Chapter 237: The Virtuous King
Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation
“Yes… The Inextinguishable Starlight.” Lampard nodded his head thoughtfully.
“What are you trying to say?” Archduke Roknee frowned. “That our greatest threat is Lady Sonia Sasere?”
However, Lampard did not bother with him, the Archduke of Black Sand Region just stared at the table and continued speaking.
“The Starlight Brigade is quite young—still greenhorns. Even with the combat experience against the rebel army, they are still weak against Northland warriors, who are seasoned by war and who stand triumphant against all obstacles.
Archduke Lecco’s expression changed as he became lost in thought.
“We defeated them in the beginning of the war on the road from Central Territory to the Northern Territory.” Lampard sucked in a deep breath and his visage became hard and firm. “There was nothing special. It was like the usual: The light cavalry scouted ahead, the archers suppressed the enemy, the light infantry held back the main forces, the heavy cavalry launched the charge which would decide the battle.”
Lampard gently nodded his head, but his gaze was filled with complex emotions.
“With just one head-on charge, their main force was defeated. The remaining soldiers scattered and fled. In fact, we didn’t even need to deploy our heavy swordsmen or heavy-armor axemen whom were specially employed to fight tough battles. It was a piece of cake, like the enemies during the olden days.”
Lampard raised both his fists. His right fist beat forcefully onto the hole of his left fist, like a craftsman hammering a nail.
“You gather the best and toughest warriors, destroy their strongest section with thunder-like strikes, and then wait for the rest of them to escape, collapse, cry, surrender, and never recover again.
“They aren’t even as hardy as the private army belonging to those suzerains of the Northern Territory. At least those soldiers are Northlanders.”
Archduke Roknee shot Lampard a curious look. “So?”
As someone experienced, Lampard sensitively noted this question. Neither Archduke Olsius nor Archduke Trentida spoke a word. Their gazes were serious, and there was even a hint of… respect?
“That’s how the Starlight Brigade is,” Archduke Lecco answered him. Only a long sigh was heard coming from the old archduke. “Back then, no one paid them any attention.” The bald Archduke of Defense City shook his head. “… Until a few days later.”
Roknee frowned slightly. Lampard continued the topic.
“Several days later, the teenaged soldiers who were originally supposed to cast their armor away, utterly defeated, disperse in every direction, and make like departed spirits… returned.” Archduke Lampard sat on a chair and narrowed his eyes.
Roknee was a little stunned.
“When we were about to conquer Ice River City, they stood once more before us,” Lampard said plainly, as if he distantly saw this scene from over ten years ago play over.
“Although there was only a few of them, they were organized, and had structure and formation, as though they were just enlisted.” Lampard continued with an airy voice and misty eyes. “At the very next moment, they simply set up formation and decisively raided our rear before our siege could claim our victory.”
“As if someone had rekindled dying embers.”
“No.” Archduke Lecco closed his eyes as he shook his head. “Not embers… It was the Inextinguishable Starlight.”
Archduke Roknee’s questions only grew.
Archduke Lecco suddenly opened his eyes. “But we still defeated them… again.”
Lampard looked at him. “Yes… Again.” The Archduke of Black Sand Region slowly nodded his head. “But this time, we sent the light cavalry to capture and kill them, we wanted to completely vanquish them as quickly as possible.”
“We lost nearly a tenth of our light cavalry. I was the one who sent those troops.” Lecco exhaled a breath.
“And then?” Lampard’s expression was unreadable. He answered his own question, “It happened again.”
Roknee raised his eyebrows. ‘It happened again?’
“It happened again!!” Only Lampard’s loud voice was heard, and it was a firm voice, like metal striking against metal.
“The Starlight Brigade fled in every direction. A few days later, under their battle flag, they regrouped at the riverbank of Shepherd’s River and charged at us again.”
Archduke Roknee’s expression finally changed.
“How did that happen?” the Archduke of the City of Faraway Prayers asked in shock, “How did they regroup the remaining defeated soldiers? Morale? How did they keep up with supplies and logistics?”
Lampard shook his head.
“This game was repeated several times.” Lampard sounded tired. “But no matter how many times we defeated them, as long as they were not completely annihilated, the troops that fled could always be rebuilt. I, too, do not know how they managed the logistics on the damn battlefield, but at least the look of the group of soldiers was very firm. Then, while we were on the offensive, resting, replenishing our supplies, or changing shifts—those times when we were less alert and very disheveled—they came at us like wraiths and attacked suddenly.”
Archduke Lecco’s expression darkened. “The Inextinguishable Starlight—this is the nickname we gave them.”
“The thing that puzzled us is that this young, regular army, even after such crippling defeat, could rise again without a problem,” the Archduke of Black Sand Region said in a low voice.
No one responded. Archduke Olsius frowned as he looked at everyone else.
“The Starlight God of War is a good leader. He trained his personal troops well, this is a part of his honor,” Lloyd said firmly, “This one is such a worthy rival, even after his death, their souls remained forever.”
Lampard’s laughter came at an inappropriate time.
“Are you sure? Just because John Jadestar was an honourable militant, the militiamen under him became warriors of such exceptional quality?”?Lampard let out a faint, cold laugh, then harshly said, “So our king, archdukes, nobles, leaders, and even our soldiers are just trash?”
All the archdukes had cold looks on their faces.
“Be careful with your words, Lampard.” Lecco narrowed his eyes. However, Lampard ignored them.
“How did this happen? They were isolated and helpless, found difficulty in defeating our troops, and they were called the ‘inextinguishable’ unit?” Lampard’s expression was firm and persistent. “We were puzzled, bewildered and surprised, because even the Northlanders—famed for their skill in battle—did not expect this kind of situation.”
The other archdukes were in deep contemplation.
“That’s right. Northlanders are the sturdiest humans with the most zealous of spirits. Under the same conditions, no one could ever defeat us in battle, even our worst enemies!”
Lampard raised his head and spoke with a determined voice, but he clenched his fists and his tone immediately changed.
“But even if it was us, the most powerful military nation on the Western Peninsula…
“Once, when we obtained a great victory, the general had to spend a day to set up camp and check inventory. He sent his trusted nobles and personal officers. They either brought them weapons or the nobles’ warrant to either placate or draw to their side the warriors who had become so excited and rabid that they went berserk, pillaged until their hands were numb, or snatched things from others until other people’s pants nearly fell off; and these warriors were scattered at the perimeter of the battlefield, either venting their rage or were chasing down an enemy.
“The normal efficiency rate is to get the army in order within a day and night, then continue marching onward the next day.”
Archduke Lecco shook his head. “That’s not strange,” the old archduke said slowly, “that’s how we’ve been fighting for the past hundred years.”
Lampard whipped his head around and shot a gaze as sharp as a blade at the old archduke. His gaze was so piercing that the old archduke turned his head slightly, averting eye contact.
“And when we lose?” Lampard asked coldly, “Even Eckstedtians will scatter in panic and terror once they lose. Without weeks or months available to us, it’s impossible for us to get ourselves in order again and arrange the logistics, much less gather the scattered army together when everyone is flustered and at a loss for what to do! This is not same as hunting where you only need to blow a whistle and the loyal hound runs back.
“As for the rapid regrouping and reorganizing, deployment of personnel, arranging logistics, organization of an army, re-planning allocation of military power, and re-entering the army on short time?
Lampard crossed his arms tightly as he observed the different expressions on the four archdukes and snorted coldly. “To say this without exaggeration: In all of Eckstedt, only the White Blade Guards and Glacial Sentries can achieve this. I doubt the archdukes’ teams of personal guards and the regular soldiers can do it.”?He looked at Roknee.
“Kulgon, your City of Faraway Prayers has seen much bloodshed in the Golden Passage and the Great Desert. In Eckstedt, your soldiers are deemed as outstanding.” Lampard pouted his lips. “Could they…?”
Roknee did not say a word but wore a solemn expression. The other archdukes did not say anything as well.
Lampard narrowed his eyes. “Did you ever wonder why?”
After a few seconds, Olsius sighed delicately.
“They were in their own territories.” The Archduke of Prestige Orchid shook his head. “They have the advantage, be it support from their own people or familiarity with the land—”
He was quickly interrupted by Lampard. They only heard the Archduke of Black Sand Region bellow, “To hell with their own territories! Those teenaged soldiers were mostly made up of the Starlight Brigade from the southern and western side of Constellation, rookies not even a year seasoned. By comparison, we as Northlanders are better suited to the climate and terrain of Constellation’s Northern and Central Territories.”
Trentida snorted softly. The Archduke of Reformation Tower curved his lips upwards. “Just say it; what are you trying to suggest?”
Lampard glanced at him suddenly, and they were like blades cutting into him. “Suggest? … I have been flipping through the records of the battles with Constellations from the past three to four centuries.” The archduke’s voice was cold. “In the past, in the great battle of at least a century ago, the Constellatiates were just like us: After getting defeated, they needed at least a month to regroup. We were about the same in terms of our speed in managing our logistics and regrouping our soldiers after war.
“So how, when the Starlight God of War appeared, did he manage to train his Starlight Brigade?”
All four archdukes frowned.
“Just go straight to the point, don’t start a history lesson,” Trentida said impatiently, “we’re not idiots.”
Lampard shot him a look.
‘No, you are not idiots…’ His expression was cold. ‘You are worse than idiots—You are self-proclaimed geniuses.’
“Who?” Lampard asked softly. All four archdukes were slightly startled.
“Who what?” Trentida asked curiously.
Lampard leaned forward into the light of the fire brazier. His whole person was like a hill pressing on the square table and he stared oppressively at the four archdukes.
“What I’m trying to say is that…” He narrowed his eyes, “Which King of Constellation left the most profound impression in your minds?”
The four archdukes looked at each other in pairs and exchanged a few puzzled glances.
‘Kings of Constellation? Impression?’
“Constellation had about… thirty or more kings.” Lampard leaned back in his chair once more, held out his right hand, and slowly began counting.
“Is it the ‘King of Renaissance’, Tormund the First? The one who fought alone with his army for ten years and vowed to restore his kingdom when he was forced into a corner?
“Is it ‘Black Eye’ John the First, who fought against Nuven the First at the perimeter of Overwatch City to expand his territory?
“Is it ‘Far Sails’ Kessel the Second, who fought tooth and nail against Hanbol’s armada during the Second Peninsular War?
“Is it the ‘Conqueror of the North’, Queen Erica, the only female leader of Constellation and who seized Cold Castle from Eckstedt’s hands?
“Is it the ‘Oath Keeper’, Midier the Fourth, whose bravery exceeded others’, who kept to his oath until his death and loved Chara dearly like his own brother?
“Or is it the ‘Red King’, John the Second, who completely annihilated the King’s Fury from the Bryder Dukedom within a month?”
“Oh, or else it would be the King of Eternal Rule, Aydi the Second, who had a stable country, who had no problems appear in his country except for the final year of his rule, and who had ruled for an even longer period of time than Nuven? He did not end up in a very good state though.”
Lampard observed every archduke’s face as he spoke. However, he did not see anything, the archdukes had refused to even give him the slightest change on their facial expressions.
Lampard sneered mockingly. “No? I don’t think so.”
A few seconds later, he sighed, unconcerned.
“Alright.” Lampard narrowed his eyes. “The King of Constellation that I have the deepest impression for is…”
A few archdukes also narrowed their eyes.
The only sound that could be heard was Lampard’s plain voice. “…Mindis Jadestar the Third.”
With only a slight change to his expression, Archduke Trentida said, “Isn’t that the one…”
Lampard nodded his head slowly.
“Yes,” the Archduke of Black Sand Region said plainly, his eyes were reflected complicated emotions that were difficult to decipher. “One hundred and fifty years ago, Mindis the Third, the one who experienced the Fourth Peninsular War.”
He whispered, “The Virtuous King.”