The events proceeded according to Leylin’s expectations. Several ogres came up to challenge them once in a while, from five or six to over a dozen at a time. Obviously unable to harm their large group, they would run away with their tails tucked between their legs, sometimes leaving numerous corpses behind.
Many mercenaries were terrified at the beginning, but as time went on, they would lie on their fronts on the carriage roofs and watch the pathetic ways the ogres fled while bursting out in laughter.
This relaxed attitude even infected the Ashen Hawks. Leylin found that besides Siegfried and that wizard, the other members seemed to overestimate their enemies.
“There are two more days till we get out of this region. It’s the easiest mission Old Pam has ever done!” As the group proceeded, the dwarf, Pam, clung to his bottle of alcohol as if it was precious, and his brandy nose shone brilliantly.
“I never want to see those disgusting vermin again…” Rafiniya’s resentment was obvious. Ever since the time she had tried to show off, she had not participated in the attacks on the ogres. It seemed that this little lady had been scared stupid by the painful experience.
*Awoo…* At this moment, the terrible cries of the ogres sounded ahead of the group. Old Pam contentedly hiccupped, not the least bit affected by the sounds.
“Hic… again, again! The ones giving us money for free are back… I wonder who’ll be lucky enough to get the ears of the ogres. The rewards are very good…”
“Things aren’t going to be so easy…” Leylin unsheathed his own longsword, looking grim.
“What do you mean?” Pam had some suspicions, but his expression quickly changed. Continuous cries sounded from all directions, concealing a terrifying intent that even caused the warhorse Nick to neigh in distress.
“Damn it, there are so many of them!” Old Pam’s bottle fell to the ground, creating a crunching sound. However, he had no time to feel sorry for his treasure, and instead immediately whipped out the firearm at his waist.
*Tak tak! Tak tak!* Ahead of the group now was pure chaos. Many merchants abandoned their goods and fled for their lives the way they’d come, creating an even larger uproar. There were many casualties among the mercenaries, and a huge number of tall figures could be seen in the distance.
“It’s a trap! We’ve been surrounded!”
“Help! There are over 200 ogres!”
“Damn it, where are the Ashen Hawks? Where’s Siegfried? Could he have already died by the hands of the ogre shamans?” Many voices mixed together, and everyone next to Leylin instantly paled.
They were then drowned out in a chaotic stream of people, forced along with the crowd. Helpless as leaves in a typhoon, they had to flee for their lives.
“Sister Hera!” Rafiniya yelled, jumping onto the horse carriage and taking over the job of the horsekeeper who had disappeared, holding tightly onto the reins. The halfling thief looked like he wanted to help but was incapable enough to, and disappeared into the masses.
As for the human archer? That fellow had gotten onto Rafiniya’s precious horse, Nick, and galloped off quickly when the chaos had started. Rafiniya had needed to control the horse carriage and had no time to care about this, which allowed the archer to successfully steal the horse.
Wails and shrieks could be heard again and again, and the roars and cries from the ogres behind them were the strongest catalysts. The entire large caravan group completely fell apart.
The crowd pushed and squeezed their way through. In order to get on their way, they did not mind pointing their weapons at their own people.
With such a huge confusion, Leylin quickly disappeared along with the carriage. Of course, this was his intention.
‘So this actually was a trap! Though it’s just a pocket formation [1. Military tactic, enemies lured into narrow enclosed ‘pocket’ area, their entrance/exit is surrounded by soldiers to seal up the ‘pocket’, isolating the enemy.], I didn’t expect that that these ogres were so intelligent… I really can’t look down on them anymore.’
At the moment, the cumbersome horse carriage was like a broken sailboat in a tsunami, on the verge of being destroyed at any moment. The dwarf Pam from before had already disappeared. Based on his physique, Leylin could only pray that Pam was not trampled to death in the chaos.
‘It’s my chance!’ Leylin’s figure nimbly danced through the crowd, heading in the opposite direction. The cries of the ogres were even more clear there, and the horrifying sounds of tearing flesh rang out.
‘The main forces of the ogres should be here. I can take perfect advantage of this chaos, furthermore…’ Leylin’s eyes glinted coldly.
The ogres did not hold a numbers advantage over the mercenary group. They could try to defeat them heads on, but it would come at a terrible cost. Instead, they’d set up an ambush, even leaving an escape route at the back.
This wasn’t out of goodwill. Their goal was to further incite chaos among the group— when there was still a chance of escape, not everyone would be courageous enough to look forward and risk their lives. In order to have a chance at survival, how many would not hesitate to strike at their own companions?
More importantly, pursuing scattered soldiers was a battle that practically could not be lost.
‘Only the two-headed leaders or ogre shamans could come up with such a plan…’ Leylin’s eyes glinted, ‘So the only way to survive is to head in the opposite direction and break through this formation. Their main forces are here, and there’ll be many scattered soldiers and prisoners. There’ll be little chance of people pursuing me. As long as I get a quick horse and sprint for a while, I’ll be able to get out of this ogre-filled region…’
Those who could see this path and take it were truly determined, and held perseverance. It was a pity that Leylin could see practically nobody who’d come to the same decision as himself.
Perhaps, there were a few intelligent merchants would have been able to understand this, but their panic had lowered their ability to think by a great amount. Or perhaps they were aware but lacked the strength to do this, and could only go along with the crowd and pray to the Goddess of Luck to aid in their escape.
‘Furthermore… If I don’t go to the frontlines, where will I get high-ranked ogres to absorb strength from?’ Leylin burst into an empty large horse carriage.
He was no longer dressed in leather armour, and the steel longsword that he usually used was tossed aside. He’d dressed himself in black form-fitting clothing, using the same to hide half his face like a common thief.
The ring of wizardry glimmered faintly from his left hand on occasion, and there was a cold bloody light that flickered in the cuffs of his right hand, like the tongue of a poisonous snake.
The further he got, the lesser people there were. Flags, carriages, armour and weapons were abandoned everywhere. Blood flowed without end, forming dark red puddles on the ground.
A few ogres occasionally munched at incomplete corpses, just the sight alone enough to terrify someone. There were a few mercenary groups still immersed in battle. At the heart of it, the Ashen Hawks’ flag stood tall.
“Captain, our brothers can’t hold on for long!” The wizard waved her arm, and Inspirational Boost and several similar spells were cast unceasingly. It allowed the mercenaries nearby to perk up.
The Ashen Hawks and a few other midscale mercenary groups had previously held back a large portion of the ogres, allowing the merchant groups a chance to escape. An unending stream of ogres still surrounded, even outnumbering them at this point.
“We bought them the time time to escape, we’ve done our jobs! Prepare the spells; the entire team will scatter and leave. Let’s meet up again at the Giant Rock Town we passed by earlier!” Siegfried now had surging qi twining around his body. His armour emitted a slight luster, and surprisingly enough it was a magic artifact that had a high grade.
His giant silver-white blade was now stained with the blood of the ogres.
Heaven Breaker! The terrifying might of the battle technique of a high-ranked fighter was much more powerful than Rafiniya’s. Qi burst out like an arrow, instantly resulting in massive casualties amongst the ogres. There were even some cracks in the encirclement.
“Break out!” Siegfried urged his horse on madly, but while passing by the wizard, he spoke in a low voice, “Let’s break out through the front and meet at the largest city ahead!”
As a veteran captain of a team, Siegfried was not as righteous and great as he appeared to be. In reality, good people never made it for long as mercenaries. As long as he and the wizard lived, the Ashen Hawks could be rebuilt at any point.
‘Just from the perspective of a mercenary, he’s done very well. He shouldn’t be reprimanded for what he said at the last bit…’ At the sidelines of the battlefield, Leylin hid in the shadows and hugged his arms while evaluating Siegfried, ‘But.. The ogres this time aren’t quite so simple…’
He looked past the encirclement right in front of him. At the back, he saw a hint of intent to kill.
Chain Lightning! The black-robed wizard tore a scroll, and silver-white lightning chains exploded, leaping through the group of ogres. Those who were struck collapsed with a cry, a charred smell transmitting and opening a path for the wizard.
Upon seeing this, the wizard was delighted. However, before she could do anything else, a powerful magic undulation was transmitted from afar.
“Crap!” The wizard’s expression quickly changed.
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