Wuxiaworld > Release that Witch > Chapter 884: The Impact of War

Chapter 884: The Impact of War

Chapter 884: The Impact of War
Translator: TransN Editor: TransN

"How's the situation in the west?"

As soon as Nail and Uncle Sang entered the central tent, "Eagle Face", the commander of the garrison in the Northern Region, inquired about the state of the war.

"They're still increasing." The veteran administered a military salute and briefly reported the findings of his observation over the past week. "I was indeed surprised. I never thought there'd be such a great force in the Kingdom of Dawn."

"How many of them?" Eagle Face poured two cups of tea for them, looking completely unperturbed. "8,000? 9,000?"

"I'm afraid it's over 10,000." Uncle Sang drained the cup. "There's a nearly one mile stretch of encampments, along with more than 20 banners whose names I can't tell. I have no idea where they've found so many people that are willing to cast their lives away."

"Over 10,000?" Eagle Face stopped his writing.

"Ask the unit leader if you don't believe me." Uncle Sang pointed to Nail next to him. "In order to get an estimate of their number, we went very close to the old Holy City under the risk of being discovered. The entire suburb is filled with troops commanded by the nobles from the Kingdom of Dawn. They've blocked the path that connects Hermes and the kingdom. Most refugees have retreated toward the Kingdom of Wolfheart and the Kingdom of Everwinter. I bet they've also deployed forces at Coldwind Ridge as well. At least, I've seen several detachments of more than 100 people on the way back."

"That's true," Nail added with a nod. "On the part of the Kingdom of Dawn, they're now waiting for the rest of their troops to get there whilst enhancing their defense of the surrounding areas. I suggest that our scout team not get too close to the old Holy City in the future, lest they're discovered by their patrolling knights."

Ever since they had noticed the unusual situation in Hermes, the garrison in the Northern Region had started to slowly proceed to the plateau area with the assistance of Duke Kant, not only to gather more intelligence but also to prepare for the upcoming battle. However, His Majesty did not approve Eagle Face's probing and attacking plan, only asking him to instead stay alert and continue to scout. With morbid disappointment, instead of waging a great war, the deputy battalion commander instead picked some capable soldiers from the garrison, instructing them to disguise as refugees to monitor both the new and the old Holy Cities in a rotation. In the meantime, he continued to update Neverwinter on the progress of the investigation.

Nevertheless, Eagle Face had still made a few accomplishments over the past few months. After he had confirmed that the deployment of corps in the Holy City was not a trap, the garrison in the Northern Region had retrieved Coldwind Ridge.

As for the army of the Kingdom of Dawn, they had only appeared two to three weeks ago.

"Sir, do you fear that those people will impede His Majesty's plan?"

"Hahaha, how is it possible?" Eagle Face burst into laughter. "Even if their number doubles, they're no more than some waddling targets. Even the God's Punishment Army failed to break the defensive line under the bombardment of machine guns. How can they possibly approach His Majesty? I'm actually happy to see they have tons of people. Let them attack the city wall of the Holy City first so that they'll know how fortified the church is. I really hope that the fight would bleed off strength from both of them. By then, I'm sure His Majesty will agree to my proposal." Eagle Face paused for a few seconds and then said, "Good job, scouts. You can take a rest now."

"Yes, sir." Uncle Sang saluted.

Nail, however, did not leave immediately. After a moment of hesitation, he asked, "Can't we... beat them off now?"

Both Eagle Face and Uncle Sang were stunned. "What?"

"His Majesty doesn't allow us to attack Hermes on our own, but it doesn't mean he doesn't let us fight against the army of the Kingdom of Dawn ." Nail bit his lip. "If we wait until they launch an attack on the Holy City, the villages at the foot of Mountain Hermes may have already been razed to the ground."

The veteran sighed.

"Did you see something?" Eagle Face frowned.

"Pillage and massacre..." Nail clapped his hand over his forehead, reluctant to revisit the intense and inhumane scene. "They didn't enter the old Holy City but simply encamped outside. Soldiers have mounted nearby residents on sharpened wooden stakes and used them as the parapet of the battalion. They treat women even worse..."

"Enough." Eagle Face interrupted him. "This is common in a war! Both the church and the Kingdom of Dawn are His Majesty's enemies. It's better for the enemies to consume each other than we doing it for them! Also, don't forget we're soldiers, the swords of His Majesty! It's our duty to kill."

"But that's different!" Nail persisted. "We fight to help His Majesty achieve his goal, but they... they kill just for the sake of killing. Those villagers aren't believers, but they're treated worse than animals."

"Sir, Nail is just overreacting a little." Seeing Eagle Face's face cloud over, Uncle Sang explained immediately. He then turned to Nail and reproached. "Seriously? Do you know what you're talking about? As long as the church is still there, we can't cross the Hermes Plateau. How can we stop the army of the Kingdom of Dawn if the church is in our way?"

The New Holy City, which functioned as a great stronghold, connected all the flat areas of the plateau together. The four city gates in the outer part of the city were facing the four paths leading to the four kingdoms. Although the gates, currently unguarded, were accessible to refugees, it did not mean the church would allow the First Army to drive straight in, pass the Holy City, and enter the territory of the Kingdom of Dawn without any resistance.

Nail certainly knew that. He took a deep breath and said, "Actually, there's an alternative pathway."

"A pathway?"

"I talked to some of the refugees on my way back. One of them told me that there's a path wide enough for two people to walk abreast in the steep cliffs on the outer side of the plateau. The road will be blocked by snow and ice in winter. However, when the snow melts, the path is again accessible, and you can directly cross Hermes without intruding upon the Holy City."

Eagle Face gazed at him for quite a while and shook his head. "Forget about it."

Nail dropped his head and fell silent.

"You also know very well that this isn't a reliable plan... no, it's an unachievable plan I should say." The deputy battalion commander was surprisingly patient. "First of all, it's questionable whether this passageway exists or not. Also, even if it does, and it successfully leads us to the old Holy City, we can't defeat a force of 10,000 people at once. His Majesty said very clearly during the night session that logistics always comes first before any operation. It would be hard to transport supplies on a path only wide enough for two people, not to mention machine guns and ammunition. Besides, there're only 500 people stationed in the Northern Region. The ammunition we're currently equipped with isn't enough to conduct a prolonged war. Once we're routed, we'll be defenseless. It's likely that the whole army would be wiped out!"

Eagle Face rose to his feet and walked up to Nail. "I want to fight a battle of annihilation more than you do, but that's just my personal opinion. As His Majesty and Sir Iron Axe have entrusted the army to me, I have the obligation to first think about the issue of safety and seek the best interests of the army when it comes to decision-making, whether it's regarding the current decision or the previous one with respect to the refugee settlement. Do you understand?"

"... Yes, sir." Nail clenched his fist but at length performed a military salute.

"Off you go."

When the two were about to retire, a soldier lifted the curtain and entered. "Sir, a reply from His Majesty."

"Really? Give it to me." Eagle Face unfolded the encrypted letter in a haste. No sooner had Nail and Uncle Sang left the tent did he stop them. "Wait a minute!"

"His Majesty has new instructions?" the veteran asked.

"Yes. The First Army has set off from king's city by boat and is now heading to the Northern Region at full speed. They'll be arriving at Coldwind Ridge in about 10 days."

"That'll be too late... after 10 days." Nail lamented within himself. The army of the Kingdom of Dawn could reach the old Holy City anytime and turn the villages at the foot of Mount Hermes into an earthly hell within a couple of days. For a moment, he seemed to see the lady who had struggled under musket fire again, denouncing what he had done.

"Before their arrival, His Majesty wants us to take action immediately to prevent the army of the Kingdom of Dawn from entering the old Holy City. At least, we have to prevent them plundering the monastery."

Nail raised his head abruptly.

"Can we... manage that?" Uncle Sang scratched the back of his head.

"It's going to be very hard. That's why His Majesty has dispatched special reinforcements who will arrive in the Northern Region tomorrow night." Eagle Face closed the encrypted letter. "Only the witches can get here that fast." He then turned to the two men. "Call a meeting with all the unit leaders! By the way, what's the name of the refugee who knows the secret pathway?"