Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
My army was a while out of the Maple Province and currently outflanking the 2 hostile armies who coveted Darkmoon. They have split into 2 ways and been approaching in 2 parallel routes. If I could not catch on and disable them in time, they will bring grim harm to my father’s territory.
As a matter of fact, after the day I shot thousands of pieces of threatening paper into Maple City, I had left with my army without the intention of heading back.
Because I have kept in mind that attacking Maple City was a time-wasting job that could actually yield very little outcome. A job like this did not worth my effort considering no one has regarded Haric as a keeper except for himself.
Several infantry corps who specialized in field battles caught up with us 5 days later. They were the main course of the feast I saved for Maple City. The infantries were not as fast as riders and less capable to fight. And the Maple City fools stayed in their nest like expected, did nothing but sending a dozen recourse letter crying for Divine City’s reinforcement.
Could Luhrmann send help? Fat chance. For the usurper, he’d be only too anxious to let me take over more provinces so that my army would be dispersed. If that was the case, I would be putting troops on an extensive line to defense, far longer than the good old Darkmoon and Dark City combined. Indeed, I had over 100, 000 troops. No amount of military force was enough to defend more than 2 provinces, which will give me a weakness and Luhrmann a chance.
Therefore, I took steps with caution, constrained my reckless and grandiose nature, and stopped making further progression after gaining enough resources.
I can’t give my enemy the chance and I shall make no mistakes.
(I’m not the old Cohen Kheda any longer.)
The troops took time to rest while waiting for new intelligence.
Layers of cloud shaded the resting sun, which painted crimson on half of the sky. Down there, a river quietly meandered.
Grassland was found on both sides of the river. There, scattered soldiers gathered in groups of 2 or 3 replenishing water, joking or resting. My officers were making inventory check and assigning jobs. Most of the rest were cleaning their weapons.
After I assumed the command of the 1st Legion and adapted a new establishment for my 10 IGT regiments, their weaponry system and composition were far advanced than before.
All IGT units were allocated with horses because horsemanship was essential to join my guarding troop. Besides that, all of them have mastered skills that would make them the best infantryman or light riders.
These men were the most powerful soldiers in my Dark Army.
All men carried 3 kinds of weapons: lances, sabers, war-bows or crossbows.
Bows were a must for riders and they were required to choose one between a saber and a lance.
The reason I did not add more training programs for them was that there was only so much weight a horse can carry, let along being able to ride fast and rapidly. Therefore, the lighter, the better.
A trigonous arrow that measured 15cm will cause the targeted enemy to die from massive loss of blood, it’s indeed impressive; however, the cost to make such an arrow greatly surpassed that of a regular feather-arrow; and the space consumption was 4 times more. The arrow was the most effective weapon but not as practical.
(I admit it was not easy to acknowledge my error in equipping soldiers. It takes practice.)
For this reason, plus lessons I learned from previous battles, the dwarf grandmaster and I made further adjustments to my army’s weaponry. This mass of armory replacement was the reason I cannot muster more troops.
All IGT units’ armors have been modified, from hardened plates that covered the entire body to partly-hardened plates that only protected vital organs. The other not-so-hard places were added 3 layers of fine, forged decks packed with reinforced bars, the combination will be 3 times lighters and give my soldiers more flexibility on the joints.
Hence I have drawn a strict standard in forging an entire armor that’ll completely block AUF’s regular feather-arrows fired from a hundred arms-length. Most of the parts on this armor will be capable of enduring 2 consecutive chops of a war-hammer that weighs 15kg.
I have also made an alteration to lances. A bar that formed a cross with the lance’s body was added at the weapon’s head so that it won’t be too deeply pierced into the enemy’s body to pull out. The once metal weapon body was replaced by sturdy wood in order to lessen the load.
Here, riders’ blades were withdrawn and replaced by a newer model that were longers, more curved and the barycenter prone to the handle. They never will be carrying a blade that looked just like my black steel machete.
The improvement to the arrows was at the arrowhead. It was now a much lighter, smaller, sharper trigonous head. With the same load, one soldier can carry double the arrows.
At last, each regiment, battalion has its own supply carts carrying all tents, provisions, spare weapons and 200 arrows of the newest model for each soldier.
With the series of improvements, this army will be capable of operating 10~15 days without logistic support.
“What a good day, what a good smell of the air.” I removed my helm and conveniently hung it to the saddle, “Dark City’s big dancing party must be ready. If only I were there.”
“Yes, young lord.” Amart nodded, “We have successfully delivered 31 marguerites to the garden.”
Amart was debriefing me regarding ‘Project Secret Garden’. He wore a black robe to shade his whole body, a mask, for he was a man who had to live in the dark.
I asked, “Any wilted?”
“No, all of them were alive and fresh. I fear we might have hurt the tourists when picking them.”
“That’s not of my concern.” I glanced at the red cloud from the sky, “It’s politics, it always is. As long as the deal can be made, shedding blood will only make it more alluring.”
“Sir, I have your letter from Dark City.” A sweaty orderly reined his horse by my side.
I took it over and laughed out loud after a short read. Regardless of my staff officers and guards who were surprised by my sudden laughter, Amart gazed at me with confusing eyes.
“Excellent job, Amart.” I was almost done laughing so I tucked the paper into the armor, kicked the horse to advance, “Dark City had signed the delivery. And they’re greatly contented.”
“As long as the young lord is happy with the job he gave me.” AmarT nodded, “None of the others matter.”
“And I won’t give you jobs beyond your capability. Do you like the men I assigned to cooperate with the mission?”
At the mention of the scout battalion that took part in the project, Amart instantly replied with excitement, “Yes, young lord, they did exceptionally well. I could only wish for more such men.”
“Is that right?” I touch my jaw, “If I were to assign more such men under your command, things like the untimely damage of Maple City’s magic shield will happen more frequently, am I right?”
“Positive.” He replied with thrill, “Young lord, are you giving them to me? I’ve all planned out.”
“Never gain that much hot blood on such a small thing.”
“Yes, young lord.”
“Nevertheless, I’ve made my mind. Either way, those men have come to know your identity. Hmm, good, they’re yours to command now. But be good!”
“Yes, young lord. I will.”
“Hold it!” For I moment I thought I had a glimpse of something, so I took Amart’s wrist, “Is that a fringe-lace shirt??”
“Er… young lord.” A hind of fluster went by in Amart’s eyes, then was replaced by exaltation, “Young lord, it’s my personal hobby. This type of shirt was abnormally comfortable. I discovered it during a negotiation last year. All Asmodian cartel leaders wear it. I developed this habit of wearing because I have regular meetings with them. Young lord, consider it as a personal sacrifice for the empire.”
“Hmm, looks nice.” I replied carelessly.
“Ah, you like it, young lord?” Amart was so encouraged that he quickly rolled up his sleeve and showed off the carefully knitted pattern in from of my eyes, “Best cloth quality, soft and absorbent. I heard they used to make princess’ inner-wear with such cloth. The knitting job was quite well. Its pattern was stolen from a certain empire’s royal tailor. No commoner will ever get his hand on it. Some cartels have regular buying needs. Young lord, if you like, I can arrange a deal with them.”
“Get the hell out.” I hit Amart’s head.
(If I were to wear girly stuff like him, I’ll be humiliated for life.)
“You actually think I’m gonna wear this sissy crap?”
“Er…” He shut his flow of words, a hint of grievance filled his eyes.
“Either way, you can have your habit. But don’t compromise your identity.” The thought of Amart’s hardship as a cartel leader, I was reluctant to scold him.
“Yes, young lord.”
Therefore Amart kicked his horse and sprinted to converge with his guards of the same black. They quickly vanished in the distance.
(I guess Amart has great pressure being a young man who rises up so quickly. I understand he has his little ‘hobby’ so long as he kept it to himself and within dressing weird clothes.)
“Sir, we’ve confirmed the intel from earlier.” My staff officer ran over with joy on his face.
Dismounted, I glanced at the papers he handed, “What about our operation plan?”
“The plan is finished. Troops are rested, waiting for your command.”
I finished reading the papers and gave them back to the officer. Then I pondered with a hand touching my horse who was currently drinking water.
“We’ll wait for a bit longer. Let the soldiers rest a bit more.” My eyes swept all men who were breaking by the river, I said, “What a rare moment. Let them rest and make one more joke.”
“Do you see that hill?” I mounted, “When you see me up there, assemble the army.”
Therefore, when the order to assemble echoed on both sides of the river, regiment leaders were already by my side discussing the layout of our next battle.
“Is everything clear?” I said to the map, “Staff officers don’t ask, just be swift.”
“This is not Maple so we might encounter flurries of enemies. However, the said plan was drawn so ahead of time that I fear some of our troops may not follow up.” I cleared my throat and eyed my regiment leaders, “Any delay will cause an unimaginable outcome to this operation. That means, if you were half a step slower, people will die. So here comes my requirement for you: you run into enemies, you attack. Kill all hostilities within the shortest time possible!”
All regiment leaders agreed.
“Good, let’s move!”
Horses neighed, 3 IGT regiments set off across the river. Moments later, all soldiers have finalized marching formation on this flatland that belonged to the province I targeted next.
For the last time, I recalled every step of the operation, then helmet on, marched down the hill with 2 of the IGT battalion under my direct command to catch up with the front army.
(Humph, Lissandra, you’re destined to bend the knee.)
Lissandra, a Swabian province close to Darkmoon, 9th largest of all Swabian 18 provinces. Its capital was Lissian City. Grassland was abundant here so Lissandra was known for its stock and husbandry. And it was once the provider of the empire’s war-horses.
As for the previously-mentioned 2 enemy forces that coveted Darkmoon, they’ve all marched their ways from Lissian City. Their logistic lines were through here. According to intel that later proven to be true: these 2 forces were 200 miles apart and have marched very close to Darkmoon’s border. By the time we can find them from behind, they will be ready to cross the border.
To fight here, I will be losing my logistics advantage.
I wouldn’t worry about food because my men were carrying 10 days’ worth of provision; neither would I worry about forage because grassland can be found under our feet.
The only thing that attracted my concern was the depletion of weapons and supplies other than food. Arrow was the top on the list since it ran out fast. One assault was capable of depleting a bag of 25 by a skilled marksman.
There were things we can handle, like encountering enemy’s scouts; but if the ones found us were hostile troops of tens of thousands of men, and if we cannot annihilate them within the shortest time span, I’d be having a headache. But I considered that a fat chance, I was not that unlucky.
As planned, we, the 20, 000 riders, pushed 200 miles into Province Lissandra along the river at the highest speed, burned 20-ish towns, then caught up with the enemy’s supply route. Slowly, we have closed our gap with the 120, 000 enemies.
By the 3rd morning, my troops have taken my opponents’ rear supplies according to the plan.
Then my intel told me: Viceroy of Lissandra, who chose to side with Luhrmann, has taken the rumors and currently calling back his army to reinforce Lissian City. Having heard that, my heart fell back between my lungs.
The 3rd night, my scouts have their eyes on the enemy fleet but lack any peripheral information of the local environment. They had to hide for the time being.
By the morning the next day came a continuous patter of raindrops.
“Your mother fucker…” I went back to the forest I was hiding, wiped away water on my face.
“Sir, should we keep waiting?” My staff officer asked.
“Uh-huh, we’re here early.” I replied, “Alert the troops, get ready to move.”
Not long after I said the order, a Darkmoon’s liaison officer arrived. With his last breath, he told us that General Martin has gotten to the border with his troops and expected to encounter enemies by noon today. Then he fainted.
“Take him to rest.” I abandoned my intention to beat him up for not getting here any earlier, then turned to the map.
“Sir, battling by noon…” The staff officer said to the map, “If my calculation is correct, they should be here, on this flat land. 80 miles from where we are.”
I asked, “What about the other enemy troop?”
“Nothing changed. Commander Wilder has them under containment.”
“Confrontation by noon. I guess we can make it.” I thought, “Let’s join them. Alert all units, we’re moving immediately.”
As we marched, more scouts from the front line came back with the latest information. These men did not encounter any trouble since they were dealing with Luhrmann instead of the Asmodian United Forces who have suffered by ignoring my scouts.
Communication between General Luther and I was smoothly established.
Hence 8 IGT regiments were split into 2 with 3 miles in between, after a morning’s ride, we’ve arrived at General Luther’s preset battlefield.
I could hear the sound of fighting a couple of miles away. It merely started.
“Sir, are we attacking enemy’s rear camp first?”
“Negative, ignore it.” I told the staff officer, “All dismount, form a striking formation!”
After a whole morning’s ride, horses could need a rest. So all my soldiers started advancing on their feet.
“Sir, we’ve set up our HQ. It’s on a hill 3 miles away from the battleground.”
“Sir, we’re being spotted. About 10, 000 hostile riders have detached from their main force and closing to us!”
“Send 3 guarding troops to intercept.” I mounted and ordered, “Take them out ASAP! Deal with their commander at your own discretion.”
“The rest, get on your horses, your staff officers come along.” I whipped, “To the HQ!”
I reined my horse on the said hill. A giant Dark City’s flag was planted behind me. Currently, I was looking at the entire battlefield。
I’ve never seen a regular war on such a scale.
The 2 armies were 2 miles apart, among which Darkmoon’s troop have taken a defensive position, even space between each soldier under the battalion; the attacking enemy had 3 offensive lines and striking. Between the two there were piles of bodies not belonging to my troops. I could tell they were killed by arrows.
My men were 3 miles behind my opponents. And the 10, 000 riders they spared to attack me was on the other end, they were immediately faced with my 3 guarding troops.
“Ready the horses.” My whip aimed at the riders marching towards us, “We strike from here.”
As soon as he was done replying, the battle began.
From my point of view, the enemy riders’ formation was like a piece of painted cloth that unfolded on the grassland.
At a distance of a mile, my guarding troops fired arrows. They did not stop at the first wave. Soon, the second, third, then waves after waves of sharp tips howled and rained into the hostile riders like a downpour. Riders fell, the cloth quickly became a leaky rag. Rogue horses were all over the ground.
The shots finished, then my men spread out. Two of the 3 made sudden sprint and passed the remaining soldiers when they passed by them, they greeted the living bodies with arrows again. The only one facing the remainder shaped a needle then pierced in.
They pierced all the lances leveled, pointed ahead.
I saw their lances aiming the enemies’ right chest. I have experienced thousands of thousands of times on Protoss United Forces’ standard armors. Hence now, the enemies were like naked bodies to my men. It was a confrontation between iron and flesh.
The sprint ended quickly and horrifiedly. All lancehead easily ripped the enemy’s thin armor and pierced into the flesh. The same sharp cross metal bar expanded the wound, tearing their chest bones, and cut the entire right arm off.
Like a black current, raving tornado, swiftly and fiercely, my army slit the target into 2.
Countless riders were bumped into the air like a breaker splashing onto a reef.
Inferior lives, gone.
They were the only rider reserve my enemy had got. And I destroyed them after only a few strikes. I retracted my vision since it was an army unworthy of my attention.
General Luther’s troops also successfully fended the enemy’s first wave of attack. The 2nd was closing.
Their rear troops have turned their faces to me.
The hoofbeats told me my guarding troops have finished their jobs and rejoined their units. No riders there.
“What a huge cake. Why don’t we slice it into 2.” I veiled my visor, said, “Magic attack.”
Without warning, dark clouds began gathering above the enemy’s heads. Then hundreds of lightning bolts made touch to the ground at the same time, silver lines danced in the crowd.
“All units, attack!” Hundreds of blades raised.
“For the king!”
The result of this battle was bound to win.
This chapter was originally published on Wuxianation, any despicable reposts or copies without proper citings are strictly prohibited.