The other group of people were surrounding Crew Leader Adams who was currently fighting against Patt and Jim. Patt was currently uninjured given the fact that he was a shield-bearer: while he excelled at defense, his offense was no doubt slightly lacking. However, the reason Patt was so out of breath was because he was busy providing Jim support and shielding from the incessant blows of the enraged Adams. It was clear that he loathed Jim for his betrayal.
"Stand down, you guys. Let me take him on," said Lorist as he walked among the three and parried Adams's strike towards Jim with his longsword.
Patt and Jim both felt relieved and quickly retreated. Even though it was a two-on-one battle, the Three Star Silver ranked Adams obviously held overwhelming advantage over Patt and Jim, who were One Star Silver and Two Star Silver ranked respectively. Had Patt not been a shield-bearer who had trained in dynamic vision, the two of them would have been defeated long ago.
"It's you?" said Adams as he recognized Lorist's blood-covered form. Surprised, he quickly turned to look behind him but his line of sight was obscured by the multitudes of soldiers surrounding him.
"There's no point in looking. The two Gold ranked shield-bearers have already died by my hand," said Lorist calmly. "Now that your crew has lost most of its people, you're satisfied right? My family's soldiers also suffered quite a loss. These people have all died because you stubbornly refused to surrender. It's now your turn, so I ask you. Are you satisfied?"
"Stop bullshitting. How could you have killed them? You must be lying..." said Adams in a fit of denial. The moment Lorist mentioned the death of the two shield-bearers, he had been shocked into a trance before he snapped out of it and rebutted.
"Why would I bother lying to you? Look at your surroundings and you will understand. You guys, make some way so this bastard can have a good look," ordered Lorist.
The soldiers from the two squads all retreated ten steps back, allowing Adams to see the bloodstained floor littered with corpses of the mercenaries as well as the metal armor-equipped Norton soldiers who were rummaging around the battlefield and dragging the bodies of their comrades to one side while driving a sword into other mercenaries who were on the verge of dying. From time to time, a cry of agony could be heard...
"How... How can this be?" Adams was completely baffled by the scene before him to the point that his face turned completely pale. Originally having the advantage after he started leading his men during the battle, he was reminded of Jim's betrayal when he joined the fray with his other comrades. Had it not been for Jim, he wouldn't have let his guard down so easily and allow his men to rest at the tents and fall into the trap.
At that point, Adams had already lost all notion of guiding his men and only wanted to chop Jim into a thousand tiny pieces. Thus, he gave up on fighting Patt and went to settle the score with Jim. It was fortunate that Patt didn't give up the chase and continued to pester Adams before he joined forces with Jim and held him back for the whole time. By the time Adams had snapped out of his fury, he was already facing Lorist and was once again shocked to hear the revelation.
"My brothers... My Feathersoar Mercenary Crew..." Adams had already fallen to the lowest depths of despair. Staring at Lorist, bloodlust once again filled his eyes. This darned baby-faced Baron Norton... I'll slaughter him even at the cost of my life!
"I will end you!" roared Adams as he speedily approached with his sword raised up high.
Lorist rushed right at him and after the instant the both of them passed each other, Adams's head could be seen flying through the air as his headless body continued taking tens of steps forward while spraying fresh blood all over the place before it plummeted to the ground with an audible thump.
It had finally ended. Lorist started to feel both physically and mentally worn out and could only support himself with his sword pushed to the ground to stop himself from collapsing.
Shadekampf came down from the walls to Lorist's side and said, "Milord, you..."
Lorist said in a tired voice, "Shadekampf, I'm fine. I'm just a little too tired. Carry me to someplace where I can sit down..."
A chair was brought in front of Lorist without delay and after sitting down, Lorist said, "Shadekampf, I need you to get someone to call Supervisor Kedan and Butler Boris over here. I have some instructions to give out. Also, get me an estimate of our losses on the battlefield as soon as possible."
"Milord, what do you need us to do?" asked Supervisor Kedan after he came over with Butler Boris. While Kedan was not too bothered by the smell of blood and corpses of the battlefield, Boris on the other hand had his face drained pale by the spectacle and was stifling the urge to vomit.
"Supervisor Kedan, go to the camp outside the walls and rally up the youths that have come with us into a few temporary defense units with 120 people in each squad. Form as many as you can with the people you have and allocate weapons to them as needed. I need them to take charge of defending the walls as soon as possible."
"Yes, milord. I will go carry that out right away," said Kedan before he saluted and hurriedly left.
"Butler Boris, I'll be leaving the new slaves that have just arrived under your care, so help them settle down into their quarters and arrange for their meals to be served. Make sure they don't cause any trouble, alright?" Lorist instructed.
"Understood, milord. I will make sure that they stay within the camp quietly," said Boris before he bowed and headed for the place where the slaves gathered to watch the bloody fight that had just ended. However, after taking a few steps, he could no longer stand the stench of blood in the air and puked on the spot.
A sound of crying resounded not far away. Lorist lifted his head to take a look only to see Reidy supporting Ovidis, whose body was wrapped with several bandages, over to where Lorist was. Ovidis was currently grief-stricken and crying like a little child with snot and tears muddled all over his face.
When the both of them finally reached Lorist's front, Ovidis kneeled down and hugged Lorist's leg before he cried out, "Milord, they're all dead... Pete, Mark, Ankor, Wessen..."
Lorist recognized the names that Ovidis had mentioned: they were Ovidis's comrades who had deserted the army and joined the bandits together with him.
Lorist patted Ovidis's shoulder and said, "It's all my fault. I shouldn't have been so naive to think that everything would go according to plan. I was so fixated on the idea of the mercenaries surrendering that I forgot that even a desperate animal would not hesitate to jump off a cliff...
"Reidy, you did pretty good today. How are your injuries holding up?"
"I'm fine, they're just superficial scratches that will recover in a day or two. Milord, I've killed a Silver ranked mercenary just now. It's my first time defeating someone of a higher rank, so I'm incredibly happy," said Reidy, obviously satisfied with his performance during the battle.
Lorist laughed and said, "I've seen it. You did great. However, you shouldn't think too highly of this as this time, the enemy was forced into desperation and the tides of the battle had shifted to our side. It is possible that your enemy made a mistake from being forced into that desperate situation. Had he been in perfect condition both in form and mind, he might've been able to put a couple or more wounds on you. So, you still need to train hard, alright?"
"I will, milord," promised Reidy.
"Come here and help me move this guy over there and lay him on a mat. Seriously... For him to cry himself to sleep..." said Lorist as he looked at Ovidis who was snoring away with his head on his knee.
"Milord, this guy was just bragging that he had killed 7 enemies. Initially, I thought he was just bluffing, but it seems that it might've been true. There are three long wounds on his body which he had just received treatment for, and he has just consumed some medicine as well. So, it's not weird for him to fall asleep like that. Had it not been for the fact that he got to know about the death of his comrades, he would've went to get some sleep long ago," said Reidy before he asked someone to carry Ovidis into a tent so that he may get some good rest.
Josk walked over and lowered his head before he said, "Milord, I've let your expectations down and let two to three escape..."
"What's going on?" Lorist asked. He was quite confused that Josk had mentioned 'two to three' ambiguously instead of a fixed number.
According to Josk, he had forced the mercenaries outside the wall to surrender according to the original plan. But after the sounds of battle rang out followed by Shadekampf ordering the ballistas to be fired, Josk noticed that something must have went wrong. By the time he turned back to look, the situation outside the walls had already turned chaotic. He only understood that a huge change had occurred after seeing Lorist entangled with the two shield-bearers.
Without hesitating, Josk quickly fired his arrows and managed to kill two mercenaries in the beginning before the rest managed to rush among the ranks of the Norton soldiers, causing him to be unable to aim properly without worrying about hitting his own allies. Thus, he could only focus his attention on looking for mercenaries who were not engaged in battle with any one of his own allies. Due to the sudden change and the diversion of Josk's attention, the mercenaries outside the wall who have surrendered took the chance to slip away on their horses.
However, it did not go unnoticed by Josk and he quickly fired at them in response. But due to the cunning plan of the mercenaries to split up into different directions as opposed to traveling in a group, especially some experienced mercenaries who frequently zig-zagged around the field, it became even harder for Josk to snipe all of them down.
Having shot out 32 arrows during a short span of time, only 26 mercenaries were knocked off their horses. Two of them had managed to escape from Josk's range of fire while another had been hit by an arrow but managed to get away slumped on his horse and it wasn't known whether he survived the hit or not. That's why Josk gave an uncertain count to Lorist in his report.
"It's not your fault. It's because I didn't consider the possibility of the mercenaries choosing to resist despite being under the threat of ballistas..." said Lorist as he shook his head while letting out a sigh.
"How are the casualties?" Josk asked.
"I'm still not certain of that at the moment, but I've already asked Shadekampf to conduct a rough estimate for me. We will know in a few moments. I really hope that we haven't lost too many men..." replied Lorist in a pained voice.
After a few more moments, Shadekampf returned to Lorist's side along with Patt.
"Tell me..." said Lorist.
"Milord, our forces have lost around 50 to 60 men with 89 injured, among which 17 soldiers were handicapped, with 38 others sustaining heavy injuries and are still in an unstable condition... The casualties of the guard squad number 14 men and the rest are all members of the defense units... It was fortunate that they were wearing metal armor. Otherwise, it would've been much worse," said Shadekampf as his voice got softer from his grief.
Lorist's mouth twitched as he stood there speechless. Aside from the 80 soldiers on the hill and the walls who were manning the ballistas, more than half of the 280 Norton soldiers have either died or gotten hurt. Given that a squad's worth of soldiers were incapacitated in that fight, it was no wonder Ovidis was crying so profusely.
Lorist only managed to control his emotions after a while before he asked, "How about the casualties of the Feathersoar Mercenary Crew?"
"Milord, of the 172 mercenaries that were within the walls including their leader, 23 have surrendered to us as prisoners with the rest being all dead without a single survivor," replied Shadekampf.
The reason that there are no surviving injured enemy mercenaries was because all living Feathersoar mercenaries found on the battlefield regardless of the extent of their wounds were slaughtered by the hate-filled Norton soldiers who had lost so many of their comrades to them. Had it not been for the 20 mercenaries who were on the Norton Family's side stopping the soldiers, the 23 surrendered mercenaries wouldn't have been spared as well.
"What is that you have in your hand?" Lorist asked.
Shadekampf took out a few documents with the first one being the casualty report, the second one being a record of the surviving Feathersoar mercenaries and a third document that was filled to the brim with many words. Lorist had casually asked Shadekampf about it because he was curious about its contents.
"Milord, this is the kill count as recorded by Patt," explained Shadekampf.
With his curiosity piqued, Lorist asked, "What are the statistics? Tell me more about it."
Shadekampf referred to the paper and said, "Milord, you've killed the most among all of us with 41 Feathersoar mercenaries having died by your hands, including the two shield-bearers you defeated earlier. The next on the list is Sir Josk. who single-handedly shot 15 of the enemy mercenaries dead. His kills were the easiest to determine as every corpse had an arrow on it. Ovidis killed 7, Reidy killed 5 while Patt killed the least at 2 people. However, that was because he had long been encumbered by the squad leader ever since the start of the battle. Other than that, the ballistas managed to kill 14 mercenaries and the 20 mercenaries on our side killed 7 and captured another 23."
Lorist made a quick calculation in his mind and came up with a conclusion quickly. "That means that the total number of enemies killed by us is 91. Including the 23 captured prisoners, there are 114 people in total of the 172 men of the Feathersoar Mercenary Crew. The extra 58 people were killed by our guard squad and defense unit, which have both lost 130 plus men in total. Considering the fact that most of their kills have been done when they were cleaning up the battlefield after the main fight, the losses of our men to theirs is near a 3 to 1 ratio. This level of battle prowess is far too weak."
Upon hearing Lorist's words, Josk, Patt and Reidy all showed apologetic expressions. Even though the guard squad and defense units were usually equipped with metal armor and seemed rather imposing and impressive, when actually deployed on the battlefield, they weren't as effective as they seemed at all. Even though they had the support of the ballistas as well as the superior equipment compared to the Feathersoar mercenaries who only had leather armor, the outcome of their losses in relation to that of their enemy was quite disappointing, even after taking into account of the the substantially higher number of Battle Force users of the enemy.
"We should carry out more drills and tactical training runs in the future," Lorist concluded quickly so that the rest wouldn't focus too much on the setback.