Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
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[dropcap]A[/dropcap] few days after returning the base, I still had no clue on how to make my next move, so I was in a terrible mood. Several guards who served my dailies received their first slap from me.
My intelligence officers who were supposed to hide among the enemies risked their lives and sent another piece of information. They informed me that a troop of thousands was marching towards Camp. Its members were obscure, but my men deducted that they were special forces.
My enemies must think so highly of me that they sent the AUF special forces which they never deploy easily. Such things were usually put in key battles where a force that’s able to turn the table was direly needed.
But who were this Guildford that the Asmodian United Forces have invested so much in him? They not only gave him a vast amount of troops but also granted thousands of special forces?
I pondered for a long while then concluded that Camp was not an ideal place to stay any longer. But if I was going to leave this land, I felt the duty to give Guildford one last sweet memory.
Thus I recalled all my troops scattered within Camp and started getting ready for our next operation.
First and foremost, I allocated 4 field regiments from all 24 regiments to Wilder. I urged them to board the transport ships immediately and set up base 300 miles away from the coast line. Thus if necessary, my order will bring them to assault the enemies from behind.
Moya and Carlos were sent along with 15 regiments to operate near Camp side of the P/A Line, where sizable hills and wastelands have banished most of the Cammish residents. Such a condition will give me an edge for future operations.
I drew an area on the map for Moya and Carlos asking them to modify that location. My instructions will keep them busy for quite a while. I assumed Guildford was a man who was good at building camps, but this time, I shall build a giant battlefield for both of us to play on.
After assigning the jobs, I took the rest 5 regiments to draw my enemies inward, which mostly was to mess around the enemy’s newly built camps in order to make them believe that my main force was still somewhere around.
Although I knew from the start that Guildford was a difficult man to cope with, I concluded firmly after the last hands-on battle. The conclusion was a strong one.
Guildford was a crazy old man!
He sent a troop of 30, 000 -ish to chase me.
This troop was an Asmodian force with a very high mobility and ability to learn. They went around the Cammish land with bags of dry meat powder. Due to the enemy’s gradually perfected information system, I cannot lose them at any point. Thus whenever this troop showed up, my assault was still undergoing. As a result, I had to sigh each time, then directed my troops to withdraw the battlefield ahead of time. We’ve accomplished no productive achievements due to their intervention.
If I resort on my troops’ excellent mobility, losing them should not be a problem. But, how pathetic, I had to round back and continue harassing Guildford again and again. If I did not, the temple bastards would come to trouble me.
As Guildford and his troops defended my harassment, they continued their plan aiming to deport me. In this case, burning forests. I could only hide in the same forest once because Guildford will set the woods on fire once he found me there. In the meantime, all critical locations were occupied with sturdy camps by now.
It seemed that Guildford came in this place to just build camps and set fires. Exterminating me, on the other hand, should be a collateral operational result.
As for his unshown elite forces, I guessed he must be waiting for the right time to use them and kill me for good.
Slowly, Guildford’s troops have taken over half of the Camp homeland and established stable defense system on it. My operation area was severely restricted as a result. Although his troops advanced in a low speed, they marched firmly, which have virtually given me loads of burden.
Finally, what I’ve been worrying about occurred. Guildford stretched his defense establishments over to the coast and called in a considerable amount of battleships to assist the defendants. Therefore, without convoys, my transport fleets can no longer support me, though luckily, the communication between me and my ships still held.
Since then, each war condition that favored me were excluded by Guildford: he pacified the refugees, took over massive tactical areas, burnt all the forest that could hide people. Even now, he sealed the coastal line.
According to his plan, I will soon end up with nothing and expose under his army, waiting to be slaughtered.
In the meantime, several letters from my friendly military headquarters came ordering me to initiate more attacks. Although I have repeatedly replied that my troops had suffered a great loss, they played deaf and continued urging.
Because the Protoss United Forces have initiated a new round of offensive.
Fischer’s letter affirmed my previous thoughts: the temple clique transferred a large number of armies from our home front. The resupplied troops now numbered over a million. Every kind of special force that was kept hiding by the HQ has been deployed. The AUF was almost taken by such a surprisingly offensive play from the PUF army, and they could only be able to stabilize the situation by implementing their last resorting backup corps. It was not the first time the two alliances fight against each other. Both sides were well-expected about their opponents and the tricks they can pull out.
The only thing unexpected might be me and my unidentified army. If I remembered it right, since I entered Camp, at least 200, 000 enemy troops were kept within their war zone or terminated by my schemes. Given this, the headquarters’ intention for me to attack was evident.
I utterly approved the temple clique’s ultimate passion. It was their first time to have total control over the military headquarter. Evidently, they wanted to achieve a big victory for the alliance at least.
I could also imagine how intense the war on the Line was and how many soldiers from both sides died for nothing.
I would rather keep my soldiers alive. How could a Protoss Knight like me to live up to the name if his men all died out? Whoever had the toughest fist will be the winner. A viceroy who had no soldiers at hand must be miserable.
A dusty orderly brought me Moya’s letter in time. In it, Moya told me the battlefield preparation had been completed and it was waiting for my enemies to fall into. Moya’s news came in timely since I’ve grown tired of such a cat-mouse play after spinning with my enemies for a long while.
Days later, I withdrew into the targeted battlefield with an army that specialized in harassment and left enough traces along the way to let my opponents to find us.
I was content with the battlefield.
It was a place of 100 miles in width and length. Every thing from the mud under my boots and the birds flying in the air were in my control.
A hundred miles behind the battlefield was the P/A Line. Since I had access to a comprehensive map, it will be definitely not a problem for me to sneak out the place once things went south. Besides, I have sent scouts to investigate the retreating routes where a bizarre and giant area of swamp and forest made it impossible for anyone to hide any living soldiers.
The coastal line was on the right side of the battlefield. Wilder and his 4 regiments could give me necessary support from the sea.
On my left was Xawin city, the quartering place of the AUF 5th war zone troops. I knew there were only 30, 000 men huddling blood-stained. They were lucky if I chose to avoid them, how could they dare to come to me?
To summarize, the choice of the battlefield was pretty neat. It was relatively a safe place for me despite there were some AUF troops around. Now I had 20 regiments totaling 50, 000 soldiers. I will strike Guildford hard in this place and make him remember me forever!
Moya and Carlos’ 15 regiments have kept them busy here for half a month. They have built an eye-catching camp at the center of the field. Around the camp were countless invisible traps. I intended to fight a positional war then leave this place for good.
During such times, experienced veteran officers like Carlos started to show their advantage. They were familiar with everything about a positional warfare. The General Staff have drawn out several battle plans as they were currently familiarizing the troops with the plans. My logistics staffs were also making necessary gears for the coming warfare.
I assumed that my soldiers have been with me for quite a while now, and since they did not suffer many casualties and their leaders’ right attitude as well as the soldiers’ much-improved lives, a nearly idolatrized worship for me came into being. Influenced by such an atmosphere, they have thrown their hearts and souls into the battle preparation instead of showing any anxiety about the coming combat.
By the third day after we entered the battlefield, my scouts found the enemy troop that has been trailing us. They have been tracking us with caution after I lost them.
Judging by their marching speed, they will hit the perimeter by the second day morning and my camp by noon.
Since it was the first large-scale position war experience for most of my troops, I gathered a great war council which included all regiments leaders and upper ranks. People from each IGT, field, logistics, general staffs, LAD, which totaled 200 officers, spent their entire afternoon in my tent.
For me, such a method of war was something I was unfamiliar with and will not spare a glance. What I was educated was all about obliterating the enemies before they see me. A face-to-face slaughter was incredibly stupid. So I made myself silent and let the others speak.
After Marfa stated the enemy information, Carlos appointed assignments and positions for each regiment. He stated clearly about the striking opportunity and condition, then he explained thoroughly about the questions from the officers.
I could tell the officers were anxious, and so was I. Rather, I concealed my expression. If the soldiers saw much anxiety on my face, then the war was already over.
Night came before the end of the meeting. The camp was in a faint repression. Though I expected the long night to pass quickly, I stayed awake for the entire darkness.
At dawn, an ambush squadron’s early departure woke me. I hit hard on my head then relaxed my body as I exited the tent.
“Sir!” A guard brought my horse. Since I did not have enough horses equipped for the troops, only regiment leaders and upper ranks had personal mounts.
I rode on and strode through the camp. All corp leaders were up and minding their duties. Many soldiers saluted me as I smiled and returned in courtesy. The soldiers’ faces were as bright as the wind going through the tents.
Teams of soldiers, led by their commanders, were marching forward neatly.
When I reached the camp gate, Carlos and Jack appeared from the side rode over and went on with me. By the gate, Moya and Marfa, right arm leveled, were saluting back to the soldiers that parted the camp. I nodded to the two and joined them.
Another regiment has passed the gate.
“Atten-hut!” The regiment leaders yelled, “Present-arm!”
“Sir!” All the soldiers shouted while raising their hands.
My brothers and I fisted and leveled our hands over our chests as we watched the men’s brave faces and the slave marks on them. I was both proud and frustrated because some of them were destined to die on the field.
I repressed such a feeling and roared to the soldiers, “May it a triumphant return!
The soldiers roared and replied. Their roaring breached the sky.
After seeing the ambush squadrons off, the troops left, and I aligned at the engaged position. I was on my horse, body straightened. About 20, 000 soldiers sat silently behind.
In front of us was a slope, if we chose not to show ourselves, our enemies would not see us even they approached extremely close.
By noon, one by one, my scouts came back with news that the enemies were approaching. I presumed my enemies had learned a lot from me because they’ve developed a team of scouts before the main troop entering the battlefield. Their scope of the investigation was limited to 10 miles. As a commander who knew its opponents, such a recon range was big enough. The time an infantry soldier to run 10 miles was enough for them to prepare everything.
“Sir!” A wingman scout landed beside me, “Enemy incoming in an hour! Their scouts will arrive in half!”
“Send my order,” I put away the half-eaten dry food, “everyone, stop eating and rest.”
It was a hard job to engage another army on the wild land. Even I have left traces along the way; there was a chance that they will not follow. This was where I had to learn their marching style like I knew my palms and legs.
It was a purely rational analysis and a perceptual speculation. When I made the judgment, I had to include everything the enemy commander had in my brain. In this very moment, I was him!
Call it a unique skill and such an ability could only be mastered by spending a considerable amount of time with the enemies. Besides, the commander will have to start over again once the enemy leader was changed. This was one crucial reason why so many excellent commanders in history went crazy.
I’ve dealt with this enemy army for over a month, and I’ve learned thoroughly about this enemy commander’s commanding style. I was affirmative that his troops will pass here, give or take 200 meters.
Fifteen minutes later, I told Jack, “Inform Steven, terminate every enemy scouts! And you watch out your LAD!”
“Yes, sir!” Jack rode away.
“Sir, the enemies are 5 miles in range. They were marching in 2 columns, 50 soldiers in width and 200 war horses in the middle. They are marching with a tense formation and with a mile in total width!”
“Sir, the enemies are 1 mile in range, 200 arm lengths on our right. They’re all in fire range!”
“Carlos,” I turned to my Staff Chief, “it’s about time.”
“Yes, sir.” Carlos replied in a lowered tone.
“Let’s go.” I talked while hinted a duty officer. Then I kicked my horse and rode forward.
“Attent-hut!” The duty officer raised a colorful little flag while speeding in front of the lines, “MAR-CH!”
All officers stood up, “MARCH!”
All bannermen pressed their banners forward, “MARCH!”
Sounds of metal crashing echoed as the soldiers advanced slowly with me.
Carlos’ and my horses led, and 8 regiments followed. Due to their responsibility to fight the face battle, later on, they were all equipped with extendable spears and enhanced armors.
As we went close to the slope top, I made a gesture then immediately, dozens of giant fireballs made whipping sounds and flew into the air. As they made upward going curved trajectories, they started falling heavily to the leading enemy troops!
This was the signal. When the spell-powered fireballs were still flying in the air, on both sides of the road where the enemies were marching on, a myriad of turfs unrooted, countless war bows raised.
The fireballs went a little higher than expected. The enemy lead cried in alarm then their neat formation spread out instantly.
Avoiding was the most natural reaction anyone will have when faced with such a hostile situation. It was understandable.
“10 knots mark, fire!” A large voice echoed in the battlefield!
Moments later, I peeked from the slope top and just caught a glimpse of the enemy dodging the fireballs as well as two clouds of dark arrow rains flying toward them.
The soldiers behind me revealed the first row, then the second. Before the enemies saw the third row, the ri-bodkin-arrows that came from the two sides have already made their landings. The arrows that came down had 15 cm sharpened arrowheads, and the place they landed on was half-an-inch-thick standard metal armor.
The outer enemies were made into hedgehogs and fell in rows like reaping wheat. As bursts of blood erupted, metals crashing and falling echoed.
“10 knots mark, fire!” Dark arrows launched again and again, aiming the enemy’s both edges.
Screaming resounded as the men on the outer side tried to hide backward, and the inner men tried to stabilize the formation. I could even hear the enemy commander’s angry roaring at a mile away.
The enemy’s ability to cope with the emergency was not bad. Before the third wave of the arrows, their outer defense was deployed. Giant shields were raised while the whole fleet retreated slowly. The knight in the crowded middle was well protected.
“10 knots mark, fire!”
Once again, more enemies without shield protection were shot. Even they raised the shields; my 15 cm arrowheads were able to penetrate them. I had no clue of what will happen to the ones behind the shield; I know only that once the arrows from my side were sent away, the other end will see many casualties.
After several arrow rain landed, my opponents made a circled formation. Although it was ill-formed, I admired their quick reaction and soldier quality.
At this moment, I rode down the hill. A small half of my troops were already in the enemy’s sight. I made another gesture with my right hand, then dozens of green magic spheres immediately flew over!
This was the other signal.
When the green magic spheres were half way on their trajectories, a protective wide enchanted screen spread over the enemy’s head. The screen surface was even darker than black, a fearsome darkness.
Though my magic knowledge was lower than average, I knew this screen was the cumulative result of at least 50 mages. Among them, there must also be one or two arch-mages.
The green balls rushed and crashed on it, causing ripples to spread on the black screen, but it stayed intact, to my surprise.
They moved quickly, and a two-man tall shield wall was already established within such a limited time. And the wall looked sturdy.
But this was not my second wave of attack. My leading troops and magic attack were merely deriving their attention.
The real power of the second wave of attack was 500 sets of catapults.
These heavy-loaded wooden racks also located on the two sides. They were hidden in giant pits in front of the archer’s location. There were 5 soldiers to operate each catapult. Because we did not want longer fire range, the firing speed was at least two times faster than average catapults. For the enemies, the long-distance abrupt and sustainable fire was the most awful.
As I give my order, a cloud of tense rocks was sent into the sky, they rolled their sharp edges and corners and made their way down. The enemies would never expect I will ambush with catapults. The shield holders were stupefied once they saw the flying rocks.
The shields that raised were as fragile as paper compared with the solid bluestones. The stones claimed their first batch of victims in the outmost circle of the enemy crowd. Their shield, as well as the men who held the shields, were crashed. A considerable amount of stones even bounced into the inner enemy crowd after hitting the targets. No one escaped the wounded destiny once hit by the rocks.
My blood-stained stones traveled and made countless scarlet paths in the enemy lot. Harsh screams resounded.
Under such attacks, the enemy’s circle formation was near collapsing.
As several stones visited where the enemy mages located, their protective screen flashed twice, and its color started to dissipate.
Perhaps my personality decided my tactics. Even during a positional warfare, I would drain my enemies as far as I can before the big melee fight. As far as I can see now, they had only two choices: waiting for their doom or break through.
“All units!” I said, “Show down!”
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