Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
Malphite had me at the center of his protective ring and the ring was fast riding to a hill where General Luther located. Suddenly cheerings shattered my ears as I discovered 2 army flags: one black, one red, converged.
“Papa Martin!” I drew the rein and sniggered, “How have you been?”
“I still got it.” He smiled and replied, yet his vision never left the battlefield, “Spare me that fake smile. You’ve come to see me, finally, you little rascal. Weren’t you the one cried for my help?”
“Nah, grandpa, I was concerned about you. Seeing you, one of the 4 Protoss Alliance’s most renowned generals, are long from the battlefield, I fear you might get bored, that’s why I threw you a war. That’s a thing only true friends do, isn’t it?” Then I leaned closer and lowered my voice, “However, I do have the self-interest to take an extra military science lesson from you.”
“Striker team, keep the assault. Penetrate enemy formation and re-penetrate.” Luther said his order to a staff officer, then turned to me, “You made it sounds nicer than it actually is. I heard my grand-daughters are not doing ok recently…”
“Seventh, eighth guarding troops, surround the enemy’s front army.” I also delivered my orders then kept the conversation going, “I really do not possess the guts to do that. It was them united against me, for God’s sake.”
“Huh, is that the reason you made another beautiful lady your wife?” Luther raised his whip to the battlefield beyond, though he said it calmly, I was terrified, “They’re retreating.”
“Third and fourth guarding units, detach. Archers, attack!” I wiped my forehead and unnoticeably ‘slid’ my ride out of the range of Martin’s whip, then replied, “So, you know now. I didn’t want another wife. Fischer set me up…”
“Don’t drag His Majesty into this. Your old man and I have come to know your little business when you still thought you’ve hidden all too well. We’ve met her, a smart ladies and good looking.” Luther noticed me keeping an eye on his lash, he chuckled, “Your mother loves her. She has been keeping this Miss Dior Merlin by her side all the time.”
“I am glad that everybody is getting along well.” I took away my helm, made a coy smile.
“Let’s check the result.” Luther’s whip raised again, “The enemy’s front troops are done, its central defense is almost finished, not to mention the rear…”
“Time to finalized this attack?” I asked anxiously.
He nodded, “Correct, summon your warlocks to support my infantries, archers keep on firing to the enemy’s back as long as they keep them there.”
Horns sounded, the sky above the enemy began glinting color-intensive lights. Then came large-scale magic spells such as chained lightning, combustible fireballs. These curses were the best for war. As for Luther’s infantrymen, enchanted buffs have made them as invincible as the most fearsome wolves.
After a few tryout assaults, my frontline commander gave the order to assume the formation like a suddenly clenched fist harshly squeezing my foes to their death.
As a result, the enemy’s rear troops quickly started converging inwards but they were ambushed by a constant rain of arrows. Today was particularly bad for them to do anything now.
“Not bad, your guarding troops.” Martin’s forefinger lightly flicked on his saddle, then he said, “I’ll leave those ones behind to you.”
“Sure!” Then I told my staff officer, “Split our target apart from its main body! Wear them out, take your time.”
My order passed so the horn pattern altered. Immediately, 2 of my guarding troops thrust quickly, standing between the enemy’s rear main body.
Comparably, the rest 5 of my IGTs stopped making contact with my foes and began circling on the outer ring.
Tense feathered-arrows, waves after waves have taken down countless layers of the ring like peeling a giant onion.
“If you keep firing like that, arrows are going to deplete quickly.” Martin reminded, “The enemies obviously need more work on fending arrows. However, what is the plan if you come across heavily-armored infantry or special forces?”
“Thank you for pointing that out. Speed is our best chance. My army will run shortly after encountering such forces. Two-leggers will never outrun four, just like light riders will never choose to engage in a prolonged battle. I’m counting on the arrows.” I explained, “As for the enormous consumption, I’m out of ideas. Look at them, you think they’re shooting arrows? No, that’s money they’re shooting.”
A complete round firing of arrows by one of my guarding troops will lose me 30~50 in gold.
But enough of the numbers, as I was talking to Grandpa Luther, my foes collapsed. Whoever left dropped weapons and knelt in chunks of 3 or 4 men. In the end, even the enemy’s ensign was taken down.
They have lost their final chance.
“Sir, we’ve captured the enemy commander!” My orderly was out of breath.
I looked over to Luther. He cleared voice and said peacefully, “A commander failed to defend even one strike, pass.”
My index finger drew a line on the neck towards the orderly.
By the time my men have finished the last enemy on the battlefield, it was a red sunset. Luther took me walking nearby, patrolling and talking.
Most of the infantries who wandered around Luther and me after cleaning the battleground were from Darkmoon. They were removing arrows with pincers from dead bodies.
It was my idea. Although most of the arrow bodies were broken, I tried to recover the most expensive arrowheads.
As for the shamans, they were also doing their job saving my wounded soldiers.
“I can’t guarantee anything on the battlefield. You have excellent weaponry, but your soldiers gotta know to save and cherish them.” Luther said, “What is your plan for the other 80, 000 hostilities?”
“I’ve assigned the job to Wilder.” I laughed, “My next target is Lissandra and we’re going to get hold of it, 100%. Here lies the main battlefield of our next fight with the rebels.”
“What’s the benefits of doing so?” Luther frowned.
“Plenty.” I said modestly, “Defensively, my heart’s not gonna hurt if the war smashes here because this ain’t my city. Secondly, this place is close to Darkmoon, therefore, supplying will be easy. Luhrmann’s troops are gonna pass here either he wants to attack Dark City or Darkmoon, and I will be glad to greet him here with riders because it happens to be endless flatland around that place. Either way, our homes are safe once Lissandra is ours.”
“I intend to only sneak attack.” I lowered my voice, “Grandpa, are you thinking about attacking like I do now?”
“Considering the fact we only have 3 provinces, it’ll be extremely dangerous, unless you can march to Divine City within a month.” The old general sighed, “But can you?”
“That is impossible. I’ve done the calculation. Even if we could, we’ll be depleted before that.” I replied, powerlessly, “The cardinals will not spare our lives and we will be unable to defend ourselves if other empires chose to evade us.”
“You’ve grown, Cohen. About attacking, slow it down, I agree. I advise you to take time to recuperate.” Luther nodded, “After today’s fight, our focus should be the king. If his majesty is able to gain support from neutral provinces, there is a good chance we’ll win.”
“I seem to remember the ball in Dark City is about to start. It’s not hard for his majesty to capture a dozen hearts.”
“That’s not enough.” Luther toyed with the whip, “I heard you have your way around spreading rumors, why not take advantage of it?”
“Yes, go ahead, you have my permission and our support.” He laughed, “I’ll look after the wounded and take over the defense. Bring Wilder and Moya to me.”
“Thank you, grandpa.”
“Don’t mention it. You take Lissandra and I’m going back to Darkmoon.” Luther started riding, “You could always spare an enemy army and chase them down to the wall of Lissan City, that’ll make your life easier.
(Like I thought, an old, sly fox.)
Before the battlefield was collected, I left with an army aiming for the other enemy force currently counted at 80, 000. If I set off any later, Wilder was going to take all the fun away.
It’s been 2 days before my arrival. Once I stepped into headquarter of the 2nd Legion, Wilder’s exaggerated face of joy greeted me. His laugh was so carefree that I brought forth wild guesses.
“Don’t tell me you’ve taken them all down!”
“All of them? Not that fast.” Wilder was stunned for a blink of an eye and said, “You told me to be vigilante in other direction as well, so all I did was playing with them with 10, 000 riders. Allow me to complain, what a bunch of losers. I’ve smashed a dozen armies with such little men.”
“Hold on…” I timely cut in before this smartass behavior and talked, “How many healthy enemies are there now?”
“Roughly 40, 000! I overturned their camp in the first faceoff.” Wilder couldn’t care less and said, “They’ve been underfed for nearly a day…”
“Assemble your troops. We’re sending the rest enemies to Maple City.” I flicked dust from my armor plate, “Now lead your men and break through their defense. I need you to produce harsh rumors that’ll eventually benefit us.”
“No problem, boss.” Wilder yelled, “WHERE IS MY ORDERLY!”
Today’s operation was my first tactical assault. My maesters had taught me how much damage a wing-shaped formation could do. Well, I thought they were overstating.
However, when my 50, 000 soldiers showed in sharp rows and lines in front of the enemies’ eyes who have been tortured by Wilder for so many days, they panicked.
First came earth-shattering crying-out in alarms, then saw men aimlessly fleeing. The enemy’s flag even fell once out of no reason.
“I can’t believe I’ve actually been fighting a war with these people.” Looking at the rushing black dots in the distance, I talked to Wilder, “You’ve been busy these days judging by their reaction.”
“I certainly kept them busy. Boss, you know me.”
“Have you or them sent envoys?”
“Nope.” Wilder shook his head, “It’s not like a party, no one’s talking to each other.”
“Hear me out, send a team of free rangers to meet the enemy’s commander.” I said without emotions, “I have a gift for him.”
“A gift? May I see it first?” Wilder reach across his head, no amount of straight face could mask his curiosity.
“Well, it’s a gift, but I haven’t seen it yet.” I turned to Wilder, said with a smile, “Are you sure you wanna check it out?”
“I changed my mind, pass.” He suddenly awakened.
As we talked, free rangers drew nearer, so I had Malphite handed a wooden box to the ranger leader.
“Tell the enemy commander, it came directly from me.” I told the ranger, “No unfamiliar forces operate on Lissandra’s soil except for armies from Dark City and Darkmoon. If you want to live, remove your uniforms and weapons and fuck off!”
“Remove your uniform, weapon and fuck off! Consider it done, sir!” The ranger replied, “We’re moving out!”
The team of rangers had only 10 men who could barely form a triangular shape. However, they still managed to march through the empty space between 2 armies. A trail of yellow dust followed them to the spot where the enemy’s ensign was located.
I loved these objective-driven soldiers.
A quarter later, they were back.
“Sir, the enemy’s commander has 3 requests before he says yes.”
“Requests?” I froze a half a second, “Do tell me.”
“Sir, commander of the enemy has requested 3-day worth of provision for his 50, 000 army as well as a fleet of vehicles of 100 in order to carry his wounded personnel, besides…” The captain paused for half a second, “He mentioned quite a bit of money to reimburse the long travel.”
“He wa… wants money?” My heart skipped a beat, “Have you delivered my gift?”
“As you ordered. He nearly fainted at the opening of it.” A hint of scorn showed on the captain’s face, “Nevertheless, he insisted to not withdraw without 50, 000 in gold.”
(50, 000 your mother fu…)
I cursed on the inside, rolled my eyes, then yelled, “Wilder!”
“Sir, yes, sir.” He drew the sword, causing his ride to neigh.
“You know what I mean.”
“That’s enough for me. Commence the attack!”
At the sound of the order, all mages began buffing soldier; orderlies running orders, marksmen drew their bows; and I was chewing a string of grass with an ugly face.
“Sir, ease yourself, please.” Malphite said with care.
“Damn it, I am calm.” I got rid of the grass then went over to my gears.
My movement alerted the orc because he immediately followed, “Sir, I can’t let your go to the battlefield. We need our commander to be safe.”
“Who taught you that?” I glowered my captain.
“Madame Flynn, sir.”
“I respect my wife a lot but women ain’t know nothing about war!!! They’ve got petty smartness, too petty to understand man’s hot-blooded brain!”
While Malphite was trying to digest my comment, my van guarding troops’ marching began.
“Fu… you want my money! ATTACK!”
On contact, my foes’ initial loose formation disassembled. This loser’s army, which Luhrmann scraped together, its first intention was to distract me. Though it didn’t possess much threat, it indeed provided an excellent chance for my soldiers to drill.
Luhrmann would never have expected my riders were actually learning to multitask, mages familiarizing enchantment; wingmen practicing to strike and passing pieces of information as fast as they can.
As rains of arrows, huge magic fireballs reached the enemies, they abandoned their banners, started fleeing backward. I wouldn’t even spare 5 nickels let along 50 grands.
Another 25 arrows land deeply into my foes’ bodies, my anger diminished. Therefore, a pursuing and intercepting plan was en route in order to drive the remnants to Lissandra.
Every 50 miles, my troops will halt and let the enemies rest for an hour, enough time to have a sip of water or a bit of food. I did this to keep the preys just an inch away from exhaustion till the moment they reach Lissandra. I bet the local garrison would be terrified to see when the exhausted ‘ghosts’ arrive.
The leader of the chasing army (Legion No. 2) was Wilder. Since he assumed the command of the army of 8 regiments totaling 20, 000 riders, his fearsome reputation spread within Swabia.
The escaping enemies tried desperately everything to get rid of Wilder devil: some hid into the bushes, some found forests, some played dead, even a few camouflaged with mud… none escaped from the fate of death.
On the first night after the chase and run, I’ve warned Wilder to watch his steps and do not suffocate Lissan City because we needed a tiny opening on the city’s perimeter to intentionally let a few enemies escape. I even gave him my spies in the city. Then I went into my sleeping bag.
No, I couldn’t have imagined that he was already a hundred miles away overnight.
I had no choice but to chase my subordinate.
When I succeeded, the only things caught my attention were black smoke rising from Lissan and its ruined walls.
This bastard, he’s conquered the city with only infantry soldiers!
And the aforementioned infantries were the ones that took Maple City. Totalling 5, four of them were led by my head staff officer Carlos, marched to Lissandra and joined Wilder’s operation.
The 2 imprudent men welcomed me standing in a giant hole that was apparently forced-open on the wall. I greeted my welcome with anger.
“Sir, we’ve apprehended a handful of painters. I supposed you want a portrait for commemorating purpose!”
“Commemorate… your ass!” My hand pointed at the rising smoke, “How much longer are you going to let that fire smoke?”
“Boss, they’re just buildings. Weren’t we set lots of houses on fire back when attacking Maple?”
“Idiot, we’re setting the base here. Now you and your people can have all the fun in the burned rooms!”
“What?” He heard as soon as he turned and ran, while shouting, “PUT OUT THAT FIRE OFF! Hey, you two bastards, stop setting any more fire!”
“My God, what a headache!”
Carlos passed along a bag of water before I realized a second man was with Wilder. So I complained, “Why did you indulge him?”
“Sir, you’ve given the order to the wrong guy. Wilder will never listen to me, you know it. Besides, although our spies had sabotaged the wall and enemy’s garrison troops, we’ve fought all night and the battle was only over just as you arrived.”
I had no choice but to nod because Carlos was night. Wilder will not listen to anyone unless I was present.
“Let go and have a rest. My ass hurts from all the days’ riding. I have something to tell you as well.”
“Sir, I can assure you the viceroy’s mansion is intact. After you, sir, I’ll catch up with you after setting a few loose ends.”
“What loose ends?”
“What’s with them?”
“The only thing I know is that they used to be mentors from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts.”
“…” I replied him with my honest eyes.
“Okay, sir,” Carlos cleared his throat and lowered the voice, “One of the academy’s branches was established here because of the excellent view from the city. Now we have 3 painters, a sculptor. I assume nobody should go to waste so I kept them.”
“There will be, indeed, no waste.” We walked as we speak then four middle-aged men went into my eyesight.
I laughed, “You will be of so much use!”
“Shall I send them to Dark City?”
“Negative, Carlos.” I left the wall, “I can take advantage of them right away!”
This chapter was originally published on Wuxianation, any despicable reposts or copies without proper citings are strictly prohibited.