“Damn it, are they playing a joke? I thought they were going to ambush us!”
“These dumb feathered beasts can only scare the people of the Eastern Kingdom. They’re aren’t much in the face of our mighty Darkmoon Kingdom army.”
The soldiers and officers of the Darkmoon Kingdom all cussed loudly. They’d spent quite a while setting up their formation, but this flock of Swordbirds had just flown by without dropping even a single feather.
“What the hell!”
But, the officer in charge of directing the formations didn’t dare to lower his guard and didn’t dare to disperse the formation. He only gave the order a full fifteen minutes later when he saw that the Swordbird army wasn’t going to make a return.
The formation was taken down amidst a clatter of complaints and curses. Everyone sat down again in pairs, back to back, intending to rest where they stood.
After all, this was marching and fighting. They had to march during the day, so even if they couldn’t lie down on the ground at night, they still had to sit down and rest for a bit.
It hadn’t been even fifteen minutes after they’d sat down when the shrill horn call sounded again.
“The enemy’s attacking again, get up! Set up the formation, set up the formation!”
It was happening again with another batch of Swordbirds flying over from the direction of the Eastern Kingdom. This time, there were roughly several thousand Swordbirds. They were all Silverwing Swordbirds under the leadership of the Goldwing Swordbirds, with not a single Greenwing Swordbird in sight.
“There are people on the back of the Swordbirds! It’s a real ambush this time!”
“Set up the formation and the long spear formation, prepare to attack!”
Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh!
Chirp, chirp, chirp!
The dense black Swordbird army had once again deceived on the Darkmoon Kingdom army. Although there were riders on the backs of the Swordbirds this time, they still didn’t commence any attacks and just glided past high up in the air. Even the strongest archers couldn’t shoot to that altitude.
Tricked once again.
The soldiers and officers of the Darkmoon Kingdom were a bit inflamed with irritation. They’d just closed their eyes for a bit when two batches from the Swordbird army had flown by. It seemed like they were going to fight, but then they hadn’t. Just what the hell did they plan to do by flying back and forth like this?
The formation was taken down. This time however, a half hour passed by before the shrill horn sounded abruptly, once again shaking the soldiers out of their sleep.
“The enemy approaches, the enemy approaches! Get up! Set up the formation, set up the formation!”
The formation was once again set up with everyone in a fluster. It was a good thing that these were highly trained and disciplined soldiers. Even if they were rubbing the sleep out of their eyes, the speed and efficiency of which they set up their formations wasn’t delayed in the slightest.
The formation was quickly set up again amidst a clatter of noise. The Swordbird army that had been detected once again flew over from the direction of the Eastern Kingdom.
“It’s probably just harassment again this time right? There’s only a few thousand Swordbirds, they’re not capable of doing that much damage. If it really comes down to a fight, the exterior formations will be enough to destroy them.”
“They won’t fight for sure. These dumb beasts are just here to make trouble so that we can’t get a good night’s sleep!”
“Damnit, the Eastern Kingdom has no strength and can only pull these stinking tactics!”
“They don’t properly fight in a battle between two armies and only use these little tricks. How shameful!”
The soldiers railed their enemy with insults but were also full of resignation. Who had made the rule that base tactics were off the table when two armies fought? This was labeled ‘all is fair in war’.
After all, their Darkmoon Kingdom commander-of-chief was a god of the army who was also well versed in using devious tactics.
“Sigh. Take down the formation. It’s all just harassment after all. They don’t have the courage to fight face to face with the brave warriors of the Darkmoon Kingdom!”
“The Eastern Kingdom is filled with cowards!”
“Useless scum of the Eastern Kingdom, come down and fight if you dare! What skill do you have in just flying back and forth over our heads?”
The soldiers beneath called out invectives and attempted to infuriate the Eastern Kingdom practitioners riding the Swordbirds.
“Since you want to fight, then let’s fight!”
A response traveled down from the air and suddenly all the practitioners on the back of the Swordbirds took out the longbows behind them. Arrowheads with fire and oil tied to them suddenly rained down onto the camp beneath them.
When several thousand people fired at the same time and each shot out twenty arrows, that still made for a total of ten thousand arrows.
When ten thousand arrows descended on such a small space, their destructive power was quite great.
Although the formation beneath them blocked most of the arrows, a minority of the arrowheads still landed on the tents.
When the flaming arrowheads landed on the tents, they began to burn furiously.
After that, some soldiers caught on fire.
After a round of furious shooting, the Swordbird army didn’t linger at all as they left with great fanfare, leaving behind a sea of fire beneath them.
“Put out the fire! Hurry up and put out the fire!”
Even though a great majority of the ten thousand flaming arrows had been destroyed, several thousand had still landed on the ground, enough to ignite a large swath of fiery ocean.
The internal organization of the great army was a bit bedraggled for the moment because of the fire.
Ren Feilong immediately gave the order, “Black Riders ready! Guard the skies, if you meet the Swordbird troops, fight immediately! You are only allowed to win and not allowed to lose!”
The Darkmoon Kingdom had actually prepared an aerial army as well, named the Black Riders.
However, the Darkmoon Kingdom had limited resources in this area and had managed to scrape together an army of only three thousand strong. The black crows were far fewer in number when compared to the Goldwing Swordbirds so they could at most be on par with the Silverwing Swordbirds. But the men of this troop were all of the advanced realm of true qi and had met rigorous selection criteria. Their system of training was also exceedingly robust.
They were truly much stronger compared to the hastily assembled Swordbird riders that Jiang Chen had put together.
Another wave of the Swordbird army arrived not long after the Black Riders had taken to the air. In this way, the anticipated battle in mid-air started taking place.
Whether in terms of tactics or training, the Black Riders were truly much stronger.
However, the Swordbird riders also had an edge, and that was the natural advantage of the Swordbirds themselves. The Swordbirds were fierce spirit beasts and their defensive capabilities were astounding, and absolutely not something that the Black Riders could hope to measure up to.
When all these advantages were cancelled out, the fighting capabilities of the two were roughly on par with each other.
However, the Swordbird riders obviously didn’t have the desire to stay fighting. After they exchanged several rounds with the Black Riders, they left with great waves of their wings.
The Black Riders even started suspecting the number of waves this Swordbird army had. Could it be the same flock of Swordbirds circling in the surroundings and flying back and forth?
After all, flying in the air was different to walking on the ground. One could just make a circle and come from the east, make another slight circle and come from the east again.
With just this type of circling, they would mislead others that there seemed to be many waves of Swordbird riders.
However, no one would be able to be certain whether it was one wave or multiple waves of Swordbird riders. Therefore, the Black Riders captain decided to follow this wave and see just what the Swordbird riders were up to.
The pursuit had just started when suddenly, great waves of Swordbirds surged out from the three directions of east, west, and north.
“Damn it, we walked into a trap. That was inducing us to leave our home base! Set up the formation, ground army, set up the formation!”
The Black Riders had been diverted to the south, completely taking out their aerial defenses. In this manner, the people below couldn’t concentrate on dousing the fires, and had to set up formation to be on their guard against attacks from the sky.
However, since the fire had started burning, the soldiers couldn’t set up the formation however much they wished to. Although they all wore armor, they were made of blood and flesh after all. No one could withstand the strong momentum of the fire.
At this time, the three Swordbird squads in the sky attacked in unison. Countless arrows rained down like rainwater splashed from a gourd ladle, pouring down from the sky.
Due to the raging fire below, the defensive formation was not as solid as before.
As soon as the round shield defensive formation became unsteady, many gaps would then appear. In the face of such a densely packed hail of arrows, any gaps would be fatal.
Agonized screams rang out all of a sudden, to be followed up with even more painful cries.
Those who were hit screamed and those who were burning cried out. The great army sank into a chaos of movement in the span of a moment.
It was a good thing that the army was highly trained and they immediately found their footing after temporary unrest. Those in charge of dousing the fire and those in charge of setting up formation each focused on their tasks. Everything was in good order and well arranged.
Except, after this round of attacks, even though the main strength of the army hadn’t been harmed, but several thousand soldiers were still more or less injured by the arrows.
After all, the arrows shot down by the three squads of more than ten thousand people still made for twenty to thirty thousand arrows. Even if they didn’t pierce anyone to death, it was enough to bombard many to their deaths.
The effectiveness of harassment tactics and guerilla warfare apparent, the Swordbird army didn’t stay and fight. They left with great fanfare once again, leaving the great army beneath them screaming out curses.
The altitude of the Swordbird army had made it impossible for them to fight back.
When travelling from high to low, even if the force of the arrows were weak, they still at least had the potential to injure and kill. But when they shot into the air from the ground, the force of their arrows was naturally greatly decreased.
Even the practitioner with the best arm strength could barely manage to cover the distance with his shooting range. But how would something that just managed to reach them be enough harm to the Swordbirds?
The feathers on the Swordbirds were as tough as iron and steel, a perverted existence.
Therefore, the battle had resulted in a furious Darkmoon Kingdom army with no outlet to vent their anger.
However, no one within the Darkmoon Kingdom army could have anticipated that the true disaster was only just about to begin.
A soldier who had been injured by an arrow suddenly crawled up stiffly and pounced, biting down on another soldier’s throat.
“Ah!” A ghastly cry rang out, with the bitten soldier clasping his throat painfully. Fresh blood splurted profusely out from his throat.
Shortly afterwards, another soldier whose wounds were being tended to by his comrade had his eyes suddenly turn blood red and his teeth chatter. He extended his head, and bit down viciously on the back of the hand of the comrade bandaging him up.
“You… you’re freaking crazy! I’m dressing your wounds and you bite me?!”
However, these sort of scenes was only the beginning.
Bizarre screams and cries broke through the calm of the army. All sorts of wails, heckling, and curses spread throughout the mountain valley.
The enemy’s ambush had ended, but why did these shrill cries and curses ring out continuously?
The great army in the mountain valley suddenly sank into a perplexed panic. The panicked feelings spread outwards like an epidemic.
However, once the frightening poison had any sort of momentum, the speed of its spread wasn’t any slower than the spread of those frightened feelings.
After an hour, the great army in the valley had already completely dissolved in chaos. In the beginning, the captains, lieutenants, and various sorts of generals had been able to keep order.
However in the end, this sort of situation became completely out of control and slowly spiraled into pandemonium.
Once fear spread, even a rock solid army would be overcome, not to mention that this type of fear wasn’t brought by the enemy, but appeared from within the camp itself.
Internal panic was much more frightening and damaging than an external enemy.