Mobilization of the Black Skull Knights
Editors: Darkdhaos, Ruzenor
The sound of glass shattering echoed in the room.
This was the former capital of Delvincourt, which now served as the governance house of the Kuscheperca province. In the audience hall inside the castle at the center of the city, the commander-in-chief of the Žaloudek Army— Second Prince Cristóbal, was glaring at the report he just received.
“Just how much time and effort do you need to deal with that little wench and a few thieves!? You still dare to call yourselves the elites of Žaloudek!?"
It had been three months since he ordered the Black Skull Knights to pursue the Kuscheperca royals and exterminate the terrorists. The report detailing the results achieved during this period was clutched in his hand, all wrinkled. There were two main points—
First was the status of the unit garrisoned in the eastern territories. The resistance group that Cristóbal called ‘thieves’ had cut off the combat powers in all regions, and the survivors of the old Kuscheperca aristocracy had been raising the flag of revolt one after another. As they were equipped with new machine models that specialized in long range combat, the Tyrants had difficulty in facing them, much less suppressing them.
The other point was the Black Skull Knights diverted from the northern and southern territories to the east. Their neigh stoppable march was stalled by the sabotage actions of mini Silhouette Knights. Aside from that, the tower shaped new machine models that specialized in long range attacks proved incredibly strong in base defences, which gave the Black Skull Knights a tough time. There were reports of the enemy’s harassing actions in all the provinces— The precise details were written in the reports.
And in conclusion, the report stated that overwhelming the enemy with the machine’s superior performance was no longer feasible. It wouldn’t be easy to take the east, and more time would be needed to muster the forces. It was natural for Cristóbal who didn’t have much patience to fume with rage. Cristóbal paid no heed to the attendants frantically clearing up the broken pieces of the glass he threw out in fury, and composed himself and his emotions.
“Is this the proverbial cornered rat? How persistent…!”
Cristóbal rested his elbow heavily onto the throne, his gaze seemed to be focusing on a spot in mid air. He wasn’t trying to escape from reality, but was actually analysing his enemy clearly.
“The troublesome one isn’t the wench, but the thieves… No, damn those original machine models! It would be terrible if we give them more time.”
The escape of the Princess and the new weapons of the remnants of old Kuscheperca. The shadow of Fremmevira’s demon beast guards could be seen in all these. He felt a sting of bitterness in his heart. If Žaloudek Kingdom had to fight a nation where the new Silhouette Knights were developed from, it would certainly be a huge threat. That might be so, but who would have thought that their presence would have such a big influence on the war?
In the beginning, Žaloudek Army adopted the blitzkrieg attack. This revolutionary tactic uses Levitate Ship to destroy the core of the enemy, with the superior power output of the new Silhouette Knight as support. They were well prepared for the invasion of Kuscheperca. And the truth was, they were just one step away from completely conquering Kuscheperca. But right now, not only were the royals kidnapped, the Žaloudeks were also being suppressed on the battlefront, and this was the crucial moment where the outcome of the war would be decided.
“We can’t drag this on… I have to be ready to bet it all.”
After considering the situation, Cristóbal made his decision.
His eyes fell on the laid out Kuscheperca territory map. There were many chess pieces representing the Black Knights placed at the junction linking the north south highway to the east. A piece with a crown was placed in the east, symbolizing the Kuscheperca royals.
He picked up the ship-shaped pieces that had been scattered all over the map, which of course represented their aces, the Levitate Ships. He then smacked them down onto a certain spot on the map. On that spot of the map, was the name of the city where the eastern governance house was located— Fontaine.
“It is done to do things the old fashioned way… Relay the orders, I am mobilizing the unit garrisoning the central territories. Recall the Steel Wing Knights! Use our remaining forces to the largest extent, and take down the east in one shot. Ready the men, I will be leading this expedition personally!!”
On Cristóbal’s orders, his attendants all ran off in a hurry. Caught up in his agitated emotions, Cristóbal continued staring at the map, with an ominous feeling in his heart— an intense battle was waiting for him in the east.
And soon after that, the First Princess Catalina rushed to him as if she was taking the place of the guards who ran off, with an anxious expression she rarely showed.
"Crist! I just heard that you are going to heading there directly with your troops? Know where you stand! How can the Commander-in-Chief act so brashly…”
It was rare sight, seeing Cristóbal cut her off:
“... Sister, you seemed to be scheming something and dispatching your minions huh? I won’t say anything more, but since the situation didn’t turn for the better, I take it that they failed right?”
Catalina was dumbstruck. She didn’t expect Crist to know that the Copper Fang Knights failed.
“We have wasted too much time! It is too late for tricks now. If we don’t act now, the situation will only become worse.”
Even Catalina who didn’t understand warfare agreed with this point. On the hand, because Cristóbal was proficient in waging war and possessed the instinct of a general, his sensitive nose could sniff out this danger. A firm light shone in his eyes, and Catalina understood that she couldn’t stop her brother no matter how she tried. She sighed, and pointed quietly to a spot on the map and said:
“The escaped royals and the demon beast guard from Fremmevira are here. They are using a small relay station city as their base.”
Although the Copper Fang Knights failed, it wasn’t a complete loss. They obtained an intel that the remnants of the old Kuschepercas were based there.
Cristóbal glanced at the tip of his sister’s finger, then said with a ferocious smile:
“I’m impressed, thank you sister. We are moving out! We will head for Fontaine first, then we will crush the thieves in Missillier next!!”
And so, Cristóbal let the Black Skull Knights main forces garrisoned in the central governance house, and set off for the eastern governance house Fontaine. After the place was assaulted by the Silver Phoenix Knights and lost the royals, it had sealed the city gates. But now, they were opened again to receive Cristóbal.
And one short week later, Fontaine was filled with the air of war once again. The Black Skull Knights main forces that came to this city with Cristóbal— one full brigade (a hundred odd machines) started advancing towards the east.
The Black Knights advanced on stone paved roads. Flying above them was the ace in the hole of the Žaloudek Kingdom— ten Levitate Ships. Most of the Levitate Ships of the Steel Wing Knights had congregated here, this was practically a large invasion.
— The Žaloudek Army began their march.
It was impossible for such a huge army to be covert, and news reached Missillier, the remnants of the old Kuscheperca army and the Silver Phoenix Knights.
The advancing Žaloudek Army and the remnants of the old Kuscheperca army would clash sooner or later.
The vanguard of the Žaloudek Army traveling on the Pan-Kucher road was about to reach the Aubigne Mountains. The further away they were from the central regions, the more dangerous the terrain gets, and Baron Letonmaki’s territories were no exception.
Most of Baron Letonmaki’s land was between the valleys of the Aubigne Mountain Range, it was infertile and unsuitable for agricultural development. But that was the reason it was a good place to defend the east. Large towns and forts were built along the few main roads within the Baron’s territories, which usually served as the rest stop for passing merchants. Aside from that, the undulating terrain also functions as natural forts.
"… How nostalgic, to think we will be carrying out our original duties.”
A row of conical ‘tower-like’ figures were lined up along the wall that cut off the valley. These were Resvant Vido which got the nickname Tower Knights because of their appearance. As they were direct modification of the mass produced models, producing them was fast. Most of the old mass produced models had been modified and deployed to guard the crucial checkpoints.
“Sir, the deployment of the Tower Knights has been completed… And those who want to retreat back to Missillier have set off.”
“I see. You may leave too, I won’t blame you.”
Two men were conversing on top of the walls. One of them was lord of the Letonmaki Barony— Baron Modesto Letonmaki. Besides him was the Knight Commander leading the Resvant Vidos.
“You are not leaving either, Sir. Are you jesting with me? Our raison d’être is to act as a shield in moments like this, how can we run so easily? The men who stayed behind feel the same way.”
Baron Letonmaki smiled wryly after hearing the Knight Commander’s answer. The Žaloudek Army was upon them, and even with the power of the Resvant Vidos, a minor noble stood no chance against them.
"… Just a bit more. The state of the art weapons designed by the Silver Phoenix Merchants are in the midst of production, but they still need more time to finish.”
The latest model of Silhouette Knights was being crafted in Missillier. On the other hand, they wouldn’t be able to match the Žaloudek Kingdom if they don’t produce more of them.
And so, they chose to stay despite knowing they would be outnumbered. Letonmaki announced the dire situation to his entire force ahead of time, and permitted anyone to retrograde to Missillier and fight another day. Despite that, most of the soldiers stayed behind, displaying their pride as soldiers.
“Well then, so as to not shame our ancestors in these lands, we have to do our best to hinder them. Seems that our invited guests are here.”
Everyone present noticed without needing the Baron to notify them.
Black steel giants approached menacingly, dragging steps with steam emitting from them, entering the valley along the narrow mountain path. They then got into their usual rank formation and advanced solemnly as they trained the pikes in their hands forward. The black wall and the stone walls faced off against each other some distance away.
The Žaloudek army was collected before the virtually indestructible terrain and didn’t even stop. Their overly calm demeanour even made the Letonmaki Barony’s army shiver. Despite their advantage in terrain, they were gradually crushed by the aura of the enemy closing in. The Knight Commander kept his binoculars, and admonished his daunted men loudly:
“Fear not! The new Resvants you are piloting possesses unmatched defences! Think about your brethrens fighting in other parts of the Kingdom! There is nothing to fear. We will burn them all if they come near the wall!!”
The Resvant Vidos were the nemesis of the Tyrants of Žaloudek Kingdom. The Tyrants might have the upper hand in melee combat, but the wall was a great obstacle for them. The tower-shaped Silhouette Knights possessed unrivaled base defence prowess, and could destroy the slow Tyrants horde before they drew near. That was the reason why they could ground the Žaloudek Army invasion to a halt.
The pilots of the Vidos regain their composure and morale. Bracing themselves with a powerful roar, the tower-shaped machines with their Wall Robes deployed their Silhouette Arms, readying themselves to engage. They aimed at the black wall of steel, then the Knight Commander boarded his own Vido, and instructed loudly with the broadcast device inside his machine:
“You have permission to fire once the enemy enters our attack range! Don’t let any of them pass!”
The Silhouette Arms protruding out of the wall like thorns locked onto the Black Knights. The pilots gripped their controls tightly out of nervousness, and the trembling in their hands affected their back weapons, and even made their reticles waver.
It was clear to the Žaloudek Army that the Baron’s army was ready for them. In the face of firepower that could pierce heavy armour, their movements changed. They were still advancing, but their formation was different.
“Those guys… are not using a tight formation?”
The Black Knights who had always crush the enemy with their tight rank formation splitted into several smaller groups, and advanced while keeping some distance from each other.
“They are using their brains too huh, trying to keep us from focusing our fire…”
The Knight Commander quickly realized the enemy’s intention and muttered bitterly. In order to break through the heavy armour of the Tyrants, they would concentrate the fire from their Silhouette Arms on them. The Žaloudek Army realized that maintaining the tight formation suitable for close combat was disadvantageous, that was why they spread out.
No matter what, there was only one thing the Baron’s army needed to do. The moment the Tyrants got into range, a hail of projectiles rained mercilessly from the walls. The bullets of destruction flashing orange fell onto the head of the Žaloudek Army that had splitted up by platoons. The Tyrants were drowning in explosions and flames.
In the past, the Žaloudek Army would choose to advance forcefully, but they reacted differently this time — they retreated swiftly when they saw the projectiles raining down on them.
When the Knight Commander saw this, he couldn’t help clicking his tongue. Projectiles compiled by magic had the restriction of ‘effective range’, because the source of mana in the air — Ether, will disrupt the movement of the projectile. Once they pass the effective range, the projectile will crumble quickly and disappear.
After the Tyrants left the effective range of the Vido, they parried the projectiles easily without even taking a stance. The dissipating projectiles were nothing for their heavy armour. The soldiers observing from the walls announced this result to the entire army, and the firing stopped. Calm returned to the battlefield.
Immediately after that, the sound of trumpets and gongs rang out from the Žaloudek Army. With instructions coming from behind, the Tyrants renewed their advance. Their pace was already slow, but it became even more cautious now as they moved into the effective range of the Silhouette Arms. The Baron’s army didn’t attack this time as the observers on the wall stared intently with binoculars, trying to grasp the distance between them and the enemy. Messengers ran more frequently, increasing the speed of communications.
“Don’t act rashly, wait for the observers’ instruction before commencing fire!”
“No, not yet… It won’t cause enough damage right now, wait until they get into a distance where they can’t flee anymore!”
The Baron’s army had to act cautiously. There were two fatal flaws with the Resvant Vido which was equipped with multiple Silhouette Arms and possessed overwhelming firepower. First was its obvious lack of mobility. And the other was its slow mana regeneration speed. The Wall Robe which was made entirely from Capacity Frame had extraordinary mana storage, but the Ether Reactor was still the same. Once they exhaust their mana, they would need a very long time to recover. The time needed for this would be fatal during a battle.
In order to defeat the Tyrants with concentrated fire, they had to avoid wasting bullets needlessly.
“Damn it, what a tease.”
Not only did they change their formation, the movements of the Žaloudek Army was extremely careful. Betting their lives on the line, gauging range and mana power. Their tactics in offense and defence was like walking on a tight wire. The Black Knights advanced another step — and wasn’t attacked. They edged forward again— the projectiles still weren’t coming.
At this moment, the Black Knights stopped their advance. They were within effective range, but still too far away. The Knight Commander leading the Barony army was in a dilemma, agonizing about starting the attack. Their enemy was still too far, ready to retreat at any moment. Should they launch an attack anyway to keep them in check? Instead of a battle between armies, this was closer to a melee fight aimed at each other’s weak point. The valley which was now a battlefield was filled with tension so thick you could cut it with a knife.
A sudden gust of wind blew across the stagnant battlefield, unsettling the balance of the battle. This wind wasn’t a work of nature, and came along with a shadow that blocked out the sun above — And it wasn’t the shadows of the clouds. In the cloudy sky, something darker with a clearer silhouette than the clouds appeared. The Barony Army didn’t need too much time to figure out what it was. Since they could see their shadows, it meant they were close enough physically to be discerned with the naked eye.
Žaloudek Army didn’t only have the Black Knights, they also have the ace that destroyed the Kuscheperca Kingdom — the Steel Wing Knights. Baron Letonmaki, who saw the 10 Levitate Ships groaned angrily.
The airborne ship wasn’t affected by the terrain and drifted over the mountains easily, ignoring the walls and reaching right on top of the gates. For the Levitate Ships, the natural barriers Baron Letonmaki took so much pride in were meaningless. Going by past experience, the soldiers in the Barony could easily imagine what the Levitate Ships would do next. The Knight Commander of the Barony shouted with spittle flying:
“... Oh no! Tower Knights, aim for the Levitate Ships! Don’t let them land!!”
The Vidos trained their reticles to the air, and the worst footsteps they could imagine reached their ears — moving in concert with the Levitate Ships, the Black Skull Knights advanced once again. There was no caution in their actions this time as they pushed forth like water from a broken dam. If they are not engaged immediately, the Black Knights will reach the walls in no time. A pincer attack from land and air caused the mind of the Barony army to go numb.
“Tower Knights, aim for the Levitate Ships, ignore the Black Knights…! There is no retreat for us in the first place, so take down as many ships as we can for our brethrens behind us!!”
They were checkmated. After realizing that, Baron Letonmaki made up his mind and issued the order. They knew very well what fate awaited them when they stayed behind for this battle, so there was nothing to regret.
Vido endured the terror of the approaching Black Knights, lift their heads as one and opened fire at the Levitate Ships floating leisurely in the air. The orange rain flew towards the sky, and exploded into fireworks in the air.
However, the Levitate ships continued to advance nonchalantly. The first practical flying weapon — the Levitate Ships, was designed with the engagement enemies on the ground in mind. Hence, its body that looked like an overturned seafaring vessel had a bottom reinforced with steel into sturdy armour, and could handle a few projectile shots easily. At this moment, several of the vessels, suddenly descended at a steep angle, and brushed right over the top of the walls without even slowing.
The Resvant Vidos possessed an aiming function that was tied to its firing system, but aiming was still done manually by the pilots. The machine itself was a rushed job, and the pilots weren’t trained to shoot flying targets, so even the occasional lucky shot that landed couldn’t pierce the armour. The Levitate Ships forcibly air dropped the Silhouette Knights under such conditions, the hatch at its bottom opening and machines tied to wires jumped out one after another.
They were painted black, which was the standard of the Žaloudek Army, but its body was thin and slender. These weren’t Tyrants, but the Wittendoras of the Copper Fang Knights.
The Wittendora detached its wire in mid air, from a height that would destroy a Tyrant from its own weight. Its unique design for intel purposes allowed the Wittendora to used the flexibility of its body to absorb the impact, and land on the walls.
The Wittendoras’ Crystal Tissue screeched loudly as they pounced on the Vido. Although the Vido had powerful defences in the form of its Wall Robe, but its weight was also its shackles, slowing its movements down. Making it unsuitable for close quarters combat. In the eyes of the light Wittendora, they were as slow as tortoises, the difference in their mobility was obvious. On top of that, the Wall Robes had gaps all over the place because of the deployed Silhouette Arms, so the Wittendora could easily go behind the machines and target the weak points one after another. Some used Stilettos, while others struck directly with their claws, destroying one Vido after another.
“Tower Knight units, fight at your own discretion! It’s fine to abandon your robe, take down as many of them as you can!”
Heavy metal clunked onto the ground loudly as the Resvant Vidos ditched their Wall Robes. In times of emergencies and great danger, the Robes had the function to be uncoupled. And now was that time.
Once they abandoned their advantage of the Wall Robe, what was left was a normal Resvant with back weapons. Despite their valiant efforts to fight with their Silhouette Arms, the Wittendora obviously held the upper hand in melee combat. The Tower Knights that stood tall in defence of the wall fell like broken bits of a comb.
The Barony that had been forced to a corner received another sign that their end was near — an intense trembling came from under their feet as the Black Knights finally made it to the wall. Discarding their halberd in favour of mini battering rams, they started knocking down the walls. The Strand Crystal Tissues inside their black steel body churned, and even the sturdy steel made city gate couldn’t stand up to the fully powered mini battering ram, and was bent out of shape quickly.
After multiple hits, the gate was twisted like waves, and finally broke down as the limit of its endurance was reached. The footfalls of destruction soon followed. In the wake of the dust that had been kicked up, the Black Knights flooded in. With their defences broken through, the Resvant Vidos fell to the battering rams before they could bring their opponents down. Before the might of the Black Knights’ armour, their projectiles and blades were laughably weak.
The Barony army lost the power to turn the tide of battle.
"… So this is the true might of the Žaloudek Army…"
As he watched the fort being ravaged, Baron Letonmaki’s knees turned weak and he fell on his knees. He wasn’t considered a target since he wasn’t piloting a Silhouette Knight and was still safe in the chaos. But that was just a matter of time. The Black Knights was pouring into the gates, and after they suppressed the Silhouette Knights, their infantry will follow right behind.
"Princess, Lady Martina, forgive my incompetence… Lord Emrys, I will leave the rest to y…”
Baron Letonmaki’s last words were drowned out by the thundering footsteps of the Black Knights.
After the Black Skull Knights trampled over Baron Letonmaki’s lands, they resumed their march as if nothing ever happened.
News of Baron Letonmaki’s territory falling reached Missillier quickly on horseback.
“I see, the enemy main forces have started moving! The earlier night raid exposed our base, so I knew it is just a matter of time before they attacked…”
Emrys who heard the news groaned with a solemn face. The Silver Phoenix Merchants still needed more time to complete all the new machines. From the speed of the Žaloudek Army’s advance, it wasn’t clear if they could make it in time.
"We have prepared ourselves mentally, if the time calls for it, we the Silver Phoenix Knights will stop them.”
With the Tzendrinble’s leg power, this proposal was now plausible. As he headed for the workshop to prepare for that, Martina appeared before him.
Emrys was speechless when he saw his aunt’s appearance. She didn’t wear her usual dress, but clothes that resembled those of a man, which prioritized mobility. With leather armour fixed over her clothes, it was clear she was dressed for battle.
“I heard the news, war is upon us, we can’t waste the time Lord Letonmaki bought for us. After all, we stayed in this city for the sake of the inevitable battle.”
“Of course, I don’t plan to lose! But Aunt, from the way that you are dressed, are you planning to take the field?
Seeing her nephew worrying about her, Martina shook her head with a wry smile and said:
“That’s impossible. I will leave the fighting to you, I don’t think we will be of much use. It is better for me to be prepared, I don’t want to become a burden.”
That night when the old capital Delvincourt fell, she felt deep regret that she couldn’t do anything other than fleeing. No, her flight should have been done better.
There was no terrain more suited for defence than Baron Letonmaki’s territory, so the Žaloudek Army will flood in sooner or later. In that case, they would need to be fully prepared to avoid the same mistake.
“... Alright. Leave the rest to us, we will definitely get the weapons ready in time and teach those guys a painful lesson. I won’t let the Black Knights or the Levitate Ships come near Aunt and the others again!”
Since the start of the war, no one in the Kuscheperca Army could defeat the Levitate Ship. In a fight against the Žaloudek Army that included Levitate Ships, the Silver Phoenix Knights was the only Knight Corps that didn’t lose to them, and even gave the remnant army of the old Kuscheperca new weapons.
“Yes Emrys. I believe in all of you.”
Both sides did their best in preparation for the arrival of that moment — time passed steadily towards the final battle.
After passing through Baron Letonmaki’s territory, there was nothing to stop the Žaloudek Army. All the forts along the Pan-Kucher road had been abandoned to avoid the threat of the Levitate Ships during the early stage of the war. Even the garrison in most of the territories had been withdrawn.
“Consolidating their forces? That wench is timid as usual.”
The Second Prince of Žaloudek Kingdom, Cristóbal led this eastern invasion force personally. Riding on the special command vessel that served as the flagship, and positioned himself at the rearmost of the unit. He could survey the entire Žaloudek Army formation from there clearly. The neat advancing ranks of Black Skull Knights and the Steel Wing Knights’ Levitate Ships flying in formation like two spread wings — Just the combat forces here were enough to subjugate a mid-sized country. Using it to deal with the remnants of the old Kuscheperca Kingdom that wasn’t even a proper nation was overkill.
He was not taking the damages his forces had suffered lightly, and was planning to eliminate the royals and the demon beast guards in one fell swoop, that’s why he mobilized all the men he could get.
“But it is boring when nothing happens.”
His words invoked light laughter on the bridge of the Levitate Ship. For this to be the extent of the remnant’s final surge was too unsightly, that was their consensus. Their advance had been too smooth, as if they were traveling through no man’s sky. It was proceeding so well that the slow Tyrants were moving at a quicker pace than expected.
It didn’t take long for the Žaloudek Army to reach Missillier. Their adversary had withdrawn all their forces to this base, and Missillier which was originally a rest stop town would be packed tightly with the Tower Knights. Seems like their opponent had prepared the firepower to put up a fair fight. Since they couldn’t win against the Black Skull Knights on the open field, the remnants of the old Kuscheperca Army could only adopt a defensive tactic.
The corner of Cristóbal’s lips curled up fearlessly. During the battle in Baron Letonmaki’s territory, all the weak points of the Tower Knights had been exposed, and they were no longer a threat to his Black Skull Knights.
“Alright, all units halt! Rest up and ready the men. The enemy’s funeral is coming…!”
The Žaloudek Army obeyed his command, and set up a makeshift base along the road. Having the chance to strike the final blow to the enemy raised their morale, but they had accumulated a lot of fatigue during their long campaign. The soldiers needed to rest before the battle, and they had no reason to panic. They just needed to regain their endurance, and devastate the enemy at their peak.
There was a group watching the Žaloudek Army base from a distance. Hidden in the forest around the camp, the Silhouette Gears — Shadowlad was camouflaged with the colours of the background. After the Blue Hawk Knights retreated from the Žaloudek Army at Fontaine, They had been spying on their troop movements.
The Žaloudek Army had no intentions of hiding their troop movements. After all, Missillier had their backs to Mount Aubigne and there was nowhere to run. Speaking in terms of military tactics, they had their backs to the wall. In the first place, it was impossible to hide such a large force anyway. They probably knew that and stopped hiding, opting to intimidate the enemy by marching forth openly.
The Blue Hawk Knights were still hiding in the forest quietly, predicting the enemy’s action accurately from their speed. All this was to grasp the moment the Žaloudek Army would begin their attack.
After resting for a day and a night, the soldiers had more or less recovered their strength, and couldn’t wait for the orders to crush the enemy.
“Those remnants must be scared out of their wits. No, maybe they didn’t have any officers left to lead them?”
The sneak attack they were prepared for during their rest didn’t happen, and Cristóbal still looked displeased. He thought a prey forced into a corner would bear its fangs, but the remnants of the Kuscheperca army still hid behind their walls.
“Even the pride of a grand Kingdom is gone before the might of our Levitate Ships. Hmmp, don’t let your guard down even if the enemy are scared out of their wits. Proceed as planned, get into position!”
He issued the order to the whole army, and the Žaloudeks began moving in the still of the night. Their plan was the same one they used when they attacked Delvincourt, which was a night raid with Levitate Ships.
During the battle in Baron Letonmaki’s territory, it had been confirmed that it was difficult for the projectiles from the Tower Knights to bring down the Levitate Ships. However, Missillier had gathered all their forces from the surrounding regions, so even the Levitate Ships couldn’t go near openly in the day, so they chose to launch a night raid instead. It would be harder to aim at the Levitate Ships under the cover of night compared to the day. The night will protect them, and hinder the senses of the old Kuscheperca remnant army.
Once they successfully draw near and take down the enemy base, the rest would be simple. Be it the Kuscheperca’s mass produced Resvants, or the modified Tower Knights Resvant Vidos, their close quarter combat abilities were lacking. Once they took down the Tower Knights, their Black Skull Knights main forces could break through from the front, and decimate the enemy forces in one go — This was the plan to achieve complete victory.
"Gentlemen of the Steel Wing Knights, it is time for you to take the stage. Go with the wind and bring us victory! Infiltrate the sky of the city!”
The black sails on both sides of the vessels became bloated as the Blow Engine filled them. The Levitate Ship glided across the night sky with the sound of the wind, and closed in on the slumbering Missillier city. Missillier was still even at this point of time. Although the night was advantageous for them, the Steel Wing Knights was still prepared to face some resistance. This situation was beyond disappointing, and felt chilling instead. After all, the Kuscheperca Kingdom lost their old capital Delvincourt from the exact same night raid, so how could they not be wary of this?
With no regards to their confusion, the Levitate Ships approached Missillier smoothly. Suppressing their doubts, the Steel Wing Knights started their descent and slowed down. Inside the vessels, preparations were made to airdrop the Black Skull Knights—
At this moment, a faint flash appeared on the ground.
It was a blazing bullet with an orange trail, projected magically. It flew straight into the air, but wasn’t aiming to hit the Levitate Ships.
This projectile had a unique mechanism. At its core was a metallic casing which was sealed with magic before it was launched. The casing was extremely thin, and it would melt from the heat of the flame around it, resulting in its content coming into contact with the fire some moments later.
Sealed within the metallic casing was metallic powder, when it is heated by the flame magic, it would combust intensely. The bright balls of light exploding in the night sky one after another had the same effect of illumination flares from the other world.
In the forest around Missillier, spies from the Blue Hawk Knights were deployed there in advance. In this world without radar, they could only rely on the detection network powered by manpower — 'Barrier'. They waited in this forest day and night, and finally accomplished their mission wonderfully. It wasn’t true that the old Kuscheperca remnant army wasn’t prepared for night raids. On the contrary, this was the moment they were waiting for — the chance to seize the initiative.
The man made satellite was brilliant and glaring, revealing the intruders hiding in the darkness.
There was a rustle of movements in a corner of the forest as if they were waiting for this cue. The Blue Hawk Knights weren’t the only ones who melded into the dark. Aside from the Steel Wing Knights, there were other hunters waiting eagerly for this moment.
Their Ether Reactor revved loudly, and the covers that had been painted the same colour as the forest was unveiled, exposing the gigantic body beneath it. Because of the horn on its head and its bottom half being a horse, it was 15m tall. It was the Centaur Knight Tzendrinble, which even had a carriage attached to it.
"Hufufufufu, so you meddlesome people are finally here. In order to ambush you lot, I couldn’t spend time with Eru! I won’t forgive you!! In order to give souvenirs to Eru, victory for Chid and for me to vent, I will take all of you down…!”
Seated inside the cockpit of the Tzendrinble was Ady who was exhaling some sort of black substance as she gripped the control sticks tightly. Her beloved Tzendrinble seemed to be responding to its mistress’ killing intent as its Ether Reactor roared violently. There was no telling when the Žaloudek Army would attack, so the Tzendrinbles and their pilots, including Ady, were ordered to standby outside the city. And of course, she had to act separately from Eru, unable to neither dine nor sleep together. That’s why she was exhaling miasma as she glared at the Levitate Ships murderously.
“Uwah— that’s scary. But I agree to bringing them all down. In order to protect Ellie, I won’t let them win.”
Beside Ady’s machine that was burning with fighting spirit, Chid’s Tzendrinble has also started up. More Centaur Knights behind them began to move, they were the 3rd Company of the Silver Phoenix Knights, the Centaur Knight company.
“They are finally here! They made us wait really long… Alright everyone, let us get to work!”
Following Helvi’s lead, the members of 3rd Company also aimed through their Holo Monitors at the Levitate Ship illuminated by the flares. They then activated the new weapon installed onto the horse body of the Tzendrinbles.
It was a device of unknown purposes that had several rails placed in parallel. On top of it was the same number of giant reels of wire as there were rails. At the end of the rails were javelins, secured perpendicular to the ground.
“Let’s do it! Vertical Launched Javelin Thrower, fire!!”
Ady shouted a little too excitedly. Flames erupted from the javelins placed on the rails, and they flew into the sky, surrounded by sparkling light. The javelin changed its direction by adjusting the direction of its jets. The long tail of flame bursting out from its tail tore through the night air and sped ahead.
The identity of this device in the language of this world was ‘Large Assault Wire Javelin’. In earth language, it would be wire guided missiles. This long range wire controlled weapon, the Missile Javelin, was made by using the Silhouette Knights’ javelin, adding in catalyst crystal to control its thrust and angle, then attaching Silver Nerves to upload mana and magic scripts. This was the anti air weapon invented by Eru to be used by the Tzendrinbles, the Vertical Launched Javelin Thrower.
The Levitate Ship floating in the night air also noticed the mysterious object approaching with erupting flames The Levitate Ships could accelerate by using the Blow Engine, but it couldn’t turn quickly to evade the speeding Javelins that were tracking them.
The Missile Javelins reached the limits of its Silver Nerves quickly, and after losing its mana supply, the Missile Javelins continued flying with its momentum. After gaining enough speed and power, the javelins stabbed one by one into the flank of the Levitate Ship. The Levitate Ship couldn't do anything about the speeding javelins. They might have expected magical projectiles from the ground, a physical attack caught them off guard.
The Missile Javelin destroyed the armour and stabbed deep into the inside of the Levitate Ship. Some pierced the Tyrants parked in the hangar, while others ravaged the interior structure of the vessel. One of it happen to stab into the Etheric Levitator right in the center of the Levitate Ship, and the highly concentrated Ether within spewed out onto the already ravaged ship, lowering its density.
The next second, the body of the vessel started to tilt. By using the unique characteristics of highly concentrated and pure Ether, a lifting force known as ‘float field’, which was how the Levitate Ship was staying airborne. As the seal of the device had been broken, Ether density fell and the Levitate Ship lost the field to support its weight.
The vessel that was floating leisurely just a moment ago fell like a ship sailing over a waterfall, and couldn’t right itself no matter how much wind it generated. Under the pull of gravity, the Levitate Ship continued to accelerate and finally crashed into the forest. Its potential energy was converted to destructive power as the Levitate Ship returned to the embrace of the earth, kicking up dust with a deep thud. The overwhelming destructive force destroyed it beyond recognition, decimating the Tyrants on board along with it.
“That’s one~! It’s hard to control, but can be managed! Again, again! I want to get them all!”
Ady who was in a great mood because her first shot worked perfectly prepared to shoot another in high spirits. The giant reels attached to the Tzendrinble started spinning at high speed, retracting the Silver Nerves that were attached to the Missile Javelin. In the meantime, several Silhouette Gears appeared on the wagon behind the Centaur Knight and took out a pile of javelins. They placed the Javelins onto the rails deftly, then connected the retracted Silver Nerves onto them.
The Vertical Launched Javelin Thrower did not have auto reload function, and could only be reloaded manually. And of course, this duty was taken up by the strong and agile Silhouette Gears. After the Silhouette Gears announced loudly that the loading was complete, they returned back onto the wagon. Once the area was cleared, the Missile Javelin flew into the air again with a trail of fire.
The controls were basically the same as Wire Anchors. When the Silver Nerves were still attached, the pilot of the Tzendrinble could control the direction of its flight, so the number of shots that could be fired at one time was dependent on the pilot’s capability.
The ones deployed here were the twins who were taught personally by Eru and the trained members of the 3rd Company. Javelins flew into the air one after another, filling the night sky with twinkling stars.
All was silent inside the bridge of the Levitate Ship. Nobody could grasp the situation, and they only knew a ship had been sunk without any warning, in a way beyond their imagination. Their status as masters of the sky had been overturned, and they were the one being hunted one sidedly. Ironically, the thing that pulled the dazed crew back to their senses was the second wave of Missile Javelins attack. The vessel shook once again, and the cabin turned into a hellish place where screams echoed and fade.
“D-Damn it! Damn it!! How is this possible… It’s a trap!? How can this be… They are insane! Are they waiting to be forced into a corner!? Tell the Figurehead to turn back right now! Speed up and get away from those lights!! Run into the darkness, we will just be targets if we stay like this!”
The Steel Wing Knights acting as vanguards fell into extreme confusion. The man made star fired from the ground illuminated the vicinity, while the strange harpoons spurting out flames kept assaulting the Levitate Ship. It was impossible to keep one’s cool under such circumstances.
“Try to zigzag our approach, don’t head in a straight line! And lower the altitude, it’s fine to be a bit rough, airdrop the Tyrants!”
When they heard their orders, the crew forgot to repeat it back to the Captain, and turned back towards him instead. He wanted to airdrop the Tyrants — in the face of a dangerous ambush, they didn’t think this was a rational decision.
“... Let the Tyrants land to find the attackers, and destroy them! We will be sunk if this carries on anyway. We have to get them back before we fall!!”
As the first vessel was taken down too cleanly, they didn’t realize that the attacks from the Missile Javelin wasn’t that devastating every time, and would only be so destructive if it hits the Etheric Levitator right at the center. Without any prior knowledge about the structure of the Levitate Ships, the Silver Phoenix Knights didn’t aim for any weak points, and only sunk a Levitate Ship by luck.
That might be so, but there was no way for the ship crew to know the truth. The Levitate Ships descended quickly as they charged forth. They planned to airdrop the Tyrants forcefully, then exit the battlefield after lightening its load. Right before they reached airdrop height, the crew stared at the altitude meter and prayed.
“The Vertical Launched Javelin Thrower is really powerful, but we can’t bring them down if we don’t aim for its weak point, there is still much to improve.”
In such a large scale battle (festival), there was no way a robot nerd will just shut up and watch. Eru sat inside the cockpit of his personal machine — the oni faced six armed samurai Ikaruga as he watched the performance of the Missile Javelin piercing through the night and the Levitate Ships sailing through them. One ship had several Missile Javelins stuck onto it, but it still broke through the heavy encirclement. Eru then locked onto that ship, and inputted commands to Ikaruga.
Ikaruga activated the Magius Jet Thrusters on its shoulders and waist, and a high pitched air intake noise erupted. The thrusters became louder and shot out intense flames downwards, scorching the earth with its dancing fire. During this time, the demon beast heart known as Behemoth's Heart and Queen’s Coronet gush out mana wildly, bestowing the demon god with endless power.
The next second, Ikaruga took to the air with its immense propulsion force. It ignored the laws of aerodynamics completely, breaking free from the pull of gravity with its immense thrusting force alone. This burning comet flew beyond the height of the Levitate Ship in one shot.
“Come, let me show you the power of Ikaruga. We have prepared many programmes for you! Please enjoy the in-built Wire Anchor, Rahu Fist!”
Eru tapped on his keyboard cheerfully, and switched the functions of the four arms on Ikaruga’s back. The secured wrist started moving, with its Physical Boost spell weakened intentionally, and uncoupling its Crystal Tissue and Inner Skeleton link. Steel cables with Silver Nerves in them were connected to the hand, which produced the same effect as Anchor Wire.
In an instant, the Crystal Tissue inside the hand jettisoned out with the Crystal Tissue inside it as the catalyst. Similar to Magius Jet Thrusters, it was a propulsion system similar to Air Compression and explosion spells. The four liberated Rahu Fists left a fiery trail behind them as they flew through the air, rattling towards the Levitate Ship under Eru’s guidance. With its neat rows of sharp fingers strengthened with Physical Boost, the Rahu Fist stabbed into the Levitate Ship easily, and performed its original function as hands, grabbing onto the inside of the Levitate Ship to secure itself.
“Caught you~! I won’t let you escape this time!!”
Eru tapped his keyboard excitedly, and the reels turned angrily because of the inputted command, pulling Ikaruga’s body up at an incredible speed. When it was near enough, Ikaruga shot its jet in the opposite direction to stop its inertia, allowing it to land heavily onto the ship.
—The crew on the bridge of the Levitate Ship witnessed all that.
At first they thought it was just a shadow casted onto the Levitate Ship, but as they looked closer, the shadow landed before them, blocking the moonlight from their eyes. With a roar louder than the explosive Javelins, the noise from its air intake valves shook the entire vessel. With the moon as its backdrop, the six armed alien creaked its arms, covered by coat of red on its armour.
Fear beyond their imaginations stemmed from their hearts, and the crew’s rational mind refused to accept this reality. At this moment, the moonlight mischievously lit up the machine’s oni-like face — seeing that rage filled mask with his own eyes made the captain’s expression even more twisted.
That was his last word. The demon god that appeared on the ship lifted its great sword mercilessly, and smashed it down into the bridge. After receiving this destructive strike, the bridge was decimated in an instant. The sword then splitted into half, revealing complicated Silver Plates within it, which was a Silhouette Arm. The demon god injected enormous amount of mana into the Sword Cannon, which was a composite Silhouette Arm.
Following that, the Sword Cannon shot out bright flames that pierced the wreckage of the bridge, straight into the interior of the Levitate Ship. The impact of the flame burned the ship’s interior into crisp, and the force that had nowhere to vent shattered the bottom hatch, spewing outside.
The Etheric Levitator was destroyed easily, and the Levitate Ship started tilting after losing its levitate field. The demon god was certain that his work was done at this point, and leapt from the ship—
“That’s one, the battle (festival) is just starting. There are other guests waiting… I have to increase the pace!”
There were still other Levitate Ships forced to scramble around by the Missile Javelins. Ikaruga activated the Magius Jet Thrusters once again, and flew towards his next prey.
Despite being shot by harpoons and the attack of a demon god of avarice… the Steel Wing Knights might have diminished numbers, but there were ships which airdropped the Black Knights successfully.
After dropping the Tyrants, the Levitate Ships immediately turned to escape. This was a death trap for the Levitate Ships, and they had no other options but to run.
The Tyrants that made landfall couldn’t spare a second thought for the hastily leaving Levitate Ships, and ran for the woods immediately. The Steel Wing Knights suffered heavy losses in this battle, and they were determined to make the ones who caused this pay. After all, they had future to speak of. The Tyrants lacked mobility, and the Levitate Ships won’t be coming back. With no chance of survival, they were now suicide squads. Their mentality changed from being confident of victory to one with solemn resolve as they advanced.
Only their footsteps could be heard in the forest shrouded in darkness, and the occasional sound of something heavy crashing onto the ground. The demon god and the Centaur Knights were only focused on their targets in the air, so they might be able to move unabated without being discovered. As a spark of hope was ignited in the hearts of the Black Knights’ pilots—
Several Silhouette Knight came out of the darkness and blocked their path. From their vague outline in the darkness, they seemed to be the mass produced machines of the Kuscheperca, Resvants.
“Hmmp, what can mere strawmans do…!?"
When they saw these machines took up battle stances, the pilots of the Black Knights felt a strong sense of dissonance. The Kuscheperca army should understand from experience that Resvants were no match for Tyrants. Why did they sent out such machines at this critical juncture—
“Well met, Black Knights, this will be your end…!”
With no regards for their confusion, the mysterious machine charged them after making this announcement in a low voice. The Kuscheperca pilot wasn’t controlling a Resvant, although its appearance was the same, it was more advanced and powerful.
At that instant, the Black Knights had a hunch that they were the new machines of Kuscheperca. Their prediction proved accurate, they were the newest machine model developed by utilizing the technology provided by the Silver Phoenix Merchants — ‘Revantier'. They were limited in numbers, but there were enough of them to be deployed around Missillier.
“Our new knights won’t lose to you, Black Knights! Experience the humiliation we felt all this while!”
The ground tremored along with the roar of that knight. Without any gimmicks, both parties charged and collided into each other. If things didn’t change, the Kuscheperca knights wouldn’t be able to withstand the attack of the Tyrants, and be slaughtered by them. But it was different this time, Revantier blocked the mace of its opponent with its great sword. Although its feet sunk into the ground and the machine groaned under the weight, the Revantier still took this blow steadily.
“How can this be!? He blocked a blow from the Black Knight!”
This machine that had been modified with the design of the Kardatolle used Strand Crystal Tissue all over its body, and had the power output that lives up to its name of a new machine model. The heavy Tyrant still had the upper hand in maximum power output, but it wasn’t as one-sided as before. And this meant that the Black Knights with their inferior numbers was at a disadvantage.
In contrast with the shaken Black Knights, the Revantiers had a boost in morale from withstanding the blow and began a fierce counterattack. The maces which the Black Knights were so proud of didn’t hit the Revantiers, and were surrounded by multiple machines and taken down one by one instead. The Black Knights that made titanfall from the Levitate Ships were taken down one by one, and their numbers diminished gradually.
As time passes by, the battles inside Missillier became lesser, leaving behind a substantial number of Levitate Ship wreckages and Black Knights corpses in their place — The Steel Wing Knights was at the brink of destruction.
The fate of the Levitate Ships illuminated by the flares could be seen from the back of the formation too.
The Black Skull Knights who were supposed to advance after the Steel Wing Knights assault looked shocked, even forgetting their orders to move in. Sights of the Levitate Ships, the overlord of the sky sinking one by one were burned into their retina. The invincible Levitate Ships that won all its battle since the war broke out had finally been woken from its wonderful dream. In the face of disaster, they finally realized — They were just a type of weapon, and will be destroyed by another weapon one day.
Feeling as though they were in a nightmare, the Black Skull Knights hesitated on what they should do.
Realistically speaking, since the Levitate Ships’ assault failed, it would be very difficult to take Missillier with brute force, and they will need to pay heavily in blood if they wish to advance. That might be so, but they still had an army despite being forced to such a state by the enemy, it wouldn’t be easy to admit defeat so easily.
The moment of hesitation proved to be fatal and decided their fate. Orange lights lighted up everywhere within Missillier City. After disposing of their greatest threat, the Levitate Ships, the remnants of the old Kuscheperca Army had nothing to be worried about and raised the torch of counterattack. The Resvant Vidos got into formation, and advanced slowly but steadily, with the small number of Revantier in the middle of their formation of their infantry unit.
At the very head of this army was an especially prominent group, the strongest Knight Corp of Fremmevira Kingdom led by the Oni faced samurai — the Silver Phoenix Knights. Ikaruga wasn’t satisfied with devouring the Levitate Ships, and turned his sights to his next target, the Black Knights.
“The fusée of counterattack is rising, it’s our turn to strike back!”
The demon god Ikaruga swings its Sword Cannon in place of a commander’s baton. With this as their cue, the remnants of the old Kuscheperca army began their attack as one.