"Perfect! I've used up all the Flowerless Snake Fruits again, and I can take this chance to gather some more. But I'm not sure if the plains even have this type of plant..."
Leylin thought to himself as he gradually walked further from the party.
"A.I. Chip! Check my body's stats!"
[Beep! Leylin Farlier. Strength: 1.6, Agility: 1.7, Vitality: 1.5, Status: Healthy.]
A.I. Chip transmitted back the information.
"There isn't much improvement, only around 0.1!" Leylin furrowed his brows, "Ever since everyone started resting in the carriage, I can no longer find a suitable place to cultivate the breathing techniques. Furthermore, the effects of the medicines are decreasing. According to the calculations, the optimized cross blade breathing technique should allow me to increase my basic physical stats to 1.9 before hitting the limit. After that, I can only improve after stimulating my inner life energy and becoming a Knight..."
Leylin kept watch on the girl from the Furze Alliance from afar, as he also kept an eye out for useful herbs and materials.
After a long time, he finally looked up in disappointment.
"It is as I had feared! The conditions are too different, and the Flowerless Snake Fruits are not able to survive on these grassy plains. I can't even find any suitable substitute herbs!"
"Hey! Leylin! It's time to get on the carriage!" George's loud shout came from the distance.
"Got it!" Wandering afar by himself was not only attention drawing but also very dangerous. As such, Leylin could only give up on his plan, and return to the horse carriage.
[Warning! Warning! Dangerous creatures are approaching!]
Just at that moment, the A.I Chip's mechanical voice sounded out, and red warning words appeared in front of Leylin's eyes, attracting his attention instantly.
"Quick! Show the map now!"
Leylin's facial expression did not change, but he hastened his movement, reaching the limits of his body, and his right hand grasped his cross blade firmly.
On the virtual map that was projected in front of his eyes, there was a large group of red dots closing in on their group of carriages. The dots were slowly encircling and surrounding them.
[Beep! According to the databanks, these dangerous lifeforms have a 97.8% similarity to Direwolves!]
"Direwolves!" Leylin's eyes narrowed as he recalled the data that had been collected earlier. "Direwolf: A kind of wolf inhabiting the Great Plains of Death. Savage and cruel, they mostly hunt in packs. Their strength is estimated to be around 2-3, agility around 3-4, and vitality around 3-4."
"Such strength, they are definitely not creatures that I, a mere Knight-in-training, can handle!"
Leylin's footsteps hastened once more, and he rushed towards George, saying in a low tone: "We have company. Trouble is afoot!"
George looked around at the surrounding crowd and saw that most of the students were still minding their own business. He quickly retrieved his water bottle in order to hide their actions: "What's the situation?"
"A pack of direwolves! I noticed their tracks!" Leylin said quickly and urgently.
"I got it!" George drank a few gulps of water, then gave out a few simple hand signals.
The youths from their team who had been chosen as escorts were momentarily startled, but they still remembered their predesignated hand signals. Instantly, they all got moving, pushing the younger girls ahead, and whispering into their ears. The entire process was done swiftly and silently. Although some of the other Magus apprentices also noticed something was wrong and followed their retreat, most of them were still oblivious.
Sometimes, when danger arose, the only thing you needed to do was to ensure that you ran faster than your companions!
"Let's go!" Seeing that most of the members of their alliance had successfully retreated, George and Leylin quickly followed suit.
"Leylin, you're unexpectedly even good at scouting!" George said in a low voice to Leylin. After all, they had spent quite some time and were familiar with each other, and he knew that Leylin would not lie to him about something like that.
Although the members of the Furze Alliance were quiet and retreating in an orderly manner to refrain from alarming the rest, some of the other acolytes were very discerning, and they quickly joined in the retreat.
A loud piercing gong sounded out, "The Lord Magus has sensed danger! All acolytes are to retreat back to the horse carriages!"
One of the black robed men's voice sounded out, thundering in all the acolytes' ears.
The acolytes who were resting on the grass were all stunned into silence, before they all swarmed into motion, fleeing crazily for the horse carriages.
"No need for hiding anymore! Let's run!" George shouted as he drew his sword.
By now, all the members of the Furze Alliance had been alerted, and were already quite a distance, and the fastest amongst them had already reached the horse carriages.
At this moment, a long and drawn out howl sounded out, filled with ruthless bloodlust.
All around, the wolf howls sounded; since the prey had discovered their stealth attack, they would just charge forth!
Streak after streak of black shadowy wolves charged after the fleeing acolytes; they were about 2-3 metres long, and their speeds were such that a shimmering black afterimage followed them.
"A direwolf pack!" One of the acolytes at the back cried out in despair.
Just as he cried out, a black shadow pounced onto her, the large impact causing this young girl to fall to the ground. In the next instant, the merciless huge jaw filled with sharp teeth bit down viciously, tearing out her throat as she died with a despairing look on her face.
Some of the fleeing acolytes were attracted by the cries and turned their heads to look before they cried out in alarm as they witnessed the grisly sight and hastened their pace.
Another young girl whose face was full of tears was running and shouting: "Mummy! Mummy! I want my mummy...!"
"These pitiful youngsters, they are already beginning to lose it?" By now, Leylin had already reached the horse carriages, and could see the entire scene in front of him.
Right at this point in time, seven dark shadows dashed out from the horse carriages, each wielding a huge sword the size of a man, which slashed through the air as they charged towards the direwolf pack.
"It's the black-robed Knights! They're attacking!" Leylin thought to himself.
These direwolves' stats are about 3 each on average and are very similar to the Knights. However, humans have the ability to use weapons, along with their intelligence; furthermore, the Knights should have secret skills which can greatly raise their potential and allow them to burst forth with greater power when necessary! If it's one versus one or even one versus three, these direwolves will definitely not be a match for the Knights. However, with the current numbers..."
Leylin had a worried look on his face as he looked at the several hundred red dots encircling them. "Previously, even with just nearly a hundred direwolves, they managed to get to the horse carriages, and even damage some of the carriages. With these several hundred direwolves... Perhaps today we will finally see those mysterious Magi show their abilities!"
*Psh* ! One of the black-robed Knights waved his immense blade, weaving a bright silver light in the air as he cleaved a direwolf right into two!
"Heh heh!" The Knight licked the blood from his lips, looking extremely ferocious: "Come on, my little precious!"
"Thank...Thank you, Sir!" The little girl who was saved kept thanking him repeatedly, the tears still on her cheeks. This was the girl who had been calling out for her mother earlier.
"Are you an idiot? Get back now!" The Knight's head did not even turn as he charged forth towards the direwolves.
Only then did the little girl seem to reawaken to the reality of the situation, and ran back to the horse carriage.
"Hurry! Arrange the horse carriages in a circle to use as a defensive formation, the girls should stay behind while the boys, take up your swords and set up a defensive perimeter!"
The black robed Knight who remained at the campsite shouted out.
"Alright!" George was the first to shout out a reply, jumping up onto one of the carriages to direct the alliance members.
"It's time to fight for our lives!" Leylin grasped the cross blade in his hands and muttered to himself.
Looking at the scene before him, he noticed that the members of the Furze Alliance had the least losses due to his timely warning; besides a few who had tripped while running and sustained minor injuries, there were no deaths or major injuries.
In contrast, many of the other acolytes had been killed or injured, for example, he had discovered that Ourin's little party was now missing two youths, while the remaining few had all sustained some form of injuries. It seemed like they had been just lucky enough to escape with their lives.
"Alright! We've rescued all the ones who can be rescued!"
Angelo's body was covered with blood as he returned to the defensive formation, and he immediately saw Leylin, who was grasping a cross blade with both hands and was in a battle-ready stance.
"Aren't you afraid?" the black robed Knight asked.
"At this time, being afraid won't be of any help right?" Leylin replied. His hands tightened around his sword; after all, even in his past life, such a bloody scene was not common.
"Heh heh! These direwolves are cunning and intelligent, as long as we let them know that we're not an easy target and that they will sustain many losses to kill us, they will definitely run away!" Angelo said passively.
Although he did not know if the Knight was just trying to comfort him, Leylin breathed an obvious sigh of relief.
"Aowuuu!" The few acolytes that had fallen earlier had perished by now, and with the scent of blood in the air, the direwolves went berserk and charged savagely towards the horse carriages.
"Here they come! Everyone be careful! We will try our best to protect you, but there are only so many of us and we will definitely miss some. At that point, you will have to fight for your lives!" Angelo's loud voice rang out, as he waved his huge sword, standing in the front lines together with the other Knights.
"Kill!" The Knights shouted out loud, and Leylin could see a faint light shining around their large swords.
As the huge blade cleaved down, the direwolf charging in front had a hole torn in its chest, causing it to roll back as blood sprayed into the air.
For a time, the dozen or so black figures stood like an immovable fortress, blocking the direwolves.
"We should fight as well! We need to help the Knights and reduce their load!" George walked up to Leylin and said.
"Yes, if this continues for long, the Knights will grow too exhausted to fight, and all of us will be in trouble!" Leylin nodded in agreement.
Under George's leadership, all the men took up their swords and followed behind the Knights, attacking the ferocious direwolf pack from the side!
"Aowuuu!" The direwolf howls were unceasing, and Leylin was currently facing a 2-metre long huge direwolf.
As the direwolf continued snarling, Leylin could smell the stench from it.
"A.I Chip! Scan the battlefield and determine the most efficient method of killing!"
[Task established. Begin simulation! Begin assist mode!] A light flashed in front of Leylin's eyes, and a panoramic, 3D image appeared before him.
The direwolf facing him finally launched an attack, and a gleaming claw specked with blood slashed towards Leylin, bringing along a hot wave of air.
[Host is under attack! Most efficient method of dealing with it: use the cross blade to block it with a 50-degree angle to the right, then pierce!]
"Ha!" Leylin shouted out as he circulated the breathing technique, concentrating his strength in his arm muscles as he followed the instructions, sweeping his sword to the right and striking the claw away.
*BANG* Leylin felt a shock travel up his arm from the immense impact, making him feel as though he had struck a thick piece of metal.
"This direwolf's strength is much higher than mine, if I keep doing that, I will be exhausted too quickly. I'll need to finish this fight quickly!"