Chapter 29 – A Startling Hunt (I)
“No way, we still have to hurry? This weather is indeed damnably cold.” Pulling on a thick fur cloak, Xiang Luan sighed, already regretting her participation in this war.
Hai Yang touched her shoulder, whispering, “Since we’re already here, we must exercise patience.” Her complexion had significantly improved since the first time she had participated in Ye Yin Zhu’s treatment. The scar on her face was still covered by her long hair, but these past weeks, Ye Yin Zhu would use his Divine Acupuncture Vein Treatment on her every 10 days. Including yesterday, she had 4 treatments completed altogether. With the brimming vitality of the Violet Bamboo Needles unceasingly treating her, Hai Yang’s originally numb face began to regain feeling. She was even able to clearly see her withered flesh rejuvenating.
Xiang Luan unhappily said, “But this is extremely trying. Yin Zhu, wouldn’t things be better if you play us a song?”
Ye Yin Zhu helplessly said, “The carriage is shaking too much; I can’t play like this! Senior Xiang Luan, you can only be patient and wait.”
Sura sighed lightly. “It seems like this time, we’re making the trip to the military front in vain.”
Ye Yin Zhu was confused. “Why do you say that?”
Sura elaborated, “Did you not just hear the order? We’re being transferred to Konya City. I know that place. Even though it is a state of the Milan Empire that borders the Northern Wasteland, to the north of Konya City is a mountain range that continuously rises and falls with a maximum height that surpasses two kilometers at the very least. The beastmen must be out of their minds; otherwise, they would have never chosen to attack this place through the mountains. When we reach the military front, I’m afraid we might be just going through simple formalities. Whether we can even see those beastmen is questionable.”
Xiang Luan commented, “You can’t only say it like that. The army must also take into consideration who they are sending. You know, amongst our group of students, there are many who are members of the Empire’s three greatest clans. If the issue of survival on the battlefield is brought up, then there are many we cannot afford to lose. Only, seeing beastmen is still an opportunity. As far as I know, when the end of the annual Autumnal Defensive War approaches, the Institution’s students that were at the war will be allowed to watch a few battles of the final military campaign. The warriors defending might even be able to participate in a few small scale charges, while us mages might have the opportunity to cast a few spells.”
Sura frowned. “Do you believe something like this is considered participation in a war?”
Xiang Luan smiled and said, “The institution’s objective is merely to give us more experience. Don’t tell me you thought we would actually stake our lives in this, when the average age of us youths is approximately 18? If you are remarkable enough, maybe in 10 years you can come here and lead troops. But Sura, you really know a lot more than most people. This Konya City is clearly a small area.”
Sura’s face changed slightly, and he lowered his head, silent.
In fact, the one who was most depressed was Okafur. As a Gold Star Dragon Cavalry Commander, not only was he unable to go to war, he also had to babysit these aristocratic students. He was immensely depressed, but the order came from his grandfather. Even with his rank, he could only execute it.
Two days later, the Dragon Cavalry defense regiment of eleven hundred troops finally arrived at the military post of Konya City.
They could not deny that Konya City was a pretty good region, or at least for a region situated in the north. The small city wasn’t even a third of the size of Milan City, and it had a pitiful population of only twenty thousand. This cold region was close to the Northern Wasteland, so the majority of Konya City’s residents relied on hunting to make a living.
Just as Sura had said, to the north of the city was a continuously peaking mountain range. Although it didn’t take up a lot of space, its elevation did surpass two kilometers. With such a precipitous topography, it became almost unnecessary for the city to guard this natural defense. At the same time, due to the existence of those alpines, the majority of cold streams coming from the north were blocked by the mountains, making the climate of Konya City significantly more bearable compared to other northern cities of the Milan Empire.
After arriving, Okafur immediately took over the city’s defense. The original five hundred soldiers in charge of the city’s defense were apparently useless to him. After assigning the Institution’s students some tasks, he gloomily lead five hundred Dragon Cavalrymen to begin patrolling the nearby mountains immediately. As an outstanding and high-ranked military officer, he could not overlook small details and be careless. At the same time, patrolling the mountains would give him a way to vent his aggravation.
The sixty student warriors from the Milan Institution for Magic and Martial Arts were ordered to stay behind with the remaining five hundred Dragon Cavalrymen to patrol and guard the city. As mages, Ye Yin Zhu and the others were idle, resting everyday in the warm barracks. They were willing to help with anything, but no one asked for them. As noble mages, even the Dragon Cavalrymen held respect for them. After all, mages’ powers were highly important in a war.
A cascade of news came from the frontlines. The war had begun on the fifth day Ye Yin Zhu and the others had arrived in Konya City.
“All of you, listen up.” Oliveira stood in the large tent, his finger pointed at the map of the battlefield as he said, “The beastmen’s plundering isn’t the genuine start of war. In order to gain more benefits, they also need to force us to be unable to defend against more than one front. Generally speaking, their troops will be divided into units of a hundred beastmen in order to hasten the speed and advance of their Wolf Cavalry’s plundering. They would steal provisions before immediately fleeing far away. We would be overwhelmed by their large army, forcing us to retreat at once. To them, as long as they acquire enough food, it’s a victory.”
In Konya City, even Oliveira was soon unable to endure the silence. Okafur had still not returned, and he suspected that his second older brother and his five hundred Dragon Cavalrymen had sneaked into the frontlines. Helpless, he could only use the barracks’ battlefield map to give the other students a lesson on how the Autumnal Defensive War worked.
In regards to Oliveira’s lecture, the majority of the students who were interested were warriors; only Ye Yin Zhu was an exception as he was genuinely interested in military matters,especially in all of Oliveira’s diverse examples of battles. Right at this moment, he stood beside Oliveira. “So how should we deal with this?”
Oliveira explained, “The border between us and the Northern Wasteland is excessively long, so it’s impossible for us to defend the entire battlefront. The plan uses thirty armies, which consists of three hundred thousand soldiers in total. Sacred Heart City serves as the core, and every fifty kilometers from that core will be guarded by an army. This forms a large network; we will then wait for the enemy to walk right into the trap.
“Of course, we cannot completely defend against it all, as there are always some beastmen who are able to successfully steal food. Nothing can be done about this. The Beastmen are extremely reckless. If they are forced into a corner, heaven knows what they will do. In order to guard against a possible beastmen military attack, we stationed two hundred thousand elite troops in Sacred Heart City, including five thousand Dragon Cavalrymen. This is in case a large-scale beastmen attack occurs. Our main force can then take their frontal assault head on.” Saying this, he brandished a clenched fist, as if he was leading the war effort.
The others listened to him, either enthralled or reflective, but Ye Yin Zhu posed another question. “Elder Brother Oliveira, how does our army and the beastmen army compare qualitatively?”
Oliveira displayed a proud gaze as he replied, “The beastmen army is decentralized. Internally, they are divided into ten tribes. Amongst these tribes, seven or eight can be considered strong. Each tribe has its own sphere of influence. Among these, the Thor tribe of the Mjolnir Stronghold is the strongest. They have an army of roughly forty thousand.
“The other tribes are smaller. In total, the beastmen army is probably not less than two million in number. Not only are they hostile with our Milan, they are also confronting the Ascoli Kingdom and the Florence Kingdom. Our territory has stationed five hundred thousand permanent troops on this frontier, Ascoli has sent an additional two hundred thousand, and Florence three hundred thousand. Altogether, there are one million soldiers.”