Barbarian Quest

Chapter 83
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Chapter 83

The kingdom had forgotten. Over five decades had come and gone since the last time they battled against the empire. The memory of the terror of the Imperial knights and the dominating power of the empire had completely been lost in their peaceful times.

The number of troops in a war was the basis of strategy and tactics. However, the significance of troop numbers only held true under the assumption that the quality of both forces was somewhat equal.

‘This is meaningless.'

The conscripted soldiers who made up more than half of Harmatti’s army were disastrously defeated. Deserters abounded, and even those who persisted in resisting the enemy were crushed like insects.

The Imperial army with only a few dozen Imperial knights leading the vanguard managed to deeply penetrate Duke Harmatti's lines. No one could stop them. They were well-trained Imperial knights, and their Imperial steel armors were state-of-the-art combat equipment. The polished surface of their plate armor shone silver.

"Damn Imperial steel!!"

Harmatti's knights rushed to counter the Imperial knights. They were clad in chainmail. Unlike the Imperial knights, the ordinary knights held shields, as chainmail alone was insufficient for defense.

Imperial steel plate armor was the strongest existing armor. It was worn over padded or leather clothing to absorb shock, with chainmail added to even cover the joints, which were usually the armor's weak points. Although somewhat heavy, its weight was distributed over the whole body to prevent it from hindering mobility compared to chainmail.

'If only they didn't have that armor!'

Harmatti's knights swung their swords in frustration. Their blades failed to penetrate the plate armor, but in contrast, the Imperial knights' steel weapons easily shattered their chainmail.

The difference wasn't just in the skill of the troops; it was a difference in technology. That gap was beyond what a soldier could overcome with individual effort. It was a gap between nations. The age of bronze had passed, and the age of iron had come, with the empire entering the steel age ahead of other kingdoms.

'Why couldn’t we develop such armor?'

A Harmatti knight was pierced in the chest by the sword. He attacked the Imperial knight until his last breath, but it was futile.

The eyes inside the Imperial knight's helmet visor flashed. Those eyes calmly observed the Harmatti knight.

"This isn't fair...." The Harmatti knight murmured as he died.

"That's life, my friend."

The Imperial knight kicked the Harmatti knight away and pulled out the sword from his chest.

Kingdoms secretly researched the Imperial steel armory but to no avail. An armor made of ordinary iron was only impressive in appearance. It easily crumpled and tore.

The high-quality iron from the Empire's mines and the imperial royal workshop's metallurgy combined to create the advanced metal known as Imperial steel, and that was the only method of crafting such fine armor. The resulting plate armor, a masterpiece of craftsmanship, earned the blacksmiths titles of honorary dukes.

"Huff, huff."

Urich walked in front of the Imperial knights. He was particularly noticeable. Among the knights in silver armor, he alone wore a fur clad, but he was covered in more blood than anyone else. He had killed so many that he had lost count of the exact number.

'These weapons are finally broken in.'

Urich twirled his steel axe, adjusting his grip. The steel axe was now soaked with just enough blood.

A warrior's skill grew with each person they cut down. Just like that, a weapon was seasoned by shedding blood.

The experience of killing was essential. No matter how much one honed their combat skills, those who lacked experience in killing could not become true warriors. Such individuals would only hesitate at crucial moments and be unfamiliar with the sensation of a weapon piercing flesh.

'How deep to stab to kill a person, how much force to cut through bone and muscle...'

Urich's eyes glowed yellow. He knew it all very well. He was a butcher of man. Like a butcher knowing the anatomical structure of a cow or pig, Urich knew how to kill a person.

‘Two inches deep.’

It wasn't a thorough calculation, but an instinctual feeling. As he anticipated, his steel axe cut two inches deep into the enemy's neck. That was enough to kill a person.

"Gurk, urgh."

One of Harmatti’s soldiers collapsed, grasping his bleeding throat. Urich stomped on the fallen soldier's head, bursting it. Brain matter and fluid stuck stickily to his leather shoes.

‘It’s not the enemies that give me fear, it’s my own allies. What a strange feeling.’

Urich glanced around, looking at the Imperial knights. There was no major damage among them. The most Harmatti’s men could do was inflict feeble injuries with their blind attacks.

'It would have been an impossible reckless charge if it weren't for the Imperial knights.'

Urich admired the combat strength of the Imperial knights. He had defeated an Imperial knight one-on-one before, but in group combat, their defensive power was beyond imagination. Their invincibility in chaotic battles wasn't an exaggeration.

‘What a monstrous barbarian.'

On the other hand, the Imperial knights felt almost eerie looking at Urich's back. Their eyes followed Urich's hands. Seeing the axe dripping with blood sent shivers down their spine. 𝘭𝑖𝘣𝑟𝘦𝒶𝘥.𝘤𝑜𝘮

'That barbarian followed us into the enemy lines bare-bodied.'

The Imperial knights' charge was only possible due to their plate armor's unparalleled defensive attributes. But Urich, without any plate armor, had followed the knights deep into the heart of the enemy lines. If he had snuck inside surrounded by the defense of the Imperial knights, it would have made some sense, but that was not the case.

'He charged with us at the forefront of our lines and slashed countless enemies. It was as if the spears and swords were blatantly avoiding him.'

Urich's body had only minor scratches. The blood on him belonged to his enemies.

'To stand shoulder to shoulder with us in plate armor, bare-bodied... As skilled in battle as a barbarian might be, it’s hard to believe how strong this one is even as I’m witnessing it with my own eyes.'

Urich fully displayed his prowess in battle. He utilized all his combat skills to take down the enemies in front of him.

"C’mon, keep up with me! He’s right there, don’t you see him?"

Urich yelled at the Imperial knights as he smeared the sticky viscous blood on his face. The war paint of blood made his already demonic face even more fearsome.

Urich was faster than the Imperial knights. Without the heavy armor weighing him down, it almost looked like he was flying. His long limbs, proportional to his large frame, tore through the enemies, piling up a mountain of corpses.

The leadership of Harmatti's camp was in disarray. They watched the group of Imperial knights charging towards them.

"Duke Harmatti! We must retreat!" Duke Sever bellowed. He was an ally of Duke Harmatti. He was stomping his feet anxiously.

The tide of battle was against Duke Harmatti.

'I didn't expect the gap to be this big.'

Duke Harmatti had chosen the Baldric Plains as the battlefield because he believed he had a good chance of victory.

'My cavalry that maneuvered in from the right flank failed to behead the prince.'

Duke Harmatti had full trust in the cavalry he had cultivated. He had even chosen the plains as the battlefield to leverage their advantage. However, his cavalry failed to break through enemy lines, and on top of that, the enemy's core forces had successfully penetrated deep into the center of the Harmatti camp and were rapidly closing down on Duke Harmatti himself.

‘Dammit.'

Harmatti needed to come to his decision quickly if he was going to retreat.

'If I lose this battle, the nobles supporting me will turn their backs. They'll all flock to the prince.'

The victor of this battle would seize control of the civil war. Overturning the situation afterward would be extremely difficult.

"Duke Harmatti!"

Duke Sever urged. He seemed ready to retreat even if it was just by himself.

"Let’s go to my territory, Duke Sever. It’s a good place to get into the defensive formation with my castle."

"I'm returning to my territory! I can't let the prince take over my land!"

"You fool! In our current situation, things will be very difficult even if we gather our remaining forces for a defensive battle in our castle! Are you seriously thinking about dispersing our forces to protect the individual territories? That’s just serving all of our land to the prince on a silver plate!" Duke Harmatti retorted as he grabbed Duke Sever by the scruff of his neck.

"T-then why don’t we gather our forces in my territory and hold a defense there!" Duke Sever stuttered anxiously.

"Your territory is exposed on all sides. It’s incredibly hard to defend! My territory is backed against a coastal cliff! We can defend with fewer numbers! You and I are in the same boat, Duke Sever."

Duke Harmatti was furious. Overwhelmed by Harmatti’s stance, Duke Sever hesitated before eventually nodding in agreement.

"Retreat!"

Trumpet sounds echoed continuously through Harmatti's camp. The soldiers rushed to retreat as if they had been waiting for the signal. 𝓁𝑖𝘣𝑟𝘦𝘢𝒹.𝑐ℴ𝘮

"Go after them! Capture Duke Harmatti!"

Commanders in the prince's camp shouted upon seeing the retreating enemy.

"Kylios!"

Urich shouted the name of his horse with a whistle. Urich, along with other knights who still had their horses, chased the fleeing Duke Harmatti.

"Let's end the war right here! That’s what Pahell wants!"

Urich shouted with a blood-soaked face. His voice was jovial.

"Let's go, Kylios!"

Urich mounted Kylios, gripping the reins firmly. The other knights followed suit.

'If we let Harmatti get away here, the war is going to drag on longer.'

Prolonged civil wars were costly, no matter who came out victorious at the end. Even Urich was aware of that.

"You are going to be my gift for Pahell. Wait for me with your neck stretched out, Harmatti!" Urich shouted with all his might. His booming voice reached Duke Harmatti's ears.

'Pahell? Now who the hell is that?'

Duke Harmatti shivered as he felt a chill running down his spine. Even his horse hesitated out of fear of Urich's roar.

"Urich! You're getting too far ahead by yourself!"

Ferzen yelled at Urich as he chased after him on his horse. Urich, who was not wearing any armor, was faster than the other knights.

"You’re chasing us all by yourself?"

Harmatti's personal guards turned their horses around to protect their master. They risked their lives to create an escape opportunity for him.

‘As long as there’s the slimmest of chances that our lives can buy some time for our master to escape!'

These were guards who had been chosen from a young age to grow up with good treatment. They had never labored a day in their lives and lived better lives than most people.

'This is it; this day is what we've been waiting for!'

They had waited for the day that they were able to give up their lives for the sake of their master. After having lived on good food and fine clothes, their loyalty was beyond ordinary.

"Woahhhhh!"

Urich and five of Harmatti's guards roared as they faced each other.

Crack!

Urich swung his two steel axes with all his might. Two guards blocking Urich's axes couldn't withstand the force and fell from their horses.

'What kind of monstrous strength...!'

The remaining three guards behind them shot their crossbows at Urich. Pre-loaded crossbows were handy weapons to fire on horseback.

Flinch.

Urich's hair wildly fluttered. He eyed the guards aiming their crossbows at him. One crossbow was targeting Kylios, and the other two were aimed at Urich.

'One crossbow for Kylios, two for me. But Kylios can't dodge an arrow like I can.'

Urich made his decision in the blink of an eye. He threw one of his axes to disrupt the guard's aim at Kylios. The fired arrow hit the ground.

Thwip!

The other two arrows from the remaining crossbows flew toward Urich.

Clang!

Urich deflected the arrows with his Imperial steel sword. He held up the wide side of the blade, bouncing off the arrows with a rare, unbelievable skill.

"My god, are you serious?"

The guard who shot the crossbow was in shock. Urich had precisely read the arrow's trajectory and positioned his blade. It was a defensive method that was unheard of, a blend of extreme concentration, dynamic vision, and audacious courage.

"Honestly, I'm surprised too. I didn’t think I’d pull it off. Maybe something like this deserves some self-praise."

Urich, too, was astonished by his own skill. He had improvised a move out of desperation, fully expecting to be hit by the arrows, but he actually succeeded. He beheaded the shocked guard.

‘He got away.'

Urich smacked his lips. The guards were dead, but they had achieved their goal. Duke Harmatti was fleeing desperately for his life, and his stragglers followed.

The Battle of Baldric ended in Prince Varca's victory. The victorious news spread throughout the Porcana Kingdom and the nobles who had been hesitant to take sides pledged their allegiance to Prince Varca and joined him.

Two weeks later, Prince Varca's army blockaded Duke Harmatti's territory and began a siege. The location, with a coastal cliff at its back, was tricky to conquer. But the victory was practically certain, and the only thing left in question was how soon. All that Duke Harmatti could do now was to struggle desperately.

Atop a hill with a clear view of Harmatti's castle, Prince Varca’s army set up their camp.

Pahell rested his chin on his hand, watching Harmatti's castle. The nobles of Porcana surrounded him, showering the future king with their flattery. Pahell's blue eyes, frozen with concealed anxiety, only seemed cold to others.

The boy had become a man, and his pure laughter was long gone. He hid his emotions away, and his smiles were merely a mask. He was surrounded by a bunch of snakes who were only after their own interests.

New novel chapters are published on 𝒍𝒊𝙗𝓻𝒆𝓪𝙙.𝙘𝙤𝙢

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