Book 7, Chapter 85

Richard’s Sky

Just like the rest of his trained soldiers, one of the archery captains of the Empire dodged an arrow heading towards him and knocked another one to the floor. Lifting his eyes towards the sky, he continued to look for other incoming attacks. However, a strong sense of unease rose in his heart and he instinctively looked towards the ground, watching on as the arrow twitched up and down.

Then, all he saw was white. A thunderous boom resounded through the battlements as an explosion threw the captain and everyone nearby into the air, similar sounds ringing out everywhere on their side of the walls. All of the archers who had been trained for five years turned into pieces of charred flesh, many of them not even realising how they died.

Rislant stood up as the thunderous explosions rocked Godstear Pass, the armrests of his chair destroyed as he stared at the position of the archers. A single explosion wasn’t too scary, only equivalent to a shot from a level 11 magic archer, but there were less than 500 people of such skill in the entire Empire. Ten times that number attacking at once was terrifying!

The humanoid warriors came to a halt and calmly released a second volley, tearing the archer formations apart. The mages of the Empire were the first to recover, throwing barriers up amongst the troops while also trying to intercept the attacks, but they quickly realised that these explosive arrows weren’t magical at all. The standard large-scale counterspell tactics failed entirely, with only direct collisions managing to get the things to explode ahead of time.

It was already too late by the time the heavy infantry made it to them, the two rounds having left thousands dead with the others scattered in panic. Only a sparse few elites remained calm enough to try and shoot down the incoming arrows in mid-air, but that attempt was utterly inadequate. While trained archers were extremely valuable to any army, they were also not known for being the most courageous in the face of death.

The tall walls stopped the humanoid knights and the imperial archers from seeing each other. The archers had to rely on spotters who signalled locations to them, calculating the general directions before attacking. However, Richard’s drones were much less restricted; the flying beasts passed on enemy locations to the Thinker through a cloned brain, who then sent out individual orders to maximise the damage. The third volley was extremely scattered, causing many of the soldiers and even some generals to rejoice at the idea that the humanoids had exhausted their strength, but the powerhouses of the army turned grave as they looked at where those arrows would fall.

There was no pattern to this set of arrows, but most of them fell where many archers were running and focused specifically on the densest regions. A full third of the 20,000 archers were dead or injured by the end; without any reorganisation, the rest would be useless.

6,000 deaths was still minuscule compared to an army which had nearly a hundred times that number, but what surprised Rislant the most was the complete accuracy of the third volley of arrows. He suddenly looked up at the sky and screamed, “It’s those things, shoot them down!”

The mages and saints of the empire quickly started a volley of attacks, dropping tens of flying beasts from the sky. Even Richard couldn’t help but admire the instant insight; while his choices were a little too safe, the man clearly had an instinct for war that was no worse than Salwyn’s. However, he just sighed from his place atop the cloned brain; it was a pity that this ability didn’t make up for all the other shortcomings.

Richard ordered the beasts to rise 200 metres further, rendering the imperial archers unable to kill them. At the same time, thousands of windsnakes and lightning windsnakes rushed over to their defence. A sub-legendary archer from the Empire took to the sky, imbuing his arrows with a tricolour aura and shooting them up above. Every attack took down exactly three of the flying beasts, and even when the windsnakes surrounded him he didn’t flinch as he rained down more and more arrows. However, a dozen or so smaller windsnakes that were dark blue in colour shot out a web of blue light that surrounded him, and before he could even realise the danger he had been trapped. A blinding flash filled the sky soon after, and a charred body fell to the ground.

With this example set, nobody from the Empire dared to take flight. The corpse was a clear indication that this was Richard’s sky.

Although the flying beasts were very high up, Richard just had the Thinker use more of them to ensure the humanoids remained precise. The explosions continued to resound through the valley as the newly-built fortifications collapsed, every boom accompanied by dozens of screams of terror.

Rislant’s silver hair quivered as he focused on one of the humanoids, the world seeming to fade away as he zoomed in on the knight’s quiver. Every arrow had a special slot here, and after the half-dozen that had been deployed already he could still count fourteen more. The implication almost caused his heart to stop.

The imperial mages continued trying to organise a long-ranged defence, but the Crimson Dukedom’s arrows just rained down in too large a number. One couldn’t even just launch a mana arrow at them head-on once they got close; the explosions from up above could still blind, deafen, or otherwise incapacitate their shoulders. Being forced to use both offensive magic and localised barriers, they quickly started running dry.

Some had already started to realise that this was the gunpowder of the dwarves from the Ashen Plateau, but even a concentrated army of dwarven riflemen couldn’t possess such terrifying power. The humanoid knights continued with no end in sight, killing half of the empire’s archers by their seventh volley.

Once the archers had no chance of reorganising again, the knights then shot a line of arrows perpendicular to the mountain pass, placed right between the imperial army and the second defensive line, forcing them to run forward. Volley after volley pushed these soldiers closer to the first wall, until a point where there were so many people packed right under the walls that they would all die with a few volleys.

However, there were no gates to run out of. Some of the soldiers desperately climbed the fence in a bid to survive, but all they met was 5,000 more knights awaiting their arrival. Nearly 50,000 had been gathered in the small space, but only three sets of explosions would have been enough to take them out. They tried their best to crush the barrier, but the enchantments on it proved effective in the worst situation possible.

Some men desperately jumped down and charged straight into the humanoids for a suicidal attack, but the power gap was just too large. The knights at the front twirled their halberds calmly, killing everyone who came.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: HH

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA