Chapter 176 - Volume 2
Chapter 121 – The Final Battle (9)
The Elven commander took off his pointed helmet which had a few streaks of gold painted over it to distinguish him as a commander. He shook his head, and his beautiful silver hair fell down like a waterfall. He exhaled slowly, and looked coldly at the battlefield’s messy appearance. The Lizardmen’s corpses were strewn over over their Elven grounds with blood forming into moving streams. There was a piercing stench of blood in the air, which would have made normal people queasy in their stomachs, but it was the scent of victory to the Silver Elves.
[No. This is not victory yet.]
Hewjil had escaped. Nalaethar’s men wanted to chase it but he stopped them from doing so. He flicked his sword once in the air to remove blood from it and placed it back into the sheath. The ornate design of the sword’s hilt glittered in the sun as he signaled to his men to gather up and get ready for their next move, not wasting any time.
The Nightsong Tiger brought back the other team of Silver Elves. He frowned when he saw Nalaethar’s appearance. The latter already appeared cold and distant, and the blood on his armor added on a disconcerting feeling to him. However, this somehow made him look seductive even to the Nightsong Tiger for some odd reason.
“Commander.” The Nightsong Tiger’s surprise only lasted for a short while: “I think our battle here is over.”
“Yes.” Nalaethar nodded.
The flag on the building was still upright, but no one knew how the battle between the mercenaries and the Lizardmen progressed.
“We can’t call this a victory yet.” Nalaethar said: “We must abide to our original plan and return to the agreed meeting place right now. I hope that your lord has fulfilled his promise instead of wasting his life.”
“What?” The Nightsong Tiger interrupted him: “Our lord’s orders are different. We’re supposed to clear out the remaining lizardmen in the backlines if it came to that.”
Nalaethar looked at him with arrogant indifference.
“You saw that monster as well, and it is much stronger than what your lord had described in his plans. Even with our powers at their peak, we would need at least three of us in order to fight it to a standstill. Do you truly believe your lord can take it on by himself for so long? He is in grave danger.”
“There is no time left for arguments. The choices before you are your lord or Amandina, and the importance of your lord outweighs her. Do you truly need to choose? In the battle against the Dragon of Darkness, there is no room for benevolence. The standards for judging the situation lies in the conclusion of the battle.”
The Nightsong Tiger could not help but look at Amandina’s direction. Brendel clearly ordered the mercenaries to protect her.
Nalaethar shook his head: “Very well, human, I will tell you a secret. I have already asked Amandina to place your lord’s safety as priority before she went off to command the mercenaries. I have no intention of going her aid. In our history, putting our lives before defeating the Dragon of Darkness was to give up hope for the continent’s future. This is why Medissa sacrificed herself for her sister, no matter how unthinkable of a choice it might appear to you.”
He straightened himself and raised his hand, and the Silver Elves gathered before him.
============== Amandina’s POV =============
Nalaethar and the Nightsong Tiger understood Amandina’s situation.
The mercenaries and her were in dire straits. There were simply too many openings in the ruins for the Lizardmen to go through. The cover for the mercenaries was also inadequate and were easily in range of the Lizardmen’s crossbows. Even if they retaliated with their own ranged attacks, it was not effective in stopping the Lizardmen warriors from pouring in.
However, this showed off the Mercenaries of Lopes’ strong fighting will. The furthest three mercenaries faced off against the initial hundred Lizardmen, giving up their positions twice and took it back two times as well by using Exploding Crystals.
The reinforcements that Amandina sent out to help them were rebuffed by the enemies’ numbers, and the three mercenaries were ultimately overwhelmed by the Lizardmen warriors who swarmed them angrily with weapons and shredded them into pieces. The last person waited till his final breath and detonated the last Exploding Crystal on himself, causing the largest damage to the Lizardmen’s numbers since the start of the battle.
Almost twenty Lizardmen were taken out from that blast.
The battles after that were no less bloodier than the first one. The Mercenaries of Lopes were the ones in charge of defending the riskiest chokeholds, and almost every time they battled it was a melee fest that guaranteed corpses. After exchanging twenty two Lizardmen for another four mercenaries, the enemies finally broke through the outer positions and began to invade the ritual hall.
The remainder of the mercenaries retreated into the building and defended there, but it was not a plan they could hold on to because there was less and less room to defend against the enemies. If the defense lines were pushed back any further, they would have to retreat to the roof.
Amandina held on to the flag and continued to watch for changes in the battlefield, waiting for an opportunity to order the mercenaries to charge into the enemies’ weak points. Each mercenary’s death made her heart feel heavier. When Brendel was leading these men there was not even a single death, but it was just her mere ten odd minutes of commanding them had caused them to suffer serious injuries and even led them to their deaths
When the older Elven elementalist sister, Felaern, used her own body to block off a fatal crossbow bolt attack, Amandina felt her eyes tear up uncontrollably. The Elven girl even suppressed her own voice in order to make sure Amandina did not panic.
Amandina understood what Falaern was doing and gritted her teeth as she laid her down onto the ground. The latter’s body warmth lingered in Amandina’s hands, and she looked like she was just sleeping with her closed eyes.
A handkerchief appeared in front of Amandina.
She looked back in surprise and saw Deyna, the younger Elven sister.
“Wipe your tears, miss Amandina.”
“No, I’m fine…..” Amandina took a deep breath and then stuttered: “S-sorry…..”
Deyna’s lips moved once and wanted to say something, but she stopped herself. Brendel did not tell her about the secret of the Mercenaries of Lopes, and she did not have the permission to reveal it either.
“Please give me the flag, Miss Amandina. This place is too dangerous.” She said after a moment of hesitation.
Amandina shook her head.
“No, I have to be here.” She needed to do see this to the bitter end.
The Lizardmen had already broken the fourth defensive line, and the mercenaries retreated once again. They were close to the roof. From that distance, Deyna estimated there was less than fifty meters before they reached Amandina. She even saw the Lizardmen’s crossbows raising towards them. Even though they were not accurate shooters, their repeated attempts will reach the flag’s position soon.
Deyna creased her brows and stood in front of Amandina and reached for her sword. She was out of mana like her older sister. Still, she had to accomplish her task to defend Amandina.
“Thank you.” Amandina said quietly.
The Elven girl smiled faintly, but quickly fell into a solemn expression when her eyes saw that the Lizardmen were chattering amongst themselves. All the crossbows were raised at the same time, and she was not certain whether she could defend against all the crossbows’ bolts. She gritted her teeth and pulled out her sword, gripping the hilt tightly.
The Lizardmen’s fingers were on the triggers, waiting for the command to allow them to fire—
Amandina and Deyna held their breaths. No matter how much they prepared themselves for their deaths, there was a sense of despair when they faced it directly.
However, that moment never came. A small shining crystal suddenly fell onto the ground and in the midst of the Lizardmen. An explosion happened, and the walls were immediately painted with blood and rained across the stairs along with bits of flesh and bones.
Everyone was stunned.
Amandina was certain she gave all the crystals to the mercenaries at the outer wall!
A sudden clang could be heard from the edge, and she turned her head around to see a sword on the ground. Romaine climbed up onto the roof, appearing utterly exhausted and panting for breath. When she saw Amandina, she gave a smug smile: “Haa— I nearly got lost, haa…… haa…… It was hard to find a path…… to the roof…… Amandina, I learned how to use a sword, I can protect you…… Haaaaa….. I’m tired…..”
“W-wait, aren’t you supposed to go back and wait?! Were you the one who used the Exploding Crystal? Didn’t you give it all to Brendel?”
Romaine’s hands suddenly went to her small bag: “Well….. I might have kept a few.”
“Hold on…… The reason why the explosion failed that night was because there were not enough to break an important section of the hill, causing the rocks to fall around us right! Damn it, didn’t you say you used them all?”
Romaine jumped up when she heard Amandina curse for the first time. She shook her head repeatedly. “I-I promise I only have five, no, four left.”