Chapter 235: Reinforcements Arrive, Into Battle
The Southam Demon Forest, also known as the Devil Forest, was located beyond the southernmost tip of the Kingdom of Eiche and home to many ancient demonic beasts.
To get to the Southam Demon Forest, one had to travel through the Deerhorn Mountain Range and the territory of House Tully.
In a certain mountain of the Deerhorn Range, there was a spring. The water which gathered formed a river and flowed through the rest of the range into the Southam Demon Forest. On the two sides of this river, countless cherry tomatoes grew, causing this clear and slow-flowing river to be named the Cherry River.
These bright and vivid cherry tomatoes were delicious and could be sold in many of the southern cities at a high price. However, there was normally no one who came to pick them.
It was because these cherry tomatoes were also the favorite food of many large beasts. Thus, every year, many large monsters and beasts would accidently enter the Kingdom of Eiche while following the river upstream, causing enormous losses.
As a result, only two kinds of people normally entered the Southam Demon Forest. The first kind were those who braved risks in search of opportunities and great rewards by capturing baby beasts. The other kind entered in hopes of finding magic crystals to use as jewelry or improvement materials.
Nonetheless, the number of arcane teams within the Southam Demon Forest was generally quite small, considering its vastness. The arcane teams of the Shadowfiend Corps which silently patrolled the edges of the forest also rarely went into the forest to hunt and train of their own volition.
But since the war had started ten days ago, the place had completely transformed!
“Ayrin, Stingham, Rinloran… are these really the members of an academy team which made it into the final four?”
At the entrance to the Shadowfiend Corps’ Shepherd’s Valley Outpost, a team of patrolling arcane masters was currently eyeing the arcane team which had been sent to be their reinforcements with expressions of disbelief.
“Are you suffering from indigestion or something? Even a pregnant lady wouldn’t have a belly as big as yours,” the captain of the patrol team, Caelan, a young man with short gray hair and a scar across his face, exclaimed as he observed Ayrin’s ballooning belly.
“Haha, it’s not like that. It’s because I ate too many cherry tomatoes. The ones over here are just too good,” Ayrin replied as he took another handful of cherry tomatoes out from the sack on his back and threw them into his mouth.
“Still eating like this?”
Several of the patrolling arcane masters felt like falling over from the shock as they watched Ayrin eat. Meanwhile, black lines covered Caelan’s face as he turned his head and looked at Rinloran, whose body was still half covered with bandages and splints. He asked, “What’s wrong with your arm and shoulder?”
Rinloran simply replied, “They shattered, and have yet to heal.”
Caelen turned his head once more as now looked at Stingham, who was constantly posing and combing his hair. He asked, “And you? What is wrong with you?”
“Eh?” Stingham blankly replied, “There’s nothing wrong with me.”
“If nothing is wrong with you, then why do you keep combing your hair?!” Caelan roared hoarsely. It seemed like he was on the verge of exploding.
“Because I’m handsome,” Stingham proudly replied. “Are you jealous?”
“This is our backup team?”
The expressions of the patrolling arcane masters all darkened they contemplated killing these newcomers and then committing suicide.
There was a child who seemed like he was about to explode from eating too much.
There was a child with a fractured arm and shoulder.
And then there was a child with the most ridiculous behavior they had ever seen.
Even if they were truly several of the main members of a team which had fought its way into the final four, they currently seemed mentally sick and physically disabled. Just what would they do here?!
A powerful voice rang out from within the valley.
Afterwards, a bald, almost two meter tall man wearing black metal plate armor lithely bounded out from within the valley.
“What a strong body and physical strength. He’s wearing that heavy metal plate armor like its ordinary clothes,” Ayrin thought to himself as his eyes abruptly lit up.
The moment the bald man saw the silent Rui, who was covertly standing behind Ayrin, Stingham, and Rinloran, he immediately froze in place.
“Zorn, this is the backup team which the Office of Special Affairs has sent over.”
Caelan’s expression was extremely ugly as he continued, “But just what can this disabled team even do?”
Caelan had just finished speaking when Zorn immediately turned and powerfully reprimanded him.
“What?” Caelan and the three other patrolling arcane masters froze as they grasped at straws and tried to figure out what they had done wrong.
“Rui’s strength is equal to a high ranking arcane team all by himself.” Zorn looked at Rui with an expression of anticipation and joy as he continued, “There’s no way that an arcane team he presides over will be weak!”
The patrolling arcane masters’ eyes widened and became filled with shock as they observed Rui’s seemingly ordinary figure.
Zorn continued his explanation, “Of Holy Dawn’s Evil Six, the only one which has been memorable these last few years has been Liszt. However, this Rui was also formerly part of that group. Only, he doesn’t take on missions very often, and when he does, it’s always by himself.”
“He’s one of the Holy Dawn Evil Six?” Caelan and the other three were overjoyed as they exchanged looks with each other.
“What is it? Has the situation taken a turn for the worse?” Rui, who had been silent this entire time, suddenly asked as he looked at Zorn.
“Just come in and you all will see for yourselves.”
A strange expression flashed across Zorn’s face as he turned around and led them into the valley.
”What’s this stench?”
The moment Ayrin walked through the mouth of the valley, he was immediately assaulted by a strange smell.
As Ayrin, Stingham, and Rinloran followed the small path through a dense thicket, a shocking scene appeared before them.
The Shadowfiend Corps’ outpost was constructed at the mouth on the other side of the valley. There were several simple, yet practical residences, and a single, large stone watchtower.
However, the valley leading up to the outpost seemed to have been completely trampled flat by thousands of stampeding wild cows. Outside of some weeds and tree stumps, there was nothing else in the valley.
The ground greatly scarred, evidently the byproducts of arcane skills during bouts of battle.
But the thing which most greatly attracted Ayrin’s attention was the cluster of tombstones in the southern mountainside.
It was likely the burial ground of all of the arcane masters who had sacrificed their lives for the cause here. Each tombstone was made from several pieces of stone which had been stacked into a pile. Many were covered with moss and wildflowers, signifying their age, but there were also twenty or so which seemed fresh.
“When we set out, we were told to travel straight to the Valentina Fort. But seeing the scene before us, it seems like the situation has changed quite a bit?” Rui emotionlessly asked as he solemnly looked at the graves.
“Five days ago, the Evil Dragon Followers began a crazy counterattack. The Blood Shadow Forest and Bone Filled Valley Forts are fine, but the fighting around the Sawatis and Valentina Forts has been extremely fierce. Every outpost in the region has been attacked. As such, the Valentina Fort region has fallen out of our control,” Zorn nodded his head as he explained the current situation to Rui.
Rui looked at Zorn and asked, “How many people do we have right now?”
“Not counting those who are seriously injured and waiting to be transferred out, we have seventeen. Adding you four, we have a total of twenty one,” Zorn replied, not mincing his words in the slightest.
“So few people?” Stingham exclaimed.
“Isn’t it too dangerous here? The Evil Dragon Followers are attacking so often and we don’t know how many arcane teams are fighting out there!”
“Why don’t we just hurry up and run away?” Stingham suggested to Rui.
“What are you saying? We are brave warriors! Since our mission was to come here and provide support, then we shall fight alongside our fellow comrades here until we are given another mission. Otherwise, we will lose to the other teams!” Ayrin immediately shouted in response as he waved his fist towards Stingham.
“Idiot!” Rinloran succinctly sneered at Stingham, “If you want to leave, just leave. You are just a burden in the first place.”
“What did you say?” Stingham responded in anger, “My handsome self is a burden?”
“Stop fighting. Quiet down!” Rui and Zorn shouted almost simultaneously.
“What was that sound?”
At this moment, Ayrin’s keen ears heard a faint commotion from in the distance within the midst of the giant trees which made up the forest.
The sound seemed to be surging over like a tide atop an ocean.
At the same time, a shrill whistle rang throughout the valley like a bird’s cry.
“Prepare to fight!”
“Caelan, guide these students. Don’t let them fall into our own traps!”
Zorn’s face was immediately filled with a murderous intent as he shouted several commands. Small explosions rang out from within his body as he rushed towards the sentry post before him.
This Shadowfiend Corps outpost not only served as a checkpoint and supply point for many arcane teams, but also an interrogation station. Most important, however, was the fact that this outpost contained an infirmary and provided arcane masters with quality treatment.
Because of the previous battles, there were currently seven grievously injured people receiving treatment in the building and preparing for transfer out.
For a large and important fixed outpost like this one, there were a great number of traps surrounding it.
“What kind of shitty place is this? We’ve just arrived and have yet to rest, yet we have already encountered the enemy?” Stingham cried out in a depressed manner. As he slowly followed Caelan, he ended up at the back of the group.
As Ayrin neared the watchtower in the outpost alongside everyone else, he saw five figures burst out from within the dense forest like wisps of smoke. Countless low rank evil beasts followed behind them, their teeth coldly glinting under the light.
“Those are our people!”
As Zorn, Caelan, and the others identified the creatures which were rushing towards them like a stream of water, their expressions immediately changed.
“It’s really Evil Toutous?”
As for Ayrin, his eyes lit up instead.
The five fleeing arcane masters grouped with Zorn and the rest and immediately scattered into several smaller teams which each took a spot around the perimeter of the area. As Zorn screamed out a command, Caelan extended his arms and shot countless streaks of slender flames into the nearby ground.
Boom! Boom! Boom!...
Countless loud explosions occurred as dirt simultaneously erupted into the sky at numerous positions around the outpost and monstrous waves of flames surged out from the ground and merged to form several walls of flames.
“I’m going to fight them!”
At the same time, Ayrin decided to charge towards the surging tide of Evil Toutous.
“This fellow! Rui!”
Zorn’s face abruptly turned pale white as he turned his head and looked at Rui.
Although a single Evil Toutou didn’t pose any kind of threat towards an arcane master, there were simply too many in this wave. If Ayrin wasn’t careful, or if his movements were just a little bit too slow, and he was bitten by a single one, then the rest would become stimulated. If that happened, he would be like a fish amongst piranhas, and instantly turned into a clean skeleton.
Zorn naturally hoped that Rui would call Ayrin back.
“Let him go. He is experienced in dealing with Evil Toutous. Moreover, if he manages to divert their attention, then nothing will happen here.”
Rui’s nonchalant reply stunned Zorn.
He lowered his voice as he continued, “Just leave those Evil Toutous to them. The two real opponents have yet to appear.”
A glint flashed through Zorn’s eyes as he remained silent.
“My stomach doesn’t feel too good. I’m going to use the restroom first,” Stingham suddenly said at this moment as he ran towards a room.
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