Vol. 10: Chapter 01: A Bruised Army

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Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ounds of hoofbeats were closing in.

All slave soldiers went pale. What they did not expect was that more troops made an appearance once they started revolting. In any case, revolted slaves would never survive under such a circumstance.

Now the slaves can’t help but remained still, broken down and cried.

Suddenly, a burst of hailing blew out from the slave crowd. Chappie turned to the sound location. He saw a man bouncing out of the mob. It was Maru!

Maru grabbed a rein from a slave then he just began riding while waving a flag, hailing wildly towards the knights that were marching into them from behind.

“Everyone, be not afraid! I’m an officer of the PUF 9th Legion! AUF has failed. That empty camp is the proof!” In the meantime, another Phantom Legion officer’s voice rose timely, “Ordered by our Supreme Commander Cohen Kheda, all slave soldiers are free to join our troops and become formal residents of the Swabia Empire. The knights behind are our men!”

The announcement caused an uproar within the slaves!

Meanwhile, in the marching riders, a scout rode beside his commander.

“Sir, an oncoming man is riding with our army semaphore, should we detain him?”

“Bring him in!”

Moments later…

“COMMANDER WILDER! IS THAT COMMANDER WILDER!? I’m Maru of the 5th Scouting Battalion!” Maru shouted madly while rushing close to Wilder, “Our troopers are deadly in danger, you have to hurry!”

Having heard Maru, the worn-out Wilder’s eyes kindled, “Are you saying that Cohen and the rest are not dead! They’re still alive?!”

“The commanders are fine!” Maru replied loudly, and he made a brief description of what happened today, “Our troops have scuffled with the enemy’s main in the clay city for a whole day. They’re extremely exhausted. Also, enemy’s slave army has revolted. It’s an opportunity to take advantage of, sir! There’re a limited amount of  narrow tunnels in the outer city!”

“Take a battalion, stir up the slaves immediately.” said Wilder, “Make time for me to line right and ready the assault.”

“Yes, sir!” Thus Maru marched into AUF’s main camp with a team of knights in a blink of an eye.

“Brothers of the slave army, we the PUF troops have arrived! Maru raised an army banner while yelling in a high spirit on his horse, “From now on, march onward and you’re one of us, all who run are out enemies! Forward, you live! What’re you waiting for? No one would have you slave-marked ones on this continent except for our commander.

“Right… think of the slaves that surrendered before!”

“Listen to the 10 Chapters that are crying for help!”

“There stand our clan leaders, townsmen, and families!”

“Anyway, you’ve rebelled. Now follow Sir Cohen and start enjoying your lives!”

“Let it be a welcome gift for Commander Cohen…”

While the officers were agitating the slaves, Wilder took his time adjusting assaulting formation and smoothly delivered the news that his superior Cohen was safe and sound. At once, the whole team of riders roared to cheer!

This gang of knights under Wilder’s command was of 4 regiments totaling 10, 000 -ish. Lurking overseas, they were standing by as they were ordered. After losing contact with Cohen, Wilder had sensed that situation was probably going south. Therefore he selected a lonely spot on the P/A Line and forced his landing. Thereafter, the whole team began searching for Cohen’s whereabouts.

They first hiked towards Camp for more than 200 miles; then they assaulted an army of AUF troops that were busy driving refugees, thus the horses. Only until yesterday did they track down Cohen’s location at a feeding station.

When they learned that Cohen was trapped deadly by 300, 000 hostile troops in a tiny clay city down the grand canyon, this team of 10, 000 men just reddened their eyes. Without a second thought, they march over along the enemy’s supply line. It took them only a day’s riding and battling on the incredibly complicated P/A Line landform to finish a journey of over 200 miles. And now, the ones facing them were their commander’s mortal enemies; Wilder has readied all the fun for them.

The slaves were in a line shape as well. Now they were looking at their former masters: the Asmodian United Forces. At first, the slaves that revolted in the camp were short of courage to march forward but agitated by men like Maru and the imminent threat of a massive chunk of knights yelling and riding towards them, they did. Cohen’s subordinates were able to break down general principles into easy-to-understand words. So the slaves came to know that they could only survive by depending on one of the two opposing armies, and they did just revolt one of them. In this case, the slaves can never escape AUF. Though these demeaning and confusing men were not so reconciled to admit the situation, they had to gather themselves and started marching towards the clay city.

Meanwhile, in the clay city, AUF had to pour in its last resort because Cohen has pulled out his final and fiercest reserve of manpower to fight back. At the time he knew the slaves have revolted, the Lieutenant General had no extra troops to suppress the uproar, so the best he could do was calling back 4 regiments totaling 10, 000 from the 26th to guard his rear in the hope that these uncommanded slaves would give up fighting the impossible. However, it did not occur to the Lieutenant General that 10, 000 PUF light calvaries were behind the slaves. Intimidated by these riders, the slaves were marching for their lives. Had no way to escape, they sure need to offer a fitting tribute to their new master.

Slaves were undoubtedly unable to ride, but they were driving a fraction of the horses which the AUF 26th Legion had left behind. Thus led by these thousands of horses, the men and the animals swamped into AUF’s last defense line!

How could war horses be able to tell friends or foes? In a fraction of a second, AUF’s weak defenses hiding within the dozens of tunnels located in the clay city walls were broken entirely! As the horses continued marching forward, they shattered AUF’s backup troops and made it into inner clay city.

No slaves led by the horses spared hands for the scattered AUF soldiers. They let off their hatred that was buried so deep to those AUF soldiers running out of luck. Everyone knew how to beat up an underdog.

The Lieutenant General and the only men left for him circled by their banner and deployed a tenaciously defend session. However, this time, they’ll be facing Wilder who already began rampaging, the one who was nicknamed ‘Army Gangster’ by Cohen.

Wilder and his men marched down to the Lieutenant General’s location. They wasted no time to send the rest of the AUF commanding system down the banner back to their home with a few rounds of crossbow shootings. All the more so, Wilder bounced onto the wall top and chopped down Lieutenant General’s head!

“ALL HAIL PUF!” Wilder kicked his enemy’s banner into half and raised high the Lieutenant General’s head, “ALL HAIL the invincible Cohen Kheda!”

The eyes on the bleeding head were still glaring. Lieutenant General died in an uproar.

“ALL HAIL PUF! ALL HAIL the invincible Cohen Kheda!” Thousands of men yelled altogether.

This shouting from behind has made the leftover of the AUF soldiers who were still fighting in blood shuddered with fear, it also gave the ultimate high spirit to the PUF soldiers who knew that they will most definitely die today.

During the recent dozen days of fighting, AUF has thoroughly learned the power of its foe. As of today, the situation of the fight was the most changeable. AUF soldiers would never carry on till this moment without the Lieutenant General’s encouragement as well as the yearning for victory. But now, Lieutenant General’s head was hanging on an enemy’s lance, and earth-shattering killing sounds came from behind. Although AUF was still resisting, they barely persisted.

Sensing yet another alteration of the situation, Gardena who has been leading the drums was full of joy. With great passion, he was about to change the rhythm by a howl, but the thing that came out the moment he opened his mouth was a big swallow of blood. Then immediately, Gardena slumped by the giant drum.

After the day’s tense fight, as well as several huge extends of psychological turbulence, this aged and weak body finally collapsed.

“CHIEF!” A Gardena’s close apprentice rushed over and held up Gardena from the mud.

“Chapter… hurry… Chapter Hunt!” Gardena gazed at his student, he shivered to speak, “The lead rhythm… heartbeat… variation… variation must…”

Gardena was indeed the chief leader of the 36 tribes. Chapter Hunter could not only lead direction for people but could also tell friends from foes. It was the best chapter to direct the slaves blindly fighting in this chaotic war.

“Yes!” The apprentice wiped away the tears from his cheeks then he picked the master drumsticks.

Drumbeats thus sounded once again on the clay city wall. By the neat blowings of horns, Chapter Hunt took over the fight, gathered the messy slaves as a whole and gave all the men the right direction as well as the right time to cut off running enemies. Gardena, be most relieved, gradually closed his eyes at the start of the music.

Conducted by the drumbeats, the slaves marched into their enemies from two sides of the bastion in order to avoid the central ones. As for Wilder’s troops, they confronted AUF’s 26th Legion that came running to support.

The ultimate competition of the best training result showed.

AUF’s 26th was an army of calvaries who were skilled in fighting on horsebacks but lack the knowledge of combating on their feet. They were merely forced to unmount because of the intensified battle. PUF, on the other hand, as Cohen’s subordinates, they were entirely trained under Dark City’s military system. These men will be the best infantries without horses and the best horsemen when mounted; plus they were well-equipped, high in fighting wills. PUF made AUF suffer in the first round of the confrontation.

Even before the initial contact, PUF’s strikers fired a burst of rapid arrows. Before the whinings went away, PUFs fetched their enhanced crossbows. Thus AUF’s formation was destroyed by waves of arrows as PUF pierced in like a trenchant blade.

After the soldiers on their horseback depleted their arrows, sabers were drawn. As countless extended sharp edges brought trails of death, AUFs were chopped of their heads even before their own blades reached the enemies. Although AUFs were still doing their final resistance, their ‘Cecilia’ sounds grew weaker and weaker.

A landslide failure was crowned so many light riders. AUF was without too many able fighters from the start, they’ve finally failed.

But the knights that passed the enemy’s defense did not stop there. They kept on riding until they reached the center of the AUF’s bastion. Unlucky for the AUFs, they did fill full of the hateful traps with their own bodies; and the clay walls in the stronghold was never very rigid. After going through the sabotage of the battle as well as washed by an unprecedented storm and the lash from the war horses that ran in earlier, the walls were all the most collapsing. How could AUF now fend themselves with broken walls?

They can never shape a complete formation, nor can they find hiding spots among the debris of the ruins. AUF has sunken into a rock hard dilemma.

However, PUF was in a completely different situation. Cohen’s initial wish was to kill more enemies before he died, how could he know that the position transformed utterly favoring his army. Not only the PUF banner has fallen; the earth-shattering hailing just wouldn’t stop.

With grand joy, Cohen, as well as his staff officers, wounded soldiers, and refugees from the 36 Clans who wished nothing but death organized a new battle system. Conducted by the drums, they fought back and successfully converged with the revolted AUF slave army within the bastion.

After the situation stabilized, Cohen assigned the works. Then he ordered the staff officers back to the wall.

“Gardena! Give me a different chapter…” At the scene of the old man on the earth, Cohen quietly sighed. He pulled Gardena’s body up, put his left hand on the dead’s waist and cross the old man’s right arm on his shoulder, “Gardena, let’s fight together. You will see victory!”

“Send my order! Round them up.” commanded Cohen, “Lead the drum!”

“Yes, sir!”

When Cohen’s army was besieged here in the clay city, AUF had more than 350, 000. Ten days into the siege battle, they were still up to 300, 000. Aside from slaves and other assisting armies, AUF’s 3 primary forces had nearly 140, 000. From the start of today until now, 50, 000 AUF soldiers were still combat-effective. One could say it was a fierce battle.

Cohen understood that if he let these 50, 000 enemies escape and fight back, Wilder’s army and the slaves that just surrendered will never make things any easier for them to get away. AUF was not an army to be overlooked.

So he absolutely was not going to give the enemies any chance to breathe.

Even given this army of temporarily established, extremely complicated, disordered members, the attack cannot stop.

Cohen was aware of the cowardliness and low combat effectiveness of the revolted slaves, plain tactical formation could not trap the rest of the enemies anyways. However, the slaves’ physical condition and willpower were still extractable. Thus Cohen just gave the commander for them to run. Run around AUF. Any breaches the AUF made will be quickly pacified by the following ones.

By utilizing orderlies and the 10 Chapters, Cohen’s army managed running on the outer ring of the enemy crowd continuously like running floods. They lashed, divided, pressed. Finally, this army mixed with slaves, clansmen formed a giant whirlpool that fixed thousands of AUFs firmly at the center.

Led by commander of the 26th Legion Major Brandon Tyrant, AUF initiated dozens of various-sized breakouts. All were shattered by the vortex. Whoever stepped into the whirl will be demolished by blasts of fast-moving soldiers.

After Wilder had his men bring tons of arrows from AUF camp, Cohen’s next order brought the doom to the AUFs. Wilder was no cheap man, he equipped all his 4 regiments with bows and shoot 50 times aiming the center AUFs of the whirl.

“Sir!” Through sparse raindrops, Carlos could vaguely see the scene of misery in a distant. Those were the dying AUF soldiers after the arrow rains. Carlos turned to Cohen, “Are we continuing with the arrows?”

“For Gardena…” Cohen gave a look at the old man under his arm, “make another 50!”

Thus by the soaring arrows, drum seized beating, troops stopped spinning. The entire battlefield gradually calmed.

All 3 main forces, 6 slave armies, as well as other supporting units of the Asmodian United Forces, have seized existing.

“Rescue the wounded, clean the battlefield.” Cohen went off the wall with Gardena’s body, “Dispatch our wingman scouts and rangers, set the alert radius at 50 miles. Check off enemy’s supply and prepare to move out!”

Then silently gazed by countless refugees, Cohen Kheda personally cleaned Gardena’s body and changed his clothes. 36 clan leaders remained quietly around the scene, their faces solemn.

“Gardena, I give you my word.” Cohen crossed Gardena’s both hands upon his chest and said earnestly, “I, Cohen Kheda, am a man of my word. Your clansmen are here to join my Dark City. Your age of wander ends here. I will never abandon you!”

The refugees all wept.

“Now, you clan leaders,” Cohen turned around at the leaders of the 36 clans, he said slowly, “Have you decided which path to follow?”

“We’ve decided,” All leaders said all together, “we’ll follow Lord Cohen!”

“In that case, I’ll cut the bullshit now.” Cohen spared an eye for Gardena’s body, “You must count your heads immediately. Discipline your people. We’re leaving this place.”

“One more thing,  elect a new Chief Leader immediately. Now, you can talk about your small problems with my Staff Chief.” After leaving for a few steps, Cohen turned back and said, “Bury the dead right here and now. I’m bringing Gardena’s remains to Dark City. And stop you people! We don’t have time to cry now!”

“Yes, my lord.” The clan leaders knelt to see Cohen away. In their hearts, Cohen was the ultimate Chief from a long time ago.

Cohen strode without any emotions. His brain though spun fast. He’s won the battle, but where he should go from here was a huge problem.

When Cohen was close to the clay city gate, a massive bunch of officers’ saluting interrupted his thoughts.

“Sir,” Wilder stepped forward, “Second Legion Commander Wilder reporting for duty with 4 regiments under my command!”

“Very well.” said Cohen, “Any casualties?”

“Sir, depletion 10% en route.” Wilder replied loudly, “20% during the battle earlier. Total casualty number is less than 1000.”

“Very well. Rest your men. Dismissed!”

“Yes, sir!”

“Sir,” Carlos took over the conversation, “I have the battlefield report.”

Cohen nodded.

“We had 24 regiments totaling 60, 000. Up until this moment, 20, 000 of them was KIA, severely wounded soldiers totaled 21, 000, everybody else was bleeding.” Even for a man as mature as Carlos, his voice shivered when reading the report, “Death toll of the clan soldiers that we recruited this morning is 58, 000; 30, 000 -ish slave soldiers that surrendered earlier today have offered their lives…”

Carlos was not able to read on anymore. Although Cohen thought he was ready for this, his heart ached miserably at the sound of the toll. Sadness choked his throat. His mouth opened and closed but he could not say a word.

All but none of the officers around welled their eyes, they sobbed because those 20, 000 soldiers who died have spent the past year, days and nights with them. They were the closest friends.

Cohen pulled himself together, clenched his fists and asked hoarsely, “Enemy’s condition, now.”

“26th, 27th, and 28th totaling 180, 000 of the Asmodian United Forces were completely wiped out. Their 7th army of slaves has partial surrenders, the 3rd slave army along with remnants of a few other slave armies totaling 126, 000 are ours now.” Carlos read on from the list, “Enemy’s operating system: officers ranging from lieutenant generals to second lieutenants were all KIA. According to the enemy’s register we found, they had a lieutenant general, 3 major generals, 8 brigadier generals and more than 700 officers of various nobility or samurai titles…”

“In addition, we’ve acquired a massive amount of enemy supply enough to feed us for 15 days. They’ve left nearly 100, 000 horses as well as a huge pile of armors and weapons…”

“Find us a place. Summon battalion leaders and all ranks above, meeting immediately. All who surrendered are to be enlisted right away.” Cohen cut off Carlos’ report, “They… give them some free time.”

“Yes, sir!”

Though Cohen’s army had won the battle, the situation did not make too much of a difference. Cohen still had tons of things to attend. When the officers exited the meeting place, be exhausted of both bodies and souls, the slaves kin recognition convention was at the highest point. Tears, sobs soared, these people really had powerful tear glands.

Letting the slaves move freely was an ingenious method. It not only removed the slaves’ guarded minds after the dreadful war but also gave a chance for them to exchange their experience staying in the Phantom Legion. It was so many folds better than preaching by Cohen himself. Besides, leader of each clan has been watching their clansmen. Therefore, these slaves behaved well at the second gathering.

The original establishment of the 9th Legion was completely scrapped. All officers and soldiers that survived were incorporated into the current Dark City’s military system. All former 9th Legion GIs were promoted sergeants. Those who outperformed rose in ranks even quickly. All former acting sergeants were promoted lieutenants; all the rest officers leveled up as well.

Besides all above, the 9th Legion retained its former 3-bodied system. All newly promoted sergeants, officers were all assigned to direct the surrendered slave soldiers. Although by doing so had rather considerable potential drawbacks, it was only a last, helpless resort: less than 20, 000 soldier were still able to serve their posts. In such a time of desperation, there were no one other than these slaves Cohen could rely on.

All essential ordering and obligation structure under Cohen’s direct command remained unchanged, but the LAD, reconnaissance, logistics and the mage corps were severely out of hand.

However, there was no shortage of plain soldiers. The 9th Legion’s former soldiers and the new slave soldiers combined had the number of 140, 000. Then Cohen sent back some of the underaged and the old ones. Now he had total combat-able personal of 120, 000.

Thereafter equipping the slaves with armors and weapons left in the AUF camp or stripped from dead enemies, soldiers who wore helmets for the first time in their lives met their new commanders in such a setting.

Though the soldiers flinched and the commanders were bruised, the general atmosphere was actually somewhat harmonious.

Led by a brief introduction, the commanders took time to infuse their ideologies to their new subordinates. It wasn’t a well-sorted way, hell they didn’t have a choice.

Cohen remained aside watching his men running errands.

He currently was faced with a tremendous problem: where should his army go next? Having been trapped here for more than 10 days, there was entirely no way out. Leaving by the sea was not an option. Going back to fight more AUFs, just drop it.

Since the canyon was jammed; the AUFs behind them should get the local intelligence very quickly, and there was nothing but dense forest and deadly swamps on the sides of the canyon, Cohen’s head began aching harshly.

“Sir!” Steven’s voice suddenly sounded above Cohen’s head. This wingman was too fast to land, he tumbled beside Cohen’s feet.

“Steven, what’s the matter?” Cohen held his friend up, “Put yourself together!”

“Boss… boss!” Steven did not suffer much though he was too tired. He caught Cohen’s hands, “Tunnel! In the forest… huge tunnel!”

“Sober up, Steven!” Cohen tapped Steven’s face, “Look at me, what were you saying?”

“There’s a super wide tunnel in the forest! It’s right beside the clay city!”

“Ah-huh?” Cohen turned to an IGT soldier calmly, “Go fetch a physician with mana, Steven’s sick.”

“I’m not sick, boss! I can’t explain it, but it’s there.” Steven argued face reddened, “The tunnel is a fact, you have to believe me!”

“Are you telling me… there’s a huge tunnel, right under our noses? And the huge batches of recon troops we sent DAILY did not see that? And it parallels the canyon?”

As Cohen kept asking, Steven kept nodding.

“Okay!” Cohen held Steven up, “Let’s go check out your tunnel.”

Fifteen minutes later…

“FUCK! FUCK! FUCK YOUR MAMA!” By the time several soldiers chopped down a piece of woods, Cohen was furious. Profanity soared into the sky, “FUCKING tunnel, right here!”

It was a straight, flat, wide, green grass-filled, boulevard-like tunnel. Its width was nearly twice as the grand canyon. Such a place should never be overlooked by any reconnaissance under any circumstances!

However, it was right here without being seen.

So, the first thing came to Cohen’s mind was: something or someone had screwed him over.

This chapter was originally published on Wuxianation, any despicable reposts or copies without proper citings are strictly prohibited.

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  1. I was dying to read another chapter and finally its here.
    Thank you for the chapter (times infinity).
    Looking forward towards the next chapter.

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