Chapter 201 Back to the Stronghold
Keeping the power of the pills in mind, Roland didn’t immediately order the First Army to chase the fleeing enemy. Instead, he sent Lightning and Maggie to monitor the situation.
Those who had been injured in the line of duty immediately received treatment. During the whole battle, only five soldiers had been injured, they had all been hit by spears and from the five injured people, four belonged to the artillery. He was pleased to see that when the enemy’s wave reached its striking distance of one hundred and fifty meters, his artillery group didn’t disperse in confusion, instead they only lowered their bodies and hid behind the cannons, so that they could resume the attack as soon as possible after the end of the spear shower.
From the beginning Nana had been standing behind the defense line waiting on standby, but the most remarkable part was when the enemy turned around and fled, she ignored the rumbling sound of ongoing gunfire, and ran together with the old Viscount towards the position of the artillery soldiers, making sure to rescue and give medical treatment to those victims of short spears. After seeing her actions, it was hard to believe, that only six months ago, this little girl had become dizzy at the sight of blood.
In the end, the five injured managed to survive. And under the cheers and the salutes of the watching soldiers, Nana left the battlefield.
In fact, this battle was much easier than the last time when they had to deal with the Duke’s coalition. Without the drugs, the addicted militia had entered an extremely vulnerable state, some of them even ran two to three kilometers, only to throw themselves onto the ground, no longer able to move.
Soon after, Roland’s pursuing troops had caught them all and began to escort them back to the Longsong Stronghold. During the chase, the First Army was also able to capture two Knights, although they did not swallow the pills, they had still lost every thought of putting up a resistance. When confronted with the continuous pursuit, they simply chose to surrender, asking for the opportunity to send a letter to their family and giving a plea for redemption.
Four days later, they reached Longsong Stronghold.
Thanks to the intelligence gathered from the surrendered Knights; Nightingale easily disintegrated all the troops left in the stronghold’s castle. After killing the captain on the spot, more than 100 militiamen fled in panic, blindly running into an ambush the First Army had set up at the gate.
Later, Roland’s men found the captive Petrov in the castle’s dungeons. He looked haggard, probably caused by his worry and anxiety, but because of his identity as a noble of the Honeysuckle family, he hadn’t suffered through inhumane treatment.
After nearly three months, the Prince saw the Acting Duke once again.
"Being able to see you safe and sound is truly good news, Your Royal Highness," Petrov’s uneasiness finally relaxed, then he went through his experiences of the last days, "I did not know that Timothy’s envoy... "
"They all died," Roland leaned relaxed against his chair and said indifferent "Most of the 1500 people they brought to Border Town have died, and the rest are currently locked in the stronghold’s prison.
When Petrov heard about the complete annihilation of the envoys, he somehow looked a bit surprised, "Your Royal Highness, with this, I am afraid that the new King... no, your brother will see you as a thorn in the eye."
"So, do you mean I should have deliberately lost the fight, and obediently went with them to King’s City, begging for his mercy?" While asking, Roland looked him directly into the eyes.
Not able to face his view, the latter involuntarily lowered his head, "No, Your Royal Highness..."
"The moment he set foot in the Western Territory, he became my enemy," the Prince declared in a calm voice.
"It seems that in order to seize power, Timothy Wimbledon is becoming more and more desperate. He is urgently in need of land and titles to divide between the other nobles to ensure their support. In case all you wanted was to live a life in pleasure, why would you want to manage the stronghold for me? You should already be aware of the point, only when I become the King of Graycastle will your position as the Lord of the Western Territory be set in stone.” Roland paused for a moment and then said, "To prevent this from happening for a second time, I need to form an army to guard the stronghold."
"Army?" Petrov asked shocked.
"Yes, without any Knights, only built out of civilians, a permanent army." Roland slowly explained his plans, "You have to pick out 300 people who live inside the stronghold, who will be trained by my subordinates on how to fight. The requirement for the 300 people is: They have to be civilians, they must not be guilty of any crime, they aren’t allowed to be followers of the Church, and lastly, they have to be between the age of 16 and 30 and without any physical disability. During the training, they will be living in Border Town, and I will provide them with weapons. From now on, your Knights and patrols will only be responsible for urban security, I have written down further details on the parchment," with this, he handed a piece of paper to Petrov, "you can announce a recruitment order and follow through with the screening according to the previous terms."
If he wanted to have the control of the city garrison in his own hand, it was evident that stationing his own army here was the most appropriate approach. But the scale of the First Army was too small, they weren’t even large enough to defend Border Town, so not even mentioning splitting the force to guard Longsong Stronghold and Border Town. The only possibility and best compromise was to let the other side provide the manpower, while he would carry out the training.
With Nightingale’s ability to detect lies he could guarantee the loyalty of the group, and together with new military training methods and ideological education, it should be possible to form a fighting force soon. As for their weapons, he would equip them with the rapidly outdated flintlocks, so even if they got captured by the enemy, it wouldn’t be a problem for him. Moreover, the army could also take over the task of information gathering and transmission, so as long as someone tried to attack the stronghold, Roland would be the first to receive the message.
"I understand," Petrov nodded.
"I will review the people you select, so I can only encourage you to not try placing spies among them, because it would be a meaningless act." Roland warned, "You have already sent spies, and by now, they all have gone to the mines. If there is ever something similar again... "
"No, Your Highness," the other wiped off the sweat on his forehead. "I promise that won’t happen."
"Then there’s the matter of the church," the Prince said while once more leaning back in his chair. "You probably do not know that the stronghold’s church has been burned down by Timothy’s men and that they even killed the High Priest. There is only a ruin left now.”
"They have burned the church?" Petrov became startled by the news, "This... I have to report it to Hermes as soon as possible."
The Church’s law states that the King and the Lord’s are obligated to protect the local Church’s facilities from any harm, if they cannot prevent it from happening, it has to be reported to the New Holy City immediately. As the former ambassador who was proficient in the law, Petrov’s reaction could be seen as normal, and furthermore, such a matter cannot be concealed anyway, I am afraid that the church’s follower living in the stronghold have already sent a message to the Holy City on the same day it happened.
"It is true that we should report the matter, but the letter's contents needs to be adjusted appropriately," Roland said with a smile. "You only have to write in the message that the attackers belonged to Timothy Wimbledon and that after they looted and burned the church down, they left the stronghold, disappearing without a trace. In addition, you will put this thing into the letter, "he took a pill out of his pocket and handed it to Petrov, "just state they you had picked it up near the church, they will understand."
"What is this?"
"They are the secret medicine of the Church. Furthermore, it is also the object Timothy desired. It allows ordinary people to get a burst of strength in short time, but when the effect of the drug subsides their organs will slowly stop to function, and they will die," Roland explained. “Timothy wants to rely on the drug to strengthen his Army, allowing him to secure his precious throne. So, when the Church’s sees the pill, they will naturally understand his intention.”
As to whether or not they will take measures, is an entirely different question.
"I will follow your order, Your Highness," Petrov said, putting the pill into his pocket.
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