Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
[dropcap]S[/dropcap]trictly speaking, I’d even allow the AUF griffins to see us in the tunnel. Peripheral plantations were just too dense for anyone to get in in a short time. The reason that I was so under pressure was the unknown situation, and lack of intelligence as well as the blockage of the grand canyon during the clay city battle – god knew what else abrupt change will be happening in this warfare.
As I thought, my orders passed in the army quickly.
All men and women have found their hiding places: refugees retreated into the woods on the sides of the tunnel; logistics people camouflaged carts with ivies and branches; kids were disciplined with maximum effort. Although I cannot hope for the best by doing so, after all, it was such a visible passage looking down from the sky.
Or so I thought.
The entire tunnel has sunken into silence except for scattered trifling noise made by the hunting squadrons on their ambushing position on order.
Before going into the tunnel, the hunting squadron was resupplied with more members now totaling more than a hundred. Currently, it included all elf marksmen as well as a good amount of warlocks of high attainment. Enchanted arrows will take care of distant target while blades and iron fists will serve the rest. Members of the hunting squadron were orchestrated to supply and complement each other.
Hunting squadron has become a real special force in my army. If the tunnel was spotted later on by enemy scouts, I could only expect my hunters to slaughter those unfriendly griffins.
A hand stuck out from a towering tree on the side tunnel, it flipped, spun, making all kinds of gestures with the 5 fingers attached to it.
“Enemy scouts approaching rapidly, front left, low altitude, 3 targets…” As I read my men’s transmission, my brain began calculating then my hands started giving corresponding hand signals to the hunting squadron leader.
The leading hunter was an elf warlock. A rolled-up ivy camouflage suit summoned has replaced her robe as she telepathically transmitted my instructions to every hunter. Generally speaking, telepath was extremely mana-consuming. However, an elf could make do by casting the spell in short range.
“Enemies closing in, 30 knots…” My watchers continued passing more information, “20 arm’s length in gaps.”
“Prepare for assault.” I, too, sent orders silently, “No one escapes.”
Several elf marksmen slowly arched their bows, dark green arrowheads that have been soaked in poisonous (confiscated in the AUF camp) juice slowly rose. My mages have turned and aimed the targets towards the enemies’ headed location and readied their spells. The others who hide on tops of the trees lowered their bodies deeper.
Poisonous arrows, magic plus bounced attacks, I wished for them to work or we’ll be all doomed given the possibility that our location could be compromised. A merciful AUF was hard to come by.
“Enemies closing in, 15 knots…” The watcher altered his gestures, “Other keys unchanged.”
“Enemies within range…”
Through interstice between leaves, I saw 3 sparkling shapes skimming over the tunnel with high speed. Each Griffin was as large as 2 warhorses combined, its wings flapped orderly, stirring air to make the trees downward shake.
The moment when the 3 griffins have arrived the right top of us, 20 -ish spells shot ahead. These energy waves formed an airtight, harmful barrier in front of the Griffins. Though not visible to eyes, those were harshly released by skillful elf warlocks instead of mage apprentices. No one could survive once was touched by them.
The Griffins were ambushed indeed. The explosion of the spells has successfully hindered the creatures. Caught off guard, the first Griffin made a sad cry then crashed into the spell power, dragging the rider on its back into it, and all were shredded into pieces.
The rest 2 griffins were wounded as well. They made no choice but turning left and right trying to level up and flee.
Just as they made the best effort to turn, dozens of arrows caught them up. The animals could not dodge in half air and shot right in the lower belly.
With 2 dull sounds, the enchanted spells on the poisonous arrows were stimulated and ripped the 2 griffins lively apart.
Magic spheres then shrouded the remains and formed 2 green and red balls of blood mist.
I was about to cheer for them before 2 men squished out of the dissipating spheres and floated away, one up, one down. They were enemy mages.
“Terminate them!” I forgot to remain silent as I bounced out and yell.
We were striving for such a crucial moment. If the lower enemy mage successfully avoided our attacks this time, he’s bought time for the upper one to pass out my location with all kinds of methods.
The moment I opened my mouth, all initiated fierce attacks towards the only 2 mages who managed to float with their precious mana. For the one who’s altitude was lower, he’s already released a giant, spell-powered, protective barrier. Looked like he intended to shield all the hostile incomings with it.
However, he cannot match elf warlocks after all, let alone my war-showered, battle-indulged elite elves.
Almost all spells that went over were twin magic balls, the first shot was more significant as it was aimed to breach the barrier, the second ball that came firmly was smaller, and it was entirely capable of penetrating the breach when it was recovering from the first shot.
As the barrier was under heavy pressure, the lower enemy mage made an unexpected decision.
He cast a dark mage, an advanced shielding spell: Soul Protector.
Asmodian mages, compared to Protoss magic users, was to an extreme: a considerable number of mages in PUF specialized in magic protection and blessing; as for mages in AUF, they concentrated more on damaging spells and magic conjuration. In this case, they had no second option on magic barriers.
Also, AUF’s protective magic was unique because they were almost universally traded by damaging the caster in exchange for matching protection. In this way, such class of magic required less magic skill. And this was the key that any AUF magic user was able to apply advanced protective magic.
And the ‘Soul Protector’ I was looking at, manifested the earlier feature: by sacrificing one’s life, the caster’s companion ended up in close protection.
Now, the lower mage was bursting from inside out on every piece of his muscle. Then immediately, a dark shadow emerged from his inner body and shrouded his companion, forming a black sphere capable of reflecting all kinds of hostilities within a short period of time.
The mage under protection in the air was not spending his time doing nothing. As his companion died for him, he uncovered his mage robe and a creature as large as an adult emerged!
The grey thing turned a short whirl in the air then stretched his pair of wings that were even wider than that of a wingman. Three arrows from different directions weren’t even able to penetrate its body.
“A gargoyle!” Someone exclaimed.
Gargoyle, what was it? Why something as weird always came to me?
A few men bounced from the treetops. They were the best martial artists of my hunting squadron. They primarily were in charge of protecting the rest with their melee capabilities. And now, they had to move out of no choice.
The gargoyle roared as it deflected a soldier who tried to approach, kicked back another right downwards. Yet its series of movements have slowed him down, and a soldier managed to catch one of its feet, sinking it down.
A moment of chaos saw the gargoyle dragged down and stuck in the crotch of a tree. The creature strived, shrilled. A regular weapon was of no effect on a gargoyle, it pecked, scratched, many soldiers who endeavored to end its life ended up covered in cuts and bruises.
“Go to hell!” A shattering yelling brought an orc officer and his giant mace which eventually landed on the gargoyle’s back. Such a critical strike made the gargoyle shiver. Before it recovered, the orc swung his weapon once again aiming nowhere but the creature’s fleshy wing. The fragile latter instantly broke.
Followed by several roarings, gargoyle soon became gargoyle shred.
“Good job.” I praised in my heart and looked upward.
Though the enemy mage had a good reflection, my mages weren’t turtles.
There came sounds of neat chanting, elf warlocks have wrapped the soul protector with an even bigger magic parclose. Two parcloses, two light balls, two opposing forces and bright ribbons of various colors hence started impacting with one another. Such a confrontation of magic has made our eyes stopped blinking.
“Your Excellency, we’ve summoned Saint Screen which prevents any kinds of magic to pass.” An elf ran to me, said her, “He cannot hold on for long. All he could do now is to summon creatures to convey information for him. We cannot confine him there forever. You have to get prepared.”
I nodded and quickly arranged the errands.
In the air, the outer white sphere gradually shrank. Thus the inner black Soul Protector was compressed. It didn’t occur to me that pure protective magic could be utilized to attack.
The giant double-layered sphered slowly landed.
The inner black screen was already weak and thin as its color faded. Although the protector offered absolute protection, its function period was numbered. Through the double layer, I saw the enemy mage bit open his finger and drew a tiny magic field down his feet.
“Indeed, he’s summoning.” said the elf beside me, “Pay attention, Your Excellency, we’re about to take actions.”
As she spoke, the mage in the sphere cut his forehead skin open with a scalpel, then the blade flipped onto his face, and a massive amount of blood came out streaming down his body. The fluid slowly accumulated in the magic field drawn.
Yellings, the Sainted Barrier went off, then several strong lightning blasts struck the mage’s body.
He turned into ashes. But the magic field he drew was still alive, and it was emitting red light. Then a black hole as wide as an adult’s waist enlarged. A horde of blackbirds swarmed out.
Wind blades fired and impacted on the black hole one by one. They killed most of the blackbirds.
Elf marksmen took care of the escapers and wingmen were there to catch the ones that flew higher.
After a good while, we’ve taken down all of the birds. And the black hole in the earth was dead and sealed.
I exhaled and told my men to clean the field, so the fleet went on advancing.
“You, you there, private.” I called the orc with a giant mace, “Come over here.”
“Yes, sir.” He went over and landed his weapon by the feet. After an awkward salute, he stood still. I took a look at his shoulder, he’s a lieutenant.
“Lieutenant,” I returned his salute, “Your name?”
“Sir, I’m Lieutenant Dirt…” He replied, “Sir, no, I’m Lieutenant Malphite, sir!”
I paused for a second then came through. Due to the fake KIA campaign, almost all of my soldiers and officers had 2 names.
“Lieutenant Malphite, you’ve done well.” I called off an IGT who brought my horse, “Walk with me.”
“Sir, yes, sir!” Malphite lifted the mace and carried the metal on his shoulder.
“Malphite, have you newly titled a lieutenant?” I walked and asked.
“Sir, yes, sir. I was a former slave soldier in Legion No. 9.” Malphite answered, “I was recruited as a drill sergeant by the Dark City force during the Camp Strangle. A few days earlier, I was promoted a lieutenant, sir.”
“Have you been injured during the clay city battle?” I asked, “Your way of carrying that mace looks unnatural to me.”
“Sir, no, sir. I was like this as a child.” The orc paused for a moment, “That… the wound came from my landlord.”
“It’s alright.” I tapped his shoulder, “Aren’t you looking sharp.”
“Sir, yes, sir.” Malphite made an awkward smile.
“By the way, Malphite, what’s your position?”
“Sir, I’m captain, sir.” Malphite, “I’m leading 10 squadrons totaling 90 brothers.”
“Who are those soldiers?” I asked, “Are 90 too many for you?”
“Sir, not a problem, sir. All the 10 squadron leaders are my old brothers.” Malphite thought quickly and continued, “A dozen soldiers were recruited from the 36 clans, 20 defected from AUF, the rest came to us near the end of the battle.”
“Tell me more.” I gazed gently at this nervous lieutenant, “Slowly, easily.”
“Sir, yes, sir.” Malphite’s chin went up to my comfort, “I was instructed by my battalion leader to tell the men about our military laws. I assume they have marked the laws by heart by now. They’ve been behaved instead of acting recklessly like always. Besides, they’re in good shapes, though they’re not good fighters yet.”
“Not good fighters yet?”
“Sir, yes, sir.” Malphite said, “They seemed to be under-trained…”
“I see…” I glimpsed and found Steven and a mage officer were coming to me. They probably came for a reason. So I told Malphite, “Lieutenant, gather your trooper and report to me. Tell your squadron leaders, it’s my order. Dismissed.”
“Sir, yes, sir!” Malphite excused with his mace.
“Sir,” Steven walked over and said, “According to this elf warlock, the griffin riders were 2 mages and a knight. They’re of high-level Asmodian personnel.”
“Leave it aside.” I shook my head, “Steven, I have a question for you.”
“What is it?”
“Can you see the tunnel when you were in the air?”
“Sure I can…”
“Then why… why did those griffins act like there were nothing down here when they came?” I asked, “Their flying pattern and altitude were as always, unchanged. Don’t you feel odd?”
“I…” Steven instantly realized, “Let me get up there and see.”
I nodded. Steven then stretched his wings and lifted off. I gazed at him. As Steven reached the griffin’s altitude earlier, he started shaking his head. As he raised higher, the shaking aggravated.
Steven landed vertically and confusedly. And he was on the verge of cursing the sky.
“What is it?” I asked.
“Nothing, completely nothing…” Steven said, “Once I went as high as 5 adult’s height above the treetop, the tunnel, even the sound of it, will disappear without any traces!”
“Now inform Carlos, the fleet can ease away while going.” I said, “And bring him to see me later.”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
“My warlock.” I turned to the elf, “Do you have any findings?”
“Your Excellency,” A leading elf said, “We, the mage group have agreed that the 2 mage riders were not from the Asmodian United Forces. Presumably, they’re deployed by the Dark Temple.”
“You mean those scouts are from the Dark Temple?”
“Yes, Your Excellency, and we think they’ll be back.”
“And what does the mage collective think about the tunnel invisible to the sky. Could it be magic?”
“Your Excellency, we’ve not detected any magic fluctuation.” said the elf, “It doesn’t look like magic, or rather, it’s probably ancient and rare magic that we’ve never heard of. Forgive us.”
“Don’t blame yourself.” I nodded, “You’re free to leave.”
The elves have left, but I sunk into deep thought. Although I had no explanation as to why the enemies in the sky cannot see the tunnel, it was, in fact, a plus to my army. What worried me was the truth that the Griffins we caught came from the Dark Temple. It showed how much my enemies valued me.
And what else was waiting for us in this jungle out there?
This chapter was originally published on Wuxianation, any despicable reposts or copies without proper citings are strictly prohibited.