Elson felt a powerful surge of relief, appreciation, and joy when he heard the voice. However, he knew better than anyone that it was not the time to be happy.
Knowing that the connection would break at any moment since the situation at the fortress was unstable, the gray-haired knight clutched his pounding chest and walked towards the stone table. He closed his eyes and focused his thoughts on the communication circle.
"My liege, this is the Dark Forest Fortress. Silver Knight Elson speaking."
"It connected? Good. As expected of Artanis's mini-communication circle. It's not that bad."
Elson heard the reply and noticed the voice over the communication circle bore a similar surprised tone. "Pity that the signal strength is far too weak. I'd need to ride for two days in the snow to get a signal. Elson, how is the fortress?"
Elson ignored the fact that he had no idea what a mini-communication circle was and realized that his liege was almost close to the fortress.
Knowing that the situation was dire on the other side, Elson summarized his message, "The fortress has lost all its satellite forts. Incoming reinforcements was less than one-third of what we had at best. There are over 50,000 Berserk Daemons roaming in the Dark Forest. There's a thick layer of purplish-black mist around the area, even spreading across the mountains. The misty clouds are capable of disrupting magic in the air and even communication signals. That is the main reason why we could not warn the city."
Elson froze when the voice suddenly turned solemn.
"Is the situation beyond saving?"
"No. The death toll is not too high. Fifty-three warriors had perished when the fortress was attacked. 167 men had to withdraw from the battle due to severe, non-fatal injuries. Last night, the Berserk Daemons withdrew after attacking. As for the main fort itself, there was close to no damage to its structure. After all, it is a forty-meters-tall stone wall. It is not something that any monster could easily break. As of now, the Berserk Daemons could attack at any moment. All surviving members are on alert for any attacks."
"I understand. I get the rough picture of it. The damage is still acceptable. Elson, is there any"
A low humming noise echoed throughout the airspace and disrupted the communication. Elson widened his eyes with rage and observed the surroundings. The entire clock tower was shaking slightly. The wobbling white mirror on the stone altar had made him extremely wary of the situation.
"What is happening?"
The gray-haired knight got out of the room as quickly as he could and dashed towards the nearest window. Snow had started to fall off the roof. Old, bare trees started to shake, dropping their old brittle branches to the ground. Everyone on the streets stopped pacing and started to look around, wondering what was causing the minor quake.
It was obviously a quake but no one had suspected it was an earthquake. They were in the area of the Empire's northern territory, the mountains of Great Ajax that had an active volcano. Being in the center, if there were an earthquake, the volcano will be the first to show early signs. Yet, the place was as quiet as a graveyard.
"Chi chi chi"
Mice and squirrels were running in a frenzy out of the cracks of houses, tree trunks, and underground tunnels. Even during their hibernation, these critters had the best alertness towards disaster. As the intensity of the quakes got stronger, the clay tiles of the houses started to dislodge from the roofs.
The only source of that unprecedented quake was none other than the Dark Forest.
As the quake continued on, shaking the land around, the purplish-black mist rolled in from the forest and spread out wider and further. The corruptive, chaotic cloud blanket the entire forest, making it visible from the city. The city guards that could observe the phenomenon started to call out their warnings to each other and all fall into their defensive formation.
A loud cry of a beast could be heard growling from the forest, followed by a large silhouette emerging out of the thick mist. It was as tall as thirty meters and had the massive body that could be said to be a small moving fort. The massive beast burst out of the mist and revealed itself to the world. It had long fur like a mammoth, two long tusks and a long trunk in between them. Covering its head like a helmet was a huge skeletal skull.
The quiet snow turned threatening when the beast showed itself. Ice fragments that dropped from the sky circulated around the beast and form a solid ice armor on the beast's body. Every time the beast drew in a breath, the black purple mist would rise around him like black smoke, circulating around the beast like a visible aura.
The colossal beast charged towards the abandoned fort and crash into the walls, destroying it easily as if it was made of paper. Its massively long tusks destroyed solid bricks and sent them flying everywhere like leaves. When the dust settled and the snow piled down on the earth, the beast stopped moving as to restore its strength.
"Alert! Send out the emergency high alert!"
"Incoming attack from a Gold-tier beast!!!"
The sound of sirens echoed through the entire city. At the same time, the soldiers who stood frozen at their positions were finally woken up by the blaring alarm. Each of them quickly resumed their post and got ready to attack the gigantic beast.
"Ready the cannons!"
"Mages! Where are the mages?!"
"The ice armor on him is at least half a meter thick! Non-siege back attacks would not do any damage to it! We need heavy physical attacks!"
Chatter and shouts filled the walls and the towers that connected them. It was both chaotic yet organized in the same manners. Soldiers that was on the alert for beast were startled by the sudden attack yet they did not falter for more than a second.
After a few seconds, the windows in the walls were flung open and the goblin cannon was pushed out further and took aim towards the beast. A total of 155 black cannons were aimed at the recently stationary beast and had magic gunpowder pushed into the muzzles of the cannons. The seals glowed and there were sparks. The first wave of counterattack was finally fired.
The speed of which the fired metal ball was so fast that not even the sound could keep up with the object. The metal ball tore through the air and blasted the monster's left shoulder, shattering its icy armor and sending the magic explosive to explode. The great explosion sent out a powerful shockwave and heat that it ruptured the armor and also the shoulder, causing its flesh and blood to splatter all over the snowy ground.
"It's a hit! It's a HIT!"
Morale was raised when the visible damage could be seen by all the soldiers mounting the cannons from inside the castle wall. Dark purple blood was splattering from the open wound, contaminating the pure white snow.
"As expected of a 3,000 gold coins shot! Such a powerful attack!"
"Don't stop the attack! The beast would not stop until its last breath! Destroy the beast before it destroys the wall!"
Some of them had keen eyes. They knew that even though the shot was extremely potent, the beast was still a thirty-meter-tall, fifty-meter-long, and twenty-meter-wide beast. Such a wound would only be equivalent to a man having lost two of its ten fingers. It may hurt but it would not affect its battle prowess too much.
As feared, the man had jinxed it.
With a loud growl, the snow on the ground was sent flying in all directions with the beast in the center of it all. The thunderous cry was so strong that its sound waves were visible to the naked eye as it traveled through the air. Such monster, that was even several times bigger than a regular mammoth gave out a loud growl, as it was trying to overcome its own pain and limitations. The sky grew dark and the snow blew harder. The dark purplish mist gathered around the beast violently as the beast stood on its hind legs and stomped the ground hard with its front legs. Such sheer force had sent the ice that was formed from a thousand years ago splattering like soft mud. A wave formed from the ice of the ground and rushed towards the wall like ocean waves to a harbor.
At the same time, the soldiers from inside the wall had started launching their second wave of attacks. Be it spells, heavy bows, cannons or rocks, all that could be used to attack the beast, were thrown at the beast. Even though most of the attacks missed their supposed target, a small number of them were able to land on the monster, only to be blocked by the thick icy armor and reduce the damage dealt to the beast.
When the wave came to the wall, it slammed against the castle wall hard and sent the wall shaking violently for a brief second. The wall was blessed by the elves, and even had a living tree growing on the inside of the fortress. Such an attack would not weaken the wall. However, even though the inanimate wall could not falter, the soldiers who were inside the walls could not endure such a powerful shock. The chain attack was suddenly interrupted.
The beast cried loudly for the second time. It withdrew several steps then. There were more than enough large wounds on its body that should have killed it. However, from nowhere, the beast opened its mouth. With a powerful force, it sucked in everything around it. The snow, the dark purplish mist, and the air were all sucked into it as it wanted to suck everything.
Crackling sounds could be heard from the monster's body as its already massive body grew larger. The wounds that were bleeding badly had been stopped by the growing muscles. The overwhelming power of the monster continued to grow until one pointwhere it had exceed its own limit
The mountains around started to trembled from the sheer volume of its cries. Snow that had been piled up from a thousand years ago started to fall, causing a huge avalanche that came down towards the forest. Countless of Berserk Daemons rushed out of the Dark Forest that was now blanketed with the dark purple mist. Along with the huge, colossal beast, the Berserk Daemons growled.
Clock tower, second floor. Communication restored.
Before the blaring sirens could even be heard, Joshua, who was speaking through the communication circle exclaimed, "What is going on over there?"
The gray-haired knight did not respond to his liege. He was merely standing at the window and stared beyond. A strong powerful aura could be felt from the direction of the Dark Forest, beyond the castle walls. There was something coming. Something big.
Amidst the blaring sirens, the Silver-tier knight Elson saw through all materials. He saw a large burning flame of life that was coming towards the direction of the fortress. Such a powerful flame was all too similar to a huge mountain. A presence that could strike fear in all. The beast was burning its life force, to exceed its own limit, and lit a bright light. The light the golden light was Glorious Strength.
"Gold-tier colossal beast"
The man muttered to himself. The thirty-nine-year-old knight was shaking. His eyes were unfocused. "A Gold-tier colossal beast gone berserk The fortress is done for"
The gray-haired knight turned back to the room and restored the communication circle.
"My liege." the Silver-tier knight got down on one knee and closed his eyes. He whispered each word towards the communication circle, "A Gold-tier colossal beast is coming to attack. The fortress wall will be destroyed. Dark Forest Fortress will be overwhelmed."
Who could stop a knight's need to protect? Nothing. When a knight draws his sword, it would be to protect something. To live or to die, such a decision was merely an illusion.
"It is regrettable that I am unable to serve my liege. For I must now rush to the frontline. I must protect this land" He trailed off. The gray-haired knight smirked all of a sudden. His expression was calm. In his thoughts, he recalled the times when he first saw the city gates, the first time he saw Joshua.
"To protect this land till my dying breath is my responsibility as a knight."
"No. Elson. I order you to stop."
After a short silence, a voice blared out of the communication circle. It was a voice that was filled with utter confidence and authority. The man known as Joshua, the Count of Moldavia ordered his knight firmly, "No one will die. You will not be offering your life today."
"I'll be there soon."