It was 3:35 in the morning. The cold dawn of early fall weather caused one's breath to mist.
The northern city walls of Gladstone.
The color from Annie's rosy cheeks drained as she watched the Dark Elves surging over the city like a dark tide.
There were just too many. It looked as if there were at least 15,000 of them.
She had entered the city guards' barracks and managed to gain control of 1500 city guards. With them, she had cleaned up the remaining Dark Elf Assassins lingering on the streets and recruited any wandering Warriors she could find.
She'd tried her best, but there hadn't been enough time. Even now, there were less than 2000 Warriors manning the city walls, and most of them were unseasoned, new recruits.
Looking around, Annie saw fear and uncertainty on their faces. Some of them were even shaking. Each of them knew that they had just a small chance of making it out of this battle alive.
She suppressed the fear in her own heart and spoke up.
"Straighten up! Let those damned bloody-eyed elves taste our strength!" she shouted loudly, attempting to raise the troops' morale, "Soldiers, our city walls are tall and strong-we have crossbows! We have trebuchets! We have nothing to fear!"
Before she could finish speaking, a terrible battle cry rang out from the Dark Elf Army below as they filed into their ranks below the city walls.
It had obviously been let out by a single elf, but like a clap of thunder, it shook the entire battlefield.
Annie's heart skipped a beat. As the daughter of a duke and the head of an intelligence agency, she had significant knowledge and experience. She instantly recognized her opponent's skill level just from his voice alone.
Crap, this opponent is a Level-6!
She was as good as a child in front of such an enemy. No one could stop him if he were to charge into the city. The Dark Elf Army followed his lead.
"Kill!!! Kill!!! Kill!!!"
Their battle cries came in like a multitude of tsunamis. The 2000 soldiers on the city walls were like little boats adrift the terrible waves, about to topple over and get washed away at any moment.
"God, there's just too many of them. There's no way we can stop them!"
"No, I'll die! I can't, not here!"
"Let's make a run for it!"
The voices were all from the soldiers who had been drafted at the last minute. Though the regular city guards wore pale faces, they showed no signs of giving up, perhaps due to the training they had received.
Without needing a signal from Annie, a city guard strode over and chopped off the head of a new recruit who was trying to desert with one swing of his sword.
Annie's eyes constricted. She'd never experienced war, and all its cruelty. She could be harsh and ruthless to her enemies, but not towards her own. Knowing it was necessary, she suppressed her misgivings and bellowed in rage, "We are the last line of defense for Gladstone! Deserters will be killed on sight!"
This shook many of the new recruits to their core, stabilizing the situation on the city wall.
With the night vision of a Dark Elf and the sharp eyes of a powerful Level-6 Warrior, Lorde saw everything on the city walls. He laughed, saying to the generals beside him, "Look, a little girl, leading a pack of cowards. How is it any different from just opening up the gates for us?"
All the generals saw what was going on. The few who had been uncertain made up their minds, and rushed to volunteer, "Marshal, let me be the first wave to attack."
They wanted to take the glory of such an easy battle.
Their enemies were few and weak. In contrast, the Dark Elf troops were eager and in high spirits.
Lorde laughed haughtily. He picked several of his generals at random. "You, you, you, and you. Lead the Warriors to attack the city!"
The four generals accepted his command. Each of them led several battalions carrying grappling hooks and charged at Gladstone's walls.
Gladstone was just a small city in the Norton Kingdom. Its walls weren't very tall-they stood at less than 50 feet. Off the generals chosen to attack it, three were Level-3 Warriors while one was a Level-4 Warrior. As long as they managed to climb up the walls, no one would be able to stop them.
Annie watched as the Dark Elves attacked the city ferociously. Each of them glowed with Battle Aura, one of which who glowed brighter than all the rest. This gave her quite a lot of pressure.
He's much stronger than me. I'm no match for him! I can't let them get up here!
Inside Annie panicked. "Attack!!!" she yelled.
The archers rained arrows down on their enemies. The crossbows howled, releasing bolts as thick as children's arms. Several trebuchets flung stones the size of basketballs down at the Dark Elf troops below. Their vicious attacks managed to cause some damage to the Dark Elves, but their largest threat, the powerful Dark Elf generals, remained unharmed.
Due to the Battle Aura enveloping them and the thick, heavy shields they held, the elves were easily able to evade the bolts and stones despite the human soldiers' heavy rain of attacks. Their speed was also completely unaffected-they were now less than 160 feet away from the city walls.
The Level-4 Dark Elf General swung a large grappling hook around in the air, slowly accumulating speed until he finally let it fly out of his hands and shoot up onto the city wall like an arrow.
Ka-thunk. The hook lodged into one of the battlements, and the general pulled it tight immediately. The human Warriors beside it rushed towards the hook and started hacking at the thick ropes with their swords.
But whatever the rope had been made with, it was extremely tough and resilient. The soldiers' normal swords could only leave white marks across it. They would need at least a couple more minutes to cut through it entirely.
"Let me!" Annie yelled, rushing at them.
But she quickly found that it was just the first of many hooks. Even before she started hacking, she saw another grappling hook fly up, and a Dark Elf general charging up it.
As she approached the first hook, Annie covered her dagger with Shadow Aura and slashed down on the rope.
Kishhh. The rope broke, causing the Level-4 Dark Elf General to fall back onto the ground. But he was just one of many. The other grappling hooks had all met their objectives, allowing the other fully armored Dark Elf generals to scale up the wall.
All three of them were Level-3 Warriors. Once they reached the top, they lashed out, gaining territory rapidly. Behind them, the Dark Elf Army surged on to the city walls, the Level-4 General who had fallen down earlier among them.
Annie, too, had Battle Aura and was Level-3, but she was an Assassin. She would face a real disadvantage on the battlefield, head-on with Warriors who had aggressive fighting styles.
But she was also the only Levle-3 defender on the city walls. Only she stood a chance at stopping them.
Annie could only brace herself and charge towards one of the Level-3 Dark Elf generals who was massacring her city guards. In that moment, she suddenly remembered Link.
He had stayed behind to stop the Dark Elf Magician. By the time she had taken control of the city guard and returned to the little alley to help, all she found was a heavily injured Mary, Ardivan, and the other human Assassins.
The Dark Elf Magician and Dark Elf Assassins, as well as Link, were all nowhere to be seen.
As she charged forward, she recalled the last thing he said to her.
"Go, I'll stop him!" the Link shouted. And he had done it. At the last moment, he had sent her to safety.
"He should be in heaven by now, shouldn't he?" Annie sighed to herself.
She knew very well that she was no match for the Dark Elf generals. Even if she and the soldiers helping her managed to kill them, there was still the Marshal.
She would die in this battle, but she was prepared for it.
Annie slipped behind the Dark Elf general and stabbed her dagger at the back of his neck just as he swung his sword out at one of her soldiers.
Her dagger drew closer and closer towards its target. Just as it was about to hit, the Warrior swung around with his shield and charging towards Annie.
Annie knew at once that she would be flung into the air by his shield before her dagger managed to reach him. She had no choice but to change tactics to duck and evade.
But once she did, someone leaped onto the wall behind her. It was the Level-4 Warrior from before. He had been watching for a chance to strike all this time. Sneering, he charged towards her.
"Die, little girl!"
Annie didn't stand a chance against the fully armed Level-4 Warrior.
Is this the end? Despair filled her. Father, I tried my best.
The young Magician's figure flashed through her mind once more. Are you lonely up there, all by yourself in heaven? Don't worry, I'll be there with you soon.
Activating her Shadow Aura, she charged at the Level-4 Warrior.
She'd fight to her death.
Just then, a figure cloaked in yellow light jumped out from the steps leading up to the city walls. It moved so fast it left a yellow trail and strong gust of wind in its midst. The yellow flash collided with the sneering Level-4 Dark Elf General.
Battle Skill, Charge
Bang! The Dark Elf general was caught unaware as he was flung off the city wall. He dropped a total of 50 feet, leaving him stunned as he crashed onto the ground.
The general fainted after landing with a dull thud. On the wall, the glowing figure walked up to a crossbow. Maneuvering it expertly, he shot an arrow towards the fallen elf. His aim was true-It ended the Level-4 Dark Elf in one attempt.
Only now did the glowing figure stop and turn to look at Annie. A young voice rang out, "Princess Annie, I'm here to help you."
As his voice dropped, more glowing figures leaped up onto the walls from inside the city. It was the suicide squad from the Black Iron Garrison!
The voice was familiar. Annie stared and rejoiced. "Minx, why are you here?"
Annie, being the daughter of a Duke and highly favored by King Leon, had grown up in the palace. Minx, as the son of an Earl, was a member of the Norton Kingdom's aristocracy. Once, during his travels in his younger days, he had attended a ball at the palace. He and Annie were old acquaintances.
"It's an order from Marshal Allonse. The army is on its way. I'll help you defend the city in the meantime!" Minx charged at one of the Level-3 Dark Elf generals.
His words were like a soothing balm. Hearing that aid was on its way, the morale of the human soldiers rose. With the help of the 14 Level-3 human Warriors, they managed to quickly wipe out the Dark Elves still remaining on the city walls.
Below the city walls.
Marshal Lorde watched the retreating elves, his face bleak.
He took a deep breath and gripped the hilt of the sword at his waist.
The sword had a name-Blood Pride. It had been made by the Dark Elf Master Blacksmith, Andrew and the Enchanter, Meissen of the Silver Moon Mage Council. It was a powerful, Epic weapon that the King himself had given to Lorde upon his rise to become a Level-6 Warrior.
As he pulled it out, a blood-red mist emanated from its blade.
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