116. Winners and Losers (3)
The distance between the soldiers of Lome and Hell was shortened to about 100m.
“Stop the humans-!”
The Orcs formed a file behind the barricade, dug their shields forward, and raised their long spears to defend.
The Orcs’ roar rang out on the battlefield. The Knights, seeing this, were surprised, but as expected, their charge did not stop.
“A shield formation?”
“It’s a pike wall!”
“It doesn’t matter! We can break through!”
“Do not fear! Show them the pride of knights!”
“Don’t slow down!”
Rather than reducing their speed, they sped up much faster. 50m…
“Fight against death!”
“For the glory of the Kingdom of Lome-!”
“Draw your sword!”
The screaming of the knights and the Orcs combined into a cacophony of blood boiling war song.
Karakul looked at the charging knights that refused to stop.
“They’re not stopping? Then… we shall stop them! Lulu!”
Allen and Hecaron looked surprised and turned to the cute voice behind them. Seeing the small boy’s rabbit ears who didn’t even reach half their height, their eyes grew wide. The rabbit boy, Lulu, smiled awkwardly under their gaze and quietly closed his eyes. In that moment, a massive wall shot up from the ground in between the knights and the Demon Lord’s army’s formation.
The knights abruptly stopped to prevent themselves from smashing into the wall, but they couldn’t overcome their momentum and grew entangled. They failed to control the heavy weight of their armor.
A knight on his warhorse, holding his lance, was shocked by the wall that suddenly popped out of nowhere and couldn’t move. His eyes scanned it from every angle, but the end of the wall was significantly far away.
“…I-It suddenly popped up?”
“When did this wall…!”
It was Lulu’s phantasmic magic, but the Kingdom of Lome possessed no magicians that could discern this fact. The Knights and soldiers thought that the wall that suddenly appeared before them had been hidden through some trickery.
The Knights stood dumbly, not knowing what to do, before the wall. A Knight among them mustered up his courage and tried to carefully poke the wall with his weapon. The wall created ripples as the weapon was simply sucked straight in.
The Knight faltered with surprise. At that moment, the deafening sound of an explosion rang out. Just as he heard that boom, his companions on both sides exploded into a bloody mist and collapsed, their body pieces flying everywhere.
As the soldiers finally gained their wits, all manner of fireworks burst out from the wall. With a loud boom, volcanic firepower poured out at the same time.
The armor of the soldiers were pierced and blood sprayed everywhere. However, knights with heavy armor only felt a blunt impact and they wavered before getting pushed back. When they finally recognized what it was, the knights paled in fright.
“M-Magic ballistic gun?”
On the other side of the phantasmic magic, Goblins were holding long metallic barrels in between the file of Orcs. They pulled the triggers of the guns and blue flames burst out like blooming flowers. Condensed mana shot through the air and directly pierced some soldiers of the Lome Kingdom.
“Protect the front!”
The shield soldiers frantically formed a barrier. Their steel shields deflected the bullets of the Magic ballistic guns, barely holding the line. The soldiers behind them weren’t pushed back, but supported them instead.
The defensive line began to move, step by step, in a file. The problem, however, was that, when the Knights’ charge halted, they had lost their momentum. At this rate, all they could do was fight between shields.
‘…And when the main force moves in, it’ll allow their siege units to attack!’
They had wanted a chaotic battle, where siege weaponry couldn’t be used. It would allow their main force to move under good conditions. Nonetheless, the battlefield was constantly changing. What was a simple task before now looked difficult.
‘But this isn’t the worst-case scenario. The firepower of the Musket style Magic Ballistic gun is weak! Shit, we should have just ignored the wall and charged!’
“We march forward like this! If we can just move forward this w—”
The soldier holding the shield in front of the commanding Knight flew back from a blast. In his place, a blue spark burst out and dissipated, leaving behind flames in its surroundings. The soldiers saw the empty space in between them and froze.
“Those bastards, firing Magic Cannons …!”
“S-shit, we have to increase our speed!”
The Goblins had changed the direction of the Magic Cannons. They were facing the sky before, but now, their dark muzzles were aimed at the front. With the Knights’ momentum frozen, there was no easier target to hit than the one that wasn’t moving.
The distance between them and the Knights was a mere 20m and they were gathered together in a shield formation. Their movements were also dulled after having lost their momentum. Even for Goblins that hadn’t received any training, all they had to do was point at a target and pull the trigger to land a hit.
“Kyahahaha! It’s a hunt! A hunt!”
“Fire! Show them the power of Goblins!”
The Goblins roared in laughter while pulling the rope that acted as a trigger. The Magic Cannon continued to rain hell on the charging Knights. Normally, the shells would float in the air and burn up midway while descending. However, the shells fired directly at its target flew with explosive speed and collided with the soldiers of Lome, causing flames to spread and gore to spray everywhere.
The soldiers flew in all directions from the impact of the explosion. The nearby soldiers screamed miserably as the condensed mana flames spread to their bodies.
“Fire-! Fire-! Fire-! Shoot down all those that looked down on Goblins as tiny, weak Demons-!”
The Goblins continued to aim their dozen or so magic cannons and hundreds of Musket Magic guns forward. They pulled the triggers, letting loose fearsome firepower. Although the shields could block muskets’ bullets, it couldn’t stop the siege style Magic Cannons. Rather, the condensed formation provided a good target, allowing them to be swept away at once.
With every explosion, they could see their comrades shooting into the air like fireworks. Several people died with every shot and the horror that it could be them next made the soldiers’ procession slower. Rather, it was enough to make them feel as though they should retreat. The Knights, with terror in their eyes, gritted their teeth and shouted.
“Continue blocking with shields and charge as fast as possible! I-it’s only 10m now!”
The knights cursed under the cannon fire. They should have just charged when they had the chance. If they had, they could have defended against the guns with their shields while moving and have no casualties from the Magic Cannons. However, at this rate… there would be nothing left of the assaulting forces.
The soldiers of Lome nocked their bows and shot into the air. The arrows formed a parabola and rained down in between the Goblins.
“Protect the siege troops!”
The Orcs raised their shields and tried their best to protect the Goblins. The Demons manning the walls twitched with every cannon fire, their eyes shining as the sounds incited their excitement.
‘The strategy used against the Demon Lord, Vladiferr, is quite useful. What’s more, the Magic Cannons’ large scale killing power… is not that bad. Also, the various things I’ve learned from Sir Tom are helpful too.’
Karakul’s lips curled up. The castle wall was what Demon Lord Lily had used, while the Magic Cannons was Hero Ludin’s final resort. And finally, there was that thing Tom advised on.
Break the enemy’s morale and force the terror to its peak. With overwhelming power, I mean.
The enemy’s movements were restricted at this point, so… now was the chance.
“Break the wills of those that wish to fight us! Hunt to your heart’s content-!”
With Karakul’s cry, the Goblin’s fire stopped. The Muskets were raised into the air and the Magic Cannons were pulled back. When the cannon fire ceased, the ringing in their ears also went away. A soldier of Lome froze at the sudden peace and peeked his head out from the shield, only to see a massive ax blade.
In an instant, the shield tore away, along with his head.
The knights forming the shield wall were blown away. Dozens of Minotaurs, their horns facing the front, charged as their massive bodies, wriggling muscles, and the iron armors’ weight shook the land.
The soldiers of Lome were either skewered by the horns, knocked away, or trampled into meat patties by the cow hooves. Their bisected bodies were propelled into the air by the swinging ax blades, creating a rain of blood.
“Wait, we can’t stop that!”
“Release the formation and scatter!”
“Prepare the spears and chain!”
The Lome soldiers broke their formation in an instant and scattered like flies. When the Minotaurs passed between them, they threw out their chains to halt their charge. However, they were unable to overcome the Minotaurs’ terrifying strength, which was overwhelming to humans’. In the end, the soldiers that had thrown out the chains ended up being dragged along instead.
“Confront them! 10 men for one!”
After a brief panic, the Knights calmly set up formations to face the large Demons. The Minotaurs had penetrated deep into enemy lines now. They were digging their hooves into the ground while swinging their massive halberds. The Knights, rather than trying to block such attacks, evaded by rolling away before swinging their blades or stabbing with their spears.
Allen sighed in admiration, surprised by their quick reaction.
“…Amazing. These guys are quite strong.”
Each one possessed strength similar to a skillful adventurer. Among the Knights, some could face a Minotaur alone. However… while Lome army’s attention was drawn by the Minotaurs, another unit from the Demon Lord’s formation prepared to wreak havoc.
The Orcs quickly crushed the barricades dug into the ground and pulled the barriers back. In that empty space, the Centaurs formed a line. Hecaron, who stood at their front, licked his lips in glee.
Before him was a fierce fight between the large-sized demonic Minotaurs and the soldiers of the Kingdom of Lome. Still, around them was a flat grassland and there were no obstacles whatsoever. To top it off, there were a large number of enemies that were just begging to be trampled. There was no condition better than this for mounted soldiers!
“The humans are scattered! Make those bastards kneel under our hooves-!”
Hecaron raised his front legs, his hooves flailing in the air. At the same time, the other Centaurs lowered their waist as their hands clenched tightly on their spears.
It was now time for the cavalry to show their brilliance. The mounted unit made up of Centaurs formed a wedge formation and ran like their lives depended on it.
“…It’s the mounted troops!”
The Knights instantly made the judgment to form a formation and raise their spears, but…
“Who would let you…!”
Allen jumped up and swung his halberd at the soldiers. He destroyed the Lome’s formation, allowing Centaurs to weave between them.
The Centaurs’ spears stabbed and tossed away the Knights like matchsticks. A few Knights jumped in as a group to create a containment line, but they were simply struck by hooves and killed. The Centaurs broke the camel’s back with their charge.
Things had finally reached a point where the Lome’s vanguard could no longer be commanded. In this all-too-chaotic situation, their morale had been destroyed.
The Minotaurs and Centaurs had created the ideal scenario. It was now time for the weak beasts to hunt the hunters. The Orcs and Goblins grabbed their weapons to give the Humans a taste of their own medicine.
“Let me step in, as well.”
Karakul massaged his neck and slowly walked forward, Orc soldiers following him. Despite the chaotic and messy situation, the Orcs walked into the battlefield with leisurely steps.
Noticing the new group, the Knights turned to them with stiff bodies. Instead of rushing in and defending, they retreated. The Orcs’ eyes were filled with bloodlust and their relaxed movements made the Knights feel nervous. If there was any that did charge at them, they were all too easily taken care of.
“Sweep them all up.”
The Orcs scattered to put the nail into the coffin. They threw their sturdy bodies into the fray, swinging their weapons. The Knights were easily slaughtered by them like a bunch of vegetables on the chopping board.
The eyes of the Lome soldiers, who were panting and sweating despite the cold winter season, trembled at the sight of the crimson armored Orcs. The grassland was dyed in blood.
It was so ironic. The Demon Lord’s army, that was a mere few thousand, looked like they had several times their numbers. The grassland continued to be painted a deeper red until it was hard to discern whether the armors of the Orcs were originally red or were dyed in blood.
One of the Knights with a high position within the Lome army saw the bloody earth and muttered, stricken with fear, “R-retreat…”
Was this what they deserved after spilling so much blood? All other soldiers turned to the Knight.
“R-run… We can’t win…! We can’t win…!”
“R-run? Retreat? Pulling back?”
The Lome army’s will to fight had been broken. They abandoned their weapons and turned their backs to the enemy in a bid to flee. The exhausted Lome soldiers ran toward their base, trying to survive for one more day. When they finally reached their safe haven, something caught their leg.
One by one, the Lome soldiers were grabbed by their legs and pulled into the tall grass. Even if they had tripped while running, it was all too unnatural of an action.
“W-what? What happened…?”
A soldier scanned his surroundings in a panic. He was making his escape when his leg got caught by something that pulled him toward the grass. He hastily lowered his head, only to see a Demon with the head of a dog. It was a Gnoll.
With a cold flash, the dagger in the Gnoll’s hand pierced the soldier. For Gnolls, who were masters of stealth and tracking, this kind of tall grass was a favorable environment.
The Gnolls busied themselves, capturing the fleeing Lome soldiers one by one, swallowing them up in the tall grass. There was no mercy. This wasn’t a battle that the Knights could feel proud of. It was a one-sided slaughter, an extreme action of a side trying to completely crush an enemy.
Pygni saw the situation unfolding before him and froze. The Knights and Demons were tangled together in battle, but the Knights had lost all vigor and were busy fleeing, unable to put up a proper fight. Even retreat wasn’t allowed, though, as the ones that chose to escape were dragged into the grass and removed from existence.
An army of 3000 men ended up evaporating in an instant. There wasn’t even a moment to command or respond effectively. Within 10 minutes of the Magic Cannons firing, the battlefield had a winner. Even if he had moved the main army, it would already be too late.
Pygni gritted his teeth and looked at his surroundings. The stand-by soldiers and Knights were frozen stiff at the sight of their allies being slaughtered. 3000 trained Knights and soldiers were fleeing without being able to inflict any damage unto the enemy forces. Their screams lingered in the air as their blood painted the earth. The Demons in crimson armor looked imposing and grand, their numbers suddenly magnifying.
The soldiers of Lome swallowed drily, unable to speak a word, their eyes wide. Their eyes weren’t filled with the sympathy of their companions being killed. Rather, it was terror. Their morale was extinguished after having their initiative suppressed and the enemy’s might had made them lose their senses. The fear… was slowly spreading. This was more dangerous than any other development.
“No!” Pygni frantically shouted. “Oskal!”
“…I am aware. It’ll be dangerous at this rate. The morale is probably not worth mentioning. I’ll step up personally.”
Oskal, who had experienced the battlefield, prepared to leave quickly.
‘Good. For the Devil of Lania to not have appeared up to this point must mean that the bastard is definitely not here! This situation is already the worst! To make it any worse…’
It was at that moment. Pygni’s eyes grew even larger. A lone figure stood tall at the front of the field, donning a helmet made of a lion’s skull, a pair of large deer antlers, a plate armor made of crustacean shells and fish scales, and a snake for a tail made up of Magic Power.
“…The Devil of Lania?”
Pygni ground his teeth with a petrified expression. The Devil of Lania was here? If then, Oskal stepping in would make things even worse.
“…We’re retreating. This battle is a defeat.”
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