Chapter 27:

Rear Attack

Downcaster


Entz followed the flow of the soldiers attacking-march. What the hell is happening? Teph had explained what the alarm meant, but not even Teph would have expected the alarm to go off so early. Not only that but the distance separating the current location of the army was too far to sprint from this early; the men’s stamina will heavily be strained.

It was too crowded, Entz stumbled multiple times and was even going to fall, but the strength that he’d built up through the last few months held him up and he was able to manage his way through for a time before the army stopped moving for some reason.

****

Teph led his charion to the front of the army as he tried his best to gallop ahead and stop in front of them.

“STOP!” Teph shouted through the top of his lungs, “do not fall into their trap.” The men tried their best to stop and not cross their general. The front lines held their legs as if they tried their best to break the run before reaching where Teph stood with his beast.

“Regroup men! And take it easy, we will not fail this war, not to a stupid mistake.” The men quickly regrouped; if this was Teph’s first campaign he would not have believed it. It took tens of minutes before an army got back into its old formation, but this! This was no regular army. This was an army built of war veterans, men who had escaped death hundreds of times. And, their experience showed. After a minute or two, Teph called to one of his officers - Trot.

“Bring our best Charisman and send them ahead,” He pointed with his sword, “to scout what lay behind the mist. And, hand each and one of them communicators, unlike previous wars these men will not mercy any of our 'messengers'.” Trot rode his charion back into the men’s formation and arranged a small yet powerful cavalry squad; or as they would use this time, Scouts.

Before they set out, Teph quickly trotted up to them to give what might be their last talk of farewell.

“Men of honor!” He called to them, “I want you to know that this might be the last time we see you, and if-”

“Do not worry sir, those who fear death do not deserve to live! Even if we do die, it will have been an honorable death, May glory be with you!” The group saluted.

Teph smiled and replied, “with us all!”.

With that, the men made their way to scout the enemy’s terrain. Teph waited anxiously because time was not on their site, he checked the time on his communicator and it was already 3 in the morning. The riots must have already started, hopefully, they could buy them time, by distracting the police and internal battalions of the Presidential house.

He heard a trot from his right and found that it was Mort who came to stand by his side, well not stand but sit-on-his-charion-by-his-side.

“Clever move you did just now,” the Middle City’s founder said.

“Yeah, we will not fall for their tricks from this early in battle,”

“I wanted to give you this,” Mort held out his clenched gauntlet as he covered what was inside of it.

“What is it?” Asked Teph.

“It's a double-edged sword device,” Teph’s eyes widened as Mort unveiled what the device was.

****

Teph walked with Khol or President Khol of Morshina. Khol was silent, apparently the meeting he just attended overwhelmed him. But, then he spoke holding out his hands, inside there sat a tiny object with a red button on it.

“Do you know what this is Teph?” The president asked.

Teph tried to think of an answer but couldn’t find any and so admitted his ignorance on what this device might be, “no sir.”

“This is a Downcaster’s best friend and enemy. It's called a Downblast,”

“What does it do sir?” Teph carefully asked.

“Basically it absorbs all the downsap in your body and transfers it into this tiny machine making it explode. So, if you find yourself in a situation where you are dead, but you still want to beat your enemy, you press this button and all hell will set loose. In layman's terms, this is a mini nuclear bomb. But, as the merchant explained to me, only the most skilled Downcaster can save himself, by saving a tiny reserve in his body that will protect him. So, I am sure you’ll be fine.” Khol smiled.

“What are you going to do with it?”

“The merchant explained that a strange man with green hair only made two of these weapons. I'll destroy this one and have the secret services search for that unknown manufacturer. Anyways, let's go get lunch. I am starving.”

****

“You’re that Unknown manufacturer.” Mort nodded, the two fell silent but Teph spoke.

“I can’t have this Mort, I-”

“You’re the most skilled Downcaster in all of Morshina! You should definitely have this.” The two met eyes for a moment, but Teph reluctantly accepted it.

BUZZ, He heard a faint vibrant sound and managed to track it back to this satchel. There he saw his communicator ringing. He quickly grabbed the device and looked back.

“Sir,” shouted a horrified voice, “LOOK BACKKKK!”

He was surprised to see multiple flanking armies attack them from behind. His men were being crushed like ants. Teph’s heart began beating, and his lungs expanded and shrank. Sweat began to drool. Oh no! What was happening? Has he just messed up when he asked his men to stop their forward march? Has he just destroyed their slim chances of surviving this battle? Had his decision just cost them the battle? Has-

Stop it! Don’t think, just act! Those were the first rules in battle.

The men in front of him were confused. But, the men behind the ranks were getting slaughtered. Screams of help, laughter of enemy soldiers, and confusion on the faces of his officers. Where is Entz? He scanned the perimeter surrounding him and found him in the front of what seemed a 100-man squad. Entz’s eyes were horrified. Poor lad, he had never been in battle before. It was true that Entz was a phenomenal swordsman that could put down men who had more experience than him; he was a natural! But he had never once set foot onto enemy territory or even been in danger; save for the fact that he was almost assassinated a year ago. Luckily for him, even Teph himself had froze in his first battle, but in the end, managed to put himself together and fight off enemy soldiers.

Teph didn’t want anything to happen to him, as he himself believed that Entz would leader to the Mixed Blood’s future generations. And for safety, Teph decided to send word to him to make sure the Kid was on his side.

Mort nudged Teph’s soldiers and quickly acted:

“Teph, go above that hill with a battalion of yours. We cannot fully escape from this trap, I will stay here to lead the rest of the army.”

“NO, we have to-,”

“Teph this is not time for us to argue, we cannot afford to lose this battle. Take the battalion with you and go, we will act as a delay to stop the flanking soldiers from attacking you. Please do not be stubborn.” Teph met his friend’s eye and he knew he was right, this was not the time to argue, but he had to leave as many men as he could to minimize the losses Mort would take.

“We’ll take five hundred, and no! I won’t take less or more, I am a Downcaster after all.” Teph winked through his helm, Mort let out a sigh but then embraced Teph.

“Alright send order for half a battalion and tell Entz to hurr-”

“Already here general,” Entz said as he walked to the two generals, “and the five hundred men are ready!”

Teph raised his sword in the air, spun it, and screamed.

“Men of honor, surprise attacks are nothing new to us! Get yourselves together, as we will not lose this war that we so waited for! Follow me.”

He turned back to Mort and said:

"May glory be with you,"

"With us all!"

****

A few moments ago Teph read on his communicator:

Sir, call our men to the tower, we have been outsmarted. There seems to be a whole army behind yours, and there also appears to be a flanking squad approaching the rear ranks. We can see everything from above this hill. It will even give us the terrain advantage, please hurry sir, because there is no time left.

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