Chapter 152 - Great Plains of Barrastan (3)
Sungjin pulled his two swords out of the demon's heart.
The demon coughed up black blood along with a short shriek. This was the third scouting party that he had encountered. Sungjin looked around. The enemy's encampment was right in front of his nose. Besgoro muttered,
'Now it really begins!'
As Besgoro had said, this was where it really began. Sungjin took out 'L'vain - Mantle of Darkness' from the Cube. This was the mantle that Illich had used while running away from Sungjin. The outside was honestly as black as the darkness of 'Darker Than Black'. Sungjin held the item and said,
The black mantle was equipped on his back, and 'Sael's Breath - Mantle of Freezing', which had been there earlier, was folded neatly and placed in his hand. Sungjin threw it into the cube and said,
"Then, let's begin."
After he switched mantles, Sungjin hid his presence and began to walk closer to the demon's encampment. Even though it was in the middle of the day, it was quiet inside the camp.
This was because the demon race were nocturnal by nature, and so their sleep pattern was opposite to that of humans. This had even been noted on the Information Sheet. Because of this, it was considered to be deep in the night for them at the moment, even though the sun was at its zenith.
In the demon's encampment, they were separated into squads. Although the exact reason for this was unclear, it seemed like this positioning was in response to the human force's siege weapons and magic of mass destruction.
Their opposite sleep pattern, and the slightly separated squad barracks. These two elements were the primary reasons the absolutely outnumbered hunters could clear this chapter. Sungjin looked inside the encampment.
Two guards were defending the barracks. They were yawning continuously as they stood near the camp entrance. Perhaps it was because they had recently won the battle against the human forces that they were not particularly vigilant.
Afterwards, Sungjin checked the other places. In-between each barracks were round drums displaying some kind of writing written in blood.
'There it is.'
It was a drum that was used to quickly send out an alert in case of an ambush. If that was rung, then the sound of the drum would spread throughout the camp and the entire enemy army would be alerted, and fighting them would become far more complicated. Sungjin kept those two guards and the drum in mind as he went inside the encampment. However, the sounds of conversation could be heard from somewhere.
"Haha, this is pretty tasty."
"Right? I told you so. It's a delicacy."
When he turned to look, Sungjin saw two demons having a meal near a fire they had set up at the outskirts of the barracks. They were eating some kind of meat as they talked about their victory in the recent engagement although it was unclear whether it was a horse's meat or human's.
"But you know, those human bastards were weaker than I thought."
"Yeah. Everyone said that the human race was unparalleled in their cunningness. I don't know about their cunningness, but they were all cowards. If you killed one, then three of them would run away, so my spear probably stabbed more backs and asses than it did stomachs and chests."
"I know! Kuha."
However, that demon's laugh did not continue for very long.
This was because Sungjin's sword came flying out of nowhere and cut out his throat. The other demon that had been eating with him looked up at Sungjin in surprise, but that was the last face he was about to ever see.
His head was cut into two pieces from top to bottom. Two demons were killed soundlessly, and none of their kin had witnessed it since they were on the outskirts. Sungjin covered himself with the mantle and said,
His figure soon disappeared. This item was better than the Invisibility spell because one- the cooldown was short, two- there was no mana consumption, and three- it could be invoked quickly. Sungjin headed inside the barracks after he had turned invisible. Inside, none of the demons were awake; they were all snoring loudly in their sleep.
Sungjin walked close to them and slit their throats. As they were sleeping, they could not let out screams before they crossed the river Styx.
After finishing the slaughter, Sungjin was about to walk out, when just then, a single demon approached the barracks. Sungjin sheathed his sword and waited right next to the entrance of the barracks.
"Hey, look here, it's time to rotate shif..."
After entering, the demon saw the corpses of his fellow kin and was about to shout in surprise.
It was likely that the demon had been about to say "Enemy!", or "Everyone's dead?", or "Everything's went to shit!". However, Sungjin had forcefully closed its mouth before it could shout and stabbed his sword in the demon's heart.
The demon tried to shout and scream but did not live long due to the a hole in its chest. Sungjin calmly moved the demon's corpse inside the barracks.
He once more wrapped his figure with the mantle and walked out. There were three barracks in a camp. Sungjin headed towards the next barracks. As expected, everyone in the second barracks was also fast asleep. There was a single exception.
It was a demon who was stroking his long toenail with his dagger. It might have been considered unsightly for a human being, but there was meaning for demons to do so.
A demon's nails were as hard as iron, so if they were ever without a weapon, those long, sharp nails could be used as a substitute. If one were to exaggerate a bit about a demon's nail care, then it could be said to be similar to Kargos tempering the weapons. Of course, it was pitiful that those nails would never see any use.
The body of the demon who was taking care of its nails collapsed like a rag doll. Afterwards, Sungjin killed the rest of the demons while waiting for the skill's cooldown to end.
He used the skill and walked to the last of the three barracks. Of course, everyone here was also in deep sleep. Sungjin began to end their lives one by one without much thought. However, while he was doing so,
A demon with sensitive hearing rose from his bedding, and after seeing the throats of his allies being cut out, he shouted,
Sungjin urgently cut out his throat, but he could hear noises coming from outside the barracks.
"What was that?"
Sungjin quickly exited the barracks. Outside, a single demon was standing there blankly. This was one of the remaining guards, as the other of the two guards had died earlier while trying to rotate shifts. He looked at Sungjin and then began running towards the drum.
Sungjin shot out his sword Blood Vengeance once he saw this.
Upon hearing something coming flying towards him, the demon ducked his head by instinct and avoided it. However, the drum that was used to notify everyone of an enemy intrusion was right in its path. Blood Vengeance noisily pierced the drum.
When he saw this, Sungjin slightly raised his hand and recalled his sword.
Since his hand was in a different position, the angle of the sword also slightly changed as it returned. On its way back to Sungjin's hand, Blood Vengeance completely ripped apart the drum. Having lost the tool to raise the alarm, the sole remaining demon shouted,
"Ambush! It's an ambush..."
Of course, there was no reason for Sungjin to just let this be. He first used Moon Specter to stab the demon's throat and shut his mouth and then used Blood Vengeance to cut the demon in half. Afterwards, Sungjin took a glimpse of his surroundings. There were no signs of life inside the base, and only the sounds of the wind that crisscrossed the plains could be heard.
It had been a successful ambush. Sungjin left to go find the next base. However, it seemed that Besgoro did not quite like this method.
'Hrm... You said that it would be a war between one man and an army...'
"Even if it's me, to fight directly against an entire army is too risky. After reducing the number of soldiers by going around the outskirts like this, I'll fight them head on for the final battle."
'Sure, you can do it like that, but... will you be able to finish quickly like this?"
Sungjin replied with a confident attitude to Besgoro's words.
"Of course, since time is relative. If it's hard for me, then it's even harder for the other hunters."
Serin pulled her bowstring more carefully than she had ever before. Next to her, Edward was chanting a spell.
"An unseen blade, Dark Edge."
Soon, a large black needle-like substance appeared in his hand. Serin looked at Edward's eyes. Edward looked back and then nodded his head. This meant that he was ready. Serin counted,
"One, two, three."
On three, the arrow on Serin's bow flew out simultaneously with the black substance in Edward's hand.
They flew into the demon's encampment and went through the demon heads.
The demons that had been eating meat while chattering until just a moment ago collapsed on the spot while still holding the meat. After confirming the kills, Serin looked back and nodded her head. The other eight hunters prepared to move inside slowly once they saw Serin's nod. The hunter that they had selected to be the party leader moved in front of them and said,
"From here on, we have to be careful. Don't make a sound, and in one stroke,"
He made a pantomime of cutting his throat with his hand.
"Wipe them out. Understood?"
Everyone nodded their heads to his words. The remaining hunters, as befitting of people who had survived until now, were experienced. They might not have known as much as what was said in Sungjin's briefing, but they had a basic sense of how to go through this chapter thanks to the information on the Information Sheet. Furthermore, after fighting, not their main forces, but their scouting parties, they had all come to realize one thing.
'It's impossible to win in a direct confrontation.'
If infiltration and assassination were not possible, then the Power Balance in this mission would have clearly been to their disadvantage. Serin and the other hunters proceeded into the base one by one. There were two demons standing guard as they yawned. The hunter in charge held up two fingers and then swung the arm downward towards the two guards. Soon, four hunters armed with swords, daggers, and an axe approached the demons.
The demons let out short groans, but thankfully it seemed that no one had heard it. The hunters then began their attack on the barracks. Everyone in the first barracks they entered was asleep. Each of the hunters approached the demons as the leading hunter held up three fingers.
'Three, two, one.'
When all three were folded, they simultaneously shoved their blades into the demons' necks, hearts, and heads. The first barracks was perfectly cleared. They left the corpses behind as they exited the barracks and headed towards the second one.
Serin, who had been behind the hunters, did not follow the other hunters and stayed outside the barracks. In any case, the weapons of the other hunters were more suited to 'finishing' the enemies inside the barracks than her arrows were. However, a drum came into her view.
'There's a drum in each camp. You should either rip that first or annihilate the enemy all at once.'
Serin followed Sungjin's words and took out an arrow. With the arrow point, she ripped the drum in an X shape.
But at that moment, a shout could be heard from the second barracks that the hunters had entered.
"It's the enemyyyyyyy!"
It seemed that some kind of problem had occurred inside. Serin looked towards the third barracks in surprise.
A squad of demons came rushing out from the barrack. They saw Serin, who had ripped the drum, and the hunters coming out of the second barrack. Serin jumped up in surprise.
Even if they had ripped the drum, if even one of those demons escaped to the other camps, then the entire enemy army would charge towards them. The other hunters had the exact same thought as well. Without any need for discussion, they charged at the demons from the last barracks.