Under the Oak Tree

Chapter 422 - 183

Chapter 422 - 183

The ground trembled with every thump of the golem's massive stone leg, leaving deep impressions in the earth. Its creation must have significantly lowered the density of the soil; the field was now a mire, and the charging undead monsters sank into it, iron maces and all. When the golem raised its arm, Maxi reflexively closed her eyes.

There was a loud thud, and a faint tremor shook the earth.

"Come this way, my lady," Gabel said, pulling Maxi away from the portcullis. "Some of the monsters might get past-"

He immediately froze as he realized her sleeve was soaked in blood.

"Good God, you're wounded," he exclaimed.

"Move aside. Let me heal her."

Shoving past the flustered knight, Anette ushered Maxi near the stairway leading to the battlements. She made her kneel before pulling out a knife. Without hesitation, she ripped Maxi's clothes to reveal the wounds on her thigh and shoulder, then carefully began wiping away the blood with a clean linen cloth.

The pain surged, making Maxi wince. It appeared that her senses, paralyzed from terror earlier, were slowly returning.

"I-It hurts."

"Good. That means your nerves are fine," Anette replied brusquely. She carefully inspected the deep gash on Maxi's shoulder. "No broken bones either."

She swiftly cast healing magic over the wounds. Once they disappeared, Maxi tested her shoulder. True to Anette's words, there seemed to be no nerve damage.

Maxi pulled off her glove, confirming she still had full control of her arm, before looking around at Anette and the knights. "I-Is everyone all right? Is anyone-"

Suddenly, a deafening roar tore through the air, and the ground shook violently. Staggering to her feet, Maxi raced up the stairs. Atop the wall, she was greeted by the sight of two colossal beings, each the size of a small castle, brutally trampling monsters. Anette's golem had activated as well.

Gabel, having climbed up after her, murmured, "They are certainly impressive."

It seemed the others were astonished at the sheer size of the golems as well. The only one who seemed worried was Anette. The golems' larger-than-anticipated heights were clearly making her uneasy.

She must be worried there might be a flaw in the rune.

The same thought gnawed at Maxi. What if the golems went rogue? She anxiously watched as the towering constructs beat back the advanding monster army.Please visit fr𝐞𝐞wn.𝒸o𝔪 website to read fastest update

As the monsters drew back, the golems ceased their rampage. The formula that directed them to act only upon detecting a threat appeared intact. Just as Maxi breathed a sigh of relief, thunderous cheers erupted around her.

Startled, Maxi glanced around. The soldiers, their spirits frayed from ten days of recurring battles, now radiated hope. A few approached her and hoisted her onto their shoulders before Gabel and Garrow could stop them.

The elated soldiers appeared not to hear her shriek of surprise. With her still sitting on their shoulders, they marched along the battlement. Maxi glanced in embarrassment as people began to chant her name.

But the war was not over yet. The enemy's retreat was only temporary, and another strike was inevitable. Even so, she could not bring herself to dampen the soldiers' joy. The men had worked hard for weeks; they deserved to savor their victory for the moment. And so, all Maxi could do was awkwardly wave her hands as they celebrated.

Soon after, they received word that the monsters attacking the west wall had retreated as well. However, Maxi's fears were proven true when it became apparent that the enemy had not given up on Vesmore altogether. According to the scouts' reports, the undead army was encamped in the vicinity of the Black Forest, a large woodland to the west of the Lexos Mountains only two maltions away (approx 3 kilometers).

"I believe they are trying to create more undead," Anges said with a heavy sigh. The princess had come to the mages' workroom with the report. "There should be plenty of monsters buried near the mountains. They are surely aiming to replace their losses."

"Why are they so bent on taking Vesmore? If their goal is to destroy the Invoked Sanctuary, sacking any of the five cities should suffice," Sidina asked, cocking her head.

She had come to assist in the creation of the golems.

"I believe it's because Vesmore is the city closest to the dragon's lair," Agnes replied with a shrug. "They likely want to strike the campaign party as quickly as possible after taking down the barrier."

Maxi nodded. The monsters were surely aware that a campaign party was on its way to defeat the dragon and thus were likely in a hurry to destroy the barrier. Moreover, since the enemy had no way of knowing if the other cities had golems as well, they had probably concluded it would be better to keep their focus on Vesmore. A city that had exhausted much of its forces over the past ten days made an easier opponent than another fortress.

"How long until the additional golems are finished?" Agnes asked.

"W-We will have three more in three days."

Agnes's face brightened. Having witnessed the golems' immense power, she likely thought that these numbers would be enough to defend the city.

"Then please, keep up the good work."

As soon as the princess left the workroom, the mages around the desk let out a collective sigh. They were currently poring over the formulas to figure out the cause of the golems' enlargement. After studying the rune for a long time, Anette put forth a theory.

"I think the golem's mana circuit might have been infused with too much earth mana during its creation. The lack of fire mana in the area probably led to an increased ratio of the other elements."

The Godric brothers, enjoying a hot porridge in the corner, looked up from their bowls. "Then, why did it take so long for them to appear? For a moment there, we thought we'd failed for sure!"

"With the added size, it probably took longer for the circuit to be finished," Maxi replied as she leaned back against the chair. "The problem..is that we have no idea how long they will last. If everything goes according to our calculations, they will last for at least a month, but now..I'm not so sure. A week might be the best we can hope for."

The workroom grew somber. Clutching her throbbing head, Maxi pored over the drafts. While there was a rune inside the golem that enabled it to absorb mana on its own, it was terribly insufficient to sustain a roughly one hundred-kevette magical construct for an extended period. The mana in the magic stones would drain away, and with its source of power gone, the golems would instantly return to dust.

"Wouldn't it be better to redo the formulas?" Sidna cautiously suggested.

Maxi shook her head. "I'm afraid we don't have the time. Our best option...is to keep creating the golems as is."

"But we only have ten high-grade stones left."

"That should last us about half a month."

Everyone turned to see Calto striding into the room. Until now, he had been ensconced in his room after the debilitating effects of the immense shield he had cast.

Pulling up a chair, he stated as he sat down, "Seven golems should be enough to defend the city. You must finish the additional three and use the remaining stones to create replacements. If each golem manages to last a week, we should be able to buy ourselves more time until the campaign party slays the dragon."

A deep crease formed at the corner of Calto's mouth. He pensively stared at the candlelight before replying carefully, "With Sektor gone, the monsters will have no reason to besiege the city. We have only to hold out until the campaign party eliminates the dragon."

Maxi's brow furrowed slightly. Would the dragonians give up so easily? They might even seek vengeance and attack with more ferocity.

But we have no other option.

Maxi surveyed the workbench with renewed determination. They had to focus on defending the barrier, at least until the campaign party successfully carried out their mission. They had no time to spare worrying about what would happen next.

Maxi organized the scattered drafts and distributed them to Sidina, Anette, and the Godric twins. "We should get to work if we're to finish the golems before the monsters return."

Mages from the daytime watch join them in the evening, enabling the completion of three golems in only two days. This time it was decided that Anette, Alec, cand Dean would plant the golem figures outside the city. Maxi was exhausted from supervising the whole project, and she had not had a chance to rest. She bid the Umri siblings to finish up while she got some much needed sleep.

The next day, she was awakened by a horn's blare. Hastily throwing on her coat, Maxi rushed up the rampart.

The hill was a sea of thousands of undead. Their skeletal feet stomped the ground as they charged toward the city. Sure enough, the golems activated in response. Another battle had begun.

"Everyone, to your positions!" Agnes bellowed from the watchtower.

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