151. Allies (11)
“Climb the ladder!”
“Hurry up! You’ll be riddled with holes if you don’t push it…!”
The slaves placed the ladders against the exterior wall and started climbing. The defending soldiers atop the walls aimed their muskets at the slaves. With a slight squeeze of their fingers, the dark muzzles spouted flames, riddling the attackers’ bodies with bullets. An instant later, the walls were painted a gloomy red.
“Pour the oil!”
“We’re out of mana. Rotate!”
Large pots of sizzling hot oil were brought out and poured down the walls. At the same time, the drained mages retreated to take a break and recuperate, fresh mages taking their place on the wall.
“It’s a catapult!”
The mages gathered around and chanted spells to form a joint defense against the incoming attack. A transparent layer formed above the wall and blocked the lump of rock. The invading slaves became the unfortunate ones and turned into minced meat instead since the rock had stopped in the air and dropped.
“D, damn it! I don’t want to die…!”
“Oh, my! They’re coming up! Give me a spear!”
An Aylans soldier gripped his spear and aimed it at a slave who was climbing up. But…
“S-save me…! D-don’t kill me. I’m a slave. I’ll surrender…!”
The soldier was startled. But he didn’t lower his spear, watching the slave waving his hands in the air.
“Oy! What are you doing? Kill him!”
“He was forced to become a slave! We might be able to save h—”
The Aylans soldier hesitantly stretched out his hand. He wanted to save the slave soldier, but midway, the soldier’s face hardened. A tattoo of a bible verse could be seen under the slave’s clothes, something engraved on heresy interrogators.
The person he considered a slave sneered and stabbed the soldier’s shoulder with a sickle.
“What the hell…!?”
“It’s heresy interrogators!”
“It’s the black priests! They’re hiding among the slave soldiers!”
“We can’t tell them apart! It can’t be helped! Kill them all!”
The Aylans soldiers stabbed the people climbing the exterior door with their spears. At this moment, the outer wall was already on fire, with rocks dropping like rain. Every so often, the slaves would be hit and fall to their deaths.
The battlefield was a cacophony of cries and screams…and then there was a change on the hillside in the Aylans Kingdom’s capital.
Silver armor glittering under sunlight and a flag with a sword drawn on it suddenly appeared. It was a group of men wearing full-body metal armor, huge lances and bardings, sharp swords and spears, and heavy maces and shields. The Aylans Kingdom soldiers’ eyes grew wide.
“It’s our reinforcements! It’s the Lome Kingdom!”
The Aylans Kingdom soldiers shouted with joy. On the contrary, the slave soldiers trying to capture the exterior wall became dispirited.
“What the hell…!?”
“Enemies are in the back too!”
Pygni was surrounded by his vanguard knights, and 50,000 soldiers assembled behind them. Everyone stopped in unison, their hands resting on their weapons so that they could fight any time while paying attention to their Lord.
When the Holy Kingdom’s soldiers saw the Lome Kingdom’s soldiers appearing on the hill, they shut their mouths and retreated.
“…The Lome Kingdom!?”
“What are the scouts doing!? They came all the way here, yet nobody noticed!?”
Salem also noticed his battle array falling into chaos, so he shifted his gaze.
“…Who is that trash?”
Helpharon glanced at Salem, who snapped out as if he was dissatisfied.
“The Lome Kingdom.”
“The Lome Kingdom? Ahh…the traitors? Why did they show up? To swear allegiance to me again?”
“That’s…” Helpharon looked at Salem. “They must be aiming for Your Highness’s neck.”
“…Who’s attacking who?” Salem waved his hand as if he had just heard a boring joke. “That’s funny. No matter how violent they get, aren’t they just trash? Those people are after my neck? No, before that, what’s with their numbers? They’re trying to attack us with only those men? That’s funny! Haha!”
“War isn’t just a battle of numbers. It’s dangerous for us with the enemy at our backs. Shall we turn our army back?”
“Turn back what? I can see her soon now. Are you telling me to delay it more? Cut the crap!”
He then tapped on his throne’s armrest and said, “Why can’t we capture them before that? What are the slaves doing? Send more troops. We have to capture them quickly so that I can save her with my hands!”
“More like throwing her into despair instead of saving her.”
“Isn’t it the same thing? Everyone I touch shall receive salvation. Haha!” Salem burst out laughing.
Seeing his words falling on stone, Helpharon sighed and mumbled quietly. “…Where’s Egil?”
“It seems like you really cherish my son. For someone who tried to kill me, you care about my son quite a lot.” Salem smiled while glaring at Helpharon. “Don’t worry. My son Egil…” He tilted his head back.
As if waiting on cue, the Iblis Holy Knights dragged in a prison wagon. A young boy was imprisoned there, his wrists and ankles shackled and chained. There was no wound visible, but his eyes…were red with a bandage on, as if they were hurt somewhere. He was groaning.
Helpharon’s eyes widened. He mumbled with a low voice, then said in a loud emotion-suppressing voice, “…What did you do to Lord Egil?!”
“That stare, I hate it. Those clear and clean eyes, suggesting that I am a hypocrite, I really hate it. So…” Salem made a gesture of taking out eyes with his fingers. “I plucked them out. Anyway, isn’t he my son? It’s up to me no matter what I do with my lineage…!”
The raging emotions took control of Helpharon, and he took his sword out. But at the same moment, dozens of weapons were aimed at his neck.
“He’s your son! But—”
“My son? So what if he is? I don’t recognize someone trained to kill me as my son. What’s so nice about leaving him alone to his devices? I wanted to take out his tongue and cut his ears like I did to Hero Thoma, but”—Salem beamed at Helpharon—”I only did it to his eyes, in case you’ll be sad.”
“…I’ll kill you.”
“Then you’re putting me in a difficult situation.”
The Evilesse Holy Knights smiled sadistically.
“Commander, put down your sword.”
“Don’t you have to be loyal to His Holiness if you want to live?”
“If you harm His Holiness, that kid will die too.”
Helpharon put down his sword with trembling hands.
“Cooperate with me if you want to live. Kill King Paulie and bring Akareal to me. And also the Fragment of God,” Salem said while smiling.
Helpharon glared at Salem as if his stare alone could bore a hole through him.
“When this war ends… I won’t stay here anymore.”
“I’m sorry to hear that… Well, I’ll let you live on an island like I promised.”
Salem smacked his lips.
The Evilesse Holy Knights pointed their swords and looked at the faraway Lome Kingdom’s soldiers.
“…Are you really not turning back the army?”
“Not at all. But Oskal is pretty annoying.”
Salem shrugged at the Holy Knight.
“He already has one foot in his grave, merely a powerful old man at best. Besides, our allied forces, our loyal servant countries, will assemble in the Aylans Kingdom soon.”
When they invaded the Aylans Kingdom, the vassal states and allies, sensing the Holy Kingdom army’s movement, ordered their troops to focus on the Aylans Kingdom’s capital to support the Holy Kingdom. Perhaps it was because of Helpharon’s trick to stop the allied nations from working together with the Demon Kingdom that the Lome and Aylans troops appeared stronger than they thought.
“If they arrive in time, it would be the end of the Lome Kingdom’s army too. And we’re entering the Aylans capital.”
“Well, if they stay obedient until then, that is.”
The Evilesse Holy Knights looked at Lome Kingdom’s battle array.
“Ooh, it seems like they have some internal conflict? And why are they ignoring us? They keep attacking the capital without minding us? Is an army of 50,000 nothing to them? They dare look down on us, the country of knights?”
Pygni frowned while looking at Salem’s battle array from the hill. He didn’t like how the other party treated them like air.
“I’m pissed off because it reminds me of the past? Didn’t that bastard also look down on me back then? I even bowed my head to that bastard. Aah, I want to put him on a guillotine so much.”
A vein popped up on Pygni’s forehead.
Oskal shook his head.
“Please keep your dignity as a king.”
“It’s because I’m enraged, you know? No, don’t you know better?”
A long time ago, Pygni and Oskal used to bow their heads to Pope Salem. And now, the time had come for the opposite to happen. The chance to be free from the shame and humiliation was ripe for the plucking.
“Oskal, you’ve been enduring it for so long… I think you can do it now.”
Oskal turned his arms around and warmed up after hearing Pygni.
“My body was itchy anyway. Can I beat that bastard up?”
Pygni curled up the corner of his mouth.
“So that it would be dusty on a rainy day… No, you can beat him up till he’s black and blue.”
“Isn’t public execution the formal way?”
“We’ll do that when the Demon Kingdom is here. Until then, beat him up, but keep him alive. You can save some priests and make them heal him. Then beat him up and heal him again, beat up and heal, and so on. That’s also how that bastard tortured people.”
“Can you bear the consequences? It’s against the Continental Law to torture a Royal.”
“Why does it matter now? The Continental Law and religion are already in a wreck… We shall bring change once the Holy Kingdom collapses. Let’s not be so bound by the norms, Oskal.”
“Haha! That”—Oskal clenched his fists and took out his short sword—”I like that. As expected of my master!”
Pygni planted the flag he was holding on the hill and kept it fixed. Then he turned around and looked at the Lome army.
“Did you see that? They are treating us as air. What is it that makes them look down on us? Because we’re incompetent?”
Pygni shook his head.
“No. We’re the most powerful knight country in the continent, the Kingdom of Lome. Will they underestimate us? Then what is it? Strategy?” Pygni said while touching his forehead.
“Hmm, that doesn’t make much sense either. Aren’t we the kingdom of wisdom? Then what is it? Religion? Is God protecting them?” Pygni frowned.
“I don’t think so. They themselves abandoned God. Then…” Pygni stealthily looked at the Holy Kingdom’s battle array. “Aha! Numbers. They’re fighting in numbers! Isn’t it funny?”
Pygni wryly smiled before shouting at his army, “I can’t believe bastards who depended on their numbers were the rulers of this continent! Well, 200,000 versus 50,000, it’s obvious. But… I can’t pretend I didn’t see people, previously honoring themselves as knights, put the weak in trouble, and I can’t ignore an ally’s request of help.”
Pygni mounted the horse brought by a knight while holding up the flag that was planted in the ground.
“They have caused chaos in the continent. They’re the corrupted ones who have gone against their oaths as knights and noble priests…!”
Pygni waved the flag.
“Let’s make a judgment-! Knights! It’s your King’s order! Cut down every corrupted bastard you see! Make them repent for their sins!”
“Obey King’s order-!”
The Lome Kingdom’s army took out their weapons and held them up in unison.
“We will cut down all the corrupted!”
Oskal lowered his body at Pygni’s shout.
“Hear your King’s order! Bring the Pope to me!”
“I shall obey King’s order!”
Then Oscal’s body bounced off.
“Follow Mr. Oscal!”
Oscal and the Lome Kingdom’s cavalry unit lead the charge as vanguards. The army behind them started to run with all their might. The hooves of the cavalry’s mounts struck the ground, and steel boots left behind their marks.
The ground echoed as the Holy Kingdom’s soldiers fell into chaos upon witnessing the flood of the Lome Kingdom’s army raging down the hill.
“Shieldbearers, step forward!”
The Holy Kingdom’s regular army held up their shields and aimed their sharp spears forward.
The priests held up their staffs and chanted, casting light on the shieldbearers and pikemen. As the best regular army in the continent, and adding the buff from the priests, their sturdiness and firmness was like a castle wall. However, there was someone who could crush even that castle wall.
“Stop me if you can!” Oscal sprinted and leaped before striking down his short sword. The Holy Kingdom army’s spear blades hit him, as if they were going to turn him into a pincushion. But let alone piercing his skin, the spear blades broke instead. An instant later, the Holy Kingdom’s soldiers were thrown into the air. Oscal’s short sword had hit the center of the line they were forming.
Just as the Holy Kingdom soldiers’ eyes widened while retreating, Oscal swung his fist and short sword at them. The buffed soldiers tried to block him by holding up their shields, but their shields broke and their bodies exploded from Oscal’s punches. Whenever Oscal swung his sword, everything around him would be torn to shreds.
“Full speed-! Charge!”
Then appeared the Lome Kingdom’s cavalry at their backs. They ran and jumped before cutting through the collapsed formation. The horseshoes turned the Holy Kingdom’s soldiers into meat patties, sharp lances cut the soldiers and threw them into the air, sword blades cut their helmets, and maces hit their bodies.
“Keep the line! The line…!” The Holy Knights yelled at the top of their lungs, but the disorganized soldiers didn’t pay them any heed. Their yells were lost amid the Lome Kingdom soldiers’ shouts and Oscal’s explosion.
“O-Oscal…! I just need to kill that bastard…!” A Holy Knight looked at Oscal’s back.
He injected Holy Power into his swords and slashed them at Oscal’s back, but his target swung around and grabbed the sword.
The sword blade wrapped in Holy Power penetrated Oscal’s fingers, yet it only caused a wound on his skin and couldn’t cut his muscles and bones.
Oscal’s eyes widened at the sight. “What…? A wound? These bastards, they’re not just mere decorations? They might be unexpectedly competent…?”
“The monster isn’t me but you guys!” Oscal squashed the Holy Knight’s head.
— Ω —