Contributing editor: LordBunnyBone, Tana N, translated by Tianic
The previous chapters are being edited with Grammarly paid version, current progress: v1c10
Note 1: Please click on the character name for their illustrations, if any.
Note 2: An editable text of this chapter, click here.
Note 3: Comments and likes are appreciated.
A full list of characters and glossary, click here.
“How long does it take to the PUF headquarter.?” I looked up in the darkening sky, “It’s almost dusk!”
“Sir, according to the map,” Wilder marked a spot in front of us, “there should be a supply depot not far down the hill, the HQ will be a little further up. We’ll be there by nightfall, sir!”
“Good, get a few men up to the depot.” I nodded and said, “Rest your horses. We’ll start travelling after you water them.”
“Sir, yes, sir!” Wilder saluted then gathered a dozen men and ran.
I was in bad luck recently since it has been raining since I crossed beyond the Swabian border. And because of the season, the rain was not heavy, but it just won’t stop. Thus I, as well as my officers had to travel in cold and wet uniforms. Thankfully they were a group of tough bones and no one had complained yet. The extent of muddiness on the road was hideous. It took our horses ten times more power to draw their hoofs once they stepped on the ground.
I wore the set of black armor from the Protoss Elder Princess, the one with a black cape. It was strange that it was waterproof. And no matter what I do to it, neither the armor nor the cape will get dirty or scratched. To test its ability, I even threw my helmet into the campfire. Then, sure enough, the helmet remained clean though it caused the fire to die down all of a sudden.
I never knew that a suit of armor could be used to put out a fire, nor did I know the theory behind it. For the next few of days I kept on burning my armor, which ended up with the same result. No matter how big the fire was, the armor was still like a dead mouse that feared no cold. On the other hand, Wilder said it has become darker, though I had no idea that it had changed.
When I entered the supply depot, Wilder and his men had set up several warm campfires. The most enjoyable thing after a long march in weather like this was to sit down and drink a bowl of hot soup.
My officers were instructed to trust our horses to the local soldiers that stationed in this depot. Then they sat around the fires in order, drinking water while joking with each other.
I toured between the fires. The most I did was tapping a guy’s head or kicking another’s butt. Like the old saying goes: Tap out the energy, kick off the weakness.
At first I did it for fun; then these men went addicted to it.
If I forgot to kick them one day, several more addicted guys would find their excuses to hang around me as if there was actually discomfort within them. At such times, as long as I slap-slapped, they would return to normal immediately.
From others’ point of view, my army was a team of peculiarity which within more than a thousands people, they all were junior officers without even a single plain soldier. Although these guys were privates not long ago, they were all rookies instead of the real military officers. Their names were all on the PUF official register.
Needless to say, these thousand officers were my pride. Moreover, they were the elites of the whole Dark City force. They were excellent in commanding, and they had the thinking pattern that resembled me. As my subordinates, understanding my intention then carrying out my plan according to my will was important. If only they were a bit similar in body figures.
I have observed that the officers from others troops from rest of the Protoss Alliance consisted of mainly human beings rather than aliens. To them, they cannot count on the aliens to command a battle. To keep them quiet without any fights was hard.
Thus throughout the journey, almost no other troops were willing to travel with us as if our bodies were full of fleas. It might as well be that I considered them as troublesome if they decided to ride with me.
“Sir!” A second lieutenant who was a wingman came running to me and said, “The horses have been watered, are we setting off, sir?”
“Let’s go!” I nodded, “If we’re early, we might find a bunk to sleep on or something…”
“Sir, yes, sir!” He dashed off to find my duty officer.
From any aspects, the PUF headquarters was a splendid place, and its people were cocky. But I have promised Fischer not to mess with them. Thus I chose only a dozen of my men to come along.
In less than an hour, we arrived at a manor surrounded by a large sum of giant tents. This was the temporary place where the PUF headquarter conducted their business. I heard somewhere near the border, a bigger HQ was being built.
I got off my horse at the entrance of the manor. Jack quickly ran to the guards to show my documents. Since we arrived at night, the guards told us to wait while he darted to his commander.
Not long after, a general-like figure wearing silver armor came out to see me.
“Hey, it’s been a while. What’s wrong with your problem?” I laughed and said. Because of her armor and the way she walked, I immediately recognized that she was the female general who once fought with me during the royal successor’s trial.
“Follow me.” She said stiffly, “Ser Knight of Protoss.”
“Don’t call me ‘ser’, why don’t you try to be nicer to me.” I followed, “How did you end up in the HQ? Did you come here to be an eye candy? So does an eye candy need to put on an armor, so you…”
“You bastard!” She was angry because she hit my waist with her sheath, “Shut up!”
“Ouch!” I acted, “Pay attention next time you hit me, it’s a million dollar armor. So who’s our supreme commander?” I asked because I didn’t spot the commander’s name on the mobilization order.
“The Supreme Commander is Prince Carl Ulysses; he’s the younger brother of the current Tansian King.”
She turned and looked at me, “I’m glad you’ve finally asked a question to the point.”
“I see!” I was enlightened to say, “So how should I address you? There’re too many generals in HQ so to make a difference…”
“Winterhard Lennie is my name.” She pondered and said in a lower tone, “Remember to call me by my full name, or I’ll punch your face.”
“I’ll try to remember.” I shrugged.
Thus she led me into the only building within the manor. It was a three-floor country maison with newly painted walls.
We crossed the hall and went directly up the old, noise-making wooden stairs which was in dire need for renovation.
“Your Royal Highness,” Winterhard knocked on the door, “Protoss Knight, Commander of the Ninth Legion, Cohen Kheda, reporting for his duty.”
“Come in, please!” A gentle and undistinguished voice came through the closed door.
Winterhard opened the door for me as I entered.
A calm middle-aged man was working behind his spacious desk. He had carefully-combed hair. There were many medals and trophy badges mounted on his left chest. His clean uniform was also well-ironed. A trace of white linen shirt edge revealed behind his collar.
I stood at attention in the center of the room and saluted, “Sir!”
“Good evening, young Knight of Protoss.” He nodded, put down his quill and stood up, “Welcome to the PUF, was everything all right on your way here? I wish the weather agrees with you.”
“Your Highness, the weather was not unbearable.” I said with great respect.
“I’m glad you think so.” He poured two glass of fine wine by his desk and passed me one, “Have a drink, young man. We can talk.”
“Of course, Your Highness.” I took over the glass with my both hands. It was the first time I met my superior officer; I didn’t intend to put on the Protoss Knight airs since I was currently his subordinate.
“You see, there are a lot of rumors about your past. But I cannot care less about them. As a commander, I’m more inclined to observe with my own eyes.” The Prince sipped his wine and continued gently, “I only want you to know one thing, we’re tied to work together for a long while. I expect the best cooperation between us.”
“Of course, Your Highness.”
“I was not ordering you as I know I have no right to require anything from a Protoss Knight.” The Prince said with a smile, “But as the Supreme Commander of the PUF, I’m constantly troubled by army affairs. I have too much work so I can spare no time for minor matters.”
“Your Highness,” I asked with obedience, “how do you define minor matters?”
“The extent of things concerns philosophy if you have to ask.” The Prince gazed at me and said, “It is what a Protoss Knight is best at, don’t you think. How could a man of no wisdom be a Knight of Protoss?”
“Apologies for my rudeness.” I nodded and said, “So your daily crucial jobs are…”
“To meet the people from the Holy Temple and to decide things you don’t need to know.”
The Prince chuckled with admiration, “As for your army’s training duty. You have total authority over those things.”
“Yes, sir!” I caught his idea and said, “Understood.”
“I’m glad you did.” The Prince walked back to his desk, “So, do you want to see your troops now? They’re quartering in a place about two days’ ride from here.”
“Of course, Your Highness. Is there anything else I should pay attention to?”
“No, but I’m sure you will notice things.” The Prince answered, “General Winterhard, please take the Protoss Knight for his stuff.”
“Yes, Your Highness.” Winterhard waited by the door, “Your Excellency, this way please.”
“See you soon, Your Highness.”
Carl Ulysses gave a smile then focused on the piles of papers again.
Once I received my proof of identity and my army register, Winterhard walked with me out of the building.
“Oh! The Holy Temple has already provided me with many officers.” I leafed through the register in my hand and asked, “They’d do that?”
“Those men were transferred earlier by the Holy Temple for the time being. They’re basically the nobility younger generation from each country.” Winterhard replied, “Don’t worry, they’ll all be gone right before the War.”
“Gone?” I raised my voice, “So they came for a vacation? My legion is not a tour group, for god sake!”
“Close enough, Legion No. 9 is not well-reputed anyway.”
“What does that mean, they caused it?”
“See for yourself…”
Having said that, Winterhard retreated into the building, leaving me standing at the gate.
“Has a bad reputation…” I felt bad about it then yelled to my men, “Get on your horses! We’re setting off to the Ninth Legion immediately. Jack, tell the men in the depot to follow quickly!”
We took a day and a half to cover a two-day ride.
The Ninth Legion camp was next to a small town. I chose to go to the legion immediately instead of going through the town.
By the moonlight, we saw scattered campfires set up all over the place, the camp center to be more so was blazed with fire. After we’ve approached closer, I even saw a few naked women across the fence!
What the fucking legion was this, it was totally a legion of whores!
I raised my right hand to make gestures. Thus the officers behind me divided themselves into teams. A few of them went toward the main gate; the rest just started patrolling near the fence. As for me, I led the rest and made it into the camp.
There were guards at the gate, which surprised me.
“Halt!” An officer ranked as major stepped out with a row of soldiers behind him and said, “This is the Ninth Legion’s camping ground. If you’re looking for our commander, please go to the HQ!”
A wine smell of bad quality came by the wind.
“What’s your commander’s name?” Jack asked on his horse.
“Who knows! He ain’t here yet.” The Major said carelessly, “The man currently in charge here is Brigadier York Tyrant, he ain’t here either.”
“Boss, this guy’s a nobleman, look at the sigil on his armor.” Wilder whispered, “I don’t see slave marks on the soldiers behind him. They should be his bodyguards.”
“When will your commander be back?” I urged my horse to advance, “I have urgent business for him.”
“It’s hard to say, maybe tomorrow, perhaps the day after.” The Major gazed me up and down and said, “You can’t come in today anyway. Who are you?”
“Me?” I shot my foot on his face then lifted my cape to reveal the military rank on my shoulder as well as my neck ornament, “I’m Cohen Kheda!”
Before the Major’s bodyguards could react, the entire sum of them was put down.
“Inquire them about the the Legion’s primary condition.” I said, “Hang those who lie!”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
Not long after, Wilder came back to report.
“Boss, the high-ranks all went to the town. They draw straws to decide who gets to have fun every day.” He said, “The ones who lose have to stay. All the soldiers are locked in their tents.
I did not need to hear Wilder’s report to know the seriousness of the matter. Imagine an area of barracks that held thousands of men, and nobody came to inquire us after we captured the gate for such a while. You can just picture how messed up this place was.
“Carlos, tie’em up for now.” I said, “We’ll go in. You hold your position here. Put down anyone who wants to pass, in or out!”
“Sir, yes, sir!” Carlos then asked with confusion, “But with what excuse, sir?”
“Excuse? Well, poorly dressed, dispirited look, pooping in public, anything you can think of!”
“Sir, yes, sir!” Carlos nodded heavily and said, “No one shall pass, sir!”
I threw my hand then took my men into the camp.
“Get rid of anything that doesn’t belong in a military barrack!” I passed on my order and continued, “Knock out all ranked officers, no excuses needed.”
The area of the camp was rather large, though the inner installation was simple.
The slave soldiers slept in giant tents which were blackish and shabby. Thus my officers, five men in a team, all spread out and swept through the twin, domed tents which were built for low-rank military officers.
According to the system, the junior officers’ tents were set up just beside the soldiers’, which made our work a lot easier: by a stuffy groan sound, all who were in the tent will be tied up in a row, mouth stuffed then led in front of my horse.
“Ahhh! O!!!!! Geez!!!”
Beside me was a soldier’s’ tent. The slaves in the giant tent awakened and with sleepy eyes, they came out to watch their superiors being beaten up. But not a single slave soldier tried to warn anybody. They were all, licking lips excitedly, gloating.
Gosh, my perspective will not end well with such soldiers. If I were caught on the battlefield, they probably would also see me off with such looks!
“Sir, we’ve cleared the perimeter!”
“Sir, the mid-rank officers’ tents, inspection in progress!”
“Sir, we caught two more at the gate!”
Every piece of intelligence traveled quickly into my ears. As more Ninth Legion’s active officers were caught, I had nearly a hundred men tied up behind me. They all looked upset and twisted their bodies while groaning.
I was both gratified and worried whereas the officers I brought from Dark City acted outstandingly, the prowess of all others in this military camp was terrible.
What the hell was this? A thousand of us just successfully raided a legion! This was a large-scale army for god sake!
A legion of thousands of soldiers… like this?
“They’re almost done, let’s go.” I said, “Take those bastards!”
The commander’s pavilions were well-lit. Judging by the sounds that were coming out, whoever were inside were singing and playing. There were scattered bodyguards either with weapons or bottles of alcohol. Every time a woman squeaked will tickle them with laughter.
A dozen IGTs lowered their bodies and sneaked while in cover of the scattered objects. Once they assigned their targets, they signaled the elves behind them. The men in the front then sprung up to their targets and after the elves paralyzed them, caught whatever was in their targets’ hands silently. Slowly, their bodies were leveled on the ground.
“Heyhey, haha…” Right, they had to make a few laughing sounds for them.
I dismounted and approached with a group of big and forceful officers.
“This tent color is fucking inferior.” I thought and told my side men, “Tear it down!”
No one hesitated. For a mighty orc, it was an insult if they couldn’t easily destroy such a tent.
“Puff! Puff!” This was the sound of wood stakes being pulled out.
“Zip! Zip! Zip!” This was the noise of a tent being dissected.
“Whoa, help!” This… no need to explain what sound this was.
After the dust had settled, several magic-powered torches made this place as bright as day, which made the few undressed senior officers looked particularly funny.
“You… who are you?” After a good while, an officer with a woman in his arm was back to himself and asked, “What do you want! This is the Legion’s ground!”
I pinched Wilder then pointed at the officer who talked, then Wilder strode to them.
“Slap!”, he gave a heavy strike on that officer’s face then Wilder roared, “What’s your position, fucking bastard?”
I swore I did not teach Wilder that piece of profanity!
“I… I’m York Tyrant’s deputy…” The officer’s face swelled and said, “Who on earth are you?”
“That I can tell you, who I am.” I stepped forward and said, “I AM Cohen Kheda, your commander.”
Only a while after did the deputy talk with a finger pointing at me, “You… you’re…”
“Slap!” He was hit one more time and Wilder yelled, “It’s ‘SIR’, you son of abitch!”
“Wilder, don’t be like that.” I hinted the women in the deputy’s arm, “Who is she?”
“Sir… she’s from the town.” He replied, and gave a smile out of gratitude for me keeping Wilder from hitting him.
I nodded and asked, “Where’re your commanders?”
“They’re in the hotels in town.”
“Well, sir.” He snuffled, “There’s only one hotel in town.”
“What’s his business?”
“Sir, you know, it’s very desolated here.” He said, “So the hotel also has whore business.”
I sighed heavily and laughed bitterly, “The Ninth Legion! Haha! This is the Ninth Legion! WILDER!”
“Take three hundred men with you. We’re having some fun in town!” I said, “Jack! Gather all slave soldiers! When I come back, I wanna see them dressed tidily…”
I paused then hinted the ‘senior’ officers who were still sitting on the ground, “They must be well-dressed and hanged on the gate!”