Chapter 935: Not A Man Without Reason
Chapter 935: Not A Man Without Reason
Aloysius stationed his battle axe in front of him with its blade to the ground as his hands rested on the handle. This was accompanied by a fierce gaze in his eyes as the aura around him seemed to become more refined.
« This group was able to slip in between the gap left by the main group and set up an ambush. There are a few skilled ones among them, but the elite troops of my Tempest kingdom will not succumb to their enemies so readily. It’s two pesky things I’m annoyed with right now, the first of which is that person hiding deep in the forest who launched that dangerous attack not too long ago. As for the second… » Aloysius thought to himself as his sight locked onto Izroth.
« Despite your poor lack of judgment, I’ve come to hold you in some regard. You are the first person in many years to survive this long under the onslaught of Protervus. Under normal circumstances, I may have been willing to let you walk away with your life out of pure astonishment. Unfortunately, you’ve chosen a moment where this luxury is not available to you. » Aloysius stated solemnly.
He then continued, « However, I am not a man without reason. Surrender and tell me who put you up to this little farce. Do this, and while I cannot guarantee that you keep your life, I will put in a good word to the duchess on your behalf. »
‘Oh? He isn’t as headstrong as I thought.’
Given the other party’s aggressive personality, Izroth did not expect Aloysius to make such an offer. Of course, he had no intention of accepting something so absurd. Nonetheless, it was still surprising.
« Interesting; it just so happens that I, too, am not a man without reason. Our only targets are the mages in the carriage under your protection. Surrender them, and I won’t mind letting you and the rest of your soldiers leave this place alive. » Izroth stated in a carefree manner.
« How bold! You have a potential path to life, yet you turn away from it! Since you wish to perish so badly, so be it! » Aloysius roared as he once again brandished his battle axe.
Aloysius charged forward and once again became entangled in an intense battle with Izroth.
As the two clashed, Assault Group A, which contained Niflheim, Bellum, and Champion, finally managed to get within striking distance of the carriage.
« Stop them! » Fulgencio shouted as he witnessed Niflheim’s group approach the carriage.
However, the moment the Guard Commander himself attempted to change directions, his path was quickly blocked by Astral Knight.
« Where do you think you’re going?! » Astral Knight bellowed as he rushed a skill called Enemy Intercept to instantly position himself between Fulgencio and the path to the carriage.
« Irritating welp…! I’ve had just about enough of your interference! Out of the way! » Fulgencio growled as he punched out with his right fist at Astral Knight.
The gauntlet on Fulgencio’s right hand exploded with a newfound destructive force as it crashed down on Astral Knight, who blocked his path.
Astral Knight braced himself. He raised his shield and prepared to take Fulgencio’s attack head-on.
At the same time, the light orange aura around him changed to a deep red. This was, of course, Sanctity’s doing.
Unlike the light orange aura that improved the quality of one’s attacks and allowed them to penetrate through tough defenses, the deep red aura improved the defensive capabilities of those under its influence.
Fulgencio’s fist slammed into Astral Knight’s shield and immediately forced him back several steps. However, it did not stop there as a small series of explosions erupted not even a full second after Fulgencio’s attack landed.
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!
In terms of raw power, these explosions were not life-threatening to a tank like Astral Knight by any means. But, the true terror of these explosions lay in the destructive energy they carried over.
Each time an explosion rang out, Astral Knight could feel the shield’s integrity in his hand weakening. It was as if it were being continuously bombarded by an invisible force and only grew stronger with every waking moment.
« What?! » Astral Knight’s gasped as his eyes widened in shock.
Due to the overlapping waves of destruction, the shield in Astral Knight’s hands started to form cracks throughout its surface!
« Damn it…! » Astral Knight muttered under his breath.
The shield in his possession was a rare-quality shield that had taken him a great deal of effort to get his hands on. The cost of repairing something like that was by no means cheap; however, he simply grit his teeth and endured.
He also reminded himself of Izroth’s words about being rewarded as long as they performed well. Needless to say, stopping a Guard Commander here would certainly count for something. That’s why Astral Knight’s only focus right now was not letting Fulgencio reach Niflheim’s group!
« You aren’t going anywhere!!! » Astral Knight shouted as he gained an explosive burst of power.
In the blink of an eye, Astral Knight overpowered Fulgencio, striking the Guard Commander with his shield and knocking him back several meters.
« I won’t lose to the likes of you! » Astral Knight stated; however, his voice sounded somewhat different than usual.
In addition, his eyes had turned blood red, and it looked as though he had been driven to a state of madness. This was due to a skill unique to Astral Knight’s class called Last Call To Madness.
It worked on a similar principle to Izroth’s Reign of Oblivion skill. The longer it remained active, the more stacks of madness Astral Knight would incur. The more he incurred, the greater the chances of him losing control to the point where he could even potentially injure his own allies!
However, in return, Astral Knight received a massive boost to his overall stats, ignored all crowd control effects, and would take reduced damage from incoming enemy attacks.
Nonetheless, it was not a state Astral Knight could keep under control for long; therefore, he wanted to end the fight as soon as possible. After all, once he deactivated the skill, there would be a brief window of time where he would be left in a state of complete vulnerability.
« Clouded Sky, Sanctity—we’re ending this now! » Astral Knight roared.
« Yes! » Clouded Sky and Sanctity called out in unison.
Meanwhile, Niflheim and Champion positioned themselves next to Bellum by the carriage.
Without hesitation, Niflheim swung his sword out at the carriage in full force.
Ding! Ooooooom! Woosh!
Just before Niflheim’s blade could reach the carriage, it was stopped by a thin yet sturdy veil of mana. Upon coming into contact with this veil of mana, a humming sound was released as Niflheim’s arm trembled before being forcibly blown away from the carriage.
« Yeah, I figured it wouldn’t be that easy, » Niflheim muttered to himself as he quickly recovered his stance.
« There’s a powerful magic barrier protecting the carriage. Bellum, you’re up. Champion, you’ll be standing guard with me. Do not let even a single hair on her head get touched, understood? » Niflheim stated calmly as he maintained a high level of vigilance.
« Y-yeah! » Champion said as he raised his greatsword and became incredibly tense.
He knew that being assigned to Assault Group A along with Niflheim and Bellum would be a high-pressure situation; therefore, he had mentally prepared himself. But, despite his mental preparation, the pressure was a lot greater than he initially imagined.
Their Captain was fighting head-on against a Centurion whose strength he could not even grasp, the other Assault Groups were giving it their all to keep the Guard Commanders in check, and the rest of the 9th Division were fighting their hearts out against the elite troops of Tempest. This was all so that, ultimately, his group could eliminate the mages inside the carriage. If they failed, everyone’s hard work would go down the drain.
So, when all those thoughts caught up to Champion upon reaching the carriage, needless to say, he felt somewhat overwhelmed by the immense pressure on his shoulders as a member of Assault Group A.
« ?! » Champion jumped as he felt something tap against his shoulder; however, he quickly relaxed once he realized that it was just Niflheim’s hand.
« Breath, Champion. I can tell that you have a lot of thoughts floating through your head. However, don’t think about useless things. Your sole mission right now is to protect Bellum. Everything else is irrelevant. Besides, for guys like the two of us, the more we overthink things, the more stupid we become. » Niflheim said with a light grin as he removed his hand from Champion’s shoulder.