LTBE - Chapter 429.2: How Things Have Changed (2)
The reason why Roel dared to boldly stand before Bryan and the others was due to the reinforcement of his heretic army and the inquisitors. He had not just been doing nothing over the last few days.
From the moment he was certain that the Elrics would make a move, he knew that he would have to face more than a single enemy. This was further affirmed by Artasia’s later statement. He was only able to remain calm despite his pessimistic situation because he also had trump cards to rely on.
The Strength Sect and Unyielding Sect were two powerful armies that were led to him under the guidance of their ancient gods. The inquisitors were the elites of the church, the bane of the evil cultists.
After the disappearance of Tark Stronghold, Roel wrote a letter and had it delivered to heretic army and the inquisitors. Just last night, he received confirmation that they were in the vicinity and were ready to move.
To make Bryan let his guard down, Roel told them to hold their positions and bide their time till the final showdown. It was only when Bryan finally showed his face that he gave the signal for them to appear.
The sudden reinforcement heaped a great deal of stress on the evil cultists of the Connoisseur Guild, but it also sparked their belligerent nature. With their sworn enemies appearing right in front of them, the eyes of the evil cultists reddened with killing intent.
Similarly, the inquisitors also tightened their grip on their weapons.
Everyone was gathering their mana, preparing for war. A tense atmosphere could be felt in the air.
Both sides were only a thousand meters away from each other by this point. Yet, Bryan frowned distractedly at the sight of the heretic army, having found them awfully familiar.
He raked through his memories to grasp that feeling of familiarity, and it finally struck him when he finally felt the mana pulsations coming from Wood and the others. His golden eyes widened as his memories brought him back to the March Turmoil two hundred years ago.
In the distant past, a young man known as Felder was once surrounded by people who emanated the same raw but intensely powerful mana pulsation. They were the most loyal elite soldiers standing by his side, but an ironic twist of fate, they were now on opposite sides.
The thought of having to fight against his old comrades left Bryan feeling heavy inside, but there was no room for retreat anymore. He understood that the era had already changed, and old comrades had turned into enemies. The sword that was once Felder Elric’s pride was no more.
War was inevitable.
“Do not panic! Look closely. We are superior to them in terms of number and strength. There’s no need to hold back. We’re in a no man’s land. Victory will be ours in the end!”
With his back against the setting sun, Bryan raised his sword and quelled the evil cultists’ reservations. In contrast, Roel chose to keep his silence. He was here to judge the sinners, and an executioner spoke through his blade. Words were extraneous here.
Both armies began advancing on each other, thus commencing the battle that would determine the trajectory of fate.
It was just another mundane and meaningless day for most people of the world.
Most were still unaware of the inexplicable disappearance of Tark Stronghold in the eastern border, and the deviants had yet to launch a large-scale invasion. Families were focused on preparing themselves for the onset of winter.
Little did they know that a battle that would determine their fate was happening in the wilderness beyond the human world.
On Tark Prairie, two armies charged furious at each other, swinging their blades and firing spells with the sole intention to wipe the other off the face of the world. This battle would, to some extent, determine the ultimate fate of mankind, but things weren’t looking good at the moment.
From the moment the battle began, Roel had already fallen into a disadvantageous position.
Time, people, and occasion—these were the three crucial factors that often decided the outcome of things, be it in war or day-to-day matters. They represented the interaction between living beings and the world around them, thus shaping reality.
Looking at things in terms of that, Roel’s army was definitely not in a good position.
Evil cultists had always been known for their unorthodox and vicious means. To be safe, the inquisitors would always bring an overwhelmingly superior force when conducting sting operations against the evil cultists so as to throughly crush them in terms of military might.
Unfortunately, they weren’t able to do it this time around due to the spatial and temporal limitations.
Night was also swiftly approaching. It was time for rats to scramble out of the ditches and proudly roam the streets. The vast flatland around them also ample sufficient room for the deranged evil cultists to let their destructive prowess loose.
Things were definitely not looking good Roel and his army, but he still held confidence in his companions. He knew that they had a crucial advantage over the evil cultists—a united will.
On one side were inquisitors filled with justice and heretics tasked by their ancient gods to protect Roel. On the other was a group of evil cultists fighting for their own interests. There was already a difference in their resolve from the very start, and it showed in their coordination too. This would be their key to clinching victory.
Both armies had yet to collide on the prairie, but spells of all colors were already glowing here and there. The long-ranged attacks were the first to connect, producing deafening explosions.
Just before the frontlines of both armies were about to collide, sixteen old inquisitors standing at the back raised their staffs up high. The mana they had been channeling thus far started to resonate together to unleash a devastating spell. It started with the billowing of the red clouds in the sky, then all of a sudden, a golden flood started pouring down from the sky.
Divine like God’s retribution, the golden flood crashed down on the sinners.
The descending light horrified the evil cultists. Having never coordinated with each other—evil cultists were guarded even amongst themselves—it was hard for them to deal with an attack of such scale. The golden flood crushed their momentum, and they were struggling just to protect themselves.
However, Bryan was already prepared for this.
He raised his hand to gesture to the back, and an evil cultist standing far in the back line hurriedly reached into a sack and took out a heart covered in fresh blood. It was still beating as if it was just torn out of a person’s body. The evil cultist started infusing his mana into the heart, causing the heart to expand endlessly with the spellcaster within it.
It didn’t take long for the bloodied heart to grow to a ginormous size, casting a shadow upon everyone as if it was some kind of twisted flesh roof. With its sheer size, it managed to block the flood of golden light descendingfrom the sky.
The divine light of judgment unleashed explosions after explosions on the wretched palpitating heart monster that dared stand in its path, causing blood and flesh to scatter in all directions. Yet, despite looking as if it would crumble at any moment, the bloodied heart still managed to withstand the wrath of the golden light through its endless expansion.
The deranged evil cultists roared in excitement. They opened their hands wide to take in the rain of blood and flesh before continuing their charge. They were oblivious to the fact that the flood of golden light was only the appetizer.
The main dish had yet to be served.
While the inquisitors were channeling the flood of golden light, the heretic army was making use of the time bought to unleash their own long-ranged attack.
A tall woman who had been blessed by the Primordial Earth Goddess stood at the forefront of the formation. The towering shield she had planted on the ground in front of her was glowing with a layer of divine light. As mana continuously flowed and compressed into the shield, it started to release steam and unbearable heat waves, to the extent that it produced an iridescent mist.
Everything was then unleashed in a single blast.
Just like how a concentrated jet of water could easily match the sharpest knife in the world, a concentrated blast of lava was practically a death beam that could obliterate everything in its path. All that was left in the line of the Unyielding Sect’s attack were vaporized bodies and tragic cries.
An old evil cultist who was severed into two from the waist let out a shriek. He didn’t have time to fully make sense of what was happening before the two parts of his body burst into flames from the intense heat, burning him to cinders.
The combined prowess of the inquisitors and the heretic army was so great that the evil cultists were forced to disperse all around.
The succcessful pre-emptive attack allowed Roel’s side to claim the upper hand, but as soon as the battle got into close quarters, the evil cultists started showing their own strengths.
Whenever a strike landed on an evil cultist, the blood they splattered would turn into highly corrosive venom and the flesh they severed grew into tenacious monsters. It was no easy feat to deal with the menacing means of the evil cultists, but neither the inquisitors nor the heretic army were amateurs on the battlefield. They were able to quickly adapt and formulate counterplans.
What particularly stood out, however, was Roel’s inaction. He could sense an energy locked onto him, and its owner was rushing his way over.
To the backdrop of blazing flames and tragic cries, a golden-haired man and black-haired man finally came face to face. Their mana began to seethe silently.