Chapter 225 Defensive Battle
The flames of war had slowly inched forward!
Several areas along the defensive lines had been breached. The witcher-knights rode tall on their magic colts while waving their blinding longswords, frequently appearing at the edge of the adepts' base. They engaged in deadly battle with the voodoo beasts, robotic beasts, and ghouls standing guard there.
If the surroundings of the base hadn't been littered with numerous magic traps, the hordes of witcher-knights would probably have long since swarmed into the base and started their siege on the war tower.
Even so, the space left for the adepts to maneuver themselves was slowly decreasing as the frontline gradually closed in to the adepts' tower. A final fighting force was slowly assembling in front of the gates of the tower. Thirteen adepts were defending this spot to their deaths, not giving even an inch of ground.
Over three hundred summoned beasts and puppets of all kinds were active in this flat, five hundred meter wide battlefield. The weaker voodoo beasts and robotics beasts had already fallen under the butcher's blade of the witcher-knights.
The forest to the side of the tower had received even more devastating damage. Vast stretches of flame and ferocious storms were raging everywhere. Once the violent flames had started it was hard to extinguish them. In the blink of an eye, the woods in a radius of several dozen kilometers had been engulfed by a sea of fire.
Squad after squad of witcher-knights scrambled out of the forest, rallying outside the adepts' base.
There were still burn marks on their bodies and faces, left by the licking of flames, while fine cuts and scratches left by wind blades could be seen on their armor. Even though walking through this horrifying place had caused them severe losses, they still pushed forward with all their strength while keeping the hope of victory and hatred for the adepts fresh in their hearts. Finally, they arrived at the base of the domineering adepts' tower.
The witcher-knights gathered in pairs as well as groups of three, replenishing and reorganizing their ranks. The nine radiant knights took the lead and led barely four thousand witcher-knights to continue their charge through the adepts’ last defensive line.
If one turned back to look at what had been left behind on the path here, they would see that the losses were devastating!
In this narrow strip of forest was less than five kilometers long, yet the massive knights' army had paid the price of two radiant knights, thirty-three spellbreaker knights, and two thousand witcher-knights to get here. Such terrible losses had exceeded everyone's expectations!
This stretch of forest had turned into a graveyard. Everywhere you looked, you could see the broken corpses of witcher-knights and the scattered remains of their loyal colts. Now, all was being consumed as the forest fire spread throughout the land.
If it hadn't been for the dragons’ and dragon knights’ continuous destruction from above that destroyed most of the adepts traps, the casualties would likely be significantly larger!
Compared to the sacrifices of the knights, only two adepts had fallen in battle.
This also meant that there were a total of seven adept casualties out of those sent to the knights' plane by the Sarubo clan. This… this was extremely close to the mental baseline that the clan's higher-ups had set for themselves. Once the losses were more than nine, the clan wouldn't be able to rapidly exploit this plane even if it did manage to conquer it.
The roots of the clan in the World of Adepts needed adepts to guard this plane. The two lesser planes in their possession also needed adepts to keep them in check. Withdrawing the main force of adepts within a lesser plane for a short period of time to engage in a planar war would not cause too much effect or impact to the situation in the plane. However, if the main forces of the clan were held back in a certain place for long periods of time, or suffered tremendous losses, the rule of the clan would start to destabilize.
The successful invasion of the knights' plane could bring about massive profits for the Sarubo clan, but maintaining their grip over the plane required the presence and of a powerful force. It was the same for the other two lesser planes. If the clan's main forces were gone for too long, the native resistance would start a new wave of rebellion once they caught wind of the situation. When that happened, massive losses would ensue for the clan!
Thus, after two adepts had died to the ambushes of dragon knights, the clan's elders finally decided to strategically withdraw, pulling the defensive line all the way to the gates of the tower.
As of now, the internal construction of the tower was still keeping eleven adepts busy at work. Only thirteen adepts were left standing guard before the doors, including Second Grade Adept Fügen.
The ones standing at the very front of the formation were several adepts with tough Physiques. Three of them stood at the very front, with a large swarm of summoned creatures supporting them on the side. Greem and Adept Hyde also possessed supernatural Physiques after their transformations and were thus placed on the right and left flanks to help the defense.
Most of the adepts stood inside the defensive circle, continuously launching large and powerful area-of-effect spells into the dense knights’ ranks. Those adepts that weren't proficient at fighting were mostly masters of unorthodox professions. Some of them were throwing out numerous vials or summoning creatures with all sorts of odd abilities, while others dragged out their bags of spell scrolls, frantically casting them at the knights.
Two adepts, who were masters at curses, were wildly casting, tossing curse after curse of various colors into the areas the where the concentration of the knights was the most compact.
The witcher-knights at the front had just gotten within thirty meters of the adepts when some disgusting and colorful curse halos fell onto their bodies. Nausea started overcoming them, robbing them of all their strength. It felt like a layer of thick mud had encased their bodies, making even simple actions like raising their hands and feet immensely slow.
This caused the knights' most ferocious push to appear in hilariously funny slow-motion.
Moreover, countless terrifying magical plants continuously burst forth from the ground, entangling, piercing, and sucking the blood of the knights, creating tremendous trouble for the witcher-knights as they struggled forward with difficulty.
The witcher-knights in the rear couldn't charge forward with all the chaos in front. They could only sheath their blades and draw their runic bows, sending flame and ice arrows raining down upon the adepts' defensive circle.
Such meager elementium damage could not possibly have been any threat to the adepts under ordinary circumstances. However, the enemies were numerous and the adepts were exhausted.
The three body-refining adepts started to expand and grow into imposing giants. They strode across the battlefield and crushed every witcher-knight in sight under their feet, all while maintaining a protective barrier using all their strength to block the knights’ long-range attacks.
The body-refining adepts were all immensely powerful and might have been able to endure such intense and concentrated attacks. The blood giants, vine monsters, stone golems, beholders, and other such summoned creatures following beside them, on the other hand, were much weaker. One after another they fell to the ground as they fought, their backs filled with arrows before they disappeared.
Soon, the valiant knights were able to force their way through the numerous magic traps with their bodies of flesh and blood. They broke into the adepts’ defensive circle and started a melee fight with the them.
The three body-refining adepts stood guard in front, while Greem was responsible for protecting the left flank.
Here he had to defend a long and seventy-meter wide defensive line all by himself. All of his golem army had been completely exhausted in the woods earlier. The only ones that could stand before him were the Fire Lord and the Lightning Giant, as well as two pseudo-adept level water golems.
Once upon a time, the lightning giant had been Greem's most reliable and powerful combat golem. However, with his advancement to an adept, these pseudo-adept level golems were no longer able to keep up with his footsteps. Even if they occasionally appeared on the battlefield, they would end up as disposable tools.
Still, no matter how terrible his situation was, it was much better than Adept Hyde’s on the other side.
No matter what, Greem still had four subordinates to split his pressure with. Adept Hyde had to defend such a wide battlefield alone.
His robotic body allowed him to have endless stamina as long as he still had Spirit. If it had been any other adept, just running around clearing up the charging knights would have completely exhausted him.
Back in the woods, they could still fight while running, fight while flying, or just switch to another area when they met someone they couldn't defeat. Here, even if the enemy was a squad of spellbreaker knights, the only thing that could be done was to grit your teeth and push forward, defending the base with your life.
Reinforcements? As long as no radiant knights appeared, the Second Grade Adept Fügen would never lift a single finger.
Thus, Greem was fortunate enough to be able to spare some of his attention to appreciate the might of Adept Hyde.
If one considered the nature of adepts, one would come to the logical conclusion that Hyde had hidden part of his powers. However, when the ones charging at him were a group of five spellbreaker knights, hiding any strength would become a difficult task. That is, of course, unless he no longer wanted to live.
The very next second, Adept Hyde turned into a massive squid with a dozen thick, metallic tentacles. With the exception of his head and smaller portions of his body concentrated in the center, retaining their human shape, the other body parts quickly reassembled into several deadly sharp metallic tentacles, furiously lashing towards the spellbreaker knights.
No wonder Thunderbird had called him Boss Hyde. He definitely had overwhelming might when it came to melee fighting. Under Greem's stunned gaze, Boss Hyde sliced the five attacking spellbreaker knights into scattered pieces of flesh.
Moreover, the price he paid in return were only some trivial wounds!
Three of the metallic tentacles had been cut off, while another two had sustained different degrees of damage. When Adept Hyde transformed back from squid form to his human form, large areas of his body's surface were missing. The numerous rapidly spinning gears and bearings in his body started to creak and grind, as if the running of his machinery had started to fall apart.
At this moment, Greem's luck seemed to have come to an end!
A radiant knight appeared before him, leading two spellbreaker knights and a hundred witcher-knights in a savage sprint. They roared and let out battlecries as they rushed forward. At this moment, Second Grade Adept Fügen was having a massive fight with two radiant knights at the front of the defensive circle. Even the three body-refining adepts had to silently retreat from the area.
Due to the limited space on the battlefield, the Flame Fiend Greem transformed into found it difficulty to create a magma pool that was vast enough to hinder the enemy, while the golems under his control were not sufficient enough to hold back such a powerful assault.
Greem could only bet with his life on the line, shouting as he prepared to fight!