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«Under the Oak Tree (Web Novel) - Chapter 404

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Chapter 404

This chapter is updated by Novels.pl

“G-Get under the shield!” Maxi shouted to the panicked soldiers running for cover.

Some managed to duck beneath the barriers set up by the mages, but most broke away in terror or recklessly fired arrows into the sky, only to be brutally crushed by the falling rocks.

Maxi was watching the horrific scene in despair when she heard Riftan’s voice boom from the front. “Back to formation! Prepare the ballistae!”

She turned her head towards his voice and saw him smashing one of the hurtling rocks with a large, ten-kevette halberd. He skillfully restrained Talon when the horse reared in agitation and bellowed his commands.

“Infantry, set up the defensive magical devices! Cavalry, get into battle formation! Make haste!”

Order instantly returned to the army that had been thrown into chaos. High-ranking knights capable of blade aura placed themselves at the force to shield the army from the hurtling rocks. The infantry retrieved the siege shields and giant crossbows from the baggage wagons and assembled them at regular intervals.

Soon, forty ballistae were firing javelins into the sky, and the knights promptly dispersed left and right. Maxi soon understood why as wyverns, pierced by the coalition’s spears, plummeted to the ground one after another.

When she saw that one was plunging toward the rear unit, Maxi desperately summoned her mana. Right at that moment, she felt a powerful gust surge behind her, instantly buffeting away dozens of wyverns.

As she watched the scene with a stunned expression, thundering hooves sounded from behind. Over her shoulder, she saw Kuahel Leon, a cowl over his armor, leading the Temple Knights to the frontline.

He stopped between the rear unit and the cavalry to issue a warning, “Move aside if you don’t wish to be crushed to death.”

With that, the paladin drew his sword and swung it with impossible speed. Maxi backed away when she felt the sudden shift in the mana flow.

A blue flame burst from his blade, sweeping away the descending wyverns like a storm and incinerating their massive wings. Moments later, their colossal bodies came crashing down like meteorites.

Riftan leaped into action. With his halberd, he bashed a wyvern’s enormous skull as if it were nothing more than an overripe pumpkin, then proceeded to decapitate the next one that fell to the ground.

His valiant move seemed to bolster the army’s morale. The archers roared and began firing an onslaught of arrows, and the infantry maneuvered the ballistae with renewed precision.

Maxi breathed a sigh of relief as the number of monster carcasses grew. All at once, the wyverns, once well over a hundred in number, were reduced to half. But it was not over yet.

Something akin to a dark cloud rose in front of Vesmore Castle. Maxi had been blowing away the plummeting monsters with wind blasts, but she stiffened as soon as she spotted the strange phenomenon.

“W-What on earth is that?” she asked Ruth uneasily.

Instead of replying, Ruth let out a strangled groan. Soon, the distant cloud was a mere six thradions away from the army, and Maxi got a better view of the dark shadow swallowing the snowfield. The ominous cloud surging toward them like a flood was actually a troop of black horses.

Thousands of ebony warhorses charged toward them like a wave. Riding atop each were knights clad in dark armor. Maxi narrowed her eyes to sharpen her gaze, then gasped. The riders were all headless.

“Dullahans.”

Maxi jumped at the sudden voice and was surprised to find Kuahel Leon standing near her.

The paladin regarded Ruth with cold eyes. “You successfully controlled the wyverns in the Pamela Plateau. Can you command the wyverns now to fight the dullahans?”

Ruth appeared slightly taken aback. He warily regarded Kuahel before slowly shaking his head. “When we were at the Plateau, I merely manipulated the rune already created by the dark mages. I am unable to recreate their rune on my own.”

“Then, our only option is to find the entity summoning the dead.” Kuahel turned to Maxi. “Can you locate the necromancer for us?”

Gaping, Maxi turned her head to look at the swarm of wyverns circling above and at the cavalry of dullahans closing in on them. He was right. They had to deal with at least one of the two. Turning back to him, Maxi gave a determined nod.

“I-I shall try.”

Maintaining her shield, she carefully began the tracing spell. But the search area was simply too vast, and she could not extract any useful information. Breaking out in a cold sweat, she started to lose concentration while weaving the mana thread and was forced to hastily withdraw.

“W-We were mistaken. The necromancer controlling the undead is likely inside Vesmore Castle. I’m afraid we are too far from the city…for me to pinpoint their exact location.”

“Then we must get closer,” the Temple Knight replied matter-of-factly.

Maxi shrank back in fear and glanced at the battle front. She could see Riftan looking over his shoulder in her direction. She wondered if he was also distraught by the sudden turn of events.

Perhaps he actually wanted to come to her but was conflicted about leaving the knights who looked to him for orders. Maxi vigorously shook her head to reassure him that she was fine.

Seeing this, her immobile husband finally returned his gaze to the battlefront. Soon, the loud blast of a kopel tore through the air, and the knights charged at the cavalry of undead with frightening speed.

Maxi bit her lip as she watched the scene unfold inside the barrier. As long as the necromancer was alive, the undead would keep rising. No matter how powerful Riftan and the Remdragon Knights were, they could not fight forever.

She regarded Kuahel with a determined expression. “Very well. If you can guarantee my safety…I shall help you locate the necromancer.”

“This is a battlefield. It is impossible.to guarantee anyone’s safety.”

“I-I am aware of that. What I want…is your word that you will protect me to the best of your abilities.”

A hint of displeasure flashed in the Temple Knight’s green eyes. Cocking his head, he asked in a low voice, “Do you think I would not do my best to keep you safe without such a vow?”

“What I know, Sir Kuahel…is that you are capable of sacrificing others for the sake of the cause. I am also aware…that I am not someone you need to risk your life to protect.”historical

Anxiously glancing at her fighting husband, Maxi quickly added, “D-Do you deny it? I may have previously received the Temple Knights’ protection as a mage of the Tower…but I am currently in the service of the Remdragon Knights. Since I am not obligated to obey your orders, and you are not duty-bound to protect me, a new agreement is needed.”

A hint of irritation rose on the Temple Knight’s usually indecipherable blank gaze. He eyed her appraisingly before curtly replying, “Very well. I shall swear on my honor as a knight to protect you at all cost.”

Maxi sighed in relief and turned her gaze back to the battle front. Although the Remdragon Knights, along with the Knights of Phil Aaron and Dristan’s cavalry, were holding back the dullahans, it was only a matter of time before the coalition’s battle line collapsed. Maxi hurriedly turned her horse around.

“Good. Then let us hurry.”

“H-Hold on!” Ruth, who had been silently listening to their exchange, hastily blocked her path. “Let me go instead. Sir Riftan will be furious if he finds out you snuck into the city.”

“Ruth, while the number of spells I can use is limited, you are capable of both defensive and supportive magic. I want you to remain here and assist the Remdragon Knights. That is the pragmatic choice.”

“But-“

“Did you not just hear one of Wigrew’s reincarnations swearing on his honor to protect me? Nothing will happen to me, so…trust me.”

Ruth groaned with indecision, but in the end, he nodded with a sigh. “Understood, But you must turn back at once the moment something goes wrong,” he said while eyeing Kuahel warningly.

The Temple Knight said nothing as he steered his horse around. After giving Ruth a reassuring smile, Maxi followed after the knight.

Owing to the snowstorm, they managed to slip out of the coalition’s encampment without being noticed by enemies and allies alike. Maxi anxiously glanced back at the violent battlefield as it grew more distant. Knowing Riftan’s great strength was still not enough to assuage her worry.

After repeatedly looking over her shoulder, she steeled her weakening resolve and whipped her reins. Now was not the time to be swept up by anxiety. To help Riftan, she had to locate the necromancer as quickly as possible and cut off the undead army’s mana supply.

Bringing her horse next to Kuahel’s she told him, “I would like to try the spell somewhere near the ramparts first.”

The Temple Knight’s eyes flickered to her before he nodded. “Follow me.”

Avoiding the area where the battle was raging, they furtively rode west where the moat was deepest. To Maxi’s relief, no sentries were visible above the wall.

After carefully inspecting the wall, she dismounted and placed her hands on the ground. She slowly allowed mana to flow out.

After meticulously searching the city for some time, Maxi was able to connect mana pathways with an earth spirit sleeping beneath the city. She focused as her tightly-knit mana net stretched out like a spider web. Finally, she detected it - an empty space beneath the moat.

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