Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly, contributing editor: loose less
Editing work for Vol.1 is complete
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[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t was a heavy question because the AUF army has failed twice on this land. If it failed a third time, both the reputation and future of the AUF name and the officers under its name would not end up well.
As it was a huge matter concerning both AUF and the Asmodian Alliance and Major Swiss Hepburn was only a low deputy officer in the intelligence department, the decision was not his to call.
The conference room fell into silence again.
“Now, talk to me.” Marshal Valerian sided his body and threw the question to the generals, “Who should we send?”
Every presented general started focusing on their feet tips instead of making eye contacts with their beloved Marshal.
Since no one answered, Marshal Valerian started calling names.
“What’s your idea, my Chief of Staff?”
“Yes, Marshal, I was about to speak.” The Chief of Staff cleared his throat and stood up, “My view is to transfer an experienced commander from other frontline legions.”
“Transfer one from the frontline?” Marshal Valerian frowned, “One in the five war zones has already collapsed, do you think there will be a suitable substitute among the rest four?”
“Positive, Marshal.” The Chief of Staff said, “The deputy commander of the first war zone is impressive, along with the commander of the 15th Legion under his command. These two are excellent in commanding wars.”
“Hmm, let me see.” Marshal Valerian tipped his feet, “Do we have any other candidates?”
“There are!” An Admiral General stood up, “I recommend the commander of the 2nd Legion in the 3rd war zone. He has achieved great results during this war. He defeated two PUF legions during a single morning!”
“Then he winded up encircled,” The Chief of Staff who sat aside chuckled, “he fled like a rabbit!”
“Your Excellency, he was against four legions with only one! And he survived, isn’t that a proof of his capability?” The Admiral gazed at the Chief of Staff with fire in his eyes, “He’s better than your candidates!”
“What’s wrong with my candidates?” The Chief of Staff chuckled again and said proudly, “My two candidates are well-known throughout the united forces!”
“Yeah, they are.” The Admiral grinned and sat down, then he added, “They’re known not for commanding wars, but for having affairs with their subordinates’ womenfolk!”
“Shut it!” Marshal Valerian scolded, “Are you out of your minds, dumb pigs!”
Swiss sighed quietly since these two generals’ conflicts have been there since day one. They were not happy with each other since the last war.
One was the Chief of Staff ranked Admiral General who was in charge of all forces’ operation plan. The other was also an Admiral General and the deputy commander in the military headquarters. His status was below Marshal Valerian and above all others.
Even Marshal Valerian has said that these two people always gave him a headache.
In fact, Swiss knew the two were fighting for the Supreme Commander position for the next war. Marshal Valerian was too old to assume the same position next time. Whoever won the fight will get the chance to be the AUF’s commander in chief and titled the highest rank: Marshal.
Swiss shook his head at the thought.
“Major Swiss,” Marshal Valerian noticed Swiss Hepburn’s subtle movement, “what’s your idea on this?”
“Uh-huh, yours.” Marshal Valerian nodded, “Tell me.”
“Yes, sir.” Swiss took a moment to think then he said, “I think, no commanders on the front line are suitable for the job.”
“Oh? You said none are good?”
“Yes, sir!” Major Swiss said peacefully, “I think so.”
“Interesting, explain yourself.”
“Undoubtedly, the soldiers are doing a great job on the Protoss/Asmodian Line.” Major Swiss said, “During the three months since the war started, though they made minor mistakes, we’ve almost achieved all of our tactical objectives on the other four war zones. Despite the Protoss United Forces has an army of 900, 000, they won’t last long. For regiment and legion commanders, their whole battle plans are drawn and deployed in precise steps, if we are to transfer any one of them from the front line, we’ll be risking their plans being interrupted, which will inevitably cause damage to the overall situation. Camp is already in a mess, we cannot let the other war zones to fall into potential panics.”
“Make sense, continue.”
“As for the enemies in Camp, they’re different from the Protoss forces we met before. To us, they’re rather strange, cunning and fickle.” Major Swiss’ sound echoed in the conference room as well as in every attendee’s heart, “But the battles on the P/S Line are confrontations, they’re face-to-face combats for land. So those are two completely different kinds of battle styles. In my point of view, our frontline commanders are not suitable for the job.”
“No?” Marshal Valerian stood up and paced along the meeting table, “You’ve been to Camp twice, what kind of a commander will defeat them, in your opinion?”
“Sir,” Major Swiss replied, “We have two options, one is a hunter, the other, a farmer.”
The Chief of Staff was surprised, “A hunter?”
The Admiral was also astonished, “A farmer?”
“Indeed, sir, think about it.” Major Swiss said, “Our enemy is so cunning, so in order to deal with a cunning enemy…”
“We should send a more cunning commander!” The Chief of Staff was very pleased with his brain, “I get it, is it the hunter you were talking about?”
“Positive, but here, we have a problem.” Major Swiss nodded and said, “We don’t know how cunning the enemy commander is. If we sent the wrong hunter, he might be trumped up by a counter charge. But we’re not allowed to lose one more time.”
“So, what’s a farmer?” The Admiral asked.
“The so-called farmer is an extremely composed commander.” Here, Major Swiss said with a hint of a smile, “For a cunning hunted target, he is not afraid of a smart hunter, because he is as smart yet he can outrun the hunter. He fears an honest farmer because whatever the cunning hunted do, the farmer will not be duped. The farmer will focus on his own business and ignore any hostile intention. He will continue until all the hiding spots for the prey are destroyed, then the prey has to show himself and confront the farmer. By that time, if the farmer is good enough, the enemy will be a dead man!”
“But, wouldn’t the target run?” The Chief of Staff asked, “How could the farmer get him?”
“Sir, you ought to notice, our enemies have stayed in Camp for more than three months. After the initial chaos, they neither advanced nor retreated.” Major Swiss said, “What does that mean? It means their mission is not finished yet. That very mission will keep them here until it’s done.”
“Take a look, everyone, we’re winning on all other four war zones. In at most two and a half month, we will be pushing all the PUF troops on the Line back to their home!” Major Swiss pointed at the giant map on the wall, “I think, this troop’s mission is to surprise-attack our back end and the supply transits! Because once we’ve crossed the P/A Line, our logistics is prolonged and fragile. Attacking a weak transit line is something they’re best at!”
Marshal Valerian and the rest senior officers stayed wordless at the map. But everyone was processing Major Swiss’ comments. They wouldn’t dare to take this matter lightly because it’s a matter that concerned the result of the War.
Marshal Valerian walked by the map and remained there, he gazed at the map while his face muscle twisted. He was pondering. As it was known to all officers under his command, once he finished pondering, a big pile of orders will be issued, and if anyone cannot say yes to those orders, a few orderlies with whips were standing by the door.
Marshal Valerian turned to face the rest suddenly.
“Where are my backup forces?”
“Sir,” The officer who was in charge immediately replied, “200, 000 soldiers in 3 legions standing by at the Teferra(an Asmodian empire) side of Maplewood Deerfield!”
“Chief of Staff, deploy them immediately to the main battlefield.” Marshal Valerian said, “You need to speed up. I want you to defeat the PUF main forces within two months!”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
“How many adult slaves you’ve captured on the front line?” Marshal Valerian continued, “How many are qualified to serve as slave soldiers?”
“Sir,” A general stood up, “There are 150, 000 qualified slaves!”
“How many soldiers are at disposal in the 5th war zone?”
“If we deduct the necessary defending troops,” The Chief of Staff replied, “we have 80, 000.”
“Redeploy them!” Marshal said, “Put them into my backup forces. Let them wash their shame on the frontline!”
“Yes, sir!” The Chief of Staff said, “But how about the enemies in the 5th war zone?”
“Retain the defendants!” Marshal said, “Although there’s a Protoss 9th Legion in front of us, its existence might be a trap! If we attack without preparation, we may sink into a surrounded situation. We’ll deal with them after we finish the Camp business.”
“Transfer 80, 000 men from my backup corps to the 5th war zone, and 100, 000 slave soldiers! Sweep the entire area back and forth!” Marshal Valerian said with a cold face, “The rest 50, 000 slaves will defend the Cammish border. No enemy will get away! I don’t believe 200, 000 soldiers will lose!”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
“I have had my choice of the candidate for the 5th war zone. He will be ready for the job shortly!”
“Everyone, I’ll tell you, the war on the Line is a winning one!” At last, Marshal Valerian concluded, “As for the battle in Camp, I don’t worry that the enemy is capable of making more mess. I’ll hand this land over to him. Under such a condition, he cannot make a bigger threat to the overall situation any longer!”
“Wise order, Marshal!”
“Although I said what I said, you need to keep it in your brains, the honor of the United Force trumps all! For glory, we must defeat them, we must completely knock them down for good!”
“This is no longer a battle to alter the situation anymore, you all are fighting for the glorious Asmodian Alliance! I hope you take the situation for the big picture, and for the supreme glory of the Asmodian United Forces. Fight this war, fight it well!” Valerian kept his chin up, the sunshine that came from out of the window shed its warmth on his gray beard, “If you do well, I will report your deeds to the Dark Lord, if you don’t, I will make you suffer, or DIE!”
Thus all stood up and hailed, “Our souls are in service for the Dark Lord!”
Marshal Valerian led the crowd and exited the meeting room. Moments later, such a big meeting room was empty except for one: Swiss Hepburn.
“I never expected such an impressive commander to be there in the Protoss Alliance, those PUF idiots, how cunning…” Swiss Hepburn held up his both hands and murmured toward the giant map on the wall, head sided, “I’d like to meet this guy, but Lord Valerian is very serious about it, so I might not have that chance.”
“Sir,” An officer came by and said, “the meeting is over, aren’t you leaving?”
“Ah!” By then did Swiss Hepburn recall that as a result of his visit to Camp, he hadn’t visited his mum for a long time.
“Thanks for the reminder!” Carelessly, Swiss smiled at the officer and tapped his shoulder, “I need to go home.”
Then immediately he realized he has done wrong because that officer was dumbfounded.
When Swiss has exited the building, a huge sound echoed in the meeting room as if a 150 lbs thing dropped on the ground.
“Hush!” After flashing to a safe corner, Major Swiss Hepburn exhaled heavily and tapped his chest, “Scary!”
Two days later, Major Swiss Hepburn received a letter from Marshal Valerian ordering him to pick up an aged nobleman on the wharf by the canal.
“He’s an old stubborn.” Marshal Valerian told Swiss, “Take your time and tell him about what happened in Camp.”
Because it was an order from the Marshal himself, Major Swiss had to obey and go to the wharf.
He was certainly unhappy about it because he was a third Duke. A Duke will never do such a thing.
Brooks empire was located in the middle of the Asmodian Alliance and it had very convenient land and water transport. From commercial to military perspective, Brooks was the most important axis in the alliance. Its standing was irreplaceable.
Foxburg, the capital Brooks, was even crowned the name ‘Capital of the Asmodian Alliance’. Its prosperity and liveliness were not to be compared with other cities.
Trading and commercial transactions took place here at every second. If the nobility class in Foxburg invented a new kind of dancing steps, the other nobilities from other empires will master it thoroughly within a month. This was how famous Foxburg was.
Major Swiss’s carriage was driving to the wharf through the canal bank. This canal was dug into shape 200 years ago. It took 400, 000 slaves and 10 years to finish. Though, not many people could recall that.
As Swiss lifted the curtain on the carriage door and enjoyed the view along the canal, many familiar things such as the breeze, the widow, and the clean moon, reminded him of the place he loved to stay before his tenth birthday.
As the carriage reached the wharf, it slowed down. The eye-catching golden royal family sigil on the black car body shined under the sunlight.
“My Lord, we’re here.” The driver said in a lowered tone through the tiny window to Swiss Hepburn, “Are you getting off now?”
“In a few minutes.” Swiss took a thorough look at outside. As the wharf was crowded with people, he wouldn’t risk going out now.
“Get a guard to watch the dock.” Swiss told the driver, “Tell me when our guest’s ship comes.”
“Yes, My Lord.”
Swiss remained in his car and played with his fingers. In fact, that he could never get used to showing in public because those real and filthy eyes injured his body.
After about half an hour, a giant boat pulled in to shore.
“Get ready!” Swiss knocked on the compartment, “We’re getting off.”
Dozens of guards stood beside the carriage, they were all strong savage fighters(savage: one of the alien races who resided mostly in the Asmodian Alliance.). They made a wall out of their bodies from the carriage to the wharf entrance. If they did not, their master would not dare to open his door.
As one of Swiss’ feet reached the ground.
“Ah!!!!!” A scream immediately echoed on the dock, “Duke Swiss Hepburn! I LOVE YOU!”
The scream was like a wildfire that spread. As the first one died, more followed then the screamed mounted!
“It’s Swiss Hepburn, the Duke!”
“Swiss, smile at me!”
“Ohhhhh, I finally saw Audrey Hepburn himself!”
The crowd then started crushing on one side, no matter men or women. The walls made by savage guards almost broke. Finally, the situation stabilized thanks to the guards who initiated a whipping spree with their lashes.
Harshly, Swiss made it by the water, he was already breathing heavily and sweaty.
“What a mess.” He thought bitterly and tightened his uniform that has been groped by thousands of hands, “Every time, they don’t get tired of it.”
While complaining, a hearty man came toward him, along with a Major officer.
“Duke Swiss Hepburn?” The man was at his 50s with a face full of beard, “I’m Viscount Guilford from Sunset Plateau.”
“You are Viscount Guilford, Your Excellent?” Swiss nodded politely, “I’m Swiss ordered by Marshal Valerian to receive you.”
“Thank you, Your Excellency!” Guilford made a standard gentleman’s courtesy, “I hope to see Marshal Valerian soon.”
“Very well, this way please.”
On the way back to the military headquarter, Swiss filled Guilford in what happened in Camp. He did it out of the Marshal’s order and the impression on this aged nobleman.
First and foremost, this gentleman’s eyes were very honest. Seeing him was like seeing an amiable senior man. This man has made Swiss to feel very intimate after being ‘tortured’ by so many dirty eyes. He valued such a feeling.
Viscount Guilford had bronze skin color, generous voice and a smell like grass and soil and wild orchid, which no perfume on the market could compare.
“Viscount Guilford,” Swiss asked, “what’s your position on the Sunset Plateau?”
“Your Excellency,” Guilford replied, “I have a manor only rather than a position. What I do mostly is growing flowers.”
“For real? You don’t have any ranks?” Swiss was a little surprised.
Swiss’ stupid look stupefied Guilford. Sure, Viscount Guilford at his 50s did not know the result of his answer.
Because what he said about growing flowers has directly led to the No. 2 on the top 10 Asmodian grand views: the Query of Swiss Hepburn. It was a thing countless nobilities have been dreaming for. It was even more difficult to come by than ancient treasures. If Swiss were to sell it for money, his query would worth more than 100, 000 golds on the black market!
“Your Excellency, you know, the look on your face…” After a while, Viscount Guilford came to himself, he shook and sighed, “was so much cuter than my granddaughter…”
“Er…” Swiss Hepburn was in a loss at Guilford’s comment.
“My granddaughter, she’s such a troublemaker.” Luckily, Viscount Guilford was not attracted by Swiss’ ‘beauty’, he continued, “If there’s a chance, I insist on bringing her to see you, Your Excellency. Please teach her some rules. She’s not behaving like a girl…”
“Anytime.” Hearing what Guilford has said, Duke Swiss’ ‘feminine’ feeling was relieved, “I will definitely help if I have time.”
“I should thank you in advance. God knows what she has learned from her maesters. She does weird things and gave herself a nickname called ‘Shadow’…”
The carriage made to the military headquarter while the two were chatting.
Swiss led Guilford in front of the Marshal’s chamber and knocked on the door.
“Marshal,” Swiss said, “I’ve brought Viscount Guilford.”
“Come in, please.”
Swiss pushed the door open then Guildford stepped in.
“Haha, Valerian!” Guilford yelled, “You pile of shit! Give me a hug!”
Pile of shit! He called Marshal a pile of shit!
Swiss Hepburn shut the door immediately with fear.