20 The Capture of Alm Castle 2
The next day, Drake's army reached Alm Castle.
If Lara was successful in capturing it, it would be only a matter of time before the entire Alm Valley belonged to Drake, a territory which accounted for a good third of the Viscount Frey's territory. However, the true worth of the Alm territory couldn't be seen as merely the size of the lands. Its true worth was the trade routes and numerous tin and copper mines.
Over the past few hundred years, the mines attracted many famous, unknown and apprentice blacksmiths who created an organization: the Alm Blacksmith association, loyal to the lord of the Alm Castle. With tin and copper within their reach and at a very cheap cost, the skills of these blacksmiths increased very fast, and their mastery in manufacturing bronze weapons and armours rose really fast.
With such an influent association, many merchants arrived and eventually, a town in the Alm valley was created: Sholis, built a few kilometres away from the Alm castle.
Lara considered raiding Sholis, but decided against it in the end. After all, to conquer the Alm Valley, Drake would need the support of the people, and if they plundered Sholis, it would be turn into a very difficult situation.
Dragging a hundred prisoners, the army of immaculate soldiers and the three knights leading them were truly intimidating. The Alm Castle guards could feel true fear. They expected a glorious victory from their lord, Knight Barret. Not only did he die, his army had also been thoroughly crushed, with more than a third ending up being captured!
"WE WILL NOT SURRENDER!"
The guards loved to scream these words on top of their walls, ready to die for their fallen lord. Such loyalty was something rarely seen. It was commendable, but in this situation, it was pure madness indeed.
However, the guards were not all feeling the same way about the enemies at the gates of the castle. In fact, as many as half of the guards felt like surrendering. After all, the guards had no way of knowing that most of the immaculate soldiers were in reality injured and thus incapable of fighting!
Having underestimated the Alm Castle's guards, Lara felt a bit down. From what they could see and the prisoners' words, there were slightly more than a hundred guards within the castle. Most of them were not elite soldiers, however, but rather old veterans or young trainees.
After settling down for a while and trying to negotiate with the stubborn guards, the evening eventually came. While the guards' minds were occupied of negotiating and drawing arrows on the spokespersons, Lara had thought of a plan.
She would infiltrate the castle with Yara and ten of the best immaculate soldiers in order to open the gates of the castle. Having too many soldiers would bring too much attention, so she only took ten immaculate soldiers with her, the finest warriors among Drake's troops.
"This is madness…", Lewis kept muttering.
He knew how difficult it was to enter a castle. However, he had greatly underestimated the twin elves' means. They didn't use siege towers, or a ladder to climb into the castle. Instead, they shot an arrow linked with a rope which they attached to a sturdy rock, then used to climb on the walls in a matter of seconds.
The walls of the castle looked like obstacles meant for children when the pair of elven twins reached the top.
'What fearsome athletes…', Lewis muttered in a shock
Elves were different from humans physically. Humans were said to be balanced beings, but the reality was that they didn't excel in any area. Lunar elves were different. Lara and Yara were living proof of that.
Their dexterity, flexibility and agility were much higher than that of other species. Jumping several meters high was an easy task for these nimble women. As for using a rope to climb a mere wall, it was akin to child play in their eyes, which is why elves never bothered to create castles in the first place.
From an elven perspective, castles are nothing but rocks piled up one on another!
Two guards were near the spot Lara and Yara landed. Hearing the arrow land, they tried to take a closer look, suspecting an enemy attack. However, before they could alert the other guards or even realize the extent of the danger, their throats were slit by the two elven women. Making hand signs, the immaculate soldiers sneaked and started to climb, using robes that Lara was giving.
Lara wasn't timid anymore. From a distance, a guard heard some noise and he was about to alert other guards but while Lara was helping the immaculate soldiers to climb, Yara made sure to 'silence' the guards. They were falling one after the other. Yara wasn't using swords or daggers, but a bow.
Each one of her shot caused a guard to fall on the cold ground, lifeless.
After helping the immaculate soldiers to climb, it was only a matter of time before the castle was successfully captured. One after the other, the immaculate entered the castle.
Muffled screams of agony as well as the sounds of spears piercing flesh could be heard. Every few minutes, an immaculate soldier would manage to take a guard by surprise and kill him by thrusting his spear in one of his target's vital points.
At some point, an immaculate soldier was spotted by a veteran soldier who went through many ambushes in his life, managing to ring the alarm bell. Unfortunately for the defenders of the castle, they realised the attack way too late. More than thirty guards had perished by this moment, and while they knew there were enemies, the latter were still managing to sneak on the guards and kill them!
Average immaculate soldiers were not assassins, and thus lacked the stealthy skills which were required for the task. However, Drake had imparted with them some basic knowledge of sneak attacks and such. Who would have thought that these skills would come in handy at such a crucial time?
Of course, Lara and Yara played a huge role in the capture, killing a guard every few minutes.
When the morning came, the door of the castle opened. Dozens of guard corpses were lying on the ground or on the walls. It was truly surprising. With just ten soldiers, Lara and Yara had managed to capture the castle in the matter of one night!
The Alm Castle had fallen in the hands of Drake Moonlight, third heir of the Moonlight Household, a fifteen-years-old knight.
In the morning, the Moonlight's family motto reverberated over and over again in the castle, while the news spread throughout the Porfield Kingdom:
"GROW STRONG IN POWER"
"GROW STRONG IN POWER"
"GROW STRONG IN POWER"
"GROW STRONG IN POWER"
Meanwhile, the Golden Lions, the Snakes and the Blood raven mercenaries were fighting for their lives, trying to complete the tasks handed by Drake.
However, trying to do so, the Snakes had been annihilated by an unexpected army which ambushed them. The Blood raven company managed to retrieve the Frey bastard in secret, and escorted him to the Alm Castle, after they received news of Drake successfully captured it through messenger crows sent by Lewis.
However, they didn't heed Drake's orders to support the Snakes, and instead withdrew from the war. They heard of the Snakes' fate, and decided against following Drake anymore. As mercenaries, they kept their promises and completed their tasks in a brilliant manner, but they wouldn't march towards their deaths.
The viscount had sent the Knight Harrold specifically to defend Greenhill after all, and everyone knew that Knight Harrold was the strongest power besides the Viscount in the Frey territory.
Unfortunately for the Blood Raven, Knight Harrold managed to spot their camp thanks to a group of farmers who were loyal to the Frey House. What followed was a bloody massacre. The man was known to be violent and brutal, and he truly lived up to his name. After hearing about the loss of Knight Barret and the mysterious rank 1 acolyte lady, Knight Harrold vented his anger and rooted out the mercenaries that distracted him from going against the 'big fish'.
The Blood Raven and Snakes, as powerless as they could be seen as upon facing the army led by the Knight Harrold, still succeeded in thinning the number of Frey Soldiers.
As for the Golden Lions, they had successfully plundered Clary Town, and destroyed the ships that were left unguarded. They massacred the soldiers loyal to the Viscount Frey, and literally sacked the town. They didn't touch the women or harmed the children though. The head of the Golden Lions, George, had a noble background and wouldn't allow these acts in his presence.
Out of the three companies of the mercenaries, two had been annihilated. After hearing about it, George didn't return by Drake's side, instead taking the plundered wealth with him. With the gold coins he had gotten, he could probably reinforce his mercenary troop and turn it into a proper army. Within a few months, with proper weapons and armours as well as new recruits, he would have enough influence to take back a castle and get revenge on those who massacred his family and stole his lands.
Unfortunately, Drake had never trusted these mercenaries in the first place. He had expected them to betray him, should the tides of war turn unfavourable to the Moonlight Household. He thus ordered the Blackwater City's guards, composed of hundreds of swordsmen and archers personally selected by the Viscount Allan, to kill any mercenary that entered the town without Drake's authorization.
Since the mercenaries had families in Blackwater, they would naturally make at least one stop at Blackwater if they betrayed Drake. This was their greatest and last mistake. When they came back, they were slaughtered like pigs and their heads were hanged on spikes as a means of deterrence to future disloyal mercenaries.
The Moonlight family had never been merciful with traitors, especially in times of war.
A week later, Drake recovered. He still had trouble moving around, but he could feel a great change in himself, to the point that it was impossible for him to properly grasp the changes in his body. It was…as if he had transformed into a better version of himself.
[Name: Drake Moonlight. Age – 15 years. Rank: Knight
Status: Injured (Recovering, -50% dexterity, strength, and constitution. Internal energy cannot be used to use knight killing techniques)
Strength – 3.6 | Dexterity – 3.0 | Constitution – 3.2 | Internal Energy – 13.2
Perk: Mutated Heart (+200% base recovery rate)
Skills: Lunar Elven Sword Art (Knight level, proficiency: advanced), Moonlight Shield Mastery (knight-level, proficiency: Advanced), Moonlight Breathing Technique (Grand-Knight level, proficiency: Advanced), horsemanship (proficiency: Advanced)
Knight Killing Technique: Arclight Chop (Sword speed: 200%, Damage: [Strength*3] degrees)]
[Beep! Host has ingested a very nutritive solution that has been fully absorbed to heal host's wounds. The solution has led host to develop 23 mutations beneficial to the body. As a result, strength has increased by 0.4-point, dexterity by 0.5 point and constitution by 0.4 point. Internal Energy has increased by 4 points, most likely a result of a mutation that transformed host's heart into a pump of internal energy, that increases the recovery rate of host and the flux of internal energy.]