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Chapter 274 – General War (1)

    Chapter 274 - General War (1)

    Kuuong! Kuuong! Kuuong!

    Beyond the horizon, the soldiers who were enclosed in steel stepped forward one by one with loud noises. They were covered with iron and leather from head to toe, the swords in their hands flashed in the sun, and their feet left deep footprints in the solid earth.

    Weeds were crushed and small pebbles broke as they looked forward.

    There was no sound of drumming or any war cries. The eyes of the soldiers shone from underneath their helmets as they remained silent and poured all their strength into moving forward.

    This was the strong army of the Andras Empire.

    Rather than shrinking back from the defeats which had happened since the starting of the war, the army was overflowing with the will to retaliate. It was terrible that 150,000 troops were moving forward, while 100,000 still remained in reserve.

    Benedict, who climbed onto a hill to watch this spectacular sight, opened his mouth to speak.

    No, he burst out laughing.

    "Huhuhuhu! Those imperial idiots have really become spiteful after their pride was broken! I never imagined it would turn out this way..."

    This had all stemmed from Theodore. The damage wasn't big enough to change the course of the unification war, but it was true that the damage was great for one blow. Benedict's initial purpose was achieved, but it also ignited the enemy's fighting spirit.

    Earl Carter laughed at the situation and spoke, "Hahaha, isn't it a happy miscalculation? For them to overpower the eastern canyon, that is more than I expected."

    "Huhuhu, that's right. Our hero has played a part, so this old man should also use some strength."

    Benedict looked around at his advisers before staring at the approaching Andras army. The laughter disappeared, and his eyes filled with a dignity suitable for a leader.

    "An all-out confrontation on the plains."

    In a battle on the plains where no obstacles existed, it was usually a battlefield where magicians dominated. Attack spells such as Fire Ball were more powerful than dozens of arrows, and the firepower of a magician could annihilate thousands of soldiers.

    Even if one Fire Ball could be ignored, the knights couldn't survive hundreds of them pouring down. It was unknown about sword masters, but it was a fantasy that an individual could overcome an army.

    "It is a strange struggle that common sense says they can't win, but..."

    However, none of the leaders could agree.

    "Andras is outside of common sense."

    Benedict's advisers nodded and gazed at the enemy's frontline which had already come into view. The infantry advanced without stopping, and it seemed like the knights might rush forward at any time.

    The most annoying things were the great shields which were made of a blue-grey material. They covered several hundreds of square meters. It was the titanium shield, called the 'Magician's Despair.'

    This unidentified material was the enemy of Meltor. The magic towers attempted to find its weakness and found it could only be neutralized with an organized bombardment of at least 5th circle magic.

    This titanium greatly reduced the magicians' firepower, giving the Andras Empire room to fight Meltor on the plains. Otherwise, the north would've been unified under Meltor's banner early on. Therefore, Meltor couldn't help feeling spite when they saw these colors.

    "...A little closer and they will be within range."

    However, that didn't mean Meltor had no strategy to deal with it. Benedict recalled the blood that his ancestors had shed and raised his left hand. "Let's do the standard procedure first."

    "Should we use the Tactics Mages?"

    "Mobilize the 3rd unit just in case. Use Judgment of Eurus on the great shield in the heart of the imperial army."

    "I will follow your words!"

    The advisers raised a few flags, and the command was quickly passed on to the magicians. It took 14 seconds starting from Benedict's command for the action to take place. The only kingdom which could maintain such a high-speed command system with more than 100,000 troops was Meltor.

    Soon, a pale light shone on the left side of Meltor's army, where the Tactical Mages 3rd unit was located.

    Hwiuooong...

    The wind blew. It was a tactical spell which twisted the air currents and created a vortex of power. This was proof that Judgment of Eurus was being used. There were 16 magicians of the 5th circle and 100 magicians of the 4th circle.

    With all that ability gathered in one place, it meant they could exert a power equivalent to a great magic. This was the strength of tactics mages, who functioned as an army rather than individuals.

    Kuooooh!

    Judgment of Eurus, a vortex born in the sky, suddenly plummeted toward the ground.

    "Waaaaahhhhh!"

    "R-Retreat, no, aaaack!"

    "Hand! Take my handdd!"

    The troops of the advancing imperial army were swept away like dead leaves, and the whole area was covered with dust.

    No matter how much magic power was lost, the physical power which arose from the phenomenon remained. The titanium shields became distorted, and the soldiers depending on them were thrown away with their limbs broken.

    Tactical magic, which was comparable to 7th circle magic, wasn't something that the titanium could endure.

    "Hrmm." However, Benedict looked dissatisfied. It was because after the storm passed, there were still a few people crawling out of the cloud of dust. They were knights and aura users. If they were directly hit, they would've stopped breathing. However, the power was offset by the titanium, so they avoided any fatalities.

    Then it was at that moment...

    "Commander! Look over there!"

    "What is going on? There... Hrmm?"

    The eyes of Benedict and his advisers widened. They saw a portable catapult being rolled on four wheels. It was a massive structure that was being dragged from the rear of the imperial forces.

    This wasn't a siege, so why was Andras bringing a catapult to the plains? Their opponent was Meltor, a kingdom which could intercept the stones fired by the catapult. The Meltor troops were silent because they couldn't understand the scene, then the loaded catapult fired a shell.

    It aimed exactly for where the Tactical Mages 3rd unit was located. The unexpected thing was that although the action was fast, the shell fell on empty ground, and there weren't any casualties.

    Kwaaaang!

    At first glance, it seemed like a pointless attack.

    "K-Kuaaack! M-Magic power?"

    "The links... They are all broken. At this rate..."

    "The tactical mages' magic circle is being destroyed! The 3rd unit will become individual magicians at this time!"

    The tactical mages' magic circle, which had taken a minimum of four years to produce, had collapsed. Benedict was at a loss for a moment after hearing the news, but he soon figured out the situation.

    The catapult was fine. The problem was the shell that was fired.

    "Surely it isn't a titanium shell...?"

    It was a metal which dissipated magic power itself, so the titanium exerted an effect even if it wasn't in the form of a large shield.

    Andras had fired a catapult to the 3rd unit, which had been exposed after the utilization of Judgment of Eurus. The goal wasn't the individual magicians but to break apart the magic circle, preventing large-scale tactical magic from being used for a few days.

    However, before Meltor could evacuate the area, the Andras Knights read the flow and launched an assault.

    "Commander! There are 100 knights coming to the front!"

    "Order the 2nd unit to use Anger of the Earth..." Benedict paused while speaking.

    He was hesitant about the possibility of losing another unit after the 3rd unit. This was the exact gap that Andras aimed for.

    Kwaang!

    The power of the knights in full heavy armor wasn't something that the soldiers could prevent. Blood scattered as the knights rode through the human bodies. After reaching Meltor's front, the choice of stopping them with tactical magic was lost.

    They ran through the wall made of 1,000 soldiers at once and sliced at the necks of the magicians. This was Andras' terrible breakthrough power. The soldiers were broken like scarecrows, and even the well-trained magic soldiers died before they could act.

    If this were left alone, the mage unit would be lost in 5 minutes. It was the same damage Theodore had inflicted the other day, so it was impossible to leave alone. Benedict made a quick decision and spoke to Earl Carter, "It can't be helped. Send 'him' out."

    "Isn't it too early?"

    "His power is half-exposed already. It is unfortunate, but this isn't a situation where we can spare anything."

    "I understand. I will tell him straight away."

    'He'? Despite the unknown identity, the advisers all nodded at the decision. That person would be able to stop it.

    The eyes of Meltor's troops were dark as they looked at the enemy knights.

    *     *     *

    "Kill them now!"

    "Don't get caught! The first thing is to keep going forward!"

    The knights in the lead called out as blood covered their blades in the blink of an eye. The blood belonged to the enemies, not the knights. The soldiers who bravely jumped forward were cut by dozens of aura blades. The efficiency was a bit worse than that of magicians, but aura users were also like reapers for general soldiers.

    This repeated but they soon encountered resistance.

    Kakang!

    The swords, which were being wielded, stopped for the first time, and the knight in the lead realized that the soldiers around him had changed. These were the magic soldiers that Meltor was proud of. They wore military artifacts and had magic, so their combat power was a lot higher than ordinary soldiers.

    "You are good... but! You will never be our enemy!"

    Nevertheless, it was impossible to stop Andras' advance.

    Chwaaaak!

    The magic soldiers collapsed with their necks pierced. They could buy more time, but they weren't at a level to fight the knights. Still, they sacrificed their lives to be shields for the magicians in the rear.

    This was a mission implicitly given to the magic soldiers. In order to prevent the knights' advance, they needed to have power on the level of a war mage. War mages that this place didn't have.

    "―Oh, sorry for being late." There was a grim voice and then it seemed like two bolts of lightning struck.

    Clovis Two Swords Style.

    Wartime Confusion Hidden Technique.

    Wolf's Frenzy.

    12-no, 24 slashes simultaneously struck the bodies of the knights in this space.

    Puhwaak!

    It was too late to notice by the time blood was spurting out The swordsman avoided the drops of blood which splattered near his eyes and kicked the corpse of a knight. The knight's head and limbs were cut off, and the knights stopped for a moment as they saw their colleague's body.

    "Are you stupid?" Randolph laughed coldly as he stabbed the two knights who had stopped moving.

    As soon as Randolph appeared, he showed off his strength, which defeated three knights, and shook the blood off his blade. The other knights stared at him. Their instincts told them this monster's power.

    "...Sword master?"

    Why was there a sword master in a magic kingdom? They hesitated as this question appeared in their minds. Randolph didn't miss this opportunity and raised his pair of swords.

    Puok!

    Then a knight was pierced in the heart from behind. The stabbing motion was too fast and sharp to be seen. It was like an attack from a warrior who had been on the battlefield for years. Simultaneously, several knights collapsed, and several people appeared behind their backs.

    "What, who are you?" The nervous leader of the knights cried out.

    Meanwhile, the people chuckled and didn't reply.

    The aura at the ends of their swords and spears proved that they weren't magic soldiers. If they had one thing in common, it was the wolves which were carved somewhere, like on their armor, sheathes, or waistbands.

    Then Randolph opened his mouth to answer the question, "We are mercenaries hired by Meltor, the Wandering Wolves."

    "What?"

    A sword master working as a mercenary...?

    Randolph pointed his blades at the knight who couldn't hide his disbelief.

    "I'm sorry, but you have to die."

    "D-Dammit!"

    A sword master had come into an area with dozens of aura users. Most of all, there were the magic soldiers in the area. The operation would fail if they got caught this way.

    The chief knight grasped his sword tightly as he sensed this, while the knights also raised their aura. There was no surrendering even if it meant dying. The knights had been raised to be loyal to the empire, so there was no changing their allegiance.

    Shortly afterward, the knights and mercenaries started the melee.

    It seemed impossible, since the mercenaries were less skilled than the knights. However, the difference was small in comparison to the magic soldiers, and the mercenaries had good artifacts with secondary magic.

    Additionally, Meltor's assistance improved the conditions.

    Kakang! Kang! Chwaack!

    The knights lost their strength and fell to the swords of the mercenaries. It would've been impossible without help, but this was a war and this was the result. The knights fell down one by one.

    It was even more prominent in Randolph's case. His invisible swords caused the heads of several people to fly away at once. It was done at a speed which only one of the Seven Swords could keep up with.

    "Well, should I let them earn their pay..."

    Little by little, Randolph stepped back, allowing his men to finish the job. Putting aside the mercenaries, he was a master who would shake up the battlefield by himself. It was more efficient to move according to commands, rather than without any thought. Now it was time to go back to the outskirts of the army and look at the enemy's gaps.

    Randolph thought up to there, but his feet stopped.

    'No, I was stopped.'

    It was more accurate to say that he was forced to stop. This was like his feet were glued to the ground, causing Randolph to turn his attention to behind him. His double swords were pulled from their sheaths and aimed at the enemy.

    "Who?"

    A white-haired woman appeared like a ghost and replied to his question, "The empire's 5th Sword, Delkur. It is a pleasure."

    'Delkur,' Randolph's eyebrows raised slightly at the name. He looked at his stuck legs and asked again, ...I see. Are you the 'Shadow'? Is this it?"

    "Yes, is it strange? It is a technique called Shadow Step. I can't move, but you can't escape before I release it."

    "It is a nasty technique."

    Kyah! For Randolph to speak in a tough tone with that face? "I like it."

    After these words, Delkur suddenly pulled out a spear and pointed it at him. No, it wasn't a normal spear. At 1.8 meters long and with the semblance to an arming sword, it was a strange weapon that replaced the handle of a sword with a spear handle.

    Kakiing.

    She smiled with killing intent in her eyes.

    "How is it? I wonder if you can beat me at this distance?"

    "Hrmm, we'll see."

    The distance between the two masters was only 3 meters. A falchion had a much shorter reach, however, it was a reasonable distance when stabbing with a spear. Even so, Randolph laughed as he raised his double swords.

    "Why do I feel like I won't lose?"

    "Ahahaha! How impudent!"

    A little distance away from the battlefield, the two masters of Andras aimed their weapons at each other.
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