Locke's eyelids twitch upon the thunderous boom from the catapults.
If one hadn't participated in the siege of tens of thousands of people, one could never imagine how magnificent and spectacular the sight of stones flying, giant crossbows screeching, and countless arrows flying above the soldiers' heads was. It was not a joke to say that one could feel the breeze under the fleeting arrow.
The soldiers of 3rd Division of Falcon had already advanced within attacking distance of Audis. Although the two margraves of the corps had been criticising them for disobedience and mixed combat effectiveness, in today's siege battle, this group of soldiers managed to prove themselves to be better than before.
On the defensive side, the wall guards were higher up and had far greater range than that of the attackers.
Before the archers of 3rd Division could draw their arrows, the enemy's own volley of arrows had come.
"Raise your shields! Raise your shields!" yelled every squad jarl.
Although 3rd Division ranked last among the four in Falcon, it was still a division that had participated in the war for several years. Although they couldn't be considered as elite soldiers, most of them were veterans, so they were still not bad.
Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh! Every soldier raised their shield above their heads and to their left torso. This would ensure that they could elude the arrows that might strike their hearts and heads.
It was Locke's first time watching the battle from a distance.
Their battalion was now between Lion and Falcon.
This location was wonderful -- not only was it a slightly steep slope, but it was also far enough from Audis that he needn't worry about the two parties clashing.
Locke personally even gave his bow and arrow a try. The arrow barely got across a quarter of the distance to the city wall.
It was likely that only a large, long-range weapon like a catapult would be able to strike here.
Locke didn't worry about their safety at all, because behind him was the entrance of the caster camp.
"Princess, His Highness has just issued an order that we need to use one-third of our magical power to suppress Audis," said a black-robed caster as he cradled a crystal ball in his palms. It was used for conveying messages.
"Got it!" Instead of dressing up glamorously in front of Locke, she only donned a black leather jacket, which accented her voluptuous curves.
It was a pity that the group of casters here wouldn't appreciate it. Putting their status aside, even the youngest magician here was already in his forties.
Although casters were more powerful than knights of the same rank, their advancement process was much more demanding than that of knights'.
Those who could be recruited to the combined military battalion caster force were Lehrlings between low rank and high rank.
In fact, of everyone present, Angelina was the lowest in terms of rank and also the youngest.
Despite this, no one would refuse to comply with her orders. Casters were casual people and few would appreciate a leading role, not to mention Angelina's status as a princess.
Besides, the identity of Angelina's mentor also elicited enough respect from this group of casters. Angelina's teacher was the one and only peak-level Lehrling in Faustian.
"Meister Monmir, would you lead the first and second magic team to provide support?" Angelina said politely to an old, white-bearded man next to her.
"Alright!" After the old man responded concisely before leading a dozen casters out of the tent.
In the distance, under the gate of Audis, the vanguard of 3rd Division was pressing in. The abundance of arrows and stone projectiles swept away many lives of the soldiers for every step they took.
"Go! Go! Go!" A platoon jarl yelled at the top of his lungs, instructing his men to advance.
Stones and wooden logs rolled down from the wall as if they didn't cost a thing, striking down one Faustian soldier after another.
Before the battle, Audis had accumulated countless arrows, stones and other materials. Additionally, pots upon pots of kerosene were set alight on one side of the city, as they waited for the Faustian soldiers to approach.
The first batch of Falcon troops that attacked comprised 3rd Division. Originally at 6,000 members, the total number soared to nearly 10,000 after countless recruits and mercenaries arrived at the front line.
This was true not only for 3rd Division but also for other divisions preparing to join in. The new army, which the kingdom had gone through great lengths to assemble, had caused Faustian's demographics to shift greatly.
As of now, Faustian was left with almost no more soldiers to draft. This time's desperate attack was hopefully enough to overcome Shalor with a single blow.
This time around, 3rd Division participated in the first batch of offence with more than 6,000 people. On average, there were more than 3,000 defenders stationed at each wall.
This was still only the force of one division. What Marmen had in mind was that as long as the soldiers of 3rd Division could go near and constantly pester the enemies on the walls, the soldiers of the remaining divisions could get close with a less significant loss.
After all, the soldiers of 3rd Division were just sacrifices -- sacrifices that must be made for Faustian's victory.
Outside Marmen's tent, Faustian nobles were gathered around and stirring up a commotion. Most of them were officers of 3rd Division.
"Our troops are nearly half gone! Why haven't reinforcements come yet?" cried a rotund noble viscount. His voice boomed so blatantly that the entire command post of Falcon heard him loud and clear.
"Exactly!" A group of other nobles echoed.
They were not stupid, their advanced education allowing them to connect the dots and figure out the rough plan as soon as the battle started.
They were trying to use them to weather the first fiercest wave of resistance.
While the nobles wouldn't mind waving flags while yelling slogans, but this kind of desperate attack should only be entrusted to the regular army.
It was a pity, however, that no one from military command came out to entertain them despite the prolonged opposition. The knights and soldiers guarding military command did not know this group of nobles.
Most of the nobles in 3rd Division were minor nobles in Faustian, with their soldiers being private troops from their respective territories.
The ordinary soldiers refused to let them in, and the high-ranking officers of military command took no notice, which plunged this group of nobles into a state of disarray.
In the present, their army base and soldiers were dying every second on the frontlines. These soldiers were not only their tool to manage their territory but the splitting of spoils after the battle also depended on their survival.
"If you don't let me in, I'll chop you up!" growled the plump man in the lead as he pointed a stout finger at a soldier standing in his way.
The soldier remained stoic, the cold expression on his face unmoving.
"Huh!" The overweight nobleman was not joking either. A nobleman had the right to deal with commoners as they saw fit. He would only have to compensate with some little money after getting rid of this soldier.
The sharp swish of the nobleman's longsword being unsheathed from his waistband filled the air.
All the soldiers immediately raised their pikes, pointing them in the direction of the nobleman.
"You! You are trying to rebel!" The corpulent nobleman squealed like a pig in a slaughterhouse. Following suit, the other nobles shrieked with him.
Unlike the chaos unfolding outside, sitting in Marmen's tent was the current division jarl of 3rd Division, sipping from a teacup he held with a shaking hand.
He wasn't the one who ordered the attack. Instead, it was Marmen who bypassed him and issued it to several deputy jarls of 3rd Division.
The commander of 3rd Division was also a count, but as an aristocrat whose territory was far from the royal capital, this count was in his own local faction.
He dared not disobey Marmen's order. No one but the king could refuse the order issued by the four margraves of the kingdom.
Due to various reasons, this famous nobleman was currently under house arrest and drinking tea here.
"How's the frontlines doing?" Marmen ignored the noise outside and fixed his gaze on Audis.
"3rd Division is already within 300 metres of the gate, but they can't seem to progress," replied the herald.
"Have they reached the limit?" Marmen murmured.
It was not that the soldiers of 3rd Division were not incapacitated -- the firepower of Audis was simply too strong.
In front of the city where around 10,000 soldiers were stationed to fend off the attack of only 3,000 people from 3rd Division, the defenders couldn't be too careless.
What's more, besides ordinary sentry equipment on the wall, there were...
Boom! Boom! Boom! Beams of light showered down from the gate of Audis.
The Kingdom of Shalor was finally flaunting its magical heritage to spies from various countries watching the battle in the shadows.
The magicrystal cannons had been firing ceaselessly since the soldiers of 3rd Division were within a one-kilometre radius from Audis.
Each time a beam of light gushed out represented the demise of at least a ten-men squad.
In front of this kind of unstoppable power, only those who practised impetus could dodge right during the shot with their agility. Other soldiers could only pray that this spell would not knock them down.
"The Shalorians are too desperate," Marmen mumbled aloud. Although the soldiers of 3rd Division suffered heavy losses, a smile was plastered across the margrave's face.
That's right, this wave was already worth it.
Marmen was uncertain about the number of remaining magicrystal cannonballs the Shalorians still possessed, but he assumed there were not many left. Otherwise, he would've caught sight of it before.
They were either scarce to begin with, or had just been manufactured. Or could it be both?
But Shalor's defenders had no choice but to work hard and give it their all. With their king standing at the walls of the city and the menacing Faustian soldiers putting immense pressure on them, they were left with no escape route.
So far, they had fired at least 30 rounds, close to one-eighth of the reserves.
This battle had just commenced.