Book 9, Chapter 46

Black Hole

The plan to crush the war elephant had come from Nasia, who was spending most of her time assisting Richard with the command of the battlefield. There were only a dozen or so of the mechanical behemoths on the battlefield, and their destruction would be another boost to morale. While it took more than a hundred drones for every kill, those elephants could easily destroy far more than that number if given the time.

The elven assassins had already retreated by the time the bullet discs even fell to the ground, two platoons of soldiers deployed to protect them from the flesh warriors as they reloaded. Nasia herself suddenly appeared amongst the enemy ranks, killing a dozen spider warriors before vanishing into the sky and destroying two of the large warships before returning to the rear.

The ordinary soldiers rushed in to fill the void, tearing into the flesh warriors who had lost most of their heavy hitters. It took three or four of these level 8 fighters to take out a single enemy drone, but none of them showed any signs of hesitation as they fought to their deaths. They knew that their sacrifices were the only things allowing those still in the Crimson Empire to survive. The cowards had fled and died a long time ago.

The main job of the ordinary warriors was to delay and protect, allowing Richard’s drones to maximise their killing potential. Less than a tenth of the reaper troops had fallen to anyone other than the night elves or any saint level powerhouse, but without the protection of these brave soldiers most would have been tied up in self-defence. The sacrifice of the masses allowed the druids to continue immobilising enemies, allowing the night elven assassins to charge out with their thunder cannons and rain death down on the machine army. Binding spells slowed down the warships in the air, allowing the archers’ arrows to strike with far greater accuracy than would have been possible otherwise.

If one viewed small sections of the battlefield, it seemed like the night elven drones and rune knights completely dominated the battle. However, Richard simply couldn’t bring himself to be relieved. There were far too many reaper troops still flooding through, and the weaker soldiers were rapidly dying out. This was a war of attrition where he would not win.

Already having the numeric advantage from the beginning, the reapers were slowly growing more and more overwhelming on the battlefield. The night elves would be targeted in mere minutes after the Crimson Army was gone, at which point a true victory would be near impossible.

Richard floated in the sky, slowly recovering his mana even as he healed some of his injuries. However, he only gave himself a few minutes of rest before blinking into the midst of the reapers’ land units, a ring of blue flames wiping out all drones within ten metres. Flesh warriors were destroyed immediately by the scorching heat, while the spider warriors could only last a few seconds before they were disintegrated.

Face almost frozen, he took out the Book of Destruction and started flipping through it. A pair each of elven shamans and blood inquisitors suddenly appeared amongst his troops, bolstering their might in a small area. That section quickly stabilised, but the change was far too limited.

Despite his best efforts, Richard himself started gasping for breath. He had suffered a number of direct hits simply to destroy the enemy flagship, which both injured him greatly and depleted most of his mana. The rest of his army was in a similar state, with three of his rune knight formations already having been picked full of holes. The winter soldiers were starting to fall to the ground under the assault of dozens of energy beams each, their bodies slowly drained of life.

And yet, the opposing army didn’t even seem to feel a bit of a drain. He forced all thoughts about the casualties to the back of his head, growling as he jumped a hundred metres forward with his flaming sword drawing a resplendent trail behind him. Any reaper units that it passed were cut in two. He didn’t even look back as he leapt into the sky, his figure vanishing for a moment as a few of the large warships burst into flames. Continuing to blink from enemy to enemy, he appeared behind a war elephant that wasn’t being targeted and split it with a single attack.

Richard’s warriors now knew that the reaper units weren’t killed by simply cutting them apart. Troops of night elves and frost warriors quickly appeared wherever Richard had passed, their thunder cannons roaring to life as they destroyed the metal and flesh beyond repair. Even as the war elephant was destroyed, however, Richard subconsciously accessed the numbers in his mind for a brief moment.

984. It was a figure that left his eyes twitching, but from a combination of his own observations and the cloned brain network, he knew that the war elephant had killed nearly a thousand of his men before he’d gotten to it.

The distant Nasia took to the sky once more, but this time she was a little more reserved. Only three of the large warships went down before she returned to the ground, resuming her role as the commander of this army. Using her one-sided connection with him to take control of the drone network, she was doing even better than he normally did with micromanaging them all. While her results didn’t seem impressive, Richard knew that she was killing the most deadly targets herself. She had already taken down more than twenty large warships, seven of the fifteen war elephants, and almost a hundred spider warriors.

However, more than 70% of the Crimson Army now lay dead, with many night elves already having abandoned their depleted thunder cannons in favour of longswords and hand-to-hand combat. Richard had arranged for thousands upon thousands of bullet discs, with each night elf carrying a total of thirty, but even with it all depleted the enemy hadn’t been dealt with just yet.

Richard’s heart sank as the sounds of the thunder cannons wound down. His expression turned icy as he summoned three faces all around him, casting spells in divine tongue to form fireballs of three different properties. All three fireballs converged in mid-air, but instead of exploding they merged together in a tiny burst before disappearing.

Those who witnessed this were shocked for a moment, the morale amongst the legends especially dropping. Richard’s divine spells were well known for their absolute power, but that meant the onlookers were more surprised by them fizzling away like this than they would have been if he’d destroyed all of the enemies in one go.

Was he too tired to cast? The hearts of Richard’s soldiers shivered. As the one true epic being on this battlefield, he was their spiritual pillar. So long as he could fight, those around him would drag their tired bones without any fear. With the king in front, they wouldn’t even consider defeat. However, that same strategy the Archerons employed meant that any signs of weakness from the Archeron King decimated morale.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” Nasia suddenly shouted in Richard’s mind.

Richard shook his head, “If death is out only option, I won’t let them get away so easily.”

Many of the reaper troops suddenly slowed down as he spoke, being lifted into the skies by an invisible force. An elated saint immediately shot three javelins towards some of the warships in the sky, but just as they were about to hit their targets those javelins swerved off course as well. The woman frowned at the sight, but her attention was suddenly drawn to where the three fireballs had disappeared.

A domain of black had formed in the sky, so tiny that one could mistake it for a speck of dust. However, it was slowly starting to grow in size, only discoverable because any energy that went within could not come out. As it started to pull in the flesh warriors nearby, someone finally shouted in alarm, “IT’S A BLACK HOLE!”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA