76. Canibar Territory (6)
What had started was a complete and utter ‘massacre’. The Orcs charged into the collapsed line. They knocked the soldiers over by kicking them and hit them from above with their weapons. They sent them flying with their shoulders and swung their weapons with all their might. The Orcs, armed with large weapons—that humans wouldn’t be able to use—swung them wildly with their monstrous strength.
Next came the Ogres. The ground shook every time their giant bodies took a single step, their maces crashing through buildings sending soldiers rocketing through the air in the blink of an eye. Many tried to block their attacks with their swords and shields, but to no avail. If they wanted to live, their only option was to avoid such an attack; an attack which was impossible to defend against!
The soldiers’ morale crumbled and they fled in droves, leaving their weapons behind. In their cowardice, they went so far as to rip off their armor and equipment, just to let them run faster. They were now no more than ‘stragglers’ of a defeated army.
Drums beat and horns blared. The sound of the monsters marching, their roars as they trampled over their enemies, mixed with the innumerable screams of despair coming from the Holy Kingdom’s soldiers.
It was Hell on earth!
That was the only way to describe the tragedy currently befalling those in the city below.
As the monsters gradually pushed further and further through the city’s streets, it was clear that they were aiming to reach the castle.
Count Shabel’s legs gave out upon seeing the sight and he sank to his knees.
“T, this… how could this happen…? Demons…? Demons…!”
The demons had invaded Canibar? And they were confronting the Holy Kingdom on top of that! It was an opportunity, one which had turned the tide of the battle, but he couldn’t even make a reasonable judgement. All he felt now was fear.
These were demons he had never seen before. They were not the ordinary Orcs, Goblins, Centaurs or Minotaurs. These were completely different from ‘ordinary’. These were, without exaggeration, true ‘monsters’, in every sense of the word.
“Isn’t it fun?”
Startled, Count Shabel turned his head, his neck creaking like rusted iron, and looked to Tom .
Tom was smiling. He had a look of glee on his face.
‘How can he smile seeing that tragedy, that terrible scene…? And what’s that composure? Those bizarre monsters are coming, how can he not show even a bit of perplexity…!?’
Count Shabel’s eyes grew wide.
“You… are you on the same side with them?”
Tom smiled with his eyes. It was a silent affirmation. Count Shabel felt a chill. He looked at the letter he was holding and realized that he had been fooled. Thanks to him, a traitor who consorted with the demons now had a one-on-one talk with the King of Aylans!
“Then we shall also go.”
Ellin and Halsem became flustered as Tom left and followed him hurriedly. Count Shabel looked at Tom and asked,
“Where, where are you going?!”
“Since it’s something we have done… we can’t just sit by and watch.”
Janus still couldn’t get a grasp on the situation. He jumped to his feet from the palanquin. The buildings were blocking his view, but he could clearly hear the sound of their soldiers screaming, along with an explosion from the outer gate. Terrifying, ear-splitting shrieks filled those who had yet to learn what was happening with fear.
“S, save me…!”
Fleeing soldiers could be seen, running through alleyways and streets, trying to find their way to safety. Then the buildings around them crumbled in an explosion of dust and debris. As it settled, something completely unexpected came into view. Janus and his men watched as Minotaurs and Ogres chased the fleeing soldiers with reckless abandon, crashing through buildings and men alike.
Many soldiers were crushed under their monstrous feet, and they swiveled their heads madly, looking for more prey.
Janus stiffened once he saw their eyes. He could sense the madness and bloodlust emanating from their bodies. An unknown anxiety seized him.
“F- form a line!”
“W, what about the castle…”
Janus kicked the soldier in the head.
“Forget about it!”
The soldiers gathered in a hurry. They aimed their spears and held up their swords and shields.
Janus shouted at the soldiers.
“We’re killing the bastards if they get into shooting range! It’s easy to kill fools who only know how to charge forward! No matter how big they are, nothing can win against superior tactics! We’re stabbing and stabbing and stabbing and killing the bastards!”
The soldiers shook as they watched the huge Ogres and Minotaurs. They were the most brutal and the scariest looking demons they’d ever seen. Just a simple charge from them would cause massive damage to anyone caught in the way.
The Ogres and Minotaurs looked at each other and glared at the humans. Feeling their murderous looks, the soldiers felt as if their hearts had stopped. Many broke out into a cold sweat, holding their breaths to try and calm down.
Everyone was nervous, their weapons trembling pathetically. Even the Holy Knight Janus felt uneasy, unconsciously gulping.
Then, without warning, the demons simply turned away and disappeared down another street. The soldiers relaxed for a moment, relief washing over them. However, this relief was short-lived. The Ogres reappeared from behind the buildings. Seeing the weapons they were holding, relief turned to panic.
“… Stand in line!”
“… Frontline, get ready to fire-!”
The Ogres planted their feet firmly against the ground and aimed the ballista they were holding. It was almost unbelievable to see them using siege weapons like portable crossbows. Janus stiffened at the sight.
The Ogres’ bodies were pushed back by the force of their weapons.
The air expanded with a “koong”, and the rope fixed on the ballista snapped. The bolts cut through the air, flying into the decimating the humans’ defensive line. The surviving soldiers looked around in shock; most of their formation had practically vanished in the blink of an eye. Turning around, they could see the bolts in the distance, having flown all the way to the castle wall. Along their flight path was a trail of carnage; anyone caught in their way was little more than minced meat now. In a single volley, dozens of soldiers had been killed.
The Ogres each took out another bolt from the quiver hanging on their waist and reloaded their ballista. They rammed the butt of the ballista onto the ground, keeping it fixed in place with their feet. They pulled the bowstring with their right hand and loaded a bolt with their left. Then they aimed and fired it again.
Again, dozens more soldiers perished without a chance to even scream.
“Oy, this… is a joke right…?”
Janus’ mouth was hung open.
‘They’re cheating! I can’t believe they’re using ballista like crossbows…!!!’
“Crazy monster bastards-!”
Janus shouted as if he had a mental breakdown.
‘On top of that, what the hell was that speed of loading! No matter how strong they are, how could they bolt as heavy as that with just one hand… That simply…!?’
“It’s, it’s dangerous! Kill the bastards! I said kill them!”
They had to attack, not defend. The ballista outranged their bows and crossbows, so their best chance was to get in close before more volleys tore them apart. The soldiers grabbed their weapons and ran hurriedly. They were obeying his orders while screaming and crying.
Then more demons appeared, blocking their way.
“Hold the line-!”
“Hold the line-!”
“Hold the line-!”
They chanted in sync, using their steel shields to form a wall spanning the entire street. The Orcs then pointed their spears toward the charging humans, ready to run them through as soon as they were close enough.
The Gnolls quickly climbed up on top of the buildings lining either side of the street, carrying either a crossbow or a sling and rocks.
The soldiers stopped running. In the span of time not even a minute long, their formation had been broken, and now an entirely new enemy had appeared. The Ogres continued launching bolts at them from behind the safety of their own lines.
Meanwhile, the Gnolls remained on stand-by, simply watching from atop the buildings. They would only act once the humans entered the range of their weapons, at which point they’d be assaulted by a barrage more fierce than the one they were already suffering under.
If they formed up, the ballista would rip them to shreds. If they charged in a loose formation, the Gnolls would slaughter them before they even had the chance to reach the spear wall blocking their path.
They would die either way.
Victory was impossible.
“Sir Janus! Sir Janus! What do we do? Sir? What should we do!”
“O, open… open another path with the cavalry unit! If we attack them from behind by taking the roundabout way…! We still have a chance of winning!”
The cavalry unit took the roundabout way, following Janus’s order. They were hoping to catch the demons off guard by attacking them from behind.
Hekarons and Centaurs awaited them.
The cavalry soldiers were startled, but they didn’t back off. They charged forward and tried to eliminate the demons, but their bodies were torn down by the spear blades of Centaurs. The demon cavalry vastly more powerful.
“… You guys are only demons… You guys are only demons…!”
Janus looked around.
The Holy Kingdom’s soldiers were dying brutally. They were being slaughtered without the chance to fight back.
“Hold the line!”
The Orcs were slowly stalking forward. The Ogres had yet to let up their barrage, walking forward behind the Orc line and firing as they went.
The soldiers lost their morale and threw away their weapons. It dawned on them then that resistance was meaningless. They had to run away. They had to run away to live!
The soldiers tried to run away through the side streets in between buildings, but Orc were waiting for them on the street they ran out to. More Ogres were behind them. In fact, Orcs and Ogres were set up at every street corner around Janus and his troops.
Without even realizing it, Janus had been surrounded. There was nowhere to run.
“Ha, haha… hahahahahahahaha…!”
Janus burst laughing. He got off his palanquin and gritted his teeth. The demons’ pressure grew stronger and slowly, but surely, his men were pushed back. Some soldiers tried running to the castle gates, pleading for help.
“S, save me! Please open the gate!”
“Open the gate-!”
They begged their enemies. The soldiers who had been laughing and chatting while slaughtering the inhabitants of this city fell into despair and cried out for help.
“… Don’t expect help from heretics!”
Janus held up his hands. Holy Power gathered between them, forming into a flame.
Janus swung his hands towards his own soldiers, specifically the ones begging for aid. The blaze engulfed them, spreading over their bodies and melting them down to smoking, bubbling piles of flesh. The Holy Kingdom’s soldiers screamed in fear, seeing their former comrades’ gruesome end.
Janus looked at his soldiers and shouted,
“Those who subserviently surrender to heretics will die in my hands!”
“… So that bastard is the commander.”
Karakul looked at Janus and held up his hands. The Ogres aimed their ballista at Janus. As Karakul put his hands down, the Ogres fired their bolts at the same time.
Dozens of huge bolts flew toward him. Just as they were about to tear apart his body, Janus dodged them, quickly grabbing one of the bolts out of the air. The flame in his hands made quick work of it, melting the bolt down liquid iron.
Karakul looked at Janus, surprised.
“I may look like this, but I’m a close aide of His Highness, as well as a member of the Iblis Holy Knightage! Do you think I’d die to mere demons…!”
Janus gathered what could only be described as an inferno in his hands and was about to throw it to the Orcs’ lines. However, just then, the castle gate slowly opened.
— Ω —