“Oh noble citizen of the heavens, we can finally fight fair.” Once the enemy angels were dead, Richard returned within range of Michael who was rapidly recovering using the energy from the pope. The three serving Martin lined up behind him, crimson swords in hand.
The four opposing angels had barely managed to last all this while, but then Richard had just aborted his fight against Michael and come for their heads instead. The balance had immediately been broken, leaving them unable to last for any length of time. Now, Richard and the three Midrens were ganging up on the lone Michael. The celestial had never been Richard’s match even when they were one on one, and now the result was obvious.
Still, Richard wasn’t going to play fair or give the opponent any time to prepare. He felt sickened by the archangel’s unfounded arrogance for some reason, and he couldn’t help but want to wipe it off the man’s face. Crimson light shot onto the three Midrens as he stretched out an arm, the paladins within instantly losing control as they became puppets for him to control.
Although he was a fair distance away, Martin immediately felt the change. His eyebrows locked in perplexion, but he didn’t say anything at the realisation that Richard could control the hierarchy of Heaven’s Armour so effectively. Perhaps he was meant to see this; a friendship would only last if both parties were about equal.
The three Midrens charged towards the celestial, showing no mercy as they fought in perfect harmony. Michael screamed and cried endlessly, but even without Richard making a move he could barely hold them back. Just as the angel started losing patience, a blood-red light flashed covered his entire body and almost drowned him. He managed to cut it apart, but his body started trembling in the aftermath as he almost dropped his sword.
As the red dissipated, Michael finally realised that he was going up against the same sword that he had managed to damage before. His eyes went wide in surprise; had the weapon grown immune to his flames? So what about the other? A sharp pain quickly answered his question, an anxious glance revealing a green blade pierced in his midriff. The armour had done nothing to stop the weapon at all.
“This… sword…” Something seemed to have clicked in Michael’s mind, and he stared at Moonlight with all colour draining from his face.
“Yeah, it’s pretty good,” Richard smiled as he drew back. The celestial stared in shock as the small wound suddenly burst into a rain of golden blood. Lifesbane had finally taken effect, even if it was only the one that had absorbed his blood.
Michael’s eyes blazed as he glared at Moonlight, his hatred for the sword even greater than that for the Judge. He was about to say something, but all three Midrens pounced on him at once.
The battle in the sky thus reached its climax, a golden sun forming as the celestial mobilised the last of his energy. The three Midrens were tossed far away, but each of their hands held a broken wing. Moonlight had one wreathed around it as well, while the Judge was trying its best to swallow another.
Michael was drenched in golden blood, his one remaining wing struggling to keep him in the sky. Looking at the once six-winged angel, Richard said slowly, “You had your chance.”
“You… You work with evil… You will meet your destruction one day…” Michael staggered, his last wing disintegrating to the crimson light. His blood started burning fiercely, forming a golden aura around him as he fell to the ground.
*BOOM!* Thousands of soldiers down below were sent flying by the impact, raging flames leaving a huge pit that was dozens of metres wide. Everything in range was burnt to a crisp, even rune knights. When Richard descended, the only thing left was a set of golden armour and flaming sword.
The armour was the set of Heaven’s Armour that formed Michael, cracked and dented all over but still in one piece. The breastplate and helmet themselves were flawless, the crest of the Radiant Lord still shining bright on the latter. With a single look, Richard knew that he could repair this without issue.
The sword was still burning with sacred flames, but he also noticed that they were drawing on the last remnants of Michael’s divine force. In only a few minutes, they would go out. He reached through the heat and pulled the weapon out of the ground, dissipating the energy in all directions to the point that the charred ground crystallised from the heat.
In terms of power alone, these sacred flames were nowhere close to the liquid flames created by the blue moon. That flame had destructive properties that destabilised the structure of any being it came across, while these could only rely on pure temperature. However, it was also obvious that these divine flames burnt much hotter than the blue ones. This sword was a true divine weapon, likely second only to the robes and staff the pope currently wore.
The only unfortunate part was that the sword was beyond massive. Three metres was just right for a large celestial, but humans were minuscule in comparison. Of course, Richard himself didn’t really feel like that would be much of a problem, he had more than enough strength to wield the weapon anyway. This was also only the first time he had seen a weapon as physically tough as Moonlight.
Once he had the sword, Richard looked into the Heaven’s Armour set on the ground with more care. Moving the breastplate revealed a large gold crystal floating within, the celestial core that was somewhat similar to a demonic core or human heart. This was the fundamental source of energy for celestials, and Michael’s was already on par with that of a lesser demon lord. In the system of the Eternal Dragon, it would be a borderline rank 2 offering.
“HERETIC! YOU DARE PROFANE THE SACRED SKELETON” Saint Thomas suddenly screamed as Richard extracted the core, his body trembling with rage. Martin looked rather uncomfortable as well, and it was in fact the pope that was calm.
The old man just stared emotionlessly at the dozens of red-robed corpses under him, not even caring for the deathly grip Ruford had on the edge of his own robes. The legendary priest was no more than a hundred years old; even though the clergy lived shorter lives than those who obtained their power themselves, the man would still have another century to grow stronger. If not for Martin being a divine child, he would actually supercede Hendrick in terms of a claim to papacy.
However, everything was over now. Saint Thomas wanted to charge over, but he was restrained by a reinvigorated Senma. The three Midrens were currently supporting the battlefield, allowing her to tie the man down. Richard stowed both his swords away and raised his newest weapon up high, injecting his own energy within. The crimson veins on his armour lit up once more, turning the sacred flames blood red. By the time he turned to actually face the offender, Thomas could see nothing but indifference through the mask.
Richard stretched his left hand out, drawing a portal in the sky. The legendary paladin was stunned as he disappeared into it, barely remembering that he was a mage before blood-red flames devoured him from behind.
It took a few moments for the flames to simmer down, but everyone saw Saint Thomas barely holding the sword back with his own lance. However, the crimson flames had already swept across his body and left him pale, his hair trembling as he tried to resist with all his might. His silver horse cried out in pain as its limbs were smashed into sludge, the beast that had fought alongside the paladin for over a hundred years unable to bear Richard’s strength.
Thomas screamed in grief, but that was quickly cut short as he turned back to see a spear stabbed into his back. Senma gritted her teeth as she flooded the paladin’s body with her energy, crushing all of his organs. Richard withdrew the sword and sighed, “Like I said, a blood feud. You’re the start.”
Thomas’s throat bobbed, but he couldn’t utter a single word. When Senma pulled her spear out of his body, the last dregs of his vitality faded away and his corpse fell to the ground. The battle was over.