Book 7, Chapter 86

Levelling The Opposition

Behind the Dukedom’s army, Salwyn suddenly leapt out of his carriage and grabbed a nearby horse, galloping towards Richard while screaming, “RICHARD! LEAVE THESE PEOPLE TO ME! I BEG YOU!”

High up on his cloned brain, Richard heard his voice and looked down to match his gaze. Salwyn jumped off the horse and went into a half kneel, “Stop the arrows, please! Just leave them to me, I can persuade them! I can definitely persuade them!”

Richard’s gaze focused on Salwyn’s left knee that had knocked into a stone, starting to bleed ever so slightly, and after a moment he nodded and gestured the prince forwards. All of the humanoids stopped their movements, but those glimmering explosive cylinders still left one shuddering with fear.

The constant explosions came to a halt, the tremors of the earth calming down. The battlefield suddenly became quiet, almost unbearably so as all the soldiers behind the wooden wall held their breaths, eyes locked onto the explosives. They were afraid that a single sound would call upon the rain of death once more.

Salwyn urged his horse towards the walls, amplifying his voice with magic, “I am Prince Salwyn, the future emperor of the Iron Triangle! I command you surrender to me, right away!”

Many soldiers looked rattled. In a situation where they would have died the next moment, the feeling of life was exceptionally pleasant. In the meanwhile, the officers and nobles latched onto the idea of Salwyn being the future emperor. If that was right, one could just consider this a rebellion with external assistance. This meant the Empire would continue to exist, and royal blood would still sit upon the throne. Defecting to another party in a civil war was nowhere near as treasonous as joining an invader.

A million nuances were suddenly inserted into this war. Surrendering to Salwyn would not be an undignified action, and the prince had a good reputation for his talents. While politics had held him back for quite some time, many still acknowledged that he was the most qualified of candidates for the throne. This placed another heavy weight on the balance.

Salwyn continued to shout anxiously, commanding the troops to put their weapons down and surrender. They were to jump across the barrier and run through the battlefield, heading to Richard’s camp to become prisoners.

“Think about your wives and children!” he screamed, “They’re waiting for you at home!”

He knew Richard didn’t have much patience for this charade, and wouldn’t care whether these soldiers lived or died. Thankfully, those last words seemed to hit a chord as the soldiers finally wavered, some men beginning to toss their weapons aside and jump down the walls. Many more quickly followed.

From within his keep in the distance, Rislant pointed at Salwyn and made a concealed gesture. A few of his subordinates immediately separated, and in the blink of an eye a dozen arrows flickering with mana snaked through the sky in his direction. The enchantment was clearly a targeting one.

Salwyn sensed it immediately, his face warping as he tore two scrolls and instantly activated his barrier before starting a long chant. However, he knew that this was a futile struggle in the face of imminent death; he had reached level 16 two years ago, but most of his advancements came from research and not battle. It was impossible for him to survive so many tracking arrows. Old Rislant might be a coward, but he was still merciless when he needed to be.

The arrows whistled through the sky, even the weakest of them coming from a Faelorian saint and strong enough to gravely injure him. However, a mountainous shadow suddenly covered Salwyn entirely as Tiramisu appeared before him, using his body to block the attacks. The ogre lord’s thick skin and blubber were even better at blocking attacks than his frighteningly thick armour.

“Ow!” The first arrow pierced deeply into the ogre, going more than halfway in, but in total this wasn’t even enough to get past his fat. This was the full-power attack from a sub-legend! He just plucked it out and tossed it away, flaring at the wretched fellow that had the gall to prick him. Had Richard not ordered him to protect Salwyn, he would have torn through the imperial army to crush the offender.

More arrows flew over, but magic and divine spells now flickered on Tiramisu’s body and turned him into a mobile fort. He brandished Tenton as he snarled, not dodging at all as a wind vortex pulled all the arrows towards him with sheer force. The arrows still maintained at least four-fifths of their total power, but there seemed to be infinite barriers around the ogre’s body that could never be exhausted. No matter how many layers were broken through, they would be replenished in an instant. Rather than a show of the imperial archers, it became a display of Richard’s priests and mages.

At that moment, Rislant suddenly stood up from his keep, “Archers, four notches up, four units of strength. LOOSE!”

Thousands of archers at the rear gathered their focus, carrying out the order without a second thought. It was only when the arrows left their bows that they realised they were targeting the imperial soldiers gathered on the walls!

They hadn’t surrendered yet! This thought resounded in the minds of many, but no one said it aloud. Rislant had always been strict on the battlefield and killed his own men easily; anyone doubting his orders would be executed right away.

Thousands of arrows landed amidst the crowded army, blood shooting into the sky. The imperial soldiers were stunned by the fatal blow coming from behind them, from comrades that they had fought with shoulder to shoulder. A hint of fury flashed across Richard’s face and he promptly ordered his humanoids to fire, the wave of explosive arrows shot at the imperial archers that had just regathered. Another earth-shattering tremor rocked the pass as nearly all of them ended up dead.

Those soldiers lucky enough to survive no longer hesitated, all of them jumping in the direction of Richard’s army. The humanoid knight formation opened up to give them two lines of passage all the way to the back of the battlefield; the other locals of the plane would deal with them.

Escorted by a group of shadowspears, Salwyn began to retreat into the rear. He turned back to look at the tall, gateless fence and laughed bitterly; his efforts had failed. That last wave of arrows might have sent the first line of soldiers over, but it had also forced the rest of the wavering troops to stick to their side.

“Steady the defence!” Rislant took advantage of the Crimson Dukedom getting busy, sending out orders to mobilise the second line of defence. Giving up a single wall was far from a disaster; he had set up four lines of defence in this long and narrow pass.

With the first set having surrendered, all that was left was a sole wall. Richard raised a hand and pointed at the enchanted wood, “Level it!”

4,000 shadowspears promptly walked out of the army, silently heading up to the wall with energy flickering on their halberds. Stabbing deep into the wall, they pulsed even more energy until explosions rang out from within, forming huge holes in the wood. Only a few waves of such attacks caused the wall to come toppling down. The army then rushed forward, passing the ruins and halting in front of Richard’s second line of defence.

Next, Salwyn and Rislant finally found out just how large the difference between the two planes was. Hundreds of loaded supply carts were pushed to the frontlines, the contents shocking both stars of the Empire. Within these trucks were stacks of quivers, the kind with twenty explosive arrows each.

Rumbling resounded through Godstear Pass, Richard’s humanoid knights ploughing through the second line of defence and sending 50,000 soldiers to their deaths along the way. This time, Rislant sat back on his half-destroyed chair and didn’t even bother to look at the flickering explosions. The army then headed to the third line of defence, the first batch of knights having rested by now and taking over from the second.

Deafening noised rang throughout the pass for the entire day as Richard’s army levelled all of Rislant’s defences, their explosive arrows leaving everyone in despair. They only stopped once they were out the other side, with Rislant having fled to their last haven in the Ice Fortress right before the capital. The grand army of 400,000 had less than half of its soldiers remaining; 100,000 had died, and over 50,000 each had surrendered or been maimed. All four lines of defence had fallen apart alongside the reconstructed castle, and during all this time Richard hadn’t lost a thousand men.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA