154. Allies (14)
“Pathetic bastards! I can’t believe you showed your backs to your enemy…!”
Karakul didn’t stop smiling while saying that. Since they showed their backs, it was a golden opportunity.
“Brothers! The time is now! Crush the filthy priests who even betrayed their own race!”
The Demon Lord’s army roared in response. The ground rumbled under the sprinting feet of monstrous demons as they panted and clutched their weapons with enraged eyes.
A group of monsters in red armor!
The sight of them running at full power, with raindrops bouncing off them, gave them a sense of sinister dignity befitting monsters emerging from Hell itself.
Seeing them, the slaves threw their weapons away while trembling and spread out, losing their will to fight. The Demons, however, ignored them.
“You’re getting in the way! Make way!”
The slaves split up to the right and left, and the Demons ran through them to the entrance of the Aylans capital. The Undead also followed while letting out unearthly shrieks.
Atop the exterior wall, the Holy Kingdom’s soldiers turned pale with fright. An immortal corps of walking dead and a wave of Demons were swiftly approaching.
This was the notorious Demon Lord’s army!
They were a terrifying foe that should only belong in fairy tales.
“Shut the gate!”
The Holy Kingdom’s soldiers hurriedly closed the gate. Even as the external gate lowered, the remaining soldiers tried to squeeze in through a small gap. It was a given; if the gate closed, they would have to face the frightening monsters with their back against the exterior wall!
“Wait! We’re going in too…!”
“Damn! Damn! Damn!”
The soldiers looked over their shoulders while running. The red-eyed Demons were barreling toward them with their mouths wide open.
With each second they were getting closer. They were gradually approaching!
Some of the soldiers thought they could already feel the Demons’ hot breath on their faces, as their fear-filled minds caused them to hallucinate. The clangs of the Demons’ weapons were threatening to pierce their backs.
Then the Demons reached the stragglers, and they plunged their weapons into their backs.
“I, I don’t want to!”
“J-just a little more…!”
They had to run to survive. They couldn’t look behind despite their comrades’ dying screams. Not being able to distinguish whether the breath behind them was a comrade’s or a monster’s filled them with horror.
The soldiers on the exterior wall shot arrows and hit the approaching Demons in turns.
However most of the arrows bounced off the Demons’ armor, and the few arrows that found a gap in the armor only served to further enrage the Demon. That rage fueled their bodies, and they sped up.
Was it because of their red armor? The red wave about to swallow up humans painted a hell-like scene!
“Close it! Please…!”
The Holy Kingdom’s soldiers pushed the castle gate, but somebody came in like a wrecking ball.
The sprinting man, Oskal, jumped, clenched his fist, and hit the closing gate.
Amid an explosion, the gate’s handle, which was broken during the siege, flew away and slammed into a building in the city. The soldiers around were either killed or injured by the fragments of stone.
The Holy Kingdom’s soldiers shouted with trembling voices while holding their weapons.
“The Lome Kingdom’s guardian knight?!”
The Golden Cross Army hesitantly raised their weapons. Oskal burst into a mocking laugh while looking at them.
“Haha! Do you really want to care about someone like me? The monster is someone else!”
The Holy Kingdom’s soldiers shifted their gaze to the external gate. The red wave was getting closer!
“See. They’re already here.”
By the time Oskal looked behind, the monsters had broken through the external gate at an incredible speed.
The Ogres swung their maces and the Holy Knights’ bodies bounced into the air like wicker balls. The Minotaurs’ hairy hands grabbed Holy Knights’ heads, hurled them down, and trampled them under their hooves without mercy. The Centaurs cut the Holy Knights with their spear blades as they passed by them. The Orcs used their swords, axes, and maces to push ahead while skillfully holding their shields. The Gnolls ran around and overpowered the Holy Knights with their superior mobility.
The red wave was eating up the golden line that stood before it.
“D-don’t retreat! We still have God’s grace!”
“Then beg to that God, humans!”
Allin hit a Holy Knight with his head and launched him into the air. The Holy Knight made a beautiful arc and hit the ground, letting out a horrible shriek before breathing his last breath.
Oskal flinched as he looked at the Holy Kingdom’s dying Golden Cross Army.
“He’s amazing, as expected. Did Thoma tame these kinds of things…?”
“Demons would feel offended by your words.”
Oskal glanced to his side. Tom was slowly walking towards him.
“You commanded that kind of Demon Lord army.”
“Now I don’t. Now…”
Tom shifted his gaze.
“Leave alone those who don’t have the will to fight! But don’t show mercy to those who oppose! Take revenge for all the humiliation we have received so far!”
With her silver hair waving around, Lily shouted at the top of her lungs while gripping her sword. The Demons engaged the Holy Kingdom’s soldiers with a renewed vigor.
“I’m only following Demon Lord’s order.”
“I see. So what are you going to do now? Are you going to hit that Salem guy right away?”
“It will take some time to breach the castle. They used to rule the continent, no matter their current state. And…another army is coming here.”
“The Holy Kingdom’s subordinate countries and allies, seven in total. They’re all powerful kingdoms, bringing about 200,000 troops.”
“2-200,000…? You’re joking, right?”
Tom smiled and said, “Does it sound like a joke?”
“…No, it must be true if you said it like that. Then, there’s only one way.”
“Great. I’ll help!” Oskal cracked his knuckles.
“You have to help here.”
“Ah?” Oskal frowned while looking at Tom.
“It’s an emergency here too. Even though the Demon Kingdom came to help, we’re at a disadvantage in numbers. Making up for that is what you have to do. And…if the seven countries arrive, you have to block them. Until I kill Salem.”
“…What if you die? Your opponent has a group of above hero-grade monsters.”
“Do I seem like I’d lose?”
Oskal recalled Artarrk and shook his head. He had seen Tom coming back to life as Artarrk despite being dead. Also, there was an immortal army getting summoned with his every step. Uncontrollable Undead that were like monsters. Even Oskal was reluctant to go against that group of Undead.
“…I don’t think so. You have the power to destroy the Holy Kingdom by yourself.”
Oskal closed his mouth while looking at Tom, who nodded his head way too easily.
‘But why doesn’t he do it? If it was something he can do alone, he would’ve done it sooner.’
Oskal couldn’t understand Tom’s thoughts.
Akareal turned pale as she moved her heavy body. She softly embraced her big belly with one hand and held King Paulie’s hand with the other. Mage knights escorted her while King Paulie held her trembling hand tightly.
“Don’t worry, wife. It’s nothing…!”
“What do you mean it’s nothing? What about the shouts outside? What about the screams…? Could it be…” Akareal’s face hardened as she muttered, “Did he come? Pope… Salem…? But when…”
“Don’t worry. I’ll protect you from that filthy priest!”
King Paulie pulled Akareal’s hand while gritting his teeth. Akareal shifted her gaze to the royal palace windows that could be seen from time to time. At the moment, that place was under siege by Holy Knights in golden armor.
The Mage Knights shouted in a hurry. The secret passage had also been blocked, and the only safe place was the king’s palace.
“Emergency-! Breaking news!”
A Holy Kingdom’s Holy Knight ran over to Salem. Seeing the Evilesse Holy Knights raise their swords and block him, Salem waved up his hand and held them back.
“What is it?” Salem ignored the Holy Knight and looked at the royal palace.
The Golden Cross Army rammed through the castle gate and went up the exterior wall. But as expected, it took time to capture the place. There was only one person who felt anxious as the seconds ticked by. Salem shook his legs as if he was displeased.
“The Demon Kingdom has stepped into the war! They are currently in a battle at the external gate! The slaves and our soldiers have engaged them, but it’s beyond their capability! It seems like it would be better to withdraw the main forces now and defend!”
“Withdraw?” The muscles in Salem’s eyes twitched.
“Our subordinate countries and allies are coming to support us with more than 200,000 troops. I think it would be better to block the Demon Kingdom and the Lome Kingdom until they arrive.”
Helpharon was the one who reacted. His eyes widened, and he looked at the Holy Knight as if he was surprised.
“They sent armies to help us?”
“Y-yes. Big armies. They said all of them are in the middle of assembling and are doing a forced march!”
“They’re just leading the main forces and not capturing the other fiefs?”
Helpharon didn’t say the question to the Holy Knight, though. He couldn’t understand. The Pope was insane, and the countries scared of his madness might listen to him, but it would be only ‘acting’. There was no way they would follow his unreasonable moves.
‘It’s crazy. What in the world are they thinking?’ Helpharon frowned, lost in thought.
The conversation between Helpharon and the Holy Knight went in Salem’s one ear and out the other. His eyes widened, and his pupils quivered. He could see someone moving in the palace. A woman was reflected in the window.
He could see her run away with King Paulie, as if they were in a hurry, under the escort of mage knights.
‘She’s running away?’
‘She’s running away? She’s going farther away again? She’s disappearing again? In front of my eyes…? Gone…?’
“Please withdraw the main forces right away, Your Highness! If we don’t block the Demon Kingdom, to this place—”
Salem frowned as he got up from his seat. He jumped out of the palanquin, grabbed the sword of an Evilesse Holy Knight, and swung it at the reporting Holy Knight.
The sound of metal rang as the sword and armor clashed. However, only a dull thump echoed since Salem, unskilled in handling swords, depended solely on his muscular strength while stumbling. He couldn’t cut through the Holy Knight’s armor.
Still, the armor got dented under Salem’s force, who had greater power than humans, and the Holy Knight started bleeding.
“What did you say just now?”
He held up the sword and hit the Holy Knight.
The Holy Knight screamed, but he couldn’t resist.
“You want me to withdraw the troops? She’s running away, yet we’re retreating?”
He held up the sword again.
And he swung it.
The armor came off, and blood splattered.
The Holy Knight pleaded, but it fell on deaf ears. In Salem’s head, there was nothing but one word, ‘withdraw’.
“Withdraw? Ridiculous! Are you telling me to see her go again!?”
Salem gripped the sword with both his hands and stabbed the Holy Knight. The sword was stuck into his body like a tombstone, and the Holy Knight died on the spot.
Salem gasped, looked around, and shouted, “What are you guys doing? Those monster bastards are coming. She’s going away from me once again! Penetrate!”
Salem yelled until the veins on his neck popped while pointing at the castle gate.
“Penetrate that castle gate right now…! I said penetrate it! Get rid of that wall separating her from me! And her, bring Akareal to me! No, I’ll go myself! I’ll go myself, so open the way!”
The Evilesse Holy Knights moved while scratching their heads, as if feeling annoyed.
“Well… since he told us to penetrate…”
“We can’t help it…”
The Evilesse Holy Knights started to move. They broke into a sprint and leaped. Using the ladder as a stepping stone, they jumped up once again, reaching the top of the rampart.
“Oh my God…! They went over the rampart at once…!”
The Aylans soldiers aimed their bows, crossbows, and magic muskets while staring at the Evilesse Holy Knights.
Arrows and bullets flew at an Evilesse Holy Knight, but he just covered his body with his shield, smiled, and shouted.
“Let the hunt begin!”
The bullets and arrows hit the shield and bounced off, as did the neck of the soldier.
“Okay…! It’s time for some heretic hunting!”
“Move aside! Move aside! Move aside!”
Their maces pounded the soldiers, and their chained sickles slaughtered them.
The mages threw magic, but the Evilesse Holy Knights showcased their overwhelming power. They cut through the magic spells with swords.
Blood splattered, and screams echoed on top of the rampart. The Evilesse Holy Knights were massacring the soldiers while laughing, as if the battlefield was a fun playground.
“Move aside… You’re getting in the way!”
The Evilesse Holy Knights, each over 2 meters tall, approached the castle door with iron bars in hands.
“Shoot that bastard!”
A rain of arrows and bullets followed, but the thick armor wrapping their bodies couldn’t be pierced. The Evilesse Holy Knights smashed the castle gate with all their might.
The wooden castle gate broke as fragments jumped all over the place.
The metal at the joints bent as it let out a shriek.
The gate shook, and the defending soldiers flew away.
A part of the castle gate broke, forming a hole.
“We have to repair the castle gate!”
“Bring the planks!”
The Aylans soldiers hurried over with wooden planks, but spear blades came through the hole and stabbed them.
“Open the gate, heretics! We are here to redeem you!”
The Evilesse Holy Knights put both their hands through the hole and spread it from side to side the best they could. The castle gate broke into pieces and was forcefully dragged out.
“Urgh…it’s heavy! Help!”
At an Evilesse Holy Knight’s shout, the Golden Cross Army stuck a pile into the castle gate, connected it to chains, and pulled it. The castle gate vibrated with a creaking sound.
The Aylans soldiers were shocked and stepped back.
“This is too much!”
“Get into the castle…! Fast…!”
“Protect Their Highnesses!”
The soldiers made a wise judgment. They decided to retreat into the castle and protect the King.
The castle gate was broken through, and the Golden Cross Army flooded in. Salem also moved at the sight. He didn’t get on the throne the slaves were lifting. Instead, he walked by himself.
Scratching his head in excitement, his fingers dug into the pores and pulled out his hair. His eyes rolled around, and he let out ragged breaths.
“Aah… We’re going to meet. Akareal. Finally…! She will…!”
His body trembled as he entered the palace with a mad look in his eyes.
— Ω —