The fight between both sides raged on. On the side of Blood Red soldiers, although every soldier was first rate with impetus and worked great as a team, they were too few in number. They seemed superficially overwhelmed by the Faustian soldiers who were five times their number. Clarion, Dale and the other veteran platoon jarls all had their subordinates encircle the enemy, executed sneak attacks, and used other tactics to kill the Blood Red soldiers.
This was Blood Red's shortcoming. Assassinations and surprise attacks were their expertise. However, they had little success in large-scale battles. Pure numbers wasn't something to be ignored. On the crowded battlefield, assassination didn't help. Even the lower-ranked platoon jarls had hundreds of soldiers surrounding them, not to mention the commanders. They were like ants that were trying to take on elephants. The losses they suffered back then were also due to being crushed in pure numbers.
The appearance of the Faustians was nothing short of nightmarish. They had seen, not just once, the gory sight of their comrades being skewered by the spears of a few ordinary Faustian soldiers. Even so, orders were orders. Before they captured the woman stated in their mission, they couldn't retreat. They pressed on with their attack.
Whilst they were on a rampage, they noticed that the number of Faustian soldiers was not as high as they had imagined. Even so, they could not see the enemies clearly in the dark. On the battlefield, only calibre and courage mattered. The Blood Red soldiers had calibre. Now, when they noticed the number of Faustian soldiers was too little to cause major harm to them, they regained their courage. They formed small groups and charged towards Solon and Angelina, watching each others' backs.
People were dying every second. Horrifying screams filled the air incessantly. Locke's battalion had a total of 400 infantry. Aside from those sacrificed in battles or new recruits, everyone else knew each other well after four years, albeit not being able to call each other's name. When they heard the screams, they instinctively knew who they belonged to and felt their unwilling dying cries. However, Faustians were sturdy folks and were much more ruthless compared to Shalorians, and Cardoj's leadership toughened them more compared to the private troops of other Faustian nobles. No matter how large the casualty rate, if the jarls did not order the retreat, they would never retreat!
Indeed, the jarls did not order a retreat because they didn't have a choice. After Clarion and Dale killed two to three Blood Red soldiers, they were treated as high-priority targets by the enemies. Although they had many subordinates around them to provide assistance, it wasn't enough. In addition, the soldiers' lives weren't expendable. As platoon jarls, they also had to protect their subordinates. Who else would they command if everyone died?
Clarion, Dale and other platoon jarls were in a dangerous situation. There were three to four elites of their level surrounding them and trying to take them out. Not to mention, those elites were good at joining hands in combat. If it wasn't for the ordinary soldiers that were sacrificing their lives for them, the platoon jarls would long be dead. Locke and Jersson were under attack too. They had just begun to learn impetus, but the Blood Red soldiers specifically targeted them. Luckily, Locke had not slacked off in sword and spear training after learning impetus. Furthermore, his impetus was greatly boosted by redsea flower. Even though he struggled to fight the Blood Red soldier in front of him, he could fend for himself with the help of Caen and Hans.
He was glad he asked Henry to get him a shield before this, as it helped him a lot in a solo fight. He could block the impetus-charged blow from the Blood Red soldier with his left arm by also utilising his own impetus. Luckily, Henry didn't rip him off. The shield only deformed a little and received a few scratches from the heavy blow. By the looks of it, the shield was of good make.
On the other hand, Jersson was currently under grave threat. Not only wasn't he gifted redsea flower by Solon, his impetus was literally at the entry level. He could only take four to five impetus strikes before losing steam and hiding among the rest. Besides that, he was transferred over from another platoon so he didn't have old comrades as subordinates, like Locke did. Locke had Caen, Hans and others who could coordinate seamlessly with him. In other words, he was using the soldiers as his meatshields.
It could not be helped though, since everyone valued their life dearly, especially right after they finally acquired some power and were going somewhere. Right now, the soldiers in 4th Platoon, who normally regarded Brother Jersson as an amiable figure, saw him as an abomination. In contrast, Locke did not disappoint them -- he had already saved a few lives from the hands of the Blood Red soldiers. Ordinary soldiers were far inferior to those that learned impetus. Everything else aside, if a Knecht threw a two-handed slash simple impetus, a normal parry wouldn't cut it.
Both sides were suffering losses as the battle progressed. As for who came out on the better end, no one could see it more clearly than Solon, who was standing far away from them. On average, the Faustian troops needed to sacrifice seven to eight ordinary soldiers to kill one Blood Red soldier. Currently, there were already five to six Blood Red soldiers on the ground, but even more dead Faustians. About a quarter of 200 soldiers serving Solon lay eternally dead in the woods on foreign land. This was a big loss to the battalion comparable to the one they suffered at the battle at Farlans.
"Who did you provoke exactly?" Solon asked Angelina. If he could rewind time, he would never have provoked the crimson reapers.
Angelina was exhalling frantically. Although she was standing, her legs were beat, and she had reached her limit both mentally and physically. Soreness and pain were the only things she felt at the moment. It was her first time witnessing a massacre of such scale. Previously, she was already shocked and at a loss when she was under protection of a team of ten shadow guards. Now, the chaotic battle involving hundreds of people dealt another psychological blow on her. As an empathetic person, she clearly sensed the loss of life around her, which drained her spirits by the minute. It was extremely shocking to Angelina, especially for someone like her who was too scared to even kill an animal to make a specimen for an experiment.
Solon's shout made Angelina turn to look at him. She still had a good impression towards the noble in front of him who suddenly showed up with soldiers, since they saved her. It was as if she found a lifeline right before she drowned. However, her good impression towards him faded from the yell. She was quite mature and intelligent for her age and quickly calmed herself down. Her eyes widened as she looked at the noble who unexpectedly didn't recognise her. Was he some son of a count?
As the treasured pearl of Faustian, Princess Angelina participated in many balls held in the capital. It could be said that every noble youth in the capital deeply craved for her. Not only that, the balls she participated in were high class; nobody from households below the rank of count was invited. Hence, it caused a misunderstanding on her part, since the majority of the nobles she encountered were high-ranked nobles in the capital, or rich and powerful nobles that had massive influence in some other area. On the other hand, Solon was only a son of a baron, so he had never seen Angelina in person. He only heard about her from other nobles.
Angelina did not answer Solon's question. Instead, she took out a golden emblem from her torn white dress. The emblem was easily recognisable -- it depicted the profile of a woman. No one in Faustian wouldn't recognise it. It was the same picture on all silver thalers and was a portrait of the first queen of Faustian. The gold thalers were also engraved with the head portrait of the first king of Faustian. As for the copper thalers, each one was engraved with the portrait of the biggest contributor who helped Faustian to invade and conquer its biggest neighbouring kingdom, the first patriarch of the Shia family and the minister of military affairs back then.
Naturally, Solon recognised the emblem, but he still did not understand what it represented. Perhaps, Cardoj would have, however. On the day of the funeral of the previous queen, the current king, under the witness of several hundreds of thousands of citizens, handed the king's emblem to his son Kenzir and appointed him to be his heir, and handed the queen's emblem to his youngest daughter, Angelina to put her in second in line for the throne. This was once a major topic in the royal capital. Their king did it in order to express his love towards the previous queen, SophiaWhy else would the first two to be in line for succession be the children of the first queen? It was also through this that all high-ranking nobles in the royal capital understood the king's determination to support Kenzir as the next ruler.
In seeing Angelina bringing out the emblem, even someone as oblivious as Solon realised that she was someone out of the ordinary. Any ordinary person would not dare to forge that emblem, let alone taking it out so nonchalantly. In addition, he recalled the purpose they came to the Bering Mountains in the first place. Solon thought, it can't be a coincidence, can it?
Solon was not a reckless person, but this shock was too big. He had wanted so desperately to catch up to his father and was caught off guard. He had only planned to affiliate himself with the caster, only to discover her beauty, but before he could become her saviour, the strength of Blood Red blew the plan out of the water. His careless decisions resulted in heavy casualties, far more than what they could bear.
He was still so far behind Baron Cardoj.
"Why would there be so many Faustian soldiers in such a place? Damn it!" Mond and the rest arrived late only to see dozens of Blood Red soldiers surrounded by hundreds of Faustian soldiers. Thanks to his Knecht senses, he saw that there was only one group of Faustian soldiers in the vicinity. Hence, they need not worry for the time being.
The battle raged on.
Whether it was Clarion, Dale, Karl or Solon, all platoon jarls including Locke and Jersson
felt an immense aura coming from nearby.
"No!" Solon could not bother to complain about this mysterious girl anymore. The moment he sensed a similar aura to that of an elite like Wyr, he fell into despair.
Angelina soon saw the familiar Blood Red soldier. However, at this moment, she had run out of stamina to run anymore. Resigning herself to destiny was the only thing she could do now.