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A note from Kyfe

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The battle didn't stop because of the entrance of the high-Level Adventurers. Reivyn wasn't one to goggle, and the situation was certainly in hand, so he quickly made his way back to his original position to defend against the Revenants with Melissa and Larissa in tow.

Now that the Revenants were on top of the wall and engaging properly, Reivyn was finally able to see just how powerful the Revenants were without the restriction of the mana density.

Gone were the jerky motions. Gone was the lack of coordination caused by not being able to attack their exact target. The blows came in hard and fast, and Reivyn returned the strikes just as quickly. Most of the soldiers and Adventurers to his left and right were unable to fight off the Revenants single-handedly, and they had to use the tactic of stalling them out as much as possible while waiting for the spearman behind them to pierce their skulls or knock them back with a sweeping attack that put them off balance.

Reivyn was able to match the Revenant's speed and strength, and his working mind was superior in dealing with changing situations. I can hold this position indefinitely, as long as my Mana pool can keep up. A quick glance at his Status showed that he was still around 1,100. Good. My situation here should help to Inspire the morale of those around me, too.

Only a brief moment had passed, and while Reivyn had almost all of his focus concentrated on the enemies in front of him, he was still able to keep abreast of most of what was occurring nearby due to his Battlefield Awareness Skill. The new Adventurers had apparently finished assessing the situation after rushing to stop the shadowy figure from holding the Knight-Captain down, and they were beginning to get to serious work.

The Rogue turned and looked at the one engaging the Knight-Lieutenant, and Reivyn heard him chuckle. "You want to play with the shadows in front of an expert? I'll play with you."

The Rogue faded into the darkness, and almost like teleportation, he instantly appeared beside the shadowy figure as he phased back into corporeality. He had to turn away from the Adjutant to parry the attack from the Rogue's dagger. He yelped in surprise when he suffered a slash to his chest despite successfully blocking the strike.

The Rogue laughed again as his body sunk into the man's shadow that he still cast despite the increasing darkness, and the robed figure turned to run away, his movement Skill temporarily unable to be activated so soon after use.

"Haha, run! Run! I know you like running," the Rogue's upper body came back up from the shadow, being carried along without any effort on his part. He casually slashed the running figure in the back.

"Gah!" The man stumbled, and after a short pause, he dispelled the Skill or Magic Item that caused the shadows surrounding him to continuously spread in an attempt to remove the Rogue from his position.

"That won't help you, haha."

A giant ball of light formed in the sky, brighter than the midday sun. It dispelled most of the darkness, but it had the side effect of actually deepening everyone's individual shadows.

"It's not fair, is it? Here, I'll give you a head start," the Rogue jumped out of the man's shadow and returned to his group. He crossed his arms as he tapped his foot. The shadowy figure wasted no time in running for the edge of the wall to retreat into the horde of undead.

The other Adventurers weren't standing idle, though. The Mage raised his staff, and despite not being able to see it with his eyes, Reivyn could sense the powerful mana as tethers shot out and attached to all of the shadow-robed foes engaging the officers, and then they were all violently pulled to the Mage, including the one that had tried to flee from the Rogue.

The Rogue looked down at the man who had fallen to the ground from the powerful yanking force. "Oh, did I say I would give you a head start? Whoops." He slashed down with his dagger and nearly decapitated his enemy, ending his life.

A shadowy apparition rose from the man's body and melted in the glaring light of the artificial sun.

"We're not here to play," the Swordsman said. He casually swung his sword, and a blade aura slashed through all of the other robed men at once, nearly cutting them all in half. "The longer we take, the more people will die." Similar apparitions rose from their corpses, as well, and disintegrated shortly after.

"Right, boss. Sorry, boss." The Rogue bobbed his head.

A spiked ball from a Dullahan came flying up over the edge, and the towering metal Adventurer raised his shield as Reivyn felt a force expand out from him. The spiked ball jerked from its trajectory and slammed ineffectually into the man's shield and bounced off.

"Can't have any of that," he said as he Charged to the edge of the wall. He released a mighty shout, and a bluish aura expanded out from him to encompass nearly half of the entire wall. Ethereal shields sprung up in front of all of the troops within range of the aura, and the Revenant's attacks were all sucked into attacking the shields whether they wanted to or not. The blows didn't so much as cause a ripple as the man single-handedly reduced more than half of the line's pressure.

While the man covered in heavy armor took up his defensive position, the Swordsman threw his off-hand into the air, and hundreds of ethereal weapons appeared as if he had tossed them out of a bag. Most of them were swords, but they also contained axes, spears, daggers, and many other forms of bladed weapons. They floated down to begin circling around him. He turned to the Adjutant.

"Order the line to retreat to the middle or rear of the wall. I'll handle the breach." Knight-Lieutenant Brand nodded his head.

"Soldiers! Retreat ten paces!" The soldiers and Adventurers manning the line began to methodically back away. In the center where the defensive Adventurer had taken up residence, the Revenants were unable to follow, but along the edges. More and more came up as space was made.

The Swordsman dashed to the end of the line in an instant, and his weapons became a maelstrom of destruction as they swirled around him at blinding speed. He didn't even have to swing his own weapon. He just ran up and down the line at a blistering speed a couple of times, and he reaped all of the Revenants on the line.

The Mage followed behind him, the Rogue standing to his side to prevent any more shadowy figures from appearing and sneak attacking him, and a wall of fire encompassed the entire line. Reivyn could feel the heat from his position after backing away with the soldiers, and he watched as the air itself turned into plasma and dripped like molten metal.

The wall of flames descended along the face of the city wall, and it scoured it clean of any Revenants and Dullahans that had been climbing.

"The mana density is still a bit low," Reivyn heard come from the more diminutive Mage. The new addition reached into a pouch on their back and pulled out a handful of crystals that were way too large to fit in such a small space. The Mage threw them into the air where they shattered. Reivyn felt a tremendous, sudden increase in the mana density, several times higher than it had even been when filled with the mana the enemies had inundated the battlefield with.

"Ahh, that's better." The Mage extended their arms to the side, and they began to levitate in place. Hundreds of balls of light flew out of them and spread across the battlefield in the sky. Beams of golden light began to shoot out of the balls as they traversed the sky, raining destruction upon the undead below. Reivyn felt the increased mana density begin to coalesce around the individual as they prepared a massive spell.

As the situation was brought well in hand by the new Adventurers, the five giant demons finally arrived at the wall. Reivyn noticed that they were actually a bit taller than he had expected. The walls were 50 feet tall, and the demons stood head and shoulder above even that.

"Haha, yeah! That's what I'm talking about!" The hulking man in armor exclaimed. He reached into a pouch behind him, and he withdrew a giant hammer, the head half the size of his own body. "BRING IT!" The loud shout contained a ripple of power, and all five demons forcibly had their attention pulled to the man.

The first demon raised its hand and brought it crashing down on top of the armored Adventurer. The man easily withstood the strike with his shield, and then he swung his hammer forward. It crashed into the air like it hit a solid wall, and the demon's body, which was still about 20 feet away, seemed to take a blow out of nowhere. Its head snapped back from the force of the blow, and it stumbled a bit.

"Hahahaha, yeah! Get some!" The armored man cackled maniacally as he engaged the five demons by himself. The other Adventurers gathered back together near where the new member was floating in the air. The taller Mage occasionally shot beams of super-heated plasma at the giant demons.

Reivyn stood in awe as he watched the spectacle.

I knew they were strong, but holy cow! It's been less than five minutes, and the battle is pretty much over.

The defenders all up and down the line relaxed as they witnessed the raw power of the Adventuring team. Many collapsed to the ground as the sudden relief and feelings of survival overwhelmed the adrenaline that had just been pumping through their veins.

The Mana finished accumulating with the smaller Mage, and Reivyn turned his attention back to witness the Spell unfold.

Clouds made of golden light came streaking in from all directions towards the center of the battlefield where thousands of Revenants still moved mindlessly towards the city. The clouds quickly covered the entire sky, but instead of bringing doom and gloom like thunder clouds normally would, these brought a sense of peace and tranquility as they radiated even more light.

The clouds formed a funnel cloud in the center of the field, and Reivyn watched as a giant, golden tornado formed. The balls of light that were still blasting their beams were sucked into the tornado, and the tornado shot thousands of beams down onto the undead in all directions. The tornado began to move, and all of the undead were picked up and sucked into the spinning, golden death.

The Revenants began disintegrating before they even reached the main body of the tornado, and many more were blasted into smithereens by the beams of light. Reivyn and the others on the wall didn't feel the wind or pull from the tornado, but it sucked up all of the undead while leaving the fields, plants, and structures intact.

The giant demons began to be sucked towards the maelstrom, and one of them quickly grabbed hold of the top of the city wall, digging its fingers into the stone. The hulking Adventurer laughed as he brought his hammer down on the fingers, and the demon was unable to hold on and got lifted into the air to be dragged to its demise.

Despite the huge spectacle, the battlefield went completely silent. The tornado lifted off the ground and returned to the calm clouds, and they, too, slowly dissipated to reveal that it was still mid-day.

Not a single trace of the undead army remained.

The artificial sun was gone, but the sky was still blue, and natural, fluffy clouds still floated through the sky, completely unconcerned with the happenings on the ground. I had almost forgotten that it wasn't nighttime, Reivyn thought absentmindedly.

The sudden tranquility was broken by the mangled body of the first shadowy-cloaked figure falling from the sky to land on the ramparts near the Adventurers. The man wasn't dead, and he struggled to sit up and look at the Adventurers who had so casually destroyed his plans.

The man coughed and hacked before he managed to find his voice as he addressed them.

"Who are you? There shouldn't be anyone of your caliber in these parts!" He couldn't accept reality.

"It doesn't matter," the Swordsman replied calmly as he stood over the broken body of the man. His sword was still in his hand, but the ethereal weapons he had summoned had long since been dispersed.

"Hahahaha. That bastard might have lied to me, but h...ack," the Swordsman stabbed him through the throat as he tried to start a tirade. The diminutive Mage slapped him on the shoulder with the back of their hand.

"Hey! He might have had something important to say," she admonished.

"Nah," the Swordsman shrugged. "We probably know more than he does, anyway. I would rather not listen to him."

"Whatever," the smaller Mage turned their head away in a huff.

"Hahahaha. Better watch yourself. Don't get on her bad side, or you know what..." The giant adventurer came bounding over with glee.

"Oh? I know what, exactly?" The Swordsman turned to him. The big man froze in place as he looked back and forth between his companions.

"You know... Stuff... And things," he stammered out.

"Uh-huh. How revealing."

"Hmph!" The little Mage crossed her arms as she turned completely away from the duo.

"May I know how to address the sirs, and ma'am, that have come to our aid?" The commander of the Mage Corps approached the Adventurers, Knight-Captain Reifold a half-step behind and to the side of him. The Mage Corps Commander gave a deep bow to the apparent leader of the team. Reivyn's eyebrows raised in surprise at the scene.

"Just your everyday Adventurers, looking for excitement," The Swordsman replied nonchalantly. He sheathed his weapon as he nodded at the pair of men.

"Well, I'm Count Ilpir, the Lord of Magron. I would be honored if you heroes would join me for a victory feast at my humble home," The Count said.

Ahh, that makes sense. I had thought the man would wait in safety for news on the outcome of the battle, but he was here, fighting, the whole time. Reivyn's respect for the man increased significantly.

"Won't be necessary, and we aren't Heroes," the Swordsman replied.

"Yeah, this guy, here, had the chance to advance to the Hero Class, but circumstances dictated otherwise," the large man clapped a hand on the Swordsman's shoulder. The Swordsman turned his head and glared at him, and the heavily armored man slowly raised his hand off of his shoulder. "I mean... yeah, no Heroes here."

The Swordsman turned and walked off, and the other Adventurers hurried to follow. The Count took several steps towards the retreating Party.

"There must be something I can do to show my appreciation," he tried one more time.

"Nah, we got people to be and places to kill," the Rogue waved his hand without turning back. The group made their way to the stairs, and they left, just like that.

"Damn," the Count muttered under his breath.

"Some things aren't meant to be, My Lord," Captain-Reifold said from his position.

"Yeah," the Count sighed, "I know. It would have been a great boon to building a relationship with such powerful individuals, though."

"There might be other opportunities in the future, the Dungeon is still there," Knight-Captain Reifold pointed out. "And there are other young, promising heroes to praise for their courage." Reifold looked toward Reivyn and his friends.

Teilon, Kimberly, Melissa, Larissa, and Erik had all gathered around Reivyn once the danger of the Revenants on the wall had been dealt with, and they had stood just as stupefied as they watched the end of the battle unfold. Even Erik had lost his composure and put his guard down to witness the scene.

Reivyn had witnessed many scenes of bravery during the ordeal, and he was sure the Knight-Captain wasn't just talking about him. He and his friends were just the closest and most prominent group.

The Count looked back at the Commander of his Retinue, and then he followed his gaze toward Reivyn and his Party. His body gave a small jerk as his eyes landed on Reivyn, but he visibly mastered himself before he walked over. He smiled at the group, and he even nodded to Melissa and Larissa.

"Yes, we'll still hold a victory feast, and you all will definitely be in attendance. Things could have been much worse, Young Reivyn, if you hadn't stepped forward to issue commands at that critical juncture."

There's something strange about the way he addressed me like that... Well, whatever. It's not important.

"The enemies must have seen through my disguise because I was likewise entangled. You have my sincere thanks." The Count looked all around and lifted his head before continuing.

"That goes for all of you," he shouted. "Each and every one of you stood up to a hopeless situation, and though many brave men and women fell to never get back up again, you faced your fears and showed what true courage means.

"Aside from the few who stood out and get recommended by their superiors to join me in the victory feast, I will personally see to it that you, and the families of the fallen, are justly rewarded and taken care of."

The defenders cheered at the words. They weren't cheering for the reward, or for the praise from the Count.

They were cheering for life.

Mourning would be done for the friends that had laid their lives down, but right now, it was a triumph of life over death, in more ways than one.

The Count nodded one last time toward Reivyn and his Party, and he and the Knight-Captain departed the battlements. Knight-Lieutenant Brand walked up shortly after.

"We still have some cleaning up to do, and then a lot of after-action reports must be made. You and your friends have done enough, so I'll see you at the banquet," The Knight-Lieutenant said. "Good job on taking charge. Those were the right orders to issue for the occasion. I think you might still have some friends from the Dungeon Town down below, so I'll let you go."

"Thank you, sir," Reivyn said. The Knight-Lieutenant clapped him on the shoulder before turning around to command the clean-up. Reivyn turned and faced his friends.

"Well, let's head on down. There were a couple of acquaintances below, so let's go check up on them."

"Yeah, and after, I'm going to go back to our rooms, take a bath, and then collapse on the bed," Teilon said with a stretch. "I'm exhausted. Both mentally and physically. One of those Revenants really hit my shield hard at just the right angle. I'm going to be bruised all on my left side."

"Maybe it'll improve your complexion," Reivyn said as he threw his arm over Teilon's shoulders. He swung him side to side as he ribbed him.

"I don't have the energy to come up with a proper quip back," Teilon said as he looked at Reivyn out of the side of his eyes.

"What else is different?" Kimberly chimed in with a lopsided grin. Teilon gasped and placed his hand on his breast in mock outrage.

"You, too?" He placed the back of his wrist on his forehead as he tilted his head back. "Traitors and scoundrels, the lot of you."

"Hahaha, ok, ok," Reivyn said as he straightened up. "We'll get our chance to relax and recover, soon. Let's go check up on a few people."

"We're going to go make sure the villagers and the kids are ok," Melissa said. Larissa nodded her head, and Kimberly walked over to join them. Reivyn shared a glance with Teilon. He nodded his head to the girls and Erik, and Teilon walked over and joined them as well.

"I'll see you guys back at the Lord's Manor," Reivyn said with a wave.

"Sure. See you, then," Melissa said as they followed him down the steps. Reivyn felt a little awkward having said their farewells but ending up still walking in the same direction. They reached the bottom of the stairs, and Reivyn gave another sheepish wave as they finally parted.

He walked toward where those from the Dungeon Town were still resting. Even more of them had succumbed to the lure of sleep, and the local City Guard that hadn't been on the wall had brought blankets and pillows for them to use right there on the street. They stood watch over them so that nobody would decide that now was the perfect opportunity for a little pickpocketing.

Reivyn searched the faces of the men and women laid about. He saw that Cal and his friends, the original two he had met in the tavern as well as the other three he had eventually teamed up with, were still splayed out where he had seen them fall asleep. Lorin was sitting with his back leaning against one of his Party members, his head down and chin on his chest, also asleep.

Reivyn didn't see Josn anywhere, at first, and so he walked around with his head turning back and forth as he searched. He finally spotted him sitting on some steps, alone. His head was down, and Reivyn thought he might have also fallen asleep, but he saw him move and knew he was still awake. Reivyn walked over and sat down next to him in companionable silence.

"Did I do the right thing?" Josn eventually said after noticing it was Reivyn. He stared down at his hands, holding them palm up on his knees. "I told the Sword-Bishop, once, that we should put the stricken Adventurers to the sword. As a mercy. I thought I was strong enough to handle such a decision and not become a monster, but now I know better." He looked up at Reivyn, and there were tears in his eyes.

"I'm not strong enough. Not to make that decision. Not to not become a monster," he looked at the top of the walls, his sight beyond, "and not to protect my men." He clenched his fists as he looked back down.

"You know what you are strong enough for?" Reivyn said after a moment, placing his hand on his shoulder. Josn looked up at him with a curious look on his face. "You're strong enough to admit it. You recognize your weakness. The real question is: are you strong enough to do something about it?"

Josn sat in silence as he looked back down once again. He sat like that, in contemplation, for several moments before he looked back up, the defeat that had been building on his face gone.

"You're right. I'm not strong enough now, but that doesn't mean I can't be strong enough eventually," he said. "The Sword-Bishop single-handedly killed three of those giant demons and five Dullahans before he was taken down. I can't disappoint my mentor by giving up. He sacrificed his life to make sure we had a chance at survival, and he didn't have to. He was strong enough to make it out of there all on his own."

"He was also strong enough to make the decision not to," Reivyn said gently.

"Yes. I must be strong like him," Josn stood up, a look of determination on his face.

"What are you going to do now?" Reivyn asked from his seat.

"I'm going to lead my men back to the Dungeon Town," Josn said as he looked at Reivyn. "We still need a presence there, and that's my duty.

"We will run that Dungeon until we're as strong as that group of Adventurers that defeated the horde in a few minutes by themselves."

"Isn't the Dungeon Town destroyed?" Reivyn cocked his head.

"No," Josn replied. "It's mostly still standing. Despite being the origination of the devastation, it didn't really affect the town that much. Only a couple of buildings were destroyed by the demons and Dullahans moving about, and as far as I could tell, the mana escaping from the Dungeon stopped once those guys opened the rifts to release the monsters." Reivyn's eyebrows went up in surprise.

"That's good, I guess," Reivyn said.

"Yeah," Josn hit his fist into his other open palm. "I'll send a request for reinforcements, and obviously a list of those to be honored, and we'll get right back up and running." He turned to look at Reivyn once more. "Thank you."

"Don't mention it," Reivyn said with a wave of his hand. "You had it in you the whole time, you just needed someone to point it out to you." Reivyn stood up and clasped hands with Josn. "I'm going to go get cleaned up and get some rest. The Count is holding a victory feast, later, and I'm sure you'll be one of the ones he wants present the most.

"What you did, leading your men and the survivors of the town to escape all the way here, was extraordinary," Reivyn clapped him on the shoulder one last time. "You're already a lot stronger than you realize."

Josn nodded with a smile before he turned and walked back to where the rest of the sword-priests were resting. Reivyn watched him go for a moment before he, too, turned and made his way to the Lord's Manor.

As strong as that Adventuring Team that was able to end the battle in a few minutes by themselves, Reivyn thought as he walked. I'll be that strong, one day. I don't want my parents or sisters to ever have to worry about whether or not they'll be able to make it out of a situation.

The streets were eerily quiet as the sun finally began to set on the horizon. Reivyn walked to the Lord's Manor to get some much-needed rest.

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Kyfe

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