Chapter 286

Woooosh!

An arrow shot by the enemy grazed his cheek.

However, John Myers remained steadfast as he swung his sword, slashing the chests of the enemies. He valiantly defended the walls as the soldiers of the Arangis Duchy climbed up the wall on a siege ladder.

“Kuwaagh!”

As a soldier fell back towards the ground while spraying blood, John Myers turned without delay and swung his weapon towards another enemy.

Screams and blood accompanied his attack without fail.

“Heu…”

“If you do not fight, you will end up dead.”

A young soldier from El Pasa was trembling with red blood splattered across his face. John Myers patted the soldier’s shoulder before turning around. He clicked his tongue as he observed the numerous enemy soldiers climbing over the first wall.

“Tsk! This is sooner than I expected.”

It was not easy to climb up a castle wall using ladders in a siege because most castles had moats (long, defensive pits filled with water) around their walls. However, the first and second walls of El Pasa situated near the port had no moats. As such, the siege ladders brought on the galleys by the Arangis Duchy could be utilized effectively, allowing the soldiers to climb up the walls quite easily.

Thankfully, the soldiers of the 11th regiment, Agadir, and Gapusa fought valiantly. It was comforting that the number of enemy troops on the walls was not too high just yet.

“Enemy’s battering ram spotted!”

John Myers jerked his head at someone’s cry.

He could see that around a hundred soldiers were advancing towards the gate between the first and second wall, their shields raised high to block projectiles.

Battering ram.

It was a large weapon modeled after a bullhorn, and it was designed to destroy castle gates.

“Prepare the oil bottles!”

Count Cedric shouted in a loud voice. An arrow was sticking out of his shoulder as he frantically fought against the enemy on top of the gate. The soldiers quickly ran up the stairs to the walls while carrying large pots.

However, the enemy’s forces were focused on defending the battering ram from any attacks. As if they had waited, they let loose a downpour of arrows toward the top of the gate.

“Kuaagh!”

“Ugh!”

Many soldiers fell under the barrage.

“Wait! Everyone standby!”

Lowering himself closer to the structure of the wall, Count Cedric shouted.

Boom! Boom! Boom! Krr…!

The soldiers of the Arangis Duchy slowly neared the gate in line with the drumming. The deep, heart-shaking sound became increasingly faster, and their pace of advancement accelerated in harmony.

“Uwaahhh!”

The soldiers accompanying the battering ram charged forward with a shout.

“Drop! Drop!”

At that moment, Count Cedric cried out, and the soldiers of the 11th regiment hurriedly lobbed the jars of oil under the gate.

Clang!

As soon as he heard the sound of jars breaking, Count Cedric stood up and shot an arrow that had been lit in advance.

Fwooosh!

Dark red flames soared on the shields of enemy soldiers raised to protect the vehicle.

“Kuaaagh!”

The oil leaked through the cracks between the shields, and some of the soldiers ran away with a frightening scream.

“Kieaahk! Kieeeh!”

They rolled around the floor while screaming like animals. Then, their desperate gestures stopped at some point. They had been burned alive.

But this was a battlefield where one could die at any time. Soldiers leading the battering ram remained unwavering at their colleagues’ terrible deaths, repeatedly swaying back and forth and crashing into the gate.

Boom! Boooom!

The impact on the gate spread to the wall, shaking the ancient stone structure. The walls had been mostly unaltered by the rough sea breeze for many years, but it was now crackling under siege.

“Dammit! Drop the rocks!”

Count Cedric shouted with a swear, unbefitting of his status as the city’s governor-general. Two or three soldiers grouped together to lift up a large boulder. However, the soldiers were immediately taken out by arrows that cut through the air with a sharp sound, and most of the boulders fell in the wrong direction.

“Dammit…”

Count Cedric’s complexion turned pale.

Boom! Booom!

“Keuk!”

The growing shock from the battering ram caused his heart to beat faster. He turned his head, intending to ask for support from the Gapusa and the Agadir warriors.

But they were also occupied fighting the enemy soldiers who climbed up the ramparts at some point.

“To the gate! Stop the enemy’s intrusion!”

Eventually, Count Cedric was forced to give up on one of the walls.

It was then.

“Your excellency! Over there!”

Count Cedric instinctively turned his head at the shrieking cry.

“Heuk…!”

His eyes became colored with shock.

Dozens of black dots could be spotted over the sky of El Pasa Bay, where flames had now subsided, and black smoke was rising.

“G, griffons!”  

The eyes of Count Cedric and John Myers became dyed with a light of despair.

***

Wooosh! Boom!

After engaging in several confrontations with another griffon, one of the creatures fell from the sky with limp wings.

Kiyaaahk! Kiyaahh!

Two griffons were desperately clawing each other and scattering feathers all over the place. A new griffon flew towards the two creatures, then a rider on its back shot his crossbow and swung his spear.

“Kuagh!”

The griffon rider of the Arangis Duchy fell over the saddle after having his side sewn by the spear. He hung weakly over the side of the griffon with his foot intertwined on the saddle. But soon, he fell to the depths of the sea along with his griffon, unable to withstand the combined forces of two imperial griffons.

Swirl!

“Huap!”

Ian lifted himself from the saddle and tightened his grasp on the short spear while holding his breath. Then, he exploded his breath and hurled the spear towards the enemy.

Whooosh!

A spear containing the Emperor’s Spirit blasted through the air like a ray of light and nailed the back of a sea griffon rider.

“Kuagh!”

The momentum of the spear carrying the Emperor’s Spirit was sufficient to knock the rider into the air. He fell towards the blood-colored water with his body pierced.

***

“What is the situation? What is happening right now!”

Arigo shouted towards a knight observing the situation near the Strait of Malta Island with a telescope. The knight stuttered out an answer, clearly unnerved by Arigo’s anger.

“Well, I, I can’t distinguish between our troops and the enemies. The distance is just too far.”

“Give that to me!”

After snatching the telescope away from the knight, Arigo hurriedly put it to his eye. He could see dozens of small figures hovering in the air, changing direction to head towards him.

“Hmm…!”

Arigo gulped loudly without realizing it. Were the griffons flying towards them their own, or the enemy’s?

“Heup!”

Arigo’s eyes widened as he observed the growing figures. The griffons that were flying towards them with their wings spread open… They were…

“Imperial army…”

He muttered in a quivering voice. However, the fast-travelling griffons ignored the troops on the fortress wall and headed towards the inside of El Pasa Bay.

Kwaaaaaahh!

Dozens of giant, flying monsters passed above the fortress walls, creating a gale of wind and leaving behind feathers like snow flowers.

“…..”

Arigo became dazed at the sight.

The sea griffon unit, the pride of the Arangis Duchy, who reigned as king over the sea, had been wiped out.

“Keugh… Kuwagh!”

Even though there was still a considerable number left on Crete Island, it was a tremendous blow for the Arangis Duchy. They had reared the griffons for decades, and they were considered one of the strongest powers of the duchy. But in a single battle, half of their forces, or more, had perished. Moreover, it was in a battle that he himself had led as the heir and the commander-in-chief.

“I’ll kill you… Kuwaaah! I’ll kill all of you!”

The duchy’s heir roared like an injured animal. The knights and soldiers around him did not dare utter a word.

It was then.

“Your grace…!”

Manuel hurriedly called out to Arigo.

Arigo turned his red, bloodshot eyes. Manuel was trembling with his gaze in the far distance, and Arigo’s eyes naturally shifted to whatever Manuel was looking at.

“Uah…”

Unparalleled misery filled his eyes, or rather, it was despair that went beyond misery. It was a fleet of the 2nd regiment, the force known as the first imperial navy. The fleet serving directly under the imperial family was approaching them through the rough currents.

***

“T, that’s…”

“Griffons!”

A voice of despair flowed out from the lips of John Myers and Count Cedric. The walls were teeming with enemy soldiers, and the gates were about to be breached soon. With sea griffons rushing in to aid the enemy…

“This is… the end…”

Someone’s resigned voice could be heard. But John Myers was different.

He was born a seaman and reborn as the captain of the Pendragon Duchy’s divisional fleet. He grasped his sword tightly and raised it into the air.

“Do not shy away! We will never back off… Huh?”

John Myers started shouting with passion, then suddenly narrowed his eyes. The griffons had been flying across the sea at breakneck speeds, but now they were suddenly dropping in altitude with folded wings.

“That’s…?”

John Myers saw the griffon leading the formation, mouth agape. The symbol embroidered in the flapping cloth under the saddle of the griffon was something he knew too well. It was once the object of his loyalty. But at some point, his hatred had overshadowed the feeling of fidelity. It was the symbol of the Golden Lion.

“The Aragon Family…”

As John Myers muttered in a remorseful voice, cheers erupted from all over the place.

“It’s the imperial family!”

“The imperial army! The imperial griffons are here!”

“Uwaaahhhhh!!”

The imperial griffons had arrived at the moment of desperation. The forces of El Pasa regained their courage and confidence with the timely arrival of the griffons.

Griffons played a paramount role in a siege. Regardless of which side they were on, their mere presence could turn the tides of war. In addition, they weren’t just regular griffons, but the finest of them all, the renowned imperial griffons.

“We can win!”

“Let us fight! For El Pasa!”

“For El Pasa!”

The fighting spirit of the troops guarding the wall was reignited. A fierce battle ensued once more. Fountains of blood soared, and troops charged at each other with bare fists when their weapons broke. If their limbs were broken, they crawled at the enemies and used their teeth.

However, only the soldiers of El Pasa were enhanced with such fighting spirit. The Arangis Duchy’s army was gripped with a mass panic at the appearance of the imperial griffons.

“Why, why are the imperial griffons… Uwaggh!”

Kwaaaahk!

Five or six griffons charged at the soldiers of the Arangis Duchy, causing many soldiers to be flung into the air with broken arms or legs. They had been concentrated under the harbor wall, which acted as a perfect target for the griffons.

Kwakwakwkwa!

The infantry could not retaliate at all. A griffon was as large as two or three bulls combined, and five or six of them were charging at them faster than a horse.

With the horde of griffons sweeping alternately under the walls like angry waves, as many as 30 percent of the Arangis troops were annihilated.

Kiyaaah! Kiyaahk!

After clearing the vicinity of the ramparts, the griffons soon turned on the men leading the battering ram. The griffons’ beaks contained enough power to shatter large rocks. With such deadly weapons pecking down from above, the soldiers’ shields were quickly broken and scattered into pieces of wood. The exposed heads of the soldiers were ripped apart and disappeared like a lie.

“Aggghhh!”

Eventually, all of the troops surrounding the battering ram ran away.

“Re, retreat! Everyone, retreat!”

A knight shouted frantically while foaming at the mouth. The troops of the Arangis Duchy, who had been concentrated under the wall and near the gate, began rushing back towards the port.

Nevertheless, the griffons did not stop.

Kyaaahh!

“Sa, save me… Kuaah!”

“Ahh!”

In groups of three or four, the creatures began to chase down the fleeing troops. The soldiers who fled early got on their boats and started rowing in a hurry.

“Take me with you! Save me!”

“Pl, please…!”

The late arrivals begged with tears and runny noses, but after seeing the griffons roaring with beaks covered with human blood and guts, the soldiers on the boats turned away from their colleagues and rowed with all their might.

“Ahhh…!”

In the end, the fleeing troops were forced to cross the river of death, and with hundreds of people flocking on the boats, countless soldiers fell off into the sea.

A feast of blood and death.

The struggle for El Pasa neared its end in such fashion.

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