Book 4, Chapter 165

Crossing Swords

“Perhaps I’m not!” Goliath laughed.

Richard just shrugged, “So, what’s the test?”

“No need to rush. You’ve marched all day and haven’t eaten yet, come, I’ve prepared food; a thousand portions. I don’t want people saying… I bullied Gaton’s child.”

Richard froze for a moment but then grinned, “Alright. My knights eat quite a lot, though, a thousand portions is far from enough. Still, shadowspears!”

The elite shadowspear knights uniformly spurred their horses forward, the entire formation moving ten metres ahead as they dismounted under Richard’s command. All 300 entered Goliath’s camp under the guidance of the Earl’s soldiers, sitting ten people a wok and starting to eat.

As Goliath watched these elite knights eat, his eyelids twitched a bit, “Astonishing!”

“Eh, they’re alright,” Richard brushed it off. Now that the broodmother was level 9, the elites she produced could reach level 14. This batch of level 13 knights were destined to be used up sooner or later, so he wouldn’t mind the danger of letting them go in.

“So,” he repeated, “What’s the test?”

“Let’s have a battle of rune knights,” Goliath suggested.

Richard shook his head, “Maybe if Sauron’s knights joined yours, you’d last a few minutes. Right now, it’s definitely impossible. Even in terms of followers you’re no match for me, looks like you haven’t pulled anything out of your personal plane.”

Goliath glanced towards the head of Richard’s army. His eyes narrowed as he saw Asiris, Senma, and Lina, but the sight of Io, Nyra, Waterflower, Phaser, and Tiramisu surprised him as well. “Who would’ve thought the knights Gaton left behind would come under you so quickly,” he commented.

“There’s still two who aren’t as nice,” Richard stated bluntly.

Goliath nodded, “So what do you propose?”

“I’ll use the 300 regular knights I have against your rune knights. We can only command them from the outside, no assistance from the rest of our armies. How about that?”

“Interesting suggestion… Alright, let’s do it. I want to see how good Gaton’s kid is at command!”

“Richard, Earl. I am not ‘Gaton’s kid.’”

“Win the battle and you won’t be anymore!” Goliath laughed loudly.

It wasn’t long before the shadowspear knights regrouped. Opposite them were Goliath’s rune knights, arrayed into a square formation. The Earl himself mounted an abnormally tall, dark horse with blood-red hooves and galloped around his soldiers a few times. He then waved and pointed towards Richard’s own formation, bellowing, “Knights, advance!”

Dazzling lights shone on these fifty rune knights as they activated their runes. Most of them were only grade 1, but a gathering of so many was still significantly loud and threatening. Richard felt his blood heating up, pointing ahead himself and roaring, “Charge!”

The elite shadowspear knights immediately split into two, one going to the left and the other to the right as they charged towards the rune knights at an angle. Goliath was immediately stunned, not having expected a change in formation in such a short distance. He was at a disadvantage from the start; if his company couldn’t break through one of the sides, his flanks and even the back would be exposed.

There was usually no need to worry about rune knights’ ability to break through enemy formations, but having seen these knights eat and line up, Goliath had instinctively felt threatened. Thankfully, he was a decisive person and immediately had his men try and break into the left flank.

The square formation angled into its target, greeting the shadowspear knights head on. The collision was brutal; in a mere instant, more than twenty of Richard’s drones had been pierced by spears. However, those that were attacked held onto their opponents’ weapons with a death grip, legs firmly held against the mounts. The mounts did their part as well, roaring as the muscles on their bodies flexed and the four hooves dug deep into the ground to resist the momentum.

These mounts from the broodmother had stamina and strength that could outlast an actual rune knight’s mount, but they couldn’t stop the full-strength attack of a rune knight himself. The berserking energy drilled into their bodies and crushed their bones, slowly sending them crumbling to the ground.

However, the charge had been stopped. Goliath’s eyes narrowed; his first assault, the strongest, had only killed twenty ordinary knights? The enemy formation wasn’t even messed up, and the flank was starting to close in!

“Raise your spears!” the Earl yelled, and the rune knights in the front immediately did as ordered. This was a common move used by rune knights in their assaults, lifting man and horse into the sky and throwing them away to free up space to maintain speed. The standard rune knight was capable of swinging away multiple tonnes without issue.

However, as these rune knights tried to do so, they found that the enemies seemed to weight more than fifteen tonnes each! Even though they put in their all, their spears barely moved! To make matters worse, the knights that had been pierced were still trying to neutralise the gushing energy so they couldn’t even do anything about it. Two free knights pulled up next to every pierced one, crossing their spears to neutralise the attacking rune knights completely. It was almost like they were facing a bunch of six-armed monster that was almost purely focused on defence.

The charge thus came to a complete standstill. Goliath’s expression warped as another group of shadowspear knights darted into the formation, the frontlines not even caring for personal safety as they ignored all attacks to thrust their lances into the opponent’s body. The assault formation was unimaginably tight, three knights crowding into the space that one would occupy in any other army. With the limited contact on the battlefield, every rune knight was going up against three opponents at a time!

The rune knights were not infallible. The full-power attack from the elites could still break through their armour, leaving terrifying and sometimes lethal injuries on them. These knights didn’t even care about the retaliation, content with trading blow for blow and life for life.

On top of that, the entire formation seemed to be a single body. Every injured knight stopped the weapon of his attacker, giving a chance for those on his left and right to attack. Some rune knights were even attacked by six or seven at once!

All this while, Richard’s unicorn was galloping around the battlefield while he was yelling commands non-stop. “Team 1 defence! Team 2 one metre forward! Team 3 attack the left!”

The elite shadowspear knights utterly crushed the rune knights under Richard’s commands, attacking the heads, legs, mounts, all in tandem without affecting each other. The formation seemed to be harvesting lives one after the other.

Most terrifying was just how precise Richard’s commands were. How could the knights follow through on the orders in the middle of this fierce melee? Goliath’s commands were a stark contrast from Richard’s: “Hold on! Behind you! Careful!”

The rune knights were now in complete disarray. As more and more collapsed, the empty space expanded and gave the shadowspear knights even more flanking opportunities. Now, there were five or six attacking every single rune knight.

Goliath did his best to decipher Richard’s commands, but he couldn’t see the order in the chaos at all. He didn’t understand what team 1 was, what team 3 was. There were times that Richard called for defence, but all of the knights seemed to be on the offence. The thought that it was a farce crossed his mind, but then how was the formation so exquisite and coordinated?

Of course, Goliath didn’t know that Richard’s ‘commands’ were just meaningless words he was shouting to add to the confusion. The real commands were being transmitted directly to the minds of the shadowspear knights. Although 300 was too many to command individually even if he had another upgrade to his blessing of wisdom, he could group them into threes and thus command a hundred nodes simultaneously.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA