Vol. 3: Chapter 9: Scheme part 2

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Scheme part 2

Characters in this chapter:

  • Cohen Kheda: The main character.
  • Martin Luther: Aka Grandpa Red-nose, Cohen’s grandpa-in-law and retired Swabian general.

We approached the officer’s tent from the rear. I gestured my men to position themselves in the pre-arranged points.

The front soldiers slowly lowered themselves and scraped away the ground mud to reveal the rope ends of the tents.

I looked over to the center watchtower. The man on the top signaled with fire: a special gesture to tell me the whole camp was ready for the fight.

Spears in hands.

“Martin Luther, what are you waiting for?“ I was anxious.

Suddenly, several glaringly bright magic fireballs roared in the silent night and appeared almost simultaneously on both sides of the camp. They drew near in fire paths and dropped into the dining enemies crowd.

Any efforts would be worthless in such spells of mass destruction.

In fact, not many of them even noticed the incoming fireballs until flames came in close. The soldiers could do nothing but watch the fireballs fall. Judging from their numb faces, their brains had blanked out at that moment.

Some fireballs smashed onto the ground and exploded with booming sounds.

Those giant spheres exploded and pushed dense flows of fire that were sealed with magic energies by my elf warlocks. Any enemies who were touched by it became burning charcoals before they could even utter a sound.

Flames rattled wildly around, jumping with sparks, swallowing everything they encountered. The fire burnt and made the human fuel part of the fire.
Countless enemies with flames on them rolled on the land, howling, crying, and made non-human sounds that were full of pain, panic and fear… which spread in the night sky.
Magic flames did not die away easily, so in a short while, such voices in the fire extinguished.
There were three enemies spots in the camp, and all of them were surrounded by my soldiers. Those who were hiding in the tents and underground showed first, while those who were outside the camp were still running in in a steady flow.
The enemies who were not burned gathered nearer in a short period. They swallowed the last chunk of food and tightened their weapons. Their blood-red eyes reflected by the light of the fire were staring at my soldiers that ran down in lines.
At the moment of the fireball, the soldiers from my side who were holding the rope shouted in unison and pulled with force together.
The other end of the rope was attached to the post of the officer’s tent. Suddenly, the sound of the tents collapsing rang out, and the whole roof fell to cover the heads of those unlucky bastards. Stuffy cursing and exclaiming were immediately emitted from the thick tents.
“Kill them!“ The front row soldiers shouted, and their hands holding onto their spears stabbed the still struggling bodies.
Once, twice, screaming ensued and red liquid came out of the rows of bloodied holes.
“Kill’em!“ The rear soldiers stepped up, regardless whether the men under the tent were alive or dead, and stabbed the enemies wildly into grounded meat..
This was a landslide massacre.
Most of the enemy officers died without knowing whatsoever. Their once noble bodies had now become flesh and blood that was painted on the tabernacle as stains.
“Swoosh!“ The largest one of the tents was slashed open by a sword and four enemy officers jumped out. They waved their giant swords to clear their way, guarding the white officer to the place where I stood.
One of them who stood behind was a little delayed in action and was instantly stabbed by several spears. After a few sounds of screaming, he was raised by the pikemen, and archers immediately made him into a hedgehog.
“This despicable act!” The white officer looked at me and cursed, “Only you can do it! You are Cohen Kheda!”
“BAH!!” I restored my true face and replied, “I’ll be the winner that takes all! Stop talking. You lost!“”
“You finished?” he looked around, and his pale lips trembled. The whole camp was covered in fire and screams.

“I want a fair duel!” He crossed the two officers in front of him and stared straight at me, “You and I!”

“As you wish,” I strode forward, holding the drawn Manchete, “Don’t disappoint me.”

“For the nobility’s honor!” He waved his sword and rushed over, “Attack!”

“For honor!” Almost at the same time, the two officers behind him also rushed in the other direction.

Our swords collided together, spewing a few sparks. Both of us were shocked and stepped back. The other two died under waves of arrows.

“Fuck!” I once again went in and attacked. The white officer leveled his big sword to block my slash, and also took the time to attempt at stabbing me three times, with each swing more sinister than the former. He was indeed a powerful commander.

I clenched my teeth, holding my Manchete with both hands and took the three chops. I knew that he couldn’t hold on for long. Especially considering the food I prepared for him had a special sauce in it.

We fought once again. My weapons had a huge advantage in terms of its length and weight with its forty centimeters hilt, which gave me the edge to be able to play flexible moves.

My offensive attack continued. The white officer retreated.

“Take this!” He shouted, ready to throw in everything he got. However, he was panting, pale and drenched in sweat. It looked like the poison in the food had the first sign of an attack.

Hear my call, wandering god of fire, I summon you! To sacrifice my life for your mighty power and clear my hardship…” He raised the big sword high, his mouth obsessed with words. The blade began to glow with a trace of red light and it wandered in the upper edge of the blade then transformed and became thicker. Almost instantly, the light was about to spread over the blade.

“Salamander’s blade! Fall back!” Martin Luther shouted from afar.

“Salamander’s blade, huh.” I withdraw the distance and took a spear from one of my men, then thrusted with force!

The spear ruptured his chest, and the gun tip emerged on the other end.

“Ah!“ His chanting was interrupted. His pierced lungs did not allow him to make another sound. He looked at me, eyes full of contempt and unwilling. The blade shining in red gradually dispersed.

I waved down the Manchete and chopped his head and arm apart.

“Play magic with me! BAH!” I did not look back and was led directly with the soldiers to the killing ground. We were needed there more.

Now, the camp had become hell, and we were the devils.

As we came to the battlefield that was most intense, no one said any nonsense and threw themselves into the front line immediately. The enemy on this position was the last batch to have meals. They were not poisoned yet.

Officers of either junior or senior were standing on the front line, and led their soldiers to fight with their rich experience. Unlike the last battle on horseback, my soldiers were cooperating with a tacit understanding to advance and retreat.

Our soldiers had tied their arms with a white cloth to identify their standings. Pikemen and infantry arranged forms neatly to impact the enemy archers who were staying behind to support.

Magicians used floating spells to deploy magic strikes in the air. Wingmen were busy flying and arching the leftover enemies to their tombs.

The enemy’s resistance was violent, and although they had been defeated, and spat blood and fell. They were still fighting in neat formations. They also wanted to live.

The people around roared hoarsely, eyes reddened, their weapons in hand waving with instinct and with only one thing on their mind: kill! kill! kill! Kill the enemy at hand and you can live! Kill! Kill!

Good or evil was nothing when compared with a rusty blade. No one considered things like salvation of souls or afterlife. Those were not important as long as your own blade slashed the enemies before he came near, only then would you own this universe.

Spears thrusted, swords and blades slashed. Everyone were looking grim, their bodies stained with blood. They had no idea whether it was their wounds or the enemies’ blood. The blood had even covered their eyes, but there was no time to rub it off.

The thick smell of blood in the air made people unwilling to breathe with their noses. The sound of armors being pierced and bone fractures stimulated the soldiers’ eardrums.

Kill! If you do not kill, you will be killed!

Three enemies rushed over to me. I sneered and delivered my Manchete, piercing one of their chests, then slashed sideways to gouge out a big hole in his body.

Then, the blade turned and cut off another’s head. It instantly crossed to push back the last one. I left the battlefield and knew my work there was done.

The rest of the camp gradually grew quiet. I yelled to command the soldiers from other spots of the camp to throw spears into the enemy crowd. This way it would relieve the frontline’s pressure..

Perhaps the long period of fighting had made my soldiers lust for blood or perhaps the killing noise made my voice unclear, or even perhaps the soldiers had bounded closely by this battle, my men were not only attacking with their spears and large swords, even the helmets and the scattered stones were taken advantage of. If someone were to tell them now that their skull could end an enemy’s life, I believe they would not hesitate to cut off their heads and throw them out.

Our absolute advantage here made the enemy’s resistance to become weaker.

Finally, the last enemy was firmly nailed to the wall, and like a monument, the man was raised high. His head faced downwards weakly. His body twitched, and massive shots of blood gushed from the wounds all the way down to the spear body. The scene was shockingly horrible.

Soldiers cheered up, and laughed crazily to the familiar ones or the strangers with tears of joy. They beat each other’s shoulder, and embraced together.

Suppressed by the feeling of extreme nausea, I found a place to drink water, or I would have thrown up.

 

If you have a good heart, please avoid battlefields or you will fall,

If you have lofty ideals, stay away from battlefields or you will die,

Those of you who died in the slaughter! Your soul will not rest in peace,

Those of you who lived! Your life will lie in the depths of darkness.

One of the officers found me in a corner and said, “Sir, we have wiped out the enemy base!“ He said with excitement, “ Martin Luther is looking for you, sir! Do you want to see him now?“

“Of course,“ I nodded to him, “Help me up!“

“What’s the casualties statics?“ I asked.

“Working on it, sir!“ He guided me while talking, “Sir, I saw you in the battlefield, it was really neat.”

A large group of military officers were crowding in the camp. They noticed my presence and seized talking.

“Minor casualties.“ Martin Luther said to me, “Zero enemies on the loose.”

“Any of them alive?” I asked.

“Positive, but not many.” Martin Luther answered, “They are being interrogated”

“Depoison them. Let’s wait for the report.” I took off my helmet and grabbed it by its head, then gathered my troubled thoughts, “Move the bodies together and burn them! Collect our trophies, and prepare for moving out!“

“Yes, sir!“ The officers answered me loudly and made themselves busy.

“How are you doing?“ Martin Luther approached me, “It looks like you are not feeling well.“

“Nothing.“ I waved, “I need time to process my first battle. I’ll be fine.”

“This is your first fight, and you have done a great job judging from your performance.“ Martin Luther patted my shoulder, “Hold it up! Cohen, your soldiers are watching!”

“I will!“ I said, “Let’s ride around!”

I hummed while watching the soldiers do departing check. Sure I was pleased since there were so many soldiers left to go home safely. I did not regret a thing.

It could be theorised that my officers and I had saved the lives of many with our war experience. As for my opponents, death in battle was a soldier’s destined fate. I figured this out and then the depressing feeling went away.

“Hello, sir!“ The soldiers kept their chins up and saluted, eyes full of reverence.

“How are you, my men?“ I smiled and said, “To be a fellow soldier of I the little Viceroy?” The battle was over and there was no need to be serious like in war. Though, all of them were dumbfounded when they heard my joke.

“Sir! I did not know it before.“ A tall soldier replied loudly, “But I’ve made up my mind to follow you! I’m not going anywhere even if you whipped me off!”

“Follow me?“ I laughed, “And be some kind of a soldier?“

“It’s not!” The tall guy said, “Sir, I forgot to call you sir, sir! I think the war and a fight and a duel are all different. I didn’t go to school so I don’t know how it’s done, but I know we need to win and the duel is not the same. I was not reading the book, do not know the how to say, but I know that war is to win. As long as we win, I’ll do my dirty tricks…”

An officer clapped the big guy’s head and interrupted him, “What are you talking about!“

“I’m sorry, sir. He didn’t go to school. Please forgive him!“ The officer apologized, “But, this guy was brave! He killed a dozen enemies singlehandedly. I want to recommend him to the rank of captain. “

“Wow, where did that come from?“ I and Martin Luther smiled, “Did I say anything about punishing?“

“If your chief commander can’t bear such comments,“ said Martin Luther, “How he’s gonna lead you all?“

“The way he talked you out of this“ I said to the big man, “is also one of the dirty tricks you were talking about.“

All of them laughed.

“Off you go, and get ready!“ The officer smiled at me and exclaimed, “Let’s get moving! Sir, excuse us.“

I nodded and the soldiers dispersed. I rode with Martin Luther and exited the camp.

Then, a lingering sound of the flute came from afar. Though it sounded awful, I sensed rich sadness and deep nostalgia within the playing.

I felt that and decided to take a look.

In an open space next to a hurst, a row of soldiers were digging hard. Not far away from them parked the bodies killed in the battle. They would be buried nearby.

A young man sitting on the side of a battle drum, with his trembling hands, was playing a blue flute. He was facing a body that had not yet been buried. His hoarse playing revealed a string of sorrow from his blue eyes, and trails of tears were trickling down his face.

“Who is he?“ As he had finished, I went up and asked him.

“Sir, he is my brother!“ He looked at me blankly, trembling, and said, “He died… he’ll never see his home again.”

I gazed around and found there were prayers more or less at the side of each body. Their looks and such a scene evoked my sympathy for them.

“The dead bodies are buried on the spot.” Martin Luther whispered, “This is the current military tradition rule for all. The soldiers and aristocratic officers are not the same. Their lives are considered lower than the officers’. Even after death, their treatment is not the same.

“That is not my tradition.” I said, “These soldiers have given their lives up to win the war. I will have to take them home! For those who died, there’s not much we can do but we can at least bring them back to their hometown and let them rest there.”

“Sir, what you are saying … is it true?“ The soldiers came up to me, “Are you really taking them home?”

“Yes! For all soldiers in my, Cohen Kheda’s army!“ I leaned on his shoulder and said, “We will never leave any wounded or sacrificed men behind! Never!

All cheered and the sound boomed throughout the vast sky.

“Never leave anyone behind” which became a real tradition for Dark army, has also become the future military tradition of the empire.

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