Chapter 180: The Witch’s Forest (5)

Marquis Maroon escaped the scene of madness as quickly as possible with her allies. Truthfully, there weren’t a lot of people left who were still clear headed. As the hallucinations weakened over time, the number of people who recovered gradually increased. However, by this point, too many allies had already fallen and there was no point in staying at the scene of madness any longer. She gathered her allies and barely led them to escape.

“Follow me! We cannot save the people who fall behind so don’t be careless!”

Then, she wielded her sword and left with her people. In the process, a significant number of troops were injured, but as she said, they didn’t have the time to save everyone. By the time they escaped, she had less than 2,000 troops.

It was a terrible defeat, no, this couldn’t be considered as a defeat. They hadn’t even fought the enemy once, but the soldiers had suddenly gone insane and the army had collapsed. It was so absurd, no, it was so shameful that it would be noted down in the history of war on the continent. Marquis Maroon, who had boasted of a perfect career, felt her self-esteem had received a heavy blow..

‘The enemy definitely did something. Otherwise, this just doesn’t make any sense.’

She didn’t know how something like this could have happened but she was convinced that the enemy had done something

‘A spy? Maybe someone mixed hallucinogens into our meal? If that’s the case, just when did they do it?’

Just as she was going around in circles…

“Marquis, the enemy has appeared in front of us.”

She looked up when she heard one of her knights reporting.

‘The enemy?’

Although she only had a tenth of her original 20,000 troops, this was the first enemy she encountered after the war started. As if she was shouting out her resentment that had been accumulating, she bellowed to her soldiers.

“All forces, CHARGE! Knights, follow me!”

She didn’t care whether she knew how big the enemy’s troop size was or not, she stood at the front of her army and led the charge forward. That’s how angry she was. The Knights of the Silver Wolf responded quickly to Marquis Maroon’s command. Although they were tired, they still looked courageous as they quickly followed after her, but sometimes in war, bravery turns into recklessness.

“Now!”

“Pull with all your strength!”

A voice rang out from somewhere and suddenly, something popped up from the ground. It was a thick rope that had been shallowly buried in the ground. The rope went up as soldiers from both the right and left side of the road pulled from either side. It was perfectly placed that it reached the riders’ necks.

“Gah…”

Marquis Maroon quickly ducked her head when the thick rope suddenly appeared in front of her. She barely passed under it, but she had safely avoided the trap. However, that was only possible because of her reflexes that had come with her Master class. Some of her knights following behind her couldn’t escape the trap and the results were quite disastrous.

“Ahh!!”

“Ack!”

The Lady Knights who had been charging forward at full speed, hit the rope and fell to the ground, then they were trampled by the knights who had been behind them.

“Stop! STOP!”

“All forces, stop!”

Some of the knights realized what was going on and tried to stop their allies, but by then, it was too late and the army had fallen into confusion. They had fallen into a trap and the ranks had become so confused that the army was out of control.

This had been exactly the result that the enemy wanted.

“Fire!”

Just as they were scrambling about in confusion, the enemy launched their next attack. From the left and right sides, ambush forces fired arrows and the Knights of the Silver Wolf fell further into chaos.

“Guh… Raise the shields… Ugh!”

The Knight who had been ordering the others to raise the shields realized that they didn’t have any shields and groaned. They realized then that this was a situation in which it was impossible to give any orders. This was the worst situation possible. If there was only one thing that they could do here, it was to scatter and escape.

“Ugh… Damn the Republican bastards… U… Ugh…”

The soldiers who had been struck by the arrows began to look strange. Suddenly, their complexion turned purple and collapsed. It was obvious that they had been poisoned.

“The arrows are poisoned! Escape!”

“Avoid them! If you get hit by the arrow… G…Guh…”

Soldiers began to collapse all around them.

“T… this… this…”

Seeing her knights and soldiers who had been following behind her being unilaterally slaughtered, Marquis Maroon couldn’t speak. Could this really be called a war? Apart from ambushes and surprise attacks, the methods that the enemies were using, the traps and the poisons, were closer to methods that hunters who valued efficiency used.

“You damn bastards! You don’t have the courage to fight us head-on?”

When Marquis Maroon started shouting, the leader of the Ghost Group 7 appeared in front of her.

“You’re looking for a fight that’s open and fair in a war? Even if you’ve achieved the highest level possible with the sword, a girl is still a girl.”

“You’ll regret saying that.”

Marquis Maroon became furious.

‘You can’t do it because you’re a woman,’ that was something that she hated to hear. The leader of Group 7 had known how she felt about that sentence, that’s why he had said it.

‘Just as the intelligence report said. She’s really worked up.’

As the leader of the Ghost Group 7, he specialized in assassination and information gather, his head contained a lot of detailed information on his enemy. That’s why he was so confident that if he provoked Marquis Maroon, it would definitely work.

She got off her horse. It was better to get off her horse in order to make the most of her abilities as a Master. It was evident that it worked since she began to push the leader of Group 7 with her swordsmanship.

“Kuh…”

The leader of Group 7 had to forcibly raise his level by taking his elixir. Only by forcibly raising his level to that of an Expert was he able to hold her off. However, it was still difficult for him to continue to fight against her and if it went on like this, then his head would be hitting the ground even before they had exchanged 20 blows. But, that was only under the assumption that it ‘went on like this.’

Marquis Maroon, who had been single handedly driving the enemy with her focused attacks, suddenly ducked. She felt something fly right over her head, just barely missing her. An enemy had appeared and attacked her from the left. One of the Ghost members had fired a crossbow at her from the side and at a distance, Ghosts equipped with crossbows were surrounding her. Soon, she was alone and in the middle of the encirclement.

“Fire!”

As soon as their commander’s order was given, arrows flew toward her all at the same time. It was not just an ordinary crossbow, but a special crossbow used in the Kobrook Republic. It was a powerful weapon that not even a knight's plate armor could protect against when it was fired from a close distance, not to mention, the arrow had been covered with poison.

Marquis Maroon gritted her teeth and firmed her stance. And just as the arrows came closer to her…

“Hup!”

She controlled her breathing and her sword swung at a tremendous speed. For a second, she had a beautiful Aura-like barrier surrounding her.

Tatatatatatah!

Her barrier was so tight it didn’t even have a gap for a needle to sneak through and all the arrows broke against it and fell to the ground.

But that wasn’t it for the enemy’s traps.

“Throw it!”

Once again, an order was given and this time, something was thrown into the sky. It was a net made of iron. Several iron nets spread wide open and tried to smother her.

She blinked her eyes. Even if she cut it with her sword, it would be useless. If the net wrapped around her body, her movements would eventually be restricted.

Just as the net was moments away from falling on her, she ran forward and shortened the distance between her and her enemy. Naturally, she was able to escape the iron net and instead, pushed back the enemies.

However, that was the moment that the Ghost Group 7 was waiting for. The iron net had failed, but their trap continued. From the start, there was no way a trap that they had prepared to capture a Master would end here.

“15! 16! Stop her!”

At the Group 7’s leader’s command, two Ghost members recklessly charged towards Marquis Maroon. However, she was not frightened by them rushing forward. Either way…

“It’s meaningless.”

Her sword emitted a single beam of light and the Ghost members who had neglected to shield themselves had their chests pierced. But…

“Kuhh…”

“Ugh…”

The two of them spat out blood from their mouths, but they were committed and continued to stubbornly attach themselves to Marquis Maroon. One of them clung to her thigh and another grabbed onto her ankle. Although it was very brief, her movements were momentarily restrained.

Group leader 7 didn’t miss the golden opportunity and shouted.

“19!”

“Yes, Sir!”

Out of the entire Ghost Group 7, the one who seemed the most powerful came out. He came out swinging an aura covered Warhammer as large as a human’s torso and struck the ground.

“Ha!”

Bang!

And then…

Surprisingly, the ground began to crumble and a massive hole with a diameter of 10 meters appeared.

“Fall back!

The leader of the Group 7 gave the order and the Ghosts fell back like the tide. This was the last trap that Group 7 had created to capture Marquis Maroon. They had created a trap, then put a solid board on it to disguise it, and in order to erase any suspicions she might have, they fought with her on top of it with Marquis Maroon. And once her movements had been restricted for even just a second, they had taken that opportunity to trigger the trap.

From underneath the trap appeared a large spear that had a powerful anesthetic applied to it beforehand. Originally, the leader had wanted to use a deadly poison on it, but he had changed it to an anesthetic at Eliza’s request.

‘She fell for it.’

The leader of Group 7 was convinced of his success. It had been a trap that was created after considering all of a Master’s abilities. In the first place, he didn’t know how many people he would have to switch out in order to capture a Master, so he used traps to lure the enemy and to kill her allies. It was his attentive judgements that allowed him to boast the highest mission success rate amongst all the other Ghost members. There was no way that Marquis Maroon would be able to escape this trap. The two Ghosts who had clung to her continued to cling to her even in their deaths, and because of that, she was slowed down.

‘It’s a success.’

Leader 7 clenched his fist in victory. He hadn’t been certain that it would work while designing the trap, but they had really captured a Master alive. The anesthetic they had used under the trap was so strong that it would knock out even an elephant for an entire day. Even if she was a Master, it was only natural that she was helpful. With that in mind, the leader of Ghost Group 7 approached the trap to confirm the outcome.

But that was a mistake. In his excitement, he had forgotten something that he had always emphasized to his subordinates.

[Always be vigilant.]

The moment he pushed his head into the trap to check, he was struck sharply across his head.

Smack!

“Guh…”

Something struck the side of his face. It was the only evidence he had as Marquis Maroon jumped out of the trap. Once she was on top of the ground, she looked at the leader of Ghost Group 7 with cold eyes.

“Do you still have more things to try?”

She looked fine. It didn’t seem like an anesthetic had been used on her at all.

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