Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
The half-mile-wide, meandering canyon extended itself from the opposite direction and broadened to about a mile and a half at the exit.
Now, the canyon opening was completely sealed by a temporarily-built, rather-not-tall wall. There were also many men on the structure loading and unloading cargos. The orders shouted could be clearly heard from my position. The ground earth from the man-made wall to about 2 miles into the canyon was in uncanny dark red, which was utterly familiar to me: the color of earth mixed with blood. Such a loathsome color had spent the entire dreadful Clay City war with me.
I eyed towards the camp at the canyon’s end. It had a limited size and was built according to the landform in the shape of a line. Its included structures were neatly formulated. The soldiers who drilled there seemed to be sharp in shape. The scene of such a military disposition was not possible to be possessed by ordinary bandits. It looked like they were the regular troops from Symbia.
I laid by the cliffside, scheming about which one of my troops it would take to march first and which to support in order to annihilate these 6, 000 hostilities.
Suddenly, a few shouts came from down the cliff then the 2 dumb watchers on the tree bounced off the branches in no time. One ran towards the cliff to reply, the other reached for his rope and tossed it down.
I certainly would not miss such a good chance and retreat from where I was while hinted Wilder to withdraw with my gestures.
“You got anything, boss?” Once we were out of the woods, he eagerly inquired, “Are they really from Symbia?”
“Positive.” I pulled on the jacket while analyzing the information I overheard earlier. Quickly, I had an idea.
“We’ll have to go back, fast! The situation out there is worst than anticipated!”
Wilder nodded so the two of us darted along the tunnel. It took us only one break to travel 20 miles.
The moment we arrived at the General Staffs, I gathered a pre-war meeting which involved all battalion leaders and higher rankers.
“Sir, do we have a situation?” As my bros and trusted ones came to meet me in the shortest time possible, Carlos opened his mouth first, “Do we have an imminent battle for such an important meeting?”
“The battle at hand is not a big one.” I eyed the men as they trailed into the pavilion, lowered my voice, “However, the combats won’t stop there soon. I’m afraid we won’t be having a chance for mobilization any time sooner.”
“What’s going on, boss?” asked Moya, “You sound serious.”
“The troops at the exit not far away belongs to Symbia of the Protoss United Forces. And the order to seal the canyon came directly from the Left Cardinal.” I gazed at Carlos, “Now you know the seriousness within?”
“They…” Before he could finish the sentence, Carlos went pale as Moya shared a look with Wilder and the latter nodded slightly.
“So what, boss?” Jack was still too young to clarify the situation.
“As per our guesses, it was not a big deal even if we were betrayed as long as we’re still intact.” I ran my palm over Jack’s long hair, “But it never occurred to me it was the cardinal’s idea. That is to say, we were not deceived by someone, we were betrayed by the PUF headquarters as a whole. They planned the whole thing colluding with AUF and they had expended us in exchange for great benefits!”
“Won’t the Protoss intervene?” Jack sweated, “Won’t His Majesty and Fischer object?”
“I’m not able to snoop the Protoss’ thoughts, but His Majesty and Fischer won’t just sit there and watch. That is the key!” I lowered my voice, “To the Cardinals, selling us to the AUFs is merely step one. A legion of thousands and a Protoss Knight will not just disappear all of a sudden. That is why there will be queries if they actually pull it off. Therefore, the priests’ next step will be nothing but to suppress the opposing voices. However they try, they’ll never obtain the silence of a reigned king and a prince. So, you all know what is step 3 I reckon.”
“A conspiracy against the throne.” Carlos said word by word, “Subverting the current imperial power will be the most immediate method.”
I nodded. In the meanwhile, Moya and Wilder’s fists smashed together on the table.
“But,” Jack dried his forehead, “that’s not an easy job to overthrew our Swabia. Besides, they can’t just start a rebellion in open daylight!”
“If they’re scheming against the king and Fischer, they will have to act only after our confirmed demise. I reckon they must be waiting for a reply from AUF.” I eyed over my bros, “Though the time is tight, I think we’re not too late yet!”
“Sir, the clock is ticking.” Carlos scrolled open a map, “Tell us your plan.”
“Once we’re out of the tunnel, we’re only 2 days’ ride from Galia, the city under my influence. The Galia viceroy is my man who has 4 full regiments of riders. Most importantly, they’re in possession of a massive amount of supplies!” My finger on the map, “We must make it to Galia as step one, then we slip. Part of the troops will escort the refugees to Dark City, the other will march directly to DC! Our first priority is to ensure the safety of His Majesty and Fischer, nothing else.”
“The operation requires us to…” My palm slashed in the air after I eyed around my 5 bros, “… slaughter a god if we have to!”
“Sir, yes, sir!” The five of them replied with utterly the highest voices, making the rest of the officers in the pavilion stand.
“Are the officers present?” I hinted Carlos.
Carlos eyed around the room and replied quickly, “Yes, sir.”
“Excellent.” said I, “Meeting starts.”
“Atten-hut!” The duty officer urged, “Present-arm!”
“Sir!” Three hundred officers stood neatly and in form, left hand with their helmets, right hand tightly smashed on their left chest armor, making a loud metal clashing noise.
Strictly, I stood by a giant map. After greeting in reply, I eyed over my subordinating senior and middle-ranked officers.
They stood erected in front of my eyes, their eyes earnest and firm. No matter short or tall, not one of them looked less mightier. Their faces were reserved, sharp and emotionless instead of casual. This cruel war had made them grow. They were not the rookies any longer.
I raised my chin and asked in a high voice, “Who do you serve!”
Three hundred sonorous, neat voices answered, “Commander Cohen Kheda!”
“Who do you work for!”
“Commander Cohen Kheda!”
“If a man intends to kill me,” I smashed a hand onto the desk, asked, “how’s he going to achieve that?”
“By stepping on our dead bodies!”
“Well said, well said. You’re all good soldiers!” said I, slowly, “I wonder if you know, who do I, Cohen Kheda, serve? Who am I upholding with my life to protect?”
The officers stumbled to answer. But Carlos was so anxious that he shouted out, “It’s the king, Climos Summers!”
“IT’S THE KING, CLIMOS SUMMERS!”
“Indeed, King Climos Summers, our king. For me, he’s not merely a king, he is a merciful elder to me, a considerate senior who cares about me!” I nodded and said, “If a man wants to harm him or anyone relates to His Majesty, I will uphold the justice with my life!”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
“And now, he’s in a hostile situation.” said I while looking at the officers at my eyes, “And here is when I fulfill my oath. No matter the enemy’s identities and numbers, I will.”
“With our hearts, sir!”
“Are you willing to follow me under such circumstances?” asked I loudly, “No matter who, and how many enemies are out there?”
“We will follow you, sir!”
“Excellent.” I turned to Carlos, “Chief of Staff, our troops’ current progress.”
Carlos stepped forward and said, “Yes, sir. Our Dark Army currently holds 120, 000 soldiers within this tunnel, including 48 regiments down to 240 battalions!” reported Carlos, “Our training plans have all been completed according to the schedule. Our men are ready to fight at your command.”
As a commander, I certainly had all the least information about my army; but some of the officers were not like me. So calling Carlos out was to inform these people.
“Now listen up!” I fetched a piece of paper I wrote on my way from the earlier reconnaissance mission.
The officers stood at attention.
“To better fight the war, I intend to split the army into 3 legions.” Slowly, I spoke my ideas, “I will be personally in charge of ordering the 1st legion of 16 regiments, 40, 000!”
“Yes, sir!” The first 16 regiments leaders called to reply. The first legion included 5 IGT troops, 10 field regiments and a group of special force units.
“Commander of the 2nd legion, Wilder, rank rises up to brigadier.” continued I, “12 regiments in the 2nd legion, 30, 000 men, designated regiment 17~28!”
Therefore, all of my riders were given to Wilder, though the excitement was replaced by a trace of seriousness.
“Commander of the 3rd legion, Moya, rank rises up to brigadier!” ordered I, “12 regiments in, 12 regiments, 30, 000 men, designated No. 29~40!”
Moya’s troops were all field-battle-driven soldiers excluding a team of IGT members.
“I’m converging the staff officers with commanding units. Previous standalone LAD, training corps, logistics, armory units, and the rest 4 field regiments now join the commanding head. The number of people, 20, 000.” I glanced Carlos who was still stunned by my words, “The new department will adept the Staff Department. Carlos rises up to brigadier. He is my Dark Army’s Chief of Staff!”
“Lord Justice, Chief Liaison officer, Jack, and Moya rise up to brigadier and be part of the staff officers!”
“This is the end of my first appointment.” I flapped the paper in my hand, “Now you’re all, by law, troops of Dark City, soldiers of Cohen Kheda!”
“Yes, sir!” All the men in the pavilion yelled, “We’re troops of Dark City, soldiers of Cohen Kheda!”
“Let’s go to the point.” I was greatly rejoiced by looking at their reaction, and nodded, “Here comes my operation plan!”
“Commander of the 3rd legion Moya!”
“Your first priority, after the battles begin, with your troops, escort the 36 Clans safely into Dark City and Darkmoon. You must report to Martin Luther. After you’ve successfully arrived there, get your hands on defense jobs asap!”
“As you wish, sir!”
“Commander of the 2nd legion, Wilder!”
“Exterminate the 6, 000 enemy forces at the canyon entrance immediately. The 36 Clans need a safe way out of this place!”
“Chief Liaison officer Marfa.”
“Cooperate with wingman scouts and set off in the shortest time possible. You must reach Galia City fast, force it if possible. Make sure nobody spot your trace.” said I, “Get your first hand to contact local Galia garrison and tell Kirk we’re coming!”
“Staff members mobilize with the 3rd legion. The 1st legion, follow me.” I made the final statement, “Steven and Marfa, go, now. Second Legion, prep for departure. I want to see the canyon exit on fire in 5 hours!”
Time was precious for us all. A load of newly appointed affairs has caused an uproar in the camp. But all the men have managed their jobs in good order. By the time I re-entered my pavilion, the first batch of wingman scouts has made their way into the sky.
The guys standing before me had high-pitched voices, which directed my vision from the sky to the source of the sound.
It was Lieutenant Malphite and his subordinates standing neatly out of my tent. Roughly a hundred soldiers were staring at me with sad, reluctant eyes.
Their look caught my attention so I inquired, “What’s the matter with you all?”
All of them including Malphite kept their silence. A few even started to weep. I shared a look with the IGT leader beside me.
“Sir,” He whispered, “Lieutenant Malphite’s commander had new orders for him.”
“Malphite,” I lifted my chin, “step out!”
The orc strode forward, chested squared slightly, “Sir!”
“What are you?”
“Sir, I’m a soldier, sir!”
“Are you? Soldiers are bound to obey orders! Look at you all. My days were wasted training you people!” I raised my voice, “What is your order?”
“Sir, my commander ordered us to rejoin our units.” Malphite neck notch rose and fell, “But we, we don’t wanna… leave.”
If I was right, it’s Malphite’s first time jabbering like this; and it was the first time a male told me he hated to part from my side. I looked through Malphite waist, the men behind the orc were all in sad faces. What a scene.
Or, I might as well keep them around so that I could observe how far these soldiers from the 36 Clans will go.
“Staying with me means greater danger than being a regular GI.” I talked, “Make up your mind.”
“I’m fearless!” Malphite roared to reply, “We’re fearless!”
“If you can’t live up to my demand, I’ll kick you out of IGT because you shame my face.”
“We will not!” This time, all of them replied with high voices, “We will never!”
I nodded and told the IGT officers beside me, “Take charge of them!”
Malphite and the rest instantly cheered at my decision, though they were immediately fist-welcomed by a few senior IGTs nearby. Being a member of the guarding troops needed to be quiet all the time.
“Bring my armor.” I loosened my jacket once I was in the tent, “Chop chop.”
“Here we come…” I received the set of Protoss Knight armor and started to put it on, “Screw the shitful war!”
This chapter was originally published on Wuxianation, any despicable reposts or copies without proper citings are strictly prohibited.