Chapter 18 – The battle for the sawmills (5)
The bowstrings were released in a cacophony. Countless projectiles were fired and covered the ground like a cloud casting shadows over it. The Subterrane Dwellers at the forefront felt like they crashed into a wall. Projectiles littered across the smooth pebbles, and they stepped onto the bolts in confusion, stumbling and falling over. Very quickly, they were turned into corpses as arrows continued to fill their bodies.
The raining arrows completely ambushed the Subterrane Dwellers, and those at the frontlines retreated in a panic. However, the creatures at the back continued to advance, and thus they collided and fell into complete disarray.
[[That’s a great chance!]]
Jana and Raban immediately had this thought. They unsheathed their rapier and greatsword respectively, ready to lead their men to charge into battle and finish them.
But Brendel’s sword swung downwards and cut across a line in front of their feet. The wind pressure cut through the ground deeply, before it ended up in a tree and climbed upwards, causing branches and leaves to be severed. Both of them held their breaths and gaped. They turned around involuntarily to look at Brendel.
“My lord?” Raban asked.
“Prepare an attack formation at the river.” The Nightsong Tiger and his men were engaging the Subterrane Dwellers on the river’s coast, charging straight into their tail.
“My lord, but…..” Jana gritted her white teeth and looked hatefully at the panicking monsters in the river. “This is an opportunity.”
“Your opponents are not humans.” Brendel glanced at her and answered simply. He pointed his finger to his ears. These creatures fought in the darkness their whole lives and relied on their hearing senses to discern the creatures around them. They were much more responsive in handling unknown situations better than humans.
This ambush might have caused them to be in complete chaos, but they were going to recover very quickly. Their way of communication was emitting pitched frequencies, and it was far more effective compared to humans who relied on flags and uniforms to discern direction and allies.
[The Subterrane Dwellers recover much more quickly compared to other army types. The worst of them all is Earth Spirits, once they lose their formation they can’t regroup. The group immune to panic or confusion from ambushes is the undead. Only incredibly well-trained armies can take advantage of the Subterrane Dwellers. You mercenaries are not.]
The only way to take advantage was to attack the moment they fell into chaos, but only an exceptionally trained army would be able to do so.
The two commanders were still unconvinced, but Cornelius pulled out his longsword and walked in between them. “We should listen to our lord,” he had instinctively realized something was different about the Underworld creatures, “we lack the experience to fight these monsters.”
Brendel raised his eyebrow as he noted the ambition in Cornelius’s eyes. He did not care about the reasons why they followed him, but as long as they did, they had to submit to him.
“It’s good enough if you understand that point, I don’t have enough time to explain it to you,” He lowered his sword and said, “now execute my orders.” Once he was done, he merely turned his body towards the river.
“Is my lord going to the frontlines?” Jana was still a little uneasy. She did not understand why he insisted on having them fight the Subterrane Dwellers in a direct battle. Even a battalion of Aouine’s army numbering five hundred, might not gain any advantage in fighting them, not to mention their smaller numbers of mercenaries.
“I have selected my targets,” Brendel answered.
The two angels were fighting against the three Earth Spirit Bears to a stalemate, while the Nightsong Tiger held the first advantage by targeting their weakest link. Brendel did not waste any more time and activated his Charge skill. He leaped into the air and flew across the ground like an arrow, and the second step he took changed his direction and descended into the enemies’ midst like a meteor.
In the mercenaries’ eyes, the young lord seemed to turn into a black trail of light as his cloak fluttered behind him, reaching the Nightsong Tiger’s army in the blink of an eye.
A few Subterrane Dwellers realized a disturbance in the air and raised their weapons, but Brendel was already past them and went straight for one of the Earth Spirit Bears. The gigantic brute shook its furry ears and turned around, swinging its flail straight at him. Under the influence of Charge, he witnessed the attack in slow motion, dodging the attack by jumping up on its arm and ran straight to its shoulder.
The movements were done in a smooth stroke, and when the mercenaries finally caught a glimpse of his body, he was already half kneeling on its shoulders and was sending his longsword straight into its throat with both hands. With a quick pull after the blade found its mark, a geyser of blood shot out and sprayed across the ground.
The Earth Spirit Bear bellowed painfully as its body shook a few times before it collapsed heavily onto the ground. Silence momentarily filled his surroundings as the Subterrane Dwellers realized what happened.
The mercenaries who watched the entire exchange stopped what they were doing and felt their blood boil. They gasped heavily as they thought they were witnessing a legendary tale happening before their eyes. They would never forget that moment—
Raban swung his greatsword into the ground and caused a loud crash, forcing the mercenaries to break their eyes off. He lifted his weapon back up and ordered them with a yell: “Form up, advance with speed, and don’t let the enemies get to the shore.”
But when he turned around, the Subterrane Dwellers had calmed down.
The ten-odd Camlu were repeatedly screaming, sending out commands to their subordinates. The chaos that the creatures had earlier was gone, and they were back into formations, seemingly ready to advance again.
It was less than half a minute.
Raban then realized Brendel’s decision to stop them was completely right. If they had charged down to the river, they would probably face an organized army before they even reach their destination, while their own mercenaries would not be in formation. Against these opponents that were stronger than them, Raban did not even need to think and know what the result would be.
His eyes sought for the other two commanders and saw that they were having the same uneasy thoughts while they maintained their own mercenaries’ formations as they started marching to the river’s bank.
[Who exactly is this youth? It seems like the wizard under him is a Highland Wizard, so he must be a noble’s scion from Karsuk. Even if you compare him to the most promising nobles of Aouine, he won’t lose out even a little.]
His stray thought only lasted for a moment, before he turned his attention towards the enemies. He judged the battle ahead of him to be terrible odds. Even though the youth’s judgment had been right again and again, he was beginning to feel that the Subterrane Dwellers were impossible to defeat.
The mercenaries had no chance at all if he looked at the enemies’ morale and organized formations, as well as each individual’s strength. In fact, he had no confidence that they would be able to handle the first clash.
He raised his hand and signaled. The first group of the mercenary warriors raised their shields up and marched forward. The row behind them were mercenaries that used lances and other weapons with long reach. The ones that stayed behind at the top of the forest were marksmen who continued to reload and fire.
The first bout of projectiles did not produce great results, and it was more of a question of how effective it could be. It was almost nothing more than a psychological comfort.
As the mercenaries marched closer, they found the Subterrane Dwellers and Earth Spirit Bears maintaining a constant and organized movement, as though it was a requiem of death. Raban’s men could now feel what their commander was thinking about, and their expressions were infused with doubt and the intention to retreat.
Their morale was plummeting.
They were no more than a hundred feet apart from each other when the archers and crossbowmen fired their third volley of arrows. Raban could clearly see the weak arrows bouncing off the Earth Spirit Bear’s hides, and how ineffective they were.
Fifty feet left, and Jana stood in front of her men. Even though she thought herself as one who did not possess enough strength, she could at least deflect the initial damage to those who saw her as the head of their family.
She felt considerable regret for the first time, wondering if she chose wrongly. When she peered at the young lord, he had just killed off the second Earth Spirit Bear, but he did not turn back to take even a single glance at the mercenaries facing the reinforcements. She could not help but think that he was just like the other nobles who did not care whether they lived or died.
Twenty feet, and Cornelius could almost see the disgusting skin folds on the Subterrane Dwellers. His head was full of cold perspiration, and he gripped his sword tightly.
Just moments before they clashed, the mercenaries could hardly be called as an army anymore; but so did the creatures in front of them. They had clashed together in confusion, with the results completely out of everyone’s expectations.
That was because the battlefield had lost all sound.
Everyone realized that fact.