Despite our conversation that went nowhere, Violet Snow expressed her intent to join us. Surprisingly, she was only unsociable on the surface.
While she wasn’t willing to talk about her background, I vaguely knew that she was no ordinary hellhound. Her unusual white fur and small body coupled with the fact that so many hellhounds served her, all these showed that she couldn’t be some kid from an “average household”.
As we explored the Prison of the Dead, three hellhounds led the way for us while I walked alongside Violet Snow, my two bodyguards beside me as well. Surrounding us was a ring of hellhounds followed closely behind by my subordinates.
It has been an hour since we met them, during this time, nothing eventful happened except for that potato Nine-finger suddenly interrupting our conversation by shouting: “Master, these Abaddon Rodents aren’t enough for us to eat.”
At that moment, I felt like I wanted to die from the embarrassment especially when she gave me that “birds of a feather, flock together” look…
When it comes to finding food, there’s no way a bunch of newcomers like us could compare to the hellhounds who were basically locals by now. Besides, my imps didn’t have a nose as sensitive as those doggies.
And so an hour passes without us finding any food. By now, my subordinates were a little restless and began throwing the hellhounds a strange and nefarious look.
“Hey…where are we headed to? Aren’t there other sources of food nearby?”
Violet Snow gave me a cold glance before continuing without answering my question.
Having had previous interactions with her, I was, to some degree, familiar with her personality. She had a cold personality or should I say, she wasn’t willing to interact with people. She constantly had that cold, displeased look on her face as if someone owed her a million dollars.
Even so, I still felt that she was only unsociable on the surface, although her acid tongue ended up causing me trouble from time to time.
BUT, just look at that adorable face of hers…all these problems are only minor issues in front of this pretty little face…
Gentlemen, I have a confession to make…I’m a member of the good-looks club.
After another few minutes of walking, I discovered some fur scattered around the bony floor in front of us. It was a grayish black fur which resembled those the rodents had.
Just by looking at the scene, I could tell that there had been a battle here, it was just that the scars of battle had been cleaned up. Despite the lack of bloodshed and corpses left behind, I could vaguely tell that this battle had happened recently.
“These belong to the Abbadon Rodent?” After inspecting the fur that No.5 brought back, that was the conclusion I had to come. Only those ratmen had such a dirty looking fur.
“It’s them.” She gave me a curt reply along with her usual cold stare before ignoring me once more as if another word would’ve harmed her in some way.
My face fell as a sudden thought occurred to me: “Did you bring us to find the nest of those ratmen?”
Violet Snow nodded her head and calmly replied: “That’s right.”
“…” That nonchalance was truly exasperating…
“Then do you know their rough numbers?”
“How would I know of such a thing?” She answered in a matter-of-fact tone. “It’s not like I took a walk in their home before.”
“I…” God damn it! You don’t even know their numbers and yet you boldly brought us to their nest to kill them?! Are you sure you aren’t trying to get yourself killed?
“What’s the matter? Scared?”
“No, I just don’t like your proposal.”
What’s with that disdainful look…this isn’t being scared..it’s called not having any assurance. How is charging into an enemy’s base without any information, not a suicidal move?!
“If you are scared, you can choose to escape, but it’s probably too late to escape…”
“Why is that?”
“Because we’re almost there.”
As she finished saying this, she ignored me once more and continued leading the pack.
Her determined attitude left me stuck between a rock and a hard place. I didn’t want to face this unknown threat and yet I didn’t want to leave this adorable puppy to die. It was truly a love hate relationship that I had with her. Since I’m not willing to let her go in alone, I could only sigh in resignation as I continued following her.
Just as I sighed, Violet Snow suddenly stopped, her body rigid.
“What’s the matter?”
“The enemy is here.”
As those words left her mouth, a bunch of ratmen stuck out their ugly heads from the corner ahead. They looked around in what looked like an attempt at stealth. Their eyes widened in shock a second later as their eyes peered in our direction. The poor sod probably didn’t expect to encounter an enemy on a routine patrol.
Bone spear was a fast casting spell that only required a second of prep before I could toss it. Furthermore, it was even faster than my darkness arrow and fireball, making it perfect for such a sneak attack.
Like a sniper’s bullet, the bone spear pierced through the ratmen’s head before he even saw it coming.
Mhm, not bad. The damage isn’t as much as the fireball but it’s definitely a tier higher than my darkness arrow.
“Chit chit…” With his dying breath, he gave out a pained squeak that definitely attracted the attention of any nearby kinsman.
“Well, you definitely can’t run away now.” She gave me an evil look, the kind where their eyes seemed to be laughing at you. Seems like she’s pretty pleased with this development.
“Ah well, I never intended to run away anyway. It’s just that I didn’t feel too comfortable about fighting an enemy I had no information about.” I gave her a shrug as I said so.
Guess there’s no avoiding it now…with that, I sent out my orders: “Battle formations!”
Upon receiving the order, my devils immediately took up their positions like a well-oiled machine and within seconds, our formation was ready.
“One-eye, I’ll leave the commanding to you.”
One-eye: “Understood, Master.”
Violet Snow ordered her hellhounds to guard our flanks along with the guardsmen. Having done so, she turned to me and in a rare display of affection, reassured me: “ Don’t worry, they only number around a thousand. They shouldn’t be more than 1200.”
Around a thousand? Judging from our previous battle with them, a thousand ratmen weren’t that much, given their combat strength.
However, just to be safe, I decided to reconfirm this fact: “ How do you know that?”
“We got here by following the trail of that army of ratmen. Normally, their hunting parties are around 20% to 30% of the total strength of the entire clan. That ratmen army we met was roughly 300 rats strong.
“This means that this clan should have a strength of 1000 to 1500 rats. 1500 is the the absolute maximum, their real numbers shouldn’t be this much. Don’t forget to count those dead ratmen inside that number as well.”
“Besides, I’m not that stupid to challenge them without any assurances. Based on that previous battle, I’ve noticed that your devils are exceptionally strong. Especially those geared devils, they should be able to handle a number at least three times theirs. With my hellhounds added into the mix, this battle should be a done deal.”
“…alright, you win.”
This cute little puppy actually started plotting from the moment she met us…you really can’t judge a book by its cover.
While she technically took advantage of us, I still wasn’t mad at her. Instead, her exploitative actions merely seemed smart to me. After all, she didn’t actually force us to help her, she merely hid some information from us.
During our previous battle, we basically suffered zero losses. While some unlucky guardsmen got infected by their toxin and thus were unable to fight now, their equipment weren’t lost. As such, it was just a simple matter of swapping in some reserves.
Furthermore, she was right about my devils being strong. With those refined equipment aiding them, the fangs and toxins of the ratmen shouldn’t be able to kill them. In fact, their swords should be able to hack them to death in a slash. These equipment were after all, labors of my love.
Just as the formation was set up, a large swarm of ratmen circled around the corner ahead of us.
In just a few seconds alone, their numbers rapidly swelled as they crashed into us like a tidal wave of fur.
“Hold the line! Don’t retreat! Hold that line!” One-eye shouted from behind the Mo sabre wielders.
As usual, the shieldbearers were at the forefront of the formation, with a heavy slam of their shields, they rooted their bone shields to the ground, forming a shield wall. Under the command of No.5, a number of reserves went up to brace these shields as well.
The ratmen swarmed at the shields in a maddened frenzy that threatened to overwhelm the shieldbearers. Thankfully, the reserves came in to brace the shields in time. It was then that the meat grinder kicked into action.
With a deadly swing and stab of their razor sharp sabres, the rat swarm in front of the wall was quickly thinned out in a gory display of blood and death. Before the majority of the swarm could reach the wall, the sabres would lop off their heads or skewer them in a quick thrust.
Within the ratmen swarm was an exceptionally large, black-furred ratmen. He had an extremely burly physique and was at least 2 meters tall. While he looked extremely powerful, he gave off a sense of clumsiness as well.
Next to him were a group of 1.8 meter tall ratmen encircling him. They numbered slightly over ten and judging from their defensive stance, that giant ratmen in the middle was probably their boss.
The ratmen boss was busy commanding the swarm in midst of that defensive ring. From his vantage point, he was able to see the deadly effectiveness of our Mo sabres. In just a few seconds, nearly 30 ratmen died before they even had the chance to touch our shield walls.
Feeling the pressure of this, he immediately ordered the ratmen to avoid the shieldbearers and instead attack our flanks.
While they had no information on the geared devils, they were basically long time acquaintances with the hellhounds. Both sides were extremely familiar with the other’s tactics. And it was this familiarity that made him decide to attack our flanks.
Truth be told, while these ratmen were one-star, they were probably at the bottom of the one-star rung. They didn’t possess many ways to kill their opponents directly. Instead, their main offensive power was their toxin but this required time to kick in. Furthermore, they actually had to bite their opponents in order to spread this toxin.
These two shortcomings were fatal to the Abaddon Rodents as they faced off against the stronger and well-armed devils. With their shields and deadly swords preventing the rats from getting a clear bite in, these devils were their natural nemesis!
“Chit Chit Chit!!”
Under the orders of the ratmen boss, the ratmen on standby split into two groups, one to attack our left flank and one to attack our right flank.
The lack of mobility was the biggest weakness of the shieldbearers. They couldn’t change formations easily and required the cooperation of others to do so. Furthermore, they posed no threat on their own.
It was precisely for these reasons that the ratmen boss decided to flank us.
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.