34 Patrolling Mission 4
After spending the night in the hideout, the group headed deeper in the forest, exploring pathways they had never stepped upon in the past. Everyone was tense. Furthermore, after a few hours of deadly silence and no relevant discovery, the group found something quite eerie.
Rodrick approached a tree, and noticed claw marks. Unfortunately, these claw marks didn't look like bear claws, but rather…wolf claws.
"Looks like we unknowingly stepped into a wolf territory…No wonder we didn't encounter many animals on our way here, the beasts knew better than stepping into this danger zone", Rey cursed out loud.
However, by the time they realized their mistake, the sentinels found themselves completely surrounded by a pack of wolves. To their surprise, there weren't five or six wolves, but over fifty of them!
Fortunately, these wolves were not magical beasts.
Naturally, since they occupied a big territory in the Blue Forest, home to many magical creatures, these wolves were not average: they were called iron wolves since their fur was similar to iron, and difficult to pierce. This layer of defence was similar to armours, and many sentinels dropped dead facing such packs of wolves.
[Adult Iron Wolf
Age – 8 years old | Lifespan – 20 to 30 years
Status – Healthy.
Strength – 1.9 | Dexterity – 3.1 | Constitution – 1.8
Perks: Iron fur (absorb up to 6 degrees of damage)
Skills: Bite (Deals [Strength*2] degrees of damage).]
[Adult Iron Wolf
Age – 12 years old | Lifespan – 20 to 30 years
Status – Healthy.
Strength – 2.3 | Dexterity – 3.5| Constitution – 1.9
Perks: Iron fur (absorb up to 6 degrees of damage)
Skills: Bite (Deals [Strength*2] degrees of damage)]
A wolf stood out: the Alpha Wolf, leader of the pack, a mutated beast which seemed to have reached the rank 1 realm. However, unlike regular magical beast, it didn't possess overwhelming attributes or particularly strong features. It seemed like the Alpha Wolf provided support to his pack. Its rank 1 magical beast status seemed to have rendered the Alpha wolf more intelligent rather than stronger.
Being over a meter and a half long, with blood thirsty eyes and a cunning expression, there was no doubt about it: this alpha wolf was incredibly dangerous, perhaps even more than the Flaming Bear they were tasked to hunt.
"Stay calm, everyone. I want Rodrick and Richard at the centre, providing support with the crossbows. Use your special piercing crossbow bolts to your heart's content. If you don't use them now, we will all die. Everyone, form a circle around Rodrick and Richard. I don't want anyone dying. A single hole in our ranks mean a complete wipe out. Do you understand that?", Rey shouted orders
The sentinels, previously dull by the march, seemed fired up. Whether it was Rey talking about death or their instincts…there was only one thing that mattered: they would fight at the best of their capabilities. Each one of these knights only focused on doing their job.
For some reasons, the wolves seemed overly cautious, circling around the group, closing the distance over time. The wait was terrible. Unwilling to let them get closer, Rodrick made the first blood upon seeing a wolf entering a ten-meters range.
It was a clean headshot. Although the target was close, Rodrick had managed to shoot the bolt in the Iron wolf's vital point: its eyes. Without fur to protect its eyes, even a regular bolt would greatly injure an iron wolf, not to mention these black iron bolts crafted by the best blacksmiths of Helios.
Richard, following Rodrick, also shot a wolf nearby in the opposite direction. However, his accuracy was slightly off as the bolt only dealt crippling damage to its target, injuring the wolf's neck.
Surprisingly, the wolves didn't come all at once. The moment the iron wolf touched the ground, over a dozen wolves attacked the formation from all directions. Each sentinel had to take care of one or two iron wolf at the same time.
Feeling the impeding charge of an iron wolf with more than 3 points of dexterity, coming at him with an impressive speed, Drake readied his shield and blocked the strike. Even though he had over six points of strength, Drake's body was still pushed back, mostly because he didn't weigh a lot.
However, his advanced proficiency in the Moonlight Shield art allowed him to bash the incoming iron wolf while blocking, stunning it for a fraction of a second. He then exploited this opening to thrust his sword into the wolf's eyes. It was a clean hit. After quivering for a few seconds, the wolf dropped dead.
Two more wolves were charging at Drake, not leaving him the time to think about the danger he was in. Readying his sword, Drake dodged an incoming bite and counter attacked by kicking the wolf in the belly and sending it flying, while slashing the other wolf's neck. It was a brutal beheading, that surprised the other wolves, and perhaps even made them fearful.
After all, the iron wolves were used to take advantage of their natural armoured fur to rush into the enemies in all-out charges, without consideration for their survival. However, Drake's display of strength was extraordinary.
Each one of his attacks dealt about 150% of his strength attribute in physical degrees of damage, which accounted for about 9 degrees of damage, perhaps even ten. Even if the iron wolves could block up to six degrees of damage, Drake's sheer strength allowed to cut through their fur.
After charging at the wolf he had kicked and thrusting his sword in its vital spot, Drake confirmed that his side had been taken care of for a few moments. Given a few seconds to breath, Drake looked around the battlefield, and felt pretty guilty. The sentinels were fighting to the best of their abilities, yet the formation was being pushed back. Except for his side and that of Rey, the other knights were being bitten over and over again. Although the wolves were suffering injuries as well, Drake could see over twenty wolves rushing to their sides. It was the second wave of wolves, likely to crush the formation.
There was no other way around it.
Drake made hand signs to Richard, who quickly took his place in the formation. Readying his sword and inhaling a vast quantity of air, Drake grasped his sword tightly, and began to charge. With more than 6 points of strength and four points of dexterity, Drake could no longer be considered a mere knight. He was a body refinement acolyte with incredible swordsmanship.
In a matter of seconds, Drake's speed reached terrifying values, and he used the momentum to slash his way through the numerous wolves on his path. Every few seconds an iron wolf would drop dead after meeting Drake's elven sword.
After cutting over six wolves in a row, Drake found himself in front of the Alpha Wolf, which seemed shocked at his performance. Drake was about to charge and kill the Alpha Wolf, but the latter howled and released sound waves over 150 decibels, completely stopping Drake's charge.
Drake's vision became blurry, and he was suffering from incredibly painful headaches. Yet, as soon as the Alpha Wolf stopped howling, Drake found the energy to stand up again and swing his sword.
Unfortunately, the howling innate spell of the Alpha Wolf didn't just aim at stopping Drake. It also called over a dozen wolves to rush and help their leader. Drake's sword didn't meet the Alpha Wolf's neck: it cut an iron wolf semi-adult which sacrificed itself. Following this unfortunate failure, Drake received the charge of several wolves and bites. If it weren't for his enchanted heavy armour set, Drake would have died at this point.
From the sentinels' point of view, Drake was sacrificing himself to leave room for the sentinels to regain their spirits and survive the incoming wave. And he had been successful, as the Alpha Wolf's howl called back the attackers to deal with Drake first.
Seeing Drake falling after being charged by over a dozen iron wolves, the sentinels grasped their swords. There was no need for words. They knew what they had to do. Their thirst for blood was higher than ever. In a matter of seconds, the sentinels finished dealing with the remaining iron wolves of the first wave and started to charge at the Alpha Wolf in order to save Drake.
Led by Rey, the sentinels had somehow adopted a wedge formation. The iron wolves which seemed to be invulnerable to their attacks seemed to become weaker as the knights cut through their hides and kicked their out of their path.
Driven by unyielding spirit, the charge seemed unstoppable. Drake's sacrifice had completely transformed them into berserk warriors who fought disregarding injuries. Richard felt especially guilty, as he knew what Drake was about to do when the latter made hand signs for him to take his place in the circle formation.
As a giant iron wolf charged at him, Richard readied himself to continue charging. The collision allowed him to slash and deal a nasty injury on the giant iron wolf's back. However, the giant iron wolf also managed to land a bite on his left hand. The damned beast had severed three of his fingers in the collision!
However, Richard didn't stop. He had to continue fighting, if only to save Drake.
After a minute of charging and cutting through the iron wolves, Rey's unit finally reached the Alpha wolf. Unable to run away because of a leg injury made by Rodrick's crossbow, the Alpha wolf was actually hiding behind six giant iron wolves, probably the oldest individuals of the pack, as well as the strongest ones. These wolves were terrifying, and their attributes were on par with that of regular peak knights.
However, not even Richard, who was a newly advanced knight and injured, felt a hint of hesitation upon charging towards them. It was a brutal, one-sided charge. As Rey kept manifesting his internal energy to land powerful fist knight killing techniques, the charge was incredibly efficient.
After killing four of the giant wolves, the sentinels were only a few meters away from killing the injured Alpha Wolf. As it was about to open its mouth and cast its howling spell once again, Rodrick's beastman instincts had the better of him, and as if they were driven by a supernatural force, his hands picked up the crossbow and landed a surprising shot on the Alpha Wolf's throat, interrupting the spell.
If not for Rodrick, the spell would have sufficed to utterly wipe out Rey's charge. After all, without spirit to handle the mental attack of the alpha wolf innate spell, most of the knights would have fallen unconscious and succumbed to the remaining wolves' attacks.
Upon reaching the Alpha Wolf which was emitting weird sounds in pain, Rey plunged his fist in its body. His fist pierced the Alpha Wolf's back, all the way through the heart. After a few moments, the Alpha wolf dropped on the ground, lifeless. Seeing this scene, the remaining wolves scattered.
Meanwhile, Drake had rolled down the hill after being charged at by dozens of wolves. Even though his heavy armour absorbed most of the damage he received, a portion would still reach his body and deal tremendous amount of physical damage upon time. Hence, Drake relied on his footwork and nimbleness to dodge the incoming attacks, occasionally using his shield to defend his blind spots.
Forced to retreat as to avoid fatal injuries, Drake found himself cornered at what appeared to be a cave, probably the wolf's den. Drake saw an opportunity upon reaching the cave. It was not very stable, and the rocks seemed heavy enough to crush the wolves. After baiting the 11 wolves hunting him into the cave, Drake jumped above them while releasing a terrifying Arclight chop on the ceiling of the cave.
[Beep! 14 degrees of damage have been received! Ten degrees of damage have been absorbed. Four degrees of damage have rendered host's left arm unfunctional for the next 188 minutes.]
It caused the cave's entrance to completely collapse, killing half of the wolves in the process, injuring the rest of them. Drake's left arm seemed to have been injured, as the numbness prevented him from moving his shield. However, his enchanted heavy armour had blocked most of the damage. Grasping his sword once again, Drake beheaded the injured wolves whining on the ground, without showing a hint of mercy to these bloodthirsty beasts. It was a complete slaughter.