Chapter 1418: Gone with the Wind
Translator: Sean88888 Editor: Elkassar1
The Source of Darkness hall had played a key role in this critical moment. Every time an Oathbreaker from the Army of the Dead moved within 100 metres of the hall, it would go completely out of control, either running wild like a headless fly or turning on its own allies. Of course, as long as the Oathbreakers stayed out of that range, they remained unstoppable!
But that was not all. The Source of Darkness hall also provided very powerful buffs to those inside it.
As long as a warrior remained in the hall, the hall would remain indestructible. The warriors fighting in the Source of Darkness hall would also be blessed by Sauron’s power. Their HP would increase by 200%, their attack power and defence would both increase by 30%, and the damage they received from all ranged attacks would be reduced by 40%.
In addition, when a warrior received damage in the Source of Darkness hall, it would trigger a bonus recovery effect called the ‘Wind of Darkness’. The higher the damage received, the stronger the recovery effect. After extensive testing and calculations, it was found that a contestant in a state of near death left in the Source of Darkness hall without any recovery medicine would be out of the state of near death within ten minutes, and would regain full condition in an hour. Of course, that was only for the contestants. The recovery effect for storyline characters was calculated differently.
However, the Source of Darkness hall could only accommodate a few hundred people, and although it only had one door, the door was quite wide. The enemies did not even need to enter the hall; they could just launch long range attacks from various angles outside the hall and their attacks could cover most of the hall. Only less than a quarter of the area inside the hall could be considered blind spots that could not be attacked from outside. The enemies would have to rush into the hall to attack these areas.
Facing the overwhelming assault of the Army of the Dead, the dark side collapsed like dominoes. The chaotic situation made it really hard for the routing army to distinguish directions and targets. Most people could only go along with the flow of the crowd as they ran away.
Therefore, the situation Sheyan was worried about – that the Source of Darkness hall would become so overcrowded that Party Ace could not find any room to squeeze inside – did not happen. On the contrary, under the deliberate obstruction and guidance of enemy contestants, when the chaotic bloodbath on the battlefield had largely subsided, there were only Party Ace, half of Skull’s party, and some scattered contestants that had separated from their teams in the Source of Darkness hall. There were less than 30 contestants in the hall that could accommodate hundreds!
Neither the Blue-ray Party, the Maritime Alliance, nor Zeus’ Glory Party had entered the Source of Darkness hall. Why? The answer was obvious. Once inside the hall, though they would get additional buffs, they would also become trapped inside without any way out. Sure, they could put up a strong resistance by relying on the chokepoint and buffs, but if no reinforcements came from outside, how long could they last?
If the enemies blocked the only exit, they could forget about breaking their way out even with all those buffs in the hall.
What’s more, the Army of the Dead may fear Sauron’s power in the hall, but that was not necessarily true for other storyline characters! Aragorn the protagonist, Gimli the Dwarf, and Legolas the Elven prince were powerful characters; they could very well lead others to charge into the hall as the arrowhead of the formation! As soon as they broke through the resistance at the door, enemy contestants would send in droves of redeemed troops into the hall to wipe out those remaining inside!
As had been mentioned before, once a contestant had upgraded the main mission, mission failure meant death, but all three of the aforementioned parties presumably had the kind of powerful items that could exempt the whole party from mission failure penalties. Therefore, as soon as they saw the Army of the Dead appear, they were already looking for escape routes, preparing to run away, which they did as soon as the situation took a turn for the worse. Thanks to the Haradrims sacrificing themselves as cannon fodder at the frontline, the three parties ran away faster than anyone else!
The enemy contestants tried to force their way into the Source of Darkness hall twice, but met with strong resistance from Reef and Skull. They could only leave some people outside to keep watch and continue blocking the enemy in. The rest followed behind the Army of the Dead to join in on the massacre, reaping contribution points.
The Minas Tirith contestants were no fools. There were profits to be gained everywhere, so why would they waste time on those in the hall? It was not like the contestants inside the hall could run away. The Minas Tirith contestants could just leave them for last.
As time trickled away, the sounds of shouting and killing on the battlefield slowly subsided. Replacing them were sounds of groaning, crying, and sudden short screams that could be heard from time to time. These were the sounds most often heard in the aftermath of a battle. The groaning sounds were made by the injured allies that were being rescued, the crying sounds were made by those who found the corpse of a companion, and the sudden short screams were naturally made by the survivors of the dark side who were discovered and finished off.
After the vast Army of the Dead had routed all the enemies on the battlefield, they started gathering around the Source of Darkness hall from every direction until all tens of thousands of Oathbreakers completely encircled the hall without leaving any gaps between them, although they strictly abided by the hundred-metre boundary. The horrifying dark green spirits hissed and roared loudly. The sound they made, with the bloody battlefield as the background, was truly hair-raising.
Seeing this, Party Ace exchanged glances among themselves. They saw the anxiety in each other’s face.
According to Sheyan’s deduction, the Army of the Dead was not a loyal army, because they were not Aragon’s private soldiers after all!
They were the Men of the White Mountains 3000 years ago, and at the founding of Gondor, they swore an oath to Aragorn’s ancestor Isildur that they would fight for him. However, during the dark years, they had worshiped Sauron, and so when the time came and Isildur asked for their aid, they refused, leading to Isildur’s defeat.
Isildur hence cursed them in anger. They would be haunted by this oath forever, until they fulfill their oath and were forgiven by Isildur’s heir! The Men of the White Mountains had been carrying the curse for thousands of years since then; even death could not free them. Therefore, they were only a bunch of undead monsters who owed the heir of Isildur an oath, and had been bound by Isildur’s curse to remain in Middle Earth.
That was to say, they fought for Aragon only because of the oath. Without the oath, these ghosts would raise their swords at anyone.
Therefore, there was no way they would show any kind of eagerness or proactiveness. Their oath was just to help out in a battle.
That was why Sheyan deduced that when the Battle of the Pelennor Fields had been won, the Army of the Dead, who had been suffering for three thousand years, would surely ask Aragon to fulfil his promise to release them from the curse!!
Sheyan’s analysis was reasonable and completely in line with the original plot. And now, the Battle of the Pelennor Fields had clearly been won. All two hundred thousand Orc troops and thirty thousand Haradrim troops had nearly been wiped out. So why had the Army of the Dead not disbanded yet?
While Party Ace were looking at each other in confusion, a calm voice came from the party communication channel.
“Inspect every corner of the hall. Check if there are any special figures inside.”
The voice immediately injected renewed vigour into the party. They exclaimed in surprise.
Sheyan smiled and said, “My job over there is done. I took the chance to sneak someplace nearby during the chaos just now. They’re keeping a tight watch on the hall. I can probably rush into the hall if I try, but I’ll definitely have to pay a heavy price, so I think I’ll just lurk around first. Inspect the hall, quick!”
The inspection soon produced a result. It had been mentioned before that behind the Source of Darkness hall was Gothmog’s residence. There, they found the unconscious and heavily-injured Gothmog. Half his head had been knocked flat. An elite Uruk-hai bodyguard lay dead next to him. Obviously, the loyal bodyguard had used the last bit of his strength to drag Gothmog back here before he succumbed to his injuries.
Despite his severe injuries, Gothmog’s condition seemed stable. He would probably recover given time.
When Sheyan was informed of this, he immediately ordered without any hesitation, “Throw him out.”
“What!!!” Sheyan’s decision obviously shocked everyone.
“But doing that will cause the Orc army to completely collapse,” Zi could not help saying.
“The Orc army has already collapsed,” remarked Sheyan coldly.
Zi could find no words to retort. Meanwhile, there was a look of appreciation in Aziz’s eyes; Sheyan’s order was clearly quite to his taste.
“But if we can save Gothmog, we’ll definitely be rewarded with a staggering amount of contribution points….” Sanzi hesitated.
“Which is more important, contribution points or your life?” asked Sheyan.
In the end, Zi pushed the heavily-injured Gothmog out of the hall with ‘Force.Collision-Wall’. The Gondorian alliance could hardly believe their eyes when they saw the “generous gift”! Legolas the Elven prince claimed the kill under his name. He fully demonstrated the advantage of long range attacks with his bow and arrow. With a single arrow, he made Gothmog’s head explode!
A few small, scattered groups of Orcs were initially still putting up resistance on the edge of the battlefield, but following the death of Gothmog, they instantly routed! Party Ace also received an emergency notification:
[ The commander-in-chief, Gothmog, has died in battle! The morale of the Orc army has completely collapsed; they are no longer able to continue fighting! The attack power of all dark side forces is reduced by 20% due to a drop in morale (this weakening effect will not be applied to creatures redeemed by contestants through contribution points). ]
But also following the death of Gothmog, the King of the Dead finally led his army towards Aragon who was holding the sacred sword of Andúril.
There were no more fights on the Pelennor Fields, and the Army of the Dead could not get near the Source of Darkness hall. The enemy commander-in-chief had also died. The Army of the Dead had made great contributions in this battle, completely annihilating the Haradrim host and eliminating at least a quarter of the Orc army’s remaining combat forces afterwards.
No matter how one looked at it, the Army of the Dead had already fulfilled their oath!
Two green flames were burning in the eyes of the King of the Dead which were staring at Aragon. The thousands of vengeful spirits behind him were also looking at the powerful human king with the same cold, anxious gaze.
“Keep your promise, King of Gondor, wielder of Andúril, heir of Isildur!”
Deep inside, Aragorn was naturally not very willing to release this army that had terrifying strength, was fearless of death and injury, and had no need for supplies! However, under the watchful eyes of those around him, he could not refuse! If he reneged on the promise, the angered Army of the Dead might actually turn on them!
Therefore, he could only force a smile and declared, “Go! You have fulfilled the oath from three thousand years ago. I, King of Gondor, wielder of Andúril, heir of Isildur, now free you from the curse!”
Following Aragorn’s words, the sacred sword in his hand, Andúril, gave off a soft glow which shone on the Army of the Dead. Under the illumination of the glow, all the ferocious, terrifying spirits threw down their weapons, looked up to the sky and smiled soundlessly. Flesh and skin returned to the spirits; they were finally restored to their appearances of the Men of the White Mountains. They looked at peace, happy, serene. They then vanished like a mist that was driven back by a sudden wind, never to be seen again.
And thus, the most difficult enemy Sheyan had ever had to deal with, the most formidable enemy he had ever met, was gone with the wind!
However, the strength of the remaining Gondorian alliance was not to be underestimated. The main force among them was undoubtedly the garrison soldiers of Minas Tirith. They originally numbered almost 7000 in total, but half of them had died during the brutal war, so they still had about 3000 men left. The only legendary figure among them who could still fight was Faramir, the son of the Steward of Gondor. Gandalf was still recovering from his injury.
The cavalry of Rohan also numbered around seven or eight thousand originally, but their casualty rate was much more tragic. They probably had only about two or three hundred people left. Legendary figures who could still fight? None!
And here, history had taken a different turn. The King of Rohan, Theoden, who should have died under the hands of the Witch-King of Angmar, had survived at the cost of his legs. On the contrary, Éomer, who should have survived, had been killed, ambushed by the contestants. The king’s goddaughter, Éowyn, had survived, but her condition, according to modern medicine, was called intracranial hematoma plus severe concussion, which means she would probably remain unconscious for quite a while.
Of course, the most dazzling force was the trio of Aragon, Gimli and Legolas. Counting the hundreds of contestants remaining and the various troops they redeemed with contribution points, they were still tens of thousands strong.
Even aside from the powerful legendary figures, the tens of thousands of troops alone were enough to crush any powerful contestant parties! Therefore, even though the Army of the Dead had dispersed, the Minas Tirith contestant alliance still felt that they had victory in their grasp.
The Minas Tirith contestants knew that they should not let the situation drag on lest anything unexpected happened. So, after taking a short breather, they launched the most violent assault on the Source of Darkness hall yet! There were only about 30 people inside the hall. Even if the hall gave them powerful buffs, it would at most double their strength, so their combat power would only be equivalent to around 60 people. In the opinion of the Minas Tirith contestants, 60 people would eventually be worn down by wave after wave of attacks! After all, the disparity between the combat power of the two sides was simply too great!