A Familiar Beginning
The winds of Klandor were powerful as ever, and the plains showcasing a much wider and simpler world than Norland's changed earth. While Norlanders liked to use resources from other planes and magic to change entire landscapes to suit their tastes, the barbarians refused to mar nature in that way. It was a beautiful sight to look at.
However, Richard was in no mood to appreciate this beauty. The restlessness in his heart faded the moment he set foot here, replaced by absolute calmness. He would go check what happened in the Azuresnow Shrine, but that meant danger and dangers only grew when one wasn't focused.
Although he had come here once before, he hadn't actually made it far enough to learn the entire route to the Azuresnow Shrine, nor did he even know more than its general direction. However, he knew just who to ask; taking out the Beast God tooth, he blew into it with all his strength before setting off. The entirety of Klandor was startled once more.
The barbarians in the coastal town all looked at him with derision, but he ignored them completely. These fellows hadn't banned Norlanders from entering the continent, but they wouldn't help those they didn't know. To them, all Norlanders were scammers and thieves.
Of course, to those of Norland all Klandorians were robbers and bandits.
As he walked out of town, a rather tall and arrogant youth suddenly blocked his path and asked arrogantly, "Where do you think you're going?"
Richard stopped and looked him up and down once before continuing on his path, "None of your business. Or do you represent the village?"
"I AM village! I'm the most powerful warrior in—" the youth couldn't even finish talking before he felt the earth and sky trade places, his vision going black as mud and blood filled his mouth.
In the eyes of the other barbarians, Richard's movements had been instantaneous. He only extended a hand before the youth started spinning around like a windmill, getting smashed into the ground. Richard himself had already started walking away.
Under a big tree in the corner of the town was an old man who observed everything quietly. A youth next to him looked at the receding figure and huffed in indignation, "Does he have to deal with a normal warrior so violently?"
"That was for me," the old man smiled.
"For you?" The youth couldn't believe it, "Does he know who you are?"
"Not necessarily. He was just warning us not to mess with him."
The youth's expression turned solemn, "Then let me go fight him. I'll test his skills!"
The elder put his hand on the youth's shoulders, "You don't qualify. Besides, you cannot even catch up now."
The young man looked up from the old man's face, and sure enough Richard was nowhere to be seen. He looked dumbstruck for a moment before saying awkwardly, "Elder, can we let him enter Klandor like this? He doesn't seem to be easy to deal with."
The old man smiled, "His identity isn't simple, he's the youngest great runemaster in all of Norland. Alright now, let's go back."
"Great runemaster? At his age?!" the youth was shocked.
"Yes, this really isn't a simple youth. And this time, he comes to Klandor with murderous intent."
"Surely not, even a legendary being wouldn't dare come here to make trouble."
"Sigh. He does. Anyway, it isn't our problem."
"I hope he isn't impulsive," the youth said with worry.
"Oh?" the elder's interest was piqued, "Why do you say that?"
"… A great runemaster at his age… he should be earmarked as a future saint runemaster. People like him certainly have a deep foundation in Norland, and killing him will be a problem. If we anger a few legendary beings of Norland, it could bring about a protracted war that kills thousands of innocents. You said yourself that Klandor and Norland should unite to deal with the other planes, such a war wouldn't be good for anyone."
"That's right," the old man nodded, standing up and walking towards the nearby house, "Remember, you cannot give this idea to the others."
"Our warriors are so stubborn, refusing to learn anything new. Especially from Norland…"
The old man's hand suddenly froze on the door and he sighed heavily, "It's not stubbornness, it's the power of faith. I taught you about what Norland has to offer to show you the breadth of the world, not to have you give up your faith. Our traditions have made us lag behind Norland, but without them we would no longer have our spine."
It was unknown whether the youth understood, but he did nod repeatedly.
The sun slowly sank below the mountains, the last rays of sunset giving the grasslands a strong red afterglow. Large animals roamed leisurely through the plains, lions, hyenas, and even dinosaurs lazing on the ground. These predators wouldn't eat any more even if the prey walked into their mouths.
Richard seemed to be walking across casually, but he covered many metres with every step. Even most horses couldn't keep up with him.
The night seemed calm, but the powerhouses of Klandor were not. Beneath his sea cliff, Balibali failed to withstand the tide multiple times. He constantly shot into the water, and after a dozen failures he just sighed and climbed up to land.
His muscles had grown more defined in all this while, but there were still several eye-catching scars on his chest and back. The barbarians didn't find it difficult to heal even the worst of scars, but he had left them behind as a commemmoration of the day a mere mage had defeated him in melee. This was a shame that he could only erase with his own fists, so he had struggled endlessly after that day. He had been planning to go to Norland and find Richard after a year, but now Richard had come back to Klandor himself.
Balibali did not hurry to fight, instead returning to his village and washing himself from head to toe before wearing his best battle clothes. Spending a minute praying by the ancestral altar, he finally mounted his horse and faded into the distance.
The people in the tribe didn't know which enemy he would be facing, but looking at his solemn bearing they knew that he wasn't confident in victory. A young girl couldn't help the tears rolling down her cheeks.
In the depths of darkness where the very earth smelled of rot, a sly figure climbed out of his pit. This barbarian that looked more like a humanoid beast chuckled hoarsely, "Richard is back? Great, this time you won't have annother chance."
A tall tribal woman next to a bonfire looked up at the towering mountains in the distance, whispering, "The Tooth of the Beast God? Is it him?"
She punched right down into the grass below her, the shockwaves alone blowing out the bonfire completely. Kicking the sleeping tyrannosaur next to her awake, she looked across the plains, "Get up! Let's go see some fun!"
The tyrannosaur reluctantly got up, whimpering a few times in protest before crouching for the woman to climb onto its back. It even grabbed the woman's luggage with its short front paws before starting to rush across the plains. It was only when it was running that one could see its sheer size and splendour: this one was half a fold taller than the normal tyrannosaur, and its lush black scales melded into the dark night.
Atop a snow-capped mountain, several people who were sitting within the stone cliff opened their eyes and looked at the greenish haze in the distance. They exchanged whispers for a few minutes before falling silent once more.
Another big tribe with more than 10,000 people had burst into outrage, many young warriors yelling about giving the damned Norlander a lesson. Some of them flocked to an old tree outside the town, shouting loudly, "Miro, go fight and send the bastard back!"
A youth popped his head out of the canopy and yawned, "I'm not that bored."
This was a short, dismissive sentence, but the bloodthirsty warriors of the tribe immediately went quiet and walked away. Just that showed how respectful and fearful they were.
Miro turned over and murmured, "Strange, why is he here so early? Whatever, it doesn't affect me. Someone will deal with the headache."