Mass release (3/5)
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Dooha couldn’t help but turn her head away at his unfamiliar gaze.
How should she put it?
Sometimes, when she made eye contact with Daniel, she could feel all the fine hairs of her entire body standing.
He also had that gaze when he gave her the necklace yesterday night.
It wasn’t unpleasant or repulsive, but for some reason, it felt quite uncomfortable.
Just then, the cries of monsters and the shouts from the knights could be heard nearby.
Dooha hurriedly wrapped her face in a headscarf, and started running the instant she jumped off the horse.
Astonished, Daniel jumped off the horse and followed behind her.
When they cut through the bushes and arrived, a scene of blood and carnage unfolded before their eyes.
The floor was littered with dozens of monster carcasses and several knight’s bodies.
The dead knights were too tragic to look at.
But that didn’t mean that the surviving knights were any better.
Just a few days ago, their armours, which boasted a brilliant silver colour, made a rattling sound like it was old junk.
Perhaps exhausted by fighting for days in succession, it seemed like just stopping the monster’s attacks was very taxing for them.
Dooha raised her head at a sudden shout that entered her ears.
Leonhart stood there, his longsword stained with blood.
He was very prominent amongst the knights that were fighting off the monsters with all their might.
The duke struck the necks of three monsters that pounced on him at once and used their bodies as a stepping stone to jump into the air.
Then he hit the neck of a werewolf that was biting another knight’s arm.
Leonhart helped the fallen knight up with a hand.
“Since you’ve survived up till now, you should live to the end. Don’t you find it a waste?”
Leonhart quickly adjusted his posture and let the knight be, turning his back on him.
Although he wanted to curse at this dreary situation, he couldn’t even afford to do so.
It’s because another werewolf rushed up to him crazily.
“Daniel, do something!”
“Didn’t Madam tell me to conserve as much of my magic power as possible…”
Dooha shouted as she shot an arrow at the head of the werewolf that pounced at her.
“I told you to do that in order to deal with this kind of situation! Hurry up and help the Duke!”
“I don’t think they need any help, but it can’t be helped.”
Daniel flicked his fingertips at the place that the monsters were surging from.
Then, flames instantly burst in the air and devoured the monsters.
Along with the spine chilling howl, the monsters that were engulfed in flames changed directions.
Those that were rushing towards the knights began to escape in the other direction unwittingly.
‘Although they were brainwashed, they still seem to be afraid of burning to death.’
After she overheard Count Jive’s words, she agonised over what she should do if even magic didn’t work on the monsters, but it was fortunate that she didn’t have to worry about that.
“How did such a huge flame suddenly…?”
Meanwhile, the knights looked around, perhaps surprised by the fire’s sudden appearance.
Unlike his bewildered subordinates, the duke immediately located Daniel.
Leonhart frowned at the sight of his cousin.
“What’s a punk like you doing here?”
“It’s a relief that you’re safe and sound, Duke.”
Daniel walked confidently toward the Duke, who looked at him like he wanted to kill him.
Leonhart’s gaze remained in a certain direction, and his expression turned even harsher.
“Is he your servant?”
“Oh, yes. I brought him along as my personal escort.”
Daniel’s answer caused the duke’s face to darken further.
His gaze was directed at none other than Dooha.
He looked at her searchingly with a vigilant gaze, scanning her from head to toe.
When she felt his gaze, Dooha lowered her head and remained motionless.
With the power of transformation magic, there was very little chance that the Duke would recognize her, even if she took off her headscarf.
While it bothered her that she couldn’t conceal her unusual eye colour, it wouldn’t become a problem if she didn’t make eye contact.
In any case, there weren’t many people in the empire who could lift their gazes in front of the Duke anyways.
Meanwhile, Leonhart stared at Dooha with furrowed brows, looking displeased.
“If he’s an escort, bring him around with you. Even if he has outstanding skills, you shouldn’t let him be like a stray dog.”
Upon hearing the duke’s words, Dooha couldn’t help but look up, before lowering her head quickly.
‘Did he see me in the castle? When did he see me?’
Her heart couldn’t help but pound.
She didn’t think that she would be told by her husband, the empire’s strongest knight, that she had exceptional skills.
“But why are you here? Didn’t Count Jive come with you?”
Before Daniel could respond, the count made his appearance like he had been waiting for quite a while.
“I’ve arrived a little late, Duke.”
With a commanding presence, Count Jive led the duchy’s soldiers.
Their clothes and weapons were stained with blood.
“We encountered monsters with fire in their tails on our way here. We were delayed because we had to exterminate them all.”
The count laughed shamelessly and looked at Daniel with a smile.
“As expected, I thought that that was Daniel’s work. Daniel is the only wizard in the empire that can kill so many monsters at once. As expected of the Esbaden family’s pride.”
Daniel gave a soulless smile at his obvious compliment.
“All I did was recite a spell. If it weren’t for the Duke, I would have been eaten by the monsters without even being able to recite the spell.”
“Gosh, you’re still so humble.”
Count Jive shook his head as though he couldn’t talk him around, and turned to the Duke.
“As per the message that the Duke relayed, I rushed over as soon as the defensive magic had been completed. Two wizards remained in the castle to maintain the spell.”
As the count had mentioned, only two wizards were behind him.
A wizard in a dark green cape and another wizard.
Dooha’s gaze couldn’t help but turn towards the wizard in the dark green cape.
He was the one that had some sort of conversation with Count Jive.
Her eyes became as sharp as a falcon, wary that he would act suspiciously.
The wizard that was targeted by her shook his head at an inexplicable chill that travelled down his spine.
“What’s the current status of the castle?”
The count answered Leonhart’s question politely.
“Although some of Tochern’s soldiers were sacrificed, all of the territory’s residents are safe and sound. The monsters also retreated to the forest owing to the Duke’s enticement.”
It truly was fortunate that there weren’t any casualties amongst the innocent civilians.
At that time, a knight that heard the Lord’s words raised his hand.
“Then are we returning back to Tochern Castle?”
Leonhart seemed to pause for a moment, before turning around and shouted like he had made up his mind.
“From this point forth, we are going to eradicate all the werewolves in this forest.”
The Duke’s words caused a stir in the entire party.
The sun was already slowly sinking below the mountain ridge.
It was the period of time where the monsters were even wilder.
They struggled even when the sun was high above their heads, so could they even go against the werewolves that would pounce madly at them when it’s nighttime?
Fear and terror were written all over the faces of not only the soldiers, but also the knights.
“Duke, it’s impossible to proceed with the monster subjugation like this. The forest is their stronghold, and the timing isn’t favourable to us. We should return back to the castle for a while, and after reorganising…”
Leonhart cut off his lieutenant’s words at once.
“When an opportunity for victory is available, we should grasp it within our hands.
We’ve already delayed going against the monsters for too long now.”
Unless the nest, which is their stronghold, is destroyed, several hundreds of monsters are created everyday.
The longer they dragged on, the more disadvantageous it was for them.
Perhaps because Count Jive thought of that, he raised his hand in an instant.
“Now that the Esbaden family’s troops have gathered here, isn’t it high time to eradicate those monsters?”
“Uh, I agree with Sir Baron’s view.”
Daniel, who had been watching the situation quietly until then, stepped forward.
Dooha was pinching his elbow.
“The knights seem quite exhausted, and other than monsters, there are many other risks at night. As such, we should return to the castle first, and…”
“Are you unconfident?”
Leonhart’s lips curled up crookedly in his cousin’s direction.
“It seems like the Esbaden family’s pride isn’t that confident in his own abilities. If you don’t want to participate in the operation, you can go back. I won’t hold you responsible.”
Daniel, who had always smiled in the face of all kinds of ridicule and insults, frowned for the first time.
‘You don’t even know what the person next to you is plotting. And he’s still high and mighty.’
Daniel gritted his teeth internally.
Sometimes, his only cousin was so annoying that he wanted to give him a punch once.
“Well, though we both have the same thought.”
In fact, rather than helping the duke, Daniel’s desire to let the Duke be fooled and bullied was greater.
This thought only appeared in his head due to his belief that no matter what the count did, Leonhart would not die easily.
Daniel looked downwards at Dooha, who was standing next to him.
Her eyes were trembling with anxiety and unease.
“No, please do as you want, Duke. Even if my abilities are lacking, I’ll do my best.”
Leonhart looked at his stubborn cousin, who gave up unexpectedly easily, and turned his head away like he wasn’t interested.
He then explained the strategy they will use henceforth to the entire party.
“The werewolves’ nest is at the northernmost end of this forest. In a situation without any wizards, it was hard to deal with the monsters with only the power of knights, but things have changed now.”
If they swarmed around, the wizards could eradicate them with magic, and the remaining knights and soldiers could join forces to defeat them.
“The troops will be divided into three units. Baron, Count Jive and I will take charge of one unit each. There are only three wizards, so let’s deploy one to each unit.”
The duke stretched out three fingers.
“First, when the order of knights, including myself, have finished off all the monsters at the forefront, the remaining troops at the rear will handle the mess and move forward. When we reach the valley, the units will scatter and surround the nest, approaching it from three different directions.”
The nest sat in the valley, which was surrounded by the mountain and forest.
In order to prevent the monsters from leaving seeds behind, their only choice was to block their escape route and close in on them.
After the duke finished explaining their strategy, he pointed at Daniel with a nod of his head to his lieutenant.
“From the valley onwards, Baron, you’ll move with Daniel.”
At the Duke’s instructions, frustration entered Dooha’s eyes.
She could only stick next to Leonhart in order to prevent anything from happening to him.
For that to happen, Daniel must join his unit.
However, it seemed like the duke didn’t want to be in the company of Daniel, even if he died.
“We won’t be returning to the castle until the monster’s seeds have been dried up.”
Leonhart displayed the resolve he had made and got onto his horse.
“Let us begin this campaign.”
Just like that, a full-fledged campaign to eradicate monsters in Tochern began.
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