Very few people on the battlefield, with the exception of the top experts, had noticed the color of the moon. Some of the stronger vampires sensed the change and looked up at the same time.
The dark race soldiers assembled quietly and waited for their new orders. They suddenly realized that their formation was rather frail. There were great numbers of them left and right, but that didn’t stop them from being strangely anxious. Some of the smarter ones noticed that there were a lot fewer officers and experts among them, so much so that there were none in some units.
Experts were the pillars of each unit. Without them, everyone knew how far these cannon fodder could go. Now that most of the experts were gone, the squads were somewhat shaken.
Some of the survivors who had retreated from the front looked back at the corpses at the second defensive line and thought, “Did they all die back there?”
On the warship, the arachne count appeared once again, limping and soaked in blood. His voice was weak and hoarse, “Sire, I’ve returned.”
“How are our casualties?”
“We’ve lost roughly a third of our forces, while the humans have lost around four thousand men.”
“Twenty thousand of our men in exchange for four thousand humans?”
The arachne count said, “Sire, most of our deaths are cannon fodder. Naturally, our death toll would be higher.”
Snorting, Pratt glared at the arachne count with harsh eyes. The count lowered his head humbly, no longer daring to look straight at the marquis.
Pratt had long since noticed that the count was hiding dissent beneath the respectful demeanor. He asked indifferently, “What do you suggest we do now?”
This was a trick question. The arachne count said after some thought, “Sire, losing cannon fodder is fine, but we’ve lost too many titled experts! These people are the backbone of your army! Sire, even Redfang has fallen in battle. I don’t think anyone will be able to block Qianye’s rampage if you don’t take action.”
The corners of Pratt’s eyes twitched briefly. He looked up at the full moon and said slowly, “If that’s the case… let’s retreat.”
“What?” The arachne count couldn’t believe his ears.
“Retreat,” Pratt repeated the order.
“We can’t, Sire! If we retreat like that, all the credit will go to Romier. At that point, he’ll probably blame you for the failed assault! We still have more troops. We should keep up the assault, even if it’s just for show.”
Pratt’s gaze became gloomy. “That’s only if Romier can succeed.”
At this point, the arachne count understood Pratt’s resolution. No longer daring to make a sound, he withdrew to perform his orders.
The dark races slowly left the battlefield as the bugle cry to retreat rang out. Meanwhile, Whitetown opened its gates, and close to a thousand people emerged to sweep the battlefield.
These mercenaries didn’t have much time to do their work. The window didn’t even reach an hour before a dense crowd of airships appeared in the distance.
The Evernight warships at the front spread out in a row facing Whitetown, providing cover for the transports as they unloaded an almost countless number of soldiers. A new battle was about to begin.
A faint suppressive might rolled in from the distance as a massive warship broke through the clouds and flew toward the battlefield.
This warship was of demonkin make, and judging from its size, it was likely the flagship of a duke. Its appearance raised the morale of the soldiers who broke out in loud cheers.
Qianye narrowed his eyes. “What did they drive the ship here for? Courting death?”
Whatever model the airship was, its movements would be inconvenient while driving close to the ground. This was especially true for the battlefield where two armies were in fierce combat because aerial attacks focused more on accuracy and not firepower. If the landscape of the battlefield was special, the warship would have to be aware of its altitude at all times.
The giant warship’s role on the battlefield was to intimidate and prevent their path of retreat from being cut off. Unless they planned to level both friend and foe, the airship would have to be careful of enemy experts boarding the vessel.
Moreover, the Martyr’s Palace was out in the void. If the demonkin duke were to join the battle with his flagship, Qianye could easily summon the palace and devour the prey that had landed at his mouth.
However, the flagship stopped several hundred meters away and made no other movement. Apparently, it was only here to oversee the formation.
The transports arrived one after the other, and countless dark race soldiers poured out of them like the tides. The army didn’t attack immediately and began to construct all kinds of fortifications instead. This move wasn’t too different from when Song Zining attacked Whitetown.
Soon, the transports had unloaded a number of large machinery and fortifications. An unusually large transport then drove over and placed a small kinetic tower inside the base.
Whitetown fired two waves of long-distance origin cannons to test the enemy. The range was clearly too short to reach their fort, but the dark races reacted immediately. Their experts took action and blocked most of the incoming shells, while the rest fell onto the empty land between the two bases.
The speed and power of the interception proved that it was impossible for Whitetown to interfere with the other party setting up their fort. It was better to save ammunition and grasp this time to rest.
The dark race army worked through the night. By dawn, a fort of the same scale had appeared across Whitetown, with endless rows of barracks behind it. No one knew how many soldiers they had mustered.
Atop Whitetown’s walls, Song Zining gazed through the binoculars with a serious expression. “Looks like this battle won’t be an easy fight.”
Qianye said calmly, “We knew that since the beginning. When will reinforcements arrive?”
Song Zining shook his head. “No matter when they arrive, we’ll still need to get through this ordeal first.”
Qianye nodded. “Just like before, leave the duke to me.”
Song Zining frowned. “Qianye, this isn't the time to be playing cool. Are you sure?”
“My blood energy is already at the edge of breaking through, I can rank up anytime if I ignore the consequences. At that point, I think I can actually put up a fight despite the gap.”
“It’s not time to go all out yet, we can discuss that after a few rounds. Heh, I’ve been preparing for a long time. It’s impossible to devour this base without paying a steep price. Everything will depend on their determination now.”
Within the duke flagship, Romier was gazing down from his throne, his chin propped upon his hand.
There were two werewolf experts and an arachne count before him. They were all injured, and blood was still seeping out from beneath their bandages. Their auras were weak, and even standing seemed like a struggle for them. This was the alliance officer whom Pratt had left in charge of the so-called handover procedure.
Romier was tall, lanky, and possessed a pair of deep, falcon-like eyes. He said slowly, “Does that mean Pratt is going just like that? He’s not leaving his forces at all?”
The arachne count said, “That’s not the case. Sire Pratt’s direct subordinates have suffered grave casualties and require urgent rest and reorganization. He wishes to regroup at the rear and join the battle after recovering fighting power…”
He hadn’t even finished speaking when the demonkin duke snapped his fingers with a snort. The arachne count only heard the sound before he felt as though there was a hand around his throat and he could no longer speak. His arachne body appeared as he struggled on, but eventually, he collapsed and never moved again.
Romier’s eyes landed on the two werewolf viscounts. “I’m just killing a coward who fled the battlefield. Do you have any objections?”
The werewolves quickly replied that they wouldn’t dare.
In truth, counts could be considered important characters in the Evernight society. They could be considered true, upper-echelon nobility. In ordinary times, even Romier wouldn’t dare kill a count for no reason. However, the two werewolves understood that they were on the battlefield, and that killing a deserter wasn’t a big deal.
In truth, Vice-Duke Pratt’s forces weren’t that much weaker than Romier’s, but he was too greedy for accomplishments. He had attacked first without waiting for the true commander’s main forces. Who would’ve thought he would suffer so badly beneath the city walls? Not only did he lose soldiers and generals, but he also lost all of his heavy equipment. Most importantly, a good number of his core titled experts had fallen. This could be considered serious damage.
Although leaving in defeat wasn’t running away before the battle, Romier could easily report them all. It was fairly common for minor characters like them to be affected by the competition between two dukes.
The werewolves weren’t Pratt’s subordinates, and neither did they have any intention of seeking justice for the arachne count. Seeing their submissiveness, Romier nodded and softened his tone, “Contact Pratt. Have him return here no matter where he is and assign him to lead all the units! That idiot still can’t see the picture at such a juncture. You’ll all die here if you can’t win this battle.”
After the two viscounts were led away, a demonkin marquis in the hall asked, “Are things already that urgent?”
Only the duke’s trusted aides remained in the room. “We’ve lost control of the void airspace, and the survivors are all guarding the most important nodes. They have lost the courage to go against the human fleet for a showdown. Our useless ground forces are also being pushed back repeatedly. Two out of the three human attack routes are obviously heading in this direction. Once they meet up, we can forget about ever getting the city back. The biggest airship port on the void continent is nearby. Without that base, it’ll be lucky even if one-tenth of our army can escape.”
A different demonkin count said, “When did the humans become so powerful? Haven’t we been suppressing them all along?”
“They transferred a lot of experts from the mainland, real powerful experts.”
The smarter ones suddenly recalled. “Aren’t they afraid of leaving their backyard empty?”
Romier said coldly, “The Evernight Council will deal with the Great Qin, our battle is here. In truth, we can forget about getting away with a fluke now that the human experts are already here.”
The aides looked at one another. “Who are the leaders of those two routes? Why can’t we intercept them?”
Romier said slowly, “One is Haimi, and the other is Zhao Jundu.”
Zhao Jundu was famous, so there was no need to expound on the subject, but the true upper echelons of the demonkin race were shaken when they heard the name Haimi.
Seeing that morale was wavering, Romier said, “The Evernight Council has dispatched Dukes Jenson and Doer to intercept her. It should be fine.”
These words were spoken without much confidence, and the subordinates naturally didn’t have much faith in it, either. The demonkin marquis couldn’t help but comment, “I doubt the two dukes will be enough to stop Haimi. According to the Empire’s military habits, there should be another deputy commander in the unit who’s close to the divine champion rank. That woman’s Imperial bloodline is terrifying. She was already hunting down marquises before she was even a divine champion. Why isn’t the council sending more people, an additional vice-duke even?”
Romier smiled wryly. “Do you think the council hadn’t thought of that? The problem is, who would be willing to go? Now that the mobile fleet has lost control of the void airspace, even a duke flagship might not escape the Imperial Guard’s relentless assault. So, there’s really no retreat path in those two directions.”
Everyone was enlightened as to why two mediocre dukes had been assigned to such an important task.
There were a lot of unspoken rules among the high nobility of Evernight. Titles represented one’s strength and rank, but those at the same rank might have vastly different combat strength, backgrounds, and status.
This mission was too dangerous. Ordinary dukes might obey the council’s orders, but even the Evernight Council couldn’t use the core members of powerful clans as cannon fodder.
“There’s also some bad news. I heard Gaoyi is also on the void continent, we might run into her one day,” Romier said slowly.
This time, the demonkin were shaken even more. The human life-span was fairly limited, so Great Qin’s divine champion roster had always been finite. Among them, the Imperial clan members were closely watched by the enemy faction. Just like their dark race counterparts, these experts would only appear in national wars and would be treated with the same importance as the famed clans from the four major races.
Romier raised his voice, “So! We must win this fight if we don’t want to be thrown into a head-on battle! Issue the order, prepare to attack!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie