CHAPTER 159: RETREAT
Kyle who sees that Arial is riding down the hill is worried sick. Quickly he ordered one of the units that are ready lead by one of the lords to aid the Duke.
‘Lord Eustace, go and support the Duke. He seems to be having some difficulties’
Eustace nodded and without a word, his unit begun moving to Arial to try to lessened the pressure on the Duke.
To the other person eyes, the Duke look like he is overwhelmed and as such every lord of Arrandy that sees this is trying to broke the enemy lines and rush to their duke aids.
But how could they do that?
Arial since the beginning of the battle rushed forward, a one man wedge formation that broke enemy lines in the front not caring whether the line reformed backs.
In a way Arial is now cut off from his troop behind him.
He is at the centre while the front and back is Vanguan soldiers with Arrandians trying to break in.
West who is fighting bravely in the right flanks is also in a rush to broke the enemy lines.
But suddenly Arial yelled.
With this one word, the whole battlefield is almost stunned.
Did the dragon said retreat? What demon that possesses him to make him utter those words?
Arrandian army morale sank but their duke words are law and quickly they retreated.
Arial had seen that his left flank in the hills, tried to retreat.
‘Better’ he said.
He and Somerton is planning a feigned retreat only to lure the shield wall corps who is near them to lower the probability of their shield wall becoming more powerful.
And Arial also has to regroup and begin a concentrated attack to the shield wall.
In defiance of strict orders, those Shield Wall corps who is not hemmed within the human stockade of the shield-wall – perhaps the ones Harald had posted on his right flank, rushed after the running soldiers, thinking the battle already won, tempted by glory and promise of loot.
Then as the other lords tried to retreat in down in the hill suddenly the Duke and Lord Somerton wheeled around, smirking and smiling, and picked the pursuers who get too far ahead of their comrades and became easy meat.
Arial slash kill dozens with one strikes, an overwhelming might of an Immortal, revered and feared while Somerton precise attack kill as fast as Alexander the Diligent, as dozens of the defenders does not even have time to react.
Where one could not block the Duke attack, in the case of Somerton they could not even realize that they have been stabbed.
They are laughing and throwing insults to the other defenders provoking them to come down and match strength with them.
Arrandians lords and their soldiers alike cheered with resounding deafening sound and their morale rise up.
Arial then yelled in the heat of battle, with blood all splattered around his armour, that his body itself is like being covered with red paint, his voice thundered around the battlefield.
‘RETREAT? Are my soldiers madmen! Victory is in front of us. So close I could feel it my hands! Only death behind you and eternal glory in front of you! Break their defences! SECURE YOUR GLORY, MY BROTHERS!’
The soldiers cheered and their attack becomes fiercer and harder and many more broke the enemy lines as they push forward to reach their charismatic commander and liege lord, to secure their name in the annals of history.
Arial begin amassing his forces down the hill as the shield wall corps all flee up the hill once again, regretting their short-sightedness and falling into such an obvious trap and the missile corps of Harald once again uses their arrows.
How could they have thought that the arrogant Duke would utter retreat? How could they not know of the stubbornness of the Duke?
He would never retreat!
Those that survived the onslaught of the Duke, some of the Shield Wall corps that hide behind their friends or unnoticed by the Duke glaive, regretted their judgement miserably.
They should have remained in their formation.
They should follow the order of the King and secure their fortification and now an irreversible mistake has been done.
So now they are focusing their attack using their limited supply of arrows. Most of it is from the loot they received from their battle at Venicia.
Arial army on the other hand has anticipated such stratagem and quickly employed tortoise formation to withstand the arrow atatck.
Kyle then reached Arial, riding his horse swiftly.
‘You have me fooled Arial!’ Kyle said hitting lightly on Arial chest. Arial smile and chuckle.
‘Do not worry about me friend. I have seen their force. Nothing I couldn’t handle.’ Arial had already made a plan for the next charge.
He is speaking with Kyle under the tortoise formation of his knight while Kyle nodded after confirming that Arial is really fine and then he returns to his post and order their missile unit to try shoot at the hill.
Under the shield Arial took a deep breath, heaving his chest up and down, closing his eyes, and take another deep breath, like he could absorb anything, inhale and exhale everything, as he accessed that sea, that unboundless sea and his energy took a drastic leap, a burst of energy that can be feel all around his vicinity.
‘What!’ Some of the duke unit is shocked seeing what happen to their lord.
Of course Arial did not realize this but his body is shining for a while, like a luminescence of the Sun, its splendour and glory reflected into mortal eyes, and then slowly that golden divine light fades into after images as it is replaced by a black and red aura.
‘LIGHT!’ Some uttered, praying to the Lord Above. Many soldiers associated this miraculous transformation of their lord as divine intervention.
Of course this is not the case. Arial…..or to be more precise, his blood, has properties that made him half divine, one foot in the mortal world, another in godhood.
But to the soldiers seeing their lord shining like Angels of Old is enough to make even the most sceptics into believers, infidels to devotee, and their conviction solidified as their morale rise up again with the knowledge that their cause is aid by a Divine Power, as the church had told them.
But is the red and black aura that usually appears when he activates Imposing Presence is active now?
No. It is not his Imposing presence but his internal energy. Why the same colour? Because the Imposing Presence has merged with the center of Arial internal energy so even without activating it, his own internal energy will have some traces of that powerful technique he created.
The next time he charged will be the last time he charged. Harald is a good King. But Arial could not leave such potential enemy alive.
He has given him chance to negotiate at every turn but Harald insisted to have this war.
Arial might not seem overbearing in his last charge but that is mostly because he tried to ascertain his enemy numbers and their tactics.
Now that he knows, he is fairly confident that combined with his strength and his army, the second charge will be the end for Harald.
‘Say your prayers, King of Vangua because you’re going to meet your god in a while.’ Arial whispered
Then when the onslaught stop for a minute as Harald missile corps loaded their arrows and after sending his message to other lords, Arial headed a charge which drove the Vanguan back up the hill with heavy losses.
Forming up their shield-wall again, Harald’s men prepared to sustain another furious attack.
But when Arial had arrived at the hill he jumped down from his horse.
‘YOU BASTARD’ some of the Vanguan soldiers scream. Some tried to hurl javelins at him but then Arial roar.
RARRR and the javelins that is hurled towards him all broke in mid-air and the roar was like a dragon roar, Ancient of the past, Sovereign of the Sky shaking every man, allies and enemies to their core.
He stood there proudly looking at the Vanguan army with a look of condescension, with his chest pushed out, and his family crest proudly displayed.
His right hand grasped lightly on his glaive, that tool of death which has reap many soul since the beginning of the battle, a tool that has ignored pleas, scream, wails and tear, a perfect instrument of destruction, as the blood of the Duke fallen enemies is still dripping from the sharp edges of the glaive.
He then stabbed the glaive into the ground.
Standing firm and tall, his expression on his face when confronted with the Vanguan army number is calm and unaffected; his is majesty of a King, his posture is like the arrogance of an Immortal peering the weak mortals from the Sky above in his Heavenly Abode.
Then he yells with pure confidence and a stature of a conquering King
“HARALD! SURRENDER NOW! I give you this one last chance! Come in front of me and kneel and swear the oath! And everyone will be left alive! Refuse my gift and I swear it! By God, I will hunt every single one of your army and send them to their doom! Refuse this and despair will descend. Refuse and you shall regret. Let me tell you what will happen if you refuse! 12 moons from now you will all tell the story of when the Dragon offers you peace and life, of long lives and happy days, you reject it because of your pride! Surrender and save yourself! Surrender and spare your soul from the torment of the Holies defending someone who have committed perjury! Surrender and you shall find that the dragon can be forgiving and merciful!’
And then the Duke ended his bold proposition in the midst of his battle, his glaive singing forward. This is an absurd demand! They all thought.
Some of them are too stunned, they drop their swords, some people mouth is wide open because of the shock.
‘ABSURD!’ Vanguan army yelled.
‘PEII’ they spitted into the ground. The Dragon merciful? Who would believe that?
Even Arial vassal thinks so.
Harald held the superiority in number and while they have regrouped how is the conclusion of the battle can be ascertain right now?
Harald still have his shield wall and his knight and a few hours later reinforcement may come and at that time it will be the Duke forces that will be pushed hard.
They have to endure it during that time. But how could Arial had the audacity, the gall, the guts to ask Harald surrender when the King still has so many options?
Only the Dragon dare make such proposition, a bold declaration mix with threat of death and despair.
Harald then yelled from the distance, piercing the salience created by Arial spectacle.
‘I REFUSE!’ The voice is clear and curt, with a hint of anger and resentment. Of course such sentiment is justified.
How could the Vanguan King does not despise the Duke? The Duke is trying to invade his country!
Arial just gritted his teeth and showing his displeased expression and he snorted and then with anger he said
‘Then hear your fate! I am Central Celestial the strongest man in the world. Peerless under the heaven, none could be my match! Witness the might of the man who is called the strongest! Today I will open all of your eyes. Let me show you how high the Heaven really is!’
He declared and then suddenly every metal, axes, swords, lance, crossbows and arrows is slowly floating up.
And then Kyle and the other Arrandian lords look at the Duke. They see the duke is raising his hand slowly and as he raised his hand the weapons also levitate upwards.
The shield wall which is composed by the shield is slowly struggling to get upwards to the clouds.
Even when the army tried to hold on to their arms they could not compare to the pull force that Arial exhibited.
Harald finally sees the air manipulation that Arial reputedly use during his time in the famous tournament of martial art.
‘QUICK! ATTACK THE DUKE!’ the King yelled seeing that somehow Arial is trying to do something that might have an impact in the battlefield.
The Arrandian lords sprang into actions. Quickly they constructed a tortoise formation and shield wall of their own in front of the Duke.
Arial could not do it as perfectly like Gaveror as he could not be interrupted but thankfully his vassal also understands that he need time to perfect this massive scale attacks.
When he used this, he will be exhausted beyond measure but this is the only way, they could gain an advantage and end this war swiftly.
If his attack succeeds then his army could finish the rest of the survivors. Arial is right now sweating, a sensation he long thought he could never feel again.
Under extreme pressure of Arial pure internal energy the wind change course, clouds turned cloudy, and many of the Duke enemies tremble and looked helplessly at the sky, some are kneeling, some are praying, putting their hands together and chanting Sacred Song to Light as they are now unarmed.
Kyle looks at the sky from a distance and he could see hundreds of thousands of weapons in the air slowly pointing itself to the enemy slowly, like an executioner blade that will reach the heads of the sinful.
Kyle then looked at the Vanguan soldiers and Kyle could see the dread, fear, and despair in their trembling eyes.
They knew their life has ended. Kyle averts his gaze and searched of the King. And then Kyle found him among the massive crowds that has begun to run, kneeling all over the King.
The King has a fierce determination, and an unyielding countenance. But Kyle could see a hint of fear.
That….Kyle could understand.
Not many people are fearless when facing death. Kyle only knows one person who is like that.
To Kyle, fear for death is necessary. It forces you to be better, stronger, smarter and…..to survive.
For someone who does not fear death, they either have great cause in their hearts or they have nothing in their life.
People who have nothing…..is usually the most dangerous.
Harald could not retreat but he has no weapons right now. Maybe some people would throw their body to save the King but for the infantry and elite body guards that protect the King they will surely die of the strike.
At first the enemy soldiers try to attack using their weapons but now all of their weapons is up their heads, high up in the clouds, far from their reaching hands, and attacking a shield wall unarmed is suicide.
Then Arial yelled again.
‘Pray to your gods! Witness the might of Central Celestial!’
And then like lightning the weapons fly towards their owner with piercing speed and screams, yells, crying and howling of pains fill the battlefield.
They yelled as they are stabbed, shot by their own arrows. Terrible scenes of carnage took place as wounded men screamed in agony, some died instantly when the sword or axes cut the owner body in such grotesque way.
Others ran around in mortal distress, clutching at arrows in their eyes, their chest, their thighs, all around their body, bleeding and in pain, twitching and screeching in the wounds, as the weapons guided by Arial prodigious control of internal energy, trying to pierce the white bone as the arrows drill and drill and drill.
Pain unimaginable, as the screams continues like an echo in a long dark cave, and death amounts to hundred thousand.
The shield on the other hand attack the enemy with their sharp edges and one could see hundreds of soldier died stabbed by the shield sharp edges, some decapitated by the shield fast speed.
The shield wall corps that Harald is so proud of is easily destroyed as one by one fall to the onslaught of divine power shown by the Duke.
He alone is now slaughtering thousands, as blood flows from the wound of his enemies that could form tens of rivers, wailings and screams that could be heard to Heaven Above, rending the heart of Angels and Apostles if they could have seen the carnage that Arial is unleashing right now, like the scene of Hell, of torment and torture, of pain and death.
The Arrandians look in awe of their Duke power and their uncertainty and anxiety is now replaced with elation and inebriated joy with a mixture of fear and respect to their lord.
Now the advantage lies in their force.
They could see thousands of Harald army is running away, the other die under the flying threats of their own weapons and shield.
Then after almost 15 minutes finally there is no weapon in the sky anymore and the vassal lord look in worries and concern towards the Duke as they could how pale their lord really is, with beads of sweat in the Duke forehead, and his laboured breathing.
And then he staggered and West quickly offer help and grabbed the Duke before he could fall to the ground. Pale and listless the Duke order
“What are you all waiting for? I have given you a divine help and now you standing doing nothing? Win the war!’
The lords nodded and Kyle took temporary control over Arial unit as they charge into battle.
Holes and blind spot is made in the defence of Harald forces who is now in chaos with some running away, and some picking back up the weapon from their comrade dead body, and soon Harald proud army collapsed altogether, leaving pockets of defenders fighting back to back, perhaps 50 strong and loyal defender of the King against an enemy now present on the hill in overwhelming force.
This is the power of an Immortal; the 50 men carved this memory deep into their mind. To be exact Arial had seared it into every mind, every witness that has seen his prowess.
With one attack Arial had changed the tide of battle to his favour.
This is the power of Central Celestial, the strongest man in the world. Neither earth or heaven can hold him.
Many of the Vanguan army is trampled to death by the Arrandian cavalry who is now wreaking havoc at those that is running from battle and at the same time rtying to loot the fallen enemies as they fell running.
A terrible hand-to-hand combat now ensued between these two armies as the King is at the back mourning his cousin in law Girth and Lyons who have used their bodies to shield the King.
The King sorrow wails could be heard to the front of Kyle units as West forces is now controlled by another lord, a vassal lord of West.
This is war. It is tragic. It is heartrending. People die.
During that last attack, Arial had kill thousands of people, many great lord and knight lords of Vangua, and pillars of Anglais Raxons community.
West is now once again engaging in the battle after leaving the care of the Duke to other lords.
He is now slaying all around him in heaps and on one occasion scything down both horse and rider from a single swing of his stolen battle-axe after his sword got chipped after killing so many enemy soldiers.
Lord Sothern younger brother got his arm cut off as he tried to seized the Vanguan standard and swiftly the loss of his hand is avenged by his brother by slicing the offender head.
Lord Eustace is almost dead and humiliated in single combat before Kyle rescued him by interfering in the battle, striking and arrow into the opponent head from 15 miles away, with a speed that is almost unbelievable..
Victory is all but certain as the King is retreating.
Arial is still resting far away from the battle when his vassal lords quickly after that display of power brought hi far away, fearing for his safety, but he is still on the hill, mediating cross legged and recovering his internal energy.
Many of the Arrandians broke off the fight to plunder the dead and dying. But Arial knew the battle is not over while Harald still lived.
Could they not understand this logic? Gold and loot…..this is not important.
Harald head is.
Get his head, and all the gold in Vangua, all the resources will be his all the threats that plaques his family disappears and peace will dawn.
Opening his eyes Arial saw the King on the top of the hill, with the remnants of his knights and soldiers still grouped around….waiting.
Arial rise from his rest
‘My lord’ the worry is clear in Eustace voice.
‘What are you doing?’
‘Harald is waiting for me.’ Arial reply
Then Eustace looked at the direction that the duke is pointing.
‘A single combat, my lord? In your condition?’ Eustace shake his head in indignation
‘Order me instead my lord. Let me assault Harald with my best knights. With a four-man hit squad it will be an easy matter to slay King Harald.’
Arial shakes his head. Harald has his honour. Arial has his.
Then he yelled as he used to yell during his time in the Orc Plains.
‘HARALD! MY STRENGTH AGAINST YOURS! WHAT SAY YOU!’ he yelled with his remaining energy and still the words reverberated.
The looting soldiers stopped in their tracks and release their loot from their hands.
Their duke is challenging the King when he is clearly have expended his internal energy in the last battle.
It took some while, a moment of silence and then the King reply, this time his anger is not masked, clearly still grieving for his cousins.
‘I ACCEPT’ Harald yelled to accept the request.
Arial then took his horse and ride to the Harald area, behind him is his whole army as the battle of Arleans is reaching its climax, to determine the victor.