Book 2, Chapter 174

A Battle Of Fury(2)

“Wait!” the general finally stepped out, saying in a low voice, “Once we find the trail, we can’t send the entire army right away. We’ll need to send some scouts to check first, it could very well be a trap…”

“Trap?” Zim didn’t seem agitated any longer, levelling a cold stare at the general, “Before we set off, you promised me you could defeat Richard successfully. Now, you’re telling me that my near two thousand elites can’t deal with a mere frontier knight who has less than three hundred soldiers? Is it so? Hmm?”

The general was left tongue-tied. No matter how powerful an army is, it only serves a purpose with the proper guidance… Of course, he was intelligent enough not to express that thought.

An hour later, the trackers had found traces of Richard’s army. Zim mobilised his entire army, starting a grand chase. The number of trails increased along the way, making the captain’s smile increasingly warm. However, the general at the side turned increasingly glum.

By the time night fell, the Viscount had chased Richard all the way to the common border between the Bloodstained Lands, the Sequoia Kingdom, and the Land of Turmoil. The terrain was very rough and complicated here, with caves, limestone formations, and small valleys everywhere. An army of a few hundred people could be hidden anywhere quite easily.

It took painstaking persuasion on the general’s behalf to convince Zim not to chase them through the night, instead setting up camp nearby. Richard attacked in the night as expected, and not just once, but their defence was much tighter than usual; the most he managed was to wake Zim up a few times. With the heavy casualties sustained in the first ambush, nobody dared lower their guard.

The sleep-deprived Viscount struggled to put on his armour the next morning, needing the help of his attendants to mount his horse. Gazing into the distance, he suddenly saw a familiar figure. Despite their separation, he instantly recognised Richard’s face.

Richard was perched on his own mount at that moment, watching as the army began to surge towards him from far away. He couldn’t help but smile, speaking to Flowsand who was next to him, “I won again.”

Flowsand hummed unwillingly before saying, “Let’s bet again, this time it’ll be about how long he’ll pursue you.”

“At least three days,” Richard stated unhurriedly.

“With his stamina and perseverance? I’d say one.”

“It’ll be three,” Richard smiled, “But you need to cooperate!”

Flowsand grunted an approval, “Fine, I lost this time. I’ll resist with all my strength. Do you really have elven blood in you? You’re such a violent fellow!”

“It isn’t violence, it’s conquest!” Richard corrected her, defending his actions.

Seeing Zim’s army head over, Richard solemnly waved to the people behind him. Tens of barbarian warriors stepped out in a row, while the desert warriors shouted from atop the cliff.

“He’s finally fighting like a noble!” Zim yelled excitedly, “Everyone, attack! I’ll completely decimate him this time. See that? He has so many people on foot, and I’ve finally caught up!”

Looking at the warriors on the cliff, Zim immediately sidelined the general and directed the army in a three-pronged attack. Two mixed groups of infantry and light cavalry split off from the main force, moving to flank Richard and cut off his escape. The rest would charge straight on. Of course, he himself would be supervising at the back lines from the safety of his personal guard.

……

The battle had ended just as swiftly as it began, but it was poles apart from the hot-blooded noble battle that Zim had expected. Richard summoned six direbears at the top of the cliff, sending the thick-skinned beasts charging into the vanguard. The direbears weren’t particularly strong offensively, but they had great endurance. The power behind their charges was astonishing, able to send the vanguard into chaos in a few moments.

When the right flank passed a huge stone pillar, they were suddenly subjected to a bombardment of flying axes. A dozen of the cavalrymen at the front were knocked off their horses. Before the team could recover from the chaos, piercing whistles rang out and another round of hatchets flew over, throwing the rest of their horses as well.

The soldiers finally saw their enemy, but they were left rooted to the ground. The throwers looked strange and inhuman, creepy enough to stun these trained soldiers for a short moment. They recovered quickly, charging forward with a yell, but all that greeted them was another round of hatchets.

The hatchets weren’t like mere arrows, more comparable with javelins. The ability to block them was reserved for the heaviest of tower shields; the armour of these soldiers could not withstand their power. The wave of axes whistled past the troop, leaving a hole in the frontline.

What followed the axes was the thunderous sound of hooves and boots. A small team of twenty or so barbarians and desert warriors charged out from a rocky cliff, mercilessly cutting into the messy formation. The Viscount’s soldiers fell in swathes, the right flank being dealt a devastating blow that left it on the verge of breaking apart. Many of the soldiers started to hesitate.

That brief moment of hesitance perfectly played into Richard’s hands, allowing his own troops to retreat quickly while escorting the throwers away. They made it very far in the blink of an eye.

As for the frontal assault, Richard had put his most mobile troops there. The desert warriors charged forward and destroyed the vanguard’s formation, and right after that he led them diagonally through the battlefield to bore another hole into the gravely injured right flank. Then, they left as abruptly as they had come.

“Give chase! They have infantry, they can’t escape!” Zim had paled with fury. The seeming panic in Richard’s flight gave him a boost in confidence.

This chase lasted three days and three night, and it was the kind where neither party got any sleep. Richard escaped in the day and attacked at night, his energy seemingly endless.

There were many types of attacks. Sometimes a group of direbears suddenly appeared in Zim’s camp, and on other occasions a barrage of fireballs assaulted them. Occasionally, Richard gathered all his troops and charged into the camp before fleeing quickly. There was even one instance where a warrior of darkness had appeared near the Viscount’s tent. Caught unprepared, half a dozen of Zim’s elite guards were done in by the fierce undead soldier.

Every attack brought about great losses to the Viscount’s armies. At minimum he lost a dozen soldiers, but there were occasions where many more wound up dead. It was enough to cause heartache, but not enough to leave him scared.

Three days later, completely exhausted, Zim finally lost all interest in further chase. He actually had more stamina than most, granted an outstanding physique by his unicorn bloodline. Since even he could take it no longer, the ordinary soldiers were so fatigued they wanted to sleep for several days. At this point, there were less than a thousand troops left in his army. More than a third of his soldiers were lost, with his horses almost completely wiped out. The soldiers may still be alive, but cavaliers without their horses were worse than footsoldiers.

Zim was now 200 kilometres away from Richard’s castle, and nearly 400 kilometres away from his own. The Viscount suddenly realised that he had gone too far, and more importantly his army had grown weak. He passed down an order to return to Fontaine’s lands, where he would resupply and await reinforcements from his family.

Richard was travel-worn as well, looking fatigued. However, his back was still as straight and tall as ever atop his horse, and his eyes twinkled brightly. Seeing the Viscount’s army meandering into the distance, he flashed a slight smile and muttered to himself, “Trying to escape? It won’t be that easy.”

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA