Chapter 332: Corpses scattered across the ground
The change of nearly a hundred bandits had been forever halted in just a blink of an eye, thanks to the bombardment of two war chariots, five ballistae, and three stone-throwing catapults.
As the smoke from the explosives billowed above the battlefield, Fass’ insane roaring rang loud and clear, “Mages! Push the mages’ tower forward! Launch the ballistae! Be quick about it!”
As Fass hollered orders left and right, the bandits beneath the tower pushed with all their might. The ballistae that the bandits had transported were quickly brought up from the rear. There were several bandits with iron shields in hand, standing in front of each ballista to force open a path.
The war chariots continued to enthusiastically spout flames as stone-throwing catapults drew beautiful arcs across the sky before smashing the ground with terrifying, earth-shattering rumbles. Each impact created its own unique pattern, a painting of blood and severed body parts. Six bolts darted through the air with each shot to reap cheap lives like cold, fatal blades.
Five hundred meters of the path that lead to Brettel City’s gates had turned into a literal hell on earth. The bandits who had charged forward was met with overwhelming firepower. Anyone in range of the barrage had no chance of making it out alive.
“Spread out, spread out already! You damned stupid fools! How many time have I told you?!” Fass’ shouts were verging on hysterical, but it was of no use. The rumbling of the war chariots overrode his words to the point where only the row of bandits behind him could hear his words.
The Greenfire Bandits had a total of six thousand members, and Fass had certainly not planned on committing his entire force at once. Thus, the bandits who’d come to attack Brettel City were definitely not the true elites of the Greenfire Bandits.
Fass only had roughly a thousand trusted followers when he left the Narsen Duchy. The band had swollen to their current numbers by recruiting during raids as they traveled. As such, those currently charging towards Brettel City were the newest recruits, the ones whose strength Fass wasn’t quite satisfied with. Their combat ability was the weakest in Greenfire.
This was the case in every attempted siege, the cannon fodder was always the first to be sent out. In Fass’ heart, these two thousand underlings were completely expendable. As long as there were enough gold coins, he never had to worry about not being able to recruit more lackeys amidst the never-ending chaos surrounding the seven grand duchies. According to Fass’ initial plan, these two thousand underlings were more than enough to bring down Brettel City.
What quite surprised Fass was Brettel City’s defensive ability. He’d originally thought he’d face the bombardment of the magic crystal cannons, yet unexpectedly, he’d seen no sign of them and had instead discovered other defensive emplacements. Further, this array of defensive artillery were all time-tested instruments of war. Once they started their lethal spray from the tall city walls, they reaped life like a scythe through corn.
Two thousand bandits were approaching Brettel City step by step beneath the massive artillery shelling and missiles. After paying the price in four hundred more deaths, a portion of the bandits reached the city wall. They’d brought wooden ladders, and quickly set them up against the city wall, doing their best to dodge the heavy bombardment.
“Faster! Fill the bolts and load the goblin explosives into the war chariots!” Han Shuo’s expression was indifferent, but the speed of his speech was extremely fast as he yelled orders to the soldiers around him.
These soldiers had only recently become familiar with war chariots and ballistae. Faulke had intensely drilled them over several days and nights and barely pounded the basics of using war chariots, ballistae, and catapults into them. As such, they weren’t too skilled, especially under the pressure of a chaotic battlefield. The lingering scent of death and blooded steel affected the speed at which these soldiers operated the equipment.
A strange noise suddenly came to Han Shuo’s attention. He looked around, puzzled, until his eyes came to land on little Fatty Jack. The latter’s lips were trembling, and his teeth were chattering at an astonishing rate to create that noise.
Little Fatty Jack stood beside Han Shuo as he looked into the battlefield where flesh and blood flew. He saw boulders smash bodies into a blurry meat paste. He witnessed limbs flying from the explosions created by the war chariots. He was transfixed as the frenzied storm of bolts literally flung the bandits into the air as they tore through them. He couldn’t restrain his trembling.
“Wuu wuu, this is too terrible!” The little fatty’s voice was a bit muffled, his small eyes bloodshot. He cried out involuntarily with trembling lips, his entire being caught in a strange, dull state of helplessness.
“Ready! Pour down the oil!” Han Shuo flicked his eyes away from Jack. He didn’t say a word upon seeing the latter was still next to him. Instead, he loudly shouted to the soldiers around him.
Han Shuo had already known before the battle began that little Fatty Jack, having never experienced such a scene, would definitely be frightened by the cruelty of war. Jack’s expression of terror was well within Han Shuo’s expectations, so he wasn’t the least bit surprised.
The Demonslayer Edge could no longer resist the temptation, and shot out from the back of Han Shuo’s neck to hover high above the battlefield. Unseen from the battlefield, it started to forcefully absorb souls from the cacophony of agonized and despairing screams below.
Whoosh whoosh whoosh!
The bandits finally fired their ballistae. A rain of bolts began to furiously assault the defenders atop Brettel City’s wall. Surprised by the sudden hail of death, several archers aiming at maelstrom below were immediately killed. The actions of the soldiers controlling war chariots and stone-throwing catapults also grew a bit frantic.
A low whistling sound accompanied one of the bolts, aiming straight for little Fatty Jack, who was leaning against the wall and watching the tragic scene below. When he heard the screeching whistle, Jack was scared witless as he screamed raspily, “Bryan, save me!”
Han Shuo reached out with his left hand. Bloody lights shot out from his five fingers like he’d suddenly grown sharp claws. When that bolt was only roughly ten meters away from Jack, the bloody light from Han Shuo’s five fingers clenched around it, grinding the bolt into splinters.
“Step back, don’t stand too close to the edge of the city wall!” Han Shuo shouted lightly, waving his right hand and sending the shield of a fallen soldier abruptly crashing down in front of Jack, covering most of his plump body.
Creaking sounds suddenly fell into Han Shuo’s ears. He wheeled around to feel surges of magic ripples gradually converge in the distance, the sound of the magic incantations growing more audible. Several mages on the slowly approaching tower had begun to chant the magic spells of their respective elements, guarded zealously by the shield wielding bandits.
“I’ve been waiting for you to arrive!” Han Shuo said derisively. He reached out with his mind, and a bloody halo dropped from the heavens.
The Demonslayer Edge was executing “Bloody Radiance of Ten Thousand Cuts” under Han Shuo’s guidance. The Demonslayer Edge, looking only a little longer than a dagger, spun a breakneck pace as it dove straight down. Each rotation of the Demonslayer Edge caused a dagger-like bloody light to shoot out.
The Demonslayer Edge’s high-speed rotation caused it to gradually blur into a ball of crimson light as it descended. Scarlet slivers, rapidly increasing in number by the second, coalesced around it as they formed thousands of blades. The countless blades swirled into a huge orb, swirling around the Demonslayer Edge in wide arcs as they crisscrossed without interfering with each. The light they gave off was a deep rich ruby, an awe-inspiring sight spilling down onto the mages on the tower below.
From afar, it looked like a small, disc-sized sun had come into existence, except that this sun was brimming with sharp, rotating barbs of bloody light. As the vermillion sphere continued its descent, its rotation grew even more ferocious. A palpable surge of slaughter emanated from it even before it landed, causing terror to sprout in the heart of onlookers.
The dazzling orb of slashing light landed in the midst of the mages on the tower. Despite being protected by iron shields and magical barriers of various strengths, the tower was instantly macerated. The wood it was made of became splinters, then dust amidst the agonized screams of the bandits and mages. Mangled flesh, blood and steel painted a scarlet portrait as the fragile mages and the heavily armored bandits were torn apart, the rotating blades of light resplendent as they dealt death with equal parts beauty and ruthlessness.
No one on the tower had the strength to do anything in the face of Han Shuo’s “Bloody Radiance of Ten Thousand Cuts”.
The ten thousand sanguine rays of the Demonslayer Edge had vaporized everything it had touched, whether it be the humans, the wooden tower, or the iron shields. Fass had spent a great deal of money to form this team of bandit mages, and now, they lay scattered across the battlefield, too mangled even to be recognizable as human remains anymore.
Having been injected with thirty percent of his magical yuan, one strike of the “Bloody Radiance of Ten Thousand Cuts” through all those people and the tower was far from enough to consume its power. The orb transformed into an enormous scarlet spinning cactus, hurling blades of crimson light at the bandits around the tower. Like a hurricane, the Demonslayer Edge’s “Bloody Radiance of Ten Thousand Cuts” raged unchallenged across the battlefield. A storm of blood in every sense of the word, everything it encountered was obliterated, be it human, ballistae, or sturdy shields.
An unnaturally beautiful red drizzle of blood began to pour down on the field. None out of a hundred bandit corpses were whole after the Demonslayer Edge made a circle, no piece of meat larger than an ear . Since even iron shields couldn’t defend against the Demonslayer Edge, it was no surprise to find even bones minced finely as well.
“Damn it! Where’s the tower? Where are the mages?” Fass had been paying attention to the Brettel City wall, and had missed the events around the tower. Only when the crimson orb of light had made its way over to him did he discover that the tower was gone.
“Dead, all dead! It was that thing! It was all because of that thing!!” A bandit by Fass’ side had witnessed the entire thing. He pointed at the blood orb that was responsible, his voice shrill with terror.
The horror of the blood orb wasn’t quite over yet. Ear-piercing screams once again echoed across the battlefield. They belonged to the bandits who’d been approached by the drifting blood orb. To no avail, all of them desperately attempted to dodge by rolling and jumping. However, every bandit that was touched by the blood orb instantly turned into a shower of mangled flesh, blood, and bones. No one was lucky enough to escape.
“Attack that thing, attack it!!” Fass’ heart was beating violently, panic barely kept at bay. He hastily roared commands to the bandits around him.
Dozens of sharp axes were fiercely hurled at the quickly approaching, whirling Demonslayer Edge. However, just when they almost neared the Demonslayer Edge, the magical yuan powering the “Bloody Radiance of Ten Thousand Cuts” was exhausted, and it vanished into thin air. Like a star of death returning to the universe after completing its mission, its disappearance sent the bandits reeling with relief.
“What is that thing?! Curse that necromancer! He must’ve used some sort of necromancy magic to create that damned monster. Don’t be afraid, keep attacking! I think they’re almost done for!”
Humans were always fearful of the unknown, and Fass was no exception.
When he had spotted the death dealing orb disappear from the sky, Fass’ heart unclenched slightly. He then roared madly at the frightened bandits, as if to comfort himself.
It was as Fass said. Even though the Demonslayer Edge had thrown the battlefield into disarray by wiping out the magic users, the bandits still held the advantage in numbers. Moreover, they had begun to use their iron hooks and wooden ladders to gradually scale the city walls.
There were only three hundred soldiers manning Brettel City’s walls in total. Of those, twenty had died up until now, mostly due to the ballistae attacks. The remaining two hundred odd soldiers were frantically hauling boulders to load the stone-throwing catapults and reloading bolts for the ballistae. As a result, those soldiers who had been assigned the task of transporting boulders were now deprived of energy, sprawled flat on the ground.
Several soldiers could barely manage to bring themselves to pour oil down the city walls, but they were also heavily panting, with little strength left. However, there were still roughly twelve hundred of the original two thousand bandits left, of which five hundred had already reached the foot of the city wall, trying to climb up the walls.
“My Lord, our men are really not enough!” Seeing the ferocious bandits about to climb up, a captain almost burst into tears, “What do we do? What do we do?”
“Light the fires. We won’t be losing as long I’m alive today. What are you all so worried about?” Han Shuo harrumphed coldly.
“Light the fires, light the fires! Burn those bastards to death!” The captain shouted loudly to the soldiers, who’d been waiting for the signal for quite a long time now. They ruthlessly tossed burning torches onto the city walls that were now drenched with oil.
The sparks instantly set the slick oil aflame, turning the surface of the city wall into a blazing pyre for any bandits unfortunate enough to be caught on the walls. Harrowing screams dyed the air as the bandits were slowly incinerated.
Some of the bandits quickly jumped off the ladder when they say the soldiers on the city wall wielding torches. The more experienced ones managed to pull the ladders from the city, allowing the bandits to slowly clamber down to safety.
However, that safety was short lived, as the soldiers immediately loosed a volley of arrows at the surviving bandits. Some sharpshooters managed to pick off the bandits supporting some of the ladders, causing the bandits on their respective ladders to plummet to their deaths.
However, the amount of oil they had on hand was limited, while the walls were too wide. There simply wasn’t enough ground they could cover, and sure enough, a cadre of bandits had almost reached the top of the wall in one of those oil free corners.
Whoosh whoosh whoosh!
Han Shuo finally took out the bone staff and chanted the bone spear incantation. Bone spears shot out like arrows, tearing through the dozens of bandits who’d scaled the wall at one of those lightly guarded points..
The bandits at the foot of the city wall also raised up bows with flaming arrows. Once the four hundred bandits steadied the rate in which they could release the arrows, the exposed soldiers from the city wall couldn’t hold up beneath the onslaught. Some of the more careless ones were killed under the rain of flame tipped shafts. Even Han Shuo couldn’t have saved them, he’d already blocked as many of the arrows as he could, otherwise, there might have been even more casualties.
“My Lord, is it time yet?” Another captain was still relatively calm in the face of such odds. He’d personally seen Han Shuo summon a massive undead army, but as he saw his comrades gradually succumb under the unending assault, he finally opened his mouth to ask Han Shuo.
At this moment, the initial two thousand Greenfire cannon fodder bandits were still blindly charging forward. A portion had been burned to death by the fires, and another two hundred died from the dozen soldiers who still had the strength to keep the ballistae firing.
There were less than eight hundred bandits remaining from the original two thousand, from which roughly six hundred had reached the foot of the city wall.
The war chariots on the city wall had also used up their goblin explosives, with only a hundred bolts or so remaining. All the colossal boulders within the city had been catapulted into the enemy ranks. Finally, the number of soldiers on Brettel City’s wall who could stand straight didn’t even number fifty.
If Han Shuo still refrained from making his move now, the Brettel City gates might actually fall to the bandits. Therefore, upon seeing the bandits reveal their fanatical excitement after finally reaching the foot of the city wall, Han Shuo clutched the bone staff and calmly said with a nod, “It is indeed time.”
Fass of the Greenfire Bandits licked his lips as he looked at the weary defenses of Brettel City. A low sinister laugh bubbled forth and his voice grew cruel as he said, “Young city lord, you will pay a painful price for your arrogance! I will peel your skin, remove your bones, and torture you so badly, you’ll feel a pain worse than death!”
“Boss, he’s also a necromancer, you should be a bit more careful!” A bandit next to Fass suddenly remembered the rumors about Han Shuo and hastily reminded him.
“Haha, necromancer? A mage who can only summon useless skeletons? What can that sort of mage do in a head on battle?” Fass turned to that bandit and continued, “Command a thousand more men to rush forward. Bring down Brettel City in one swift move!”
The minor leader waved his hand after Fass’ orders and said, “Tuku, you guys rush forward, flatten this damned Brettel City as soon as possible!”
Tuku had originally been Fass’ personal guard and the leader of the thousand strong brigade. This brigade was different from the previous two thousand strong cannon fodder. Sharper weapons, sturdier armor, and even a special five hundred man team in their ranks who rode fierce warhorses similarly bedecked in full body armor. This was obviously a standard knight brigade.
The brigade charged across a ground full of corpses towards Brettel City with a wave of Tuku’s spear. Amongst them, the five hundred man squad riding fierce warhorses reached the foot of the city wall as fast as the wind. Brettel City’s soldiers were completely worn out, only managing to fire a disorganized volley of a dozen arrows at the incoming force. This simply wasn’t enough to injure the fully armored knights and warhorses.
“Heh heh, they’re done for! I knew it!” A cold sneer stretched Fass’ face. The light of victory was already dawning in his eyes.
He’d even started to mentally imagine how he would slowly torture Han Shuo after capturing him?
“Eh? Where’s the sun? Why can’t I see the sun?” Upon reaching the city wall, the bandit knights suddenly felt the sky strangely darken. A gloom that verged on creepy, uncharacteristic for a day only barely past noon, covered the sky. There was no reason for it to become dark so quickly
The originally clear and bright sky now had thunderheads blotting out the sun like a verdant ink. Appearing from who knew where, these green-black clouds created a layer that was impenetrable to sunlight, choking the battlefield of any light it could find. As these clouds gathered, an eerie atmosphere descended on the battlefield, and a grim premonition began to sprout in the hearts of the bandits.
“Don’t make a fuss. The weather here has always been creepy. It’s just about to rain.”
“The oil and fire will lose their effect if it rains. We must be blessed by the gods! Let’s use this opportunity to massacre them!” Leader Tuku absentmindedly comforted his subordinates. He pointed at the group of bandits who were still crazily climbing the city wall and shouted, “Hurry up! Wipe out all of those weak, cowardly soldiers!.”
“You really run your mouth too much!” Han Shuo had finally finished chanting his lengthy incantation. He swiped at the air with the bone staff, releasing a thin layer of ash-gray mist. The mist, thick with the stench of death, slowly drifted down to the foot of the Brettel City walls.
The battlefield now reeked of a barren, morose smell. Thin, ash-gray mist slowly drifted from the center of the battlefield, slowly creeping between and over the corpses. Several carrion crows, circling the battlefield, took one whiff of the corpse scent blown over by the faint, ash-gray mist, and took wing instantly, as if something in the gray mist struck a deep chord of fear in their hearts.
“Damned weather, black clouds and gray mist! It seems like it’s really going to rain! Hurry, hurry up! Ah, one of you is up, hah!” Tuku lifted his head to look up at the city wall. He happily shouted on, as if encouraging the bandits.
A crunching sound accompanied his words. The bandit who had painstakingly avoided arrows and burning oil had his neck casually twisted into an inhuman direction by Han Shuo. Like tossing out garbage, Han Shuo chucked him at the bandits grouped below.
The body of the first bandit to climb up the city wall and had his neck twisted for his efforts made a huge sound as he was thrown down. The bandits below, who were about to desperately surge up the ladders, were greatly shocked.
Then, an even more terrifying sight captured their gazes, something that happened right in front of them!
When the gray mist drifted across the corpse in front of them, they first saw a finger twitch. Then, twisted neck and all, the body slowly and jerkily rose to its feet. The pupils that’d lost the light of life had given way to a dead gray color. Despite being somewhat stiff, the corpse’s next action left no room for doubt as to its intentions. It leapt on a nearby bandit and repeatedly stabbed him to death.
The hysterical scream that tore its way out of the bandits was like they’d encountered demons in the light of day. In the face of such an illogical situation, the courage of this bandit squadron melted away like water in a desert. Fueled entirely by instinctive fear, they fled.
At the same time, more frantic screaming spread from all corners of the battlefield, as if the screaming was contagious. Bandits all over saw their dead brothers open their fish-like, gray eyes one after the other and numbly struggle to their feet. Moreover, their dead brothers even waved weapons and aimed to kill them. Mass hysteria had infected the living.
“This, this is, this is the lost legendary necromancy magic ‘Corpse Reanimation’! My god! How did that damnable evil necromancer master it?!” The leader of the Greenfire bandit group was aghast as he saw the scene from afar. He’d also heard of this ancient legend. His scalp began to tingle at the sight of corpses rising to their feet.
While Fass screeched in horror, more and more corpses stood up with the last lingering desires they had in life. They began to ruthlessly assault any living being nearby, never knowing that the targets of their attacks were once their close comrades who’d drank, chatted, and laughed with them last night.
The terror from the resurrected corpses instantly spread through the entire army of bandits attacking the city. The terrified bandits had no intention of carrying on with their siege. Their only thought was to escape from this evil place as quickly as possible. Incredibly, some bandits with bloodstained hands even started to sing holy hymns of the Church of Light, as if being instructed to do so by the gods and spirits. It seemed that they thought doing so would be enough to purify the power of darkness around them.
It was a pity that the God of Light would never extend an olive branch to these atheists. When a zombie used its weapon to stab a hole into a singing bandit, the rest of the bandits who were singing the holy hymn immediately stopped their futile efforts. With incredible alacrity, they wheeled and bolted, trying to escape.
“Want to run? Not gonna be that easy!” Han Shuo grinned like a madcap up on the city wall. He floated above the city wall like a sovereign of evil descending upon his kingdom, waving the bone staff in his hand. Acid bogs appeared along the path Fass and his people were taking.
“Shoot him dead, shoot him dead now!” Fass pointed at Han Shuo and roared madly, trying to suppress the fear in his heart. He also took out a valuable bow, taking aim at Han Shuo.
“Poor Fass, so what if I played you? See how many gold coins you’ve left for me, and all these weapons and armor all over the ground. Maybe there are even some gold coins on the dead bandits. How should I thank you?” Han Shuo laughed cutely as he squinted at Fass. He lifted his right palm towards the sky as a radiant crimson light shone from the heavens and onto his palm. The beauty of the “Bloody Radiance of Ten Thousand Cuts” was slowly gracing the bandits with its presence again.