Alonso, Faela, and Cecilia stood side by side, overseeing the plains and the fields from the top of the hill. Behind them was part of the army ready to fight against the worshipers.
They had been there for a few hours but there hadn’t a single living being moving as far as they could see.
“I hope they don’t come,” Cecilia’s voice was so low voice only Alonso heard. She clutched the reigns of her horse harder.
The armor she wore, with the symbol of her house, a hammer tempering a sword, only enhanced the fact that she was a young girl.
But her age doesn’t matter. Because of her name, she has to lead the arm, Tetsuko thought.
“I know the feeling, Lia. But they’ll come. They always do,” Alonso said in a frustrated voice, his expression matching. The next moment, his face softened and his tone was paternal, “If so, it’s best to end this as soon as we can. But don’t worry. You’ll be safe.”
No matter how much he tried, it was hard to sound reassuring as they waited.
The girl flashed a wry and tense smile. “I wish that was my biggest worry, uncle.”
Tetsuko couldn’t blame her. As they prepared the weapons and the traps to fight the enemy, they received terrible news; the Worshipers had almost six hundred more than Alonso and the others thought.
Not only the exiled villagers and the runaway bandits. A group of the Sand-dwellers had joined them. The Worshipers over fifteen hundred men and women and children ready to fight for their God of Evil.
Those numbers are terrifying. Facing those almost human beasts… Cecilia’s traps have to work more than ever now.
The Lord of Iron wished to use the mining hill for more than one reason. Not only it was the best strategic place to fight the incoming enemy, she wanted to make an uphill battle for them. But there was another reason. The plan was to thin their numbers and bring most into the mines. That way they wouldn’t have to deal with those beast like leaps.
I can’t believe she came up with those traps… it’s too ingenious for a kid!
Or maybe they’re so creative because it came from a kid.
While the blacksmith worked hard to make thousands and thousands of weapons, the soldiers had worked day and night to set everything.
One of the traps were metal spikes spread around the hill. They were made like the weapons Baltasar and Tetsuko had come up with. The combination of living metal and hard metal would certainly hurt, and with any luck, kill a few Worshipers. Along with the arrows, the plan was to lead the Worshipers to certain places on the hill.
Those were the real traps.
Underneath those places, covered with earth, there was a high concentration of pure living metal. Attached to that, a thin chain alloy of high concentration of living metal. When Alonso and the others send the signal, the soldiers inside the mines would send their Celeste through the chains and explode traps.
It should be enough to kill a lot of Worshipers, but the real goal was to bring as many as they could to the underground. On those narrow corridors, their numbers and brutal strength be too much advantage.
It’d still need at least three or four soldiers to take down one Worshiper. But that’s based on a peasant with abnormal strength… Will be much difference if the worshiper was trained to fight?
And what about the priests, high priest and the grand priest Alonso said? Are they that much different?
Instead of fear, Tetsuko felt thrilled.
She wanted to face them. She wanted to fight them. She wanted to see if her blade could slice them.
Alonso glanced down at her.
Without realizing, Tetsuko’s energy was flowing faster due to her feelings.
She flashed a smile as she looked back at her wielder.
You want to fight the grand priest too. I call feel that. You believe it’s the only survivor from the last fight against the worshipers. The only one you and Diogo couldn’t kill.
The Lord showed no expression. Inside, however, his energy stirred.
But before he could say anything, his face tensioned.
Tetsuko knew the reason at once. She could feel it too.
In the distance, something was coming.
The Worshipers had arrived.
Tetsuko could feel numerous dark energies. Just like the peasants…
It didn’t take them long to reach the foot of the hill.
Though the soldiers showed a brave façade, it was hard to hide the fear before the enemy.
Their energies don’t lie.
Despite the fear, the archers prepared the new arrows when Cecilia gave the signal.
As the Worshipers climbed the hill, many leapt towards the soldiers.
Then the Lord of Iron lowered her hand.
The arrows filled in the air, flying toward their targets with amazing speed.
The firsts Worshipers didn’t seem worried. They made no motion of defending nor dodging.
They think the arrows are the same, Tetsuko thought, her eager smile growing in her head. They’re underestimating a weapon I helped create.
Even among the chaos of thousands of arrows, she sensed when the first hit the target.
The arrowhead dug into the Worshipers shoulder. His scream filled the air as he lost the impulse and fell. Before he hit the ground, he pulled the arrow and threw it aside. He was already preparing to leap the moment he landed.
When he hit the ground, however, it right where one of the metal spikes were. It went right through his stomach. Though he struggled, in moments he was completely still.
And he wasn’t the only one. Others fell to the arrows and the spikes.
The soldiers took down over fifty worshipers until they began to realize the arrows could hurt them.
But even if they knew, they couldn’t dodge or catch every arrow while in the air.
It took longer than I thought for them to catch up with the spikes and the arrow rather.
Some still leapt, but most came up the hill on foot, avoiding the traps.
The arrows still flew in the air, but they barely did any damage now.
At least it’s slowing down their progress… and there’s that too…
When one of the Worshipers caught an arrow, it exploded, taking his hand with it.
Tetsuko knew who shot even without looking.
Faela was the only one with those high concentration of living metal arrows. Though Cecilia listened to the nobles and decided against the exploding arrows, Baltasar made a few with the remaining material.
The man’s screams filled the hill. As he fell, without his hand, his face went through one of the spikes.
Thanks to that, some of his companions were distracted and couldn’t avoid the arrows coming to them.
Faela pulled another exploding arrow and shot.
Her new target caught the arrow with her hand. But she didn’t realize it was one of the exploding ones. The impact, and the shards, were enough to make her fall on a spike and die.
That was enough to make the Worshipers stop running up the hills directly towards the arm. Instead, they went around the center, making sure they avoided the spikes and staying outside the reach of the archers.
Alonso grabbed the chain and clutched it as hard as he could. Though he was a skilled warrior, he had never learned how to use his Celeste in a conscious way. But he could at least send his energy through the chain, which vibrated enough to make a buzzing sound.
The sign, Tetsuko thought as she felt the energy coursing through the chain and going underneath the ground.
Moments later there was a deafening sound. The explosions of the living metal overtook the hills from every side.
Most of the remaining Worshipers fell into the pits and went deep underneath. Others were caught in the explosions and died. Some even died from the debris flying towards them.
Out of the fifteen hundred worshipers, there was only around 300 hundred before the army now.
“Lia, you give the orders,” Alonso whispered, putting on his helmet.
“That’s our enemy down there. For a thousand years. Don’t let anyone alive,” the Lord of Iron shouted.
The army screamed as they rode towards down their enemies.
Tetsuko had no blood in her metal body, but she felt as if hers was boiling in excitement.