Light Novel – Zectas – Volume 04 – Chapter 07

Author: John Nest

Warning: This chapter hasn’t been edited or proofread

Note:  For easy character reference please refer to: 
Characters
Races and Religions

Living Out Your Dream


Stacks of paper and books were packed inside the concrete house of Braucht Hilfe’s village chief. This was where Horrabelle stayed during her time in the village.

Macher sat comfortably in the wooden chairs of the small kitchen. He was joined by a female Elementalist and an Archbishop who was pacing frantically inside the house.

The two Sonstwelters with Macher arrived five hours after Horrabelle’s death. They were Macher’s hidden allies, who were sponsoring him from within the shadows.

“Poltron, you better not be say I told you so,” said Macher to the Archbishop who was about to open his mouth. “I already tried convincing Duke Burmistrz to recruit Ilad even before the mounted race, but he still insisted that we just use him to raise the stakes. The Duke even doubled my share from the gambling profits.”

“I wasn’t going to say that,” replied Poltron nervously. “What I was going to say is that you should have tried harder. You have seen how he rallied the racers into defeating the bandits during the race, and now he is working under Smoke. If we had Ilad in our pockets then we would have at least a spy in Smoke’s army.”

Macher waved his hand at Poltron, dismissing his lectures. He didn’t need to be reminded of Ilad’s achievements during the race. He personally saw it first hand as he was secretly following him right from the start.

“Besides, you remember how Avidite convinced me not to,” said Macher as he pointed to the Elementalist, who sat across him. “She said that Ilad wasn’t worth risking my Intimacy with the Duke.”

Avidite clicked her tongue. “What? You’re putting the blame on me? I was just saying that if we are going to rule a city then you would need connections, and who would be better than a Duke of another city?” she replied, and glared back at him.

“And we are only able to have a shot at getting a city because of Duke Burmistrz. If you fell out of his good graces, then you can kiss the city goodbye,” reasoned out Avidite angrily.

Macher shook his head disapprovingly.

“Well, if you hadn’t insisted that we wait for you and your members’ slow mounts, we would have arrived here two hours earlier,” shouted back Macher. “And none of this fiasco would have happened.”

“Didn’t I tell you to go ahead?” snapped Avidite.

“Yeah, you sure did,” replied Macher sarcastically. “Right after you reminded me who was funding for my personal army.”

Avidite shrugged her shoulders. “How’s that my fault? I was only pointing out the facts, and may I remind you that you still left us anyway.”

“Guys, calm down,” interjected Poltron. “There’s nothing to gain from you two squabbling.”

Macher stepped away from Avidite. He looked outside the window, and saw the wake of the battlefield. “I bet Ilad took part in this. I can feel his handy work in all of it,” he said disapprovingly. “Smoke just got really lucky to have recruited him.”

“Let’s forget about Ilad for now,” said Poltron. “What’s done is done. We just need to move forward. Even after losing Horrabelle, with Duke Burmistrz forces alone we are still capable of winning this. We still have Centzo by its throat.”

“And what’s up with all these books and papers scattered everywhere?” asked a peeved Avidite as she pointed around the house.

Macher could tell that the mess bothered her. He looked around Horrabelle’s belongings and had to agree that it was  a complete mess.

‘How much help could have that messy Witch contributed?’ Macher wondered to himself.

Nodding his head at the Archbishop, Macher agreed with Poltron. They still had a high chance of finally obtaining a city for themselves.

“You maybe right, Poltron, but you are not the one who is going to have to answer to—” Macher stopped talking as he received a call from Duke Burmistrz.

“Speak of the devil,” said Macher to the two other Sonstwelters before answering. “Good day, Duke. I guess you have received the horrible news?”

Burmistrz voice boomed loudly on the other end. “How could you have allowed this to happen?”

“I came here as fast as I could, but Smoke trapped her inside a dome,” he began to explain. “Smoke and his guild has gotten a lot stronger than before, and that Werebear and Aqua Knight were also a pain to deal with. If only Ilad was with us and not with them, then maybe we could have—”

“I don’t want to hear your excuses!” interjected Burmistrz angrily. “You don’t realize what a difficult situation you have put me in, and I told you that Flame Knight wasn’t useful for anything else than a rigged horse.”

Macher knew that Ilad was a sensitive topic, but he didn’t realize that the Witch’s Therianthrope army would have been a great help. He thought that the Duke was only overreacting.

“Horrabelle was a very important person to someone who is even more powerful than me,” explained Burmistrz with a worried voice.

“She was doing an important research for him and was about to send the information before she died…. Tell me that you have at least secured the village?” asked a concerned Burmistrz.

“Definitely! Smoke and his army ran away as soon as my forces and I arrived,” proudly answered Macher. “In fact, we have locked down the whole village and posted guards outside.”

“What about Horrabelle’s research materials? Do you have your men guarding those as well?” inquired Burmistrz curiously.

“Well, I’m inside the house where she was staying, but I cannot tell which research material you might mean,” answered Macher skeptically as he look through the disordered parchments and books.

“And what of her Therianthropes? Are they still with you?” asked Burmistrz.

“When we arrived, less than a thousand of them were left, but I lost track of them when they chased Smoke’s men into the forest. None of them returned to the village after the battle,” answered Macher truthfully.

“No matter,” replied the Duke. “Just be sure to keep everything in that place safe. In fact, you personally stand guard in that house. No harm is to come to those pertinent papers. A group of people in long black robes will arrive shortly to gather them.”

Burmistrz’s excitement carried over the call. Macher realized that Horrabelle’s research must have been that important to him.

He tried to look through one of the papers, but couldn’t understand the language written in them. A notification window instantly popped up.


– The written words looks Gobberish to you.


“Sure. No problem. I will stay here,” he replied dubiously as he was unconvinced that these documents were even significant.

“She said that she was done with her research anyway. Hopefully I can pacify his anger, after I deliver her papers to him,” said Burmistrz out loud as he mumbled to himself.

“Since we have lost Horrabelle’s forces, I have sent all the members of the Silny division to you. They are the fastest of the Cavalry Knights Centzo has to offer,” boasted Burmistrz.

“I know their acinonyx cheetahs are trained and all, but are you sure they will make it in time?” asked a doubtful Macher.

“They will arrive before your battle to subjugate Centzo will start. After all, you are doing this under my name,” said the Duke reassuringly.

“But I’m still going to be Mayor of Centzo, right?” asked Macher boldly as he wanted to make sure everything was crystal clear.

“Of course. I am a man of my words. Provided that you keep your fealty to me. I have no problem with that,” stated Burmistrz with finality.

“By the way, before I let you go, there’s one more thing,” added Burmistrz threateningly. “I cannot do anything with you Sonstwelters returning to our world, but be sure to wipe out all of Smoke’s Zectian members. I would like to see what he will do when all he has is himself against my Dukedom.”

“Don’t worry. Smoke only got lucky last time. Next time, I will have him reduced to nothing,” said Macher with certainty.

Burmistrz dropped the call, and Macher turned to face his two friends.

“Macher, you are sure we will be able to get Centzo, right?” asked the concerned Archbishop.

“Why, Poltron, why the sudden doubt?” he said mockingly. “Don’t worry my friend, I’m positive. With all our three forces combined, and the Duke’s Brandals and Cavalry Knights, there is nothing the starving people of Centzo can do to stop us,” answered Macher confidently.

“I have already spent all my money on our personal army. I will be flat broke if we won’t win this war,” said a worried Poltron.

“We are all in this together,” replied Avidite in a calmer voice. She walked over to the Archbishop and patted his shoulder. “We’ve got your back, Poltron, and you know that Macher would never let us down.”

“Thanks, I can’t wait until we split this city equally among us,” said Poltron to the two of them.

“Besides, Macher already has high level Intimacies with those Cavalry Knights in his private army. I’m sure his men will be up for the challenge, right?” asked Avidite.

“Yeah, my Intimacies with them are all above 85. Some even reach up to 90. I personally trained with them and went on several level C and B quests to raise their levels from the ground up. I even know all of their names,” replied Macher fondly.

“Alright, alright. No need to go into the details,” said an irked Avidite. “You can keep your private army, while Poltron and I have our pick with the Zectians in Centzo.”

“Sure,” replied Macher and shrugged his shoulder.

“At least this campaign will be ending soon. Our funds will only last for five more weeks, and that’s already stretching it to the best possible conditions,” said Macher out loud. He joined the Elementalist and the Archbishop.

“Just remember what you said, Poltron, we’ve got this city in the bag,” said Macher haughtily as he wrapped both his arms around their shoulders. “Even if Ilad is with Smoke….”

* * * * * *  

“Achoo!” Smoke sneezed and asked to take a short time out from their duel. “I think this early morning mist is getting to me or something,” he said to the Avendre Commander.

Before the break of dawn, Smoke was having a duel with Jeter Pion from within the trees. He used Aral’s Lightning Rods and faced against the formidable Mercenary equipped with his saber and kite shield.

Smoke had sparred with several ordinary Mercenaries and the other Avendre Commanders. Out of all of them, he noticed that Jeter’s fighting ability stood above the rest.

The common Mercenary was below the level of their Ranseurs, while the Commanders were slightly stronger than them. However, Jeter was almost on the same level as Espion. There were even a few moments that made Smoke think that the Avendre Commander was almost on the same level as Adder.

Smoke swiftly moved to Jeter’s left and struck him with the lightning rods, but he was instantly blocked by the Mercenary’s shield.

Yet, Smoke wasn’t finished with his attack as he fluidly circled around Jeter and delivered a swift blow to his back.

SHIIIING

Without turning around, Jeter’s saber blocked Smoke’s lightning rod.

“That’s quite impressive,” said Smoke approvingly.

“Thank you,” replied Jeter as he turned around to face him. “I know that you have been holding back, but hearing a compliment from you is still something to be proud of.”

Jeter then got into an offensive stance. “Now, if you don’t mind. I’d like you to take this seriously. You wanted to know our true abilities, right?”

“Alright, if you insist,” said Smoke and readied himself as well.

Smoke used his Hyper Jump ability and almost instantaneously appeared in front of the Avendre Mercenary. He struck with his left rod’s Lightning Shock ability on Jeter’s body and aimed his right rod squarely on the Mercenary’s chin.

Jeter was sent flying backward and tumbled on the ground. Smoke made sure to keep the damage within a safe parameter, and the Mercenary Commander’s life bar displayed (102,500/205,000 HP).

Smoke walked over to the fallen Avendre and offered him his hand.

“Thanks for taking me seriously,” said Jeter gratefully as he was being helped up.

“Even if you hadn’t asked for it, I would have had to,” replied Smoke and shook Jeter’s hand. “That was very impressive. Where did you learn to fight like that?”

“I have been with the Avendre ever since I was young,” began Jeter. “My family was in a great amount of debt and the only way they could think of getting out of it was by pawning me off to the Avendre Mercenaries. Luckily for me, Solliciter, the Avendre’s Leader, took pity on me and trained me well.”

“Wait, what? Your family sold you off to be a slave?” asked Smoke incredulously.

“I guess you can say that, but Solliciter never treated me as one. He even told me that I’m free to go wherever I want to,” said Jeter fondly. “I even told him about how I was interested in joining your army. The stories of how you freed several villages from oppression has reached the Avendre Headquarters in mount Alouer. You have inspired me to help others, but I won’t be able to do that until I pay off my family’s debt.”

Despite Jeter’s excited voice, Smoke clearly saw the Mercenary’s sullen expression.

“I see, and how much is it?” asked Smoke.

“Fifty million zecs,” replied Jeter shamefully. He turned and saw Smoke smiling at him.

“It’s funny, right?” said Jeter as he forced himself to smile. “How in the world can a family be in debt for fifty million zecs.”

Jeter forcibly stretched his body and shrugged off any sore feelings.

“On the bright side, at least Solliciter allowed me to serve under you,” said Jeter gratefully. “This way, it feels like I’m really in your private army and fighting for a just cause. Thank you again for the spar.”

Jeter bowed down his head and started walking away towards his men.

“Jeter,” called out Smoke.

The Avendre Commander turned around immediately.

“Don’t worry. I have a feeling that you will finally be free from your family’s debt in this battle,” said Smoke reassuringly.

Jeter smiled and slightly bowed his head and left.

Suddenly, a notification window popped up.

+ Intimacy with Jeter Pion has risen to ‘Trusted Friend’

  You have gained Jeter’s trust by sparring with him and asking him about his past and his dreams of the future.
  You can expect that Jeter will put his life on the line for you, and obey your orders within reason.


Smoke smiled after he read the window. He unequipped his twin lightning rods and looked around their camp.

The Avendre Mercenaries were still busy unloading the emergency rations that they brought for the starving people of Centzo into Laernea’s and Gandiva’s carriages.

Smoke walked over to inspect the rations. He saw that they were packed to the brim with wheat bread and preserved meat, but he knew that it was far from enough to feed all of the hungry residents. 

He walked away from them to get some fresh air. It had been some time since he dwelt on this issue, but he still had not come up with a solution.

Looking around the crowded forest patch, he saw that everyone was busy with their preparations for battle. They were still waiting for Thyrsus and Vijaya’s return on their reconnaissance mission.

Without finding a place to hear his thoughts, he equipped his Claws of Chiropterra and scaled one of the sycamore trees nearby. He found a strong branch to sit on, and watched the busy people below him.

Amidst the crowd, he easily spotted a red-haired beauty among them. Sharur was standing next to her, assisting her with the ingredients.

Smoke was blankly staring at her, completely mesmerized by her HighElf form. With her curly hair, she looked exactly like her real self except for the long pointed ears.

From the ingredients she had prepared, it looked like Sierra was busy cooking various Zectian dishes. He knew that it was an aspect of the game that eluded her for a while, and he understood why she loved serving everyone her meals.

He worriedly glanced over to their own food rations and thought that they would have a little left, but was surprised when he saw that it was practically untouched.

With his Telefax Vision, he zoomed in on the meals that she was serving. From the small bowls that Sierra was giving out, he thought that she was giving them seasoned blood pheasants or ancient bison steaks. Instead, he saw an ordinary looking soup. 

He quickly jumped down from the tree and went over to her. He was alarmed by the meal that she was serving them. He knew that their food supply was limited, but this was unacceptable. Soups were great for medicinal meals because it quickly spread throughout the body, but it barely made any impact on the satiety bars. She would have needed four times the serving she was giving out.

‘How can she expect the men in top fighting form with an empty stomach?’ he thought to himself and stormed towards her.

“Oh, just in time,” said Sierra with a smile and offered him a the same small bowl.

After looking at her face, he calmed down a bit. He didn’t want to upset her by saying that her cooking was wrong. He already heard about what her uncle did to her when she tried cooking Zectian dishes in the real world.

So, he decided to try the soup first and gauge how much it filled his satiety bar.

An explosion of flavors filled his mouth after the first sip of the soup. He quickly wolfed down the bowl in a matter of seconds. To his amazement the small bowl filled his satiety bar completely.

“What did you put in this thing?” asked Smoke as he tried to decipher the ingredients from the taste.

“Wouldn’t you like to know,” she happily replied but had no intention of revealing her recipe.

“Sharur, don’t tell Smoke what we put in the soup,” she said half threateningly and jokingly at the OrkElf beside her.

“Of course, Sierra, this soup will be our little secret,” answered Sharur happily. “How about you name this, Mystery Soup Number One?”

“That’s not a bad idea,” said Sierra while nodding her head at him. “Let’s go with that.”

Smoke put down the bowl and grabbed her shoulders. “Seriously, you barely even touched our supplies. How did you do this?”

Sierra honestly answered him after she saw how serious he was. “I pureed the main ingredients for a while and added cornstarch. Then had Sharur chop the beef into thin slices.”

She than slapped Sharur’s chest. “The big guy here didn’t even know about this technique, and he says that he’s my teacher in cooking. Using this method, I think we could extend our food supply by ten times the normal serving. Why were you asking?”

“I think your cooking talent may have just saved an entire city,” replied Smoke proudly.

Before he could say anything else, Thyrsus and Vijaya came bustling in, mounted on their aardwolves.

“We have to go now!” shouted Thyrsus. “Prosjak’s estimate on the Brandals attack was wrong. The bandits have already made their move towards the city.”

* * * * * *  

Accompanied by Ledur, Smoke took to the skies. The two of them flew towards Centzo as fast as the tailwinds carried them. As Smoke looked on the horizon, he found the familiar city with its golden luster. The city’s capital sat on top of a low mountain.

He hoped that the plant life had regrown outside the city walls, but the Brandals’ wanton trail of devastation remained true. From his vantage point, he could see nothing but barren land on the mountainside surrounding the capital.
   
“Ledur, look at that,” said Smoke to the winged Tikbalang as he pointed to the three groups of Brandals simultaneously marching towards the city.

Their original target of thirty-thousand bandits were coming in from the north, while another thirty-thousand Brandals were coming in from the west, but only ten-thousand bandits accompanied by ten-thousand Zectian Cavalry Knights and two-thousand Sonstwelters were led by Macher towards the main gate on the southern side of the capital.

Each Brandal group brought along thirty catapults, while the one with Macher leading them had four more trebuchets. They hauled along several carts filled with big boulders, he surmised that those were for the siege devices.

Smoke wondered whether they were going to immediately launch an all out attack on the city, but as the three divisions got closer to Centzo, they all stopped when they reached two-hundred meters from the foot of the mountain.

With his Telefax Vision, he saw Incitant on top of the western gate, Smoke estimated that about five-thousand Sonstwelters were with him. Whereas, Espion joined the other Zectians on the main gate as they served under Prosjak’s command.

Shortly after, a volley of arrows attacked the western and southern Brandal groups, but none of the bandits were hurt as not a single arrow reached them.

Prosjak and Incitant instantly ceased their ranged attacks and waited for the enemy to be within their sights.

“I have seen enough,” said Smoke and motioned for Ledur to head back with him.

Some distance behind the Brandals on the north, Smoke could already see the dust cloud created by his forces heading for the city. He then focused on the Vigilantez running towards the capital, but they were still at least two kilometers away.

“Ledur, wait. On second thought, we better stall the bandits until our friends arrive,” said Smoke and pointed to the mountainside outside the capital’s small northern gate.

The two flying Vigilantez landed safely. However, they were spotted by the bandits below them. The Brandals proceeded to load all thirty of their catapults with flaming boulders.

Centzo’s skyline was filled with an auburn glow as multiple flaming boulders simultaneously came at the capital from three directions.

Smoke and Ledur immediately put up tall earth pillars that took most of the damage from the boulders. Despite their efforts, four big cracks appeared on the city walls on the northern side of the capital.

Although, the wall itself was still intact, Smoke wasn’t sure how many more flaming boulders it could take before it will finally break.

After seeing the damage that the catapults did to the city walls and their earth pillars, Smoke was concerned about the other two locations.

Yet, he had no time to worry about them. His army was the last line of defense on this side of the capital. All of Centzo’s military force was already distributed to the western gate and main gate.

Smoke quickly created more pillars after the ones they made were destroyed, while Ledur began repairing and reinforcing the walls.

Suddenly, they heard a loud battle cry as two-thousand bandits started climbing up the mountainside. They were shortly followed by five-hundred mounted Brandals on black ctenosaurs.

Despite the numerous Brandals headed their way, there were still more of them left guarding the catapults.

While thinking of what to do against the incoming bandits, the Brandals on the foot of the mountain fired another round of flaming boulders at the capital.

Smoke focused his Earth Manipulation on six pillars and reinforced them with thicker earth. The other pillars easily crumbled against the flaming projectiles, but these ones did not. The flaming boulders stopped in mid-air and fell down to the ground. Due to the inclined mountainside, these three boulders then rolled downwards towards the charging enemies.

The climbing bandits were taken by surprise from the attack of their own weapon. Several Brandals were rolled over by the fiery boulders and received the ‘Burned Status.’

Smoke smiled at his small victory, but it instantly vanished as he turned around and faced the wall. A small crack, big enough for a person to fit through, appeared.

Ledur hurriedly closed it up with his Earth Manipulation, but several more boulders were coming their way. At the same time, the Brandals climbing up towards the capital were closing in on the two of them.

Smoke caught three more boulders and sent them back down to the bandits, while Ledur created random blockades with his earth manipulation.

The two of them were quickly running out of time. After the fourth volley of flaming boulders came, the northern city walls finally gave way. A wide crack appeared on it, and it was big enough to allow ten black ctenosaurs to pass through side-by-side.

Ledur quickly began to cover it up with his Earth Manipulation, but another round of fiery boulders immediately came crashing down. This time, it destroyed the small northern gate, adjacent to the wall that the winged Tikbalang was fixing.

Smoke knew that many of the residents of Centzo will be slaughtered if the Brandals would get past the two of them.

Fortunately, he saw two stag moose blitzing their way through the bandits up the hill. They were joined by four durcules beetles. As Bilis’ and Tulin’s antlers had not yet regrown, the large flying insects took the lead and used their sharp black horns to stab the bandits out of the way.

As Laernea and Gandiva broke out of the Brandals’ formation, the two Lioumereans scattered black and silver metallic rocks on the ground. Both of their stag moose slightly shuddered at the sight of the magnetic stones and quickly sped away from them.

Smoke grinned and took out two electro stones out of his backpack. He placed them in his left palm and pointed the Electromagnetic Golem Offering at them. He then used the ring’s active ability called Golem Creation.

The electro stones flew out of his hands, flying straight in the direction of the black magnetic rocks. The moment it made contact with the ground, it started pulling in the metallic components near it.

A black and silver monster with 200,000 HP were instantly created amidst the charging Brandals. They were an exact copy of Horrabelle’s two-meter tall golems.

He would have wanted to create more of them, but his current mana could only allow him to create two, since he was about to use Aral’s Lightning Rods.

Smoke used its ultimate ability, Lightning Strike. A flash of blue light emitted out of his twin rods after he connected them together.

The Lightning Strike flew straight towards the Brandals’ direction, but none of the bandits were hit as it only struck one of the metallic golems.  

After the moment of impact, Smoke then quickly used his newly acquired Lightning Manipulation ability. With his twin lightning rods still equipped, he forked the Lightning Strike into three branches. He redirected the two smaller branches of lightning towards the bandits nearby, while the largest one went straight to the other metallic golem.

Smoke was able to repeat the same process three more times until his Lightning Strike completely dissipated. It was a weaker version of Horrabelle’s attack, but he killed over eighty bandits in that one attack. He then opened the metallic orb on his chest and let out his dark ember sprite, Igniz.

The small purple flame instantly flew out and looked at the Brandals’ direction.

“Time to go old school, bud,” said Smoke as he switched to his power chainsaw bow. He thought to do as much damage at the approaching bandits while waiting for his mana bar to recover. He needed less than twenty minutes to have it back to 100%.

Igniz immediately enchanted Smoke’s, Laernea’s and Gandiva’s arrows with fire. Smoke then signaled his symbiote to fly over to the Brandals and assault them with a rain of fireballs.

At once, Igniz flew to the bandits without hesitation. Smoke, Igniz, Laernea and Gandiva assaulted them with their ranged attacks, while his black and silver golems blocked some of the incoming Brandals.

With the Brandals unceasing catapult attacks, Ledur was now the only one left blocking the flaming boulders from destroying the walls.

* * * * * *  

The Brandals on the foot of the mountain turned around to see the loud war-cries coming from behind them. The ones directly in front of the three charging war elephants were instantly demoralized. These massive mounts were leading the Vigilantez’s wedge formation.

The rest of Smoke’s core members all rode on aardwolves while the surviving Arcus had to squeeze themselves as five of them rode on the war chariots supposedly built for three. The mounted units did not run at full speed as the Ranseurs and Avendre Mercenaries could not keep up with them.

Sierra’s normal form allowed her to easily ride together with Weise. Whereas, Rasant and Adelige shared a war elephant, while Stark, the largest Maneator, rode alone.

Adder’s team of Condortlian Warriors on the back of Centaur Rangers were joined by one thousand of Jeter’s Avendre Mercenaries on the right side immediately after Sierra.

Sharur’s and Jinggu’s teams banded with two more Avendre Commanders. The twin OrkElves were on Sierra’s immediate left.

Meanwhile, Ichaival, Sharanga and Guro were spread out to the left wing of their wedge formation. Each of their teams were bolstered with two-thousand Avendre Mercenaries. A total of six-thousand new members altogether.

On the other side, Thyrsus and Vijaya were on the far right wing. Between both their teams, they were only given four-thousand Mercenaries. However, Phen, Rear, Ardu and Vrai were on this division as well as they took command of all the Tikbalangs and Werewolves.

Mamelon’s Elemental Knights and Shamans stayed in the middle of their sporadic formation, and acted as backup to any of the teams. She was given only a thousand Avendre Mercenaries. Her unit was the smallest, but it was designed to be the most agile.

With the aid of the war elephants’ massive strength, Sierra and the Maneators smashed their way into the throng of bandits.

The mounted Brandal Captains threw their knives at them, but Sierra’s tanking prowess drastically improved after she equipped Smoke’s Armored Armadillo Shield. She blocked most of the projectile attacks coming their way, but only received 150 damage points on the knives that got past her shield.

Stark, on top of his war elephant, received several of the knife attacks as his war hammer called Gorilla Fist served as a poor shield. He had almost leapt off his mount to face the bandit captains, but Weise noticed this.

“Calm down, Stark. Remember our objective,” said the gray Maneator. Weise pointed to the numerous catapults still farther ahead of them.

A warm feeling suddenly overcame Stark, and his agitation faded as Sierra’s healing ability took the pain of the knives away.

After seeing Sierra in action, Adelige took out her heavy Oxen Edge. With her double-edged axe, she parried all of the attacks aimed at her and Rasant.

“Thanks, Adelige,” said Rasant gratefully as he concentrated on driving their war elephant straight for the siege weapons.

Adder’s, Jeter’s, Sharur’s and Jinggu’s teams hurriedly followed her lead. They didn’t stop to fight the bandits, but made sure to steadily move forward instead.

Yet, the Brandals quickly regrouped and cut off Sierra’s leading forces from the rest of the Vigilantez. Only three-thousand Avendre Mercenaries were able to join them in the front.

In exchange for being separated from their main forces, Sierra and her men were now within an arm’s reach of the catapults.

Sierra would have wanted to go to where Smoke was, but she knew that he could take care of himself. What they needed to do now was to acquire these catapults.

“Adder, Jeter, we need to make sure that Sharur and Jinggu take command of at least two catapults,” Sierra ordered quickly.

Together, all of them rushed for the nearest two catapults. Each siege weapon only had one Brandal Captain guarding it and a handful of bandits operating the siege device.

Adder riding on the back of the Centaur named Tragar, aimed for one of the Captains. Tragar’s arrows hit the Captain’s torso and distracted him fro them leaping Condortlian overhead. Adder’s BlitzSturm cleanly severed off the bandit’s dominant hand equipped with a whip. He then sliced his double-bladed sword across the Captain’s body.

The other Condortlian Warriors went to face the bandits handling the catapult, while the Avendre Mercenaries protected them from the other bandits who were coming in to stop them.

Jeter’s Mercenaries broke off for the catapult next to the one recently captured. On foot, Jeter ordered his men to swarm the Captain.

The Brandal leader lashed out his whip and cracked it at the Avendre Commander. Jeter got hit in the shoulders and his life bar was reduced by 25%. He raised his shield and blocked the next coming attacks as he charged forward.

Steadily, Jeter got closer to the bandit leader. The Brandal Captain switched weapons and took out a short sword. However, Jeter threw his kite shield at him, distracting the bandit from his next move.

The Avendre Mercenary scrambled to climb on top of the black ctenosaur. Holding his saber with both hands, he swiftly knocked the bandit’s sword out of his grip.

Many of the surrounding Brandals tried to help their leader, but Jeter’s men made sure to allow their leaders’ a one-on-one fight.

Jeter rapidly moved to the bandit’s back, and with his left hand, he trapped the Brandal Captain in an arm hold. His saber pierced through the side of bandit’s leather armor as the Avendre Commander repeatedly stabbed him.

After Jeter finished off the bandit leader, he drove his saber into the black ctenosaur’s head and killed it as well. He dismounted from the dead lizard and equipped his kite shield. He looked around and found that his men had did the same to their own opponents.

Then, a bright light engulfed him and his men as a red-haired HighElf began healing them.

“Well done, Jeter,” said Sierra promptly while she continued replenishing the life bars of the mercenaries.

“Now, I need you and your men to do it all again,” as she pointed to the next catapult.

“Right away,” replied Jeter excitedly and headed for their next target.

With two catapults secured, Sierra called for Sharur and Jinggu to come over, but the twin OrkElves had already captured two of their own.

“Can you guys handle two more?” asked Sierra as the catapults were brought closer to them by the Mercenaries.

“No problem. We can handle all thirty of them,” boasted Jinggu. “Make that all twenty-eight,” he said as he pointed over to the Maneators.

Sierra was confused, and turned around. She found that Stark and Rasant had destroyed two of the siege weapons. She then heard Weise shouting.

“We are not suppose to break them, just clear them from the bandits,” reprimanded the gray Maneator.

Sierra turned back to face them when he heard Sharur’s voice. “Don’t worry, Sierra, I’ve always got your back,” he said meaningfully.

“Thanks, but I think they are the one who needs your help right now,” she said as she pointed to the battalion closing in on Smoke, Ledur, Laernea and Gandiva on the mountainside. 

Sharur nodded, and the two OrkElves proceeded to change the calibrations of all four catapults to aim for the Brrandals charging at Smoke instead of the capital’s wall.

* * * * * *  

A busty Aqua Knight, on top of the largest bronze jackal, glanced between the opposite wings. At first, she thought the Vigilantez formation looked like that of an eagle closing its wings on a rabbit before carrying it off to be devoured.

However, only their right wing remained dominant against the bandits. The ruthless Brandals appeared to be a fighting jackal instead of a rabbit.

Mamelon didn’t know if it was because of the Werewolves and Tikbalangs strength, or because Thyrsus and Vijaya simply worked splendidly together. Yet, the only thing that was clear was that this was not the side she needed to help.

“Jackol, to the left wing!” she ordered her mount and the rest of her unit followed after her.

Ichaival, Sharanga and Guro were clearly suffering as their numbers were rapidly dropping. She further scrutinized their area and found that Guro’s team were holding their own.

The Gladiatrix’s Phalanx Aura and Battle Aura increased the capabilities of the Mercenaries around her. Guro was constantly on the move. This gave her men a high boost in morale, giving them the positive attitude to take on the bandits.

Unfortunately, it was Ichaival’s and Sharanga’s members that were being killed. Sharanga focused on hunting down the Brandal Captains, while Ichaival went after the Brandals’ healers.

This time, the Brandals had Witch Doctors scattered among them. This made killing the bandits five times harder. Yet, as they went after their special targets, they neglected to take care of their greenhorn Mercenaries.

Mamelon’s Shamans quickly began healing the Avendres near them. Apparently, Ichaival and Sharanga ordered their Acolytes to prioritize on healing the Vigilantez members, which made the Mercenaries be neglected.

The two Hunters quickly ordered their healers to focus on healing everyone, but they already suffered a heavy blow of a thousand dead Mercenaries on their hands.

Ichaival rode his mount closer to Sharanga. “Let’s change our support team’s precedence to healing the Avendre instead,” he said abruptly. “They are clearly weaker than any of our Vigilantez members, and I think our Ranseurs and Arcus will still be able to survive on their own.”

“I thought about that as well, but it would be too risky,” Sharanga replied back apprehensively.

“So, what should we do?” asked Ichaival impatiently.

“I don’t know!” shouted Sharanga as she let out her frustration.

Suddenly, an Aqueous Spike flew in between them and killed a bandit who was leaping towards them with his knife.

Mamelon arrived and intervened. “Focus on killing off the Captains and Witch Doctors as you were doing before. My Shamans will be healing the Mercenaries, while I and the rest of the Elemental Knights will support you from behind.”

“Thank you,” said Sharanga and Ichaival synchronously. The two Hunters swiftly rode off on different directions.

Sharanga’s falcon released her five-trap system on one of the Brandal Captains and brought him down to the ground. The Ranseurs and Avendre Mercenaries in her team quickly rushed to the downed bandit leader and finished him off.

Meanwhile, Ichaival, the Banalite Archers and his Arcus members all targeted the Witch Doctors. Their first volley was blocked by the bandits defending their healers, but their ranged attacks would not be stopped. Their persistence penetrated through the Brandals, wiping out the Witch Doctors near them.

With their sights firmly resolved and the addition of Mamelon’s troops, the left wing quickly picked up its pace. The Avendre Mercenaries were slowly getting stronger as each kill contributed to their experience bars and eventually led to them leveling up.

However, after thirty minutes into the battle, the Brandals sheer advantage in numbers was slowly getting to them. The Acolytes’ and Shamans’ mana could not keep up with the high demand of healing all of their members.

The Brandals closed rank on their Witch Doctors, and protected them with their lives, as more Brandal Captains huddled together around them.

* * * * * *  

From the far off distance, Smoke zoomed in and observed the commotion on the foot of the mountain. He grinned when he saw Sierra bravely cutting through the swarm of Brandals.

Despite his army’s arrival, he knew that no one was coming to his aid. Not even Sierra or his loyal Maneators. He understood that they would be more effective fighting below than trying to rescue him.

Smoke would have wanted to catch more boulders and roll them down the mountain, but he was saving his mana for something more efficient.

He aimed his torrential poison arrows at the Brandals in the back. Inflicting as many of the bandits with the ‘Poisoned Status.’

With the Brandals only a few meters away from him and the Lioumereans, he switched to Aral’s Lightning Rods and defended the front lines.

‘I don’t have to kill them, I just have to push them back,’ he thought to himself.

He struck the bandits one by one with only a single hit, and they tumbled down bringing along two or three of their comrades with them.

Through Smoke’s tenacity, he eventually reached the area were his magnetic underlings were fighting.

The Brandals soon realized that it was difficult to get past the monstrous DarkElf and his golems. Despite this, the bandits still moved forward as the capital’s walls were still being destroyed by their catapults.

The bandits tried moving to the side, away from Smoke and his golems.

Smoke quickly realized what they were doing, but he was still lacking in mana. He hurriedly yelled out for help. “Ledur, funnel them towards me!”

The winged Tikbalang temporarily stopped his repairs on the walls and created a slanted, three-meter earth-wall that was going towards Smoke’s location.

Blocked by the earth obstacle, the Brandals furiously rushed at Smoke and his two golems. Yet, unbeknownst to the bandits, Smoke was only biding his time.

As fifteen minutes had already passed, his mana recovered to the point where he could create two more golems. He swiftly took out two more electro stones and created more minions.

Smoke fought eight bandits at once, while his golems were mobbed by ten bandits. Fortunately for him, the Brandals’ weapons could do little damage to his metallic minions. They were unreasonably slow, but extremely sturdy.

Yet the major factor as to why they were able to hold their position against the numerous Brandals was because they held the upper ground, and Smoke had every intention to abuse this tactical advantage.

Together with four metallic subordinates, Smoke defended the passageway from the waves of Brandals. Concurrently, Igniz, Laernea, Gandiva and their durcules beetles kept attacking from Afar.

The Lioumereans picked off the dying bandits with their arrows, while their two-meter durcules beetles stabbed the bandits with their black horns.

Not to be outdone, Smoke’s dark ember sprite’s unceasingly attacked with his fireballs. He steadily lowered the life bars of the bandits.

“Igniz, swallow them in flames!” shouted Smoke suddenly.

Not a second later, Igniz created multiple firewalls inside the slanted confinement and inflicted every bandit caught in its flames with the ‘Burned Status’.

The poisoned bandits, in the back of their formation, stopped climbing and hurriedly retreated downward. They spread out and circled around the earth walls. There were still more than a thousand of them left.

Smoke was about to call out for Ledur’s help, but he was taken aback when he saw four flaming boulders coming straight for the bandits.

He used his Telefax Vision and instantly recognized the source of the boulders. He found Jinggu and Sharur preparing to fire another round of boulders at them.

‘Their effectiveness in using siege weapons coupled with their Far Sight ability really makes them formidable long range opponents,’ he mused.

Looking at the OrkElves’ sides, he found that Sierra and her troops had already captured half of the catapults. Yet, they were temporarily stalled as more Brandals began to swarm them.

Smoke was about to resume fighting the bandits on the mountainside when he suddenly saw two red flares go up at the same time. His eyes instantly went over to Ichaival and Sharanga, the Hunters who fired them.

Their troops were blocked off by the bandits and each of them were surrounded by several dead bodies of Avendre Mercenaries and a few of their Ranseurs and Arcus.

He scanned their area to search for the reason they shot out the flares. A few meters away from them, he saw twenty mounted Brandal Captains charging straight at them. They were all the remaining bandit leaders in their area.

“Laernea, Gandiva, leave the mountainside, but avoid the bandits at all cost. I have to get down there now!” he said in a rattled voice.

Smoke abruptly leapt up and took to the skies. “Igniz, with me!” he yelled out and his dark ember sprite instantly stopped attacking the bandits.

He decided to leave the remaining Brandals on the mountainside as he knew that Sierra will capture the catapults, disabling them from entering any potential cracks in the city walls.

Also, with the end of the falling boulders, Ledur would be able to finish off the bandits by himself.

Despite the fact that the mountainside was secured, his attention was solely on Ichaival and Sharanga as he felt an ominous feeling from their direction.

The Brandal Captains split up ,and ten of them went after each Hunter. He looked at the distance between the two of them and realized that he could only reach one of them in time. His troubled eyes darted between Ichaival and Sharanga, confused on who to rescue first.

‘What did those two do to be specifically target by the Captains?’ wondered Smoke worriedly.

Smoke saw Sharanga’s falcon throw one of her traps at the bandit leader and disabled him from joining their assault towards her.

Whereas, Smoke watched Ichaival use his Phantom Arrows on the leading Brandal Captain and knocked him off his black ctenosaur. Ichaival then immediately proceeded to the bandit directly behind them.

Without any time left, he gambled on saving Sharanga. He hoped that Ichaival would survive the Brandal Captains’ attacks, enabling him to come to his aid afterward.

Smokes body was engulfed in dark purple flames as his symbiote orbited around him rapidly.

CRASH

The DarkElf came crashing down on the Brandal Captains near Sharanga as he used his Comet Crush ability. He temporarily stunned them before they reached her, and hurriedly switched to his weighted chain and sickle.

Right at the start, he used his weapon’s deadliest ability, Cyclone of Slaughter. Smoke and the nine Brandal Captains appeared to be engulfed in a tornado as several afterimages of the sharp sickle and iron-ball surrounded them.

The ability lasted ten seconds. Three mangled bodies of the Brandal Captains with zero life bars were revealed after the tornado of sickles ended, while six of the bandit leaders were blown away backwards by the weighted iron-ball.

Smoke quickly switched his attention to Ichaival. His grit his teeth when he saw that there were still eight Brandal Captains heading towards the Hunter.

“Igniz, stay here and help Sharanga,” blurted out Smoke and went straight to Ichaival.

Using his Hyper Jump ability, he desperately moved towards Ichaival. Yet, it only instantly propelled him ten meters forward. His friend was still out of his reach.

The Brandal Captains then took out their whips and aimed it at him. A sudden flashback entered Smoke’s mind as he remembered how König Mitleid died in the hands of these bastards.

He kept on running and patiently waited for the Hyper Jump ability to finish its cooldown, but a sinking feeling inside him said that he could not make it in time.

WHIPISH WHIPISH

Eight whips cracked simultaneously, all aimed at Ichaival. A teary eyed Smoke did not avert his gaze at his friend and kept on running towards him.

Before the Brandals’ whips could hit Ichaival, a female Aqua Knight pushed him off of his mount and was caught by the bandit’s whips instead.

“Aaaahhhhh!”

Mamelon screamed in pain as her armor was forcibly pulled off and from her body. Four of the Brandal Captains released their whips and swiftly charged forward on top of their black ctenosaurs, while four more kept her tied up with their whips. The charging bandits mercilessly plunged their swords at her exposed flesh.

Her life bar, which was already at 35%, was instantly reduced to zero. Her lifeless body slumped down to the ground and slowly faded out of sight as she was forcibly logged out of Zectas.

BZZZT BZZZT

Smoke smashed the black lightning rods into two of the bandits’ skulls and temporarily paralyzed them. He proceeded to disarming the remaining Brandal Captains of their swords and whips as he used Eskrima techniques he learned in the real world.

Ichaival quickly recovered from the fall and fired his arrows rapidly at the bandit leaders surrounding Smoke. The rest of Mamelon’s Elemental forces arrived and helped Smoke and Ichaival finish off the remaining leaders.

“Raaaaaaaaah!” screamed the throng of bandits charging at them. Smoke noticed that only a few of their Witch Doctors were left, along with the last five Brandal Captains.

Greatly outnumbered, Smoke followed Ledur’s technique and created several random earth walls to slow them down.

Fortunately, the tables instantly turned when Smoke saw Thyrsus, Vijaya, Phen, Rear, Ardu and Vrai coming towards them. He surmised that they must have been alarmed to see the red flares as well.

Smoke briefly thought about Mamelon’s valiant sacrifice. He deeply appreciated her selflessness, but there was no time to brood on her death at the moment.

Uncertain of how they stood against the Brandals, he knew he needed to reassess the battle situation fast.

“Elemental Knights under Mamelon, please join with Ichaival’s forces. I swear that we will wipe out all of the bandits here and avenge her death!” boldly declared Smoke, and quickly leapt to the skies.

“Igniz, let’s go!” he shouted and his dark ember sprite immediately joined him in the air.

With a rough estimate, he guessed that roughly a third of the Brandals were left. He assumed that there were less than nine-thousand bandits all.

Although, the Vigilantez’s forces were scattered, they now had the upper hand. They slightly outnumbered the bandits as they still had thirteen-thousand members left.

Yet, the Brandals’ misfortune did not end there. One after another, flaming boulders came hurtling down from the sky.

Apparently, Sierra secured more catapults, while Sharur and Jinggu coordinated with their Avendre Mercenaries and sent a total of twenty of these boulders at the clustered bandits.

From his aerial view, Smoke saw the remaining Brandals rattled by the onslaught of the heavy boulders. The scattered Vigilantez turned into a favorable position, as they unknowingly trapped the bandits from within their formation.

As the rain of boulders continued, the Brandals became suicidal. It was as if they have lost all hope, and were fighting to take as many of the Vigilantez with them to the grave.

The Iron Knights, Ranseurs and Arcus had no trouble with the deranged methods of the Brandals, but the bandits were slaughtering the Avendre Mercenaries by stabbing them without any regard for their own safety.

Smoke quickly realized this, and called all of the core members on their battle channel.

“Everyone, open a path for the bandits,” he said, and was instantly answered with dispute.

“Are you insane?” asked Sharur incredulously. “We have them right where we want them!”

“Yeah, Smoke. Why should we show them mercy?” asked Ichaival. “Mamelon even had to sacrifice herself just to save me.”

“We are not letting them go. We just need to line them up and have Sharur and Jinggu pick them off one by one,” hurriedly explained Smoke.

Everyone fell silent and waited for his next orders.

“Adder, Thyrsus and Vijaya, open your ranks and form a wall of Mercenaries towards the south,” ordered Smoke. “Also, tell Ardu and Vrai to ready their Therianthrope and Tikbalang forces at the end of your formation.”

“Sharur and Jinggu, change your targets to coincide with their lined up formations. Make sure not to hit our allies!” stressed Smoke strongly. “As for everyone else, make sure that they follow along these lines.”

Before Smoke ended the voice conference, Vijaya got one more question in. “But how will we make the Brandals move as you wanted?”

“I will handle that,” said Smoke as he dove down towards the throng of bandits.

Igniz started orbiting swiftly around him, but Smoke told him to stop. “No, Igniz, we are not trying to stun them.”

He switched to his white metallic staff and landed softly in the middle of the Brandals. It took a few seconds for the bandits to react, but before they could hit him. Smoke had already created a concave Manatl as he crouched down.

While the bandits were attacking, stabbing and pounding on his purple barrier, Smoke suddenly screamed. “Everyone, the Captains have broken through the Vigilantez’s formations! Escape to the south! Run for your lives.”

Smoke repeated the same words loudly. Slowly, he noticed the bandits around him were thinning out. Some of the Brandals tried to yell that it was all a lie, but the spark of hope had already been ignited in the hearts of the bandits. The Brandals charged at the Vigilantez opening, and did not bother to attack anyone else.

Farther down the line, the bandits were struck down by more boulders as Sharur and Jinggu re-calibrated all of the remaining catapults.

As for the Brandals who escaped the flaming boulders, they were met with hundreds of Therianthropes and Tikbalangs.

A red-haired HighElf and four Maneators came to where a DarkElf was still crouched under his Manatl. In less than a few minutes, Smoke, Sierra and the Maneators wiped out all of the bandits in the area.

“That was good thinking,” said Sierra as she restored his life bar to 100%. “Did you learn that from Darius?”

“No, it was Guro. She taught me some new battle tactics that pertained to large-scale armies,” answered Smoke humbly. He looked towards the city and saw black smoke everywhere.

“I think we’ve got the northern part secured, but we have to check on the other two gates,” he said abruptly. “Can I ask you to finish up here?”

“Of course, go right ahead. Just be sure to inform me of your next move,” said Sierra as she gently squeezed his shoulders.

Smoke nodded, and without a word he jumped off and glided away. Together with Igniz, he flew towards Incitant’s gate as that was where the smoke and screams were coming from.

* * * * * *  

Smoke zoomed in on the city streets where Incitant was supposedly defending. There, he found teams of Brandals destroying buildings, houses and other properties of Centzo’s residents.

More flaming boulders came crashing down on the capital’s walls as Incitant never managed to get one catapult. He looked around some more, and found a few dead bodies scattered on the streets. He caught a glimpse of some of them before they faded into oblivion.

Smoke was relieved to see that most of the corpses were bandits and only a few Sonstwelters. He surmised that they must have been from Incitant’s alliance.

“Guard the blockades! They must not pass beyond our defenses!” shouted an Archbishop loudly. Smoke was taken by surprise to have heard the man from far away, he zoomed in on him and recognized him as Incitant.

‘He must have some special item or ability to enhance his voice,’ assumed Smoke, as his own voice never carried that far.

Smoke admired Incitant’s battle-cassock and would have liked to get Sierra one as a gift. From above, he could tell that Centzo’s Sonstwelter alliance gave up on defending the wall entirely.

Instead, they moved their defenses to the inner city. Incitant and his alliance built wooden-blockades and had Archers, Wizards and other Priests set up on top of them.

He then heard the source of the screams. They were from the residents of Centzo. Some of them had evacuated to the nearby tall buildings behind Incitant’s blockade, and could see the constant attacks of the Brandals’ catapults and their steady advance of bandits on foot.

Yet, no matter how many of the flaming boulders came crashing down from the sky, none of them made contact with their temporary wall.

The Brandals who rushed in were slaughtered by the dozens as they were sniped by their long range attackers.

From the way the battle progressed, Smoke guessed that Incitant had no intention of going out of their self-made barricade.

Smoke quickly called Sierra.

“Can you send the Therianthropes, Tikbalangs and the surviving war-chariots over to the western gate or are you still fighting with the bandits?” he asked bluntly after she accepted his call.

“We are about almost done here. I can send them off ahead and the rest of us we will just catch up afterwards,” replied Sierra briskly.

“By the way, how bad is it?” asked Smoke out of the blue. “How many of our men died?”

“We lost about five-thousand Mercenaries and two-hundred-twenty of our Vigilantez,” replied Sierra somberly.

“But I’m positive that the next time we will fight we won’t have as these many losses,” she added quickly as if trying hard to convince herself.

“What makes you say that?” asked Smoke.

“Well, all of the survivors have greatly risen their levels, and not to mention their gained battle experience from fighting the bandits. Especially Jeter, he gained more than ten levels.” said Sierra proudly.

“That’s really good to know. That Avendre really has some potential…” said Smoke as his voiced trailed off.

“Let’s hope for the best,” he said with an inspirited voice, but deep down he was doubtful. “I will coordinate with Incitant and see how we can help. Please send over the troops as soon as you can.”

“Copy that, Smoke, just be sure to stay safe,” she said worriedly.

“Don’t worry. I’ll play nice,” he replied and ended their call.

Smoke dove down swiftly and went to where Incitant was taking command of the Sonstwelter Alliance.

He landed discreetly from behind their barricade and walked up to the Archbishop.

“Hey, Incitant. My group and I have just finished up with the northern area, and I was wondering what we can do to help,” said Smoke cordially.

“Get out of here!” shouted Incitant rudely. “I told you that I don’t mind working with you, but I don’t need you stealing the spotlight from us. This is our time now!”

Smoke was taken aback. He thought Incitant would have welcomed his help, and wanted to end this war with the Brandals as quickly as possible.

“I’m sorry, Smoke, but please. We have this handled,” spoke Incitant in a forcibly calmer manner. “If you want to help someone, then go over to Prosjak’s side. I’m sure he will welcome your help, but here, we don’t need it.”

“Alright then. I will go over to the southern gate,” replied Smoke flatly and walked away.

He then called Sierra as he got out of earshot from the Archbishop.

“Change of plans. Please send our army over to the southern gate instead,” said Smoke angrily.

“Huh? But that’s in the opposite direction of where we are,” stated a confused Sierra.

“It’s a long story,” said Smoke while shaking his head. “Incitant just wants more accomplishments under his belt, and finish off the Brandals by themselves. He says he doesn’t need our help.”

“That doesn’t sound like a long story to me,” replied Sierra sarcastically. “So, are we going to go around the capital and for the eastern side of the city?”

“No that would take too long. Just have all of our men climb the mountainside. We are going to pass through the city directly,” said Smoke.

“Alright. I’ll tell our men, but I’m sure the war elephants won’t like it,” replied Sierra. “You know how they hate climbing steep places… Oh, or I could just have Ledur carry them on a platform or something.”

“I’ll leave all of that up to you,” said Smoke with a grin. “I’m going to Prosjak’s side, and ask what we can do to help.”

“Okay, but it will take us a lot longer to get there,” said Sierra and ended their call.

After he saw the damage dealt by the catapults on Incitant’s western wall, Smoke worried about the eerie silence from Prosjak’s side.

‘I hope Macher hasn’t done too much damage on the southern district,’ thought a perturbed Smoke, but he prepared himself for the worst possible scenario….

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