Hello, Child Of Weather here. This shall be the last month where TAS will be hosted on Veratales before we move over to Webnovel! As such, I'll be giving an approx. 10% off for Patreon tiers above 30 dollars as well as setting a 50 advance chapters tier at the price of $90. Link to Patreon here: <https://www.patreon.com/childofweather>Pages of loose paper danced through the night sky, propelled by the chilly autumn winds across the eerily quiet city streets.
By the Commons board, a notice from three months ago, regarding the assault on the miners within Tusankard Forest by unarmed bandits fluttered its corners in the wind, alongside several wanted notices, feebly hanging onto the notice board.
Civilian volunteers and patrol knights ran aimlessly across the streets, their incoherent screams and howls in conjunction with the high pitch screeching of whistles blown resonated through the entire town.
The bell tower at the peak of the Holy Cathedral began chiming unceremoniously, seemingly acting as the final warning for what was to come. The terror of midnight loomed over the heads of the townsmen, as an ominous feeling lurked within the darkness.
Even so, some had chosen to retain their composure, and face the horror of the night head-on. Shonnary strapped on his White Winged Knight’s armor, went out the Administration building where he stood, arms crossed, leaning on the pillar closest to the entrance as he stoically watched on as a young couple debated, amidst the dim lights.
“Lonnie put this on, I heard Stephano mentioned that some of those places can get pretty cold during the winter season, you’ll need this,” A young teenager, donning the Patrol Knights armor, handed his scruffy wool coat into the hands of a teenage maiden on a carriage.
There were other passengers on board, all dull and dead silent, all but the pale young maiden, desperately hanging onto her lover, “Evan, come with us, I beg you!”
The teenager chuckled, “Lonnie, I am a member of the Patrol Knights. I pledged my loyalty to the princess, and swore my allegiance to the kingdom, and to the future king.
To defend this land, to protect everyone is my responsibility. C’mon now, be a good girl and take everyone to safety now. I’ll be with you guys very soon. Besides,”
He then drew his sword, the gleaming blade brought a chill to the hearts of everyone watching, “My swordsmanship is among the best in patrol knights, what’s there to worry about some skeletons. Lonnie, wait for me alright, I will build something out for the both of us, like Knight Bennett and Count Trentheim.”
The young maiden quivered as she stared lovingly into his eyes, and was halted abruptly by a rapid succession of whistles beeping from around them. The teenage boy turned around hastily to look, and then promptly patted his lover on the hand,
“The Instructor is calling us, go now. Wait for me in Stephano, fret not, it’s just a dispersed group of Madarans. Their main army is still over the mountains at Bucce. The White Winged Knights told us that this battle shouldn’t be much of a problem.”
Only then did she nodded, with stifled tears.
Shonnary got bored of the sappy scene playing before him and decided the turn away. Right then, he saw his comrade approaching with his horse from within the courtyard of the City hall, which he instantly followed up with a question,
“The captain managed to convince them?”
“Those shallow-minded dicks,” The female cavalry pouted as she replied, albeit solemnly. Shonnary knew then that they must have successfully convinced the town’s leadership, but from the state of her reply, the process must have been excruciating.
<i>Shallow-minded dicks, only obsessed with the benefits before their eyes huh</i> He wholeheartedly agreed. But then again, that was not to say every single one of the Vanmier Legion was righteous individuals. Far from it in fact, notably in these parts, the names of the legion were more likely to garnered negative connotations instead.
With an arm on the saddle, he adeptly hurled himself onto his horse.
With one hand, he swept over his back, keeping his cape and the saber strapped to his waist well distinguished on each side of the horse. Turning over, Rosa was doing the same.
Both were experienced knights by now, and after a disastrous war just a year ago, Shonnary recalled the day he stood before the sea of skeletons, raising his weapon and charging into the enemy lines.
In the dark of night, before himself were the roaring flames of sulfur, swept through the entire plain like a sea of inferno. It was truly a crippling sight to behold.
Given it a thought, there were accounts mentioning thereafter that it was exactly the scenes of anarchy that the army witnessed that led to the delay in actions of the mortal army, which created a gap of oblivion that was in turn swiftly monopolized by their enemy of the undead. Many were speared dead almost immediately before they could even react.
Now familiar with the fighting tactics of the Madarans, the humans began to realize that the skeletons’ fighting power were only mediocre at best, and with those boney structures, they could hardly deal much damage to full-grown humans on their own.
Nevertheless, a full army on the opposing side that does not tire, does not fear, was truly an unforgettable introspection.
Shonnary lightly caressed the scar across his face as he asked, “Where to?”
“Let’s meet up with the squad,” Rosa lifted the mesh rope across the belly of her horse, upon tightening the horse sprinted ahead. Shonnary noted his partner taking leave and slapped the horse to catch up.
All of a sudden, a deafening gush of whistles were heard over their heads as tiles crumbled down the walls.
He instinctively lifted his head to grasp the situation.
Evan held onto his sword and ran with all his might towards the gathering spot, only to be halted by sudden screeching across the night. Looking up into the gloomy sky, from the southern end of the town, numerous specks of light gradually rose from below.
These stars reached mid-air, clustered into a group, and then promptly broke apart, like birds taking a pitstop. A moment later, the teenager finally came into terrifying comprehension of their true identities.
Not knowing where the screeching was from, the sky saturated with flame arrows rain down upon the town. Several civilians still running north on the streets were tragically shot down almost instantly.
Like blocks of wood, they fell one after another, as the ice-cold, magically imbued arrowheads effortlessly pierced through the flesh of mortals. The Soul Fire inscribed upon the arrows then erupted into fire and rapidly corrupted across their bodies as if they were coated with oil.
In a blink of an eye, the struggling victims burst into a ball of flames.
Only a handful of quick-thinking individuals managed to survive the onslaught, and Evan was of the few. Not knowing where he was at the spur of the moment, and only when the wave of arrows were grounded did he snap back into reality, realizing that he had landed before the entrance of a pottery shop. The patrol knight training had ultimately saved his life.
Stiffly lifting his head up, the sign of the pottery shop had already been engulfed by eerily blue flames.
He turned around, only to notice the stone-paved street, now littered with broken arrows, resembling grass between the cracks, alongside charred corpses, living civilians in complete hysteria, and the burning debris from collapsing buildings. Evan was mortified. It was as if he had descended into hell.
Right then, a second screech was heard across the sky over what remained of the town, as it flapped its wings the entire ground shook from resonance. A beast he had never once witnessed in his entire life perched upon the peak of the bell tower.
The Knight Captain of the White Winged squad Seventh Regiment was frozen to his spot, with multiple attempts reaching towards his commander's sword, only to no avail.
Not too far from him, countless boney arms began breaking out from within the earth, then skulls with burning eye sockets, the collar bone paired with shoulder armor, and finally the torso.
As unfathomable amounts of skeletons began crawling out from the ground, the Netherworld iron chainmail hung shabbily over them. With a longbow on one arm, they adjusted their bodies and went towards the predetermined positions.
Raising the longbows, the arrows were now lit with ghost fire. It did not take long before a whole formation of bowman was formed within sight, seemingly from thin air, all in position to fire.
Almost the entire cavalry by Captain Gage’s side was stupefied, looking around them and beyond, it was pandemonium from where they were positioned all the way to the main passageway of the Cielmann river bed.
In the dark of night, the skeleton archers along with lit sulfur fire arrowheads illuminate through the dark night like a long continuous string of light, unbroken from west to east to as far as the eye could see.
But the key issue was how did they get here in the first place? The scouts? Where the hell were the scouts? How did these damn skeletons make it past the defensive line? Did they come from the ground?
It was the questions from the hearts of everyone present.
But for Gage, all of those questions were all quickly followed by the same question:
<i>What now? </i>