Ch 8 – The bloody forest
“How could you?!”
The young militia glared angrily at their fellow soldier.
The young man who was controlled by the necromancer paled even further with a shudder, his shame and fear made him bowed his head deeply.
But no one would want to die, right?
Freya felt like her heart was going to stop any moment, and her hand reached to her sword without thinking. But the necromancer immediately dismissed her notion to draw it. The green lights in its eye sockets flared up, and that young man’s arm exploded like a balloon. Blood and flesh sprayed everywhere, and he screamed loudly, falling down and curling into a heap.
“Gaaahhh! Please save me captain!!!”
The bloody Jonathon rolled on the ground, shrieking in horror.
This frightening scene made a few people turned away and threw up. Freya turned white and stumbled backwards, nearly collapsing into a heap.
“Little human girl, it is best that you do not move rashly.” The necromancer warned her with a shrill voice, its terrifying gaze sweeping across everyone who was there.
But it soon discovered there were only some militia here, maggots that were not worth mentioning.
The green lights in the necromancer’s eye sockets dimmed with disappointment. It had received orders to pursue and kill the human scout, and not to squabble over these maggots.
Freya’s mind was a complete blank, but she tried to shake off the waves of dizziness that were assaulting her. She tried her best to mull over the way to escape from this situation. She still remembered that she was the the leader of the militia and could not easily show her weak side to the enemy.
As for the girl that was beside Romaine, she had fainted at the first sight of Jonathon’s bloody fate. It was fortunate that the merchant girl was there to hold her.
Sophie felt one of Romaine’s hand grabbing on to his sleeve tightly. It was a sign that she trusted and depended on him.
He had earlier held Freya from behind to prevent her from sinking onto the ground, but she surprised him with her strong resolution.
But no matter what, he knew that she needed some assurance at this time, or she might break down mentally. A girl who lived in a peaceful era would find it difficult to endure a cruel scene like this. It was perhaps fortunate that many young men and women were prepared for wars to break out, as Aouine was a country that was stricken with the ravages of war.
“Freya.” Sophie whispered weakly.
The young girl paused for a while and woke up from her stupor. She breathed deeply, and calmed down bit by bit under Sophie’s presence. He nodded in admiration when her fingers on her sword’s hilt relaxed.
This achievement could be considered to be exceptional. Very few people would be able to calm down when facing the thin line separating life and death.
Although he did not understand why, his own heart seemed to be as serene as it could possibly be, after experiencing the parallel teleportation and the perilous battle he had previously.
Regardless, it was definitely a good thing.
He continued to whisper: “Do you remember what I said earlier, about planning for the worst?”
Freya froze for a moment and nodded slightly.
“Do you have the strength to fight?”
It was a reply that almost could not be heard.
Sophie’s heart was relieved.
He rubbed against the Ring of the Wind Empress with his thumb, and the sensation he felt told him that it was half recharged.
Three hours to restore a segment of energy compared to ten minutes in the game, it was certainly too slow, but it was sufficient at half capacity. Even though it was unable to create a wind bullet, it was able to create a powerful whirlwind.
Since he was prepared for the worst outcome, there was nothing else that could go wrong.
At the same time, the necromancer was finally convinced there was no ambush here. It did not even bother to look at the pitiful figure that was crying beside its feet, and raised its skeletal arm:
“My soldiers, slay every one here!”
The ear-piercing, dry voice rang out, and there were four skeleton soldiers wearing black heavy armor wielding sharp swords that immediately came out from the forest. Their bodies made clacking noises as they walked through the swirling mist, approaching closer to the militia with every step.
If it was a little earlier, the militia might still have the courage to resist the undead soldiers, but it was different now. The confidence they had earlier was shattered by the inhuman necromancer, and the remaining bravery they had were crushed by the approaching soldiers, with no strength left to fight back.
They could only retreat backwards in terror. Some drew out their swords shakily from an instinctive will to survive, but there was no certainty as to how much they could defend themselves.
There were only quickened breaths echoing throughout the forest.
The necromancer crackled in laughter as it watched them. The green lights in its eye sockets danced wildly, as if they were savoring the fear.
It was certainly true that fear was human’s greatest weakness, and it could easily be made use of. In comparison, the undead naturally overcame this weakness. Every one of them was the finest soldier, especially the lower ranked undead that did not even need to think and simply obeyed their orders.
Even veteran soldiers could be as helpless as a child in a battlefield, and weak creatures like them should not continue to exist in this world.
The necromancer felt only hatred for them: Without a doubt, Madara must be victorious ——
But at this moment, it heard the faintest whisper: “Then I’ll leave it to you.”
A calm youthful voice brimming with confidence.
The necromancer felt its Soul’s Fire jumped a little. It was a bad omen, and the necromancer turned its head warily.
A shining ring entered into its line of sight.
The ring was worn on that heavily injured militia’s thumb. It had not taken notice of this human who was half dead, indeed, what was there to note?
Pretending to be heavily injured might fool others, but they would not be able to deceive an undead. These cold creatures that climbed out from the graves can perceive the Flames of Life directly, and there was no mistaking Sophie’s faint flames.
He was definitely heavily injured.
The true threat came from the magic ring on his thumb. The green lights in the necromancer’s eye sockets suddenly dimmed, as it could suddenly feel a dangerous aura gathering in the air.
The necromancer had came into contact with fake replicas of powerful artifacts when its master had taught it black magic, and from that aura emitted in the air, the ring had to be at least twenty OZ.
An artifact that could only belonged to a high wizard, why would it appear in the hands of a normal human?
The necromancer showed an expression that was full of surprise and greed.
“My undead soldiers, pry the ring off his finger and give it to me!” It raised its bone wand and screamed.
But Sophie raised his right hand and spat out the word with all his strength, as if to expel all the air in his lungs. The youth fell backwards, and his head was full of cold perspiration.
The space between them expanded visibly, then violently contracted.
The distortion in the air rapidly reverted back to normalcy with an explosion, and the blast of frenzied wind roared with a thunderous boom. The wind was like a tempest of sharpened arrows piercing through the necromancer and the skeleton soldiers. They tried raising their arms to protect themselves, but the rampaging whirlwind made them stagger to their sides.
There was no damage done, but the impeding effect was easily visible.
“Freya!” Sophie shouted.
The girl’s long sword sang in response as she drew it out, her long ponytail dancing behind her figure.
What amazed Sophie was how the inexperienced girl acted next. She did not rush in rashly, but turned her head and yelled at the rest of the militia: “Mackie, Irene! What the hell are you waiting!? The third squad, soldiers of Bucce, follow me into battle!!!”
The burst of courage was like a signal, and simple words in a battle between life and death, could become a suggestion that brought about limitless strength.
But this needed one condition, and that was composure.
A single person’s composure would affect even more people, just like what was happening now. Freya’s reminder startled them, but they immediately recognized this was the final chance at surviving.
The raging winds continued to force the enemy back without being able to do anything.
When the young militia discovered this, they quickly regained their mettle and the sounds of swords being drawn out reverberated in the forest. It was as if their discipline learned from the days spent in training returned to their bodies.
“Mackie, cover me.”
“These fucking monsters, it’s time for your turn…….”
“Kill that foul witch first!”
“That’s a necromancer.”
“Little fenix, you’re behind me.”
But Sophie looked worriedly at the chaotic battlefield. He was afraid of someone acting rashly and ruining the situation, and he reminded them calmly: “Everyone, remember what you had learned in training! You can only fight well if you remain cool-headed!”
In the online game ‘The Amber Sword’, he had seen many hot blooded newbies, acting the same way like the youths here.
It was good to be heated, but they must not lose their rationality.
He recited the militia combat regulations. It was something everyone here had recited before, but there were not many who could keep these tedious but valuable rules in mind during a battle.
Brendel was someone unusual, Sophie thought to himself.
Sophie played back Brendel’s final battle in his mind. As a new soldier, Brendel’s performance could not have been more perfect, and he had some considerable talent in wielding a sword. Unfortunately, he was in the wrong place and at the wrong time.
The young militia who heard Sophie’s reminded made them levelheaded. But it was not sufficient, as Sophie knew they needed more confidence instilled in them, otherwise their regained morale would plummet back to nothing.
The wind started to weaken.
The skeleton soldiers shook their rattling armor and tried to find their balance, preparing to fight back, but Sophie’s voice already instructed the militia to change their tactics.
“Listen well. These low ranked Madara’s soldiers lack intelligence and move slowly. Their greatest weakness presents itself when they turn their body. Do your utmost to follow their sword hand and move towards the left. They have a blind spot there and you can attack safely…”
“Mackie, partner up with Irene and attack from both sides. Do you know how to cover her? Good, attract the attention of that skeleton, keep up that pace.”
Sophie laid half of his body onto a boulder, staring closely at the battlefield’s situation, and instructed them on their next move. It was almost as if his words carried a magic, bringing strength, composure and calmness to the young militia.
The Bucce’s militia were quickly rewarded. Erik broke a skeleton’s thigh bone from slashing its leg from Sophie’s directions, and his partner, little Fenix pierced through the skeleton’s skull as a follow up.
The instant the sword pierce through the skull, the undead creature seemed to let out a gasping sound, the Soul’s Fire in its eye sockets flickered and quickly died.
Sophie’s eyes caught a gold light flying into his chest from the skeleton.
Sophie paused for a moment. It was different from the previous time, he clearly felt the experience points clearly. But he did not have time to relish that fact, as he heard the excited yells from the militia’s victory.
“Heavens, I did it!” Erik could not believe it and yelled as he held his bleeding wounds firmly: “Brendel, how the hell do you know about these things?”
Brendel gave a small smile. His experience came from within the game where he analyzed the enemies with his allies. Even knowing what the smallest gesture meant came from harsh lessons, knowledge that was attained from thousands of battles and deaths in the game.
Bucce’s militia had also learned similar knowledge from their training, but they were merely superficial in Sophie’s eyes. If Bucce’s training raised his prowess against the skeleton soldiers by 10%, then his own knowledge would raise beyond 50%.
From the 375th year until the 2nd era, the frequent battles against Madara had made Sophie completely familiar with their lowest ranked skeleton soldiers, to the highest ranked demonic witches, vampire lords and even bone dragons.
There was no one in Aouine who understood the undead kingdom more than him, and perhaps even the entire continent. After all, the kingdoms in this continent, prior to the first War of the Black Rose, did not have as many intense conflicts with Madara as compared to the future.
The experience that Sophie had in this world was one of his proudest accomplishments. He relied heavily on his knowledge, and it was the only reason that he had the confidence to keep walking down the path to where he once stood before.
He had to finish this task at hand first. The violent whirlwind might have attracted unwanted attention, and just to be safe, he needed to end the battle as quickly as possible.
His eyes fell upon the necromancer as he contemplated.
This was a difficult enemy.