Chapter 19 - The Alpha Wolf
Several of the wolves in the wastelands raised their heads to let out long howls. This was a signal, a signal to launch the full attack!
The swarming masses of rotwolves suddenly began to accelerate, as though physical inhibitors inside their bodies had suddenly been unlocked or as though they were a group of chained beasts who had suddenly slipped out of their shackles. The ferocious black wave of wolves began to launch a true assault on the outpost.
The area around the outpost was littered with boulders and ruined tires which were stacked together to form a rampart. In the wastelands, a defensive perimeter like this was considered quite strong. An attack from a few dozen rotwolves would be completely unable to do anything to this outpost, but the problem was that they were facing over eight hundred rotwolves and an unknown number of giant bats which were circling around them!
The outpost defenses were breached in multiple areas almost instantaneously, and many rotwolves poured into the gaps. The entire world seemed to be filled with the sounds of combat, slaughter, screams, and frenzied wolf-howls.
In order to avoid the giant bats, Cloudhawk was forced to scurry forwards in a crawling position. He could already hear the sounds coming from outside the ramparts in front of him, as a number of rotwolves leapt upon the bodies of their peers to try and clamber up. Soon, they would be able to make it inside. To just lay here would result in certain death!
Cloudhawk rose to his feet, wanting to flee backwards… but he didn't even make it ten meters before three rotwolves agilely leapt past the ramparts. Their oily green eyes swept across the men before them, almost like proud lions surveying little white hairs that were trembling before them. They bared their saliva-covered fangs, then let out low growls from their throats.
Only now did the rest of the terrified soldiers rise to their feet and begin to flee. But it was too late! The rotwolves leapt into the air, pouncing forwards and knocking down quite a few people. Their sharp claws were five centimeters long and were as tough as steel nails; each swipe of their claws was enough to tear a man open from chest to spleen.
"DIE!" A particularly valiant guard lifted up his iron warhammer, them smashed it downwards towards the rotwolf's head. This blow was heavy enough to leave a large crater in any boulder, and even the rotwolf hunched over from the force of this blow. However, what no one would've expected was that its brain matter didn't splatter out. Clearly, this creature's skull bone was even tougher than stone! The vicious rotwolf retaliated with a swipe of its claws, and half of the guard's face disappeared.
The guard didn't even have time to scream. The rotwolf leapt onto him, knocking him flat and then ripping out his vocal cords and his carotid artery at the same time. This strike tore out half of his throat! The outpost guard's body twitched a few times, then never moved again.
The rotwolf was in no rush to feet. It raised its gore-covered snout, then turned its ghostly, oily-green gaze towards the others. It was already in search for its next target. Its flickering gaze was filled with wild savagery, and it completely broke the morale of the conscripted irregulars.
These beasts were clearly quite different from the wolves of the Old Times. In speed, strength, savagery, and cleverness, they surpassed the beasts of the Old Times many times over.
Just as everyone was about to retreat, a single person charged forwards. Captain Lain drew out his longsword as he raced forwards. He delivered a vicious kick to the rotwolf's side and knock the heavy beast flying into the air, then chopped his longsword down against the midair wolf's neck. Not even inspecting the wound, Captain Lain then leapt onto the rotwolf's corpse, used it to launch himself even higher into the air, then stabbed downwards as his sword flashed with cold light. The stab just so happened to pierce all the way into a second rotwolf's eye socket!
"AWOOOO!" The final rotwolf howled furiously as it charged towards Captain Lain. Captain Lain relinquished his stuck longsword, as there wasn't enough time to tug it free. He suddenly fell to his knees and bent all the way backwards, just barely dodging the rotwolf's flying pounce.
Riiiiip! A sharp knife suddenly flew out from Captain Lain's metallic wristguard. The knife easily cut into the rotwolf's soft underbelly. The momentum of the rotwolf's leap carried it forwards resulting in an enormous gaping wound being ripped open. A deluge of blood and foul-smelling organs fell out of the rotwolf's body, dousing Captain Lain in gore.
Only now did the others calm down. As for Captain Lain, he rose to his feet, panting just a little bit. He stepped onto the second rotwolf's head, then forcibly tugged out his longsword. His entire body was covered with that reeking blood, and he looked like a soldier who had just escaped from the depths of hell. He bellowed hoarsely with his damaged vocal cords, "All of you, fight! Anyone who takes a single step back dies!"
The captain had just slain three rotwolves as easily as chopping through vegetables. His dazzling display of skill and valor managed to rally his men and strengthen their morale, which had truly been at the brink of collapse just now.
However, more and more rotwolves began to fly over the walls and press the attack, and every so often the giant bats circling above their heads would swoop down to rip off an ear or tear out an eyeball, or perhaps just rip an entire face off. This battle was an extremely disadvantageous one for Blackflag Outpost. Even Captain Lain ended up receiving a claw-strike as he dispatched one rotwolf after another. If it hadn't been for his layers of armor, he would've been disemboweled by that attack.
Some of the outpost guards tried to use their bows to shoot down those infuriating giant bats, but they simply weren't able to see clearly enough in the night to make out their targets. The bats themselves were pitch-black in color and moved incredibly fast. Not even the finest sharpshooters were able to shoot down more than just a few of them.
The outpost's casualties were growing heavier and heavier. These mutabeasts were even more powerful and vigorous than Cloudhawk had imagined them to be, while not every person was as strong or as skilled as Captain Lain. Ten or so people were sometimes able to use long pikes to stab bloody wounds into a rotwolf, but the berserk rotwolf would still be able to tear half of them to pieces before dying.
"You are not permitted to retreat!"
"All of you, keep fighting!"
Captain Lain was at the verge of hysteria by now. As for the outpost guards, they supervised the battle with cold detachment, hacking or shooting to death any who dared retreat. Most of the outpost guards were focused on shooting their bows and firing their guns towards the more distant enemies while commanding the irregulars like shepherds with a flock of sheep. The irregulars were meant to stand up in front and fight the ferocious rotwolves in bloody melee, serving as human shields that used their own blood, flesh, and lives to demand an equal amount from their opponents!
This was how war in the wastelands worked. War in the wastelands was like a merciless meat grinder that ground away at the bodies and lives of both sides!
Suddenly, a booming sound rang out as a tremendous blow knocked down the nearby 'walls'. An awesomely enormous rotwolf charged in through the gap, and it was roughly twice as large and four times as muscular as the other rotwolves. It had to weigh around four hundred kilograms , and was almost as tall as an ordinary human being. Its oily green eyes emanated a breathtakingly savage light, and its entire body was covered with long thick fur. It radiated an aura of dominance and power that made it look like a king, and six or seven smaller rotwolves dashed in by its side. Like wolves let into the sheep pen, they began to launch to massacre the surrounding soldiers.
"Oh, FUCK. That's an alpha wolf!" Captain Lain called out loudly, "Give me my gun!" Captain Lain accepted a double-barreled shotgun from another guard, loaded the pellets with lightning speed, then aimed it directly at the alpha wolf. BANG!
The alpha rotwolf was even more alert and nimble than Lain had expected. It had leapt sideways as soon as Lain had aimed the shotgun, and the pellets scraped by its body and ended up hitting a rotwolf behind it. The alpha wolf was thoroughly enraged by this near-miss, and it let out a howl as it charged straight towards Captain Lain. Captain Lain, however, wasn't unnerved in the slightest; he quickly reloaded for a second shot, then fired again! This time, the alpha rotwolf twisted its head sideways, allowing the pellets to hit it on its back and create a bloody mist.
Wounds of this nature were absolutely nothing to something as hearty and muscular as this alpha rotwolf. By now, it was less than ten meters away from Captain Lain, and all the humans it had encountered in its path had been bulldozed away like refuse.
The alpha rotwolf was extremely intelligent. It knew who posed the greatest threat to it, and its goal right now was to eliminate that threat as soon as possible. Its incredibly muscular body suddenly flew into the air as it leapt forwards, its massive wolven claws landing on a fallen human and almost instantly caving the man's chest in. Blood instantly spurted out of the fallen man's every orifice as the alpha rotwolf then leapt high into the air as it went straight for Captain Lain, who was only six meters away by now.
Even Captain Lain's face tightened as he assessed the situation before him. He immediately tossed away the shotgun, then pulled out the longsword he had planted into the ground. By now, the alpha rotwolf was right in front of him. If he let himself be knocked down, he would be finished!
Captain Lain hurriedly retreated, then stabbed forward with all of his strength. The alpha rotwolf used its massive claws to slap at the blade of the sword, which instantly split apart. The snapped blade of the sword went flying off into the distant, eventually stabbing into the body of the poor bastard the alpha rotwolf had just stepped on earlier.
As for Captain Lain's right hand, it could no longer really be considered a hand. His fingers were all badly mangled from the force of that collision! The alpha rotwolf was simply unimaginably strong; a single blow from its paw had actually warped all of the fingers on Lain's right hand!
Captain Lain, however, was an old soldier who had experienced many battles. Even though he had suffered a heavy injury and was in intense pain, he didn't lose his fighting spirit. In the same instant that his sword was shattered, he used his left hand to pull out a dagger. As the alpha rotwolf leapt towards him, he delivered a vicious straight stab with that knife and managed to stab the alpha rotwolf right in its left eyeball! He then gave the knife a slight twist, resulting in a large amount of blood and eye-jelly pouring out of the wound. "AWOOOOO!" The alpha rotwolf let out an agonized howl!
This sight gave a tremendous boost to the morale of the other soldiers, and they all let out excited roars in response. However, no one foresaw what was about to happen next. The alpha rotwolf suddenly spat out a green, mist-like substance from its body!
The rotwolf was simply too close. There was no chance for Captain Lain to dodge whatsoever. The thick green mist instantly covered Captain Lain's entire body, and he immediately let out an absolutely inhuman scream.
His hands, his face, his exposed flesh… all of it seemed to have been scalded by boiling water. Every inch of his skin instantly turned beet-red… and then the flesh began to fall off of his body as though someone was tearing at his skin using a cheese grinder. His eyes were instantly blinded by that fiery mist, and when he accidentally inhaled that powerful corrosive substance into his body, it spread throughout his mouth, nostrils, and lungs. It was almost as though someone had poured boiling water into his throat!
Bloody bubbles were popping out of his mouth. Even his tongue was rotting away! Just a few moments later, his entire respiratory system had been completely destroyed, as had his vocal cords. He was now no longer able to even scream. He was a valiant, steely warrior, but no miracle would suffice to address an attack like this.
The alpha rotwolf opened its mouth wide, then gripped Captain Lain's head in its jaws. Captain Lain's four limbs were still frantically struggling when… CRUNCH! The rotwolf bit through his head as if it was just a rotten tomato. His head transformed into a large glob of blood and gore.
One of the elite warriors of the outpost, a famous expert of Blackflag, had died a miserable death in the hands of this alpha wolf. This time, it wasn't just the irregulars who were panicking. Even the outpost guards were broken!
The alpha rotwolf still had that dagger plunged into its left eye, but it remained as savage and brutal as ever. It turned and then spat out that deadly green mist once more, this time with some brain matter and gore mixed into it. Quite a few people were within range of its attack, and agonized screams once more began to echo throughout the area.
One rotwolf after another began to charge out past it, leaping towards the humans. By now, none of the people present had any will to fight at all. Their sole source of support, Captain Lain, had perished. This meant that the battle here was destined to become a completely lopsided one, an absolute hell for the humans.