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.
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he past days saw significant improvement on the soldier’s’ combat skills.
Today’s topic was street battle between the third and fourth IGT regiment. While I was watching with the officers from my commanding center, an order from the United Forces headquarter came.
I opened the letter then immediately burst into laughter.
Carlos was confused and asked, “Sir, what are you laughing at?”
“It’s the order from the HQ.” I told everybody, “They ask me to attend this month’s scheduled meeting.”
“Man, sir,” Jack said, “it’s only a meeting, what’s so funny?”
I shook my head, “Carlos!”
“I want the General Staff to sketch up a plan. You need to finish all the training within two days. All units, prepare for marching!” I laughed too hard to say smoothly, “We’ll soon be away from this hardship!”
“Sir, care to explain?” Jack puckered his lips, “We don’t know what’s going on yet!”
“O, my dear brother,” I hugged Jack’s shoulders, “If you have a disliking man around you, although he keeps doing things that trouble you, you can’t punish him due to his status, what will you do?”
“That’s simple!” Jack said, “I’d drive him away, keep my distance!”
“Exactly, the HQ will push us away like you said.” I laughed again, “Haha, once we’re out of the HQ’s reach, won’t we have a better life?”
“I got it!” Jack nodded vigorously, “I’ll pack up my stuff!”
“Pack my ass!” I dragged him over, “Go to the meeting with me!”
The meeting was held on the first floor of a manor located in the military headquarter. Usually, there will be around ten senior officers invited. A Major General like me and regiment leader like Jack’s presence were very rare.
We check our weapons at the door deputy then found a place to sit in the meeting room.
Not long after, several generals with flashy stars on their shoulders and well-dressed senior clerks came in the room one after another then sat at the long table.
What was rare was that the Prime Minister, who has been out of my sight for a long while, came in as well. I haven’t seen him since my first time in HQ!
“Atten-hut!” The door deputy yelled, “Announcing the Supreme Commander!”
All stood up and saluted Prince Carl Ulysses, “Sir!”
“Gentlemen.” Carl Ulysses eyed around the room and nodded to the officers, “Now commencing the 17th United Force scheduled meeting.”
We all put our hands together devotedly and hailed, “His merciful God of Light!”
“Today we have five topics on hand,” The prince hinted us to sit then he went into subject immediately, “The first is about the foundation bases on the front line. You should all know, the war preparation was severely delayed, I cannot allow this…”
People agreed, people excused, the meeting went on and on under such a dull atmosphere.
Since I was not interested in those things, I nearly dozed off.
“Now, topic five, about Legion No. 9…”
Once my army was mentioned, I merely raised my eyelids.
“Major Cohen,” The prince said, “you want to talk about it?”
“Ah, talk about what?” I was confused, “What about it?”
“So then, maybe I should let the quartermaster talk about it.” The prince said, “The MMS has some complaints regarding the Ninth Legion recently.
“Yes, Your Highness.” Luhrmann stood up, “Greetings, all. I believe you’ve all heard, the Ninth has done things recently, things that interfered the MMS’s work to go smoothly…”
“Smoothly? Are you fooling me!” I stood up and slammed the table, “Are you saying that a great Protoss Knight did something wrong?”
“Ser, I have no right to judge you right or wrong.” Luhrmann folded his arms, “However the MMS’s daily operation was actually affected.”
“So the Ninth Legion is responsible for your lousy job?” I said, “Don’t give me this shit!”
While Luhrmann and I were quarreling, the rest of the meeting room remained silent. The other attendances either had nothing to say or their status did not allow them to interfere.
At last, the prince came forward to stop us nevertheless, “Major Cohen, please sit down!”
“I have a big pile of papers regarding the Ninth Legion.” Prince Carl Ulysses knocked the table, “Ser, I guess your relationship with the peripheral stationeries were not so well. In less than a month, seven armies were robbed of their gears by your troops. What’s your word?”
Then he tossed the papers on the desk.
“You call that a robbery, Your Highness?” I shrugged, “Their gears are provided by the MMS, if they missed some, just claim again from the military supply. My army, I doubt my army could claim anything. This is the MMS’s problem, not mine.”
“What about your troops robbed the transportation fleets?” Luhrmann, “Those are the PUF’s fleets!”
“I borrowed.” I said, “I wrote a note.”
“And you call ‘borrow’ with deadly force, Ser?” Luhrmann showed a small stack of slips, “There’re total twenty-seven pieces. On each paper, there are only a few words: the Protoss United Forces is like a family.’! There are no dates, no numbering, no further signature. These are the so-called notes from a Protoss Knight?”
“Is it wrong?” I asked.
“Of course it’s wrong!”
“Lord Quartermaster, how dare you.” I grinned, “Those few words were quoted from the Red Pope Cardinal. You must be tired of living to say he’s wrong.”
“Major Cohen, let’s not mess with Lord Quartermaster’s wording.” Prince Carl Ulysses said, “I think you should prevent such things to happen again.”
“I can do that,” I said straightly, “as long as MMS give me my gears.”
“Ser, you should know,” Luhrmann said, “there are no supply plans for slave armies!”
“Oh, yeah? I don’t care where my soldiers are from. But I can’t let them fight empty-handed!” I glanced him coldly, “I’m ok if you say no, I’ll come up with something nevertheless.”
“I thought you’ve summoned me here to tell that my gears are ready,” I pushed my chair back and stood up, “but I didn’t expect it would result in this way. What a wasted trip. Gentlemen, excuse me.”
“Oh, by the way, Lord Quartermaster, now I’m ordering you in the name of a Protoss Knight,” I stopped by the door, “get me 40,000 suits of armor within three days. If you stand me up one more time, not even the red pope is able to save your ass!”
Having said that, I slammed the door and left.
After I was back at the camp, once again, I deployed twenty regiments to plunder the stationaries around the area. The operation was a crazy one this time. All of the twenty regiments traveled day and night with the highest speed to reach the military supply. By the third morning, we have surrounded the MMS warehouses from all four directions.
“If you don’t give me my gears,” I said, eyes reddened, “I’ll starting killing people!”
Finally, with the HQ’s mediation, MMS has finally allotted us with the needed armors and weapons. As my soldiers were loading things onto the vans, an assignment order, signed and issued by Prince Carl Ulysses, came.
The order was sturdy and vigorous. It required the Ninth Legion to set off immediately. The Ninth Legion had to arrive at the Swabia side of the P/A Line and embattle.
I smiled and put away the order in my arms. What a big favor from Prince Carl. I can tell the conflict between royal family and the temple from each empire was still intense. I was on the royal family’s side after all, thus under such an intense moment, the Prince choose to be on my side.
Because I had ordered the General Staff to draw the detailed marching plan early on, the Legion departed smoothly.
As all units came back from training, they took less than a day to pack and demolish the training grounds. We set off and went far away from the military headquarter’s reach. The second division led, the third division guarded the rear, and the second division stayed in between. Thus we traveled far and were unreachable by the temple. The Ninth Legion without constraint was the Legion I truly wanted.
However, everyone including me would not dream the situation we had when we stepped onto this land again years after.
The marching of 70, 000 men was a huge deal which concerned many aspects.
Luckily I had total authority over my army, and the soldiers were willing to follow. Actually, their lives were not bad, and their living condition was even better than regular army soldiers.
Some soldiers wouldn’t leave me because their lives were altered; some because they did too many dirty businesses. Nevertheless, all soldiers have accepted one fact, by leaving me or the Legion will not give them better lives. They have been secretly calling me ‘boss’ instead of ‘sir’ and almost all acting sergeants used exactly my dirty words for scolding. All of these have shown that my soldiers were getting familiar with me.
All living creatures, no matter race, will develop dependency to familiar things. And amongst all, slaves had the most tendency to depend.
We traveled and trained. Then finally, on the last day written on the assignment, the Ninth Legion slowly reached its designated station place: the frontmost city of Swabia – Gallia。
Here was the frontmost area. Behind us was thousands of miles of fertile lands, one step further was the Protoss/Asmodian Line.
Strictly speaking, Gallia City was more like a fortress because of its high walls and blockhouses. During the days before the War, no one, except for some extra bold businessmen and residents, dared to stay here.
King Climos has already received my letter, so he swapped the city viceroy. And his first batch of supply even arrived before us.
The new Viceroy of Gallia City was waiting for me at the city’s gate, Kirk.
“Ah… hehhe!” Kirk was certainly cheerful seeing me going nearer, “Hello, sir!”
“You asshole!” I shouted, “You’re supposed to make money for me in Winper, what are you doing here?”
“Sir,” Kirk took my house, “it’s His Royal Highness Fischer’s order!”
“What the… who taught you to talk like that?” I glanced him, “I’ll smack his ass if it’s what it takes!”
I was kind of happy to meet my old subordinate.
“Sure, yes, as you wish, sir.” Kirk said, “Just stay in the Viceroy’s mansion. Leave the army affairs to me.”
“Let’s go,” I nodded then told Carlos to settle down the soldiers.
Though being a commercial port entry, Gallia itself was not large with a population of less than 200, 000. However, business and trading here were hotter than normal. Businessmen no longer bargain like they usually did but finishing their buying and selling very quickly.
I inquired Kirk about such phenomenon.
“Sir, these are the businessmen who do business between the two alliances.” Kirk answered, “It’s right before the War, and they don’t know how long the war is gonna last, so they’re making their best use of time.”
“The last frenzy.” I said, “Don’t they care about their lives?”
“No, because both sides need them to trade short commodities.” Kirk said, “They’re perfectly safe before the War starts.”
“How ironic, both sides need the other’s goods, but they have to fight like hell.” I said bitterly, “What happened to this world?”
The Viceroy’s mansion here is much smaller than mine in Dark City. Thankfully, Kirk has done much of the preparatory work. After his remodification, it was good enough to serve as a commanding center.
“Tell me about it,” I took over a glass of water from Kirk, “how’s my Dark City?”
“Every’s fine. The army is fine, the City Hall is fine. Spring seeding has been completed throughout the province. We’re expecting a good harvest by summer.” Kirk said, “Three madames had repeatedly urged me to take care of you before I came here.”
“Good,” I was glad to hear the spring seeding was finished, “Then… what about the one in Winper?”
“Even better! You know, sir?” Speaking of the city he governed, Kirk was excited, “Mrs. Dior Merlin was awesome! Her business now spreads over the entire Dark Province. Most of our branch stores have been opened in the main cities in Swabia. We even opened a few stores in the Asmodian Alliance. Now we’re able to provide an enormous amount of money each month to Dark City.”
“Have the guys in City Hall questioned about where the money comes from?”
“No, you know those guys! They’re nearly driven crazy by money issues. They don’t care about the money source as long as it keeps coming.” Kirk said, “You wives asked once, but I didn’t tell.”
“So much for the money problem.” I nodded, “When will Marfa come?”
“He should be here by tomorrow.”
“I’m going to sleep, wake me up once he gets here.”
Marfa arrived the next day in the afternoon. Though he was worn and weary, he looked much experienced than before.
“Boss!” Before I saw him, Marfa’s voice came, then the man rushed in and hugged me like a swirl, “I miss you!”
I froze for a moment as I didn’t know whether to welcome him or smack his ass. I was meeting with a group of senior officers for god sake.
“So much for the meeting, dismissed.” I had to end early this session with the regiment leaders, “Constrain your soldiers, this is our own land. Send anyone who disobeys to the LAD!”
“Yes, sir!” Several regiment commanders left me with my brothers.
“Marfa, get off him.” Jack said, “Or I’ll spank your ass!”
“I know you’re Lord Justice now!” Marfa humphed, “But your justice is not mine!”
Then he greeted Wilder and Moya.
“Everything goes well, I suppose?” I asked them to sit then said, “Tell us about it.”
“Yes, boss.” Marfa fetched a few scrolls from his pack, “I brought something that might help.”
“What’s the treasure?” Jack leaned nearer, “Did your men really get these stuff?”
“Don’t underestimate them. They’re well-trained fellows.” Marfa opened one of the scrolls, “Look, boss, this is the latest P/A Line map!”
Wilder touched his jaw, “Didn’t you said that the last time you brought a map?”
“Wilder, do you have any ideas how fast my men do things?” Marfa said proudly, “Loads of things can be done within a month.”
“Talk about the map!” I hit Marfa, “Those craps later!”
“Yes, take a look. We focused on the situation on the side of Swabia. The linear distance from Gallia to the nearest Asmodian city is approximately 340 miles.” Marfa pointed on the map, “So if an army of 70, 000 wants to cover the distance, you need at least 6 days.”
“And the supply is a big issue.” I said, “Marching on such terrain will need at least 10, 000 logistics personnel.
“Yes, boss. But luckily, no AUF forces are deployed on the Line yet.” Marfa nodded and said, “They are still in the major cities along the transportation route.”
“How’re your agents doing in the Asmodian countries?” I asked.
“I need more time to go deeper into the Asmodian Alliance. Though we’ve investigated the AUF’s peripheral installations, we had limited intelligence.” Marfa shook his head and said, “Our current information tells there are 2 hostile legions right in front of us. They have a total of 100, 000~110, 000 soldiers quartered in 6 camps.”
“Are you sure about it?” Moya opened his silent mouth.
“Affirmative.” Marfa said, “We concluded the result with multiple methods. We’ve even checked their camp garbage every day.”
“Tell us more.”
“We have no idea about the identity of the commanders of these two legions, nor do we know about their nationalities.” Marfa opened another scroll, “But their army constitution is clear. Among which there are 40, 000 heavy-equipped infantries, 40, 000 light infantries, 20, 000 heavy cavalries, and a kind of rider my agents have never seen, here’s a portrait.”
I approached and saw an animal shorter than a horse but was much stronger. It had sharp fans and stocky arms and legs.
“We’ve computed, such animal needs astonishing food daily.” Marfa said, “Compared to the food consumption of the regular riders of the same size, its consumption almost tripled.”
“Three times more than houses?” I was stunned. It meant such rider was at least twice as good as heavy-equipped cavalry. The AUF was not stupid to feed pets with forage.
I pondered for a moment then asked Marfa, “How about the rider on it? You have the information about the rider’s weapon and armor?”
“The rider is not a human being. They’re shorter than us.” Marfa read, “Its arms are extended saber and war flail. They’re unarmored but equipped with a large shield!”
“Fuck!” I yelled, “Melee force!”
Jack asked curiously, “Boss, how do you know it’s melee?”
“Since it’s not human, it must be alien warriors.” I told my brothers, “Extended saber and war flail are the best weapons in a scuffle fight. Look at his ride, such animal kills even better than its rider! As for no armor, that might be those aliens’ tradition. Does a rider need a big shield? Only marching calvaries need protection for coming arrows!”
“Boss, we don’t have heavy infantries,” Wilder said, worried, “how should we compete with them?”
“Who would want to fight them if not necessary?” I was annoyed, “It depends on the operation order we receive.”
“By sending us here, I’m afraid the HQ wants us to march through this side and draw the AUF’s attention.” I said while pointing the map, “If I’m right, we’ll be the very first legion to go onto the battlefield among all other legions!”
“Shit!” Wilder said, “Do you have a countermeasure?”
“Sure I do.” I stated with a smile, “Get me Carlos, we’re changing our training plan tomorrow.”
“Marfa, how’s your communication with your agents?”
Marfa replied, “It’s no problem. Where I go is where the intelligence goes.”
“Good, you’ll stay here from today.” I nodded, “From now on, you’re the Chief Liaison Officer of the Ninth Legion.”
“Yes, sir.” Marfa scratched his head, “But what does a liaison officer do?”
“Continue your job, be my eyes and ears.” I said, “From this day forward, the budget for your intelligence system triples. I want to know everything about our enemies in the shortest time possible!”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
“Get my orderly!” I said, “Now Legion No. 9 is entering battle station!”