Thanks to all proofreaders who worked on this part: Eternal, Armada, Seb, PuszekSE, Auryum, Seviper9 and TysonSlayer!
Three Abyss Knights. Gunter, Illadrem, Faust.
"Rise up, everyone. The laws of death rule over this land." "You will maintain this world on the brink of collapse." "Comply with death for a new rebirth."
The undead submitted to the powerful Abyss Knights. The remaining forces of the northern users were dwindling down, but the Haven Imperial army gathering from all directions became the Abyss Knights' new target.
"Fight with composure. They are not as strong as they seem."
The Legion commanders led the soldiers and fended against the Abyss Knights.
"Obliterate them all." "Do not fall back. Press forward."
Abyss Knights knew nothing else other than to battle, and they lunged at the enemy. Dozens of warriors from the Hermes Guild kept them in check and bought time. The Phanzellope Order of Phantom Knights moved to the right and contributed significantly in stopping the Abyss Knights. The experience of fighting against Abyss Knight Van Hawk not too long ago was a considerable asset to the Hermes Guild members.
"The most important target, Weed, has fled, and now we are stuck here cleaning up scrubs of undead. How frustrating." "Those undead were our comrades only moments ago." "Aren't we going to lose at this rate?" "Let's hang on somehow. We still have the Alkin disease at our disposal."
The Legion commanders did not have a definite solution, so they focused on clearing up the undead.
"This is stupid. Such powerful undead fighting in such a poor manner."
Weed who had disguised himself as an Imperial knight sighed in disappointment. Several thousands of Doom Knights and tens of thousands of Death Knights had emerged, the size of an entire army. Even so, it was upsetting to see them being crushed in such disorganized formations.
"17th Legion, take the left!" "Yes sir!"
Weed hunted down the crowd of Death Knights along with the surrounding Imperial Knights.
< You have obtained experience points. >
< You have obtained a cracked, but sharp sword. It may prove useful once it is repaired. >
'This kind of battle style does not suit me. I want to fight with everything I've got.'
He examined the knights and set his power along their levels. Weed was in no position to get carried away, but the tips of fingers were itching to act out.
"The back of that user's head… that beautiful rear. He even has gorgeous armor. Dear god."
It was like preparing a worm steak to a sparrow!
"I'm going to be in way over my head. Let's hunt Death Knights for now."
The Hermes Guild members were mainly focused on the Abyss Knights. They paid little attention to the battlefront of the Imperial Knights and the Death Knights, so there were spoils to be collected.
"Kuk, they pierced through!" "Concentrate the healing spells. We have to contain them tightly, so they can't move."
No matter how much the warriors tried to hold them off, it wasn't easy containing the relentless Death Knights throwing dark weapons and leaking through the defenses.
– Heiller : Merge legions and finish the cleanup. We cannot afford to lose any more time here.
All the best users from the Hermes Guild were mobilized to fight. Weed observed Dain leading an awesome knight cavalry for a long time.
"She became so successful after registering in the Hermes Guild."
He heard rumors about her success in the Kallamore region after becoming provincial lord of Evaluk city.
"She's covered with such expensive items."
Shaman equipment was extremely rare and difficult to find, but she was wearing the most high-quality items of them all.
"She even wore all of the limited editions. Seriously, you can't trust anyone in this world."
Weed was not the type to differentiate between public and private matters. Only death awaits traitors! In the middle of all this, the once enormous swarm of undead had been substantially reduced. The effects of Dark Rule and Death Aura had disappeared long ago, since Weed's transformation into an Imperial Knight. The Abyss Knights were quite formidable, but were defeated one after another. They had an easier time taking the Abyss Knights than they did with Van Hawk. They figured out the weakness of Abyss Knights having poor equipment and control of their bodies when they first spawn.
'It's unfortunate. But they still managed to take down a decent number of Hermes Guild members…'
Weed considered the damage he had done since the Great Disaster as a bonus.
"It's about time to leave."
He took hits from the Death Knights without any attempt to defend.
< Smite! You have been struck hard on the shoulder area. Life force is reduced by 381. >
< Consecutive hits! You have been roundhouse kicked in the side. Life force is reduced by 809. >
He was over level 500 and high base stats of constitution and perseverance, making him tough enough to withstand the attacks from 5 Death Knights.
< Armor durability has decreased. >
Weed made his armor look worn out and broken by the attacks of the Death Knights.
Nearby knights lunged and wiped out the Death Knights.
"Are you alright?" "I am injured. I will take a short rest." "Go ahead."
Knights comprised of NPCs all showed their concern for Weed. Weed's charm, charisma and leadership stats were taking effect. If he were to display a bit of his talents, leading the Haven Imperial knights would be a breeze.
"No one is suspicious of me yet."
The Haven Imperial army was very large, and was currently battling the undead everywhere, so the Hermes Guild members couldn't afford to examine each and every knight, and didn't bother checking just a few. Weed took a rest amongst the wounded and merged with the forces fighting the undead in the outskirts.
"I will fight alongside you." "We welcome your aid."
He accumulated experience points as he struck the Death Knights. He could then see approaching northern users from afar. The sun rose completely into the sky! The plains that were once covered with fine dust had been dismissed like a lie and he could see northern users running towards him.
"Grass porridge, Grass porridge, Grass porridge!" "We fight for the Arpen Kingdom!" The war cry of the northern users continued endlessly. An army stretched out as far as the eyes could see was approaching like a swarm of ants. They were marching in after defeating several stations of the Haven Imperial army. King Hydra had his 9 heads straight up high and the light from Phoenix's flames shone beside him. Bingryong and the wyverns also came into view.
"The sculptural lifeforms have joined forces."
Weed had told the sculptural lifeforms that they should never participate in a war because their lives would be in danger. Though if they really did not participate, he would have scolded them greatly. On the other hand, he would scold them anyway for joining the fight!
"Fortunately, it seems that they've fought well."
It was their own faults if they ended up dying or wounded greatly, and Weed would have to resurrect them. He received a whisper from his younger sister.
– Yurin : Grandpa Geihar bestowed life to the sculptural lifeforms. It's amazing.
Weed spoke in low volume so others would not hear him.
"How many?" – Yurin : All of them. "All in the plain?!"
The amount of sculptures that the users had created in the Garnav plains was insane. Even after many of them were destroyed by the Summon Flaming Meteors spell, the number of supersized sculptures alone reached hundreds.
– Yurin : Grandpa Geihar even gave up his life… He died again to bring all the sculptures to life. "Can we trust in the abilities of those sculptural lifeforms?" – Yurin : Yes. Each one of them looks really strong. However, Grandpa Geihar told them something before he died. "What did it say?" – Yurin : He told them not to obey the people, but to enjoy their freedom. "Freedom?" – Yurin : He said they should help in today’s battle, but live their life afterwards.
Emperor Geihar had bestowed perfect life to the sculptural lifeforms. His last gift had been to tell them to live the way they wanted. The emperor had lived his whole life for sculptures and sculptural lifeforms.
Weed smiled broadly.
"I shall give the sculptural lifeforms freedom, in accordance to his wishes."
But of course, freedom did not come without a price. He would establish a monthly rent for housing them in the Arpen Kingdom, and make money by setting up taxes and other necessities.
"I shall exploit them freely!"
A group of northern users and sculptural creatures was approaching.
He dashed away from the Haven Imperial army and charged. He was dragging his sword against the ground as he ran towards them, looking like a brave knight.
"What is he doing?" "He's a mere knight. Why is he going out of his way?"
The Hermes Guild members just stared at him thinking that he was just one of the many knights. Weed sprinted quickly then threw his sword away. Usually, he never passed by even the common materials and collected them one by one but in this situation, he was aware of the broadcast. It was a sword that had been worn out badly after slashing the undead.
He took off and threw away his armor as he ran and finally took off his helm. His face was revealed at last.
"N, no way… is that-?" "Isn't he Weed? It is weed!" "He looks like Weed."
The Hermes Guild members that were getting ready to fight the northern users were devastated. He was already halfway across, and he was too quick for them to catch up.
"Master!" "Grrrrr. Hurry on over." "Mooooooo. I knew you would make it back safe and sound."
The sculptural creatures welcomed Weed, and the uproar of the northern users echoed across the field.
"The God of War Weed!" "Weed-nim has safely returned." "Now the Arpen Kingdom will be victorious!"
There was an upset amidst the Haven Imperial army. They weren't this devastated even when the three Abyss Knights appeared.
"Weed was among us….?" "Yes. He blended in our forces and hid himself; amidst the Imperial knights." "And so?" "He escaped back to the northern users." "…"
The Hermes guild members were about to go insane.
"We had him in our grasp and we let him slip?" "How come nothing that we planned has worked?"
The annihilation plan devised by the executives for this war was as follows: Stage 1: The Summon Flaming Meteors spell is cast on the Garnav plains. Stage 2: The Alkin disease is spread. The immediate infections would bring a loss in fighting spirit and spread fear among them. Stage 3: The Phanzellope Order of Phantom Knights appear to bring despair. Stage 4: The Imperial army closes in from all directions, using the steel cavalry and the Spears of Annihilation. Stage 5: The Summon Flaming Meteors spell is cast again. Assassinate or subdue Weed and the core users during the confusion.
Stage 1 and 2 had done a fair share of their purpose. The Phanzellope Order of Phantom Knights and the Spears of Annihilation were very powerful, but there hadn't been an opportunity to see them in action because they had not gotten to fight Weed properly. In the end, they had done nothing but self-destruct in the middle of the Great Disaster by killing one another, and Weed — the main target — had disguised himself as one of their own and observed them carefully to make his grand escape.
"How did the situation turn out this way?" "What do you mean this way? The blame shouldn't be on the plan, but the poor response on the field." "Poor? Are you telling me that we are at fault?" "Crebulta, you're one to speak. Weed was among the 7th Legion. What right do you have to tell me that?" "How dare you speak to me with such arrogance…!"
Draka muttered bitterly as he watched the Hermes Guild commanders and high-ranking officials quarreling with each other.
"We got beaten again, and this time it's checkmate."
The results were much more gruesome than those from the northern conquest expedition. The Imperial army's military power had withered away greatly. Too many forces had been wasted in attempts to capture Weed, and the Great Disaster causing fights among themselves resulted in immense casualties. On top of that, the northern users were advancing from all directions, their morale at its peak, and were about to commence their surrounding attack. Draka felt that it was time for him to step up.
"There is no time left for debates. Let us break through the encircling forces first." "What options will we have after breaking through them?"
Heiller asked in return with a critical tone in his voice. He was frustrated at how things were turning out, and he was uncomfortable with Draka of the lower ranks speaking out.
"I can't say for sure, but we can't die here so we might as well break through first. Do you plan on fighting endless streams of users right on this spot?" "We can go after Weed. The annihilation has failed, but we still have a chance to muster enough power and force a frontal assault."
Dain sighed deeply.
"It's not possible." "What?" "I received reports that a new legion of sculptural lifeforms has joined the Arpen Kingdom's military forces."
The commanders took out their individual crystal balls. There was no need for them to surf through many broadcast channels. KMC media, CTS media and the rest of the most popular broadcasting stations were airing similar footages. User had created supersized sculptures on the Garnav plains. Life had been bestowed to these sculptures, and they could be seen marching towards the battle. The enormous creatures were over several hundred meters in size! Their powers could be felt through the live footages.
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