Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
“[dropcap]B[/dropcap]eautiful!” My guests stood by the handrail, one of them spoke, “Where is your army, general?”
“Patient, each of the troops has its own style.” Carlos explained, “Today’s drill is led by Brigadier General Wilder, he specializes in attacking.
“General Wilder’s troop!” Someone exclaimed.
(Looks like Wilder has developed his fame within Swabia.)
The deep sound of the horn suddenly echoed on this grassland of tranquility.
“Here they come.” A relatively younger envoy said, “What’s the subject of today’s drill, general?”
“Today they’re besieging a city, I believe.” Arm folded, I answered neglectfully.
“Uh? Where is this imaginary city on a plain grassland?”
“Mr. Ambassador, what’s the height of your capital’s main wall?”
“Er… roughly 30 arms’s-length.”
I gave a nod to Carlos and the latter told an orderly, “Height 30.”
The number was quickly passed down the platform, via horseback, carried to the back of a hill.
The ambassador blinked twice, bewildered, asked, “What’s that for, general?”
“You’ll know soon enough.”
Two armies of men from behind the hill marched into our eyesight at almost the same time. Unlike ordinary troops, these 2 had a massive amount of impedimenta carried on transporters. I would call them 2 fleets rather than troops. All transporters have the same style with the same amount of goods on it. Anyone could tell from the appearance that they were for military supply.
“Sir, presenting part 1 of today’s drill.” My duty officer commented, “We’re seeing the construction corps of the 2nd legion. Its primary mission is to build a defensive wall of 200 arm’s-length in width and 30 arms’s-length in height.”
Before I replied, men besides were shocked, “You’re building a wall on the spot???”
“What’s the problem with it, Mr. Ambassador?”
“I… general, that’s going to take a long time!” His face reddened like he was told a lie.
“It won’t trust me.”
No one made further comments and focused ahead.
As the construction team arrived at the designated position, they began the deployment. Officers planted rulers, rods, and drew lines. Soldiers unloaded tarpaulins from the carriers. First, a dozen vehicles went ahead and closed the distance between them and the officers.
A hundred sandmen soldiers unloaded tools and began digging below the rods the officers planted.
Sandmen were not very good at fighting out of deserts, but they were jaw-dropping builders anywhere.
In the meantime, a group of soldiers kept them busy by the carriers using a slider to connect the rods with the fleet from the back. The rest of them began unloading logs and connecting them with metal tenons. Therefore, the first part of the wall took shape.
Not long after, the sandmen have finished their job standing tens of thick pillars of the same distance in between.
My duty officer kept his comments clean and easy to understand, telling us how deep the foundation was, the weight of the logs that built the wall.
The envoys were actually watching with utter attention to the performance from my point of view, but I was sure they did a good job remembering all the data.
As the assembled wall body was aligned to the baseline of the sliding track, the root of the wall planted into a slot, raised up supported by logs, fixed by tenons. Not long after, the main body of the wall was near its finish.
The efficiency of my engineer corp stunned the envoys. And sure enough, they won’t be finding such a group of capable men in their own armies.
“See, commander, the second troop is here.” Carlos had one hand pointed far.
I looked over and discovered several squared infantry formations were marching through the top of the hill. They wore a uniformity of black armor, and like black current, they flooded towards the wall at its finish.’
“Not fast enough, my construction team.” My tone revealed slight dissatisfaction, “They’re to double their training now.”
“Yes, sir. It’s my fault that I didn’t come with a more efficient training plan.” Carlos lowered his head.
The black army drew closer and finally stopped and formulated 2 miles away from the newly-built wall. Most of the construction job was done and the constructing soldiers have mostly left except for a few to wrap up the loose end.
“Sir, commencing part 2 of the drill. Now you are looking at 3 field regiments and 1 IGT regiment totaling 10, 000 arriving after marching for 20 miles!”
“Good, commencing part 3 after clearing the construction corps.”
“What an efficient army.” One of the envoys admired, “And the wall looks exceptionally firm.”
I offered a sincere smile and said, “Mr. Ambassador, I implore you to have your men try my wall.”
“Do I have your permission?”
The next moment, a few horses ran near the new wall, the mages on horsebacks released several medium fireballs smashing towards the wooden deck. After a giant explosion, men only saw bits of wood splashing away but the main body was intact.
“Any more problems?” Carlos asked.
A medium firewall and its magic power were capable enough to shake a wall made from stone without a protective magic shield. Therefore no one questioned the firmness of the wall.
But I won’t explain why wooden walls can defend exploding fireballs.
“Sir, Commander Wilder is requesting the next drill subject.”
“Commence!” I replied and said to the envoy next to me, “I assume you know well about your army, am I right?”
“Yes, Mr. General. Like you said. It’s the army of my province.”
“So will there be any problems if your army and mine cooperate and form an alliance?”
“General, are you suggesting that I dispatch my troops and help you against rebels?”
“That’s a good guess, and yes, positive.” I looked at him, said, “I don’t suppose your viceroy doesn’t wanna do the same.”
“Gentlemen, in order to keep having what you have, titles, lands, money, even the big sum of fortune Luhrmann offered to bribe you all, don’t you think you ought to do something for me in return?” As the field regiment’s attack began, my speech turned aggressive.
“It’s a bit difficult to actually send troops…” A man’s voice muttered.
It was always difficult to ask a man to offer, therefore the negotiation has come to the key point. I knew deeply how selfish and careful these people were, so I boldly asked them for troops.
And I hid my true demands beneath the seemingly greedy request.
But as nobilities who were trying to seek establishment during an era of chaos, their bit of armies were indeed the base of everything. They won’t agree to forgo their armies.
So everyone remained silent, the conversation reached point zero.
But Carlos managed to hint to them to offer supplies instead of armies.
“Well, supply.” I pretended, “Not really my problem currently.”
“Therefore let’s make do.” Carlos intervened, “If we don’t need your troops, we’re gonna need you to supply. What about it, sir? In this way, it’s easier for transportation, right?”
“Well.” I nodded reluctantly.
“Now, gentlemen, my commander has taken a step back, I suppose you should do the same.”
The envoys were bewildered.
“Let me show you.” Carlos unscrolled a map, “It’s not that we need supply, but I believe you’re devoted to doing something. Why not help us build several frontline camps?”
“Correct, the so-called camps are the bases in order to supply our army between battles.” Carlos explained, “That is to say, we fight the war, you do the rest.”
“We do the rest?”
“Precisely. Well, it’s easier to send us supplies than soldiers, right? We’ll do the selection of locations. A catalog of needed goods will be delivered to you by my agents.”
“May I inquire about the locations?”
“Here, here and there…”
“That’s way too many.” A man objected, “We can’t build that many.”
“I don’t see that is the case…”
Hence the bargaining began. Carlos’ fingers were swords, the envoys’ mouths were shields. By the time the drill was finished, the new map had been poked many holes.
I seldom talked because my identity didn’t allow me to partake.
Carlos advanced as the envoys yielded bit by bit. Sometimes, they even went tip against the tip of fingers on the map. Whenever the water was close to boiling, I poured in cold water by drawing their attention to the drill and let everyone to take a rest.
When Wilder and his golden armor led his riders to meet us, Carlos and my guests were arguing about the frontline camps.
As they were arguing, Wilder did his job leading. Four regiments of riders totaling 10, 000 horses performed a variety of formations in front of eyes. They pierced, they converged, they assault until finally, Wilder made an earth-shattering whoop, the next moment, all 10, 000 knights started marching towards the platform where the envoys and I were standing, giving pale faces on my guests.
“General…” As the riders drew closer, men panicked, “Order them to turn before it’s too late!”
The distance quickly closed.
Wilder certainly was fearsome and was the first to lead. Sunray reflected on his shinny, golden armor, golden embroidery cap whipped behind him. Dust thrown by hoof beats converged with huge noise. Even the floor of the platform was shaking.
Naturally one of the ambassadors said with a tone that was nearly begging, “General, order them to turn before it’s too late.”
I spared him a glance, “Relax, everything under control.”
Finally, Wilder gave the order to alter direction at an extremely close distance from where I stood. Therefore, the spearhead of the knights quickly changed: the left-wing reduced speed while the right-wing accelerated, making a beautiful warp in front of its audience.
The closest knight was only 20 arm’s-length from the platform.
“How was it?” Asked I, “Are all of you hurt?”
A man’s voice asked, “The leader in the golden armor is Brigadier Wilder?”
“I’ll be damned, like the hearsay told me.”
“What did hearsay tell you?”
“It says… never mind.” He dodged the conversation, “Mr. Chief of Staff, back to our talk. This camp’s better be here.”
Carlos’ eye told me the negotiation is close to the end without many problems. It was time for me to leave.
“Gentlemen, enjoy your stay here. Excuse me.” I turned and was ready to descend the platform.
“General, before you leave…” The oldest envoy halted me.
“General Cohen Kheda, seeing our future has bonded, I have something to tell you.” He lowered his voice, “You know, I have friends, friends whose lands are so close to the rebels that they can’t pay you a visit this time. But they asked me to send you their regards anyways.”
“It’s better paying me something else than just regards.” I touched my jaw.
“Absolutely, but they’re under Luhrmann’s surveillance. So you’ll have to excuse them, general.” He fetched a list of names, “Could you have a look at this paper. They’ve asked me to inform you that your army will have their assistance on your arrival.”
I took the list, “Very well. However, I still don’t have a guarantee less a sheer piece of paper.”
“Already ahead of you.” The old envoy said with a kind face, “I have news that His Majesty is holding a masquerade so grand that the young ladies from my friends’ houses wish to be a part of it.”
“How are they ever going to make it, despite the fact that I would very much welcome their coming.” His comment caught me off guard.
“I heard the noble ladies invitees are currently at the border. Our girls happened to be there as well, with the invitees. As long as I gain your approval, they shall join the fleet at once.” The elder said, “We just want to give the king a hand, nothing more.”
“You have my approval, how can I not.” My laughter came together with a pat on the envoy’s shoulder.
Then I descended the platform before I talked mouth-to-ear to an orderly, telling him to make a thorough investigation of Fischer’s new lady guests.
The same day saw the successful conclusion of the negotiation: envoys representing 4 of my neighborhood provinces have agreed to build us 12 frontline bases then stuff them with military supplies in exchange for their houses’ safety.
During the war, their army won’t need to leave their provinces’ capitals; and my army will keep 100 miles from them. We will inform each other should the above agreement needed to be changed.
Afterward, I have people send my guests back home, accompanied by members of the liaison bureau with the purpose to supervise and participate in the frontline base project. With this much consideration, I did not call off Amart’s infiltration plan.
Everything went well, didn’t it?
I had Carlos draw a rigorous plan aiming to resolve problems from our last military operation. My 90, 000 soldiers were under hot training in the 3 camps built out of the city of Lissandra. Even the 3rd Legion with guarding duty was training as well.
In the meantime, the logistics network has been improved between the 2 provinces I took.
The same night on the day I wrapped up the city wall reinforcement project, a fleet carrying the noble ladies slowly entered Lissandra, the same was true for the rsvp from the neighborhood viceroys. They’ve acknowledged the result of the negotiation.
“Cheers!” Gold made goblets touched in mid-air, splashing wine juice, marking my first real feast since I took Lissandra.
“We’ve done great work.” Carlos put a smile on his face, “Now the negotiation is over, and we’ve got enough supply, rebels are not far from their end!”
“Hey, have you forgotten this man Wilder is the muscle here!” A certain man wrapped his arm around Carlos’ shoulders.
“You are the muscle. I’ll give you that.” Carlos gave Wilder’s arm a shove.
“You’re too pretentious, Carlos.”
“I’m merely a teeny-tiny staff officer…” Carlos understated, “… who deals with teeny-tiny things, far from pretentious.”
As for me, I saw only a man with a fist and a man holding a soft sandbag. The two loved arguing for the sake of arguing, which I intervened a thousand times, but no avail.
“YOU!” Wilder was certainly a bit fired up by Carlos’ attitude of ‘whatever-ness’, for his eyes, nose, and lips were almost squeezed to the center of his face, “We’ll duel, I challenge you if you’re truly a man!”
“I’d rather keep myself here. It’s cold out there.” My staff officer replied with the most laid-back voice and expression, “As for judging if I’m a man or woman, I don’t see the necessity to prove it to you, Brigadier.”
Moya and I enjoyed the drama with great joy.
“Sir, I have your letters from Dark City.”
My heart darted to open them.
“What’s it about, sir? Are they from His Majesty?” Asked Carlos.
“Carlos,” I offered a sincere smile, “I remember you said you’re an excellent slow dancer.”
“The king’s banquet is on schedule. You wanna be a part of it?” My jaw tilted towards the letters.
“Su… sure.” He nodded.
“Too bad that only I have to be there in person.”
“In person? You can’t mean you want me to be your proxy here and do your job?”
“Touché! I’m impressed.” I napped my fingers.
Wilder couldn’t be happier that he laughed with both hands on his belly, “My Boss, always a step ahead of Carlos!”
Carlos rolled his eyes, said emotionless, “I think the 2nd legion could double the strike training tomorrow.”
“You can’t hold your personal grudge over me this way!” Wilder yelled.
Carlos again offered an invulnerable face.
“Okay now, Carlos, pass your orders. I’ll set off once I converge with the ladies.” I put away the letters, “While I’m away, the rebels shouldn’t have gone too far. But you shouldn’t ease on the training. And Wilder, I don’t care how you two make jokes privately, but listen to your Chief of Staff!”
“Call me whenever you’re ready. And tell the ladies, it’s gonna be a rough ride there.” I lied back to the chair.
I supposed I should at least see Fischer and father before the final battle because once this war with Luhrmann really started, everybody will be as busy as bees.
(Divine City, Royal Garden)
There were already new bricks and flowers in the garden after it was devastated during the DC rebellion. The place once again offered its intoxicating scenery to its new master. However, he was on edge due to multiple strategic failures.
Luhrmann’s subordinates gathered behind, dared not to even breathe heavier. All knew Luhrmann’s behaviors have been out of control recently.
“How many known houses have colluded with the Khedas?” Luhrmann stopped pacing, “How many have sent their daughters?”
“Quite… a few.” A subordinate handed a list of names.
“Good…. good, you sons of bitches. You took my money and you flirted with my enemy…” The piece of paper became a crushed ball.
“You made me… huhhe… you made me…” Luhrmann squeezed a few words from the rim of his teeth.
Meanwhile, his lackeys watched as their master slowly sunk into half craziness.
“What do we do, master? We have to prevent them.”
Half a second later, the one who spoke received a crisp slap on the face. He saw his master’s forehead was wet with sweat and the pair of vicious eyes staring at him.
Luhrmann circled a stone table a dozen times before he sat down and said, “Send a letter to my place, tell my butler. Tell him the moon is masked, come back! No… I can’t. You, go to the light temple and bring me the knight leaders! Kill yourself for me should you failed!”
As all figures hurried to run errands, the garden soon emptied, leaving one man sitting by the stone table. Luhrmann fetched his wine, shivering, eyes fixed on the red liquid. A while later, his head was already soaked in sweat. Luhrmann emptied the goblet and smashed the container onto the tabletop.
The garden and jade debris were the only witnesses.
This chapter was originally published on Wuxianation, any despicable reposts or copies without proper citings are strictly prohibited.