Mac advanced on foot and swung his sword. The camel that he was riding lost its life from an enemy soldier’s spear. Mac had never run in the sand before, and his ride was faster than him, so he felt disappointed that he lost his ride.
The leader of the paladins, Albatoss, had also lost his camel and felt sorry for Mac. Albatoss prayed that the camel, whose body was still warm, would go into God's arms and become another companion for his camel.
The bastards who sold their souls to the black magicians could not go to God's side, but since God also made hell, he thought he could at least land in between the two.
"What are you doing? There are only five enemies! Overwhelm them!"
Despite the commander's orders, the soldiers faltered. The momentum of the five soldiers who had broken through seemed to increase rather than decrease.
"Keuk! Do these bastards not get tired?"
The paladins were healed in an instant each time the spearmen injured them. It was like a healing power akin to the trolls, which were rare to encounter even in the monster paradise, Mount Alps. No, if anything, this healing ability was greater than a troll, not less.
It was just 20 minutes since the battle started, but those five had already killed 60 soldiers. No, perhaps it was better to say that fewer enemies had died than expected. After all, they were paladins receiving the saintess’s blessing.
The reason for this lower death count was simple. The corpses of those who had died after taking the power potion were controlled with black magic and used as shields against the enemy. If their goal was to stall for time with these ordinary soldiers, you could say that they were used effectively.
Comforting himself with these thoughts, the commander looked up at the sky. It was already evening when the fighting began, but now the sun was setting.
Do we have to deal with those monsters in the dark?
This prospect frightened the commander. Even if it were completely dark around them, the paladins would be able to see as if it were daytime with Hillis’s blessing. To even the playing field, he wondered if his army’s magicians would be able to cast the same magic on each and every soldier. At that moment, a thought flashed through the commander's head.
If it is impossible to cast magic on each soldier, then can’t the entire battlefield be lit up?
"Go back and ask the magicians to use light magic.” The commander ordered, sending his deputy to the rear.
The reason that this was a request and not an order was because the magicians at the rear were not under his command. Though his command didn’t extend over them, he was still technically their superior.
Looking at the red-colored sky, the commander waited for the light to rise quickly. However, by the time the sun was almost behind the sandhills, no artificial light had risen. Towards the peak of the commander’s restlessness, the deputy sent as a messenger returned in a hurry.
"Battalion, battalion commander. They say they won't use magic!"
"What the f*ck?!" At the absurdity of his deputy’s reply, the commander let out a torrent of curses.
"That's, we need magic to keep that magician with the saintess in check…”
"F*ck! Are those words or farts! If those cockroaches break through right now, the magicians will be dead first!"
The deputy was startled by his superior’s anger.
"Fire! Light all the torches!"
The new order spurred any soldiers with free hands into immediately lighting the torches. No matter how many torches were lit, the number of prepared torches was limited, so it would be impossible to make the battlefield as bright as daytime. However, just being able to secure the soldiers’ vision was enough.
"Damn it, if only Captain Malecia were here!” The commander gnashed his teeth.
If there were at least one person who could deal with those charging men trying to kill the black magicians, he would be able to send the free soldiers to where the saintess was. However, if some of the troops were repositioned right now, this area would be breached.
Right now, he wanted to pull out his sword and fight the paladins, but as the commander, he could not act rashly. If it were a duel instead, he would have stepped up right away.
At that moment, a torchlight appeared in the darkness of the desert far away. Then the torchlight began running towards them. The commander panicked, assuming that it was more paladins arriving as reinforcements. Next to the torchbearer was a flag bearer on a camel. Seeing the flag’s insignia, the commander felt a feeling of hot emotion dominating his whole body.
"Open the way! It is Captain Malecia!"
The soldiers cheered at the commander's cry.
"Open the way!”
* * *
Malecia quickly rode his camel and rushed in between the soldiers. Fortunately, the soldiers also saw the flag and quickly opened the way.
In an instant, when he arrived near the paladins amongst the soldiers, he jumped off the camel and attacked. The paladin who received Malecia's dark red sword aura felt his foot sink into the sand from the strong impact.
The paladin felt his wrist go numb and groaned. "Keuk!"
Malecia landed easily, heading for the temporarily stunned paladin. He stabbed his sword into the gap in the paladin’s right shoulder. He planned to cut off the paladin’s right arm and create a weakness for the enemy. The saintess could reattach a severed arm, but regrowing it would be near impossible.
At that time, a sword struck Malecia's from the bottom and pushed it up, making his sword just slightly cut the paladin’s shoulder rather than chopping it off completely.
The paladin screamed at the pain coming from his bleeding shoulder. "Kuaaak!"
However, a white holy light soon healed the paladin's shoulder. Malecia became speechless at the sight of this healing. With this, he could understand why the troops were struggling against just five people.
"Thank, thank you, Mac." The paladin’s pain had not dissipated, and he had cold sweat running down his body, but he still thanked Mac.
Mac pointed his sword at Malecia and said, “You can just buy me a beer later.”
“Then I'll buy you a whole barrel!”
Although Mac had a playful attitude, the power felt from his sword made Malecia realize that he was not ordinary.
"Oh! You’re a strong person. Who are you?" Mac asked playfully, but he remained vigilant of the turban-wearing men surrounding him and the paladins.
It hadn’t been long since Mac left Olympus, but Malecia was the strongest person he had encountered so far. One-on-one, he was confident of his victory, but it would not be easy in a group setting with paladins he had never fought with before.
At Mac's wariness, Malecia laughed, "It seems I still have a long way to go if I am being asked who I am.”
It wasn't an answer to Mac's question, but ironically, it was a paladin who ended up introducing Malecia.
“Black Knight Malecia!”
“The Mercenary King!”
At the paladin’s shout, the soldiers surrounding them erupted in cheers. It was a cheer formed from both the pride and relief that such a strong man was on their side.
"Well dang, to hear the words ‘Mercenary King’ from an Empire citizen, what an event.” Although Malecia said this, he enjoyed the title of mercenary king.
Usually, the term "Mercenary King" in the Empire was used to refer to the leader of the current mercenary alliance. As such, someone being called the Mercenary King by an Empire citizen was no different from being recognized as having great skill. It was all the more notable because it was a title earned through a war with the Empire as an enemy.
"Since this isn’t a war started by my own will, I would like to be called Black Knight rather than the Mercenary King,” Malecia requested.
"What does a title matter? Let's cross swords,” Mac said, feeling his hands itch as he formed his martial aura.
"Good!" Malecia shouted and went on to strike first. At the same time, Malecia's men and the paladins began their battle.
Malecia's sword aura headed for Albatoss, who received Malecia’s sword with hardened eyes. Against Malecia's pressuring blade, Albatoss tried to push back with the help of Hillis’s divine power.
During this exchange, a turbaned man went after the back of Albatoss's neck, saying, "Ahuh! Play with me too!"
Mac threw the broken spear that was by his feet and saved Albatoss. The turbaned man aiming for Albatoss's neck almost dropped his sword from the powerful impact of the spear that appeared to have been lightly thrown.
Malecia let Albatoss go and retreated before his sword became filled with Hillis’s power, following which two turbaned men naturally attached themselves to the paladins’ leader. Albatoss had no choice but to give his full attention to the constant barrage of swords, left with no opportunity to thank Mac.
Mac didn't miss that opportunity and swung his sword at Malecia, aiming for his heart. The captain blocked Mac's sword using his own. No, he thought he blocked it. He judged that such a sharp sword that was as cruel as it was accurate should not be blocked.
They both began thinking at the same time.
This blow resembled the blow that killed his subordinates who were transporting the luggage. After this thought entered his mind, Malecia realized that this was the killer he was looking for.
Malecia quickly filled his sword with mana and rotated it. Mac's sword was turned upwards by Malecia's mana, and Malecia just barely managed to dodge the sword aimed for his heart by twisting his body. Unfortunately, the sword that he used to create the gap broke into two pieces.
A soldier threw the sword that he was holding at Malecia’s shout. Mac instantly struck at the sword flying towards them instead of striking at Malecia’s life. Immediately after striking the sword, Malecia threw the broken half-sword without hesitation at Mac. Either way, Malecia’s head would have been sent flying the moment he was about to receive the sword.
Mac deflected the broken half-sword that flew straight at his neck. Malecia did not use the gap to attack but rather to escape from his position. It was a wise decision.
Mac's reaction speed was well ahead of Malecia's expectation. It would be hard to kill Mac, even if he and all of his men rushed him.
He wanted to kill Mac rather than the paladins, but even when his troops outnumbered the enemy, they were just barely maintaining an even match against the paladins strengthened by the saintess’s power.
No matter how strengthened the paladins became with Hillis’s support, they were not used to handling that power and became unsteady, creating gaps. Thanks to this, Malecia’s men alone were somehow able to match the paladins, but Mac was a monster that could disrupt the balance of the battle.
In other words, Malecia had to deal with Mac by himself in order to maintain the current situation in the confrontation.
"I'm going to go crazy."
Malecia thought that this place might unexpectedly become his grave.
Slightly distancing him from the battlefield with a laugh, Malecia stole the spears of the soldiers around him and threw them at Mac.
"Don't mind me, shoot arrows at him!".After saying this, Malecia approached Mac again.
The commander paused for a moment before preparing the archers to shoot. "If possible, aim only at the enemy."
"But Captain Malecia might get hit," one of the archers pointed out.
"...Just believe, as I will too."
The archers nodded at the commander's stern look.
Of the archers constantly firing arrows at the Hillis’s carriage, some changed their target.
"Deputy, covertly prepare to retreat.”
The deputy nodded at the commander.
The chances were slim, but in the case that the paladins guarding Hillis came over, it would be foolhardy to have the soldiers confront them. Moreover, it was also necessary to consider the possibility that the rest of the saintess’s guards were on the way. If so, it would be safer to go back to the Holy Land Zaharam and hold the fort. At least there, the soldiers would have full visibility.
The commander quietly watched the scene of the paladins and his turbaned men in a desperate struggle.
Hitting the flying arrows with his sword, Mac burst out laughing for a long time. "Ahahahaha!"
Mac deflected Malecia’s sword that was rushing towards his throat. As Mac was about to cut downwards, an arrow flew towards him from another direction. Malecia also occasionally had to avoid the arrows shot by his subordinates, but most of the arrows flew at Mac.
Kang! Kang! Kang!
As Mac was striking away the arrows, Malecia picked up a spear rolling on the ground and launched a stab toward Mac’s side. Mac tried to evade with a flick of his ankle as usual, but his foot sank into the desert sand.Previous Chapter Next Chapter