Chapter 103: Gamble (One)
Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation
Frightening war cries shot up from more than two thousand Eckstedtian’s throats. They charged towards the Constellatiates, who were like a lonely boat caught in a raging ocean.
Thales’ first experience of a large-scale battle came while he completely did not expect it.
The sword-and-shield troops of the Fury Guards were at the frontline. They used the long swords in their hands to shield the comrades beside them, turning their bodies to the side to form a battle formation.
Arracca had already dismounted from his horse. He used his hands to raise a large, frightening sword which was almost as tall as a person. Eyes burning with the fiery desire for war, he took large strides forward.
Taking the initiative on their own, the soldiers in front made room for their commander. The space was enough to fit three people.
“First charge!” Arracca looked around and spoke loudly, “Hold up the defense line!”
The enemies charged over like flood water and closed in on them.
Right in the middle of the battle array, Wya immediately pulled Thales down from the eye-catching battle steed. He placed Thales in the middle of a circle formed by six soldiers for firm protection. He then joined Aida, Putray and Ralf in guarding the four corners of this tiny battle formation.
“Go and help the frontline!” Thales urged them, “If they collapse, you all won’t be able to protect me either!”
However, his mind was in an extreme state of chaos. He could not fathom why he faced such a situation when making a diplomatic trip to Eckstedt.
‘What on earth is happening?’
Wya and Ralf looked at each other. After Putray nodded, they approached the frontline.
On the hand, Aida exhaled and spoke to Putray in a low voice, “This is a real battlefield, and even supreme class elites must be extremely careful.
“And a battle with such a great disparity in strength…
“If you all have any ways to prevent the battle, immediately tell me!
“If there is none, immediately think of one!”
Thales gritted his teeth while watching the enemies who charged towards them from all directions—those six large troops of Eckstedtians.
‘The enemies, there are… too many of them.
‘We are surrounded tightly.
‘We don’t have enough military strength at all… No, more appropriately, we did not prepare for battle at all!
‘What should I do?
‘Shout my identity out loud?
‘However, those people don’t seem to care about it at all.’
Facing the impending battle, a lot of Constellation soldiers exhaled, gripped their weapons tightly, secured their shields and looked at the fierce soldiers of Eckstedt with a grim gaze.
Roaring furiously, the first Eckstedt infantryman charged towards them.
His shield crashed hard against the shield of a shield and sword soldier.
With the help of the comrades beside and behind him, the shield and sword soldier of Constellation gritted his teeth and endured the impact from this tall and lofty opponent. He then waved his sword to block off the opponent’s axe, which swung towards him from the air.
However, more Eckstedt soldiers charged towards the Constellation diplomat group’s battle array.
The Eckstedt soldiers were all howling furiously. They continuously crashed into the battle array of those from Constellation from all directions!
“Hold them back!”
Amid the furious roars of the soldiers from both sides, the clashing of shields and the sounds of weapons meeting mingled together. It was as though thunder crackled endlessly from the ground.
Genard and two soldiers from the Fury Guards stood at the frontline. He resisted the shield with all his might using his shoulders.
A swinging spiked mace pounded hard on the shield. Genard’s entire body trembled and almost fell backwards.
The comrade behind him supported his back and helped him steady his body.
Genard, whose face was distorted, vehemently resisted the impact.
‘Damn it!’ he thought in pain.
‘These Eckstedtians… They are way stronger than those rebels from the southwest, both in terms of strength and built.’
A sword came thrusting towards him aiming for his forearm, Genard moved slightly and let his comrades take care of it. The veteran himself pushed the spiked mace away and kicked its owner’s knees hard, making the man stagger. He then thrust his sword into the man’s totally unprotected neck.
Blood splattered out. His opponent fell face-up while mumbling.
‘Fortunately… They are not very agile either.’
Having just thought that, a longspear grazed pass Genard’s ear and pierced through the stomach of a soldier on his left. Screaming, the latter crumpled onto the ground.
Roaring furiously, Genard took the position of the dead person within the battle array. He cleaved the longspear and blocked a blade that was trying to attack through the gap. A soldier behind Genard rapidly filled in the empty space left behind.
Such a scene appeared at various points of the frontline.
Furious roars and miserable screams were still interweaved with the clashing of metals and the striking of weapons. Eckstedt’s light infantrymen pounced again and again, as though they were fearless towards death. They were then warded off or even killed by the members of the Fury Guards and the diplomat group again and again, leaving behind many dead bodies. However, on Constellation’s side, people were also falling continuously. The snow-covered ground was gradually dyed red with blood.
However, the veterans from the Fury Guards at the frontline continue relying on their rich experiences and skills to forcefully maintain the frontline so that the terrified Thales would not see everything around him, where thousands of people intermingled with each other in the battlefield.
Blood that splattered everywhere.
Roars that can never be forgotten.
Corpses that kept increasing in number.
The battlefield before Thales’ eyes was undoubtedly more shocking than the one with the Sacred Blood Army earlier.
Commander Arracca was also standing at the frontline with an unpleasant expression, guarding a gap that could fit three people by himself.
He did not show any flashy and splendid supreme class fighting skills. Instead, he repeated the same simple and rudimentary battle moves.
However, not a single person could take advantage of him.
During the first charge, Arracca’s two-handed great sword swerved through the air, producing a shriek of death. He swung the sword horizontally and chopped off a head.
Then, using the momentum of the swing, he cleaved a second citizen of Eckstedt’s shield, chest and abdomen. Amid the splattering blood, he rapidly parried a longsword that was thrust towards him. Before his opponent could react, he thrust his large sword into his opponent’s chest.
However, beside him, a soldier from the Fury Guards had his skull chopped open by an axe. He fell powerlessly onto the ground.
‘Those Eckstedt bastards.’
Arracca exhaled through gritted teeth. His face was fierce and hideous. He turned and with the handle of his sword, made the enemy stagger.
“Observe the situation at the back, and watch out for an opportunity to break out of the encirclement and return to the fortress!” While waving his sword and lowering his head to dodge an axe, Arracca, whose face was covered in blood, shouted the order.
“I’m afraid that it would be very hard!” A military officer from the Fury Guards tried his best to block off a fierce citizen of Eckstedt. He replied, “More than half of the enemies are blocking us behind!”
“Persist! They are only relying on the morale of having made the first charge!”
Gritting his teeth, Arracca kicked a shield down and thrust a sword at its owner’s hideous and fierce face. He waved his left hand at the right time and used his forearm to block off a longspear. The friction produced some blood.
However, at the same time, the blade of an axe swerved towards his head. Arracca steadily lowered his head to dodge it. The blade of the axe cut some of his hair.
Wya, who was holding his single-edge sword arrived. He waved his long sword, activated the Edge of No Return and cut open his opponent’s throat with a reverse swing. However, his ribs were injured by the blade of an axe. He winced in pain.
Beside Wya, a comrade had his head smashed to pieces by a hammer while trying to save Wya. Red and white substances splattered out.
“Don’t use those silly sword styles, and cut that beautiful posture of yours out!” Arracca used his sword to block off a straight blade that was swerving towards Wya. He roared loudly and furiously, “In the battlefield, supreme class elites are not that much better than normal people!
“We just have to stand for a couple of dozen more minutes, and kill a few more meagre soldiers!
“Every time you attack, reserve some energy and leave room for dodging. Thrust your weapon and dodge attacks without playing any tricks!”
An infantryman’s weapon was struck out of his hand. Snarling, he tried to charge forward and tackle Arracca. Without hesitating, Arracca held his sword with one hand and punched his face. Arracca then violently elbowed him and made him retreat. The sound of his ribs cracking could vaguely be heard.
“Or else, retreat to the back. Don’t be a burden!”
Wya, whose old wound had not yet healed and was injured again, could only grit his teeth and retreated in embarrassment.
A strange gust of wind suddenly blew and swept up snow. A few Eckstedt infantrymen who stepped forward to replace fallen ones could not help but raise their hands to shield their eyes.
Snarling, Arracca swung his sword with both hands and cut open someone’s shield and chest at the perfect time. He then thrust his sword into another person’s stomach.
“Your psionic ability isn’t bad though…” Arracca wiped off the blood on his face and furrowed his brows as he looked at Ralf’s single-handed hidden blade, “However, can that thing even be used in the battlefield?”
The mute Ralf, who had one fractured arm, could not make anything out. However, he did indeed feel that his hidden blade was useless in the battlefield. Due to a lack of a knuckle-guard, he faced the risk of losing his arm every time he swung his blade.
He could only provide assistance with his psionic ability and only use the hidden blade to defend himself.
On the other side of the formation, Willow Ken hid behind a sword-and-shield soldier. He blocked off a sword attack with his left hand. He then extended his right hand out of the shield and thrust his pike into the side of the opponent’s face.
A soldier’s right hand was chopped off. Holding his shield, he gritted his teeth and stepped backwards. However, when he took the first step, a flying axe cut into his chest and stomach.
Another person replaced his position.
“You are a doctor. At least do something!” Willow shouted anxiously at Ramon, who was cowering behind him.
“I am not a military doctor!” Ramon glanced at the enemies around them. He hugged his head and shouted, “And that prince did not say that this would happen!”
“We should had brought some pikemen along!” Aida, who was guarding Thales near him, looked at the situation around her, sighed, and spoke.
Her machete, which had no defensive properties at all, was only suitable for small-scale battles. Unless it hit the opponents’ vital parts, it was not even enough to put a scratch in their armors. Besides, it was impossible for her to dodge to her greatest abilities in the crowded battlefield.
‘If I had known earlier, I would have brought along father’s two-handed machete that was said to be able to break through armor… That was the standard equipment of the security guards of the Ancient Elf Kingdom.
“No one predicted that there would be this battle!” So far, no enemy had breached anywhere further than the second row. However, Putray still turned his head back in worry and glanced at Thales. He shouted anxiously, “This is not logical!”
“Nothing is illogical in the battlefield!” At the front of the battle array, Arracca frenziedly waved his large sword. There was another wound on his body, “Surviving is the only logic!”
“Block off the first charge. There will come a time when their attack weakens. Find an opportunity to break out of the encirclement!
“Or else we will all exhaust ourselves to death here!”
Right in the middle of the battle array, Thales laid with his face down and hid among the soldiers. He breathed rapidly.
His mind was in extreme confusion.
Thales wanted to calm his hands, which were buried in the snow, so that they would stop shuddering.
However, amid the deafening battle cries and the clashing of weapons, his forearms were like wild horses that lost control and ran wild. They ignored their owner’s will and trembled amid the endless battle cries.
Thales’ teeth chattered and his lips trembled. He was incredibly embarrassed by his performance in his first battle.
‘I have to calm down quickly.’
However, no one seemed to pay attention to him. The soldiers beside him were looking at his surroundings nervously, afraid that someone would break through the layers of defense around them from any direction.
A scream of pain travelled into the air. That was the sound from a Constellation soldier who had his waist cut in half.
As he trembled, Thales closed his eyes.
At that moment, that familiar fluctuation spread out in his heart.
The world around him seemed to have become quiet.
Thales instantly gained control over his entire body. He could clearly just which part of his muscles were trembling.
With the help of the fluctuations, he started breathing deeply in a rhythmic manner.
He placated those muscles of his and finally calmed down those instinctive trembles.
His heartbeat and breathing calmed down as well.
However, this was not enough.
Thales turned his head around incredibly slowly, and as if time had been slowed down as well, he began thinking rapidly in his mind.
‘How do we get out of this predicament?
‘No, I don’t understand military affairs at all, this is Arracca and Sonia’s specialty.
‘I can only think about this in an even more comprehensive and fundamental area…
‘Why Lampard wants to kill me.
‘I should think about this in another angle.
‘If I die here… What is Lampard’s goal? What sort of benefits would he gain?
‘I have to think of his motives and the benefits he would gain.
‘Killing Constellation’s diplomat group and Constellation’s heir…
‘…will bring him no benefits whatsoever!
‘So what exactly is Lampard trying to do?
‘Did someone bribe him?’
At that moment, the memories of his past life, which had been absent in his life for quite some time, appeared in his head once again.
“War is social conflict that is incredibly complicated and is something that would about a great amount of changes, but we have been ignoring it for a long period of time from our course…
“The results many academicians obtained from their research are just a response to Clausewitz’s classic analysis…
“Malevich suggested that structure, organization, and legal ideologies in war are the prerequisites for large-scale collective violence…
“Weber had never clearly infused this particular social phenomenon into his theory, but he did mention it in his definition of modern countries. The forces of power controlling a nation will monopolize the legal use of violence over the territory they declare as their own…”
Thales fought against the memories flashing in his head with much difficulty to try and focus on the emergency before his eyes.
‘On the territory they declare as their own…
Thales’ pupils narrowed.
‘Perhaps it isn’t that complicated.
‘War is never aimed to kill.
‘Lampard’s original aim was to seize the Northern Territory.
The fluctuation left, and it was as though the flow of time returned to normal. The sounds of massacre and death once again rang beside his ears.
Thales laid face-down on the ground, drenched in sweat and gasping for breath.
He found the root to this conflict.
‘Now… I must solve it!’
“No!” An Eckstedt infantryman watched in fear as Arracca cut open his throat, “You are… you are…”
However, he was not able to finish his words.
“Take my position!” Gritting his teeth, Arracca cut down a rough-looking man wielding a hammer. Roaring furiously, he retreated. Two sword-and-shield soldiers filled in his position in the defense line with determined expressions.
“Their momentum to this charge has almost been completely whittled down.” Panting, Arracca dragged his great sword and walked to the middle of the battle array. He spoke to Aida, “Have some rear guards stay back. Take the prince with you. I will open a path back to the fortress!”
Thales could not care about resting. He anxiously lifted his head and shouted, attracting Putray and Arracca’s attention, “Lampard!
“He did not send heavy swordsmen, cavaliers, and even archers! He only sent these light infantrymen whom he enlisted temporarily.” Thales anxiously recalled what little knowledge he had on warfare. “They do not intend to defeat us within a short period of time!”
“That is why you want to stay here to repay him?” Arracca turned around and mocked him, “To repay Lampard’s kindness for letting us live for another quarter of an hour?”
“He wants hold us back here for a quarter of an hour, not killing us as soon as possible!” Thales refused Aida trying to support him and stood up with much difficulty. “Lampard is taking a gamble! He’s betting on his opponent’s choice!”
“Our choice?” By the side, Wya thrust his sword forward from behind a shield, then forced an axe back.
Before Wya was struck in his face by a longsword, Ralf dragged the powerless man right on time. Wya spoke while panting, “He’s betting whether we will breakthrough or defend till our deaths?”
“No.” Thales widened his eyes and stared intently at Arracca. “Lampard is taking a risk with us.”
“No!” Putray instantly understood, and his face turned pale, “He would absolutely not dare to use your life to…”
Thales said anxiously, “Archduke Lampard is betting on the Broken Dragon Fortress behind us!
“He’s betting on Lady Sonia Sasere’s choice.
“Gambling on whether she will send reinforcements to save us!”
Arracca’s pupils narrowed.
“His gamble,” Thales roared, “Is my life and his future!”