Kumaraghosha stared ahead thoughtfully. He raised his right hand and caught the arrow. However, to Kumaraghosha’s dismay, the arrow burst into light and did not stop. It slipping past his hand and headed straight for his throat. Kumaraghosha had a fast reflex, and his combat power suddenly became blinding. The arrow froze in his palm.
Kumaraghosha looked at the arrow, and his eyes widened. Before he could do anything, the arrow burst into flame. The wave of fiery heat obscured Kumaraghosha’s figure and threw his guards away from him.
As the light dispersed, Kumaraghosha’s figure appeared. The explosion wasn’t enough to hurt a senior platinum knight, but his stallion was wounded. Its back and neck were both injured, and the poor horse crashed to the ground.
The stallion was writhing on the ground, its bones breaking with a sickening crunch. If one was to cut the horse open, it would be apparent that the horse’s organs and ribs were all crushed because of Kumaraghosha’s squeeze. Even a dragon could not have survived that level of damage, let alone a war horse.
Kumaraghosha raised his head slowly. He was watching where the arrow had came from. A guard calmed his spooked horse, then he jumped off and offered the horse to Kumaraghosha.
"Keep charging." Kumaraghosha mounted the horse and ordered as if the explosion did not happen.
Anfey sighed. He did not expect to be able to kill Kumaraghosha with one arrow, but he still hoping for a miracle. The first cavalry was only two hundred feet away, and Anfey could see the grave and painful expressions of the riders. Clearly, this army came for revenge. He threw his head back and flipped off of the Eyes of the Sky. In the past, he would not try to jump from such a high structure. Now, however, he had a new understanding of magic and could control it far better. Even a common man could see the wind blades appearing under Anfey’s feet. Every blade lessened the impact of the fall from a such a height. A few moments later, Anfey landed on solid ground and began running towards the town.
Kumaraghosha raised his hand, and the cavalry stopped. This cavalry was not Kumaraghosha’s actual army, and he had spent some time away from the military. His influence in the army was far weaker, but this was an elite cavalry, and could follow the order of any general.
Kumaraghosha narrowed his eyes and observed Moramatch. Alibaba Mercenary consisted of more than a dozen mages, and that was what he was most worried about. Compared to the mages, the female swordsmaster was not as threatening.
"Kumaraghosha, I already know what kind of a person you are. I have been expecting you." Amplifying magic helping carried Anfey’s voice all the way to Kumaraghosha.
Kumaraghosha smiled. He did not care about Anfey’s words. He had seen many people like this in the past. People who did not know their power, and tried to discourage his men with words. A battle’s outcome could not be changed with a few words. The only thing that could change a battle was strength.
"Kumaraghosha, you seem to have forgotten who the original residents of this place were. I am sorry to inform you that this town sits on top of hundreds of underground tunnels. You are going to leave here today empty-handed." The magic amplified Anfey’s voice, and now not only the residents of Moramatch, but also the Shansa cavalry could hear him as well.
Kumaraghosha frowned. He knew that it was unlikely he would achieve what he wanted today. However, this did not dissuade him. He decided that he would return here every year, and prevent Moramatch from rebuilding itself. It wouldn’t matter what the town did, he would destroy it again and again. Shansa’s warriors did not lack the patience and will needed for revenge.
"Kumaraghosha, your plan of killing us failed, eh? Scared now? Worried? Let me tell you. I did not kill General Mintel like you wanted me to. I talked with him, and found out what kind of a person you are. Why would I work for you, or with you, after that? Let me tell you, General Mintel is already on his way back to Shansa Empire to report your crime!" Anfey’s voice was getting louder, and he did not hesitate in revealing Kumaraghosha’s secrets.
Harrison, who was standing next to Kumaraghosha, could not take it anymore. "Shut your liar’s mouth!" He called angrily. "If you’re a man, you get out here and you face us!"
"Wait a moment, Harrison," Kumaraghosha said, smiling. "I thought he was a sly man, but I did not expect him to be so stupid."
"So you can kill me? I am not stupid! Who said that I am lying? Let me tell you. The boarbeasts you bought last time went bad became we used decaying potion. If it wasn’t for Kumaraghosha’s cooperation, we wouldn’t have found the chance to do it. Without Kumaraghosha, the aerial squadron’s guards would not have been away when we attacked."
"And his lies continue," Kumaraghosha said. He raised his gun slowly. He did not want to waste any more of his time.
"I apologize for my mistake. Kumaraghosha didn’t just cooperate with us. He was our commander! That was why we were able to defeat the aerial squadron! Too bad I recognized your tricks, Kumaraghosha, and let General Mintel go. If everything goes according to plan, he should be back in Shansa Empire, telling everyone about your crime. You, and your men, are doomed!"
The gun in Kumaraghosha’s hand shook. At first he did not care about what Anfey was saying. Now, he understood what he was trying to do. Kumaraghosha was not a politician, or else he would try to avenge himself without orders, but he knew that tricks like this could kill a man, without the killer even moving a finger. He thought he had done nothing wrong, since he led the cavalry away under Mintel’s orders. However, would Mintel report honestly after returning to the empire? Mintel had lost everything, and if he wanted, Kumaraghosha would be the perfect scapegoat. What should he do, then?
"Kumaraghosha, I know that you are still bitter over the fact that Edward the Eighth killed General Nabonido, and wanted to avenge the general. I understand your sentiments, but your action was despicable! You want your men to be called traitors, you want their families to be the target of public defamation? Come on, come with your traitorous army! Let’s see who gets the final laugh!"
"Ready yourselves," Kumaraghosha barked. He needed to wash away the unease with blood.
For an elite army, the soldiers were all well disciplined. As soon as they heard the commander’s order, the soldiers should have replied with action. Kumaraghosha sensed something wrong in the soldiers, and turned to look at them. Only some of the riders raised their guns; the others were staring straight ahead, as if lost in thought. Some were even chattering amongst themselves, clearly unnerved by what they just heard.
Righteous men should not be afraid of rumors, but the others may still believe it. It is easy to pour ink on someone, but removing the ink would be hard work.
"Kumaraghosha, are you afraid now that everyone knows your treachery? Now you would have to kill me and your men! Come on, attack me. I will kill all of your men as a parting gift. But you have to be careful! If one man lives to tell the tale, General Mintel has a witness!" Anfey’s voice boomed. Surges of powerful magic spread through Moramatch. Who knew how many power mages were in the town.
"Follow me!" Kumaraghosha barked angrily. He held up his gun and began charging. He was a proud man, and did not care for the words of a small mercenary leader. He did not even try to explain himself to his men. The only thing powerful men needed in battle was their weapons, and the only thing they trusted was their own strength.
Harrison yelled and followed Kumaraghosha. He had been serving Kumaraghosha since he was a young man. He knew very well how loyal and upstanding Kumaraghosha was, and did not fall for Anfey’s lies. The cavalrymen, however, were divided into two sides. Only half of the cavalry charged with Kumaraghosha. The other half remained where they were. Anfey’s lies had sown a seed of doubt in those men.
As the riders approached Moramatch, the cavalry split into three groups. Kumaraghosha led the middle group, and the other two groups rode off to the sides to surround the city. Even though Kumaraghosha was enraged, he could still think clearly. He was not stupid enough to keep all the riders in one group. That would make them easy targets for the mages.