Chapter 197 Preparing for the Enemy
On the next morning, Roland was informed that Lightning, on one of her routine patrols, had discovered that there was a large force slowly closing in on them. .
"What, they have more than 1000 people?" Hearing such a large number startled Roland, wasn’t I told that it was only a 50-people strong envoy?
"En, goo," Maggie added, "there aren’t many people that are riding on horses, only six!”
"The people who are walking... how are they dressed and equipped?"
"They seem ordinary, most of them don’t possess a helmet or armor. They’re wearing normal linen clothes instead," Lightning reported, "Furthermore, they all have different kinds of weapons, but there are hundreds of people who are carrying short spears on their back.”
With such a poor level of equipment, does that mean they are civilians or serfs who were forced into serving? Roland questioned this, during this era they had no specialized militia training, this was also the reason why the militia usually only belonged to the logistic team and handled the food and supplies of the Knights. While they were also sometimes used as cannon fodder, as a target for the enemy’s arrows.
If Timothy wants to use military force to dispose of me, it should be impossible that he doesn’t know about the explosive fight between Border Town and Longsong Stronghold. That time, Duke Ryan’s coalition of more than two hundred Knights could not even touch the town’s edge, not to mention that crowd of mercenaries who would have to run on both of their legs. Knowing about the fight’s process and eventual result, yet still wanting to attack Border Town, this can only mean that they have confidence that they can break through the intensive row of gunfire.
Roland could not help but think of the church’s pills.
Previous he had already guessed that the Church was supporting Garcia and himself at the same time, but whether they also favored Timothy was still unknown. If that troop was in possession of those pills, the situation would be entirely different.
For a short time they would be able to reach the speed of a running horse, while also not being afraid of pain, meaning, the gun line would actually face an impact of more than 1000 “Knights”, and as long as one person managed to rush into the lines, they could cause significant casualties to the First Army.
Fortunately, the First Army now was no longer the First Army of two months ago.
With the revolving rifle, although until now only 100 had been replaced, the firepower they could deliver went far beyond that of the previous flintlock army, especially after he’d provided the gunners with a special ammunition loader. As soon as they enter into a scope of 300 meters, the enemy would have to face a constant stream of attacks.
Furthermore, after the fight with the stronghold, the artillery force has also been expanded. From its original size of four to its current size 20 groups, each was equipped with a modified version of the 12-pounder field cannon, doubling its range, its effective range was increased to over a kilometer.
However, Roland soon thought of another problem.
"Have you noticed if anyone of those soldiers that were walking was wearing a God’s Stone of Retaliation?
"I didn’t dare to get so close," Lightning said, then pointed at Maggie. "But this fellow, after she had turned into her eagle form she could see them many times better than I could.”
But the latter also shook her head, "Haven’t seen, they might have hidden it in their clothes, Goo!"
"If it’s like this..." for a moment Roland pondered about it, "How about you take Nightingale with you. If you only carry one person while flying, you can still reach a height of ten meters, right? You will follow the Redwater River, Maggie will fly in front of you and take responsible of being on guard, as for the possibility of coming across a ship, Nightingale will step into her world of fog,” he said, then he looked at Nightingale. "When you are close enough to the enemy, you will observe them from distance. Find out if the troops are carrying God’s Stone of Retaliations, however, without my permission, you will not attack.”
"Yes," Nightingale and Lightning said simultaneously.
When the three were ready to go, Roland stopped them one more time, "Remember, safety first, the most important thing is that you protect yourself."
"No problem," Nightingale said with a wink and smile.
When the witches had left, Roland felt a little uneasy, wasn’t the last sentence too much like raising a flag?
But he also became aware of a major mistake he had made, which was, that his intelligence control within the Longsong Stronghold was too weak – if it weren't for the messenger sent by Petrov, he would only become aware of the enemy after it had already hit his door. Once a street fight broke out, the First Army would lose its advantage of firepower, and it would be difficult to get the advantage back.
I’m too young, too simple, Roland thought, after the war, this has to be changed, not only our intelligence system, Petrov should also be placed in my own staff.
In the following time, Roland sat restlessly at his table, even when it was time for lunch he wasn’t in the mood to eat. Only when Lighting, carrying Nightingale, flew in a fairy like manner into his room was he able to breath out in relieve.
Maggie closed her wings, dropped on Nightingales shoulders and chirped in a high voice: "Doesn’t exist goo, doesn’t exist goo!"
"They have no God’s Stone of Retaliation?"
"Most of them don’t possess them," Nightingale said, taking off her hood, freeing her golden flood. "I have observed them from the front to the end, and I could only detect three to four black holes from the ranks of the militia.”
"Very well," Roland said, immediately forming a preliminary battle plan. "You all should be hungry by now. In that case, go to the dining hall and order whatever you want to eat from the chef.
"Honey-sauce barbecue, Goo!" Maggie chirped, spread her wing and flew ahead.
East of Border Town.
Van’er glanced at the stone masons and workers who were busying themselves at both sides of the road, "In the end, what is it that they are building?"
In the beginning hundreds of people had dug out several huge pits in the ground, and they then built a brick wall at the edge of the pits, he thought that the walls would be connected, cutting off the road this way, so he never expected that they would actually be built around the pit.
"Don’t worry about it; I only know that there is finally another enemy we can beat," Jop said excitedly while setting up the cannon on the right spot.
Indeed, how satisfying that would be. Last time when we had defeated the Duke’s coalition, His Royal Highness had personally awarded us members of the artillery group with a bronze emblem... No, that’s wrong; it was a medal. The Longsong Stronghold’s wall was depicted on the front of the medal, while the back was engraved with the year and their accomplishment. It was an exquisite production and had led to a lot of envy from the others within the firearm squadron.
And as if that wasn’t already enough honor, they had also been promoted, Van’er was now an artillery captain, and was in charge of ten artillery groups. The Rodney brothers, Cat's Claw and Jop, were promoted to team captains, with three of them transferred to newly formed groups, where they were in charge to teaching the newly enlisted gunners how to operate the cannon.
However, the most inspiring was, that the Prince, His Highness has honored his promise, and had assigned a piece of land, which laid east of the town, at the foot of the Impassable Mountain Range, to him. Even though it was only a forest for now, but on the ground there now stood a stele, symbolizing that this piece and the rights to it’s use belonged to him.
So when they had learned that an enemy wanted to invade Border Town, the First Army suddenly began to boil, everyone was fully motivated, and hoped to gain some merits within the battle.
When the evening came, and the day’s drill finally came to its end, Van’er wiped the sweat from his forehead, and sat down on the shelves to take a little rest. During the whole afternoon he had gone from one artillery group to another, checking whether the new recruits were following the rules and execution steps when firing, he had yelled so much that his throat was nearly on fire.
"Drink something," Jop handed him a leather flask.
"Thank you," Van’er twisted open the lid, drinking thirstily.
"I think I know what they're going to build," said the former, raising his lips, proudly.
"Is that so?" He gave the leather bag back to Jop. By now the brick wall has been piled up to half a person’s height, roughly surrounding the pit in a hexagon. However, on each side of the wall, 30 – 40 centimeters over the ground, they had left open a long and narrow cross, which slightly resembled a window but appeared to be a bit smaller. "It won’t be a house."
"Calling it a house, wouldn’t be wrong, I just went and asked a mason," Job nodded, "he told me that this was something His Royal Highness, the Prince had come up with, when the firearm team hides themselves within they can fire while being half buried in the ground, not having to worry about anything. But they also have a unique name; His Royal Highness called it a bunker."
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