Episode 82. The Birth of a Legend (1)

One volley could not accomplish much. The Noctein cavalry quickly turned to avoid the area targeted by the arrows. Only a few unlucky riders fell off their horses and screamed.

“Stop spacing out! Ready your bows again!”

The designated captains of each row of archers kicked the soldiers in the rear as they lamented.

“Fire another arrow instead of looking for a target!”

“Stop relaxing your fingers!”

“Pull! Pull! Pull!”

The archers reflexively grabbed their arrows and fired again as they were scolded by their captains. However, the enemy wandered around the wooden barricades, frustratingly avoiding the arrow fire. It was the splitting image of a predator playing around in front of its prey.

“Damn it. If only the barricades were a bit higher.”

Unlike that of several other regiments, the barricades prepared at the 22nd were not particularly high. The waist-high structures were practically like fences. The soldiers had tried to reinforce these defenses at short notice, but they lacked the time to do so in all areas. Naturally, there were some sections where defenses were particularly loose, and their enemies persistently found these spots.

“Spearmen! Grab your spears!”

At a certain point, the enemy stopped moving in a circle and formed up in a line. They charged, as though planning to jump the waist-high fence, and the allied spearmen clutched their spears with both hands.

“Secure the spears!”

At the orders of the infantry company commander, the spearmen drove the butts of their spears into the ground. In an instant, the area behind the barricades became full of protruding spears like the quills of a porcupine. Seeing this, the Noctein cavalry grabbed their horses’ reins and turned, once again circling around the garrison looking for a weak spot in the defenses.

“Raise your spears!”

As though they had been waiting, the spearmen once again lifted their spears, and the enemy cavalry turned away. As this process repeated itself, and the Nocteins continued to test the waters, the Adenburg infantry found themselves on edge.

“Fucking archers! Are you playing around? How long are you going to let them circle us like this?”

“Can’t you see us firing arrows until our hands are bloody? If you have a problem, come fire the arrows yourself!”

It was evident that the infantry was upset at the sight of enemy cavalry running freely around their defenses. The company commander in charge of the archers cursed.

“What are we supposed to do when we’re undermanned in the first place?”

They had more than enough arrows. However, most of their archers had been dispatched to nearby areas, and as a result, the number of soldiers currently wielding bows barely made up five groups, or 50 archers in total. Even these few archers were spread around the perimeter to harass the Nocteins, and as their company commander said, they had to overexert themselves to continue firing until their hands bled.

“Archers! Archers! Enemy archers!”

Some of the enemy cavalry stopped circling the fences and turned to the offensive by raising their own shortbows.

“The enemy’s responding!”

The soldier on the watchtower poked his head out to shout out a warning before quickly hiding again behind the wall. At that very moment, a dense rain of arrows fell from the air – one incomparable to the volleys fired by the allied archers.

“Ack!”

“Kuack!”

Screams could be heard from all over. Fortunately, however, most of the soldiers had been able to hide in blind spots of the arrows thanks to the advance warning. The damage incurred was not significant.

“Ah, it’s fucking cavalry archers again. How do those damned Noctein bastards keep mass training mounted archers?”

Clark grumbled under the fierce rain of arrows. The infantry, huddled behind the barricades to evade arrow fire, looked with pale expressions at the cavalry holding firm. The riders covered their heads with their shields and refused to break ranks, concerned only about being prepared to charge at a moment’s notice.

“Hey, your head’s sticking out of the barricade.”

One of the infantrymen had been staring dumbfounded at the riders, and he quickly ducked back after hearing Clark speak out. At that moment, an arrow narrowly whistled by where his head had been moments earlier.

“T, thank…”

As the soldier tried to offer his thanks, the battle situation changed once again.

“More enemy cavalry! All but one regiment is entering the battle!”

The soldier on the watchtower shouted in a hoarse voice. However, despite the changing situation, the infantry was unable to move easily as a result of the arrows being continuously fired into the garrison.

“They’re trying to break through!”

“Damn it! What about Viscount Drachen? Where is he?”

Seeing the enemy cavalry attack more aggressively than expected, the regimental commander nervously asked for the Drake Knight’s whereabouts.

Was it possible that Seon-Hyeok had heard?

Seon-Hyeok and his massive drake suddenly appeared in the middle of the battlefield. The regimental commander was unsure whether the foreigner shot up from the ground, or whether the ground disappeared under him.

***

Crack.

The ground where the Noctein cavalry had recklessly trampled over seemed to swell up, and soon, the earth split to reveal the head of a huge monster.

“W, what!”

The unlucky cavalryman found himself suddenly facing the head of a monster and inadvertently threw himself into the beast’s mouth.

Crunch.

The monster crushed the rider as though he had been waiting for precisely this moment. With that, the drake sprang up. It was as though a huge mountain had risen in the middle of the battlefield.

“A, avoid it!”

“Move!”

“Lower your speed!”

The cavalry charging at full speed were unable to deal with the sudden appearance of the drake, rode into the monster’s hard chest, and bounced off.

Roar!

When the cavalry that followed tried to make sense of the situation and turn around, the monster roared.

Neigh!

The surprised horses reared up and threw off their riders. The cavalry formation quickly collapsed as the horses ran about in fear.

“Heok!”

“Keok!”

While the fallen riders groaned and rolled on the ground, those behind them rushed in, unable to reduce their speed.

“Huh?”

“S, stop! Stop!”

The Noctein cavalry screamed in a panic, but nothing could be done.

“Ack!”

The terrible screams of trampled horses and the desperate shouts of the bewildered cavalry rang out in all directions. The battlefield became hell in an instant.

Ptui.

Seon-Hyeok spat out the dirt in his mouth and frowned. The dirt that entered his mouth and between the gaps in his armor was rough and irritating. Even more uncomfortable was seeing the bodies of the enemies trampled under Goldrake and left in a shapeless mass.

It was not as though Seon-Hyeok was feeling some shallow sympathy towards his victims. The evil acts committed by the Nocteins within these borders were too terrible to deserve that. The Noctein cavalry only attacked the weak spots in the Adenburg border, and civilians were victimized the most. Every time he and the others recovered the bodies left in the Nocteins’ wake, they wanted nothing more than to tear their enemies into shreds.

Nonetheless, it was uncomfortable seeing the dead bodies of his enemies. In fact, Seon-Hyeok felt even more burdened because he felt no remorse for their deaths. It disgusted him to realize that he had rationalized these acts of murder in the name of vengeance. Even so, he didn’t hesitate as he lunged forward with his lance and encouraged Goldrake on. At this moment, he felt hostility and hatred towards the enemy more than any other emotion.

We need to make as much progress as possible before they re-form their lines.

Roar!

As though his will had been conveyed, Goldrake raced about even more ferociously than before. Seon-Hyeok occasionally stabbed with his lance from atop the lumbering monster, and each time, enemy cavalry riders found themselves rolling on the ground.

‘Master! Behind you!’

All of a sudden, Atiya shouted out a warning as they devastated the battlefield. Something pale and broad was heading towards them.

“A hand?”

Bewilderingly, the object that appeared in the air looked like the huge palm of a giant.

“Goldie! Charge into it!”

Seon-Hyeok didn’t let himself be overcome with surprise. At his command, Goldrake raised his head and rammed into the object.

Thud!

The hand-like shape disappeared with a terrible noise upon colliding with the drake’s head. However, Goldrake likewise felt the aftereffects, wobbling and shaking his head in dizziness for a moment. Of course, the rider, Seon-Hyeok, also felt the shock that caused his mount to step back.

“Hm.”

Seon-Hyeok groaned and took a deep breath upon feeling the pain of his internals shaking. A few more relieved the lingering shock of the impact.

“I bought you time, so get out of here! Are you so stupid as to stand there and be eaten?”

At that moment, men dressed in exceptionally colorful armor appeared between the Noctein riders in their standard uniforms. There were seven in total, and the moment they appeared, Seon-Hyeok instinctively knew these were the individuals Atiya had repeatedly warned him about.

“I wanted to step in after you used up more of your energy, but it didn’t look like you’d ever get tired.”

Seon-Hyeok’s expression hardened upon recognizing the man’s accent. He raised his visor and asked.

“Are you foreigners?”

The man who first stepped up answered with a smirk.

“You talk as if you’re not one yourself.”

Seon-Hyeok’s expectations proved correct. The hidden weapon prepared by the Nocteins were these seven foreigners.

“I apologize for the sneak attack. I had no choice but to step up since these idiots would have all died if I let this continue.”

“There’s no need to apologize. The impact brought me back to my senses.”

Seon-Hyeok wasn’t just saying these words. After receiving the heavy blow, all prior concerns left his mind.

“It’s unfortunate that we foreigners have to do this, but it’s our responsibility. You understand, right?”

Seon-Hyeok lowered his visor and clutched his lance in place of an answer.

“Hot-tempered, I see. Then let’s see…”

The man’s expression suddenly changed.

“Let’s see if that spear’s as sharp as your temper!”

As soon as he finished speaking, the foreigner raised his iron mace. The mace’s head emitted a holy light.

Paladin?

Seon-Hyeok had already heard about the existence of people who wielded holy energy instead of sword energy. From what he knew, paladins were one of the high-tier classes. His expression stiffened, realizing that his opponent’s class was more powerful than he originally anticipated. However, he gripped his lance and pointed it at his opponent. He had no reason to be intimidated by a high-tier opponent, as he was one himself. No, in fact, as a dragon rider chief, he was certainly above the average high-tier classes.

The moment he lifted his lance, wind began to flock to its tip. Given his near-perfect attribute control, the energy gathered and amplified in an instant.

His opponent was a high-tier foreigner, and he was flanked by subordinates who likewise seemed powerful. As such, Seon-Hyeok drew on all of his strength from the start and lunged forward.

“Wind Piercing.”

The power of the wind attribute, gathered to its limit, created a huge vortex in the air. Seon-Hyeok whispered again, staring at the enemy gathering holy light at the head of his weapon.

“Wind Bite.”

A second wind gathered at the tip of the weapon, ready to pierce through any obstacle. The wild beast that first emerged on the day of the typhoon materialized once again at his command.

“May God’s anger become the mace that punishes the heretic!”

As soon as Wind Bite emerged with a roar, the paladin shouted in turn. The sacred light gathered at the tip of his mace expanded explosively and was fired at the ferocious beast.

***

Roar!

Goldrake’s roar signaled the Drake Cavalry’s advance.

“Move the barricades!”

During a brief pause in the rain of arrows, a number of infantrymen struggled to move the simple wooden fence erected at the entrance to the garrison. The Drake Cavalry emerged from the resulting path.

“Please return safely!”

“Teach those bandits a lesson!”

The infantry poked their heads out and provided words of encouragement. Clark grinned upon hearing the words and glanced back.

“You guys heard that, right? They said to come back alive – and to teach those Noctein bastards a lesson.”

“They sure ask for a lot. Let’s make it happen.”

The heavy cavalry responded and urged their horses forward.

“The commander is waiting!”

They extended their spears and began to ride out onto the battlefield.

“He sure is noticeable.”

Clark laughed, able to see the monster clearly even from afar. He likewise saw numerous enemy riders sent flying through the air, pushed aside like nothing by the rampaging beast. It was truly a one-man army, and the mere sight made him feel overwhelmed. The other riders seemed to feel the same way, as they breathed heavily and continued to speed up.

Thud!

However, they then saw Goldrake being beaten back by something and falter. It was their first time seeing the drake move backwards on the battlefield.

Clark instinctively thought of the seven foreigners Seon-Hyeok had mentioned, and he rode forth even more desperately. He could see the company commander surrounded by the seven exceptional foreigners.

“We’re here!”

The moment the Drake Cavalry arrived on the battlefield, the skills activated by Seon-Hyeok and the paladin raced towards each other.

***

The commander and infantry from the 22nd Regiment stared intently at the scene.

“That’s the Drake Knight…”

Just the sight of the monster and his rider blocking hundreds of Noctein cavalry by themselves was tremendous and thrilling. Courage and determination welled up inside of them, making them want to jump into the battlefield that very instant.

However, this did not last. The soldiers screamed as they saw the sacred light and the dragon’s wind burst out in the middle of the battle. Despite being far removed from the fight, the courage they had momentarily felt was extinguished like it had never existed in the face of this tremendous energy.

Jumping into a place like that? That’s meaningless suicide.

It was a fierce battle that didn’t seem to belong in the human world. However, there was a group of people that relentlessly charged towards the horrible battlefield.

It was the Drake Cavalry. The heavily armored riders were charging without hesitation.

“Please!”

The soldiers prayed for a scene that might only appear in legends. They prayed for the Drake Knight and his cavalry to return safely as victors.

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