Arc 8 Chapter 130: Rearguard

“Is it true that the demigods are back?” asked Delgar with a worried expression on his face.

“I heard it directly from my grandfather. They received a message from the army yesterday. The Earth tribe as a whole has decided to migrate to the unknown continent of Foradverold. We can not fight a war with the humans and deal with the demigods that are lurking around at the same time, ” said Azura.

“So you’ll be making a new life in a new and unknown land? Hmmm…Sounds interesting…” said Delgar as he stroked his beard and thought about this new problem that would affect the whole continent of Halrverold.

“I am not scared of demigods!… I lie! I need to go clean my scales. I hope my father will be safe… but I can not speak to him,” said Chack. The feathers on top of his head drooped as he thought about his family he had been separated from.

“Don’t worry all of our allies have been sent a letter. They should get them in a few days to weeks depending on where they are,” said Azura.

Varbu exited a nearby cave and was carrying a bag with all of his belongings.

“Have you finished gathering everything?” asked Azura.

“Yes,” said Varbu with a stern face.

“The small ship you asked for has been made ready for you. You should be able to get back to your clan several months earlier than if you walked.”

“Are you really leaving?” asked Mileena who had traveled for many months with both Varbu and Akira.

“Thank you, Azura. Yes, Mileena, I have to leave now so that I can go and report the somewhat success of my travels. I don’t know what my father and the elders will do now that the Demigods are here, hopefully, they make a quick decision when they learn of this disaster.

It’s a shame that I have to leave before I could say my goodbyes to Akira, but I’m sure that we’ll meet again in the future,” said Varbu as he remembered the last few sentences the two had before Akira had departed with the werewolf army.

‘Keep the magic stone as a trump card in case you encounter a hard to kill enemy.’

‘I will, you need to stay alive so we can spar again.’

“I have to go talk to my wife and the other two that came with me. We’ll have to decide on what we should do,” said Delgar as he stood up from the stone seat he had been sitting on.

“I need to go and help prepare the new ships and supplies for the travel across the ocean. Chack you come and help me,” said Azura.

“I caught a cold… Cough …so I can’t help…I lie! I don’t want to work now that I am sad,” said Chack.

“A bit of hard work should help you forget about your sadness,” said Mileena patting Chack on the back.

“Well, I guess this is goodbye,” said Varbu as he thumped his chest in a salute and then left for the small ship that had been prepared for him.

***

“Have you finished gathering the nearby wandering soldiers?” asked Rodger.

Since he was the last of the major officers and was also the prince he had taken over the role as general and was now trying to regain control over the once scattered headless Beorin army.

“We have gathered everyone that we could find in the short time that was given. Unfortunately, most of the left diversion army was wiped out when the whole werewolf army attacked it. I did as you commanded and asked each soldier if they had been in the fort at the time your father was killed. This man was there and saw it all,” said Raimund.

“I thought the werewolves killed everyone inside the fort?” asked Rodger as he turned to a timid soldier that was covered in what looked like dried mud.

“Well you see my lord, I was protecting myself so that I could give my report to you…” said the soldier not daring to look at Rodger.

“So you hid while everyone else was fighting. How exactly did you hide from the Werewolf’s noses?”

“I hid in the latrine…”

“You ought to be killed for such cowardice. Tell me exactly what happened.”

Rodger listened to the man as he groveled in the dirt trying to recall all that he had heard and seen hoping that his life would be spared.

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“The werewolf who was fighting with him did you see what he looked like before he transformed?”

“No…”

“Get out of my sight. If I see or hear of your cowardice again you will have a sword run through your back,” said Rodger coldly.

“Tha..Tha…Thank you Prince… I mean General,” said the soldier and he stuttered and tripped over himself while trying to run away.

“What do you want to do, general?” asked Raimund.

“We will go find the werewolf army and destroy them! We march at once! I must have vengeance for my father!”

“General we have already lost nearly 10,000 soldiers. The enemy has an advantage in both numbers and strength. We do not have the might to take the fight to them right now.”

“I do not care if they have more warriors good tactics can make up for that disadvantage, we march towards the enemy army immediately.

Their army right now is not as strong as you think, they must have taken a heavy blow in the last two battles or they would have already come to finish us off. Instead of waiting for them to attack, we will be the ones to deal a finishing blow to them and get revenge for my Father!”

***

“Damn it! With this war causing such havoc I can’t find the magic stone! Now that Brutus has died all the help he promised has been lost!” grumbled Bonestringer.

“It seems this war has caused both of us problems. I can not reach my target since he is always surrounded by several hundred other werewolves. That fool Brutus dying really had messed up everything. I just hope that the prince does not go and do something stupid,” said Tibia.

***

Ding!

Akira’s sleep was again interrupted by another random system message.

New Mission!
Escape the continent of Halrverold:

You have received information that the demigods have returned, this time for good. You must help the Earth tribe escape the clutches of the Demigods and find a new home.

Difficulty: S rank level.

This quest is a chain quest. Rewards will be given out at the completion of each stage of the quest.

Reward: Your life and something else.

Accept?: Yes / No?

(If you decline the human armies along with demigods will destroy the Earth tribe.)

“Why is there even an option to decline?”

There was no way he could decline such a mission, so he immediately accepted it. This was the first S rank level mission that he had ever received and he was unsure what to expect.

“Akira! The general has called all officers to his command tent for an important meeting,” said Ardolf from outside of his tent.

“I’ll be out in a second!” said Akira as he hopped out of bed and started to get dressed.

A minute later he was walking out of his tent buckling on his sword belt.

“Why are we being called? Do you know?” asked Akira.

“No clue, we’ll find out when we get there,” said Ardolf.

As the two walked to the command tent they heard several quite mutterings of people talking about the newest rumor that had been flowing through the whole army. The return of the Demigods.

Ever since the rumor had started spreading there was no joy or hearty laughing and celebration happening around the campfires whenever the army was camped for a few hours of rest. Whenever someone talked it was always with a serious expression and tone of voice.

Akira and Ardolf were both allowed to enter the command tent and given a spot at the rear of the tent where the rest of the lower-ranked officers stood.

With a quick scan of the other officers Akira was surprised to see Dolph standing near him.

But before he could say anything General Blaez entered the tent with his advisors trailing behind him.

“I will get straight to the point. The Beorin army is following us like a rabid dog but we can not waste time by stopping and fighting them, so I need volunteers to act as a rear guard. Your task will be to keep them from following us and if you can lead them away from where the clan caves and civilians are gathered. You will need to either force them to turn back or hold them off for at least a week or two to allow the army and civilians to finish departing from this place. Any questions?” asked General Blaez.

“How will the rear guard follow you to the other continent if you have already sailed away on the ships?” asked Dolph.

“The Rusted fangs clan has decided to stay behind and look after the clan meeting caves. They will be taking care of several ships that will be hidden in the Nars cove. The Grand elders have already contacted a few people and asked them to wait with the ships and act as a guide so you can rejoin with the main fleet. There is nothing to worry about, you will only be a few weeks or a month behind us.”

“My unit will join the rear guard,” said Dolph.

Several other officers raised their hands to stay behind and face the enemy army.

“My unit as well,” said Akira decisively after thinking about how to successfully complete the S rank mission.

Several of the officers who knew who Akira was looked at him wondering why he would take on such a dangerous task. Everyone knew that this would not be an easy task, and there was a high chance for numerous casualties.

“Akira, Grand elder Wulfric would not accept you doing something like this. You should reconsider,” said Ardolf quietly next to him.

“I can not allow the human army to follow us. If we do not stop them they will not only know where the civilians are but they will also stop the tribe from escaping from this continent!” said Akira.

“Well said, with the addition of your soldiers we now have a little over 1000 warriors to act as the rear guard. I suggest you not face them head-on and only conduct raids. There is no time for any more discussion the army will be moving out in an hour. The safety and success of the Earth tribes exodus is squarely on your shoulders,” said General Blaez before exiting the command tent.

***

Tens of guards patrolled in multiple large groups near the rear of the Beorin army where the baggage train was. They held onto their long torches trying to light their surroundings in the dark cloudy night.

“Awoooooo!”

“Damn it! Sound the alarm they’re attacking again!”

“Is there even a need to do that? You would have to have had your ears torn off to not know that they’re attacking!” screamed a panicked soldier.

“Just do it!”

“Burruu!” the warhorn sounded out letting all know of the coming enemy attack.

“How many more nights are they going to keep attacking us!”

“Don’t worry the Prince may be young but he is rather cunning. Those mutts are in for a rude surprise tonight!”

“Ah, look! They’re attacking the sentries at the front of the army this time. I guess they must have sensed the trap laid by the prince,” said the worried soldier.

As if in response to this the soldiers who had been hiding behind the nearby wagons sheepishly exited their cover. They all watched as the rest of the armies soldiers all raced to the front of the army to clash with the attacking werewolves.

“I for one am happy that they are not attacking us back here,” were the last words said by one of the soldiers as he was killed by a dark black claw that had reached out from the nights’ dark shadows.

***

Akira and several other werewolf warriors silently killed the soldiers that were looking towards the fight that had broken out. They had volunteered to set the baggage train ablaze while the rest of the rearguard drew the enemy’s attention.

By now the werewolves who had attacked the front sentries were already retreating their task as a diversion was complete.

Akira picked up one of the burning torches form one of the dead soldiers and used it to light several other torches that they had prepared ahead of time. As one they started throwing their torches onto the wagons and boxes of supplies.

“They’re burning the food!” came the alarmed shout from a fully armored knight on a warhorse, “Ignore the retreating werewolves and save the food!”

“Let’s get out of here!” said Akira.

Akira and the rest of the volunteers ran towards the cover of the trees and the nights dark shadows to escape the large number of soldiers that were now swarming towards them.

“Akira! I know it’s you!” shouted the knight on the warhorse as he charged towards the baggage train.

Akira did not stop running but he did turn his head to see who had called his name.

Seeing this reaction the knight knew he had guessed correctly.

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“Why did you kill Father? There may have been bad blood between you but he raised the both of us! You could have just captured him and ransomed him back! Have you really become such a demon that you have forgotten how to be a human?”

The last sentence out of Rodger’s mouth echoed in Akira’s ears and stabbed at his heart as he escaped into the darkness along with the other werewolves.

***

“Raimund! Order the army to chase after the werewolves that went that way! The person who killed the General is with them!”

“Sir, we can not do that! If we do not look for food to replace what we lost we will run out in less than a week. We need to head back to Madham and replenish our supplies.”

“Do as I command!”

“Yes, your highness!”

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