Rody no longer looked at them. He turned around and walked to the back as Sieg coldly signaled the executioners.
The sound of heads being chopped off was soon heard and it was followed by sad crying from a distance. Sieg then walked forward with big strides.
Rody glanced at him and slowly said, “Commander Sieg, I know that you are not contented with this but I believe that you can understand my approach. I can punish the criminals so that the dead may rest in peace. However, I cannot raise a hand against the innocent villagers.”
There was a long silence before Sieg opened his mouth to speak, “Your Excellency, I understand. I will redirect this hatred to the Great Moon Kingdom! They have killed 100 of us! I will kill 1,000… no… 10,000 of them!”
Rody shook his head and lightly said, “Enough. They already know our whereabouts. We cannot stay here any longer! Give an order to immediately set out! Also… that girl. She said that there is a small path! Take her with us. If we can reach Watt Fortress earlier, we will be safer earlier!”
Sieg nodded and signaled the soldiers to bring the girl up.
“What is your name?”
“Jadelina.” The girl bowed. Her voice was still shaking a little.
Rody sternly asked, “Earlier, you mentioned a small path leading to the north. Can this path reach Watt Fortress?”
“It can,” Jadelina spoke softly. She then stopped for a moment. She needed to gather her courage to continue to speak. “This is a path that only my brother and I know. He fled back here from Trier Fortress using this path. Using this path to reach Watt Fortress can probably save you a day of traveling.”
Sieg carefully asked a few more questions to determine if the path was concealed. Jadelina replied that it was a path that her brother found by chance when he went hunting in the mountains. However, it was a rugged path. It was still suitable for horses to pass by but vehicles would definitely not be able to use it.
“Very good.” Sieg gave Rody a glance. It was good enough if they can pass through on horses. After all, they were not taking a lot of supplies with them.
“Give her a horse. Can you ride?” Rody asked lightly.
“Yes… I can!” Jadelina did not dare to look at Rody. In fact, Rody’s face was still covered in blood. He had not wiped off the bloodstains on his face. It made him look scary.
Soon, the messenger finished conveying the order to set out. At that moment, Jadelina suddenly plucked up her courage and begged Rody, “Your Excellency, could… could you go and save those captured villagers? They…”
“Impossible!” Rody immediately refused. His eyes were cold and detached. “Listen to me, the captured villagers are already dead! The army of the Great Moon Kingdom came out to look for food! Do you think they would share their food with the prisoners? The captured villagers have probably died a long time ago!”
“Boy, do you still think that having power is a pleasant thing?” Andy coldly asked in his mind.
Rody felt depressed to the extent that he could barely breathe. His stomach felt as if it was being crushed by a heavy boulder. “I don’t know… Andy… I found out that there are a lot of things I cannot understand…” Chapter 70: Before The War
Translator: Zenobys Editor:
The Watt Fortress was quiet and calm when the first light of dawn broke. Looking at the scene, no one would expect that an episode of horrific killing occurred just the night before. Tens of thousands of people shed their blood and cried miserably there. Now, the reddish looking soil was the only reminder of the battle.
The ‘Thorny Flower’ banner was still raised but the soldiers who stood on the wall were already tired and at a loss. The army of the Great Moon Kingdom had suddenly attacked the Watt Fortress at midnight and the battle lasted until dawn. After both sides lost thousands of lives, the Great Moon Kingdom finally retreated.
The soldiers on the city wall had not slept at all throughout the night. They gazed frustratingly at the Great Moon Kingdom’s camp. At their camp, the fur-coated foreign barbarians with long blades had already begun to gather. “It looks like there will be another day of fierce battle…” Some of the veteran soldiers sighed. They looked at the rising sun as they were unsure if it would be the last time they see it.
The original solid and tall city wall was already in a terrible condition. The mixture of black smoke and red blood stains turned the color of the wall into a horrifying gray. The gate was also destroyed in the previous night’s battle. There was now a hole in the gate. Although the soldiers were already using giant pieces of wood to reinforce the gate, the soldiers on top of the wall could see that the enemy had taken out a heavy looking ram. They could not help but feel agitated.
The Northwest Legion’s General Reuben stood above the gate. He also fought in the battle last night but he was not feeling exhausted. He had been suffering defeat for the past few days. As a result, he was feeling frustrated. As the Supreme Commander of the Northwest Legion, he had lost a substantial portion of the Empire’s territory and many soldiers. In the end, he was besieged at Watt Fortress. Reuben knew that even if he managed to hold their position until reinforcements arrived, he would still lose his head. The first thing His Majesty the Emperor would do was to execute him, the defeated general.
However, Reuben still struggled to hold on because he could not allow the Northwest Legion to be completely annihilated at the Watt Fortress. As a loyal soldier of the Empire, he would fight to the end. He could not allow the Empire’s last line of defense in the Northwest, the Watt Fortress to fall into the hands of the Great Moon Kingdom! He knew that behind him were the Northwest plains. If the Great Moon Kingdom was to capture the Watt Fortress, the entire Northwest plains would be subjected to the oppression of the Great Moon Kingdom!
Morale had already reached rock bottom after their continuous defeats. There were less than 100,000 soldiers left from the original army of 200,000. Reuben was also certain that if he deducted the soldiers who were injured and could not fight, there would be less than 70,000 soldiers left. Reuben also had a sense of fear towards his enemy’s supreme commander, Reuenthal. This terrifying opponent used strange tactics and was proficient in long-distance raids. Like a wolf, he was always able to find an opponent’s weakness and persistently attacked it.
Frankly speaking, Reuben knew that he was not an outstanding strategist. He was a diligent soldier. He was better at implementing rather than making decisions! During the years he had served under the late Duke of the Tulip Family, Reuben was able to accomplish any order or task given by the Duke.
He completely relied on the commands of the late Duke to fight courageously in those battles. The merits he earned then were accumulated until he ended up in his current position. Naturally, it was also because the Empire lacked talented military personnel after the Duke’s death. However, commanding a troop and devising strategies to win battles were not things Reuben was competent at. It was especially true when he had to fight against the fierce and cunning Reuenthal. In all the battles against him, Reuben was forced to retreat in a completely passive state!
Reuben remembered the times when he served under the Duke. He sighed and touched his partially white beard. He actually did not like to be a supreme commander. He preferred to be a normal commanding officer serving under the duke. At that time, he did not need to think at all. He only needed to execute the Duke’s orders. Unlike then, he now needed to discuss with a bunch of commanding officers all day long, trying to figure out his opponent’s next move.
Shaking his head, Reuben forced himself to concentrate. In the distance, the Great Moon Kingdom had already gathered up their soldiers. It appeared that a fierce and bloody battle was about to start!
“Hmph, let’s see whose weapons are stronger!” Reuben ordered the soldiers who were resting on rotation to return to the wall and prepare to fight.
Fortunately, like the traditional barbarians of the plains, Reuenthal also had his own weakness. He may have been good at field operations but he was not very good at siege battles.
Earlier information stated that Reuenthal had launched a very quick surprise attack to capture Trier Fortress and Blackstone Fortress. With that in mind, Reuben was on high alert to defend against his attacks there.
Sure enough, during the past few days the Great Moon Kingdom applied their usual tactics. Three nights ago the Great Moon Kingdom suddenly gathered thousands of soldiers and launched a surprise attack. They immediately laid siege to the place and caught General Reuben by surprise. His stupid mounted scouts were part of the reason why they were caught by surprise. Four hours before the siege, the scouts reported that the enemy was still at the Redwood garrison, a strategic location a few hundred li away. However before he knew it, the enemy was at his doorstep. If it was not because of the precautions that General Reuben took after experiencing a few defeats, the enemy would have succeeded.
The past few days, the Great Moon Kingdom had always laid siege to them at night and only harassed them in the morning. It was obviously a method to wear out the mental strength of General Reuben’s soldiers and also to make them collapse from the exhaustion.
The cavalries were extremely exhausted but the Northwest Legion were after all, still the Empire’s elites. They were unable to defeat Reuenthal on the plains as the foreign cavalries were very fast. However, it was a siege. No matter how powerful the cavalries were, they no longer had the advantage. Sieges were best encountered with infantries.
Reuben ordered the archers to get ready. Then, his only hopes left were the archers. During the surprise attack on Redwood garrison, the Northwest soldiers had abandoned their catapults and other weapons when they retreated. They had also abandoned the catapult stones and fire crossbows. There was no way they could bring those weapons along with them during the chaos in the retreat.
Luckily, General Reuben made what was probably the boldest decision of his life!
When he knew that defeat was inevitable, Rueben reluctantly ordered his men to burn down all the military supplies at the Redwood garrison that they had gathered over many years. There were many sophisticated weapons such as flaming catapults and also a year’s worth ration of food for 100,000 soldiers. All of it was completely burned. The burning continued for three days and three nights. In the end, Reuenthal had to order his soldiers to help put out the fire. That cost him the lives of a few hundred soldiers and in return he only managed to salvage a little bit of food.
It was fortunate that Reuben made the decision. Otherwise, the Great Moon Kingdom would have laid siege to the rest of the Empire with their catapults.
“Your Excellency, they have arrived!” One of the commanders cried out.
Reuben raised his sword in high spirits and shouted, “Raise the flags!”
Below the walls of the city, the Great Moon Kingdom had assembled. The cavalries were on both sides with the infantries neatly lined up in the middle.
“Damn them!” Reuben cursed. “Infantries! Reuenthal’s men only know how to ride horses and cannot fight on foot! Hmph, do you think being able to use the phalanx formation means you are already an infantry army? Let me see how strong your infantries are!”
The sun started to shine from the east. It shone on the wilderness as rows of scimitars reflected the dazzling and murderous sunlight! Chapter 71: Fierce Battle at Watt
Translator: Zenobys Editor:
The sun had completely risen and it gave the people a sense of warmth. Nevertheless, the soldiers of the Northwest Legion felt cold as they watched the Great Moon Kingdom launch their first attack of the day.
An ox horn sounded from below the walls and immediately, the Great Moon Kingdom infantry regrouped to reveal a few openings in its formation. The openings gave passage to a dozen simple wooden shield-vehicles as they were being slowly pushed out. Each vehicle had a large wooden plank wrapped in thick yak skin that was soaked in water. It was thick and slippery enough to defend against arrows. It was not damaged even when the magicians of the Empire cast Wind Blade and Fire Ball on it.
A few thousand soldiers formed the phalanx formation and moved slowly towards the fortress walls under the cover of the shield-vehicles. Following right behind, were groups of infantrymen carrying the scaling ladder.
They waited until the shield-vehicles came closer and within the range of fire. After that, General Reuben gave the order to shoot and thousands of archers immediately started to shoot their arrows. Thousands of sharp arrows immediately rained down from the walls. Most of the arrows were blocked by the shield-vehicles but a few managed to pass through and hit their targets who were not properly protected. Countless soldiers screamed and fell to the ground. Some of those shot by the arrows died immediately. Others were shot in less vital spots and they rolled on the ground in pain.
The foreigners did not break their formation. They did not move slower nor did they run back because of fear. Instead, they valiantly continued to push the shield-vehicles towards the walls. When a companion beside them was shot down by arrows, they would at the most turn and look at their companion in grief for a moment. After that, they turned back, looked furiously at the archers of the Empire and made great efforts to move forward.
At the same time, the Great Moon Kingdom’s archers started to take action. They started to blindly shoot back at the walls using their long bows. Fortunately, on the walls were also hundreds of the Empire’s magicians who immediately took to the skies. The magicians were wearing white robes. They formed a circular light that shrouded the walls. Thousands of arrows hit the ‘light-curtain’, vibrated and then dropped to the ground.
After the first volley of arrows, Reuben told his army to wait for a moment. Wasting arrows on the shield-vehicles was not worth it. He planned to save the arrows right then and use them only after the enemy had prepared the scaling ladder. Reuben sighed. If only they had taken at least a third of the arrows left behind at the Redwood garrison, it would have been great.
The heavy shield-vehicles were finally pushed to the side of the walls. However, the shields were useless at this point. Even though the soldiers of the Great Moon Kingdom had shields, the archers on the walls could clearly see them.
Once again, Reuben gave the order for the archers to start shooting their arrows again. The sound of numerous arrows flying could be heard as they started to rain down. The white-robed magicians then stopped forming the shroud of light in front of the walls as well. Suddenly, the walls emitted a red light as though each magician was surrounded by a layer of fire. After a while, hundreds of fireballs fell from the sky and ruthlessly smashed into the Great Moon Kingdom’s formation. The sound of explosions could be heard and a few soldiers hid behind the shield-vehicles. Some of them immediately raised their thick leather shields to block the fireballs. The small fireballs would hit the shields and turn into sparks while the larger fireballs would crush the shields and explode.
After they received an order, the soldiers of the Great Moon Kingdom threw away their useless shields. From behind, a group of soldiers carried the scaling ladder towards the walls. The defenders of the Empire noticed the threat and almost all of their bows and arrows were redirected to aim at the group carrying the scaling ladder. Under the intensive firing of arrows, a lot of soldiers miserably bled and fell to the ground. Countless corpses of the Great Moon Kingdom’s soldiers were on the ground. Those who were injured but not dead desperately tried to crawl away.
The group of soldiers who carried the scaling ladder received the most casualties. Many of them died and there were also a considerable amount of them injured. However, whenever one of the soldiers carrying the scaling ladder died, he would immediately be replaced by another soldier from the Great Moon Kingdom. There were also some who would rush in front to take the hit for their companions who were carrying the ladder. When one fell, immediately two more soldiers rushed in front to do the same. When Reuben saw this, he gritted his teeth. He could not understand why the foreign grassland barbarians had such fearlessness.
About a dozen huge scaling ladders were finally placed against the walls. The soldiers of the Empire started to try all kinds of methods to push down the ladder. Meanwhile, the Great Moon Kingdom’s soldiers held their blades in their mouths as they climbed the ladder. Often, when they were about halfway up, however, the scaling ladders were pushed down. The soldiers screamed as they fell to the ground. Stones were also being thrown from the walls. Many of the soldiers who had climbed up halfway were hit in the face by falling stones and cried out in distress as they fell down.
After that, dozens of soldiers from the Great Moon Kingdom held the ladders in place to prevent them from being pushed by their enemies. After a huge sacrifice, the first team of soldiers finally reached the top of the walls. When they got to the top, they were greeted by the Empire army’s swords from all directions. The foreign warriors fought bravely using their scimitars, fists and some of them even used their teeth. Some who were seriously injured grabbed the nearest Imperial soldier and jumped down from the walls. They made sure that when they died, the enemy soldiers also died with them. There were also soldiers from the Great Moon Kingdom who would crash their bodies hard against their enemies before dying. This was to keep them away from the scaling ladders and to win time for their companions who were climbing up the ladder.
Reuben saw their red eyes and was surprised because the Great Moon Kingdom’s soldiers were brave and fierce beyond expectations. At the same time, he gritted his teeth and ordered to send the reserved soldiers to the weaker corners of the fortress.
When the first team of soldiers who climbed up the walls was desperately fighting, a continuous flow of soldiers followed from behind. When Reuben found out what was happening, he immediately gave an order. The command flag was waved and a group of soldiers was mobilized to surround and drive down the enemies who had managed to climb up the walls.
The top of the walls was filled with the sounds of screaming and roaring. Broken limbs were occasionally flung around. Armed with swords, the soldiers of the Empire and the soldiers of the Great Moon Kingdom clashed. There were many foreign soldiers who killed ferociously. It was to the extent that they even removed their leather armors and helmets. While roaring, they charged forward and engaged in combat with the Empire soldiers. With every swing of the sword, there would be blood and a mournful cry!
At a distance below the walls, there was a group with sturdy stature among the troops of the Great Moon Kingdom. They wore black leather armors and sat on black horses. Among them was a man clothed in a white leather robe. He had long brown hair that was tied into numerous short ponytails at the back of his head. With one hand, he lightly played with his thick brown beard. He grinned as he watched the fight on the walls with eyes that were as sharp as an eagle. A strange looking sword hung at his waist. Its hilt was made of pure gold.
“Tell the others to get ready!” His voice was icy cold. He then turned to look at the men beside him and smiled. “It seems like the Radiant Empire’s army is still quite competent! That Reuben is not an oaf either. It is unfortunate that I do not have any magician with me. Otherwise, this would be much easier. Fortunately, they do not have that many magicians… Look… their magicians are already worn out and need to rest…”
Behind him, a slender figure on a red horse appeared. He wore a black leather robe, which wrapped around his body tightly. He also wore a pair of leather gloves, a hooded cloak and a mask leaving only his eyes exposed.
“Reuenthal, you really are a cold-blooded man!” The person sneered. With a resounding voice, he continued to speak, “You are wasting your soldiers’ lives. Even if you manage to defeat Reuben and occupy the fortress, your newly trained third-rate soldiers are just not good enough!”
“Hmph!” Reuenthal smiled coldly and gazed at the man. “Do you think my warriors are not brave enough?”
“Bravery is important but they do not know how to use their brains. Infantrymen cannot only be brave. Look at how Reuben’s soldiers are fighting! I admit that your cavalry is powerful but their infantrymen are not as simple as you think. Take a good look! In a one-on-one situation, Reuben’s soldiers cannot defeat your soldiers. However, when they fight in groups of 3, they can defend at least 5 of your third-rate infantrymen. On top of that…” The person paused and revealed a trace of disapproval. “Their magicians only need to rest for an hour. After that, they will be able to fight again.”
Reuenthal raised his eyebrow and gave him a tyrannical gaze. After a while, his gaze disappeared and he laughed. “You shall see! Before the sun sets today, I will be able to capture Watt Fortress! My infantrymen are not as good as Reuben’s but he will not be able to hold out much longer! After so many defeats, the morale of the soldiers is low. They will not be able to hold out long enough and will soon slack. As long as I cruelly continue the attack, they will soon be defeated!”
“Hmph…” The black masked man gave an indifferent smile and spoke calmly, “I believe you can capture them. Reuben right now is already out of energy. However, as I have said, you are wasting the lives of your soldiers. Obviously, you can accomplish this by sacrificing 10,000 lives but you insist on sacrificing 30,000 lives to accomplish this. What is the meaning of such victories?” After ridiculing him, the black masked man no longer looked at Reuenthal. He slowly turned around and rode off, ignoring the tragic battle at the distant walls behind him.
After the black masked man left, Reuenthal showed his anger and ruthlessly spoke, “I certainly know that the losses from this siege are great but what else can I do? That Reuben burned everything and I do not have any food! Should I just wait here and waste our time? Hmph! The foreigners from the Roland Continent and the people from the Radiant Empire are the same. There is nothing good about them!” Chapter 72: Bloodstained Tulip
Translator: Zenobys Editor:
The siege warfare became more intense at midday. After the fierce battle in the morning, several thousand corpses from both sides were strewn all over and in the vicinity of the fortress walls. The walls of Watt Fortress were dyed red with blood and gave off a pungent smell.
Reuenthal did not order a retreat even after the fierce battle in the morning. Instead, he kept ordering his soldiers to charge into Watt Fortress in batches. Even though a lot of his men had perished atop the walls, he did not feel a tinge of regret. It was because he knew that he had to capture Watt Fortress to fortify his position in the Northwest. He had to capture Watt Fortress before he could consider the possibility of having complete control of the Northwest.
As long as he could occupy the Northwest for a long period of time, he would be able to make use of the mines and harvests from the fertile soil to steadily advance the Great Moon Kingdom! His cavalries would be able to wear armor. He would also be able to provide his infantrymen with the best equipment and his soldiers with sufficient supply of food.
These were all things that the Great Moon Kingdom were very short of.
With these materials, they would be able to build a foundation to crush the Empire. As long as they had 2 or 3 years for cultivation, the Great Moon Kingdom would gain enough military strength to fight a full-scale war with the Radiant Empire and compete for supremacy of the continent!
That was why Reuenthal made up his mind to capture Watt Fortress even if he had to sacrifice half of his soldiers.
So what if we lose half of our soldiers?
The grasslands were full of valiant warriors. Reuenthal only needed to give the order and all the young men would immediately get on their horses and form a brave cavalry.
Due to this, Reuenthal decided that he had to obtain Watt Fortress no matter how large his sacrifice. He needed the Watt Fortress and the other military positions to establish a strong defense system in the Northwest. He had to do so to make sure that the Northwest would remain in the hands of the Great Moon Kingdom!
The Empire’s soldiers on the walls were already exhausted. They were injured and all of them had blood on their faces. Reuben also no longer had any more reserves. He had already on two occasions, mobilized soldiers from the other three gates up to the walls. He did not dare to do so again because Reuenthal’s military strength was too strong. It would be very dire if any one of those gates left empty, was attacked by the cunning Reuenthal.
In one morning, the archers had exhausted all of their arrows. As more and more enemies successfully climbed up the scaling ladders and clambered atop the walls, the archers no longer have space to shoot their arrows, so they pulled out their swords for close combat with their enemies. That morning, up on those narrow walls Reuben had already lost more than 20,000 of his soldiers!
Many of the Empire garrison soldiers had fully utilized their swords. It was not known if the blood that coated the swords belonged to their enemies or themselves. The foreign barbarians did not seem to be afraid of death and continued to charge forward. Their swords were like tools used for harvesting human lives. Every time they swung their swords, they would collect a slice of bloody flesh. Above the walls, the people were tightly squeezed together like ants. Their screams and roars filled the whole earth.
Reuben also personally participated in the battle. He did not remember the number of soldiers he had killed. He met an exceptionally sturdy foreign warrior and managed to pierce the warrior’s chest. However, before the warrior died, he slashed at Reuben and almost severed his arm. The wound on Reuben’s right arm was so deep that even his bone was visible. However, he kept fighting and did not have time to dress his wound.
Reuben started to feel afraid. He did not fear death but he was afraid that they would finally be unable to defend Watt Fortress. The sound of killing could still be heard above the walls. The morale of the Imperial Army had dropped. They looked at the group of fierce and fearless enemies who continued to rush up the walls. They all looked like savages and seemed to be endless.
Are they really not afraid to die?
An extreme sense of grief and heroism entered his heart and made him feel restless. He felt a sharp pain in his shoulder as a sword cut through his broken armor. Reuben subconsciously swung his sword with his left hand and cut the enemy into two. Suddenly, he felt weak and he almost fell to the floor.
A few loyal bodyguards rushed forward and engaged the enemy while two more soldiers desperately held Reuben’s body and pulled him out.
“It’s the end. We cannot defend the walls any longer!” Reuben was about to give an order for his soldiers to retreat from the walls and to fight on the streets. Suddenly, one of his soldiers trembled in excitement and shouted, “Your Excellency, Your Excellency! Listen… that… that is…!”
The loud and clear sound of a horn could be heard from a distance. The sound of the horn was long and sounded different from the sound that Reuben was used to hearing.
A few cavalrymen then came into view on the slopes behind the Great Moon Kingdom’s battle formation. Although they were too far away and their attire as well as equipment were hardly discernible, the cavalryman leading them held a huge flame-like banner.
Behind the man with the banner were rows of cavalrymen. They were like a black mass which seemed to grow bigger and bigger.
The military horn sounded once again but this time the sound was short and sharp. It sounded six times in succession.
Although they were far away, Reuben could still hear the neighing of their horses.
It was the Central Cavalry’s peculiar ‘order to charge’ signal. When the horn sounded six times, everyone in the cavalry had to fall into attack formation. Those who delayed would be summarily executed.
Reuben’s eyes immediately gleamed.
“Your Excellency, it is the ‘Lightning God’s Whip’! It is the ‘Lightning God’s Whip’!” The two soldiers with him were veteran soldiers. They could identify the sound and knew who they were as soon as they heard the horn.
“Reinforcements are here! The Empire’s reinforcements are here!”
Rody no longer looked at them. He turned around and walked to the back as Sieg coldly signaled the executioners.