Chapter 1374 Scattering the Stampede
The fire and smoke of war had not faded since the arrival of the magic surge.
News of otherworldly intruders and stampedes from the Black Forest could be heard everywhere across the Continent of Adepts. Either of these incidents would bring about terrifying calamity and incomparable disaster upon the mortals.
Occasionally, you could hear news of unknown beasts breaking into certain regions, causing significant casualties. Sometimes, it would be the downfall of an entire human kingdom due to the spread of an unknown plague or the invasion of an otherworldly monster. The more they heard such news, the more the civilians began to panic.
They brought their entire families with them and herded what livestock they had as they made for the depths of the mountains or followed the stream of humans toward the few safe regions left in the land. The Ailovis Region and the Hayworth Region under Crimson Clan rule were undoubtedly the only safe islands left.
Civilians that lived in these two regions had every reason to rejoice for their fortune.
Every time they saw the shocking number of Motherships hovering in the sky, every time they saw the rows upon rows of tall and mighty magical machines, a heartfelt sense of safety arose.
Due to the immense amount of preparation work that the Crimson Clan had done ahead of time, all safety risks within the two regions were monitored and controlled. When the first wave of the magic surge had arrived, all the otherworldly intruders were wiped out by the clan’s military forces before they could attempt anything.
The direct result of this was that the invasions occurring in the other thirty-one regions of the Central Lands were exacerbated to varying degrees. Meanwhile, the two regions governed by the Crimson Clan were void of even a magical creature’s shadow.
It wasn’t just the otherworldly creatures that had been kept away. Even the beasts, low-grade magical creatures, and magical creature lords in the Black Forest neighboring Ailovis were surrounded by Motherships before they could rush out of the forest.
The Crimson Fleet unleashed Golem Dragon One from their Motherships without a second thought. Golem Dragon One was accompanied by an army of two thousand magical machines.
They were no longer the old, clumsy steam machines of the past. Instead, they were the PG-52 combat machines that had been strengthened and improved over dozens of generations of goblins.
When it came to overall capabilities, a PG-52 combat magical machine’s fighting power could rival that of a Second Grade adept. The fact that the magical machines were fearless and completely obedient made them far more cost-efficient than Second Grade adepts.
However, the might of magical machines could not scale infinitely.
In truth, the PG-52 was already the very peak of magical machines!
Second Grade was the limit of assembly-line magical machines.
More expensive magical alloy and metal resources were required to improve the magical machine’s strength further. The limits of these resources and materials meant that the magical machines could not be improved infinitely.
However, the creation of the golem dragons stood as a testament to the potential of magical machines. Golem Dragon One’s exceptional performance allowed the goblins to have representation among the high-grade military forces of the Crimson Clan.
When Golem Dragon One’s hundred-meter-long metal body appeared in the Black Forest and razed a wide path through the forest, the beasts instantly scattered.
Golem Dragon One was an amazing magical machine that could face off against a Fourth Grade adept. Though it had multiple weaknesses, including its numerous blind spots on its belly and its lack of agility, the two thousand magical machines covered for these flaws.
The wild magical creatures and beasts that had just gathered scattered chaotically throughout the forest like frightened sheep. The magical machine army following the golem dragon hunted them down and killed them without discrimination.
The magical creatures had their most savage side brought out by the magic surge. They formed packs and turned around to charge at the magical machines. Unfortunately, their bravery and savagery shattered underneath the impenetrable iron bodies of the magical machines.
Individual courage and bravery counted for nothing in front of the unstoppable tide of metal. The few magical creature lords among them might be able to make waves against the magical machines. However, as waves eventually shattered against the rocks, so did the magical creature lords quickly ground down to bits.
Poisondusk lizardpeople, mindshredders, gnolls, splinterfiends, blackscale lizardpeople, gustwind birds, spider-apes, forest trolls, wood woads, dirt wendigos, armored bears, skullcrusher ogres, gulgars, hundred eyes, winged serpentdrakes……
The Black Forest of the World of Adepts was a treasure trove of magical creatures. There were creatures of every shape, size, and form in horrifying numbers.
Any individual magical creature lord among them were fearsome monsters. However, in the face of the magical machine army, they were reduced to small-fry that could hardly change anything.
Against Golem Dragon One that could uproot an entire fortress with ease, the magical machine army and their endless barrage of cannon fire, and the Motherships that dominated the skies. The magical creature lords were executed summarily by the giant magic energy cannons. The rest of the magical creatures fled after that, disappearing into the depths of the forest without ever looking back.
For a moment, no magical creature tracks could be found within 1,500 kilometers of the Black Forest northeast of Ailovis.
After chasing the magical creatures to distant lands, the magical machines stopped pursuing and instead returned to the clan. However, the Crimson Fleet had left behind a few well-hidden monitoring magical-arrays within the 1,500-kilometer area.
In doing so, the Crimson Clan would be notified of any future actions taken by the magical creatures.
The 1,500-kilometer buffer zone was more than enough for the Crimson Clan to survive this magic surge safely.
It wasn’t easy for the magical creature lords to organize a stampede either. After all, they had no concept of logistics, supply lines, or organization.
With their natural aura of intimidation as magical creature lords, they could suppress the beasts for two to three days. In that time, they would gather the animals and herd them toward the human settlements.
It was possible to take such complex maneuvers every so often. However, when the target of their attack was thousands of kilometers away, it was impossible to suppress the restlessness of the beasts and make them show up successfully.
After all, no high-grade magical creatures were willing to endure three to five days of hunger just to travel a thousand kilometers on a suicidal assault against a human city. It was particularly so when there was prey all around them to devour. If the high-grade magical creatures started preying on the weaker beasts, then the beasts would succumb to their natural instincts and flee immediately.
To some extent, a 1,500-kilometer buffer zone was already an impassable zone for a stampede!
Of course, this violent means of exiling the beasts was not a method available to any adept clan. They had to find the beasts’ gathering spot in the hazardous lands of the Black Forest and send a group of elites to hunt them down and exile them.
Accomplishing such a feat required a mobile group of elites that could fight regardless of the environment and geography.
Only a few adept forces amongst the Fourth Grade clans could barely meet this standard. The other adept forces were either not strong enough or lacked the flying mounts required to travel through the Black Forest quickly.
If they could not scatter the beasts with overwhelming speed and force, then a genuinely bloody war would break out in the dim and dark environment of the Black Forest. That was not good news for adept forces so deep in enemy territory.
Major clans had plenty of wealth and resources. They could maintain the upkeep of several adept forces at the same time. However, most of the smaller clans only had a single adept force that they had dedicated everything to.
If such an adept force was lost in the Black Forest, the clan would not be able to recover from the loss. They would forever be reduced to a third-rate organization.
Consequently, no adept clan would ever dare mobilize their most precious military force to assault the magical creatures without an absolute guarantee of victory. They preferred to wait silently in their adept towers, resisting the invasion of the stampede with war towers and voodoo beasts.
The magical creature lords lacked the power to destroy a proper adept tower.
As such, the safety of the adepts was guaranteed, and there was no risk of the adept forces being wiped out.
However, the swarming stampede could still devastate the clan’s territories. That was unavoidable!
In the eyes of the adepts, there was an evaluation that occurred. The official adepts and adept forces were precious assets that could not suffer losses. Meanwhile, the mortals in clan territories were little more than numbers on paper to the adepts.
Even though massive casualties were an incredibly annoying affair, there was no way the adepts would put their very lives on the line to protect these inconsequential ‘assets.’
‘Assets’ could always be recovered over time, but the loss of adepts from the clan was unbearable!
It was the adepts’ conservative and short-term perspective that made the stampedes so dangerous and lethal. They brought about tremendous danger and death to the Continent of Adepts.
Compared to the selfish governance of the Central Lands, the three major organizations displayed exceptional discipline.
The Silver Union was incredibly wealthy. In response to the magic surge, they had retracted the population in their territories, relocating all mortals to their inner lands, where it was safe from the spatial rifts and the Black Forest. Meanwhile, they filled the border towns and cities with large armies of metal constructs and golems.
These countless golems and constructs had helped the Silver Union fight off several stampedes from the Black Forest. Though they were suffering terrible financial losses, the safety of the civilians and their territories had been protected.