Starting from this chapter, the word “Divine” and any related words will be substituted by “Protoss”, thanks to StarCraft. I really just make do with “Divine” since day one. Now the days are over.
“Put on your armor.” Winslet had a soft knight armor forged with black steel bore in her hands, “The Grandmaster tailored this for you and Fischer a couple of days ago.”
The camp bustled with noise, indicating everyone was working diligently: Soldiers who had come alone were getting kitted out in armor. The others who had stayed behind were laying out the defense under the commands of their superiors.
Winslet suited me up, and Carey tightened my belt. A dozen clips had made the two busy for a good while.
“Here’s your blade.” Flynn mounted the Manchete on my waist.
I stretched my body, feeling uncomfortable and decided to rearrange it on my back.
“Take care of the city…” I told my three wives, “for me.”
“I can assure you, we’ll be here watching over it.” Flynn said, “When you come back, this will still be Cohen Kheda’s Dark City!”
“Be careful, they’re armed with weapons, though they remained freshmen.” I paused slightly and put my hands gently on her cheeks. She did not avoid them like she used to.
“Cohen!” As I strode out, she called out my name with a tone that contained mixed emotions.
I paused again and was eager to hear what she wanted to say, but I worried that I would never be able to set off after hearing it.
“Tell it to me when I come back!” Words that were left heartlessly remained for me, as well as for her. I exited the tent.
Our mission was to march down the border and join our cavalry there. We had our horsemen at a total of five hundred, most of whom who got drafted in the last minute rush. Other than this, there was an officer corps that consisted of trainee military officers.
“Everything has been completed.” Grandpa red-nose said while on his horseback, “What about your side of the jobs?”
“We’re all set.” I climbed onto my horse, “Ready to rock and roll.”
“My lord!” Dimmock came running towards us, “My wingman scouts are ready to fly.”
I nodded. Those wingman scouts that were sent and the rangers I had dispatched earlier would keep watch over the path ahead to avoid premature contact with the enemies.
“Your Highness, the defense system at the construction site is almost complete.” Manta’s report was ready as well. Since the dwarfs were good at close combat instead of long distance raids, I had left them the position as the city’s defendants.
“Manta, listen closely to what I’m about to say!” I said, “I’m okay with anyone in any place retreating, except for this one. You know, the whole Dark province is rooting for here. If the City goes down, so will this province. You get me?”
“I get you, sir.”
“Fischer, take care of yourself.” I watched him sitting on the side fence and said softly, “Please.”
“Just leave.” He waved, “We’ve got several thousand people here.”
“Alright!” I kicked the horse’s belly to urge it forward and headed toward the leading team, “Let’s go.”
“Departure!” As the team messenger roared, our principal bannerman raised the flag high. A wingman dived from the air in a straight line to direct the way. The horses whinnied, and the bannerman rushed out.
We marched. As the hooves of the horses were covered in thick cloth, the several hundred cavalrymen riding left barely any noticeable sounds. Plus, we had wingmen watchers to keep us away from any potential midway enemies as we traveled.
Most importantly, they would find rivers or uneven sectors ahead of us and mark up the easiest route for us to proceed with ease.
My horsemanship had been improving from traveling back and forth between the construction sites, and along with Grandpa red-nose’s coaching, I barely fell back. Though I became extremely sore and felt great pain, I endured the discomfort.
I was literally falling apart after riding for several hundred miles.
Finally, we arrived the converging point at a concealed valley ahead of time. However, we had several soldiers who fell off their horses midway and got wounded or died.
“Rest your people and water the horses!” My experienced grandpa briefed to our messenger, while I bore an uneasy body and walked towards few rendezvous officers.
“Your Highness!” They fisted and leveled on the right and saluted.
An officer asked, “And that person is…”
“Martin Luther.” I acknowledged his salute and replied, “Former general of the empire, my wife’s’ grandfather and your deputy commander!”
He widened his mouth, “Martin!? The General Martin Luther from years ago? He was one of the four mightiest generals in the Protoss Allied. My father was once his guards!”
Martin Luther? It was so unclear why Flynn and Carey’s family names were Rohna while grandpa’s family name was Luther.
Half of my commanding center personnel made this place the main battlefield.
My people drew a square boundary as our temporary headquarter and immediately ensued order within the chaos and pieces of information that connected the area policed by Dark City were being passed in and out of it.
My earlier spur-of-the-moment investments on wingman scouts had paid off. They were the only ones capable of discovering any anomalies flying in the vast sky, as well as detecting any issues within my scattered troops and distribute orders in this vast grassland.
I could never imagine a fight without them.
“Sir! The main enemy force has swept the mine and retreating.” An officer reported.
“As you have foreseen.” Grandpa red-nose placed his fingers on the map which showed the retreating enemy route, “There’s no way they’ll backtrack.”
“Our opponent must have known our troops are not enough to successfully intercept them.” I said with a smile, “They know our only chance lies in an all-out chase or a halfway ambush. However, due to the fact that they are a team of cavalries, they could just flee from the scene quickly. That’s why they used such an unusual route to foil our plans.”
I had marked out all the possible paths on the map in red. Several thick, scarlet red lines started from Harric’s territory on the Darkmoon side and led almost straight to the Black Forest mines, then took a massive turnover to Dark City and into the desert portal before cutting to the original meeting point. The point zero and terminal were over five hundreds miles apart!
“What a smart commander!” Grandpa red-nose exclaimed, “Tell me what is your plan.”
“What we need to do,” I said, “is to help them succeed in their retreat.”
“Oh?” Grandpa red-nose, or our so called General Martin Luther, ignored all the astonished looks on the nearby officers’ face and came close to me as if he had detected a glass of delicious wine. He said, “Tell me more about it.”
“Take a look!” I gathered everybody nearer, “Their strategy is careful and perfect. My guess is they sneaked in from the Darkmoon border in batches, though scouting errors exists. It is highly possible that we discovered their presence while their batches were regrouping.”
“According to their intel on our responding time and capabilities, we could do nothing but reinforce our defense on the Dark City construction. So to speak, everything is as they have planned until now.”
“However,” Grandpa continued, “They did not expect us to spot their troops a day earlier, or that we had even learned about their detailed plot from the team they are meeting.”
“Exactly!” I said, “With this, we’ve got an extra day, and that’s why we are here.”
“What you are planning, is to slay them all here.” Grandpa’s finger stopped on the meeting point located in Harric’s land.
“I had the elves and wingmen follow them closely to let them rush on without having moments to rest.” I explained to everyone, who comprised of the members of my future crew.
“Men who have gained benefits will often become timid rats, so once they have gotten the ores, they will retreat quickly. However, all feeding points on their possible routes were totally trashed; thus they will not get any supply and become exhausted.
“They can always find another way.” An officer said.
“Did you forget about our alien friends?” I explained with a smile, “Their furious chasing will not allow the enemies to change their route.”
“Or, can’t we ambush them elsewhere?” This guy was not giving up, “There might be troubles encountered if we cross the border.”
“There will be a huge price to pay if we attack anywhere else since our soldiers haven’t engaged in any battles yet.” I shrugged, “Screw the border, I want my people to stay alive! And if necessary, I’ll personally trade Harric like a tied swine!”
My officers were amused by such comments, and all laughed.
Since the wedding night and receiving my father’s reminders and constant attention, I had not been using any profanities for a while. Thus, I was greatly motivated by the chance to finally use them.
“Let’s take down the enemies here,” When most of the laughter quieted down, I said, “and win this for good.”
We were inside Harric’s land, five miles away from the enemy’s meeting point. The troops had just arrived and resting.
“Huff” Jack threw a miserable enemy infantry soldier that was tied up like a mummy at my feet.
“Sir!” Jack said, “We caught this jerk face, their messenger!”
“You got anything from him?” My voice sounded a bit weird since I lowered my front armor.
“He’d rather die!” Jack looked a bit frustrated.
“Boy, a man without fear.” The soldier surprised me. However, I’ve seen how people without fears ended up.
“En…” I pondered and told Jack, “Find me some tough wood.”
Jack went off to fulfill my demands. The other men rounded up after hearing that we had a prisoner.
The prisoner was currently staring at the roof stubbornly.
“Sir!” Jack came back with woods.
I held them and told Jack, “Listen, torture and extortion requires practice, and is a serious subject.”
Jack and the rest were all dumbfounded.
“For example, at this moment.” I continued, “He’s not coming clean, but he’s something we need. What will you do? Torturing him is the only option left. However, we need to do it elegantly and professionally to bring him extreme pain while inflicting as little damage to his body as possible.
When I said this, the stubborn messenger’s body began to shiver.
“Now, we need to keep asking for answers until he starts to tell.” I did not intend to let him go and pointed to the woods, “Who here can make me some toothpicks. The thinner, the better.”
Then while my men were making toothpicks with laughter and jokes, I had someone stuff a thick wand between his teeth and tongue and secured it with a strip of cloth tied around his head. This way, it would prevent him from committing a suicidal tongue bite or shrieking while still being able to speak.
Sticks were made. I called Moya in. The executioner’s work was not an easy day-to-day job, thus he had to be handpicked.
“You made a big mistake in not killing yourself immediately after you got caught.” I told him, “If you don’t start talking immediately, you’ll be in even more misery.”
The jerk began to perspire and sweat appeared on his forehead, but he still remained silent nonetheless.
“Grab his hair and put him down!” I instructed indifferently, “Tie up his hands…yes! Moya, your turn.”
Moya gazed at me confusedly while holding a bunch of toothpicks
I sighed and decided to show him how it was done. I grabbed a toothpick and pricked the prisoner’s finger, then held the pick under his fingernail. I glanced at Moya, and then stabbed the pick in and twisted it.
“All fingers are connected.” There was an old saying. And as a former member of the special ops, torturing was one of the essential tactics.
I was done one of his fingers. He was already sweaty all over. As for me, I merely switched to another hand and was ready to continue.
The soldier’s struggling seemed powerless after being suppressed by a few of my bruisers. He kept trying nevertheless, as if it could ease the finger pain.
After another three finger operations, he sought to hit his head against the ground, but his hair was pulled to keep him from doing so. His scalp was lifted due to the grip on his hair. Blood sept and he groaned. However, this was not the final result that I sought after.
When the fingers that were still fine was down to four, the jerk’s face did not look as sharp as what he had intended by pretending. Desperation was all that was left. My men had backed away to the far corners of the tent, and Moya’s mouth twitched, his body rigid without any movement.
“Take off his shoes.” The prisoner could not hold himself together after hearing this and sobbed. I walked nearer and immediately, he began to talk.
Then, I got hold of the intel I needed, and they were verified. Grandpa red-nose and I assigned the jobs. A part of the soldiers was led to leave by their officers, and the rest stood in line and marched towards our destination.
A dead body was buried at where we had left. He possessed a keen mind and loyal heart. He was a perfect soldier who saluted the wrong commander.
We came close enough to see the enemy’s camping ground. Martin Luther nodded at me.
“Strike!” My hands slashed down.