The Wizard World Chapter 25
"That is a thick wooden shield forged with black iron. I can't even break through it even if I am uninjured…" the baron said in a serious tone.
"What should we do?" Angele got nervous. Though he was a top level knight, he could not break a shield like that; at this moment, he could even imagine a sinister scene coming into fruition.
"Owl and axe; it is the insignia of Viscount Candia," the baron said.
"No one here could break a shield like that, so it is probably someone from the Saladin Empire. Angele, come with me," the baron said with a deep voice.
Angele nodded his head. Only he and the baron were the knights in their caravan. Even though Angele was merely 14 years old, in such situations, age became a meaningless constituent. They commanded the guards to maintain a circumspect behavior and walked towards the wooden shield carefully.
They saw a corpse equipped with black armor lying there; the engraved insignia on the armor was visible to them.
"It's Ruhr…" the baron said. Ruhr was the strongest knight under Viscount Candia. The man's corpse was then turned over by the baron using his feet. Countless flies plagued around him, and a rotten stench leaked out of his corpse; the corpse had already become pallid from its post mortem state. His head had been split open with a wound the size of a finger's width.
Angele felt a bit nauseated as he looked at the corpse. The man had a huge physique; he was slightly fatter but shorter than Knight Audis. His head injury was so deep that Angele could even see small chunks of brain matter coming out of it. The grass around the corpse was dyed red, and several roving insects were all around it.
"He was not assassinated," The baron said as he inspected the corpse; he seemed to be unaffected by the repugnant stench.
"It took the opponent about two hits to finish Ruhr off. Only a grand knight could do something like that," the baron said after checking for a while.
"Grand knight?" Angele never heard of that before.
"What kind of knight is a grand knight, father?" he asked.
"A grand knight can kill me without incurring injuries," the baron said.
"The last time I saw one was during the Orchid War. Saladin Empire is being serious this time. They even sent out a Grand Knight to lead the attack…" the baron said in a worried tone.
"What should we—" Angele's words were cut off by the baron. The baron examined the trail of blood and traced it into a corner. After about 5 minutes, he asked Angele to slow down while he hid into a bush on the side. Angele, too, realized that something was amiss at their front.
It sounded as if people were in a battle within the close proximity of the two. Angele left the bush together with the baron as they trod uphill. They lowered their bodies and peered down, gazing at an empty ground beneath the hill.
There was a fight taking place in that area. A long-haired man in a brown leather suit was surrounded by a small army in the middle of the ground. About 10 swordsmen were also with him, but all of them were wounded. They all had green-striped cloth tied around their arms. On the other hand, the soldiers surrounding them all wore black iron armors and they numbered about several hundreds. Two knights in white armor stood at the forefront, looking at the long-haired man. Many had been killed already, such that their lifeless bodies were strewn all over the ground. It seemed that the battle was already way past its crescendo.
"It's the black army of Rudin while the ones in the middle are from Saladin." the baron explained in a low voice.
"Just surrender already, Martin Francis. You don't want to lose your life here as a Grand Knight. That would be a pity." One of the knights in white armor said calmly as though he was very confident.
"You think that's possible?" the long-haired man laughed. He had a strange accent and a voice that sounded like he was singing.
"I am just the leader of the Third Vanguards from the Saladin Empire. There are more to come. You guys are done, Jones. How about joining us? Master Andre will treat you well." the long-haired man laughed and said.
For some reason, the knight named Jones did not order his men to attack and only kept trading words with the man named Martin. Angele and the baron listened to their conversation for a while, and then decided to first go back.
"They have many archers there, and the grand knight won't be able to deal with them." the baron said.
"Archers? You mean the ones outside the circle?" Angele asked.
"Yea, I was a leader in the sentry squad during the war. I once saw a grand knight being slain by a group of archers; it only took several seconds for him to go down. A whole group of archers is a powerful force. Well, let's go back and choose a different route since we don't have much time to spare. Though the black army is from our country, they might still attack us." the baron said.
Angele nodded, but did not say anything.
"The Saladin Empire is serious this time. The Rudin Empire and Saladin Empire have thousands of miles gap between their border lines. They need more than three grand knights to be the vanguards and countless knights to follow up. If the Forest Knights are here, the Rudin Empire won't be able to do much…" the baron kept saying; he looked despondent and at the same time, uneasy.
Angele could understand why the baron was worried. Knights were rare in small noble territories, but there were countless knights in the whole country. Knights were mere elites of an army and there could be thousands of them. The Rudin Empire never recovered from the previous wars, so it would not be able to handle the Saladin invasion this time.
Suddenly, they heard the sound of archers firing arrows in the back and the battle cry of the grand knight. Angele asked the chip to analyze the grand knight's ability right away.
[Rough analysis of the grand knight: Strength is around 7 to 9, Agility is 6 to 7, Stamina is 5 to 8. Attributes might increase greatly during the potential burst.] Zero reported. The data was based on the ongoing fight.
[How is that even possible…] Though Angele knew the numbers were going to be high, he did not expect such higher numbers. He bit on his lips as he became worried. The man was probably much stronger than the Crazy Mountain Bear because he was a trained warrior, and he had battle skills the bear did not have.
[Zero, show me my numbers.] he asked.
[Angele Rio, injured. Strength is around 2.1 to 2.6, Agility is 2.7, and Stamina is 1.8, it should be 2 normally.] Zero reported.
Angele was again in shock. He was proud that he could kill a knight and also of the fact that he didn't have the feeling of helplessness from before. However, based on the differences of the attributes between him and the grand knight, he would be killed easily just by their pure strength and speed. He would not have a better ending than Ruhr if he were to engage him in a battle.
"I am still so weak… The grand knight was a leader of a whole troop and he was not the only one." Angele said. He felt that the situation was really bad.
"It's fine, Angele. Your body has certain limits due to various reasons, but if you focus on improving sword skills and archery skills, you can still be very strong. However, the grand knights are definitely out of our concern, especially when they all have very strong backgrounds supporting them." The baron saw Angele's expression, and said. He did not know how Angele increased his attributes in such a short period. Though he tried to give Angele the Life Energy Seed, his son did not have the potential to accept it. The baron was still trying to cheer Angele up anyways.
Without the seed, people could never become a grand knight. Human beings had limits to their body developments and their attributes would eventually reach the limitations. They needed the seed to break past the limitation and condense battle aura around them. Angele read about it in the special library.
"All hail the Saladin!" the voice was extremely loud.
Angele and the baron were shocked by the voice and so turned back to the battlefield. They knew it was the last words of the grand knight. Saladin Empire just lost one of their greatest warriors.
"If I was not injured this time, I can probably become a grand knight in ten years. But…" the baron said. He sounded a bit forlorn. However, his injury was severe to the point that he could never recover to his original state.
"My hopes are on you now, son…" The baron stared at his son. Angele knew his father was looking at him, but he did not stop his footsteps. He walked towards the front quickly.
[Zero, how much agility will I gain from the emerald's energy?] Angele asked.
[About 2.1, and 0.3 stamina. It will take 11 days. The remaining energy is about 1/12.] Zero answered.
[Remaining energy? What do you mean?] Angele was surprised.
[Body development is reaching the limit. The limit is set by your gene. Only the special energy will remain.] Zero reported.
[You mean I can never become a grand knight?] Angele asked.
[94.53% probability that you will not become a grand knight.] Zero reported.
Angele suddenly gripped his sword tightly and stopped walking. He started to stare at the sky, but his sight was blocked by the tree leaves and sunlight. The sunlight was hot and dense, which Angele could feel with his hands. However, he felt a bit bleak from hopelessness.
"What happened? Angele?" the baron asked from behind.
"Nothing. It's nothing. Let's get back and start move again, father." Angele answered.
"Yea." the baron said.
Angele suddenly thought of the ring, the mysterious ring that had special engravings on it.