Book 3: Aldrich’s Keep || Chapter 38: Teardrops In The Rain (2)

“Goddamnit! They just keep coming!”

Commander Alwig exclaimed while swinging his flaming claymore in the scorched earth domain that he had created. With his abilities becoming much more effective due to the area of effect, the blonde knight could continue to mow down Spirit Beasts at an astonishing rate. However, even after fighting for a full thirty minutes, the horde of beasts continued to rush out the woodlands and into the open fields. To the numerous warriors standing their ground, it seemed like they were facing an endless tsunami. Just when they think that it was the final wave, another, stronger and more powerful wave appears.

“Commander! We’re all out of ammunition!”

The long-range battalion officer rushed over to Commander Alwig’s position to report their situation. Currently, the defence line was still holding steady as the long-range battalion had been continuously bombarding the enemy with all the arrows, boulders and throwing spears that they had. However, at the rate that they were going, there would come a time where there was nothing left to shoot at the monsters.

“That fast?! Arghhh, to think that we would have to rely on this so early into the battle! Nevermind, let’s hope Lady Seph’s Divine Rain can see us through the rest of the fight! MY BROTHERS!!!”

Hollering out, Commander Alwig resolutely stared at his fellow comrades. At that moment, every single pair of eyes on the battlefield were glued to the blonde knight who raised his flaming claymore up high in the sky. There was no need for words. From the bottom of their hearts, they all knew what their leader was trying to convey the second they saw his expression.

“CHARGE!!!”

An all-out attack. That was the Keep’s final option to deal with the beasts. Typically, they would have many formulations and strategies to deal with the purge, but this time, there was just not enough time or manpower. Yes, the chances of death were high. However, if they let even a single Spirit Beast through that wall, their families and friends would be the ones at risk. Sealing their resolve, every single member of the army summoned out their Spirits and dashed forward, following their commander’s lead.

“Such a chummy bunch… I guess I should help them out once more!”

Up high in the air, Lady Seph gathered her mana once more and cast Divine Rain. Golden droplets of pure mana drained down from the heavens, instantly healing the fatigue that had piled up in the warriors’ bodies. And thus, the battle for Aldrich’s Keep had reached its next stage.

~~~

“Make way, more patients coming through!”

Wheelbarrows contained bodies of soldiers groaning in pain started to become a frequent sight in the medical bay as every minute, there was a freshly injured person coming through the gates. Escred and the other healers moved around at frantic speeds as they tried their best to treat every patient. However, after a period of time, it became evident that there was no way for them to heal everyone.

“Shin, you should go and help… After all, you are a healer right?”

Surrounded the moans of men and women on their deathbed, Ariel lightly pulled the hems of Shin’s shirt and gestured for him to help those rolling on the floor.

“Ariel… It’s not like I don’t want to help them, it’s just…”

“Just what?”

Wearing an uncomfortable face, the black-haired boy bit his lip as his eyes quivered.

“I have no faith in myself. Those people who are being wheelbarrowed in, they are all in a severe state. I’m guessing Master is healing up those who are lightly injured outside the walls leaving those who are in a drastic state for the healers in the medical bay.”

Shin’s thoughts had hit the nail on the head. Due to Lady Seph’s Divine Rain, many warriors that had broken bones or torn tendons could quickly rise from the ground and continue their assault. However, there are also many limitations to Divine Rain. Patients that had their entire body impaled or lost a significant amount of blood due to an open wound weren’t able to fully recover just from Lady Seph’s mass healing ability. They required specialised treatment and care from qualified healers.

“If Master can’t heal them, with my meagre abilities, how could I hope to treat them?”

Shin mouthed out his deepest fear. He believed that he did not have the qualifications to help the fallen warriors of the Keep. Up to this point, he had only been treating light wounds and minor injuries. He had never faced a life-threatening wound. Before, if he failed in healing, all that he had to do was try again. However, if he were to face any of the patients out here in the medical bay, failure meant the death of a person.

Looking at the despondent youth, Ariel didn’t know what to say. All this time, she thought that Shin had magical abilities that could heal any wound. That’s why she had no care for her body earlier on when they were facing the Earthen Bear. Ariel believed that no matter what injuries she sustained, Shin would be able to fix it all up in a jiffy.

“Hahaha…”

All of a sudden, the scarlet-haired girl broke into a dry laugh after carefully observing the face of her childhood friend.

“What’s so funny?”

“No, it’s nothing… It’s just that you have the same look as you did when you left the mountain…”

“Really? I don’t think so…”

“Shin, how long have we known each other? I know every single one of your faces. Your happy face, your sad face, your excited face, everything… And from what I see, you’re just worried that you would damage your Master’s prestige.”

“T-That!”

Shin’s eyes widened as his innermost feelings were laid down to bare. Indeed, after interacting with Lady Seph for so long, he knew how esteemed his Master really was. From Chilyoja Waypoint to Aldrich’s Keep, everyone he came across had some inkling of who the prestigious healer was and when they found out that she had accepted a direct disciple, they had all grovelled at his feet, hoping to curry some favour with him. Yet, if the disciple that the revered healer accepted, could not even treat a dying patient, wouldn’t that reflect negatively on her tutelage. Thus, whenever he treated a patient, he made sure that he was entirely convinced that his abilities were sufficient. Otherwise, he would turn a blind eye.

Thankfully, since Shin entered the fortress, he had only been given patients with mild symptoms and light injuries, things that he had complete faith in treating. However, many of the soldiers here in the medical bay right now required much more than some basic healing that Shin could provide.

“Shin… You said it yourself, you are the history’s youngest healer! You are the sole disciple to one of the best healers in the world! What injury or illness you can’t heal?!”

“Yeah, but…”

“Shin! Listen to me! Is it right for a healer to just sit back and do nothing while people are suffering?!”

Slapping the two plump cheeks of Shin’s, Ariel asked the black-haired boy.

“No…”

“Then what are you waiting for?! Go out there and treat some patient! Don’t worry about having faith in your abilities as a healer! I have faith in your powers, and that alone is enough!”

“Hahaha… How does that work?”

“I don’t know! It just does!”

Putting her two arms on her hourglass-like waist, Ariel proudly puffed out her chest and declared to Shin. Seeing his childhood friend behave so eccentrically, Shin rubbed his nose as he felt his anxiousness slowly dissipating. A self-deprecating smile appeared on the lips of the young teen as he gazed into the obstinate eyes of the scarlet-haired girl.

“Haish… Fine, you got me…”

Standing up from his position, Shin’s chest moved up and down as he took deep breaths. Uncorking the pearly white ceramic gourd containing his Healing Water, the Shin walked forwards into the medical tent with a beaming young girl not too far behind.

~~~

Uncharted Wilderness. ??????

The battle of Aldrich’s Keep raged on with mountains of carcasses piling up in front of the walls. Now that it was a free for all, the stronger Spirit Users went on a frenzy in the frontlines with General Anmac and Commander Alwig leading the charge. The weaker foot soldiers stayed behind to make sure that no Spirit Beasts that slipped through the cracks of the vanguard’s assault. All in all, even though it was a crazed, uncoordinated attack, the walls of the Keep still stood firm as less than one per cent of Spirit Beasts could hope to make the journey there.

In the depths of the Uncharted Wilderness, at a far deeper distance as to where Lady Seph explored, there was a single watchtower that stood high up in the emergent layer, giving anyone who had the chance to stay there, a good view of the surroundings. A menacing pair of eyes that had been monitoring the battle situation ever since it started grimaced at the sight of Lady Seph setting the entire warzone in a holy light with her Divine Rain.

“Tsssk… To think that even after that laser, the Himmel Empire bastards can still hold on to their walls for so long…”

Donned in full black attire, the man wearing an obsidian black mask, clicked his tongue in displeasure. Writing down his discovery on a parchment of paper, the man hurriedly tied the note into a pulley system that was built for delivering messages quickly to and fro the watchtower. However, before he got the chance to send his note down, a tall and broad-shouldered figure, standing at over two metres tall, flew up next to the soaring tower, shocking the man greatly. Falling onto his bottom, the man looked up to identify the person who had caused him to lose his balance.

“S-Sir Brahmin!”

The Black Mask syndicate had a clear hierarchy set in stone, and all who wished to stay in the organisation had to play by its rules, and one of the most fundamental laws that the association had was to always obey the words of the ones above you. Currently, to the known public, the Black Masks had only five levels, and only members from the bottommost four levels had been seen by law enforcement. The highest level, the Brahmins, had yet to make their appearance and many suspected that it didn’t exist and was just a ruse conjured up by the lower levels of Black Masks to make their syndicate appear to be more powerful than it really was.

“How’s the situation?”

While his words were gentle, the Brahmin’s intimidating gaze indicated that his inner thoughts were far from docile. The sentry guard situated at the top of the watchtower felt his legs wobble due to the frightening aura that the Brahmin was giving off. And it didn’t help that the luscious golden tree in the middle of his forehead, shone brighter and brighter with every step that he took towards, the downed man.

“Still nothing! We have not breached the walls yet! The Himmel Empire army is still holding strong!”

“Hmph! To think that willy old fox had employed the help of Lady Seph… No matter, it’s only a matter of time before their defences come crumbling down…”

“What do you mean, Sir Brahmin?”

Unsure of what his superior meant, the black mask who was keeping watch, carefully asked the towering man. After contemplating a little on whether he should divulge the information he had to his underling, the Brahmin simply chuckled in a sinister way before replying:

“Hehehe… The Allfather has approved the use of Akai and Midori…”

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