Great Ajax Mountains, the northernmost side of the world.
The sky was painted deep-blue as the sun was about to set. There were some layers of clouds whirling slowly in the sky like a vortex. Under the faint twilight, the remaining light from the sun shone across the clouds, covering the clouds with a layer of golden-red radiance.
Right beneath the sky, there was an endless stretch of vast mountains across the land. Among the mountains, there was a grayish-white fortress standing firm in the middle of an endless stream of white snow and the forest. The front was the Dark Forest while the back of the fortress was the snowy land. The fortress was nestled in between the gaps of the mountains, blocking the path that connected the Dark Forest to the outside world. The tall mountains looked so magnificent. Not only did they seem unbelievably tall, they also seemed to be so sturdy as if they could not be destroyed at all.
It was a land of miserable coldness. There were just snowy mountains that had no signs of any humans and the frozen Dark Forest. In the wilderness where no one would travel across, the pure and clean air was not mixed with anything else. One could feel the freshness of the air just by taking a breath.
That was all in the past, however.
The Dark Tide had besieged the city. On the fifth day.
Slowly walked to the highest point of the fortress, the golden-haired warrior who had blood all over his shining armor put up his shield standing by his side. He stood on the edge of the city wall and faced towards the Dark Forest that was not far from the city walls.
Dark purple dust with the breath of chaos was shrouding the entire place like a layer of mist. The dust even rose to the sky. The light from the sunset was shining across those dust-like mists, reflecting some strange and cloudy color across the surroundings.
Normal people would not be able to breathe under the circumstance where the environment was completely shrouded by the dark purplish mist. The endless horde of savage daemons was surging towards the direction of the fortress.
Therefore, the tide of daemons was already overwhelming every single corner of the space within everyone's view.
This wasn't the first time the blond knight had stood by the frontline against the Dark Tide. Truth to be told, ever since he became a Silver-tier knight when he was twenty-five-years-old, he had never set foot out of this gray-silver fortress. This was his home, a place he spent all of his life and effort on. He had never imagined that the fortress would be overrun one day.
However, that thought had taken root in the knight's heart, growing deeper and deeper.
Muttering to himself, he caught an intense scent of blood from his surroundings. Upon smiling bitterly, the Silver-tier knight spat out some blood from his mouth and said, "Fifty thousand Berserk Daemons I've never thought that I'd encounter so many at a time."
Forts and other defenses outside the fortress had been overrun. The knight had actually retreated from one of the forts. Although the number of casualties was minimized due to the firm decision of making the soldiers retreat, they had lost quite a large quantity of supplies and facilities because of their decisions.
Truth to be told, the blond knight had not felt so humiliated in his entire life. He had faced hundreds of thousands of Normal-tier daemons before. He had also slain quite a few Gold-tier daemons alongside the previous liege of the fortress. However, 50,000 Berserk Daemons were very different from regular daemons. That number of Berserk Daemons was too much for two thousand soldiers and approximately 30,000 residents of the fortress to handle. Only a fortress with at least 50,000 people could handle that number of Berserk Daemons. Encountering these monsters that knew no pain and knew nothing about retreating, if these monsters did not kill themselves once in a while, the forts and the defenses outside the fortress would not have lasted for over five days.
However, now that the soldiers were at their limit of holding against the monsters, the five satellite forts had completely fallen. In the meantime, they had also lost one-third of the total supplies of the entire fortress and quite a number of large-scale war machines.
Currently, they only had the fortress itself as their main base to fend off the monsters that were coming at them.
Thud thud thud.
Footsteps were heard coming from behind the knight. A brief moment later, two persons appeared at the stairs of the tower. One of them was mage wearing a white robe while the other was a masked warrior. The mage in the white robe was covered in dust. On the other hand, the warrior had small wounds all over his body. The two of them walked straight to the edge of the tower. They were looking at the golden-haired knight while the knight stared back at them.
"We should reduce our forces, Zorgen. Out losses are not great now. We can abandon the defenses facing west. Then we can gather the elites in the middle to hold against the forces of the Berserk Daemons charging at the fortress.
After keeping silent for a moment, the wizard told his comrade that. Even though he seemed unwilling to accept what he just proposed, his voice was firm, "Now, there are only Steel and Silver daemons that are lower in their grades. They have pushed us so far just by using their 'Berserk' power. If this goes on, when the higher tier daemons such as the Gold-tier daemons begin to appear, we will have absolutely no chance at all in defending ourselves against them."
"But how about the rear?"
The masked warrior was a little frustrated. He did not try to refute at all. He was just asking a simple question he had on his mind, "If we don't fend off the daemons that manage to come around the mountains to the side, what will happen to the manors and little towns over that area? They do not even have their own walls to protect them. Their fences are only made of wood. Are you suggesting that we let them fend for themselves against the Berserk Daemons with merely wooden fences?"
"That'll be a pure slaughter! Our existence is to fend off any threats from reaching them. We must prevent any monsters from getting around the mountain to slaughter. We must protect the safety of the residents."
The masked warrior spoke with an angry tone, "Only cowards would give up!"
"It's not the matter of cowardice or not." Facing the suggestion and the anger of his two comrades, the golden-haired knight immediately replied. He then shook his head and said, "These daemons are obviously different from the daemons we've encountered in the past. They can go berserk upon exposing themselves to the dark mist. They will not leave as long as they cannot take out their targets in front of them. I've observed them for quite a while now. The daemons that went around the fortress are daemons that did not go berserk. In other words, they're much weaker than the ones we're dealing with. We cannot afford to send our elites to handle them while we need as much force as we can to deal with the daemons in front of us. Not to mention that we have Silver-tier knights stationed all over the manors and towns. They can definitely handle those daemons without many problems."
He stopped there and turned his head towards the masked warrior. Then he put on a grim expression. "Our duty is to stop most of the Dark Tide. As long as the fortress does not fall, we'll be deemed to have succeeded in our mission. If we spread out our forces just to take care of a few daemons and lose the battle on the frontlines, we'll suffer a loss that we could have prevented. We'll suffer a loss that we can't afford to even think about it."
"Well, we need to at least inform the people at the rear!"
The masked warrior also knew about the how and why. However, he was a little unwilling to accept it.
"Well, we need to be able to contact them first"
Upon taking in a deep breath, the leader of the garrison forces Zorgen could not help but clench his fists. "If the strange mist did not scramble our communication signals, I could have contacted the main city and requested backup from the Liege! He's a powerful Gold-tier warrior. With him around us, the fortress would have been as firm as an unmovable rock as long as there's no appearance of any Gold-tier daemon of the same level."
Speaking of which, the golden-haired knight could not help to feel overwhelmed by anger. "Feng, you told me that your mages could penetrate the barrier of the black mist if they were given a little time. But what's the situation now? It's been five days! Other than the third day where we heard some signals coming in, we only heard the buzzing, nothing else!"
"It just won't work! We're not going to solve anything even if you're angry at me! Other than that, my mages have been casting their spells at the front all the while. So how can they still have time to figure out how to get the magic communication circle to work then?!"
The senior mage of the fortress, the silver-haired Feng turned his head around and looked at the wave of daemons that were slowing down their assault. The daemons seemed to be retreating back into the Dark Forest. Feng tightened his teeth with hate and he said, "Judging from the situation, the Gold-tier daemons are going to reveal themselves in a couple of days. Their attacks are getting more ferocious every day. Without my mages supporting the warriors, the fortress would have been run over before the backups can make it here."
"It's pretty obvious, don't you think? There must be an extremely powerful 'Count' coming along. This Dark Tide is its army. Its aim is to get rid of us so that it can expand its own territory." The warrior with the mask cut in and said. Upon finishing his previous sentence, he spoke again in a perplexed tone, "That's strange as well. We've not seen the beasts and daemons for over 70 years. It has been longer than since someone saw a 'Count'. They've been so quiet for so many years. So why are they appearing all of a sudden now?"
The Gold-tier knight did not answer that question. He just turned his head towards the direction where the Dark Forest was. The dark purplish mist and all of the daemons had retreated back to the Dark Forest. The warriors at the fortress had finally earned a moment to rest their fatigued bodies.
However, that would not make much of a difference to them. It was merely a tiny gap for them to catch their breaths before real despair was brought upon them.
Without any words in their thoughts, the three of them remained silent. Facing a war between nature and humanity, a war between daemons and the fortress, a war between the savages and the civilized, they had no words to describe it at all.