Chapter 213 Courage
Ever since he had charged into the battle, Charles had already prepared himself for all kinds of situations.
He would never dare to look down upon the cunning of adepts.
Unfortunately, what had happened now was beyond even his imagination.
He… was attacked by Meusel!
Meusel's eyes were wide open, but his gaze was not focused. Tears of blood streamed down from the corners of his eyes as an odd growl came from his throat. The bright radiance of energy shone from his hands as they plunged deep into Charles' waist. Some unknown substance was continuously being injected into Charles.
Charles endured the intense pain and put his left hand over Meusel's chest. The dense light of concentrated energy quickly gathered on his hand. He just needed to expel the power and he would easily be able to shake off Meusel's attack.
However, when he looked at Meusel's familiar face, and felt the weak heartbeat beneath his palm, Charles hesitated.
This was an old friend he had known for over forty years after all!
Even though he had been manipulated by the evil adepts and became their accomplice, his fire of life still hadn't been extinguished after all. If Charles actually blew him away with an energy blast, Charles would probably personally extinguish Meusel's last flickers of life with how weak he already was.
Tears couldn't help but flow down Charles elderly face when he thought of this. His palm pressed against the chest of his old friend and started to shake!
Meusel had probably lost a long time ago. The scene of the adepts surrounding and attacking him earlier was probably an act they put up in advance. All of it, every single bit of it, was just to draw him in!
It was only now that Charles saw everything clearly.
The feet of his old friend Meusel had been pierced by a patch of wooden thorns and spikes and fixed to the ground, while seven or eight strange translucent threads rising from the ground had pierced multiple parts of Meusel's body. This was most probably the reason for Meusel's loss of control over his own actions!
Moreover, several unknown substances were continuously entering Charles' body with Meusel's hands as the funnel. Some of these were microorganisms, wildly devouring his flesh and organs, while others were unknown curse halos, unceasingly exploding within him and quickly weakening his body and mind.
Besides all this, the evil adepts around the battlefield were not holding back at all. One after another, powerful spells fell upon him like raindrops with no regards for Meusel, their 'ally'.
In his one moment of hesitation, the downpour of spells had already flooded him and Meusel.
The violent elementium explosions and the mad and chaotic elementium tides erupted without end in that one small area, turning the entire place into hell on earth. Even a Second Grade radiant knight could not endure elementium corrosion of such power!
As Knight Charles let out a pained roar that shook the forest, and charged out of the energy storm vortex like a mad tiger, the only thing he still adamantly held onto in his left hand was Meusel's broken body.
Indeed, after that wave of ferocious attacks, the radiant knight Meusel, who was already on the brink of his death, reached the end of his life. His heart had stopped. Meusel's body, having lost the protection of his energy shield, was riddled with holes and corroded everywhere by the violent elementium tide, depriving him of his human shape.
Not just Meusel, even Knight Charles was in a terrible condition currently!
His left eye had been blasted away and blood surged out from the large, bloody, and gaping hole that was left. His body looked like it had just been dragged out from a mincer. Deep and terrifying wounds could be found all over his body.
The moment he charged out of the energy vortex, he let go of his runic longsword and stabbed his right arm into his own waist. Bam! The sound of a muffled explosion rang out, as a small energy explosion released within his own body. Purple and black blood flew everywhere, along with shattered and shredded meat.
When Charles drew his bloody hand out from the gaping wound on his waist, he was holding between his fingers a strange beetle that screeched incessantly.
Even though the strange bug had been temporarily stunned by Charles' energy explosion, the moment it left Charles' body, it immediately started to move again. It screeched continuously while biting at Charles' hand.
Charles let out a battlecry and tightened his grip. The strange beetle was finally unable to endure the strength of a Second Grade knight, instantly crushed into a pool of blood.
Deep in the forest, Evil Bugs Acteon suddenly let out a muffled grunt as the strange beetle died.
It was clear that the death of this carcass beetle larva had also inflicted some backlash on him.
The sudden show of strength from Charles had also made the wounds on his body even more unbearable. The flesh on his ribs had almost been blasted away by the energy that exploded in his body earlier. He stumbled about for a bit before finally falling to his knees.
The severe injuries on his body, along with the bothersome curses in his body had turned into the straw that broke the camel's back. The backlash from drawing large amounts of runic energy into himself, along with the squeezing of his body's potential during his daily trainings, had finally caused him to be unable to suppress his internal injuries.
He kneeled on the ground, but the world before him was still spinning unceasingly. He could feel the pain from all over his body, the wounds throbbing and hurting, slowly washing away the last remnants of his consciousness.
"You evil… a…depts… " Charles cracked lips moved slightly, as if he wanted to use the last of his strength to curse at his enemies. Sadly, his broken body didn't let him continue.
Charles dropped to the ground, fainting just like that.
One had to admit that the bodies of the Second Grade radiant knights that had been engulfed in runic energies for long periods of time had most definitely reached supernatural standards. His body was so broken that he would hardly be recognized as a human, and not much flesh was left on his abdomen. Most of his organs had been crushed to mincemeat. Yet, even with such horrendous wounds on his body, he was still alive.
It was clear how strong the Second Grade Radiant Knights were!
However, with such severe injuries, his broken body had long lost its self-regenerative properties. Even if the adepts were to stop attacking, he would eventually reach the end of his life.
Numerous adepts gathered around Charles. After quickly examining his condition, they burst into a passionate discussion.
At this point of the battle, the harvest of two radiant knights was already extremely satisfying for the adepts. Moreover, the knights' leader was among the two. This was an important figure that was hard to come by. Moreover, messengers from the frontline had reached the base, and the witcher-knights at the edge of the forest were quickly mobilizing in large numbers, rapidly closing in on this location.
Having gone through an entire night of intense battles, the adepts were more than willing to retreat.
This arduous battle of one day and one night had caused the witcher-knights to suffer heavy losses, losing nearly two-thirds of their forces. However, the casualties on the adepts' side was no small deal either. The voodoo beast army that they had taken great pains to construct had been completely exhausted, and even one adept had died in battle. If it wasn't for them obtaining a force of elite ghouls, along with their capturing of two radiant knights, this battle could be said to have drained away the foundation of their strength!
As a result, the adepts could only command the remaining voodoo beasts to retreat when they saw the large number of witcher-knight elites swarm into the forest.
The surge of reinforcements gathered with the remnants of the army at a mountain pass ten kilometers deep in the woods.
When he rode his magic colt into this patch of the woods, Windsor was shocked by the tragic scene before him.
Once, the mighty witcher-knights were the greatest pride of this world.
Every time there was news of heretics on the rampage somewhere, this group of proud knights would jump onto their magic colts and rush to slay the enemy. It could be said that wherever they went, evil would be vanquished and darkness would be exterminated! It was their generosity, passion, and willingness to serve that allowed this plane to become prosperous.
Even during the two Heretic Wars in history, most of the records contained praises of the witcher-knights' valiant deeds and heroic actions, smiting evil wherever they went. Perhaps those heretics may have been able to rampage for a short while, but the moment the proud knights found them, they would crumble like dolls made of clay and the world would become bright and peaceful once more.
However, the scene before him shook Windsor to his very core.
Deep in the dim forest, the witcher-knights that had disposed of their armor were strewn all across the battlefield, with the terrifying bite marks of voodoo beasts left on their bodies and on their faces. Their gazes were empty and dull. They leaned against each other for support as they stumbled about. Even when they saw their companions arrive for reinforcement, no joy or surprise showed on their faces.
If it hadn't been for the slight rising and falling of their chests, Windsor would have thought that this was a group of stone figures crafted from clay and blood.
Finally, when a familiar face stained with mud and blood appeared before Windsor, he couldn't help but halt his magic colt.
"José! What kind of attack happened to you lot? How did you suffer such heavy losses after only a single day? Where is Charles?"
A series of questions were thrown at him, but the radiant knight named José could only give a weak response.
"All gone… all gone… " José mumbled, "They are all gone."
When they heard his tragic and pained cry, the remnants of the army, so exhausted that they had lost their emotional restraint, finally started crying.
A sorrowfully heartbroken and tragic atmosphere filled the woods. The reinforcements couldn't help but shed tears for their companions!
Too cruel! Absolutely too cruel!
This witcher-knight army numbered one thousand men when it first entered the forest a day ago! But now, after scouring the entire mountain pass and even counting the radiant knights and spellbreaker knights, only a mere hundred and seventy-two men were left.
Moreover, the knights that were fortunate enough to survive all carried severe injuries and were both physically and mentally exhausted. Their emotions and spirits were in their most terrible state. Windsor could no longer see any of the witcher-knights' pride and glory on them.
Not just the normal witcher-knights, even the few powerful radiant knights were all currently in a deplorable condition. They had ghastly complexions and gaunt faces. The severity of both their internal and external injuries were shocking!
Windsor gazed into the dark woods in the distance. With his brilliant sense for war, he could feel the existence of the enemies! If it had been in the past, he would most definitely have led his subordinates into the darkness to start a slaughter, revitalizing the spirits and passion of his companions with the blood of his enemies.
But now, the dark woods had become more terrifying than ever before! Even he, a Second Grade radiant knight, couldn't help but feel fear.
Perhaps waiting for a new wave of reinforcements before continuing the search was the right plan?
He thought so silently.
For the first time, Windsor lost his courage.