Masked Knight – Chapter 76

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Long Distance Raid


“Your Excellency, do you mean…” Fedol’s eyes flashed. He exchanged glances with Ferara and they both saw that the other was also surprised.


Just then, the duke took them into the woods for a discussion. However, the duke was extremely direct and arrived at his main topic of ‘money’ quickly. Although money was indispensable in official businesses, the duke was too direct and ‘stretched out his hand’ without any warning. Both of them did not know that Rody was an impostor. Although Rody had lived the life of a noble for a few months, it was not enough to learn how to speak in a roundabout way especially when engaging in shady businesses.


Ferara was surprised but he also felt relieved. He was no longer afraid that Rody would not receive money. Rather, he was afraid that he had nowhere to disburse his money. Ferara immediately smiled and said, “I know that the war in the Northwest has caused many to feel nervous. My army is also lacking supplies. However, I am willing to sell off my property to raise military funds so, Your Excellency need not worry!”


Fedol also nodded immediately but his face showed a pained expression. He then said, “Although my family’s finances are currently not good, for the military I am willing to donate…” After that, Fedol stopped for a moment to count before continuing loudly, “10,000 gold coins.”


Hearing those words, Rody furrowed his eyebrows. Ferara was also feeling angry and mentally cursed Fedol.


Since the Duke is the one who started talking about money, he must have known about the embezzlement of the military fund. Yet, that idiot, Fedol, still values his money so much. That good-for-nothing!


Sure enough, the young duke was silent for a while before he slowly said, “Very good, Your Excellency Fedol! You are very generous! 10,000 gold coins!” He paused for a moment before he coldly continued, “Before the siege, Watt Fortress was reported to have 15,000 soldiers. During the siege, the one who went up the walls to fight was Reuben and his main army. Your soldiers only helped with public security! Now that the battle is over, how many soldiers are there in Watt Fortress? Watt Fortress is a first-class fortress! By the Imperial order, there should have been 4,000 bundles of arrows in reserve! However, from what I heard from General Reuben, it seems that there were not that many arrows! On top of that, the Imperial Order states that the walls of all first-class fortresses must be 12 meters high. However, when I entered the city, I wondered to myself. Why are the walls so short? It seems like they are less than 10 meters high.”


Rody spoke extremely slowly. Fedol listened fearfully as he turned ghastly pale. When he heard the last sentence, he instinctively tried to defend himself and said, “What do you mean less than 10 meters high? It is obviously 10 meters high!” The moment he uttered those words, he realized he had messed things up. He immediately started to tremble in fear.


Ferara who was watching him cursed the bungling oaf endlessly in his heart. He made up his mind to replace that useless bungling oaf if he managed to survive the ordeal.


Ferara’s face immediately changed. He no longer smiled as he looked at Rody and gritted his teeth. “Since Your Excellency has already explained himself, I will not say any more unnecessary things! Fedol and I are willing to contribute 100,000 gold coins for the military expenditure! I hope Your Excellency will be pleased!”


Rody sighed and then he smiled and said, “I thank you two for your loyalty to the nation!”


After the conversation, they returned to the dinner celebration. Rody also stopped acting. He put to use the etiquette lessons he learned in the Imperial Capital. He walked and laughed gracefully as a young noble. Exactly what would be expected from an influential noble family.


Everyone enjoyed themselves to the fullest. Although there were some who felt that the duke’s attitude was different and strange, they assumed it was natural for someone from one of the most powerful families in the Imperial Capital to be arrogant.


Rody was a little drunk. His bodyguards had already gone back. Rody was snickering with Andy in his mind all the way back.


“Andy, thanks for your help earlier. I did not expect there to be so much trouble dealing with them.”


Andy replied in disdain, “You better be satisfied that I helped you earn 100,000 gold coins today. There were so many weaknesses in your speech just now. That fat guy almost saw the flaws.”


Rody laughed. “I have never understood these things. Thank you for secretly telling me what to say and what to do. There were a lot of times I did not know what to say and could only show them a fierce face to scare them. If it was not for your guidance, I am afraid I might have been exposed.”


Andy snickered, “Boy, what do you think about casually earning 100,000 gold coins over dinner?”


Rody was silent for a moment before he lightly replied, “Nauseating!”


Andy coldly said, “This is the temptation of power and position. Right now, you are just not used to it. Whatever it is, the first step is already successful. The rest is up to you. I can help you with planning but when it comes to the execution, I cannot do anything.”  


Reuenthal was at Redwood Base and had sent out scouts to discreetly inquire about the situation at Watt Fortress. For a few days, he only found cavalrymen guarding craftsmen to strengthen the defense. Even the trees in a few groves were cut down and wood was carted back to the city.  The craftsmen were busy reinforcing the walls. Within two days, the fortress was surrounded by cheval de frise, an anti-personnel barrier in the form of a wooden frame covered with long wooden spikes. The barriers were placed all around the fortress walls.

After that, cavalrymen were dispatched to the surrounding villages to buy provisions. The nearby civilians were also escorted to the city. Without any doubt, it was a preparation to defend.


Reuenthal had secretly dispatched two cavalries to harass them but the Duke of the Tulip Family seemed to be extremely powerful. The ‘Lightning God’s Whip’ was on standby and engaged Reuenthal’s cavalries. In the end, Reuenthal’s cavalries were defeated.


Reuenthal laughed bitterly in his heart as he observed the situation. A secret report from his spy in the Imperial Capital told him that the reinforcements, the Central Cavalry, only had 20,000 soldiers. Although the Duke of the Tulip Family moved very quickly and had managed to launch a surprise attack before Reuenthal obtained the intelligence, Reuenthal noted that the military strength of his opponent was smaller than his own. Even if the Empire wanted to mobilize the Southern Legion, the Empire would still need another 2 months.


On the other hand, his earlier request to the Great Moon Kingdom for a cavalry of 100,000 would arrive within two days. Reuenthal came to a decision that he had to reduce the enemy’s strength even if he would suffer huge losses. Although siege battle was a headache for him, he had an unlimited supply of soldiers. If it was a fight of attrition, he was 90% sure that he would win.


The only thing that made Reuenthal furious was the people of the Roland Continent who were just resting in his barracks. The special envoy of the Roland Continent could not be seen at all. Before the war, he had promised a large number of sorcerers as reinforcements but the promise was not kept. Instead, there were 10,000 cavalrymen and all of them refused to go out and fight. The cavalrymen claimed that they were only under orders to protect the special envoy and would not join in the battles. That made Reuenthal extremely angry but he could not say anything.


The 10,000 remaining Central Cavalry soldiers and the 2,000 Imperial Guards led by Commander Gordon finally arrived at Watt Fortress. Everyday, Rody would convene with Sieg, Gordon and those involved at the garrison to discuss military matters. He did not meet with the other commanders, or discuss other official matters or visit the barracks.


Everyone felt that the young Duke of the Tulip Family was an eccentric person. According to a few soldiers in the garrison, the duke usually liked to hide in his own room and talked to himself. Apparently, it was as if the young duke was arguing with someone.


After Reuenthal had restrained himself for two days, the Great Moon Kingdom’s reinforcements of 100,000 arrived at Redwood Base. Reuenthal who had ordered his army to prepare themselves for the past two days suddenly gave the order to launch a second attack on Watt Fortress.


Reuenthal left 50,000 cavalrymen behind to guard Redwood Base. He then led the other 200,000 men in a majestic march formation stretching over 5 li. Reuenthal knew that he was unable to conduct a surprise attack so he openly set out for this attack. Since he had suffered badly the last time, he scattered his scouts wide to acquire information as a precaution in case of a surprise attack by the enemy.


That day when he arrived at the fortress, the previously open barren land outside the walls was now covered with barriers. Reuenthal gritted his teeth when he saw the wooden spikes on the barriers, the tall reinforced walls plus the rolling logs and stones on the walls.


How many soldiers must I sacrifice to capture Watt Fortress?


Reuenthal started his preparation. He ordered 2,000 suicide soldiers to dismantle the cheval de frise. On the first day, those 2,000 soldiers were either killed or seriously injured. From the walls, arrows fell like rain towards the cheval de frise which was within range. The demolition of each barrier would cost the lives of two or three soldiers. Reuenthal had given the order for the archers to return fire but the enemy’s magicians blocked the arrows.


After two full days, more than half of the fortifications were removed. However, Reuenthal had already lost more than 6,000 soldiers and could only stomp his feet in anger.


Reuenthal had 200,000 soldiers. Although the size of his army was much bigger than his enemy’s, the daily consumption of provisions was also enormous. The Great Moon Kingdom was originally located in the grasslands but it was not a suitable location to grow grains. They had to spend two years to accumulate enough provisions for this invasion. As a result, Reuenthal who was feeling anxious could only order his soldiers to charge forward regardless of the losses.


Unfortunately, thousands of his soldiers were shot dead by arrows before they could even approach the walls of the city. The arrows used were merely wooden arrows. However, the arrows had amazing power when they were shot by thousands of archers. Their shields may have been big but those who were trying to dismantle the fortifications could not always hold up their shields.


Reuenthal sat on his horse as he looked at the Tulip Family’s banner from afar and felt extremely agitated. Reuenthal grew up in the grasslands but he was an ambitious guy. When he was young, he would sneak into the Empire alone and secretly learn the art of war of the Radiant Empire. Naturally, he had a particularly profound impression of the Tulip Family. He had always treated the Tulip Family as the imaginary future enemy. Now that he was actually fighting the Tulip Family, he felt depressed.


Seeing another 1,000 of his soldiers die after being shot by arrows, he immediately roared loudly for the next 1,000 soldiers to move up.


At that moment, a cavalryman approached from behind. The cavalryman of the Great Moon Kingdom was covered in blood. He held a red ox bone which was the symbol for urgency.


He quickly rushed to the front of Reuenthal. After that, he jumped down from his horse and staggered. The horse behind him had used the last of its strength. It neighed sorrowfully before it fell dead on the ground. The cavalier held the red ox bone over his head and sobbed.


“Your Highness, the Radiant Empire’s Central Cavalry had split into two groups and attacked us! Within two days, they rode over 1,000 li and wiped out our 17 tribes! They… they are about to attack the Dragon Plateau1! His Majesty has ordered you to go back to aid them!”


Reuenthal shouted loudly, “What? How many people do they have? What banner are they flying!”


The bloodsoaked cavalryman gasped for breath and said, “Number of soldiers unknown… They fly the… Tulip Family’s banner!”


Reuenthal’s vision suddenly turned black for a moment. His trembled and almost fell off his horse. A few of his trusted subordinates quickly stepped forward and supported him. Reuenthal felt both frightened and furious. He was known for his skills in conducting raids and did not expect his enemy to attack his own home.


He quickly regained his composure, sitting on his horse, while the surrounding soldiers looked at him. He slowly calmed himself down and asked, “How did they get behind us? What about the garrison at Redwood Base? Did they not discover them as well?”


That cavalryman breathed heavily and was terrified but he managed to continue, “They must have made a detour. All the scouts they encountered were killed! There were no survivors! That is why they were only discovered after they have crossed the borders! They continued without stopping. They did not take any prisoners and killed everyone so…”


Reuenthal became furious and shouted, “What about the defenders at Redwood Base? I left 50,000 cavaliers there! Since there is news, why did they not send anyone to pursue?”


“They already dispatched soldiers but the news came too late! The enemy had already rushed into the grasslands!”


Reuenthal took a deep breath and calmed down. After that, he asked again, “What about the cavalrymen from Roland? What are they doing?”


“The special envoy from Roland said they were duty bound to help and pursued along with our soldiers!”


“Oh?” Reuenthal did not expect that answer. He closed his eyes and contemplated for a moment. After that, he opened his eyes and ordered 10,000 cavalrymen to guard the rear while the rest of the army immediately retreated. He personally led 30,000 cavalrymen and rushed to the aid of the Great Moon Kingdom.


At the same time, in the Northwest near the Great Moon Kingdom grassland, a cavalry in full body armor and lances in their hands rode quickly. They had just found several large horseshoe prints. After counting the number of prints, they estimated that their opponents only had about 10,000 soldiers. The team leader immediately gave the order for a full speed chase.s


Riding in front on top of a red horse, was the special envoy of the Roland Continent. He was still in his black robe and wearing a black veil. Riding his horse quickly, his mind was set on the secret orders given to him by the eagle the night before.


“At all costs, kill the Duke of the Tulip Family!”


Translator’s Footnote:

1 龙台金帐(lóng tái jīn zhàng ):  龙台 is ‘dragon plateau’ and 金帐 is ‘Golden Horde’. The Golden Horde, in real life, was an ancient Mongolian kingdom. As 龙台金帐 is obviously a place name, I have chosen to use ‘Dragon Plateau’ because the full name ‘Dragon Plateau Golden Horde’ is too long. Another reason is, in the chinese text龙台金帐 sounds beautiful, but in english the literal translation ‘Dragon Plateau Golden Horde’ is kind of clumsy.

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