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652 An Accident?

 Bobo urged the enormous beast under him with deep, furious growls. He was getting closer to the fort and could see that his home had been completely destroyed. The shelter for his tribesmen had crumbled into ruin. Thick billows of smoke emerged while the flames burned fiercely. Those damn Humans. They resorted to such a scheme to trick us. I will make the Humans taste the wrath of the Orcs after I capture them!

"Get ready..."

Randolf ordered. He drew an azure arrow from his quiver and locked his bow on the enemies. Over 20 Rangers stood in a row on the fort walls. They stared sharply at the terrifying Orc riders and waited for their next move. Sol's group of Half-Demons had also drawn their weapons and stood in support behind the Rangers. Although they had experienced several battles, it was still a first for them to defend a fort. Moreover, there were so many more enemies than allies. Even though they didn't sustain too many injuries under Rhode's guidance, their manpower was indeed too little, with less than 80 heads. After excluding Joey and Lize's teams who weren't experts in frontal battle, their current strength was only about 50. There was a sea of more than 600 Orc riders swarming toward them and their frantic roars and bellows were pressurizing. Although the Orcs were stronger in strength and there was support from the fort walls, Rhode's men weren't confident that this short, abandoned wall could provide much protection. The fort wall was only three to four meters tall while the Orc riding on the Rhino Beast had reached about two meters in height. The Orcs could pull themselves over the wall. Through the previous engagement, everyone understood the terrifying strength of these Orcs. If they were to fight in close-combat, the fort walls around them become a disadvantage from the Humans.

Randolf held his breath and scanned the approaching Orc riders. The ground shook from their dashes and even the fort walls were vibrating. There was an instant when Randolf thought the wall under his feet would crumble entirely from the Orc's assault and he would fall and be buried in the eternal abyss. But shortly after, the young Ranger shook his head and threw the frightening image to the back of his head. Then, he squinted and locked on his target. He released his fingers.

Swish!

A dozen Rangers also released the bowstring in their hands and azure arrows streaked across the sky and headed for the Orc riders.

Bobo was astonished by the sudden emergence of the radiant arrows. But he quickly steadied himself because the sparse arrows didn't seem threatening at all. He had led his tribesmen against other Humans and compared to their rain of arrows, this was nothing at all. So what if the arrows struck down 20 of his tribesmen? He had 600 more tribesmen with him!

What left Bobo bursting into laughter was that the arrows didn't hit any of them at all as they flew over their heads. This refreshed him. The Humans must be fearful of us. Look at them! They can't even hit us with their arrows! They must be afraid of our aggressive attack and it is time to let them have a taste of our strength!

But Bobo's desires weren't fulfilled because he heard a loud explosion beside him.

Boom!

An ear-deafening explosion startled him off his mount. He stood to his feet quickly and looked back. Then, he shockingly realized that a dozen of his tribesmen had collapsed to the ground and tainted with black smoke. Not only that, but even the strong Rhino Beast had crumbled with ghastly wounds all over.

If Bobo had eyes behind his head, perhaps he wouldn't be this stunned. The azure arrows had flown past their heads. Then, they shrunk and gathered to form a small, blue light sphere. When the light sphere coalesced to its maximum capacity, it exploded abruptly, dispersing dazzling, roaring lightning bolts that wreaked havoc. This caught the Orcs off guard and they suffered grave injuries.

Although Randolf and his fellow Rangers weren't able to eliminate most of the enemies, their attacks had disrupted their momentum. The leading Orc riders couldn't stop while those at the back were caught off guard. Many of them couldn't avoid the attack and the Rhino Beasts rammed into one another in a complete mess.

"All settled!"

Randolf clenched his fist excitedly. Although their risks were the highest as Rhode's elite squad, the equipment all over their bodies was also the best. With an Alchemist Master like Lapis around, almost every member of the elite squad were equipped with Mage Equipment and Randolf's team was no exception. They had 10 pure elemental arrows that were capable of dealing AOE damage each and there were even fire, lightning, ice, and poison arrow types. As a mercenary, Randolf knew how precious these arrows were. If they were sold on the black market, they would be valued at a few hundred gold coins each. And now, they actually had the honor of possessing 10 of them and could even replenish thereafter. With such great equipment and supplies, it would be humiliating if they couldn't defeat the Orcs!

"Hmm?"

Although Randolf's fellow Rangers performed outstandingly, Rhode felt rather dubious. He lifted his head and gazed at the horizon. According to the original plan, John should have led his Cavalrymen back by now and completely divide the Orc riders before coordinating with the mercenaries in the fort and eliminainge the enemies. But now, it was in total silence at the back and there were no signs of any Cavalrymen at all.

"Why isn't Mr. John and his Cavalrymen here yet?"

Lize asked anxiously. After experiencing so many battles, Lize had gotten used to her identity as Rhode's aide-de-camp. She observed the situation with Rhode as soon as the Clerics treated the wounded personnel. Not only did Rhode mention the upcoming plan to her, but she had also practiced the battle tactic several times in the mirage and she had gotten familiar with it. However, John's Cavalrymen were nowhere in sight and they couldn't get in touch with them. What exactly is going on?

"Accidents are bound to happen."

On the contrary, Rhode was extremely calm. Even though it surprised him that John had fallen behind in the first actual battle, accidents couldn't be avoided whether in the game or reality, after all. If they were to raise the white flag just because a part of their plan didn't work out, Rhode's 'backstabbing' tactic wouldn't be invincible for that many years.

"Lize, send your Clerics over and hold them back."

"Yes, Mr. Rhode."

Lize nodded without any hesitations. After working with Rhode for a long time, the Clerics in Starlight weren't just capable of providing support and healing. Shortly after, Lize led her team of Clerics to above the fort wall. They extended her hands forward and swept several complicated gestures. A golden barrier emerged in a flash like a tall, solid stake before the Orc riders.

The Orc riders would have crushed the stake to bits if it were made of wood. However, the barrier formed from the Clerics' spiritual powers was much sturdier. Not to mention, the barrier emanating with faint golden radiance was almost invisible in the white snowfield. The Orc riders crashed into the barrier heads first and the massive recoil propelled them into the air before sending them crashing heavily to the ground.

They'd instantly be dead if they were Humans. However, the Orcs had a stronger constitution, after all. Moreover, the soft, fluffy snowfield acted as a cushion for them. The Orcs crawled to their feet swiftly. They bellowed in anger and charged toward the fort with their highly raised weapons.

"What's going on?"

Not only Lize, but Joey, Randolf, and Sol's group also sensed that something was amiss. The group thought that John's Cavalrymen were just delayed, but now, the situation seemed to be worse. No matter the soldiers or mercenaries, all of them were particular about luck. Even though they had been trained toughly in the mirage, this was their first actual battle, after all. They wished for a good beginning that would result in successful results, where everyone coordinated well and they could delightfully slaughter the enemies. This way, not only could they be victorious, but they would also be confident in Rhode's risky battle tactic. But now, John's Cavalrymen who should be providing reinforcements from the rear didn't turn up and that left everyone worried. At this moment, John's close to 100 Cavalrymen was their biggest support and only they had true battle strength. Could it be that we have to face the 600 Orcs ourselves? They are 10 times larger in forces than us!

"Calm down. Look at your panicky selves. Accidents do happen on the battlefield and you guys should be aware of this. Now, stay calm and go according to plan."

Although Rhode's voice wasn't loud, his strong words rang in everyone's ears. The wavering group felt a chill down their spines. Then, they calmed their frantic minds. Yeah. Why did we forget that Sir Rhode is around? Most of the mercenaries had fought alongside Rhode in the past and they had witnessed the miracles that he had created. The terrifying Undead Creatures failed to threaten him at all, so what could these Orcs do?

However, Rhode wasn't simply rooting for his subordinates. If a few words of encouragement from him could calm them down and make them risk their lives against the enemies, he would rather shoot his mouth off to the enemies to make them bow their heads to the ground. Even though Rhode was rather dissatisfied that John didn't appear in the stipulated time, he knew that John definitely wouldn't comply in appearance and oppose in heart. Although John had objected to his views, he was confident that John wouldn't purposely hold him back. Some problems must have happened, which was why John hadn't appeared yet. But now, Rhode didn't have the time to consider this problem. He would need to readjust his tactic.

"Joey, have you done what I asked?"

"All done, Boss. The traps have been set up completely and I guarantee that none of them will be spared!"

Joey gestured hurriedly while Rhode nodded and turned to the group.

"Randolf, lead your men to both sides of the fort wall and continue to attack the Orcs. Sol and Marfa shall stay behind the fort walls. As for the remaining Orcs..."

Rhode swung his hand with might and a pitch-black sword emerged in his hand.

"Leave them to me."

"Yes, Boss!"

The group found their pillar of support after hearing those words. Everyone apart from the Half-Demons had witnessed Rhode's formidable strength. Moreover, Rhode could also summon powerful presences to battle for his behalf and he alone could take on a team of soldiers.

Shortly after, the group withdrew from the fort walls and this was a sign of weakness in Bobo's eyes. As expected, these Humans lack the brave spirits of the Orc. Just look at them. Running away after facing some resistance. How weak!

"Attack! Kill the scheming, hateful Humans!"

Bobo's tribesmen lifted their arms and yelled fiercely. Then, they charged toward the broken fort entrance.

However, at the next moment, a series of dazzling flashes blinded his eyes. The earth shook to a loud explosion and a huge blaze rushed into the sky while engulfing the Orcs.

"Argh!"

The powerful air stream struck Bobo head-on and he fell heavily on the ground. When he lifted his head, the scene before his eyes left him stunned.

The fort walls had completely crumbled. The corpses of his fellow tribesmen laid in a pool of blood everywhere. The 200 Orc riders who led the charge lost their lives in this sudden explosion. Not only that, but the crumbled walls had also buried their only path and they no longer had any other ways to enter the fort.

Facing continuous setbacks, the Orc riders had lost their courage. Their morale fell drastically after John's Cavalrymen had fooled them previously. And now, they hadn't even touched a single hair on the Humans and they had lost almost half of their tribe. Even though they still had 300 tribesmen around and were still far advantageous against the Humans in numbers, the Orcs had grown timid. They came to an abrupt halt and paced about hesitantly. These Humans are too cunning and terrifying. We haven't even taken a good look at their faces and so many of us have died. If this continues...

"What are you guys doing?!"

Bobo turned around and saw his tribesmen coming to a halt. He berated and pointed forward.

"Humans! Scheming! We must kill them! We, warriors, will not back down! Our tribesmen and children are inside! Kill the Humans!"

The hesitant Orcs raved fiercely to Bobo's words. They urged on their Rhino Beast and charged toward the fort with all their might. And now, they were getting closer and closer to the fort!

At this moment, they spotted a dark shadow leaping down from the fort wall. Then, a dazzling spiritual blade ray erupted and enveloped the Orcs like a wild rainstorm.

Rhode had struck!