Under the Oak Tree - Chapter 187
Translator – LF
Proofreader – Nymeria
Yulysion exclaimed as he cut off the monster’s head with a single strike from his sword.
“M’lady! Cast a barrier!”
Max was staring blankly at the decapitated body lying on the ground but was snapped out of it and started drawing out her mana. However, there was not enough time or chance to cast the barrier as the monsters rushed in from all directions. Yulysion and Garrow hurriedly pushed her back against a tree and stood in front of her in protection.
The goblins raced down the slopes with great speed and climbed up tree trunks to trigger attacks from above. The knights slashed two goblins at a time with a single blow, the monsters launching themselves in the air holding axes as weapons. Their screeches resounded sharply from all directions, like angry monkeys.
“Damn it! There’s no end to this!”
Hebaron’s blaring voice pierced her ears. Max gasped in horror, leaning further against the tree trunk. Just as Heabron said, the knights slashed through goblins after goblins, but they infinitely came rushing down from the towering rocky mountain.
“Back off! With one strike of my sword I will…”
“Stop! The rock walls are collapsing!” Riftan screamed violently as he decapitated a goblin. “Our position puts us in a disadvantage! Retreat!”
“Are you kidding me?! These goblins…!”
Their exchange was cut off. Suddenly, a dull, thunderous groan came from the ground and the goblins scattered left and right in a hurry. Riftan immediately grasped the situation and shouted lightning quick orders.
“The rock walls are falling apart! Get the hell away from it now!”
The knights reacted almost immediately. Garrow and Yulysion grabbed Max’s arm and started running down the steep dirt road. Max grabbed her horse’s reins and dragged Rem down the ragged mountain path. At that moment, a heavy thunderous sound shook the mountain and the birds all flew up into the sky. Max stared wide-eyed sideways at the soil and rocks rushing down as Yulysion dragged her by the hand.
The knights hurriedly ran off the slope to escape the landslide, while the ground beneath them began to crumble at the impact of the falling rocks. Max stumbled out of balance and came rolling down the slope so as the other knights, carried away by the rushing soil with their horses.
She could hear Riftan yelling in the distance, but no one was able to respond. Every time she tried to get back up, her feet sank in as if the ground were quicksand and her body kept plunging down as if something below was holding her down by the ankle. There was no chance to pull themselves together. When they thought that they had finally set their feet on stable ground, piles of stone and soil came racing down over their heads.
She almost unconsciously used her mana at a high speed and just before the valley of rocks fell on them, a barrier emerged from the ground, shielding them from a huge broken rock boulder. Max sat against the ground, continuing to release her mana in accordance with drawing a magic formula. The barrier rose higher, protecting them further from the rocks that had started to pile over: the rumbling sound that had echoed endlessly barely subsided as her mana began to deplete. She gasped for the breath she had been holding, so as the knights, who sighed in relief.
“I’ll be damned… that just took ten years off my life.” Gabel, who was first to recover his composure, helped her up. “Well done. It will be difficult to keep enforcing the barrier, so let’s hurry up and get to safety.”
He supported her stature with one arm, and quickly led her out of the slope. “Everyone, keep yourselves together and follow me!”
Garrow and Yulysion swiftly gathered Rem and their horses, who were terrified and stomped in panic. Max frantically searched for Riftan in the midst of chaos but he was nowhere to be seen.
“He’s with the knights up ahead. It seems like the ground only collapsed in the rear ranks and we were the only ones separated from them.” Gabel replied as he hurried to get the knights out and counted them. “We’re about thirteen apprentices and fifteen knights.”
The knights hurriedly pulled their horses away from the barrier, which was about to collapse at any moment. After distancing themselves a bit from that place, they were able to see the scale of the landslide. Max’s face paled as she gazed at the pile of stones that had almost buried them.
“Will the ones a-ahead…be alright? They must have e-escaped it, right?”
“Kindly wait for a moment.”
Gabel pulled a whistle the length of a finger from his robes and blew on it for a considerable moment. Then a sharp sound, similar to that of a bird’s chirp, resounded from the higher mountain ground. Gabel blew the whistle a couple more times and the same high-pitched whistle echoed from above the mountains.
“Everyone ahead is safe.”
Max collapsed to her knees. Yulysion hurriedly supported her. “Are you all right? Perhaps, have you been injured?”
“N-No. My l-legs feel tired…”
Actually, her back throbbed in pain from hitting the ground, but it wasn’t up to the point that she couldn’t move. Max barely managed to pull herself back on her feet with her legs trembling. Rem anxiously approached her and rubbed its head against her back. She clung on to the horse’s nape, barely standing on both feet even on leveled ground. After moving for a proper distance from the pile of rocks and lifting her magic from the barrier, the landslide poured down the mountain. However, the road was still blocked by a huge rock. Gabel clicked his tongue roughly as he watched.
“The road is completely blocked.”
“Can’t we just climb over it?”
Gabel shook his head. “There may be more goblins hiding on the other side, and there is a high chance that more rock will collapse while we climb it.”
He spoke in a firm tone, then took out his whistle to blow it four times in a unique rhythm. After a few moments, the sound of a whistle was again heard from the higher part of the mountain.
“We shall look around. There must be another way leading northeast.”
“Won’t we be led to confusion?”
“There’s a village past this mountain. I told them to regroup there so don’t hesitate and just follow me.” Gabel took his horse and started to move forward swiftly, his eyes wandering around carefully. “Hurry, we’ll never know when the goblins will try and ambush us.”
Max hunched her shoulders, then looked around at the tall trees and large rocks with frightened eyes. The possibility of monsters hiding behind the dark and watching them gave her chills.
Garrow stood protectively near her and asked Gabel. “Were they the ones who triggered the landslide?”
“Possibly, this is probably how they deal with huge monsters that pass through, and attack in groups from mountain tops. There may be more traps ahead, so keep an eye out on the terrains.”
Gabel said as he jumped over a piece of rock that was blocking their path. Max scrambled up the rock sweating with the help of the knights and landed on the other side with a thud. Her wrist throbbed and every muscle in her body screamed.
“Are you alright?”
“I’m f-fine.” Max answered out of habit, but she was not fine at all.
Gabel watched meticulously her condition, then looked at the dark mountain path that was covered by the shadow of the trees. His lips tightened to a line. “I don’t think we can’t take a rest right now. Please hang in there for a little longer until we can find a safe place.”
Max held an arm around Rem for support as she desperately followed the knights. All the knights had their swords drawn as they vigilantly passed through the trees in a hurry.
“Will the goblins come for us?”
“As they saw us get carried away by the landslide, they are most likely to come after us. They will target the group with fewer numbers.”
“That figures… they won’t give up so easily after setting up all that trap.” One of the knights muttered sourly as he ducked under a branch. “If they come after us, wouldn’t it be better to just get rid of them? Unless it’s a trap, those things…”
“You should not underestimate goblins. Don’t you get it after what happened? They may not be high-level monsters, but among the sub-racial monsters, they excel in group coordination and strategy. If they attack in hordes that number, it will be troublesome for us. They use their brains to execute dangerous traps and attack strategically. If they make use of the terrain as an advantage just like they did, we’ll be in big trouble.”
Gabel explained as he led the knights through the dense trees. Max wiped the sweat dripping from her forehead with her sleeves and gazed up at the sky where birds were flapping their wings loudly.
The intense and dizzying rays of the sun from earlier had significantly dimmed. The day was still bright, but the sun set more quickly in the mountains. There was no knowing when the surroundings would grow dark. Her legs trembled, but as Gabel said, there was no time to rest given how dangerous the environment was, so Max desperately moved forward.
“When the road flattens out, we’ll travel on horseback. Please hold out just a little while longer.” Gabel comforted her, who was getting nervous as she kept falling behind, and led the party cautiously.
Eventually, the steep, rocky incline became noticeably flat and smoother. Gabel, who scanned the surroundings for a considerable amount of time, raised his hand to signal that it was safe to take a break for a while. Max collapsed on the ground and exhaled deeply. Yulysion came to her with an open canteen of water and handed it to her.
“This is sugar and salt. Take it with water. It will help replenish your energy.”
She swallowed the round candy-like ball and chased it down with water. Half the water dripped down her chin and spilled to her clothes but she was sweating so much that there was no telling the difference anymore. She handed the bottle back to Yulysion and began to chew on the dried herb roots she pulled from a pouch tied to her waist. She had to quickly replenish her mana.
“We will travel on horseback from here on. I think the horses are very tired too, but they should be able to bear this level of incline. Can you ride horseback?”
Max nodded. She slowly calmed her erratic breathing and when her energy returned to some extent, she climbed up the saddle with the help of the apprentices. Somehow, she seemed able to ride her horse without falling down. They traveled in silence along quiet mountain paths. The knights all rode with one hand on the hilt of their swords as they kept up their vigilance. Max also glanced behind the lush bushes and trees, in fear that a monster could suddenly pop out anytime, anywhere. She felt eerie, it was as if something was peeking through the thick tree trunks. In the tense of the moment, suddenly, Gabel raised one of his hands high, signaling for them to run.
Max sped up her horse at once, along with the knights. As she leaned forward to keep from falling off, she turned to look behind her and saw goblins fiercely chasing them. The knights shot arrows at the goblins chasing them from behind.
“M’lady! Keep your eyes ahead! There are a lot of obstructions.”
Garrow warned her loudly. Max turned around and drove Rem frantically through the dense forest. A thin sound rang and buzzed in her ears. She was nervously spurring her horse to keep up with the group, when suddenly something fell from the trees. She was so out of breath that even a scream could not escape from her mouth.
Max gripped the reins tightly as Rem sporadically raised his front legs, trying to shake off the goblin that was holding on to its head. Max desperately clung to Rem’s neck. The goblin screeched grotesquely, driving Rem into a frenzy. The mare then continued to gallop frantically and turned to rush down the mountain.
She tried to pull the reins to somehow calm him down, but to no avail. The goblin clung on with all its might, trying its best not to fall off. Seeing this, Max thoughtlessly created a fist-sized flame on the monster’s dark face. The goblin screamed in pain and fell off the horse’s head. Rem ruthlessly ran through the monster in retaliation, his graceful legs trampled ruthlessly on the goblin’s large, disproportionate head.
Max squeezed her eyes shut as Rem continued to stomp on the monster, crushing it completely, before finally calming down and drooping his head as if he was exhausted. She clung to the back of her horse as tears streamed down her cheeks. She was out of her right mind; it was as if she had been swept away by a storm. When she managed to collect her thoughts, she looked around, everything was dead calm and quiet. Rem ran through the forest at such a high speed that they seemed to have gone apart from the party in an instant. Max held her breath for a moment, and waited for the knights to find her.
Note – Nymeria: Okay, Maxi overpower literally saved the day and Rem stomping the f*** out of that goblin lmaoo good boi