Chapter 583 Glaring
The squads of dragonborn walked through the filthy swamp with no particular organization or order.
All the swamp creatures fled wherever they went, and none of them dared to come within a hundred meters of these dragonborn.
A large swamp alligator was a little too slow in running and entered the dragonborn's alert zone. Four to five violent elementium fireballs instantly greeted it, blowing it into scattered pieces of meat on the spot.
A native tribe hid in the darkness within the depths of the mist, silently watching this massive army of dragonborn from the shadows. An indescribable hatred filled their eyes, but they could only look on wordlessly. They didn't dare to get close.
Here was a massive dragonborn army that numbered three hundred. No ordinary dragon lord could come up with such a powerful force, even in Lance.
Thus, when Second Grade Dragon Army Commander Will charged into the Swamp of Sorrows with his ferocious soldiers, everything in their path scattered. No living creature had the courage to appear within their vision, much less stand before their way.
"Sir, we have already lost contact with three groups of scouts. We have not found any communication marks left behind by them along the way. The search parties we sent out have not found them either." A particularly muscular dragonborn captain jogged toward Commander Will and beat his chest firmly with his fist.
The metal gauntlet clashed with the metal armor, emitting a flat metallic ring.
No traces of the dragonborn meant no corpses.
However, no native tribes within the Swamp of Sorrows had the ability to silently murder a dragonborn scout. The powerful magical creatures might be able to do so, but they shouldn't have the courage to do so.
Moreover, the three different groups of scouts had gone in three different directions. All of them disappearing at the same time was already extremely suspicious!
"Have the other scouts withdraw!"
Commander Will was a tall and ferocious dragonborn. His body under the metal armor was covered in a fine layer of red dragon scales. That meant that apart from his exceptional strength, he also possessed immense fire elementium powers.
"Since the enemy has started removing our eyes and our ears, it means that their den isn't far away now. We will find a suitable spot to make camp later. Then we need to hurry up and send someone to establish contact with Lord Cherkes. Melman, later you will be bringing Squad Seven to go collect food from the nearby villages. Be careful and watch out!"
"Understood!" A dragonborn captain at his side also beat his chest and accepted his orders. The dragonborn then strode away to gather his subordinates.
"Falka, you bring your subordinates with you and go figure out who it was that attacked out scouts. I hope to hear good news from you before dinner is made." This time, Will gave his order to a troll in a black ceremonial robe.
Indeed, there was a squad of two hundred trolls mixed in with this dragonborn army. Moreover, they were all zealous followers of the Cult of the Dragons.
All sorts of traitors would appear when a species was being conquered by another foreign race. In fact, there were sometimes traitors who made a comfortable life for themselves through their acts of betrayal.
The Cult of the Dragons was one such bizarre organization!
The trolls had no chance of turning the tables once the dragon lords had destroyed their Empire.
Many troll powerhouses had been hiding in the shadows during these thousands of years of dragon rule. They invariably started waves of rebellion against the dragons. Yet there was also an alternate group of trolls that had gotten sick of the bloody and endless cycle of resistance, suppression, and rebellion. They raised the flag of revering the dragons and called for their tribesmen to stop their unnecessary revolutions.
Trolls like this naturally fell into the good favors of the dragon lords.
Under the intentional aid of the dragons, a portion of the trolls established the Cult of the Dragons. The Cult called for natives of all species to come into the fold and become the devout followers of the dragons.
The dragons even bestowed upon the Dragon Cultists a status only inferior to the dragonborn to further rope them in. The Cultists became the servants of the dragons' servants!
The dragons would even bestow part of their dragon bloodline upon those who were the most devout and had the most contributions. Thus, these cultists came to possess strange spellcasting abilities reminiscent of warlocks.
Outsiders also knew these cultists as Dragon Cult Priests.
Falka, who Commander Will had called for, was one such Second Grade Dragon Cult Priest.
Even though Falka knew that this was a difficult task with nothing to gain, there was no room for discussion with Commander Will. Priest Falka had no choice but to accept the order helplessly.
Falka shouted, and a large group of black-robed Dragon Cultists quickly left the dragonborn army. They disappeared into the distant mist in the blink of an eye.
"Hmph! Leave this dirty work to that Dragon Cultist bunch! Cohen, inform the soldiers to turn northwest. I remember a large kobold camp located in that direction. We will set up camp there tonight." Will couldn't help but coldly snort once he saw the Dragon Cultists had left.
"Kobold camp?" The few trusted captains around Commander Will looked at each other and hesitantly spoke up, "Sir, those kobolds stink too much. It will affect the rest and appetite of our soldiers."
"Hmph! Who's scared of a little stench? Kill all those kobolds and litter the camp with their blood. We won't smell their stench anymore that way."
The dragonborn captains had no choice but to nod obediently now that their leader had already spoken. They disbanded and went to organize their own squads.
Soon, only Deputy Commander Eden was left. He was an old friend of Commander Will, and both of them went back over a hundred years. It was only now that a trace of solemnness appeared on Will's commanding face.
"What is it? Are you still worried about our enemy this time?" Eden asked softly.
"I can't help but be worried!" Will's voice was filled with fury, "I have already heard about the situation. We might be facing off against a bunch of mysterious individuals that broke into our plane from the outside."
"What about it then?" Eden consoled his friend nonchalantly, "Other planar invasions happen a few times almost every year. Most of them are wanderers with nowhere to go or some idiotic spellcaster that chanted the wrong word. It has nothing to do with us once we expel them from this territory."
"No, old friend, this time might not be all the same as all the previous times."
"I already checked before we left on this expedition. Those intruders appeared in the Swamp of Sorrows nine days ago. They then made a beeline straight for Lord Cherkes' territory. Cherkes, on the other hand, had come to ask for help from our master three days ago. If we were to exclude the time spent on the journey, it means that the enemy had defeated Lord Cherkes' soldiers within a single day."
"One day." Eden's eyes couldn't help but be opened wide in shock.
He knew the Wind Dragon Lord Cherkes. The dragon commanded over a hundred dragonborn, and his commander was a powerful Second Grade as well. If the enemies could route an army like that in a single day, the risk of this mission was extraordinarily high!
"I expected these people to hide within Stonetalon Mountains and defend that place to the death. Who would've known that they would extend their claws into the Swamp of Sorrows? Let us first make camp! We will decide on the next course of action once we figure out the situation at Stonetalon Mountains." As expected of Fire Dragon Philippa's most trusted aide, Commander Will was not only an exceptional fighter but possessed a calm and collected mind as well.
Eden sighed silently. He supposed that was all they could do for now.
The Swamp of Sorrows, inside a hidden camp.
Several adepts of the Crimson Clan had already gathered inside one of the tents and were quietly waiting for news from a distance.
A dozen images with different angles were being projected upon a metal strategic platform in the middle of the tent. The movements of the dragonborn army were completely displayed before the adepts.
The adepts might have all sorts of magical means to spy on the dragonborn, such as Adept's Eye, Invisible Servant, and Life Sense, but these means all unavoidably released magical flux. That could very easily draw the attention of the dragonborn.
Thus, all the scouting this time was done by Gazlowe's machines.
Vibration sensors fitted at the bottom of puddles, hidden mechanical eyes embedded in the trees, multi-band sound recorders buried in the mud, and life sensors flying above the mists of the Swamp of Sorrows.
These mechanical constructs all carried a bit of magical aura with them, but it was far weaker than actual spells. If one were to take Lance's high-magic environment into consideration, even adepts would have a hard time discovering these mechanical constructs if they weren't very carefully searching with their Spirit.
As such, there was no way the dragonborn could discover these strange objects hidden around them, regardless of how careful and cautious they were being.
Now, it was almost as if a one-way mirror separated both sides of the conflict. The adepts had a perfect grasp of the opponent's movements, while the dragonborn were still moving about like they were blind, unknowingly walking into a death trap.
"I didn't think these dragonborn would bring a bunch of Dragon Cultists with them. How about it? Who wants to go draw these Cultists away?" As the temporary leader of the group, Mary had taken on the role of commander.
Standing beside her were the three Blood Knights she had taken into her fold in the Knight's Plane, along with the old fox Vanlier They had successfully arrived in Lance after transferring from the Goblin Plane.
The battle was nearing, and Greem had stayed in the metal fortress to think of ways to modify the new metal golems. Thus, the only Second Grade adepts that had arrived at this battlefield were Mary and Zacha.
The outsider Dragon Devourer Oliven might have come along, but she remained silent. Under Greem's suggestion, she had found a thick black robe to cloak herself in completely.
There was no choice. Oliven's appearance and life aura were too unique. The dragonborn would effortlessly recognize her if she didn't put on a little disguise.
The ones waiting for orders within the tent were the few First Grade adepts that the Crimson Clan had only recently cultivated: Bug Adept Billis, Deserra, Medusa Dana, and Manticore Charon. Poison Witch Endor, on the other hand, was a representative sent over by Alice's faction; she couldn't be considered a core member of the Crimson Clan.