Barbarian Quest-Chapter 82
Updat𝒆d fr𝒐m 𝒇𝓻𝒆𝒆𝒘𝒆𝙗𝓷𝒐𝙫𝒆𝓵.𝙘𝒐𝒎
Ferzen and his knights charged. Their numbers were about thirty. They pierced into Duke Harmatti's camp like a sharp spike.
The knights' lances skewered the conscript soldiers in a row. There were some lances that even managed to pierce two conscripts at once. The lance charge, powered by the horses' strength, possessed tremendous breakthrough force.
The front line of Duke Harmatti's camp was mostly made up of the conscripts. They were soldiers who were driven to the front of the line to be the first ones to die. The only way to identify their ally from their enemy was the green armband on their forearms, but even that was hard to distinguish in the chaos, leading to the soldiers killing their own.
'Their quality is terribly lacking. Are they saying that these men are warriors? Is that why they’re sending them out onto the battlefield?'
Urich followed the knights, watching the scattering conscripts. Although Ferzen and his knights were isolated among the enemies, the enemies were mere conscripts. The surrounding conscripts fled as soon as they saw the knights.
'I thought charging like this was a mad thing to do, but it was a calculated move. Ferzen knew the capabilities of the Imperial Knights very well.'
The prowess of the Imperial knights was extraordinary. Knights in full plate armor were virtually invincible against the conscripts. Weapons that were merely improvisation from farming tools couldn't penetrate the plate armor of the knights. It was a one-sided massacre.
Ferzen shouted loudly. The charge of the Imperial Knights was blocked by the crowd of conscripts. The Imperial knights fought on their horses with some knights dismounting and slaughtering the conscripts on the ground. As if having impenetrable armor wasn’t enough, they held their stances with their backs against each other to eliminate the smallest of the chances that the conscripts may have had.
'Not a single Imperial knight has fallen yet.'
Urich swung his steel axe in a circular pattern, crossing one over the other, and advanced forward. The Imperial knights who were now his allies were sturdier than anyone. It felt like an impenetrable wall of steel was protecting him.
‘Thank god they’re on our side. If they were my enemies, this steel wall would be absolutely terrifying.’
Urich had often considered what it would be like if the Imperial knights were his enemies. In one-on-one combat, he was sure he would find a way to take them down, as even plate armor had its weak spots and gaps.
'But exploiting such weaknesses against one knight at a time in a group battle like this war would be virtually impossible.'
A chill ran down Urich's spine. The thought of the knights being enemies made his spine feel like it was being frozen solid.
"Kill them! Destroy the enemies of the empire!"
The Imperial knights erupted in a frenzy of cheers. They were not merely noble knights, but veterans who had survived many battles. Without the code of chivalry, they were like unleashed wild animals, murderers in the heat of battle.
"Long live the emperor! Long live, long live, long live!"
The ecstatic Imperial knights shouted their praises of the empire. The poor conscripts facing them dropped their weapons and ran. Those fleeing were stabbed to death by their own allied knights behind them.
"Do not run! There is nowhere to run for you! Only death awaits if you turn back!"
The knights in Harmatti's camp beheaded the fleeing conscripts and raised the lifeless heads of the conscripts as a message.
"You sons of bitches!!! What do they expect us to do?!"
The conscripts vented their frustration. They were trapped front and back. The Imperial knights advanced like a chariot of slaughter from the front, while allied forces blocked the rear, killing the deserters.
Ferzen and his knights shattered Harmatti's front line. The Imperial army then quickly overwhelmed the Harmatti camp.
"General Ferzen! It's dangerous!"
Imperial Knights shouted at Ferzen, who was charging out of formation.
"There! The leader of the rebels is right there looking down on us! Follow me, my fledglings!"
Ferzen shouted in a hoarse voice. That moment, a conscript's mace struck Ferzen's back. Ferzen fell off his horse.
The Imperial knights rushed in to protect him.
"Who dares to protect me!"
Ferzen yelled, standing up. He swiftly beheaded the conscript who struck him.
‘That blind old man is truly terrifying, but he's clearly in danger. No one can defy age. His limbs are already trembling.'
Urich also strode over to Ferzen's side. Ferzen, at this age, was only just comparable to the other Imperial knights. That was the truth. Beyond middle age, a warrior's prowess declined rapidly. Experience and skill could not compensate for the physical weakening that was growing faster by the year. Even a legendary knight like Ferzen was no exception.
"Don’t you think you’re overdoing it, gramps?"
"Just try to keep up, barbarian."
Ferzen was reckless and brave. He behaved like a young knight who was hungry for glory. He had no fear of the danger. The behavior that he was showing was in no way that of a legendary warrior who had achieved everything.
Ferzen forced a laugh and swung his sword. He stood at the forefront of his unit and faced the danger head-on.
"Come at me! I am the Sword Demon Ferzen! Whoever manages to take my head will surely earn a title for themselves!"
Ferzen roared, looking ahead. Among the conscripts, heavily armored infantry appeared.
'Sword Demon Ferzen! If we cut his head off then that will instantly demoralize the enemy!' freewe bnovel.com
A noble commanding the heavy infantry licked his lips.
'I'll take the fame away from the Sword Demon Ferzen myself.'
The one who beheaded the Sword Demon Ferzen! It was a coveted honor for any knight of this age.
Ferzen blocked the heavy infantry's sword. The infantryman was skilled enough to push Ferzen back. The Sword Demon’s body was being forced to step back.
‘That old man's pushing his luck.'
Urich pondered. His body and mind were not in sync. His body moved automatically, slashing nearby soldiers, but his mind was on Ferzen. Thanks to the Imperial knights surrounding him, he felt no danger even at the heart of the battlefield.
‘If you're neither from the north nor the south, where could you possibly be from?’
That was the question that Ferzen tossed Urich’s way right before the charge. Urich felt his heart sink.
'He knows I'm not from the north or the south.'
Even the northern mercenaries of Urich's mercenary squad were curious about his origins. Anyone familiar with barbarians could spot Urich's uniqueness with ease. Ferzen always had his eyes on Urich to observe him and realized he was neither northern nor southern.
'The east is blocked by the sea. So, that only leaves one answer.'
Urich looked at Ferzen's back, gripping his axe tightly. But too many eyes were watching.
‘Could Ferzen have told anyone else about me?'
Worry and anxiety bred even more worry and anxiety. It would lead to a chain of endless concerns in no time.
'The Empire's ambition knows no bounds. The emperor will surely seek to conquer the west himself. He craves his own achievement.'
Fordgal Arten! The name was still deeply ingrained in Urich’s memory. The explorer who wished to cross the Sky Mountains! He must have had the support of the empire. The empire wished to break the restrictions and cross into the west and the east. There was no way that he had forgotten about the land of the west.
‘Fordgal Arten almost succeeded that day. If the person he ran into was anyone other than me, he would have succeeded.’
Urich had not faced such grave concerns since crossing the Sky Mountains. This wasn't just his problem anymore. The lives of his brothers and the fate of his tribe were at stake.
‘If I only had myself to worry about, I would just break through the problem with my weapons.’
But a clear answer did not come to Urich.
‘Pahell, were these the kind of problems you were burdened with?’
Urich was finally able to understand Pahell’s feelings. Pahell was not just carrying his own burden. He was carrying the lives of those who followed him. Every single decision he made was going to affect countless people.
‘I feel foolish for acting like a know-it-all in front of Pahell. Look at me worrying the same way—I’m no different from him.’
Urich chuckled. Clenching his teeth, he braved forward. The mass of conscripted soldiers finally came to an end, and finally, the heavily armored infantry revealed their fierce display.
"What point is there in me racking my brain! Dammit!"
Urich dove into the midst of the heavily armored infantry. His steel axe danced around. He threw his axe, cracking open the skull of an enemy whose helmet had been removed.
After throwing his axe, Urich ran forward, smashing the knees of soldiers on either side with his hands. Their knees shattered, and they collapsed. Urich drove his knee down on the helmet of a soldier, crushing the metal helmet into the face.
Urich retrieved the axe that was buried in one of the soldiers’ heads. His skill in axe throwing was so great that no one could match it. The thrown axe had smashed the skull and cleanly severed even the brain.
"Come at me, you bastards."
Urich extended his hand holding the axe in a beckoning gesture.
‘There's no point in worrying. I'll ask Ferzen to his face. That’s how I deal with my problems.’
He had made his decision. His mind cleared, and the battlefield came into sharp focus. The calculating human Urich fell into a deep sleep, and the beast raised its head high. Like a male genital aroused by an ethereal beauty, the beast of the battlefield was inflamed.
"The head of Harmatti is mineeeee!"
Urich drew his steel sword and pointed it forward. His roar drew the attention of the surrounding soldiers.
"Wait right there with your neck washed clean, Harmatti. I'll bring your head as a gift to Pahell!"
Harmatti Duke was visible in the far back of his camp. The distance was not far, but there was a wall of humans between Urich and his target.
‘I envy that barbarian's youth.’
Ferzen planted his sword into the ground, using it as a staff. Holding the hilt with both hands, he gasped for air. Ferzen was exhausted from sprinting without taking a second to recover. It was no longer a matter of willpower but a physical limitation. He was over seventy years old. Just the fact that he was at the forefront of the battlefield was a miracle and deserved respect.
"Sword Demon Ferzen!"
"Follow General Ferzen!"
The Imperial knights shouted. They showed no disappointment whatsoever even after seeing the exhausted Ferzen. They revered him, who was the model of the Imperial knight. Who else would fight on the battlefield at such an age, when they could comfortably rest on their laurels with their fame being upheld just by what they’ve done in the past?
"Phew, I just need to catch my breath. I'll catch up."
Ferzen muttered. He watched the young knights and Urich fight ahead.
Once, Ferzen too had such youth. Even when out of breath, he had the strength to wield a sword. The excitement and thrill of the battlefield alone were enough to move him. A young body had no limits. As long as the mind wished to move, the body simply followed.
Ferzen chuckled. The laugh of the old warrior echoed inside his helmet. Even his voice sounded rusted, lacking the vibrant passion of youth.
"Why do you give old age to a warrior? It would be far better to give him death instead."
Ferzen knew the reason why. People said he had been alive for over seventy years thanks to the blessing of the sun god Lou.
Ferzen looked up at the sky, his eyes brimming with tears. The sun god Lou was shining.
‘This is not a blessing, but a curse. A punishment aimed at me.’
Memories flashed in Ferzen's mind. The frozen land, the dying barbarians, their icy madness, fear and respect, swords and axes, men shouting the names of their gods... War, war, war.
His sense of guilt and morals blurred. The honorable knighthood was just a play of words, Lou's benevolence a mere priest’s fancy. Kill or be killed. Ferzen and the barbarians fought over this simple rule. The boundary between civilized knights and barbarian warriors blurred, leaving only the primal struggle for survival.
A warrior was one who took the lives of others with their weapons. No matter how much you embellished it with honor or knighthood, that one fact remained unchanged. The fact that everyone was a murderer.
‘The sun god Lou despises warriors.’
Ferzen picked up his head after his short recovery. He called his steed and mounted it. He followed the junior knights who had gone far ahead of him.