The militia reacted quickly to Soran's shout. A volley of arrows rained down on the ogres immediately. The problem was that the bows they were using lacked power; they were mainly shortbows used for hunting. Their damage was drastically lower than that of military longbows. Despite firing at short range, the short bows still failed to deal fatal damage to the ogres. Instead, it merely caused them to go berserk.
The ogres used their arms to protect their heads; the arrows landed on their arms and bodies, but the damage dealt was insignificant. They had thick layers of fat and muscle beneath their skin, and the leather armor further reduced the power of the arrows. The ogres could probably tank another dozen such arrows. Ogre warriors that reached Level 15 were considered Grade 2 warriors and would naturally awaken to the spell-like ability Bloodlust, which allowed them to bring out their full power when enraged. Thankfully, the ogres attacking the village were not Grade 2 warriors, but they still had the innate ability to go berserk.
"Get out of the way!" The militia captain growled, "Kairat! Milos! White Raven Formation!"
Two guards who seemed a lot stronger than the others rushed over. As they growled, their muscles began to swell, their blood vessels bulging out. Their speed and strength had risen considerably; it was as though they were using Sword Form—Heavy Hack continuously.
It was a professional ability belonging to Grade 2 warriors which allowed them to bring out their full potential for a short period of time. Although the ability could only be used once a day and remained active for just a minute or two, the user's combat prowess would be multiplied by several times during that short period of time. It was an ability warriors only used when they believed their lives were at risk.
White Raven Formation?
Soran was shocked, but he continued to sneak around while killing lizardmen. It was a familiar name, but he did not expect someone from a village to be able to use it. White Raven Formation was a rather advanced combat ability; when used by two people, they would become a spearhead that could pierce through enemy formations. When used by three people, it was a well-rounded combat formation. It was not something common adventurers would learn through their adventuring days; only the military taught the formation to soldiers.
It was not without its drawbacks; the stamina consumption was extremely high. The three middle-aged guards formed a triangle as they danced freely on the battlefield. Their swords complemented one another, drawing flashes in the air and sending their enemies’ blood spraying everywhere. In just thirty seconds, the three had already killed six lizardmen. It greatly boosted the guards’ morale and also attracted the attention of the lizardmen.
Just as they were about to engage the ogres, Soran heard the vibrating sound of a bowstring being released.
The longbow archers!
Soran gathered strength in his legs and ran up the wooden wall. With a simple leap, he jumped six meters above the ground. Having such high Dexterity allowed him to pull out his enhanced crossbow and fire it in the direction of the archer midair. The brief amount of time was insufficient to pinpoint the enemy, but he could still roughly guess the archer's location.
Two cries could be heard after Soran landed on the ground.
One of the guards who formed the White Raven Formation was struck in the stomach by an arrow. He moaned and flinched for a split second, and an ogre took advantage of the opening and crushed his head. A young man cried out in agony; the guard who died was his father.
The other cry came from beyond the wall. Soran's shot hit the lizardman archer, and it cried out in pain. Even though he was unsure if it was a fatal wound, the poisonous bolt should be enough to disable it. The injury and poison would render the longbow archer unable to use its weapon. Longbows could deal great damage but also demanded great concentration and strength from the ones wielding them. As longbow archers were a valuable asset on the battlefield, the lizardmen were hiding them in the rear, and they only fired sparingly in order to conceal their locations.
The ground shook. Despite losing a member of the formation, the two remaining members still managed to kill an ogre. However, they had little strength and stamina after Kai reached its time limit. The militia captain sliced open the stomach of another ogre, but his slowed reflexes made him show an opening. He was hit in the shoulder, and it was apparent that the bones were all crushed. Unless a priest healed him with divine magic, the captain would end up with a disabled arm for the rest of his life.
Morale plummeted quickly. Half of the militia were dead, and those who were alive were struggling in combat. There were young men and hunters in the rear, but they were weaker than the invading lizardmen. From the look of things, the village would fall shortly, and the lizardmen would slaughter everyone. The ogres would feed on the corpses of the villagers and may even keep a few alive to bring back to their caves as takeaway. The lizardmen must have agreed to pay the ogres something in order to make them attack the village after all.
The youngsters risked their lives to rescue the guard captain. They succeeded, but everyone showed despair in their eyes. Soran also had a pained expression as he evaluated the situation. There were a lot of lizardmen, not to mention the longbow archers hiding in the rear. If he tried to break through the monsters on his own, he might end up alone in the middle of the enemy formation.
The militia slowly retreated further into the village. It was almost impossible to keep the monsters out of the village, and they would be attacked from their flanks if they remained in their current location. If they were encircled, the longbow archers outside would make short work of them.
Heavy footsteps could be heard from beyond the wall. The lizardmen temporarily ceased their attacks. A dark green giant lizard appeared, and a lizardman druid which had dried, wrinkly skin sat on top of it. The druid held a staff made of withered vines with a tender leaf miraculously growing from the tip. Among druids of different species, only lizardman druids could tame giant lizards with ease.
The druid tossed down what looked like a dandelion, and vines sprouted out from the ground within a fifteen-meter radius. The vines entangled the legs of the retreating militia and grew thicker, stopping them in their tracks. Some of the weaker guards fell to the ground and had their bodies bound to it; they held onto their weapons but could not sever the vines. Those who were lucky or stayed alert managed to avoid the vines.
Entangle was one of the most commonly used spells among druids, thus Soran had anticipated the attack and evaded it. He leapt into the air and chopped the vines chasing him into pieces. However, he did not expect the druid to notice and target him so quickly. It tossed a handful of green powder into the air and began chanting.
Soran's arm immediately became red and swollen, then festering abscesses began to appear. The wounds decayed and rotted rapidly, and pus dripped down his arm. It hurt so much that he almost dropped his sword.
"You have been affected by Contagion! … Death roll initiated!"
"Exempted from Death roll due to high Constitution! You have successfully avoided instant death."
"You have received 18 damage! For the next fifteen minutes, you will suffer from the disease incurred by Contagion."
The lizardman druid turned out to be a blighter: a corrupted ex-druid who brought desolation instead of maintaining balance.
Soran looked at his injured arm and stopped walking. He had planned to break through the wave of monsters, but his current condition was poor. The blighter also made it hard for him to escape; he had to kill it first. The blighter would easily decimate the militia if he did not, and Soran would have a hard time running away without anyone drawing the monsters' attention.
"This son of a bitch thinks he's the only one who can use magic, eh?" Soran groaned and took out a magic scroll, saying, "I'll pay 2500 Slaughter EXP! Multiprofession in Wizard!"
Soran could feel the surge of elemental energies around him, and there was a weird feeling of being connected to the Magic Network. He opened the scroll, and torrents of shadows gushed out. Rogues could not used advanced scrolls, but wizards had no restrictions when it came to using them. They could use any scrolls by simply activating the formation drawn on them.
—Black Tentacles (Level 4).
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