Book 6, Chapter 159
a war of wealth
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one of the shadowspears broke formation, travelling alone at a slow pace as he made its way towards the silversword troops. all eyes fell upon the drone as he took step after step forward, calmly heading towards the infantry.
“stop, or we’ll loose the arrows!” the officer in charge of the archers shouted. however, the knight didn’t seem to have heard him as he continued forward. hundreds of archers nocked arrows, the result of their combined attacks certain to turn him into a porcupine, but he still seemed oblivious to it all as he marched forward with grace.
the officer started sweating in his rage, raising his hand several times, but he couldn’t order his men to attack. he knew that the order would be a declaration of war against the archeron family, and swordwind city was still a long distance away. richard’s knights would decimate them all before any reinforcements could arrive. this was a decision for fouen to take.
richard could see the viscount’ throat bobbing up and down as he contemplated the decision, but while he was thinking the knight drew within thirty metres of the troops. in only a minute he would reach the first row of soldiers who had their spears pointed towards him. face turning white, fouen turned around, “lord richard, do you wish to sacrifice your knight for no reason?”
“for no reason? i don’t think so,” richard laughed heartily, his smile causing the viscount to shiver. fouen wanted to speak further, but he had already turned away and was ignoring him.
the shadowspear walked right into the spears, the tips pressing into his breastplates and the armour of his horse. however, the infantry warriors were the ones forced back; without using strength, their speartips could not pierce the superior-grade armour. without an order from their commander, they wouldn’t dare kill this oncomer.
the shadowspear quickly pushed his way through the spears, making his way further into the formation. his horse was wounded a little, but those injuries were superficial and it merely grunted as it trudged along. fouen was now sweating buckets; he had to do something at this point, but he didn’t have the guts to call the attack.
when there were too many spears to walk through easily, the horse snorted and pushed some of them aside. one such warrior seemed to react by instinct, drawing his sword and plunging it into the creature’s stomach. the horse immediately reared up in fake pain, throwing the knight off its back. with a number of spears concentrated on the area and their owners unable to draw back in time, a few pierced through the gaps in the armour and drew blood. the body fell motionless to the ground, not even crying in pain.
the entire battlefield went silent, the silversword nobles and generals holding their breath in shock. richard didn’t say anything either, silently continuing back towards his troops with a smile on his face.
“don’t let him leave!” a titled knight cried out as he rushed towards richard, planning to take him hostage. however, he only made it a few steps before richard flicked a hand out, causing his torso to fly off his horse and to the ground. two legs hung down the mount’s sides as the skin slowly tore under the weight of armour, falling to the ground in a puddle of red.
fouen watched dumbfoundedly as richard continued to trot away. he hadn’t been able to even see richard’s attack, much less block it in time. the titled knight was only level 13, so he fared no better. it was only when richard turned around to look at him that he realised hostages could be taken by both sides, immediately snapping out of his stupor and turning his horse away. richard might have been alone, but he was clearly more than powerful enough to perform the task.
fouen didn’t just return to his army; he retreated far into the distance. once the rune knights began their charge, no part of the army would be safe.
richard’s troops suddenly changed formation, the dismounted infantrymen climbing on their horses even as the rune knights followed the elite shadowspears to their new positions. the scattered march immediately turned into a spear with richard at the centre, leaving the silversword generals in awe.
moving infantrymen was one thing, but having knights line up in precise formations was extremely difficult. it would normally take years of training, and even so the soldiers would only master one or two formations at best. however, richard’s army seemed to pulse like it was alive, slowly picking up pace as it began its charge. the silversword generals that had once been somewhat confident in their army now trembled with fear.
right at the front of the charge were the fifty rune knights. they drew their javelins once they were only a kilometre away, throwing them with full force towards the silversword troops. fifty javelins flashed in all colours as they travelled through the sky, landing right in the middle of the archers. every single pike left everyone in its vicinity with heavy injuries, and their direct targets were killed off in an instant.
the silversword formation quickly started breaking apart out of sheer fear. the shield wall at the front almost disbanded in the face of the terror the rune knights inspired, and seeing the powerful javelins travel over their heads they were only barely kept in place by their captains. fifty archers died instantly, while the explosions blew up everything in their vicinity. some of the javelins killed a dozen men all on their own.
the loud explosions scared the wits out of the silversword soldiers who finally broke formation, the archers trying their best to flee. still, the volley ended with more than half of the archers dead and most of the remaining ones injured. in one go, richard’s army had no need to worry about long-range attacks. the spear formation continued to barrel forwards.
once they were 600 metres away, the rune knights took out their second volley. this time, they were joined by the hundred javelineers who all had their javelins dipped in gunpowder. they were finally in range of the enemy archers, but the destroyed formation barely sent a dozen arrows that didn’t find their mark. 150 javelins shot into the sky, many of them now lighting aflame mid-flight. this volley struck the archers as well, but this time they were accompanied by gunpowder explosions that were even louder than the rune knight attacks. these javelins that could blow up ancient trees in one go decimated the remaining archers, leaving not a single figure left standing.
in the middle of the charging formation, nyris gasped in surprise, “where did you get those javelins?”
“i had them made,” richard said indifferently.
“alright, i want 10,000 of them.”
“100 gold each.”
“wha… are you trying to rob me blind?”
“i didn’t even include the production cost in that. this was merely the material cost.”
if every javelin was a hundred gold, then wasn’t that single volley effectively throwing 10,000 gold away? even though he had his own plane now, nyris would never dare to use such costly tactics against his opponents.
just as the two armies were about to clash, the spear formation suddenly split apart into a number of columns that circled behind the silversword troops, enveloping them from all directions. the enemy formation that had tightened up to meet the spear immediately fell into chaos, the generals in shock. it was nearly impossible to change the direction of 7,000 men, and even if they tried most of the soldiers would be left confused. this would be a massacre!
viscount fouen finally recovered from his shock, knowing that it was a matter of life and death. funnelling his rage into his voice, he screamed commands for the army to change formation as he mobilised his cavalry to stop richard at the flanks.
it was at this point that the ground started to shake. when the soldiers split up into two wings, the heavily armoured tiramisu jumped out of formation and went barrelling straight towards the silversword cavalry!