Chapter 14 – Piercing through
Nearly everyone was stunned.
Brendel had led the cavalry through the forest quickly and pointed out the location of the undead as if he had the ability of clairvoyance. Only Taron and a few of Luc Beson’s soldiers guessed that it had to something to do with the gargoyle, but they did not have much time to think about it.
Brendel immediately gave the order to attack, and fifty odd riders charged along side with him. They split up into various groups as they got nearer, and surrounded the enemy, sealing off the possible retreating paths.
[Good. The enemy is moving just like how I predicted and they are completely surrounded.]
The mercenaries and Luc Beson’s soldiers started to see Brendel as a leader that was only heard in legends.
The initial battle began with Brendel’s sword arte, smashing five skeleton soldiers into pieces as he charged straight at the enemy. The skeletons that tried to block him from reaching the commanding necromancer was sent flying backwards approximately seven or eight meters. The same scene the men witnessed earlier repeated itself, with Brendel thrusting his sword straight through the necromancer, with everyone reforming and charging at the remaining skeletons, crushing the enemy completely.
After traveling for about five minutes, they met and defeated a group of skeleton riders which caused them slightly more trouble. It was a complete victory for them, but this time there were three riders who got injured. Brendel immediately rushed over to them and bandaged them up. Due to his skill, their bleeding stopped in a matter of moments, which was even more effective than some blood staunching medicine, and he sent one of the more heavily injured person back to rejoin the refugees.
This minor action won him even more repute, and even Taron and Luc Beson’s men started to think there was nothing that Brendel could not do.
[…. Hah. 779 XP for the two battles. With the combined XP from the previous battles, I reached level 17. If this situation wasn’t a game, I might even feel bored because of how static Madara’s riders tactical placements and strategies are in this era…]
The greatest improvement in the undead tactics came along when Incirsta reformed the ranks, and they became more flexible and difficult to deal with.
At the same time when Freya instructed the refugees to abandon the horse carriages to improve their marching speed, the Madara undead found they were in trouble.
Medes, a half ghoul and skeleton, received the report from the frontline. The undead acolytes had sent over ten shades to the south, but there was only half that returned to their ranks.
[The refugees did it? Or a trap set by a greater force?]
Medes scratched his maimed head, sending several fat maggots that crawled out from his head in surprise. Some of then crawled into his eye sockets and cavities of his face, and he grabbed one and sent it into his teeth, eating it.
He then took out the map he used earlier and started drawing lines to indicate where the group of refugees might go.
[The enemy has the ability to suppress the shades and my predictions might not be right… I need to have the acolytes send out a second batch of shades to verify them, but at the same time my army has to speed up so that we can seal off the escape paths along with Ebdon and the other undead leaders.]
There were seven undead leaders who were out there, including himself, hunting for refugees in every direction. No matter how cunning the refugees were, they had no way of running out. Madara had a proverb: ‘No matter how clever the rats were, they cannot escape a sealed oil barrel’.
[When the sun rises, the entire southern region here will be covered of the shadows of Brumand’s black roses, and Madara will seize victory—]
Medes petted a zombie that was lying down like an obedient dog. But just as he thought everything was going according to plan, Brendel was cornering a company’s undead leader.
Approximately five minutes ago, the Black Knight Xelsa confirmed that he had lost contact with two groups of ten skeleton riders each, and it started wondering if he was targeted by an unknown group of Aouine’s army. Despite the immediate response by sending out shades and riders to the eleventh company nearby, none of his scouts returned.
That was when it realized the situation was grave.
When Brendel and his mercenaries appeared on a hill nearby the undead company, they saw that they had stopped and was preparing to camp on the spot. Batum, Leto and Mano did not see anything odd in their formations, but Brendel secretly frowned.
[The quality of their captains are outstanding, or at least this one is. I was hoping that this undead company would form up with the nearest company ahead after losing their scouts, and we would be able to lead the refugees over with this hole in their formation, but the commanding officer made the best judgment in such a short time.]
“What are they doing?”
Taron knew a little of Madara’s strategy, and he asked out of curiosity. He looked at Brendel, not doubting his ability in his mind anymore.
“They are on guard at the very same spot. I wanted to confuse their leader by killing all their scouts cleanly and quickly, making it think that there was a force that was at least three times bigger than their numbers.”
“Three times? Then why doesn’t their leader regroup with the nearby undead forces. Are they not afraid of getting surrounded?”
“The leader is waiting for their allies’ scouts.”
“Are they not afraid that we can stop their scouts too?” Mano quipped while polishing his saber.
Brendel glanced at him.
[Do you really think we can stop them anytime we want? If it’s not for one of the best scouting unit type like the gargoyle, do you really think we can sweep up all the scouts that were sent out?]
“Destroying their scouts have told them there are enemies in this direction. The reason why we destroyed the two groups of skeleton riders, is because Brendel plans to destroy this entire company as well.”
“Then we don’t have too much time in this plan right?”
“One hour. We must finish before that and clean up the battlefield too.” Brendel answered.
[Freya will reach this place with the militia in about twenty minutes…]
When Xelsa surveyed the area, he suddenly saw a group of soldiers with long spears walking down from the hilltop. He was momentarily taken aback as their attire was different from any of Aouine’s troops.
He turned his head around and asked with a hoarse voice: “This army belongs to which city’s troops?”
The necromancer beside him immediately bowed respectfully and answered: “They appear to be militia.”
“Militia? How can a group of militia defeat two squadrons of our skeleton riders?”
The Black Knight felt there was something amiss, and he straightened up on his force and signalled.
“Change to your bows.”
“The target is one hundred and forty feet, scatter shot formation……. Fire!”
The skeleton soldiers had switched to the longbows on their back when they received the command, and started to fire upon his order. A series of highly strung strings trilled as black arrows flew across the fir trees and into the hill.
The wind in the hilly areas were very strong, and the arrows basically had no aim into them. However, the militia that had very little training was frightened by them. When they saw the arrows, they stopped momentarily before descending into chaos.
Freya immediately rode back to the right flank and issued commands to the Aouine’s light infantry and remaining mercenaries to lead the militia.
“Lower your bodies and keep your head! Remember your training, do not stop moving! Follow me and fight for your families!”
Freya roared with her sword in hand. Her commands seemed to work, and the militia quickly regained their courage and regrouped, moving at a quicker pace than before.
The dark knight furrowed his brows, and ordered the skeletons to unleash another volley.
“Targets, one hundred feet. Take aim— Fire!”
The skeletons’ arrows were much accurate this time, and there were a few militia who were struck down by the arrows, rolling down the hill.
But after the two volleys of arrows, the militia had overcome their fear and steadied themselves. The arrows were not as effective as they had imagined it to be.
Xelsa immediately changed his strategy and targeted the female knight. The third volley of arrows concentrated on her, but her armor lit up with countless spots of lights, and every arrow that was fired at her deflected everywhere.
This miraculous scene stunned everyone, and they cheered and roared out Freya’s name—
“An Elven imperial soldier?!” The Black Knight was so furious that he nearly laughed. He did not understand where this ridiculous army came from.
Brendel who was hiding along with the mercenaries from a short distance ahead in the hills, nodded when he saw Freya leading the army calmly with decisive orders.
[Even though she’s a little clumsy during the normal days, but this battle proves she’s the future Goddess of War.]
He took out the pocket watch and checked the time.
[We are on schedule—]
He got up on his horse and gestured. The mercenaries mounted their horses, and when he saw they were ready, he pulled out his the Thorn of Light. A dazzling light burst forth as he roared,
The sudden roar and dazzling light made the enemy and Freya’s army look at Brendel and the charging mercenaries behind him.
“An Elven sword!” Xelsa immediately recognized it and almost screamed. He pulled out his own sword.
“Ciel!” Brendel raised his sword high up and shouted.
The young squire instantly raised the ruby in his hand and pointed at the sword: “Sharpness, shall split all into two, the creation of blades.”
A white beam of light extended from Brendel’s sword before it disappeared a moment later. The magic had temporarily improved the quality of the blade, making it sharper and harder.
“My lord, a new day is about to arrive, please remember to pay the cost to my maintenance.” Ciel grinned and said when he finished performing the spell.
Brendel smiled faintly in response, then took on a serious face. He pointed his sword at Xelsa’s formation, signifying the upcoming battle.