The final counter-plan was quickly adopted.
Freya wondered how Senior Maynild and Balta had convinced the nobles. Perhaps Archbishop Wood just thought of it as an opportunity. In any case, she had finally managed to maintain the army’s retreating pace for the time being.
This was the last chance.
The next 20 minutes would determine whether or not the coalition of human armies would be able to fight the Devils to confront them for an hour, which sounded unimaginable. However, that was what the people of Aouine were hoping for.
There was a refreshing coldness in the heavy rain as if a steel blade was affixed to it.
Marquis Balta split the garrison of the Fort Bunio in two and merged the main force of the White Lion Legion with the students of the Royal Cavalry Academy. Then, he placed this army under Maynild.
This was something that would never have happened in Aouine in the past. The nobles never gave up their armies and power, as their greed made them cling to what they had like eerie spirits.
However, as Balta handed over the commander’s role, the captain of this army told the female knight, “I will leave the White Lion Legion in your hands, Lady.”
These simple words softened the stiff female knight, who pondered a little before taking the White Lion’s battle flag.
It was raining heavily. The future of those who stayed behind and those who were about to go to the front was equally uncertain, but such a dangerous situation was really unremarkable.
The commands echoed loudly, and the gates slowly opened.
At that moment, the battlefield of blood and fire seemed especially real and close in Freya’s eyes. The bright flames that cut through the night seemed to draw the battlefield closer, while the tremors from the explosions swept over the entire area from time to time. She also saw the city gates creaking and shaking with her own eyes.
The back view of Maynild on her warhorse was not far ahead of her. She was just a few steps ahead, in fact. There were a few familiar faces lined up on the side, including Owen, Bessie, and the future Aouine trio, Carlo, Enrique, and Carglise. The three of them, who were older, were leading his White Lion Battalion.
As the groups came out one by one, the Devils soon spotted the humans and an army of Hellhounds appeared on the battlefield. However, Freya’s extreme vision spotted the Barbarian Devils in the sky again, while the Devils were more likely to be heading for Fort Bunuo. Just as expected, they wanted to take advantage of the human division to attack this extension of the battlefield.
Everyone held their breath.
Maynild halted the horses one last time before she ordered the army to march on. The cold female knight took one last look at Fort Bunuo. A flag on its low walls was really prominent in the heavy rain.
The crescent moon in Aouine’s sky seemed like it had just risen.
Her usually emotionless face looked softer than ever.
“Senior?” Freya noticed the antics of the female knight.
Maynild looked at her without correcting the way she addressed her. “Freya, someone is demonstrating their objection against us.”
“Let someone raise the White Lion’s battle flag, and I’ll show them. Seven hundred years ago, the White Lion Legion crushed the last of the Kirrlutz armies here with the help of the mountain men. Seven hundred years later, we are also capable of doing so,” Maynild replied coldly.
When Marquis Balta saw the familiar flag waving in the rain, even though he had been a soldier for almost 50 years, he still felt his eyes burning. He suddenly remembered the first time he had seen this flag, when the old army chief himself had taught him the glory of the White Lion.
That past glory was really dim at this moment but it was still shining slightly.
It was like a spark bursting from the residual heat beneath the ashes.
The Marquis stood in the rain and thought a lot about the first time he had put on the armor of a White Lion, his first knight's duel, the first time he had ridden on horseback, the first time he had inhaled the chilly air of the battlefield into his lungs, and all the intrigue and struggle that had followed. Unfortunately, each subsequent victory was never as purely pleasurable as his first victory over an enemy on the battlefield.
For the first time in nearly two centuries, the White Lion Legion was not glorified for winning but for guarding something. It felt like a return to what it had been founded for.
He smelled the slightly bloody, mingled earthy scent of the wind on the frontal battlefield of Bunuo, as if he was back on top of that magnificent battlefield, facing the army of the Holy Cathedral of Wind.
Back then, Lord Sword Saint had still been around, Lord Leider had still been in command of the White Lion Legion, and he had still been just an insignificant knight.
Unfortunately, everything had changed.
Everything was now different, including the fluttering flags, the knights’ coat of arms on the battlefield, and the faces around them.
“Commander, the Devils have begun to attack.”
"I don't have to be notified of such things. I can see them."
Balta replied, "The wilderness is like a red tide of Devils, and as far as the eye can see, it is densely populated with those ugly creatures. Fort Bunuo had a few minutes of respite after the last attack, but now the Devils have discovered the humans' intentions and are preparing to turn the tables.”
The Fort military had become even weaker after the division, but the soldiers who had chosen to stay behind had no complaints. Most of them were among the oldest and most seasoned groups of the White Lion Legion, and these men carried their determination to battle and gathered at the head of the city, their silver-gray armor forming a thin wall.
"Caveman slave soldiers spotted. Expect to be in range in one minute."
"Watch out for Barbarian Devils in the air and lift the waterproof cloth off the crossbow—"
“Those at the head of the city, gather together and block the gaps.”
The commands were passed down one by one, and the orderlies roared hoarsely as if they were trying to scream out their last bit of courage with all their strength.
A tsunami of arrows flew over Freya's head, causing her and everyone around her to feel a chill down their spines.
There was an avenue for the wagons and carriages near Fort Bunuo that led to Medao, but that road had long been blown up by demonic spells, and the soldiers had to proceed along the riverbed. After passing under a stone bridge, they would see the village of Medao’s wall.
The Cave Lizardmen Archer could be seen at the back. It was an underground creature that looked somewhat like a ground lizardman. However, it had tawny skin and pale eyes, so it was better adapted to fighting in the dark. Unfortunately, most of these creatures were Imps, and Freya could see their disgusting reddish skin from this distance.
“Knight Commander, there's a pack of Hellhounds behind us!" someone shouted amid the storm.
"Don't mind them. Tell me if the flag is still there."
Someone turned back to look in the direction of Fort Bunuo. "Knight Commander, the flag is still there!"
"That's good, keep moving."
Another tsunami of arrows came, and the row of White Lion soldiers in front of them fell in unison. Three crossbow bolts whizzed through the crowd, and one of them flew past Freya and hit Bessie behind her. The girl was dragged away from her horse with a scream and disappeared in a flash into the darkness.
"Bessie!" Freya let out a miserable scream.
Maynild shouted coldly, "Leave her alone! Any of us could die here. Let’s carry on with the will of the dead. Stop looking back."
The White Lion's battle flag was crossing the entire battlefield.
Marquis Balta, who was covered in blood, watched as the holy white army got smaller and smaller in the rainy night. An old man of the White Lion Legion had once told him that the White Lion had a soul of its own when it had promised to become the guardian of the White Lion Legion along with the late ruler, Erik. Thus, the soul of the Legion was resting on this lion.
Of course, this was just a legend.
Marquis Balta never believed such absurd rumors, but he also had to admit that such a soul did exist in the White Lion Legion. Not in the lion, but in every man of this legion.
The cavemen, who had been repulsed, had left a trail of corpses between the broken walls. They were meant to be sacrifices, but unfortunately, most of the White Lion Legion’s men had lost their lives during the attack.
The soldiers in the city watched as the cavemen spread over the ruins like receding seawater while many huge figures appeared behind them.
Hellhounds and Barbarian Devils appeared on the battlefield.
The second wave of the attack was imminent...
“Watch out from above.”
“Lord Marsha, this is endless.” Someone looked at the ugly creatures in the darkness and muttered, “Do you think those nobles back there will come to support us?”
A burst of low laughter permeated the city. Marquis Balta wiped his face while this laughter echoed and asked back, "How are we doing over there?"
"Looks like we've reached the intended attack site, my Lord."
Ten minutes to go. Balta nodded.
What could happen in ten minutes?
There was not a single person in the entire battlefield who could answer. Hundreds of Cave Lizardmen Archers on the makeshift barricade of the village of Medao were skillfully firing, a reddish-orange light over their heads providing magical protection and preventing rain from dampening the longbows.
Honestly, this seemed a bit redundant to Maynild—they simply did not have the ability to strike at long range anymore. The humans were running out of ammunition, the top brass had lost everything, and Mephisto the Ash Sword Saint and the powerful vampire had lured the head of the Devils away from the battlefield. Unfortunately, the remaining Paladins were dwindling.
Grandmaster Fleetwood was in the sky, limiting the Devils’ air force, but his ability to delay them had diminished significantly. More and more Barbarian Devils were being liberated to join the battlefield.
Maynild took out her pocket watch and looked at it.
Meanwhile, the siege ladder had been erected.
The soldiers of the White Lion Legion in the silver-gray armor at the front were the first to attack, climbing the siege ladder orderly and tackling their way up the makeshift wall. Unexpectedly, the frontal attack was blocked twice. There were plenty of Minotaurs behind the city wall, and the human soldiers were merely sending themselves to hell.
She quickly realized this.
Time was running out. Maynild drew her sword as the soldiers of the White Lion Legion were hindered from returning for the third time. She looked back and saw that Aouine’s flag was still above the city wall of Fort Bunuo.
Perhaps only Lord Marsha knew how long it would last.
"Freya, come with me. I will lead the charge myself this time. If we don't succeed, let us die attacking."
"We're running out of time."