Barbarian Quest

Chapter 203



Chapter 203

The name Urich was not unfamiliar to them. However, before the knights could think hard to remember the name, they faced the looming threat.

Flames flickered wildly from all around. The heat was enough to suffocate even those who weren’t wearing anything. Continuing to breathe in the acrid smoke inevitably caused dizziness.

'I'm dizzy.'

Carnius tried to keep his eyes open. He wanted to take off his armor but there was no time.

The more heavily armored a soldier was, the clumsier their movements became. Knights in full steel plate armor collapsed one by one, overwhelmed by the heat.

'Even the northerners have never used such tactics. I have never heard or seen this type of fighting.'

Carnius was a veteran who was well-versed in the empire's military history and had fought wars against the northerners for many years. He had never fought in a battle amidst a sea of fire before.

'The steel armor meant to protect us is actually killing us.'

Armor could withstand cold but not heat. In fact, knights in the south preferred lighter armor during summer.

'It seems they have forces outside as well.'

Even in a situation like this, Carnius' forces that were placed on the other side of the walls were not able to break through the gate.

‘I can hardly think.'

Carnius was a knight past his sixties. Even a man diligent in self-care could not hide his age. Environmental changes were particularly harsh on an old warrior. It was difficult to breathe, causing his shoulders to heave dramatically.

But taking deep breaths only allowed more of the toxic smoke to permeate his body.

"Cough, cough."

Many of Carnius' key commanders were old knights. They were all past their physical prime. Although they were exceptionally skilled in command, they fell behind in terms of stamina. Maintaining discipline in the army became challenging as each person in the imperial army struggled with their own physical condition.

About five thousand imperial soldiers had entered the village. Yet, they were surrounded by a smaller number of barbarians.

'Flames.'

Urich looked at the world that was flickering red. As he thrust his sword forward, the warriors charged.

"Wooaaaaah!"

Warriors clad only in leather cloaks rampaged. They were men who were used to fighting with barely any clothes to begin with.

Crack!

A warrior's axe split open a soldier's head.

The soldiers, having inhaled a lot of smoke and overwhelmed by the heat, were flushed and sluggish.

"Hup."

The warriors wrapped wet cloths around their noses and mouths to prevent themselves from inhaling too much smoke. Even amidst the inferno, their heads were clear, and their eyes hunted the enemy.

Tssssss!

Urich thrust his red-hot sword into a soldier's neck. The smell of burning flesh arose. The fear of the enemies was palpable.

"Aaaaaaaargh!"

Screams of civilized people burst from all directions. Even the proud formations of the civilized people were useless in the chaos of flames.

"Aaaaah! Lou!"

There was no escape from the flames. The terrified residents of Valdima scrambled around, hindering the imperial army.

'We are being pushed back.'

Carnius barely managed to survey the situation. His five thousand imperial soldiers were being pushed back by merely two thousand barbarians. The empire's proud knights were helpless against the barbarians. Some were literally cooked in their armor in the flames.

"Cough, Sir Jordain, attack that barbarian. He is their leader," Carnius said to a knight as he pointed out Urich.

'This barbarian tribe has exceptional capabilities. The one leading bravely at the front must be their head. And when he appeared, the surrounding barbarians shouted ‘Urich’.'

Carnius' insight was spot on. Killing Urich was certainly going to break the barbarians' morale.

Upon receiving Carnius' orders, Jordain led the other surrounding knights and soldiers forward. The knights staggered as they followed Jordain.

"Protect Urich!"

The warriors shouted upon noticing the soldiers closing in on Urich. They charged through the flames as if burns were nothing to them. Unlike the imperial soldiers, they ran forward without any fear of the flames.

The knights also let out roars akin to screams as they charged.

Knights and warriors collided. Metal intertwined with flesh, splattering blood.

The knights, who should have been the natural predators of the barbarians, bled without being able to put up much of a fight. The fact that they were even able to move this much in armor in such heat was nearly superhuman. As soon as the fighting started, the heat surged up to their heads.

Schluck!

The warriors overpowered the knights, thrusting their blades between the plates of their armor.

"Cough, keeeuuugh!"

A knight felt every bit of the sensation of the barbarian blade tearing his flesh as he collapsed. He coughed up blood and died.

"Ooooooh!"

A warrior lifted the severed head of a knight, boasting of his feat.

'They fight completely undeterred heat.'

The tribal warriors were accustomed to severe heat. They walked, ran, and fought even in the stifling dry seasons. For the warriors of the west, endurance was a virtue. Even at the risk of death, they did not utter any weak words.

Tsssss.

More and more burns spread across the bodies of the warriors. Some were scorched red from head to toe. Their limbs were in horrific states after being destroyed by the fire.

"Ooooooh! You filthy barbarians!"

Jordain threw his helmet aside as he bellowed.

Clang!

Jordain and Urich's swords clashed. Urich forcefully pushed Jordain away.

'Such incredible strength.'

Jordain couldn't withstand Urich's monstrous strength and fell heavily. He hurriedly tried to thrust his sword forward, but Urich's hand was quicker.

Swoosh!

Urich's sword sliced through Jordain's neck halfway. Jordain clutched his neck as he fell backward.

"How does it feel to die by the sword of a filthy barbarian?"

Urich grinned, baring his teeth.

‘Hamelian?'

As he lay dying, Jordain's eyes widened. Fluent Hamelian had come from Urich's mouth. It was astonishing that the leader of the barbarians spoke the language of the empire.

'Urich? Urich!'

Jordain felt as if he had been struck by lightning. The name Urich was not unfamiliar to him.

'I must inform General Carnius. This man is Urich...'

He was once the most famous barbarian in the imperial capital of Hamel.

Schluck!

Urich stomped on Jordain's stomach and swung his sword again to finish the job. Urich kicked Jordain's head into the flames.

The front lines of the imperial army were pushed back. The barbarians advanced as if they were being guarded by the flames.

'Is this how we are defeated here?'

Carnius chuckled helplessly. It was an absurd defeat.

'If only I had thought about our options one more time...'

If he had thought things through just once more, perhaps this situation would not have happened. But Carnius had been hasty, dismissing his slight unease in his quest for vengeance for his son.

Half of the imperial troops that had entered the village lay dead and scattered.

"Protect the general!"

The knights called out laboriously. They fought with Carnius at their center. They were surrounded by flames, which made it difficult for them to escape.

"Cough, cough."

Carnius was also at his limit. He had inhaled too much smoke, and his eyes kept closing. He was even beginning to see things.

Whoosh!

Barbarians burst out from between the houses wrapped in flames. They targeted the weakly defended areas.

"General!"

The knights quickly shielded Carnius with their bodies. They fell in heaps to the warriors' weapons.

'Oh, Lou, are you punishing me for surrendering myself to the sinful emotion of revenge?'

Carnius looked at his sword's hilt.

Craaaash!

A loud crashing noise came from behind.

The gate was finally destroyed, and the remaining imperial troops appeared. They had used a battering ram to break through the firmly closed gate. Nêww 𝒄hapters will be fully updated at (n)ov(𝒆)l/bin(.)com

"Rescue General Carnius!"

The reserve troops that were stationed outside and the supply troops burst in. They too had suffered significant losses fighting Georg’s mercenary and mixed barbarian forces.

The imperial soldiers from outside were also shocked by the severity of the fire engulfing the village. The fire was more serious than expected. The entire village was ablaze.

'The name Valdima will disappear.'

The heat that was hot enough to burn flesh made it difficult for the external forces to enter with ease. They suffered burns as they cleared debris to create a path.

"Get the general out first! Shield him with your bodies!"

The knights shouted, but because of the flames, the soldiers couldn't form a defensive line and were too busy trying to escape backward. The imperial troops pushed and shoved each other, falling over in disarray.

"Oooooooh!"

The warriors screamed as they pursued the imperial troops to the very end. They stormed all the way up to the gate, determined to cut off every last breath.

"General!"

Carnius, having come outside the gate, was assisted as he mounted his horse.

Thwip!

The barbarians who had caught up fired an arrow. An arrow grazed Carnius' nape.

"Kugh!"

Carnius groaned, bending forward. He almost fell off his horse, but the veteran's hands did not let go of the reins.

"Hyah!"

A knight beside him took control of Carnius’ horse along with his own.

They only had a few horses left. Those too were mostly ridden by knights and nobles who had fled first. The soldiers retreated on foot, but the barbarians' fierce pursuit was shattering the soldiers' ranks from the rear.

"General, pull yourself together."

The knights called out to Carnius. He gripped his bleeding nape, gasping for air.

‘Leo.’

Carnius thought of his son.

‘I miss you. I shouldn’t have sent you out like that.’

He wanted to give up on life and collapse right there and then. He felt he had no regrets left, even if he were to die now.

"We need to treat him immediately. He's bleeding severely!"

A cleric who had followed shouted after seeing Carnius' wound. The knights looked at each other and nodded.

"Treat the general here! We'll buy some time!"

The knights turned their horses around. They received lances from the squires.

"Ooooooh!"

Carnius’ knights, numbering no more than twenty-four, charged toward the barbarian group. Though few, their momentum was able to temporarily halt the barbarians' pursuit.

Meanwhile, the cleric pulled out herbs and bandages to treat Carnius.

"Survive, general. Your life isn't just your own."

Carnius' eyelids trembled. He etched the image of his comrades charging to their deaths into his retinas.

"You won't even let me die in peace. Keke."

Carnius remounted his horse with his hands trembling. He led the remaining forces in retreat. Initially, there were seven thousand, but now less than a thousand remained. Even that thousand was merely the dregs of his forces with all the elite having been lost. It was undoubtedly a complete defeat.

Thud-thud-thud-thud!

Urich watched knights charging on their horses. The intensity of the knights sacrificing their lives in the charge was impressive.

The tail of a lance nearly reached Urich.

"Huuuuup!"

Urich took a deep breath in. He stared down the horse's eyes and roared with all his might.

"Woooooaaaaaaaaaaah!"

The resonant roar startled the sensitive horses. Although the warhorses were trained enough to not throw their riders off, they still slowed down, and the knights’ formation became disordered.

Clang!

Urich swiped a lance aside with his sword. He leaped up and slammed a knight’s head to the ground.

Crunch!

The sound of his neck snapping was clear.

Having killed one knight, Urich glared as other knights passed by him.

“Kaaagh!"

The warriors impaled by lances screamed. The few knights had plunged into the warriors' ranks, buying some time.

‘I guess that's it for now.’

Urich watched the retreating imperial troops. Soon, screams diminished behind him, and knights dropped like flies.

"Praise the Son of the Earth, Urich!"

"Uuuuuurich!"

"The great warrior is with us!"

The warriors shouted Urich's name from the top of the pile of bodies. They had won a battle they thought they couldn’t. What would be a life-long ghastly burn mark was a symbol of glory.

Carnius' pursuit was over. They returned to the capital of Hamel with scorched bodies. Two other detachments that had been chasing the other barbarian units joined them on the way, but only one of the imperial pursuit units had made any progress.

The empire could not exterminate the barbarians. The roots of the barbarians were still very much alive.


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