LTBE - Chapter 415.1: Together, Under the Moonlight (1)
A month later, by the eastern border of the Saint Mesit Theocracy, a disciplined army steadily marched forth on a road covered in a thin layer of snow. They were protecting a carriage, where a black-haired man was making full use of his time flipping through his books. Opposite of him, a red-haired man was catching some shuteye.
Nobles of the Saint Mesit Theocracy would have found the notion of two men sharing a single carriage perplexing, but Roel had already gotten used to it over the past month. There were even times when he spent the night in the carriage.
The interior of the carriage was spacious, but it wasn’t as comfortable as the ones from the Ascart House, let alone the Sorofyas’ Diamond Rivière. On top of that, there were several people who were constantly entering and alighting from the carriage, causing the vehicle to shake as if someone was carrying out a mass yoga session.
It couldn’t be helped since this carriage was being used as their command center.
Roel and Hanks had come to an understanding beforehand that there should only be a single command chain, so they specially prepared this carriage to serve as a command center. Little did they know that it would turn out much busier than they had expected.
Simply put, this was not a peaceful journey at all.
A month ago, when their group first set off, Roel and Hanks chose to prioritize speed above all things else due to the urgency of the mission. It was smooth-sailing at the start, but unexpected problems started cropping up one after another.
It started off with a common issue Carter had once told him about—getting lost.
It had been five years since Carter took on the role as the chief logistics officer. His main job was to pave roads so as to facilitate travel, and he did accomplish what was asked of him. It was just that the roads he had paved were shabby dirt roads and not tiled pavements.
Why not construct something much more durable and effective like tiled pavements?
The answer was simple: Too much work, too expensive, and no time.
There was nothing to earn from building tiled pavements—no merchants in their right mind would travel to eastern border to do business—and they would still have to pay exorbitant sums to maintain them.
Furthermore, it was a double-edged sword. If the deviants were to breach the eastern border, those tiled pavements would lead them straight into the heart of human civilization. That would spell a disaster.
In view of these considerations, it was more practical to just construct basic dirt roads.
It was just that there was a fundamental problem associated with dirt roads—they were susceptible to erosion from bad weather. Be it torrential rain or winter snowfall, these could potentially erase their trails.
Fortunately, Roel didn’t let the intelligence he had gathered from Carter go to waste. He thoroughly searched through his System, and he found a decent tool that could help him.
A magic tool created by the transcendents of Ayra Kingdom to overcome the encirclement of Nightmare Forest. With its guidance, those sprightly trees could no longer hope to confound them
Price: 50,000 Affection Points】
When Roel stumbled upon this monocle magic tool, he bought it without any hesitation. To be doubly safe, he borrowed a map Carter drew while paving the dirt road. With these equipment, the group was able to advance smoothly.
Hanks and the others from the Inquisitor Hall felt embarrassed by their lack of foresight, but it was just the first of their many problems to come.
As the group marched further eastward, the number of towns and villages along the way grew more sporadic but the demonic beasts became more active. When they finally entered the vast no man’s land, the demonic beasts in the forest started showing signs of clustering.
The demonic beasts in the eastern region had no fear for humans, and they were known for their ferocity. Once they laid their eyes upon a prey, they would take their time stalking it, biding their time for an opportunity to strike.
Winter was not just a tough time for humans; demonic beasts also struggled to gather food too. Roel’s group might be the elites of humankind, but to the demonic beasts who had hardly met any humans, they looked no different from a bunch of migrating monkeys.
As a result, Roel’s group faced frequent assaults.
For an entire week, they weren’t able to get a proper night’s rest. All sorts of wretched things would charge at them during the night, be it six-legged bloodthirsty giant deers or two-faced hyenas. It was distressing.
This was then that Roel and Hanks’ unified command chain worked wonders. The heretics and the inquisitors, who had barely interacted thus far, were ordered to fight alongside one another. Things were awkward at the start, but with immense external pressure heaping down on them, they had no choice but to learn to cooperate. It significantly improved their effective fighting prowess and alleviated the tension within the group.
The Unyielding Sect were mercenaries who spent their days traveling around whereas the Strength Sect were once forced to live like barbarians in the mountains. Both of them were skilled in wilderness warfare, knowing nifty tricks to deal with the demonic beasts.
On the other hand, the inquisitors had plenty of experience dealing with humans.
With one side specializing in PVE and the other in PVP, they were able to complement each other’s flaws. As their coordination improved, they were better able to allocate their manpower to efficiently deal with the demonic beasts. Thanks to that, they were able to enjoy several days of relative peace.
However, that didn’t spell the end of their troubles. A threat was quietly creeping upon them as they approached Tark Stronghold.
It was yet another night where the heretics and the inquisitors worked in unison to subdue waves of demonic beasts. The arrival of dawn came as a huge relief, and the atmosphere visibly lightened up as the group continued on their journey.
They soon arrived at a narrow valley.
A small scouting unit was dispatched to survey the valley, but to their horror, there were enemies lying in wait for them.
Arrows rained down from the steep cliffs of the valley, catching the scouting unit by surprise. The land beneath them was turned into a bog by some sort of mysterious spell, making it hard for their horses to gallop away. Then, dozens of humanoid monsters with pale faces and sharp fangs began charging down the cliff faces toward them.
Their physique resembled a human’s, if not for their grayish-white skin, protruding teeth, sparse hair, and belligerent faces. Their average strength averaged around Origin Level 5.
The scouting unit was caught in a highly disadvantageous position, but with their superior strength and equipment, they managed to hold their ground and slowly retreated. Once they regrouped with the others, they quickly turned the tables on the deviants and eradicated every last one of them.
It was a victory for Roel’s group, but the shock from the sudden ambush and the revolting appearance of the enemies continued to linger in everyone’s heart. Coupled with the foreign environment they were in, fear started breeding in their hearts.
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Even the reticent Hanks was fazed upon seeing the carcasses of the deceased deviants.
In comparison, Roel was much more composed. He had undergone something far worse than this to be affected by something of this extent.
The Salvation Army he had encountered in the Witness State didn’t look much different from humans, but their deranged mutterings made them much more terrifying than the deviants who only had a frightening exterior.
“What’s the panic for? These creatures die when you kill them. There’s nothing to be scared about,” remarked Roel.
His calm and confident demeanor allowed most members in the group to regain their composure.
The scouting unit started reporting on the incident while Roel walked up to one of the deviants to examine the long-time enemies of humankind up close.
They really are hideous.
Physically wise, the deviants were built like humans. They were able to wield weapons and ambush others, which suggested that they possessed intelligence. However, the fact that they were so easily baited and refused to retreat despite being outnumbered reflected their inability to make complex strategic decisions.
He noticed the deviants crying out to each other during the battle, which indicated that they were able to communicate with each other.
All in all, the deviants they had encountered fitted Carter’s description of them.
It was likely that these deviants had gotten here by scaling the unguarded steep mountainous cliffs, evidenced by their tattered clothes.
The ambush from the deviants rang warning bells in everyone’s mind, making them view the journey ahead in a different light. They came to realize that they were no longer safely tucked behind the main forces of humankind; they were already on the battlefield. This feeling of impending danger forced the group to huddle even more tightly together.