Masked Knight – Chapter 58

Night mode

A Tragedy

 

While the Imperial Capital was shrouded in a mix of emotions, Abbas XI and the ministers were anxiously discussing the war. Rody returned to the Tulip Family’s home and was unable to sleep. The situation in the Northwest where a fierce battle was ongoing, changed yet again.

 

Somewhere at the edge of the mountains in the western plains of the Northwest Region, the light of the night had already been shrouded as the moon was hidden by the clouds. The moon only showed half of its face occasionally. Under the skies without stars, the army was struggling to march on a mountain path.  

 

The soldiers wore the armor of the Radiant Empire and looked extremely tired. Many of them were dragging their tired legs, following the person in front with their heads down. The flag bearer on horseback was also in low spirits. He could normally lift the banner with the thorny flower but now he only managed to pull it along. He also struggled to make sure that he did not fall down.

 

The soldiers and the officers were all gloomy and feared for the future. They were originally under the command of the Northwest Legion and were stationed at the Blackstone Fortress. However, two days ago they received an order from the commander of the Northwest Legion, General Reuben, to give up Blackstone Fortress and to fortify Watt Fortress of the Northwest Legion at all cost.

 

At that moment, the whole army was surrounded by a pessimistic atmosphere. They all knew the Northwest Legion was gradually losing ground. General Reuben’s main force of 150,000 was completely defeated by the devil, Reuenthal of the Great Moon Kingdom and his armored cavalry.

 

After losing most of the territories on the Northwest Rostock Province, including the headquarters, Redwood Fortress, General Reuben led the Northwest Legion to stand fast at the last major fortress, Watt Fortress.

 

They heard a lot of news during the past two days. They heard that Reuenthal raided the strongholds around Watt Fortress for two days and two nights and captured those positions. Even the Loulan Fortress and Trier Fortress were captured in one night.

The commander of the Northwest Legion ordered everyone to regroup together with the main force. This order was not wrong. As they were already at a disadvantage, it was better for them to gather their forces for a confrontation compared to spreading out only to be defeated one by one.

 

However, when the commander of the Blackstone Fortress received an order from General Reuben, he could not help but gave a wry smile. He was ordered to immediately deploy his 15,000 soldiers in the Blackstone Fortress and to gather them at the headquarters. General Reuben only gave him one day and one night to do so.

 

What the hell!

 

The commander of the Blackstone Fortress turned around to look at the long line of soldiers behind him and cursed in his heart.

 

How are we supposed to get there within two days? It is more than 600 miles away! We are not horsemen! We are just infantries! How are we supposed to travel 600 miles within 2 days on foot? What a joke! We also have the supplies to bring along. It’s not like these things can fly!

 

The commander could not help but seek the blessings of the gods. His army had been walking for the entire day without rest.

 

Even if the soldiers could reach their destination, they would not be in any condition to fight. The soldiers were already too tired to even walk… If… If we encounter an enemy right now…then…

 

As he thought about this, he also thought about the news he received two days ago.

 

It was said that two other garrisons also received the order to regroup and were on the way to join the main force. However, they were intercepted by the cavalry of the foreign barbarians and were almost completely annihilated…

 

There is no choice but to beg the gods for blessings!

 

He looked at the surrounding terrain. Fortunately, it was not an open area like the plains. The size of the hills around them made the path narrow. Even if they were to encounter their enemy, the opponent’s cavalry would not be able to attack properly.

 

At that moment, several scout horsemen came back from afar. The commander was immediately alert and asked, “How is it?”

 

One of the scout horsemen was sweating profusely but he still managed to keep his calm and spoke loudly, “Your Excellency, we are nearing the end of the hill path. We will be out of this hill in about half an hour! After crossing this hill, we will be in an open field. There are no signs of the enemy. However, we cannot find a better place to camp for the night. In front of us is an open field and beside the field is a small forest.”

 

The commander carefully listened to the report of the scout without missing a word and was silent for a while.

 

It seems like it will rain tonight so camping in the forest will not be a big problem. We will not need to worry about the enemy using a fire attack… Sigh, I really hope we will not meet the enemy. The Great Moon Kingdom will probably not attack if it rains. Moreover, the muddy water would not be suitable for a cavalry charge.

 

“Order the army to speed up. We will leave this hill and pitch camp!” He loudly issued the order.

 

The soldiers who received the order were already very tired. However, when they heard that they could pitch camp and rest soon, they increased their pace.

 

When the soldiers crossed the hill and saw the flat plains in front of them, they uncontrollably let out an exhausting cheer, “We can finally rest!”

 

After the order to pitch the camp was given, the soldiers became busy. The only thing that disappointed the soldiers was that the forest the scout mentioned was too small. The tall and thin trees were saplings and could not be chopped down to use as materials to build the camp. In desperation, they used the simple lumber from their supplies to form a frail wall.

 

However, the warriors felt thankful as the enemy did not appear. The Devil of the Great Moon Kingdom also did not appear. Probably with that kind of weather, the enemy would also feel exhausted. Everyone believed that they could at least safely survive the first night.

 

A veteran soldier taught the restless amateur soldiers not to panic. If the enemy made a surprise attack, the scout horsemen would warn them first. If they wanted to escape, it would not be too late to run after they hear the sounds of the enemy’s drums and horns.

 

The whole camp was in disorder as the soldiers were busy making tents or preparing a meal. “Boom!” The loud sound of thunder was heard as the lightning struck. It immediately started to rain heavily.

 

The soldiers all gave a sigh of relief as it finally rained. Since it rained, the enemy cavalry would not appear!

 

When the sky grew dark, an amateur soldier was up and totally soaked in the rain. He was trying to use a hammer to repair a wall that was damaged by the wind. Suddenly, he sensed something and raised his head to look at the open space, feeling alarmed. There seemed to be a black shadow in the distance.

 

“What is that!”

 

A veteran soldier turned his head to look at it. His face changed immediately and he said, “It looks like… a person! My God! It is the enemy! It is the Great Moon Kingdom’s cavalry!”

 

“Enemy attack!”

 

It was unclear who shouted the warning first but it was immediately transmitted throughout the army. All of them were frightened. They all screamed and threw away the tents and fences that they were about to erect. The infantries searched for their swords in panic and the cavalry units quickly donned their armor. The whole camp was in an uproar.

 

It could not be denied that within the past 200 years of the Radiant Empire’s history, their traditional martial spirit had created a lot of heroes! At that time, the person who still showed such spirit was the loyal and courageous commander.

 

“Why are you panicking? Everyone take up your arms!” The order was given as the commander immediately took out his sword and beheaded a few soldiers who were running away in a panic. “If this confusion persists, all of us will not live! Infantries! Battle formation!” His majestic voice could be heard permeating the night. The commander kept running as he cut down chaotic soldiers who did not obey his orders and were running around blindly. Then he gathered the scattered soldiers to form an array.  

 

“Fools! Do not panic! The enemy is still lining up! Until then, we still have time!” The commander tried to calm down as many soldiers as possible. “Pick up your weapons and shields! Shields form the first row! Lances form the second row!”

 

A few soldiers finally grouped into a battle formation. There were also about 500 horsemen who positioned themselves behind the infantries. These 500 horsemen were personally trained by him and were elites. They were all filled with determination as they tightly held the reins and their swords.

 

The dull sound of the horse hooves trampling on the earth could be heard. Tens of thousands of horse hooves made the earth shake and dust fly. Their trampling sound also masked the roaring thunder.

 

The commander watched the speed of the approaching enemy and had some doubts.

 

Something is not right. Why are they charging so slowly?

 

As the distant black figures approached, the soldiers of the Empire were finally able to clearly see the appearance of the enemy cavalry. They were even able to see the tassels on the enemy’s helmets. The commander suddenly showed fear and shouted, “Not good! They are mounted archers!”

 

“Kill!” Suddenly, a frightening piercing sound could be heard as the enemy cavalry let loose thousands of arrows into the sky. There were not enough soldiers with shields and they were unable to withstand all of the arrows in the sky. An uncountable number of soldiers gave blood-curdling screams as they fell to the ground. There were also some shield soldiers who just lifted their shields only to have them be pierced through. Suddenly someone shouted, “Mounted archers! Everyone run!”

 

Almost instantly, the morale of the army collapsed and the soldiers fell into disarray. Everyone knew that the infantries were no match for mounted archers. Their limited equipment would not be able to protect them from the arrows. When the enemy had finished shooting the arrows, they performed a cavalry charge. It was a massacre.

 

Countless soldiers were shouting, “Run! Run for your lives!” The commander of the Imperial Army went to the crumbled infantry formation and cut down a few soldiers who were trying to escape. Yet, he was still unable to control the situation. In addition, the disorderly soldiers also destroyed the alignment of the cavalry behind him.

 

At this point, the enemy cavalry suddenly became quiet for a moment. Soon after that, a loud voice shouted, “Change to your swords! Charge! Strell¹!

 

“Strell!” Thousands of horsemen shouted loudly. The commander of the Imperial Army realized that he and his army were finished.

 

The black armored figures roared and charged at an incredible speed. The earth trembled under the charge of the cavalry. The sound of the iron hooves coming into contact with the earth made it seem like everything in its path would be trampled.

 

With a thunderous roar, the enemy cavalry broke through the fragile infantry formation. Those who valiantly held their positions were crushed before they could even take a good look at the cruel and twisted faces of their enemies who were wearing helmets.

 

The enemy cavalry quickly passed through the infantry’s line of defense and directly charged at the camp of the Imperial Army.

 

The remaining infantries from the broken formation were being killed by a stream of cavalry soldiers, continuously coming from behind. They were either cut down by the enemy or trampled by the enemy’s horses before they could even swing their swords.

 

The commander of the Imperial Army fell into despair as he watched the infantries under his command torn apart easily by the enemy. He trembled and spoke in a deathly quiet voice to his messenger, “Pass down my orders. Tell everyone to escape. Run as far away as possible!”

 

After he gave his final order of his life, the loyal servant of the Empire turned to his 500 horsemen and spoke, “I used to be the bodyguard of the Tulip Family Duke! There are absolutely no cowards under the banner of the Tulip Family! Are you all afraid?”

 

“Follow His Excellency!” The cries of the 500 horsemen seemed to overshadow the sound of screaming and killing in the air. Five hundred swords shined as they were held high.

The commander no longer looked behind him. He rode his horse forward with a sword in his hand, fully determined not to turn back. No one among the 500 valiant and elite horsemen hesitated as well. They drew their swords and followed their commander.

 

The last cavalry of the Empire struck their enemy ruthlessly. As the momentum of the enemy cavalries was weakened by the infantries, the Empire had the upper hand at the beginning of the attack. As such, they also bought time for those who were retreating. In future generations, historians believed that without the commander’s heroic charge, the army of 15,000 support soldiers would have been completely annihilated.

 

Nevertheless, their assault did not last long. The valiant commander and his 500 horsemen were like stones thrown into a river. Although they could create some splashes, they were soon washed away under the current of the river.

 

In that battle, the Great Moon Kingdom cavalry of 20,000 defeated the army of 15,000 defenders sent to reinforce the Northwest Legion. For the entire night, the plain was filled with the roar of the armored cavalry of the Great Moon Kingdom and the miserable cries of the Empire’s infantries. It was not a battle but the cavalry’s wanton massacre of the defeated army!

 

That night, the 15,000 soldiers of the Imperial Army were completely defeated and less than 5,000 soldiers managed to escape. The lives of those 5,000 people were exchanged with the lives of the courageous commander and his 500 elite horsemen. However, there were no records of the commander’s name.

 

In that battle, the crown prince of the Great Moon Kingdom, Reuenthal and his 20,000 strong cavalry had a decisive victory. They completely defeated the reinforcements of the Northwest Legion. They had killed over 10,000 soldiers and took no prisoners.

 

Translator’s Note:

¹ Foreign word, meaning kill.

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