The War Reignites
Even though they weren't in the north, the Stokians shared an equal dislike for the desolate winter. However, many wished the winter this year would last a little longer. They even considered the notion of living under such conditions for good.
The Stokians understood that the moment the snow begins to melt, they would once more be graced with war. While the winter was tough, at least their families wouldn't be ruined and they wouldn't have to flee from their homes. When the northerners come on their horses, they would have to suffer far worse than just shivering in the cold.
However, spring would eventually come. The snow might've stopped the tracks of the northerners, but it hadn't stopped the flow of time. The warmth of spring gradually drove the chill of winter away and spots of green began appearing all across the continent once more. Life was beginning to return to nature.
Yet, it seemed almost insulting. Just like how there would be shadow in the presence of light, war and death plagued the southern part of the continent in this supposed season of life and vigor. The northerners' attacks had begun anew.
Lisana drew her sword, gale, out of the neck of an enemy. Blood sputtered out of the punctured artery all over her nicked and bloodied armor, but she didn't seem to mind it in the slightest. She kicked the Stokian away and calmly searched out her next foe.
When fighting Stokians, she would always deal the lethal blow in the cruelest way possible. Those who didn't know her well would grow to fear her after seeing her fight. Even though she had pink hair that symbolized gentleness and kindness and seemed to be quite the quiet girl, she was even more savage than the male warriors on the battlefield.
She didn't look for anything in her fights, nor did she even consider whether she would be covered in blood. She didn't care about how pretty and elegant her movements would be. She only had one goal: to deal out death in the swiftest way possible. If that wasn't possible, she would seek to deal the most damage she could.
That was why enemies she dealt with would have the most garish of wounds. Some soldiers who had fought with her remembered the occasion when she embedded her sword in an enemy's body and pulled it out along with the poor sod's spine.
As such, while many saw her as a gentle and bright girl, they believed she had a warped heart that lusted for blood. Fortunately, this broken mess of a person was on their side. Even so, the warriors of Goldeagle found it hard to accept them.
That was also one of the reasons Lisana became Alissanda's personal guards. She was indirectly ostracized in some way.
Her petite figure dashed through the battlefield like a ghostly reaper. She swung her two swords all accurately as she left one lethal wound after another on her enemies.
She didn't stop even if she couldn't land a hit. Her fighting style of lashing out while running nonstop could be considered a skill. It was something Marolyt developed based on his Dance of Wind for her and he called it an embarrassing Reaper's Shadow.
Given her reaction speeds and constitution, she could more or less maintain high-speed movement while drawing her swords to strike, but she couldn't rapidly change directions like he could, so she wasn't able to attack the same target time and again with that skill. The moment she stopped, her momentum would be greatly decreased and so would her combat ability.
She focused her impetus on both her legs as she avoided the allied warriors in her way and slashed at those who weren't on her side.
"Seven… Eight…" She could tell the number of enemies she had slain with that skill from the feedback she felt through her wrists. She didn't stop counting as she dashed through the battlefield.
Even though her innate personality meant she disliked slaughter and bringing people pain and gore, the death of her mother weighed her down like a curse. Every time she saw Stokians, her normal self would die, and replacing it was the devilish pink reaper that harvested lives like a machine.
However, the devil still held on to a trance of kindness. She made sure to count the lives she had taken and when it was safe after the battle, she would earnestly pray so that their souls would rest in peace.
She felt that her stamina was stretching its limits. Each time she used Reaper's Shadow, her body would enter a weakened state, so she only reserved it for moments when the tide of battle was set in stone. She should've killed tens of enemies so far in the battle.
Her speed began to wane with her dwindling energy. She swung Gale one last time to take another enemy's head off before gradually collapsing onto the ground, much to her allies' shock.
Being a woman can be quite inconvenient! she thought with a flushed face as she took deep breaths to recover her energy. Fifteen enemies wasn't a count she could be proud of, but she had no choice. Her monthly pangs had begun to assail her.
Even a high-order female warrior still in puberty wouldn't be able to ignore inherent biological constraints.
She struggled to sit up on the ground and recalled what she could about the war.
The army of Hocke had been in high spirits since the coming of spring. They held an obvious edge at the eastern battlefront. The northern soldiers rode deep into battle and slaughtered their enemies with sheep with their new dark elven weapons and magic cannons.
They bust through their enemies like they were made of bamboo walls until they reached the inner parts of Stok. They vented their frustrations and desire for vengeance on the southerners there.
Additionally, barbarians units joined the Hockian army. The northern highlanders were the masters of destruction and raiding, leaving a trail of destruction, torture, slaughter, rape, pillage and fires in their wake.
There had been several incidents where barbarians ate children for food, which became a hot topic in the Hockian military ministry. Cannibalism was something northerners and southerners abhorred alike.
All the current field marshal, Alissanda, could do was forbid the barbarians from ever committing such acts again and put them under supervision of the human soldiers. To make an example of them, he also personally put a few barbarians who stepped out of line to death. Only then did the horrifying displays of sadism stop.
Stopping cannibalism was easy, since there was more than enough normal food to go around. However, there was nothing Alissanda could do about the raids, as both humans and barbarians alike participated in those acts. The humans were not completely unjustified in doing so, since they were merely returning the southerners' favor.
In the end, Alissanda allowed the troops to raid, so long as it never got out of proportion, and turned a blind eye to it.
Lisana had always remained by Alissanda's side. She, of all people, knew how pained he must've been to have made that decision. So, even though she abhorred harming civilians in war, she couldn't bring herself to tell that to him, despite having easy access to him.
Nowadays, she was going to one battlefield after another with the prince.
As the flames of war in the east had quenched, Alissanda began to focus his attention on the western front. Two years ago, Saron had used an unimaginably huge magic formation to transport soldiers into Fort Kesta for an unprecedented siege.
After losing the fort, Hocke's troops had no choice but to retreat from the mountainous area in the west. They focused their attacks on the Stokian troops in the plains that acted as a buffer zone.
But as the pressure from the eastern front began to decrease, Hocke now had enough forces to overturn the situation on the western front.
Alissanda went to the southwestern part of the empire because he wanted to lead the troops to retake Fort Kesta himself. Today's battle was merely one to wipe out the remnant Stokian forces. While the enemy still had twice their numbers, Alissanda came with Goldeagle, which all Stokians feared. Instead of a battle, it was more apt to call it a massacre.
And now, the massacre was nearing its end.Previous Chapter Next Chapter