Chapter 117 Chase (Part 1)
It was Carter’s first time that he seeing a battle.
A lineup of more than three hundred knights was unable to even scratch the edge of their defensive line, instead, they had been totally crushed.
Until the end, they had failed to even enter into a range of fifty meters – it was the hunter team’s fire line, only when the enemy had come closer than fifty meters were they allowed to open fire.
The four cannons had brought the enemy’s assault to a complete halt at merely one hundred meters. Along the range of one hundred and fifty to one hundred meters, laid an orderly row of twenty bodies, it was as if they had run into a wall. And these men, like himself, belonged to the strongest category of fighters, Knights; otherwise, they would have never been able to control their horses under the sound of gunfire.
In the end, Carter was glad that he wasn’t one of them. He felt a faint hunch that the battles in the future would become very different, and it was only a matter of time, until Roland Wimbledon the master of such a powerful force would aspire to the throne and aim for kingship.
When the members of the First Army saw the bloody battlefield, they became dizzy and began vomiting or had other adverse reactions. But this wasn’t the reaction they would show if they had personally killed the enemy during close combat, the sense of deterrence brought on by killing someone over a long distance was much less when compared with killing someone with a knife, their reaction couldn’t be counted as critical. Carter picked a set of people from his own team to pick up the severed limbs and put them back with the dead bodies, while still searching for the living people.
The sun gradually fell behind the mountains, and when Carter looked at the blood-red sky, and the distant woods with its crying crows, he was suddenly hit by a dull and dreary feeling.
The era of the Knights was over.
Even until now Duke Ryan was still unable to recover.
He couldn’t understand how it was possible that he had lost, even more to a line of defense as thin as a slice of onion skin, normally it would have been enough to poke it with just a finger to run through it, but today, it was his knights who fled like they had come face to face with the Devil. In truth, he couldn’t even blame them because the assault was under the command of his elite knights.
His personal guards had even to chop down several people so that the blindly fleeing mercenary didn’t come close to the Duke’s position. But he was unable to do anything else, no matter how much he shouted, he couldn’t unite the defeated men once more. In desperation, even Duke Ryan had to retreat with the flow of fleeing people, and their mindless escape only stopped after they had crossed nearly ten miles.
When the night came, the Duke chose a place close to the river bank to camp. Even after setting up torches to lead the separated knights and mercenaries back to their camp, most of their people were still missing. To make matters worse, the freedman had without any hesitation left in the carts with the food, so tonight they had to slaughter a few horses to serve as rations.
The five nobles huddled together, within the camp's largest tent, looking with a fearful expression towards Duke Ryan, however even he wasn’t in any better constitution.
"Who can tell me, what kind of new weapon it was that they had used? They are far better than crossbows, and they don’t seem to be throwing the stones like with a catapult," the Duke began to speak, while glancing at Rene, ”You also stood at the forefront, tell me what did you see?"
"My Lord, I... couldn’t see anything clearly," Rene answered, "I only know that every time this roar could was heard, our men would fall in batches, especially when it sounded for the last time, it seemed like the rushing knights had been hit by an invisible wall. Furthermore I also saw how their heads and arms were split from their bodies, it was just as if ..." he thought for a moment, "we were like an egg dropped from the height of a city wall.”
"Was it the power of a witch?" Count earl whispered frightened.
"No," answered the Duke, "My knights were wearing a God’s Stone of Retaliation, so the power of a witch couldn’t have hurt them! We weren’t attacked by witches, in front of those stones, they are nothing more than an ordinary woman.
"Oh, that’s right, sir," Rene suddenly spoke up, as though he was remembering something. "Before I heard the loud bang, I saw how carts which stood in a row, they had a huge iron pipe, it emitted a red light and a cloud of smoke.”
"An Iron pipe? What red light and what smoke? Doesn’t that sound like the ceremony barrel?" Count Elk asked with much doubt in his voice.
The Duke, of course, knew what a ceremony barrel was. Previously they were only used by the King at the beginning of major celebrations, but today nearly every Lord would use them. Even he had two ceremony barrels made out of bronze in his castle, they were used to light up snow powder. But that sound when compared with today’s breathtaking thunderous noise, couldn’t be further apart.
"The ceremony barrels would never be able to kill knights," Count Honeysuckle said. "No matter what the Prince used, it was powerful enough to defeat us all. So what should we do next?"
Hearing this, Duke Ryan glared in his direction, the sound of the word “defeat” was especially ear-piercing. "We haven’t lost," he insisted. "A battle alone doesn’t decide a war. We only have to reach the stronghold, there I can put another force together, while at the same time I will also cut off trade from the Redwater River."
Without any food supplement, Border Town wouldn't be able to survive for another month, and as soon as he dared to bring those villagers out, my knight will rush at them from all sides and in the end, defeat him.
Eventually, the victory would become his, just as had he wanted, but the loss he had already suffered couldn’t be made up with just such a small town... his dream of taking over the North turned out to be only a bubble. Damn! If I will ever catch that Roland Wimbledon, I will have to make sure to cut him into a million pieces!
"But my Lord, the fleets crossing over the Redwater River aren’t only coming from us, there are also ships from Willow Town, Fallen Dragon Ridge and Redwater City. If we cut everything off, wouldn’t..." Count Honeysuckle clearly wasn’t convinced.
"I will buy everything; it doesn’t matter to whom they sell. As long as they receive their money they will be satisfied," said the Duke with a frosty voice, "Now everyone should head back to their own tent's and go to sleep, tomorrow morning we have to rise early and ride further down the road with the knights. Everyone who doesn’t have a horse will stay behind to lead the mercenaries.
No one is able to march during the night, even if the 4th Prince intends to pursue us. He can only start at dawn, the first enemy he will encounter will be the mercenaries, he thought, even if that group of trash collapsed on the first encounter, I still have many people left who will fight for me.
During the whole of next day, the Duke didn’t receive any news of the 4th Prince having caught up. In order to confirm the news, he sent his trusted aides to expand the search range, but they all returned with the same news. This finally let him feel a little relieved, most probably this new weapon has the same problem as our trebuchets, they are too heavy to be transported and can only be used in defense. Relying on only his bunch of miners with their sticks, he doesn’t dare to act so reckless.
By three o'clock in the afternoon, the Duke had ordered his knights to stop for the day, waiting for the people behind him to catch up. Close to dusk, the mercenaries and freedmen were finally able to catch up with his remaining 66 knights. And they then all became busy setting up a circle of hastily erected tents.
He only had to survive for the night, tomorrow he could rush and reach Longsong Stronghold – then he would finally be safely behind his 30 feet high limestone walls, his hundreds of guards and the naturally formed moat. Even if the other side could use their new long-range weapon, he could just use the trebuchets placed behind the wall to counterattack. Against all this, the Prince couldn't win.
But all day long the Duke had a constant feeling of discomfort, he constantly had the feeling that someone was staring at him from afar.
Most probably it is just an illusion, he thought, I’m might just be a little too nervous.
The next morning, the Duke was awoken by the sound of gunfire.
When he rushed out of his tent, he could see people everywhere who had covered their heads and were trying to sneak away like rats. Yet, from time to time he could still see a fountain of blood or sail splash into the sky. When he looked to the West, he could see the enemy lined up in their strange uniform, quietly standing outside his camp. At the moment there was only one thought in the Duke's head - how had they caught up to us?
How come they weren’t detected by the knights that I've sent out yesterday?!
"My Lord, you have to flee!" shouted a personal guard who was leading another horse at his side.
This awoke Osman Ryan from his blanked state of mind, he immediately jumped on the back of the horse and followed his guard to the East. However, not long after they had left the camp, they saw another line-up of this strange force.
Wearing the same kind of leather uniform, holding the same strange short stick in their hands and also standing in two neat rows, even their facial expression was nearly the same.
Then the Duke once more heard that cheerful tune with its extremely rich rhythm, at the same time the Prince troops began to march at a neat pace, directly towards his direction.
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