At that moment, Kumaraghosha was very certain of himself, but he suddenly recalled another fact about his enemy. The last time he was at Moramatch, the swordsmaster did not join the fight. He wasn’t the only one that could determine the battle’s outcome.
Whenever someone was unlucky, his premonitions tend to come true, and Kumaraghosha was very unlucky. Before Christian could even react to the attack, another bright white light collided with Kumaraghosha. The two balls of bright light shook with a loud crash. Sparks flew. An almost undetectable dark shadow dashed by.
Suzanna jumped backwards and landed solidly. The white light around her dimmed slightly. She took a deep breath and it became blinding again. Anfey had told her to not be too absorbed in the fight, but when facing a senior platinum knight, she had to be completely committed to the fight; or else there was no way she would live to tell the tale.
Kumaraghosha stumbled, and his left leg almost gave out. On his leg was a black arrow, quivering. The arrow did not burrow deep into the flesh, but was enough to impede his movements. When fighting someone of similar rank, a wound like this could be devastating.
This sudden attack helped Kumaraghosha understood what kind of enemy he was facing. He had already learned the truth about the arrows before, but he did not expect Anfey to be joining the fight right now. If this arrow had come a few seconds earlier or later, or he was aiming for his head or chest, the arrow would not have found its target.
Suzanna looked at Kumaraghosha’s leg and smiled. She was never formally trained and did not know the eight creeds of swordsmanship. She did not follow the rules traditional swordsmen followed, and Anfey was someone with no sense of shame or honor. Over time, Suzanna stopped believing that fights had to be fair to both sides. For her, two against one was a normal thing to do.
Kumaraghosha glanced past Suzanna and his gaze landed on a tree a hundred feet away. He could not see Anfey, but he could feel his eyes, cold and calculating.
Most of the knights that fell into the swamp could not get out. The few dozen that managed to free themselves began charging again, their lances held out in front of them. The mages floated into the air and flew backwards to put some distance between themselves and Kumaraghosha. Suzanna saw the knights charging out of the corners of her eyes. She took a few steps back, leapt into the air and disappeared behind a roof.
Kumaraghosha felt a strange worry. Before he could figure it out, a knight to his left screamed out in agony. His body was thrown back like he was punched by an invisible fist. His blood sprayed onto the dirt, and he was still. A black arrow stuck out of his chest.
The mages had already retreated to a safe distance and began releasing magic. Lightning, fireballs, and wind blades rained down on the knights. Among the magic was fire meteor that could hurt even a high tier magic beast. However, the swamp Christian summoned was starting to dry up. The mud began to recede quickly, and some of the knights took this chance to free themselves from the swamp. However, there were still a number of knights trapped by the magic. This was the worst thing about swamp magic. Even if the ground returned to normal, the damage would linger. Those that were swallowed by the swamp could not be saved.
"Save whoever you can!" Kumaraghosha called.
The knights lunged at their companions and began pulling them out of the ground before the magic completely disappeared. Some places were already dry, and the act of pulling caused some of the men great pain. Some men were buried all the way up to their necks, and their cries for help were only met with pitying eyes.
"Retreat!" Kumaraghosha ordered.
Anfey had made himself very clear. There were hundreds of tunnels under the town, and even if they could successfully take the town, Anfey could take his men and retreat into the tunnels. If his mages had assisted him, Kumaraghosha would gladly have turned the town into rubble. However, the mages fell for Anfey’s lies and did not join the fight. The only way Kumaraghosha could take Moramatch was to sacrifice more men than necessary. This would yield nothing.
The attacking order had been resisted by half of the army, but no one resisted the retreating order. Even the knights who had lost their horses were hardly slower than their mounted companions. After a few moments, the army was merely a dot on the horizon. The only thing that proved Shansa’s army had visited the town was a dozen men still stuck in the ground.
The doors of the houses next to the dirt road was pushed open, and a group of swordsmen walked out. Black Eleven stroked the hilt of his sword as he walked, as if he was lamenting his lack of involvement in the battle. One of the swordsmen kicked one of the stuck soldiers. Shansa Empire's act of invading Maho Empire had made these soldiers from Maho Empire very angry, so this act of humiliating the enemy did not make the observers upset.
"Anfey?" Suzanna called after realizing Anfey was still hiding in the tree.
Anfey stopped his thinking process and hopped out. The battle had given him some new inspiration. When he first heard a thousand-man Shansa cavalry was approaching, he felt it would be a hopeless battle. They were too greatly outnumbered. Anfey could not put together a possible plan to stop a thousand knights on horseback with a dozen mages and a swordsmaster.
Anfey, however, was still relatively new to magic. He only remembered how magic could cause mass destruction, but had forgotten that it could affect nature. The other mages clearly had different ideas, and that was why they had opposed the idea of retreating. Along with the potion Hagan had presented, Anfey changed his mind.
"Christian, you did a good job today," Anfey praised him.
"Thank god we had Hagan’s fear potion. Swamp magic did so much more damage because they lost their horses."
"This is the most damaging swamp magic I’ve ever seen," Sante agreed.
"Anfey!" Riska landed in front of them. "You guys are finished with the riders?" He had only just seen the stuck riders.
"Shansa armies are useless," Riska said with a snort.
"They aren’t useless. I could tell Kumaraghosha did not take this seriously," Anfey told him, "or else we would be in the tunnels by now."
"So what if they had made it into the town? Their numbers would have been greatly reduced anyway." Sante shrugged. "Zubin and I know swamp magic as well. We can potentially turn the entire town of Moramatch into swamp."
"Yea, then Moramatch would be called Swamp," Zubin corrected him.
"Sante, are you planning on attacking the enemies or destroy our own houses?" Feller asked.
"Victory comes at a price," Sante defended himself. "Don’t you know?"
"Shut up." Anfey kicked Sante on the calf lightly and scolded.
"Christian, you had Feller attack their mages on purpose, didn’t you?" Zubin asked.
"I felt that their mages didn’t want to fight, so I gave them a reason," Christian said. He continued, "Anfey, what should we do with those people?"
Anfey looked at the Shansa riders, who were still writhing in the ground. "Tell the dwarves and gnomes to dig them out tomorrow. Have them start widening the entrances to the tunnels tonight. They must finish by tomorrow morning, and we will began moving our belongings down there."
"I don’t think they can wait until tomorrow." Black Eleven walked over and joined the conversation. The knights’ bodies were tightly restrained by the ground, and they were struggling to breathe.
Anfey frowned. Personally, he did not care whether those riders lived or died. However, he could not bring himself to tell Black Eleven to kill those riders in front of a group of inexperienced youth. "Black Eleven, have your men dig them out."
"Me?" Black Eleven frowned, then smiled bitterly. "It seems like my presence was not needed!"