Commander Halo cheered as he saw the Drake Knight disappear without a trace after being swallowed up by the violent storm.
“We got him.”
He was disappointed that he could not avenge the disgrace of the Blue Wolves with his own hands, but he was nonetheless satisfied that they had taken care of the Drake Knight, who had served as a massive thorn in their side.
However, something was amiss.
Considering his personality, the old mage should have been gloating and excited by now. However, Talisman remained stone-faced, and his hands moved even more frantically than when he first started casting his spell.
Halo’s heart sank at the sight. He instinctively realized that something had gone terribly wrong.
He called the old mage, but there was no response. Talisman was focused solely on his spellcasting and did not seem to notice his surroundings.
Blood spurted from between Talisman’s teeth. However, rather than wiping away the blood, Talisman moved his now blue lips even more quickly as he desperately uttered his incantations.
“What the hell happened…”
Belatedly recalling that there were other mages around him, Halo turned to ask them instead, only to shut up once again. It was only then that he noticed that the other mages were in the same terrible state as Talisman, eyes shut tightly as they frantically spoke unintelligible words.
“I have a bad feeling about this. Knights, stand by. Just in case.”
Hearing his instructions, the knights called forth their sword energy as they each prepared for the worst.
“W, what? What’s going on?”
“Didn’t we get him?”
The infantrymen, brought along for the sake of their disguise, whispered among themselves. They were frightened, seeing the powerful knights and mages they believed in falter. They anxiously looked on at the deafening whirlwind swirling in front of them.
“It’s closer than before…”
Now that they thought about it, the whirlwind summoned by the mages felt much closer than it had been earlier. No, it was not just a feeling. Their bodies leaned forward, as though pulled by an invisible force. The soldiers sensed that if they dropped their guard for an instant, they would be overwhelmed by the gale winds and sucked into the terrifying vortex.
“Careful! We’re getting sucked in!”
The soldiers panicked. However, the knights and mages did not move.
“Damn it. If the worst comes to pass, we’ll pick up the mages and run away.”
“But where will we run?”
A senior knight responded to Halo’s command with a heavy voice.
The barrier cast by the mages earlier seemed far too cramped to escape this whirlwind.
“Damn it! What the hell is going on! Answer us!”
When Halo shouted in frustration, one of the mages helping Talisman with his spell spat out blood and collapsed.
The five mages coughed out blood one after another.
“We have to escape. Now.”
“What the hell is going on here!”
Halo pressed on as he heard the mage’s words. The mage continued to cough up blood as he responded.
“M, magic control…”
Before the mage could finish, Talisman, after holding out until the very end, collapsed as well.
“The magic’s under that bastard’s control.”
Halo could not understand what the mage was saying. He asked once again.
“What the hell…”
“That terrifying storm is under the Drake Knight’s control!”
The moment he heard that bloodcurdling warning, screams erupted from all sides.
“Ack! Save me!”
The soldiers screamed as they were swept up by the wind.
“Damn it! What did I tell you! I told you not to let your guard down!”
Halo grew enraged as he saw the situation get out of control.
“What use is there assigning blame in this situation! We need to destroy that storm now!”
Talisman staggered as he rose to his feet. He gave a command to the other mages as they struggled to steady their bodies.
“All of you, prepare to cast Dispel Magic!”
As the mages began preparations to negate the rampaging spell, the whirlwind began to move.
The spell invalidation magic was completed in an instant, as befitting of mages at the very peak of their field.
But no matter how many times the spell interacted with the whirlwind, the situation did not improve. The mages anticipated that the storm would be weakened, if not completely dispersed, but they were wrong. In fact, rather than weakening, the winds grew in ferocity.
“T, this can’t be. This is absurd…”
When he saw Talisman’s bewildered expression, Halo realized that they had completely lost control of the current situation.
“What do you mean, ‘this is absurd’? This is reality.”
The knight coldly glanced at Talisman before drawing his sword. He had even left his usual sword behind to better camouflage himself for the mission, and the weapon he now held in his hand did not feel natural. However, since matters had already deteriorated to this point, discomfort with his weapon was the least of his troubles.
“Knights, take the mages and retreat.”
Perhaps it was because of the Dispel Magic spell, but the surrounding barrier no longer trapped them inside. Right now, it would not be impossible to retreat with their lives.
However, instead of running away, Halo stepped towards the whirlwind. He did not want to later hear that the Red Wolves were defeated like the Blue Wolves. His pride did not permit him to run away.
Having confirmed that his subordinates were carrying the mages from the scene, he quickly turned to the threat.
The storm had started as a mere mage’s spell, but now, it was no different from facing nature itself.
Can I do it?
He hesitated for a moment, but he quickly steeled himself.
Having drawn his sword, he did not need to waste his time with doubts. All he needed now was the commitment to crush his opponent. His enemy may have taken on the incredible form of nature itself, but retreat was not an option.
Because of the wind, as time went by, Halo felt himself losing sensation below his legs. However, he lowered his center of gravity even more, and having dropped into a perfect stance, he raised his sword.
The flashes of sword energy gathered to form a massive blade.
In that state, Halo took several deep breaths.
At some point, he no longer swayed from the gale winds, and the sword wrapped in massive energy fell like a bolt of lightning.
A slanted cut was made in the air, and the sword energy brought forth by the knight at the pinnacle of his craft cleaved the whirlwind in half.
Sliced in half, the bottom half of the storm lost its momentum and dissipated.
It was a tremendous achievement. Halo reasoned that nobody else would be able to show such strength with a single measly sword. However, his expression remained dark.
This was too easy.
Realizing he had not felt any resistance, Halo shuddered and stared into the air. That was when he saw it.
The upper portion of the maelstrom had abandoned its lower half and immediately struck at the retreating knights.
The whirlwind had no intention of dealing with the knight in the first place.
It’s no joke!
When he saw the knight’s sword energy flare in front of him, Seon-Hyeok realized that he would not be safe in a head-on collision, even after absorbing the mages’ spell.
But what did that matter?
It was not as though he was here for a ridiculous duel with this commander. He was a soldier, not a knight, and he was more than willing to grant a small moral victory to win the war.
Take this and back off.
He willingly surrendered half of the storm to the knight. With that, he ignored his opponent and moved on, aiming his lance at the mages and remaining knights on the run.
By this point in his career, Wind Piercing was, in reality, a declaration of victory. At his command, a raging wind gathered at the tip of his weapon.
Unable to manage the incredible power, his hands trembled, just as they had on the day of the typhoon. At this rate, he might be unable to land a direct hit with his attack. It was a testament to how strong the magical storm was.
He was not alone.
He was accompanied by a wind spirit and a wyvern.
He saw the knights urgently bringing forth their sword energy and the faces of the mages as they belatedly attempted to cast their spells.
He stared at their terrified eyes as he lunged forward with his lance.
The Noctein situation was not enviable. They suffered heavy casualties simultaneously dealing with kingdoms with comparable military power to their east and their west, and in the east, they had lost all of their territory and influence.
However, the belligerent Noctein Kingdom, responsible for repeatedly harassing their neighbors, did not simply roll over in defeat.
They suddenly launched a massive counterattack, resulting in the loss of numerous elite troops for the Griffindor Kingdom. The western front turned in their favor on that day, and the Griffindors, having lost their main forces, suffered defeat after defeat. Ultimately, the Nocteins were able to reach their original border in the west once again.
The Griffindors quickly expressed their desire to end the war, and the Nocteins, needing to focus on both of their borders, accepted the ending of hostilities.
However, the war was not yet over. Though the Griffindor Kingdom had been driven from their lands, the Adenburg Kingdom was still causing chaos to their east.
“We should’ve sent our main forces to the east from the beginning!”
“Don’t be ridiculous! It was you who said the Griffindors were more threatening than the Adenburgs, and you who suggested sending our elite forces to the west!”
Forced to desperately divide their forces to meet both kingdoms in battle, the Noctein command had decided to focus on maintaining the western front.
It was true that the losses suffered in the east at the beginning of the war were devastating, but they imagined that the available reinforcements would be sufficient in stabilizing the region. They judged that any shortages in infantry could be ameliorated with additional archers and cavalry.
They were mistaken, and the end result was a tragic failure. The majority of the dispatched soldiers were slain, and even the knights and mages suffered terrible losses.
The Nocteins had lost 36 mages in the eastern front alone, and their knights likewise did not escape unscathed. And even in spite of these losses, they had been unable to maintain control over the eastern territories. There was no greater disgrace for the Noctein Kingdom.
“It’s still not too late. If we redirect our main forces from the west to the eastern front, we should be able to recover the lost territory.”
“What nonsense! Do you think the Griffindor Kingdom will just sit back and watch? The moment we lose focus in the west and try to regain control in the east, they’ll be raring to attack once again – ceasefire or not. How do you propose we stop that attack then?”
“Then you’ll let the east fall like this? We’ve lost nearly 20 percent of our lands to the Adenburg Kingdom. If we let them be, the gap between them and us will continue to grow. After all, even without their military conquests, the Adenburg Kingdom had been growing stronger day by day under the reign of King Theodore.”
The nobles argued over what to do about the lost territory.
“Ugh. How did our wolves end up in this sorry state…”
One noble lamented, and the others quickly joined in.
When had it all gone wrong?
It did not take them long to realize the answer.
“That damned Red Devil bastard…”
By now, the foreigner from Adenburg was better known as Red Devil Drachen than as the Drake Knight. He was the biggest factor behind the painful losses suffered on the eastern front.
90 percent of the mage and knight casualties in the east had happened at his hands. In fact, the superhuman beings deployed to the east were so busy chasing after that Drachen bastard that they could not even properly fight their counterparts from the Adenburg Kingdom. Not only that, the infantry and cavalry casualties suffered because of Drachen were considerable.
“If only our supply ships weren’t caught up in that monster’s rampage…”
To make matters even worse, their supply lines had been unexpectedly cut off, making it so that the eastern army had to launch their counterattack hungry and underequipped. Given the circumstances, perhaps it was not strange that they repeatedly suffered defeats.
“Have you still not identified what that monster from then was?”
“The scouts are doing their best, but they’re unable to search in the water. As a result, they haven’t had much success.”
After sinking dozens of supply ships, the monster had vanished. It was almost like a terrible nightmare.
“There are rumors that even that monster is under Drachen’s command. Drachen disappeared from the front lines around the same time the supply ships were ambushed, so don’t you think that’s a plausible explanation?”
“That damned Drachen. I’m sick of hearing his name.”
“If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have lost so much on the eastern front. That’s an undeniable fact.”
“What’s so great about a single foreigner?”
“He’s not just a foreigner. He’s a foreigner capable of freely roaming the heavens.”
The debate between the nobles grew fierce once again, and the Noctein king, after sitting still and listening from his throne, belatedly spoke.
“So. It sounds like you’re saying the east can be recovered as long as Drachen is out of the picture. Am I correct?”
Hearing their liege’s authoritative voice, the nobles exchanged glances without responding. Their king was practically a tyrant, and they were concerned about the repercussions of answering incorrectly.
“Drachen has been involved in every one of our losses out east. It’s irrefutable that he is the biggest obstacle standing in the way of our reclamation of the eastern territories.”
One of the high-ranking nobles saw his peers’ gazes and reluctantly responded.
“Then we’ll just have to eliminate Drachen.”
“But there’s no way of catching Drachen when he’s flying in the skies. It’s already been proven that mages can’t stop him.”
Despite hearing the noble’s explanation, the king repeated his position.
“Then we can send flying troops of our own.”
“Unfortunately, none of our foreigners have abilities like Drachen’s.”
However, it was not the king who misunderstood.
“If we don’t have them, then we just have to borrow those forces from elsewhere.”
The Noctein king’s fierce face broke out in a beast-like smile.
“Send an envoy to Griffindor.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter