Boom- boom- boom-
The ground began to rumble again with the sound of the drums.
“C, crazy bastards!”
The Vice Captain unintentionally started to swear.
“Vice Captain-nim! It’s the Whipper Kingdom’s soldiers!”
“Damn it! I can’t believe the soldiers are coming out too. Are they planning to have an all-out battle right now?”
“…It looks like only the mages are planning to remain in the castle! All the soldiers are coming out!”
The voices of the knights, alchemists, and mages all jumbled together. However, everyone’s eyes were fixed onto the battlefield.
Behind the Bears came tens of thousands of armed soldiers with stiff expressions on their faces.
It was an incredibly small number compared to the Empire’s army, but it was still tens of thousands of soldiers. Most importantly…
They were a group of crazy people.
They were the ones that had laughed and ran amok in the pit of hellfire.
The soldiers were running forward with nothing but their bodies and their weapons.
The Vice Captain was frightened by the sight.
Unlike the other kingdoms, the Empire possessed magic and alchemy that were both developed to the highest level of technological prowess. However, those from the Empire were afraid of the soldiers that ran towards them with nothing but their bodies.
“…Focus on defense as much as possible while using the dirt wall as our line of defense!”
The Vice Captain looked at the knight that was calling him.
“His Highness will be arriving soon! How can we show him such passive defense like this?”
Let’s fight bravely because the Imperial Prince will arrive soon.
The Vice Captain looked into the knight’s eyes.
The knight had seen his colleagues being torn to death by the Whipper Kingdom warriors in the pit of hellfire. There was fear in his eyes.
It was an emotion that someone from the Empire shouldn’t be showing.
‘We had a long period of peace.’
It had been a long time since the world had last experienced a war.
That was why they didn’t understand the meaning of war.
‘However, the Whipper Kingdom knows it.’
The period of peace.
Toonka’s group was the first to start fighting during that time of peace.
‘We didn’t realize that.’
What good were swords made of gold if you never used them?
How could they defeat the warriors that didn’t even hold swords made from dirt, but instead plowed through the mud with their bare hands?
The Empire’s army had no experience going past their limits.
“No, we’re going to hold out.”
That was why the Vice Captain chose to defend. However, several dissenting voices immediately started to speak up.
“We can’t do that!”
They were the leaders of the mages and alchemists.
“Vice Captain! We must fight in order to maintain the Empire’s pride!”
“That’s right. We cannot show people that we are being pushed back! It will be bad if our already low fighting spirit decreases even further! We need to boost our morale!”
Anger rose within the Vice Captain’s mind at the sight of the leaders of the mages and alchemists.
‘Basically, you’re saying that the knights and the infantry are the ones who will die, right?’
The mages and alchemists would remain behind the dirt wall’s line of defense. However, the knights and the infantry, including the Vice Captain, had to step outside the line of defense and clash with the Whipper Kingdom’s army.
“Vice Captain-nim! His Highness will arrive soon!”
“We will look incompetent to his highness and the nobles even if we are splendidly holding down the line!”
“That’s right! We have to show them that we’re fighting hard in order to reduce the liability of our last defeat.”
Two of the knights looked earnestly at him. The Vice Captain closed his eyes after seeing the knights who were wary of the Imperial Prince’s impression.
‘Damn it! Our liabilities aren’t the issue here! We might die!’
How do these knights plan on defeating the Whipper Kingdom’s army that are putting their lives on the line when they shake in fear merely at the thought of their liabilities?
However, the Vice Captain was not someone who held the authority to command the entire army as he was only a Vice Captain.
“…Prepare for battle.”
The wooden door between the dirt walls slowly opened a few moments later and revealed the Empire’s army.
There stood the remaining half of the First Knights Brigade and the Empire’s soldiers who had swallowed their fear.
The ground was rumbling.
The earth rumbled more and more as the enemies approached.
“Kahahahaha! Did you finally come out to fight? Such cowards!”
Toonka jeered at the Empire’s army.
The battlefield was already filled with the Whipper Kingdom’s forces.
The soldiers, Bears, and warriors filled the battleground between Maple Castle and the Empire’s base while maintaining a wide formation.
The Vice Captain steered his horse forward.
“Your formation is sloppy.”
The Whipper Kingdom that didn’t have enough troops even if they gathered together was continuously widening their formation.
The Vice Captain immediately recognized what they were trying to do.
“It seems like you want a melee.”
He slowly raised his sword and stepped forward.
It was possible that he was the only one in the Empire’s army who was willing to risk his life like those from the Whipper Kingdom’s army.
That was why he shouted.
“Concentrate our forces! Our role is to survive until the Imperial Prince arrives!”
He chose to survive.
He ignored the knight’s protest.
“It’s ok to be passive! Soldiers, hold up your shields rather than your swords! They are devils!”
Toonka bursted into laughter and applause and stared at the Vice Captain after hearing that shout. He then stopped in front of the Empire’s troops.
“You have the right mindset! He’s the only one of those evil Empire bastards with his head on straight! You’re a warrior like us!”
Toonka raise his head as he shouted that.
“What do you think? Who do you think will win, Imperial Prince?”
The Vice Captain flinched and looked back.
Above the dirt wall.
A gray-haired man wearing a uniform was looking down at the battlefield. His eyes shone with a golden glow under the sunlight.
Imperial Prince Adin.
He made eye contact with the Vice Captain.
“The Empire must not yield.”
The Vice Captain lowered his head.
‘I’m done for.’
The Vice Captain probably looked like a coward in the eyes of the Imperial Prince.
Although he looked nice, Imperial Prince Adin was someone who led administration and politics strictly based on ability. Everyone was afraid to be on his watch list.
‘I’m probably on that list now.’
The Vice Captain lost strength in his hand that was gripping his sword.
“You’ve been through a lot, Vice Captain.”
The Empire’s Second Knights Brigade.
They were the knights that the Imperial Prince directly administered. They appeared on the battlefield in golden armor.
Toonka started to speak at that moment.
“It looks that the bastard that will bow his head to us has a lot to say!”
Toonka did not hide his ridicule for Imperial Prince Adin.
“Y, you bastard!”
All of the Empire’s nobles that came with the Imperial Prince frowned at Toonka. However, the Imperial Prince’s eyes were cold.
He slowly scanned the battlefield.
Toonka, the Bears, the warriors, the soldiers, and Rosalyn.
In addition, the helmeted swordsman.
Lastly, there was the man in the brown robe standing on the castle wall.
“I know, Vice Tower Master.”
The Vice Tower Master who was standing closest to the Imperial Prince was also looking at the man in the brown robe. She opened her mouth to speak.
“We have to kill him first.”
The Imperial Prince looked toward Vice Tower Master Metelona. He also looked at the young man dressed in an alchemist robe standing beside her.
“Do you agree with her, Honte?”
“I think Vice Tower Master is right, your highness.”
He was the star pupil of the Tower Master and the future successor of the Alchemists’ Bell Tower.
He was originally from the slums and was the miracle created by the Alchemists’ Bell Tower gathering the children from the slums, making him the main character of a beautiful story.
The Imperial Prince kept him at his side this time to make him the new hero for the people of the Empire.
The war hero from the slums.
It was a good way to bring back the lost positive public sentiment for the Empire, the Imperial Prince, and the Alchemists’ Bell Tower.
‘There’s also Cale Henituse and one more person.’
The Imperial Prince looked at the person next to him with a warm but serious expression.
“Valentino, I’m sorry that you have to see something like this from the beginning.”
He couldn’t use these two to draw in the people’s hearts.
Of course, Valentino thought differently. He licked his lips and turned his attention towards the Whipper Kingdom’s side.
“No, no. I should help a close friend. I’ll go to where the priests are.”
“Thank you. I’m grateful that you came to help me for the sake of our friendship.”
Valentino sincerely laughed at Adin’s reply.
‘How could there be such a bastard?’
Valentino lamented the time he spent as Adin’s close friend.
‘You’ll pay for messing with the Caro Kingdom.’
Valentino left Adin’s side and headed towards the priests with a stiff expression on his face.
Adin looked at him and started to think.
‘His expression is easy to use. It’s useful.’
Valentino seemed to have a stiff expression as he was worried about the war. Adin was keeping him by his side because he found Valentino to be useful.
“Where are you looking at, Imperial Prince Adin!”
Adin looked back at Toonka who was shouting directly at him.
He gave Toonka a gentle smile. It was the smile of someone looking at his prey.
He opened his mouth and shouted out an order.
“All knights, aim for the necks of the Whipper Kingdom’s army.”
The sound of the horses’ hooves shook the earth.
The knights came pouring out.
Over a thousand of the Empire’s noble’s knights bearing their own emblems appeared in large numbers starting with the Second Knights Brigade.
Toonka laughed at them and raised his club.
His shout pierced through the sound of the hooves and covered the battlefield.
Toonka looked toward the Imperial Prince as he said that.
The Imperial Prince flinched at the look in Toonka’s eyes. As someone who was good at discerning the emotions of others, he felt that the look in Toonka’s eyes was strange.
The Imperial Prince opened his mouth and started to speak.
The knights came to a sudden halt. Toonka started to speak as they looked toward the Imperial Prince in shock.
Adin heard a sound at that moment.
It was the sound of a flute.
The man in the brown robe was blowing a flute.
The tens of thousands of the Whipper Kingdom’s soldiers began to move.
They raised their hands.
They raised both of their hands high into the sky.
It was as if they were raising their hands for a cheer.
“What is that?”
“Huh? What’s that marble?”
Each of the warriors, soldiers, and Bears held dark blue marbles in their raised hands.
The Empire’s knights looked blankly at the Whipper Kingdom’s army who were all holding a marble in each hand.
The wind blew past them.
It was a wind that blew in a different direction from the spring winds that blew from the Empire to the Whipper Kingdom.
A huge white skeleton bird appeared in the midst of that wind.
Four more followed behind it.
Adin bursted into laughter in amusement.
“There’s a lot.”
And the following dozens that appeared.
Dozens of white skeleton birds smaller than the five in front appeared in the sky.
The Flame Dwarves that were piloting them stopped above Maple Castle.
The wind blew down the hood of the man in the brown robe at that moment.
Imperial Prince Adin fixed his eyes on the man.
He could see white hair and blue eyes.
He could see those eyes that resembled the sky through the man’s mask.
The white-haired man was wearing a mask that extended from his nose to his forehead. The man with a mysterious air around him raised his hand.
The moment his hand went down…
Toonka shouted out loud.
‘What? Run away?’
The people from the Empire were surprised.
It started with Toonka. His hands that were up went back down.
The marble broke and a dark blue liquid came out while Imperial Prince Adin shouted in response.
“Turn back. It’s the fire from the Gorge of Death.”
Toonka and the Imperial Prince’s made eye contact. Toonka spoke as he ran away.
He recalled the dark blue fire that covered the Gorge of Death simply from the dark blue liquid.
The knights that numbered over a thousand opened their mouths and hurriedly conveyed the Imperial Prince’s order.
“Turn back! It is His Highness’s order!”
However, the people behind Toonka lowered their hands as well as soon as Toonka turned around.
Shatter! Shatter! Shatter!
Tens of thousands of dark blue marbles were thrown throughout the battlefield.
Laughter burst out everywhere starting from Toonka.
It was laughter full of madness.
The Empire’s army began to see fire in front of them as the wind blew toward them.
It was a dark blue color like the night without a sun.
The tens of thousands of marbles that contained the Dragon’s Rage began to emerge one by one.
It started small.
However, the tens of thousands of individual flames gradually merged and grew in size.
“The Gorge of Death.”
“It looks bigger than the one from the Gorge of Death.”
The small fire that had started at the size of a person began to grow bigger and taller.
It was as if a tranquil beach was getting covered by a storm.
The dark blue fire dyed the land in darkness under the sunny sky.
Toonka started to run.
“Kahahahahaha! It’s hell! This is hell!”
He heard Rosalyn and Harol’s shout.
“Retrieve the soldiers that are falling behind with flight magic!”
“Open all the doors! All soldiers and warriors go inside!”
The mages, soldiers who remained in the castle, and the chiefs all assisted the soldiers who were fleeing in their predetermined order to escape.
Flight magic and haste magic were both used on those that either fell down or were falling behind. They also lowered ropes and ladders from the castle walls for the gates that were narrow in order to let people in quicker.
It was done quickly, but calmly.
The Whipper Kingdom prepared for this scenario while the Empire’s army was busy building the dirt wall.
Rosalyn and Harol both shouted.
“The fire is about to flare!”
“The wind is going to blow harder!”
Toonka stopped walking.
He could see the black helmet wearing Choi Han standing next to him.
The two raised their heads as they watched the soldiers and warriors get back safely.
The white-haired man standing above the castle walls picked up the flute again.
Adin could see the white-haired man.
They were far apart, but he could feel it.
The two of them made eye contact.
‘He’s the leader.’
He was the conductor.
It was the moment when Adin smiled.
The white skeleton birds spread their wings out wide.
A strong wind that differed from the one before began to blow.
It was a wind that blew against the spring wind that blew from the Empire to the Whipper Kingdom.
The wind from the dozens of white skeleton birds changed the direction of the fire.
The dark blue fire began to flare up.
“Your highness! The flames! The flames are growing stronger!”
“The fire is spreading toward the Empire!”
“This fire is as tall as a mountain!”
The nobles’ voices spilled out everywhere.
However, Adin kept his eyes fixed on the white-haired man.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
The dark blue flames struck each other and began to create even bigger flames.
It was becoming a sea of flame than was large enough to engulf a city.
That fire blew towards the Empire’s army.
The fire mixed with the wind as it exposed its dark mouth and roared toward the Empire while destroying the natural flow of the wind in the process.
“…I can’t see it.”
The dark blue fire tsunami filled Adin’s vision.
Maple Castle was no longer visible.
“Y, your Highness, let us move the mages!”
“H, how could there be a fire like this?! Let us move the alchemists as well, your highness!”
The nobles slowly started to move down the dirt wall as they urgently shouted.
It was at that moment.
Adin, who was standing still, turned his head toward the voice of one of the knights.
A man with a pale complexion was walking up to the top of the dirt wall. However, he barely ascended the wall even with the support of his knight. Adin started to speak.
“It’s been a while, young master Cale Henituse.”
Cale Henituse came to see the battlefield with the help of Vice Captain Hilsman.
He replied in a voice that sounded full of strong will due to his calm demeanor.
“Of course I had to come. Don’t we have to save everyone?”
One of the nobles let out a gasp.
They were already aware of Cale Henituse’s condition.
He was a righteous man who came to save the Empire despite his current condition.
“…The Roan Kingdom’s hero has come.”
The nobles could not hide their admiration.
They couldn’t help but think that a hero was a hero, even as the dark blue flames that looked like the flames of hell were surging towards them.
They couldn’t take their eyes off of the hero that drew their attention.
Cale heard a voice in his mind at that moment.
– Human! I feel sorry for Goldie gramps! He worked extremely hard for nothing!
Cale easily ignored Raon’s voice.
The Imperial Prince started to speak to Cale.
“Will you help us?”
Cale stepped away from Hilsman who was supporting him and barely managed to stand firmly on his own.
The Commander of the Roan Kingdom who had saved the Roan Kingdom while wearing a black uniform was wearing the same uniform today as he slowly nodded toward The Empire’s Imperial Prince.
The look in his eyes were as firm as rocks. He opened his mouth and started to speak.
“I will move for the sake of peace.”
Cale heard the invisible Raon’s voice.
– You’re going to put out the fire and then start a fire! You are strange, human!
Cale was going to move for the sake of his peace.
Imperial Prince Adin spoke to Cale with a soft smile on his face.
“Thank you, young master Cale. I’ll leave it to you.”
Cale had a thought in his mind at that moment.
‘Let’s become the hero of the Empire.’
Cale drew the righteous but sorrowful smile of a commander.
– Human, you’re good at acting!
“Sob, our young master-nim.”
– The talkative Hilsman is also good at acting!
Of course, Cale ignored the voice that interjected in between.