Episode 115. He who Rules the Heavens Rules the Battlefield (3)

Seon-Hyeok sharply inhaled as he felt a sense of weightlessness when Redvern began its descent.

“Hup.”

It was insanity to charge into not one, but dozens of superhuman enemies. The smallest mistake would mean being subjected to terrifying sword energy and powerful magic, and not even his corpse would remain intact.

If he wanted to stop, he had to do so now. It would be too late once this eerie feeling of weightlessness disappeared, since by that point, Redvern would be moving too quickly to stop.

He exhaled, his mind full of tension and fear.

“Whew.”

As the air was sucked out of his lungs, the thoughts bouncing around in his head faded away. Seon-Hyeok tightened his grip on his lance.

Hup.                                                                                                                                                

He began to inhale once again as Redvern slowly accelerated. When he was done, the wyvern’s speed increased rapidly.

The pleasant sense of weightlessness completely disappeared, only to be replaced by the crushing weight of gravity. He suddenly felt a terrible pain, as though his internal organs would be pushed out of his orifices, but he could not even groan. The last breath he took needed to last until the end of this reckless charge.

Instead of groaning, Seon-Hyeok gritted his teeth.

Whoosh.

The previously distant land quickly filled his view. He could see the backs of the marching cavalry, unaware of their foe in the skies.

If he charged, lance at the ready, the rank-and-file cavalry would be torn to shreds. However, Seon-Hyeok simply lowered his posture even more.

His target was not the common cavalry archer. It was the powerful knights, as well as the mages escorted by the mounted riders, riding a bit further away.

And soon, the mages, hidden under their flowing robes, came into view.

Wind Piercing.

In this extreme environment where he could not even breathe, Seon-Hyeok called forth his most powerful ability.

Whoosh!

The veil of wind surrounding him was lifted, and the sounds trapped inside were unleashed to the world.

Rumble.

A strange rumble, reminiscent of a flag helplessly fluttering against a typhoon, caused all the Noctein soldiers to look into the air in unison.

“Huh?”

Redvern shrieked as the soldiers exclaimed in confusion.

Shriek!

At that moment, the vicious beast was unleashed upon the mages.

Boom!

Wind Piercing, cast from high above, was the embodiment of disaster.

The attack took the whistling winds and smashed them into the ground, and the resulting blow felt heavier than sharp. The thirty mages at the center of the enormous impact were instantly crushed.

His attack was wildly more successful than he anticipated, but Seon-Hyeok did not have any time to celebrate. Putting aside the pressure and shock he felt from the recoil, he needed to escape before he could be surrounded by dozens of knights and slain in his current position.

“Keok!”

Seon-Hyeok threw up blood before grabbing tightly onto Redvern’s reins. Redvern had been shaking its head in the aftermath of the crash, but the wyvern flapped its wings and reflexively rose up.

“That damned bastard!”

The first knight to come to his senses swore and called forth his sword energy. However, Redvern had already begun its ascent, and they were beyond reach. The knight’s sword helplessly cut through the air.

***

Bang!

Commander Rochstadt was momentarily taken aback. He briefly sensed something coming before the entire center of their formation was crushed. Unfortunately for him, the attack happened to land where the mages were gathered. The mages died on the spot, while the dozens of cavalry around them were thrown to the ground from the resulting shockwave.

“That damned bastard!”

He belatedly came to his senses and retaliated, but the monster lazily flapped its wings and ascended, as though laughing at the knight’s ineptitude. The wyvern looked down at the ground for a moment before disappearing somewhere into the distance.

“What the hell happened…”

All Commander Rochstadt could see were shapeless masses of flesh. Just moments ago, they had been living and moving people cherished by the Noctein royal family. Now? They were just 30 crushed corpses.

An entire mage unit, raised with painstaking effort and vast resources, had disappeared in an instant.

“Ahhhhhhh!”

Commander Rochstadt screamed as he swung his sword in a fury. The senior knight’s powerful sword energy devastated the entire surrounding area, and the lifeless bodies of the mages were turned into rags. Frightened, his deputy and other senior knights came forward to restrain him.

“Commander!”

“Please calm down!”

However, his anger following the loss of 30 mages in the blink of an eye did not dissipate easily, and the knights trying to calm their leader down were forced to struggle for a while.

“Whew.”

Only after going on a rampage for a while did Commander Rochstadt finally relax.

“Are there no surviving mages?”

“They’re all dead.”

This time, Knight Rochstadt was filled with a pervading despair, rather than excitement and anger. He was devastated by the meaningless loss of valuable mages, and frustrated that the greatest weapon in his objective to take back Fort Kalstein could no longer be used.

“And who exactly was the enemy?”

“It was a wyvern. We’ve confirmed that there was a rider on the beast, but nobody could identify who the rider was, or who he answers to.”

The fury he barely suppressed following the loss of 30 mages began to boil up once again when told that the assailant could not be identified.

“A wyvern? Who the hell tamed such a beast, and how?”

That was not the only question he had. For some reason, even the usually highly aware knights could not notice the wyvern’s approach at all. They only found out once the wyvern was directly above them, and by then, it was too late to take any countermeasures.

“Perhaps it’s one of the griffin riders from Griffindor? If anyone succeeded in taming a wyvern, it has to be one of them.”

In Griffindor, there were griffin riders collectively known as the ‘Seven Knights of the Azure Sky’. However, the wyvern rider from early could not have been one of them. The paranoid monarch of the Griffindor Kingdom refused to let these seven out of the royal capital, and even if the kingdom did send in their elite riders, they would be on the western front, not out here in the east.

There was no way that they would send their most valued forces out of their way.

“In addition, from what I know, the griffin riders are all sword-users. I have never heard of them using spears in combat.”

As the Noctein Kingdom was not on good terms with its neighboring kingdoms, the Nocteins had been painstaking in gathering all forms of intelligence on enemy knights. As a result, he was certain that their opponent now was not one of the griffin riders.

“The enemy most certainly used a spear. I didn’t see him use it properly, but there’s no way that he would carry such a unique weapon just for show.”

“Ah…”

Coming to a realization, his deputy exclaimed.

“There’s only one person who comes to mind that uses a lance over 5 meters long.”

“And who might that be?”

“The Drake Knight. The foreigner earl of Adenburg has been said to use such a weapon.”

Once they switched their focus from the wyvern to the rider, it did not take long to identify their enemy. Of course, it was surprising that the man known for riding a drake onto the battlefield suddenly appeared on the back of a wyvern, but it was the most likely explanation at the moment.

“That makes sense.”

If he had been aware sooner, they would not have lost the mages in vain. No, they would have noticed the Drake Knight plummeting from the sky thanks to the mages’ magic.

However, it was too late to have regrets – that was all useless now.

“What will you do? Even if the Adenburg knights aren’t on the battlefield yet, it’s a bit excessive trying to attack a fort without the help of mages.”

The mystery was solved, but the situation remained the same. The mages would not be brought back just because their enemy had been identified.

“Gather the bodies. We’re going back to the garrison.”

The Knights of the Blue Wolves, after boldly riding forth to capture Fort Kalstein, had to turn around after suffering massive losses, with their tails tucked between their legs.

“Hm.”

From time to time, the knights gazed up into the sky. They were now on edge, not knowing when the enemy would attack from the heavens once again.

***

Seon-Hyeok, hunched over on Redvern and looking down at the enemy movements, frowned when he saw the knights warily staring up into the air.

“As I thought. A second attack will be difficult.”

Since his enemies were now aware of his presence, it was clear that he would not have any more resounding successes as he did today. The knights would be thirsty for revenge, ready to tear him into pieces using their powerful sword energy.

“But this was more than good enough.”

Considering he had taken out 30 mages in a single charge, he had once again made a brilliant accomplishment on the battlefield.

After all, what had initially been a desperate attempt to buy time for the retreating infantry ultimately resulted in the enemy turning back towards their garrison.

Nonetheless, Seon-Hyeok could not smile. The single charge left his body exhausted, and he continued to feel nauseous in the aftermath of the crash.

Even if the Nocteins gave him another opportunity, he did not want to repeat this reckless attack.

“Phew. Let’s go back.”

“What did you just say?”

When he heard Seon-Hyeok’s report, Commander Mangsk made an uncharacteristically dumb expression.

“The Noctein mage unit has been exterminated.”

“How the hell…”

Seon-Hyeok explained the events once again, but the commander still looked dumbfounded. The foreigner’s most recent achievement had been simply that enormous. It was incomparable from all his previous accomplishments in battles both small and large.

“I was lucky. They weren’t aware of my presence – or Redvern’s.”

If he had targeted the knights instead, Seon-Hyeok would not have been as successful. Mages could exhibit strength surpassing that of knights when given time to prepare, but when taken by surprise, they were not anything more than average soldiers. This was why he had targeted the mages in his surprise attack.

“Crazy.”

Seon-Hyeok puffed up his chest as he saw Commander Mangsk too shocked to even properly express his admiration.

“I’ll have to notify His Majesty right away.”

The commander used a communication stone to immediately contact the royal family. Though the sound quality and volume were both lacking as a result of the distance and the poor skills of the commander’s mage, it was sufficient to give a brief report on the situation.

[It’s truly surprising. To think that you annihilated the prized Noctein mages.]

Even King Theodore’s response was similar to that of Commander Mangsk.

[What should I reward you with this time? I am already concerned – you truly are difficult to deal with.]

Unlike what his words suggested, there were no signs of reproach anywhere in his laughing tone.

[But if they’re all concerns like this, feel free to trouble me as much as you like in the future. I will be happy to spend sleepless nights debating your rewards.]

The king sounded like he was ready to grant him a higher title on the spot.

[I promise you that you will receive the greatest honors ever given a knight in the history of our kingdom on the day this war ends.]

Eventually, King Theodore promised a grand reward before ending their communications.

“Oh? I had something to tell His Majesty, but he seems quite pleased. To think that such a thorough person would end the conversation like that.”

The commander voiced his disapproval, but did not actually seem displeased. If he was, he would not have been smiling.

“Well, it’s not strange that he’s so pleased. The Noctein’s mage unit consists of those trained solely in combat magic. Considering they’ve been wiped out before even playing their part in battle, it’s clear that our losses in the future will be significantly reduced. It’s only natural that the king, as someone who cares deeply about his valued people, would be thrilled.”

It was not just the allied soldiers now less burdened as a result of the mages’ absence.

Since the long range attackers were taken care of, Seon-Hyeok himself would have an easier time dealing with the Noctein knights in the future. So long as he remained airborne, the knights would be unable to harm him, no matter how much they struggled.

He could not repeat his earlier reckless charge against the vigilant knights, but that was not his only means of going on the offensive.

For example,

“I’m ready.”

He had brought Aria Eisen, a mage with Gradus and a flight aficionado, with him to the front lines.

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