Chapter 819 – Give and Take
The Plunderers opened their dark, toothy jaws. Everything about this monster was terrifying. The sharp canines in its mouth could freeze a man’s heart with fear. A swarm of Plunderers rushed to the ground, composing an attack formation. If that swarm swooped upon the Royal Army and the army…. I didn’t even need to think about how great the losses would be.
“What do we do?”
Long Xing shouted, “Archers, prepare to shoot!”
I clenched my teeth and leaped up from my horse. Right then, my Flying Scythe Horse let out a whinny as frost magic encircled the two of us and we rose up into the air. We were enveloped by magic like a fairy or an elf. “Peng!” The cape on my back fluttered in the air and a pair of wings sprung out. I rushed straight to the center of the Plunderers. I swung my sword mid-air, twisting my body along with it!
Qing Qian and Wei Liang both looked up into the sky, “Ah, Brother Xiao Yao’s skill… so cool!!”
My blade spun through the crowd of Plunderers. [Frost Wing]’s effect was particularly fierce. Paired with the two god-tier weapons in my hands, I cut right through the swarm. At the same time, my arm, neck, and thighs were picked at by the Plunderers, draining away my health. The moment my health dipped, I released a [Sword Tempest]!
This time, the attack had thrown the Plunderers attack formation into chaos. Right then, my health had just dropped below critical. I could hear a dragon whistle from behind my back as a pair of dragons wrapped around my body, protecting me from damage. Even so, my body was thrown back to the ground from the impact of their attacks.
As Wan Er was in the middle of fighting, she looked up and saw me. Without a moment’s hesitation, she activated [Arrival of the Hermit God] and flew towards me. The dagger in her hands looked as if it were dancing and she pushed the Plunderers away from us. She then put her arm around my waist and slowed my descent. “Peng!” We landed on the shields of a few Steel Blade Horsemen before rolling to the ground. Thankfully, Wan Er had softened my impact, or else I would’ve left this expedition if I fell from that height with my critical health.
We didn’t get a chance to catch a breath as the Plunderers rushed towards us. and the Royal Army raised their bows and wands, letting loose a slew of arrows and spells. People died around us in the droves, but the most miserable ones were not us — alternatively it was the Tian Ling City players in the distance. With Plunderers attacking from the sky and Gravediggers from the ground, there was no way for people to defend themselves. Even guilds like [Flying Dragon] and [Wrath of Heroes’] were being massacred; they found it hard to maintain stable footing.
I saw Drunken Spear leap up above the crowds with his spear raised above his head. He released a [Thousand Layer Wave] as he shouted, “Don’t stand around archers, use [Scatter Shot], stun the Plunderers. The second they fall to the ground, all surrounding knights use [Charge] and [Hero’s Ram] to lock onto them. There’s nothing scary about them when they’re on the ground. Don’t let the deaths of our comrades go to waste! Attack! Mercy means death in this battle!”
As the [Flying Dragon] members took action, their formation began to stabilize as they settled down. Without a doubt, Drunken Spear is a rare natural born leader. Without him, who knows what hole [Flying Dragon] would end up in.
In this battle on the plains, the several million players and the thousands of NPC troops took an a*s whooping from the ambush of countless Graveyard Diggers and Plunderers. Even with this one battle, it was hard to determine if we would win or not. A loss this great was like a slap to the king’s face. But, if the king wants to go down in history as a wise sage, he must first understand the strengths and weaknesses of his own forces. If the Hybrid Demons easily sweep through our armies, then I’m afraid history won’t have room for a mediocre king like himself.
Time slowly passed by as the plains were quickly dyed red with blood. The Royal Army’s formation began to shift towards a shield defense to allow for the archers and muskets to shoot down the Plunderers. The Flame Dragon Army on the other hand was in complete chaos. While Theodore’s orders were organized and well thought out, the Flame Dragon Army did not have the training to execute them. The army that was known to be number one in the country had never experienced this much destruction. Faced against these terrifying Plunderers and Gravedigger Demons, they lost all direction and began grouping together amongst themselves. Additionally, there were too many soldiers in the Flame Dragon Army and each of the majors and lieutenants acted on their own. One of the idiots actually started firing Dragon Crystal Cannons into the sky. In the end, not only did the cannonball explode in the air, it actually fell back towards the Flame Dragon Army and exploded there, creating hundreds of casualties. However it didn’t just affect the NPCs, even some of the [Legend]’s Azure Oxen Knights were killed as a result.
Enchanted Painting swung her halberd and charged out of a crowd of monsters, killing all the Gravedigger Demons in her assault. She looked around and couldn’t help but raise a brow, “Are these NPCs pig heads? They actually… d*mn. Nobody try to stop me, I’m going to go and take the head of that lieutenant. That d*mn*d NPC..”
Fang Ge Que stood up in the crowd of people, and magic spells flew out in all directions. One after another, his spells shot down the Hybrid Demons. He calmly responded, “Ah Jin, don’t be rash. We still need the strength of these NPC armies. It’s not time to burn bridges just yet. No matter what, the Flame Dragon Army has over 150,000 troops. There’s no helping it if some ill-qualified folk were to be mixed in….”
Little Scholar quipped, “Actually, after the last battle, they lost 10,000 knights. Not to mention the 7,000 they lost to the Gravedigger Demon trap. And now, with these Plunderers ambushing from the sky, they must’ve lost at least 30,000. At the very most, the Flame Dragon Army now has 100,000.
Enchanted Painting grimaced, “We haven’t even reached the city and we’ve already lost this many people. Can’t that Crown Prince improve his orders…. Boss, did we pick the wrong army by choosing the Flame Dragon Army? If only we followed the Royal Army in the first place… Their formation is pretty good, and they’ve been receiving quite a bit of good will from the king. Not to mention the commander is quite handsome…”
Fang Ge Que was speechless, “Ah Jin, do you think Li Xiao Yao is handsome too? I never would’ve thought that you were also one of those shameless fangirls…”
Enchanted Painting giggled from her horse, “Boss, are you jealous? Ha, don’t be angry. After all, the one I love the most will always be you. Now that I think about it, when can I get a raise? What fairness is there for an elder like me to be receiving the same salary as a sh*tty flag bearer like Little Scholar!”
Little Scholar nearly fell out of his saddle, “What, who’s a sh*tty flag bearer? Motherf*cker, I’ve been running all across the entire battlefield, fighting for everyone. At the very least, my efforts should be recognized….”
Looks like [Legend] was fairly relaxed, as they were having conversations while they were fighting. Clearly, they were very collected.
[Hero’s Mound], [Judgement], and [Vanguard] on the other hand weren’t faring quite as well. They had lost a large fraction of their forces and their morale had taken a great hit.
After close to two hours of bitter fighting, we had finally killed all the Gravedigger Demons in the ground and the Plunderers in the sky were quickly diminishing. The Plunderers’ ambush was truly fearsome, but the moment they fell to the ground, they were like bullseyes for the archers and were quickly killed. Like this, the skirmish finally ended.
I addressed [Zhan Long]’s men and asked, “How are our losses?”
Wan Er smiled and said, “We’ve pretty much preserved most of our forces. Looks like lost less than 5,000 men. Don’t worry, even after we die, we can revive. You should pay a little more attention to your Royal Army. Those are your real cards, piggy!”
I smiled and gave my incredible girlfriend a hug, “Then I’ll leave to you, Li Mu, and Qing Qian. I’ll focus more on the Royal Army side. I can’t let my hard work building up to 50,000 men go to waste so easily.”
I turned around and walked straight towards the center of the Royal Army. I could see Han Yuan and Xiao Lie in the middle of doing a headcount. When they saw me walking over, Han Yuan became excited and smiled at me, “General, we’ve killed close to 70,000 Hybrid Demons in this one battle, it's absolutely amazing!”
I asked, “How many did we lose?”
Xiao Lie reported back, “Less than four thousand.”
I felt a twang of pain in my heart and said, “We aren’t even close to the Revered One’s City and we’ve already lost this many people… isn’t that a bit much? Once we launch a siege on the city, who knows how many won’t be able to return to the homeland from our Royal Army.”
Long Xing comforted me, “Lord General, do not let this bring you down. We are all men of the military. The moment we joined the army, we already decided to set matters of life and death aside. Besides, our brothers died on the battlefield. That is the most perfect ending for them as they return to the arms of our heavenly mother, is it not?”
I smiled, “Perhaps it is. You four, follow me. We’re going to see His Highness. After all, he is the marshall of this expedition. We shouldn’t make any decisions without consulting him first.”
I led the four generals towards the Flame Dragon position. On the way there we passed by hundreds of corpses scattered on the ground. Just from the scenery before us, we could tell that the Flame Dragon Army had taken heavy losses. Standing at the center, Theodore’s face was pale. I could see the Marshall Sword in his hand trembling. A large group of lieutenants and majors were solemnly standing beside him.
“General Li, you’ve arrived?” Theodore addressed me calmly, and I could see his eyes soften with dislike towards me. Looks like this last battle has shaken his conviction quite a bit, but it’s also decreased his wariness towards me.
I nodded, “Your Highness, I came to ask what our next steps are. There’s a large ditch just before us that the Gravedigger Demons have dug out. Our soldiers might be able to climb across it, but none of our rations will make it over. All the normal cannons and the Dragon Crystal Cannons are absolutely necessary in a siege, so we have to bring them across.”
“All we need to do is fill it in…” Theodore calmly replied.
Han Yuan was stunned, “Your Highness, you want us to dig up some dirt to fill in the ditch? Keep in mind, we didn’t bring any shoveling tools for this. We didn’t even bring any laborers with us.”
Theodore looked at the masses of corpses and said, “That’s simple, we’ll throw the corpses into the ditch. As such, it’ll naturally fill up.”
The Flame Dragon officers were stunned, “Your Highness, those are our brothers. If we use their noble bodies to fill in a ditch, when we die one day, how will we face them in Heaven?”
Theodore replied calmly, “If even their bodies can be used to assist the kingdom, then I don’t think our brothers would be opposed to the idea, isn’t that right? General Li Xiao Yao, what do you think?”
Han Yuan and Long Xing all stared at me intently, anxiously waiting for my reply. I hesitated for a moment and finally said, “Everything is as His Highness commands..”
I could see a flash of dismay in Long Xing’s eyes. I locked my eyes with his and patted his shoulder. I quietly said, “This is what the circumstances are, there’s no choice but to accept it!”
I could see a flash of hope in Long Xing’s eyes and he lowered his voice, “I understand. Commander, do not worry. I understand how you feel. After all, I have been forced into many situations similar to this!”