AOHNG CHAPTER 46: GRAND STRATEGY

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The winds rustle bringing a serenity sound to the ground, swaying the tall grass and the leaves of the trees and the man snow white hair was blowing elegantly, his gaze was determined and his expression was calm.

He smiles with confidence before looking back, fifty thousand men ready to follow him into battle.

Looking upwards, he saw the clouds moving in haste.

Arial looked in front of him and his blue eyes gleamed. He was sitting on horseback like most of his soldiers.

He has fifty thousand men on his back, the banner of his House proudly stand there on the air fluttering.

A dragon sitting on a mountain while it’s left hand is holding a shining pearl.

The tribes have no bannermen so he created his own bannermen. In the Empire to hold the banner of the Emperor was considered an honor.

There is also the sense in instilling unity. They are not Saranites. Not of Ragran. Not of Arakian, not of Negevians, not of the Thirteen Tribes.

They are his men, his soldiers. Their tribe leader is Arial and their banners are the Dragon.

The Thirteen Tribes people have always been divided but under him they were united.

Wind blows by Arial face as he closes his eyes before opening them back. In front of him he could see Balhae, a walled city.

Beside him is Ragar eagerly looking at the city wall that is afar with anticipation and excitement.

Behind his back was a bow. Ragar always follows Arial into battle using his bow to suport Arial rear when he went charging.

The winds blows again.

They are waiting. Waiting for all their armies to assemble upon this hill.  The rear on the other hand is protecting their animals.

The rear consisted mainly of noncombatant units but people who follow Arial lead.

There are camels, oxen and cows, sheep, goats, and horses, resources and livestock of the people.

Saranites on the other hand were very proud of their horses, and they rode them with great courage and spirit through the land.

Vernium, one of the Three Kingdoms was unlike the other Three Kingdoms. It has large mountain, thick forest, deep abyss and city encased in stone mountains.

It was only on Wyld region that there is a large Plain where the use of the riding beast Saranites tribesmen ability could be effectively shown.

The other three Kingdoms are mostly Plains with some Hills but nothing is as hard to conquer as Vernium.

With Mountains acting as natural barrier and city high on a Mountain, Vernium Capital City Arqua boasts a strong defensibility.

But it is also because of this their Kingdom ability to fight in an open battle diminished since they were used to fight in a defensive battle.

It was because of that Arial cavalry who were already mounted and excited to start war was put in the back.

Arial looted and robbed many caravans and forced them under him and as such he got sufficient weapons and horses.

His blacksmiths, fletcher’s and armorer produces bows, arrows, pikes, spears, sword and sabre.

But iron is scarce and Arial army is not all armed in perfect condition.

If this was the Empire, Arial would have fitted them all with armours and when they ride through the Plains, the Plains itself will shake with the trampling of his cavalry.

The moment when Arial went out of the forest, he takes over Leavenhill the closest town to Balhae.

He attacks with precise and lightning speed.

Then he took over the many towns surrounding Leavenhill, the village and its people put under his command.

The young was recruited, the old, woman and children were left alone and were to produce resources.

With fifty thousand bloodthirsty warriors behind his back what could these small towns and village do other than bend their knee and swear fealty.

Arial noted the confusion and bewilderment of the natives of the Thirteen Tribe when they were to kneel and speak the Oath of Fealty.

This is because the Thirteen Tribe usual act of conduct in the war is to conquer and turn the defeated to slave but this did not sit well with Arial belief.

To him as a Caelum race, Levitia has broken the bondage of slaves a long time ago in the Human Continent and as such he will not turn people to slave.

‘My lord’ Ragar words make Arial focus on his current situation. The wind is blowing westward and it created a cool atmosphere.

‘What?’

‘The scouts of Balhae have spotted us. One of the scouts we send has been found out. Should I organize a squad to protect my lord?’

‘There will be no need’ Arial said waving his hand.

‘Send a message to the back to hasten their moves. When about ten thousand of our troops are ready, we will take the city. The other forty thousand will act as reinforcement and could support us from the back. Protect the rear. I heard there is a group of fifty thousand soldier led by two men is on our back and are approaching.’

Ragar nodded. And he notices something when his lord talks about protecting the rear remembering that unconscious woman in the back

When they were at the forest Lord Arial after finding a woman in a forests send a  scout to search the forest to any reason why the woman could fall down there and was wary of enemies hiding in the forest preparing for an ambush.

Lord Arial treated this woman extremely well, and there is a moving tent reserved primarily for her with a Healer taking care over her and armed guard posted around her.

But Ragar always noted the complicated expression of Lord Arial whenever he exited the tent of that woman.

On the other hand, the scouts did not find anything in the forest but the scouts did found something else.

One night when the scouts was resting on a nearby Hill he noticed large fires from afar, smoke billowing.

With the moon shining bright he could see the smokes and the scout believes the amount of smokes indicates a large amount of people congregating in that area.

The scout noticed the fire comes from the west a bit farther from Arial army location but is slowly approaching their group.

Sending this intelligence to Ragar, Arial dispatched scouts to his rear and found out there is a group of fifty thousand men armed to the teeth and is marching the same route that Arial is marching towards.

It is why Arial had to hasten his move and to take Balhae as fast as possible. The worst case scenario would be them fighting in the forest.

Arial had many experiences in fighting pitched battle and even in the Plains but fighting in a forest with his army, this is something new for him.

Pitched battle was usually the kinds of battle in Human Continent.

He even familiarizes himself with siege battle during his Conquest of the Human Continent.

In Anvali he worked under the Orc King as his General and was gifted the glaive of the Orc King.

Even now, he remains a good friend of the King Koer Vor, the King of the Orcs and Arrandians trading with them is strong and the relationship between the Orchish land and Eden is extremely amiable with the King sending gifts and Arial reciprocated every New Year.

But forest battle?

He never led his army into a battle in a forest, in fact he usually avoid fighting battle in the forest if he is leading an army.

Arial empire possessed a large cavalry even more so after he conquered Vangua and brought the other kingdoms to heels.

His infantry is also the largest.

In an open field his cavalry would crush any enemy of the emperor underfoot.

In a large pitched battle his foot soldiers could overwhelm the enemy with just simple quantity.

But Arial never fought in a large forest and as such he knew that he had to hasten his soldiers.

He went out of the forest to avoid falling into battle with that group in a forest.

He takes Leavenhill and the towns surrounding it because he fears the fifty thousand armed men on his rear would take it and cut his supplies.

Arial of all commanders understood the importance of supply lines and resources. His enemies are not only external enemies but also internal enemies.

An external enemy is like the other tribes and enemies that wanted to absorb his army. His internal threat is his own army.

Fifty thousand men under his command also mean fifty thousand stomachs to fill. Without food how could they march?

Without food how could they wage war and fought battles?

This is why Arial take over those towns and gifted noble status to those that bend their knees.

The Thirteen Tribes outside of the Shadowlands is not accustomed to swearing Oath of Fealty and bending the knee but the people inside the Shadowlands is familiar since they themselves have a nobility system.

Arial also noticed that their name is different in that they have Asterosi sounded names and even Eastian sounded name.

Most people of the Thirteen Tribes take the character of the name of their tribes to put it in front of their name like Ragar who comes from Ragran.

Gifting the nobles status would incentivized the noble he enfeoff to guard the village as Arial promised them ownership of the land and the village.

Those towns before were ruled by Vernium and the people in those towns are merely administrator of their will but Arial enfeoff them under him.

Ragar questioned him saying they should just loot every house and take every food but Arial objected.

There is a reason why Arial is the Emperor of Eden and why he is called the Conqueror. Arial did not want to rule a graveyard.

The success he accumulated was because of his grand strategy.

People forgot that the Emperor of Eden was not only powerful in battle but a military genius in deploying soldiers and dictating the course of war.

But what makes him the wealthiest monarch in the world was not the result of him sacking Kingdoms and burning cities.

His performance could not be understood without reference to his performance at the grand strategic level.

When Arial first set out his conquest he not only wanted to exact revenge, but he has an expansive goals.

He wanted to unify the large Human Continent into one entity under his rule. He wanted the Kingdoms to bow to his feet and all dominion under the sky becomes his.

Silas commented: to unify the land; the amount of blood that needs to be shed would be enormous and staggering.

And it was true. But it was also true, that the Emperor ushered in a new era of peace and prosperity unmatched even by the Kings and Emperors of the past.

With such goal, Arial could not solely rely upon naked military prowess. One of the most important is the limit of force.

War itself does not produce lasting outcomes.

There are many conquerors that failed to turn military victories into lasting political outcomes.

Where past conquerors had struggled, Arial excelled. At the time when he started his Conquest he has relatively limited forces at his disposal.

Although his forces grew over time he attacked Cori with only fifty thousand men.

With the Church providing Cori with mercenaries from across the Sea Arial could not hope to conquer and hold the Kingdom at the end of his sword.

To any large cities he conquered he leaves garrison forces to maintain security in his conquered dominion.

This has caused his resources to be severely tested, even to a breaking point if any number of provinces rebelled simultaneously.

Had a rebellion occur almost common throughout the empire, Arial conquest would certainly have taken longer, been more costly and perhaps he would have eventually failed.

So, this is why to those kingdoms he conquered Arial made it the objective of this kingdoms to be developed leaving his trusted lords to oversee the Kingdoms.

Cities were designed to foster economic, social and political development,

Arial larger aim is to establish a durable empire, constructed from an amalgam of Caelum and Arrandian elements.

Arial as a genius conqueror of his time, deified by his own people as a Deity of War often saw the advantage of winning over potential enemies to serve his interest.

This is the reason why Arial did not raped the kingdoms of its riches.

The exception to this policy was Zettel where Arial sacked, burned, razed and slaughter the Kingdom until it has no ability to fight or even to stand back up.

Other than Zettel, all the other kingdoms were developed and grew exponentially after the Conquest War ended.

Arial absorb their resources, their knowledge and their expertise, their forces into his own making him extremely wealthy and powerful.

The Emperor was so feared and revered that none of the noble lords under his rule dares to object his will once he decided.

The slowly diminishing power of nobles and their reliance on the Empire and Emperor has ensured that the Imperial Family possesses the most power in all of Human Continent.

Arial hands could be felt in every reaches of the Human Continent.

When Arial attack Zettel his forces consisted of Corians, Freyans and of Vernian. Arial integrated the people of his Empire excluding only Zettelian.

And as Ragar went to relay his order Arial look at the walled city and his eyes is looking further than just a single city.

To conquer this large Kingdom is not impossible but with any of his conquest he also had the desire to add the New World to his Empire.

The riches of this New World could be used to enrich his Empire and its people and at the same time will be used to develop this New World.

If he did this, Arial doubt anyone else would match his achievements in annals of history. To conquered two continents…..this has never been done or attempted before.

But if he managed to do it, his empire would truly last for a thousand year.

Stability that is what he wanted right now. The Thirteen Tribes did not understand this concept.

They do not understand the concept of destroying your enemies until there have no roots.

The Thirteen Tribes believes that even if they win in a war, the Thirteen Tribes must not destroy any of the Thirteen Tribe until its last man because that would make the Thirteen Tribe Twelve Tribes and that is a sacrilege and blasphemy toward their Gods.

Arial will not try to pretend to understand the many idiosyncrasies of the Thirteen Tribes or their belief but maybe it is because of that reason the Thirteen Tribes have managed to survive in this land for thousands of years.

But he found hope in Ragar. Unlike his brethren Ragar was exposed to other cultures and could be taught.

That is why Arial explained his thoughts to Ragar on why he forbade his troops from looting the areas in which they would operate.

Before they were wandering, so such acts could be done.

But now if they were to establish a base here in Vernium, Arial noted the importance of stability and development.

It takes an hour for ten thousand men to be at ready with the other is marching slowly while the riders guarding the rear.

Uncertainty and the fact there is another group with large army behind them added mental pressure to these men that is about to cross these Hill and met their enemies.

Even though Leavenhill produces food and resources for them, it was only a matter of time before that group behind them caught up.

From the report they carried many foods and resources while Arial and his army is slowly depleting their resources.

After the constant battle and also allowing the civilian to join them, their resources needed to be replenished.

They had endured great hardship and privations, were not properly armed. It is of vital importance that they take over Balhae and replenish themselves.

But the people following Arial were loyal. Their etiquette and code of conduct differ greatly with the people of the Human Continent.

Once they acknowledge someone as their chief, as their leader they obey almost religiously.

There is also the fact that Arial lived familiarly with his soldiers, participated in their hardships and privations, and redressed many of their grievances.

Arial sitting on horseback urge his horse to move forward as he rides to the left and right of his army looking at their faces, destitute, discontent and disheartened.

The journey from the Walls of Repentance, through the forest fighting the Darkly Things and now a battle has sapped these men of their vigour, energy and vitality.

Then Arial shouted his voice shakes the wind and jolted each one of his soldiers awake.

‘My brave soldiers!’ He shouted and in his voice was a passion and confidence. His eyes show a flaming confidence of his victory.

Arial knows that if he takes over Balhae the worst is over. He could arm his soldiers, fitted their horses, replenish their food resources.

‘If we are victorious, the provisions and the supplies of the enemy become ours; if we are vanquished, we have already too much to lose’ endeavoring to revive their spirits

Balhae has sixty thousand men, a greatly superior force, equipped with supplies and occupied advantageous position.

Then he sauntered across his soldiers with each soldiers giving him way.

‘I come to lead you to our salvation. From Balhae I could lead you all to the most fertile plains the sun shines upon. Rich provinces and great cities will soon be in your power; there you will reap riches and glory—they will be at your disposal. Fellow soldier! Fellow brothers in arms! With such a prospect before you, can you fail in courage and perseverance?’

No man ever understood how to excite emulation, by distributing praise or blame, as did Arial.

He convinced the Caelum lords to assist him in the War of Succession. Entice the Caelum noble to conquer Vangua.

Each of his speeches to his men, none of them fail to incite them to war.

The ascendancy possessed by Arial over the minds and courage of the soldiery was truly incomprehensible.

A word, a gesture, was sufficient to inspire them with enthusiasm, and make them face the most terrible ordeals.

If ordered to rush to a point, although the extreme danger of the maneuver might at first strike the good sense of the soldiers, they immediately reflected that their general would not have issued such a command without a motive, or have exposed them wantonly.

“He knows what he is about,” they would say, and immediately rush on to death, uttering shouts of

“Long live the Emperor!”

This was the fanaticism of the Hall of War in Eden and as such, this kind of fanaticism was also encouraged in Arial army here in the Three Kingdoms.

And this fanaticism is even more prevalent here.

The Thirteen Tribes look upon Arial as their saviors and their code of honor dictates for them to repay such favor.

He was an eloquent speaker and knows what words to say to stoke the hearts of men.

And as he sauntered across his men, looking at their face Arial smiles as their vigour returns and their energy soared, their passion restored.

This was Arial first address to the army of the New World. He has slowly changed and improves unity on his army without them caring for their tribes.

Arial did not want a tribal community.

He dreamed of an empire united by one national identity. Edenian, regardless of place of birth and race.

First and foremost Edenian.

The words of encouragement which he gave them shot martial enthusiasm through their veins like blaring fire.

Arial then rides back to the front and looking at Balhae in the distance. Ragar also rides to the front, valiant in disposition riding beside Arial.

All the soldiers could see that reliable back of their commander and they could not help but felt confidence.

They will win this battle, and they would bring down rich provinces and great cities under their steel. They will reap riches and glory, fame everlasting

How could they cower in fear….especially now at the precipice of battle? Arial no longer talk to his men.

His speech has ended.

The reasons he no longer speaks because there was nothing else that needs to be spoken.

Proficient in gauging the hearts of his army, Arial knew that sometimes lengthy words aren’t necessarily better.

Sometimes simple words are enough as long as it is impactful.

Arial was determined and he eminently possessed the power of calculation and combination necessary to exercise these decisive maneuvers.

In defiance of the established rules of warfare and what distinguished him above all his contemporaries was his ability to convert the most unfavorable circumstances into the means of success.

Arial then rides his horse to one of the caravans and he lifted this heavy glaive and swing it and with his swing the sound of wind whooshing and cracked could be heard.

Nodding as he was satisfied with something, he tightened the reins of his horse and kick his horse forward, riding down the Hill.

The soldiers behind him wanted to follow but Ragar shouted.

‘Follow slowly. Our Lord will have the first kill! Charge when you are ordered. Do not forget your training!’ His voice reverberated loud and clear and all ten thousand men responded by yelling an affirmative

‘AYE!’ The voice pierced the clouds.

Rumbles of people marching down the Hill turns the calm and beautiful hill full of dust, the sky becomes gray and bloodlust filled the land.

It was suffocating and terrifying. The killing intent was like a sharp blade ready to slice its enemies.

They were like hungry wolves. The promise of their Lord resounds once again in their ears.

The most fertile plains the sun shines upon. Rich provinces and many cities under their feet.

Glory, riches and fame.

All of this word turns the previously impassioned soldiers into a sharp blade. Arial scoffed as he looks upon that Wall.

Walls were not an obstacle for him as he could just jump inside. He remembers when he participated in the Orc Civil War.

He jumps to the castle walls, terrorized the battlements on top of the walls, and opens the castle gate, and then with a rush, they managed to slaughter all those inside the castle.

This kind of prowess and martial ability can only be achieved by a person like Arial. This is a new kind of threat for the people of the Three Kingdoms.

Rarely there are people who master martial arts are also a general of a large army.

This also marked a new era of warfare in the Three Kingdoms as they have never saw this kind of ability before.

For Vernium Kingdom, Arial martial ability to disregard the Walls is like pitting Vernium with their weakness.

If any other kingdoms were to be pitted with Arial they would at least have a chance by pitting Arial in an open field where they could use maneuvers in a cavalry or formations.

But for Vernium, who excel in turtling up inside their castle walls, the moment Arial breach their walls and open the door from inside they would be caught unaware.

Arial has planned this move of his before he even reached Balhae. However this move has one weakness.

If they could take out Arial before he managed to opens the gates, then Arial forces could never take Balhae.

This tactic relies solely in Arial ability.

If Arial failed he will be besieged by the whole city.

But if he succeeds by opening the gates, his troops with their rapidity of motion should utterly surprise the superior number of his adversaries.

He could then concentrate the entire energy of a small force upon some point of a much greater force and thus defeat them.

This is also the reason why he with limited force managed to brought the other Kingdoms in Human Continent under his command.

To conquer the Kingdoms the established rules of etiquette and strategy were abandoned by him.

It was only by such rapidity of motion as should utterly surprise the superior numbers of his adversaries that he could hope to concentrate the entire energy of a small force, such as he commanded, upon some point of a much greater force, and thus defeat them.

Every movement should be made with celerity, and every blow be leveled where it was least expected.

Arial rides down the Hills, his horse slowly galloping closer to the city wall, behind him Ragar follow him his bow was at the ready and arrows are at his bowstring ready to be unleashed.

STOP! A voice yelled as Arial reaches only three hundred paces from the city gates, thousands of bows aimed at him, suspicious eyes look down on him from the battlements.

Longbows were also aimed at him. The garrison is alert

Arial look toward the man yelling for him to stop, standing there imperiously on top of the castle battlement, his cape fluttered wildly due to the strong wind.

It was a man of sturdy build with red beard and long red hair that come out from the back part of his helmet.

He was wearing shining armour of silver with a black cape on his back and he is also wearing a helmet covering his top part of the head.

‘Balhae does not permit anyone to enter. Return to where you came’ the man shouted, his face was unwelcoming and full of wariness.

Arial snorted and then he laughed.

Then he pointed to the people beyond the Hill. He then shouted

‘Surrender this city to me and no one has to die!’

‘This belongs to the Vernium Royal Family’ the red hair man knows that this people are from outside the Shadowlands since and knows they have no intention of reconciling with them.

He sent scouts and got intelligence confirming that this band of people has conquered almost everything surrounding Leavenhill.

Now that they came here there is only one objective.

The Great War has begun as the darkness in the Three Kingdom is thinning and the people from Beyond the Godstree has now comes.

The primitive Thirteen Tribes from outside the Shadowlands can now cross here.

The Gods are truly cruel.

Since all the other parts of the New World is shrouded with the black mist only the Shadowlands that now clean from the Dark Mist could be used as shelters.

Arial pretend he did not listen as he rides his horse forward.

If the castle quickly surrenders then he did not have to take unnecessary lives. But he has his position.

And the city lord of Balhae has his position.

Since their goals and objectives are different, and a common ground could not be established, they could only talk with their steel.

Arial moves and a sound pierce the wind the moment he takes a step forward

From a loophole on the stone parts of the battlements an arrow suddenly fly towards Arial.

Arial did not even stop his riding as he swing his glaive and the wind generated by him swinging his glaive flung the arrows away from him and broke in midair and this shocked the red hair man who was watching.

The shock on the red hair man was not as impactful as the archers stationed at the loophole.

When have they seen such a domineering person before? Behind him was fifty thousand men but he alone dares charge to the front of the castle gate.

This was like the myths of old heroes during the time of chivalric knights and honorable Kings.

Arial pull the rein on his horse and his horse stopped a few hundred paces from the castle gate.

Then he declared his name, his voice reverberated and fill the city.

‘My name is Arial, the Celestial Dragon and the Emperor of Eden. I have come to the Three Kingdom to unify its land and fulfill the Prophecy of the past. Surrender and work with me for a noble cause or resist and die a terrible death!’

There was no answer, only silence and the wind. Arial smiles.

‘So that is you answer. That is also fine!’ Arial said as he began kicking his horse as his horse quickly dashed forward.

The red hair man shouted

‘All troops!’ Release arrows!’ and saying this he pointed towards Arial small figure from the top of the castle battlements.

‘Release!’ One of the officers of Balhae shouted and twanging sound fills the top of battlements.

Rains of arrows raining down towards Arial.

A lone man facing a thousand arrows, one could even expect that Arial would turn into a porcupine shaped person.

But this did not happen.

‘HMPH’ Arial snorted.

He swings his glaive and the wind assisted him, none of the arrows directed at him manage to wound or even reached him as he rides through

The arrows are all flung away like it was being blown away by a strong gust.

Arial internal energy rise sup from his body as some lightning snake coils around his glaive, making the already sharp glaive to be incomparably sharp.

The red hair man also notcies the man behind the man declaring himself to the Emepror of Eden.

He quickly orders ghe Western Side of the Battelemnts to release a volley of arrows towards him.

The red hair man noted that the person riding behind Arial was probably his general or guard.

Either way killing him would be detrimental to the safety of Arial.

The red hair man believes no matter how powerful Arial is, he is still one man.

No matter how powerful he is in martial arts, even experts could be contained by a trained army.

And Vernium is famed for their impenetrable defense. That is why even though they usually lost in an open battle; to siege the city in Vernium would be incomparably hard.

They have honed their defensive abilities fighting both the Darkly Things when Dark Night comes and also fighting the other Iathus and Luxembourg.

‘Release!’ one of the officers shouted as another barrage of arrows was released on the western side of the battlements towards Ragar.

‘Ptuii’ Ragar spitted to the ground as he realizes arrows in the sky launching down on him. His face paled for awhile before he quickly regains his calm.

He circulated his internal energy and energy filled his feet.

Forgive me! He shouted to his horse as kick away ten arrows coming towards him, the arrows deflected by a gust of wind and then jump from his horse by kicking his horse forward.

Sound of ribs and bones cracking could be heard as the horse internal organs shattered by the sudden explosive force attacking it.

He turns his horse into a shield as he landed on the ground and retreat backward to avoid being in the range of the archers..

His horse look like a target practice as a hundred arrows pierced its body and blood pouring out from every part of its body.

The infantry behind Ragar moved forward seeing the dire situation that their general is facing and one of the officers yelled.

‘Raise the shield! Protect the General!’

Quickly they rushed towards Ragar and raise their shield as the rains of arrows hit their steel armour

The sound of steel being hit by steel tipped arrows were like a prelude to a Song of Death and War

a few hundred men who were late in raising their shield were shot and wounded while some who were unlucky died being pierce in the heads or heart from the arrows attack.

‘Brother!’ Some yelled.

‘Take cover! Help the one beside you!’

‘Defend the Gene-!’ One officer yelled to the man in front of him before his throats was pierced by an arrows and blood spurted out from his throats.

He slowly fall down on the ground twitching uncontrollably before being trampled by the person behind him who did not realize the man was on the ground.

It was a mess and full of chaos as people fall downs and blood slowly drench the grass. Screams and orders intermixed with each other.

Ragar who narrowly escaped death quickly order his man

‘Stalwart defense! Organize yourself. Maintain the Shield Formation and move forward. Do not leave any gaps. We must be ready to charge when our Lord opens the gate!’

The soldiers near him nodded and relay his order and the mess was quickly being reorganized. The dead were left behind as the living marched forward.

Ragar sweating on his forehead, the top of his head and his side guarded by shields grabbed one of the men beside him, an infantry soldiers

The infantry soldier expression paled but Ragar did not notice it and quickly orders him.

‘Transmit my order to General Castile that his cavalry squads need to be ready to support our Lord! Take one of the horses and quickly transmit this order. There is no moment to lose! Our lord is struggling alone in the front right now!’

Then Ragar quickly organize the defensive formation as they move forwards.

The infantry soldier took a horse and under the protection of the Shield Formation and rides towards the back where General Castile is riding slowly as the strategy of Arial dictates.

On the other hand, Ragar is moving closer to the city gate.

Whenever the archers on the battlements reloads their bows, that was the time Ragar order his troops to hasten their movements and loosen the shield but when Ragar felt it was the time for the next barrage he quickly tighten back the defense.

Slowly casualties among the Ragar defending troops decreased as they began to believe in this Shields Formation.

Ragar smirked.

‘You think you are the only one that knows how to turtle up? I, too am also proficient!’

Ragar eyes and estimation of the enemy ability to reload their arrows, this kind of precise estimation was what drew Arial to develop him as talented General.

On the other hand Arial was wildly swinging his glaive and the wind force generated by this move of his repel all arrows around him making the area where he rides free of arrows.

He was smiling and laughing, his white hair flinging madly and his Dragon Armour glints dangerously under the sun

The red hair man from the top of the castle look at this prowess and his eyebrows creased.

‘This man is dangerous. Unlike the other rebels. Hmm’ he said to himself holding his chin and stroking his red beard before he relay his orders

The red hair man did hear the man called himself the Emperor of Eden but he doesn’t know who or what that titles signifies

Vernium is cut off from the sea as it belongs to those that lives in those Mountains.

Vernium traded heavily with the People on the Mountain which is why they have whale oils and products from different land but he doesn’t know much about other continent.

‘Send a small unit to gauge his strength. I need to prepare that weapon’ he said to the officer beside him.

‘Is it necessary to use that weapon?’ The red hair man looking at how easy this man called Arial deflecting the arrows nodded.

‘Relay my orders!’

‘Yes, my lord’ the officer nodded and quickly went to the other parts of the battlements to relay his order.

On the ground, Arial was about to approach the city gate when a small door on the large gate was opened and men poured out from that door

A bulky man of seven feet tall lead the men and the moment that man saw Arial he shouted, his voice shakes the ground he stand on

‘CHARGE!!’

‘You wanted to stop me?’ He asked before his mouth curved into a smile and he urged his horse forward, his glaive raises high and he collided with the charge.

And ten head flew out with the seven feet tall man body slowly falls down revealing a headless sturdy body falling to the ground with a thud sound.

But the attack did not stop as Arial could let out his energy, swinging with speed and precision, decapitating and amputating people like they were cabbages.

Behind him scenery of chaos could be seen.

Like a turtle, the shield formation was maintained and slowly approaching their lord regardless of the rains of arrows.

On top of the battlements the archers reloads and release arrows almost mechanically. They release their arrows, reload and repeat.

Further back the cavalry was slowly increasing their pace to reach the battleground after General Castile heard the order of General Ragar.

Meanwhile on their rear, the civilians were shocked by a terrifying sight.

Fifty thousand men led by two people are riding towards them, dust flying behind these groups like heralding a coming storm.

Since the civilians are not part of the army they moved slow and are at the back guarded only by a few.

Some of them stayed in Leavenhill but not all of them could stay in Leavenhill and so they follow Lord Arial to move to Balhae, a large city near the Nuath Mountain.

One of the panicked civilian yelled.

‘Report this to the front! Our rear is being approached by that group.’

Some children cried as they could hear the panicked voice slowly infecting the minds of the civilians.

Usually they were brave but that was because they could see the back of their Lord.

In their journey, the Lord has time and time again proved an able protector and guarded them through the Forest and fighting the Darkly Things.

As the rear was facing the fifty thousand men, Arial was in the frontlines as he drew the first blood.

With the glaive in his hand, he cut down one of the fully armored men with one slash splitting him into two.

The men internal organs bursted out and his blood splashed to the comrade behind him, making the person behind him stunned

Arial proceeded in swinging his glaive and this time imbued with his Divine Lightning the moment his glaive made contact with that soldier neck, the soldier head was attacked by an overbearing pressure causing the soldier head to explode into pieces of piecemeal meat.

This act shocked the men behind him and Arial did not let this opportunity go as he executed a horizontal slash cutting five head in one swing.

His prowess was fully displayed shocking the entire sortie unit that come out to halt his advance from the city gate.

The red hair man on top of the castle slow had his expression turned worse.

Not only this man called Arial managed to contend with his sortie unit but he could dispel the arrows even though he was fighting the sortie unit

‘An expert’ he said to himself.

Then he transmit his order.

‘Order the men to fire arrows and strengthen the defense on the gate. Pour oil on the walls.  Use the whale oils we have stored in the storage and poured it down. Block the city gate and the gatehouse with logs’

Then looking at the slowly approaching Shield Formation towards their lord he added

‘Throws stones too. Break that Shield Formation!’ He shouted as he slowly understand the strategy of Arial.

If he is an expert of this caliber could he be thinking on storming this castle on the first day?

If he is really confident in his skill he might wanted to break the gate and allowed his soldiers to rush through.

This kind of tactic and strategy is truly uncommon and broke every common sense of attacking a castle.

But if this was his plan, then his arrangements of soldiers make sense.

The red hair man could not see any  missile projectiles.

No mangonels or ballista. So, could it be this expert really thinks he could destroy the castle gate or scale the walls with his ability alone?

One of the officers then asked

‘My lord, then how about our men trapped outside?’ The red hair man looked at the pitiful figure of his sortie unit and sighed.

‘Let the Gods determine their fates.’

He said before he comes down from his place on top of the castle as he needs to don his battle armour.

On the ground, Arial keep cutting down men like they were grass. Not even one soldier can withstand a single blow from his attack.

Each one of them regardless of their steel armours was cut into two.

Arial was like an unstoppable spear.

Within the chaos, almost a hundred men were killed by him and limbs and body parts decorated the front gate of the city.

Arial was about to cut another soldier when he sense danger and immediately jump from his horse and fly backwards as a large arrows the size of log shot towards him.

The momentum and velocity of that log sized arrow ripped the wind and when it shot towards Arial position it smashed Arial horses into a mush of red droplets of liquids.

On the battlements where this huge gigantic weapon is situated, the red haired man smiles a bit as he said.

‘Do you really thing we have no measures against experts like you?’

Arial did not hear what he said but he was smiling.

‘Now this would be a bit hard.’ He said but this did not stop him defending from the barrage of arrows at all.

As long as he could go inside the fate of this city is determined.

Inside the city the civilians are holed up in their homes, all shops are closed and no one was in the streets.

A gloomy atmosphere permeated through the entire city of Balhae. Arial swing his glaive again and another person was cleaved into two, the blood splashed through his Dragon Armour, making the black armour to sheen red when the sun covered it.

Arial could taste the saltines and metallic taste when blood splashed on his face. By now Arial was drenched in blood.

His eyes was bloodshot but not form killing but from absorbing energy. Arial is already on the Third Stage of Blood Heavenly technique.

He has divine flexibility to control his muscles and any injury internal or external will be generated by the blood of other people.

He was shot by arrows and he was slashed by swords but his injury regenerated almost instantly.

To other people he seems to be without injuries and could manage being attacked in two front but the truth was his injuries was healing so fast that it looks like he was invincible and have no wounds.

Arial did not use the power of his internal energy to bend the blood of the people he fought because Arial realize that the more he learns this technique the more his personality would change.

Unless truly necessary he would not use the internal energy of the Blood Heavenly Technique which is insidiously cold and demonic.

It was then another shot of that log arrow shot towards him. It was the size of a huge log and it was now being used as arrows.

If Arial was not in battle right now he really wanted to praise the engineer that managed to think to create such weapons.

Vernium has truly mastered the art of defending a castle. If this was any other person, they would have been hopeless right now.

It is unlucky that this city met Arial.

Arial then smirk then shouted.

‘Do you truly think your weapon could halt me?!’ Arial shouted in confidence, with no fear in his tone of voice as the arrows launched towards him, its shadow covered the battlefield.

Ragar did not know what his lord is planning to do but seeing the log size arrows approaching he quickly shouted

‘Protect the Lord!’ And they broke their Shield Formation jumping over the dead to quickly reach their Lord.

In this charge, the arrows pierced their feet and their body but they did not stop as they wanted to reach their lord even a second faster.

Ragar was shot in his left shoulders; blood dripping but he run over the corpse of his soldiers to quickly reach his Lord.

He is not sure whether his lord could withstand another attack of that arrow.

On the other hand, Arial activated his Divine Essence and thunders and lightning covered his body, coiling lightning flickered around his feet and the glaive he holds was bathed in Divine lightning.

The soldier in the battlements and Arial soldier who was on his back rushing to reach him was shocked and some even open their mouth in shock.

It is one thing to manifest internal energy to the outside world but to control nature around one body this doesn’t look like internal energy anymore.

It was more like the Magic of Old.

‘You underestimate me too much!’ he yelled, smirking as he said this.

Arial then stomp his feet and the land beneath his feet ripples and then launched himself towards the air.

The land beneath his feet exploded as he launched himself to meet the fast approaching log sized arrows.

Then raising his glaive he pointe forward and launched himself like he was a thrown spear.

And then BOOOM! With a sound that shakes the battlefield, the log exploded into pieces of bark and small sized wood as Arial landed on top of the battlements with only one wound on his cheek.

He landed right in front of the red hair man, and he was surrounded by the red hair man subordinate each one did not make any moves.

The red hair man was about to retreat but then Arial unleashed his internal energy and pressures the red hair man making him unable to move ads sweat filled the red hair man forehead.

But Arial was shocked to see no fear in that red hair man eyes.

Arial lifted his glaive and pointed it at the red hair man throat and ordered the man

‘Surrender!!’ Arial spoke his voice was authoritative and some soldier almost unconsciously wanted to kneel.

The Red Hair man smiles and then shouted

‘Attack!’ The red hair man yelled.

The officer beside the red hair man rushed forward, his spear pointed towards Arial like the momentum of a dragon but  Arial only flick his finger and an invisible sword made of pure energy was shot out towards that officer head.

‘Impudent!’ Arial mocked

The man head exploded. But that was not the end of it, from behind Arial a man wielding a large axe charge towards Arial back, this time Arial flicks one of his other fingers and an invisible sword energy shoot towards that man and his body exploded.

This is Arial All Conquering Finger Technique.

‘You dare?’ Arial said as the glaive rested only a few inches from the red hair man throat.

‘Why would I not dare? Even though you managed to enter the city you are alone. You are surrounded by hostile forces. Your martial arts might be unrivalled but your soldiers are ragged and weak. If not for you, those people outside following you, how could they be able to break the defense of this city?’

Arial was impressed by the calm analysis of this red hair man.

‘Are you not afraid of dying?’ Arial asked as the people on this part of the battlement did not make any rash move after Arial display of power.

‘Why should I? We are all going to die anyway someday. This is as a good times as any.’ He said almost like he was joking. He was calm in front of death and this impressed Arial further.

‘I already said surrender and I would spare the people of this city. Why wouldn’t you surrender?’ Arial asked even amidst the sound of arrows being shot towards his soldiers could be heard in the distance.

‘Two reason.’ The red hair man said calmly.

The surrounding around Arial is tense as everybody was itching to attack Arial the moment they saw any opening or weakness to exploits.

But Arial was not affected. He stand there, his glaive on the throats of the lord of the city, his eyes lazily bore down on the red hair man.

He was standing there unaffected, his posture was imposing like he was a mountain and people would feel suffocated just to face him face to face.

‘First, because I was confident in defeating you. I did not know you are an expert of martial arts. Even if you are I didn’t think you would be able to break the Log Arrow. Many experts try to attack Balhae long before you came and they all have experts. And none of those experts have even able to guard themselves against the log arrow. You are the first.’

‘Then what is the second?’ Arial ask

‘Second, even if you are able to enter right now, there is still thousands of my army here. You are but one person. Don’t tell me you alone could destroy sixty thousand men? Experts like you could at least kill two thousand people and then leave. But sixty thousand men? You will be overwhelmed just by simple number.’

‘You would sacrifice that many just to kill me?’ Arial was a little shocked hearing this red hair man decisiveness.

‘If necessary’ he answers without an ounce of guilt on his face.

‘You could have surrender and I would have treated you well.’

‘And how do we to know that? The people outside the Shadowlands have always hated the monopoly of the Three Great Tribes. Who knows whether you are not that kind of people?’

‘I am an outsider’ Arial answer

‘Hmph’ the red hair man snorted and added

‘With subordinates that come from the tribes Outside the Shadowlands’ he countered back.

‘I have no words to say to you. I might die here but you will also be buried here!’

The red hair man suddenly shouted before he broke out from the pressure of Arial internal energy and lunged forward towards Arial chest with a dagger.

Arial was shocked as he quickly understands. The red hair man distract his attention by talking to him.

Because Arial was so impressed by the man talents, he unconsciously loosened his oppressive internal energy thus opening a chance for the red hair man to attack.

When the red hair man lunged to attack, the people behind Arial also unsheathed their weapons and simultaneously attack.

‘This ungrateful people!’

Arial unleashed his Divine Lightning and a shockwave of energy exploded around him repelling all the people that was about to attack him.

Some of them were flung down from the battlements and die falling down from such height.

Some were lucky as they collided with the city wall and managed to keep their life.

The red hair man was flung backward and laid unconscious on the castle gate battlements.

Arial approached the unconscious red hair man and he was about to slice the red hair man throat before suddenly stopped at the last minute.

‘This man is interesting. Such talent…..it is such a waste to kill him’ he said before he jump down from the castle gate battlement and immediately his arrival alerted the entire army inside the city.

Arial then quickly run towards the city gate his glaive slashing wildly and energetically as rivers of blood flow towards the trails leading to the city gate.

Sounds of killing inside the city steadily increased while the civilians all shelter themselves inside their home, some even hiding under some dark corners of their house.

It was like the city was battling ten thousand people when the truth is they are trying to contain only one person.

Ragar was shocked after he saw Arial destroying the Log Arrow but on the front of the gate he quickly reorganizes the formation and is now withstanding barrage of arrows.

It was then he slowly realized that the barrage of arrows coming down on him is slowly decreasing.

From the distance, General Castile could be seen rushing through the battlefield with his squad as he has sense the opportune moment is coming Ragar smiles.

Castile is like a blood hound. He must have sense that the opportunity is ripe.

Inside the city screams and cries filled the city gates as piles of bodies slowly clog the area near the gate

Many of the people on top of the battlements tries to pour oil, shoot flaming arrows, hurls stones at him but none of it was effective as he hurled everything back with one swing of his glaive.

Bloodied soldiers covered in wounds shouted towards the city in a weeping manner.

‘The Gate is being broken!’ He said before he was cleaved into half.

Arial was in front of the gate now and with one swing of his glaive he cut apart the log blocking the gate and then he trusted forward his glaive to the wooden gate and an explosion shakes the city wall as a huge sized hole was formed and wood dust covered the area near the city gate.

When the dust settles, Ragar who was outside the city cheered. He saw his lord standing there, crimson red bathed in the blood of his enemies, looking like the incarnation of a War Deity and then his lord nodded.

Ragar smiles and then he shouted

‘CHARGE!!!’

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Here it is. Hope you like this chapter. This chapter is long. It is 9 thousand wordcount. It is long since it has been a long time since its hiatus. Tell me what you think of the war and the first step of Arial Conquests into the New World. The New world is not a term of One Piece actually. It is referring to America when it was referred as the New World. Anyway, if you like the story please support it by leaving some comments, donating or supporting me at Wuxianation. Thanks.

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One comment

  1. Great work, mate! I’ve made a nice, long comment on RRL, and from your last rply you probably won’t see this for like two weeks anyways!
    Anywho, just commenting to comment. Leavin’ me mark and all that. heh.

    -Dok

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