Chapter 7:

Battle of Eiden Gorge (part 2)

Painted Tale

Edward Arklight

"What is the situation, Sir Edward?"

"Your Excellency, we've managed to destroy two out of five cannons... However, getting the rest of them is, I'm afraid, impossible."

"I see... Good job on destroying two of them. They've reacted faster than I thought. I was sure you would be able to destroy three or four of the cannons..."

I also expected to be more successful. We've made the tunnels and the slides since there was a big possibility that The Duchy's trump card can be multiple weapons. However, they reacted almost instantly. As if they were able to guess our plan just from the ambush...

"Sir Edward, keep harassing the rune cannons. Your squad will have to last at least several hours."

"As you wish, Your Excellency."

The situation is not looking good. I only have fifty soldiers at my disposal. Seventeen of them on each cannon.

While they all might be pretty skilled spell casters, there's a limit to their powers. The ability to cast magic is not infinite, nor is our stamina.

We already have several wounded: they got shot by the enemy's archers.

At this rate, we won't be able to keep up.

I need to do something.

And do it fast...

Richard Arklight.

"Agh!" I hear a cry as I cut down another enemy soldier.

My ears are filled with the sounds of the battlefield:

Steel clashing against steel.

Bodies, hitting against the ground.

Flesh meeting with metal.

Screams reverberating throughout the battleground.

We're advancing steadily. It's been an hour and a half since the attack has begun. In that short time frame, we broke through the narrow passage of the gorge.

Advancing any further than this, however, has proven to be extremely difficult.

Inside the gorge, we don't have the long-range support of our spell casters while the enemy's bowmen are covering the entire passage with a barrage of arrows.

We're in a deadlock.

If this keeps up, then Edward's squad won't hold out much longer...

Suddenly, I hear loud voices behind my back.

""Your Excellency!""

I turn around and hear his loud, confident voice resounding throughout our ranks.

"Listen to my commands! Sir Dylan, Sir Arwen, Sir Arklight, come to me with your squads!"

I and the other 2 arrive at His Excellency's side as was ordered.

"Listen up! Your units are going to spearhead the attack. Here, those are the remaining scrolls that were left unused in the ambush. Utilize them to cover your advance," he pauses and looks at us, confirming that we're still following.

"Your units will be united into one for this charge. Sir Arklight, take all of the soldiers who can cast wind magic with you. Sir Arwen, take the burliest men and have them pick up shields left from the retreating Duchy soldiers. You are going to rush into the enemy's ranks. Sir Dylan, take the most skilled swordsmen. You're going to split the enemy ranks wide open."

"Your Excellency, what do you want me to do with the wind spell casters?"

"At my command, you will all cast spells into the sky. Or, more specifically, in the direction of the enemy's arrow barrage. Make sure they do it simultaneously. Also, time it with the enemy's attack. They shoot in consistent volleys, so it will take time for them to begin firing. Time it correctly. I trust your judgment and timing. After all, you're one of the only knights here who's been to an actual war before... Does everyone understand? You have ten minutes to prepare. Hurry up!"

""Yes, Your Excellency!"" We reply simultaneously.

As we begin our preparations for the upcoming attack, I can feel it.

The battle is about to be decided.

Edward Arklight

I've already lost twenty fighters. Some of them are dead, and some of them— wounded.

Now, we only have ten soldiers for every cannon. This is bad. If we lose any more, we won't even be able to maintain the harassment. That's why I've decided.

We will destroy one more cannon.

If this plan fails, then we will be unable to finish our mission.

Since we've been harassing them for quite a while, the enemy has gotten quite cautious of our spells. They still try to use the cannons, but they no longer do it every second. Instead, they wait for ten minutes before they attempt to approach them.

Ten minutes. That's the amount of time we have for our operation.

We will leave a single soldier on the lookout on two of the cannons to create an impression that we're still keeping watch.

After repelling them away from the two cannons, we will use the slides to get to the third one.

We have no room for failure. Ten minutes to destroy the rune cannon, retreat, and get back to our positions. Some of us will die.

But, as long as we minimize our losses, we should be able to maintain the harassment.

Or rather, If I'm on one of the cannons, then even having seven or eight soldiers should be enough.

Besides, a successful assault will make it easier to keep them at bay. They've grown used to the fact that we can only shoot from afar. If we destroy one of their cannons, they will become wary of a front attack. That will make it easier to maintain pressure.

It was almost time. The enemy is going to try using the rune cannons once again. Their timing is unified so that we can't maintain pressure by traveling from one weaponry to another.

But that will be their downfall.

William Arklight

We are waiting.

Waiting for malfs to come.

Our plan is exceedingly simple.

Mom will start casting spells on the outskirts of the village.

When malfs come after her, we will ambush them.

That's it.

Of course, we've prepared some traps against them. Those traps will help us reduce the numerical advantage by quite a bit.

However, there's no way that our ambush will get an entire half of their pack.

That's why the outcome will be decided by our strength, teamwork, as well as my commanding skills.

I would be lying if I said that I wasn't nervous, but...

They entrusted the territories to me.

And I'm ready to fulfill that trust.


I hear a howl in the distance.

Here they come...

Edward Arklight

Stone explosion!

The rocks in front of me split open.

Beyond them, I see enemy soldiers turning around, swords in their hands.

This time, they're way more prepared for the attack.

I'm alone on this side of the gorge.

I've sent all of my men to the other side.

Seeing that, the enemy has decided to focus me first.

Over a dozen soldiers are closing in on me...

It's not time yet.

I start casting my spell.

Earthen ground that the soldiers are running on.

A sword, its tip facing downwards.

It starts accelerating towards the ground.

The blade hits it and gouges out a hole.

Earth Pit!

Suddenly, a sizable hole opens in the ground before the enemy soldiers.

Since they were running at full speed, they stumble into it one after the other.

"You bastard!" One of them screams.

He starts running towards me and at that moment...

A massive boulder crushes him. It keeps rolling, flattening everyone who hasn't managed to get up from the hole.

As the boulder that we previously prepared does its job, I also make my move.

I approach one of the soldiers who hasn't gotten hit by the boulder.

He is still shocked at his comrades' deaths but grabs his sword.

In a single motion, I cut him down.

Simultaneously, I send an earth spell towards another one.

Meanwhile, my men are fighting their way through the other side.

Around me, there are only five soldiers left.

Two of them run towards me while the other three are nocking the arrows into their bows.

I start visualizing.

A sword piercing the ground.

I twist it and use it as leverage...

To lift an earth wall!

Earth shield!

I rush towards the two sword wielders.

Suddenly, the right one starts falling backward the ground beneath his left foot rises.

*Swish* *Swish* *Swish*

I hear the sounds of arrows being released

But it's too late. I'm already behind a barrier of earth and stone.

I block an incoming strike and retaliate with my own.

The enemy tries to block it, but the ground under his right foot crumbles.

He still takes my slash with his blade but can't keep his balance and falls on his comrade.

I pierce them both before they have a chance to recover.

I take one of their helmets with me.

I start casting another spell:

A blade strikes the ground and raises the dust.

Dust Fog!

A cloud of dust rises between the archers and me. I start casting another spell. I throw the helmet in one direction and begin running in another.

*Clank* *Swish* *Swish*

They're confused and are shooting where the helmet fell.

I flank them, and one of them finally notices me.

" There! He's there!" He points in my location and tries to nock an arrow in the bow...

Earth arrow!

But a sharpened earth projectile hits his head.

Before the other two can pull out their swords, I cut them down in two clean motions.

Finally, the dust settles in.

There are no more soldiers on this side.

Now, I need to go to the cannon and break it down.


Suddenly, I hear the sound of an arrow being released.

By the time I realize that it's coming from the side, it's already too late.


The sound of flesh being pierced reverberates through the air.

William Arklight

Dark silhouettes emerge from the forest.

They keep running in the direction of our trap. With every passing second, the monsters get closer and closer to their prey.


I can hear the sound of twigs breaking under one of the malfs.

It uses its lightning-fast reflexes in an attempt to jump away.

However... It's too late.

Dark purple.

Shadow bind!

The malf's leg is pulled back by the shadow hand.


Even before I finish talking, the monsters are showered by a barrage of arrows coming from atop the village roofs.

*Swish* *Swish* *Swish*

The sounds of arrows and pierced flesh fill up my ears.

The soldiers come out from behind the village houses and attack the wolves.

While the monsters are still shocked, my men managed to cut down a few more of them.

Around five of the guards are stationed at the roofs and armed with bows.

That leaves 9 of them plus me on the ground.

In the initial exchange, we managed to cut down the malfs' numbers by ten.

Meaning there are 21 malfs left.

Recovering from the initial attack, malfs begin lunging at the soldiers.

Dark blue.

I launch a spell at one of them, but he dodges it.

Damn it! I knew that already, but they are way too agile.

Our archers keep shooting while the rest of the soldiers defend themselves from malf's attacks with shields.

Malfs are close to wolves in both their appearance and their physical capabilities. They're more robust and agile than their animal brethren, but they still don't have enough strength to tear down the shields.

However, our arrows are missing their targets.

If this keeps up, we will be the first ones to run out of energy!

I see a malf trying to flank one of the soldiers.

I step in to cover for him.

Dark blue.

I send a spell at the wolf.

He jumps away from it. I jump after him preparing to land a finishing blow.

My sword pierces the malf, and I try to pull it out.

I try, but the blade doesn't budge.

Another malf leaps at me. I try to cast a spell in a hurry but realize that I don't have enough time.

I feel as if the time has slowed down as I watch the monster close in—

Only for him to be pierced by an ice arrow.

"William! Fall back! Stick closer to the soldiers!" My mom warns me from behind.

Finally, I take my sword out of the malf and retreat.

Another one leaps at me, trying to bite into my flesh.

Dark purple.

He is hit by the spell, and I try to finish him off but stumble into three more malfs that cover for him

I reluctantly retreat and begin to look over the rest of the fight.

"Agh!" I hear the scream of one of the soldiers.


The malf who is biting into the soldier is hit by an arrow.

On the other side, another arrow hits the mark, and one more malf drops dead.

That means there are 13 soldiers and 16 malfs left.


I hear a loud howl.

It's one of the malfs in the front.

It's the biggest one in the pack, almost twice as big as the rest. Its fur seems to have a slightly more purplish hue than the rest of them.

It rushes towards the soldiers.

One of them holds up his shield to meet the attack head-on and—


The sound of their collision reverberates throughout the battlefield.

The soldier who took that attack head-on is sent flying, while the rest of them can only stare at the malf dumbfounded.

"STOP SPACING OUT! YOU'RE IN THE MIDDLE OF A FIGHT!" I scream on top of my lungs, trying to pull their minds back into the battle.

The monsters don't miss this opportunity.

They all simultaneously start attacking, not giving the soldiers any room for rest.

This is bad. We're crumbling.

I've made far too many mistakes. At this rate, our defeat is inevitable.

I start barking out orders, trying to salvage this.

"Archers! Take your swords and get down here! Help them fight back the malfs. Mom! Support them with your spells! I'll deal with the big one!"

The soldiers are at a numerical disadvantage. Moreover, their stamina has already been depleted significantly, and they are still in a state of confusion. If Mom doesn't help them with her spells, they will, most certainly, fall.

That's why I'll deal with The Pack Leader myself.