Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he 6-month period of pre-war reconnaissance was followed by the Protoss/Asmodian War. Hence the Samgha Squadron’s missions have transformed into the even more dangerous on-battlefield investigation.
The mission(s) usually occurred once a day, sometimes 3 times a day. As long as there was a battle, Samgha had to mobilize before/at the time of the fight. Time and time again, Commander Anemia along with his rookie subordinates have crossed battlefields of tens of thousands of soldiers. Fire and blood have made them as tough as steel. Samgha was always able to bring the latest and the most accurate enemy information to their army headquarter.
They were on the edge of dying every time.
More death has been witnessed by the rookies: the death of the enemies, the death of friendly soldiers. At first, the corpses that overlaid like mountains have given the rookies a bit of a shock. Nevertheless, they were ignored later on. To look at Samgha at its current form: Fallen has seized blushing, Baham always bit his under-lip, Claypool has stopped giggling, Rut now had total control over his temper. The rookies’ looks were as emotionless as their Commander.
Speaking of Anemia, Ranger has gone for his CO’s companion, Major Mosa. Thus the rookies have finally gotten to know the origin of their commander’s nickname. Anemia was a barbarian, and a barbarian would turn extremely bloodthirsty in battles. The rookies freaked out. They thus had an explanation for their CO’s face color whenever he was on the battlefield.
Precisely because of Commander Anemia’s fearsome eager for blood and mightiness were the rookies able to make it back alive from the bloodstained battlefield.
As the warfare turned increasingly fearsome, the rookies gained dizziness for the conflict. Both of the alliances were engaging on the god-knows-how-long battleline. For some days, it was the AUF that dominated and pushed a few miles forward; days later, PUF will be regaining the initiative and kicking the AUF troops back. As a significant legion was shattered, countless more would go deeper into the Line. Uncounted soldiers marched toward the enemies, howling with pride; then they’d end up falling on the miry dirt that only blood was able to create.
There were a myriad of men that lost their lives in the filthy mud in every battle.
During the day, dense clouds of ri-bodkin-arrows and thrown-spears would dominate the sky. Gargoyle, their wings flapped, would toss many PUF soldiers down from the high sky, creating wretched shrills that were able to shatter any armies’ morale.
The nights saw splashy spells soaring the air. Magic spheres of all colors continuously hit on each opposing party’s protective spell-powered barriers. A single barrier breach would mean hundreds of deaths.
The Samgha member heard rumors yesterday that AUF’s 5th warzone has collapsed. A certain enemy legion utterly shattered it. Nevertheless, today’s rumors said the 3rd warzone was doing excellently because they’ve held an enemy senior officer captive. The rumors also included things like a certain general officer was doing his subordinate’s wife at a certain place.
“Leave those alone. Don’t take it seriously. And don’t gossip about it.” Anemia told the rookies, “Your first priority is to retain enough physical strength. Now rest.”
The rookies nodded then put themselves into beds. They’ve become numb because of the year’s cruelty. All of them have forgotten why they were here. No one listened to rumors any longer. In order to survive, the rookies have laid their dreams aside. As for the hometown, it was nothing but a word symbolizing a faraway place.
Days have passed, nobody dared to calculate the dates. The reason was simple: any moments further in this place were miserable, and the unforeseeable time left to go home will drive any men crazy.
As Samgha’s enemies have become tougher, the careful Ranger was the first to be injured during the chaotic battle. The rest rookies pulled Ranger back in the arrow rain. After Ranger had healed, Fallen, Rut, as well as Baham, were wounded in succession. Almost every rookie took turns to go to the physician’s site; then they rejoined their unit ahead of time like always. It was more comforting for them to stay with their brothers.
The only soothing part was that Samgha and the mage physicians were placed in the same camp.
The tense warfare has waived the vacation from each squadron. They don’t have time to say hello to each other like they used to. But whenever they meet, they would share a caring look or a casual word. It was enough and saffice.
Undoubtedly, the rookies have become brave and skillful fighters, and they’ve lived up to their names: Champions. But as the medals on their chests became heavier, so did their hearts. One thing that gratified Anemia most was: though all kept getting wounds, no rookie has died.
The battle went on and on as if the War will never end.
Days later, AUF went through a significant battle line migration. The Samgha Squadron has thrust into the PUF side of the Protoss/Asmodian Line along with other units.
Commander Anemia was tight in his words as he told his rookies that this might be the last battle. The Protoss United Forces may not be able to hold any longer. At the end of Anemia’s message, the rookies became so stressful that they started checking their weapons and armors.
This time, Samgha was not deployed for investigation any longer as they used to because they were faced directly at the PUF’s beast army camp. Sounds of beast roaring in the night wind would disturb anyone who intended to do anything.
“Get prepared. We can’t slack on tomorrow’s battle!” In the tent, Commander Anemia carefully examined everyone’s weapon in order not to neglect a single problem, “Once this battle is over, PUF would be left with nothing.”
“Sir, how can you be so sure?” Rut knocked on his shield with a finger, “Is the War really going to end once we shatter this enemy legion?”
“I have some information myself. And I deduced the above myself.” Anemia sat at the tent entrance, he said softly to the rest, “Think about it. How many enemies are in front of us? And how many have we killed? Besides those, how much supply do they have to support further?”
“Sir, according to your deduction, tomorrow’s enemies will be tougher, right?” Ranger raised his eyes at this moment, “They’re called the Beast Legion. Is it the legion that breached our defensive line last time?”
“Positive, it is the very PUF legion. They’re from the PUF Tansian special force who specializes in attack rather than defend.” Anemia nodded, “Last time, they were well supplied, and we’re under gank. This was how they exploited the advantage. But now, this army has been surrounded by us for days, and their supply lines have all been cut. So I assume their food may be running out soon.”
“Then we should let them starve to death…” Claypool cut in, “A half-starved man is even tougher to deal with.”
Scarlet who sat beside Claypool immediately slapped on his head, “And you think you’re the only one to think about that, smart ass? It’s time they come for us for the final fight.”
Ranger hinted Scarlet to stop slapping Claypool.
“Scarlet is right. But don’t you worry too much.” Anemia said, “For this battle, we’ve had many reinforcements including Scorpion Warriors, Strygwyrs and a massive amount of dark-robed mages. They will help to deal with the beast riders during the battle. As for us reconnaissance squadrons, the 30-ish of us are deployed to assist the heavy GIs in assaulting the enemy’s main camp. Thus we’ll be mobilizing on a large scale on the battlefield.”
“What about after we enter the camp?” Ranger asked, “Will we lead the attack?”
“As a whole, our mobility and flexibility excel the other units. If a friendly team encounters trouble, we’ll be there for them. Pay your extra attention to the enemy’s sentry towers.” Anemia told the rookies last, “And the most important thing is: don’t get lost. All of you must follow me closely.”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
“Get rested soon once you’re ready.” After Anemia had finished checking the weapons, he said, “I’ll take a look at tomorrow’s position in the commanding center.”
After Anemia had left, the rookies sunk into a moment of silence. Only the armors and weapons clacking sounds were there in the tent. Not long after, as all the equipment were checked and rechecked, each Samgha member’s dozens of belongings were placed neatly on their bed side.
“I’ve never seen Anemia this stressful.” Baham sipped his water bag, “I thought he’d never put on any pressure.”
“No matter how good he is, he’s just a normal Champion officer. He cannot predict the future. He could only train us harder in order to let us live.” Ranger sat quietly while he explained, “But in my opinion, it’s not the enemy that concerns him. A guy like Commander Anemia, he doesn’t give a damn about death.”
Edmond was lying on his bed. He sighed, “Just drop the subject and talk about something else.”
“Nope, we should let it all out.” Scarlet packed his medals and placed them into the package under his bed, “So once we’re on the battlefield tomorrow, we won’t be.”
“Hey, tell you what, I came to meet Maria this afternoon.” Claypool was pleased to brag, “She smiled at me and her robe was full of the wound’s blood.”
“You were there this afternoon?” Simon bounced from his bed, “Now I wanna go…”
“Save it.” Ranger said, “The whole camp is in a lockdown. No one can sneak around except for the officers and the supervisors.”
“Ranger, how many medals do you have?” Fallen counted on his bed, “I’ve got 4 tier 2s, and 17 tier 3s.”
“Not bad yourself. I have 2 tier-3s less.” Scarlet smiled, “You’re the one with the most medals in our squadron. Claypool, you smart ass. You’ve got the least. What’s on your mind?”
Claypool giggled and felt no shame.
“Actually, I’m already good myself. I have 2 tier-2s, 11 tier-3s. If I have to hang them all on my chest, how much space do all have to take? It takes 2 or 3 tier-3s for an average soldier to feel good about himself when going back home.” Having said that, Claypool stood up, “You know, I met a guy from my hometown in the commanding center. He was a duty officer for a general. He told me that once the War is over, an excelled squadron like ours will get a tier-2 medal for each. Once we’re retired, we’ll receive an extra tier-2. So when I go home, I’ll be granted a large piece of land and a decent job…”
“Now I get it. You don’t wanna be a soldier; you just want money” Scarlet said, “You’re the worst, Claypool!”
“Whatever, I’m just too afraid of being poor.” Claypool spared his hands, “I couldn’t even feed myself before joining the army.”
“You’ll be a corrupted one, I’m sure.” Ranger laughed and stood up. He turned to Ranger, “Stay here. I’ll check out the commander.”
“Off you go. Keep your ass in the camp. Get back soon!” Having said that, Scarlet told the rest of the men, “Stop thinking anything about the future, think about tomorrow. Watch our yourselves. Take care of your brothers. Follow our commander. I don’t want anyone of you dead. And if you so much as to lose a single brother on your watch, I’ll beat your crap out!”
Ranger laughed and exited the tent.
Not long after Ranger was out of the tent, he saw Anemia going into the camp gate along with a bunch of other officers. Anemia’s tall figure was easy to recognize in the darkness.
Ranger strode forward to inquire. Anemia nodded at him and eased his tone, “Our position is not too bad. We’re placed between the 2nd ladder and the 3rd. How are the team doing?”
“They’re a bit stressful. Scarlet is talking them through.” Ranger said with a smile, “But Scarlet is not doing so good himself, in my opinion.”
“Me? Sir, I’m just a rookie. How could I not be stressful.” Ranger grinned, “What about you, sir? Are you?”
“Sure I do. Anyone here is under stress.” Anemia stood himself by a hitching post, “The officers have soured their throats in the pavilion. The corps, I can’t even imagine.”
Ranger looked around then asked Anemia with a lowered tone, “Will tomorrow’s battle go well?”
“We’re in a dominant position in both manpower and morale, which are not what I’m concerning.” Like always, Anemia did not reprove Ranger’s possible morale-shaking comment, “You know it, we have a team of 500 reconnaissance soldiers, more than 30 recon squadrons. Some of them have died, some have lost more than half of their men for a single mission. Save for us, Samgha hasn’t lost a single member since the start of the War. And tomorrow will be our last. I intend to keep it that way. Zero death in my squadron, this is my sole purpose in this War.”
Anemia’s words shocked Anemia greatly, “Your only purpose is… like this?”
“You think I want to serve 2 Wars? Isn’t enough to just go through the last War?” Anemia said with a tone of apathy, “My disposition forbids me to be an officer. But after the last War, I was the only one left in Samgha. If I left, Samgha’s banner, which was crowned and honored by so many friends’ and brothers’ blood would be abolished. The name which I was once proud of will no longer exist. This was why I chose to stay.”
Ranger chose to stay silent.
“You know why I chose you guys during the draft?” Anemia suddenly asked.
“How could I know?” Ranger answered with a bitter smile, “Either way, we’re prickheads.”
“Indeed, you’re all pricks. So it would be a shame for you to be on other troops.” Anemia glanced at the dark sky, “My CO was a clever guy. He died right in my arms on a mission. During that time, I was the only one that lived in Samgha. He told me at that moment that if I want an excellent team, I’ll have to let the smart to train the dumb ones, then let the dumb to train the smart asses. Prickheads as our current members are, you all are pretty smart as far as I can tell.”
“Sir, we do not consider that you’re not smart.”
“That’s not important. What matters is that after this War, I will go back to my country life. By then, Samgha will be needing a new commander, which will be nominated among you new people.”
“Sir, I know what you meant.” Ranger scratched his head, “But who among us is worthy enough?”
“Anyone of you is worthy. Judging by your current capabilities, either one of you is able to lead a team. Let alone you’ll have 20 years to learn after this War.” Anemia said firmly, “All rest on tomorrow’s last battle. If I’m right, I can give the future Samgha a dozen qualified officer, which is a fulfillment of the promise I made to my CO.”
“Sir, I can’t but admire your simple cause.” Ranger sighed, “You always tell us to put away our dreams.”
“Never mind. Follow me to the supply to claim a few suits of armor. Fallen and Rut’s need replacing.” Anemia tilted his head, “I’ll talk with the team later on.”
By the time the two carried the armors back to the tent, Scarlet was still edifying the crowd with his own unique kind of way.
“For tomorrow’s battle, I only have a few things to say. This is our first hardcore battle. It looks like the HQ wanna take them down for good by pulling out everything we’ve got.” Anemia tossed the armors on the ground and said straightforwardly, “This will also be our last battle, it might as well be the toughest one. We’re all gotta risk our lives out there. Just face it.”
“Sir, we’re not afraid.”
“Piss off! You think? I’ve been there, and I’ve been a soldier.” Anemia scolded, “Mark my words, once you’re on the field, you’re already dead!”
This chapter was originally published on Wuxianation, any despicable reposts or copies without proper citings are strictly prohibited.