Chapter 10 - Movements At The Frontline
None of the trio knew but the servant, Sebastian had long since retreated outside the tearoom to continue guard duty.
He was currently wiping away sweat from his forehead.
The situation inside had abruptly turn intense and he had no idea whether to storm in or not. It was his duty to protect his lord but without his lord's command, he did not know what to do.
Sebastian heave a sigh of relief now that situation seemed to have calmed down.
'Ay... who can understand the stress and life, a small figure like me have to go through?' Sebastian thought.
When the questions and doubts were settled aside, Leon wanted to concoct the Awakening Pills immediately, so he can start receiving payments for the work. They wouldn't pay before they receive the pills.
Leon took the time to revise the Awakening Pill recipe, while he is still recovering to his optimum mental state. The revision of the recipe was not something difficult for Leon to do. He had fully understood the true effects of the Awakening Pill.
The Awakening Pill wasn't some miraculous pill that would allow a person to awaken without side effects. In its truest sense, the pill allows the person to overdraw their body's potential to stimulate a certain part of their brain, where the latent ability laid dormant.
Why else would you need pills in order to gain abilities that is already inherently yours? In other words, using the pill is regarded as forced awakening. Those who chooses forced awakening would have limited growth.
Perhaps the reason the world had not seen another being comparable to the first Hero King was because they had become too reliant on pills to awaken since no other methods were known. Even the fabled queen is stuck at a bottleneck after reaching the 9th step awakening.
Leon deduced that one should be able to naturally awaken and that it was hard to figure out that the first Hero King was a natural awakener.
If there was already such a leading example of a natural awakener, how can the method to natural awakening not be researched and make any breakthrough in its findings after a few hundred years have passed?
Why resort to pills that limit their growth and the collective strength of the entire race? Leon sensed there was a sinister plot that has been in motion for a few hundred years and felt a chill crawl up his spine.
Leon doubted the beasts could have gain such great intelligence as to pull it off. Could it be a third race they don't know about? Or an anti-faction that opposes the current regime?
Leon had questions but no answers to them. He shook his head as he felt he is still too weak to concern himself with this looming threat. To think there was another sword being pointed at humanity from the shadows in addition to the threat of the beasts.
Leon felt a greater urgency to grow strong as possible.
'It's better to keep this information to myself. Informing the Cromwell's of this speculation would only put them and myself in harm's way.'
However, it is also not good to allow them to continue taking this sort of pill. He needs to remove its side effects.
He can replace the Fire Fruit with the Wood-leaf Ganoderma. Its effects are similar to the Fire fruit but mild in nature and doesn't conflict with the Water Roots. It's compliments each other and may provide better effects, without losing its medicinal essence during pill concoction.
The Rigid Snakeroot is a supplementary ingredient that he must definitely remove. Although it has a binding effect, which helps to fuse the ingredients together, it is poison.
The stem of the Rigid Snakeroot contains toxins that attacks the nerves and paralyses the body.
The toxin isn't lethal but regulate usage could lead to lifelong problems.
This is naturally speaking for a normal estimate. Too much of anything would kill you.
Leon plan to use Blue Sages instead, which has some beneficial effects instead.
There's no need to follow the bad instructions on the pill recipe.
He has his own pill concoction techniques.
Leon requested for them to fetch him a pen and paper and he began writing down the list of ingredients needed for the new revised Awakening Pill.
If it works as intended, he will call it the True Awakening Pill.
The herbs he written down was all available in the Cromwell's treasure vault, where all their valuables are stored.
It had been Leon's worry that the herbs he listed may not exist or they existed under a different name.
Luckily, he did not encounter such situations.
When the herbs were delivered to him, he headed back to the pill room and got to work right away.
Crawford Kingdom border, Great Wall.
Soldiers are stationed here all year round. The Bloody War tragedy had taught them a terrible lesson. Those who lived in the capital, away from the frontline may have forgotten or never even learnt about the history of mankind's struggle as it wasn't required of them or they did not live during such chaotic times.
The soldiers stationed at the Great Wall had it differently. History was a compulsory lesson that was drilled into their bones to teach them never to let their guard down and to continue to guard the wall with great vigilance.
The Great Wall is armed with Cannons and large projectile weapons, while all soldiers are armed with Bayonets and their rifles.
The invention of guns had revolutionized the course of their war, but they would not forsaken the blade as it could still be used to protect themselves in close combat if the situation ever arises.
A punitive expedition is regularly sent out on their airships to scout beyond the walls for any signs of beast within a certain distance of the wall. This allows them to alert the garrisons in advance if another beast invasion was arriving.
A large-scale invasion had not occurred in the last 300 years since the Bloody War. Only small skirmishes take place every now and then.
On aboard the airship Freebird, Dale was a veteran soldier, who have served in the army for many years. He was also the Commander of the Freebird. He was standing on the deck gazing up at the grim clouds in sky with a frown.
In his long career as a soldier he had developed a sort of 6th sense for danger, while he was fighting against the beasts and it had saved him on multiple instances. His instincts tell him it would be unwise to continue the expedition.
"Turn the ship around. We are returning early today." Dale commanded
"Yes sir!" His men answered as his men got to work, operating the airship.
The airship shortly made way and headed back in the direction of the Great Wall.
"Commander, is there a reason for the early return?" A young man at the side of the Dale questioned.
"It is not safe to continue the journey." Dale said flatly.
The young man frowned. He was a young noble who was specially assigned onto the punitive expedition to gain experience by his father, the general marquis, Hendrick Graham.
As the son of the general marquis and a 4th step awakener at the age of 20, Rowan was naturally arrogant and proud. He did not put the soldiers on board the airship in his eyes.
He was not happy with Dale's order to return as he had not even seen a shadow of the beasts.
"Not safe? How can you be so cowardly as a soldier and as a commander?" Rowan questioned Dales unhappily.
"You can call me a coward if you want but I have a duty to look after my men." Dales frowned.
"This is a military airship, not some kid's playground. You may be the general marquis's son, but he had assigned you under me. Punishments will still be meted if you fail to comply with military discipline."
Hmph* Rowan did not continue. His father had told him to strictly obey orders from his superiors.
At this moment, a low rumbling sound had become audible to the people on the airship.
"Do you hear that noise?" Rowan asked.
Dales frowned as he looked back in the distant skies and noticed a section of black clouds moving closer to them at a noticeable speed.
Dales squinted his eyes as he tried to gain a better look of the black clouds. The rumbling grew louder as the black clouds came close enough to be identified.
"Men! Full speed ahead! Now!" Dales suddenly roared.
The soldiers started dumping coal into the steam engine and setting the sails as the airship steadily pick up speed.
The airship was not gaining speed fast enough and a battle was inevitable.
"Prepare for battle!" Dales ordered.
The soldiers became tensed as they got into position and had a clear view of their upcoming enemy. It was a flock of aerial beast. Their numbers in the hundreds.
"Ready your aims!" Dales ordered his men as they aimed their bayonet rifles.
The soldiers were unclear of whether Rowan was fearless or a fool as the young noble was standing at the front with an excited look.
Rowan had not fought a beast before, but he was excited to slay some beast and show off his prowess to these timid soldiers, while earning himself some contributions at the same time. He was confident because his bloodline ability allows him to manipulate the wind.
Wind users were the kings of the sky as they can propel themselves with their ability to fly.
"Rowan stand down!" Dales tried to stop Rowan, but it was too late.
Rowan was too excited to listen to Dales command as he launched himself into the air towards the flock of aerials beast. He gathered the wind into the palms of his hands as he compressed them then fired them at the aerial beasts. It was a simple technique to shoot wind blades.
Rowan was confident his wind blades would slay some aerial beasts, but he was shocked when his wind blades only manage to give them some fleshly wounds, far from killing them.
"Quickly retreat you fucking idiot!" Dales was furious as he cussed at him.
Rowan quickly retreated before Dales even needed mention it. He confidence was utterly shattered in that single bout.
"Fire at will! Make sure not to hit that bastard!" Dales commanded as he continue to cuss. He was usually well-mannered but once he snapped, vulgarities would come flying out.
Bang* bang* bang*
The shots were fired continuously. The bullets with its penetrative force, dealt much more damage than Rowans wind blades. The weapon that revolutionized their war should not be looked down upon! The aerial beasts pressed forward their attacks as their brethren fell out of the skies one by one.
The numbers of aerial beasts dropping from the skies continued at a constant rate but there were far too many of them as they were heavily outnumbered.
Rowan did not make it back to the airship in one piece as he was swiped by their claws a few times. He did not lose any limbs, but they were threatening to fall off as his wounds were bone deep.
He had never suffered such heavy injuries in all his life and cried in pain as he couldn't bear it after landing back on the deck.
"Someone takes him inside and give him emergency dressing." Dales continued his series of command, while fighting alongside his men.
Rowan dragged into the cabins by one of the soldiers as the soldier gave him a hateful look for being a deadweight and stopping him from fighting on the deck alongside his brothers.
Rowan had passed out after using up all his energy squealing in pain and did not notice.. He was just an ignorant brat who grew up in a greenhouse in the eyes of the soldiers.