We returned to Hot Sand Forest. It looked a bit blurry from a distance due to the rising heat waves around the area. Of the 12000 who had set out, 8700 survived. It was a resounding achievement, but it didn’t count as "the weak triumphing over the strong" as a matter of course. Compared to Flames of War, our troop of elite cavalrymen, Famous Generals and Divine Generals were like gods to mortals.
A small yellow flower became trampled as I, He Yi, Lin Yixin, Gui Guzi, Li Chengfeng and more returned to the forest. Some distance away, Lu Buyi cried to his group of 5-Stamina magic knights, "Open up a way for our guild leader and friends!"
After we passed through the shield formation, I leaped down from my dragon’s back and waited for a beautiful woman wearing a dagger to walk up to me. She was Cute Little Naughty of course. It had been a while since we met each other face-to-face, but I could still see from her full set of S2 leather armor equipment that she hadn’t been slacking off one bit.
"Is everything ready, Little Naughty?" I asked.
She nodded with emphasis. "I’ve deployed all 194 eighth-promotion assassins in the eighth subguild. You see this area in front of us? We’ve mined every inch of it. Just give us the order, and we will trigger the explosion traps. I promise you that the chain reaction will be very impressive."
I smiled. "Very good! Wait for my order then!"
"Buyi, you may activate Purple Dragon and buff our 5-Stamina knights now. Flames of War are sending their best cavalrymen, but you must halt their first charge no matter what. Once we’ve taken them out, their morale will hit rock bottom and give us the chance to annihilate them with little effort."
"Got it boss!"
Everything was ready. The only thing missing was the Cyan Earth City’s army now.
For less than 20 minutes, we held our breaths and lay quietly within our bushes. Then, the ground started trembling, and a seemingly endless tide of cavalrymen appeared from the horizon. They were all wearing black armor and riding ice mounts, and they were called the Ice Wind Cavalry. The Ice Wind Warhorse was a type of Level 170 Spirit Rank Boss mount, but there were only 50k of them or so. If the Lightning Archers were the unstoppable spear, then the Ice Wind Cavalry was the immovable shield of Flames of War. It was thanks to them the Lightning Archers were able to fire at their enemies with impunity.
"Here they come!" exclaimed Lin Yixin while dashing behind a bunch of tree leaves. Her Seven Star Veluriyam Sword shook a little in her grip.
I shot her a reassuring smile and said, "Calm down, Yiyi. Victory is ours no matter how this plays out. The key here is to delete all ten million troops with minimal losses. Do you hear me, everyone? Frontliners, please maintain formation and avoid running out on your own. Those who drop below 80% HP should fall back and let our support players heal them and refresh their buffs."
However, Gui Guzi waved his Spear of the Knight God nervously and asked me, "The Ice Wind Cavalry is less than 500 yards away from us, Boss Broken Halberd. Are you sure we don’t want to launch a charge of our own and meet them at the center? Dragonlight Cavalry or not, a passive defense is going to be disadvantageous toward us."
"Yes, we’re just going to wait for them to hit us. Unlike the previous times, the plan is to destroy them with the explosive traps Cute Little Naughty’s assassins laid down. Just grab your popcorn and enjoy the show!"
As the Ice Wind Cavalry galloped toward us, I could see that their expressions were etched with fury and hatred. It was understandable. Not even a saint would be able to keep their composure after our strike force of 12000 took out around one million of their players. The players of Flames of War couldn’t wait to bash our faces in now that they finally got the chance to engage us in what seemed to be a "fair" fight.
A Level 214 magic knight raised his broadblade and shouted, "The cowards are hiding in the forest, brothers and sisters! Our Lightning Archers are right behind us, and our chances of losing with ranged support are exactly zero, so trample them all and don’t hesitate!!"
The Ice Wind Cavalry responded by screaming their lungs off. They certainly seemed excited alright.
Cute Little Naughty looked at me, "Now, vice leader big bro?"
I continued waiting for the closest riders to gallop toward us. Four seconds later, I ordered in a hushed voice, "Now, Little Naughty!!"
Before I had set out with the strike force, I had specifically warned Cute Little Naughty to use active trigger traps. This meant that the trap would only explode when the trapper triggered it, and only when the trapper was within 100 yards of the trap. There was a moment of silence, then the scenery in front of us was abruptly engulfed by an inferno. The chain reaction was so terrible that it felt like explosions would never end. Smoke, fire and broken limbs scattered all over the place. No matter how powerful the Ice Wind Cavalry might be, there was no chance they could’ve survived the concentrated explosions. The ones at the back tried to weave around the blast zones, but all they managed to achieve was getting in the way of their comrades and getting trampled as a result. It was a pitiful sight.
"Dammit, they lured us into a minefield! How do they have this many eighth-promotion assassins with the Trap skill!?"
The captain of the Ice Wind Cavalry, a Level 214 magic knight hurriedly swung his blade while shouting, "Calm down! These traps may be damaging, but can they kill all ten million of our army with it? No! So charge! Break through their shield formation!"
Chiang chiang chiang!
They slammed into our wall of frontliners and executed their combos. However, every player on the frontline was buffed by Lu Buyi’s Purple Dragon, an insane stratagem that boosted all stats by 100%. They were also buffed by our bards. Even the weakest of them had a max HP above 700k, so there was no chance these cavalrymen could punch through.
At the back, Beiming Xue gave the attack order and triggered tens of thousands of Dragonlight Archers to release their bowstrings at the same time. Flowers of red bloomed across the entire battle line as the arrows pierced through steel, flesh and bone. The Dragonlight Archers themselves possessed an incredible amount of Attack and armor penetration, not to mention that Beiming Xue’s Bow God buffed their Attack by another 150%. As a result, many metal-armor players weren’t able to survive the assault.
Suddenly, Beiming Xue raised her bow and activated Heavenly River Transformation. The energy of a domain surged around her person, and the image of the ancient god, Houyi, appeared behind her back. A rain of arrows flew into the air—this was shot completely by Beiming Xue herself—and they exploded on the ground like meteors. At the end of the attack, the ground was marred by deep holes and scars, and all the Ice Wind Cavalrymen who were struck by it took an insane amount of damage—
"Holy shit, Beiming Xue’s Attack is crazy…" Gui Guzi blurted in shock.
Li Chengfeng commented mercilessly. "Duh! What do you think Ancient Divine Skills are? Not everyone’s a milk knight with all the milk in the world, but zero penetration power like you…"
Gui Guzi: "..."
Lian Xin waved her scepter with a giggle. "Mages, Far Shot your spells to assist our frontline!"
The next moment, several hundred God Devil Breaks erupted across entire lines of Ice Wind Cavalry. On average, the Intelligence gap between our mages and the enemy cavalrymen was almost 7000. To say that they dealt insane amounts of damage would be understating it. Entire groups of Ice Wind Cavalry dropped like flies, and even the lowest damage done was at least 200k. Right now, they were without a doubt our guild’s greatest firepower!
Thanks to unique grinding maps, a territory like Dark Moon City, and stat-buffing structures like the War Holy Temple and King of Cities, Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls’ mages were now the highest-leveled mages in the entire world. We had around a thousand eighth-promotion mages or so, so that was a thousand God Devil Breaks every time their cooldowns were up. Given enough MP, they could inflict massive trauma upon any class. Trust me, I knew. During one of my skill tests, I allowed a hundred mages or so to bombard me with God Devil Breaks, and I was just barely able to survive a single volley. Everyone else could only do worse.
Starting now, every cavalryman who wished to conquer their enemies must equip themselves with Immortal, Sacred and Divine Armaments and increase their Intelligence stat. In fact, many players at Sky City had already begun purchasing Outstanding Immortal-grade equipment that boosted Strength, Stamina and Intelligence. A long time ago, Strength-type players would’ve gone for equipment that boosted their Strength, Stamina and Agility. Now though, they had to shift their builds a little in order to survive eighth-promotion mages.
The entire Chinese battle line stretched about ten kilometers long. It was a combination of Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls, Snowy Cathaya, Blazing Hot Lips and 40 other guilds. Around 3 million Cyan Earth City players had engaged our players, and more still were pouring in from outside the canyon. Army size–wise, both sides were about even in strength. Of the 3 million, 2 million or so would be engaging our forces in a do-or-die melee in the vast forest!
While we had exhausted our repertoire of tactics, the fact that we were the defender and the enemy the attacker gave us a certain level of advantage. For starters, we were able to face off against our opponents in a half-arc formation. It allowed us to maximize and concentrate our firepower. Also, an hour after the battle began, our siege weapons arrived at our rear. Once the White Marsh Catapults, ballistae and more were set up, they unleashed hell upon the enemies and caused even greater devastation.
I fired Thousand Ice Slash against a group of enemies as I roamed the frontline. I was able to create a 100-yard zone where no one was able to invade no matter what they tried. And try they did. Someone had dispatched a cunning archer with an S Rank Ancient Divine Skill, and he had proven to be quite the cunning fellow. After he got close enough, he abruptly dropped to his knees, gathered demonic energy around his bowstring and shouted, "Wild Ghost Devour!"
A gigantic arrow brimming with the power of the Ghost God flew toward me. The archer was too close, and the skill’s radius too wide for me to dodge. There was no point activating my Invincibility skill either since Ancient Divine Skills pierced invincibility. Instinctively, I buffed myself with a Fire War God card and increased my HP by 80%. Then, I charged straight toward the archer.
Wild Ghost Devour rocked my body and greedily devoured my flesh. That one hit had dealt over 500k damage! Incredible! The bad news was that the dozens of Dragonlight Cavalrymen, priests and mages around me were one-shot, their equipment and potions scattered across the floor. The good news was that I was still alive to take revenge for them!
The archer backed away the moment he saw that I had survived. Unfortunately for him, it was too late!
I raised my arm. I didn’t use Xuanyuan Slash yet because a skilled enough player could dodge it with Leap. Instead, I activated Chill of the Nine Provinces’ ancient property, Cold of the Nine Provinces!
The area within 100 yards of me was encased in ice. Naturally, so was the archer still within that range.
I spurred my Ancient Divine Dragon to an opportune position and activated Heavenly River Transformation. Only then did I use Xuanyuan Slash. The skill blasted the archer and several hundred Cyan Earth City players into smithereens, and crushed all nearby and distant enemies’ morale as well. Simply put, no ordinary player could survive an SSS Rank Ancient Divine Skill.
1. E/N: Some of you might be wondering why Houyi, the god of archery, suddenly appeared. Well it’s because the author called him “the Descendant” twice. Houyi did descend onto the mortal plane in the mythology so I let that slip, but with this mention I rioted! Turns out author wrote 后裔, which is… houyi, translation: descendant, but not the name Houyi (后羿)! Therefore, I’m going back to 1213 and 1215 and changing the skill name to “Houyi’s Wrath”.