An aura of infernal flames enveloped the looming figure of the Ash-King as he strode toward Dave. The unfortunate demons in the king's path were simultaneously crushed and incinerated to blackened smears on the ground as the king thundered across the battlefield toward the draugr.
"Ah fuck!" Dave cursed as the Ash King closed on the hapless draugr.
The demon materialized a fire lance in his hand and stabbed at the pestiferous undead. Just before the fiery weapon struck Dave the Undead King appeared in a burst of umbral smoke and swung his black sword at the spear, deflecting the attack. There was an echoing clang of metal and a shockwave felt by everyone. Fire and umbral smoke flared out from the weapons as they grated and strained against each other. Finally the undead king swatted the demon's spear away and snorted disdainfully at the larger Ash King.
"Pick on someone your own size demon-trash!"
Dave tilted his head, looking at and comparing his own height to the undead monarch's. The King was barely a head taller, whereas the demon was more than ten times that size.
"Finally! Finally you show your cowardly self, Undead!" the Ash King said, liquid fire dripping from his mouth with every word.
The demon whirled his spear and thrust down at the undead. The King grabbed Dave and jumped, kicking off from the speartip and catapulting them away. Dave had just enough presence of mind and rebelliousness to give the demon a middle-finger salute from each hand as he was dragged away, hurtling through the air.
The demon's weapon boomed, penetrating deep into the ground. Molten earth sprayed up around the haft of the spear and from the spiderweb of cracks that spread out from the impact point as the demon struggled to pull the weapon out, yanking and jerking on it futilely.
The King of the undead was already chuckling, as he'd caught a glimpse of his favorite draugr's insolent gesture when they flew away, but the comic thrashing of the Ash King sent him into full blown laughter.
This only incited the demon to greater folly. Finally pulling his weapon free, the Ash King chased after the Undead King in a fit of pique, swinging the fire-spear wildly, throwing sheets of flames left and right.
Still laughing scornfully, the Undead King dodged the strikes nimbly, always so that the fiery attacks landed on the demon's own troops. This only enraged the Ash King all the more, driving him to near madness as he continued chasing the Undead King, flaming spittle frothing at his mouth. Dave was dragged along through the whole thing, like a bag of laundry, left and right, up and down, unable to do anything, stomach roiling and threatening to back up on him.
The Undead King blocked another attack and flew up to a level with the Ash King's face. The demon inhaled and blew concentrated fire at his nemesis. In response the Undead King whirled his sword rapidly in circles about himself and his draugr childe, creating a sphere of unbral magic around them. The demonfire washed over the sphere for long seconds, when the flames dissipated the King and his passenger were still hovering in the air, unmoved and unharmed.
The Undead King swung his sword down diagonally and a long thin cut appeared across the Ash King's torso. Magma bubbled out from the cut and the demon grew even more incensed. The Ash King pulled back and raised his hands over his head, a rapidly growing globe of flames formed between them. The demon roared and flung the sphere at the Undead King.
The Undead King simply disappeared with a popping sound taking Dave with him, the fireball continued till it impacted the battlefield, killing hundreds of demons.
"Tsk tsk, you so easily lose control to your own rage, demon. That makes you easier to defeat," the King's voice came from off to the side.
The next thing Dave knew he was lying down somewhere, feeling dizzy, the ground moved whenever he tried to get up. When his head finally cleared and he sat up, he saw he was on top of the Bone Palace. He could see the entire battlefield and even had a zoom option enabled. He looked up and saw a black crystal floating above, slowly rotating. It pulsed with a faint black aura that spread out over the whole city. It was the Death Heart. Underneath it, on the roof was the black dragon's egg.
In the distance the Ash King was still howling like a madman, killing demons left and right in an effort to terrify his army and goad them into fighting harder against the undead.
"You ruined that buffoon's theatrical entrance to the battle when you shot the Ash King's throne out from under him. Embarrassing him. With his own cannon no less," the king chuckled, "My undead were laughing so hard they almost couldn't fight. That is the stuff that storied legends are made from. You have done well, Childe."
Dave smiled, "Thank you, Your Majesty"
"Soon, Our Legion will overwhelm the Ash King's army, as always. If you fight again on the frontlines, the Ash King will come for you personally. So stay in the rear areas."
Dave nodded, he'd made a decent amount of EXP from destroying the cannon, plus a lot of other gains from shooting the Ash King's tower. So not participating in the rest of the battle and losing out on more EXP wasn't too hard to swallow.
In one part of the battlefield the wendigos were gaining the upper hand over the Sworn Stalwarts, in no small part because the wendigos had the advantage in numbers.
"Sound the horns!" the Undead King bellowed.
The horns on the walls of the Undead City sounded sonorously. The Legion's reserves hefted their shields and swords and marched forward. The entire army soon advanced, marching in a steady stomping rhythm. The entire legion walked as one, shaking the ground with every step.
The army marched past four wendigos around a lone Sworn Stalwart hacking away at its body. The Sworn Stalwarts were vicious and powerful by nature, even surrounded this one still managed to severely wound its attackers. But numbers prevailed over courage and the Sworn Stalwart was quickly torn limb from limb. The wendigos then feasted on the corpse to recover their HP then joined another group to subdue another Stalwart. This scene repeated all over the battlefield.
The army avoided the battle between the wendigos and the Sworn Stalwarts and met with the regular demons instead. They began killing their way through the demon ranks, swinging their swords in terrible rhythm and with deadly precision, killing thousands with every beat.
Dozens of large towers appeared in the distance, similar to the one destroyed by Dave, they were being pulled by Sworn Stalwarts, slowly making their way to the battlefield.
"Siege towers." the Undead King said, "It will be difficult to defend against them if they reach the walls."
Dave was stroking his beard as he looked at the scene. Only the wendigos could contend with sworn stalwarts on a roughly equal footing, but all their wendigos were already occupied on the battlefield. Then an idea came and he grinned the same grin as the last time he'd thrown a wrench in the demons' works.
"Your majesty, I have an idea. We use the dunlords. Order them to tunnel under the paths of the towers. When the towers roll over the hollowed out areas they will collapse the tunnels and get caught in the sinkholes.
"What a splendid idea!" The king laughed again.
A Doom Knight was summoned and appeared before the Undead King to receive the ruler's orders.
Dave could see across the battlefield, hundreds of thousands of dunlords burrowing underground. The dunlords' tunneling rippled out and spread like a low wave toward the towers.
When they reached the towers, the dunlords moved around under them, back and forth like sharks circling prey. A sworn Stalwart noticed the tunnel-caused upswell of the ground and slammed a hand down on one of the trails left behind. It kept slamming down on the ground like it was playing whack-a-mole but without success. The dunlords finished their task soon after and rapidly retreated.
Moments later the wheels of the first tower broke through the hollowed-out ground beneath them. Just as Dave predicted, the weight of the towers caused them to fall through the undermined earth
The King was smiling at the successful implementation of the new tactic. But a moment later his amused expression turned into a frown.
Dave turned in the direction the Undead King was facing and looked for what had changed.
The Ash King had been silent for a while, but was laughing maniacally again. Space distorted and tore apart next to him and a hunch-backed old man emerged from the portal to stand next to the Ash King.
"Vreek," the king muttered with distaste.
The old hunchback tapped his cane against the ground, sending ripples out across the battlefield. The ground broke open and countless necrotic flesh tentacles wormed their way out from the dirt, leading the way for hundreds of oversized red skulls to emerge from underground. The Devourers slithered toward the Legionnaires, their limbs consuming everything they touched.
"Samael," the king said. The Abyssal Knight appeared.
"Yes your majesty!"
"Take Dementi and Dagla. Destroy the skulls for me."
"As you command!" Samael disappeared.
Dave was a bit confused why the king would send Samael to fight the very thing he ran away from at the siege of the Black Bone Palace.
A wisp of black smoke moved across the battlefield. Dave recognized it as Samael in one of his alternate forms. The wisp moved toward the closest red skull and penetrated it. A moment later the skull fell apart into chunks of skull bone, tentacles and blood.
Dagla waved his scepter creating hundreds of black magic circles that shot waves of magic at the red skulls bursting them apart. Dementi used a carved-bone bow, nocking and loosing arrows faster than a machine-gun, turning reds-kulls into pincushions in seconds
"Undead King!" the Ash King was laughing again as he bellowed across the battlefield, "You will trouble me no more after today! This is the last day for you in this world, you wretched rotted corpse!"
As the Ash King continued laughing in sinister fashion, a blinding light shone over the Undead City. Dave shielded his eyes from the brilliance, looking down. When the light faded, a pure, high toned musical-note sounded and he looked up to see the cause. An immense luminous being floated above the Bone Palace.
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