Chapter 59 War, is war
Editor: Superposhposh, Amaranth
A large number of dense shadows leapt and maneuvered up and down as they jump back and forth between the trees in the forest it looked like they were giant apes. The moment they rushed in front of the cavalrymen, a black shadow suddenly dropped down from the sky, throwing himself at a soldier who had just raised his sword……
Although the cavalrymen had already drawn their weapons, they were ill-prepared to face enemies who specialized in agility, nimbly leaping around everywhere. Almost instantly, three shadows lunged towards the soldiers. One maliciously stabbed towards his victim’s chest with a short sword, while the other two furiously started to clash with their targets.
The remaining twelve shadows also instantaneously threw themselves at the crowd of imperial cavalrymen. Suddenly, Shaar could feel a fishy breath on his face as a huge shadow stretched his arm, trying to maliciously grab him. Not having any time to dodge, Shaar was instantly pushed to the ground. His opponent’s hands were trying to break his neck but with a grunt, Shaar grabbed his assailant’s hand and forcefully bent them. *Kaka* two sharp, crisp sounds rang out as two bones protruded out from his opponent’s hand. His adversary, concealed within the darkness, got his hands broken—immediately starting the struggle between him and Shaar. In a few moments, Shaar grabbed that guy’s throat and resolutely pressed……
By the time he climbed up, Kevin, who was next to him, smashed his claw hammer into a shadow and sent it flying. A short sword was stabbed into Kevin’s shoulder, piercing though the shoulderguard’s slit. Fresh blood was dripping down onto the ground and it looked like he got injured when he was thrown on the ground a moment ago.
“Damn! What are those things?”
Looking at the black shadows quickly regrouping, he noticed that they continuously jumped, changing their positions after several jumps. Their physique was clearly tall and robust but surprisingly, they moved nimbly like monkeys.
Gasping for breath Kevin roared, “Draw closer! Everybody close up at same place! Those are Odin’s Icefield hunters!”
After the first wave, from the original number of Byzantine cavalry scouts, six men were lying on the ground. Only two were still alive, while the the other four were already dead.
The opposite party, the “Icefield hunters” only suffered two casualties, the one that got his neck broken by Shaar and the other one that got his ribs crushed by Kevin’s hammer who was lying under a tree. A large part of his chest was caved in, and it was obvious that his breastbone was smashed into a pulp.
At this time when the night was darkest, the sky was covered by the tree branches and leaves. In order to hide themselves, the scouts refrained from lighting a fire. However, with Shaar’s natural night vision, he could still see the “Icefield hunters’” presence very clearly.
Every single one of the hunters wore a black fur coat, and was extremely tall. Compared to the Byzantine cavalry scouts, they were at least a head taller and their arms reached to their knees like apes. With their tall body wearing a black fur coat in the darkness they could possibly be mistaken as bears. Thanks to the pitch black night, it was very difficult to see their appearance clearly.
The strangest part was that even though these fellows were obviously extremely fat, their agile jumping movements were so quick that it was scary! Their movements didn’t even made any sound!!
As one could expect from the elites of the 13th Cavalry Army, the scouts quickly gathered together and placed themselves back to back forming a defensive circle. Shaar and Kevin stood next to each other and beside them was the scout team leader. A moment ago, he was also thrown to the ground during the conflict. Because his forehead was crashed on the ground during the impact blood could be seen trickling down from his face. Holding a sword in his hand, he tightly gripped his left rib, where his leather armor was cut open. A deep wound could be seen and blood was flowing out.
“Damn those things! Hmph, they are the mortal enemy of us Byzantine scouts!”
The team leader silently panted for breath in a low voice while his mouth maliciously spurted out those lines. His eyes kept staring at those assassin hunters in the darkness – After striking, the latter already retreated to keep their distance. Not far away from them, a dozen shadows were quickly moving around the big trees and it seemed that they were looking for an opportunity to attack.
Kevin forcefully pulled the short sword out of his shoulder and frowned because of his pain. Clenching his teeth he said, “Shaar, be careful. Those guys are the scouts of Odin. They live in the Odin’s northern Icefield region, surviving year-round in the harsh conditions of smooth icefields and steep snowy mountain cliffs. Their greatest skill is agility!”
No wonder ……each of them were as agile as monkeys.
Shaar squinted his eyes and looked towards the distance with both sides patiently waiting for a confrontation. Those Icefield hunters were constantly switching positions……
Finally, after hearing a whistle, a black shadow leaded the way and lunged down, before soon after a dozen other shadows followed its suit. They dropped down and attacked them from all sides! The cavalrymen raised their swords to block while furiously resisting but alas these fellows were just too fierce. Even though it was obvious that every cavalryman’s sword cut their opponent the target didn’t care and continued to pressed themselves closer to the soldier before stabbing their weak spot!
After several painful screams, their great defence circle suddenly broke! Shaar kicked towards the guy who was plunging at him with his enormous strength booted the guy who was still in midair. Being hit with such a heavy blow, blood started to spurt out like fountain from his mouth. Shaar already drew his fire pitchfork with his other hand and noticed that in order to deal with agile guys like them a huge encumbersome cross-sword was inconvenient. It would only affect their striking ability.
Shaar immediately rushed out!
Taking a monstrous leap, he resembled the Icefield hunters whom they were fighting against and jumped several meters high. In mid air, Shaar stretched out his arms wide welcoming the adversary who rapidly jumped towards him. While hugging him like an octopus his opponent used his short sword to maliciously stab Shaar’s chest……However that guy made a miscalculation! This hillbilly’s body was already strengthened to a level where not even a short sword could pierce his body! Shaar tightly contracted both of his arms, crushing the bones of his enemy. A barbarian’s unusual strength was not something that could be underestimated. Carrying the dead body which was still spewing out fresh blood Shaar landed on a tree and dropped him like a sack of potatoes while taking his short sword. Looking at a new shadow lunging at him, Shaar furiously threw his newly obtained sword at him. In an instant, that shadow clutched his throat in shock. After a few painful gurgles, yet another shadow fell to the ground.
It was as if Shaar transformed into an Icefield Hunter. His movement and jumping speed were both far above the opposite party! If his opponents were agile apes then he could be called a fierce lynx!
In one breath, Shaar had already killed three hunters and quickly aimed for his next target……
His target was the enemy with the biggest stature. That fearsome enemy had just cut open the neck of a cavalry scout with his short sword and his face was covered with blood. Just as he was getting up off the ground, Shaar threw himself at the burly man, pushing him back down to the ground.
Wrestling against him on the ground, Shaar immediately felt that this man’s strength was not something to be underestimated. Compared to the Icefield Hunters, this guy was on a whole different level! When Shaar tried to grab his neck in order to strangle him the man unexpectedly and furiously broke free from his grip.
Shaar was furious! This uncle tried to kill you and you actually dared to resist?
Both of them rolled on the ground for a while before Shaar created a little space so that he could bend his knees, thrusting upwards. His thrust brutally smashed against his victim’s thigh causing waves of pain to shoot through his opponent’s body! That fellow instantly swallowed the pain while twisting his body, trying to get away from the source of pain. Seizing this opportunity, Shaar released his arm and stabbed his elbow towards his opponent’s heart.
*Crack* Hearing his enemy’s rib break, Shaar immediately jumped up and climbed the tree like a lynx. While watching Kevin smash another opponent into a pulp another Icefield hunter suddenly threw himself at Kevin’s back! The hunter wrapped himself tightly on Kevin with both his legs around Kevin’s waist. Kevin immediately struggled several times but he was actually incapable of throwing him off! The Icefield hunter clinging onto Kevin’s back suddenly drew his short sword and viciously stabbed towards Kevin’s neck……
Shaar did not hesitate, and immediately threw the fire pitchfork in his hand like a trident of lightning.. Kevin whom already felt the rush of cold air on his neck started to feel despair in his heart. Suddenly he heard something else was rushing towards him. *Shink!* Fresh blood suddenly started to drip down on his ear and the northman’s body got stiff and fell down. When he turned around he saw that the head of opposite party was pierced by a pitchfork!
Jumping down, Shaar pulled the fire pitchfork out of his victim. Gasping for air, Kevin panted, “I owe you my life!”
Shaar only grinned back……
Only four of the Byzantine Cavalry Scouts remained.. However, the Icefield hunter finally whistled and retreated from the battle circle. Quickly leaping on the tre, a few shadows no longer regrouped to attack and instead they hurriedly escaped far away into the darkness……
Fourteen cavalry scouts were killed during this sneak attack but the casualties of the Icefield hunters were ten. Of those ten enemies who were killed, Shaar and Kevin had killed six. Obviously if Kevin and Shaar didn’t attended this scouting mission this cavalry scout unit would’ve probably been wiped out!
After their first confrontation the powerful Odin’s hunters left a deep impression in Shaar’s mind.
When the enemies retreated far enough, Kevin immediately sat down. In fact, most of the Cavalry scouts were barely standing. The team leader was still alive, and used his hands to support himself on a big tree. The blood from the wound on his ribs had already stained half of his body crimson.
Kevin saw that Shaar looked a bit different after the attack and pulled him aside while whispering, “Odins are always cruel and these Icefield hunters were inborn scouts of the Odins. Although they are our enemy, it can be said that their individual battle efficiency is higher compared to the Byzantines.”
Pausing, Kevin added, “The general said once: When those fellows gather together, they are just like a group of unorganized mops and we can always defeat them.”
However, after the battle, the fourteen companions with whom he shared his meal and company for several days with turned into ice-cold corpses.
Regarding these cavalrymen they didn’t entertain their sadness and just silently cleaned up the battlefield. Moving their companions’ corpses to one spot, they inspected their enemies carefully and gratefully for any clues. Those who had yet to die were killed off without hesitation.
They proceeded in total silence and nobody said a word!
For these people who seemed to get used to those kind of life and death on the battlefield, their faces did not show any sorrow. Their grief turned to hatred and it was reflected in their eyes!
The injured team leader stood in a front a corpse and looked at it for a while – That was the soldier who died in first during that sneak attack with an arrow shot through neck. He fell from the tree and his water bag was still nailed at his neck. The water bag was already empty and formed a pool of blood next to the body……
The team leader looked at this young soldier in silence and his eyes flashed a look that resembled sadness!
Then he turned furiously and screamed with a hoarse voice, “We don’t have time to delay! Now that we have discovered the enemy we must immediately ride back with the message! Everyone get on your horses!”
The team leader quickly climbed on his horse and the remaining cavalrymen followed his suit, and they instantly left this forest of slaughtering.
After riding more than a dozen miles, Kevin whispered to Shaar……
“The soldier who died was the son of the team leader.”
Shaar was shocked.
During the past few days, this young cavalry scout did not left any deep impression in Shaar’s mind. He only remembered that he had a plain, firm and resolute look. He would occasionally smile and was a bit of a shy look…..
For these past days,when facing team leader he would also shout like everyone else “team leader” and did not shout father. He did not obtain the least bit of favourable treatment from the team leader and even the harshest tasks like surveillance or night watch were given to him……
Only a small moment was given to a father to bid farewell to his son.
Only a small moment of life and death to brutally divide their kinship!
During the first battle after Shaar joined the army, the experience of that team leader looking at his dead son with deathly solitude, was a memory that was deeply carved in Shaar’s heart.
Regarding this young hunter, this fierce small battle that occurred in front of him suddenly reminded him of a fact:
War, was not like hunting in the woods of the mountain!
War, was not like adventuring on the Primal Wildfire!