Isla squinted his eyes. However, it was hard to focus on anything.
“Ah! He opened his eyes!”
He could hear someone shouting in a loud voice and his entire body throbbed. Soon, several people came stampeding to his sides.
“Are you all right?”
Recognizing the owner of the voice, Isla nodded while raising his body.
“No! You should not overexert yourself…”
Count Herreran hurriedly tried to dissuade him, then flinched. Isla had raised himself up without even the slightest change in expression.
“You should not overdo it yet. Get a few more days of rest, and…”
“How long has it been?”
“Since I’ve been down.”
Teyo quickly stepped forward to respond.
“It has been two days. Fortunately, the spirit did not flow backwards greatly, so your exalted self should be fine after a few days of rest.”
Isla gave a slight nod to Teyo’s reply. Then, he turned his head as he realized something was strange.
“But why are you speaking to me like that?”
“Is it not obvious? Valvas Cavaliers should show respect to the Knight King.”
Isla’s eyebrows twitched at the words. Soon after, images from before he lost consciousness began to resurface one by one. A band of lights and flurries of spear strikes had been manifested around the two of them, and Ortiz collapsed while smiling at him.
The face of a certain someone in the sky…
“…I see. I did it…”
Everyone nodded as Isla murmured in a quiet voice. They were the heads or the representatives of the Seven Clans who had come to Count Herrarn’s manor.
“By the way, should we not let them know?”
“Ah, you are right.”
At someone’s words, Teyo nodded and walked towards the window. He opened the window, welcoming the bright, warm sunlight.
“Listen up, everyone!”
He started to shout loudly, and Isla frowned slightly. Teyo continued while raising his voice even more.
“The Knight King has risen! Our king is safe!”
Isla began to wonder what Teyo was doing. He was about to say something when,
A huge, thunderous roar echoed from the outside.
The deafening shouts surprised Isla a little. Martin Claudio, the head of the Claudio Clan, replied with a smile. He seemed to have found Isla’s reaction a little interesting, as the young cavalier had always maintained a calm demeanor.
“These are the people who witnessed the duel of the Knight King. Rather than heading back afterwards, even more people gathered after hearing the stories.”
“Even now, more people are flocking to this place. Everyone wants to see the king.”
Samora Ades chimed in.
Isla listened to their words without saying a word. Then, he started to get out of bed while listening to the continuing roar.
“If you move now…”
Count Herreran rushed to dissuade him, but Isla slightly raised his hand before slowly rising up. Count Herreran became restless, but Isla passed by him at a slow pace. The rest of the cavaliers nodded their heads while looking at each other, then stepped aside for him.
Teyo’s face was a little flushed as he stepped out of the windowside. He seemed to have been deeply touched.
After taking a light breath, Isla stood in front of the window.
“It’s the Knight King!”
A deafening roar and an innumerable number of people appeared in front of him. Countless people occupied the court of the manor, as well as the boulevard and the wall outside the main gate. The cheers of the numerous voices soon turned into a chant.
“Knight King! Knight King! Knight King!”
Today, Valvas regained its king after more than a hundred years.
A scream of agony accompanied the splattering of red blood. However, the last breath of the man was quickly buried by the sound of metal and shouting that filled his surroundings.
Terrible curses, swears, and screams were rampant in all directions. The ones doing most of the killing were soldiers with bloodthirsty eyes who wielded swords, spears, and shields. Those who were dying were mostly equipped with leather armor and a white sash around their waists.
Compared to the soldiers that moved in organized formations by the dozens, those who adorned a white sash around their waist were scattered all over the place and they were slaughtered in doves. Of course, some of them were quite sharp and possessed some skill with the blade, but they collapsed with blood spilling from their bodies as five or six soldiers surrounded them and pushed their spears through the cracks of their shields.
“Fight! Get into formation! Push them back!”
A knight shouted desperately while cutting down a soldier. Instead of a white cloth, he had a blue sash around his waist. He appeared to be their commander.
His subordinates started to gather around him in groups of three and five. Then they began to push back the soldiers.
A horrifying roar echoed through the battlefield.
The warriors had barely managed to get into their formation. They turned their heads toward the origin of the eerie cries.
A group of soldiers dressed in green were running towards them at a frightening speed.
The warriors’ eyes grew wide with shock. The soldiers running towards them at breakneck speed were holding arrows and objects resembling a long branch in their hands. However, the shock stemmed from the green-robed warriors’ faces.
Strange patterns decorated their faces, and they began to shoot arrows while running towards the group of warriors.
All of the arrows flew through the air and landed on those who wore a sash on their waists, avoiding the other soldiers. Before one could be shocked at their extraordinary archery skills, the strange soldiers reloaded their bows and immediately let loose another volley of arrows.
If someone said that they were born holding arrows and bows, anyone would have believed it.
There were as many as a hundred of such natural warriors, and hundreds of people were shot down by the arrows in no time.
Eventually, the warriors with cloth around their waist began to flee from the battlefield.
Doong! Doong! Doong!
The drum resonated three short sounds, and cavalrymen charged towards the hundreds of escaping men.
Like angry waves, more than a hundred mounted soldiers engulfed the escapees.
Those who were pierced by the spears of the cavalrymen were lucky. Some were trampled by the hooves of the horses and became minced meat.
“Save me! Open up!”
Some of the warriors managed to escape to the castle gates while their colleagues were being slaughtered. They furiously banged on the hard gate. However, the gate remained closed, and the army of demons devastated more than 1,000 troops in less time than it took to eat a meal, starting their advance towards the castle.
The soldiers stationed on the castle walls observed the sight of black waves slowly heading towards them. Their eyes were quivering without stopping, and the hands that tightly grasped the weapons were also trembling.
The same was true for the knight who commanded them.
Archers began to shoot their arrows in a flurry. Some of them had not even nocked their arrows on their bows yet. However, the distance was too far, and no one was foolish enough to jump in the trajectories of the disorderly arrows. At the least, no one from the United Southern Army was foolish enough as they advanced towards Slain Castle.
Raven kept fidgeting as he looked down at the battlefield with a squint. He was on a small hill far away from the battle. It seemed as if he was eager to ride his horse down into action, as he repeatedly touched the handle of the sword that was suspended from the saddle.
Then Killian, who was riding behind him, spoke with a grin.
“In a battle like this, the best thing for the commander to do is to command.”
Raven became flustered and nodded rather awkwardly.
He had relied on only himself and his swords throughout his life. He was unfamiliar with directing troops from a far distance. However, Killian was right.
Until now, he had been forced into battle because he had only directed hundreds of soldiers at most. However, when thousands of units were moving in battle, it was his job to monitor the situation and direct the troops accordingly.
“The left is too far ahead.”
Viscount Moraine spoke. He was observing the battlefield with a sharp gaze right next to Raven. At his words, a knight quickly conveyed orders.
Dodoong! Dodoong! Doong! Doong! Doong!
A large drum pulled by two horses resonated once more, and the cavalrymen slowed down and took a roundabout. The drum patterns were associated with predetermined orders.
“I think it’s roughly settled.”
Viscount Moraine nodded at Raven’s words.
“Yes. From now on, it will be a siege.”
“It seems so. By the way, what are your thoughts, commander? Do you think they will call for reinforcements?”
Viscount Moraine replied with a smirk when Raven spoke.
“How could they do such a stupid thing?”
“A cornered rat is unable to think properly. Moreover, its life is hanging by a thread right now.”
“Hoohoo! Well, it will only be beneficial to us if they decide to call for reinforcements.”
The two looked at each other and shared a mysterious smile. A noble from the United Southern Army saw the strange sight and quietly asked Killian, who was also smiling mysteriously.
“Excuse me, Sir Killian, wouldn’t it be bad news for us if Slain Castle decided to ask for reinforcements?”
“Not at all. Rather, as His Excellency and the commander said, it is a good thing.”
The other landlords and nobles looked towards Killian with curiosity. It seemed that all of them shared similar concerns.
“As you know, the troops on the side of the Arangis Duchy are more than twice our numbers.”
“That’s what I am saying…”
“That is the case only when they are together. But now, they are scattered into three groups. All of them are blinded by their desire to gain accomplishments.”
The aristocrat’s expression changed slightly, as if he had realized something. Killian nodded with a sly smile.
“Exactly. Even though there is only a slim possibility that reinforcements will come, if they do decide to make their appearance, we can destroy them individually, one by one. In the first place, His Excellency the duke and the commander set Slain Castle as the first goal with such a plan in mind.”
“What, what should we do!?”
“What did I say!? I told you that we should have headed to Verna and joined forces with the troops situated there!”
Roberto’s expression distorted. He was the master of Slain Castle and the representative of the local landlords. He had almost 2,000 troops under his control, but half of them had been wiped out in an instant. If they had decided to turtle themselves in the castle from the beginning, they could have prevented the damage. However, they had underestimated the enemy forces, thinking that the Southern United Army would have suffered a considerable amount of damage during the battles in the Great Forest.
Of course, their greed had also played a role. They possessed a desire to be the first to accomplish something for the Arangis Duchy, their master.
“I, I got it! W, why don’t we defend the castle and ask for reinforcements from Berna?”
Even if they could not send a messenger, they had a hawk as a means of communication. If they could deliver a request for help, the reinforcements would arrive within three days.
The landlords’ expressions brightened up.
“But my lord, the enemy possesses griffons. Do you think a messenger hawk could get through them?”
Everyone’s expressions darkened when a man spoke anxiously. Even a three-year-old child knew that the United Southern Army possessed a griffon army, a proud unit of the Pendragon Duchy.
“There is no harm in trying. If we do nothing in this state, the castle will be taken in less than five days.”
At Roberto’s words, the landlords were forced to agree with drooping shoulders.
A griffon rider’s eyes narrowed as he circled around the skies of Slain Castle. A dozen birds had flown up from the castle’s spire.
The rider had a hunch that some of them were messenger hawks. Some of the short-tempered griffons quickly rushed toward the birds to attack them.
However, when the rider blew on his whistle, the griffons immediately changed directions and flew away from the flock of birds.
“Just as His Excellency said, what a bunch of idiotic people…”
The birds gradually moved away and disappeared into the skies as a few, small dots. A smile appeared around the rider’s lips as his gaze remained on the birds.