Chapter 787 – A Bitter Struggle With No End
Panicked horses dashed around the beach shores. I led Matcha, Wang Jian, and the other Steel Blade Horsemen in a charge against the Sea Walrus Knights. I had long lost count of the number of monsters that my Dragon Reservoir Sword and Zhen Yue Blade had cut down. Fresh blood covered my entire body. Throughout this long battle, my Hidden Dragon armor collected dents and slashes, until almost every inch was covered. My Ruler’s Cape was even more tattered and stained with blood.
I swept my blade forward, splitting the head of one of the Sea Walrus Knights. He cried out and fell to the ground. His body jerked a few times before he slumped over and dropped a steel spear. I tossed the spear over to one of the Steel Blade Horsemen and he looked over at me, “How long have we been killing these Sea Walrus Knights? It feels like a lifetime has passed…”
I nodded, “A whole six hours!”
Qing Qian cleaned off her bloody dagger as she walked over and said, “Brother Xiao Yao, [Zhan Long] is taking enormous losses. We only have 10,000 men left. I don’t think your Royal Army is any better off, either…”
I couldn’t help but feel my heart tighten as she said that. I had practically watched this Royal Army grow from the bottom up. They’d taken far too many losses in this battle. It couldn’t be helped that I would feel for them.
Wan Er glanced across the horizon as she blocked the sun out with her Iron Umbrella, “Just how many more Sea Demons are there in the Sea of No Return? Logically speaking, over twenty thousand should have died on the shores. There shouldn’t be too many more, right?”
I walked over and gave her a hug and smiled, “Wan Er, you’ve worked hard. Looks like you’ve hit sixth place in terms of achievement points!”
Wan Er grinned, “I couldn’t have done it without [Zhan Long] holding off the Sea Walrus charge… That’s right, [Wrath of Heroes], [Thousand Burial], [Valley of the Gods] and several other small guilds were all but decimated within three hours. They’ve taken quite a few losses…”
I hadn’t paid much attention to the situation with the other guilds, but I never would’ve imagined the losses to be so great. I furrowed my brow and said, “It’s actually turned into this…”
Wei Liang picked up an equipment drop from the ground and blinked a few times, “[Thousand Burial] is a guild that holds 30,000 Greedy Wolf Raiders, and yet even they weren’t able to stand against the Sea Walrus Knights. How strange…”
Wan Er wryly smiled, “Not particularly. The Greedy Wolf Raiders are heavily reliant on their attack power and their speed. Their defense, on the other hand, was far lacking compared to the Steel Bladed Horsemen. On top of that, [Thousand Burial]’s player turnover was just too high. There were good and bad players mixed in, so their teamwork was not up to standard. On top of that, they took up an enormous amount of space next to the Harvest Army, making their density too low. It was only natural that their defenses should fall.”
Li Mu replied, “Nevermind, either way, we managed to make it through this wave of Hybrid Demons!”
I nodded, “Yup. Wan Er, you take charge of preparing the defenses. I’m going to head over to the Royal Army and take a look!”
With my bloody swords in hand, I rode over to the Royal Army formation. All along the way I could see the injured soldiers crying out in pain. Han Yuan, Long Xing, Xia Ye, and Xiao Lie all had solemn expressions. When they saw me, they each paid their respects. “Commander!”
I nodded in acknowledgement and slid off my horse, “How’s the situation?”
Han Yuan’s eyes were red, “I led eight thousand new troops, and after that fighting, only four thousand are left… There are two thousand survivors from the Blade Shield Camp and the Cavalry. After that last battle, we took heavy losses. Around seven thousand of our men have died, and another nine thousand are injured. We have less than ten thousand who can still fight. And that’s an optimistic estimate that includes the lightly injured soldiers.”
I took a deep breath and put my hand on Han Yuan’s shoulder, “Have Ming Fu escort the injured soldiers back to Tian Ling City for medical care. The rest will stay and continue on to the next battle. The Hybrid Demon Army will not let us off easily. Now that the Empire’s armies have taken such a big hit, they will definitely launch another attack.”
I could see a sliver of despair in Han Yuan’s eyes, “General, are we all really going to die here? The Sea of No Return is a cursed land. We… if we die here, will our country actually fall into enemy hands?”
I clenched my teeth, “Don’t worry. We still have the adventurers helping us fight. The empire will not fall into the hands of the Hybrid Demons. While our damage is great, the Sea Demons have suffered far more. Do not forget, their armies have been practically annihilated. Besides, there’s a limit to the number of soldiers that the Revered One can bring on those boats. I refuse to believe that Luo Lin was able to save a lot of his ships from the attack we inflicted on him at the beginning.”
A ray of hope appeared in Han Yuan’s expression. Not only him, even Xiao Lie, Long Xing, and Xiao Ye’s faces showed a little more hope. It seemed that my words had raised their morale somewhat and gave everyone a little bit of hope. Yup, it was much more important for me to give them hope than anything else in a situation like this.
Right then, a messenger raced over and shouted from a distance, “Is the commander general of the Royal Army, Li Xiao Yao, are you still alive? If so, please report back to the Center Tent for a military meeting!”
Han Yuan jerked his horse over and said, “You f*cker, what did you say? Would our commander die so easily? Haha, our general is talented in both strength and brains. He won’t die in a battle like this!”
The messenger was stunned. He gave Han Yuan a strange glance, as though he thought he were crazy. But, Han Yuan was ranked well above the messenger, so he didn’t dare say anything else. I, on the other hand, felt some emotions well up in my throat. It looked like Han Yuan really thought of me as a brother. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have gotten so worked up by a small thing like this.
I leaped back onto my horse and put Han Yuan and Xiao Lie in charge of preparations. I then galloped towards the Center Tent. As I passed over the shore, I could see the consequences of the battle on the army. It was no exaggeration to call it hell on earth. Corpses were scattered everywhere, and this was just the tip of the iceberg. I would only find out about the real consequences when I reached the Center Tent.
I walked straight into the tent. When Princess Pearl saw me, I could see relief in her eyes. However, it only lasted for a single moment. It looked like the princess didn’t wish for me to die in this battle?
As I stood on the snow-white rug of the Center Tent, I left behind a pinkish footprint. I had killed far too many Fishmen, soaking all of my gear with blood. It even dripped down my armor and sword scabbards. There was no time to clean up. All I could do was use the edges of my cloak to quickly wipe some of it off.
Right then, one of the guards furrowed his brow in disgust and said, “General Li, why didn’t you clean off the blood before entering the tent? You’ve dirtied the royal tent, do you understand the grave crime you’ve committed?”
I looked up and smiled, “My apologies, I was in too much of a hurry. I haven’t had the time to carefully clean up my clothing.”
Pearl coldly smiled, “Guard Qing, shut your mouth. Otherwise, you can go out and fight the Hybrid Demons. At a time like this, you’re actually focusing on such mindless ceremonies. Should I criticize you for not being sensible, or too soft?”
The guard was speechless after the princess’ words. King Rob didn’t seem to mind their interaction. But he must be giving his silent approval of the princess’ words. After all, Pearl was in charge of the Winds of Battle Army and the Royal Army. She was basically the third most reputed person in the empire. The king still needed his daughter to support him in his conquest of the land. How could he possibly make her at fault?
Not long after, the other generals all filed into the tent. The Marquis of the Flame Axe Army was among them, even though there were few soldiers left alive. I was afraid he hadn’t lent much help in this last battle. I did a quick head count and found that there were three people missing.
The Marquis eyes were sorrowful and he fell to his knees, “Your majesty, the Harvest Army and General Xia Lian have all died in battle. The West Liang Army has lost over ninety percent of their soldiers, and Commander Liang Xiao killed himself when he was surrounded in battle. The Hai Qin Army has lost eighty percent of their soldiers, and their Commander Wang Lu had died in battle. That’s three armies, all gone, all gone…”
King Rob shuddered, “Commander Xia Lian, Commander Liang Xiao and Commander Wang Lu are all dead?”
Theodore clenched his teeth, “Father, the three commanders died for their country. They should be made into martyrs for our country. I will go out and bring their bodies back so that they may be given a proper and honorable burial!”
The old king closed his eyes in sorrow and said, “Go on and prepare them.”
Owen then said, “Father, we should prioritize planning for the next battle. This time, over 500,000 Sea Walrus Knights have died on our shores. The Sea Demons will not give up after this. I’m afraid that they’ll bring out their true forces in the next attack. Maybe, that old demon Han Ling will personally lead the charge. When that time comes, our real nightmare will begin! I still have a hundred thousand men from my Xia Yu Army left, we still have the strength to fight. Father, don’t worry too much.”
The old king looked over at the older prince, “Theodore, how’s the situation with the Flame Dragon Army?”
Theodore’s face became solemn, “Father, the Flame Dragon Army was under the heaviest fire when the Sea Walrus Knights invaded, and so we’ve taken enormous losses. Even so, we still have ninety thousand men left to fight!”
King Rob took a deep breath, “Pearl, what about your army?”
Pearl replied, “The Winds of Battle still has sixty thousand men left.”
“The Royal Army?” The King seemed to care quite a bit about our army.
Pearl looked over at me, “Li Xiao Yao, how about you personally respond to Father?”
I nodded and stepped forward, “Your majesty, the Royal Army has taken heavy losses and only has ten thousand men left to fight.”
“What!” The King was stunned, “The Royal Army originally had close to thirty thousand men, and now there’s only ten thousand left…”
Theodore couldn’t help but coldly smile, “As I thought, just a bunch of trash!”
Pearl was enraged, “Big brother, do not speak of the Royal Army like that. Where is Long Xiang General? He’s in charge of reporting the statistics. How about you come out and say how the Royal Army compares with the Flame Dragon Army?”
One man clothed in red armor stepped out from the crowd and knelt to the ground, “Reporting to His Majesty. Based on what I have found, the Flame Dragon Army lost a hundred and forty thousand men in battle, and have fifty thousand injured. In total, they killed a hundred and seventy thousand Hybrid Demons. The Royal Army lost a total of twenty eight thousand men, with eleven thousand injured and have killed one hundred and fourteen thousand demons!”
The tent went silent. No one would have imagined that with a mere thirty thousand men, the Royal Army was actually able to kill multitudes more of its enemies. Of course, much of our success could be attributed to the help of [Zhan Long]’s Steel Blade Horsemen for holding off the charge. Furthermore, the fifty crossbows that we had used gave us enormous firepower. Otherwise, the Royal Army would never have been able to kill so many Hybrid Demons.
Surprise and shock flashed across the king’s face. He thought for a moment and said, “For this next battle, all armies with less than ten thousand men disperse and join the Royal Army with Li Xiao Yao as the acting commander. With that, the Royal Army will have over 50,000 men!”
Pearl jumped with glee, “Thank you, father!”
She tugged on my arm and I followed suit, “Thank you, Your Majesty!”