Dragon Devouring Chapter 174

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EPISODE 87

“Castle…?” Russell murmured to himself.

Only a day ago, the plain was cluttered with red rock formations and pillars jutting out from the ground. But now, out of the blue, there stood a castle. Though its appearance was somewhat crude, there was no mistaking the massive earthen fortress, built by piling up dirt and connecting pillars and boulders.

Vermillion, upon discovering the walls over ten meters high, whispered, “This must be the work of Lord Nicolo.”

He crashed his flaming fist into the heads of the demons blocking his way.

Crack!

A ghastly sound accompanied the shattering of a demon’s skull, its brain matter evaporating faster than it scattered across the ground. Russell, stomping over the corpse of a headless demon, murmured in admiration, “All in a single night…”

To think that such an enormous earthen castle could be constructed in just one night. Elves perched atop the towering walls incessantly fired arrows into the fray.

“First row, target four hundred meters to the left, fire!”

With the rush of arrows descending like a downpour, the demons fell, screaming.

The Featherfolk soared through the sky, dropping massive rocks from above, while the Dwarves swung their iron axes and hammers with equal fervor.

“Take this, demons!”

“Know the taste of our stone barrage!”

With a series of resounding crashes, the skulls of demons trying to scale the walls were mercilessly crushed. And for the flying demons, the mages had their turn. The sky lit up with magical fireworks, turning the night into a dazzling display akin to the auroras seen in the northern skies. However, the events that followed were far from beautiful.

Screeching demons that were hit by magic lost their flight capabilities and began plummeting down. A hundred-meter fall was fatal even for the toughest of hides. And the falling corpses became a deadly form of projectile weaponry.

The ground where the demons landed caved in, creating craters and the dying screams of the caught demons turned to gurgles. The field of battle had completely transformed from the desperate struggle of the day before. Such was the power of a great archmage who had attained a kind of superhuman prowess, flipping the tide of battle and altering its very nature.

Among them was the King of the Ivory Tower, Nicolo Machiavelli, who could manipulate the earth at will. It was only then that Russell understood why Nicolo had been the right person for this mission and why no one had objected.

‘This is the strength of a superhuman…’

The chasm between the 6th and 7th Circles felt more than simply a numerical or a single level difference as Russell clenched his fist tighter. Then, a commotion arose from atop the earthen fortress.

Evidently, they’d noticed the presence of their own forces charging towards the fortress.

“It seems they’ve spotted us,” Russell muttered as Vermillion smirked in agreement.

Suddenly, the earth began to stir on either side of their path, forming tall stone walls, similar to the magic used to build the fortress.

The walls grew rapidly in a straight line, extending continuously until connected with the ramparts, effectively creating a demarcation line between the monsters and themselves. Although there were still demons inside the line, that was of little concern.

Flare Fist! Flare Cannon!

Russell and Vermillion’s spells ignited instantaneously. Their intertwined magic resonated and sent a massive wave of flames pushing through the air.

The demons caught within the interior of the stone walls were annihilated instantly by the straight line of fire.

Russell briefly caught his breath and readied his next spell, pulling cold air from the high night sky and dispersing it over the ground to prevent the molten earth from harming the fairies below.

With the incineration of the demons inside the barrier confirmed, a portion of the fortress wall split open like a gate. Soon after, Vermillion leading the vanguard surged through the walls.

Inside the fortress, Russell exhaled deeply, weary from the exertion. He glanced toward Olive, sweaty and gasping for air – understandable considering the non-stop magical assistance provided to hundreds over several hours. Even Vermillion, who had been at the forefront, was steadying his ragged breathing.

“Huh. It looks like I might have to increase my cardio when we get back,” Vermillion murmured, to which Russell couldn’t help but chuckle inwardly.

“Praise be to Endymion’s honored guests… How can we ever repay the favor?” said Arin, who had descended with Nicolo to check on the elf kin, her face a mirror image of Io’s will.

Russell, taking the place of the still winded Vermillion and Olive, responded on their behalf, “We simply did what was expected of us as allies; you needn’t be overly grateful.”

“Even so…” Arin tried to speak, only for a burst of bright dawn light to gently spread along the red canyon. A young elf exclaimed with hopeful fervor, “The sun is rising!”

The message was clear: It was time for the demons, who had swarmed the walls, to retreat.

“Hmm…” Hubert hummed as he gazed down from the fortress walls.

Against expectations, numerous demons still lurked in the shadows cast by the ramparts. Although they moved slower in the daylight, Vermillion mused, “The cowards we thought would flee at daylight have taken to hiding in the shade, it seems.”

“Demons retreating at sunrise is something I’ve never seen before,” the White Tower Master echoed, her rabbit doll floating next to her.

These were the demons sealed within Tartaros, presumably adapted to its darkness over eons. The magicians of Endymion, however, were unaware of this fact.

Russell suggested a purge, a reasonable move to make before the inevitable return of more demons by nightfall. Some were even attacking the fortress or attempting to climb the walls despite their sluggishness.

Nicolo sighed but agreed with Russell’s proposal, “I had hoped for some rest with the sunrise, but it seems we’ll have to postpone that.”

The two army commanders acknowledged the strategy within an improvised tent, prepared for their brief.

“Count Louigi and the 5th Legion are to ensure a tight encirclement to prevent any demons from escaping. Count Kruger and the 7th Legion will spearhead the extermination. The goal is to liberate Red Canyon from the demons and drive them deep into the Great Forest,” Nicolo instructed.

Ten thousand soldiers from two legions exuded a formidable presence that reassured all gathered that this force could surely defeat the demon hordes.

However, a gnawing unease lingered in the background, an inexplicable tension carried by the wind blowing from the far reaches of the abyss.

The Mage Devouring Dragon.

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