152. Allies (12)
Pope Salem tapped on the armrest with his fingers. His unfocused eyes looked up at the sky, gazing at the moon replacing the setting sun.
It was the time of the day to embrace a woman while being drunk on some intoxicating herb. The time to lose himself in pleasure, drenched in sweat and going crazy, but…! He was having withdrawal symptoms because he couldn’t do it now. He was out of breath, and his body was trembling.
His sexual desire increased due to herbs, but he had nowhere to release it. It made him feel suffocated. More than anything, he was too excited at the thought of meeting Akareal. However, let alone meeting her, they hadn’t even been able to invade the city where she was in.
Salem could barely stand it any longer. He was getting closer to a beast with instinct than a human with rationality.
The Evilesse Holy Knights, who were guarding the Pope, looked at him.
“How long will it take? Seriously…!”
“The resistance is worse than expected. That siege weapon…” The Evilesse Knights looked at the magic bullet cannon installed on the exterior wall. “…It’s quite powerful. Half of the slaves are already dead. Most likely, we’ll need to annihilate the Lome Kingdom’s army and send in the regular army on top of that. We’ll also have to use any prisoners as slaves to minimize the damages.”
The muscles in Salem’s eyes twitched.
“That… Do you think that makes sense?! Argh!” Salem clenched his fist and destroyed the armrest. “I can’t stand it any longer! Helpharon, you must know something! How should we destroy that exterior wall?”
“…Why do you think I suggested invading the Aylans Kingdom, not the other places?”
“What do you mean?”
“Troops that rely heavily on mana. There is a way to make them ineffective.”
“…Ah!” Salem jumped to his feet and patted his chest while saying confidently, “Are you talking about me?”
“Then, I will show you God’s miracle one more time…!”
“Oh, Oskal! Kill that bastard! It’s our victory if we get him!”
“Everyone, go after that bastard!”
The Holy Knights wrapped their Holy Swords with Holy Power, along with the priests’ buff, and went after Oskal.
“Ha! No matter how an army of ants tries to attack, you’re all just about the same!” Oskal swung his fist and short sword at the Holy Knights crowding him.
The Holy Knights’ bodies were split into two by Oskal’s sword and exploded under the weight of his fist.
Nonetheless, the swords wrapped in Holy Power still cut Oskal’s skin, and the priests’ magic attacks made him lose his footing. At the moment, he was bleeding through his skin, which was like metal. Oskal gritted his teeth.
“This…is pretty bothersome.”
The remaining Holy Knights approached Oskal.
“Ha, he’s powerful indeed.”
“That’s to be expected from a previous member of the Hero’s party But he’s exhausted… We have a chance of winning now.”
Oskal shifted his gaze and focused on the Holy Knights protecting Pope Salem. They were looking at him with wry smiles.
The Evilesse Holy Knights.
“Let’s have some fun too.”
The Evilesse Holy Knights finally jumped in the chaos and went after Oskal. The next instant, an iron bar covered with thick thorns came right at Oskal. He lifted his hands to grab the iron bar and block it.
The ground under Oskal’s feet sank, and a sound of bone cracking was heard from his elbow.
“It’s heavy! But I can still block attacks like this…!”
“Do you really think you can block it?!”
Holy Power was injected into the iron bar, turning it red. Right in front of Oskal’s widening eyes, the iron bars exploded.
At the same time, two spear blades cut Oskal’s back.
“Ooh…what the hell? This is not a human’s skin! You really are a monster! I can’t believe it’s tougher than an Ogre’s skin!”
An Evilesse Holy Knight, holding a spear in each hand, glared at Oskal with a thrilled expression, a grin adorning his face.
“Ah…this, really…is troublesome.” Oskal gritted his teeth.
Pygni, escorted by the Royal Knights while holding a flag, gazed up at the sky. The sun was gradually setting as the moon rose. The seemingly endless shouts and the clashing of weapons gradually decreased. The Lome Kingdom’s army was now panting, their initially high spirits now exhausted.
‘Things are getting dangerous.’
Pygni’s lips twitched. At first, he believed he was up against a disorderly mob. But the opponent was a more well-equipped regular army than he thought. They even had Holy Knights and priests. More than anything, they had an overwhelming numbers advantage.
Oskal was filling up that missing number, but…even he was struggling against Evilesse Holy Knights.
“Urgh…what the hell is the Demon Kingdom doing? When in the world are they going to appear? Is there no news from them?”
Pygni asked a Royal Guard, who bowed his head and said, “According to the scout’s report, it has been a week since they crossed the border.”
“They should have arrived, then. Even we got here first despite having more troops. They should come promptly, or else”—Pygni looked at his dying soldiers—”everyone will die.”
Just as he finished speaking, a loud noise came from the Holy Kingdom’s terrain.
It was a deafening explosion. Even the air trembled as a sandstorm struck the Aylans Kingdom’s capital. In the howling wind, the slaves atop the exterior wall struggled with all their might to hold on.
Pygni covered his ears, while the Royal Guards covered him.
“…What, what was that? A new magic?” As Pygni’s eyes grew bigger, a quiet silence haunted the Aylans Kingdom’s capital.
‘…Did the bombing stop?’
The noise wasn’t gone because of the sand storm. No, the soldiers’ movement had stopped. In contrast, the slaves spread on the ground were starting to get up after the shockwave.
The black priests hurled out commands.
“Attack! With His Highness Pope’s grace, the bastards can’t perform any more miracles!”
The black priests took the lead in the recharged offense, and the slaves also followed behind.
Count Shabel, who was in charge of the exterior wall’s defense, shook his head. The shockwave just now deafened his ears, and his head had become hazy.
But even so, he instinctively shouted, “…Block… Block them! Defend the exterior wall! Fire!”
The Aylans Kingdom’s soldiers hurriedly tried to get up to their feet and formed a line. The dozens of magic bullet cannons were loaded and hundreds of soldiers with magic bullet musket guns formed ranks. The mages also held up their staffs in unison.
And…their eyes widened as their jaws dropped.
“…What are you doing? Shoot!” Count Shabel shouted at the lack of attacks.
The Holy Kingdom’s slave soldiers were coming at them, yet there was a long silence at the exterior wall. The soldiers’ pupils were threatening to drop out of their eye sockets. They were too shocked and puzzled. Seeing them, Count Shabel realized something wasn’t right. He looked at his trembling hands.
The mana in their bodies had vanished, the result of the shockwave just now. Accordingly, their weapons composed of mana were also rendered useless.
“…Ga-gather the mana!”
“Replace the magic stones quickly!”
The Aylans soldiers moved quickly. The mages focused their minds on gathering mana while the soldiers brought out the magic stones from the armory, reloading the magic bullet cannons and magic bullet guns. Even with such a quick response, the short gap ended up providing a chance for the Holy Kingdom.
“Open the gate! Heretics, open the gate. Be judged by us and atone for your sins to the Heavenly Lord!”
“Defeat the heresy, absolve your sins, and be free, slaves!”
The slaves and the black priests went up the exterior wall, starting their slaughter of the Aylans soldiers.
The Aylans soldiers had their guards up with their spears and swords, but they were still pushed out by the countless slave soldiers swarming in. At the moment, their siege weapons were paralyzed, and the main unit of the Holy Kingdom’s army fully exploited the opportunity. The Holy Knights in golden armor and priests in gold-embroidered robes also advanced.
“Siege tower!” Count Shabel pointed at the siege tower. “Fire!”
“All mana weapons are paralyzed. And the mages are also—”
“Call the mages in the palace! Quick…! It might have not affected them…!”
Count Shabel shouted the best he could. But despite his efforts, the situation quickly worsened. The massive siege tower crept closer to the exterior wall and lowered its gangplank, and out came members of the Golden Cross Army.
“His Holiness is coming! Open the gate before he reaches the gate!”
“Slaves! Seize the outer gate!”
The slave soldiers’ target switched to the outer gate. Soon, a battle ensued with the soldiers guarding the outer gate after the slaves got down the exterior wall with an unstable rope. On the other side, the Golden Cross Army slaughtered the Aylans soldiers even while going down the outer wall’s stairs. No one could block the swords and spear blades composed of Holy Power in Aylans. If there were any, it would be the mages and mage knights, but they couldn’t use mana at the moment.
It was a doomed fight.
A battering ram pounded the outer gate from the outside, while from the inside, the slaves separated the drawbars locking the gate one by one.
“G-guard the outer gate! Guard it to death…!” Count Shabel yelled at the top of his lungs, but it was all for naught. The outer gate was broken through.
The outer gate without drawbars was like a sandcastle, crashing by a single stroke of the ram. The Golden Cross Army took the place of the battering ram and slowly got in. The Holy Knights swung their swords, the priests helped them with grace, and the Pope marched behind them!
The sound of numerous priests reading their bibles created a holy atmosphere for Pope Salem, sitting on the palanquin, and the Evilesse Holy Knights around him. The outer gate had already been occupied.
“…Retreat,” Count Shabel bellowed while gritting his teeth. “Retreat! Retreat to the palace! Shut the palace gate and do a lock-in! We still have hope! Everybody, retreat alive!”
The Aylans soldiers were startled for a moment at the retreat order, but they quickly regained their senses and stepped back. Now, only the palace was left. That was the last defense.
“Haha! See? Those terrifying magic cannons are also powerless in front of my miracles! Open the way, so I, Pope Salem Gottshuranche, can cleanse you guys! Haha—cough! Urgh… my neck.” Salem burst into laughter.
His face was turning pale as his lips, nose, eyes, and ears bled. However, as if he couldn’t feel anything, he didn’t notice the changes, just yelling while opening his eyes wide. The Evilesse Holy Knights laughed in their hearts at the sight.
‘Haha! Crazy! He has lost his mind! He’s totally a madman! Though I like him better like this!’
“Is it the end for the Pope?’
‘Well, it doesn’t matter. If the Pope dies…’
‘We can just decide the next Pope.’
The Pope was dying.
Having won the war, he would die a sacred existence on this battlefield, and the successor would definitely be his son, ‘Egil’. The Evilesse Holy Knights were precisely after this outcome. Just the thought exhilarated them.
With a ‘puppet’, they could control the Golden Cross Army and the priests spread all over the continent, and as rulers, they could dye the world with blood and madness. They could already glimpse the miracle—everything ruined and broken!
‘It’s really exciting! But the problem is…’
For that to happen, they needed to eliminate the biggest obstacle.
The leader of the Holy Knights, Helpharon.
If he was raising Egil in secret, there was a possibility that he was also trying to use him as a puppet. The Evilesse Holy Knights weren’t fond of the fact, and they coldly glared at Helpharon from behind.
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