The legion commander of the Holy Iris Knights, Abir roared out loud with a voice carrying his ‘qi’. The thunderous sound rang throughout the entire battlefield.
Along with the muffled bugle horn’s long sound, the 30,000-strong army clamored and rapidly entered their formations. In just a short amount of time, they had arranged themselves into multiple squares.
The front lines were filled with fully armored soldiers bearing huge shields. Behind them was the rest of the army - lightly, but properly equipped with standard leather armor, swords, and wooden shields.
The clerics stood tense and ready to heal any incoming wounded soldiers.
Asides from them, there were also 30-40 mages gathered from different places. Other than one seven-ring mage, the rest were not high ranked. Despite that, however, they were all precious as each mage represented a significant investment of material and financial resources. In fact, among the 30,000 people in the legion, the 30 or so mages were the most important strategic unit.
When low-ranking mages gathered together and released simple but effective magic like fireballs, each shot would be able to cause more than a hundred casualties. After firing it several times in a row, the casualties could rise to 10,000-20,000 people.
Under normal circumstances, it was impossible to gather this many mages in a battle with a 30,000-man legion, but the Theocracy had deep pockets. Many mages signed up to participate in the invasion against non-humans primarily for the generous monetary rewards. Moreover, they coveted the chance to catch one or two beautiful elves that they could sell for a killing.
Usually, it was difficult to catch elves as slaves. The fear of retaliation meant it was a very risky endeavor, but war was different. Enslavement was the norm, and this operation was in fact led by the Theocracy so there was nothing to fear.
It was with such self-centered motivations that the mages decided to partake in the battle. But it was far from the only motivation of the common soldier.
Abir looked at the army he commanded. First, he nodded his head in satisfaction, before slowly shaking it. This legion was not the elite Holy Iris Knights, but a gathering of soldiers from various human kingdoms cobbled together.
They could not be considered as elite, but they were adequate.
At close to seventy years old Abir would ordinarily be regarded as an elderly man, but being a legendary rank warrior he was still in the prime of his life. With his lifespan, he was still tens of years away from becoming an old man.
He wore full-body chainmail with a white robe over it. The cloak of the robe was embroidered with a blood-red shield and a silver longsword. This was the emblem of the God of War, Marzalis, which he believed in.
Abir was not at all surprised by the war. Not only was it a fundamental part of the church’s doctrine but it has been going on for hundreds of years.
Although it was officially called a ‘war’, it was just a skirmish with 30,000 people. Although the number of elves was scarce, they were strong individually. Moreover, the war took place in the forest which was the elves’ home territory. It was easy for an elven warrior to fight against 10 humans. If it was a full-scale war, 30,000 soldiers charging in would at most just be a splash in the ocean.
Truly eliminating the Silver Moon Kingdom was impossible. There were a lot of powerful people in the elven race. The invasion of the Theocracy was at most using warm water to cook a frog; slowly whittling away the elves’ power.
Given their low birth rates and slow maturation, a few thousand casualties on the elven side was a tragedy but for humans it was a drop in the bucket.
“The queen will try to reduce the casualties of her race as much as possible. According to centuries of experience, the Forest Fairy will summon a legendary rank creature from other realms to help block the army. If I can get rid of the summoned creature, the war is as good as won.”
Abir muttered. The past wars with the elves had always been like this. Even in his opinion, this was not a true war, but just a formality.
In comparison to this uninteresting sham of a battle, he wanted to join the war against the beastmen. The beastmen were one of the greatest enemies of humans, and war with them involved a true collision of blood and flesh.
However, the orders of the Theocracy could not be disobeyed. He took a deep breath and said to the messenger beside him, “...... Pass my order. Attack!!!”
The signal to attack was blown, and flag signals fluttered. Those elite soldiers in full body armor took synchronized steps forward. They raised their left foot, and the soles of their feet landed at the same time, shaking the earth itself. The human army stepped forward in an orderly manner, gradually picking up the pace. By the time they had hit running speed their footsteps had blended into a chaotic rumble.
“In the name of the God of War, in the name of the Theocracy, for the sake of humanity, KILL!!!!!!”
With Abir at the center, a glow visible to the naked eye rapidly expanded. Every soldier enveloped by it turned brave and bloodthirsty.
This was the ‘Aura of War’ that powerful believers of the God of War could display. It could greatly boost the morale of warriors.
The voices of thousands of people shouting ‘kill’ shook heaven and earth. It was a spectacular stampede.
“Have the mage corps ready to suppress the enemy with magic at any time. Make sure they don’t save their magic power!”
Abir ordered the officer beside him. The officer saluted and rushed off to the gathering place of the mages. He passed the message to the head of the mages.
“Please tell Commander Abir to not worry. We mages are already prepared!”
“Then I’m counting on you, Mr. Marches!”
The officer respectfully and politely bowed deeply to the mage in front of him. Although the seven-ring mage in front of him was not a big deal to a legendary rank warrior like Commander Abir, the archmage had countless ways to kill a fifth rank warrior like him.
There was no shame in being humble to these mages.
When the officer walked away, Marches’ expression quickly turned vile. He gazed back at the low-ranked mages who looked towards him in reverence. He cursed in a whisper, “......What bullshit about not saving magic? You idiots don’t know how precious a mage’s magic power is. I’ll just let these brats waste theirs.”
Marches was calculating. For a seven-ring mage like him, no matter which country he went to, he would be treated as a distinguished guest. The reason why he joined this war was that he was poor.
As a wandering mage with no backer, being able to reach seven rings was already the limit. At his current age, wanting to reach legendary rank in his lifetime to extend his lifespan was almost impossible.
However, men always had dreams. As a seven-ring mage, Marches also had a dream. He came here to see if he could catch an elf with a high position and sell them to some prominent nobles or other mages in exchange for some rare materials. Then he would brew magic potions to extend his lifespan.
Just when Marches was giddy with his calculations, the magic in his body suddenly boiled up and his heart became tense.
The chaotic stampede of 30,000 soldiers had quieted to a near-perfect silence. The air itself took on a glue-like viscosity and a great fear began to loom over his soul.
“Dragon…… It’s a dragon!”
No one knew who it was, but the strange silence was destroyed by a shout of terror.
Marches raised his head to look in the direction of the sound. In the far end of the forest, a golden figure covered the sky like the rising sun.
“Oh, No!!! God of Magic, am I dreaming?!!! A primordial dragon?!!!”
Marches shouted incredulously.
At the same time, the human soldiers, who were just then full of morale, panicked. Even before the war had fully begun, the chaos caused many casualties as people were trampled.
A magnificent voice filled the sky and earth even before the dragon arrived……
“When I dream, the world trembles! When I awaken, reality is born!!”
The mighty dragon issued arrogant words.