32 Patrolling Mission 2
Helios was located in the Western Region of the Porfield Kingdom called the death plains, because all around Helios, only the strongest wild beasts and bandits survived the constant come and go of acolytes and sentinels.
In fact, there were even plenty of semi-magical beasts, attracted by the higher density of mana which resulted from the agglomeration of thousands of acolytes and twelve magi.
Travelling on horses, they would reach the area they had to patrol in only take five to eight days. Although the sentinels were tasked on patrolling on Western Borders, Sentinels were usually in the backline, so as to avoid unnecessary casualties.
The travel was pretty smooth, since bandits knew better than attacking groups of sentinels, and pack of wolves usually picked up on lonely preys instead of large groups of strong humans.
"Captain Rey, do we have to head in the Blue Forest again?", one of the men said upon seeing the far away forest zone. It was a normal forest, except for the fact that the trees were way taller and the magical beasts higher in numbers.
The trees were also of blue colour, a mutation which enabled the trees to absorb mana in the environment to provide for their growth. The average height of these trees was over 80 meters, and its diameters was about four meters.
To the Sentinels, the Blue Forest was one of the many danger zones they rarely ventured into. Although they may receive bigger rewards to the higher density of mana, and thus higher concentration of magical herbs and beasts, the risks were also quite high.
However, among the numerous danger zones, namely Black Desert, Orc Mountains, Goblin mines, and Wyvern Nests, the Blue Forest was probably the least dangerous one. The magical beasts were similar to wild beasts in terms of intelligence, even if their strength varied between rank 1 and rank 2. There were rumours about the tallest tree of the Blue Forest being a rank 3 magical creature, a Treant to be more accurate, but there were no proof of these rumours.
No sane man would approach it however.
"Indeed, though we will only venture in its outskirts. Don't worry, we are actually getting lucky in this patrolling mission. We do not have to eliminate some goblin tribes or locate a nest full of magical beings. I chose an easy mission because our newcomer, Drake, has to acquire experience. We just have to locate the Flaming Bear and report it to the stationed acolyte"
Drake tilted his head upon hearing these words: "How do we contact the stationed acolyte?"
Rey smiled and showed a magical device called communication orb. It was dyed in red, and seemed pretty neat. The Magical Court was indeed the true power of the Porfield Kingdom. To think that their technology was so advanced!
"This device allows us to communicate with them for a short period of time. However, we can only contact them twice. Each communication attempt consumes more or less half a 'Blood Stone', something we find in magical beasts, and we only have a few blood stones in our possession", Rey explained, "It usually takes an hour for the stationed acolyte to arrive to our location, sometimes it even takes less. As long we do not lose track of it, the mission will be successful!"
Drake nodded in agreement. It seemed like Rey had truly picked an easy mission out of kindness. Although easier missions meant easier time, the higher ups ranked the Sentinel Teams based on contribution points. The units with the highest number of contribution points were given additional rewards: Exclusive strengthening resources, rare knight-level weapon arts, guidance from Sillius himself…
As for the team with the lowest amount of contribution points, the salary of its members would decrease by a whole 40%! It was a vicious circle. The strong teams became increasingly stronger thanks to this system of contribution points, whereas the weak were becoming increasingly weaker due to the malus.
However, the Sentinels indeed became stronger in a whole thanks to this system. Only by setting such a pragmatically vicious environment, did they manage to establish themselves as a strong faction within Helios.
As time passed, the blue forest was becoming less distant. However, right before entering its outskirts, a group of lizardmen was seen by Rodrick, the team's marksman. Rodrick was a knight, yet he was a half-human, just like Drake. However, his ancestry was that of an eagle beastman, which granted him a far superior vision compared to his human peers, and thus a much higher aim whenever he was shooting bolts with his crossbow.
Rey's team was quite strong. Drake had faced most of his teammates already during sparring. Richard, the first sentinel Drake beat, was also part of Rey's team. However, none of Rey's subordinates could compare to Rodrick, who was a crucial member for the missions' successes.
Rodrick whispered: "There are 11…no, sorry. There are 13 lizardmen hiding in bushes and trees, probably out hunting for preys. What should we do?"
Rey replied in a very low voice: "I say we hunt them and get it done. As for the corpses, I believe that Roxanne mentioned their brains being valuable to her, so we will only harvest that. Everyone is fine with that?"
Everybody nodded in agreement.
Although it wasn't stated in the missions, all monsters the sentinels encountered would result in additional rewards. It was a bounty system based on the monsters' strength. Most of the time, the rewards were magic crystals and gold coins, but sometimes, it was exclusive strengthening resource. Furthermore, it granted a few contribution points to the unit.
"Here is what we will do", Rey ordered, "Richard, Paul and Rodrick, you focus on shooting them down, while the rest of us will play baits. Be ready to draw your swords and defend yourself. No shots until they attack us, alright? It will be pretty annoying if one of them manages to escape and returns with his whole tribe."
The twelve knights approached the forest as if there was nothing unusual, and the lizardmen, pretty well hidden actually, rejoiced. However, as soon as they came out of their hiding, bolts were shot at them.
It must be said that this lizardman group was not used to interact with humans or their terrifying weapons. Lizardmen were primitive and lived in tribes, feasting on weak magical beasts. Although they possessed stronger bodies than humans in general, Rey's team was by no means ordinary. All of them were knights.
[Adult Lizardman Warrior
Age – 11 years old | Lifespan – 40 to 50 years
Status – Healthy.
Strength – 1.9 | Dexterity – 1.1 | Constitution – 3.8
[Adult Lizardman Warrior
Age – 12 years old | Lifespan – 40 to 50 years
Status – Healthy.
Strength – 1.6 | Dexterity – 1.3 | Constitution – 3.4
[Elder Lizardman Warrior
Age – 34 years old | Lifespan – 40 to 50 years
Status – Healthy.
Strength – 2.9 | Dexterity – 1.1 | Constitution – 4.8
The lizardmen warriors were without any doubts strong. Their constitution allowed them to endure knight attacks pretty well, and unless they were beheaded, their sheer vitality allowed them to survive. Furthermore, although their strength was pretty low, they could use their tails to bash the knight with terrifying might.
Fortunately, even with such high constitution, a bolt in the brain and they would drop dead. Similarly, beheading them was pretty efficient.
Drake confirmed this theory after sneaking behind a lizardman warrior and beheaded it with a horizontal slash. It was clean, simple and too easy. However, as the lizardmen were falling in numbers, the elder lizardman roared and entered a berserk state, increasing all of its attributes by 20%, a pretty terrifying skill.
'It looks oddly similar to Grand Knight Secret Techniques who ignite their internal energy to increase their attributes…However, this lizardman berserk state seems superior, increasing all of his attributes by 20%. There were no mentions of this in the library…They must have moved it to a higher floor', Drake appraised while blocking the elder lizardman's warrior charge.
Even in a berserk state, the elder lizardman warrior was far inferior in terms of attributes compared to Drake if you ignored constitution. Wanting to end it pretty quickly, Drake broke the elder lizardman's balance by blocking the strike and kicking the lizardman in the legs. While it was falling, Drake feinted a horizontal slash before actually thrusting his sword in the elder lizardman's throat.
Even knights, familiar with sword arts, would find it difficult to escape the lunar elven swordsmanship which relied on mobility and balance to overwhelm their opponents. A mere lizardman, unfamiliar with it, had no chance of surviving an encounter with Drake who had long since reached the advanced proficiency in it. In fact, he had been stuck in a bottleneck for months already, and couldn't find any way to improve his skills, but ever since he joined the sentinels, he could feel that he was making progress again.
As he cut another lizardman, he found out that there were no longer any enemies to kill. The sentinels were doing pretty fine. Surprisingly, Rodrick had managed to shot down 2 lizardmen in the trees, three hundred meters away from his target, which was as many as Richard and Paul's kill counts reunited.
Only one man had suffered slight injuries, but thankfully, the armour they wore could absorb up to 5 degrees of damage, enough to protect them from any casualties in skirmishes like this one.
It was Drake's first fight among sentinels. And it was truly mind-opening. Each knight fought with bravery, yet everyone supported each other. It wasn't at a level of formations, but all of them fought together against their enemies. They didn't individually charge them.
'Strong' was the only assessment available.