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Northern Front, 2 Km away from City of Falledge

The forward Imperial picket jolt awoke suddenly from his sleep and grabbed his weapon in panic. For a moment he was disorientated as he scanned his surroundings before he calmed down. Dell returned his sword into the scabbard and took a sip of his water skin to quench his dry throat.

Scratching his head, Dell wondered what had woke him up when he heard a low rumbling in the distance coming from the city side and instantly he was on the alert.

He crawled out of his hidey hole and made his way to the edge of the forest cautiously. He frowned with surprise as he noticed that there was a row of lights beyond the city and those lights appeared to be moving at a rapid pace!

The more he watched the moving lights the more baffled he became. The lights appeared to be moving in pairs and mounted on some kind of creatureless wagon that was moving quite fast for their size. He managed to catch shadowy glimpses of the wagons when the lights of the wagons at the rear shone on them.

Dell felt a sense of supernatural unease at the way those wagons were traveling. First, it was those flying crosses that cause fear and confusion with their egg bombs and now these... wagons that could move without the pull of a land dragon. He might not be a Knight of the Order of Shadows, but he was still an official member of it. Yet the magic of the Knights appeared to pale in comparison to the demonic abilities of these rebels!

He whispered a chant and curled his fingers up and peered through them as the farseer spell came into effect. The spell immediately brought the moving wagons to his eyes and he counted the number of wagons moving. One... two... five... ten... twelve... fifteen!

Those fifteen wagons suddenly came to a halt and dark figures illuminated by those strange bright lights spilled out. Dell noted the wagons had formed up in a simple formation and suddenly the lights went out, leaving a blob of white on Dell's vision.

Dell blinked his eyes rapidly to clear his vision before he returned to observing the enemy. But without the lights, the rebels had vanished into the darkness. Dell thought for a while before he returned to his hideout and started grabbing his gear. He should go and report this incident back at camp, the rebels must be planning some kind of attack!

As he started his way back to camp, a loud shrieking roar erupted behind him. He froze in his steps and ducked instinctively from the continuous roaring. It was unlike any beast nor monster cry he had ever heard before. He quickly turned and ran back to the forest edge to see what creature was making the sound.

Dell's eyes widened in horror as he stepped out of the forest to see the 'monster'. It was those rebels' wagons that were screaming and flashes of flames and trails of sparks were roaring into the skies! What kind of dark magic was that!?

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Outskirt of Order of Shadows Campsite

Wolf panted as he hoisted the unconscious girl tighter to his grip. The Imperial sentries were relentless in their pursuit. In front of him, Hitsu slid to a halt on the dew wet forest floor and smoothly pivoted his suppressed rifle around and there were a couple of thuds from his weapon as he laid down covering fire.

"Come on!" Altied waved them over from the next tree line. "Move it, soldier!"

"INCOMING!" Someone yelled, Wolf wasn't sure who it was as his attention turned to the sudden shrieking rockets flying over his head. "TAKE COVER!"

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Order of Shadows Campsite

"So the rebels found us?" The Joker slipped on his breastplate and frowned when he noticed it was not his usual slave doing the buckling for him. "Where is she?"

"M- my Ma- master," The slave dropped to her knees and stammered, "I don't know... mas- master!"

"Scram!" He kicked the slave away and finished tightening the straps himself. "Find her!"

"Y- yes, master!" The slave quickly scampered away.

Thos stood without a word at the side till the slave exited the tent before he spoke, "It will appear so. Our sentries and soldiers are in pursuit now."

"Tell the men to pack the camp now," The Joker turned and faced the stoic Knight. "We will shift the camp now."

Thos gave a bow and returned out of the tent to carry out his orders but he suddenly paused and looked up to the skies and tilted his head as he heard something strange. The Joker eyed Thos's behavior and frowned and his eyes suddenly widened and he yelled. "BRING UP THE BARRIER!"

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The 2.75 inch or 70 mm diameter fin stabilized unguided rockets screamed happily through the air at a speed of 723 meters per second. Its high-explosive dual purpose warhead were packed with 0.91 kg of high explosives and together with its Haven made MK 6 rocket motor, weighed a total of 4 kg.

Originally designed for the Airforce's rocket pods, the 70 mm rocket found itself mounted onto converted half tracks, turning them into a Short Range Missile carrier. It had been proven to be very versatile in its uses.

The rocket motor spewed flames and smoke out as it consumed the solid fuel, thrusting the eager rocket towards its projected impact zone with a force of 5938.4 N. Unlike the AIM - 32H Space Sparrow multi purpose missiles, the 70 mm rockets do not have a smart chip. The rockets were instead fired based on computer calculated maths.

The rockets themselves were not every accurate despite the computer calculated trajectory. It was calculated that the 70 mm rockets had an error margin of plus minus ten meters for every kilometer. Now they were firing at the target which was roughly three kilometers away, giving the 70 mm rockets an error margin of thirty meters.

With five batteries of SRMs firing 98 rockets each, a total of 490 rockets screamed madly towards their target area like falling stars in the night skies. In the end in terms of accuracy, that did not really matter when 490 rockets volley slammed into the ground within seconds and an entire area of 2 km square exploded.

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Wolf cursed when he felt like the Gods had unleashed their fury on the earth, as deafening roars and shrieks erupted behind him. The ground trembled madly and the overpressure of the air slammed into their cover as they huddled downslope.

"Farrrkkkk thissssss!!" Hitsu screamed as he hugged his helmet tightly. Bits and pieces of debris rained down around them and after a short while the shaking stopped but their ears continued to ring.

"What a rush!" Hitsu laughed as he patted himself, checking all his body parts were still intact. "Everyone Ok?"

Wolf gave a thumbs up as he laid on his back. He checked the beast girl and found her still breathing and other than her old wounds she appeared to be fine. He rolled himself up and peered back to the enemy camp and only saw a partially flattened forest devastated by fire and smoke.

"Well, fark me!" Hitsu cursed as he aimed his rifle down at the site of the camp. "Looks like we go survivors!"

Wolf frowned and too cursed inwardly as he saw the tell tale glow of magical barriers. "We must have some high level mages down there."

"Call for another strike," Altied checked his weapon. "I like to see how they can tank another barrage of rockets!"

"Great idea!" Hitsu grinned back he tapped his radio comms. "One, this is Five. Good splash, requesting another splash. Over."

"One, standby."

"Alright, let's get the hell out of here!" Altied said before he questioned Wolf. "Why did you bring that girl along?"

"I... She just appeared before me," Wolf lamely replied. "She looks pitiful... So I decided to save her..."

"Better get her to a mage tech to check her over for any tracking or branding magic when we get back," Hitsu said. "And she's your baggage!"

Wolf nodded, as he lifted her up again in a fireman carry and they started their way back.

"One to All, fire mission in twelve mikes. Out"

"Well, let's hope those Blue Boys continue to stay there for the next barrage," Hitsu grinned. "I'm sure they will love it!"

-----

The Joker screamed with rage and pain as the healers carefully peeled the remains of the melted spider silk tunic off his back. His torched armor laid in a heap on the side while his exposed back was charred red like a side of roasted meat.

Clear fluid flow off his peeled flesh as the healers quickly cast healing spells that regenerated his cooked flesh. The burnt flesh on his back peeled off bit by bit as the new flesh slowly regrew painfully.

"M- my, Lord..." The Healer held out a red crystal vial of healing. "Please drink this... It will heal with your internal wounds..."

The Joker grabbed the vial and snapped off the tip with his thumb before downing the whole bottle. He flung the crystal vial away to the side and hissed at the act, as his back muscles screamed in pain.

"My lord... you need to be gentler," The Healer quickly reminded him. "You need to rest for at least a week before you can do any vigorous activities!"

"Blah!" The Joker stood up and ignored the Healer's words. "I am fine now! It's just some pain!"

"Bu-" The Healer wanted to say more but was cut off.

"Enough!" The Joker growled. "Go see to the others!"

The Healer bowed and packed his tools up and left. Thos appeared on his side in a set of new armor, raising the Joker's eyebrows as he took it in. "How the heavens did you get another set of new armor?"

"I got spares," Thos gave a simple reply, making the Joker roll his eyes.

"What is our situation?" He asked as he picked up a bottle of wine from the ruins of the tent and took a swill out of it. He spat the warm wine out and tossed the bottle away. "Urghh... Gross!"

"Our situation is not good," Thos said. "Our barrier stones are all but depleted from the star fire."

"More than half of the men were killed and another half suffering from various degrees of injuries," Thos reported. "Also two thirds of our stores were burnt down and all most of our mounts are gone. Those that remain had gone mad and we had to put them down."

"There isn't any good news, right?" The Joker made a grimace as he slipped on a relatively unscathed tunic from the remains of his luggage.

"No," Thos replied. "I advise we left now before the rebels follow up with an attack."

The Joker sighed. "Alright, let's go. Make sure to bring the barrier stones along too. Those things cost me a castle!"

Thos nodded and left to carry out his orders. The corner of the Joker's lips slowly rosed as he looked around the destruction. "How interesting! This makes me so curious about how they created such a spell of destruction!"

If it wasn't for the barrier stones, no one would be alive at all. The power of the stones could actually block dozens and dozens of high level spells before its power depleted. Yet this spell that rained from the skies was a hundred times more potent than any spell he has ever witnessed.

Too bad his barrier stones had to be grounded on the earth and formations draw around for them to be used. If not he would had used the barrier stone to force his way into the city. Maybe the General was defeated by a similar spell hence there was no news from his side?

This war is starting to get more and more interesting! Thought the Joker as he smiled. "This is so interesting!"

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