Although there were ominous magic reactions appearing at the rear of the encampment, Sylvie could not afford to dawdle.
After giving the witches stationed there a hasty warning, she diverted her attention back to the Army of Demons a few miles away to the north while monitoring the battlements around her at the same time.
There loomed something she had never seen before, so menacing and wicked that she didn't know whether it should be classified as a living being or an inanimate object.
It was as big as a two-story building, its appearance resembling a reptile in the shape of a crab or a spider, although its torso and limbs were constituted of gleaming black stones. There was a twinge of stiffness in its movement. While its fellow demons were being blasted to smithereens under the heavy musket fire, this monster moved forward while being completely indifferent to them, almost like the machines invented by Roland.
But it was not a machine in a real sense.
Sylvie could spy some wriggling living tissue underneath its sturdy, thick shell, where a magic glow infiltrated the whole organism through numerous intertwined veins.
She could only associate it with the word "parasite".
A living being nestled inside a mass of stone and metal.
Suddenly, the horrid "Siege Beast" no longer seemed so fearsome when compared to this crawling monstrosity.
Fortunately, the monstrosity was not invulnerable.
The First Army could still cause it harm without directly hitting it. A cannon shell that landed in the vicinity of the monster would still be sufficient to damage its legs and thereby paralyze its movement.
Yet there were just too many demons around the monster. Although Sylvie had been continuously giving firing instructions to the artillery, it was hard for them to accurately direct the shells. Each shell had to travel several miles before it landed at the targeted spot. By the time the Devilbeasts had broken through and raided the artillery battlements, only one out of the five crawling monsters had been stopped.
While a bitter battle was going on at the rear, Sylvie was concerned about the front.
The artillery battalion had probably not realized how big a threat they had become for the demons.
In fact, among all the people who were participating in this war, Sylvie was the only person who witnessed the great damage caused by the Longsong Cannons. When a pack of demons swarmed in, that terrain eight miles away instantly became a slaughterhouse where the hordes of demons were mercilessly butchered.
Every time a shell landed, pillars of earth rose 10 meters high and broken limbs were scattered into the air. Metal shrapnel and sharp stone fragments flew in the air, penetrating the enemies' armors made of animal skins and bones. The thick body of the Mad Demons thus became ragdolls filled with shrapnel. Dozens of demon corpses lay sprawled on the ground in the vicinity of the crater after each bombardment, their magic blood blossoming and soaking the soil underneath.
Not all the shells successfully hit the demons, but it only took the artillery three rounds of firing to break their formations. Although the demons were dispersed, from the stiff manner with which they ran, one could tell they were stressed out by these unprecedented, lethal weapons.
Had the Devilbeasts not interrupted their firing, the artillery would have annihilated all the demons already.
Even though the artillery team had later restored the cannons, their firing accuracy and speed were greatly compromised. The demons had taken this opportunity to advance. By the time Sylvie spotted the multiple magic reactions at the rear, the main force of the enemies was only two miles away from the defensive line.
Now, the soldiers at the front should have been able to see swarms of demons coming up over the horizon with their naked eyes.
Sylvie alerted Shavi at the front as planned.
"The enemies are within the shooting range of the mortars."
"Got it. I'll let the commander know," Shavi soon replied. "By the way, how are things going at the rear? Have they not finished those flying demons yet?"
"Something... unexpected happened," Sylvie answered hesitantly. "But I gather it should be all right now."
"If Andrea was here, we would have finished them already, wouldn't we?"
"Well... perhaps." Sylvie decided to hold back on mentioning what she had seen so as not to let Shavi worry too much. While they were talking, Sylvie suddenly noticed that the four crawling monsters among the Army of Demon had stopped advancing.
They all threw themselves to the ground.
What're they planning on doing?
Sylvie immediately found out the answer. She saw the back shell of the monster fly open, ejecting a cylinder that looked like a black crystal. The cylinder was as wide as a man, its surface slimy as if it had been grown out of living tissue. Like the crawling monster, the cylinder was also filled with tons of veins and blood vessels. It contracted and expanded as the magic power within moved about.
The next moment, the magic cyclone inside the monster started to spin and emanate a dazzling glow.
In an instant, the black crystal cylinder was thrust forward by a great force. It whistled above the demons and bolted toward the Northbound Slope like a magnified arrow!
At the same time, the mortars of the First Army produced a tumultuous roar...
Over 100 shells soared, tracing parabolic curves in the air. Pulled by gravity, the shells zoomed toward the scuttling demons.
For a split second, the shells and the cylinder brushed passed each other. The two powers, human and demon, had once again clashed after 400 years of peace.
"Shavi, shield!" Sylvie cried at the top of her lungs.
At these words, the bulky cylinder reached the defensive line.
With a flash, the whole cylinder exploded. The crystal burst into numberless needles glinting in blue blood, and they rained down upon the soldiers waiting below.
The battlement was deadly silent at that moment.
Agatha and the other witches immediately drove the artillery team away from the giant monster, leaving behind only the anti-aircraft machine gun squad to battle the last few Devilbeasts. Soon, there were only a dozen God's Punishment Witches and the armored Senior Demon on the battlefield.
The Senior Demon surveyed everybody coldly and suddenly let out a long wail even louder than the distant thunder of the machine guns. Everybody could perceive the extreme anger in his voice.
He then reached out his right hand and threw it up in the air. Soon, a flash of light escaped from his palm. Instantly, a crackling long sword appeared in his hand!
The Senior Demon then swung the sword at the Longsong Cannon. With an earth-shattering crack, the iron cannon split in half. The cut surface was a bright red color as though it had been heated to a high temperature.
The Ice Witch held her breath, realizing that the sword was powered by magic!
But Zooey remained undisturbed. "So what? Are you not happy about your enemies? You came down to have a final battle against your enemies only to find that your opponents are a group of mortals, and so now you're disappointed?" A thin jeer played about her lips. Zooey's tone was indifferent and even a bit derisive, but her eyes were on fire. "You made the biggest mistake of your life in coming down here. If you had stayed above, you would have probably gotten to live a bit longer. Now, you'll understand how furious we have been over the past 400 years. Compared to us, your rage is frivolous!"
Although they could not communicate, both parties were able to discern the attitude of the other. The demon threw the sword of magic at Zooey while howling, and the sword cut through the air like a dazzling thunderbolt!
Meanwhile, the two God's Punishment Witches beside Zooey drew close, and all three of them spread their God's Punishment Areas!
A strange force suddenly distorted the space around the witches. The blinding flash of the sword was engulfed by a fathomless darkness and vanished into the thin air as if the thunderbolt had hit nothing!
The Senior Demon stood there blankly gaping.
While he was in a daze, the other two God's Punishment Witches raised the large-caliber grapeshot guns.
The battlefield was immediately saturated with the crackling sounds of gunshots. The demon shielded himself with a cloud of blue light, but the light was extinguished in a second.
Even the gleaming black armor could barely protect the demon.
As the shots continuously hammered the Senior Demon, his body twisted like a rag. By the time the firing had finished, the demon's inner organs and bones had turned into a bloody pulp.