The number of hobgoblins at the front was incomparable to the those at the rear. It was difficult to measure the number of hobgoblins appearing in the darkness, and they charged forward while equipped with armour and weapons.
Around 10 minutes after that…
Vince stepped on a lump of charcoal at his feet with a cold expression. Few traces were left of the hobgoblins who had just been attacking. The only thing left behind was the melted metal from their armor.
The imposing figure of one man was standing over the traces. There were over 100 traces struck together, which meant at least 100 hobgoblins had been killed in 10 minutes.
'T-This is a 5th Circle master…!'
Gordon's eyes were wide with astonishment as he looked at Vince.
He'd thought he understood the significance of the existence of a magician, but the scene Vince had just showed was much more than he had ever imagined. Gordon clearly realized why it wasn't knights but magicians who were said to dominate the battlefield.
Above all else, the fearsome thing wasn't the horror created by the flames.
The magician who had turned 100 hobgoblins into chunks of charcoal was the terrifying thing.
Even though they were hobgoblins and not people, Vince had casually burned 100 of them to death. Thanks to that, Vince and the others had survived, but the mercenaries couldn't help gulping with expressions which didn't hide their horror.
No, in a way, this was Vince's essence.
He had the image of a good teacher at the academy, but the number of humans which Vince had killed on the battlefield couldn't be counted. The power of a 5th Circle war magician, especially a fire war magician, was literally at the level of a siege weapon. Over the decades of his life, Vince had killed more than 100 people in one battle.
At one time, he had been called, 'Destruction by Fire' or 'Fire Killer Vince.'
"Huh? Ah, ah, yes!" Gordon was surprised at the sudden call and barely replied.
"Send some people to the rear. Perhaps the hobgoblins also hit that area. It looks like they have responded properly, but there might be more than one commander."
Vince wanted to go to the rear, but if he left his current location, the whole front lines would be in danger.
The hobgoblins had already been defeated, but there was still the commander. If Vince left without finishing off the commander, he would be leaving behind deadly consequences. The defeated hobgoblins would evolve into more cunning and vicious enemies.
Standing there was a hobgoblin shaman holding a staff.
"…Is it an artifact?"
It was a wooden staff with a purple crystal embedded in it. Despite the coarse workmanship, the level of magic power coming from it was significant. Perhaps the staff was what allowed the hobgoblin to withstand his fire.
Vince hadn't expected to find such a good gift in this place.
"I guess I better hurry."
He could feel that the waves of magic power in the rear were becoming more intense. The sound of metal screaming didn't stop. If a commander-level enemy appeared in the rear, then Theodore would suffer.
Vince let go of the force which had been restrained due to the surrounding people.
As soon as his fingers moved, a terrible fire pillar emerged from the ground.
* * *
The flames at the front were so warm that they could even be felt in the rear. Of course, it was possible that Theo was deluding himself, but it was still a spectacular scene.
Theo, who had just aimed a Fire Bolt at a hobgoblin's head, looked at the front.
"Wah, it seems like a real mess is happening over there."
Fire-based magic was considered to be the best in a large army. The shockwaves generated by the explosion would burst the intestines of those who came in direct contact with it, while the aftermath of the flames and high heat would damage the lungs.
If a Fireball from the 3rd Circle was that powerful, there was no need to talk about the 4th or 5th Circle.
'Blaze Shell… no, Flare Burst. If I was right next to the professor, then I would be roasted right now.'
Theo clicked his tongue and fired a Lightning Bolt at a hobgoblin who was preparing to attack the back of a mercenary. The hobgoblin was hit by the lightning bolt and twitched before falling to the ground. For enemies which were creatures, lightning magic was extremely effective. Theo realized it again as he used his magic power.
'However, Lightning Bolt consumes too much magic power. I can't use a Fireball in this situation where it is a melee.'
He didn't have enough magic power to keep using single-attack spells, while there was a possibility that his allies might be affected if he used a wide-area spell. Inexperienced battle magicians often didn't know how to act in this situation, but Theo moved without much hesitation.
If it was a melee, he would take advantage of it.
"Shock Bolt," as Theo spoke in a loud voice, eight lightning arrows appeared.
Their strength was far less than Lightning Bolt, making it hard to even catch a rat. It was a magic which students forgot about after learning it.
However, this was enough.
The eight Shock Bolts aimed towards the hobgoblins. The magic was slower than natural lightning, but it was at a speed which the hobgoblins couldn't avoid. Additionally, they were holding swords which attracted the lightning.
Static rose all over the bodies of the hobgoblins. An electrocuted body would temporarily lose control, with pain and instincts momentarily paralyzed. Of course, it was only for a few seconds, but that was enough.
"What? Why did I get a bruise all of a sudden?"
It created a gap for the mercenaries fighting them. The hobgoblins, who suddenly stopped moving, had their heads cut off or necks sliced, and fell to the ground.
Some of the mercenaries knew it was due to Theo's help and raised their thumbs. Theo also gave a thumbs up and used Mitra or Ignite to help the mercenaries fighting the hobgoblins.
As this continued, the balance between the two groups began to crumble, and the humans gained the advantage.
'It is almost over.'
Theo took a moment to recover as he looked at the hobgoblins, whose number had been reduced by more than half. The mercenaries had few casualties except for a few unfortunate ones. Those who were injured took a moment to bandage their wounds before running back into the battle.
If this continued, the situation would be cleaned up in less than 30 minutes. However, the moment he put his mind at ease…
The reason Theo avoided the blow was thanks to pure luck and a sense of urgency. Theo, who had rolled forward reflexively, stood up and looked at the place where he had been standing.
The ground was cracked and his skin irritated from the shock wave. If it had been a direct hit, it was obvious that his bones and flesh would've burst.
"Keuk, this… spear?!"
It was a spear… a spear entirely made of metal! The weight alone made it hard to swing, so how could a hobgoblin throw it with the same speed as an arrow? If it had been blocked with a shield, the spear would have penetrated the body through the shield.
Theodore held his trembling arms close to his body and looked in the direction from which the spear had been thrown.
In that direction, a figure appeared.
As the figure ran out of the forest, an axe flashed and sliced apart two bodies in front of him. The bodies weren't cut but torn apart. As the upper halves of the two mercenaries fell to the ground, one mercenary barely managed to block the swinging axe with his shield.
"Killing Jones in one shot…?"
The scream revealed the identity of the enemy.
'Chief…! This guy has appeared…'
Theo knew it as well.
Hobgoblin chief… A chief was someone who led at least 100 people, with many presiding over thousands of people. Simply being superior in leadership or intelligence wouldn't allow them to become a chief. As always, the world of the wild turned to the law of the strong.
The chief had to be the strongest in the group.
The chief picked up the spear he'd thrown and pointed it at Theo while holding the axe in his other hand.
It seemed like Theo was his target. This meant that he knew about the existence of a magician. As if he had no desire to escape, the hobgoblin chief held the spear boldly like he would throw it at any time.
This couldn't be avoided.
Theodore sensed this and withdrew his magic power instead of raising it. It would be good if he didn't have to fight, but if there was no exit, he would need to make sure to win against the opponent.
Alfred's memories pushed at him, saying he would have to deal with this enemy.
As a cold wind blew, the magician and monster ran toward each other.