Chapter 341 – Fight! Wipe them out!
People on the continent always knew that Beastmen Cavalry were the strongest cavalry. Although Zhao Hai was sure that his undead cavalry was better than actual beastmen cavalry, he still wanted to see how they fare in an actual cavalry battle.
At this time, Shue also spotted the other party, so he had the carriage stop. Ruyen's carriage also halted, but her guards looked with despair at the enemy cavalry.
These guards were veterans who had fought in many battles. With their eyes, they could see that the cavalry on the hillsides number approximately 5,000 people. For 5,000 cavalry to deal with them was a huge respect, but this also meant that the chances of their escape had reached zero.
In the eyes of the guards, although Zhao Hai was fierce, he was only a single 7th rank mage. Believing that he could face these 5,000 cavalry would be an idiotic move.
Zhao Hai got out of his carriage and gazed towards Ruyen. He was a bit hesitant because Ruyen would be able to see his undead when he releases them. To let Ruyen see the undead would be the same as revealing his secret.
After thinking for a moment, Zhao Hai turned to Shue and said, "Shue, you go tell Ruyen's guards to protect Ruyen. Tell them to not worry as long as they stay with the carriage"
Hearing Zhao Hai's instructions, Shue understood what Zhao Hai was planning. He nodded then turned to inform Ruyen's group. Ruyen's group didn't have any better ideas since the enemy was too strong, so they immediately followed along with Zhao Hai's words.
Shun just joined the group, so he didn't have any idea about Zhao Hai's undead army. This made him completely clueless about Zhao Hai's plan. At this time, seeing that Ruyen's group had followed his orders, Zhao Hai immediately had them covered by his dark mist, making them unable to see or hear what's happening outside.
Shun looked puzzled at Zhao Hai, he didn't know what Zhao Hai wanted to do. But when he looked at Shue, Blockhead, and Rockhead's anticipating expressions, he didn't say anything. He looked curiously at Zhao Hai, wondering what the young master intends to do.
Zhao Hai looked at Shue's excited face, he smiled faintly and said, "Shue, what are you getting excited for? It still hadn't begun."
Shue smiled and said, "To be able to watch a cavalry battle at this distance is very exciting. Young master, hurry up. We need to deal with them quickly so we could be on the move soon."
Zhao Hai laughed, then he turned to the other party and said very loudly, "All of you! What are you waiting for? Still not ready? Or are you waiting for lunch?"
Shue and Blockhead laughed. The cavalry knights were enraged, they didn't attack because Zhao Hai didn't reach their optimum attack distance. In their minds, since Zhao Hai couldn't escape anyway, why not wait until he reached their best attacking spot? As long as Zhao Hai enters their attacking zone, they would smash him flat with their charge and immediately head back to the fortress.
Hearing what Zhao Hai said, the knights couldn't wait any longer. Their leaders issued several loud cries, then they prepared to hoist their spears and get ready for their charge.
Zhao Hai smiled faintly, he waved his hand and 5,000 undead Fighting Bull cavalry immediately appeared in front of him. They were arranged in a neat square formation, with no unnecessary movements and no sound. They just stood there, dispersing death energy to the surroundings.
Shun was speechless when he saw the Fighting Bull Cavalry. The knights on the hillsides also stared blankly at the undead cavalry. Their heads couldn’t' help but tilt.
Zhao Hai gave a smiled and said, "If you won't charge, then I will." He waved his hand, then the 5,000 undead Fighting Bull cavalry began to divide themselves into two square formations, one for each cavalry unit on each side of the road.
Zhao Hai used the formation management function to lead the undead cavalry. The two squares were finely formed, devoid of chaos. Seeing the two orderly square formations advancing, the knights on the hills couldn't help but take a step back.
Shun was speechless when he saw the undead cavalry, but he was more speechless about Zhao Hai's ability to lead the undead.
Shun had been wandering for many years, he also had contacts with numerous mercenaries. Large mercenary groups would have a cavalry unit under their employ. And their cavalries weren't much worse than regular cavalry. One should know that training cavalry was very difficult, a qualified cavalry unit would need about 2 years worth of training. And even elite cavalry would still have troubles maintaining their formations during an assault. People could be trained to do so, but magic beasts cannot.
But Zhao Hai's charging cavalry didn't have any trouble with formation during their charge. This was definitely not the undead's doing, it could only result on Zhao Hai's control of the undead. Being able to control such number of undead with such precision, Shun had developed a new understanding of Zhao Hai's might.
The cavalry on the hillsides were also startled, they saw that the unit charging at them were undead, but they couldn't believe that they were all zombie undead.
They were well aware that Zombie undead were harder to deal with than other undead creatures. They also knew the difficulty of producing them.
They now understood that Zhao Hai wasn't a tri-element mage at all. He was a quad-element mage, and was likely to have majored in dark element magic.
But they didn't think too much of it. They were still confident that they would be able to beat those undead. So the leaders quickly stabilized their lines and like the undead Fighting Bull cavalry, also began their charge.
Shun looked at the Undead Cavalry with worry. In his mind, controlling these undead meticulously would be very difficult for Zhao Hai, and the level of undead couldn't have been too high. In this case, these 5,000 undead cavalry wouldn't be able to stop the assault of 5,000 heavy armored cavalry.
A heavy cavalry unit was in itself a very difficult unit to deal with. But their cost for upkeep was too high, so general forces couldn’t afford them. The cavalry on the hillsides were also charging downhill, giving their power a huge boost compared to the uphill charging undead. The heavy cavalry believed that they will win the engagement and completely flatten the enemy.
When the four units of cavalry clashed, the heavy cavalry immediately realized their mistake. They didn't expect that each and every one of these undead were terrifyingly fierce. Their striking force surprisingly reached 7th rank. Adding on to the fact that they weren't afraid of getting hurt or dying, these undead proved to be very difficult to deal with.
The charge managed to cut away 3,000 of the heavy cavalry, a loss of more than half of their number. For these heavy cavalry soldiers, this loss was unimaginable. But what made them more sullen was the fact that their undead opponents barely managed to lose as much as they had. Although the knight's spears were inserted onto the undead's bodies, they could still function, and thus continue on to wave their maces around.
What hit them the most was the fact that even though the undead's heads were smashed, they still managed to recover. They didn't imagine that fighting undead was this hard until they had fought with real undead today.
This almost made the cavalry line collapse, but they were experienced soldiers who cannot be easily defeated. After they exchanged positions with the undead cavalry, they saw that they weren't too far away from Zhao Hai's carriage. The leaders of the heavy cavalry immediately issued a few cries. They didnt' stop their charge and continued on towards Zhao Hai's carriage. They knew that as long as Zhao Hai gets eliminated, these undead would automatically disappear.
However, the moment they resumed their charge, another group of undead appeared in front of them. These group were the same as the previous group, 5,000 Fighting Bull cavalry. The heavy cavalrymen immediately collapsed, they didn't imagine that another undead cavalry unit would arrive, when they saw the unit appear, they saw that their lives were in extreme peril.
And at this moment, the initial group of undead cavalry behind them turned around. Now they were sandwiched both at the back and at the front.
Looking dazed at the side of Zhao Hai, Shun didn't know what to say. He recovered himself and then turned to Zhao Hai, "Young Master, how many undead do you have? You can control these many undead?"
Zhao Hai smiled faintly and said, "Be assured, I can control as much. And how many? I didn't count them but from what I think, I should probably have about seven hundred thousand undead."
Shun stared at Zhao Hai, while stuttering, he said, "Young Master, yo-you, di-did you just say seven hundred thousand?"
Zhao Hai didn't speak but only showed a faint smile. Shue patted Shun's shoulder and said, "Shun, later as you stand by young master's side, you'll get to know that the young master has many secrets."
Blockhead and Rockhead laughed, they were already used to the Space's magical abilities. Only Shun who was a new addition would get surprised. At this time, the enemy cavalry were already eliminated. However, their mounts were kept alive at the orders of Zhao Hai. These heavy cavalry had a lot of Magic Beasts that Zhao Hai's Space Ranch didn't have.
These were horse type magic beasts, the lowest being 4th rank. Only 4th rank and above were the suitable mounts for heavy cavalry units. Because their armors were too heavy, lower ranked beasts like the flame horses couldn't support their weight, and even if they could, they wouldn't have the endurance to travel long distances.
So the magic beasts that heavy cavalry units generally select were either 4th or 5th rank magic beasts. And since horse type magic beasts were mostly docile, they were the most suited ones to become mounts. Moreover, their carrying capacity was also fairly high. Even though they couldn't compare with bull type magic beasts in strength, their temperaments were much better. These qualities made it so that the majority of heavy cavalry units in the continent would use horse type magic beasts.
Zhao Hai took these magic beasts, upgrading his Ranch to level 9 making Zhao Hai very excited. Now he needs to find more beasts so that his Ranch would reach level 10, he wondered what changes the Ranch would undergo once it reaches that level.
Then, Zhao Hai turned the 5,000 heavy cavalry into undead and stored them inside the Space. After sweeping the battlefield, Zhao Hai undid the dark mist surrounding Ruyen's convoy.
Ruyen was very anxious while inside the dark mist, they didn't dare exit in fear of offending Zhao Hai. Moreover, they also knew that their fate was now closely tied with him. If Zhao Hai lives, they live, if he dies, then they die. They were very afraid that they wouldn't survive inside Rosen Empire, so they chose to just stay put and wait.
Inside the dark mist, they felt that years had come by, every minute was extremely long. Zhao Hai's fog wasn't any ordinary fog, not only could it block vision, it could also block sounds from entering in. Now the group was completely blind and deaf to the outside, it made them even more anxious.
Just as Ruyen was about to completely lose her patience, the dark mist suddenly vanished. Now, the group could see the outside again. Completely out of their expectations, there was nothing there except from Zhao Hai's convoy. Not even a drop of blood could be seen on the ground.
Zhao Hai wasn't in the mood to explain everything, so he had Shue inform them that they could proceed. Then he went back to his carriage and took the lead. Ruyen, although confused and full of doubts, couldn't do anything aside from following behind.
When evening came, they rested inside a small town. Zhao Hai's group had their dinner and then rested inside the Space. On the other hand, Ruyen couldn't fall asleep, she called Jill and Gonza, the head guard, over to her room. Now that she couldn't sleep, she decided to have a discussion with the two.
Ruyen looked at the two and said, "What do you think about today's matter?"
Gonza and Jill looked at each other, Jill opened his mouth first, "Your highness, I reckon that a battle had taken place outside the mist. Although the place was cleaned up, the heavy smell of blood was still present. What's strange is that there was no trace of magic being used outside, very strange."
Gonza also nodded, "Very strange indeed, moreover, the magic that covered us should be the dark element magic 'Dark Mist', and an advanced level at that. Wales is a fire, wind, and earth element mage. So how can he use dark magic?"
Chapter 342 – Correctly Guessing the Identity
Ruyen frowned and murmured, "Dark magic, Wales, Prairie, what do these three have to do with each other?"
Jill's heart jumped, he looked at Ruyen and said, "Your highness, there's a relation! It's possible that they have a connection with each other, Zhao Hai!"
Ruyen froze, she was startled, she turned to Jill and said, "You're talking about Zhao Hai of Stony Mountain? I heard that he's a Dark Mage, and he likes to turn people into undead."
Jill nodded, "Correct. Think about it, your highness, Wales knows Dark element magic, and he wasn't well known before he came from the prairie. Initially, I heard that when Zhao Hai and Laura withdrew, they bought a lot of things that beastmen may need, so they must have went to the prairie to do business. Moreover, after our conflict, the Grand Duke welcomed them inside the mansion as well as gave them a title. This explains that the Grand Duke already knew him from before. So wouldn't it be likely that Wales is actually Zhao Hai?"
When Ruyen heard Jill's words, her complexion immediately paled. Zhao Hai's reputation was quite infamous inside Purcell Duchy. Since she also resides inside the Duchy, Ruyen knew that Zhao Hai had killed no less than a thousand people and also turned them into undead. She couldn't help but get afraid.
Ruyen suddenly thought about the fairly tall woman on Zhao Hai's side who always gave her a familiar feeling. Adding on to the fact that Zhao Hai treated the women on his side quite differently than what other aristocrats would do, Ruyen was almost certain that the tall maid was Laura.
Ruyen stood up and murmured while walking around, "So it turns out to be them. No wonder, no wonder they weren't afraid of the 5,000 heavy cavalry. This Zhao Hai is too tyrannical, why would father want me to travel together with him?
Jill looked at Ruyen and said, "Your highness, I think that the Grand Duke knew that Zhao hai wanted to Rosen Empire for business to he asked him to take care of us along the way. Your highness wouldn't need to worry."
Jill and Ruyen were quite different in their view of Zhao Hai. Unlike Ruyen, Jill wasn't afraid of him, this was because he heard that Zhao Hai wouldn't just kill anyone indiscriminately. The people he killed were only those who wanted to kill him. And when the Purcell Duchy experienced food shortage, the provided them with help. Such person was unlikely to be a bad human being.
He also knew why Ruyen was afraid, Ruyen previously caused Zhao Hai no small amount of trouble and was afraid that the other party would retaliate against her. Jill wasn't worried, Zhao Hai honored Grand Duke Evans face, so nothing would happen. But if Ruyen offends him again, it would be difficult to say. Dark Mages were notoriously moody, which explains Ruyen's current fear of offending Zhao Hai.
Ruyen stopped her footsteps and said, "Seems like father really wanted me to travel with this devil, what was he thinking. We need to arrive at Carson City as soon as possible, I don't want to become an undead. You go rest, tomorrow we need to hurry along." Jill and Gonza complied, then turned around to leave.
Ruyen was just lying down without sleep until morning came. To be honest, she was absolutely terrified of Zhao Hai. Although she didn't believe all the rumors inside Purcell Duchy, she knew that it was possible that the family once wanted to deal with Zhao Hai. At that time, it was her grandfather who still held power, and she was clear about Zhao Hai's matters. She knew that whoever crosses Zhao Hai wouldn’t come back alive. She knew how Zhao Hai deals with his enemies.
Just like what Jill thought, Ruyen was afraid of Zhao Hai's retaliation. She knew that she caused quite the trouble for Zhao Hai before.
Originally, Ruyen wanted to wait until she arrived at Carson City to deal with Zhao Hai. She wasn't stupid, she knew that it was her first time outside, so she decided to just cooperate with Zhao Hai. But now it was different, now that she knew who this Mister Wales really was, she immediately decided to head out.
Ruyen didn't think of exposing Zhao Hai's identity. It may have been useful inside Aksu Empire, because she knew that Zhao Hai retreated because he had offended Southern King. But they were currently inside Rosen Empire, even though Southern King had a good grip inside Aksu Empire, he wouldn't be able to make his moves inside Rosen Empire. If she exposes Zhao Hai's identity now, not only would it be useless, it would also prompt Zhao Hai to deal with her.
Zhao Hai didn't feel anything about what happened today. Although they had eliminated 5,000 armored cavalry, such scenes were already quite familiar to him. It may lead to Lionheart’s family wanting to take revenge, but they were not afraid of Lionheart. After all, after the 5,000 cavalry were eliminated, there were no bodies left behind. Zhao Hai believed that the other party couldn't use official means to deal with them. Thus, Zhao Hai wasn't worrying.
The next morning, Zhao Hai's convoy began moving along after they had breakfast. Today was very different than yesterday, the road wasn't empty like before, they could actually see other people as they pass by. This made them feel relieved.
While Zhao Hai's group was calm, Hundred Battles Fortress wasn't. Although Hundred Battles Fortress wasn't under Lionheart's control. With his status as a noble with huge potential, people inside the fortress would be more than willing to lend him a hand and deal with the people inside Shelley Hotel. Moreover, Grand Duke Lionheart wasn't stingy with those who helped him. For the garrison troops inside Hundred Battles Fortress, helping the Grand Duke was the same as having him owing them a favor. With such a situation, the garrison would find various reasons to mess with Shelley Hotel.
However, they didn't expect to annoy a 7th rank tri-element mage this time. This was not any small matter.
But later on, they heard that Zhao Hai seemed to be very familiar with Shelley Hotel's staff, which made the garrison furious. Just like what Zhao Hai hypothesized, the garrison troops thought that Zhao Hai was specially invited by the hotel to slap their faces. After further inquiry, they found out that Zhao Hai was leaving Hundred Battles Fortress tomorrow and will head towards Carson City. So the troops decided to attack Zhao Hai midway.
However, evening had already passed and the cavalry still didn't return. When they sent some scouts to investigate, they saw that even though they could see some tracks, the cavalry seemed to suddenly vanish.
Five thousand heavy cavalry wasn't a small number. Even the garrison lord of Hundred Battles Fortress didn't have the authority to move 5,000 cavalry during wartime. But this time a unit actually disappeared, it was a disaster.
The garrison troops inside the fortress panicked. It would be possible for 5,000 troops for any other place to get transferred, but what was this place? This was Hundred Battles Fortress, the empire's forefront against Aksu Empire. Rosen Empire already commanded that If someone dared transfer even ten troops outside this fortress, they would be beheaded!
If you were beheaded when you transfer ten troops, then what would happen if you managed to make 5,000 cavalry disappear? How would you manage it? The garrison lord of Hundred Battles Fortress could already see his tragic ending.
The matter of 5,000 soldiers suddenly disappearing couldn't be hidden. Even if some people were to conceal the truth, there were still people with methods of finding out. The first to do so was Shelley Family.
This matter will certainly be used by Shelley Family against Grand Duke Lionheart. Since the garrison lord knew that it wouldn't be possible for him to survive, he wrote a letter to Grand Duke Lionheart so that he could better prepare, he also requested the Grand Duke to help him take care of his family.
Hundred Battles Fortress' garrison lord was currently alone, so after completing the letter, he had it sent away to the capital, then he committed suicide inside the Lord's Mansion.
The family members of the garrison lord were currently residing inside Carson City. It was a rule made by the empire that every garrison lord of Hundred Battles Fortress must leave his family inside Carson City. This was so that the garrison lords wouldn't even think about revolt and allying with Aksu Empire.
Shelley Family naturally didn't let go of this opportunity, after Fuin heard about the matter, he immediately wrote a letter informing the family, but they were already a step too late. Because of the garrison lord's letter claiming all of the faults, as well as Grand Duke Lionheart's influence inside Rosen Empire, the matter didn't nudge the Grand Duke's power.
Still, Shelley Family was very grateful to Zhao Hai. They knew that the missing 5,000 cavalry was related to him. Although they didn't believe that Zhao Hai could deal with 5,000 calvary, they knew where the 5,000 was headed, which was towards Zhao Hai. So Shelley Family began preparing to send people to protect him.
Zhao Hai didn't know about any of these. The convoy was still moving slowly on the road and stopped to rest during the evenings, there wasn't any point of peculiarity.
However, Zhao Hai noticed an issue with Ruyen's convoy. Although the two departed at the same time, the other party seemed to put a lot more distance between the two of them. Zhao Hai was very confused as to what Ruyen was doing.
During the evening, Ruyen appeared very solemn. And she surprisingly chose not to eat at the dining hall but instead she had the hotel deliver her meals to her suite. She looked like she was hiding from Zhao Hai.
After Zhao Hai and his group had eaten their meals, he looked at Laura and asked, "If you say that Ruyen was still angry, then why did she seem to be running away from us?"
Laura coldly snorted, "Maybe it's because she didn't want to be implicated. After all, people wanted to deal with us because of our connection with Shelley Family. She might be afraid being associated with us, so she just hid."
Zhao Hai said, "Will it? Grand Duke Lionheart surely knows that she traveled with us. Wouldn't her efforts to hide be futile?"
Laura sneered, "Who knows, maybe the young lady thinks like that."