"Oh, the slavers are here already? Well, I guess it's a given since we destroyed their roadblock and killed 30 plus of their people. I'll go check it out," said Lorist as he turned towards the tent exit.
"Oh? Milord you managed to kill so many of them?" asked Charade. Potterfang and the other two were stunned.
"That's right. What other fate would they have for daring to obstruct our passage? Milord ordered us to obliterate the roadblock right away," answered Els proudly as he followed behind Lorist.
"But milord, you've just arrived. Shouldn't you take a short rest?" Potterfang asked. Lorist understood the hidden meaning in Potterfang's words: Potterfang was suggesting that he not act rashly and analyze the situation at hand first. He didn't know that Lorist already had a clear grasp of it from asking around at the port and already had already made a decision.
"That's not needed. It wouldn't be too late for me to rest up after wiping them out," Lorist answered. He then instructed, "Dulles, go to the carriage and get me a few quivers' worth of javelins. Remember to stick close to me later."
It was much more efficient to eliminate the enemy by throwing javelins infused with internal energy. Even a fully prepared Silver Swordsman couldn't take it head-on, not to say much of one who is unwary of the threat the javelins posed. During the battle at the roadblock, two riders and their mounts were nailed to the ground by javelins thrown by Lorist.
"Pffft..." Lode Wales who was following Potterfang laughed out loud. He said, "Pog, your lord is quite the bloodthirsty one. He can even say something like wiping all of them out like it's the easiest thing in the world. Don't forget that they have three Gold ranks."
"If Lord Locke says so, he'll be able to accomplish it," said Potterfang without turning back as he headed towards the camp's main entrance.
Arriving at the entrance, Lorist told Terman, "Organize these fellows and get those who are armed and equipped to follow me. Also, prepare the knights for a charge. Els, bring a few mounted soldiers with you and carry more javelins. We'll definitely kill the rowdy bunch of slavers who dared to mess with the Norton Family."
Upon hearing what Lorist had said, the whole group of people around him started cheering out loud while waving their weapons in the air. "Kill them all!"
The entrance of the camp was opened and Lorist rushed out as the vanguard towards the attacking slavers.
The two camps were only 200 meters apart and at that moment, the group of slavers numbered around 240 people. They had just crossed the middle of the battlefield and were shouting something along the lines of avenging their fallen comrades. Seeing the camp's door open and Lorist rushing out, they stopped in their tracks. There was only a distance of tens of meters between the attackers and the camp now.
Seeing the horde of slaves holding spears and crossbows, the attackers' expressions changed.
"Damn! We really shouldn't have stopped attacking a few days before. Now that they are armed, they'll be far more troublesome to dispose of and cause us even more casualties," said a yellow-faced man who was wearing a One Star Gold Battle Force badge.
"There's no point mulling about it now. It's all the fault of the useless ones we sent to block the road. If they were half as competent, they wouldn't have let them transport the weapons back to their camp. Oh well, I'm sure they'll rush back into the safety of their camp once we kill a number of them," said another bulky middle-aged man beside. On his chest was a Two Star Gold Battle Force badge.
"It's not just that! Only 5 of them managed to come back with the rest all dead. The main reason for that was I didn't expect the enemy to have any reinforcements and only intended to stop them from going to the town to purchase food and other provisions. I thought that we could crush them after they run out of resources. What I'm more worried about now is whether we have actually mistaken the forces of the Norton Family for another slaver group. If that's the case, then the aftermath definitely isn't something to look forward to," said yet another old man who wore a Three Star Gold Battle Force badge in a worrying tone.
"Stop worrying about it, old chum. Didn't the ones who returned tell us that they only had 5 Silver ranked knights and 10 other Silver Swordsmen? They said that the main reason they lost was because they were caught off guard. It's still not too late to hold them off right now. Also, when Master Pike and boss come back in ten days, the enemy will no doubt be crushed. Even if we don't manage to break into their camp, at least we can still hold them here," said the middle-aged man confidently.
Currently, Lorist by himself was already within 20 meters of his enemies. The first thing he said instantly enraged the attacking slavers.
"So, trash like you dare to obstruct the Norton Family's way? Do you have a death wish? You guys had better kneel and expose your necks so that you may enjoy the luxury of a painless death."
The yellow-faced man was the first one to succumb to the provocation. He said, "I don't know how you got the galls to spout bullshit like this. I'm anticipating the look of your face when you beg for mercy the moment I defeat you."
"Since you came over to die on your own accord, I'll grant that wish of yours," said Lorist as he drew his sword and rushed forward.
"Hahahaha......" The middle-aged man standing at the back starting laughing uncontrollably. "Damn, I even though he was some kind of Sword Saint judging by his attitude and the way he spoke! But in actuality, he's just an Iron rank who doesn't even have a blade glow! You gotta respect him for being brave enough to come forward to offer his life. Third brother, make sure you make a good example out of him so that the enemy attackers will think twice before acting."
Even though Lorist didn't wear a Battle Force badge, the absence of the blade glow on his sword gave his rank away. The group of slavers started laughing out loud at the incongruous situation.
The yellow-faced man readied himself and with a gleaming flash of his sword, he sent a light blade projectile towards Lorist's silhouette. But the shadow of Lorist suddenly jerked and the light blade passed his body by a hair's breadth. By that time, his longsword already slammed hard into that of the yellow-faced man, burying it deep into the ground. The distance between the two closed within an instant.
Badly startled, the yellow-faced man attempted to retreat only to discover that he wasn't able to move from his spot from having his sword stuck in the ground from Lorist's previous strike.
With a loud swish, Lorist's left hand drew a short sword from his waist and traced a path with it across the yellow-faced man's neck. After the blade reemerged from the other side of the neck, the head of the man flew off and landed on the ground with blood spurting all over and the body still standing slumped and unmoving.
All that happened within a time frame so short that the observers only saw the two figures clash once before witnessing the gruesome death of the yellow-faced man.
The Two Star Gold rank standing behind was shocked into a stupor. Before he recovered, he heard Lorist say, "It's your turn next."
Seeing Lorist rush over like an unstoppable storm, the middle-aged man scrambled to draw his sword and infuse it with Battle Force to parry the incoming strike.
Like a raging tempest, the sword in Lorist's hand lashed out in a series of attacks nonstop, with each strike creating a loud, crisp sound of clashing metal.
Clink! The sword of the middle-aged man which was radiating a faint blade glow snapped into two from Lorist's attack. Unable to believe what just had happened, the man stood there unmoving and in but a flash, one of his arms was severed and was sent flying through the air.
"Arrgh!" cried the man in much agony, before Lorist decapitated him and silenced him permanently.
"You..." The Three Star Gold ranked old man standing nearby was retreating nonstop as if he had just seen a wraith. Seeing Lorist turn his attention to him only served to unnerve him even more.
"Old man, now it's your turn to pass on," said Lorist with a smile. In the old man's eyes, the smile looked ever so sinister and terrifying. The contrast between Lorist's low voice and his light-hearted laughter sounded like the cry of a bloodthirsty demonic being. For two Gold ranks to fall under his blade within but a moment was something that old man could never dream of. Given his knowledge of the abilities of the two other swordsmen, one of whom had a sword style that was even more devious and aggressive than his own, the old man understood that to face Lorist head-on was akin to suicide.
Scared beyond his wits from being targeted by Lorist, that old man backed off until his way was blocked by the people behind him.
As he approached, the old man shouted loudly, "Everyone, let's attack together! He's only one person! Turn him into mincemeat......"
After that, the old man disappeared into the crowd.
Even though the slavers at the front witnessed Lorist slaughter the other two Gold ranks, the ones behind were not aware of the situation and started rushing towards him at the sound of the old man's shout, pushing the ones in front forward as well.
Lorist laughed and said, "Just in time!"
The sword in his hand whooshed as it arced through the fabric of space. Lorist completely abandoned his usual principle of keeping his abilities hidden and engaged in total massacre. After all his friends joined him on the journey despite having to forsake their comfortable lives at Morante City, nobody would have expected for them to be oppressed by the slavers right after their departure. If he still wanted to hide his abilities at this point, there was no doubt that his soldiers would lose their morale and cause many issues to surface in the future.
To foster the confidence of his forces and take action in response of his injured family knights and the other senior students of the academy, Lorist steeled his resolve to not spare any one of these slavers. Thus, the first battle on the journey north broke out.
At that moment, Lorist felt extra energized and focused. From his dynamic vision, the incoming enemies looked like a horde of slow, stunted puppets. With a low grunt, Lorist danced with his sword into the sea of people.......
Blades flashed all over with chunks of meat airborne as fountains of blood stained the whole battlefield. Amidst severed heads and limbs as well as broken weapons, Lorist was akin to a tiger that had gotten into the middle of a herd of sheep. Chaos broke out wherever he went: everything could be summarized into a series of agonizing screams, swords clashing and surprised gasps. The enemies started to retreat as quickly as they had rushed over, much like the coming and receding of a wave at the shore of a beach.
The slavers all backed off from Lorist, leaving him standing alone in the middle of a circular space. Bathed all over with blood, his whole form was dyed dark red with about twenty seven or twenty eight corpses lying on the ground beside him, some of which were headless or had their limbs separated from their body.
The whole battlefield fell into complete silence with everyone looking at Lorist, speechless at the gruesome sight. The slavers were all dumbfounded by that scene while the Norton Family's forces looked upon him with crazed fervor, admiration, and respect.
Wales and Malek both had their mouths agape. Looking at Potterfang, Wales asked, "Is... Is he really an Iron rank like you said......"-
Wiping some blood off his face, Lorist could see the Three Star Gold ranked old man gingerly moving away from him.
"Hehehe..." Lorist started laughing lightly. "Old man, where do you think you're going? You better stay there obediently so that I don't have to waste so much energy on you."
The old man instantly broke into a run......
Lorist quickly followed and slayed those who dared to impede him. The slavers who got out of the way had temporarily survived while some who were still dumbfounded found themselves on the ground the next moment with their necks slit.
The slavers' group quickly collapsed as most of their members tossed their weapons and ran back in the direction of their camp, terrified.
Terman waved his hand and his group of knights leveled their lances and started their charge......
Riding over with ten other senior students of the academy, Els shouted loudly on horseback, "Norton!"
Their other students responded by shouting in unison, "Norton!"
The cheers were echoed by the multitudes of slaves as well. They all shouted the name of Lorist's family spiritedly.
That old fellow was rather sharp as he didn't return to the slavers' camp but instead circled around it to escape to the town. He believed that he would be able to blend in like a fish in the sea the moment he reached and escape that horrifying youth.
Huffing and panting, the town was already within sight. The old man stopped and breathed a sigh of relief. But the moment he turned to his back, his soul almost fled his body.
Behind him was that freakish youth who still had blood dripping all over his body. With a face full of smiles, he said, "Go on, keep running. I'd like to see for how much longer you can last."
That old man felt both his legs give out at that moment and he couldn't do anything about it. He even felt the irresistible urge to relax his bladder and let out the contents within.
Kneeling in front of Lorist, the old man said, "I... I surrender..."
"Hey, old man, you think that we're playing pretend war like little kids? Do you think I will spare you just because you said you'll surrender? It doesn't work that way, you know." Lorist felt that the old man's action was pretty laughable.
"I, I'm already pretty old and I've been thinking of quitting for some time now. I only stayed with them because I had no other choice. Also, I didn't even kill one of your men and only managed to wound that fat one lightly in the first battle, which isn't anything he shouldn't be able to recover from..." The old man kept kneeling as he tried to find excuses for himself.
Oh, so Charade was hurt by this old guy.
"Then you're implying that I should be thankful to you for that and let you go?" laughed Lorist.
"I wouldn't dare..." replied the old man while he shook his head.
Sounds of horses galloping could be heard. It was Dulles who came over with two horses and some other javelins.
"Milord, sorry I'm late," he apologized.
"Hehe, it's no big deal. These slavers turned out to be quite a piece of cake. They're all bark but no bite," replied Lorist. He looked over to that old man and said, "Oldie, no matter the circumstance, you're still a Three Star Gold rank you know. Shouldn't you at least draw your sword and die from a glorious death?"
The old man shook his head fervently and he said, "That's merely suicide, I don't want to do that at all. I only ask for you to spare my worthless life."
Alright, this old fellow seems like a pretty laid back fellow. Taking out a javelin from his quiver, Lorist hurled it towards that old man and it landed only inches beside him. The old man's body twitched as he wet his own pants on the spot.
"Sol, oldie... You actually got so scared you wet yourself... You truly bring shame to Gold Swordsmen..." cursed Lorist.
"I... I've always been the cowardly sort... I couldn't hold it in after seeing milord's mighty form," stammered the old man with a face reddened from embarrassment.
"Well, I wouldn't mind sparing you, but what's in it for me?" asked Lorist.
"I... I'll give half of my savings to you, milord. There should be at least 1000 gold Fordes," said the old man after considering it for quite a while.
Lorist shook his head and said, "It's not enough. You're a Gold Swordsman, and it's not like I lack any money either. I'd rather cut your head off and show it off to the others than take your measly amount of money."
"I'll even give you my high-ranked Battle Force manual," added the old man.
"Hehe, it's already a given that I'll get it after I kill you," said Lorist as he readied another javelin.
"It is not with me right now," said that old man stubbornly.
"Relax, I'm sure there's someone who would recognize you. I'll just have them lead me to your home and take that whole place apart if I have to," consoled Lorist.
The old man despaired and he finally said after hesitating, "I... I have a granddaughter and she's really beautiful. She's only 18 and is still a virgin... I'll... I'll let you have her, milord."
"Sol, old man... You're too shameless you know. For you to offer your own granddaughter to others for your own life is the worst thing you can do as someone's elder!" shouted Lorist angrily.
"That's not the case. My granddaughter can only survive if I am alive. The only reason she's not being oppressed is because people take into account that I am her grandfather. If I die, she'll be helpless on her own and might even suffer a fate worse than death. That's why at the very least I have to survive to ensure her safety and well-being," declared the old man forthrightly.
"Oh, you do have a good point. However, that still doesn't cut it. I can easily get your daughter the same way I get your other belongings after I kill you," said Lorist.
"Milord, I beg you... What can I do to make you spare me?" The old man couldn't help but break into tears.
"Dulles, what do you say?" asked Lorist as he made a hand sign to him.
Dulles got the message and started playing along. "Milord, that old man is so pitiful, and it's not like he actively acted against us and killed any of our comrades. Why don't you let him live?"
"That won't do. Those who dare go against the Norton Family must be punished without exception," said Lorist as his killing intent filled the surroundings.
"Then, how about this? Milord, why don't you take him in as a slave? Let him serve you for 10 years and if he does well, he'll be able to regain his freedom by then," suggested Dulles.
"But do you think he'll be willing?" Lorist pretended to be interested and shook his head. "I think killing him will be easier though, otherwise I'll be worried that he'll act against me one day."
At that moment, the old man started kowtowing and said, "Of course I'm willing! I'll definitely serve milord to the best of my ability and be loyal at all times!"
"Alright, then I'll you live. Dulles, tie him up and make him sign a slave contract once we get back to the camp. After that, take his gold coins, Battle Force manual as well as all his family members along. Don't forget that pretty granddaughter of his," said Lorist.