75. Canibar Territory (5)
As time went by, Count Shabel felt more and more nervous.
“Where in the world are you going?” Count Shabel snapped in a demanding tone, glaring at Tom.
After presenting the letter, Tom hadn’t gone over to the rampart to block the enemies from breaking through. Instead, it was the opposite. He had gone up to the top floor where the whole of the Canibar Territory could be seen―away from them.
“Hey! You guys, too! Stop them! If you guys don’t stop the Holy Kingdom all the citizens of Aylans will die! We had a deal, didn’t we?!”
Count Shabel shouted as though he were being betrayed by them. However, he knew that these people were from an unidentified country. They didn’t technically owe him or his people their loyalty.
But the situation had become desperate.
Ellin smiled awkwardly and Halsem looked at Tom with a look that suggested that he was about to cry.
Tom stepped onto the balcony on the top floor.
The strong downpour had decreased. Bright sunlight streamed through the dark clouds as the morning arrived. Also, a blanket of white fog had formed due to the temperature difference and it was now covering all of Canibar and the forest outside it.
Even in that fog, however, Count Shabel could see what was going on in the distance with a glance.
Fires raged, and his people were being slaughtered.
Count Shabel screamed in despair at the sight and fell to his knees.
Because of his incompetence, everyone was dying.
He felt guilty. He had believed that the Continental Law that had held for thousands of years would continue to hold forever. So, he had not been prepared to face an opponent that didn’t seem to care about it.
Soon, tears filled with rage ran down from his eyes.
The screams of his people and the joy of their attackers was burned into his mind.
“It’s okay,” Tom suddenly spoke with a smile. “Just watch.”
“Watch? W-what do you mean just watch?! What are you saying!”
Count Shabel grabbed Tom by the collar and shook him as he gritted his teeth.
The rampart was going to fall soon, his soldiers and his people were going to get killed and would not be able to escape.
‘And you’re asking me to just watch that? You’re insane!’
“I can’t believe that you would break your promise to me like this! I shouldn’t have relied on you!”
A cold feeling suddenly appeared in his stomach, and his eyes widened.
“No, are you by any chance… a soldier of the Holy Kingdom?!”
Count Shabel thought of the worst-case scenario. If this person before him had actually been acting in the interests of the Holy Kingdom this whole time, then his actions would make a disturbing amount of sense.
“Breaking a promise? What are you talking about?”
Tom closed his eyes and listened. He looked like he was listening attentively to a song.
“Listen. Can’t you hear that? It’s like music.”
“What do you mean by music?! You’re out of your mind!”
Count Shabel shut his mouth at that moment.
He couldn’t hear anything, but he could see it now. Here, from the very top of the citadel, the outside of Canibar could be seen.
The thick fog blocked their view somewhat, but black shadows could be seen moving inside the dense green forest.
There were a lot of them. Dozens, hundreds―even thousands. All in various shapes and sizes.
Count Shabel understood what Tom meant by the sound of music a few moments later. After the shadows had gotten a little closer, the sounds could be more easily heard.
It wasn’t music, though.
It was a mix of heavy footsteps, grand drumbeats, and the magnificent sound of horns. It was the sound of an army advancing.
“Can’t you hear the sounds?”
The Holy Kingdom’s soldiers who were entering Canibar tilted their heads. They, who had previously occupied the outer wall and the external gate, were now listening attentively to the sounds in the air.
One soldier finally recognized the direction in which the sounds seemed to be coming from and spun around to face the forest.
Seeing this reaction, some of the other soldiers turned to look in that direction too in an attempt to see whatever it was that their comrade was seeing.
That first soldier served as a catalyst.
Due to him, three other soldiers turned their heads. And due to those three soldiers turning their heads, ten more soldiers did. And due to those ten soldiers, hundreds more did.
They all found themselves staring into the depths of the foggy forest.
At a certain point, after some time had passed, the shouts of the battlefield near the external gate had completely disappeared. An eerie silence had overcome everyone in the vicinity. It almost seemed as if everyone had forgotten what they were supposed to be doing and even where they currently were. It was like they were somewhere else.
The soldiers gulped.
Their bodies―which had become damp from the violent fight in the downpour―were heavy, and felt like wet sponges. They had mostly forgotten about this exhaustion in the heat of the moment due to the madness that came out whenever they were killing their enemies. But now that the madness was gone, they started to feel that exhaustion again along with an uncanny anxiety.
A loud, echoing, banging noise could suddenly be heard in the air.
“Is that the sound of a drumbeat?”
A soldier asked as he smiled awkwardly.
‘Do we still have soldiers left in the forest? But why would they be hitting the drums?’
“Oy… doesn’t it feel like the ground―”
One of the soldiers looked down.
The ground was vibrating slightly, and many of the soldiers quickly felt it too.
The sound of the drums was getting closer. It gradually picked up speed as it approached them.
It became impossible to not notice in the silence.
Some of the uneasy soldiers started to take a few steps back, gripped by fear.
All of a sudden, the sound of a horn pierced through the sky.
Black shadows suddenly burst through the white fog and came into the Holy Kingdom soldiers’ sights.
Thousands of beings seemingly materialized onto the battlefield.
The soldiers’ faces turned pale at the sight.
“O-oy… hurry…” one of the soldiers stammered, breaking the deafening silence.
A moment later, the soldiers were able to identify the ‘monsters’ in the fog.
“… Hurry up and close the gate!”
He ran to the gate in a hurry while shouting.
The Holy Kingdom’s soldiers who were outside Canibar collectively panicked and tried to enter as quickly as they could.
“Close the gate! Hurry!”
“Close the external gate!”
The Holy Kingdom’s soldiers closed Canibar’s external gate, leaving many of the soldiers abandoned outside.
They barricaded it shut.
“Open it for a second! We’re still outsi―euaaaaaaaak!”
“Open the gate! Monster, the monster―!”
“H-help! Please… please! Ple―euaaak!”
Screams were heard outside Canibar. Sounds of weapons clashing along with meat being ripped apart.
The Holy Kingdom’s soldiers who had made it inside and heard these sounds shut their mouths in horror.
Abruptly, all the sounds disappeared. No more soldiers could be heard screaming outside, and everything had become silent once again.
The change was so sudden and jarring that it almost seemed like everything they had just heard had been some sort of auditory hallucination instead.
One soldier―perhaps braver than the rest―decided to investigate what had happened outside. So he slowly made his way over to a small hole in the worn, external gate with the intent to take a peek outside.
The other soldiers watched as their comrade slowly inched his way over toward the hole and finally, audibly gulped and peeked through it.
Right at that moment, the gate exploded.
The huge external gate was blown into pieces. The wood was shattered, the iron was bent and fragments of it blew outwards in every direction
The soldiers who happened to be near the gate were suddenly trampled underneath the hooves of Minotaur Stormtroopers, their bodies crushed.
The four-meter tall Minotaurs, with their giant builds, were able to easily get through the flimsy external gate.
The creatures possessed an incredible speed that didn’t fit their size. They were deceptively fast, and had an incredible amount of power behind them.
Human soldiers were simply no match.
A Minotaur with one of his horns broken, Allin, twitched his muscles and clenched his teeth as he swung huge axes held in both of his hands.
“Hng-! One horn is more than enough to deal with Holy Kingdom’s humans!”
“D-damn it! What the hell?! That’s…! Block him! I said block him!”
The Holy Kingdom’s soldiers were shouting loudly.
The soldiers bunched together in a tight formation and threatened the Minotaurs while holding their shields up high and aiming their spears up at them. Holy Kingdom archers fired their arrows, but Allin merely gritted his teeth and swung his axes more as he received them all over his body.
“Damn it! It stings!”
With a single swing, seven soldiers were thrown into the air, shields, armor and all. Needless to say, that armor wasn’t of much help.
Some bodies were cut completely in half―bisected horizontally at the navel.
As the soldiers stepped back, another voice was heard from outside the external gate.
“In this battlefield, make a contribution and wash away the disgrace of the revolt! Regain the honor of the Centaurs!”
Red eyes were shining brightly in the fog.
Their four hooves sounded as if they were going to break the ground. They approached at an amazing speed.
Their horse-like lower-bodies were wrapped in bardes. The rest of their bodies were also wrapped in thick armor pieces. Their long lances were aimed straight ahead.
It was the Centaurs’ heavy-armed cavalry unit.
“Show them the Centaurs’ greatness!”
The Centaurs shouted. Hekaron―who stood as the leader of the group―ran at full speed between the Minotaurs, wearing a helmet.
Their spear blades pierced through the Holy Kingdom soldiers’ bodies.
As dust was sent flying off the damp ground, they skillfully slaughtered the Holy Kingdom’s soldiers who were scattered throughout the area.
Their spear blades were precise and accurate. They pierced through the soldiers’ bodies completely and skewered them.
The buildings and other obstacles in the city didn’t slow down the charge. Due to this, there was no escape for the soldiers because they could not match the Centaurs’ speed.
The Centaurs possessed the best and most powerful cavalry technique in the continent.
“It’s ridiculous! They are using cavalry in a city?!”
The Holy Kingdom’s soldiers who were on the outer wall held up their bows and took aim.
Minotaurs couldn’t go up on top of the outer wall due to their builds. And in the Centaurs’ case, they could manage with their slightly less bulkier bodies, but their speed in getting up there would be incredibly slow. They would be easy targets if they tried to do this.
Their weakness was high walls.
“Die, you monsters!”
The heads of the soldiers―who were about to release their bowstrings to unleash their arrows―were suddenly hit by rocks, and bolts pierced their bodies.
The soldiers on the outer wall were startled and hurriedly looked to see where this new attack was coming from.
While the soldiers had been distracted, the Gnoll scouting unit had silently and nimbly scaled the wall.
A Gnoll jumped on top of the wall and licked its hairy lips with its long tongue.
“W, when did they…?!”
The soldiers, who hadn’t been able to sense them coming, screamed.
The Holy Knight who was protecting the area near the outer wall broke out in a cold sweat and stepped back.
‘The monsters… The monsters are attacking! While having amazing equipment! On top of that, they’re showing a high level of coordination!’
‘And that’s not all!’
Though the tactics they were using looked really simple, the monsters were definitely handling the situation correctly.
Breaking the external gate with Minotaurs and charging. Centaurs hunting the soldiers that were scattered around and out of formation. And for the soldiers on the outer wall whose attention had been diverted due to the other attacks, they ended up showing their backs to the scouts.
‘… They move strategically!’
It was unprecedented. Nothing like this had ever been seen before. The demons who were supposedly stupid, ignorant, and knew nothing but their instincts were now using their brains.
They were carefully planning their moves.
“Oh… my God…! Oh my God…! Oh my God…!!!”
The Holy Knight was filled with fear.
‘Wisdom’ is a privilege only humans have! A gift God sent us and the only weapon physically-weak humans have! The demons can’t have that weapon too!’
“This is blasphemy! How dare they try to outsmart humans!? Infantry! Gather up!”
The soldiers gathered up following the Holy Knight’s command.
They fell into a formation in a narrow street between two buildings.
They blocked the enemy’s retreat with a wall of shields. Spearmen were aiming their weapons forward, and behind it. At the back, archers pulled their bowstrings in unison.
“Ha, haha! They’re demons no matter what! Do they think they can win against humans who have been ruling the continent for thousands of years?! No matter how powerful the Minotaurs are, how great the Centaurs’ mobility is, even nimble Gnolls, do they think they can break through a human’s formation! Bring Janus here right now! We’re conquering the castle later! We need to sweep these monsters away first! We’re going to attack from all directions and oust them!”
The Holy Knight glared at the demons.
“Okay, it’s time for us to get in on the action too!”
The Goblin supply unit suddenly arrived.
The Goblins gathered up on top of the outer wall. They surveyed the entire region of the city. They thought carefully, imagined the places they couldn’t see, and drew a battle array. They imitated the city’s precise and exact terrain.
“Oy! If the map is done send it to each unit right away!””Oy! If the map is done send it to each unit right away!”
A Goblin looked at the formation the Holy Knight had created, with a telescope.
“… Left 39, right 38, 400 meters ahead at a 30-degree angle.”
Another goblin, upon hearing these instructions, began using his flag to create signals to someone far outside the outer wall.
“… Oh, I see.”
The signals were being directed toward the siege detachment waiting outside the outer wall.
They held up rocks beside them that were around half of the size of their bodies.
“From the external gate… if it’s left 39, right 38, 400 meters ahead and at a 30-degree angle… would this be enough?”
Treos grabbed the rocks and threw them while spinning their bodies. The rocks spun like they had been launched with a huge catapult.
The projectiles smashed into the house right next to the crowded soldiers of the Holy Kingdom and crushed it.
The Holy Knight shut his mouth.
‘A siege weapon with amazing accuracy on top of that!’
“Error, fix the range! Left 37, right 38, 400 meters ahead at a 30-degree angle.”
The soldiers turned pale as more rocks began being thrown at them.
The new volley of rocks dropped exactly in between the soldiers who were forming a line. The rocks didn’t just harmlessly smash into the ground, however. They rolled on top of some of the soldiers and crushed them.
Thanks to that their formation also ended up being bent out of shape.
“D-damn it! Hurry, and ask for support!”
The Holy Knight realized right then that it was impossible to kill the monsters attacking him with only the troops that had been placed near the external gate. There weren’t enough men.
‘They’re monsters! Real monsters! Devils! I can’t believe that monsters like them learned how to use their heads!’
As the Holy Knight fell into despair and looked ahead, more demons appeared from the external gate.
Orcs with red armor covering their whole bodies and various weapons in their hands and Ogres with huge builds right behind them.
The Orc heavy-armored infantry unit and the armored Ogre unit.
The muscles in the Holy Knight’s eyes twitched. He stepped back as if he couldn’t believe it.
Humans were physically weak. That was why they made equipment with their wisdom and used military strategies and formations.
On the contrary, the demons were strong, but since they didn’t have wisdom their equipment was poor. They also didn’t know how to use military strategies and tactics.
This absolute ‘law’ that had always held true had now been broken.
The demons now had equipment, well-trained troops, created formations, and came up with strategies.
‘It’s as if… they are replacing humans in this world.’
“This is a lie, right? Can anybody say that this is a nightmare?”
Before the Holy Knight finished speaking, Karakul landed in front of him. He had arrived so quickly that nobody was able to react in time to stop what was about to happen.
Karakul cut down the Holy Knight with his mace.
He had swung it as hard as he could, using both of his hands.
‘Exploded’ would be the appropriate word to describe the Holy Knight’s fate.
An explosion of red mist occurred at the end of the mace and the ground was split apart from the impact.
Blood was splattered onto the faces and armor of the rest of the nearby soldiers in the broken formation.
The Holy Knight’s body practically disappeared in an instant. Leaving behind only pieces of bloody meat.
“Sir Holy Knight…?”
The soldier slowly looked down at the ‘lump of meat’ laid out by the mace. It was twitching. The Holy Knight was completely unrecognizable.
The soldiers lost their morale at that moment.
Their weapons dropped to the ground as they gradually lost the strength in their hands.
Absent-mindedly, with their faces pale and filled with fear, they looked at their enemy with a hopeless gaze.
There was nothing more that they could do.
Karakul glared at the soldiers with an indifferent gaze.
“Kill them all.”
The Orcs and Ogres let out a shriek at his words.
— Ω —