The largest bird was about 15 meters in length.
The large birds made out of bones unfurled their wings.
Their wings blocked the sunlight.
A shadow fell over the Empire’s knights.
Duke Huten turned his gaze toward the sky and then looked back forward again.
As the Duke unsheathed his sword, the barbarian who had been blocked by a wall of knights burst into laughter.
Toonka looked like he was dying of laughter. However, Duke Huten couldn’t laugh along as he looked at Toonka’s expression.
Five in total.
Four birds rose up together along with the one large bird in the center.
Behind him came the urgent voice of one of the Empire’s mage.
“This is the energy from highest-grade magic stones! Those are bones embedded with magic stones!”
The leisurely look in Duke Huten’s eyes changed. There was no urgency, however, there was a look of sharp fury in his eyes. He observed the barbarian, Toonka, who was looking at him and started to speak.
“Flame Dwarves and magic stones.”
It was probably the Flame Dwarves who had assembled those bones together.
Huten knew the face of that Flame Dwarf tribe’s chief. As an excellent sword master, if Huten concentrated his aura into his eyes, he could see the face of that Dwarf in the sky that the other knights could not see.
After all, would it make sense if Duke Huten of the Empire didn’t know the face of the leaders affiliated with the Indomitable Alliance?
The Flame Dwarf chief who wasn’t supposed to be here had appeared.
In addition, there was a skeleton that was moving through magic stones.
There was only one thing missing from the equation.
Anger was visible on Duke Huten’s face.
The Whipper Kingdom was a place where all magic was supposedly eradicated.
He was not talking about the Whipper Kingdom’s mages.
Duke Huten looked past the barbarian warriors who were laughing at him and focused his gaze.
“It seems like the Breck Kingdom dared to interfere in this battle.”
The Flame Dwarves were captured and taken prisoner by the Breck Kingdom.
Flame Dwarves were weak in creating magic devices, yet those bastards were able to create a bird like that?
That was impossible without the help of mages.
Duke Huten’s gaze headed toward the top of Maple Castle’s walls.
He could see a woman at the center of the walls who was openly making her presence known by stirring the mana around her.
That woman, Rosalyn, was looking down at Duke Huten.
“Is this the Breck Kingdom’s decision?”
Huten’s voice was quite loud after being amplified through his aura. It was so that Rosalyn, who was standing above the castle walls, could hear him. Toonka was no longer the focus of his attention.
The Mogoru Empire which had built up its strength over hundreds of years was not afraid of an enemy like the Whipper Kingdom that did not have an established history and just ran wild with someone like Toonka as their leader.
However, things changed if the Breck Kingdom entered the fray.
Huten could see the smile appearing on Rosalyn’s lips. Rosalyn then responded cheerfully, matching the bright smile on her face.
“We are mercenaries.”
Huten couldn’t help but blankly question her statement. He could then hear Toonka’s voice.
“I hired them.”
Huten turned his attention back to Toonka. Toonka snickered with a look that seemed to say, ‘What are you going to do about it?’
“I hired some mercenaries and bought the Dwarves from the Breck Kingdom.”
It was utter nonsense.
Rosalyn, who was banished from the Breck Kingdom, was technically free from the Breck Kingdom’s rules. In addition, if the Whipper Kingdom had bought off the prisoners of war from them, then the Breck Kingdom would have mentioned it to the Empire out of formality. That way they would be able to say that they didn’t support the Whipper Kingdom and play off the exchange as a mere transaction between kingdoms.
“Are you telling me to believe in such bullshit?”
Huten, suddenly started to speak to Toonka in an unrestrained manner.
“It was your Imperial Prince who spouted bullshit first.”
Toonka gritted his teeth as he glared at Huten. A correspondence demanding a slave transaction. That was the biggest bullshit out there.
Huten snorted and looked towards Rosalyn as he started to speak.
“Rosalyn, you and the Breck Kingdom have a lot to explain to our Mogoru Empire.”
The Breck Kingdom who dared to support the Whipper Kingdom and point its blade at the Empire must explain today’s occurrences to the Empire and bow down to them as an apology.
That was the weight of going against the Empire.
Huten could see Rosalyn’s smiling lips parting to speak. Her voice that was infused with mana rang out.
“Prepare to attack.”
Huten’s expression hardened.
At the same time, the sound of a group of people swiftly climbing up the stone steps of the castle wall could be heard.
Clack. Clack. Clack.
Their attires symbolized that they were mages.
Robes of all colors started to appear on top of Maple Castle’s walls. Furthermore, these robed mages were channeling their mana as if they were ready to fight at any moment.
None of them has the same outfit or even mana on the same wavelength.
Everyone was prepared to channel all of their individual abilities they stood on top of the castle walls.
Their numbers were small.
However, the few soldiers who remained to defend the castle looked at the mages and suppressed their complicated emotions.
The soldiers of the non-mage faction that rose up to destroy the Magic Tower and kill all the mages didn’t know how to respond to the native Whipper Kingdom mages that came to help them.
The same went for the mages that came to help toward the soldiers.
Although the mages that belonged to the Magic Tower had committed terrible deeds, the fear induced by the crazed group who killed them was still lingering on these mages’ minds.
It was at that moment.
“Everyone, pull yourself together!”
The chiefs in charge of the military operations began to travel back and forth across the castle wall. They were the ones who received orders from Chief Harol and Cale.
The soldiers could hear their voices.
“The Empire holds above-average magic skills. There are many of them as well.”
The soldiers subconsciously turned toward the mages after hearing those statements. The chiefs around the wall all said the same thing as the soldiers looked toward the native Whipper Kingdom mages.
“However, the Whipper Kingdom’s mages are here.”
Those words were enough.
The kingdom with the greatest magical combat abilities on the Western continent.
Although the Roan Kingdom may have that title now, it belonged to the Whipper Kingdom in the past. The Whipper Kingdom had powerful mages who were known to be unrivaled on the entire Western continent.
The ones who knew that the best were neither the Empire nor the other kingdoms.
“We know their strength better than anyone else.”
The Whipper Kingdom’s soldiers who were the only ones to have fought against those mages knew that best.
The chiefs started to shout.
“Everyone, focus and stay in formation!”
The soldiers immediately turned their attention back to the battlefield. Duke Huten glared at Rosalyn, who was leading the mages.
“Are you planning to do something that you can’t take back?”
Duke Huten spoke to Rosalyn as red mana began to be melded by her hands. She then started to speak.
“What kind of idiot kindly explains themselves to the enemy?”
Rosalyn, who had the proud face of royalty despite abandoning the crown, shouted toward Duke Huten. At the same time, a voice started to speak in her mind.
Highest-grade magic stones started to cause ripples in the air as they floated up from the Maple Castle walls.
The mages that had come from the Roan Kingdom had followed military orders impeccably during the war up until now.
However, Commander Cale had said something different to the mages who had come here for their, ‘break.’
‘Don’t you think it would be nice to run wild and free at least once? After observing Toonka, I think the people of the Whipper Kingdom are strongest when they are free.’
One mage mumbled to himself as he recalled that conversation.
‘Our Commander Cale is right.’
Everyone here were loners.
Whether it was because they hated what the Magic Tower was doing or because they were in agony, all of them had fled from the Magic Tower and lived away in seclusion with those who didn’t belong to the mage faction.
Nevertheless, the mages couldn’t let go of magic and had to conduct their research while living in poverty or in solitude.
Those mages had gathered in the Roan Kingdom and coordinated with each other in preparation for war.
Although they became strong as a group after abandoning their lifelong loner lifestyles and coordinating with each other for two years, they weren’t able to use their individual powers to their heart’s content even a single time since the start of the war.
However, they could do that now.
The trains of the mages’ robes fluttered in the wind.
They raised their hands. Their specialty, offensive magic spells, soon left their hands.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
The sound of consecutive explosions could be heard.
The Empire’s mages cast shields and blocked the magic attacks. The Empire versus the Whipper Kingdom. It was a fight between several hundred on one side and less than a hundred on the other.
However, the soldiers could see it.
They could see the looks in the eyes of the native Whipper mages as they pulled up their sleeves and prepared their next spells at Rosalyn’s order.
There was no fear in their eyes, even when they were against the hundreds of enemy mages.
That was something they held in common with the Whipper Kingdom’s warriors. The mages seemed excited as the spells they had trained in solitude shot up into the air again.
Duke Huten shouted at that moment.
The 2nd Mage Brigade which was standing behind the 1st Mage Brigade that put up the shields shot out long-distance magic spells that they had been preparing since the moment the shield went up.
“Mages on the towers, start your attacks as well!”
The high-grade mages on top of the black alchemy towers started to attack as well.
The magic spells from the Empire’s side exploded.
The ones that hit the incoming Whipper Kingdom’s spells exploded midair, causing the area to shake and causing gusts of wind to blow.
Duke Huten’s expression contorted.
“…The Flame Dwarves…!”
The birds made of dead bones opened their mouths and let out strange sounds.
These birds surrounded in layers of white bones that looked like birds from hell were flying quickly.
Hidden deep within the white bones where no one could see was the black-colored dead mana that was lumped together and beating like a heart.
These were the Flame Dwarves, Rosalyn, and Mary’s masterpieces.
Chief Kanelle heard a voice in his ear through the video communication device.
The Chief raised his voice as he pulled on the bird’s reins.
The largest skeleton bird drove its body into the two black towers.
Bang! Bang! Bang-
The four skeleton birds followed suit and struck the other black towers with their bodies one by one.
“My mana got disturbed!”
The high-grade mages on top of the black towers had to recompose their wavering bodies. However, their spells had either been canceled or flown in random directions.
A total of six towers were shaking.
Kanelle quickly retreated from the two towers that he had struck and stared at the sole tower that had not shaken.
The high-grade mage on that tower was not casting offensive magic.
He was instead continuously creating shields.
It was as if it was more important to protect someone there than to attack.
Kanelle could see the one person being protected by the shield.
It was a member of the Lion tribe.
The Lion tribe had treated the Dwarves, specifically the Flame Dwarves, as if they did not exist in this world. Kanelle made eye contact with one of those Lions.
The Lion’s golden hair that was like a mane, was fluttering in the wind.
“How dare these Flame Dwarf bastards…!”
The Lion’s face contorted.
Chief Kanelle recognized that bastard.
That Lion was Edrich, one of the candidates to become the next Lion King, and next to him was Gronica who supported him.
Edrich and Gronica. Those two were the ones that Cale had encountered in the north at Clopeh Sekka’s residence when he stole the white crown.
Edrich glared at Chief Kanelle as they made eye contact.
“Do you think you can win with such a crude object?! You’re just a damn Dwarf! You must have a death wish!”
Chief Kanelle subconsciously clutched the reins that he was holding onto after he saw the murderous look in the Lion’s eyes. Cale’s nonchalant voice came through the video communication device at that moment.
The corners of Kanelle’s lips started to go up. Cale’s voice returned as Edrich started to frown at Kanelle’s smile.
The wings did not fail this time.
Although the results were not out yet, Kanelle was certain because Cale gave the order to begin.
That order was conveyed to both Kanelle, who was in the sky, and Rosalyn, who was on the ground.
Rosalyn entrusted Toonka to the knights for the time being and made eye contact with Duke Huten who was looking at the Mage Brigade.
Duke Huten was wary of Rosalyn.
The Whipper Kingdom used magic twice so far, however, Rosalyn had not used her magic even once during those two attacks.
However, more and more red mana gathered around her.
A bewitching red glow swayed around as if it was waiting for the right moment.
‘That barbarian is also too relaxed.’
Toonka did not seem to be giving it his all, as if he was waiting for something to happen.
‘What could it be?'
Duke Huten subconsciously passed his hand over his scabbard. It was something he did whenever he was troubled.
‘Duke, I plan to swallow the Whipper Kingdom this time, as well as the Caro Kingdom if the chance arises.’
Imperial Prince Adin’s ambitions passed through Duke Huten’s mind.
‘I’m a bit concerned about the Roan Kingdom, Breck Kingdom, and the North though. I think I’ll only be at ease if the Empire takes over the central area. As such, make sure to show overwhelming strength as you wipe them out.’
The Imperial Prince wanted a one-sided battle and he had prepared accordingly. However, Duke Huten had a strange sense of déjà vu.
He felt that this battle wouldn’t be easy.
‘There’s something going on.’
Rosalyn, Toonka, the Whipper Kingdom, and the Flame Dwarves. They were all definitely waiting for something.
What could that be?
It was at that moment.
The sky began to rumble.
The clear sky started to darken.
At the same time, the red mana that had surrounded Rosalyn instantly shot up into the sky.
“Duke-nim! It’s a magic spell. An enormous one!”
Huten looked up at the sky and started to frown as listened to the high-grade mage’s urgent words. The high-grade mage quickly added on.
“This magic isn’t being cast by one person alone! There is another person!”
An overwhelming amount of mana could be felt from where the black clouds were forming in the sky.
It felt as if all the mana in the area was gathering over there. The Empire’s mages felt stifled by such power. It was a natural response.
The black cloud was made by a Dragon.
A cloud resembling the black Dragon was made by Rosalyn.
“W, we must avoid it!”
Huten saw Toonka as he asked the question.
He was running away.
No, he was stepping back.
He then heard Rosalyn give an order as well.
“Put up the shields!”
All the mercenary mages who had been on the offensive started to put up shields. Huten started to speak.
“Avoid it! Put up shields!”
He could see the skeleton birds soaring higher into the sky.
It looked as if the skeleton birds were running away for their lives.
A person covered from head to toe in a brown robe appeared beside Rosalyn.
The person’s hand drew a vertical line from the sky downward.
Huten got goosebumps at that moment. The Empire’s mages started to create shield after shield.
The roaring in the sky came to an end.
And then, Huten’s world, no, the world of all those who were here, became dyed red.
A single streak of red.
It was different from the flash of lightning.
It was the true form of the Fire of Destruction.
It wasn’t a rose-gold colored thunderbolt.
It was blood red.
A blood-red flame struck the ground.
A deafening roar violently shook the earth.
Cale, who was the one wearing the brown robe and standing beside Rosalyn, heard Raon’s astonished voice in his mind.
Raon’s two small front paws propped Cale’s back. Cale could see Rosalyn’s shocked expression. He had previously spoken to Rosalyn and briefed her on his plan.
‘I’m just going to strike them with a small thunderbolt, so all you have to do is match me.’
‘Young master Cale, you will cough up blood and faint if you use the fiery thunderbolt.’
‘I will only use a little bit this time. I can’t let this power be exposed to the Empire too much and gain their attention.’
It was really just a little bit.
He really had just thought of releasing a small thunderbolt.
Cale’s hands started to shake.
‘…What the hell?’
His body was fine.
‘I only used a little though?’
Cale truly used only the smallest fraction of strength he had ever used of the Fire of Destruction.
That’s why he was just slightly hungry.
However, that fire’s light had dyed his vision red.
A strong red pillar that seemed to drown the battlefield in a sea of blood had shot down and a lava-like heat swallowed up the spring air.
The breathtaking power of the Fire of Destruction revealed itself on the battlefield.
He heard the fiery thunderbolt’s voice at that moment.
The existence that had enough destructive power to turn the frozen northern part of the Western continent into a sea of fire. The fiery thunderbolt that had regained its true strength felt disappointed that Cale didn’t use more of its strength.
“…This crazy bastard.”
Cale was so shocked that his legs almost gave out.
This unfathomable and overwhelming strength slammed everyone in the back.