Barbarian Quest

Chapter 202



Chapter 202

War was an uncompromising game of chess. Rushing to move pieces just because of an immediate benefit right in front of one’s eyes could bring dire consequences. In war, it was real humans that died, not game pieces.

Carnius focused on the immediate benefits. He didn't have time to ponder. His soldiers awaited his command.

'Internal traitors among the barbarians, a gate that opened by itself, and an overwhelming advantage.'

All circumstances pointed to the victory of the imperial army.

'Honestly, even if it's a trap, I can't see us losing.'

What surged in Carnius’ heart was a confidence bordering on arrogance. Yet, he remained wary of that arrogance.

"General! The barbarians are going to close the gate again!"

An adjutant urgently shouted. If the gate closed, they would miss a perfect opportunity. Reopening it would result in dozens of casualties.

'Is it just my unnecessary apprehension...?'

Carnius extended his hand forward. Even if it were a trap, it was too good an opportunity to miss. He sent the heavy infantry and knights into the gate.

"Ooooooh!"

The imperial army stormed inside the gate.

Clang!

The warriors trying to close the gate clashed with the soldiers trying to break in. The resistance was fierce.

'Would they defend the gate so desperately if it were actually a trap?'

Carnius’ lips quivered. He slowly became more and more certain.

'Leo, forgive this pitiful father.'

Carnius was filled with endless regret. Leo's final moments haunted him constantly.

'If I had stopped you then... or at least had I sent more soldiers with you...'

Regret was always too late, no matter how quick one was to regret. Carnius had lost his precious son.

"Leo..."

His voice was melancholic.

The day Leo was born, Carnius felt he owned the world, and when Leo died, he lost it all.

'It was my greed. If only I hadn’t tried to raise him as a knight to succeed me...'

Carnius furrowed his brow.

The old knight who had lost his son desired the blood of the barbarians. No amount of blood spilled at his son’s memorial was ever going to be enough.

'Lou, I crave vengeance. If you deem a father's yearning to avenge his son a sin against your will, then take this old body.'

Carnius kissed the sun emblem on the hilt of his sword. He opened his eyes and tightened his throat.

"Chaaaaarge!"

Carnius thrust his sword forward as he shouted. The heavy cavalry beside him charged into the village.

The heavy cavalry trampled the barbarians, securing the gate entrance. Once the entrance was secured, the imperial soldiers flooded in.

A large part of the imperial main forces had entered the village. The barbarians resisted in the narrow passages, but the number of the barbarians dying off far exceeded that of the imperial soldiers.

'Is this irresponsible strategy truly all they have?'

Carnius laughed hollowly. He was feeling rather foolish for having been so tense for no apparent reason.

"General! The gate entrance is closing!"

The imperial soldiers guarding the gate were falling.

"Hah! Cunning bastards! I knew it!"

Carnius laughed. He was expecting a trap or two.

Near the gate, barbarians who seemed dead began to rise one by one. They were not betrayed; they had merely pretended to have been, smearing themselves with blood and lying down. Georg and the mercenaries also joined the barbarians and closed the gate.

Buuuuuup!

The barbarians sent their signal.

Whoosh!

Flames spread from the outskirts of the village. The wooden houses, liberally doused with oil beforehand, caught fire quickly. The flames rapidly spread throughout the village.

'They trapped us inside the village and are attacking with fire... that’s somewhat clever for some barbarians.'

Carnius was not perturbed. The village walls were just a wooden fence. The imperial army could break out in mere moments if they chose to. There was no chance the imperial troops would die engulfed in flames.

"Is this all you’ve prepared, you pagan barbarians! Is this the best the ones who killed my son are capable of!" Carnius shouted loudly.

A commotion arose among the soldiers ahead.

"Neighhhh!"

Cows and horses raced down along the main road of the village. They had barrels of oil tied to them, and their tails were on fire.

The barbarians used the village's assets ruthlessly, setting fire to valuable cows and horses and using them as weapons.

"Aaargh!"

"Stab them with your spears to keep them away!"

The imperial soldiers were trampled by the rampaging horses and cows. The oil barrels on the animals' backs spilled over, drenching the soldiers in oil. A soldier engulfed in flames screamed as he rolled on the ground.

Carnius narrowed his eyes. At a glance, it seemed like chaos, but the damage to the overall imperial army was actually minimal.

‘Such a trickery lacks effectiveness. This won't win them the battle. What are the barbarian bastards thinking?’

Carnius planned to break through the wooden fence and move outside. He had no intention of falling victim to such a clumsy fire attack. They could easily kill the barbarians slowly after the village had completely burned down.

"Please save us, my lords!"

"T-the barbarians are... Eeeek!"

But this time, even Carnius was quite taken aback. It wasn't barbarians but the residents of Valdima who were bursting out from all directions.

Residents on fire clung to the imperial soldiers everywhere in the village.

"Shit! What is this all of a sudden?"

The soldiers pushed the residents away. The residents seemed like they were completely out of their senses as if they had been put through unspeakable things.

"T-they skinned my son alive r-right in front of me. Uggh."

In a state of panic, the residents desperately sought help from the imperial soldiers. It was impossible to control them.

Thwip!

While the imperial soldiers were distracted, the barbarian attack resumed. Barbarians hidden here and there shot their arrows and then disappeared.

The overlapping situations disrupted the discipline of the imperial army. The heat surrounding the village intensified even more to the point of the heat being unbearable for the soldiers in iron armor.

In such conditions, the clinging residents were a burden to the imperial army. Unable to control them, the imperial army had to resort to using force.

"Did I not tell you to back off!"

"Eeeek! Why! A-aren’t you here to s-save us? The b-barbarians, they're coming!"

"This is madness! These people have completely lost it!"

The residents had witnessed their families and neighbors being skinned and dismembered right before their eyes. The past few days were completely intolerable, with days feeling like months.

‘Are the barbarian main forces holding out in the stone fortress? It seems like they're waiting for us to burn off. Foolish idiots.’

Carnius scoffed at the barbarians. Thinking rationally, each of their tricks was just trivial deception. The solution was clear.

"Subdue the people causing chaos by force! If necessary, I'll allow lethal force! Sir Gorn! Break the fence and clear a path out!"

Carnius issued a stern command. He was not fooled by the barbarian's deception.

Swoosh.

Sir Gorn, who had led his soldiers to break the fence, had not been heard from for a while.

The flames grew larger, and the soldiers looked on with serious looks. The space for them to maneuver narrowed. The horses, startled by the approaching flames, caused chaos and threw off their riders.

Whoooosh!

A murmuring noise came from the flames. The flames suddenly intensified and grew even larger. Someone seemed to be deliberately pouring more oil.

"It's the barbarians!"

Urich's main force was in fact not hiding in the fortress. They had entered the burning village covered in wet leather cloaks and garments.

Tsssss!

As the water evaporated, steam rose in a white mist.

"Huff, huff."

The warriors emerged in front of the soldiers, passing through the flames.

Crack!

The warriors who had emerged from the flames attacked the soldiers. The wet leather on the warriors was already nearly dried out.

"Ah, hot, hot!"

The soldiers holding shields yelped. The shields were hot enough to cook meat on, and the inside of their armor was practically a steamer.

‘Are they really trying to fight in all this fire?’

Carnius' eyes widened. The entire village would soon be engulfed in flames, yet the barbarians had gathered to confront them head-on.

"Kaaaaagh!"

The clash had already begun up front.

Boom!

The barbarians kicked oil drums down, rolling them out and spreading the fire everywhere. The flames blocked the soldiers' path and destroyed their formation.

"Crazy bastards!"

The soldiers screamed.

The warriors donned heavy wet leather. They were in a much better position than those in metal armor.

The situation was critical for the knights in full plate armor. The trapped heat was making it nearly impossible for them to breathe, as the quilted or leather garments underneath the steel did not allow any of the heat to escape. Several knights had already thrown off their helmets.

Thwack!

And the warriors did not miss this opportunity. Their arrows pierced the heads of the helmetless knights.

"Are they trying to get all of us burnt to a crisp?"

The knights grimaced and swung their swords. The barbarians darted in and out of the burning houses and snuck up on the imperial soldiers.

"Do not follow them inside the houses!"

Many soldiers who chased the barbarians into the burning buildings were crushed to death.

"Huff, huff."

The soldiers poured water over their heads. The water in their skins was woefully insufficient.

The barbarians did not engage in direct combat. They only engaged in brief exchanges to ensure that the imperial army couldn’t leave the village and backed off. The flames and heat prevented the imperial soldiers from pursuing them. And it wasn’t like they could afford to turn their backs to the barbarians, either.

"Aaaaah! F-fire, fire! There’s fire everywhere!"

To make matters worse, the residents of Valdima continued to cause a commotion. Some that were running toward the fence were engulfed by flames and jumped into the imperial ranks.

'Where is Sir Gorn, and why haven’t I heard from him yet? Did I not send him to tear down the fence?'

The gate was locked tight, and the winch was broken. The troops waiting outside seemed to be engaged in combat themselves as well.

Carnius' face had lost all composure. It seemed like they were going to burn together with the barbarians at this rate.

The barbarians who had wet leather on them were not much better off themselves. Several had their skin seared red, and many who tried to lure the soldiers died crushed under collapsing buildings themselves.

Ssssss.

Shadows flickered in the direction Golen's unit had gone.

"Uuuuuurich is heeeere!!”

The warriors suddenly erupted. Even a dying warrior sprang up and shouted Urich's name.

Buuuuuuuup!

A horn blower blew a signal from within the fireball.

"Huff, huff."

Urich appeared, breathing out the smoky air. He was also wearing wet leather like the other warriors. As he crossed through the flames, steam billowed from the leather.

Swoosh!

Urich threw a severed head in front of the imperial army. It was the head of Sir Gorn, who had broken off earlier to tear down the fence.

One by one, warriors appeared behind Urich. Their clothes and leather were bone-dry, sending off sparks. Their hands and feet were scorched black.

In the suffocating heat and throat-blackening smoke, the tribal warriors endured as they always had. They endured the hardship as if they were enduring the dry season while waiting for the rain.

The moment Carnius faced Urich, he knew this man was the head of the barbarian horde.

Swoosh.

Silently, Urich raised his axe.

The warriors no longer backed off after initiating their attacks. They emerged amidst flames and smoke, boldly confronting the imperial army. The dried-up leathers no longer protected them from the heat. The warriors' bodies, marred by burns, were rather hideous. 𝑅read latest ch𝒂pters at n/𝒐v(e)lbi𝒏(.)co/m

The barbarians had turned Valdima into the most terrible battlefield. Now, the side to turn their backs to run away from Valdima were going to be the ones to suffer. To survive, they had to defeat the enemy in front of them.

'...or burn altogether.'

Carnius' lips twitched. Flames flickered in his eyes.

"Urich...?"

A few knights who were facing the barbarians muttered that name.


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