.

According to Leguna's understanding, not only did the Bloodhand Brotherhood mainly settle down there, many other syndicates also focused their efforts on the city. But needless to say, the most powerful man within the city was none other than Taewon.

Taewon was the overlord of the Bloodhand Brotherhood according to the two managers he interrogated when he destroyed two other brotherhood outposts in the past few days.

Even though Leguna had learned quite a number of interrogation techniques from Wayerliss's notebook, he hasn't had the chance to put his firm theoretical foundation into practice because he had been busy working as a mercenary in the past two years. Now that he finally found some lab rats to play around with, he didn't hesitate to experiment.

All that resulted in the two managers experiencing the same thing the underboss from Doen did. Leguna cuffed them and started the beating without even bothering to talk. He continued to do so until they turned into fearful animals. By then, whenever Leguna stated his question, those two managers would fight to be the first to answer it as if there was a reward for getting it right first.

Not long after that, Leguna managed to obtain the information he needed, after which he drew Lighteater before the hopeful looks of the two bandit managers and culled them for the nourishment of his teacher, Gahrona.

Normally, Leguna definitely wouldn't kill those two bandits off for no good reason. But for some reason, he has been feeling a rather strong bloodlust over the past month. His cuffing and beating was also a way for him to vent that, apart from being a method with which he obtained the information he needed.

He had hoped to relieve himself of those feelings through taking those two not-so-innocent lives. He was worried that he would accidentally hurt faultless people otherwise. He was incredibly worried that he would remain like that when he returned to Kurdak and the others.

So, he killed those two to hide his tracks and expel his desires as well as fed their souls to Gahrona. Naturally, his teacher noticed that something was off with him and talked to him when there was free time.

But even after her discussion, she still couldn't identify the reason for that behavior. Having no other choice, Leguna could only hope that his teacher pay attention to his actions and give him a reminder should he behave erratically.

Combing the bangs on his forehead back, Leguna prepared to disguise himself as usual like the previous days. What was different this time was that he had dressed himself like a woman. 'She' had long black hair and a tantalizing figure. Leguna had based that disguise off Gahrona's human form.

{Wayerliss really did find himself a freaking good disciple. It's one thing if you're good at disguises, but it's another if you're able to crossdress so well,} said Gahrona with well.

{Back then, Teacher threw me into a brothel and didn't allow me to eat unless I was able to use my own abilities to seduce a customer there,} replied Leguna a little awkwardly. That memory was a painful one for him. However, he did tell Gahrona all about it without holding anything back.

{That is a pretty decent approach to training,} said Gahrona with a nod. She didn't seem like she would mock him in the slightest.

{Will Loden really fall for this?} Leguna was still rather doubtful. After all, he had only been training before. This was the first time he crossdressed to... do a man in, so to speak. He felt rather ambivalent about it.

Loden was Taewon's right-hand man who dealt with most of the affairs in his place. Leguna had planned to approach Taewon through Loden. Even though stealthily infiltrating the headquarters of Bloodhand Brotherhood wouldn't prove too difficult for him, he wouldn't be satisfied with killing only Taewon. He wanted to eliminate all the high-ranking members of the gang. To achieve that, he had to stage quite a plot. Leguna knew that Loden was going to talk to the representative of another syndicate in that coffee house, so he planned to wait for him there.

{How would know what flips his switch? Then again, you should've taken note of your surroundings by now if you're attentive enough,} said Gahrona.

{I know. Those lecherous gazes are really disgusting me.} Leguna furrowed his brow as the men in the coffee house looked intently at his face, breasts and legs. The feeling of being checked out by the men discomforted Leguna greatly. However, he had no choice but to keep the seductive posing up for the sake of realism.

"Miss Pretty, are you here alone?" One of the men could no longer resist and came over to hit on him.

"Buzz off!" hissed Leguna in a female voice.

The man's face froze immediately. Fortunately, the coffee house was a rather high class one and many of the visitors there had impressive backgrounds. The rejected man didn't dare to act rashly and returned to his seat, crestfallen.

{See? That's a sign that the disguise is working quite well. If his tastes aren't anything out of the ordinary, he'll definitely fall for it, hook, line and sinker.}

{It's still best if I don't do this as often in the future,} replied Leguna with a bitter laugh.

{What's a little bit of suffering for the sake of achieving your goals? You're still too much of a greenhorn,} Gahrona said nonchalantly, {Alright, Loden is here. Pay attention.}

Leguna stiffened as he hurriedly put away his other thoughts and focused his attention on the other man that just arrived.

Loden was rather short and stocky, looking to be no more than thirty. It was a testament to his skills for managing to get to such a high position in the brotherhood at his age.

IN fact, that man was only taken notice by Taewon two years prior. Bloodhand Brotherhood was rather well-established within Semralsin already at that time. Though Loden wasn't able to contribute to the initial growth and expansion of the brotherhood, his achievements were nevertheless not something to scoff at.

Loden didn't possess the reckless bravado that so many men in their twenties were unfortunately imbued with. Instead, he was a really rational and somewhat cowardly person. That was the quality that caught Taewon's attention. Since Bloodhand Brotherhood had already built a stable foundation in Semralsin, he didn't need to continue fighting and struggling to expand. Instead, what he needed was someone to micromanage the various internal affairs, and Loden was the perfect candidate.

However, Leguna was aware of one of Loden's crucial weakness. In fact, it was no secret among the other members of the brotherhood. It was Loden's lust.

And that was the reason Leguna disguised himself to look so alluring. He didn't think that before he even got a chance to impress someone with is handsomeness, he'd have to resort to tempting someone with his beauty instead.

{Alright,} Leguna said as he felt his ample, fake breasts up. He had to admit that they felt pretty well in one's hands.

"So Loden wants some 'action', huh?" Leguna mused in a soft voice, "well, I'll show him the time of his life!"

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User #8826333 - 17 Jul 18 17:22
>IN fact, that man was >{How would know what flips his switch? I is mia (or Who would know)
TS2 - Chapter 163 2018-07-12T15:01:00+00:00

"You want to bring misfortune to the Bloodhand Brotherhood?!" Hans was given a complete fright when he heard that. For Leguna to say something like this early in the morning... Surely he hasn't woken up fully yet?

"That's right," Leguna nodded matter-of-factly, "I don't care how much harm they cause in Semralsin. But since they dared to mess with me, I'll make them pay."

"But... those few fools were already killed by you," reminded Hans carefully. If he were honest, what happened yesterday bothered him quite a bit.

"It's not enough," said Leguna calmly. The way he saw it, the lives of those bandits were worth far less than three of Eirinn's fingers. Those bumbling fools had to pay even more blood for their actions. Not only was that compensation for Eirinn's loss, Leguna would also be doing good for the common folk.

"So, what are you planning to do?" asked Kurdak.

"That's right. Quick, advise him against it. What's he gonna do? Bloodhand Brotherhood has at least a thousand people and I heard that the strongest among them is a high-order warrior! They aren't people you can afford to piss off!" said Hans hurriedly the moment Kurdak spoke. He realized that Leguna seemed to respect Kurdak somewhat during the course of his journey and believed that things would go much better with Kurdak weighing in.

Leguna ignored Hans and forked a piece of meat before bringing it to his mouth. He said after some chewing, "I'll get rid of their leaders and the rest will crumble like sand and won't pose much of a threat."

"But," Kurdak said as with a wave of his hand, "If you only kill the leaders, those goons will still cause lots of trouble wherever they are. That won't solve the problem at all!"

"That's right, just advise him against it. What he's gonna do won't solve anything and it will only make him enemies and put your lives in danger," said Hans as he headed to the counter to get himself some beer.

"I never bothered to solve anything to begin with," Leguna said with a shrug, "Uncle Hans already said that there are near a thousand members in the brotherhood and there's no way for me to kill them all myself. So, I'll just be killing their leaders to vent."

"Is that so?" Kurdak gave it some thought, which Hans took as him attempting to dissuade Leguna from attempting something like that. But what the burly man said later caused Hans to break down. "Do you need Vera and I to help?"

Pffffffffffft! Hans spat his beer out all over the place. If he hadn't been away from the table, they would be having soup for dinner that night.

Hey hey! Weren't you going to talk him out of this? Why are you his accomplice now? Do you think that this is all a bandit-hunting game? What are a few damage dealers like you going to do? You'll be long worn out before you reach the boss! Are you kidding me?! thought Hans as he coughed furiously. He had just realized that Kurdak wasn't going to talk Leguna out of it and was just asking him for his plans.

"Whoa, friend, it's better if you don't drink while walking. You're practically drinking it through your nose! Also, it'll be hard for others to clean up if you make a mess like that," reminded Kurdak.

Hans felt his vein popping from annoyance. But he couldn't speak thanks to choking on the beer, so he could only flail wildly.

Leguna shook his head and said, "There's no need for that. It's more convenient for me if I act alone."

"Alright. Please be careful. When are you going to head out?" asked Kurdak with a nod. On the other hand, Hans's face seemed to spell out 'Huh! You suicidal freaks can die for all I care!'

"Maybe in the afternoon," Leguna said after some deliberation, "Boss, just wait here for me with the rest. Watch over Eirinn for me. I should be back in a month or so."

"Alright," said Kurdak with a nod.

"Oh, and, I need you to check something out for me, Boss."

Leguna then told Kurdak about the mysterious circumstances behind the death of Cook, the former owner of the tavern.

"Alright, I'll look into it soon. I should have something to show for it by the time you return."

Though Hans had finally recovered from his coughing fit, the two of them had already finished their talk while he wasn't able to say a single word himself. He looked at the other two with a gaze he normally reserved for the mentally insane.

......

During the afternoon, Leguna donned a simple disguise and scoured the corners of Doen to look for the local gang.

"Take me to your leader," said Leguna as he made his way to two people chatting idly in the corner of a street. Seeing their actions and how the fruit stall owner reluctantly gave them a couple of silvers, Leguna was sure that those were the people he sought.

The two goons gave Leguna a surprised look. The disguise he donned changed how he looked quite a bit, but he still seemed like a youth that hasn't hit 20 years of age.Is this fellow here to join our gang? Doesn't he sound a little arrogant though? Do you think the boss is someone you can just meet?

"Where have you come from, brat?! How dare you talk like that for a kid who hasn't grown any hair yet?!" barked the taller of the two goons before he swung his palm towards Leguna's face.

Leguna snatched that goon's wrist and applied some pressure, causing the joint to creak audibly from the force.

"Don't waste my time and bring me there quick," said he with a furrowed brow.

"Aaaargh!" cried the goon in pain.

"You wanna die?!" The shorter one drew a dagger and thrust it towards Leguna's belly.

I knew I should've given them a good pummeling before bothering to talk, thought Leguna in annoyance.

Half an hour later, the bruised and swollen local boss knelt before Leguna and regarded him with a look of fear.

Given how the two goons behaved earlier, Leguna learned his lesson and instantly started giving the boss a beating before bothering to say a single word.

The poor man still didn't know why he was pummeled. All he knew was that his two subordinates brought someone over to see him. However, before he even asked what he was up to, the young man went over and gave him a slap.

Seeing their boss being beaten, the other goons couldn't just sit there doing nothing. The boss yelled with rage and called them to attack Leguna all at once and planned to cut a limb off Leguna by the time they were done, only to watch with horror as his eight goons having their teeth beaten out onto the ground by a young man of normal build.

It was then when the boss finally met someone he couldn't deal with, so he planned to submit and listen to what the youth had to say. However, Leguna came forward with a slap before following it up with a few harsh kicks, making the boss squeal in pain like a pig being slaughtered. Had it not been for the fact that the boss was a fifth-stratum warrior, he would've been crippled from the beating.

On whose orders did he come to kill me?! Which bastard was it! Kurd?! Roen?! Or Zino!? Motherf*cker! How could they afford to hire somebody so powerful?! This is at the very least a mid-order warrior! thought the boss hatefully. But just as he was resigning himself for death, Leguna stopped.

"Tell me the gathering point of Bloodhand Brotherhood," said Leguna as he shook his hand a couple of times. He found that beating people up unarmed was rather good and enjoyable practice.

"Huh?!" The boss was stunned. He wouldn't dare think that Leguna would ask something like that even if he banged his head furiously against a wall.

"Tell me everything you know," Leguna said as he creased, "If you don't want to be beaten, that is."

"This..." The boss still hesitated.

"Sheesh." Leguna rolled his shoulders and prepared for another round.

By then, the boss had reacted. He cried out, "I'll tell you! I'll tell you everything I know, so spare me, heavens above!"

A few minutes later, Leguna got to know quite a bit about the Bloodhand Brotherhood.

"Is that all?" asked Leguna.

"That's all I know! Now, give me a swift end!" Even though the boss didn't know why Leguna asked such questions, he no longer held any hope of leaving alive after experiencing such misfortune.

"Thanks a lot!" Leguna nodded and turned to leave.

The boss looked at Leguna's back in confusion. With courage he didn't know he owned, he called out to Leguna. "Hey!"

"What?" said he as he looked back.

"You..." The boss grit his teeth and continued, "Aren't you here for my life?"

"Come on, if I wanted to kill you, I'd do it with a knife to your throat. Why would I waste my time beating you up?" Leguna said as he rolled his eyes, "Are you insane? Do you want to die that badly?"

"Then why did you come?" The boss was completely confused now.

"To ask questions of course. Now that I know what I need, you're free to go," replied Leguna.

"Then why did you bother to beat me up? Can't you just ask?" shouted the boss exasperatedly. He completely forgot that he was just being pummeled minutes before.

"Well, using this is much faster. I really can't stand you guys, it's always like that. You fellow truly are low..." muttered him to himself as he left. Leguna couldn't be bothered to waste his words on them any longer.

"Boss..." The goons around him came over and looked at the blank expression of their boss, not knowing what to do. The boss aside, the goons themselves were left completely in ignorance. They still couldn't really process what just happened.

"Go find me a shrink. I think I need some counselling..." muttered the boss to his goons.

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TRL - Chapter 482 - Recuperation 2018-07-12T15:01:02+00:00
The Mountain. I


You

Ask me why I stare

At the mound on the horizon?

Why I wander so silently, eyes upcast?

Why my gaze so longingly turns to that towering visage?


For I walk there not among men of flesh, but among gods of heaven

For there stands only the silent whisper of the stars

And the gentle sweep of the water,

frozen, as the world, in time.


There, I drift, free of care,

Free of worldly woes. And there,

Like the cherry-blossom down the stream

Drifts,

To a world only heaven knows, I

Disappear...


~ Writes with Dew

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This place is pretty great: the air's fresh, and the view's beautiful and invigorating too. Lorist thought.

They were in a valley near the Garilos mountains in Arriotoli's barony. She had built a hunter's cabin there and usually left two people to guard it. The nearby mangrove forest was a valuable source of timber. Their patterns were especially sought after by the rich. Arriotoli had been surprised to discover such a huge mangrove forest nearby and instantly laid claim to it.

The forest came with two other key products, one being raspberries. Each was slightly smaller than a blueberry, but thin-skinned and juicy. They sold for a premium more often than not. Raspberries grew on shrubs in mangrove forests and matured in the 8th or 9th month. Since raspberries couldn't be kept for long, they were dried or made into fruit wine. Raspberry wine was expensive because people believed they had medicinal and aphrodisiac qualities, both of which made it very popular with the nobility. The second product was red mushrooms. They sported a bright cap and were delicious. They bloomed shortly after the rainy season for a few nights, which was the only time in the year they could be harvested. They were one of the continent's favorite cheap delicacies. They were especially popular in soups, but worked in almost any dish. The forest was a small treasure chest, a godsent for House Dina. Just the two harvestables alone made the household 30 gold a year.

The three-floored hunter's cabin stood on the forest's edge in the valley. The bottom most floor was stone, while the other two were wood. There was even a beacon above the third floor. It looked like a small fort.

"Wolves come down from the mountain in search of food in the winter," Arriotoli explained, "so the cabin has to be fortified enough to keep them out and the guards inside safe. The beacon is to call for help in case a large group of bandits or poachers show up, or the watchmen are in trouble for some other reason."

The ground floor had four small rooms and one large communal area with the stairs. The first of the rooms was the stable, the second the pantry, the third a small vault, and a workshop. The workshop had a small kiln and could make and maintain basic tools. The second floor had three rooms that fanned out from the stairwell which also functioned as the dining room, two were bedrooms and the third a kitchen. The dining room had a small table and four chair. A stag head hung on the wall above the table.

The ground floor might as well have been underground, for it was pitch black inside without windows and had to be lit with torches. The first floor, however, had windows, small as they were. Glasswork being as primitive and expensive as it was in this time, the windows were essentially just rectangular holes in the wall. The two bedroom-walls had two hinges boards that could be closed or opened, whilst the kitchen's window had a thin skin cover. The cold dominated most of the year here, even summer was cool, so the windows were closed most of the time, and the inside was still lit with braziers. Everything stunk of soot and smoke.

The bedroom to the left of the stairs was slightly smaller, the walls wrapping around the stairs that ascended to the third floor. It was the tallest of the three floors, and had the best lighting. It had two slit windows, and a murder hole in each of the outer walls, which let light reflected off the ground or snow into the room as well without letting the wind and cold air in too much. A trap-door-like contraption in the ceiling led to the beacon on the roof.

A bamboo pipe brought water over from the nearby stream. It ran by the house about 16 meters away. The steep ledges behind the house, down which the stream flowed, let the water run into the house on the first floor. It ran through a series of pipes, each with a tap in to use the water, down the house and into a pond in the yard, which overflowed back into the stream. Some of the pond's water ran into a trough in the stable.

"Not bad. I should be able to survive here," commented Lorist. He could see the fields and the castle at the foot of the mountain from the platform on the third floor. The village of Howak stood in the distance at the entrance of the valley.

"It's too run-down, Your Grace. It's severely lacking. Should we go get some cutlery, candles, and clothes?" asked Reidy.

"No. Have you seen watchers use silver and gold cutlery and candles? We're pretending to be watchers, best play the part. We can make our own utensils. Go fell a tree for some bowls and forks later. We'll use torches. As for clothes, just head further up the mountains and get deer or wolf pelts or something. Also, didn't Arriotoli mention the two phony herbalists will be here again in another a couple of days? We should scavenge a few herbs."

"As you wish, Milord."

Lorist was surprised that the couple came all the way to the cabin when they returned. Fortunately, he and Reidy had scavenged a lot of herbs. They weren't cleaned or dried yet though. There were also a lot of holey wolf pelts in the yard.

"Not bad. I'll take everything," said the male, called Jack, without bothering to give them a detailed check. He even took the chance to inspect the cabin. The woman kept Lorist in the yard and asked a lot about the pelts.

"We caught them with a few traps. They were impaled on stakes buried in hidden pits. Unfortunately it means they aren't worth anything on the market, but that's fine since we only wanted them for personal use." Lorist acted like a sneaky, money-grubbing farmer. In reality, Reidy had ruined them. If he hadn't they would obviously have been bought by Arriotoli and sold for money. Mountain watchers would obviously not want that.

"What a shame. Where's your partner?"

"There. He just went to patrol the forest. I have to stay back to feed the horses and make lunch," Lorist offered as he pointed.

The woman turned around and saw Reidy coming over from the forest, a bow on his back and three turkeys and two hares in his hands.

Arriotoli exploded immediately.

"Krimando! You're weren't patrolling at all! Hah! Caught you red-handed! You won't get any money this month! You know House Dina owns everything in the forest. I'll be taking those kills as well!"

Reidy walked over crestfallenly, "But I didn't hunt them in the forest! I was hunting up the mountain! That's free game!"

"I pay you to guard the forest, not to hunt in the mountains! No excuses. No money for you! And how can you prove you didn't hunt them in the forest? Maybe they live there and happened to go out to the mountains!"

How... how would I prove that?! Having no choice, Reidy could only hand his game to Arriotoli, who picked them out meticulously and tossed a wild hare on the ground and complained, "Too thin. You can use it for soup."

The herbalist watched on from the side.

So this is how a real noble acts! Jack left the cabin and shook his head slightly.

Since they discovered nothing, the two prepared to head back. First, however, they had to pay for the herbs. Arriotoli was quite adept at bargaining, so it didn't take long to close the deal. She made 1 gold, 15 silvers in the trade. She pocketed the coins and tossed Lorist and Reidy two small silvers.

"Not bad. Here's your reward. Should be enough to buy five wheat bears in town."

Lorist smile painedly and rubbed the small silver. He had finally experienced how it felt to be a citizen taken advantage of by a noble. In fact, Arriotoli was being rather generous with two small silvers. The nobles saw everything in the dominion as their property. All of it belonged to them, so why would they pay anyone anything for getting it for them, whether that be by hunting, farming, or foraging? The three visitors left by horse. Lorist and Reidy were left with the herbs, which they had to take to town on their own. It would be shipped to Daphne by someone else from there.

"Why not just have those two bring it all the way themselves?" asked the woman.

"Not happening. If I let them leave, they'll vanish for who-know-how-long. I won't give them the time to waste their money, or an excuse to loiter."

The couple was speechless.

You call two small silvers money?!

They had, at first, wanted to bribe the two so they'd spy for them, but, since Arriotoli wasn't giving them the chance, they let the thought go. Seeing that the two spent most of their time in the mountain, they probably didn't really know or see much anyway.

Reidy sighed when the three vanished.

"I'm really glad she's Lady Dina and not Lady Norton."

"Didn't you see how good her acting was? She duped the couple completely. They don't suspect a thing. I'll start healing tomorrow. You remember the herb I asked you to get, right? Go find it for me. Also, make a bathtub.

It was time for Lorist to start his internal healing. He would use Reidy's Dan Ocean Ki-refining technique instead of his Aquametal technique, the former was calmer and more suited to such endeavors. Magrut's battleforce had completely ruined his dantian, it could only be healed by slowly rebuilding it over time. The two stayed in the mountains for two seasons.

Summer came and left, as did autumn. Arriotoli would come by with Sunirulu and Terryke from time to time. Sunirulu and Reidy would go scavenging in the mountain and the forest while the three nobles played around. Terryke, the chubby little rascal, kept tugging on Lorist's beard. Lorist had a new toy ready every time the kid came for a visit and the two would play together. They got along quite well.

Lorist was back up to the third stage of the Dan Ocean Ki-refining technique when the third 10th month rolled by. He was now once again equal to a gold-ranker and cold just barely hold his ground against a single rank 1 blademaster. He would be back to swordsaint in six more months. He was sorting some herbs currently, preparing them for processing, when Arriotoli came rushing up the mountain on horseback.

"Locke, News from The Northlands! Something's happened!"

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Comments (3)
user avatar
User #5041398 - 12 Jul 18 15:15
yes. finally news of the rebellion
user avatar
User #9469414 - 12 Jul 18 15:33
Aww sh***. Here we go !
user avatar
User #3604122 - 13 Jul 18 12:11
give me more!!!
TRL - Chapter 481 - Hunter's Cabin 2018-07-11T15:00:59+00:00
"A smart woman is a blessing and a curse."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

'What should we do?' seemed to be what Reidy was trying to tell Lorist with his gaze.

Lorist made a pained smile and shook his head. He was completely powerless in his current state. Counting on Reidy alone to take on two blademasters was completely unrealistic. No matter which one of the couple Reidy manages to hold back, the other would definitely give Lorist a strike and that would be the end of him. All he could do now was pray that Arriotoli didn't call Lorist out there and then. No matter how big her boobs were, surely she did have some brains. After all, she was already a mother.

Lorist hurriedly pulled on Reidy's sleeve. He got down from the carriage with Reidy and lowered his head pensively, acting like a servant found out by his master for committing a mistake. He hoped that Arriotoli would be made aware of the situation after seeing them like that instead of leaping straight into Lorist's embrace with tears of joy flowing out of her eyes.

He was already regretting it deeply. I must be half conscious when I decided I would come to the Dina barony. It's quite a known fact that two of my concubines, Fennazali and Arriotoli, are members of House Dina, so it's obvious that the blademasters would search this area. I really jumped into this trap on my own accord this time.

That middle-aged couple gave Lorist a sweeping glance and thought him to be but a mere lowly farmer. Reidy on the other hand caught their attention. It was truly rather weird for one-star silver rank to be a farmer. Usually, those who awakened their battleforce in a dominion would be recruited by the dominion lord to be their subordinate or their soldier. Most wouldn't be allowed to continue working as farmers.

The middle-aged couple then turned to Arriotoli. Fortunately, she had already placed her hands down after covering her mouth from shock. She then marched over angrily and rebuked Reidy fiercely, "Krimando, why have you come back so late?! All I had you do was to accompany Kanon here to fetch some things outside! Don't give me the excuse that the axle of your carriage is broken. This carriage has already been spoiled by you three times this month already and we just got it fixed yesterday! If you keep this up, I won't let you serve as a House Dina knight! I also won't let our Sunirulu marry you, got it?!"

Huh? Reidy made a blank look. What the hell is going on? Did Arriotoli mistake me for someone else? I'm not Krimando, and since when was I going to be a knight of House Dina? What's the deal with letting Sunirulu marry me anyway? I know she's your maidservant and that she's pretty and all, but when I came with His Grace back then, you were the one who asked me to marry her! I already rejected that!

Lorist breathed out a sigh in relief and added ten thousand points to Arriotoli in his heart. He didn't think that the lass would turn so much smarter after becoming a full-fledged knight and mother. Her performance was truly stellar. He tugged on Reidy and gestured for him to not argue with Arriotoli before he withdrew his body and pretended to be afraid of Arriotoli's scolding. Reidy on the other hand had opened his mouth, only to say nothing before lowering his head again, looking unwilling and stubborn.

"What? You aren't pleased?!" Arriotoli poked Reidy on the forehead with her finger. "You're not able to finish such a simple task, and yet you dare to follow Uncle Masa to the frontlines?! Do you think I'll knight you after you achieve something there?! Dream on! If you laze on like that without doing anything useful, I'll exile you from the Dina barony!

"And you, Kanon!" Arriotoli snapped as she turned her attention to Lorist, "Even though I ordered you to watch this kid and make sure he works properly, you accompanied him on his fun journey instead! You two are not getting dinner tonight. Now you better get back in there and clean the tables. You'll be going to the mountains to pick herbs tomorrow too. These two revered herbalists are here to purchase some of our herbs and if you really do find some valuable ones, you'll get a tip for some drinks."

Herbalists? Lorist understood the situation after some thought. Those two blademasters were merely posing as herbalists on their way to purchase ingredients. Since Arriotoli was only a two-star silver-ranked knight, she didn't discover the couple's true identities. But now seeing Lorist return in that disguise, she got a feeling that both of them didn't want their identities revealed.

Even though the Dina barony was relatively near the mountains, they only produced some herbs of low value. The real place to purchase herbs was the eastern part of The Northlands. The Magical Dragon Mountains were famous for their herbs across the continent, and the herbs produced by Delamock were often sent to the eastern part of The Northlands to make up for the demand of the market there. Who would go all their way to the Dina barony just for those normal herbs? It was obvious that something was off.

"Apologies, you two, for having to let you see this joke of a scene. It's all the fault of those two lazy ones." Arriotoli's face bloomed once more after she finished reprimanding Lorist and Reidy, smiling at the middle-aged couple brightly. Women were truly fickle after all.

"No worries. It's expected for a dominion lord to deal with things such as these. We have to apologize for disturbing your busy schedule," the man said with a smile, before he looked at Reidy and Lorist as the two of them entered the hall and added, "That young man's not bad. He's already a one-star silver rank. I think he can become a gold-ranked knight of your house after good training."

"Him?" Arriotoli snorted, "Master Herbalist, don't joke around with me. I'll be thankful if they don't anger me to death. You might not know this, but that fella's father used to be my father's subordinate. He fell on the battlefield together with my father. At first, I was considering giving him proper training, but that kid actually followed a traveling mercenary and said that he would learn the skills necessary to avenge his father! And then he left for almost eight years.

"After our house got the protection of the Duke of The Northlands and had our dominion moved over here, that fella somehow managed to make his way back as a one-star silver rank and said that he wanted to become our household knight and marry the girl that used to be his neighbor, my own maidservant Sunirulu! I tested his swordsmanship and found that he had learned a bunch of muddled crap from the mercenaries instead of the proper technique!

"So, I decided to have him forget the bad habits he learned from the mercenaries first before he would be properly trained in the techniques of a knight. Little did I think that he wouldn't focus on his training and instead spend his time traveling all over the place to slack off. He even secretly tried to make his way to the frontlines with our house's Knight Massa to rake in some achievements for himself to achieve his goal!"

Arriotoli had turned into a gossipy old maid and yammered on with the couple without end. The couple's faces contorted as time went on. How could they be bothered with the backstory of some one-star silver-ranked mercenary? They were just casually asking around, yet Arriotoli actually started chattering nonstop. After she finally finished, the couple politely declined her offers for further hospitality and prepared to make their way off.

But before they left, the middle-aged man made a last-ditch effort. "Oh honorable knight, Lady Dina, do you truly not want to buy a cheap high-rank medicine from us? It's a rare chance and we happened to synthesize a few extra bottles back then. Since you treated us so warmly, we want to sell them to you for a low price. Just buy one for emergency's sake. We can assure you that this medicine really works well. As long as they can still breathe, we're sure it will help bring them back to full health. It'll even accelerate the speed of their recovery."

Arriotoli's long eyelashes fluttered as she blinked, seemingly with understanding. "But... but those medicines truly are too expensive! It's ten gold coins for one, and the expiry date is far too soon with less than half a year remaining. I really don't see a use for it even if I buy it! After half a year, ten gold coins would just go poof! It's not like our house needs medicine of that high rank anyway. We can just buy the most common medicinal concoction for a few large silvers for commoners who get injured."

The middle-aged woman smiled and said, "Alright, Jack, stop promoting those high-rank medicines. Lady Dina already said that she doesn't need any, so it'll just be a waste for her to buy some. It's about time we left. Thank you so much for your hospitality. We'll return a few days later to check on the herbs you gathered."

Arriotoli bowed and said, "Master Herbalists, won't you reconsider lodging by us for the night? Even though it's rather run-down here, we'll try our best to accommodate you to your satisfaction."

"There's no need. The thought is enough. We've already booked our own room at the tavern downtown. Should you require our service, please don't hesitate to seek us out at the town of Daphne in Viscount Sibok's dominion You can also leave a message for us at the inn's counter. We'll definitely try our best to come as quickly as we can," said the middle-aged man politely.

"Alright, thank you for your kind intentions. I won't hold back if I really need your service. You are always welcome to visit the barony," said Arriotoli as she made a knight's salute.

The middle-aged herbalist couple came and left on horses. It was until their silhouettes vanished on the distant highways that Arriotoli returned to the hall of her wooden castle.

Lorist and Reidy were wolfing down food in the hall at a table served with delicacies. Arriotoli's maidservant, the beautiful Sunirulu, was pouting right beside them as Reidy scared her as he wolfed his food down and mocked her for not being able to marry someone because she was ugly.

"If nobody marries her, then you'll be his husband," Arriotoli said with dissatisfaction as she entered, "Locke, what's going on? What's with the getup?"

Lorist put the blackwheat bread back into his plate and gave Arriotoli a thumbs up. "You really reacted quickly today and put on a great performance. I almost died in the hands of that couple."

"Huh? That middle-aged couple?" Arriotoli said with surprise, "They were merely herbalists here to purchase some herbs. Why would they kill you? Also, I was there, wasn't I?"

Lorist rolled his eyes. "Dumb lass, those two were blademasters. They came here to check whether I was hiding out and recuperating here. I suspect they were sent by the Union to hunt me down and kill me. Otherwise, they wouldn't come all the way here to buy some common herbs."

"It's no wonder they kept on asking me whether I needed to buy some high-rank medicinal concoction at such a cheap price. I knew I should've got some," said Arriotoli in stark wonder.

"If you did, they would've known that I was there right away. I am thankful that you didn't do anything as stupid as buying those high-rank medicinal concoctions. You should know that each of those cost at least 30 gold Fordes and unless a dominion lord is injured, nobody would spend that kind of money to heal someone else. They offered you that at that low price to see if I was here with you," replied Lorist.

Arriotoli began to tear up immediately. "Locke, haven't you recovered from your injuries yet?"

Lorist gave a pained smile. "It won't be that easy. While I'm more or less fine on the outside, my internals are still a mess. I'm no different from a cripple now. I can't even lift a sword. I thought that I could stay here for a year and a half to recover at first but it seems that it isn't really safe here either. It's best if I left lest I drag you and your child down with me. By the way, where's Terryke?"

Terryke was the son of Lorist and Arriotoli. He was three that year and pudgy and likable. However, Arriotoli had him bear the Dina name and he didn't count as a Norton family member. So, he was just an illegitimate child.

"Terryke played around like crazy outside the whole day and went to sleep right after dinner. I had Sunirulu bathe him and let him sleep early," replied Arriotoli.

"And there I thought I could see that little pudgeball. To think that he's already slept," Lorist complained, "Arri, have your garrison forces been deployed at the frontlines as well? Didn't I ask you not to send them?"

"Well, our house wasn't going to participate at first, since His Majesty was being pushed back quite badly after all. But when your house's three legions swept Armenia and Malivia, His Majesty managed to defeat the Union and reclaim those two provinces from them. Right now, they're already attacking the Falik Plains, so I head Uncle Massa bring the garrison to haul some benefits back from the battlefield. Since they're with your house's forces, I doubt they'd be in any trouble. The Falik Plains are rich with wealth and it'd be a shame if we didn't snag a part for ourselves," reasoned Arriotoli.

Lorist, resigned by that greedy woman, thought that the Dina house forces would at most be tasked with simple things like guarding the captives and campsites as well as delivering supplies. They probably wouldn't be made to charge in the vanguard or head a siege, so they'd be more or less safe. It's no wonder Arriotoli was so eager to send them to the battlefield, seeing that they would return with some spoils as well.

"Your Grace, are we leaving tonight?" Reidy had already finished biting the roast goat meat off the thigh bone and tossed it aside, before grabbing a linen cloth to wipe his mouth and hands from Sunirulu, earning himself an angry glare.

Just as Lorist was going to say something, Arriotoli butted in first. "You can't leave. It's dangerous to do so."

Lorist shook his head. "No those blademasters already have their eye on this place. Fortunately, those two that came today didn't recognize us. But if some others do, then it's over for us."

Arriotoli laughed and said, "Locke, only I can recognize you with your full-bearded look. I'm sure the others will only think you a mere farmer. As for Reidy, he already shaved his little mustache off. If it weren't for Sunirulu, who's pining over him all day and night, nobody would've been able to recognize him. How about this? There's a hunter's cabin at the western side of the valley. The two who lived there followed Uncle Massa to the frontlines already. I'm sure nobody would suspect you if you stayed there.

"Also, those two were named Krimando and Kanon, the names I called you in front of the two herbalists. They will come over again in a couple of days and I'm sure they won't find anything out, so you can just rest well here. Also, Locke, are you sure you don't need that high-rank concoction?"

Lorist refused, "No need. You know that I'm a herbalist myself, a rank 2 one at that. As long as I'm able to get some ingredients, there's no need to buy any myself. I'll head to the cabin you mentioned with Reidy tomorrow and stay there if it's suitable. However, I hope that only the two of you know of our presence here. Don't tell your sister about it when you write to her, and don't contact The Northlands, understood?"

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TS2 - Chapter 162 - Starry Night (2) 2018-07-11T15:00:01+00:00

"The owner?" Leguna was surprised. He had only seen the chubby female owner of that inn and nobody else.

"The owner was a nice person called Cook," Eirinn said, "Back then, I was dumped at the slave market in a small town in Semralsin without food or drink. They had decided that they would sell me off if there was someone who would buy me before I starved to death. Otherwise, they'll just let me be."

He kept silent once more and gripped his fists. Eirinn's recollection made him ever so fearful. So close... I was so close to never seeing her again. Thank the heavens for protecting her...

"The owner felt pity for me and bought me. He then brought me back here and fed me. Had it not been for him, I would've been long dead," said she.

"Then where is Mister Cook now?" asked Leguna. Without Cook, there was no way she could've lived till now. So, he felt that he had to pay that kind man a visit to thank him heavily.

"The owner..." Grief flashed through her eyes. "He's dead."

Stunned, Leguna recalled that the female owner mentioned that her husband died from drinking too much.

"Did... he die of over drinking?" asked Leguna hesitantly.

"No, it can't be!" Eirinn said as she shook her head forcefully, "Even though I don't know how it happened, the owner was a smart and capable person. He would never die of over drinking. I find the circumstances behind his death to be rather weird."

"Is that so?" Leguna furrowed his brow and said, "I'll investigate this for you. Since Mister Cook helped you out, I owe him a favor. I won't let his death remain a mystery."

Eirinn looked at Leguna and nodded with a smile. "Thank you, Big Brother."

"We're long past saying thanks, you know." Leguna returned that smile.

The two of them looked at each other before they sank back into a period of awkwardness. They haven't met for years after all. It wouldn't be easy for them to return to such close terms once more. In the end, Eirinn broke the silence first.

"Big Brother..."

"Yes?"

"Tell me about what you've seen during the past few years. I feel that... you've really changed a lot," said Eirinn. She was referring not just to his personality or looks, but rather the vibes he gave off, which she remembered most clearly.

Even though Leguna was still naive, sly and happy-go-lucky all the time, Eirinn could feel distinctly that an air of savagery and killing intent coming from him. That was something he did not possess years prior.

"Are you curious about it?" asked Leguna.

"I want to know what made you change like this at the very least."

"Well, it's a long story, so I'll tell you if you have the patience to hear it," said Leguna with a nod.

......

Leguna collected his thoughts and began retelling his experiences.

(Author's note: If I dragged on for 500 thousand more Chinese characters by actually writing the narration out, I wonder if others will come and pummel me to death with a brick?)

Leguna spent the whole night calmly talking about his experiences over the past two years as Eirinn quietly listened. Even though he had suffered quite a bit in that time, it was still a rather wondrous part of his life. Eirinn was actually able to stay focused during the two hours Leguna recounted his adventures.

"Just like that, I returned to the western continent, Chino." Leguna licked his lips that had dried from his long narration. "Boss Kurdak and Sis Vera are great and loyal people. It's my fortune for having met them. Annie and Innie on the other hand... are as important to me as you are. Actually, I feel really blessed right now for having so many friends I can console with, and that's all thanks to what you've given me, Eirinn."

"Me?" mused the girl blankly.

Leguna smiled and explained, "Had it not been for you back then, I would've starved to death in the slums. How could I get all that, being dead and all? The most important thing is that without you, I would've grown twisted and hateful in the dark slums. Even if I survived like that, I would be nothing more than a walking corpse."

"Is that so?" Eirinn looked down. She didn't think that her thoughtless act of kindness was so important to Leguna. Mama was right. Being kind always pays off in the end.

"It is," said Leguna earnestly.

"Then, Annie... um..." Eirinn didn't really know how she should address Annelotte.

"Annie's older than you, I think. In fact, I think that woman's older than me too!" In fact, the exact ages of Eirinn, Annelotte and himself were mysteries. Leguna only felt that he was older than Eirinn and younger than Annelotte.

"'That woman'? What kind of person calls a girl that?" said she with her eyes rolled.

"Hmph, others won't have the privilege of being called that way even if they wanted to!" said Leguna proudly.

Eirinn humphed, before she said, "Then do you know where Sis Annie is right now?"

"I don't." Legun shrugged, before he smiled and said, "But I'm not worried. I have a feeling that I'll be able to find her, just like how I was able to find you."

"So, are you going to look for her next?" asked Eirinn a little crestfallenly. Even though Leguna had managed to help her just in time, he would have to leave in the end while she would have to continue living like that.

"No. Looking for Annie isn't an urgent matter. I'm afraid that I really pissed her off badly this time around. So, I think I ought to wait a couple of days first for her anger to dissipate," said Leguna while shaking his head. Even though it has been quite some time since that incident, Leguna felt a chill run down his spine whenever he considered facing her icy-cold wrath. That girl probably never got as angry as she did in her ten plus years of life. Even though it was his fault, Leguna felt that his life was more important, so he decided to leave that matter for later.

"Then..."

"Since that Bloodhand Brotherhood actually dared to harm you," Leguna said as his eyes flashed coldly, "Then I will let those bastards disappear from this world."

"Big Brother..." Eirinn hurried to stop him. She had already lived in Doen for many years and knew how terrifying a gang the Bloodhand Brotherhood really was. Yet, Leguna had said that he would wipe them out just like that! It was bordering on suicidal!

However, Leguna waved to stop her. "You don't have to advise me against it. Since they hurt you, I will make them pay."

"But those who hurt me were laredy... by you..." she murmured.

"They were killed by me alright, but these bandits commit all sorts of ills. I've only killed a couple of them, but it's hard to say if anybody else would come over to court death. Since they're all societal trash, I'll simply kill them off."

Leguna shrugged nonchalantly. Seeing that Eirinn was about to say something else, he interjected, "Alright, Eirinn, you know my personality well. I won't change my mind now that it's set. You don't have to talk me out of this. All you have to do is to recover well over the next few days and make some preparations."

Seeing how resolute Leguna was, she knew that there was nothing she could say to change his mind. She sighed, and asked curiously, "What do I have to prepare for?"

"Leave here with me of course," Leguna said, "I've come here to take you with me."

"But the owner..." muttered the girl hesitantly.

"Ah, don't care about that fat woman," Leguna said with rolled eyes, "You were originally a free person. I doubt that she'd complain anyway if I were to take you away. What's she gonna do? Report me to the authorities?"

"Well..." Eirinn was still rather hesitant. She felt rather sorry for having to leave the owner behind.

"I really can't stand you," Leguna exclaimed with a sigh, "It'll be fine if I leave her some gold coins as compensation before we leave, right?"

"Alright..." Eirinn finally nodded.

Leguna looked at her again. Her long silver hair truly shone dreamily in the night thanks to the moonlight. If not for her horrifying, burnt face, she would no doubt look rather beautiful in the moonlight.

He suddenly hugged Eirinn and sat her on his lap, hugging her from the bag. She tried to shake herself out of it, to no avail. Even though it was a summer night, Eirinn still felt a little cold given the night breezes. The warmth from Leguna's body actually made her feel rather comfortable. She squeezed around in Leguna's embrace in a slight panic, but the feeling of comfort made her feel a little dazed.

"Never again," Leguna whispered as he hugged her tightly, "I'm back, and nobody will harm you ever again. Eirinn, you don't have to be afraid anymore."

"Okay..." mumbled she.

"Don't worry. Just leave everything to me," Leguna said earnestly after giving some thought, "I promise you, I will care for you properly and get the injuries on your hand and face treated. I'll return you to how you originally looked. It's a promise. Do you trust me, Eirinn?"

Eirinn didn't respond to that. Leguna looked down oddly and found that she had fallen asleep in his arms. The dreaming girl seemed as quiet as a kitten with her long hair covering her burnt scars. Her slightly developed chest rose and fell with her breath. If Leguna listened closely, he would hear the air coming in and out of her nose.

"You lazy little..." He couldn't help but smile.

However, he knew that it was probably the first time Eirinn could sleep without worry over the past few years. Even though she had lived in Doen for the past decade, she still felt a sense of foreignness and fear towards the town.

So, she had always been alert of her surroundings without letting her guard down in the past few years, always wary of the hostile intentions of others and fearing the harm they could bring her.

It was only when Leguna finally returned to her side that she truly felt safe and slept peacefully for once. She knew that person had come back for good and the concern he had for her had never changed.

So, like before, she would continue to trust in him unconditionally. She believed that as long as he was there, danger would stay away from her. She could finally fall asleep without worries in his embrace. Without a doubt, that was deepest she has slept in the past few years.

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TS2 - Chapter 161 - Starry Night (1) 2018-07-10T15:00:01+00:00

Eirinn looked up at the starry sky. Though the summer night should've been rather warm and musty, as Doen was located at the northern part of the continent, the weather during summer wasn't as hot. Instead, it was rather refreshing with the cool breezes blowing at night. That was a rare luxury Eirinn didn't often get to enjoy.

In the past, she would often use the ladder to climb up onto the roof of her shed and watch the stars while basking in the wind. Sometimes, she would return to her room to sleep deep in the night, while on other times she would just fall asleep on the roofs just like that. Every time she did so, she would experience a pleasant dream about that person suddenly appearing beside her to take her away from that place.

But today, she would no longer have to experience that bliss in her dreamscape, as that person had truly come.

"The weather tonight's rather great. However, don't stay up here for too long since you're injured," said Leguna as he got down from the ladder and found a clean place beside Eirinn to sit down.

Actually, Eirinn still couldn't completely believe that Leguna had really found her. She looked at Leguna as the warm, milky white moonlight shone upon her ugly face. Thanks to her scars, most people couldn't really read her facial expressions and were unable to guess how she was feeling.

But those people don't include Leguna. Given that he had spent so many years with Eirinn, he could even tell how she was feeling from looking at her eyes. At that moment, Eirinn's eyes revealed her joy, touchedness and some slight fear as she looked at him.

That was no surprise for him, since he had been separated from her for so long. Eirinn had spent so many years there suffering and turned even more timid, so it was only normal for her to feel afraid.

Leguna moved to her side and smiled warmly. He whispered, "You don't have to fear me, Eirinn. I'm Leguna. Even though I'm taller than before and my looks, and perhaps my temperament has changed, I'm still your Big Brother Leguna. I won't change how I treat you. So, let's get along like before. Don't be afraid of me, alright?"

Eirinn looked at Leguna with hesitation. When she just awoke, she was hugged deeply in his embrace. When she first regained her consciousness, she was unbelievably elated and moved.

But she had heard from Leguna that he killed those five bandits. The big brother in her memories was a naughty, yet warm person who was reckless and slightly cowardly. Since when had he become a person who could calmly say he had just killed someone?

"Did you really... kill those bandits?" asked she gingerly.

Leguna nodded and said, "That's right, because they harmed you."

Leguna held her bandaged right hand up carefully and gave it a pained look. He then said in a low voice, "Eirinn, I know I've changed quite a bit. But please believe me when I say that some parts of me will never change. You are my first friend and I've made an oath to protect you so that you won't be bullied by anybody else. Your bastard of a father caused me to break my promise. And when I found you after so much difficulty, I saw you in such a pitiful state. How could you expect me to not get angry? So, those idiots must be punished."

"But..." Eirinn hesitated for a bit, but she still mustered her courage and said, "Those were five lives... You... you shouldn't kill people."

Eirinn's voice carried a stammer at all times. She wasn't sure whether what she said would make Leguna angry. If he really got mad and punished her, that would be too scary! But she still couldn't help herself but say it because that was what she felt was right. Similarly, she wanted to ascertain something through observing Leguna's reaction. If Leguna really got mad because of that, then the world would truly be too cruel.

But out of her expectations, Leguna didn't get the slightest bit angry at what she had said. Instead he seemed happier. "You really didn't change one bit! Eirinn, you're as kind-hearted as ever."

She wasn't sure whether Leguna was just speaking his mind or whether he was mocking her.

Leguna continued, "I know that you might not accept my methods, but that is just how I roll now. Also, it's really effective in helping me protect those around me. So, I won't change on that front. However, I must ask for your forgiveness. I'm sorry, Eirinn. I know that doing this might displease you, but I have no other choice if I am to protect you. Can you forgive me?"

"I..." Eirinn studied his sincere expression and the kind girl eventually gave in. She gave a slight nod and hummed her agreement.

"Haha, I got you! I don't need your forgiveness at all!" said Leguna with a snicker all of a sudden.

Flabbergasted, Eirinn found Leguna's expression and what he said to be really familiar. Whenever Leguna messed with her, she would ignore him out of anger. By then, Leguna would feign sincerity to get her forgiveness, which ultimately led to the half-elf girl giving in and nodding. That was always followed by another round of teasing by Leguna.

"You really... didn't change?" Eirinn looked at the brat's snickering look and slowly felt her mood turn better. Glaring at him angrily, she snapped, "Idiot."

"That's the way!" Leguna said excitedly after seeing her expression, "That is my Eirinn alright! Hahahaha! My Eirinn didn't change one bit! She's back! Hahahaha!"

Eirinn looked at the idiotically laughing boy and felt the urge to laugh herself. She soon started giggling.

"It really has been too long," said he after he finished laughing.

"What?" Eirinn didn't understand what he meant by that.

"We've been separated for far too long," Leguna said, "What happened back then, actually?"

Eirinn looked back at the star-filled sky with silence as the summer breeze blew her long, silver hair around. She enjoyed the caress of nature and whispered, "I was picked up by Mama."

"I know." Leguna nodded. He had heard her mention before that her laborer father had a wife. She was a hardworking and kind woman and Eirinn's personality was probably influenced by her. It was that kindness which she soon spread to Leguna.

"After that, Mama... Mama's gone," she said with a tinge of grief, "Papa treated me badly ever since. In the end, he sold me to a syndicate."

Though Eirinn's childhood wasn't exactly blessed, she was still rather happy thanks to that woman's care. However, the heavens truly were cruel and her mother passed away from a sickness when the girl herself was around eight years of age. After that, the half-elf girl lived with her adopted father ever since.

No longer having her mother's protection, Eirinn's life plunged into the depths of the abyss right away. Her father was a violent drunk and Eirinn was frequently beaten black and blue as a result. After that, the selfish man even sold her to slave traders for a few measly gold coins.

"What happened after that?" asked Leguna. He had already heard that from her laborer father when he interrogated him, but he had no clue of what came after.

"After that..." Eirinn gave it some thought and continued, "After that, those people wanted to sell me to... that kind of place..."

"What?!" A savage look appeared in his eyes. Was she really sold to a brothel?! She was only about ten back then! If that really were the case, then Leguna would have to look for those people and make them pay for it.

"But nobody wanted me," she said with a complicated expression as she felt her burnt face up, "Those places didn't want me because of my face."

Leguna was speechless. He didn't think that the thing that saved her was her own ugliness.

"After that, they had no choice and tried to sell me off as a slave. But I was too small and scrawny, so nobody wanted to buy me either. They almost killed me," said the girl with a frightened tone. It was obvious how much more dangerous it was back then than she was willing to let on.

"Darn it!" Leguna felt his veins pulse with anger. Those slave traders truly are cruel, to harm such a weak, innocent life for a few gold coins. Thank goodness she's fine, or I'll really have to scour the whole of Melindor and kill off every single one of them!

"After that however, I was saved by the owner," Eirinn hurriedly added.

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From TRL Author's Wife 2018-07-10T14:08:07+00:00

Hey Guys.

We found this on Chinese social media and thought you guys might want to know.


"Title: I'm Smoke is a Path's wife and I only saw this subforum today (dated Apr 11th 2018)

Thank you all for your support. I'm sure you know why the book was taken down last year. My husband already had a few chapters prepared and saved up, but those were gone too and he was really frustrated. He's someone who only concentrates on writing and doesn't read threads like these or has his own chat-groups. He also doesn't read WeChat. He's just that kind of boring person.

In some sense, I suppose it's a good thing since he isn't nearly as stressed anymore and can find the time to take a good rest. He still has to take more than ten prescriptions daily, after all.

After some rest, I heard he started working on his new book. But, since I'm not really a fan of Xuanhuan (fantasy) as I can't really remember these foreign names well, I've never read what he writes.

Concerning the ending of Tales of the Reincarnated Lord, he had signed a contract so we don't know whether posting the continuation somewhere else will involve copyright issues. I encourage those of you that know something about that topic to tell me more about it."
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Comments (24)
user avatar
User #7166193 - 10 Jul 18 14:28
So there is gonna be no more Tales of The Reincarnated Lord? (Crying inside)
user avatar
TalesofLord - 10 Jul 18 14:46
We'll keep going until we've finished what's out so far, but as far as new raws goes, no. 591 is it.
user avatar
User #7166193 - 10 Jul 18 14:50
Sad to hear, I just hope that there is at least some sort of good ending along the last chapters
user avatar
User #8786268 - 10 Jul 18 15:05
Well, from all those mini bits of information they add before the chapter. We know that Lorist will build a giant pyramid made from all of the heads of the entire kingdom. :D
user avatar
TalesofLord - 10 Jul 18 20:56
We have something planned for the end. If everyone pitches in we ought to have a great send-off.
user avatar
User #9868598 - 10 Jul 18 14:17
I have only one question. How much chapters probably left to translate because from what I understand this book will not be finished?
user avatar
TalesofLord - 10 Jul 18 14:41
We have just over a hundred chapters left.
user avatar
User #9868598 - 10 Jul 18 14:46
Good enough, will you translate TRL to the end? I really like this story and it's a pity that it ends :(
user avatar
TalesofLord - 10 Jul 18 20:52
We will keep going til we run out of chapters, yes. The last one is 591.
user avatar
User #8611746 - 14 Jul 18 06:09
Nooooooooool! Damn when i finally check my email i see terrible news. This was one of my favorite webnovels maybe 2nd fav. This news makes me really sad. Anyways thx guys for translating such a great novel. Its too bad it wont be finished.
user avatar
TalesofLord - 14 Jul 18 15:47
It's not absolutely certain it is cancelled. If the author can arrange to get the rights to the novel back, it could pop up somewhere else. If not, however, it'll be over. Either way we'll keep going as long as there're chapters to translate.
user avatar
User #2657914 - 10 Jul 18 14:15
That sucks that the story didn't finish :(
user avatar
User #8786268 - 10 Jul 18 14:27
Wait, The novel was never finished? When did everyone knew about this?
user avatar
TalesofLord - 10 Jul 18 14:44
The last raw release was just over a year ago. They stopped when the author was told to remove some of the sex scenes (I'm assuming the barbarian rapes). This was posted in April of this year, so it's official — as far as we can tell — as of April of this year.
user avatar
User #8786268 - 10 Jul 18 14:56
Shame, this is such a great novel. The author tends to overdo things a bit on those scenes though.
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User #7891641 - 10 Jul 18 14:58
Wait what, what sex scenes? until now there wasnt really anything bad described ......
user avatar
TalesofLord - 10 Jul 18 20:54
The barbarian scenes I'm referring to are around 200-212, or there abouts. They were never really explicit, but it seems even that was too much.
user avatar
User #10014575 - 10 Jul 18 15:29
That sucks. I feel bad for the team translating it. I found this novel in novelupdates.com I am starting to get frustrated with a lot of authors dropping or revamping the series. Thanks for your hard work in translating. Will you drop the series or translate till you can't?
user avatar
User #2657914 - 10 Jul 18 15:54
Well when you look at these webnovels the expectations on how much they should write is insane. For example webnovel.com owned by qidian recently opened up to english writers and expect 120,000 words a month for a contract. That's more then the average english novel. So it's like a novel and a half per month. The point being to keep that up is hard.
user avatar
TalesofLord - 10 Jul 18 20:49
We'll keep going till we run out of chapters. And as sad as it is to see a novel we really enjoy (I started out as just a reader before I joined up to edit [Prince speaking]), the journey is nine tenths the fun, so we don't think it's really all that sad. Plus, we have something awesome planned for the send-off, which will be great if everyone pitches in.
user avatar
User #4758457 - 10 Jul 18 20:06
It sounds like a conversation occurred, can we see the rest of it?
user avatar
TalesofLord - 10 Jul 18 20:59
Prince here. I'll ask Ryogawa, but I'm assuming this is just a post on a Chinese equivalent to reddit, probaby the subreddit for the novel.
user avatar
User #5826571 - 10 Jul 18 14:17
So that's the end of it then
user avatar
TalesofLord - 10 Jul 18 20:53
Yip, though we''ll keep going till we've translated all the released chapters.
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