Despite being destroyed, the Zuka statues had absorbed so much faith during the trolls’ reign that they still had a lot of divinity remaining. However, Flowsand’s tests revealed a hazy grey aura covering the statue fragments, implying powerful curses had tainted this divine power. The statues could no longer be used as offerings, but that didn’t mean the broodmother wouldn’t be interested in them.
Richard’s army split up when exploring the upper regions, every follower leading a small group of soldiers and five throwers as they enacted a purge on the trolls hidden in the area. Under the guidance of the elite bats, a dozen troll hunters were killed within a few minutes. A miserable whistle rang out from the upper sections of the city, and a few dozen more jumped out of hiding and fled further up.
Three of the elite bats were mobilised with a thought, flying in the direction of the whistle. However, one of the trolls suddenly appeared in their line of sight. Hidden behind a broken piece of wall with a javelin in hand, the creature was staring at the bats with bloodshot eyes. Richard was startled, immediately calling for the bats to dodge, but the javelin quickly sped towards one of them. The world went dark for a moment as his connection to it was severed.
Richard trembled. Gazing into the distance, he saw six or seven more javelins fly into the sky and strike his bats like lightning, travelling dozens of metres more before falling away. The power of these hunters’ projectiles was immense, able to penetrate through even direbears. In terms of strength alone, they were far superior to the throwers.
Although he was shocked, he immediately had the rest of his elite bats soar at least a hundred metres into the sky; at this distance, even these powerful javelin throws couldn’t hit their marks. He then looked towards the peak of the hill, muttering to himself. He currently stood where the troll nobility used to live, and above were the regions meant for the chieftain and shamans followed by the shrine and altar at the very top. The whistling had come from the chieftain’s residence, and all the trolls had retreated to that point as well. They seemed to intentionally avoid the altar and shrine.
Richard had assumed every troll active in these ruins was like the few he had killed, only left with instinct and no intellect. However, the commander was obviously still sane, and the hunters that had ambushed his bat showed astute observation skills as well. Very few could tell that his elite bats weren’t natural creatures. Strange vultures always circled the ruins of Zhubvar, but these hunters had only attacked his bats; they had clearly noticed something.
Since the one in command was intelligent, Richard could no longer afford to treat these trolls like random beasts. A string of orders started flowing out of his mouth, two flanks splitting off while the central group charged straight for the chieftain’s lands under his leadership.
The chieftain’s territory was quite expansive, but there were few buildings in the area. Still, each one was incredibly tall; charging into one, Richard found dozens of trolls panicking as they escaped into the forest a few hundred metres away. One could see a trail within the dense forest that snaked into its depths.
“What do we do now, Master?” Olar asked.
How could he let these trolls escape now? Richard waved his hand with a shout, “We pursue!”
Before charging into the forest, he cast a myriad of defensive spells on himself. The troll hunters were like fish in water in the forest, but the environment posed no hindrance to his own army. Waterflower, Gangdor, and Tiramisu were all adept at forest battles, so they easily managed to follow the trolls’ route a few kilometres to a camp in a little valley.
Just as they entered a clearing, a javelin flew towards Richard’s face. He turned and dodged out of its path, magical light flickering around him as a long-range barrier deflected the projectile. Although a low-level spell, this barrier could bounce a normal arrow away instantly. However, the javelin’s path only changed slightly.
The javelin that brushed past Richard pierced deep into a nearby tree, a loud thud ringing out as it practically shot through the trunk that one could barely reach their arms around. The figure of a troll flashed a few dozen metres away, disappearing into the camp. Another emerged elsewhere in a matter of seconds, mercilessly throwing two more javelins out. Mournful started ringing out one after the other as the trolls weaved in and out, pouncing towards Richard’s army from all directions.
The camp was built around a small ruin with an unknown purpose. Trolls kept running out of the camp to join the fight; half of them had red hair on their heads, acting with little intelligence to speak of, while the hair of the other half was more brownish. These ones were taller and stronger than their peers, with intricate ornaments on their body and a semblance of intelligence that the rest lacked.
Despite being besieged on all sides in unknown terrain, Richard wasn’t flustered at all. He roughly gauged a location and launched a fireball with a wave of his hand, inducing numerous cries as the enemies rushed out with magic flames surging all around their bodies.
However, Richard knew a fireball without enhancements wouldn’t seriously hurt level 10 trolls. He sent out an order in his mind, a sharp whistle ringing through the forest as a volley of axes killed all the trolls that had exposed themselves.
The humanoids and throwers entered melees all through the forest, while Gangdor and Tiramisu turned into meat grinders that no ordinary troll could survive. Olar began his warsong, making each and every humanoid more ferocious; as he had grown in level, the boost provided by his singing had risen correspondingly. The bard could now boost the morale of his men, increasing their strength by 10%. Although bards didn’t have as much power as divine or even magic spells, they made up for that with sheer area of effect. Olar’s warsong could cover dozens of metres all around him.
The humanoids’ excellent equipment far outshone that of the trolls, who used a mix of wood, bone, and primitive metal. With the stacked buffs from the warsong as well as all the spells cast on them, these soldiers didn’t lose to the trolls even in vitality. The individual drones weren’t harmed much at all during the course of the fight, the trolls instead suffering severe casualties. It wasn’t long after the battle began before warriors of darkness entered the fray, the elite undead not knowing fear or death. Even the dauntless trolls shuddered at the sight.
Richard’s silhouette appeared in one side of the forest, a thin book flashing as six direbears immediately appeared in front of him. These magical summons roared and charged into the troll camp a few metres away, but a few javelins nearly pierced through four of them. With only two making it all the way, they couldn’t cause much damage before two three-metre-tall trolls charged out and shoved spears into their mouths. The bears struggled for a short while, but they eventually turned into mana that dissipated into the air.
Seeing this, Richard couldn’t help but frown. Trolls were natural hunters, and their power in fighting wild beasts was matchless. The two large trolls were nearly level 13 each, and had been smart enough to target his summons’ vital spots right away.
Still, this didn’t make him anxious. He first launched a fireball to reveal two hidden high-level trolls, burning them and shrinking back against a tree to dodge the javelins thrown over from the camp. This time he waved both hands with a chant, and ten boars suddenly appeared in the forest.
This was a grade 4 Nature’s Beckon, a spell that took very little out of him. The ten boars began their assault on the troll camp, but they too were taken out by javelins. Richard smiled, bringing out another ten with a wave of his hands. These hunters needed to use the same number of javelins be it for the bears or the boars, and he could tell there were only a dozen or so guards left with four or five javelins each. He could cast over ten grade 4 Nature’s Beckon spells!
By the time the third wave was exterminated, one of the boars had actually managed to make it into the troll camp; it was obvious that the hunters were out of javelins. On the other hand, Richard had cast four fireballs at the camp between the second and third waves to force the guards out of hiding. Waves of fire ploughed through the camp over and over, the trolls’ shrieks growing increasingly dull.
Two troll warriors that had been grievously injured could endure no longer, charging out of the camp. One of them was a berserker nearly three-metres tall, but halfway through a slowing spell greatly reduced their speed. A wave of axes flew out from the throwers, killing both.
With the cover of the forest and the throwers, Richard used a combination of low-ranked spells to wear down the trolls in the camp. At this rate, everyone within would die. The situation elsewhere in the forest was also quite stable; the strongest enemy was a level 13 berserker, but it was not a match for those like Gangdor, Waterflower, and Rolf. The former two could even kill level 13 enemies with one blow if they used their rune sets.
When Richard summoned another ten boars to probe the opponent, the trolls in the camp finally broke. They all darted out, less than ten of them left most of whom were powerful berserkers. However, they were crowded around an old troll that looked quite skinny and wise. The man wore a large wooden mask, his body smeared with bright splashes of colour. His head, shoulders, and wrists were all ornamented by beautiful feathers.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Ying
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA