Chapter 53: Disaster
The fluffy white clouds retreated from the skies as a batch of rolling pitch-black clouds trudged in a single direction. Soon, the dark clouds gathered below my feet, leaving only a tiny hole for me to take a peek at.
A bright light flashed and forced me to blink my eye. Still, I glimpsed a giant bolt of silent lightning streaking forth, forking into smaller branches, wrecking the siege weapons of the dumbfounded ratkins. A crackling blast of thunder drummed the heavens. My ears rang. I wobbled mid-air akin to a drunk aunt as the mighty thunderclap shadowed the lightning.
After a lull, the ratkins scattered away from the burning siege towers that the lightning had struck asunder. Smoke and flames rose from the rat-infested ground. The mad rush of the ratkin soldiers on all flanks stopped as the smoke grew a shade deeper.
And before I knew it, the dark clouds spun. The rage of the tempest fell from the sky as a twirling monster slowly graced the ratkin army. One twister. Two twisters. I stopped counting. I had a firsthand experience of this event and I knew what’s coming next.
I licked my parched lips as I watched the show. The tempest’s wind barrier kept the village head’s wife and me afloat. Alistair kept me as an audience, assuring that I was well-protected from the destruction he’d cause.
Under my orders, the tempest blob’s act-of-god had begun.
-A Certain Ratkin General’s POV-
“Tremble before the great plague army!” I glared at the quivering Madlands’ races at top of the giant walls. “I am the mighty Bulaka! The right-hand rat of the great rat chief. Surrender and be eaten!”
“Never!” The stupid creatures atop of the walls roared back. A few arrow showers and fireballs soared into the air, skewering and blasting a bunch of young rats around me. Did they think I’ll fear that? Tsk, the rat mothers can make a new batch quickly. No biggie!
“Hnggg!” The great rat chief wanted the fall of this fortress. And it shall fall. Who can stand in the way of rat plague?! “You puny bastards! I’ll show you hell!”
The great rat chief even allowed me to use the ratapults. I’d make sure this stinky wall fall. Though the ratapults looked weird, it’s powerful enough to put holes in those irritating fortress walls. I could even send a few sneaky rats straight into the fortress. I have a lot of volunteers since many of those young rats loved to fly in the air. The dumb rats had eaten too many harpies in the last campaigns.
Anyway, I scowled at the great wall. It was the only thing stopping us from spreading our glory throughout the Madlands. Hah! With the Weretiger Tribe in tatters, no one could stop us anymore.
“Pushed the ratapults and ready the siege towers!” I roared, snarling at the various races standing above the fortress. “Rat Shamans cast your [Protection] and [Anti-Magic] on the siege towers. I want them on the wall!”
Upon my words, the army turned into chaos, scuffling against each other. “These rascals! They need more training.”
I took a deep breath and decided to just push ahead. Who cares about tactics when I have a hundred-thousand army of expendables. “Ratkins! Now charged and eat your fill!”
I puffed my chest and watched the rat army rushing like an unstoppable wave. A smile of pride dripped on my chest as the army shuffled towards the giant walls with their tongues out. The young bucks slowly pushed the giant ratapults towards the outer flank while the vanguard pressed the siege towers forward. A rambunctious rat corps stalking from behind. There was madness within those shifty red eyes.
There were various races within the walls. Long ears, ogres, giants, catkins, humans, dwarves, and many more. Too bad we already wiped the weretigers out of the continent. It’s going to be a feast if I conquer this fortress.
Long ears are sickening, so I’ll pass. I hate it! They taste like grass and dirt, making my stomach roil. Ugh, only vegetarian rats would love their meat.
For ogres, their meats are too tough and require a lot of boiling, but it's nutritious. I’ll leave it for the fledgling rats for their nourishment.
The catkins taste funny. They’re as poisonous as those weretigers, especially the older ones. No wonder the great chief wanted them eradicated soon. But oh well, their kittens are still fine. It’ll be good to domesticate a few for future consumption. Though the texture of their meat still pricked my tongue, adding a few spices could turn them into delicacies.
But the best ones are still the humans, especially the young humans and their females. They are soft and juicy. The human male meat is nutritious when turned into jerky. Ah! My mouth waters. I wonder if the rat traders caught some fresh ones. My front teeth are itching to taste fresh meat.
Anyway, the rest are so-so.
A smile slipped onto my lips as I watch the hungry young rats rush with wild abandon. Now that’s nostalgic. I dredged up the old memories of my first day in the glorious plague army and nodded. “It’s the same.”
Soon, the ratapults unleashed the airborne rat brigade. I glimpsed a few flying rats shrieking in the air. Many had themselves blasted, skewered, and mangled midair; but that’s not the crucial point. As long as a few rats passed through, it’ll be enough. A few hungry rats inside those walls were enough to wreak havoc. I crossed my arms and watched everything unfold, searching for a few exceptional rat warriors I could add to the elite army.
The twitchy little rat with a human crossbow, hm? Using poison arrows, huh? Shrewd and stealthy, so pass! I’ll take him in. Let’s call him ‘Twitchy’ if he survives.
Oh, that rat who snapped one long-eared’s head is good too. Ugh, too bad they skewered him dead.
Well, I’d just choose among the bunch once I conquer the fortress. Now, what should I do once this fortress falls? Pushing the army deeper into the human territory would also be a good idea. There is a massive demand for human meat, after all.
Alright, it’s decided! The plague army shall march onto the human territory. No one can stop us unless some random deity interferes. Hmm, too bad they’re too occupied preparing for the next demon king’s arrival. They’ll be useless until then. Those heavenly bastards should just support the great chief’s cause. If the demon king arrives, millions of ratkins can deal with it. Those short-sighted rotting knuckleheads! I wonder how they taste like?
Alright! The siege towers had already lodged themselves on the walls. Excellent work, rats! The fall of this fortress is only a matter of time! Time for me to act.
“Open the siege gates! Rush the walls! Rush them!” I hollered with a big grin. “Rat Shamans! Push the totemic battering rams ahead! To the gates! Now! Their fall is nigh! Start the feast!”
I stared at the madness of blood atop of the walls and cackled. The frenzied fledgling rats were running amok. I’m such a genius to starve the army before the battle. The great chief would surely award me for this brilliant feat of saving provisions while also capturing the fortress.
I raised my head, gawking at the cloudy blue sky. A verdant bead of light streaked through the open heavens. Huh? The wind shifted and a blast of gale smashed my face as the strange sphere stopped midair.
“What the hell is that?” I frowned and glared at my attendant. “Hey, you! Give me a ratoscope!”
A skinny rat hurried and ruffled on the metal junks lying on the basket, running back with a stick-like junk.
I peered through the hole, wondering what it was. “A weird goblin-colored thing. Is there something inside? Looks harmless to me. Dark clouds? Rain?”
Suddenly, my rare innate skill [Rat-Instinct] kicked in. I sensed it. Malice. Unexplainable abhorrence. My handsome snout twitched. My whiskers stood ramrod as the surging hatred fell onto my shoulders. No, it fell into my entire rat army.
“T-The gods? I thought they’re all out cold?” I gulped. “Did that seer lied to the chief? No. That’s impossible. The great chief has [Truth Sense]. No one can lie in front of his greatness.”
A flashing heavenly punishment streaked downwards. It splintered, ripping all the siege towers I prepared. The shrieks of the toasted rats sprang as the scorching flames licked the wooden siege crafts. Not even the rat shamans [Protection] could stop it.
“W-What is this hate?!” My whiskers shuddered. The sounds coming from the heavens rattled every rat that I knew. The heavens were declaring destruction. “But we do not the Madlands has no god of destruction? A newly born god? Impossible!”
I immediately scanned the battlefield and gasped. All the siege towers were now as good as firewood. The crazed rats were also slowly returning to their senses. This is bad! I gritted my chattering teeth and peered at the dark rolling clouds. The green sphere was nowhere in sight. It hid in the dark clouds. It was a storm bidding its time. The scent of danger lingering in the wind.
“Sound the horn!” I roared at the top of my lungs. “Move! Retreat! Plague Army! Retreat!”
The horns rumbled. “Hnnnggggg!”
Then a mad sight dawned my eyes.
“Wait. I made a mistake! Not the horn! No!” But I was already too late. The hundred thousand ratkin rushed like an unstoppable wave, huddling against each other in a chaotic mess. A tide of frightened rats hurried, shuffling against each other to escape. I paled as I watch the massive stampede unfolding before my very eyes. A hundred. A thousand rats dead. Any young rat who fell onto the ground will surely die. My accursed foes on the walls also made jarring cries. Their irritating squeals frightened the confused ratkin army further to madness.
“A mistake!” My lips quivered and punched two retreating rats to the jaw as they blocked my view. “A big mistake! The turds are not listening to orders anymore!”
I lifted my gaze at the cause of it all. “Not a god of destruction? Is it chaos? Madness?”
My teeth clattered. I glimpsed of the being’s jarring authority. Twisting tornadoes slowly slithered down from the dark clouds. Towards us. A loud crunching sound filled my ears. My legs wobbled in fear, a warm stream trickled onto my feet. The stench wafted into my snout. “I, Bulaka, is s-scared?”
The looming tornado spelled destruction once it reached the ground. I gulped and joined the mad dash.
The great chief would understand my choice, so I turned tail and sprinted with all my strength. But before I could even run, I was already gyrating in the air along with a hundred thousand strong ratkin armies. I felt something inside my ears explode, and then it turned silent. My heart hammered within me.
The wind stank of rain and grass. ‘Ugh!’ I gasped. The swirling feeling pushed my breath out of my windpipes as I banged against a few soaring ratkins. Their mouths were wide open. They were screaming, but I heard nothing at all. All seemed silent inside the churning winds.
Suddenly, everything turned dark. A massive pull clawed into me. With violence exceeding the rat army, the wind ripped my limbs piece by piece. I screamed in agony, but no sound dawned in my ears.
When I was already about to shut my eyes, I glimpsed at the god. The pitch-black hair above her head sashayed, waltzing peacefully amid the storm. Her eyes were darker than the abyss, and she watched me with a leer. My entire body quivered as she stared like me akin to an insect. Those blank eyes had no other desire aside from destruction.
I knew it. It was a god of destruction indeed. I’m dead.