Chapter 765 – Body and Armor
After the three Dragon Knights began their attack on the wave of Hybrid Demons, the Earth Giant corpses began to pile up. Their losses had been increasingly growing and their morale was falling. Han Yuan and Xiao Lie lead another charge with the cavalry, cutting down even more of the enemies. The Barbarians in the Shield formation were also fighting with their lives on the line as they dealt round after round of attacks. Around an hour later, two thousand Earth Giant corpses were lying on the bottom of the valley. They were completely annihilated by us!
“Quickly retrieve our weapons. We need to replenish our arrow and spear reserves!”
Under Xiao Lie’s commands, the soldiers of the Royal Army all went out scouting for arrows and spears. Between the corpses of the Giants, there were also lying the bodies of our fallen Royal Army comrades. One of the soldiers in the cavalry camp was collecting arrows with red eyes. “Commander, our…. Our brothers have all died here. After this battle, are we going to take their bodies back to Tian Ling City for burial?”
Han Yuan quietly said, “According to the Empire’s Battle Law Section Seven Article Two, any fallen soldier whose ranking is below that of a lieutenant is to be buried at the place of death. You must know that rule?”
The knight’s eyes were red as he continued, “Little Hai.. Little Hai’s head was smashed in by a boulder… I want to bring his body back to his parents…”
Han Yuan patted his shoulder and said, “Military law is above all else, do not let your emotions confuse you!”
I raised my Dragon Reservoir Sword and roamed the battlefield. After confirming our losses, I looked up at the sky and said, “Qing Luo, can you help us see if there are any more Earth Giants on our way? Where’s the Blood Giant Kehl? Will he be personally coming to attack the Dragon Graveyard?”
I could hear Qing Luo’s voice get carried to me by the wind, “Yes sir, I will do it immediately.”
The wind in the valley brought a gentle snow that coated the armor of everyone present. The Royal Army solemnly guarded its position. Most of the soldiers’ bodies had been moved to a corner of the valley, creating a small mountain. Quite a few of the soldiers who were in charging of clearing the bodies were retching for a while. Even more so, many of the soldiers cried out, only to be silenced by the Generals. Sorrow would only muddle the morale of the troops. Most of all, sorrow revealed weakness.
I looked at the grass on the ground; it had been dyed red with blood. I could see the markings of battle horses everywhere. The cavalry stood beside their battle horses. The horses on the other hand, had no idea of the cruelty of the battlefield. They only bothered to nibble on the grass that had yet to be stained by blood.
Not long after, Qing Luo descended on her crystal dragon to me and reported, “Lord Dragon Knight, I have already confirmed, the Blood Giant Kehl has given up on his advance through the Dragon Graveyard. Even if he managed to break through, there’s no way he could make it past the Ice Ridge mountains. Furthermore, we’re an enormous stumbling block for him. Kehl isn’t an idiot. He took twenty thousand Earth Giants towards Dragon City.”
She then blinked a few times and smiled, “Ah, I’ve also brought some orders from Lady Frost.”
“Ok, go ahead!” I smiled.
Qing Luo replied, “Lady Frost said, in order to prevent any future problems, she wants the Royal Army to continue guarding the Dragon Graveyard until dawn. After dawn, the Hybrid Demons will naturally halt their attack on Dragon City. After all, the Plunderers, Magic Sword Masters, and Grave Diggers are all afraid of light. They don’t even come out on cloudy days.”
I nodded, “Alright, that’s fine. We’ll guard this map until dawn. After that, I’ll take my men back to Tian Ling City. We’ve taken heavy losses, and need to take some time to rejuvenate our troops.”
Qing Luo nodded, and then gave me a long look, “Don’t worry, Lady Frost will personally deliver a letter to the Tian Ling City officials to let them know just how the Royal Army has upheld its honor and dignity for the protection of the empire.”
I replied, “Ok, thank you. Take the two Silver Dragon Knights back to Dragon City. Be careful!”
“Yes sir, you too!”
Once they heard that the Blood Giant Kehl was redirecting his troops, both Han Yuan and Xiao Lie couldn’t help but let out a sigh of relief. Even though those to b*st*rds were heroic generals, they still valued their lives. They knew that if they went up against a terrifying existence like the Blood Giant Kehl, there was less than a ten percent chance of survival.
Xiao Lie raised his broadsword and urged his horse over to me, “Lord Commander, up until now, of the five thousand men we brought, we’ve lost 724 people. A thousand have taken heavy injuries, and two thousand have light injuries. Almost the entire army has taken some kind of injury!”
Han Yuan’s voice showed a hint of frustration, “Those d*mned Hybrid Demons, they’re really savage. We’ve got a lot of injured people, and a lot of dead soldiers!”
I said, “There’s at least around two thousand Hybrid Demon corpses here. For our Royal Army, that’s a battle power that we never would’ve imagined to possess…”
Han Yuan exclaimed, “General, what were your initial predictions?”
I held up two fingers and said, “I originally thought that we would lose at least two thousand brothers!”
Han Yuan was stunned. He slowly sheathed his bloody sword, his eyes dark. “General, the people who died, they aren’t just a number, they are made of flesh and blood. Do you not feel anything for them?”
I softly sighed, “Emotions, so what if I have emotions? Dying here is much more worthy than dying for some kind of civil war.”
Han Yuan stiffened, “My lord, even you’ve heard the rumors?”
The kings of Flame Cloud City and Port City seem to have complaints about King Rocklin. Both kingdoms have been gathering their troops. When the time is right, I’m afraid that they will attack. By that time, I worry that the mission before the Royal Army won’t be as simple as killing Hybrid Demons.”
I smiled. Looks like we really are going to have the Kingdom Battles. Even the NPCs can tell.
We remained at our post until dawn the next day. The fog slowly dissipated as rays of light hit our shoulders. Everyone let out a sigh of relief, as though they were given another chance to live. After all, there was no need to die here. No matter if it was for the sake of upholding the empire’s honor, or protecting their homes, they managed to keep their lives.
I raised my Dragon Reservoir Sword and said, “Bury the bodies of all the soldiers who died. For any soldiers who are ranked above lieutenant, put them on the carts to send back to the city!”
Smoke rose up from the valley as the scent of burning dead bodies filled our noses. All of the Royal Army soldiers watched as their comrades were put underground. Cries rang throughout the valley. Xiao Lie pierced his long sword into the dirt and knelt before the graves, tears welling up in his eyes. His voice cracked as he sang the elegy to their nation’s soldiers——
O Magnificent Tian Ling, O Brave Warriors,
I give thee my devoted loyalty, no matter where my bones are buried.
O Magnificent Tian Ling, O Brave Warriors,
Wear your armor proudly, your Spirit is bound to our Nation.
The mountain path was covered in frost. I lead my horse forward at the head of our troop. We were ready to head home. We came in high spirits, but returned with solemn faces. While we couldn’t hold our heads high, at least these soldiers now knew what war was like. Most of these noblemen son’s joined so that they could brag about their bravery as they fought on the frontlines to the pretty noblewomen. Of course, in a real battle, being handsome and noble had nothing to do with winning. At least, not before a strong enemy. Strong enemies like the Hybrid Demons would kill the Royal Army soldiers solely based on their power and strength. That was a thought that would forever remain in the back of everyone’s mind.
As we passed by Dragon City, we saw that the battle there had also ended. Everyone was in the middle of carrying the bodies of the dead. Their situation wasn’t much better than ours. Despite the chilly winters of Dragon City, the reality was that the city was like a stove. Every time the Hybrid Demons came to attack, there were always bodies left behind. Furthermore, the Hybrid Demon troops seemed to be endless. No matter how many we killed, there was always another wave waiting on the other side.
I decided to not bid farewell to Frost. She was probably busy anyways. However, it looked like the fifteen Dragon Knights were extremely advantageous for Dragon City. If this battle had happened in the past when we didn’t have the dragons, then this attack would’ve been enough to make Dragon City fall once again.
We passed through Zi Wu Mountain and the Gale Forest. Around an hour later, we met a knight dressed in golden armor as he rode up to us. He congratulated, “You must be the Royal Army, coming back from fighting off the Earth Giants in Dragon City?”
I nodded, “Yes!”
The knight became excited and said, “I’m one of Lord Knights of the Empire——Porter. The King has commanded me to welcome you home. Hurry, His Majesty, His Highness the Crown Prince, His Highness the Second Prince, and Her Highness Princess Pearl are all waiting outside the city walls to greet you!”
I was stunned, “The Royal Army only went to Dragon City to hold off some Hybrid Demons for a night. That isn’t some great accomplishment, is it necessary to have such a grand entrance?”
Bitterness flashed across the knight’s face, “Don’t ask so many questions, just lead your army back. Maybe His Majesty is just here to congratulate the soldiers and now you.”
I was speechless.
Han Yuan walked up and whispered in my ear, “The empire is filled with kiss *sses like him. General, I know that you probably aren’t willing to lower yourself to his level, but… seeing as we’re living in the empire, we cannot act too forcefully. Otherwise, it’ll only harm yourself.”
I nodded, “Yes, understood!”
Under my command, the Royal Army sped up and followed me towards Tian Ling City. The city that these men were spilling blood to protect.
Before the city, a battle flag waved proudy in the wind. King Rocklin stood front and center before the crowd of people who were welcoming us home. Besides that, there were some troops outside the city. It looked as though they were the Flame Dragon Army and the Xia Yu Army. There were more than two thousand of them. Besides them, I could see many players mixed in with the onlookers.
When Han Yuan and Xiao Lie and I stepped forward, and stood up straight and said, “Long live His Majesty! I am here to submit my mission!”
As I said that, I pulled out the tablet and gave it to Princess Pearl. She smiled at me as she accepted the tablet.
Han Yuan and Xiao Lie all slid off their horses and knelt before the princess. Only I remained on my horse. There was no way I would bow my head before a muddleheaded tyrant like him as a player. In his dreams!
One of the Generals in the crowd gripped his hilt and shouted, “Li Xiao Yao, as the Commander of the Royal Army, why do you not bow before His Majesty?”
I ignored him.
King Rocklin smiled, “Nevermind, General Li, there’s no need to stand on ceremony. I’ve already received the report from Dragon City. The soldiers of the Royal Army have fought well in the battle of Dragon City. You are truly among the most talented men of Tian Ling City. I now bestow onto you, Two Golden Swords, a Royal Flag, a Nation Protecting Shield, and One Million Gold. I look forward to your continued success on the battlefield!”
Han Yuan and Xiao Lie responded, “Yes, your majesty!”
At the same time, I received another two hundred points in achievements. King Rocklin looked over to me and said, “General Li, follow me back to the palace. I have more matters to speak of with you!”
I stiffened slightly. I was getting a bad feeling.