Chapter 66 (Battle of Hermes Part 1)
As the freezing cold rain fell, it diluted the smell of blood that covered the whole of New Holy City. While in these inhuman conditions, Alicia was fighting for her life by swinging her great sword while violently panting.
It wasn’t her first time participating in the battle to defend Hermes, but she had never thought that there would come a day when the New Holy city could fall.
The walls were completely destroyed.
In her whole life, Alicia had never seen such a horrible monster. A huge worm-like hybrid beast came out of the ground and pressed its body close to the glacier cliff, drilling its bone claws into the cliff and climbing up the wall step by step. Even when it had reached the top, its lower body still hadn’t left the ground completely.
If it had only a huge body it wouldn’t have been such a disaster, but none of them could expect what had happened next. When the huge hybrid species opened its mouth, a horde of demonic beasts rushed out and turned the wall into hell within seconds.
Originally, it could still be said that everyone in her team was calm and prepared, but when the demonic beasts attacked, everything was broken and turned into disorder. During the chaos, Alicia was separated from her squad, so she could only helplessly watch as one of her comrades was swallowed by a demonic beast. Warm human blood and black monster blood mixed together and flowed along the grooves on the stone-paved floor.
When the horn gave the signal to retreat, Holy City’s mangonels began to fire, dropping granite blocks the size of half a person from the sky, totally disregarding that many defenders were still fighting on the city walls.
Alicia could still clearly remember the image when her Captain was hit on the side of his head by a stone. When she got up from the floor and was finally able to look at him, she saw that he was embedded into the stone floor together with his armor. Folded together like a parchment, his intestines were dripping out of his opened abdomen, and his hot blood pooled into small puddles.
Alicia thought, If I hadn’t thrown myself onto the ground at the last second when I discovered the stone, I'm afraid I would have ended up just like him!
As for how she exactly archived to stay alive and return from the walls, Alicia wasn’t able to clearly remember it. She was only surrounded by yelling and cursing; everyone was frantically waving their arms, trying to defend themselves, but in the end, who they were hitting was unknown and it didn’t matter if they hit a demonic beast or one of their own.
From her own team, which started with one hundred soldiers, only twelve survived, including herself.
"What to do next, Captain!"
Since Alicia had survived, she was to take over the post of captain, as per the military regulations. If the captain was killed during the battle, the vice-captain would take over the post of captain and lead the team to continue the war.
To clear her head, Alicia bit her lips until an iron taste filled her mouth, then she finally decided, "We will go to the North Gate. If the demonic beasts want to leave the New Holy City they have to pass through that point." Following this order meant that they gave up the area between the walls and the whole inner city, but she had no other choice. There was no place comparable to the Central Church – nothing was more important than the Hermes Cathedral.
She didn’t say it aloud, but everyone knew that with only 12 people, they couldn’t play an important part in defending the walls.
In her heart, Alicia prayed, Maybe today will be the day I will die while defending the kingdom. May God be kind to me. However, to the outside world, she shouted, "Verdict will never give up! We will march!"
"Verdict will never give up!" shouted the others in union.
Alicia’s team of twelve followed her and trotted in the direction of the Northern Gate. During their run, the sound of the war became less and less clear under the rain and blowing wind until it completely died down.
Upon her arrival at the North Gate, Alicia saw that there was already a crowd of survivors from other squads in front of the drawbridge. Evidently, they were thinking the same thing. This made her heart feel a little better.
However, in this time of crisis, they actually let down the drawbridge. Seeing this, Alicia began to frown and walked towards the handsome warrior in charge who was wearing the standard red robe of a presiding judge. She gave him a salute, "Presiding Judge, Sir, I’m the captain of the fourth battalion advance team, Alicia Quinn! "
"I'm Tucker Thor, responsible for the defense of the North Gate. You've worked hard," the man nodded acknowledgingly and said, "We have set up the emergency area at the other side of the gate, if your team has any injured you can send them there."
"Your honor, I don’t understand why you aren’t raising the drawbridge in this time of crisis? The demonic beasts on the wall can attack us at any moment, we must ensure that they don’t conquer the inner city."
"Calm down, captain! I know that you and your team are not afraid to sacrifice yourself for the greater cause, but that sacrifice would now be meaningless. We are still far from the Church’s point of no return," he tried to calm Alicia down, and wiped the rain from his brow then continued, "We have to work together. If you run out of pills to expel the cold, remember to ask the quartermaster for more."
When the Presiding Judge reminded her, Alicia finally recognized that she was totally frozen. After she left the heat of the battlefield behind her, the cold rain and the sweat on her body mixed together, almost turning her into an ice puppet. Facing the forever blowing ice-cold wind, she couldn’t suppress her body from shivering any longer.
She grasped into her sheepskin vest pocket to pull out a bag whose contents she then dumped into her hand, only to find a viscous liquid flow out. It seemed that she had accidentally damaged the pills during the battle. Finding nothing valuable, she sighed, raised her head disappointed, only to discover a new cold expelling pill in front of her.
"Take and eat it." Tucker Thor said while reassuringly smiling at her, "When the moment comes again I may ask you for the favor to be returned."
Alicia didn’t try to be polite, she immediately took the pill and swallowed it, "Maybe we won’t have a next time where we need this kind of stuff."
"Yes, well, that would also be alright," Tucker actually nodded in approval, "If I have to choose I would choose death instead of eating the pill."
Just when his voice fell, a strong smell of fish washed up from Alicia's stomach. Even the stomach-churning smell of death in the city didn’t have such a disgusting taste. She didn’t feel like she had eaten a pill. Instead, she thought she had eaten a mixture of flesh and blood, releasing an unbearable tingling feeling from her abdomen into her body. However, the chill faded suddenly, followed by a hot flow of blood through her whole body. Alicia’s body temperature was slowly restored to her normal temperature so that the already frozen sweat began to fall down. Her head also began to release water vapor and then finally she could feel her numb toes again.
"But we won’t die today," seeing her eat the pill, the presiding judge waved his hand, " At the moment, the God’s Army of Punishment is rushing over from the Cathedral. When they arrive here, the demonic beasts won’t be able to pass the North Gate. Take your people and send them to the assembly, and also remember to let them check if they still have their pills so that they don’t end like you and discover that their pills were destroyed when they needed it the most."
The God’s Army of Punishment is the strongest elite arm in the Church! Alicia had already heard of them long before, but she had never witnessed them fight. But ... even if the God’s Army of Punishment was as powerful as the rumors said, they were still humans right? With a human body alone, no matter how hard they trained, they couldn’t easily beat a crowd of mixed species.
But since the presiding judge said so, she had no way out from sending her eleven survivors to the north gate, close to the western side of the assembly.
Hundreds of troops had been gathered here after their retreat. They were standing in groups of two or three in the cold rain, disregarding the cold water that was flowing down their cheeks. Some of them even sat on the ground with a listless look on their faces. Only a small number of people had lined up a neat row, waiting for the enemy to arrive at any possible time.
If it were still some days ago, Alicia would certainly have stood up and scolded them, but now, she was at a loss. In order to establish this New Holy City, countless people were buried here. It could even be said that each brick was built with the blood of believers and people sent by the military trial. The Bishop had often said that Hermes was built on holy ground, the Capital of the Kingdom of God.
Today, however, the Kingdom of God seemed to be falling by the hands of the demonic beasts.
"The demonic beasts are coming!" someone suddenly shouted, "take your positions to meet the enemy!"
Alicia shouted loudly to raise the spirits of the soldiers, lifted her sword, and gazed at the fast-approaching horde: "For Hermes!"
"- For the New Holy City!"
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