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Chapter 273 – Karul Plains (4)

    Chapter 273 - Karul Plains (4)

    Kwaaaaaaah-!

    A flash of light erased everything in its path as it crossed to the center of the imperial camp. The light burned through the walls of the barracks, as well as the soldiers. It was an ultra-high-temperature light which destroyed everything in its path.

    It wouldn't be strange for it to have a piercing sound, but surprisingly, the noise wasn't very loud. The magicians paled as they figured out the reason for that.

    'It can't be...?'

    'It means the power is beyond explosions!'

    An explosion was the sudden expansion of materials due to high temperature and energy. However, Theodore's magic destroyed the material before it even expanded. It didn't seem that strong, yet it contained 10 times the firepower of a large explosion...

    As such, it was natural that even the titanium barrier couldn't withstand it.

    The degree of the titanium's purity couldn't neutralize the spell, but even if it could, it was impossible for it to block the heat and storms which arose from the spell.

    It might be possible for the capital of the empire, Belfort, which had six-story-high walls with a high purity of titanium. However, this destructive force couldn't be endured by a roughly made field barrier.

    "Now! Deal the second blow before the enemy reforms their ranks!"

    At the sound of Theodore's voice, the magicians awoke from their trance.

    "F-Flare Burst!"

    "Thunderbolt that tears the clouds...! Thunder Calling!"

    "Withdraw after hitting, Gust Impact!"

    Pillars of fire, lightning, and wind fell on various areas of the empire's camp.

    The firepower was minuscule compared to Theodore's magic, but it was enough to turn the camp into a wreck. Even if they avoided direct hits, the radiant heat could even kill aura users. The enemies fell into a critical state and didn't even know why they were dying.

    This was the true value of war mages in an army! To produce a firepower which destroyed a solidly built barrier and cleansed all the troops and facilities... This was the strength of a magician on the battlefield.

    At first glance, it seemed like there wasn't one survivor.

    '...No, there are some people still living.' Theodore narrowed his eyes as he looked through the flames and heat haze.

    Hawkeye-the vision magic Theodore had learned from an artifact a long time ago-penetrated right through the flames. Simultaneously, eight knights burst through the flames as well. They didn't care about their blackened skin and melted armor as they roared angrily.

    "You-aaaaack!"

    "Dieeeeee!"

    'Wonderful.' Theodore raised his arms as he admired their fighting spirit. One of them was an expert level aura user, and Theodore couldn't be too complacent if he was in a perfect state.

    However, this knight was already dead. His arms and legs had long been transformed into charcoal, and his eyes and lungs were burned by the heat which couldn't be blocked with aura. Even if Theodore didn't do anything, the knight would die in a minute.

    "I'll send you off together."

    However, Theodore didn't back down. His robe flapped as he stepped forward and greeted the knights. It was obviously a mistake as a magician, but it was right for the successor of the Fairy Dance.

    Shortly afterward, the blue aura blade of one the knights headed toward him.

    'An upper right diagonal slash.'

    Theodore pushed the sword down with his left hand and struck at the exposed gap with his right hand. The ether reinforced fist had already reached the point where it could kill an aura user.

    Moreover, these enemies were on the verge of death from the magical bombardment. The knight's unstable aura was scattered, causing his ribs to break and his heart to be crushed.

    'Pierce the philtrum.'

    Theodore avoided the second knight's sword by half an inch and struck his neck. The relatively thin armor covering his neck was crushed. Even the most persistent undead couldn't keep moving with the cervical vertebrae broken.

    Kwaduduk!

    As the second knight collapsed, Theodore raised his knee towards the third knight's stomach. It was a robust strike aimed not just at a vital point; it also targeted the opponent's internal organs. Theodore used the body of the third knight as a shield and struck two hesitant knights.

    This was Lee Yoonsung's special magic ether, which was a substitute for aura. When it imitated the shape of a blade, it exerted the same cutting force as aura. It didn't take long for the remaining three enemies to fall.

    As the expert knight lay in a puddle of his blood, he muttered with his dying breath, "...C-curse, M... Mel... tor..."

    This was the end, and the knight's movements came to a stop. Theodore looked down at the bodies with a blank expression, letting out a long sigh before lowering his arms.

    'Cursed magicians...'

    He looked up and saw the camp which had been devastated by him and his subordinates. The noise of a human residence had vanished like a lie, leaving only the sound of fire behind.

    "...This is war."

    It wasn't to survive or practice. Theodore's power was used only to kill the enemy. In this brief battle, Theodore had killed at least 100 people. He didn't know the contents of the inside of the camp, but there had to be enough personnel to carry out the defense.

    Above all, the scary thing was Theodore's state in which he hadn't even realized he was exterminating them.

    "Theo- Ah. No, Captain?"

    "Sylvia?"

    "Please give us the next instructions. Everybody is waiting for you."

    When Theodore saw that the squad members were staring at him, he nodded at Sylvia's words. He could struggle with this mental issue after they returned. Right now, he had to move according to the strategy he had developed and do it without a single mistake.

    "We will withdraw."

    Turning back as soon as they made a big break...?

    Theodore explained to the puzzled members, "We have done this much, so Andras will send reinforcements from nearby. The watchtowers and snipers have been taken care of, so they won't be able to know our location. Instead, the pursuers will follow Para and William."

    As such, Theodore's group would hunt their pursuers and reverse the situation.

    "Anyway, the eastern canyon isn't an important place for the empire. If we go too far forward, we will only get surrounded. We should aim for a sure victory rather than risks our lives with an uncertain achievement."

    Alfred had been the owner of such tactics. He had always fought in a disadvantageous situation where one defeat would lead to the destruction of his kingdom. A commander must know when to step back. Other people might not agree with this idea, but Theodore had inherited Alfred's experience.

    Theodore grabbed the badge on his chest and poured magic power into it.

    [William, Para. Report on your progress.]

    It was the communication spell given to all Quattro members. It might be because the badge had been made directly by the Yellow Tower Master, but this artifact boasted an excellent performance on the Karul Plains.

    Upon hearing the replies from the two people, Theodore turned his back on the destruction.

    From now on, he needed to rush a little bit.

    *     *     *

    At that time, the Andras Empire's forces in the eastern canyon became alert.

    It was due to the report that a base on the outskirts had been attacked. They must've been wiped out seeing as all contact had been cut off and not even a beacon was lit. Despite the many times they had been defeated in this canyon, Meltor had embarked on a bold preemptive attack!

    General Torbell thought it was ridiculous. "Sir Amel! Have you gotten in contact with the watchtowers yet?"

    A knight came running urgently at the call and reported to the 50-year-old general. If they didn't want to get lost in this narrow canyon, they needed a precise map or to get directions from the watchtowers built at the top of the canyon.

    However, the closer they got to the attacked camp, the less the watchtowers replied, and it was silent now.

    "I have sent a signal 10 times, but there is no reply! Perhaps the enemy has intervened."

    "Damn Meltor bastards... They sure are doing it properly."

    The fighting in the eastern canyon had been going on for nearly 100 years. Due to that, Andras hadn't had the slightest sense of caution. They hadn't thought they would be severely poked at this time.

    It was a good blow. He had to admit it.

    At that moment, the knight at the front opened his mouth, "General! The road is blocked!"

    "What?" General Torbell looked at the map, but a path was clearly drawn.

    Was it a mistake by the person who had created the map?

    Just as Torbell was thinking of finding him and punishing him severely, a knight said, "General! 30 minutes ago, I received a report from a patrol. Some roads are blocked by landslides, so a new map needs to be created..."

    "Fool! You should've told me sooner!"

    The furious Torbell decided to advance, so he told the knights to find a detour.

    Fortunately, the knight in charge of patrolling had an excellent memory, and he remembered the changed geography. It might be a longer path, but the speed of advancement was much faster than before.

    They would arrive at the camp in 10 minutes.

    Kururung!

    ...That was if things went as planned.

    "No, a landslide!"

    The empire's elite knights were surprised by the sudden collapse of a cliff, but they took a defense formation without any chaos. If aura users gathered all in one place like this, it would turn into an impenetrable fortress.

    "All members! Be prepared for impact!"

    "People with shields, hurry and raise them!"

    In addition to the front, back, left and right, the knights raised large shields over their heads to block the soil and sand pouring down. It was a huge mass which could turn the human body into rotten tomatoes.

    Kurururung! The landslide swept over them.

    Puhak! The earth shook.

    Then a knight emerged from the ground covered in rocks. No, it wasn't just one. Like moles poking their heads out of a dug hole, the dozens of knights slowly emerged. Anybody familiar with landslides would be impressed by their health and defense.

    In the meantime, General Torbell kept calm.

    "Those people!"

    At the end of the path, faint figures could be seen in the canyon. A real landslide wouldn't have been as light as it was now.

    It was an artificially created landslide, so the knights had been able to prevent it with their defense. Of course, most of the horses died in the process, but for aura users, horses were just a way to save stamina.

    "All members, chase those rats!"

    They weren't wearing lightweight plate armor, but they were knights of the empire. If they were held back by this weight, they didn't deserve to stand on the battlefield. The knights climbed the steep slope and chased after the fleeing enemies. In the meantime, they saw the ruins of the watchtowers and the fallen snipers.

    This canyon was supposed to be their territory. The pride of the Andras knights wasn't low enough to leave magicians wandering around freely. They followed the enemies wearing robes of an unknown affiliation.

    If it was a long distance, it would be difficult for knights to compete with magicians when it came to speed. However, if it was a medium distance, they could catch up if they overdid it a little with aura.

    Torbell rushed ahead as the fast-moving knights used aura on their legs.

    Kwakwakwak!

    The sight of dozens of knights knocking hard rocks out of the way with their heavy armor was terrifying. The robes of the magicians got closer. Of course, they didn't make it easy to catch up as traps were triggered under the feet of the knights.

    "Tch, these little tricks!"

    "Fight like men!"

    The booing didn't stop the magicians. The knights eventually broke the traps and kept chasing after them, while the magicians installed more traps. This was repeated throughout the chase and seemed like it would last forever.

    However, the mutual fatigue wasn't taken into consideration. Unlike Meltor's troops, who had to consume magic power and stamina to move, the knights were in a better condition. There was more room for them in the chase.

    Soon after, William's troops were surrounded by them.

    "Ah, I got caught."

    Ignoring William's quiet mutter, General Torbell pulled out a sword from the sheath at his waist.

    "These people! Daring to strike at Andras' dignity... You won't die easily!"

    "Well, I wonder if that is really the case?"

    "How ridiculous!"

    The empire was strong. They would be able to recover from this much damage in an instant.

    Torbell snorted and spoke while covered in a red aura, "A rat cornered by a cat is trying to bite back? But you should know that you can't beat the cat! Today, I, Torbell, will engrave that into your bones!"

    "That is correct. A rat can't beat a cat."

    "...Hrmm?" To think that William was convinced by Torbell's words...? Torbell couldn't seem to speak.

    So, William continued, "But did I really get caught?"

    "What are you saying?" Torbell asked bluntly.

    William raised a hand to cover his mouth as he laughed. "You are the ones caught, you idiots."

    Torbell and the knights present didn't notice it. Shadows were looming behind them.

    Chill.

    Torbell had been on the battlefield for nearly 30 years, but this was the day that he experienced the feeling of horror. It wasn't just because the enemy was behind him. That wasn't enough to cause chills. However, what was this feeling that seemed to press at his soul? This unknown fear changed to horror, and the dozens of knights looked back.

    With a red robe, black hair, and blue eyes... a man, who was young and yet not young at the same time, was facing them. Normally, they would've laughed at him.

    However, the Andras knights knew. This person, who didn't even look 30 years old yet, was a threat to the empire. He could never know the size of the wound he had carved into the Andras Empire.

    "-You, I have heard of you," Torbell spoke on behalf of everyone, "Theodore Miller."

    "That's right," Theodore responded in a grave manner.

    Now, Torbell and the knights' deaths were confirmed. It was a fact whenever meeting a master. They knew they couldn't defeat a master who had already killed one of the empire's Seven Swords. Therefore, they were determined to put just one wound on their enemy before dying. The resolution that filled them caused the air to shake.

    "For the empire!"

    Torbell rushed forward with the knights behind him.

    "For the glory of Andras!"

    Aura soared up. Every one of them was an elite knight. Without Theodore here, the 30 war mages would've had to fight for their lives. Nevertheless, this world was about the strong. One master was equivalent to thousands of troops, and this absolute power difference couldn't be overcome with the advantage of numbers.

    Without surrendering to the end, they all fought fiercely until they were killed.

    *     *     *

    On this day, Andras lost one outpost, two generals, 100 knights, and 1,000 soldiers. On the other hand, Meltor's damage was only some injuries and wasted magic power.

    The skirmish in Karul Plains thus ended in Meltor's victory, and Theodore's name rose to a higher level than before. Then two days after the stunning skirmish...

    Andras' spiteful counterattack began.
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