There was a certain overpowering pressure that came from 500 fully armed soldiers advancing towards you, but even so the elves remained composed. In fact they grew calmer thanks to the sight of the empire’s helmets which reminded them of their training.
The imperial soldiers stopped marching 500 meters away from us.
The infantry created a path between them and a well built soldier wearing gaudily decorated custom armor rode his horse through them.
He held a primitive version of a loudspeaker.
「Hear ye hear ye, my honored self is the second son Merissak of the noble Knight Family Harengur! We have arrived to deal a crushing punishment to those barbarians who defy our order. We 500 of the Roan Branch 【Sacred Sword Order】 will dole out this punishment with honor.」
I had been wondering what they were doing until I heard their announcement. They purposefully announced their identity and purpose. A declaration that this was not an ambush.
Looking at their strangely righteous appearance and counting their troops, it appeared that they were being honest. There didn’t seem to be an ambush set up.
Doing such a ridiculously stupid thing so that he can gain honor and feel pride in such a battle.
「Does he have a maggot in his brain?」
I scorned his ridiculous actions and pointed my crossbow at the sky before pulling the trigger.
The arrow was protected by the wind and flew in a beautiful parabola towards the stupid noble.
It was perfectly calculated using 【Program】.
「Listen! Savages obediently AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!」
I had purposefully missed his vitals and the arrow simply thunked into his abdomen.
Of course the arrow I had fired was soaked with a powerful poison. It was a double K.O. of incredible pain and paralysis poison. Once it got into your bloodstream even a bear wouldn’t be able to move for a day or two.
The megaphone amplified the sounds of his screams so they echoed everywhere.
This was a sudden and dramatic blow to their morale.
A nearby adjutant picked up the megaphone.
「You fired! You shot while he was in the middle of 『naming』 himself! Unfair! Such cowardice!!」
I couldn’t help but feel amazed. They weren’t wondering why the arrow was able to hit him from such a distance, but were instead exaggerating the dishonorable nature of shooting him while he was 『naming』 himself.
And…cowardice? Furthermore unfairness in war?
What the hell was he saying? We were exchanging lives. What was wrong with doing anything to survive? This wasn’t some kind of sport.
A supporter handed me another loaded crossbow and I simply fired once more.
It was a replay of what happened to the noble moments earlier. Arrow pierces stomach, he screams, and falls off his horse.
Plus there was a bonus. This time the horse panicked and started kicking the soldiers around it.
Shortly after I said that I was handed another crossbow.
This time I had two exclusive supporters aiding me.
With my outstanding accuracy I could hit targets from 500 meters away.
Therefore I had the two supporters reload crossbows for me so I could fire as many arrows as possible and I could focus on shooting.
「Now scream! Keep screaming!」
I continued to snipe at any soldier with a family crest carved into their armor.
It was impossible to catch sight of the arrows traveling at 360km with a human’s eyesight. One by one they were hit and rendered incapable of fighting from the poison and pain.
If they simply moved they would be able to escape, but their fear paralyzed their movements and minds. Idiots.
Even if they can’t catch the arrows movements with their eyes it takes five seconds to reach them due to the trajectory. As long as they moved during that time they’d be safe.
「Fourth family crest hit!」
The reasons I was aiming for those wearing armor emblazoned with a family crest were twofold.
The first was the assumption that this army was led by a noble. Once losing their commander they would lose direction and would begin to panic. In fact because of the confusion in the command structure the army was still stuck unmoving in this situation. This was my goal when aiming for the important looking people.
The second reason was I could make sure the nobles, who could be ransomed, wouldn’t be killed during combat. The 100 crossbowmen here weren’t as accurate as me. It wouldn’t be funny if we accidentally killed all of them.
After I hit the sixth noble the soldiers finally began to move.
At those words all the heavily armored soldiers started running full tilt towards us.
How stupid. Even after I demonstrated that we could pierce their armor they still tried this brute force approach.
Maybe they thought that only the bow I held was special.
「Front row aim!」
I gave out my orders.
Just like in training the archers were divided into two firing lines.
The road was less than 50 meters wide making things quite cramped.
They all looked well focused.
In all honesty I thought at least one or two would lose to their fear and accidentally let off a bolt or two, but they were holding on well.
I had split off ten elite hunters to do a different task so right now I only had two rows of 45 elves each.
「Not yet, pull them in further. Now!」
As soon as the soldiers passed the 300 meter mark I had them release their arrows.
Only half of the arrows hit their mark.
At this distance it was difficult for them to aim accurately, but even so this barrage had the power to wound and kill soldiers.
We continued our rapid fire by switching between front and rear rows.
The screams of the soldiers echoed out as we fired.
This was a secondary effect of the poison. The fear felt when hearing the screams of their allies would dull their movements. The fear could transform into panic and there would be those who would try to help their fellow soldiers. Many soldiers shouldered their allies slowing their charge considerably.
Furthermore fallen allies became obstacles to the rest. The soldiers had to slow down so they wouldn’t trip over their fallen friends.
It would take 2 minutes for them to cross 100 meters in this condition.
As they slowly advanced the arrows poured down like rain.
「It hurts….it hurts….」
「What is this? Wasn’t the Empire’s armor invincible?」
「Oi, please don’t…don’t die! I’ll lend you my shoulder…」
So far we had a completely one sided battle. We shot the enemy full of arrows and received no casualties ourselves.
If this was a proper army they would have made the necessary arrangements to advance forward with all their power and steel themselves or to retreat.
「Back row step forward, Aim…..Fire!」
After a small gap the rows changed and another volley fired.
Once again the arrows hit causing numerous casualties.
Even so, the soldiers were getting closer.
Now that they reached a distance of 100 meters I ordered the villagers to aim properly.
At this range they should be able to have a near perfect hit rate.
The soldiers’ casualties instantly skyrocketed.
Normally the Imperial Soldiers wouldn’t do this kind of reckless charge.
This kind of straight charge would only end in catastrophic casualties. Even so they didn’t stop. Maybe I had caused this by shooting all of the commanding officers who could order such a retreat.
「Well, nevertheless there are a few that can use their brains popping out.」
There were some soldiers who decided that the punishment for ignoring orders was less frightening than death.
Even if it was harder to move, they chose to move through the forest instead of down the well-paved path with arrows raining down upon it.
They probably planned to flank us using the cover of the forest.
Our two row archer formation was weak to attacks from the sides and rear.
Certainly if they were able to succeed it would be a very effective tactic.
「But it isn’t as if I hadn’t thought of that beforehand.」
I had been using 『Perception Expansion』 to oversee the situation in the forest.
Some soldiers had fallen into pits filled with poison, others got caught in rope traps and were hanging in midair, and there were the elf hunters who had hidden their presence and snuck up on those who managed to get through.
I could see the miserable state of those soldiers who tried to be smart.
There were numerous traps set up in the forest and 5 hunters on each side of us.