Chapter 444 - Volume 3 Chapter 223

Chapter 223 – Dusk or dawn

The Crimson Flagbearers in the forest had their formation broken. One by one, the crimson swallow-tail banners plunged to the ground.

Silence filled Lord Palas’s surroundings. The veteran general’s fingertips on his sword hilt whitened a little more—

[To think this enemy unit kept on waiting patiently even though their allies were in a disadvantage. They must be the Mercenaries of Lopes in the report.]

He closed his eyes, and there was a strong sign of fatigue that showed on his deeply wrinkled face. Lord Weld was one of the youths he appreciated, but regretting was not permitted on a battlefield. Aouine had shed too much blood.

There was only cold determination in his unlit face when he opened his eyes.

[Since the rebels have shown this card, then victory is all but confirmed.]

“The knights from Randner, go forth and add a victory stroke that’s full of ink on your achievements.”

There was raucous cheering from the crowd of Silver-ranked knights.

But it did not bring up even a bit of joy in Lord Palas’s heart.

Aouine was already sleeping just like he was.

The old man turned around to look at the setting sun’s light. Dusk filled the sky with a deep orange hue, but it was a sign that darkness was coming. Victory did not bring forth the colors of hope, and there was only the vivid color of blood in his eyes.

Just where did he make a mistake in this battle?

============= Jana’s POV =============

“The knights are moving.”

A cold voice transmitted next to Jana’s ears, causing the mercenary to pivot her eyes to discover Medissa’s stoic expression. The young Elven girl appeared quite adorable when she had bunched up her face, and there was just that little hint of royalty or commander’s authority emitting from her.

The female mercenary commander nodded.

Even she could see that victory or defeat was at hand. But she was still unable to see where they could gain the advantage.

The earlier battle had drained a great amount of her stamina, and she was unable to maintain her dignity in front of Medissa, painting a little. Anyone could see that the defensive lines were shaking and about to be overrun. Her eyes had a little incomprehension in them when she peered at Medissa.

Was it Elven pride or some unknown factor that supported her confidence to remain unfazed under this situation?

[If it’s confidence, then where does it come from?]

“How are we going to handle the enemies?” She asked earnestly with anxious eyes.

It was the first time she threw down her pride to get an order from Medissa despite the fact that she did not desire to do so, at least not to a girl who was still a child. Did this Elven princess really know what was happening on the battlefield?

Jana was very doubtful—

But Medissa’s mind was crystal clear and she said:

“Blow the horns.”

Jana’s eyes were full of disbelief. Even if Medissa was encased in a full suit of armor, she still looked like she was a child pretending to be a general.

“But what about Madara’s undead?” Jana asked.

Blowing the horns was the signal to activate the Subterrane Dwellers, but they were the final force to tie Madara’s forces down. This was not a secret, and both parties were clear of this point. Whoever utilized their final reinforcements first would be the first to lose the war.

Medissa simply grabbed onto the lance next to her and glanced once at Jana.

“Get my mount ready, I’ll lead them personally.”

“I……” Jana was suddenly at a loss for words and she clutched Medissa’s shoulders like she wanted to stop her: “My men can’t follow you to go out and die……”

“How about you?” Medissa’s head tilted a little.

“I……” Jana took a deep breath and nodded: “I’ll follow you, fair child.”

Medissa smiled.

The noise of blazing horns sounded in the forest like an ancient song. Both allies and enemies felt like they were transported to a boundless ancient forest.

“The Dragonhorns’ bellow?” Lord Palas suddenly experienced vertigo. He felt like time was reversing and he was transported to a period where there was only blood for blood on a sacred battlefield. The past alliances were no longer in effect, and that war was one without glory, but it was also filled with awarded emblems for the veteran soldiers.

He licked his lips that were a little dry.

“The Subterrane Dwellers.”

“They’re here.”

“Are they trying to fight to the bitter end?”

“These rebels….. are respectable enemies.”

“Where exactly did they come from?”

[Yes, where did these people come from?]

The old commander felt a little confused upon hearing the mutterings of the surrounding knights. This army was not made up of typical rebels. No, these were the best warriors Aouine had to offer. But why would these gifted people fight so bitterly and shed their blood?

He had a sudden urge to meet the youth called Brendel.

[If one day, the citizens of Aouine could rise up and act like one again…… But who is capable of uniting the kingdom? The nobles in the north? That princess who is surrounded by people who are not really aligned with her? But I don’t think I would be able to see that day.]

He shut his eyes, seemingly wanting to dream of finding the footprints of the Ancestral King Erik.

“Notify Madara.” Lord Palas did not open his eyes again and answered wearily.

The knights nodded and left him, but there was a sudden cheer in the forest.

Lord Palas’s eyes fluttered to the source of noise. The elite knights directly under his service also did the same. The cheering came from the wizards in their camps, and those constantly muttering fools seemed to be celebrating something.

He frowned in displeasure.

“It seems like the noble wizards have discovered that the much of the forest past the enemy’s stronghold isn’t real and instead an illusion. They had been trying to find a way to dispel the illusion and it seems like they have just created a solution.” One of the messengers answered immediately.

Lord Palas scoffed lightly. This group of thirty wizards hardly did anything in the earlier battles, and there were great losses to the talented youths under him. Even though these robed fools explained that they were facing a wizard who was vastly stronger than them, he did not believe it.

If that were true, did it not mean that they were facing against a Gold-ranked wizard? How was it possible for one to join the rebels?

[These unnatural bastards can’t be trusted, but at least they are still working towards a proper solution. Even though it’s possible that they want to act like they achieved something in this war, it’s not convenient for me to say anything more.]

He merely nodded to show that he understood. But he did not expect that the wizards to act quickly. There was a sudden chorus of synchronized chanting. A powerful ripple of Mana swept past the forest and caused the soldiers in the forest to shudder and feel their hair standing up on end.

If a normal person could feel this rippling Mana, then it would naturally be clear to the casters.

In truth, Ciel felt that commotion when the enemy wizards cast their spell. When one of the acolytes asked for instructions regarding this matter, he merely shook his head.

“Ignore them. Let them dispel the illusion.”

“Let them dispel it?” The acolyte did not understand.

“Are you wasting my breath? That silly thing is meant to deceive the enemies into believing that we have a large army of spellcasters, but what’s the use of it now that they still fight us head on without holding back? Since those fools want to waste their Mana to dispel something useless, let them do it. How stupid are you to actually stoop down to their levels and go crazy like them?”

Ciel showed a look of disgust and prodded at that acolyte’s head:

“The head is utilized in a battle between wizards, do you understand?”

The acolyte received a verbal thrashing and he hurriedly nodded.

Ciel was absolutely not a good choice as a teacher. At least in terms of patience, he was definitely worse compared to his lord.

He shook his head as he took another long look at the acolyte and the other wizards behind him: “I’m reminding everyone of you to save up Mana and use it for the last battle. I did not bring you here for the reason of letting you die here.”

Ciel shrugged.

“Of course, if anyone else wants to die a stupid death, then there’s nothing I can do.”

His words were interrupted by sudden cheers. Everyone looked towards River Gris and discovered that it came from all the enemy troops. Even the Highlanders were doing the same thing.

The forest’s illusion was disappearing.

It seemed like this was a signal for their final victory, and the enemies had lost their last barrier.

Tarkas and his Black Knights were standing in a section of the forest. His golden irises that were particular to the vampires glinted coldly. The outcome of this war seemed like it had nothing to do with them. Behind them was an army comprised of thousands and thousands of undead units. They did not need to breathe and the entire army was silent, almost appearing like they were a wall made up of iron.

The one-eyed general’s gaze landed on the Subterrane Dwellers who were covered in thick battle armor.

“The Stormtroopers of the Subterrane Dwellers.” He remarked as he wore his metal gauntlets, turning around to address his army: “They are the final trump card of the humans. Let’s go, I want a Madaran Victory— For the Emperor!”

The Black Knights pulled out their gleaming sabers and answered with a deep tone: “By the will of the Mercury Staff.”

But there was another blast of the Dragonhorns, seemingly different in tone compared to the earlier one. The long, sustained noise echoed in the forest.

Tarkas paused. He strained his ears to listen.

============== Lord Palas’s POV ==============

[A signal to attack— They still dare to counter attack?]

Lord Palas’s lips were pursed as the cheering from Randner’s soldiers suddenly cut off. The disappearing forest suddenly displayed something that should not be there.

“Notify our entire army to pay attention! There’s an unknown group near our left flank!”

“That group is not responding to our flag signals, it’s possible they are enemies!”

The shouts of the Lord Palas’s dispatchers kept echoing one after another.

==================== Brendel’s POV (some time earlier) ==============

Brendel saw rows of Elven archers riding on flying horses coming in from the sides when the centaur parted the foliage. He turned around to look at Quinn and asked:

“So where is their chieftain?”

“The humans’ counterpart for that word is general right? I think he’s on top of that hill.”

Brendel looked at him in surprise and replied: “I was just following your customs.”

“No, we don’t have the usage of chieftain, that’s for the Beastmen.” Quinn could not help but display a look of affront, revealing his teeth as he pulled back his lips.

“Did I remember wrongly? Well, it’s roughly the same thing anyway.” Brendel shrugged.

He stared at the trees in front of him. River Gris was showing hints of red in it, apparently from the blood from the casualties in this war:

“I think Lord Palas isn’t foolish enough to reveal his position in such an obvious place. Hmm, that is probably one of the lords from the other regions……”

He pondered for a while.

“But I think it should be enough for a surprise.”

He turned his head to a centaur: “Have the scouts cleared off the enemies’ guardposts?”

“Yes,” came the immediate reply, “but……”


“We discovered a hunter’s hut.”

“A hunter’s hut?”