Meanwhile, things aren’t going well on the ground. No matter how hard the soldiers fight, no matter how many bombs, cannonballs and arrows are shot, no matter how much blood has spilt, the Sylvania-Gremion army finally breach into the three gates, flooding into the mount city.
However, another layer of defense awaits them inside: the famous Borgian arbalests, the defensive iron-armored chariots standing in rows, blocking the whole road like walls. The mindless undead charges to break them apart and soon, mounds of their bodies pile up inside the gate. The napalm bows inside the arbalests shoot spikes and arrows ceaselessly. The enemies can’t seem to find a way to break this barrier until the mountain trolls show up. These powerful allies of the Gremion orcs have rock-solid hides which are impregnable and explosive-proof – all over except on the top of their heads where the membranes are the thinnest – their weak points.
Still, the trolls are extremely hard to kill. Even when one of them lifts an arbalest twice its size and twice its weight, the archers and dwarf bombers just run away before the troll hurls the war machine, crashing into another, breaking both of them apart. The troll shouts in satisfaction upon that feat, and a dwarf bomber throws a bomb right into his mouth.
The bomb explodes, destroying the troll from inside to pieces.
This new development bothers Sir Heinrich Ratzinger very much. He is still dueling with the Demonic General Nöac in the city road. His two hands holding a zweihänder can’t win against his opponent’s six hands, so is his technique to his opponent’s hell-forged moves (though in fact he’s Adler’s teacher).
Oh no, now the arbalests are being destroyed too. Damn, I can’t win against this brute, and the army can’t win against this horde. I must proceed with Plan B, now!
Nöac’s skill, A Thousand Spikes of Hell multiple lance thrusts doesn’t give this veteran warror room to escape. Sir Heinrich Tries to retaliate with the five concentrated slashes of Fingers of the Blade – a rather desperate move – and his opponent intensifies his attacks instead, adding more scratches and beatings to that battered body of that seasoned old warrior.
Oh, no! I’m done for. I didn’t even have a chance to unleash all the moves I taught Adler on him! I hope the other knights will carry out Plan B without waiting for my command. Forget discipline! Somebody please, just do it!
Blow by blow come on and on, until Nöac decides to stop playing around and launches his next move: Soulstealer Drill with his lance drilling in super-speed towards Heinrich – to pierce the foe’s armor and turn him into mincemeat. Heinrich parries it with his great sword and gets pushed back, but the blow comes again harder and stronger, and no evading it.
The Borgian Knight’s doom is one inch away...
Something hits the lance and diverts the blow off-target, right in front of Heinrich’s face. The razor-sharp force from the drilling leaves minor scratches on the Commander’s face and thigh, otherwise he’s okay. It surprises him greatly, and then he sighs in relief.
Enraged, the spider-legged demon looks left and right, side and back, swearing, ‘That spoilsport is going to regret that!’
‘Looking for me? I’m up here, idiot.’
Nöac looks up to find the elf archer, Lavennia Iris on top of a building with her bow and arrow, ready to take another shot. He just laughs, answering, ‘Who’s more idiotic than an idiot? A dead idiot – like you are going to be.’
Iris taunts him back, ‘And you’ll be dead before you know you’re an idiot. Taste this!’
Iris shots another arrow. Strange, the shot is somewhat weaker than before, so the target evades it with ease. Apparently, that shot is just a diversion, and Iris uses that time to pump up her aura and summons...
‘An Eshmyria Aschi!’
The Wind Fairy Spirit, Eshmyria instantly comes between the two combatants. The armies in battle avoid coming near that area and keep on battling with their equals. It’s two against one now, and that doesn’t scare the Black Prince even a bit.
And now, Sir Heinrich sneaks out from that area and is no longer Nöac’s target. Well, he is much weakened anyway, and finishing him will be just like scratching Nöac’s own back. For the first time, Heinrich is glad being underestimated.
But that doesn’t mean he can rest and relax. He must carry out one thing, that is, the ‘Plan B’. Heinrich rushes to a tower in the center of the city near the mount, and climbs up. Shots from enemy catapults and wyvern riders carved big holes on the wall, yet it didn’t make the tower fall down. And that’s the reason I chose this tower as the command center to launch Plan B.
As he reaches the top of the tower, Heinrich finds an officer and a soldier there, shivering in terror. They don’t dare to go near the window. Two giant bats’ carcasses lay on the corner. The two Borgians get startled and point their swords at Heinrich, and when they recognize their Commander, they salute him.
Heinrich exclaims, ‘Thank Vadis you two are alive.’
The officer answers, ‘Well, Sir, we’re here, but we will be goners any moment now. The enemies have breached the gates and are swarming into the city.’
‘How many of them are in the city, and the spread?’
‘They are all over the city now, Sir, and I reckon fifty thousand are already in.’
‘Fifty thousand? That’s good enough. We carry out Plan B: Burning Freidle now. Are all flammables in position?’
‘Yes, Sir. All our reserve oil, straw and gunpowder are in place. The task force are also in positions, well-hidden. All are ready, waiting for your signal.’
Heinrich takes a moment to look outside the window and see the Borgians doing hit-and-runs, luring as many enemies as possible into the city while the defenders make their escape. And then, taking a deep breath, Heinrich commands,
‘Signal them to burn the city, now.’
The two soldiers immediately lit the fuses connected into flare cannons standing neatly behind the windows. The flares shoot out from the window and explode in the air like fireworks, signaling all to go with their tasks.
The Plan B is go!
The next moment, oil and gunpowder are lit. Fire and explosions erupt all over the city. Before the enemies realize it, they are already trapped in the blazing inferno, along with the Borgian soldiers who doesn’t have a chance to escape through the north gate, tunnels or bunkers.
Still fighting the Demonic General, Iris leaps from one burning house to another to evade Nöac’s attacks and seek the best chance to escape. Alas, the spider-legged enemy moves more freely over buildings and fire, giving himself a better chance to hit the elf. Right on, when the Carrion Lance comes straight to Iris’ back, someone kicks the lance sideways and lands another kick on Nöac’s belly.
It’s Eshmyria! She looks exhausted because she let Iris run away and got beaten while fighting the Demonic General alone. But now, with her remaining strength she puts Iris otu of harm’s way. Thankful, the elf dashes off even faster. Her goal is to reach the city wall or find the Airship Aurora, whichever comes first.
She moves on to the left and still doesn’t find either, except now the Black Prince is pursuing behind her again. Just then, Iris hears a voice,
‘Hey, Iris! We are to your right! Come aboard, quick!’
She just knows it: She has never been too happy on hearing Carol’s voice before. Now her rival is coming to the rescue. Well, no time to think about the past. She turns right and dashes as fast as she can, with the man-spider on her back and fire all around.
Iris runs and runs. There it is: the airship. Suddenly, her leg stumbles into something, and she falls all the way – crashing into the road. The fall doesn’t hurt Iris much, being agile and quick on foot. The next thing she sees is the Demonic General coming to her in high speed through the fire, thrusting with the skill Soulstealer Drill towards the groggy elf. Iris tries to get up but she can’t move fast...
No, I can’t end up dead here... Not here, not this way. Please, Vadis, Mother Enia, anybody...
A hand grabs Iris, taking her away from harm’s way.
The lance misses its target. When Iris realizes it, she is already ten feet above the ground. Color comes back onto her face.
I’m saved! But who…
She looks up and sees her savior – Eshmyria! The wind fairy looks extremely exhausted now. Her whole appearance is blurring. She should’ve disappeared upon losing aura contact with her summoner. But this time she pushes herself over her limit – on her own will.
Thank you, Eshmyria…
Eshmyria answers, I’m your soul partner, master of the Wind Orb. With extra strength from Enia, I must ensure your safety. Look, the airship is near. Now I have to toss you aboard – I can’t hold on much longer. Are you ready?
Iris puts a Levitation spell on herself and answers, I’m ready. Shoot away, my love.
With the last drops of her strength, Eshmyria tosses Iris towards the Aurora and dissolves back into her realm. Lighter than air now, the elf flies, darting into the airship freely through the rain of arrows and winged monsters flying by. Iris even steps on a wyvern’s neck and propels herself straight into the airship deck. Carolyn comes running and finds her fellow Paladin lying on the floor, exhausted.
‘Iris! Oh, thank Vadis you made it here.’
‘Yes,’ says Iris feebly. ‘Thanks to Mother Enia’s help through Eshmyria. It seems she wants me to fight another day too.’
‘Oh, yes, that reminds me. I got to tell Captain Quazar we’ve fetched you, and we’ll withdraw to Arcadia in full speed! See you later, my friend!’
Saying that, Carolyn dashes off to the bridge, leaving Iris alone with her thoughts.
Many have fought to the death
For us to fight another day
The Dark is weakening, but still strong
Our numbers can’t overcome the throng
Many have sacrificed their hope
For us to keep hope alive
It’s not the end, the final frontier
Meanwhile, the Borgian Knight, Sir Heinrich Ratzinger stands on top of the tower, looking around the city in flames and the palace on the mountain top, still untouched by the devouring flames. His face shows a smile with tears on his eyes. Sadness and relief, rage and fulfillment all merge in one.
My job here is done, and our sacrifice is complete. I sure wish I can go down to the bunker now, but the flame has reached the topmost floor. My two comrades are dead…
There is no escape for me now. Oh Vadis the Merciful, please take care of my wife, Augusta and my two children, Hans and Greta. I also pray for the safety of the royal family, my comrades, the two kind Paladins and the dwarves who helped us.
Oh, blowing wind, please send my word to them that I love them all, and please tell my fellow dragon riders that I’m sorry to denounce their ways after my dragon was gone. Also for my dragon, my best friend, the best partner I’ve ever had, Schwarzkrieg, I’ll be rejoining you soon.
‘Perhaps it’s sooner than you think.’
Heinrich is startled on hearing that voice. Before he can do anything, a lance penetrates his armor, drilling all the way so its tip comes out from his chest. He turns his head and sees Nöac.
‘Yes,’ says the Black Prince. ‘Take a good look at me, Nöac, the one who sends you to hell. You’ve ruined my army and my plans, yet the Dark gets this city. You deliberately burned this city and killed a lot, but mark my words: We will hunt them down to the last man, and all will tremble before the Dark Overlord’s Heir for eons to come!’
Heinrich forces a smile, ‘That’s what YOU think. From the way I see it, it’s OUR plan that worked. The Light Side will be united and they shall strike you back and strike you so hard the Dark Side will run and hide in the underworld and rot forevermore!’ He stabs the roof with his great sword.
‘Humph, the way to the future is set, but you won’t be around to see it. So, I’ll give you a favor, a taste of the Light Side’s future: a painful, grueling death!’
Saying that, the Demonic General takes his lance off from Heinrich’s torso. The heroic Knight still stands there, holding on to his great sword. With his last breath, he mutters,
And departs to meet his maker.
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