Chapter 182: Dying For One’s Country
Boom, boom, boom, boom!
A string of energy explosions repeatedly blew up along the ground, leaving behind a series of spiderweb-like cracks in the ground.
Some of the more powerful explosions’ remnant energies snaked through the ground with sharp, powerful strokes, leaving behind shockingly deep ravines.
Even though these scars would close up and eventually disappear over time as the ground rejuvenated, at this moment the wounds were severe and the attacks furious.
Demonic Beasts were running rampant left and right as far as they eye could see, crazily tearing everything in their path to shreds with their razor-sharp teeth.
A ways away from them was a massive black castle that had been erected on top of a mountain peak.
Large numbers of Ravager warriors were gathered there, tenaciously resisting and holding back the onslaught of the Demonic Beasts.
Unlike the Ravagers that the Heavenly Might Battalion had seen in the past, the ones in this castle were obviously the cream of the crop. All of them wore full sets of armor and wielded not flying axes but rather bows made from Iron Birch wood. The metal arrowtips were also poisoned.
The Ancestors of the Divine Shrine patrolled the walls of the city constantly, singing a strange song that had an incredible effect. Everywhere the song traveled, the soldiers there would experience a surge of energy, and their strength would soar.
A few specialized Ravagers wearing red or black uniforms were also patrolling the city walls. These black-garbed soldiers wielded scimitars and focused on quickly and cleanly killing every Demonic Beast that scaled the castle’s walls. The red-garbed soldiers were constantly casting a variety of magic, unleashing massive waves of elemental energy at their enemies.
The black-garbed Ravager soldiers were the Soulless, while the red-garbed Ravager soldiers were the Guardians. They were all specialists raised and painstakingly trained by the Divine Shrine.
However, when the Soulless, who were responsible for dealing with the Astral Beings, entered the battlefield, that meant that the Ravager’s influence was drastically waning.
One of the Bone Diviners tossed a bone a few times in the air, then got so low he almost laid on the ground to inspect the profound truths hidden in the bone inscriptions.
Then, he suddenly cried out, “There’s an ambush from behind!”
One of the Ravager captains immediately sounded the bugle in its hands. Squad after squad of Ravager soldiers charged in the direction of the bugle call.
At the same time, a large horde of venomous flying dragons suddenly appeared behind the castle, swooping downwards as they spat out large volumes of poison. Because the castle’s defenses had already been largely destroyed, the poison was able to easily land inside the castle walls without any hindrances.
As the poisonous liquid landed on the Ravager soldiers, it began to rapidly corrode their bodies as they cried out in pain and howled pitifully.
Even though an Ancestor sensed it just a brief moment later and unleashed a healing fog, it was like trying to douse a fire with a cup of water. The damage caused by the venomous flying dragons had already killed off a large number of Ravager soldiers.
“Thunderfire Crossbows, release!” Following this frenzied howl, thick bolts made of fused thunder and fire shot forth from the heavy crossbows into the sky.
This frightening volley of crossbow bolts dealt a heavy blow to the horde of venomous flying dragons. They shrieked as they fell from the sky, smearing the ground with blood.
The remaining venomous flying dragons, however, continued to attack the Ravager soldiers. Even as they fell from the sky, the dragons spat out globs of poisonous liquid that destroyed the crossbows attacking them.
After a few volleys, not many flying dragons remained in the air.
“Temple Unit, attack!”
Massive figures shot into the sky, the totemic inscriptions on their bodies glowing radiantly with Origin Energy. They were all Temple Warriors.
These valiant, powerful Temple Warriors trampled the remaining venomous flying dragons, and quickly dispatched them like a decaying log.
Even so, no trace of happiness could be seen on the Ravager soldiers’ expressions. They were very clear that the battle was far from over.
War drums beat off in the distance and war flags fluttered in the wind. The massive blood-colored pennants seemed to foreshadow the imminent slaughter ahead.
The Beasts were still advancing in a frenzy. It seemed like they wouldn’t rest until they had managed to claim the castle.
“Are they crazy?” one of the younger Ravager generals muttered.
“They’re going crazy,” a grizzled, weathered-sounding voice spoke.
The speaker was an extremely tall Ravager commander. He had a long, white beard and long, white hair, obvious affirmations of his old age.
Ravager individuals rarely died of old age. They were typically wild and unrestrained, and if they did manage to reach a certain age and their strength was declining, they would usually be rounded up and sent to attack a chosen enemy — either the Beasts, the human race, or the Astral Beings. This way, their race was essentially exchanging the lives of their aging population for more resources and reduced consumption. This was one of the ways that the Ravagers used to survive.
Even so, the Ravager standing before them was truly old.
He was already 380 years old, a long time to live even amongst Ravagers.
However, this weakened old man still firmly possessed an immense amount of authority, and countless Ravager warriors were willing to die for him.
This was because he was Sachar Inferno, Anubi Inferno’s blood-related uncle, was one of the three Gods of War of the Inferno Tribe, and because even though he was old, he was not weak.
He possessed peak-tier Totemic Inscriptions and had undergone a staggering six total baptisms in the Origin Energy Temple.
Actually, he was equivalent in strength to a human Ultimate Emperor Realm expert, and he was strong enough to face off against a Demonic Emperor.
At the same time, he was one of the rare Ravagers that had a certain measure of intelligence.
He was like Danba, but with even more battle experience.
Sachar had gone through countless battles, ranging from individual duels to shady fights for the throne. He had experienced every scheme, every ploy, and every brute-force tactic possible. He had three near-death experiences and had managed to survive even through extremely dire circumstances. The vast amount of experience he had accumulated was enough to fill many volumes of a biography, and it was for this reason that he was known as the Inferno Tribe’s Shield and the Iron and Blood’s Wall.
The Ravagers believed that, with him here, the Inferno Tribe would never fall from their position as kings.
Even so, this God of War wore an anxious expression as he gazed at the oncoming Beast Wave.
Because he was facing a Demonic Emperor!
The most elite existences amongst all Demonic Beasts, wielders of peerless intellect and strength!
Even a God of War would feel apprehensive at the thought of facing such an opponent.
“Doing something like this is pointless. The Scarlet Heart is just wasting the lives of his subordinates. He controls too much territory, and the offensive line is far too long, so he must be fighting multiple tribes at a time. If he continues the war in this direction, then sooner or later he will be defeated," one of the Ravager captains said. This observation of his was unusually accurate.
Unlike Danba, the God of War had been in command for some time now. He was not the only one who was smart and capable; a large number of his direct subordinates were as well. Many of them were quite clear-headed, and even though they were not geniuses, at the very least their intelligence could be considered normal.
That captain's analysis was quite on point.
The Beasts’ momentum was beginning to slow down. Their reckless offensive had allowed them to advance at an incredible pace, but their casualties were also piling up.
"But the Southern Advance Castle might not be able to hold out until all their military momentum is spent," another Ravager captain said with some anger.
The Southern Advance Castle was the castle they were currently defending.
The Ravagers had once been driven to the current northern border in the past and had vowed there to advance south again in the future to reclaim the fertile land there.
From that point on, this castle had been known as Southern Advance Castle.
Southern Advance Castle was the most important city separating the northern regions and the southern regions. It was not only useful in defending against the Beast Wave advancing from the north but also in keeping any possible rebellions by the various tribes to the south in check.
Now, however, the castle had fallen into dire straits.
"Yes, we won't be able to guard it forever," the old God of War muttered. All of the Ravager captains felt an unexplainable shiver crawl up their spines.
The Beast Wave rushed forwards.
Perhaps their momentum after this would be severely limited, but it was inevitable that they would at least take this castle down.
"Your Highness, then let's retreat!" one of the commanders finally said.
Even though the Ravagers never surrendered, all of the soldiers here might die if they didn't give up the castle under these circumstances.
"Yes, we can only retreat," Sacher sighed. "Bartow, take everyone else with you and go."
"Me?" The commander named Bartow was obviously taken aback. "Then what about you?"
"I will remain here. Southern Advance Castle and I will share the same fate," Sachar replied indifferently.
These words pierced into everyone's hearts when they heard this.
"Your Highness!" all of the Ravager commanders cried out.
"Your Highness, don't be rash!" Bartow yelled as he leapt forward and wrapped himself around Sachar.
Sacher chuckled, but his gaze remained firm and unyielding. "Let me go, Bartow. Do you really think that you could hold me down anyways?"
"......" Bartow relinquished his grip.
Sachar said, "We can no longer hold onto Southern Advance Castle. The soldiers defending the city have almost exhausted their strength. If we want them to retreat, they must have enough time to do so. I will remain to hold the line and fight for as much time as I can."
All of the Ravager commanders fell to their knees. "We are willing to hold the line!"
Sachar impatiently waved his hand. "You are all the future of the Ravagers. If you die, who will they have in the future? Who will the Inferno Tribe have? I am already old, and my lifespan is limited. Since that is the case, then why should I waste it? Being able to die in battle is the greatest glory a Ravager warrior can experience. I am the Inferno Tribe's God of War and the guardian of Southern Advance Castle, and I am willing to die for my country. Don't argue with me about this."
The Ravager commanders couldn't help but cry out, all of them vying for an opportunity to hold the line for the rest of the soldiers.
"Enough!" Sachar barked fiercely. "Are you worthy of holding the front line and stopping the Beast Wave's advance? Are any of you here stronger than me?"
All of the commanders fell silent, dazed.
"If not, then keep your mouths shut and get everyone else out of here. If you don't want my death to be in vain, then run. The faster, the better!"
As Sachar spoke, he flew into the sky, charging towards the oncoming wave looming in the distance.
All of the Ravager soldiers cried out sorrowfully.
The mourning call of a bugle sounded. The Ravager army began to retreat when they heard this sound.
At the same time, a small group of soldiers advanced while the rest retreated, walking resolutely against the tide. It was Sachar and his personal guards.
This three thousand person Ravager force opened the main gates to the cities and charged out.
As the personal guards of the God of War, this group of Ravager soldiers were the elite of the elite. Each one of them possessed high-tier Totemic Inscriptions, and more than a hundred of them had undergone at least one baptism of the Origin Energy Temple. They normally received the best pay and were treated with utmost respect, so when battle called, it was impossible for them to avoid taking on the most dangerous missions.
In the previous battle, none of them had charged in, but they were now responsible for protecting everyone who was retreating.
Even though none of them would survive this mission, they had no regrets.
Because they were the God of War’s personal guards!
The three thousand soldiers penetrated into the enemy formation like three thousand arrows, immediately causing blood to fly everywhere. Anywhere they went, Iron-Armored Battle Rhinoceroses, Desolate Black Wolves, Black-Blooded Sheep, Bigfoot Alligators, and countless other beasts all fell under the onslaught of these fearless Ravager warriors.
Leading the charge was Sachar Inferno.
The old God of War was like a god amongst men. None of the beasts present on the battlefield were fit to be his opponent.
A horde of beasts howled and charged at Sachar. He swung the blade in his hand, unleashing a swath of violent flames that devoured many of the beasts alive, only leaving behind a trail of ash hanging in the air.
“ROAR!” the old God of War howled.
“ROAR!” the three thousand personal soldiers of the God of War responded.
Three Lord-Class Demonic Beasts charged in his direction, and Sachar fearlessly ran to meet and do battle with them.
The brilliant flames rose to the skies, as if a burning sun had descended to the earth. The light was incredibly destructive.
The Ravager warriors were brave, formidable, and unyielding.
But even so, as they charged forwards relentlessly, their speed began to slow.
Their momentum gradually weakened as their wounds began to accumulate.
One of the Ravager soldiers finally fell to a sneaky Sabertooth Wolf after killing seventeen or eighteen beasts with his axe. Its razor-sharp teeth penetrated the defenses of his iron-like skin, rapidly tearing him to shreds.
Yet even as another warrior was smashing open some beasts’ heads like walnuts, a massive Demonic Beast lumbered by and trampled him into a meat paste.
Even more Ravager warriors were pulled off of their saddles by all kinds of different Demonic Beasts, then ripped to shreds by razor-sharp teeth and claws. Their flesh and blood were devoured, not even leaving behind a complete skeleton.
Ravager warrior after warrior died in such a manner, but they continued to charge forward relentlessly.
They were merely following in the footsteps of their God of War, Sachar Inferno.
His vigorous flames illuminated the sky. Sachar Inferno’s entire body was enveloped in fire as he continued to charge forward imposingly.
He had already managed to hack the three Demonic Lords to death, but three more Demonic Lords rose to take their place, as well as a Demonic King.
Sachar continued to swing his blade. Blood and flames swirled around him as he advanced, a blazing beacon amidst the sea of beasts.
He didn’t know how many times he had swung his blade or how many steps he had taken, and he had long lost count of how many opponents he had killed or how many wounds he had received. All he knew was that he was growing tired, and that none of his personal guards were by his side any longer.
His troops had all died.
There was simply just too many opponents. None of them could take him on individually, but when they sacrificed their own lives just to inflict a nick or a scratch, even a peak-strength expert would eventually run out of options.
The constant fighting had caused him to grow tired, and his hands became heavy.
Seventeen Demonic Lords had died to his hands, along with three Demonic Kings.
They stared at him, fearful expressions written all over their faces.
You too know fear?
A cold smile appeared at the corner of the old God of War’s mouth.
Then, he watched as a beam of light suddenly shot into the sky from the blood-colored floating palace.
The sizzling beam of light arced towards Sachar.
Under normal circumstances, Sachar would have been confident in being able to defend himself against this blow.
However, the current him, who had exhausted his strength in battle, had no way of resisting.
The blazing blade danced through the air and collided with the beam of light, but the flames quickly sputtered out, and the beam of light landed dead center on Sachar’s chest.
Sachar trembled momentarily before he stopped in place.
Suddenly, his body exploded.
As drops of blood and chunks of flesh flew everywhere, a strange, round pearl glowing with starlight remained floating in midair, and countless Demonic Beasts laid their eyes on the radiant pearl.
A black hand appeared from out of nowhere and grabbed the pearl.
A gentle sigh floated through the air. “Finally, I’ve made back a sixth of what I lost.”
Dawn had arisen.
Southern Advance Castle had fallen. Ravager God of War Sachar had died for his country.