Chapter 279 Battle line up
After entering the hall, Iron Axe gave a standard military salute.
"Timothy’s troops are expected to reach the junction in the Redwater River four days from now. The First Army will set off this afternoon," Roland bluntly spoke. "You will meet up at the battle site with Border Town’s defensive troops and take over the command; I will travel there as quickly as possible.”
"Don’t we need to defend Border Town?"
"All of the enemy’s movements are under the surveillance by Lightning and Maggie. Setting up a defensive division is no longer necessary, just one joint attack to the right side should be enough to smash the enemy." The Prince paused, "But we also need to leave one hundred soldiers in Longsong Stronghold to watch over those nobles.”
"Remain... here?" Iron Axe asked shocked.
Roland summarized his previous released orders to the five families, "The reason that I gathered them together was to make it more convenient to watch over them. This will keep them from having any thoughts after learning about Timothy’s attack on the Western Territory. The Second Army’s weapons are old and their combat experience is lacking, so in case they encounter an unexpected situation they may not respond to it. However, with the ten squadrons of First Army's soldiers, we can ensure that the nobles cannot lift any wind and waves. Since I do not want to fight at the Redwater River junction, only to birth riots at my back."
"As you bid, Your Highness," he said.
"Do you have to go?" After Iron Axe had left the hall, Nightingale stepped out from behind the lord’s seat and asked him.
"Of course," Roland said, "If I do not go, who else could make good use out of Lotus’ ability? I may not be adept at commanding battle strategy, but I'm damn good at using bunkers to seal off roads and tanks to slap faces.”
"Bunker I know of; however, what is this tank?" Nightingale’s face showed her confusion.
"Oh... they are carriages which drag around a cannon," the Prince coughed twice. "But currently we do not have enough horses, so we have to rely on Little Town to transport the cannons, which like this cannot be called tanks.
"That’s the reason why you picked Honey?" She blinked and asked, "As far as I know, she can even tame tigers and panthers making them as gentle as horses. But aren’t “tanks” nothing more than cannons which are pulled by wild animals?"
"Of course," Roland couldn’t refrain from tilting his mouth, "The different models can also straightforwardly be named Tiger and Panther.“
Just then, Carter, holding a white-tailed kite in his arms, came in and announced: “Your Highness, there is news from Border Town.”
Roland clapped his hands, immediately after, as if it had intelligence, the white-tailed kite unfolded its wings, freed itself from the knight’s arms and soared into the air, gliding the short distance to firmly land on his shoulder. Feeling the kite land on his shoulder, he took a piece of jerky from his pocket and gave it to the bird to swallow. It also conscientiously raised its claw, so that Roland could easily untie the cloth tied to it.
The kite wasn’t Maggie in her hawk form, it was one of Honey’s trained air messengers. They could remember five to six different people, as well as hundreds of flight routes, even in case that they were brought to an unknown place, they could still find their way home. This time, for his trip to the stronghold, Roland had brought a total of four messengers. Within one hour they could travel from one place to the other and back. Furthermore, they could also fly for a whole day without having to take a break. In the absence of a wireless transmission, this way of keeping in touch counted as the quickest method.
Roland spread out the letter wrapped into the cloth and quickly skimmed over its content.
The author of the letter was Wendy, she was reporting that according to his request she had already carried Lotus, Sylvie, Leaves, Hummingbird, and Nana to the fork of the Redwater River. Some artillery members had also traveled together with them. They’d also taken eight cannons with them, which was the maximum number of cannons that Little Town could accommodate.
The Prince had estimated that in case Wendy traveled at full speed with Little Town , the cement ship would take about a day to reach the destination. Even though they had Sylvie as their navigator, which made it possible for the ship to travel at night, Wendy's magical source was much smaller compared to Anna’s, which meant it was impossible for her to use her ability continuously like Anna could. They would therefore need to rest during the night and travel during the day. So with one trip to and fro taking two days, the four days would be merely enough time for them to have transported sixteen field cannons to the river fork.
Even though their number was less than during the last battle, but taking into account the surprise raid and the fact that the other side was traveling on ships, it would be impossible for the enemy to counterattack. This amount of firepower would be just barely enough to defeat them. Roland took the pen Nightingale offered and wrote a new set of instructions, he ordered the defense troops to immediately arm themselves and set off. Furthermore, after having reached the river fork they were instructed to merge into one large force under Iron Axe’s command.
Only half an hour later, the white-tailed kite would have delivered the letter into Scroll’s hands, who would then hand it over to Captain Brian.
The next morning, Roland himself arrived at the scheduled location.
Reaching the place where the clear and gleaming river divided itself in two, one stream flowing towards Longsong Stronghold, the other carrying on until Redwater City.
As the latter river branch was wider, the people used to regard it as the main channel of the Redwater River, while calling the stream leading to the stronghold Little Redwater.
After disembarking, they were immediately welcomed by the witches, who had been waiting at the riverside for a long time.
Looking around, Roland asked, “Wendy?.
"She is already on her way back, together with Little Town," Leaves reported, "She said that there is another batch of cannons which has to be shipped.”
"I heard that you are going to deal with Timothy Wimbledon, the fake king who hunts for witches within the cities every day." Lotus could no longer wait and asked, "What is it you want us to do?"
Although Iron Axe and the main force of the First Army had yet to arrive, as long as the witches were here, the preparatory work could still be carried out in advance.
"I need to build a line of defense on both sides of the main river," Roland explained while squatting down and using a stone to draw on the ground. "This line represents the enemy's route forward, so I will split my troops and place them on both sides of the river to launch a sudden pincer attack. However, in order to successfully surprise them, they will have to remain hidden until the attack has begun. So, it is important that you raise a soil house forming a large V-shape on both sides of the river. The houses should have a long form, the walls must be thick, the inside should be divided into eight individual compartments and there should only be small windows on the side of the Redwater River.
"Your Highness, I don’t get it..." Lotus was clearly puzzled, "If you put the soldiers hidden in the soil house you will be able to conceal their whereabouts, but this way they won’t be able to attack the ships on the river, ah. In case the Fake King’s fleet absolutely doesn’t stop nor pulls toward the shore, and instead directly pass by, what should be done then?”
"No, they are unable to make it through," Roland laughed. "You'll know why when the time comes."
Then he turned to Leaves, "You are responsible for covering these fortifications, with weeds and vines so that everything appears more natural."
"Yes," Leaves answered.
As a result, when the artillery was pushed into the hidden fortifications, the two soil houses Lotus had thought to be useless were instantly transformed into an “unsinkable battleship". When the time came around as long as they lifted the cover plate in front of the windows, each compartment could then let out a deadly flame. It was unlikely that the sixteen field cannons would lose aim because of jolts, in fact, shooting at such a close range, it should be possible to hit the ships sailing in the middle of the river even if their eyes were closed. Granted that the attacks were unable to sink the ships, it should still be sufficient to turn their decks into Asura’s realm.
Furthermore, from the very beginning, the enemy will be at the disadvantageous point of the “T”, Roland proudly thought, you tell me, being at the “T’s” superior position, how could I ever lose?
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