The Empire of Hocke slowly took the advantage on the battlefield seventeen years after its founding thanks to the experts it recruited from the tournament. General Manhattan, the commander-in-chief, didn't hesitate to grasp that opportunity to lead the northerners on a harsh assault on their southern neighbors.
In four short months, the empire managed to reclaim almost four hundred kilometers of their territory on the battlefield thanks to the general's efforts. Currently, there was an army of 60 thousand gathered at the eastern part of the battlefield with the intent on retaking the most important coastal city of the empire, Seatide.
"Londo! Send a f*cking squadron out, will ya? Blackie can't hold on for long! And you, Eibron! Have your mounted archers fire forward and suppress the fireball fire! Don't keep whining about not having enough arrows! The lives of our brothers are more important! Use whatever the heck you need to to save as many as possible!" Kurdak bellowed on the battlefield as he fought.
Usually, Kurdak wouldn't speak that crudely, but after half a year with his unit, he found that expletives were most effective with his men. So, lately, he's been swearing left and right, much to Vera's dismay.
"Boss! We're going to break down over here!" Blackie called out helplessly a few minutes later.
There was no other choice. In terms of constitution, the northerners were considerably better than the Stokians of the south on average.
But the magical talent of the southerners outstripped that of the northerners. Not only did that mean that they had more powerful magi, they also had more apprentice magi who were of better quality.
In the operation to clear out the outposts around Seatide, they had to deal with a small low-ranked magi squad that was stationed there. Even though their enemies numbered only ten people who were 5th strata on average, all ten of them were full-fledged magi who could use the level three fireball spell.
An explosion caused by a fireball had a radius of roughly two meters. If each magus could use three fireballs at once, then all of them combined could use around 30. Under such a terrifying barrage, it was already quite impressive for Kurdak's unit to even hold on.
"Heck, don't you always boast about being tough? Why are you acting so much like a fearful lass now?" Kurdak tossed a riding lance to Vera and drew his blade from his back as he dismounted.
"Kurdak" The moment Vera took hold of the lance, she knew that Kurdak's bad habit was playing up again.
Even though captains were only considered mid-ranked officers, they weren't supposed to charge into enemy lines anymore. Perhaps as a consequences from his mercenary days, Kurdak never cared about his status on the battlefield and would swear like usual and charge into the enemy with his greatsword.
Yet, that was precisely what kept the brigade's morale so high. But as his aide and female companion, she knew about the fifty plus scars of varying depth that Kurdak got in the few short months he did so. Whenever he charged without a care into the battlefield, she would begin to worry.
"Graaaaagh!" Kurdak fought his way to the frontmost part of the battlefield and let out a terrifying war cry towards the Stokian ranks.
More than 20 warriors had their minds blank out from that roar and the three in front of Kurdak had their eardrums burst immediately before they collapsed on the ground twitching.
After that act of crowd control, Kurdak no longer attacked. Instead, he tossed a few of the Hockian warriors who were also stunned from his move.
"If you're out, then go back! Don't get in the way!" Kurdak said as he pushed his comrades aside.
After ensuring that there were no longer and friendlies in the area, Kurdak nodded with satisfaction. "I can finally go all out now!"
The next moment, the man turned into a meat grinder. His greatsword claimed countless lives. Any enemy that didn't resist would be sliced in half by Kurdak, and if they did, they would be sliced in half along with their weapons!
"As expected as the man I respect! Boss, you're even more savage than I am!" Londo could finally take a breather after Kurdak came to assist. He then continued to launch his counterattack on the enemy.
But because of his moment's carelessness, a Stokian soldier's blade was on its way to hitting him.
A dull thud could be heard as Vera's arrow accurately pierced the soldier's head. Londo then heard the tigress's call. "Londo you idiot, you better be more careful! I can't make sure that you'll survive if you keep on going like that!"
"Yes, yes! Thank you, Vera!" Even if Vera wouldn't be Londo's match in a duel, he feared her more than he feared Kurdak.
"Don't just flap your mouth pointlessly. Go look after Kurdak. That idiot's so far ahead that I can't see him!" Vera said a little anxiously. Not only did Kurdak rush to the frontlines, he even barged into enemy ranks! Was he insane?
"Huh?! Why's he all the way there?" Londo was shocked to see where Kurdak was. Even though he was already at the frontmost line, Kurdak was easily 20 meters ahead of him.
There were no friendlies around Kurdak at all. He was so deep into enemy ranks that people began to question his sanity.
"Don't worry. Watch me drag your man back!" Even a brash man like Londo understood that Kurdak would be in danger of losing his life if he continued this way. So, he swung his two-handed sword and prepared to dive into helping Kurdak.
"Don't f*cking come here!" Kurdak yelled when he saw Londo ramping up. He continued waving his sword without turning back. "If you come, you'll end up as roast meat!"
Londo didn't understand what the intention was, but out of habit of following Kurdak's orders without question, he really didn't advance. He only maintained a distance of some ten meters from Kurdak so that he would be able to rush in to save him should anything occur.
On the other side, a Stokian officer saw Kurdak's lone form in his ranks.
"Oh, is that Ironblood Greatbear Kurdak?" The commanding officer was a man with the ferocity befitting of a war god.
"Based on his build and abilities, it should be," replied his aide.
"Good. I had always heard about how strong this bear is and it really made me wonder. But I see now that he's nothing but a brainless brute. Heed my order!"
"Yes, Sir!" The aide said and kneeled.
"Have the magi squad empty their remaining mana on that bear. Fireballs and icicles or even magic missiles, dump them all until they run out of mana!" the officer said harshly, "I don't believe that he'll survive that barrage."
"But... Kurdak's surrounded by our men. We will no doubt harm them if we do that," the aide said hesitantly.
"The lives of a few soldiers for a high-order warrior captain's life is a worthy deal!" The officer waved without hesitation. "Execute the order!"
"Understood!" The aide saluted without hesitation and ran to the magi squad.
"Hah!" With a swift swing, the head of a poor Stokian soldier was sent flying like a rubber ball. His body remained on the spot and spurted blood all over before slumping two seconds later.
Kurdak's impressive strength struck fear in the hearts of the soldiers. They carefully circled him but didn't dare to engage. The past ten lost lives proved that numbers didn't mean anything before the might of a high-order warrior.
Right at that moment of hesitation and fear a wave of fireballs flew towards Kurdak.
He swung his sword down without hesitation and caused the fireballs to explode.
Even though they were fireballs dictated by low-order magi, they were the most damaging level-three spells and could even be compared to level four or five spells in might. The explosion occurred with Kurdak at its center. The searing heat harmed many Stokians around the area and the shockwave threw many of their things all over the place.
Kurdak had used Lava Blade to take Saron's fireball straight on before, so how could the magi apprentices' compare?
But before he could strike a cool pose, the second wave of fireballs came, followed by the third. The fourth wave even contained icicles and magic missiles.
In a flash, Kurdak was bathed in countless colorful lights. The explosions of the fireballs also beat up quite a bit of dust and buried him completely.
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