Life and Death Look Alike
As soon as Rody was 10 li1 away from the Imperial Capital, he ordered the whole army wait for further instructions. He then sent a messenger and asked for the presence of Deputy Commander Sieg and Commander Gordon.
Before the expedition, Rody deliberately requested Emperor Abbas XI to order a high-ranking Imperial Guard commander to follow him as he was still young and had no experience. He hoped that His Majesty would send someone who was familiar with battle formations. Naturally, it was something Nicole suggested.
Emperor Abbas XI was happy to approve and immediately ordered Commander Gordon to follow the army to the Northwest. Commander Gordon also brought along 2,000 of the Imperial Guards with him because Emperor Abbas XI could not depend entirely on the young duke. Additionally, His Majesty had never heard of Deputy Commander Sieg so he wanted to send someone whom he could trust.
“Commander Sieg, I have an idea that I need to discuss!” Rody carefully declared his thoughts.
“Your Excellency!” Sieg gave a faint smile and replied, “You are now the supreme commander. If you have any orders, you just need to say it.”
Rody gave Gordon a glance. Gordon merely smiled quietly and nodded.
Rody took a deep breath and expressed his thoughts, “I have decided to divide the Wolves Fang Army into two. Commander Gordon will lead 10,000 Wolves Fang cavalrymen along with his 2,000 Imperial Guards and continue to march in as a group. However, the 10,000 cavalrymen will have to give up their horses! Sieg and I will take the remaining 10,000 cavalrymen, with each one having two horses! We will take provisions enough for four days and rush straight to Watt Fortress! According to my calculations, if we do not take any break and just rotate our horses, we will be able to reach the fortress in four days!”
The moment Rody said that Gordon and Sieg felt shocked. Sieg cried out first, “How can this work?” After that, he realized that he lost control of himself and lowered his voice. “Your Excellency, our military strength is limited. I am afraid that if we split up… we will not be able to cope!”
Rody gave a long sigh and looked at Sieg. He then said, “Commander Sieg, do you think 20,000 soldiers are enough to reinforce the Northwest Legion? There are less than 100,000 soldiers left from the defeated Northwest Legion. If we take into account those who were injured and those who have lost their combat capabilities, I am afraid we only still have about 60,000 soldiers. Can these 60,000 soldiers of a defeated army fight against 180,000 soldiers of the Great Moon Kingdom? Even if we were to add in our 20,000 soldiers, will it be enough?”
Sieg was silent for a while before he softly replied, “No, we won’t be able to win. Unless we bring 50,000 soldiers with us, I will not dare to fight them.”
“That’s right!” Rody sighed. “I thought of this the entire night before I understood our situation…” At that time, Andy cried out in his mind, “Bullshit! If I did not teach you, could you have thought of this?”
Rody ignored Andy and continued, “We cannot defeat them anyway. That is why with this small force, we can only play the role of increasing morale! As long as our Tulip Family’s banner is up, I believe that the morale of the Northwest Army will stabilize! The biggest problem with the Northwest Legion now is not that they cannot win but rather they are too afraid to fight! They still have about 100,000 soldiers! In the previous battle, the 200,000 soldiers were defeated by the enemy’s army of 80,000. Now, we have less than 100,000 soldiers left while the enemy has gathered an army of 180,000. The Northwest Legion has lost its morale. We are here to give them morale and not troops. As long as there are reinforcements, even if it is only 5,000 soldiers, the Northwest Legion will know that more reinforcements will come! They will know that there is hope and become more spirited!”
Rody looked at Sieg and Gordon. Noticing that they did not speak he spoke again, “Of course, even if the morale of the Northwest Legion becomes stable, it is still unlikely that we would be able to defeat or even repel the Great Moon Kingdom. Therefore, my plan is to hold out! As long as the Northwest Legion is motivated, even if we cannot fight back against the enemy, we will still be able to defend the fortress!”
Sieg frowned and asked, “Defending is enough?”
Rody looked at him and knew that an honest soldier like him would not understand political affairs. Rody, himself, would not have understood politics if it were not for Nicole who explained it to him.
“Commander Sieg, let me tell you, His Majesty the Emperor does not really intend to fight the Great Moon Kingdom! We cannot afford to fight them! With the Northwest Legion half destroyed, we can only temporarily concede. The Southern Legion is too far away and will take two to three months to reach here if they are mobilized! As for the Northern Legion, if they are mobilized, we would be vulnerable to the attacks of the Roland Continent.”
Those last few words were not very appropriate but Rody had no choice. Those were the only words Andy taught him the night before. All he could do was repeat them.
Rody sighed and continued, “Fortunately, the Great Moon Kingdom also cannot afford to fight us. Right now, they are just consolidating their victories. I don’t like it but I have to admit they have already won the war! Destroying the Northwest Legion is something that will be beneficial to them but they do not need to. As long as they can guarantee victory, they will be in a favorable position when they enter into negotiation with the Empire in the future.”
Rody’s speech gradually changed direction from a military problem to a political one. That was something Sieg could not understand. Even Gordon, who was often in the Imperial Palace only understood half of it.
“That is why our mission is to defend! We cannot let the Empire be defeated anymore! We must prevent this situation from deteriorating by immobilizing the army of the Great Moon Kingdom at Watt Fortress! The Great Moon Kingdom are foreigners living on the grasslands. They cannot afford to fight long and do not have the strength for prolonged battles! When the time comes, they will have to retreat! This way, the Empire will not have to be so passive during negotiations.”
After Rody voiced his opinions, Gordon and Sieg had nothing left to say.
They followed Rody’s orders and divided the Wolves Fang Army into two groups. Sieg ordered all of those in one of the groups to dismount and give up their horses. The young soldiers were reluctant to part with their horses but the Wolves Fang Army had strict rules so no one said anything.
Rody sighed and ordered the other 10,000 soldiers to take their own rations of dry goods and remove their heavy armor. They all then lined up and prepared to depart.
Just before departing, Rody pulled Gordon over and carefully told him, “Commander Gordon, there are two things I need you to help me with! The first one is to lead the remaining 12,000 soldiers. They must move as fast as possible! When you pass by any garrison, I want you to requisite their horses. I will give you the command token which His Majesty gave me! If the garrison does not comply, show this to them. If they still do not comply, kill them! After obtaining their horses, you are to speed up and catch up with us. I understand that this is different from the plan I told you earlier but it is better to be safe than sorry. In case something happens, I can count on your earlier reinforcement.”
Gordon laughed as he took the command token. “Do not worry, Young Master Seth. I probably won’t even need to use this command token. If the Royal Guards want horses, the defenders will have to give us horses. No one dares to say ‘no’ especially when they see us in the Royal Guards’ armor.”
Rody smiled and said, “As for the second thing, you must remember carefully! In the supply carriage, I kept a box with my family’s insignia. It is very easy to find. If… and I really mean if! If I meet with an accident… remember, and this must be ascertained by you, if I encounter any mishaps and I am killed in battle, I want you to take that box and burn everything in it!”
“Huh?” Gordon was stunned. “What is inside that box?”
Rody gave a strange smile and said, “Nothing special. Just a skeleton. Remember, this is a military order!”
After Rody had finished speaking, he turned his horse around and gave the army the order to march.
The skeleton in his mind was in a rage.
“Shit! Kid, you are too vicious!”
Rody spoke lightly without changing his facial expression, “In that case, you better remember Andy, if I survive, you will survive! If I die, you will die! So, you better stop playing tricks and help me wholeheartedly! Haha…”
He whipped his horse as he spoke. A mighty cavalry of 10,000 rode towards the Northwest with the sun on their backs.
- 1 li里(lǐ ) also known as the Chinese mile, is a traditional Chinese unit of distance. The li has varied considerably over time but was usually about a third as long as the English mile and now has a standardized length of a half-kilometer (500 meters or 1,640 feet).