Dante’s Immortality – Chapter 107
Shortly after his troops returned to the encampment, Dante had the walls brought back up. The enemy infantry was still coming with a force that made up roughly half of Warlord Karabell’s 100,000 strong army.
The other leaders on the enemy’s side were either keeping their men where Warlord Karabell had ambushed him or hanging back to get a better feel for the situation before throwing away their soldier’s lives in an all out battle. All of those leaders could tell that something was wrong.
Dante stayed where the fighting was the thickest, the enemy had already built up a makeshift staircase by using a Geomancer’s Barricade skill.
Dante Blinked between two of his Warriors and kicked an attacker square in the chest. The force of the impact knocked the combatant off the wall and back into the attacking infantry below. “Jared!”
His shout brought a small unit forward from where they were hiding behind the wall. The unit was made up of a contingent of defensive Warriors as well as two Classifications that focused on killing, in the middle was a single Geomancer. The unit’s only task was to keep their Geomancer alive.
Jared didn’t waste any time. As soon as he was called, he stepped closer to the stone wall and knelt on the ground to feel out the situation, then he immediately activated his skill to lower the makeshift stone staircase that the attackers were using to breach the wall.
Dante nodded to Jared in satisfaction as he continued to fling weapons at the attackers, and his nod was all the confirmation that Jared’s unit needed to withdraw.
Over the past months, he had truly come to understand how useful Geomancers could be in large scale combat. Especially when the enemy constantly used them to try and breach his wall.
Generic Geomancers, the ones who had either building or excavation skills, were direct counters to each other. One could build walls or obstacles, the other could tear them down. Dante wasn’t really sure why that was. He had thought that the direct application of one would accomplish the other. For instance, when building a Barricade, if the Barricade was built into the ground the displacement of the dirt should have created an affect that was similar to the Excavation skill. But after talking to his Geomancers, he had found out that that wasn’t the case. He still didn’t know why though.
Geomancers weren’t just a direct counter to each other in that way though. They had a very unique ability that was given to them because of their Classification. The ability to send mana directly into stone.
Usually, stone would directly block mana. The fact that Geomancers could send theirs directly through it made them invaluable for sensing the actions of other Geomancers in the ground, among other things. They simply sent their mana into the ground and felt for vibrations.
That ability wasn’t immensely useful in such a chaotic fight though. There were far too many vibrations for them to understand what was happening unless they knew where to look.
Dante continued to lob his created weapons as the fight progressed, focusing them on the Geomancers he saw trying to breach the wall below as well as other Classifications of note.
So far, there wasn’t any movement from those who were hanging back from the fight, but those who were already engaged began to quickly discover that something was amiss. They looked back at the others who were standing idle behind them and their fighting became halfhearted. Instead of aiming to kill, they began to deflect attacks and fight defensively.
Out of the corner of his eye, Dante saw unusual movement and shifted his attention to it. A mercenary group fighting to his left was pulling back, and the defenders that were repelling them shifted their position on the wall to reinforce another group of defenders, giving the defenders a clear advantage over the mercenary group attacking there.
Without many options, the disadvantaged mercenary group pulled back as well, and a chain reaction started. Not only did any groups that were overwhelmed pull back, but those who saw their comrades retreating pulled back as well. The ‘all out fight’ had turned into a few small skirmishes rather quickly.
As soon as the fighting on his section of the wall calmed, Jayden walked up to him, pushing aside the combatants stationed there. Despite being healed, Jayden’s complexion was still pale from the blood loss, and it was obvious that such a large healing had drained the energy from him. That didn’t seem to affect his usual mood though. “Dear brother, if we want to take advantage of this situation we will need to act quickly.”
Dante frowned as he continued to watch the enemy’s movements. “In what way?”
“There are three obvious choices. We can take advantage of the confusion to easily break the encirclement. We could also fight in an upfront confrontation, it would take the enemy quite a while to organize their ranks, so a surprise attack would be quite lethal. The third option, and the one I think would be the most successful, would be to eliminate three of their mercenary leaders. Authority would further fracture and the remaining mercenary leaders would turn on each other.”
That was basically Victoria’s plan, but she had advised him to kill more than a dozen people. “Which three.”
“The stupid looking bald headed one, the one with the long nose and wide eyes, and the one leading that group of mages with the ugly silver streaks in his hair.” Jayden pointed to each man he described. The way he described them was somewhat crude, but accurate. He made it impossible to mistake any of the people.
Dante recognized two of the leaders, after all, he had familiarized himself with the enemy’s commanders, but the mage leader didn’t seem like someone of note. He was the captain of a mercenary group, but a small one. His group shouldn’t even have an impact on the position of warlord. Dante pointed to him. “Why the mage leader?”
“Eliminating him would cause the balance of power to shift.” Jayden pointed out two mercenary leaders near Warlord Karabell’s corpse, both were in their prime and had an air of authority. The one of the left seemed at least somewhat charismatic from their previous encounters, but the one on the right used brute force whenever possible. The two were talking to each other, and the conversation looked to be quite tense. Behind each of them were their combatants, all of them had a grip on the handle of their weapons. “They won’t attack each other, but if you eliminate the leader of the mage group the one on the left will lose a loose alliance and the other wouldn’t hesitate to take advantage of the situation.”
Dante examined the other two that Jayden had pointed out. They had extremely high positions and had only answered to Warlord Karabell when he was alive, yet their power and authority was still below the two who were standing by Warlord Karabell’s body. “Wouldn’t it be better to leave them alive so that the enemy will be more divided? If we kill the two of them, there would only be two factions, but if we leave them alive there would be at least four.”
Jayden shook his head. “You are mistaken. They are too timid.” He pointed to the mercenary leader by Warlord Karabell’s body that used brute force. “And he’s an asshole. The two of them would join forces with the other mercenary leader to deal with him. After that, they would quickly unify under him.”
Unfortunately, all of Jayden’s targets were literally on opposite areas of the battlefield. Sending a raid over and taking advantage of the chaos to assassinate them wouldn’t be an option. “And how exactly am I supposed to kill all three of them?”
Jayden looked genuinely perplexed. “Dear brother, you do know that you are training with an assassin, correct? I assumed that you could handle the details in regards to the killing itself.”
What he said was true enough, but this task seemed slightly beyond his ability. “How long would I have to kill them. And what other options do we have aside from the three you already mentioned.”
He briefly thought of offering his surrender a second time, but quickly dismissed the idea. Even if he wanted to, which was no longer the case, there would be too much discord now that Warlord Karabell was gone. He didn’t regret killing Warlord Karabell though. It was always better to remove someone who hated him to such an extent.
“It would be best to finish things tonight. No one will act without solidifying their authority, so tomorrow afternoon will be the absolute earliest that anyone will make their move. As far as other options are concerned… We could probably still utilize the poison, but Miss Victoria took our only raptor, so acquiring it will be a challenge. Burning down the nearby forest to enrage and lure out creatures is definitely still possible, controlling them after leading them here would be challenging though. We could also-”
Dante waved him off. “Never mind. I’ll try to kill the three you mentioned. If I’m unsuccessful, we can always try something else tomorrow.”
Jayden seemed satisfied. “Very well. I should warn you though, breaking out of the encirclement or confronting them in a straightforward manner would be much harder if we don’t act immediately.”
Dante nodded, that was to be expected. “Start sending out small raids to harass the enemy, but keep the losses to a minimum.” He then returned his attention to the three targets that Jayden had previously mentioned, as well as the mercenary groups stationed between their camps. Then his eyes shifted to the bodies that had yet to be buried from the large battle four days ago, paying careful attention to their attire.
He spent several minutes scanning the battlefield, but was still missing a body from the mercenary group made up of mages. So instead, he settled for a body from a mercenary group that was closed directly next to theirs.
After picking his targets, Dante had the bodies retrieved. Then he had them dropped off in a secluded area where he stripped them down. After doing so, he put on the clothing that belonged to the bald-headed man’s mercenary group before storing the rest.
After changing into the clothing Dante frowned. The clothes definitely smelt like they had been on a four-day old corpse. He didn’t really have many options though, covering the scent with something stronger would be too obvious.
He collected some mud and very lightly rubbed it into both the clothes he was wearing and the clothes he had already placed into his storage to dampen the smell. Then, he lightly covered his face in it. Not in a blatantly obvious way, but in a way that looked natural while simultaneously covering up the lines and contours of his facial features.
When he finished, Dante looked into a mirror and frowned. He looked slightly different, and dirty enough to fit into a camp where combatants were unable to waste the water needed to clean themselves, but didn’t look different enough. Too many people had seen his appearance on the battlefield.
Dante created a small knife. Then, with the help of the mirror, began to carefully cut his hair.
When Dante finished, his medium length hair became short and cropped. Now he could be quite sure that no one would recognize him.
Dante stepped out of his personal tent, now completely transformed. He quickly stepped through the camp, and the lack of stares, salutes, and murmured conversations confirmed that he hadn’t been recognized.
When he came to the wall he found that Jayden was in the midst of issuing orders to the small group of captains stationed there. He instructed them on every aspect of the raid before sending them out, including where to engage, how to fight, how many they should kill, and when to retreat. Then he covered what actions should be taken if unforeseen issues occurred or if there was an ambush.
When Jayden finished and dismissed the captains Dante approached. Jayden immediately noticed him, his eyes narrowing as he looked Dante up and down, then he smiled. “I must say, you clean up rather nicely. I hardly recognized you.”
Dante rolled his eyes. “How are the raids going?”
Jayden scratched his chin as he inspected Dante’s appearance. “Rather well. The separate mercenary groups are reluctant to help each other, fearing that they would be put in a precarious situation. I assume that you plan on joining a raid to infiltrate the enemy’s camp?”
Dante nodded, that was his basic idea.
Jayden stepped forward. “Your disguise is rather good, but not great. Allow me.”
Jayden began to adjust the dirt that he had smudged on his face, which was an incredibly uncomfortable experience. He didn’t stop Jayden though. If Jayden really could hide his features better, stopping him would be foolish.
When Jayden finished, Dante created a flat blade and looked at his reflection. His features were hidden much better. “When should I join in the raids?”
“We’ll wait until the sun starts to set. It will lower the chance of you being recognized.”