Book 7, Chapter 99

Capturing The City

As the entirety of the Frozen Throne was ravaged by the lightning storm, the Crimson Army began advancing once more. To the warriors on the city, the horns that marked their advance sounded colder than the rain crashing down on them from above.

The first to attack was an army of 10,000 made mostly of humanoids, shadowspears, and local troops. Many priests and mages followed at a distance, buffing them significantly. Even the native soldiers of the Crimson Dukedom were level 6 to 7 at minimum, a higher standard than the city guard of the Frozen Throne. However, they weren’t even a part of the main assault; their job was to carry a large amount of dirt and rocks to build a mound right under the walls that was thirty metres tall. The mages from the Empire tried to break it down, but the repeated lightning strike made it impossible for them to concentrate on any powerful spells.

The storm was mostly concentrated around the city gates, and when the few mages there switched from maintaining their barriers to attacking the new platform before it could be built, the casualties mounted immediately. The humanoids kept firing their explosive arrows from below, rocking the garrison repeatedly. Wave after wave of soldiers ended up marching to certain death.

It took half an hour for the hill to be completed, but once it was the Crimson Dukedom’s army retreated like the tide. The imperial soldiers watched on in confusion for a moment, but then an earth-shattering explosion resounded in their ears as they were sent flying hundreds of metres into the sky. By the time the raging flames had died down, the enormous wall was now broken in several places.

The Frozen Throne was one of the most successful construction projects in all of Faelor, with its sturdy Skygates having been built during the city’s final expansion. This was the accumulation of millennia of expert fortifications, and the Empire even claimed that the gods themselves would find it difficult to go through. It took a dozen mages pouring their mana in just to open and close them. However, those gates were now ajar; had the gods abandoned the Iron Triangle?

In the distance, Richard frowned at the sight of the walls still hanging on, “That was ten tonnes of gunpowder, dammit!”

The enormous cracks in the now-slanted walls revealed steel rods as thick as the average arm spaced evenly throughout the structure. He immediately gave up all hope of taking the walls down easily, instead sending the order for his humanoids to charge. The incline was still steep, but each of the humanoids was comparable to a captain of the imperial army; a black tide flowed up the walls and tore apart the defensive lines in the blink of an eye.

With their city about to be captured, many of the imperial soldiers threw themselves at the humanoids with no regard for their lives. However, the drones couldn’t be scared off by valiance and didn’t tire of bloodshed, killing any that came. Hundreds of them charged straight into the midst of the imperial formations below, their halberds tearing into multiple opponents before they burst forth with energy and cut down everyone in the vicinity.

Streaks of energy shot into the skies, activating some thunderclouds that had been absorbing energy all this while. A concentrated web of lightning crashed down right in the middle of the melee, killing drone and soldier alike. A second batch of humanoids went forward to push the battle lines, their lives ending in the same way.

By the end of the third suicide attack, an enormous hole had opened up in the imperial army’s defensive line. More than 10,000 soldiers had already died to the lightning, the clouds finally starting to calm down. Of course, that didn’t give the Empire any room to relax; Richard’s soldiers now controlled the first layer of walls. Dozens of rune knights had even pushed open the gate, and knights were streaming through from below as well.

The Empire had expected an intense fight in the alleys, but they were routed in minutes. The Crimson Army seemed to know the terrain of the Frozen Throne even better than the local troops, every move read and countered while their troops were constantly surrounded and wiped out. Quintal Plaza, the Grand Shrine, the slums… every place with a mass of soldiers was torn apart, dozens of separate troops weaving in and out of the streets as they played the tune of a massacre.

“You know, I can’t even complain about losing to you when you can do this. Forget threefold, even if I had five times the number I wouldn’t be able to win.” Flying beside Richard on another cloned brain, Salwyn let out a deep sigh. He was looking on as a thousand imperial soldiers were celebrating being able to repel the attacks of the Dukedom, not even realising that there were two streams of soldiers about to tear into them from behind. No more than 60,000 soldiers from the Crimson Dukedom had entered the imperial capital, but they moved like gears in an enormous machine that was designed to maximise the enemy’s casualties.

Richard smiled, not saying a word as he looked on with leisure. Most of the commanding had been taken over by the Thinker and cloned brains, so all he needed to do was take care of the surface-level strategy. That still needed multiple commands a second, especially to direct his followers, but that was nothing to him now.

However, the joy was suddenly interrupted by a yellow glow that quickly covered the entire castle. Feeling a pang in his heart, he quickly rushed towards the outskirts and jumped straight down, shocking a few soldiers who were carrying Gangdor away. Two of them were hauling his legendary axe, now so dented that it would likely drop in quality even if it could be repaired. Gangdor himself was bathed in blood, a dozen wounds of varying sizes littered all over his body. The deepest of them all had almost cut into his heart.

The brute did his best to get up, smiling wryly, “Boss, those cowards all hid in their castle. I charged in to teach them a lesson, but they suddenly used this strange defensive domain and ten people ganged up on me. You have to be careful, our movements are slowed down in there.”

“Let’s see you keep being reckless,” Richard snorted before patting Gangdor on the shoulder, “Let’s get a pope or two on this for now.”

A cloned brain quickly transmitted a message to a distant shadowspear even as it flew towards the priests; it would return with them in a few minutes. In the meanwhile, Richard’s hand remained on Gangdor’s shoulder as a jade moon appeared above his head, bright coloured flowers blooming all around on the charred black soil. The moon quickly faded away, but the wounds clotted over and started to close. Any threat to the brute’s life had been eliminated.

Richard then took a good look at the castle itself. Although there were multiple layers of walls to the city itself, the Crimson Army still working on getting through the second, the castle only had one. The road leading to it was wide enough to accommodate eight horses side by side, with an enormous semicircular plaza halfway up. Green climbers were twined around metallic pillars here, but one could distinctly see the entrance to the castle itself hundreds of metres away.

Glowing runes were revolving around the outer perimeter of the castle, pale yellow light reaching all the way into the square. Richard had five shadowspears charge straight in, but when they entered the yellow domain it looked like they had stepped into mud. Their speed was halved, with all of their movements delayed and sluggish.

Richard frowned and threw a few detection spells in the direction, but none of them got a reaction; this most certainly wasn’t a swamp spell or a curse. A quick vitality spell on the shadowspears went through without issue, but the knights still didn’t regain their speed.

*Whoosh!* A sharp whistle suddenly rang through the skies as long arrows were shot out from the crenellations, burying themselves into the knights’ armour and exploding within. The drones were torn apart, causing Richard’s expression to darken.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA