Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
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Asmodian Alliance, Brook Empire capital, Foxburg, the Asmodian United Forces headquarters.
As the supreme commander of the 5th war zone, Major Hampton was delivered under escort to the martial court. The entire Foxburg was shattered! Two war zone commanders’ sequential failures within less than two months was an utterly unprecedented and shameful news for the whole Asmodian Alliance!
Thus one more folk talk of the subject was added to the dull commoners’ life. They loved to gather around, two or three, go over again and again the two miserable stories of the two unluckiest men.
The only ones who knew the episodes were the AUF senior officers. Everyone from Marshal Valerian to the lowest majors was stunned when the report from Camp arrived at the military headquarters.
To take a look at the damage, two major transit lines had to be completely abandoned; Camp was swarmed with starving and wretched people. The Cammish nobilities and landlords that lived the riots were less than 10 in number! If an empire did not have enough noble class to support the realm, then it was not far from perishment.
As per Camp’s current situation, it needed at least 10~20 years to recover. One thing was sure, no one in the Asmodian United Forces will expect the Cammish power to help anything for this war. All were considering solutions for Camp to make a smaller burden to the Asmodian United Forces.
Nearly 100, 000 commoners, 100, 000 troops and noble armed forces were gone. Such a huge loss was even an astonishment for a ruthless man like Marshal Valerian. All of these happened without anyone seeing a single enemy soldier. Till this day, Marshal Valerian did not even know who the enemy was!
Although the united forces have repeatedly required the case to stay confidential, since it was such a huge matter, little by little, gossips spread.
The talk initially circulated mildly among the nobility crowd because young officers from the military headquarters had used it as a bargain for a chance to approach noble ladies. The girls took the classified military information they had to show off on the dining tables and balls. They flickered their feather fans, and the gossips just came out of their cute mouths then passed onto other girls in light words.
There were chefs by the dining tables and servants in the banquets who overheard the gossip, so the story spread even wider.
As the commoners knew about this enemy’s army, things such as its real identity, combat ability, necessity needs have become hot subjects. Very soon, as all have expected, the issue became the No. 1 on the top list. The Asmodian people were taught that their alliance was invincible since born, and currently, other war zones have been delivering all good news. Any occasional news of failure will make them in high spirit.
This was such a thrill! The all-time unbeatable AUF has finally met a decent opponent. What was more thrilling was to defeat that enemy troop!
Due to this enemy army was untouchable and without a name, the commoners started calling it ‘the Phantom Legion’. The first thing two friends met was to exchange information about this army. Any latest news, even a few words, about this legion, will stir up an uproar.
People even began speculating the Phantom Legion’s real identity on gambling tables. All twentyish lawful PUF forces were on the options list. Betting amount on the newly-built PUF legions totaled millions, several main battle legions popularized for thousands as well. But Legion No. 9 of the Protoss United Forces has only 17 copper coins in comparison, and it was because a snakeman was drunk-betting and illiterate.
In contrast to ordinary people’s reaction, the AUF military headquarters acted with seriousness and caution because the Asmodian Dark Lord had once said, “It’s forgivable to fail once or twice, but a third failure would be awful news for many men!
Thus the officers wasted no time on interrogating the two former 5th war zone commanders, trying to dig up the least useful information about this mysterious army. In order to achieve the target, the headquarters even had people tortured the two. These two poor generals were leading no better lives than the captured enemy scouts during the earlier days.
The miserable life was shared by the Cammish emperor as well. Although his buttock has been severely bruised, he still had to bend on his throne while collecting everything about the enemy for the military headquarter for censoring.
On the other hand, Major Swiss Hepburn once again set off to the Cammish land. He intended to find all evidence about the enemies on his way there.
By the time Major Swiss Hepburn had made it back, the military headquarters had decided to call for an immediate meeting. Considering the grim condition in Camp, the meeting was held by Marshal Valerian himself.
This morning saw Major Swiss Hepburn standing again at the meeting room door.
As a Major, he was not allowed to enter the session before it started, as a man, he also was unwilling to enter beforehand because he cannot face the luscious looks from those ‘old goats’. If it were not for Swiss’ distinctive status in Brooks empire, he would have winded up assaulted indecently by these discourteous men.
Swiss Hepburn was the only nephew of the Brooks current emperor and the most excellent among the royal families in his generation. From any aspects, all the six princes cannot live up to him.
Swiss Hepburn’s father died when the boy was ten. Brought up by his mother, Swiss’ disposition came more from the maternal side of his family. The paternal influence sacrificed itself for protecting the current emperor and due to Swiss Hepburn’s outstanding capability in dealing with political and military affairs, the current emperor valued as well as trusted this nephew of his very much. Swiss was already a priority in the next emperor’s talent pool.
Titled as a nobleman in the age of sixteen, the presently twenty-years-old Swiss Hepburn was already a third Duke. He did not let his uncle down for he will alway finish everything given to him properly. Now he has entered the last stage of a future valued bureaucrat: stashing period. The reason lied behind the fact that the emperor had six sons who will almost certainly fight for the power vigorously when the emperor died, and by then, all bureaucrat in positions will be inevitably affected.
Swiss Hepburn stood quietly, his well-ironed uniform correctly set his slim figure, the rank stars on his shoulders reflected sun brilliance. Swiss’ one hand was on his sword hilt, the other on the enclosure, his light-purple eyes revealed a sense of peace. He was staring at faraway.
It was a unique view in the Brooks empire one can never miss, as well as the No. 1 on the top 10 Asmodian sights: the Gaze of Swiss Hepburn.
Sure, most men would rather call it ‘the Gaze of Audrey Hepburn’.
Nearly all people cannot resist falling for it. Men of vigor loved to watch Swiss Hepburn’s delicate movements when he gazed up to the front. They called it beauty. But people of implication would like to look at him standing still, said he was stunning. As for those pointless men, they cannot name their reasons, so they would just prefer liking Swiss Hepburn as a whole.
Honestly speaking, Major Swiss Hepburn was just an ordinary young man with a gentler voice, a more-than-usual graceful posture, more delicate thoughts, and even more charming eyes. He loved loneliness more than the crowd, favored flowers more than swords and sabers, preferred to stay with females more than men, chose to do housework over dealing with political affairs.
“Major Swiss Hepburn,” A man came closer, “the meeting is about to start, Marshal Valerian wants you in the room.”
“Ok, thank you.” Swiss nodded and entered.
To avoid causing any more unpleasure, he has decided to not smile to anyone. The last time at the same location, he smiled at an officer. That officer winded up being hunted by a big crowd of jealous men and women because he bragged about the smile to anyone he met. Now this man was still recovering in bed.
As sturdy shoes walked on the marble floor making clapping sounds, Swiss stepped into the room.
“Gentlemen!” Swiss stood at attention at the door and saluted the senior officers around the table.
“Come here, Major Swiss.” Marshal Valerian nodded, “Tell us about your findings in Camp.”
Major Swiss walked by the table turning his back to a giant Cammish map.
“You may begin.”
“Sir!” Major Swiss reached for a long stick then stood beside the map, “My field investigation told me that our enemy does exist. And the force’s motion range is limited in this area, including the two transit lines here in the middle.” Major Swiss said, “We’ve discovered astonishing things.”
A general asked hastily, “What is it?”
“The two major riots were all their act!” Major Swiss said sorely, “From the kinds of evidence, it’s the very commander of this army who has utilized the unstable factors within Camp, caused all these. He let us defeat ourselves.”
Marshal Valerian’s face muscle twisted, “Continue.”
“The factor of the riots resembles by starting a single-handed conflict, but we cannot catch them afterward. They’ve been lingering in inland Camp for at least three months already.” Major Swiss said, “It means, their number is far less than we’ve anticipated.”
“Less? Do you mean the Camp and the 5th war zone were captured by under 100, 000 men?” An officer said surprisingly, “Major, you’ve any proof?”
“Unfortunately, I have.” Major Swiss said, “I’ve learned in details about the troop that showed up before and after these two riots, about 50, 000 in 20 regiments according to the PUF military establishment. Their entire plan, I guess, was to give us chaos. The more they did in preparation for the revolt, the greater the affected area, time span and resulting influence. In order to finish their tactical objective, any commander would pour in all he has.”
“Sir, your judgment of their number according to such a single reason might be arbitrary.” A staff officer ranked Lieutenant General from the military headquarters said.
“Then, please, gentlemen, think about it. During the second revolt, when the AUF armies were fighting without a clue, why wouldn’t they just pick one and annihilate them? Major Swiss loudened his voice, “At that time, the Cammish nobility forces, and the armies from the 5th war zone, when they were fighting each other, wasn’t it an excellent chance to annihilate them all? Would any PUF commanders abandon such the opportunity to wipe out the main force in an AUF war zone, then capture its supreme leader in the meantime? Sure they wouldn’t. And why not? Because they’re short on soldiers! They were not big enough to annihilate any forces at that time.”
The meeting room sunk into absolute silence. Everyone in the conference room could hear their heartbeats. All military officers in the Asmodian United Forces were always taught to attack as their first choice. Then all asked themselves, no logical-minded man will abandon the option to attack if such an excellent opportunity presented.
“Fifty thousand… fifty thousand…” A while later, Marshal Valerian’s harsh voice broke the silence, “The mighty AUF 5th war zone, the great Camp empire can’t even fight back against a merely 50, 000. They’ve fallen. They can’t even match to the PUFs. I’ve never anticipated myself to be so shameful. Even when the other war fronts were delivering good news. How could I face the Dark Lord like this?”
“Orders!” Marshal Valerian clenched his hands to make two fists and landed them fiercely on the table.
“Orders,” Marshall Valerian said word by word, “execute all former 5th war zones commanders!”
“Listen, you all will remember what Major Swiss has said, especially the enemy number, mark them in your brains!” Marshal Valerian’s sharp vision swept everyone in the room, “From now on, all official documents, no matter combat plans, report, or meeting minutes, the number of this enemy troop should be 150, 000! A hundred and fifty thousand, no less!”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
No one dared to object his order. Either one wanted to oppose or agree, this crazy old man was better not be imposed on now.
“Continue, Major.” Marshal Valerian sat down, dejected and hinted Swiss Hepburn, “How’s their combat ability?”
“In combat, they were excellent in mobilization. Once it had its target, it will blow it with a single strike.” Major Swiss said, “During the past riots, they went in and out of the battlefield while other troops mingled, but not a single one of them was captured. In carrying out the tactical harassment, I would say they’re pretty successful.
“Do you have any suggestions for us?” Marshal Valerian asked.
“Sir, in my point of view, our troops cannot outrun them.” Major Swiss gave it a thought, “To deal with a force with high maneuverability, we must constrain their playground and isolate their supply. Only in this way will they’re compelled to come out to the front stage and fight us face to face.”
“What about their identity?”
“My intelligence agency told me, they’re very possible under a new-built legion by the Protoss United Forces, judging from their gears and logistics traces.” Major Swiss, aka an intelligence department deputy officer, said, “The armors and weapons of their private soldiers are even better than that of our military officers’. Their supplies are well guarded as well. Since they’ve been in Camp for more than 3 months, I have no report about them seeking for food.”
“All of the PUF 20 legions were fighting us on the battle front. All renowned generals are present. But this troop’s commander, in my point of view, was extremely experienced, and his soldier morale is well-boosted. All these are not to be accomplished under one or two years.”
“Where and how did they enter into our territory?”
“I’m holding a report from Camp. It’s a report neglected by all.” Major Swiss said, “Since three months ago, a massive amount of Cammish patrol ships were reported missing. The latest incident reported 9 ships without traces.”
“Three months ago!” Marshal Valerian enlarged his eyes, “Why did they report in earlier?”
Major Swiss remained silence, the reason behind it was apparent.
“This bastard is not done with lashing!” Marshal Valerian yelled, “I’ll make him suffer again!”
The so-called ‘bastard’ was most likely the current Cammish emperor. Having said what Marshal Valerian has said, the Cammish emperor had to mourn his buttock once again.
“Freight transport and supply,” Marshal Valerian gazed at the map on the wall, “will guarantee both quantity and speed. It’s a good idea indeed.”
“Yes,” One Major said, “A 50, 000 troops will need 100 regular transport ships to supply them, if we add the convoys, what a big investment for PUF!”
“Last but not least,” Marshal Valerian looked yet again to Major Swiss, “What’s your view on the commander of this army?”
“About him…” It was the first time Swiss Hepburn jabbered, “He… I had only a vague picture of him.”
“Judging from his application of tactics, he should be at least 50. He had a rigorous military education. Although his strategies were straightforward and direct, he could grasp the essential point that affected the overall situation. His plans were bold and ridiculous, but smooth in maneuverability. It means his soldiers have utter confidence in him. Such authority and experience are not to be possessed by young officers.”
“He should be a man with a variety of hobbies. He was good at thinking and know our thoughts patterns.” Major Swiss continued, “During the two riots, he took advantages of every single Cammish people from its emperor to the commoners. All of them were within his consideration. He judges people quite accurately, and this is where he actually impressed me.”
“Hmm…” Marshal Valerian said, “Nevertheless, we’ll do only better than him.”
“Yes, sir.” Major Swiss said, “I suggest a screening of the nobilities in the Protoss Alliance given the information above. It’ll only benefit us for our next operation.”
“Approved!” Marshal Valerian instantly nodded, “Give orders to all our personnel in the Protoss Alliance, find out who he is. And, tell the General Staff to draft an application to the Dark Temple, ask them to awaken the three insidious Asmodian Generals in the Protoss Alliance!
“Sir, yes, sir!”
“So now,” Marshal Valerian said, “let’s talk about the practical problem: who will be the next commander of the 5th war zone? Who are we sending to defeat this enemy of us?”
This chapter was originally published on Wuxianation, any repost or copies without prior notice are despicable.