GDK 793: Death
All of the spectators could see that the only Company that had the potential to defeat the Second Corps was those of the Fifth Corps. That was something that even Ralph cannot deny!
The Divine Guard Chiefs of the City of Shadows knew each other’s strengths well. They all knew just how terrifying the divine guards Ralph produced were. Although Aobashi’s First Corps had yet to engage the Second Corps, by extrapolating on historical trends, the spectators thought it likely that the First Corps would again lose to the Second Corps.
On that year, the only team that had outperformed their past performances was the Fifth Corps. They had cleanly and successfully plundered divine essences from the Seventh Corps, showing their extraordinary strength.
<i>The strength they displayed seemed extraordinary. Will Ralph’s Second Corps finally be defeated?</i> some of the spectators hopes while some doubted. Their gazes were gathered on the sand table, fully concentrated on the two forces that were on the verge of making contact.
Han Shuo still had that same old unruffled smile. His divine guards tempered in the Eight Desolation and Torment Formation and trained by Cauldron Spirit had all mastered the simple but unique demonic combat techniques that would bring out their full potential.
The divine guards produced by the Second Corps had outstanding strength but strength was not the only factor that determines the outcome in a team battle. The unity of the team and overall coordination were also critical. Han Shuo was sure that his Fifth Corps team surpasses the Second Corps team in this aspect.
In addition, the Fifth Corps team had Sanguis, Bollands, and Gilbert of extraordinary strengths. Sanguis and Bollands possessed attack methods unlike any others. Han Shuo was sure that the trio could make a huge, unexpected difference during critical moments!
After plundering the divine essences from most of their competitors, Kiffan went to seek out the Fifth Corps as Ralph had commanded. The distances between the two Companies were rapidly reducing. It became clear that the conflict was bound to happen.
When the two teams were about to meet, Han Shuo felt somewhat uneasy. The spectators could clearly see everything happening in the arena through the sand table. Han Shuo was afraid that Bollands and his Company might do something very illegal right before the eyes of Wallace and the spectators. Ralph was even more nervous than Han Shuo for he had ordered Kiffan to kill all the Fifth Corps divine guards he can. With so many discerning eyes watching the battle, he would immediately be caught if Kiffan tried to intentionally killed someone.
But it was too late now for Han Shuo or Ralph to do anything!
The inevitable battle finally broke out. Kiffan, leading his Second Corps divine guards with unstoppable momentum and overbearing force charged at the Fifth Corps divine guards. He commanded in a loud, cold voice, “Attack! No need to be polite!”
The Second Corps had successfully plundered divine essences from the Fourth, Sixth, and Third Corps. Their morale was as high as ever. Every one of them was steaming with the desire to slaughter. These divine guards who had survived the cruelest trial and training had greater individual strength than that of any other companies. They charged ahead in a fierce and vicious face. It was frightening to stand in their path.
Bollands gestured at his divine guards and calmly commanded, “The Second Corps is nothing like the Seventh Corps. Assume defensive position!”
These Fifth Corps divine guards had braved through countless deadly situations in the Eight Desolation and Torment Formation. Their tempered minds were very staunch and firm, not at all affected by the imposing and murderous demeanor seething from the Second Corps divine guards. Following Bollands’ instructions, the Fifth Corps divine guards immediately spread out into a U-formation facing the Second Corps divine guards.
“Let them in!” Bollands continued to deliver methodical orders to his divine guards. He did not charge blindly as he did against the Seventh Corps.
All the Fifth Corps divine guards looked on coldly at the attacking Second Corps. Following Bollands’ command, the formation again transformed orderly. It turned into multiple smaller U-formations that could fit five to six people. The divine guards were spaced around two to three meters apart - a distance suitable for them to assist each other while not obstructing each other.
On the sand table, the Company from the Fifth Corps was as though a beautiful and complicated origami being unfolded. They took little time to rearrange themselves into a neat and tidy formation. It was clear to the spectators that every Fifth Corps divine guard was the same distance apart. The half-ring they formed looked as though a diagram drawn after making precise measurements of angles and distances.
A radiance of astonishment flashed from the spectator’s eyes. Even without looking at the Fifth Corps’ strength, from their ability to get into such an orderly and well-coordinated formation in little time, the spectators knew just how much effort had been put into training the divine guards. It looked as though the divine guards knew where they should be in the formation in order to maximize their power.
<i>How remarkable!</i> thought the spectators.
Ralph was a knowledgeable person. It took him just one look at that incredible coordination displayed by the Fifth Corps divine guards to realize just how much effort must have been put on team training. The most terrifying divine guard Companies were usually those that could fight as a team. For some reason, Ralph suddenly felt uneasy about his divine guards charging into the formation recklessly.
The battle finally broke out!
The first to attack wasn’t those of the Second Corps but the Fifth Corps from their defensive position!
Right when Kiffan and his Second Corps divine guards arrived at the center of the semi-circular formation, Bollands, in a callous face, gestured with his hand. The Fifth Corps divine guards suddenly launched a hail of ranged attacks at Kiffan and his company, catching some by surprise.
Sanguis and Gilbert left the formation and charged at Kiffan. Bollands did not directly participate in the battle but kept on shouting commands from his place, directing the Fifth Corps divine guards to attack the Second Corps divine guards from all sides. As the commanding officer, Bollands did not make any rash decisions but instructed suitable adjustments to the team after careful observation. They managed to hold back the assailing Second Corps divine guards.
If broken down into individual divine guards, the Second Corps had greater strength than the Fifth Corps. However, the latter was way superior in terms of rapport between team members. With the Fifth Corps divine guards working with each other like the lubricated gears of a well-built machine, With the attacking bombarding them so frequently, the Second Corps divine guards did not have the opportunity to make counterattacks.
The order Han Shuo gave to Bollands was very simple - to kill the Second Corps divine guards mercilessly! And Bollands had carried out the order faithfully. In just a short time, many of the Second Corps divine guards were injured.
“Beautiful! This is what real teamwork looks like!” exclaimed Camilla. In an excited and cheerful face, she said to Han Shuo, “This is an eye-opener. Every member of your FIfth Corps truly considers themselves a part of the team. None of them break away and abandon their teammates under such stress. They even manage to defend their position perfectly, blocking up every gap that the attackers try to reach. Truly extraordinary!”
After a short pause, Camilla took a quick glance at Ralph disdainfully and added, “The attackers, although made up of individuals of greater strengths, they are far behind the Fifth Corps in teamwork!”
Camilla’s Fourth Corps had suffered severe injuries from Kiffan’s company. She seemed very happy to watch the assailants getting a taste of their own medicine and she repeatedly made sneering comments to irritate Ralph.
Naturally, Rugersey and Erebus whose divine guards had also suffered similar harm from Ralph’s men wouldn’t miss out on this opportunity. Erebus remarked, “That is very true. It looks like the Second Corps have caught a Tartar! Strongest in team combat strength? Not anymore!”
“It seems to me that they became strongest in team combat strength merely by bunching the strongest divine guards together. From the looks of it now, they too do not know how to bring out the strength as a team!” commented Rugersey.
The three turned rather happy for they felt that Han Shuo had slapped Ralph in the face on their behalf. They keep on side glancing at Ralph with their gloating eyes while making comments with their jeering words. Ralph’s face turned darker and darker.
Ralph understood the common sense that one mouth is no match against three mouths. Although he was extremely annoyed and angered, he did not make a retort. In addition, he knew that if he did retort, the three major patriarchs might join the three in mocking him. He had offended way too many people!
“Are you bunch done yet?” Wallace could not take it any longer and he scolded.
With Wallace having spoken, Erebus, Camilla, and Rugersey tactfully shut their mouths. The three had big, satisfied smiles on their faces after getting a little revenge for their losses. They continued to watch the battle on the sand table.
<i>Just you wait!</i> thought Ralph with his teeth clenched. He was considering how to give the three a lesson after the competition was over.
“Someone got killed!” exclaimed Andre suddenly.
The spectators were jolted and they immediately ceased their teasing. The put on solemn faces and placed their attention back on that sand table.
A divine guard of the Second Corps fell to the barrages of ranged attacks. Although all that one could see of him was a small black dot on the sand table, one could tell that he was dead simply from the fact that he was still and stationary. Otherwise, he would be doing something about the countless attacks landing on his body!
Wallace’s expression changed. He raised his head from the sand table and looked at Han Shuo. In his eyes there was a clear intention to inquire. Han Shuo forced a smile and shrugged at Wallace, indicating that he had no idea how the situation happened. Though he may appear normal, Han Shuo was feeling rather uneasy.
“He should not have perished!” said Andre. After taking a short pause, he explained, “If any of his teammates around him had provided assistance, he would only suffer light injuries. However, during the critical moment, his teammates had coldly withdrawn and abandoned him. It is his own comrades that cause his death!”
Wallace’s face jolted very slightly after hearing those words. The Second Corps would always assault wildly in every one of the competition. Many of their flaws were covered by their terrifying individual strengths. Once they engaged their enemy, they would usually quickly overwhelm them with brute strength. They had never been in such a passive situation before and therefore their indifference towards their fellow comrades was not revealed until now.
Andre’s word had undoubtedly pushed the blame to the Second Corps. Han Shuo became slighter more at ease and he looked at Andre in a faint smile. He knew that with Andre’s explanation, Wallace will not be putting the blame on him.
“Another death!” exclaimed Batúk. He raised his head to look at Ralph and said, “It is the same situation again! It seems that your troops will never care to assist or give a damn about the life of their comrades. Is this what you call teamwork?”
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