With the bone broadswords and shields aiding the guards, the lower level undead didn’t stand a chance. In just a couple of strikes, one-star skeletons were reduced to a pile of dog bones. One-star zombies were slightly troublesome due to their innate traits, but at least a single strike to the head was enough to kill them.
However it was precisely due to these fodder that the skeleton archers were able to sneak in some shots at our army. Due to them focusing on the melee defenders, the archers were able to make use of that opportunity to fire at them.
Regarding casualties, I had a counter plan waiting at the rear of the convoy. I instructed 100 large imps to act as backup for the 20 guardsmen. If one of them fell, one of the backups would pick up the fallen sword and shield and fill in that hole.
And so we proceeded forward in this manner under the constant rain of arrows. When we finally reached the last 10 meters, the skeleton archers suddenly realized that they were in trouble and tried to retreat. However, with the devils’ superior speed, retreat was not an option for them.
“Don’t let them escape!” One-eye bellowed at the army as he led the charge forward. In a split second, he was upon them, his black sword waving wildly in the air with the guardsmen following closely in tow. In a mere ten seconds, 10 of the archers had been downed.
It was at this moment, that the floating ghosts stepped in to reinforce the archers. Unlike the ghost maids we met in the tower, these ghosts were pitch black apparitions, and only two of them were female vengeful ghosts. Instead of wearing a maid costume, they were akin to soldiers. As for those two females, while their features were pretty, it was overshadowed by their twisted expressions and savage looking teeth.
Unfortunately for them, this move was well within my expectations. I kept my eyes on those ghosts all throughout the fight and upon seeing them get ready to attack, I immediately prepared my flame whip.
With a wide sweep of my whip, the flames crackled in a fiery arc above One-eye’s head, catching two of the ghosts off guard. As the flames came into contact with the deathly entity, the radiant nature of the flames quickly reduced their body to cinders amidst a few mournful wails.
Seeing their companions so easily defeated, the reinforcing ghosts began to back away in a bid to protect themselves from the raging flames.
They tried one more futile attempt at stalling us but were quickly repelled by my whip, and in the process losing a few of their companions. Having learnt their lesson from the two failed attempts, they retreated behind the archers and used their ultimate move—–Fusion!
Over ten ghosts twisted together to form a strange ectoplasmic fog, from which a short while later, sprouted four limbs and a head. Not this time! I immediately swept away the undead in front of me and readied myself. No.3 and Big 4 braced their shields in front of themselves and charged forward like a tank; bulldozing through the undead blocking the way to those ghosts. With the way cleared, I descended upon the ghosts in an instant. By now, they had just formed a pair of legs.
With a sharp flick of my wrist, my flame whip shot forward, burning its way through their body and right into their core. As they were still in the process of merging, they weren’t able to separate off the burning parts and soon the flames began to spread throughout their entire body.
They had no choice but to end the merging process, splitting into individual ghosts once more. Some of the ghosts were fine, but the others were still on fire. Those that caught fire would soon die and as for those who weren’t, they smartly chose to distance themselves from the battle. In other words, they ran.
Their cowardice did not surprise me in the least. Just from those ghost maids in the tower, one could tell that while vengeful ghosts were also undead, they were much smarter than the normal undead we had met before; they knew a lost cause was when they saw one. They are apparitions after all, among the ranks of the undead, they naturally ranked higher than zombies or skeletons.
With this problem out of the way, my 700 over imps were able to unleash their destructive force on the archers without worry. They swept out from the backs of the guardsmen and flanked the archers in a pincer movement, thoroughly crushing them.
The vengeful ghosts had fled while the archers were mostly wiped out. The only thing left were the normal skeletons and zombies; they shouldn’t be a problem right? As if in response to my questions, reality showed me its cruel side once more.
The thunderous sounds of hooves bearing down upon the ground echoed throughout the battlefield, the source unknown. Out of nowhere, a small team of skeletal horsemen wielding lances descended upon our left flank. As they pierced through our flank, a large number of imps were caught by surprised and were severely injured by the stampeding horses or killed by the lances.
There were only 10 horsemen in this team. They each rode a skeletal warhorse which looked extremely frail. These horsemen did not wear much armor, with the most armored one only sporting a tattered leather vest which barely covered its chest cavity.
While they didn’t look like much with their small numbers, their sudden charge had caused immense problems for my army. Their charge had struck fear into some of the imps who upon seeing their comrades being trampled to death, began to panic and run. However, with the denseness of my army, they only managed to collide with another nearby imps, causing both of them to fall and get trampled by the imp army. Overall, their stupidity cost us more than the actual cavalry charge.
“Steady! Don’t panic! They only have 10 men!” One-eye and Big 1 tried their best to calm the imps down but the effects weren’t too obvious.
The galloping sound approached us once more and by the time I turned to them, they were almost within striking range!
No.3 charged at the oncoming horses with a spirited shout, blocking the horses that were heading straight for me. The skeletal horses were halted by his charge, however the impact had also thrown him back.
The soul flames in the skeletons’ brains controlled their movements via radiating a strange looking form mana. Without this ominous looking mana, the skeletons were merely a pile of bones. This was demonstrated when my flame whip wrapped around one of the horsemen and burned him. Under the intense heat, the ominous mana was quickly dispersed, cutting off any protection for the bones. With a quick jerk of my whip, it broke apart.
I swiftly trampled the skull with my feet, dispersing the soul flames within.
No.3 was at the peak of one-star and based on power alone, he should be unmatched in this tier. The fact that he got knocked back meant that these horsemen were probably two-star.
Just as I took care of that horsemen, as No.3 laid there another horsemen charged through the large imp barrier. With a giant two meter leap into the air, he flew over the heads of any remaining large imps; his target, me!
“Master!” Big 4’s heavy set voice rang out beside me. He was one of my two bodyguards and was constantly stationed beside me. As this second horseman tried to spear me, he hastily raised his shield, deflecting the lance.
The lance was diverted by the shield, creating a momentary weakness that Big 4 swiftly took advantage of. With his remaining hand, he swung his sword at the oncoming horsemen who still hadn’t reacted to having his lance diverted. As the two collided, the sword cut cleanly through the ribcage of the horsemen, even severing the horse’s skull in half. As for Big 4, he was blown back by the impact.
After knocking away Big 4, the horsemen tried to attack me, but couldn’t take more than two steps before the almost headless horse crumbled. As it fell to the ground, it crashed down upon its own spine which had been injured by Big 4, completely crushing it…it was a pyrrhic victory.
With a crack of my whip, I finished off the struggling horseman, reducing him to cinders.
After the two failed attempts at my life, they no longer tried a third. By now, One-eye had brought the guardsmen over to shield me. Any further charges were instantly stopped by their shields before they even came close to me. However, a number of the guardsmen had fallen prey to their hooves as a result.
The guardsmen played a pivotal role in this confrontation. Therefore, while their original members had suffered heavy casualties, their numbers were quickly replenished by the imps waiting in reserve.
My imps managed to hold off the two-star horsemen due to their superior numbers and equipment. Furthermore, due to the horsemen’s limited numbers and their two failed attempts, our side held the advantage in this face off.
Not to mention, there were still a ton of club wielding large imps nearby!
The 1,000 or so normal undead were basically wiped out by now, leaving the 8 horsemen to face off against over 600 large imps encircling them; with the guardsmen pressing them from the front.
Having lost their mobility, their combat strength experienced a significant dip. But even so, they still managed to surprise me by exhibiting the strength of a one-star. Furthermore, even without sufficient space to charge, the horses were still able to aid their masters by kicking at the imps with their hooves.
These hooves were no laughing matter as several large imps soon found out; as they were sent flying. They even managed to knock a guardsman’s shield away.
Thankfully, we had the numerical advantage. Even if they managed to knock some of the imps away, there were still imps ready to strike from the back. The horsemen were quickly overwhelmed by the waves of imps.
Notably, One-eye’s black sword wasn’t as effective as before. These skeletons had no blood after all.
As we cleaned up the battlefield, the horsemen’s bones were separated from the rest and their soul flames given to me. Their bones were earmarked for the next set of equipment. The soul pearls of the ghosts we killed were also harvested. All 7 of them were set aside to create the black swords for my stronger subordinates.
To think there were even cavalry undead, as expected of an ancient battlefield!
However, these two-star undead weren’t much of a concern as long as they didn’t form a horde. With my flame whip and hundreds of imps backing me up, there was no way I could lose.
What concerned me the most was encountering even stronger undead in the future. This was merely the outer edges of the battlefield and we had already encountered a group of vengeful ghosts, nearly 100 archers and a cavalry unit!
If we advanced further, would we meet with a skeletal mage or some other elite…
Are there even skeletal mages? Roscar used to tell me bedtime stories which had skeletal mages in them, however I’ve never actually met one.
Truth be told, he didn’t need to tell me stories to get me to sleep. I could sleep just fine unless Nicole was nearby. If she was, I would be too mesmerized by her to sleep. That’s why my childhood insomnia is all her fault! (Oh, Mo Ke, that was a smooth way to shift the blame. I’ll give you a 9.5/10, the 0.5 is so that you won’t get conceited.)
“Master.” One-eye had just finished taking a head count. “We suffered…87 deaths…”
“That much!?” Our original strength was slightly over 700, with these 87 gone, our numbers had dropped back to slightly over 600.
Ever since we’ve entered this undead land, we fought numerous battles. The hardest battle we fought so far was at the corpse mountain and due to us getting ambushed. The next battle would probably be this one…
“When the horsemen charged, there was chaos within the ranks…”
“…” Vexed, I turned and glared at One-eye who had averted his eyes at this moment and lowered his head.
Truth be told, those 10 horsemen wouldn’t have caused much damage to our army if not for the imps panicking. Out of all the deaths we suffered, half of it was probably from their stupidity.
“Sigh…” I’m so fed up with these idiots. They are dumber than pigs!
But I don’t think it’s possible to train these selfish devils into a disciplined army like those in the human world…
“Master, this was my mistake, please punish me.” Seeing me sigh, One-eye sank to his knees and immediately pleaded, his eyes still averting mine out of fear.
“Forget it, I’ll think of a plan to deal with the horsemen. In the meantime, we will retreat and avoid this region the best we can. The last thing we want is to rouse more undead, those damned undead are like bloodhounds, a tiny whiff of life and they will come after us!”
For now, the plan was to avoid advancing into the battlefield. At least until we formulated a counter plan for the horsemen.
I guess that only leaves one more matter to take care of…
“Get someone to find No.5 and ask him for a status report about the zombie horde.”
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.