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 These cunning Humans!

Bobo rode on the massive back of the Rhino Beast, gazing palely at the snow field before him. The Orcs surrounding him panted for air. Bobo thought that he just needed to chase the cowardly Humans and eventually capture them because the Rhino Beast's speed was much quicker than a warhorse's and the thick snow field slowed them down even more. However, he didn't expect these Humans to be that crafty. Even though the warhorses weren't as quick, they around turned the corners and were unlike any of the Human Cavalrymen Bobo had seen in the past, charging forward in a straight line. But he had to admit, even though this tactic didn't look impressive, it was exceptionally effective. The Rhino Beast weren't flexible enough to catch up when their prey darted in another direction abruptly. What made the Orcs even more furious was that they had been chasing the Humans for a long time and failed to laid their hands on them. The Orcs were hoping to capture the Humans and their warhorses to fill their stomachs. But now, not only did they not have food on the table, but they were also drained. The chilly breeze cooled the Orcs' fuming aggression.

As Bobo glared fiercely at the dark figures in the distance, his fellow tribesman yelled loudly and rushed forward to tug his arm. Then, the tribesman pointed back frantically.

"Bobo, behind! Black smoke! Huge black smoke! On fire!"

What?

Bobo turned around anxiously. He witnessed the billows of smoke in the distance and his heart sank instantly. He knew where the smoke was from. The scheming Humans! Is this what they were plotting all along?!

"G-Go!"

Bobo turned around without any hesitations. He lifted a gigantic ox horn hanging by the saddle and blew with all his might. The deep horn resounded on the Ice Field. The Orcs swiftly turned around and berated their massive mounts to return to the fort in the fastest speed.

"It seems that Sir Overlord has succeeded over there."

John sighed helplessly. In order to maintain coordination with Rhode, they had decided on several secret signs. Billows of black smoke that meant success and also requesting for John's Cavalrymen to retreat and provide reinforcements. However, John still felt somewhat hopeless because he believed that Rhode was walking on a dangerous path. A tactic that worked against these Orcs didn't mean that it would work against strong opponents. Although, strictly speaking, John's expertise was in berserk assault tactics, his personality was completely the opposite. This young man was a reserved and meticulous person and he naturally didn't wish for Rhode to take such risks in battle. But now, he had no say in it.

"Alright, Brothers!"

John shook his head and threw bizarre thoughts to the back of his head. He raised his right arm, shouted out loud and swung his arm down.

"It's time for us to shine!"

The sword blade penetrated an Orc's solid chest, forcing a painful groan out of the exhausted creature. The Orc struck his stone ax forward while Marfa withdrew his blade and rolled to dodge the retaliation. But that wasn't all. The Orc neglected his punctured chest and extended his left hand forward with a bellow. Suddenly, a thin, golden barrier flickered before Marfa and slowed the Orc's attack. Marfa seized this chance and leaped up. His razor-sharp blade flashed into a bolt of lightning that penetrated the Orc's forehead. The Orc collapsed heavily to the ground lifelessly.

Marfa withdrew his sword. He turned to the petite, adorable Cleric and nodded with a smile. The Cleric lowered her head shyly.

After the mercenaries broke into the fort, the situation took a quick turn. The abandoned fort was built by the Humans and wasn't suitable for the massive size of the Orcs, so they couldn't unleash their powerful might. The Orcs couldn't stabilize the situation when they faced the ambush. The mercenaries agilely used the narrow surroundings to their advantage and led the flustered enemies about. However, there was one exception.

"Go to hell!"

Anne raised her steel shield and charged forward like a human tornado, crushing into an Orc that was launching an attack on the Clerics. Her formidable strength propelled the strong, burly Orc away, but that wasn't all. She smashed her shield into the ground with all her might and the immense shock wave blasted into the pitiful creatures and their blood everywhere. Perhaps ordinary Humans would have been crippled in shock by the savage scene, but it was nothing unusual for Anne. She swung her shield into an Orc who had jumped down from the tall wall. Their weapons clashed and Anne sunk slightly upon the impact.

"...!"

No one noticed that Anne let out the deep growl of a wild animal. Her emerald green eyes glinted in a bright green radiance. Before the Orc responded, she drove him into the stone wall with her shield. The wall crumbled instantly and buried them under crushed rocks. Anne gritted her teeth as she crawled out from the pile of rocks. The worn down walls around her started swaying. Shortly after, stones fell from above like rain drops.

"Anne! Danger! Run!"

Lize shrieked in horror. Anne didn't return to the Clerics instantly like she always did. Instead, after crushing her enemy, she stood up slowly and scanned around her as though she didn't realize the predicament she was under. As Lize ran over to drag her out of danger, Anne extended her right arm to Lize.

"-!"

Lize felt a strong gust of wind blowing against her. Then, she turned around and spotted fragments and blood splashing all around. An Orc's head had been blown away and it collapsed to the ground. Its eyeball flew in the air and landed on Lize's defense shield like a ball of mincemeat.

Lize looked on palely and was disgusted by the scene. But, she quickly turned around and shockingly discovered that Anne had already returned to her side.

"Don't worry, Lize. Anne will protect you girls. Just continue to charge forward!"

"Okay... Okay..."

Lize nodded in hesitation. For unknown reasons, she felt that the innocence in Anne was nowhere to be seen and there was suddenly a wild, irascible beast inside her. Even Lize who understood Anne the most became cautious of her.

The flames flickered.

Sol retreated with his curved blade in hands. The red-haired young lady hidden behind him extended her arm and her pupils shrunk into a thin line. She sucked in a deep breath of air and widened her mouth. Roaring flames blasted out as though a flamethrower.

The fiery red flames struck the large doors. Shortly after, the Orcs inside let our mournful screams. However, the Half-Demons had no intentions of letting them off. The red-haired young lady closed her mouth and retreated at the same time. Another young man with long horns on his head extended his arms and chanted softly. A highly toxic, deep green fog exuded from his finger and blended with the flames. Then, the sorrowful groans turned softer and vanished entirely.

Not bad.

Rhode was satisfied with their performances. Although this was their first actual battle and their strength wasn't comparable to his elite squad, Rhode didn't wish to simply watch them defeat the Orcs. Instead, he hoped to see their discipline and execution capability. No matter if it was Joey, Randolf, or the newly joined Sol and his Half-Demons companions, they had all displayed strict discipline. Even though there was still room for improvement for the camaraderie between them, they would still be able to secure this win safely. The Half-Demons mostly possessed the abilities to control flames and ice and create poison and dark fog. It was also due to this strength that Humans had alienated them. But now, Rhode needed this strength from them. In fact, their strength had been proven lethal. In the narrow space, no matter how strong the Orcs were, none of them could escape the envelopment of the poison fog and blaze. Although this wouldn't be advantageous against the Country of Darkness, it would be great against the maggots of the Country of Light.

As Marfa and Sol's group suppressed the Orcs within the fort, Joey and Randolf on the outside didn't watch idly. Joey led his team of Thieves to set up traps for the Orcs riding on their Rhino Beasts while Randolf and his Rangers scanned the surrounding from the arrow towers.

Everything is going as planned.

Rhode was rather spellbound by this scene. He didn't contribute too much in this attack this time. The Orcs were on the average of level 30 and they were still a little too threatening for his men. But these Orcs weren't worth any EXP for him, which was why he observed from the side after annihilating two dangerous Shamans for them. Rhode felt as though he had returned to the game just by looking at this scene. The noise and clamor brought back a lot of memories.

"Suppress the east! We can't hold on any longer! Don't lure the creatures here. Hold them back with your AOE skills!"

"Number 8! Where the hell are you?! Get your *ss back here within 10 seconds or I'll kick you out of the party!"

"What the?! Those shameless skeletons are insane! Blast the bridge off now!"

But this wasn't the game.

Rhode returned to his senses. Memories of banter between his players slowly faded. Every battle here involved life and death, unlike the game, where one could restart once again if one died. In the game, the player who died and laid on the ground could still joke with the Clerics in their spiritual status while waiting to be revived. But here, Rhode didn't wish to test if he had the ability to revive on the spot even with the system support.

He wanted to live on and win.

And now, it was just the start. In order to prepare himself for the upcoming battle, he had prepared for a full year. Although his current forces weren't as powerful as he had in the game, this was still a great start for him and he wished for a wonderful ending.

"Reporting, Sir! We've suppressed the entire fort!"

Marfa's voice rang and dragged Rhode back into reality. Rhode nodded, but he spotted the hesitant look on Marfa's face. As expected, the middle-aged mercenary voiced out his concerns.

"Sir, this was what happened. Our brothers discovered some Orcs when they were searching the fort. They..."

Rhode extended his hand and interrupted.

"Where's Lize?"

"Ah?"

Marfa was taken aback by Rhode's question, but he swiftly answered.

"Miss Lize and her team is currently treating our injured companions outside the fort, but the situation isn't grave. We can still manage..."

Rhode once again interrupted him. He turned around and spoke to the other mercenary.

"Tell Lize to back out from the fort with Sol's group and get ready to face the Orc riders."

Rhode turned back to Marfa and nodded.

"Bring me there."

Rhode said.

Under Marfa's lead, Rhode arrived at the deeper parts of the fort that was in a terrible shape. Rhode spotted several fully-armored mercenaries looking out anxiously from the stone-built hall. Then, he saw everything inside.

30 to 40 young Orcs had curled up and gathered in the hall. They hugged one another in their shuddering arms and gazed worriedly at the intruders with widened eyes. A few female Orc corpses laid before them.

"We have just discovered this place and faced resistance from the Orcs. Our brothers have gotten rid of a few of them, but..."

Marfa paused. The young Orcs were still dangerous, but he couldn't bear to snatch their young lives even though they were evil. This was why he reported to Rhode about it and hoped that he could make a satisfactory decision.

Rhode stood by the entrance of the hall and scanned the curled up, young Orcs. The young Orcs sensed his gaze and stood up bravely with wooden clubs in their shivering hands. Rhode looked on quietly before gesturing to his mercenaries and turning to Marfa.

"You do know that we're here to rescue the residents in this region from the raids and threats of these wild beasts in the next decades."

"Sir, I do understand that... But..."

Rhode extended his hand and stopped Marfa from speaking further. He swept a glance to the young Orcs once more and swung down his right arm. Along with this movement, a scarlet card emerged in his hand and a blaze erupted. The Hell Hound leaped out and locked eyes on its prey. Its razor-sharp claws dug into the ground and it let out a deep growl before pouncing forward.

Boom!

An explosion blasted into the sky and devoured everything.

"It's settled now."

Rhode turned to Marfa and said in a calm tone.

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