Chapter 65 Ominous Sign
There had already been several instances before when the horn was blown. Each time, several dozens of demonic beasts had attacked, mostly one after another, but every time the skilled militia had been able to push them back.
So when Roland heard the sound of the horn once more, he did not panic. He calmly suspended the training and sent Wendy and Lightning back to the castle to rest. He also ordered Anna to protect Nana who would go to the medical center to wait for the arrival of wounded soldiers. Roland himself rushed to the walls with Nightingale.
Unexpectedly, when Lightning heard Roland’s orders, she began to protest, “Though I’m already such an experienced explorer of the western border of the continent, I have yet to witness a large-scale attack by demonic beasts! If I don’t grasp this chance, I’m not worthy to call myself an explorer any longer. So, I plead you, Your Highness, let me travel together with you!”
Roland did not hesitate for the slightest moment to reject the young witch’s plea and told Wendy to make sure that Lightning would behave. After all, they weren’t allowed to lose any time when a horde of demonic beasts attacked.
Then, he looked at Nightingale and asked her if she was ready to go. She nodded, took hold of Roland’s hand, and took him into the fog with herself, moving straight in the direction of the wall – once he knew that Nightingale could bring any other object she was in contact with along with her into the fog, Roland immediately became hooked to this kind of travel. In the fog, they could travel straight through obstacles and ignore terrain. They were able to cross several meters with one step, so this kind of traveling was very enjoyable.
When they arrived at the foot of the wall, Roland found a corner where no one could see him and stepped out of the fog to walk to the outlook alone. Looking into the distant wilderness, he could only see a world of white instead of the expected grand demonic beast invasion. Was this a false alarm? He could also feel the confusion coming from the direction of the militia, who had already taken their defense positions.
When the Prince finally found Iron Axe, Roland saw that he had a serious expression while staring into the distance with his hands tightly grasping the horn.
When Roland arrived next to him, Roland immediately asked: “Did you sound the alarm?”
“Yes, Your Highness, you see …” Iron Axe voice was much drier than usual, “That guy came.”
That guy? Roland looked carefully in the direction Iron Axe pointed at. There in the far distance, he could make out a faint black spot that was nearly invisible even in front of a pure white background, very difficult to be spotted. The rule was that only if it was determined that the patrol couldn’t resolve the problem, they were allowed to sound the horn. Knowing this, Iron Axe as a seasoned hunter must have had his reasons.
“That is a hybrid species,” Iron Axe had to swallow and calm himself before continuing, “The last time I encountered this bird was six years ago.”
Is it really a hybrid species? Roland frowned. Theoretically, evil beasts would attack Longsong Stronghold until the point that all of them had died – possessing no intelligence, the beasts had no concept of retreat in their minds. The defense of the Longsong Stronghold had never been broken, but this hybrid beast not only survived, but was even able to live after six years? Thinking about what this could mean, Roland could detect a faint feeling of foreboding within his heart.
However, the demonic beast was so far away that Roland could only vaguely see a black spot while Iron Axe was able to clearly distinguish the type of demonic beast. Iron Axe’s vision had to be really amazing. Perhaps he had misinterpreted it, the Prince thought hopefully.
The demonic beast didn’t make Roland wait too long, it soon began to move closer to the walls, allowing everyone to notice its unique body.
It didn’t have the large body like the previous hybrid beasts had, but instead, it looked like an enlarged version of a cat at first glance. However, on its back, it had a pair of wings that covered its body on both sides when they weren’t spread out.
Its head looked like that of a lion, but with an extra pair of eyes – if the extra eyes it had weren’t for decoration, then it wouldn’t need to turn its head to see every movement made in the area at its rear.
Carter and several hunters had loaded their flintlocks and were prepared to take the challenge.
However, the Lion Hybrid didn’t attack straightaway, but instead stopped outside of the crossbow firing range, carefully taking in everything.
The distance it stopped at was within the effective range of their flintlocks, but the probability that the first salve would hit was almost zero.
Not long after it stopped, it suddenly leaped towards the left side, spread its wings, and took off with its huge body. As Iron Axe had previously said, it could fly or glide a short distance. After it crossed over the barriers, the hybrid demonic beast quickly flew towards the western end of the walls, attacking the unguarded area of the wall.
Seeing all this, Roland’s heart madly began to thump. It felt like a nightmare come true. It had observed its enemy and judged their strength, detected and attacked their weakness, proving that it possessed high intelligence – which was previously the weakness of demonic beasts. They occasionally attacked the weakness of their prey, but that was an instinct honed by many generations over thousands of years. When facing an unknown opponent, they would not judge or even more, attack their target after long analysis.
What did having intelligence mean? Humanity relied on its remarkable brain with outstanding capabilities to climb to the top of the food chain from nascent prairie life. For the moment, Roland did not dare to reflect on it. Instead, he waved his hand, and told his Chief Knight, Iron Axe and his hunter squat to follow him to shoot down the demonic beast.
It rushed towards the unmanned segment and jumped straight over the wall, easily leaving the wall behind it, and ran straight towards the residential district, disregarding the whole hunter team as if they were nothing.
“The Beast!” Roland shouted loudly, “The second militia team go to the wall and temporarily defend the wall. The first team will come with me!”
At this point, the new team had not had enough time to get trained. With this move, he could lead them away from the battle, but if the demonic beast came back, they could attack it separately. Carter led the guards to follow the prince. They were the group with the strongest individual strength and were ready to face the enemy at any time. Behind them followed Iron Axe who was leading the team of hunters equipped with guns. After entering the old areas, they couldn’t see very far since their view was blocked by the houses. With narrow roads covered by snow, they had to be careful and limit their actions. Hoping to find traces of the demonic beast, Roland was afraid that there was no other possibility than to disperse his team into many small ones and let them walk through the streets.
He regretted that he didn’t let Lightning follow them. If he had a witch who could investigate the situation from the air, he wouldn’t need to split his team and send them into every direction.
After searching for around ten minutes, they suddenly heard some townspeople scream from deep within an alley.
Changing their direction, the team rapidly advanced toward the source of the sound. Because most of the militia were people from the old district, they immediately found their way through the many small streets, making it appear as if they were taking a walk in their backyards. Finally arriving at the source of the sound, Roland saw a man bitten into two parts with his internal organs scattered all over the ground, obviously dead.
“My God … it’s Iron Fork, I know him!” someone shouted.
“Damn, in which direction did it run?” asked another.
“Look! The beast is right over there!” Suddenly someone shouted. Shortly after the voice fell, a dark shadow swept out from the house on the right side. Accompanied by debris from scattered wood, it flew directly through the wooden wall of a hut and directly attacked the first line of militia, pawing and biting them.
Iron Axe was the first one to react. He wanted to shoot the beast with his gun, but he discovered that his view was blocked by the other members of the militia. Trying to get the right opportunity to shoot, he squeezed himself through the crowd and walked step by step in the direction toward the hybrid species. Other hunters also discovered that they had the same problem and took their guns under their arms before jumping on the eaves or climbing up the roofs.
The hybrid species didn’t care about the approaching men. It spread its wings, stood up on its hind legs and began to shake around the soldier it had bitten, spraying blood everywhere. Seeing this scene sent the crowd into a panic, causing the crowd to fearfully step back. When the hybrid species got some space it tried to jump, but in this moment a shot hit it.
Suddenly, several black flowers bloomed on the monster’s fur.
The hybrid species which was hit by several lead balls roared in anger, threw away the prey in its mouth, and jumped in the direction of the hunters on the roof. When the demonic beast appeared above the crowd, it came directly into Iron Axe’s view, who quickly raised his gun and aimed at the beast in front of him and pulled the trigger.
It was nearly impossible to miss a shot this close. It was even so close that the gunpowder entered the nose of the demonic beast. The velocity of the bullet wasn’t reduced as it went straight through the target’s eyes and penetrated its brain.
The body of the demonic beast became stiff and suddenly fell towards the ground.