The gruesome tug of war continued for three hours. The Black Cavalry fearlessly charged into the sea of Northern Alliance and Cyan Earth City players, and the Griffin Legion swooped down on their prey. In the end though, not even the greatest NPC armies of Sky City were able to turn the tide around. Even the airborne Griffin Legion weren’t able to escape the endless sky of arrows and spells.
Beside Karinshan, Commander Stark of the Black Cavalry—dubbed Beardy by the players—raised his blade and prepared to leave. "I’m heading out, Your Majesty!"
Karinshan bit her lips and nodded. "Return alive!"
Stark let out an angry cry and charged with the last remnants of the Black Cavalry beside him, all tens of thousands of them. Far away, Breeze and Rain narrowed his eyes and barked out some orders and words of encouragement, "The cornered animals’ last struggles are upon us! Heavy cavalry, back off slowly and block them flexibly! Work together with our ranged parties and wipe them all out! Just tens of thousands fiend-rank NPC riders can’t threaten us!"
He was right. Stark’s Black Cavalry might be high-level fiend-rank NPCs, but they wouldn’t be able to wipe out the millions and millions of invaders especially because Breeze and Rain was an intelligent commander. Stark’s final charge was skillfully deflected by flexible defense, causing the Sky City commander and his remaining troops to be unable to unleash their true power.
Finally, another NPC general lost his cool and caused his fiery dragon to roar out in fury. It was the Fire Dragon Knight, Harell. "Your Majesty, these wolfish invaders are trying to slaughter all of our warriors, and our empire tethers on the brink of destruction, so please allow the dragon knights to join the battle already! If we don’t act now, we’ll lose even our final chance to defend our homes!"
Karinshan gripped the Guardian Blade and whispered again, "Go, Harell, everyone. But remember, you will return to me alive. Whatever may happen to Sky City, all of you must return to me alive!"
"Yes, Your Majesty!"
The five dragon knights took off at once and tore into the enemies. On the ground, we reorganized our elite cavalry and launched a coordinated assault with the dragon knights as well.
Our side’s kill count increased dramatically during this time, but it was frankly a near impossible battle. Almost 90 million enemies were still surrounding Sky Forest, but our player count had dwindled to less than 10 million.
After weathering a seemingly endless bombardment, Harell the Fire Dragon Knight finally showed signs of exhaustion and dropped to just 10% HP or so. If he continued, he would surely die to the Northern Alliance.
I immediately turned around to stare at Karinshan. "Princess, we need to call back the dragon knights now! Sky City can be retaken if we lose it, but the dragon knights won’t come back to life if they die, will they!?"
Karinshan bit her lips and nodded strongly. "Mn! Call back the five dragon knights!"
"Yes, Your Majesty!"
Then, Karinshan herself unsheathed the Guardian Blade in one smooth motion, rode out and shouted, "Withdraw now, my dragon knights! You have already fought enough!"
However, Tia the Green Dragon Knight and her dragon were being pinned down by a group of Northern Alliance players and struck with Barrier Breaks. The creature’s scales were torn, it was bleeding all over the place, and Tia herself was half-drenched in blood. She was simply too occupied by the enemy to flee.
I clenched my teeth before saying, "No, we can’t let her die. Chengfeng, come with me to save the Green Dragon Knight! The five dragon knights are the living symbols of Sky City! We absolutely cannot lose them no matter what!"
Side by side, we charged straight to where the Green Dragon Knight was. Behind us, Chaos Moon, Xu Yang, Du Thirteen and more were following as well. Even before I reached our destination, I was already casting Summon the Storm and dealing tons of damage to the Northern Alliance players in front of me. At the same time, Li Chengfeng finished the job by executing Dragonbone Flurry from the side and killing them all. The next moment, approached Tia and said,"Tia, Princess Karinshan has given the order to retreat. Go! We’ll cover for you!"
She nodded. "Mn. Be careful!"
As Tia took to the sky, I, Li Chengfeng, Chaos Moon and the rest made a beeline for the enemy’s archer and mage parties and wreaked as much havoc as we could. In the end, we were able to distract the enemy enough for the Green Dragon Knight to escape back to her people.
This charge only lasted ten minutes or less, but we lost enough Dragonlight Cavalry that my heart ached at their loss. Every player killed in a Nation War was lost until the very end, and we still had 10 freaking hours left on the clock!
Blood seeped deeper and deeper into the ground of Sky City. Already, countless Northern Alliance, Cyan Earth City and Chaotic 27 players had pierced through some parts of our defense line completely. Some casual players were even climbing up the floating rocks that led to the entrance while laughing like crazy. "King of Cities my ass, in the end they must fall to Seven Star City! Woohoo! The King of Cities is ours!"
At the edge of Sky Forest, we could only watch as the enemy cavalrymen pierced through our formation again and again. Slowly but surely, helplessness and despair crept into everyone’s eyes. The sound of a sword thudding against the ground entered my ears as Heaven’s Rain slowly hugged her knees. "This time, there’s no turning things around…"
I must admit that my heart was filled with helplessness as well. We realized too late that the enemy’s strategy had been aiming to remove our chess pieces from the chessboard and worsened the already insurmountable difference in our player counts. Their reinforcement kept coming, and our strongest guilds were almost fully wiped out already. The remaining couple million players we were left with simply weren’t strong enough to alter the outcome of this epic war in any way.
Far away, Breeze and Rain suddenly barked another order, "Cyan Earth City, don’t make haste to occupy the royal palace. It is because the regent of Sky City, Princess Karinshan, is right in front of us! Only by killing Karinshan and taking the royal scepter from her will we be able to claim ownership of Sky City!"
Everyone looked. As he said, there was a scepter spinning above Karinshan’s head, and it was most definitely the royal symbol of Sky City. Only by taking the scepter would the invaders be able to seize Sky City, or they could crush the entire city into smithereens and still accomplish nothing.
I shuddered a little as I said quietly, "Protect Princess Karinshan no matter the cost…"
"But our numbers are too few…" He Yi reminded.
"Still… we must protect the princess…"
I had almost forgotten that the human sea tactic didn’t just work against bosses, but also players. The enemy kept battering against our faltering defenses, and even I and the Dragonlight Cavalry were growing exhausted beyond imagination. The entire Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls defense line shuddered like the final moments of a crumbling dam.
Some distance away from us, the defense line of Warsky Alliance, Candle Dragon, Snowy Cathaya, Peach Garden and every other guild had already crumbled completely. A blink of an eye later, the Northern Alliance was charging the NPCs’ shield formation already. Grunts and squeals filled the air as players and NPCs fought against each other.
Karinshan frowned for a moment before pointing to the east suddenly, ordering, "Withdraw to White Horse Highland! It is the only place that may grant us a chance at survival!"
"Yes, Your Majesty!" Ziyan answered in a low tone.
White Horse Highland was a large leveling map in Sky City domain. It was vast but incredibly difficult to attack. It was especially advantageous to defending cavalrymen for reasons I had already demonstrated during the battle of Howling Plains.
Although Karinshan’s NPC legions were able to withdraw to White Horse Highland, we didn’t have the option. The enemy had us completely surrounded at Sky Forest.
So anxious was Breeze and Rain for results that he had entered the fray himself. Every time he swung his sword, one elite Chinese player was put to death.
It wasn’t long before it became clear who was the victor, and who was the loser. The Northern Alliance had our last 4 million players trapped inside Sky Forest while Cyan Earth City pursued Karinshan’s NPC legion under God of War and Breeze and Rain’s command. The cruelties of war had far exceeded our players’ imagination, and even the invincible Karinshan was now facing the threat of death.
Time passed bit by bit. I, He Yi, Li Chengfeng, Gui Guzi and everyone kept riding back and forth increasing China's kill count, but we simply couldn’t turn things around by ourselves.
Candlelight Shadow stabbed his sword through a player’s armor, dragged it horizontally across the torso and killed them where they stood. He growled, "Motherfucker, does anyone know where Dragons Run Wild has run off to?"
Blue Sky Scar replied indifferently, "No idea…"
It was at this moment a chorus of battle cries erupted from the southeast direction. A sea of red—not red names, but players carrying red 5-star flags on their shoulder—were riding in our direction, and they were none other than Amber Pupil and the players of Dragon Runs Wild. After blasting a Northern Alliance cavalryman to death with a fireball, the guild leader pointed his sword at Vienna’s Sorrow and shouted, "Vienna, you motherfucker! Why did you occupy Wind City?!"
Sitting atop his black dragon, Vienna’s Sorrow’s eyes flashed with cunning as he replied, "I’m sorry? Why can’t I occupy Wind City? It’s our rightful spoils of war, isn’t it? Unless you have something to say about the matter?"
Amber Pupil looked like he wanted to say something, but in the end he simply let out a furious growl and spat out, "Pooh! Despicable bastard!"
Candlelight Shadow narrowed his eyes at Amber Pupil. "Why are you wasting your breath on the enemy, you trash?"
However, Vienna’s Sorrow interrupted him with an uncontrollable burst of laughter. "It seems you are misunderstanding, Candlelight Shadow, Martial God of the China server. Allow me to correct you. Not only is Amber Pupil not the enemy of the north, he is our staunchest friend! Why do you think we were able to take Wind City as quickly as we did? It was all thanks to Amber Pupil giving us… every… last… detail… of the attack routes we needed to take!”
I, Candlelight Shadow, Warsky, Stranger of Three Lifetimes, He Yi, everyone stopped what we were doing and stared at Vienna’s Sorrow blankly. We simply couldn’t believe what we were hearing.
"I’m… I’m sorry?" Stranger of Three Lifetimes muttered dumbly.
"Spill it already, Vienna’s Sorrow!" Warsky clenched his fists.Previous Chapter Next Chapter