Chapter 87 Winter Twilight (Part 1)
“Ready –! Strike!“
Hearing this command, Van’er put all of his strength into striking at his target with his pike. He held it with both hands, and as he hit the wolf’s head, the pike gave off a cracking sound. The wolf had fluffy fur and its eyes were copper-red. When it opened its mouth, Van’er saw two rows of fangs in which the largest fangs were as big as his thumb. It was the first time that he had come so close in contact with a demonic beast, while it was trying to hit him with its claws, it was even throwing snowflakes at his face.
Van’er felt like his brain had gone blank and he was acting on instincts learned during training, like subconsciously gripping the pike tighter continuing to drive the pike further. Van’er suddenly got the feeling that time was flowing slower; he saw that the pike had bowed to its maximum. However, the pike wasn’t able to penetrate deep enough into the demonic beast’s belly, giving Van’er the thought that the wolf’s sharp claws would tear his cheeks open.
Suddenly a “bang” was heard. The pike wasn’t able to withstand the momentum of the wolf, and finally broke into two pieces. At the same moment of the breaking sound, the time flow turned back to normal and the wolf fell down – its claws landed on the city wall, scraping a series of marks into the debris. The other half of Van’er’s pike smashed onto the city wall along with the wolf.
“Guns, loading is complete!”
“Fire at will!”
Suddenly a gun barrel was extended on each side of Van’er. Seeing this, Van’er stepped a half step back as fast as possible and raised his head to avoid the smoke and debris that would hit his eyes. As for saving his ears, he had no time for it.
Soon after the gunfire subsided, Van’er stepped back to the front, where he discovered that a number of demonic beasts at the wall’s base laid, slain. The one Van’er had stabbed laid also between them. When he turned his head, he could see his roommate proudly grinning at him.
One only needs a week to learn to use your weapon, so there is nothing to be proud about. Van’er took only a glance, then he switched his line of sight back to the battlefield. In a situation like this, His Highness’ artillery team would come in handy, but at this time they still had to rely on these crutches.
“Your pike is broken, so take this new one.” Cat’s Paw handed Van’er a new pike, “Is this group of demonic beasts crazy? They’ve been attacking us for two to three hours already, right?
“Yes, they are crazy,” answered Van’er, taking the pike and stepping back into place to wait for the next wave of attack. “How late is it?”
“It’s almost noon.” Cat’s Paw sighed. Taking advantage of the Hunter overseer’s lack of attention, he took on both sides, “What’s with Jop and the Rodney Brothers?”
“Don’t look for them. Do you want to be killed by the wolves?” Van’er snapped. “They were assigned to the other walls; they are probably in the third or the fourth group. How were you able to change into group one?”
“I belonged to the replacement team,” Cat’s paw laughingly answered, “Whenever there is a need I will come and help. In the last wave, an uncle was wounded and now it’s my turn -“
“Make ready -!” sounded the Hunter overseer’s voice, interrupting Cat Paw’s words.
When looking down the wall, a dozen of quickly approaching demonic beasts could be seen, they were already so close that he could discern the various kinds of demonic beasts. This wave only had two wolves. The others were wild boars, a species of fox and a species of bear, which were no big threat to the wall.
“Pierce!” Nevertheless, he still obeyed the instructor’s orders, carrying out a unified pike attack. Sure enough, this time, his pike thrust only hit the air. But when he recovered his pike, Van’er saw that the two wolves were already shot down by a group of other hunters. Since this wave of demonic beasts was slower, the hunter team had squeezed between the strike team, and shot as they pleased.
They had been undergoing this cycle of fixed action already from dawn until the present. When the first horn was sounded, most people were still asleep. Van’er yawned. This time, the attack of the demonic beasts was more intense than ever before. Usually they had to maintain this kind of battle for only one or two waves, but today, the demonic beasts were piling up at the base of the wall. They had already been replaced by the second militia team halfway so that they could eat something, rest for a short moment, and then return to the wall.
But unexpectedly, Van’er found himself much calmer than he had previos thought he would b, so when he heard that the gun team had to step back, he let them through, just as rehearsed in the previous weekdays. At first, they seemed like strange rules and regulations, but now they came in handy and were incredibly effective.
The others looked almost the same as Van’er. They all firmly grasped their pikes and had a serious look on their face, but some of them looked very nervous. However, everyone stood still with a straight body, and no one stepped a step back.
However, Van’er knew that the biggest push to the morale hadn’t come from the daily training, instead, it came from His Highness. At the moment after the firearms team shot, Van’er secretly glanced at the middle of the castle wall – it was the position where His Highness stood, overlooking the battle.
Shortly after the horn sounded for the first time, His Highness had stepped onto the top of the city wall. Since then, he had stood on the wall, continually holding the defense line without any rest. Even when it was time to eat, he didn’t step down. Instead, His Highness remained on top of the wall and sent his chief knight to personally get the breakfast.
When Van’er recalled the behavior of the last lord, he remembered that the lord had withdrawn by boat as quickly as possible at the beginning of the Months of the Demons. The lord was followed by the other nobility, and then by the whole civilian population. As long as they had some silver royals they would flee by boat, but if they had no money, they could only use their own feet to flee to Longsong Stronghold. Thinking back at this, Van’er felt completely refreshed.
Yes, the army from the Lord of Longsong Stronghold and the prince’s Border Town militia team was completely different. The former group completely relied on their armor and weapons, and often tyrannized the area within the new and old districts, even suppressing and blackmailing foreign businessmen. But in Van’er’s view, apart from the captain from the second militia team, there was no difference between rogues and them. Led by His Royal Highness, the militia was such a powerful team that they weren’t even afraid of blocking the demonic beasts outside of Border Town, making it impossible for them to advance. In the past, only Longsong Stronghold was able to do this.
Just look at Fish Balls, he was a former gangster in the old district. He was often the object of ridicule, but after joining the militia team and picking up the pike, he became a role model as a good citizen. There was also Fermi; his head was to big and he was a little slow, so he was often beaten up laughed at by the people of the old district. But now, when fighting with a pike, not only did he become extremely fast and ruthless, but also more skilled than most people. Every time when the others had already finished their training, he would still thrust out a hundred slashes, because His Highness had once said, “If the inflexible bird wants to overtake the more nimble ones, it has to catch up with their pace and then do even more.”
In the beginning, it was obviously only for the second egg, but now the soldiers were glad that they had joined the militia. Every day there was subtle changes in everyone, and every day they could train harder than yesterday. Van’er thought that he wasn’t the only one who felt this way. Rather, he thought everyone would feel like this. He did not know how to describe his feelings. Perhaps it was best described by the words often used by His Highness – they were a team like never seen before.
“Woo – woo -” suddenly, two short horn blows could be heard. This was the early warning system for an approaching mixed species. So, Van’er looked into the distance and discovered a mixed species with wings and a lion’s head, which was very similar to the beast that broke through the last time. Today this is our second meeting, he thought, but this time, it isn’t the same as last time. In addition to the gun team, we also have help from other forces.
When he turned his head to the side and looked towards the middle of the wall, he could see a little girl with blond hair floating beside the Prince.