Chapter 92 Army Rearrangement
"With this, our service period is over, right?" asked Cat’s Claw who was clearing the square of the burning debris of the bonfire, and then continued with a voice full of regret, "I really don’t want to go back to the mines and work in a hole. I have to say, I already miss the Months of Demons, a little.”
"Yeah, and I don’t want to deal with those stones again either," Jop immediately agreed, "The most important thing is that the difference in salary is too much. When we were assigned to the artillery, we had meat every day and a salary of 15 silver royals each day."
“Don’t say such foolish words,” said Van’er while holding a torch high to illuminate the surrounding "His Highness provided all this food to us so that no person would starve to death during the Months of Demons. You only need to remember what happened the previous two years, not even half of the people from the old district were able to survive! Did you already forget this? I’ll say it once more, it’s unlikely that the team will be dissolved, His Highness just put us into the artillery team and burned so much gunpowder to train us, do you think that was all without reason?”
"But the Month of Demons is over, so, why would His Highness still need the artillery?" asked Rodney while leaning on a broom.
That's because the artillery isn’t meant for the demonic beasts, Van’er thought, but in the end he said out loud, “Soon we'll know more, tomorrow we'll hear the answer," he yawned then waved his hand impatiently, "Okay enough, quickly clean everything up, I'd like to go back to bed soon.”
The next morning, the teams were assembled and Van’er’s previous statement was confirmed.
When everyone was there, Iron Axe went in front of the lined up team and said loudly: "You have completed the first stage of the task – which was to defend Border Town against the demonic beasts. After three months and six days of fighting, you all earned His Highness’ recognition! Because of this, the militia will be promoted to His Highness’ regular army, but in case you don’t want to fight any longer, you just need to stand up and leave now. His Highness had said that everyone who leaves now, will get all of your outstanding payments, and additional a payment of twenty-five silver royals as... "Iron Axe had to think for a moment, then he said," right, retirement fee.”
From the three hundred militia members, no one moved, only the Cat’s Claw raised his hand and said: "Report."
This was also one of the odds rules the Prince had introduced during the training, no one was allowed to whisper in private if they wanted to say something they had to shout.
Iron Axe nodded, "Speak.”
"What do you mean by being promoted to the regular army, do we become knights?"
Van’er couldn’t stop himself from laughing, but he quickly set up a serious face again.
Becoming Knights? That would mean becoming part of the aristocracy, not only getting an estate and a squire, but also their own territory. By asking this question, he had really lost a lot of face for the artillery.
"No," answered Iron Axe and began to patiently explain, obvious to him since he had also previously asked His Highness, "The regular army is a professional fighting force, only established for the protection of His Highness and his territory. In other words, when miners work in the mine, you will be training, when the farmers harvest their wheat, you will be training. And when the merchants sell their goods, you are still training. All the training is to win all the future battles, just like you did against the demonic beasts during the Months of Demons."
"Then what is the difference between the regular army and the militia?" Asked Cat’s Claw.
"More frequent training, stricter training methods, and a greater reward."
"Report!" Hearing all this Rodney couldn’t help himself and asked, "What does a greater reward mean?"
Van’er sighed, why was his group of young men so impetuous? But in all honesty, he would also like to know this answer.
"The regular army will get an officer-led structure, and soldiers who fulfilled their given task according to the previous plan during the battles will get the chance at a promotion, and soldiers who performed extraordinarily well," said Iron Axe, "for example, could rise to my position.”
If this was what His Highness said... Van’er thought to himself, and this was the way they implement it, it would be better to not offend one’s superior, right? He quietly looked around, it seemed that no one realized the general problem, instead, they still listened with keen interest and pleasure.
"Officers won’t only get a higher payment, they will also get... their own territory."
After the last word fell the crowd burst into an uproar, Van’er was also no exception, he even had doubts if he heard everything right. If they could get their own territory, then, would there be any difference between them and the knights?
"But remember that once you choose to become a member of the regular army, the system you will follow then will be completely different from the system you are used from the militia. Such as in the case you aren’t able to complete the given task, escape, start a rebellion or any other violation of the disciplinary codex will be severely punished. This isn’t like the previous punishment of not getting an additional egg to eat instead it includes extra labor, imprisonment and even hanging. Also, every previously awarded position can be taken back." Iron Axe paused for a moment, "Now is your time to quit.”
The crowd fell into silence, and also Iron Axe tensed up, but still, no one moved. He couldn’t help himself he began to grin: "Well, then from today on, you all are placed directly under His Royal Highness Roland Wimbledon’s orders!”
Van’er himself felt incredible, if he had heard these terrible punishments three months ago, he would have slipped away long ago. What is the use of promotion, what is the use of owning one own territory, if you aren’t able to save your own life? But now, he almost did not hesitate to choose the fixed position, compared with returning to the North Slope Mine to collect gravel, or to stay in the old district only able to wander idly around, it was clear which was much more to his interest.
"Your perception is pretty good, what's your name?"
"Mr. Van’er, I hope you continue to do well."
His Royal Highness encouraged him to train hard and he also reaffirmed his idea that he belonged to the militia and now Van’er would continue to fight for His Royal Highness as a member of the regular army.
Iron Axe quickly announced today’s first training program: Field training.
At the beginning Van’er felt very disappointed, it was once more running for training. Even during the Months of Demons if the weather was good enough they always had to run. After breakfast, they checked the weather conditions and then they had to run two laps around the town unless there were large snowflakes falling from the sky, then they would abort running training. According to the saying of His Highness, this exercise was good for the muscles and allowed their bones to thaw so while defending the city walls their movements wouldn’t become stiff and unable to use the pike.
But when the soldiers ran out of Border Town, Van’er immediately felt the difference between this new and the old training program.
At this point, the snow on the field was still far from melting, after three months of uninterrupted snowing, the snow reached up to their knees. Calling it running wasn’t the right word, instead, it was better to call it crawling through the snow. The team suddenly broke into many small groups, after each step they needed a lot of strength to take another step.
There was no doubt that this special training of struggling through the snow was certainly an idea of His Highness. Van’er had already figured out the goal of His Royal Highness. At this moment any protest would become invalid, they were only able to go through with this training until the end.
During the whole morning, they had to struggle through the snow. So when the team returned to the town, Van’er was satisfied that he couldn’t feel his own legs any longer.
The snow which got into their boots had already turned into water, even standing in the sun, most people were still cold and trembling. The huge physical exertion exacerbated the chill, even Iron Axe felt unable to eat. He announced the dissolution of the team, and delayed the lunchtime for thirty minutes so that everyone could dry their boots and replace their pants.
So everyone was very pleased when they later heard that the afternoon training was cancelled.
Of course, they didn’t know that Lightning had supervised the whole field training – this was the little girl's daily training regime: Learning to precisely control her magic to fly with uniform velocity. When she later reported her gathered information to Roland, the latter nearly fell from his seat.
The total distance traveled throughout the morning was four kilometers.
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