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There was no more time to argue. In the end, the two groups were quickly decided. Brendel knew that he was unable to convince the princess anymore. He could only cast one last glance into the rain, before pulling on his cloak.
The princess took the lance from the knight by the side. With a back-handed grip, she cut a piece from her cloak with her sword and tied it to the tip. The patterns of the crescent moon and the lily fluttered high in the storm.
The knights gazed at the banner that represented Aouine. It was already drenched in rain.
The thin formation began to move forward.
They had indeed attracted the devil army. Like a rolling wave, the h.e.l.lhounds galloped in a line and devoured everything in their path as they faced off against the army of less than thirty men in the middle of the battlefield.
Thie gave Brendel valuable time to take a breather. The line formation held up Buni's Concealment Cloak and grazed the edge of the battlefield, slowly inching their way toward the last remaining Door of Flame.
But even this route was not secure.
Although the hill-like h.e.l.lhounds couldn't see them, there were times when there was no way to avoid them when they lunged from the front. During such times, Brendel could only lift his cloak and pierce the throat of these devils with his sword from below and let their reeking blood gush freely. This caused these huge devils to twist and turn, cras.h.i.+ng into several more of their kind and toppling them.
However, the fallen h.e.l.lhounds didn't attract too much attention from its own kind; devils were already fond of fighting each other, and a stampede like this when they were charging in a group was so trivial. No one would notice this corner of the battlefield.
The devils were cloistering together even more, forming a denser ma.s.s. Everyone felt the ground trembling beneath their feet.
The Brute Devils in the sky were the first to approach the humans in the center of the battlefield. Leider Dulo raised his head, his graying eyes reflecting those hideous and horrifying faces. The monsters in the sky spread their wings and charged down at them like arrows.
Several Brute Devils crashed into the knights' formation, sending several knights flying. Their strength was far greater than the h.e.l.lhounds. Leider witnessed the knights being splattered apart, their armor shattering like gla.s.s. The flesh underneath exploded from the tremendous pressure, blood vessels bursting open and turning into a flying ma.s.s of plasma.
A few spots of blood were even sprayed on the princess's snow-white face. Gryphine remained still, her hand gripping the lance. Her knuckles were white from the lack of blood, but the lance remained still in her hand.
The Brute Devils swept past. Behind them, their fellow devils swooped back down. A Brute Devil crashed into the princess, who was among the crowd. When the few remaining knights finally reacted, the Brute Devil''s sharp claws had nearly reached the half-elf girl's chest.
A silver light pierced through the curtain of rain and nailed the Brute Devil's head, causing it to crash to the ground. The old knight, sword in hand, was already standing in front of Her Highness. Gryphine looked at the lion of the kingdom standing in front of her, who had betrayed the Royal Family of Covardo, but she knew that this old man would never betray Aouine.
“Thank you, Leider Dulo.”
“As long as the princess does not condemn me for my act of rebellion. Everything I do is because it is my duty. I already owed the late king my life, and now, it is no loss to me to use these old creaking bones to repay him.” Leider sighed. “However, I may not be able to pay for my sin even with my life.”
“It's not your fault.” The princess's eyes were cold. “Someone will pay for this. Brendel will not let them go.”
Leider knew in his heart that Her Highness was talking about her powerful uncle, and he couldn't help but sigh again. He hadn't expected Duke Seifer's sickness to have caused him to go so far as to herald the devils into the world. No wonder Nicholas and Garlock turned to the princess immediately without hesitation.
He was left with nothing but regret in his heart. If he had known this would happen earlier, he would never have let the White Lion Battalion become an accomplice, but it was already too late for that. Even the Holy Cathedral would never let Duke Seifer go, never mind that young man.
In addition to that, the White Lion Battalion was destined to lose their past glory.
In truth, none of that mattered anymore. What mattered was whether Aouine could still exist from here on out ,and whether the fight they'd risked their lives for today would end in their victory.
A silver splash of light flew out from the old man's sword. The silvery light was shaped like a curved moon. It flew forward and swept right across the Brute Devils' formation. The devils flying in the sky still continued their trajectory onward, but their bodies had already split apart. Chunks of their corpses crashed to the ground, bringing with it a shower of blood and gore.
Such beautiful White Raven Sword Art, representing Aouine's most glorious past. Princess Gryphine watched in stunned silence as the dazzling light disappeared into the rain, but that light was eventually swallowed up by the raging army of devils.
The Brute Devils were already taking to the sky once more, but the ground was already covered with the towering figures of the h.e.l.lhounds. Duke Anthony's knights were nearly all annihilated, and the remaining witches were inadequate to defend themselves. Leider and the Kirrlutz Paladins stood a little closer, ready to protect the last banner on this battlefield.
When Brendel looked back, he saw that the flag was still standing erect in the distance amidst the rain. A blue and white battle flag – it was like the only symbol left on this battlefield.
Lightning sliced through the darkened sky of Ampere Seale's bay, casting everything in white.
Brendel looked back with a heavy heart. He understood that all hope now rested upon him. If he could tear down that portal quickly, there might be a chance for everything to be salvaged.
Brendel couldn't help but clench his teeth. They had already made it past the first wave of devils. There was less than half the distance left, and the devils on the battlefield had thinned out tremendously. Their intermittent use of Buni's Concealment Cloak had taken less than a third of its effect duration so far.
It seemed as if victory was close at hand.
Everyone couldn't help but subconsciously pick up the pace.
The remaining third of the distance was crossed in a single pa.s.s. After pa.s.sing through the second wave, the defensive line formed by the Longhorn Devils behind could be clearly seen.
Nicholas drew his longsword. Without waiting for Brendel's command, he rushed towards those devils above like a golden-red blur. The twelve Longhorn Devils were apparently stunned by the sudden appearance of a powerful enemy before them. The two closest devils to Brendel's formation did not have the time to even utter a shriek of surprise before they were already caught in Nicholas' sea of fire.
There was only one natural outcome that awaited them.
Brendel held up Buni's Concealment Cloak and continued on, with nine seconds of effect left. At this point, there was no need for him to save time anymore, as there was still one last stretch of road left in front of him.
With Amandina close behind him, Ciel holding the unconscious Sugar Jar, and Dilferi following at the end, the four never felt so nervous and uneasy before. Even Brendel's experience at the time of the Wolf Tide was far less than the present; back then, he could at least see the periods of history, but now, the future was hidden in a fog.
He must break through the fog himself, but he was unsure of what the judgment behind the fog actually represented.
Buni's Concealment Cloak had finally reached its time limit. However, there were only a few measly small fry by the portal at this moment. All of them were Devil Warlocks, and as soon as Ciel and Brendel appeared, they finished off each Warlock one by one.
As fast as she could, Amandina threw away Buni's Concealment Cloak as if it wasn't a legendary item, but a piece of trash instead. Then. she made a mad dash towards the last Door of Flame on the battlefield.
Ciel, Brendel, Dilferi, Nicholas, and the people who were trapped far away in the middle of the battlefield – Garlock, Leider, and the princess – all saw this scene at the same time.
Only one last push would do the trick! This was probably the only thought everyone had in mind.
But unfortunately, just as everything seemed to be on track towards the best ending, a sudden terrifying aura abruptly descended out of nowhere and draped itself over everyone on the battlefield.
The Devil 's Lord oppressive aura!
Brendel's hairs stood on end immediately. The oppressive feeling he felt was simply like a deity suddenly descending into this realm, but that wasn't possible. Let us not mention the fact that there was no such thing as an existing G.o.d in Vaunte, even a G.o.d would never be able to exude such a cruel and tyrannical aura.
That kind of aura could only exist in one creature in all of Vaunte.
He raised his head and watched as s.p.a.ce by the portal trembled. Then, a huge, golden-red door of light suddenly opened without warning beside Amandina. Before anyone had time to react, a huge, three-headed monster that seemed to be stacked with reddish, thick flesh had squeezed through the door.
That unique figure could only make Brendel think of one name – Mesika, King of Chaos.
Brendel's heart constricted in that instant.
“Watch out! Amandina!!” he shouted with all the strength he could muster.
But, it was too late. Amandina didn't even realize that disaster had come, and she even looked back in surprise when she heard Brendel calling for her. However, the next moment, the Devil King's claws were already digging right through her body.
With a sharp sound, blood-red claws pierced through Amandina like three swords. Her entire body twisted and arched from the pain.
Amandina opened her mouth wide. It seemed that even at the last moment, she had been surprised, but blood immediately poured out of her mouth and nose. The n.o.blewoman's daughter still ended up reaching out to Brendel.
“Bren… Bre… Brendel…”
Her mouth opened and closed repeatedly, but at last, her head fell limp.
“No-” Brendel could hardly believe what he was seeing before his eyes. Although he still held some delusional thoughts, hoping that it was all just an illusion, a delusion was still just a delusion.
His heart couldn't stop sinking.
As an ordinary human, was there any chance of Amandina surviving a blow from the Devil King of the Extreme Realm, Mesika? Any sane and normal person would give a rational answer without hesitation of course.
But that answer was unacceptable to Brendel.
Amandina is dead?
Brendel saw the King of Chaos shake his claws and fling Amandina away. Her limp body hit the gra.s.s head-on, her face looking as if she had lost all trace of life. At that moment, his mind was just blank as he stood with the Halran Gaia in his hand in the pouring rain, but for a moment, it felt like the whole world had gone dark.
The n.o.blewoman who stood by me in silence, who was willing to stand with me against the entire kingdom, is dead?
Brendel's mind wasn't sure what thoughts were running through it at the moment.
And that was when Mesika, the King of Chaos, finally noticed the young man at its feet. Its three huge heads looked back at the portal and then at Brendel, and it instantly guessed the intentions of these humans. Its faces couldn't help but show a hint of hideous anger.
“Vermin sc.u.m, what have you done?!” Mesika's voice sounded like it was coming from an abyss. It raised its claws and immediately swung down at Brendel.
“Brendel, come to your senses, you b.a.s.t.a.r.d! Do you want to die here?! You still have the Cards of Fates! Miss Amandina is not dead!” Sanorso was about to go crazy.
However, only the last sentence sent a bolt of lightning cutting through the darkness in Brendel's head. He responded with a jolt. Yes, he still had Cards, and as long as he had the Fate card, there was at least a chance of saving Miss Amandina's life.
It was but a slim chance in a desperate situation.
But he would never give up as long as he had a chance.
Brendel came back to his senses at once, but when he looked up, a shadow had completely enveloped him.