Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly, contributing editor: Tana N
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[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s the pikemen in the front row fell one by one, my heart felt as if a knife were being twisted in it.
“Axemen!” My harsh yelling echoed on the battlefield, “Kill them!”
I must have reddened my eyes because I’ve never been able to not help my men from being killed. I was the supreme commander, and my job was to command the army instead of rushing to engage in fights. Even my orders given were passed on by my orderly.
Behind the pikemen were teams of axemen and armored soldiers. Once they heard my order, the first axemen immediately yelled and tossed their axes!
Faced with the spinning axes, the red warriors behind the pikemen were forced to stop killing and choose to block the approaching axes with their paired blades instead.
I was glad my soldiers have finished their full set of training before the war. The pikemen utilized the short period of time to draw their distance away from the red warriors.
The front spears also pulled, then several silver spearheads thrust together. Thus the red warriors were forced back several steps.
The axemen commander yelled harshly while waving his saber, “FIRE!”
“FIRE” Another round of axes were tossed and they were more accurate than the last round.
“KILL!” Behind the axemen were soldiers with extended blades. Thus they rushed forward, split the red warriors into individuals and surrounded them.
The axemen continued tossing their metals. They couldn’t be less careful about throwing the metal blades to their side of the men. Because they won’t by nature.
When designing the axe, both the dwarf Grandmaster and I have taken such a chaotic combat situation into consideration. The Grandmaster himself made the most fitting adjustments to the axe weight and blade in order to make the axes match my soldiers’ armor. As for me, I implemented rigorous training to my axemen.
Under such a tangled warfare, the axe throwers knew how much strength he should use to send the axes and how fast he should make the axe spin to make the blades cut through the red warriors without too much effort and to avoid harming friendly soldiers at the same time.
At this moment, the pikemen commanders all gave the same order, “STRIKE!”
“STRIKE! STRIKE! STRIKE!” The pikemen yelled. They stopped keeping their formation. Instead, the front pikemen stayed put to continue fighting the red warriors whereas the pikemen on the side and back formed circles surrounding the red warriors firmly inside.
The rest of the pikemen just regrouped and prepared to deal with the enemy’s following troops: those who almost all killed by arrows before reaching us.
The red warriors already had their hands full due to the sudden axe attack. Then after being able to stabilize themselves after the two volleys of flying axes, they were surrounded by dozens of soldiers with blades or spears. And the encirclement was very tense. Their roundabout were all shiny swords and spears without any space to move.
Perhaps they chose not to wear any heavy armor to allow quick movement.
After the encirclement has deprived them of their precious space to dodge and defend, they were no longer able to manipulate their uncanny movements. When they’ve lost their nimble advantage, they were even no better than an ordinary infantry soldier.
“KILL!” Many red-eyed soldiers hatefully yelled.
The pikemen tightly sent their spearheads into the red warriors’ bodies then, teeth clenched, they twisted the spear body several times. Afterwards, they drew their spears and thrust again. Finally, several pikemen worked together to raise the bloodied body and tossed it out of the encirclement!
Although the bruised red warriors were not dead yet, they were disabled. My pikemen all aimed their lethal parts or major body joints. If anyone were to compete on the human body knowledge, my soldiers were even better than the best shamans!
As the red warriors were tossed out one by one, some of them were already dissected even before they landed. The lucky ones who made their successful fall were smashed into meat paste before the dust went out.
My soldiers were not perverts because every one of them knew the legend about an Asmodian dark mage’s ability to revive the dead.
An IGT soldier brought my horse. I mounted and continued following the battlefield.
After all the red warriors were put down, the pikemen tangled with the enemy infantries. Thus all of our soldiers went in to fight.
My mage squadron started chanting thus an enormous protective screen began to show above the battlefield. The screen shrouded the entire sum of both enemies and my soldiers. We were in absolute advantage now. God knows whether the AUF troops will use large scale magic to start a slaughter.
Under the colorful magic screen, soldiers from both sides were fighting furiously.
My soldiers were well trained. Their commander-soldier cooperation was excellent. As the officer orders, the soldiers will shout to reply. They worked together like a hot-running machine.
The soldiers will step forward each time they yell. Each step causing many blood-stained bodies to fall among the enemy crowd.
After some time, all the enemies have fallen. Although they acted tough, their entire battle front was destroyed. Currently, my soldiers were dispersing and chasing the remaining enemies.
Like the last battle, no enemy surrendered.
I was not surprised about their tough style. It was a vanguard troop after all.
Other than having excellent speed and agility, an excellent vanguard must also possess a strong will.
If they were not strong willed, once they were captured and tortured, all the useful information would leak.
Before this battle, I had not anticipated their vanguard. Actually, I not only made the best choice for the ambush location but also attacked them with twice the soldiers.
If it weren’t for those red warriors, it would have been a successful ambush.
Speaking of which, I recalled the red warriors’ uncanny movements and their wicked long saber!
They must be something weird with those weapons. I left the battlefield and brought a team of elf warlocks to investigate the place where the red warriors were killed. I wanted to know the exact details about those warriors.
The ground was a big mess with body parts of my soldiers and the red warriors scattered about. The warlocks, one after another, picked the red warrior’s gears to examine.
“How about it?” I asked loudly, “Can you identify them?”
“Give us a moment, Lord Cohen.” A leader grand elf turned to me and pulled off her hood, “We need some time.”
“Okay, I’ll wait.” I nodded to reply, but I can’t be patient any longer. If those red warriors’ identity and background cannot come clear sooner, my plans might be disrupted.
The grand elf fetched a long blade, she raised it to the sun and observed for a long while. Then, she held the blade and closed her eyes. Her fingers emitted white light then she touched the blade body gently. After, she gathered a few other elves and whispered.
“Lord Cohen,” The grand elf’s eyes moved onto mine, and I could see the anxiety in hers, “I think, we’ve found out what they are.”
“What are they?”
“Sco… scorpion warrior?” I frowned, “What the hell is that?”
“A Scorpion warrior is a type of AUF soldier which is relatively small in number. They’re particularly special.” The grand elf told me, “In fact, we’ve never seen one before. We only drew the conclusion from their weapons.”
“Continue.” I hinted her to follow.
“The Scorpion Warriors’ sole purpose is to assassinate. They’re selected among human beings instead of from other races. The selected will have to experience grim training since the age of 5. Once they finish the training, they will have incredibly quick movement, especially within short range. As for their weapons,” The grand elf raised the long saber, “the blade is poisoned.”
“No only poison, it is enchanted with curses by a Dark Temple magister.”
The grand elf said slowly, “The truth is, many of our soldiers had only scratch wound during the battle. But only a scratch by this kind of weapon will cause them to be paralyzed by the enchanted spell, and the poison on the blade will also take effect.
“What?” I immediately dismounted and dashed to a soldier’s dead body. I took a close look at this pikeman’s wound.
The elf was right, the only wound on the pikeman’s body was a cut through his glove. The wound was black and shallow. No blood could be seen on it. When I lifted his helmet, his entire face has turned black.
“My soldiers all died from poison?” I looked around.
“Indeed, Lord Cohen. You must burn these corpses quickly.” The grand elf approached and said, “We’re not sure what will happen if we don’t.”
“Have some rest, you!” I nodded and told my duty officer, “Count the casualties, clear the battlefield!”
When the dead soldiers were put onto firewood, the casualty checking was done.
I lost nearly 2, 000 soldiers in this battle. Among which, 1, 200 were killed by Scorpion Warriors!
This was to say, despite the ones killed by arrows, each Scorpion Warrior who reached my formation killed at least 8 soldiers! If I didn’t have many axemen, or if it weren’t for my well-trained soldiers, the casualties would be doubled!
To fight a weak presence of 100 Scorpion Warriors, I’ve deployed my IGTs, the most powerful and combat effective Imperial Guarding Troop, my elites!
I received such grave casualties with such a huge advantage. I should call myself a loser in this battle.
We lit the wood under the dead brothers. I watched the raging flames, raised my right hand and made a solemn salute.
Rest in peace, my soldiers. You will always be the best. I will avenge you with the enemy’s blood!
I cannot fight enemies like these. So I made my mind and told my officers, “Fall back, ASAP!”
A day later, my rear guarding troops have reached the P/A Line. Though we marched quickly, an army of AUF riders caught us near the grand canyon.
It was a full-sized light cavalry. But they did not initiate an attack immediately. Instead, they divided into three teams and followed us casually to where we were heading.
I tried to stop and initiate a pretended attack, but they refused to fight!
When I stopped, they stopped; if I attack them, they ran. I cannot expect my soldiers to outrun horses.
What was their intention? If I had 30, 000 more soldiers, usually I will attack! How could they just follow me as if they were just monitoring me?
Their act was suspicious, so I had to be vigilant on the way. In the meantime, I repeated to myself, “Steady, as long as we reach the grand canyon, everything will be fine!”
I tried everything I could and utilized every of my brain cells.
Two days later, after enduring the hardship of a long march, we’ve reached the perimeter of the grand canyon. We saw a small clay city at the canyon entrance. We were only one step away from the dangerous situation.
After entering the clay city, I found that the vanguard did not do as I have ordered. My order was to let them enter the canyon save for some outpost troops.
In the city, soldiers filled virtually all visual space on the street. They’ve just arrived. In other words, the rear guarding troops under my command marched very fast. We’ve almost caught up with my leading forces.
“Why on earth haven’t you enter the canyon?” I grabbed an officer.
“Sir, it’s the Staff Chief’s order!” The officer replied, “He ordered us to layout defense and stand by!”
“Mother fucker!” I cursed. Then I gave my orders to prepare to enter the canyon. The army behind us was too close. They could be here in any minutes.
I hurried into the commanding center and found Carlos.
“Why the fuck haven’t you enter the canyon?!” I caught Carlos and slapped his face, “The enemies are here already!”
“Sir… you’d better take a look on the wall.” Carlos, who had a map in his hand, said with reddened eyes, “We can’t go in at all!”
“No matter what, they cannot stop me!” I rushed onto the wall then I was instantly stunned.
The clay city was built by refugees to protect them from local bandits. It was about 7, 8 miles from the canyon entrance. Two flat and ugly walls connected the forests and swamps beside the canyon. The city has encircled the canyon entrance, which resembled a giant ‘Y’.
And now, from down the wall to the canyon entrance, the big Y was filled with a massive amount of refugees. I looked through and what were in my eyes were creeping flows of people of virtually all races. There were at least several ten thousand!
“You mother…” I was powerless and slumped on the wall, “I’m so dead…”
“Sir, the number of refugees is beyond control.” Carlos approached and said, “We cannot force to enter. We cannot even stand formation now.”
“Where are those people coming from?” I could not believe what I saw and shook my head, “How and where on earth came so many refugees?”
“The War has spread to the entire P/A Line except for here. Some of them even came from as far as the border of Teferra. Their families traveled through mountains. The scouts I sent 2 days ago didn’t even discover them. An hour before we tried to enter the clay city we found massive refugees here. There were more of them a dozen miles further.”
Carlos said quietly, “I didn’t foresee this. It’s my fault!”
“It’s not yours. Driving them here is AUF’s trap.” I said slowly, “Remember how we took advantage of the refugees in Camp? What a bunch of fucking fast learners!”
“Can we expel them?” Carlos asked, “Expel them to let us pass first?”
“No chance. The enemies are here and driving thousands of people is not an easy job.”
I shook my head and said, “If we expel them the hard way… most of our soldiers come from the Line, they might have family members among the refugees. If we go tough on them, once the soldiers mutiny, then we’re screwed.”
“Then what do we do?”
“What else can we do?” I spat on the ground, “We’ve fallen into a trap. It’s time to fight for real!”
At this moment, an officer came to the wall, “Sir, the enemies are here!”
“Prepare to fight! My fault to slap you, Carlos…” I whipped my uniform and rose, “But don’t expect me to apologize. If I have the chance, I’ll let you slap me back!”
“Ah, sir… you don’t have to…”
“Send my order, all units, enter the clay city and layout defense!” While Carlos was stammering, I strode down the wall, “Construct a stronghold and make traps! I’m going to kill those AUF bastards!”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
“Summon my officers!” I roared, “The meeting is on the wall!”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
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