Episode 185. Great Wyrm (2)

Goldrake began to charge once again. Julian’s party and the Templar Knights took care to reorganize their ranks rather than recklessly follow the drake.

“Be extra vigilant.”

This was the domain of the Dark Lord, responsible for swallowing up countless people before them. They needed to conserve their stamina and prepare for any potential attack. They had to avoid picking up the pace and exhausting themselves before a fight at all costs.

After all, Goldrake’s destination was already clear to everyone present.

It could only be headed towards the giant monster in the west, with its head sticking up like a black tower.

“Hm.”

Julian stared intently at the monster’s neck rising up in the ominously purple sky.

“What the hell is that creature?”

She asked, thinking that the people of the Holy Kingdom bordering the Dark Lord’s territory would be aware of the monster’s identity.

Unfortunately, however, it seemed that the Astorians were likewise seeing this creature for the first time.

“The history of our God has been recorded for a long time, but I can assure you that there has never been any mention of such a monster.”

The leader of the Templar Knights added a comment to the priest’s explanation.

“Whatever it is, I don’t think it’ll be helpful to us.”

It had a pitch-black hue matching the Dark Lord’s domain, and besides, it was unlikely there would be any normal lifeforms in this tainted land.

Everything they came into contact with in this cursed land was bound to be hostile towards them, but Julian remained concerned about the monster’s identity. It was because its cry so closely resembled Goldrake’s.

Perhaps that monster was the reason for the lord’s sudden trip west.

“Well, we’ll find out when we get closer.”

If that beast really did bring her lord here, she would know the moment she saw it up close.

After all, all of his creatures resembled the mythical dragons, so it would not be difficult to distinguish it.

Goldrake was now completely gone and out of sight, but there was no danger of losing their way. The black monster’s presence was a constant indicator of the direction they should travel.

“Hm…”

They walked for hours without rest.

Though they moved at a slow pace in case of a possible attack, the distance they covered was anything but insignificant. However, they still remained quite the distance away from the monster.

During their journey, the Templar Knights and the priests debated methods of combating the giant creature, but none could come up with any brilliant solution.

Despite this, the Templar Knights remained unafraid of the monster. They were individuals specialized in combating demonic creatures in the first place, and no matter how large it may be, they figured their blades, once imbued with holy energy, their equivalent of the knights’ sword energy, would be able to deal with it.

Their thoughts were not simple arrogance.

The Templar Knights demonstrated that their bravery was not borne from ignorance as they easily defeated the countless demonic lifeforms that attacked them.

The same was true for the priests.

In this contaminated land, at the very least, the priests were able to compensate for the absence of mages. Their incessant chants kept the expedition force from becoming overwhelmed by demonic energy, and the occasional sacred light they cast melted demonic beings into thin air.

The 3,000 holy warriors were likewise formidable.

These veteran warriors, equipped with holy armor and swords blessed by the pious priests, were ready to martyr themselves to protect the Templar Knights and priests. They demonstrated the skills to match their determination.

The three groups perfectly complemented the others’ weaknesses, and not even the vicious beasts calling this land home dared stop the blessed forces.

These were truly the natural enemies of demonic beings and energy.

Despite this, they could not help but falter when they saw the army of demonic forces filling the plains.

“W, what the hell…”

“Oh, God.”

The Templar Knights had never wavered before, but their faces grew pale at the sight. The priests and holy warriors showed a similar reaction.

The undead and demonic army numbered in the tens of thousands. Their only solace was that this horrifying army was not targeting them.

“Ah. There!”

While the holy army was distracted by this endless, evil horde, Julian’s party looked elsewhere.

“It’s Redvern and the griffins!”

They could see the red wyvern repeatedly ascending and descending, as well as the griffin riders hovering lower than seemingly necessary.

“Ah…”

They wanted to rush to their lord right away, but they were unable to. It would be suicide to pass through the demonic army covering the plains.

They anxiously stamped their feet as they watched the lord they finally found after all this time.

“Wait, but I can’t see him.”

Jonasson, particularly keen-sighted among the cavalry, frowned as he spoke.

“What?”

The others assumed their lord would be riding Redvern in the air, but they now turned in surprise.

Redvern. It’s alone.”

After squinting at the sky, Jonasson looked off into the distance and smiled.

“Goldrake! He’s riding Goldrake!”

The lord they so desperately searched for was riding the golden monster that had raced off on its own.

“Ah!”

However, Jonasson’s delighted face quickly paled.

He had just realized the target of the demonic horde filling the plains. Rheinperle’s lord was fighting an uphill battle against countless enemies from Goldrake’s back.

“Why would he ride Goldrake now…”

He could not understand. Their lord would normally have left the scene on Redvern instead of dealing with the endless army in front of him. However, for some reason, he had the temerity to choose to fight against the monsters on the ground.

It was an incomprehensible choice.

“There are people gathered there!”

Jonasson was only able to understand the reckless decision after a Templar Knight shouted out in surprise.

Their lord was not incapable of escaping. He was choosing not to run away.

Just as he once fought recklessly against a larger Noctein cavalry to protect civilians in an Adenburg garrison, he was again struggling desperately to protect others.

Click.

Clark and the others, half-mesmerized by the scene unfolding far away, were suddenly jerked back to their senses by the sound of iron.

“Julian?”

They saw the young squire inspecting her equipment after lowering the visor to a specially-designed helmet made for her small head.

“What are you…”

“Are you just going to watch?”

She took a deep breath, as though she was going to rush into the enemy army at a moment’s notice.

“Anyone wanting to stay out of it is free to do so. I’m going.”

Clark stared at her with a blank expression for a moment before drawing the two-handed cavalry sword fastened onto his saddle.

“Well, I guess those ugly bastards are infantry when you think about it, and infantry is our prey.”

Jonasson shook his head at Clark’s comment.

“Wow, look at these crazy bastards. You’re going to rush into that?”

But even as he ridiculed them, he took out his own weapon.

“Well, you have to be crazy to be a rider.”

No sane person would be able to charge into spearmen focused on stopping an incoming cavalry rush. However, these blue coats did this on a regular basis, and the riders here were the craziest among the blue-coated cavalry.

“When did we ever worry about numbers? We fight when we’re ordered to fight.”

Hansen and the remaining riders likewise pulled out their swords as they snickered. They were all determined to throw themselves into the sea of demonic beings.

“If you’re scared, just stay here and don’t blame me later. Instead, you can cut your dicks off.”

Hansen was about to respond to Julian’s comment when a rough voice interjected.

“Looks like the young lady is singling us out?”

It was the leader of the Templar Knights.

“Did you feel that way?”

The knight smirked at the blatant provocation.

“You can’t possibly think Astoria’s Templar Knights would turn their backs on those evil creatures? And after seeing a sight like that?”

His gaze was on the golden monster and its rider struggling against their foes.

“We’re not afraid of death if it means sending evil back where it came from. And from what I can tell, that place doesn’t look dangerous enough for me to prepare to die.”

As soon as their leader spoke, the Templar Knights lined up behind him drew their swords and formed a cross.

“Leave 1,000 warriors behind to protect the archbishop and the priests. We and the remaining 2,000 will be more than enough to take care of them.”

The Templar Knights began to move in unison at their leader’s command.

***

“Don’t give up!”

Seon-Hyeok shouted in a hoarse voice from Goldrake’s back. Every time he called out, the survivors, loosening the grip on their weapons after being pressured by the endless waves of enemies in front of them, found the courage to fight once again.

“Hold out a little longer! Astoria’s army is close by!”

However, he grew frustrated even as he encouraged his allies.

There were too many enemies, and the situation was not simple enough to overcome with courage alone. The survivors had been fighting for too long, and they were exhausted. He felt the same.

“Just run away alone, you son of a bitch!”

“You’re so frustrating! Do you want to die with us here?”

The survivors, realizing that Seon-Hyeok had overworked himself and reached his limit, pushed him to abandon them and escape alive.

“And what if I go? You’re all going to die if I abandon you here!”

Seon-hyeok swore at the survivors.

“Do you think I came to this shitty world and struggled just to die like this here? You bastards!”

The survivors looked on furiously.

“So shut up and fight! We’ll all live if we hold out a little longer!”

These were not empty words. Seon-Hyeok knew that reinforcements were in the area. The only question was when they would arrive.

“Please! Please!”

Seon-Hyeok desperately prayed. He prayed that Astoria’s reinforcements would arrive as soon as possible.

Had his prayers been answered?

“Indomitable Duke! Reinforcements have arrived!”

Lafayette, busy fighting back the demonic beings as he flew in the sky, informed the group of the incoming support.

*** 

The Templar Knights’ performance was remarkable. The holy energy they gathered on their swords in place of the knights’ sword energy tore the demonic creatures apart like wet paper. The countless foes before them did not dare stand in their way.

In the end, they managed to reach the center of the seemingly endless waves of enemies.

“We’ll take it from here!”

The warriors following the Templar Knights surrounded Seon-Hyeok and the survivors. It was around this time that Julian’s party also rushed to their lord.

“My lord!”

Seon-Hyeok, gasping for breath on Goldrake, looked on in bewilderment when he found a familiar face.

“Huh? Why are you here?”

“What do you mean, why…”

Julian’s eyes grew wide, her face showing equal parts joy and resentment.

“My lord, your face…”

The battle did not end easily. Though the Templar Knights and warriors fought bravely, there were simply too many enemies. Despite this, no battle in this world could continue indefinitely, and this hard-fought battle ended by daybreak.

“What the hell happened?”

The remaining demonic beings fled, pushed back by holy energy, and the leader of the Templar Knights asked for an explanation.

“These are the foreigners who didn’t join the insurgency in the west.”

It was not at all surprising. A quick look at their black hair indicated their status as foreigner survivors of the turmoil in the west.

In fact, the leader was trying to get at something else.

“What was that pillar of light…”

He looked at the black monster, which did not move once even during the fierce battle.

“And what the hell is this monster?”

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