Chapter 113: Desperate Situation
The roar of the storm outside the windows could no longer be considered to be just in the background. Along with the onset of the flood came the rage of the oceans.
Humans had conquered the most fertile lands for far too long. As the victors of the previous Sacred War, they do possess the right to be proud. The Seafolk are chased into the dark and cold ocean, the Beastmen lost their grasslands and plains while the Undead disappeared into the marshlands and deserts. Even the Elves who belong to the Order Faction just like the humans was forced into seclusion in one corner of the world under the aggression of the humans.
The losers of the previous Sacred War have been suffering in agony for the past 1700 years. Those surviving with long lifespans still remember how their kin and homelands were destroyed in the war. They hate and fear war, but yet they crave for it. They detest the destructive war which took everything away from them, but yet they can’t quench the desire to return to the homeland of their ancestors. They hope that they will be able to vent their resentment and hatred through a war of vengeance and snatch back everything they lost.
In contrast, the short lifespan humans already view themselves as the core of the world, the blessed ones of Eich, the kings of all beings.
Bianluya Plains is the sacred land as well as the land of origin of the Beastmen. The black land is so fertile that it is reputed that a seedling would even grow from raw rice. Yet, in the endless territories of the Saint Antonio Empire, it is considered one of the land of lesser importance. On the other hand, its original owner, the Beastmen, are slaughtering others mercilessly in the Underground World for the sake of survival or scavenging for food on barren lands.
Back then, when the Seafolk were known as Water Tribe, they could be found in every river, reservoir, sea and lake. However, if a Seafolk were to appear in a lake on the continent now, an army would be mobilised to exterminate it in an instant, not to mention the adventurers who are attracted by the bounty on them. The Elf Kingdom which should have been an ally could always find their own kin in slavery markets. The skirmishes that occur between the Elves and human kingdoms by the borders have never stopped.
The heroic Knights of back then have become slothful. Compared to the other races, the humans have been living too peacefully and their easy life makes them arrogant and egocentric. Being born without longevity, their short-sightedness allows them to forget their ancestors’ hard work and glory. They feel that they are the leader of all beings and that the other life-forms should be their servants.
"Beastmen? Aren't those just barbarians who can't even speak properly? In the face of our new technology and war machines, these wild barbarians are not worth mentioning. Elves? Heh, a bunch of foolish antiques. If the Sacred War were to recur, any two of our superpowers would be more than sufficient to sweep through the whole continent. We could probably end up as the easiest victor of the Sacred War."
The victors of the previous Sacred War are still gleeful over their dominance, devoing their body and soul into igniting an internal conflict among their own race. On the other hand, the losers are suffering in agony, bearing all pain as they bided their time for a chance to flip the tables.
The different attitudes of both sides towards war have caused the original victors of the Order Faction to unknowingly descend into an absolutely disadvantageous situation.
On the plains in the South, the Earth Elemental God and the Beastmen had started walking together. On a frigid night, sitting by the bonfire to warm themselves up, the Chieftains point to the homeland of their dreams as they roar and cry. The Beastmen Warriors share a drink of their blood as a symbol of alliance while preparing to set off. On a barren island in the South, there are the Blackwings who have been reduced to a mere pirating tribe. Yet, under the assistance of the Wind Elemental God, they regained their ability to fly. Activating their ancient floating island and picking up their sacred spears, they are ready for the new hunting season.
If it wasn't for Elisa consuming the Fire Elemental God as a tonic, when the four Ancient Elemental Gods move out together, the Elemental Tide of the entire Dimension will rise exponentially. Magic, Divine Arts and supernatural abilities will become easier to learn and use. As the origin of all Elemental Magic, the power of the four main elements will increase explosively
At the same time, it will be easier for guests from other dimensions to traverse over. The Elementals will become a usual guest in the Main Dimension while the Demons of the Chaos Faction has already embarked on a new bloody battle of elimination. The new warlords will gain the opportunity to lead the Demons to reap the souls of the surface dwellers.
Perhaps, this may just be the prelude to the eternal Sacred War. However, if the humans are unable to even withstand the prelude, then calling it the final battle isn't wrong as well.
Other than the humans, the next strongest faction in the Order Faction should be the Elves, who had fractured into countless kingdoms, race and tribes. However, from a hundred years ago, the Elf kingdoms had begun sealing their territory up. Despite receiving an omen of the onset of the Sacred War, the Elves and their Gods didn’t have the intention to notify their ‘allies’. After all, they know that even if they were to inform them, they will most probably only meet with indifference and sarcasm by the arrogant humans.
You can praise an Elf for their looks, for their kindness and for their intelligence. However, you can never praise them for being forgiving. In the Elf language, forgiveness and short-term memory are synonyms. For those narrow-minded long ears, the resentment they have accumulated for a thousand years ago feels fresh as though it was from yesterday. For them, who had wanted to stay out of the battle, it is already considered kind of them to not put the humans down.
Also, there had been information that the Elf Gods have been in contact with the Malevolent Gods of Chaos all along. It is unsure whether these rumors are true but it is a fact that the Human Gods have relationships with the other Gods. After all, there would always be some estrangement between an ex-leader and a current leader. It is just like an ex-celebrity looking at an idol that is popular at the moment. Even if they say nothing on the surface, they were bound to have certain complicated emotions in regards to it. It is impossible for their relationship to be good.
Alright, back to the main topic at hand. The current situation is already apparent before us. The Chaos Faction has been sharpening their knives for the past thousand years. In comparison, the human kingdoms are still in a state of peace and expending themselves in an internal struggle. At the very least, the result of the war in the early stages is bound to be disastrous for them.
Afterwards, while I was reflecting on my actions, I realised that I made the same mistake as the Celestial Tower. They were too reliant on prophecies while I was too reliant on my 'history prophecy'. Just because that 'history' is the projection of true events that had occurred and the portion in the beginning was accurate doesn't mean that it would go down the way it was written. Other than my existence that causes a butterfly effect on the world, just the very fact that there isn't any other 'players' existent means that everything would be different.
In a real world without 'players' blessed by the heavens, the three great Elemental Gods can't possibly be killed by some ridiculous plot. The level of the Elemental Calamity far surpasses what was projected in the walkthrough. Perhaps, compared to the entire Sacred War and the continent, it could only be considered as the appetiser before the meal. But, this prelude battle would definitely be much more gruesome than in 'history'.
Alright, even if I predicted the events accurately, even if I wasn't squatting in the prison called Liu Huang Mountain City while studying and refining the laws, I am still helpless in the matters which involves countless powerful Gods.
The current situation has already diverged from 'history'. If things were to go down as projected in the walkthrough, when the four Elemental Gods were eradicated, three of them were sealed and only the Fire Elemental God managed to escape from his seal in the Underground World. He worked together with the Underground Alliance which freed him, causing the conflict between the Underground World and the Surface to escalate. At present, due to my influence, the Fire Elemental God which should have been a big headache is completely gotten rid of. On the other hand, the other three Elemental God found their own helpers, becoming a source of huge trouble.
It is meaningless to debate which history would be better. Assumptions do not hold in history and there are no 'ifs'. It is impossible to debate for sure which side would is better.
At the current moment, I have to face the storm that was created by the wings of the butterfly of fate, the great wave that is stirred by the Water Elemental Goddess.
Right after walking out of the reception room, despite experiencing numerous wars, I was still shocked by the sight before me.
Tornadoes fill the entire sight outside the windows. They seem like a giant dragons pulling water to the sky while the ominous dark clouds continue to rain at a fixed pace. The entire city has already been converted into a City of Rain.
"A phenomenon of God!"This isn't a description but a judgement towards the situation. Only God Power can create such a bizarre sight.
Inside the sparring field, the hall on the first floor is already in a mess. Water floods the interior of the location and on a temporary stage that was built for this event, nobles are communicating urgently with their subordinates.
The moment Darsos walks down, informants rush up and surround him. Innumerable glow of the Mystical Arts flickers. The valuable high-tier Mages have become the only reliable messenger here.
"The defense line along the coast has been broken through, there are too many Seafolk! These Sea Giants cannot be stopped!"
"Head of Court Mages Halso has died in battle. The defense line of Court Mages is collapsing. The White Wolf Guards from different locations are being surrounded and exterminated by the Seafolk. They can't break out of the encirclement!"
"All roads for the movements of troops to assist the defense lines have been blocked by the escaping refugees. Nobles are commanding their private army to kill them to open a way through."
Bad news come floating down like snowflakes. However, what grips the hearts of the crowd here are the displays sent over by the Mages who are stationed at different streets.
In a certain display, the Auland's prided White Wolf Guards who are equipped with top-tier equipment are blocked by the short Fishmen. It is difficult for the war horses they bred carefully to move even a single step in the flood. In order to move in the flood, a Knight got off his horse and unequips his prided Missilor mythril alloy equipment helplessly.
In the water, it is impossible for them to conduct a fearless charge which they are known for. The indestructible Savage Heavy Sword cannot find its targets. In the heavy rain, it is impossible to throw the exploding Savage Javelin at all. The Knights wading through the water couldn't catch up at all with the Fishmen swimming away. Their heavy armor and weapon became their greatest burden. The powerful White Wolf Guards fought poorly in the water, their performance not even matching up to a fisherman.
Even though the voice that is sent along with the display isn't loud, the distorted face of the Knight in pain, the spear that is stabbed into his back and the blood flowing out from his wound is clear to see.
Cheering delightfully, the head of the Fishman who killed the Knight pops out from the water surface. Then, he dives back in again and he bides his time for another opportunity to conduct an assault.
The short figures of the Fishmen, which were usually mocked by the other races, have become their strongest weapon in this flood. Mud is mixed into the river water, making it impossible for the Knights to discover the Fishmen hiding in the water.
On the other hand, a sturdy-looking Knight got captured in a net. Then, with a jerk, he is pulled down. He is still wearing his armor as his powerful body is able to carry it. He struggles in the net, unable to climb back up at all. He uses all his might in an attempt to tear apart the net but to no avail. In the end, he could only widen his eyes with his hands clutching onto his neck. Just like that, he drowned to death in front of everyone else.
"...That is little Mickey, the youngest Silver Knight of the guards. His ability to maneuver his horse in a charge is the strongest in the 7th Squadron. For him to die like that to a lowly Fishmen! Hauk, the strongest Knight of the 7th Squadron, for him to drown to death just like that! Lord, please think of a solution. We can't all die like this meaninglessly!"
The furious roar of the White Wolf Guard in the hall makes everyone feel desolate. One of the core values of the Knight is that they do not fear sacrifice. However, there is also a rule that their sacrifice has to hold some meaning. If they were to die in a charge towards a Giant Dragon, then that would be an honor. However, dying in the hands of the weak Fishmen who don't mean a thing on other days is an insult to the Knights.
Given how the powerful White Wolf Guards are already in such a dire situation, the Aulanders in the other displays are in a worse position.
A beautiful Mermaid dances under the water. The pouring rain reminds her of the waterfall in her hometown. Thus, she fondles the magic seashell in her golden hair and starts to sing.
The singing of the Mermaids is well-known in the world. The beautiful and elegant figure of them dressed in seashells are even more enchanting. However, the Warriors on the battlefield didn't have the leisure to enjoy the performance. That is because along with the song of the Mermaid, threats lurk in the waters.
"AHHHH! A carnivorous fish! There are carnivorous fishes under the water!"
The Warrior who cries in agony falls into the murky water. A few seconds later, a pile of white bones with teeth marks on it floats on top of the red water.
"Jellyfish, there are poisonous jellyfishes! Everyone, leave the water surface!"
The transparent and colorless jellyfishes are undetectable under the water. Their tentacles and skin are filled with deadly venom that would cause even the strongest Warriors to be numbed to death unknowingly.
This Warrior can be considered fortunate. At the very least, he knows who is the one that killed him. The swordfish's long mouth stabs into his waist. Clutching his intestines, he struggles slightly for a bit before falling into the water, dead.
Along the sweet singing of the Mermaid, the delicacies of the sea that were served in the restaurants on previous days turned into deadly predators.
Everyone knows that staying in the water even a moment longer could mean death. However, in the City of Rain blessed by the two Gods using God Power, there isn’t a single part of the city that isn't flooded. There aren't any places for the Warriors to escape to.
Although there are people who abandon everything to climb to the roof, looking at the fins from a group of sharks below, what await them is still their doomsday.
A large amount of Seafolk surge into the city. If the low middle-tier fighting power of the Seafolk made their opponents sigh helplessly, then the strength of the top-tier fighting power made them feel despair.
"Summon Explosion Flames!"
In despair, a battle Mage who specialises in Fire Magic summons the Fire Spell he is the most adept in. However, before the flames could even take shape, a young Naga claps her hands together and a wave of water rushes towards him, extinguishing the flames.
As an incarnation of the Water Snake Spirit, every Naga would at least be capable of a little bit of Water Magic. Perhaps, on the continent, it would be only sufficient to quench their thirst. But in the water, they can raise menacing waves capable of great destruction.
Furthermore, she was only an apprentice. The Seafolk's fighting power has increased exponentially under the blessings of the Water Goddess and Sea Goddess. The shockwaves from the footsteps of the Sea Giants generate gargantuan waves capable of breaking through the sturdiest fortress easily. The Spellcasters of the Seafolk laugh sinisterly as they summon giant waves while hiding under the water to scour everything.
The ones here today are the elites from more than a hundred tribes. The human Warriors who are separated from their groups by the billowing waves are surrounded and killed. Even in terms of the quantity of high-tier fighting power, the human faction aren’t in an advantageous situation.
"Never fight with the Seafolk in water, unless you possess fins and don't need to breath."
It is unsure who is the one to say this ancient adage. The hall in the sparring field remains eerily silent. Then, faint sobbing could be heard.
Yes, no one is able to defeat the Seafolk in the sea. Just like how I almost died from the encirclement of a group of Fishmen just a few days ago, the fighting prowess of the Seafolk in water is unimaginable. This is also the reason why the two Goddesses can rest peacefully after they finished their blessings on the City of Rain. In their opinion, there is no need for them to interfere in the situation anymore.
The current situation proves that their judgement is accurate. From the moment when the city flooded, the victors have already been decided. The Auland Empire is fated to lose its extravagant City of Pearls.
No one expected that the powerful Empire would meet with a calamity of this level on such a joyous day of celebration. Everyone sets their gaze on Darsos as they wait for his final decision.
A city isn't the only thing an Empire possesses. In their vast lands, they can still form new armies. As long as they remain alive, there will still be hope and the day of their vengeance will come.
It is meaningless for them to give up their lives right now. Everyone knows and understands what they have to do now, but the cruel call has to be made and borne by the inaugurating Emperor.
"...Abandon the defense line. All those who can leave, retreat out of the city!"
Shouting these words from the gaps between his teeth, Darsos seemed to have aged 10 years.
"NO!! My parents are still at home. Your majesty, please save them!" A son of nobility cries out and this is only the start.
"My precious little son is still fighting, how can we give up now! This is the most despicable betrayal!" An old general roars at the Emperor. His soldiers are dying tragically one after another. The moment a retreat occurs, they will all turn into sacrificial cannon fodders. There will be no possibility for their survival.
"Kagersi is our capital. Losing our capital, how can we still stand with our heads up high in the Eich Continent. We will become the laughingstock of the entire world." The old Duke laughs miserably. What he said is true. The only ones who smile cheerfully at this situation are those envoys of the states who are forced to submit to the Auland Empire. Even though they are worried about their safety, happiness could be seen on their face.
To the envoys, even if they were to die, as long as they do not sign on those clauses which brings shame to their country, as long as their descendants can live with their heads up high, it will all be worth it even if they were to die at this instant.
"I said, retreat!"
The Scarlet Conqueror emits a blood-like glow as the Emperor stabs the sword into the ground.
"Staying in this city to await death? Foolish! So what if we lose our White Wolf Guards? We can build the White Lion Guards and White Tiger Guards. So what if we lose our capital? There are vast lands to our Auland, there are countless cities similar to Kagersi. We can just pick a new one. Indeed, we have lost today. We just have to mark this shame and tomorrow, our great armies will repay everything back to them!"
"I say, we retreat! Take away anything of value and discard those useless monetary objects. Take away all of our nation's treasures. Prioritise our technology, children, women and elderly. Other than that, only those of high standing will be prioritised. All young males whose limbs are intact, pick up your weapons and stand alongside me. My Knights and I will maintain a defense line here until the final moment!"
When his rage escalates past a certain level, the tone of the King of Winter Wolves turns calm instead. Just that, his trembling beard of his displays the rage he is suppressing.
The Emperor's calmness and initiative to stall for time stabilised the situation at an important moment. His declaration to stand guard without second thoughts allowed him to avoid the most tragic ending. As for me, it is time for me to make a decision as well.
"My apologies, I didn't expect for it to turn out like this. You can leave together with the first wave of those retreating. No, I should say, please leave with them."
"The Goblin Bank of Green Bay. If you fulfill the terms of the contract, you can claim the key from there at any time. However, it would only be there a month later."
I didn't reply directly to his words and as usual, my words do not bear truth. I am still in the midst of making final preparations for my departure, so why would I tell the other party that the key is still on me.
Leaving right now? How can this be possible! Little Reyne, following my requests, is walking around town to recruit talents while Krose is still guarding at the Church. They are definitely in danger at this moment. If I were to take the crucial key and escape now, not only will my comrades on the surface die for certain, even the fellows who are in the underwater base will starve to death.
"You intend to save your comrades? Stop joking around. The entire city is filled with Seafolk. Even if it is you, fighting with a Seafolk in water is suicidal! A pointless sacrifice, that is the shame of a Knight!"
"Heh, suicidal? I don't agree with your words."
There is no point in explaining anything to him. I shake my head and walk down to the main hall. I take out my Dimension Pouch and search through my old items.
Yes, even for me, there is not a chance of victory if I were to cross blows with the Seafolk in the water. Furthermore, the War Angel Form is extremely limited. The moment I enter the water, I won’t be able to escape the pursuit of the Seafolk. If so, there is no way I can achieve my goals. However, as long as I have that item, it isn't entirely impossible."
"There isn't a chance of victory if I were to fight in water. However, things would be differently if it is on ice. Here it is!"
After pouring out a bundle of prune, marbles, handmade poker cards and many other miscellaneous object, I finally found the item I was searching for. It is a hand carved wooden dagger. It is only slightly bigger than my hand. It is obviously a child's toy. The craftsmanship is coarse and there are a few squiggly words carved on it, as though written by a child.
"Karwenz's sword. Roland cannot secretly take and play."
Those few words are really written by a child. That is the signature Karwenz left behind on his treasured wooden sword. Back then, when he was younger, he was unwilling to address me, who was only a few minutes older than him, as his elder brother. Normally, he would just call me by my name.
Fondling the scars on the sword, I feel as though I have returned back to that warm and worry-free childhood. I could almost see that rash and straightforward foolish little brother of mine.
Shaking my head, this isn't the time for me to be reminiscing the past. What I need now isn't the wooden sword itself but the soul sleeping within it.
"Erebella, I need your help."
TL: Will be using just Silver to describe the power rank of the people. Using rank sounds a bit weird now (suddenly, maybe I stared at it for too long), though if the phrasing is unclear, I will still use it.
Couldn't reflect it without sounding awkward so I removed it, but it is clearly stated that the two Goddesses chose to go through the ritual even though they knew it would hurt them greatly because they are confident the Seafolk would be able to push it through.