Masked Knight – Chapter 60

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The Last Hope of the Empire


Rody nodded his head. He now knew when to speak and when to shut up. Some things were better off kept in his heart and not spoken.


They soon arrived at the large tent and Rody looked disappointed when he saw the dust gathered in the tent. “Commander Gordon, I hope that His Majesty the Emperor will permit me to take at least 20,000 Imperial Guards to the Northwest. It is not a matter of the ‘Lightning God’s Whip’ anymore. Look at it this way, even if I take 100,000 of these troops with me, I will probably die.”


Gordon sighed and smiled. “Young Master Seth, I have also served the Central Cavalry. During those years when the old duke was still alive, the Central Cavalry was not like this. In the past few years…”


Rody thought to himself and whispered, “Commander Gordon, what should I do? Even if I bring this army, they would be of no use. Even if I want to reorganize them, I am only a commander. Although I have the title of ‘Duke’, I would not be able to command the entire Central Cavalry. On top of that, His Majesty ordered me to leave tomorrow. What can I do in just a day? You could probably also guess their combat readiness…”


Gordon smiled and slowly said, “Young Master Seth, His Majesty only ordered you to act as a commander. He asked you to take 20,000 soldiers there but never asked you to take which troop. I served here before and have some experience. Although many of my old companions are no longer here, one or two of my friends have remained in this army. I won’t speak for the troops in the other units but the unit trained by my two friends would not be too bad!”


Rody nodded, feeling grateful.


Suddenly, he heard the sound of a bugle outside followed by sounds of hurried footsteps. A  group of soldiers rushed into the tent and stood at both sides of the tent. They seemed to be alarmed.


A short while later, the sound of leather boots trampling on the ground could be heard outside. The flaps of the large tent were then opened and a few officers walked in.


They were led by a middle-aged man wearing a silver uniform. He smiled and walked towards Rody.


“Your Excellency must be the Duke of the Tulip Family. I am the Commanding-in-Chief of the Central Cavalry, Barry.”


“General!” Rody immediately saluted. Even though he was now a duke, his rank was only of a military commander and it was considered a subordinate of the other party.


“You do not need to salute me!” Barry waved his hand. “I rushed here when I heard that the Duke of the Tulip Family had arrived.” Barry then shouted, “Attention!”


Drum rolls were immediately heard outside the tent. When the drumming was heard, the officers moved to stand at attention in two rows.


“Everybody, this is the Commander of the Imperial Guards, Gordon and the Duke of the Tulip Family!” Barry laughed as he sat on his chair.


The officers, in succession, came forward and saluted him, “Your Excellency!” Rody did not say anything but kept wondering who among them was Gordon’s ‘old friend’.


When everyone had re-assumed their positions Barry said, “Your Excellency, we have not had such an honor for a long time. Today, I have summoned all the Central Cavalry officers here just to welcome you.”


“General, you are too polite!” Rody smiled faintly. He then said, “By the order of His Majesty, I am the commander of the Central Cavalry. His Majesty wants me to take 20,000 men to the Northwest tomorrow. I believe the general already knows this.”


Barry nodded and replied, “Yes. I just don’t know which unit Your Excellency is supposed to take with you.”


Rody laughed faintly, “His Majesty did not say. I think I am supposed to decide for myself.”  When he finished speaking, he swept his eyes slowly across the officers present, scrutinizing them as he did.


There was silence in the tent. The officers being scrutinized had their mouths closed tightly and their heads lowered. All of them knew about the war in the Northwest. Even though the Northwest Legion was powerful, it was still utterly destroyed by the Great Moon Kingdom’s armored cavalry. Only God knew whether the pitiful General Reuben had his head chopped off by the Great Moon Kingdom’s scimitars or not. Wouldn’t sending 20,000 men there right now be like sending them to their doom?


Rody’s eyes lit up when he saw a man standing at the back. He was wearing an officer’s uniform and looked resolute. He did not evade Rody’s gaze like the others. That person was about 40 years old. His dark skin seemed to tell this man have been through hardships and was also experienced. In a glance, he seemed to be a veteran of the battlefield.


Rody had no time to play mind games. He went to the front of that officer and asked, “You! What is your name?”


“Sieg, Commander of the Wolves Fang Division!” He spoke in a strong voice.


Rody nodded and looked happy as he asked, “Commander Sieg, are you willing to accompany me to the Northwest?”


Sieg was so excited that his dark face turned red. He loudly shouted, “I am willing to follow the Tulip Family’s banner!”


Rody gave a sigh of relief. He then turned around and told Barry loudly, “General Barry, report to His Majesty that I am taking the Central Cavalry’s Wolves Fang Division with me to the Northwest!” Rody was slightly disturbed as he realized that this division was the only one with competent soldiers. He was worried that Barry would be unwilling to let them go.


However, Barry gave a sigh of relief and smiled as he loudly said, “Since Your Excellency appreciates Sieg, I permit him and the Wolves Fang Division to accompany you!” Barry then shouted loudly, “Commander Sieg!”


“Yes, Sir!” A flash of disdain could be seen in Sieg’s eyes. Nevertheless, he still stepped forward.


Barry laughed loudly, “I now appoint you as the deputy commander. The new commander of the Wolves Fang Division will be the Duke of the Tulip Family, Seth Rudolph! Take this time to prepare yourself. You will leave tomorrow morning!”


“Yes!” Sieg lowered his head in salute while ignoring the stares of the other commanders. They seemed to take pleasure in someone else’s misfortune.


What Rody did not know was that Sieg was an honest and frank person. He had never joined his fellow officers in wallowing and had never earned their support. When he was chosen to go to the Northwest, everyone took pleasure in his misfortune. General Barry too. It would be easier for him with one less honest subordinate. It would be even better if Sieg died in the Northwest! That way, it would be more convenient for General Barry to indulge in corrupt practices!


Rody, who was still worried followed Sieg and visited the military camp of the Wolves Fang Division.


The military camp of the Wolves Fang Division was located at the left back of the Central Cavalry main camp. Rody, Sieg, and Gordon rode there on their horses. When they arrived at the training grounds of the camp, they saw a group of cavalrymen occupying the training grounds. They were charging in formation. The young horsemen were repeatedly shooting their arrows. On the sidelines was a stern-looking officer holding a small banner.


On the other side of the training grounds, a pair of cavalrymen assumed an assault formation and were charging forward. The cavalrymen rode towards the forest, shouting ‘Kill!’ Similarly, another officer was waving a black colored banner at the sidelines.


Sieg looked a bit proud. Then, he suddenly shouted to a nearby messenger, “Tell them to stop and come over here!”


With the instructions given to the messenger, the two officers that held the banners gave the signal and both groups of cavalrymen immediately stopped their training. They gathered and tidied up their lances, bows, and arrows. They then gathered and divided themselves into two squads in an orderly manner! The men, with their horses, were silent.


Rody felt excited. He kicked his horse with his heels to rush up to them. However, before he reached the squads, the cavalrymen immediately took out their scimitars. Dozens of eyes were glaring at Rody. It seemed that if Rody took another step forward, he would be greeted by hundreds of scimitars.


“Your Excellency!” Sieg quickly ran forward and ordered everyone to sheath their weapons.


Following his orders, the cavalrymen immediately sheathed their scimitars.


“Your Excellency! This is the rule of the Wolf Cavalry! Without the order, no one is allowed to approach the battle formation!” Sieg looked a bit awkward as he feared that the young duke of the Tulip Family would get angry.


However, Rody was not unhappy at all. Instead, he smiled and asked, “Commander Sieg, why do they have such strange curved swords in their hands? If I remember correctly, a horseman would hold a sword in addition to the bow and the lance!”


Sieg gave a faint smile. “The scimitar is the special weapon of the Central Cavalry! When the Central Cavalry along with the Duke of the Tulip Family conquered the Northwest, they got a bad beating from the enemy’s scimitar. The Duke found their scimitars very effective and much more useful than our lance and decided to imitate them. That is why the scimitar became the standard equipment of our cavalry! It is a tradition of our Central Cavalry!”


Rody jumped down and stood in front of the majestic formation of the army with a strange expression.


This is the real ‘Lightning God’s Whip’. This is the invincible elite armored cavalry of the Empire that he had read about in history.


Rody suddenly turned to Sieg and bowed deeply. His voice was trembling with excitement.


“Your Excellency Sieg, I want to thank you for retaining the hope of the Empire.”
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