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Volume 4: Chapter 279 – Encounter (5/5)
As expected, it was the veteran Iron Bull Knights that managed to immediately respond to the cries of the sentries.
“──Circle formation! Gazun Squad, Ganosh Squad, Mash Squad, shields out!”
As Rasdir commanded his troops with brevity, the survivors of Elfa all gathered around Rasdir to form a circle.
Unfortunately, compared to them, the volunteer army and the holy knights’ performance could only be described as sloppy.
In fact, the volunteer army couldn’t even react when the sentries alerted them about the enemy’s attack. Their commander called out, but before the order could reach the last soldier, the enemy had already broken into their ranks.
A goblin bigger than the rest, most likely the commander, rushed out of the goblin forces with the speed of a raging bull. The shouts that followed after were enough to blow away whatever courage the volunteer soldiers had.
Then came the swing of a club reinforced by Blue-Silver Steel (Srilana).
The skull of the nearest soldier cracked open, and then in the club’s path back, the soldier to the right flew, But that was only the beginning, as the goblin took the head of a sluggish soldier and smashed him into the ground, cracking his bones, before swinging him over his head and throwing him at a group of soldiers.
Illuminated by the flames, the giant goblin’s one-eyed face was ghastlily dyed in blood. A terrifying visage made even more terrifying by a face that could only belong to the demons of the abyss.
“I am Rashka! Chieftain of the Gaidga Tribe! If you believe yourself to be strong, then come!”
In the face of Rashka’s bellowing howls, the humans were completely overwhelmed.
And when Rashka saw that they could only silently glare, he angrily declared.
“Cowards! All cowards! Trample them down underfoot! Trample all of them!”
As Rashka’s subordinates yelled back simultaneously, they attacked the volunteer soldiers.
The soldiers had taken off their equipment to make camp, but now, fully armored goblins were attacking them. The result couldn’t be any clearer. With the battle having been decided in the blink of an eye, the volunteer soldiers had no choice but to scatter in every direction and run, screaming.
As Rashka literally trampled the volunteer soldiers, he set his sights on his next target, the holy knights.
Gi Za could astutely point out that the enemy would break formation to recover the remnants of the volunteer soldiers.
As Rashka himself took the lead, he sent the humans flying like a rampaging demon playing ball, and then his pair of dark-green eyes glared at his surroundings, searching for the next prey.
“First platoon, shields out! Second platoon, spears at the ready!”
The commander, Eleanor, screamed out those orders, but unfortunately, it was too late.
Rashka, whose dark-gray skin was dyed in blood, had already set his sights on the commander. The soldiers that tried to block his path were easily and mercilessly crushed with a single blow, while those that tried to attack him from behind were struck by his tail, transformed into nothing but red dye for his crest that grew from his head to his tail.
No matter how precise Eleanor was, she was simply too inexperienced to lead these soldiers.
“Why won’t you move according to my instructions!”
As Eleanor bit on her lips trembling in fear and anger, she struck her command baton.
Meanwhile, Yuan somehow managed to get past the chaos of his allies to reach her.
“Eleanor-sama, please retreat for the time being and reorganize the troops!”
Yuan drew the long sword in his hands and commanded the platoons he personally led.
“Fifth and sixth platoon! Follow me! Whenever the enemy attacks, three of you must link your shields together. If you do that, you won’t die! Grassa, Migal! Command your platoons!”
When Yuan called out to the younger platoon commanders, they suddenly remembered their job, and they started giving out commands to their respective platoons.
When the holy knights saw the second-in-command take the lead against the Gaidga goblins, they were encouraged and they started to make a comeback.
Unfortunately, the initial momentum the goblins had built was already too strong to change.
Yuan’s fierce assault with his two platoons against the Gaidga Tribe’s attack was nothing more than a pebble thrown into a large river.
To make things worse, the chaotic volunteer soldiers also affected the coordination of the holy knights.
With them unable to even put together a decent formation, the holy knights were also brought to defeat by the Gaidga Tribe.
“You’re the same bastards from back then!”
Yuan felt more angry than afraid, but he kept his emotions under control and instead calmly watched the enemy.
The defeat from the dark forest, the defeat on the plains, and the death of Gowen, whom Yuan loved and respected, ran through his mind like a revolving lantern.
Everything was because of the goblins.
Sounds could be heard from Yuan’s teeth as he clenched them in fear and anger. But even then, he was the second-in-command of the holy knights, the volunteer soldiers, and Eleanor, to whom the lives of the Iron Bull Knights have been entrusted. The commander, who was yet too young, needed his support.
So he kept those emotions that were about to boil over at bay, and dodged the attack of the fiendish goblin. He sent a blow to the neck of the goblin, but then immediately withdrew and linked shields to block the enemy’s next attack.
Yuan and his men were trying to buy time for Eleanor, but the Gaidga’s advance was like a muddy stream. But try as they might to link there shields, they couldn’t keep themselves from being washed away by that stream, and before long, they found themselves surrounded by the goblins.
“Is there no one among you brave enough to fight me!? What cowardly humans!”
──The raging demon at the head of the Gaidga’s assault could not be stopped.
With strength that could easily send humans flying, power that overwhelmed others, and despite being slightly inferior to the Goblin King that Yuan once met, that goblin was indeed the avatar of violence.
Thick arms like logs, dark-gray skin, and dark-green eyes… So great was the humans’ fear of him that they’ve even started to suspect that all of those might’ve been made just to strike fear into their hearts.
And then that pair of dark-green eyes turned to Yuan, who alone fought bravely.
“Oh? So there is some fierceness among you!”
When he saw Yuan cut down a Gaidga goblin, he laughed.
As he imagined how delicious the prey before him was, he smiled as though he were licking his lips and ran toward Yuan. The club raised was already dyed in blood and covered in bits of flesh.
“Remember my name and die! Human!”
“Vengeance for Gowen-sama!”
Yuan could remember it all too clearly – the sight of this monster in front of him fighting with Gowen.
His brain burned in anger, and the voice that left his lips was mixed with that anger he kept locked within.
The bloodied club came swinging down, but Yuan ducked to dodge it. He thought of thrusting out with his sword to fight back, but he abandoned the thought and used all of his power to jump away.
In the next moment, Rashka’s powerful tail swept the place he was at just awhile ago, while the attack he’d dodged destroyed the rock beneath, hollowing out the surface of the earth.
“Well done dodging that!”
A joyous remark resounded from the demon, but Yuan just burned in rage.
Both men were about to clash once more, but the assault of the Iron Bull Knights stopped them.
“Save our allies! And show the Demon King’s Army the strength of Elfa’s elites!”
At Rasdir’s behest, the proud assault of the heavy knights began.
Rashka and Yuan wordlessly glared at each other, but Rashka was the first to turn around.
And then in concert with that, Yuan too turned around and collected his men.
“Gather your men and retreat! We will work with the Iron Bull Knights!”
The holy knights followed Yuan’s orders, and just narrowly, they managed to escape from Gaidga’s attacks. Meanwhile, though the Gaidga Tribe was taken from the side, Rashka’s attack swung the battle back into their favor once again.
Seeing the situation turn against them, Rasdir too retreated with his Iron Bull Knights, but unfortunately, the combination of Gi Za’s leadership and Gaidga’s attacks was a threat comparable to that of the four generals, and it wasn’t until they lost about a tenth of their men did they finally manage to shake off the pursuit of the Gaidga Tribe.
In the end, the encounter between the two forces concluded in Alrodena’s victory, and Rashka and the Gaidga Tribe came to be associated with the word fear among the Altigands.
By the time the holy knights and the volunteer soldiers reached the fortress, about 40% of their forces have been destroyed, and even the least damaged of them, the Iron Bull Knights, suffered up to 20%. It was a crushing defeat.
Word of their defeat reached even the main land of Altigand, and in their fear, the church decided to dispatch more holy knights. The situation was such that even the main land of Altigand decided to send out the newly reformed army of the Sacred Empire.
The result of this battle, which was in fact only meant to be a diversion until the completion of the tunnels, weighed heavily upon Altigand.