Regressor of the Fallen Family chapter 22

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Chapter 22: “Into Battle!”

Booooom.

As the long trumpet call rippled through the air, the gates opened and the armored cavalry, led by the knights of the McLaine family, charged forth from the castle.

53 knights.

Over 550 cavalrymen, not drafted soldiers but regulars, and apprentice knights.

And nearly 5,000 draftees.

In total, an army exceeding 5,000 in number.

Three days after the declaration of war, the McLaine territory had summoned a force beyond its limits.

Among the conscripts, there were even young lads whose cheeks were still downy with soft fuzz.

Moreover, a quarter of the draftees lacked proper equipment, brandishing spears and clad in hastily assembled wooden armor.

It was no exaggeration to say they had merely filled a quota.

“We have no choice. If the invaders wager their fate, we too must mobilize everything we have.”

Patrick tried to justify the excessive drafting and forced his gaze upwards to the sky.

Riding a giant black steed, much larger than the average warhorse, and clad in a helmet with a red plume, he was at the very front, waving his hand.

“Waaaaah!”

The people of the territory cheered at the sight, but underneath the forced cheers, their expressions were filled with anxiety.

“The enemy?”

“They have entered within a day’s journey.”

“We’ll encounter them by half a day then.”

“Yes.”

Tension laced the conversation between Patrick and Heinckel.

Despite their inner unrest, their faces were calm as they looked back at the territory’s people.

It was a feigned front to assuage the troops and the people’s anxiety.

However, that calm facade dissipated not long after they left the gate.

“Where did Logan go?”

“…He left at dawn with the mercenaries.”

“Why?”

“I’m not quite sure…”

“What?!”

Patrick’s face contorted at Heinckel’s reply.

“Why didn’t you stop him?”

“Command over the mercenaries falls under the young lord. And…”

“He showed some diligence lately, is that it?”

“…”

“You’ve gotten lax, Heinckel.”

“My apologies.”

As Heinckel hurriedly bowed his head, Patrick sighed deeply.

“Sigh… People don’t change easily after all.”

“Hm?”

Heinckel looked puzzled at the sudden lament, but Patrick wasn’t blaming him.

“Seems like I placed false hope in Logan.”

“…!”

“Likely he’s fled. Exclude him from the forces.”

Patrick’s resolute tone made Heinckel lift his head.

Despite a short time, the young lord he trained with didn’t seem like someone who would flee.

But before he could say anything, someone next to Patrick erupted.

“That’s impossible!”

The boy barely older than his own gear objected vehemently, his eyes blazing red.

“My brother would never do that!”

Ronian recalled the image of his brother who visited him during training not long ago.

– Not yet, not yet. You still can’t control it.

Pondering over his brother’s disappointed sigh, his brother had demonstrated an astonishing skill, even to the inexperienced Ronian.

A secret technique shown by none other, not even their father.

– I will teach you soon as well. Let’s save our family together.

Ever since, it had been clear his brother sensed a looming bad atmosphere.

Such a brother wouldn’t abandon his family and flee.

“My brother was already anticipating the war. There’s no way he would…”

Ronian, as if fighting his own battle, raised his voice to defend Logan.

But Patrick’s expression only twisted further at the sight of his youngest.

“Ronian. Stop defending Logan. The fact remains he is not here.”

“No! That can’t be, my brother wouldn’t just run away!”

Ronian’s big voice filled the area, stirring more murmurs.

“Did the young lord desert?”

“So the rumor was true?”

“The lord’s son?”

Whispers buzzed.

As the soldiers’ mood soured, Patrick bellowed at Ronian.

“Regardless, he is not here now! He has missed the battle upon which our family’s fate hangs! If that is not desertion, then what is?!”

“……”

Unable to rebut, Ronian hardened his face in frustration.

Patrick looked at him and spoke in an icy tone.

“Nobility must fulfill their duties to be true nobles. One who shirks their fundamental obligations deserves not the privileges of nobility!”

The basic duty of nobility was to protect their people from external threats.

For the knightly McLaine house, it was of paramount importance.

Patrick grasped Ronian’s shoulder as he declared,

“You must now fulfill your brother’s role as well. Do not waver!”

Meeting his father’s fierce eyes, Ronian could only nod weakly.

Patrick turned away with a sigh, his heart heavy.

It wasn’t pleasant to treat his own son as if he were nothing.

But the rapidly plummeting morale of the soldiers, evident as they whispered amongst themselves, made any such feelings a luxury.

‘Maybe I should have expelled him then.’

He regretted giving credence to obedience that was perhaps feigned.

Even with the memory of his late wife haunting him, he should have been harsher.

Then, before this gloomy war, perhaps the soldier’s spirits would have been higher…

“No, no.”

Patrick shook his head, throwing away the weak thought.

A knight on the eve of war has no business indulging in such sentiments.

Clenching his jaw, the bitter taste of blood sharpened his mind.

‘Yes…’

His own actions, the strength of his forces—none of that mattered now.

“We must win.”

That was his greatest purpose in life, to protect the family.

The resolve became fighting spirit, elevating Patrick’s aura inexorably higher.

Bleeding from his bitten lip as he resolved for victory, the lord.

“We will win! We must!”

His energy and willpower radiated outwards.

“Yes!”

Sensing the shift in the air, Patrick hollered with conviction.

“Advance at full speed!”

* * *

Boom. Boom. Boom.

The enemy moved in perfect unity to the resonating drumbeats.

Just the sight of their vast numbers, in better formation than the allies, demoralized Patrick’s soldiers.

Moreover…

“The young lord deserted, they say.”

“Shh!”

“Careful, such words can cause trouble! It’s just a rumor!”

“What rumor? Just look. Can you see that redhead anywhere?”

Unintentionally, another rumor regarding Logan gnawed at the soldiers’ courage.

Still, there were those who didn’t believe it, who defiantly rebutted.

“Shut it! Our lord would never do such a thing!”

“What’s with him?”

“That’s the rogue’s attendant.”

“Why’s a noble’s attendant here?”

“We all need to lend a hand. Can’t you see the difference in our strength?”

Amidst Patrick’s impassioned cries, the morale of their troops continued to drop rapidly.

“Why must we…”

“Can we even win?”

“No, can we survive…”

An anxious murmur spread virus-like when Patrick unsheathed his sword and bellowed with the force of thunder,

“Do not fear! Victory is ours!”

At once, the knights lifted their blades, and a keen aura burst forth around the knightly orders.

Especially the higher-ranked knights like Patrick, exuding strength visible enough that it could be seen affecting the surroundings.

Their intangible power soothed the fearful soldiers, instilling an unseen courage.

Soon after, chants thundered from various points within the McLaine lines.

“Waaaaah!”

Their cries rivaled the enemy’s fervor, uplifting each other.

The previous unease was visibly reduced.

‘This should be fine.’

Patrick had boosted the allies’ morale by flaunting his own strength.

And the fact that the enemy did not respond, even seeing that, was a hopeful sign.

‘Surely, they have no higher-ranking knights.’

Patrick comforted himself as he kept a watchful eye on the enemies.

Before long, the opposing armies converged, not even 1 km apart.

“I’ll cut down Baron McLaine and avenge my great-grandfather’s grudge! Let the descendants of sinners extend their necks and meet my blade!”

Blonde middle-aged Haman Teslon strode forward in the enemy ranks, his sword brandished high with bravado.

Patrick stepped forward from the McLaine lines in response.

“Good! I’ll accept that blade! Let’s test our mettle, knight against knight!”

His voice resonated across the plains, filled with vigor and confidence, further boosting the allies’ morale.

Unlike Patrick, who stepped out alone, Haman Teslon went deeper into their lines.

Soon, a hundred armored knights, spurred forth to the front of the formation.

“My knights are my blade. Let’s see you take them on, Patrick McLaine.”

Haman Teslon’s voice echoed from the rear, and Patrick smirked in return.

“Don’t have the guts to face me alone? How shamefully you hide brings heat to my face!”

Laughter erupted throughout McLaine ranks at the call.

As morale soared, Patrick wasted no time in again raising his voice.

“Let’s smash those flunkies of a cowardly lord!”

His sword pointed toward the enemy.

“Charge!”

And thus the war began.

* * *

‘We break the vanguard!’

Patrick, leading the front, spurred his horse forward ferociously.

With their forces at an absolute numerical disadvantage, his role was crucial.

He had to break through the vanguard, disrupting the enemy knights to have any chance of victory.

Thus, he poured all his strength into that first lance charge, determined to utterly crush at least two or three knights.

The power of his steed enhanced through the Force, his lance, increasingly radiant with red energy…

Thud, thud, thud.

The enemy encampment fast approached, fully-armored knights and their vanguard locking eyes with Patrick.

‘Huh? Shields?’

Whether the primary weapon was a spear, the base of any charge was the lance.

Nothing was better suited for focusing destructive power into a single point through sheer acceleration.

Of course, there was no reason to stick to a lance if one could wield another weapon effectively.

But Patrick had not expected the vanguard to meet his lance with a shield raised.

‘To think you can withstand my charge? How dare?!’

Rage surged, amplifying Patrick’s fighting spirit.

Woooom.

He intended to obliterate the knight and pierce the ones following.

Boom!

The battlefield erupted with a deafening noise.

Yet, the outcome was far from what Patrick anticipated.

“Gah!”

Wincing from the pain in his wrist, Patrick pulled back his horse.

The impact was diffused in all directions by his superior Force control, but a sharp pain spread through his lance arm, the shock reaching his mount.

Though he minimized the impact, had it been any stronger, his stout horse’s legs would’ve buckled.

The adversary wasn’t unscathed either.

The rival horse couldn’t withstand the shock and collapsed, the leading knight bleeding beneath his helm.

Surely the wounds were not light, but the shock was evident on Patrick’s face.

‘He blocked it?!’

A self-satisfied smile was evident on the mouth of the now-grounded knight, despite the streaming blood.

“Kugh. You live up to your reputation, Baron. To be in this state despite being so prepared.”

The knight’s insolence stirred Patrick’s ire further; he couldn’t afford to be hobbled here.

“Damn it!”

“Pair up and take him down! Crush them all!”

“Do you think they can?!”

The halted advance of the McLaine knights, now outnumbered two-to-one, began to show as they were pushed back by the enemy’s knights.

‘This can’t be. We can’t let this happen!’

He envisioned the adverse future unfolding before his eyes.

If he was held back, and consequently the knightly order stalled…

The already outnumbered main forces would be easily crushed by the enemy cavalry.

Even with the knightly order as their core, it spelled impending defeat.

As Patrick’s mind conjured images of the knights trapped, hunted, the worst-case scenario became starkly clear.

“I refuse!”

Desperation turned to rage, unleashing a whirlwind slash.

However…

Boom!

Patrick’s sword was thwarted once more as two more knights intercepted him with a great sword and spear respectively.

“Baron, you’ll be entertaining us.”

The first knight, too, wiping the blood from his chin, unsheathed his long sword.

Realizing his peril, a cold shiver ran down Patrick’s inflamed mind.

The words of the knight with the shield echoed again.

“…So it is you three who were prepared for me?”

Patrick’s voice was icy, instability creeping in.

“How do you like it?”

The original knight jeered with a sly smirk.

Patrick glared back.

‘An upper-rank knight. To think there was one…’

Despite the immaturity, it was no doubt an upper-tier knight.

That explained how he could withstand Patrick’s charge.

Now understanding why Haman Teslon was so boldly unworried, the realization came far too painfully late.

‘The other three are at least mid-rank knights.’

Despair shadowed Patrick’s face beneath his helm.

‘If I’m blocked, the knightly order is too, and if they are…’

Outnumbered as they were, the main forces would be overwhelmed.

With the image of the knightly order falling victim to a pincer attack, a ghastly ordeal, Patrick felt his spirits sink.

“I cannot allow it!”

Seething from the despair, he swung his blade with vehement anger.

But…

Baang!

The enemy was no pushover.

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