108. Undecided (6)
A portion of the Lome Kingdom’s army was setting up their formation, preparing for the coming assault.
“They’re preparing to attack?”
The invading army had begun building their encampments as soon as they arrived at the border. Previously, the Hero’s Allied Forces had taken a long time to prepare strategies every time they tore apart even the most pitiful encampments the demons had prepared. However, this human army didn’t waste a single second and was planning to attack immediately.
‘Does this mean that they weren’t planning on giving their soldiers any rest?’
“…Are they stupid?”
Skarni mocked them. She thoroughly believed that such an army would not last long. Still, the wisest choice was to report everything to the ground forces and let them handle it.
Just as Skarni was preparing to descend to the walls below, the knights of the Kingdom of Lome started falling into line. They were getting ready to charge.
The front ranks mostly consisted of sturdy men wielding large shields. Their leader had an overwhelming physique, wearing nothing more than leather clothes despite the cold chill of the winter. He wasn’t even wielding a greatsword nor a steel spear like the other knights. All he held was a short sword with a sharp blade. But, due to his physique, the blade’s length looked that much shorter and looked like a dagger in his hands.
The man approached the gate alone. His equipment was nothing to speak of, but Skarni felt strangely anxious.
It was the same for the demons stationed above the walls. The Orcs looked down below and watched the human slowly approach them.
“He’s coming alone?”
“Is he an ambassador?”
“Should we attack…?”
“No, to attack an ambassador is…”
The Orcs were puzzled. If the enemy was an ambassador, they had to let him inside rather than attack him. However, since they didn’t know his intention, they couldn’t just let him enter. The Orcs turned to their General, the highest ranked Orc currently stationed in the City of Twilight.
“What should we do?”
“…The moment we open the gates, the waiting soldiers might rush in. I’ll go out personally and meet him,” The Orc General said before preparing to go down.
The Orcs turned to look at the human below, roaring with a loud voice. Oskal loosened the shoulder that held his short sword and shouted.
“I’m going to attack now-! It’s not an ambush. I’m declaring war with the formality of a knight! If there are any civilians or non-combatants, evacuate them now-!”
“…I see. He’s just a crazy bastard.”
The Orc General’s expression soured. The former Demon Kingdom might have been weak, but to look down on the current one like this was closer to an insult. The opponent was either crazy or trying to incite them.
“…Prepare the ballistae.”
The Ogres stationed on the wall began to move their massive bodies. They gripped their siege ballistae and aimed them at Oskal.
“He’s a pitiful bastard that’s clearly been sent over as bait. Still, we cannot spare any invaders. Fire!”
When the General lowered his raised hand, the Ogres let out a monstrous roar and pulled the triggers. Even these mountains of flesh staggered back due to the massive recoil of their weapons, but that didn’t affect the flying bolts; their aim was true. They accurately whizzed toward Oskal.
Seeing this, Oskal just smiled.
“I warned you beforehand. Now that you fired first,”—he raised the short sword in his hand—“the war begins!”
The sword moved downward and caused a boom the moment it touched the ground. The snow-covered earth exploded, the thick snow blinding all those nearby. The flurry of snow and shockwave deflected the bolts flying toward him back at the gate.
“Prepare for impact!”
The Orcs on the ground hurriedly clung to the gate, but the snow shook it like an avalanche. A crack formed, and the sturdy gate began to split.
“How is that a human!”
“Just what was that attack…? Magic? Was it magic…!?”
The Orcs screamed in terror, while the General gritted his teeth. He glared at Oskal between the scattering snow from on top of the wall, before rushing down to the gate himself.
“…No, it’s pure power! It’s an impact from him just simply swinging his sword!”
“Dear God…! Do you think that makes any sense, Sir? Even Heroes can’t produce such force…!”
Once at the gate, the Orc General pulled his sword from the scabbard hanging on his waist.
“That means he can only be one person. That bastard is the Guardian Sword of the Kingdom of Lome, Oskal. He’s one of the party members of the former Hero!”
“A-are party members stronger than Heroes nowadays…?”
“Heroes of the past had a different standard than the current ones. Shit…! To think he’d be a force of this magnitude…!”
The General roared toward the Orcs,
“Prepare for war! Ready every long-ranged weapon! Our target is the old bastard standing right in front of our eyes!”
Hearing his shout, the Orcs on the wall shot to their feet and raised their crossbows while the Ogres and Trolls aimed their ballistae.
“What…?! What! Just what happened?”
Skarni, flying in the skies, almost crash-landed due to the ensuing shockwave. The gust of wind made it hard to maintain balance. After stabilizing, she looked at Oskal and grew pale.
“I-I have to report this! Report it to the Demon Lord’s Army coming to this place…!”
Skarni frantically rose into the sky.
“W…hat? It didn’t collapse…?”
Oskal’s eyes grew wide as he stared at the sturdy-looking gate. The area around the gate was covered with snow due to the impact. It was warped around a slight crack that could be seen in between the thick snow. The wall raised by the efforts of the demons had fractures running through it, and the Dwarves’ proud creation, the gate, was bent and twisted. But neither were fully destroyed, and that fact made Oskal unhappy.
“…Such a durable gate. If our army went in headfirst, they wouldn’t have been able to get through. It’s good that I stepped in first. Twice? No, three times should be plenty to break it…”
At that moment, Oskal’s eyes turned upward. Hundreds of arrows and bolts were plummeting through the sky to rain down upon him.
Oskal quickly twisted his body to evade the onslaught and rushed toward the gate.
“Don’t let the bastard approach the gate!”
Crossbow bolts struck Oskal’s flesh. However, they couldn’t penetrate his thick skin and muscles and bounced off. The only ones showing any effect were the powerful ballista bolts fired by the Ogres.
His leather clothes were pierced, and the massive bolts made him look like a porcupine. Blood gushed out from his wounds, but Oskal simply groaned before throwing his body at the gate. He swung his fist, ignoring it all.
The steel bent, as if bombarded by a mighty canon. Although the Orcs wanted to cover their ears to block out the earth-shattering noise, they knew that the gate would cave in with even the slightest respite. Hence, they relentlessly pulled their triggers.
“Is he even human!? These bolts were prepared by the Dwarves, but they’re just bouncing off him!”
“Monster! To think the humans called us monsters with someone like this around!”
“Shit! Kill that bastard! If the gate opens, that monster is going to get in!”
Oskal looked at his deflected fist in surprise. His arm felt numb, and the skin on his hand had ruptured, causing it to bleed heavily.
“What…!? This gate… I knew it was tough, but isn’t it a bit too much?”
Oskal frowned. He felt like his pride had taken a hit as he retreated, but this was war. He wanted to raise his arm to shield his head, but all of a sudden, his arm along with the rest of his body were riddled with bolts.
“…This is dangerous. It doesn’t hurt much, but the bleeding is making me dizzy. I also don’t get how their skulls can handle the recoil from a weapon that large.”
Oskal retreated and blinked to clear his eyes.
“This… I don’t think I can demolish this? Then…!” Oskal placed both of his hands onto the gate. “I can only push it open…!”
The ground underneath Oskal’s feet began to give way as a loud groan rang out from the gate. The dented steel screamed while being pushed back bit by bit.
His eyes twitching, the Orc General had to take a step back.
“…Crazy. This is crazy! How could there be such a monster among the humans…! Man the gate! We can’t let it open!”
At the General’s command, many of the Ogres and Trolls quickly descended the wall and approached the gate, pushing back with all their might. The Orcs also brought logs and leveraged them into place. Now began the contest of strength between dozens of massive monsters and a single human.
“…Even if he is stupid, isn’t this too stupid? Does your leader always fight like that?”
Pygni, watching from far, flapped his tongue as he turned toward the Royal Knights. Even if he was an idiot, no human in this world would allow his body to be turned into a pincushion while pushing against a castle gate with his bare hands. When the knights remained silent, Pygni scratched his head before peering over at the demon’s fortification.
“…Well, Oskal can’t take care of everything by himself… Let’s start our attack as well.”
The silent ranks of knights stirred upon Pygni’s words. Maintaining their formation, they charged toward Oskal, using their shields to cover as much of their bodies as possible.
The demons now felt even more pathetic. Their hands were already full with this single monstrous human, yet the human’s entire army was now approaching.
“Shit! Shit! Shit”
The Orc General couldn’t relay any more commands and continued to shout profanities.
Arrows and bolts flew toward the knights, but regardless of their sharpness, they were deflected by the thick steel shields. Only the powerful ballistae of the few Ogres and Trolls left on the wall bore any result. The impact was enough to blast away several men at once, and the pain made them scream.
“Open! Open up! It’s really dangerous…! Lots of blood is being spilled…! And if a bolt hits my head… Eung!! It’s really not opening…!”
A thick liquid was poured on Oskal’s head, followed by a torch, and his entire body lit up. However, even as the stench of burning flesh began to spread, Oskal did not stop.
“That bastard… He’s not dying!”
“I-is he immortal…!?”
Witnessing the terrifying scene, the Orcs’ morale started plummeting. He would not die regardless of how they attacked. Rather, it looked as though all their strikes were meaningless, and he was allowing them to land on his body while pushing back with great strength. He was similar to an immortal spoken about in myths.
“It’s so hot. I’m going to die! So hot-!”
Oskal’s biceps twitched. His veins popped, but he gritted his teeth. On the other side, the Ogres and Trolls let out a monstrous roar. They used every last ounce of strength in their body to hold the gate steady. Nonetheless, the contest was slowly inching in favor of Oskal.
The Ogres and Trolls dug their feet into the ground and tried to do whatever they could to hold on, but their efforts were futile. The gate began to crack open… Then, human knights appeared, having reached the gate.
“It’s time! Fire!”
Arrows mercilessly flew in through the crack. They bounced off of the Ogres’ and Trolls’ hides, but those that found their way to their eyes caused the Ogres and Trolls to fall away in pain. Oskal did not miss the opportunity and swung his fist.
— Ω —