The 20th Legion of the Imperial Army led by Pandeg was quite special.
“We do not participate in battle most of the time, but once we do, our soldiers won’t stop until the fight is over.”
Among the numerous users of the Hermes Guild, there were only about a hundred members who belonged to the 20th Legion. The rest of the legion’s forces consisted exclusively of common soldiers; a proportion that felt almost abnormal. This legion hadn’t even existed during the conquest of the Central Continent.
As they were relaxedly following behind the other legions on their advance to the Garnav Plain, a direct order was given.
– Lafaye: Attack Weed.
“Understood. Are we proceeding as planned?”
– Lafaye: There is no change, until the end.
“We will get right to it.”
Pandeg began to move his troops to carry out a secret operation that was not known to even the commanders of the other legions. Taking a detour around the 7th and 14th Legions, they swiftly marched towards the 11th Legion’s position, avoiding combat as much as possible. Occasionally, other legions had to clear the way for them by the orders of the Guild’s inner circle.
“Who are they?”
“They’re wearing the Imperial uniform. Why are they just walking past instead of joining us?”
Hermes Guild users found them odd, but the 20th Legion did not have time to stop and satisfy their curiosity. No matter where in the vast Garnav Plain Weed may make his appearance, he was going to be the Legion’s sole target.
‘It’s clear that we’ve as good as won the fight if we can just get Weed. No need to care about small fry; we’re going to make the largest achievement of this war.’
Pandeg’s 20th Legion continued to move at a great speed and eventually faced the enormous number of users who were fighting against the 11th Legion.
“Kill them all!”
“Grass Porridge, Grass Porridge, Grass Porridge!”
“Victory to the Arpen Kingdom, yaaaaahh!”
The sound of yelling and screaming from the users made everyone’s ears ring. Somewhere in the midst of it, they could also hear people playing instruments and a choir singing in harmony.
♪♫♪ Let us move a mountain,
Let us create a river.
Born from the barren land, we shall walk on this path with pride.
We may be weak, but together we are one.
With a sword in our hand we will make the impossible possible.
Let us move onward.
Let us fight.
Create miracles by our own hands! ♪♫♪
The songs of war that gave renewed strength to the people on the Arpen Kingdom’s side!
The users who heard these songs while fighting on the battlefield boasted indomitable resolve. Their all-out assault against the 11th Legion was pouring out like a torrential rain brought by a thunderstorm.
“Don’t think about the consequences now: arrows, spells, use everything you’ve got!”
“We need to send out the shieldbearers forward and buy some time; just do something!”
The 11th Legion was holding out in defensive formation against the users striking with all their might, but their line was being driven back here and there. Users were dropping down from the sky and crashed their bodies against the soldiers, while those on the ground were also fighting to their very death. The speed and vigor with which they were swarming in were such that, if one was killed, two or three more emerged in their place. The high-leveled users who had followed Weed were also demonstrating their powers and subduing the Imperial troops in various locations.
Pandeg immediately ordered the 20th Legion to attack, engaging in the battle. With the appearance of the enemy reinforcement the Arpen Kingdom users were taken aback, but before long a new battlefront was formed.
“Bring it on!”
“Let’s prey on these new ones, too!”
Novice users kept flooding in, supported by the stalwart high-level users who had their backs. The squads captains who had been appointed by Weed led the users under their commands and launched counterattacks on the 20th Legion from all directions.
“Everyone follow Vandert’s lead.”
“Dashing is our strategy. Not difficult, right? Now, pick up your weapons and sprint!”
The users who had assembled in the Garnav Plain for this battle had been hearing explanations about the human wave strategy all the while, including every mealtime.
“Number equals power. When people in front of you start running, you start running too. Once you’re directly facing the enemy, start fighting. It’s imperative that you never fall behind.”
“Maintain close formation! You need to stay close to each other; always have people right next to you. Otherwise it will be the death of everyone because there will be some people who hesitate.”
“Just remember what you’re all fighting for. Don’t worry about being righteous. People should be able to choose how they live their lives. But don’t hesitate to act when the moment eventually comes; who knows, you might be caught by a TV camera.”
“If you don’t want to take risks, just don’t join the fight. It was always the same for the past battles of the North, too. Only those who wanted to chose to fight, and they were proud of it. If you want to fight, then step forward. Everyone will welcome you.”
The indoctrination process had been carried out smoothly during the festival. With their optimized human wave strategy and great number combined with speed, the effect was explosive. No matter how many were killed their number will be replenished endlessly.
Fierce battles were taking place everywhere, but the area where Weed had directly brought his people was especially overflowing with powerful users. They kept flooding in, almost glad to face the new challenge as the 20th Legion joined the fight.
“It doesn’t matter how much damage we take to our forces. All we need to do is to create one chance.”
Pandeg observed the continuing battle cool-headedly. The troops from both sides that covered the entire Garnav Plain were locked in an intense combat, killing and being killed, but he merely thought it was fortunate that he hadn’t arrived too late.
“I can afford to lose all my soldiers. Even if they’re all killed…”
The 20th Legion had been formed by assembling the stragglers from various kingdoms during the conquest. These forces could not reach the average standard of the Haven Imperial Army, and therefore it wouldn’t be too much of a loss even if they were to be annihilated.
Although it was hard to see clearly at this hour of night, he had checked the broadcast through a crystal ball and knew that Weed was currently flying on a wyvern’s back.
Pandeg grinned widely. After a good while, he’d finally spotted Weed who was hunting down the knights of the 11th Legion.
Presently, Weed was engaged in a battle as he rode on Wy-3’s back.
“Tchchwit. Fly faster, and lower!”
– That would be too dangerous. Also, I’m already flying at full speed.
“Just flap your wings harder! Chwit!”
– How could I possibly do it harder?
“That’s for you to figure out. Chewchwik!”
Occasionally he shot arrows from the sky, but he was mainly flying at a low altitude, swinging his Thunder Spear briskly on the wyvern’s back. Each time he swept the spear, bolts of lightning struck upon the knights. Even when several different magical attacks were fired at him, Wy-3 dodged out of the way with his acrobatic flying skills.
– Please compliment me. Master.
– What is that?
“That’s half a compliment. Do better next time! Tchwick!”
Wy-3 continued his low-altitude flight and quick turns, and at times landed on the ground and galloped like a horse for a while before taking off again. Weed’s demands were tricky, as he had to pull off some acrobatic tricks in order to deal with the knights equipped with high quality gears.
“So fabulous. Making such a combat possible…”
“Weed-nim is indeed great!”
The morale of the users fighting alongside him was through the roof.
There were more than a couple of backpacks tied and placed on Wy-3’s body, each of them heavy with the spoils Weed had gotten from the defeated knights, but the expression on the face of Karichwi the Orc was still full of discontent.
“Throwing away so many junk items… Tchwichit. Looks like I’ve lost my initial motivation. I shouldn’t have given them up no matter what.”
Weed’s voice was overflowing with shame!
In such a quick-paced combat, it was not easy to pick up every item. Sometimes he used the Gloves of Dimension Doors to collect the spoils dropped by the knights, but as he was barely managing to climb onto Wy-3’s back on time before he flew past, he failed to pick up some cheaper miscellaneous items.
Wy-3 asked, tilting his head curiously.
– Wouldn’t you rather choose a single one-of-a-kind item rather than a hundred pieces of junk?
“This is not a matter of which one is better. Tsschwick!”
– I don’t understand.
“Would you not pick up a thousand dollar cash dropped on the road just because you have a hundred thousand in your bank account? Chooowick. Just take my word for it. Tsschwick!”
Weed and Wy-3 continued through the battle while demonstrating more feats and tricks that looked almost unreal to those who were watching them through the broadcast. An airborne fight was something that truly impressed the audience.
– Mapan: More Imperial troops are approaching your position. Rumor says it’s the 20th Legion.
Weed had been informed early on about the new group of Imperial forces coming; he had been receiving something called ‘battle status reports’ from the new captains to whom he had issued an excessive amount of appointments earlier, and they had brought news about the appearance of the new legion.
‘I don’t understand. There’s little they can change by just sending more troops here.’
Since he had first made his appearance in the concert stage of Marey the Bard, Weed had led his people all the way to this area. There were currently an enormous number of users that formed the core of the Arpen Kingdom’s forces assembled here, with the Northern and Central Continent users mixed in one place. After even more users came to join while he was fighting Ultar, this army now lacked in neither quality nor quantity. With enough military power that they could make easy work of at least three Imperial Legions simultaneously, the appearance of the 20th Legion felt almost welcome; indeed, it gave a chance to fight to the users who had yet to join the fight and had been waiting their turns at the back.
‘I could almost thank them for showing up. I can get rid of both of them here.’
For a while Weed thought about moving over to the 20th Legion’s position on Wy-3’s back and fighting there after he’d spent enough time dealing with the 11thLegion. It was a good opportunity to make a combat achievement as well as earn plenty of spoils.
‘This is good. I was given a chance to reduce the enemy’s strength easily; it will make things very advantageous for us during the rest of the war.’
But as he was about to continue engaging in the battle in a pleasant mood, a deep corner of his heart suddenly felt heavy. The memory of himself rejoicing blithely over a cheap rent deal for a semi-basement room he had got from that wicked landlord came back to him.
‘Has there been even a single occasion where my life’s problem solved itself so easily? Also, could it be that I’m underestimating my enemies now?’
The said basement room had turned out to be so damp that a fog would fill the whole room each morning — even their blankets became wet with the moist! Weed remembered his grandmother and sister always having a cough. The room was curiously cool in summer which meant they at least didn’t feel very hot, but the walls were always covered in blue molds that grew ever thickly. That was one of the biggest mistakes he had ever made while looking for a place to live.
‘What is it? What went wrong?’
Weed began to go over every past event that led to now, as quickly as a supercomputer processing a multiplication. Everything felt fine up until he engaged in a duel against Ultar and defeated him. He had changed his form into an Orc using Sculptural Destruction, and made a good use of the Gloves of Dimension Doors. He had already been aware of Ultar’s dependence on his crossbow and weakness in close combat and used that information when he fought him. As a result, he was able to defeat Ultar through an incredibly quick-paced and messy fight, not allowing his opponent a single chance to demonstrate his full strength.
‘I also took initiative by bringing an army to fight the 11th Legion.’
He had selected the most appropriate opponent out of the twenty different legions that had been marching in simultaneously. Things were undoubtedly clear up to this point. Then, most unexpectedly, the Hermes Guild responded by just sending one more legion to this location.
‘It’s already a huge loss for them to let the 11th Legion alone be annihilated like this. And the 20th Legion has chosen to walk into this scene of massacre voluntarily? Without even joining forces with other legions?’
A typical 1+1 situation, but Weed thought there was no way the Hermes Guild would make such a stupid decision.
‘I could learn a lot from this guild in some aspects, such as their tyranny, and how they collect taxes from people. And am I really to believe that such competent people decided to advance their troops so recklessly?’
His dark suspicion grew deeper. He knew that it was dangerous to be blinded by the prospect of an easy gain and accept it without thinking.
‘There’s something going on. It smells terribly fishy.’
Pandeg was keeping his eyes wide open, desperately waiting for a chance to present itself. A few users from the 11th Legion managed to penetrate through the enemy lines and joined them.
“What became of the Spears of Annihilation?”
“We haven’t used them yet, as our Legion Commander had deceased so unexpectedly…”
“Good. That would give us a better chance for later.”
They dug a deep trap, and lurked.
Pandeg was armed with a splendid uniform, not concealing his status as the Legion Commander, and they had lit magical lanterns that illuminated the nearby areas brightly.
“You guys should stay here, too.”
“Even when he arrives, don’t take any actions before I give you a signal.”
The other Hermes Guild members also hunkered down near Pandeg, waiting. The 11th Legion continued to lose its number as the battle went on, but they thought of nothing besides getting Weed. The scale of this war was huge, but that was also why the value on Weed’s life was so absolute. Once the king is gone, the spirit of hope and resistance that he had been spreading would die with him, too.
“He’s butchering the knights of the 11th Legion.”
“Let’s stay calm and keep waiting. Maintain your positions.”
“Even after he comes over to our position we shouldn’t act hastily. He is such a slippery bastard; we need to seize our chance. Pandeg-nim, move to a more conspicuous location.”
“I’ll wait in a good landing spot that can attract a wyvern.”
The members of the Hermes Guild held their breath and continued to wait for the right moment.
About half an hour passed, and during that time the forces of the 11th Legion had been broken to pieces by users, and the 20th Legion was also beginning to face a serious pressure.
“Let’s defeat the entire Haven Empire!”
“Continue marching, this is our victory!”
The cheering sounds from the users were getting closer. And as their anxious waiting was beginning to feel almost suffocating, they heard the sound of large wings beating from the distant sky.
“The wyvern is approaching.”
“Shhh. Just wait until it comes near.”
Pandeg glanced at the sky while he pretended to direct his troops. A dark shape was flying this way, which he could see clearly through the Mages’ spell that gave him a better night vision: a wyvern clad in black armor, and an Orc riding on its back!
Now it was becoming really difficult to hold back their excitement.
– Pandeg: The moment has finally come. Everyone, prepare yourself thoroughly in your respective position.
There were about two hundred Hermes Guild members who received the secret signal from Pandeg. They were disguised as common soldiers and servants with their weapons hidden. They were all currently overflowing with thrill with the prospect of the long wait they had endured in order to kill Weed finally coming to fruition.
Before long, the Orc dropped down to the ground from the wyvern’s back. Seemingly intending to fight the 20th Legion’s commander Pandeg personally, he was merely about 8 meters away from their position.
“Chhhwiiick! I’ve come to fight you!”
The Orc raised his glaive high.
“He’s here. Now!”
At that very instant, the Sorcerers of the 20th Legion began to chant an incantation. They were wearing the uniform of the commander’s guards, but they were one of the hidden weapons Pandeg had prepared.
“Curse the weakness engraved in blood and flesh. For every evil spirit will gather in this ground to gnaw upon thee… Punishment from the Other Side!”
The Sorcerers used rare gems as offerings and completed the incantation which lowered the opponent’s combat strength. It weakened various combat related abilities and skills as well as reducing the maximum Life Force by more than a half. A series of other curses followed, such as Mind Confusion, Severe Fatigue and Shaking Vision.
The Hermes Guild users too emerged from their hiding spots everywhere and began to dash towards the Orc. Some of them were holding metal sticks, which were none other than the Spears of Annihilation that had been secretly prepared by the Hermes Guild. They were single-use items, but were capable of releasing the Sun’s energy stored within and shoot forth a pillar of light in a straight line. The power of that light attack was enormous, and these were not a kind of weapon to use against an individual enemy; the fact that they drew out the Spears of Annihilation, that normally ought to be used in a siege or against an entire army, demonstrated their will to get rid of Weed here and now, no matter what.
“W-what is this?!”
Pandeg, after observing the face of the Orc for a while, yelled out in confusion and shock.
“Who the heck are you?”
The appearance of this Orc certainly resembled Karichwi; his enormous size and ugly face could cause people to mistake him for Karichwi, but this one still looked far less dangerous than the other Orc. If Karichwi was to be compared to a wild lion that had gone through hell and high water, this one was more like a stray wolf. When looked closely, there was also quite discernable difference in the broadness of their shoulders and amount of muscles.
The Orc smirked, still holding his glaive.
“Stupid Hermes Guild. Chhhwick.”
An ominous purple aura enveloped the Orc’s body as the dark incantation came to effect, but the Orc didn’t seem to care.
“Using everything you’ve got, aren’t you? What a waste; I’m only level 19. Kyakyachichichwit!”
These words made the Hermes Guild users who were just about to launch fierce attacks against him feel completely deflated.
“Weed could be watching this.”
The guild members hurriedly hid the Spears of Annihilation and other weapons, but it was already too late.
“This is all going on air. Tsschhichwick!”
The sight of them jumping out to attack this Orc must have been transmitted to the rest of the world through the broadcast by now.
‘How come Weed decided to send a novice user instead of coming himself?’
Pandeg could not understand how he was tricked. Their plan to set up a trap to kill Weed, the sole point of existence of the 20th Legion, had come to absolutely nothing. They believed they had created an inescapable trap, and threw the entire 20th Legion as bait, but the fish they had tried to catch somehow managed to simply take the bait and squeeze its way out of their clutches.
Conscious of the fact that he was on the broadcast cameras, Pandeg straightened up his posture proudly.
“You must be mistaken. Do you really think you have gained something just because Weed did not show up here?”
It was now the Orc’s turn to feel confused.
“Of course, it would’ve been nice to get Weed by our own hand… but all we had to do was buy some time. Because-“
Pandeg pointed his finger at the sky above. From a great distance, three tiny red dots smaller than sesame seeds could be seen.
“-Summon Flaming Meteors spell has been cast, and they are going to hit this area.”
The Orc looked up at the sky and yelled out in dismay. Pandeg and the Hermes Guild members expected that few people would not be terrified by the news that there would be meteors falling from the sky upon them.
“Of course, when those meteors strike, we will die, too. But you people who are watching the broadcast; I’ll make this clear to you. As I understand, there are a lot of strong users who have sided with the Arpen Kingdom currently assembled in this place. What will happen when the meteors hit here?”
“Shall I answer that question for you? They will all perish, won’t they? Who knows, maybe Weed among them, too.”
The Orc who had been sent as a decoy stared with his mouth open, seemingly unable to utter a word.
Pandeg went on, getting the satisfying sense of victory in his heart.
“Even if he does manage to survive with some luck, that is no reason to rejoice. The Imperial army will soon come to wipe out the rest of you. Yes, every one of you and Weed as well, in your ruined state after the meteors hit.”
The faces of the Hermes Guild members also lit up with smiles as they heard Pandeg’s words.
However, seeing the satisfying expression typical of victors on their faces, the ugly Orc smirked again, his nose twitching.
“Kikikit. This is just as what Weed-nim told me. Chwick!”
“What did you say?”
“Weed-nim told me to come here instead of him, saying there’s something fishy in the air. Tsschik.”
“And also, Weed-nim is not here anymore. Tschwit. He gathered all the powerful users in the Grass Porridge Cult and left to fight some other Legions. Chwizick!”
Pandeg’s heart sank with shock. The flaming meteors were already on their way, and if Weed had indeed left this area, nothing could be worse than that.
“H-how on earth did he know about that and escaped?”
“I don’t really understand, either. Chwick. He just said he got a bad feeling.”
“Do you mean to say that he has such sharp instinct, enough to sense our trap and avoid it?”
“He said, he got a feeling like earning some blind money without any effort? Tsschwick. He said there’s no way life would take such a fortunate turn for him. Tschischwit!”
Seoyoon had assembled a portion of the Northern and Central Continent users, and was waiting.
“There they are.”
“I see them. The meteors are falling.”
Summon Flaming Meteors!
The archers with their keen eyesight first spotted the meteors in the distance, which looked as small as sesame seeds. The blazing shooting stars which appeared in the night sky soon became gradually bigger and more distinct for everyone to notice.
“I’m not sure what their target location is yet, but it would probably be where Weed-nim is, wouldn’t it?”
“We cannot afford to worry about them right now; we must focus on carrying out our mission faithfully.”
“Yes; only by doing our job well can we prevent further damage.”
Those who were following Seoyoon’s lead were the top elite soldiers of the Grass Porridge Cult. Forming the core of the Arpen Kingdom’s military force, each of them had made a significant contribution back during the battle of the Earth Palace.
“We do not know the exact casting range of the Summon Flaming Meteors spell, but the spell was first kicked into effect southwest from here.”
“Then the 5th and 7th Legions would be our suspects.”
“One of them must be guarding the Mages. Seems like we don’t have any choice but to hit them both.”
The first time the spell struck they were completely caught unaware, but every magical spell had a certain range in which they could take effect. So when Summon Flaming Meteor was cast for the second time, they were able to estimate the approximate direction through some measurements.
“Let’s set off right away.”
Seoyoon climbed on the back of a flying monster — not Wy-3, but something that looked far more frightening.
A Baraag, a sculptural life form!
It had a muscular frame and a long torso. Its beak and talons, which were optimized for hunting and combat, were also as sharp as honed blades. As befits an apex predator, it could frighten any other monsters with its menacing gaze only. And indeed, even the Northern users had felt their heart sink with terror when the Baraags showed up a moment ago.
– Heeding the last words of the great Emperor Geihar von Arpen, our race has been awaiting this day ever since.
Having made their majestic appearance, the Baraags roared unrestrainedly in front of the Northern users.
< Absolute horror!
You are succumbing to extreme fear.
Physical withering! Mental weakness! Movement disability!
The success chance of all skills decreases by 88%.
Your maximum Life Force is reduced by an amount which depends on your level, up to a maximum of 85%. >
A race of monsters that boasts overwhelming power! Those who were below level 100 couldn’t even move, with their legs trembling just by beholding the Baraags.
“Those are supposed to be monsters?”
“Whoa… I’ve seen them on a broadcast channel but that’s just…”
“Is it even possible to hunt something like that?”
“It’s astounding, and also terrifying.”
The Northern users were shocked by the up-close spectacle of looking at the Baraags in person. When they showed off their size in the sky with their wings spread wide, their bodies ranged from 300 to 500 meters in length. These flying monsters that could match Dragons themselves in size were currently covering the entire sky, and any beast or monster the users normally hunted would look quite cute next to them. If the boss monster of a dungeon could give a group of users an adequate amount of challenge as they exchanged blows, this Baraag could destroy a city or fight against an entire nation. They boasted such formidable power, as though they would be able to squeeze those humans on the ground to death with their toes at any moment.
– So you are the ones who claim to carry on the spirit of the glorious Arpen Empire?
The Baraags yelled threateningly, and a heavy silence fell on the Garnav Plain. At that moment, Seoyoon stepped forward.
“That is correct.”
– What insolence! You dare call yourself the successor of the Great Emperor…
The Baraags’ gleaming red eyes focused on Seoyoon.
– Ah… Huh?
And for some time, the supersized flying creatures stared at her blankly.
Shock, amazement, lost sense of reality, captivation, and happiness.
A beauty, a beauty, a beauty, a beauty.
The furious gazes of the monsters soon turned docile. The Baraags politely put their front paws together as if feeling shy.
– How do you do? We are the race of Baraags.
“Yes, it’s a pleasure to meet you all.”
The Baraags gently greeted her like well-brought-up kindergarten kids; a few of them even bowed their heads deeply in a formal salutation.
The sculptural creatures created by the Emperor Geihar von Arpen!
As the emperor himself was quite fond of attractive ladies, all of his sculptural children also shared a weakness for beauty.
– She said it’s a pleasure to meet us.
– Is she so glad to see us?
– We should’ve come sooner.
– I wish I had at least taken a shower in the rain before coming here.
As Seoyoon greeted them back, the Baraags began to whisper among themselves, clearly thrilled.
– Is there anything we could help with at all?
– We will make sure to carry out any tasks you give us excellently.
– The Great Emperor has left an order for us, after all. Please let us help in any way.
“Yes, please help us. We are all in great hardship right now.”
The Baraags had come here by the order of the Emperor Geihar in the first place, but they joined the Arpen Kingdom’s camp all the more satisfied.
Seoyoon and the other top elite users of the Arpen Kingdom climbed on to the back of the reliable Baraags. They soared into the night sky silently, their bulky bodies feeling heavy and sturdy to the riders as if they were sitting on top of hovering castles. Since Emperor Geihar had created them as a combat-specialized sculptural race, they even possessed quite an excellent night vision, too.
– We shall start moving.
The Baraags accelerated rapidly and flew across the sky, cutting through the air at frightening speed.
“Now that things have come to this, let’s wipe them all out.”
“Mmm. I can feel my blood boil.”
The users riding on the backs of the Baraags could see more clearly the meteors, which were getting closer and closer in the distant sky. They wanted to join the others in battle as soon as possible, but their current mission was to deal with the Mages who were casting the Summon Flaming Meteors spell. They might have been caught unaware for the first two times, but they could not allow it to happen again. This was a task that was possibly more dangerous than directly fighting the Imperial forces on the ground, and it was difficult to guarantee their survival. Even so, there was nobody who regretted their decision to take part in the mission. Those who did great service to the Arpen Kingdom could earn great fame. As they all saw firsthand how the heroes who had died fighting in Shelgium were treated when they arrived in the Garnav Plain, they were willing to throw their own lives for this mission.
“Kuhuhu. May we all have an honorable death and carve our names in history.”
“Did you hear that the Rhodium Sculptor Association is going to build a war memorial?”
“A war memorial?”
“You didn’t know? If we win the war, they’ll construct a war memorial to be a Great Edifice in the Garnav Plain. And it’s said that they’re going to build statues of the users who made great contributions to our victory.”
Naturally, the artists of the Central Continent had taken the side of the Arpen Kingdom, where they could have a better standard of living and be treated with respect. The Hermes Guild had not cared one bit about those defecting artists, but they had later taken a critical role in constructing the large sculptures in the Garnav Plain. And when the architects had decided to construct a war memorial, the artists willingly had offered to produce sculptures and paintings of the heroes for them.
“That’s the 5th Legion over there.”
“Hmm. They sure look suspicious…”
Seoyoon and the rest of the users continued flying on the Baraags until they could see the 5th Legion’s camp. As soon as they spotted the approaching Baraags, the 5th Legion also reacted by arranging a part of its troops in defensive formation like a hedgehog rolling itself into a ball.
“Summon Flaming Meteors is an Ultimate Spell. It’s already quite dubious how they even managed to cast such a spell in the first place, considering the average standard of their users known to us, but still, they will be in a vulnerable state for a while after using the spell.”
“Our opponent also wouldn’t have a way to make certain whether or not we’ve come here knowing who’s behind the meteor attack. Maybe that’s why they’re preparing themselves for a fight?”
“We will find out once we fight them. Let’s go.”
Many words were exchanged, but in the end they decided to attack in order to find out the truth.
The Baraags asked Seoyoon, politely.
– Would it be okay if we fight as well?
“Yes, please do.”
– Thank you. We will not disappoint.
The archers among the Imperial troops nocked an arrow to their bows, but it was the Baraags that made the first attack. They spread their wings fully on both sides and inhaled deeply. Their already gigantic bodies began to swell even bigger like balloons, accumulating a tremendous amount of heat. Then, the Baraags breathed out the air they had been holding back all at once.
– This heat is the power that protects art and the Arpen Kingdom!
Crimson jets of fire shot out from the night sky, pouring down upon the Imperial forces — a hyper-temperature Breath that made the trees and bushes burn and wither, and even heated up the very ground!
“Th-this is a Breath attack.”
“Shields are useless against it. Run!”
Each time a shot of Baraag’s Breath struck, the entire area within a 100-meter radius was engulfed in flames. The stream of fire continued on for almost a whole kilometer, and the inside was a complete pandemonium full of dying soldiers. The appearance of the Baraags, which would righteously be classified as top-tier monsters, forced even the seasoned troops of the Imperial Army into a state of panic.
“We-we’re all going to die.”
“We’ve made the gods angry!”
Some among the Imperial soldiers who were originally common residents, not users, were overcome with fear and ran away from the battle. Even the Hermes Guild members were just taking in this sight without taking any actions. Although they had gears or scrolls enchanted with flying spells, they dared not launch themselves right in front of the Baraags.
“Those monsters I saw in the videos are actually here.”
“We cannot fight them alone. We’ll only be able to match them when the 2ndLegion arrives.”
“We must strike them all at once if we’re going to have any chance of hunting them down. Even then we’ll have to be supported by magic, too.”
The soldiers came to the Hermes Guild users and pleaded.
“Please save my subordinates, sir!”
“There’s nothing I can do.”
“If you could at least use the healing magic sealed in your sword, it will help our injured soldiers.”
“I need to keep this spell for really important times.”
Everywhere they looked, things were very demoralizing for the Imperial Army. Even the Hermes Guild members were busy either fleeing from the fire Breaths or preparing themselves for later battles.
“It seems they don’t value our lives very much.”
“They say we must fight for the glory of the Haven Empire, yet our families are all starving because of the heavy taxes they put on us.”
“I miss those days when we could just plunder villages without any concerns.”
The morale among the Imperial soldiers was diminished even further.
In the meantime, the Baraags continued to spew out Breaths of fire and struck the Imperial troops in every corner.
“Disperse, and wait until they exhaust their power.”
“Spare the knights as much as possible. We need to maintain our military strength in any way.”
Still, as befits the top elite troops of the Empire, the 5th Legion acted swiftly and dispersed their forces to reduce the damage. And then, at one point, an unusual event occurred during which a Breath attack from a Baraag was blocked by several layers of protection spells. A flame Breath sprayed from the sky upon the ground was weakened by different protection spells that sprang forth all of a sudden, and was eventually dissipated.
“There they are!”
“At least 12 different protection spells were used at the same time. There are Mages, too.”
The eyes of the Arpen Kingdom’s users caught a group of Mages hurriedly making their escape. They were also being guarded by quite a few Hermes Guild members. These were not just common Mages that normally participated in warfare, but extremely high-leveled, high-ranking Mages assembled in one place — an absolute proof that they were the ones who had cast the Summon Flaming Meteors spell!
Seoyoon raised her sword and pointed at the Mages with it.
The shooting stars falling across the night sky.
As it was the case with the first strike, the users were once again standing transfixed, blankly staring at the trajectories drawn by the meteors.
“Do you think they’ll strike here? Surely not?”
“They’re getting near. They’re travelling past towards the south!”
The three meteors that fell from the sky violently shook the vast land of the Garnav Plain one more time. Everyone could see the great explosion, and the news quickly spread that the impact site was the location where the Northern users fought the 11th and 20th Legions. But the destructive power of the meteors did not frighten the people in the Arpen Kingdom’s camp. In fact, it only set their hearts on fire, burning with fierce anger.
“Kill them all!”
“Let’s avenge our fallen brothers.”
Soon the users were engaged in heated combat against the Imperial troops everywhere.
“What is this? These rats have become even more unruly.”
Calcus the Slayer, the Commander of the 4th Legion.
He found that the situation now was totally different from when he first marched into the Garnav Plain. The users were striking at their enemies wildly, and the intense fights were causing some damage to the Imperial forces as well.
“They are still just weaklings; we’ll hit them harder.”
Calcus ordered his Black Riders to advance forward.
An elite army that had grown their strength through the conquest of the Central Continent and the suppression of resistance forces! The troops that had always managed to break through any line of defense and put an end to a battle were now boldly penetrating through the swarm of Northern users.
“Grass Porridge! Grass Porridge! Grass Porridge!”
“Fight on! Just stand your ground until the end and we can win this!”
“Stick close to each other, and remember to run.”
Even though there were some high-level users mixed among them, the largest portion of the people who fought against the Imperial Army consisted of novices who had started the game in the Arpen Kingdom. The 4th Legion slaughtered the coming waves of users and continued pushing through the ground covered in blood and corpses.
“Wipe them all out of the way! We shall dominate this battleground.”
Calcus led the knights personally. He had always enjoyed combat, and would not miss the thrill of overpowering enemies while riding with his knights on the battlefield.
“Whoa. I’m doing one hell of a sword dance.”
“Our legion will make the highest kill count, don’t you think?”
The ten thousand Hermes Guild members were also each contributing to the fight. It was the Mages who set the record for the biggest achievements in battle, but the warriors in the frontline also boasted formidable competence. Each of them was like a boss-level monster, holding out against the combined attacks from more than a hundred users and even pushing them back.
It was in that moment when even the Northern users, despite having thrown themselves so obstinately into the fray full of rage, began to lose their initial intensity by the sturdy offensive from the Imperial Army.
A shout that made the entire plain tremble was heard.
“Wh-what is this?”
Even though the sound came from far away, it still swayed the minds of the users who were fighting.
“What kind of shout is so loud and terrible?”
“Maybe it’s a monster? It sounds like some fearsome monster has appeared.”
And then they could see it; a gigantic Orc, a perfect specimen of greed combined with nastiness, emerging from afar with a large number of users behind him.
“Isn’t that Weed-nim over there?”
“I think so.”
“He must be. That’s Karichwi the Orc!”
While fighting the 11th Legion, Weed had sensed something was up and left the place along with the rest of the high-level users. Moreover, on his way here he was joined by more users who had been scattered across the Garnav Plain. For every step he took, the number of people following him became greater; wherever Weed was, it would take just one use of Lion’s Roar and hundreds of thousands of troops would assemble to fight for him.
“Weed-nim has come for us!”
“We’ve won! We’ve won this fight!”
Just the fact that Weed had arrived here was enough to cause the morale of those who were fighting the 4th Legion to reach the peak. They were fighting a hard battle while losing many comrades, but Weed had finally come for them, bringing an enormous amount of reinforcement and in the form of Orc the Karichwi to boot.
Weed let out a Lion’s Roar.
– Let us mourn the death of our brothers who fell in the meteor strike! Chwichwick!
“They’ve dropped more meteors on us.”
“Yes, imagine just how many have perished this time.”
– We must not let their deaths be in vain. All advance!
“Grass Porridge, Grass Porridge, Grass Porridge!”
“Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice!”
The troops that had just appeared with Weed launched at their enemies with a thunderous roar.
“If that’s Weed, I’ll have to subdue him here and now.”
Calcus sent a request for support to other Legion Commanders nearby. With the Northern users being everywhere in the vicinity, it would take some time for the ground forces to arrive, but the 2nd Legion led by Myul the Griffon Knight consisted of airborne troops and therefore would be able to come to his aid quickly.
Calcus licked his lips.
“When the 2nd Legion joins us… Now we will be able to have a real fight.”
There were plenty of people who enjoyed battles in the Hermes Guild.