Appreciation for LordBunnyBone’s devotion for chapter 01 and 02 of this volume.
Translated by Tianic
Note 1: A full list of characters and glossary is provided. Please click on the character name for their illustrations, if any.
Note 2: An editable text of this chapter is provided in case of eye cancer.
Note 3: Comments and likes are appreciated.
“Sit down.” After entering the tent, I talked to Carlos and my bros over the table, “I see you’ve kept yourselves busy.”
“Indeed, but manageable.” Jack giggled and sat down, “But I am entirely relaxed after finishing all the work!”
“Sir, however, I need to get one thing straight.” Carlos asked, “Why did you give Lord Priest back York Tyrant? Was it only because he’s the priest’s niece?”
“I wish for an easier answer. Actually, it’s not the point whether York Tyrant was his niece or not.
I sighed, “The point is that I need to at least show some respect for the comers’ feelings. You see, they came all the way here and if I just drive them away while slaughtering all of the former officers anyway. How would you feel if you were them?”
“But you don’t need to return the one with the highest rank!” Moya said, “That guy’s an asshole.”
“O, my division commander, we traded a clerk with a Brigadier, it’s hell of a deal!”
I chuckled and said, “Our ultimate goal is to control the Legion, and killing those officers is aiming for building up public trust among the soldiers. So to let one or two to slip away is totally fine.”
“I see!” Carlos nodded, “Though I’ve been in the army for quite a while and I’ve served in many positions, frankly, I’ve never seen any officers as corrupted as them.”
“They’re not officers, they merely loaf about here to gain seniority.” Wilder resentfully said, “While acting to be pretentious at times, they must have managed to transfer themselves away before the War.”
“You’re right, but that’s only part of the reasons.” I said to everyone with a smile, “Speaking of which, let me tell you the whole reason why these formers officers became corrupted, in case you become the same.”
“The real reason lies in the fact that these temple-deployed officers will throw all the bad reputations they’ve caused onto the collective reputation of the Ninth Legion. They didn’t care about the Legion’s reputation because they’ll have us to take over the mess anyway.” I said, “Besides, everyone thinks the Ninth Legion is on a death mission. After the War, we might be all dead, let alone our designation. So they had nothing to worry about.”
“Are we really in grave danger?”
“Indeed, if we keep on acting like this, I wonder we’ll be long lost even before the war.” I smiled bitterly, “If we make the best use of the leftover time, there might still be a chance.”
“No way!” Wilder was startled, “Is it that serious?”
“So how should we train them?” Wilder asked, “The soldiers were doing ok to some extent, I can tell…”
“Doing ok? They’re faking it!” I said without any doubt, “Slave soldiers are, hahaha, they’re even harder to deal with than corrupted officers!”
My bros were all stunned, eyes widened, they were without the least idea why I said so.
“It’s simple, what are slave soldiers for?” I said word by word, “They’re the unlucky ones to die for the entire United Force. Now, you guess what’s on their minds once they know about this?”
The four men shook their heads.
“They will think ‘Anyhow, nobody takes us seriously. We’ll die anyway’. Thus there’s no such thing as loyalty for slave soldiers.” I said, “I guarantee that once the enemy initiates a surrender demand, all the slave soldiers will run to them like rabbits.”
“So what should we do?”
“Induce them.” I grinned, “As long as we show that we’re different from the enemies, as long as we let them think that following us is the only way to live, this war might still be worth fighting for.”
“But we’ve no money!” Jack said bitterly, “What’s the inducement?”
I asked back, “What do slaves want most?”
“I know it!” Moya roared, “It’s freedom!”
I shook my head.
“Slaves who want freedom are the creative ones.” I told Moya, “If you check our soldiers out, they don’t need freedom at all. They’re totally insensitive about being free.”
Then it was Moya’s moment to shook his head, “I don’t get it.”
“I’m asking about the most essential thing to live for for our slave soldiers.” I explained carefully, “If we give them freedom, they will be too anxious to live instead.”
“No way?” Moya scratched his head, “How could that possible?”
“Funny, right? But it’s a fact.” I said, “Slowly and smoothly, on the one hand, we should command them with the toughest orders; on the other hand, we change their lives bit by bit. To awaken the desire that hides underneath their souls, they need to be changed from inside out.
“En, Boss,” Moya said, “just tell us how to do it. I just can’t get it.”
“To be specific, we’re commencing a general training tomorrow.” I sighed, “You need to get the soldier’s necessary information in the shortest time possible. Leave the rest things to me!”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
“That’ll be it!” I drank up my glass and said, “Commanders, assemble the second and third division on the field. I’ll have a speech!”
After my bros had left, I pondered hard in my pavilion until midnight.
I wondered, even my closest bros cannot understand my ideas, how could I infuse them to train well my soldiers? The soldiers were different in race. They came from the bottom of the society. They had bad habits and fickle mindsets. What was more, the former officers that I executed had already infused their evil practices to my soldiers. Changing them will be tough.
Although I had my experience managing soldiers on earth, I was given the men with primary education, which I could at least reason with. As for the gangsters who came from the society’s bottom, money and force will press them.
However, slave soldiers were much different. These men pretended to be obedient but were in fact lazy. They might look sluggish now, but once they were on the battlefield, I doubted they’ll fight for me with their lives. They’ll resent me if I acted tough on them; they’ll definitely think I was conspiring against them by instinct if I played soft on them.
Sigh, I can only be successful if I had their heart.
Headache, fucking problems!
I decided to put all of this away and took a walk outside.
Stars turned over in the night sky. They glittered above the dark blue curtain as several thin clouds played over to cover the moonlight. A sense of breeze brought the smell of the early spring. I was refreshed and relaxed by trails of faint scent.
I strolled along the pathway in the camp as a few IGTs followed behind. They have been serving me since the Dark City project, and it was their first time seeing me annoyed by affairs like this.
I was distraught. If I had Fischer around me, we might come up with something.
“Damn, why do I think about him? Fischer is the Chief Operator now, he must also be much troubled.” I shook my head and canceled this attractive idea then settled myself on a rock while listening to all the sounds coming from the camp.
There wasn’t much noise from the tents because the soldiers were preparing to sleep. Only once in a while did a piece of laughter come over.
I eased my faint head and prepared to return when I saw a soldier standing in the shadow from a distance.
“Come over here.” I hinted, “Why aren’t you going back to sleep?”
“En… I think… it’s…” He said, head lowered, “Sir, I will go to sleep once you’re gone.”
“Oh? Why?” I wondered, “Why would you want to do that?”
The soldier was a little anxious, he scratched his head and said, “I…”
“Answer the commander!” An IGT came closer. His movement told me he wanted to punch the soldier.
“Tell me, I won’t punish you.” I stopped my guard, “Tell me anything you want.”
“Yes, sir.” The soldier said in a lowered tone, “You’re sitting on my… quilt.”
“Quilt!” I gazed at the stone I was sitting on. I cannot imagine how such a tiny space under the rock I sat on is enough to hold a piece of quilt.
“Show me.” I said, “Take it out now.”
The thin and weak-looking soldier bent over and lifted the stone then fetched a small wrap underneath.
“Is this your quilt?” I gazed at the dirty-ish rag in his hands, “How could it work on you?”
Though it was night, I could still tell this blackish thing was supposed to be white in color.
As a matter of fact, judging from the width or the length or the thickness, it did not resemble a piece of quilt, let alone it had many holes on it.
“It is, sir.” The soldier gestured and put on the piece of cloth. The poor guy could only cover half of his body with it, “This is the only part that’ll feel cold when I sleep, so covering this part is enough for me.”
The soldiers said with satisfaction while I was a bit grieved.
“Why do you hide it under the stone?” I drew him to sit down and said, “Tell me, what else do you have except for this piece of quilt?”
“My commander summoned us for training earlier, then we had to have the meal afterward. I was anxious that someone might steal it, so I hid it under the stone.” The soldier said, “This is the only thing I have, nothing else.”
“Do you mean, even for a quilt like this, it might be stolen by someone?” I gazed at what was in his hand, feeling unbelievable.
“Sir, you won’t like it for sure.” The soldier said, “But for us, only a few in my team have things like this.”
“A few?” I was stunned, “How many men are there on your team?”
“Ninety-ish, sir.” The soldier was startled by my word, “I have a piece of quilt, a few other humans have pairs of shoes, and another wingman has half a pair of socks…”
“I see.” I nodded, “It’s late, you can go back to sleep!”
“Ok, sir, off I’ll go.” The soldier made an incredibly non-standard salute and turned back.
He was clearly a newly caught slave as he did not know turning back to his commander within a step of distance was a capital offense.
“Hold it.” I grabbed his right-turning body, “There’s one thing you should pay attention to.”
“What is it?” He was a bit afraid, “Sir?”
“When you talk to a senior commander, I mean the officers that you’re not familiar with,”
I said with a smile, “you should step your way back when you’re dismissed and only turn back when you’re over five steps away, you remember that?”
“I do, sir.” I said, “But, why should I do that?”
“DARING!” An IGT yelled, “Do as you’re told!”
I glared the yelling IGT, and the latter shut his mouth out of fear.
“You see, for the turning gesture is deceptive. Many assassins usually cover their killing intention by turning.” I explained, “This is why you should only turn when you’ve retreated far enough, or you should just keep a distance from senior officers, or you’ll be in danger, do you understand?”
“Sir, it’s… too complicated.” He wept, “I might not remember…”
“Never mind, go back now.” I tapped his shoulder, “It’s ok.”
I watched as the much-troubled soldier step by step bent and retreated with his quilt then finally was tripped over by the land rope.
“Let’s go back!” I told the IGTs, “Get me the logistics regiment commander!”
The logistics chief was a short, middle-aged human who was a bit chubby. He was a minor civil servant who had once served under my father’s command. I discovered his talent in doing logistics during the Dark City construction project. Thus I brought him along.
When he arrived at the door, my bros and I have already begun the discussion.
“Gosh, why are you so late!” Wilder roared, “We’ve been waiting for a long while.”
“Apologies, all.” The logistics commander simpered, “I had an idea on what you want so I took some time to fetch the books.”
“You’re in charge of the logistics, so I’ll cut the crap.” I asked, “Now, how much supply do we have in storage, is it enough?”
“Sir, the supply is definitely not enough.” The logistics leader said, “We’ve finished counting this afternoon. Our current supply is mostly enough for three regiments normal operation.”
“What about the provisions from the PUF headquarter?” Moya asked, “Where’re they?”
“Sir, they’re all on the books.” The regiment leader said, “Though they’re nowhere to be found in the warehouse. I have no idea where they went.”
“Don’t say that.” I prevented his sad emotion to spread, “My logistics leader, I need you to compute the needed supply to support the Legion’s regular operation immediately. How much we have, how much in short, be specific.”
“Sir, yes, sir.” The logistics leader nodded, “I’ll deliver the detailed report by noon tomorrow.”
“Jack, I want the LAD to draw up the military laws at no time and make sure you announce them by tomorrow morning.”
Then I pondered, “The rules have to be simple. Too much restriction will confuse the soldiers. You can start by opening the five most crucial rules.”
“Moya, you will carry on regular training as well as Wilder.” I said, “Good, leave the rest to me. Now go back to sleep.”
The next morning, a very lousy sound of bugle wake me up.
I rose from the bed. The camp was filled with sounds of drum and bugle, which made me uncomfortable.
I grabbed a piece of towel from an IGT member, rubbed my dry eyes while listening to my duty officer’s brief.
“Sir, the divisions are lining on the training field. They’ll be ready in a moment.” My duty officers said with straightened body, “According to the schedule, you’re visiting the second division this morning, the third division in the afternoon, in the evening…”
I did not intend to go to the second division later since I have other plans. I said, “Where’s that bugle sound coming from? Who’s making it?”
“Oh, that I know, sir.” The duty officer said, “The bugle was from the logistics regiment. They have only one in storage. They said it was inappropriate to drum beside the commander’s tent, but since nobody was able to sound a bugle, they got a man who knew how to blow a horn…”
“Damn, that worked?” I dropped the towel and exited my tent, “Put him back to blow the horn. What a fucking sound he makes.”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
I went straight onto the viewing stand and watched as each regiment strode into the field. Gathering an army of 70, 000 soldiers was no easy job. One can tell the basic battle capability of an army from speed and status of a general assembly.
My bros were all in their separate positions commanding their subordinates to enter the field.
The LAD people were running in and out with flags to mark the quartering position for each regiment.
They definitely had Jack behind the ideas.
About half an hour later, 20 field battle regiments from two divisions have been gathered and ordered. My first division will not attend today’s gathering because they were short in number and I have plans for them.
Dozens of mages started enchanting to pass my voice clearly into every soldier’s ear.
The duty officer went onto the stand, and loudly he said, “All, atten hut!”
His voice passed over every corner of the field, then immediately came countless stamping sounds.
How weird the United Forces rules were. At ‘atten-hut’, a soldier had to stamp, whereas most soldiers only knew ‘atten-hut’, ‘dismissed’, and ‘charge’.
“Your Noble Supreme Commander,” The duty officer saluted me, “soldiers from the 2nd and 3rd divisions, at your service!”
“Good!” I saluted back, “You’re dismissed!”
“Soldiers of the Ninth Legion!” I said, “We met two days ago, but that’s not official. Now, I’m standing here for you to watch! Look at me carefully and clearly! Mark my look in your brains!”
I took off my helmet and tossed it to my deputy, my black hair glimmered under the early sunshine.
“Maybe you don’t know what kind of man I am.” I said, “It’s alright, you don’t need to ask. I’ll tell you now!”
“I – Cohen Kheda – am the Viceroy from Dark City, Swabia. I’m heritaged by the right to be a nobility and I am a Knight of Protoss! I am only 17 with lands too large for me to manage, medals too many to put away. So, for a man as distinguished as I, why would he come here and become your commander?” I said, “It’s not because you’re obedient, nor the Ninth Legion was entrusted with high purposes! It’s because you have – NO FUTURE!”
“Like I said, I’m a distinguished man, too remarkable that I was set up by others to command you all.”
“But…” I stated with a hint of a smile, “since I was a child, those who wanted me dead were just beyond count, but your Young Master was still alive and thriving!”
“I don’t wanna give you general reasons as you all should know what purpose this Legion is for. For a slave army, nobody has ever shown you, now us, the tiniest sense of hope.
“To the Protoss United Forces, our sole purpose is one – die. They take advantage of our bodies to make their ways to victory. They decorate their brilliance of success with our flesh and blood!” I laughed, “Seems we’re doomed! So, I’m asking you, and you will tell me! You wanna live, or die?!”
Thousands of mouths talked at once, “Live!”
“If you wanna live, you’ve got to behave! Do you remember those officers from days ago? I don’t fucking care about temple’s order. If anyone disobeys me, he’ll die!” I said ferociously, “As long as you behave and do as I told you, you’ll have a chance to live! Did I make myself clear?”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
“I don’t care about what you used to be. As long as you’re my soldiers, you’ll heed my words! Conform to your commanders and train your battle skills. I will deal with the bigger problems!” I said seriously, “From now on until the P/A War is over, we’re bound together!”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
“I don’t have many rules, so I won’t make you confuse.” I hinted Jack, “This is your Lord Justice. He will announce the military laws for you. I’m pleased if you don’t break one, but if you ever do, you must report to the LAD!”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
“I am your Lord Justice.” Jack stood up, “Now announcing military laws for the Ninth Legion. All are bound to obey.”
Jack’s five military laws were simple. They were: Comply with the commanders’ orders. No slacking off during training. No active retreat in combat. No active leaving the regiment without permission. No harassing nearby residents.
“That’s all. Anyone who breaks the law will be punished justly without exception!” Jack said at last, “Supreme Commander Cohen Kheda has general pardon!”
After Jack has said that, I nodded to the duty officer.
“All regiments!” The duty officers yelled, “Drop out in – order!”