Chapter 66 March forward
Before the next dawn broke the 13th Army really set out. General Adrick personally led the first legion during the journey.
The third legion led by that silver-haired Butler was acting as a reconnaissance vanguard; they had already sent back a military report. They already fought two small scale battles on the northern part of Al Bacre plain with the scale of approximately hundred people and both sides won a single battle.
The location of the battle was about a dozen of miles south of the small forest where Shaar encountered an attack during the scouting mission.
It was very obvious that Odin’s army was slowly marching towards south as they gradually moved deeper into Al Bactre plain.
Being a member of the Praetorian Guards, Shaar put on his full cavalry set and marched together with the large force.
The only thing that gave Shaar a small disappointment was that he didn’t receive the fabulous “cavalry equipment” which Kato previously talked about: That up to four meters long lance, a great shield that had the height of half a person and not even was his horse was equipped with the horse armor….
The equipment that he obtained was the same ordinary light cavalry equipment he got during the scouting mission last time. A long double-edged infantry sword, a long shield and a long two-edged weapon used for cavalry battle – Shaar still chose the halberd.
Marching on the road, Shaar told his brothers-in-arms about the doubts in his heart and quickly received an explanation. The one who explained to him was the once top strongman of the Praetorian Guards Sarbar – of course after the last defeat in wrestling match against Shaar, he relegated to the second place.
This burly tall giant burst out laughing: “You were misled by that guy Kato. That rat Kato referred to the equipment used by the heavy cavalries of our precedents. Hmpf, with a complete set of heavy armor, a four meter long lance, a long shield that had the height of half a person and a horse equipped with full horse armor…… Think about it how heavy would this set of equipment be for a cavalryman? How can ordinary soldier bear this weight? Only strictly selected elite soldiers from the army can bear such a heavy armor in combat. An ordinary person like that rat Kato would probably fall on the ground, not being able to get up.”
Pausing for a moment this uncouthly man lowered his voice: “Also, think about it how much iron would be needed to forge such a heavy set of equipment? Furthermore, they had to breed a warhorse that can ride fast while carrying such a heavy load. This kind of heavy cavalry only exists in the fourth legion of our 13th Army. If you want become a heavy cavalry, you should wait for an opportunity to ask the general put release on you and put you in the fourth legion.”
Shaar was immediately appeased – troops such as heavy cavalry were indeed impossible to equip in huge numbers and he had the wrong idea before.
In fact, strictly speaking, the legion that Shaar followed right now was also not a cavalry unit in the true sense – the first legion of the 13th Cavalry Army was actually an infantry combat unit that rode horses. By definition, infantries riding horses as the name suggests, were infantry troops who used horses to enhance their mobility and speed. During a battle the infantry will dismount before going into formation.
After all, even though a cavalry was powerful it was impossible for them to individually form an force during a large scale battle and needed infantry to coordinate with. Generally speaking, a cavalry was unlikely to act as an independent force alone to directly carry a frontline assault (surprise attacks are an exception). With thousands of cavalrymen charging directly into the enemy’s infantry array was actually a rarely occurrence. The real tactical power of a cavalry unit was strength which they used on both two wings to outflank the enemy before hitting its flanks. Like peeling a potato, penetrating it layer by layer.
The 13th Cavalry Army acted as an independent army, but a part of them were infantrymen. In order to maintain the mobility of the Cavalry Army, they upgraded their infantry and gave them horses to ride. Moreover, during a siege battle,pure cavalrymen couldn’t be used and only infantry could be relied on.
The troops of first legion marched in order to provide assistance to the third legion which moved as vanguards few days ago.
Marching with the Praetorian Guards, Shaar listened as his brothers talked about some of fighting tactics used by the 13th Army. Although those Praetorian Guards might not necessarily understand everything, but as a Praetorian Guards they usually followed the general and could listen to the military conferences and reports. Influenced by the things they saw and heard, they had more experiences compare to ordinary soldiers.
This was the first time for Shaar to march with an army which had over thousands of people. During the first day on the road, he listened to legendary stories which frequently told about wars of mighty forces. Although at this moment this legion had the scale of only 2000 people but this dense black mass riding through the plain showed a rigorous discipline displayed by the 13th Cavalry Army. Marching in a neat formation with a solemn silence, it created a bloodthirsty aura which made Shaar awestruck in his heart.
This was just from the troops from a legion. If the whole army was gathered, which would combine several legions, what an impact would that scene make in someone’s mind?
The formation didn’t even rest in the evening since the soldiers of 13th Army have been accustomed to marching without breaks. The soldiers didn’t eat, drink nor rest as they were riding with high speed until the next morning. Only when the sun started to rise, General Adrick allowed the large force to stop and take a break.
The Praetorian Guards were somewhat special since they were the only real cavalry in this horse riding unit everyone had a spare horse. During the break, Shaar would rotate next to General Adrick.
Kevin and Shaar with several other Praetorian Guards created a formation to escort Adrick. General Adrick was still in the same black fur robe which he wore during his first meeting with Shaar. His brows were twisted tightly and his eyes flashed in a way from time to time that could made people break out in cold sweat, resembling like a lion.
Just was Shaar took a quiet look at Adrick, this general suddenly tilted his head and looked at Shaar with a smile.
“Eh?” Shaar immediately straightened up his body.
“We will soon fight in a major battle, are you anxious?” Adrick made a strange happy expression with the corners of his mouth.
The Praetorian Guards nearby looked at Shaar since the general only questioned this rookie alone which made them was somewhat curious.
Thinking for a moment, Shaar shook his head: “Not too anxious.”
“Oh?”Adrick’s eyes looked somewhat satisfied: “Why?”
“Killing a beast is killing, killing a person is also killing. Since they want to kill us, we naturally we will have to kill them. There is no difference.” Shaar replied while not even needing the time to think.
“Haha! Interesting way of thinking.”Adrick stared at Shaar for a moment, suddenly shaking his head while saying:”You are a great kid and you remind me of a fellow I knew in the past. However, you are still not as strong as that guy. Do well this time. Since you are quite skilled in this war if you can render some meritorious achievement when we get back, I will make you a cavalry captain.”
The Praetorian Guards nearby immediately made an envying expression. Adrick looked at the bald man on other side: “and Kevin, if you can make it out alive this time, you should be able to lead a battalion.”
The bald man immediately growled in excitement as his whole face turned red. Even his bald head was somewhat sparkling under the sunlight.
Adrick seemed to be in a very good mood and waved his hand while ordering to end the break. Just when he was about to climb on his horse, his eyes suddenly changed expression as he looked up toward the sky.
In midst of the blue sky a little gray shadow with open wings was circling around. It seemed like an eagle, but from its size; it was slightly smaller compared to an ordinary eagle. Moreover, its cycling movement was somewhat strange and after cycling few laps above the first legion, it turned around to fly away.
Adrick complexion suddenly ashen and next to him Kevin squinted his eyes while the color on his face changed too: “General, that’s the Odin ……”
“Yes, it’s a scouting eagle!” Adrick’s eyes flashed with a strange gleam of light: “If a scouting eagle is here, then Odin’s army is certainly not far away!” He suddenly turned around and asked one of the officers: “How long since the last news of Butler?”
“The last news came with a messenger last evening, after that there were no more news.” The military officer replied.
Adrick’s face suddenly turned gloomier:”Map!!”
The lieutenant next him immediately took out the map from the bag and opened it. After taking a look, Adrick pointed a location on it: “How far away is that place from our position?”
The place he pointed was a long and narrow region with slightly low-lying topography. It was in the center of the plain with highland forest on both sides and a stretching marsh land in between.
“Not too far away.”
The one who answered was Shaar as he shouted loudly without even thinking: “I know that place. From our position, if we ride at full speed we can certainly arrive there in two hours!”
“Are you sure?!”Adrick stared at Shaar and this general’s eyes unexpectedly made a frightening light and his gaze was breathtaking. Shaar braced himself against such eyes and clenched his teeth while replying:”I am sure! I had gone twice to that place and I am familiar with the nearby terrain.”
“Something happened!”Adrick’s eyes flashed with a dangerous light: “The scouting eagle of Odins is alerting them against us! Something must have happened in front to Butler! Otherwise the scouting eagle would not be flying this close to south to scout. Furthermore, we didn’t receive a messenger from Butler for whole night!”
The general thought for a moment and looked at the few lieutenants around him before his eyes fell on the bald man: “Kevin!”
“At your command!” Like on stimulants, the bald man shouted excitedly while warming up his neck.
“I will give you the command of all Praetorian Guards including the scouts of the third legion! Should be a total of more than 200 cavalrymen! You will lead them and immediately ride full speed towards north!! Butler that fellow must be in trouble! Your task is to reinforce them. On the road if you will encounter a blockade you know what to do!”
Kevin immediately lifted his claw hammer and roared excitedly: “Tears them to shreds!”
“Idiot!”Adrick scolded him: “When you met the blockade, you are not allowed to stop and fight. You will directly breakthrough and your task is to find Butler’s troops and aid them! I am bringing our main force to catch up afterwards!”
Pausing for a moment, He looked at Shaar: “Shaar is familiar with the terrain, make this rookie lead the way!”
Then he looked up the sky, watching the eagle’s flying shadow and suddenly felt irritated in his heart. Grabbing a bow with his backhand from a nearby soldier’s saddle, he pulled the bow and aimed at the sky……
While the bowstring vibrated, the arrow shot forward transforming into a gray light. However, this was only an ordinary bow and even if it was pulled to its maximum capacity of a full moon shape, the arrow flew upward for a while before dropping a down a big distant away from the eagle. Furious, Adrick drew the bow again and this time he put in more strength but with a cracking sound the bow was snapped into two.
“God damn it!”Adrick was enraged: “If only Sylvia was here……”
He glance as Kevin and shouted: “What are you spacing out for! Go immediately fulfil your order!”
Kevin quickly complied with a cry and hastily rode out. A moment later, he gathered the Praetorian Guards with all the cavalry scouts and formed a squad of 300 riders: “Everyone leave behind your spare horse! You don’t need bring to bring your dry rations! Threw away all the unnecessary things! We will depart immediately!”
The 13th Cavalry Army was indeed an elite force and only needed a moment to ready a squad of 300 people before embarking. Kevin had quite a bit of leadership and he easily arranged his troops into a wedge formation while leading the 300 cavalrymen on their way.
Shaar and Kevin rode in the forefront of this group since he was responsible for guiding them. After riding at high speed for about the energy of one meal, they saw smooth terrain with steep hills in front of them. On the high ground left, there was a sparse forest and Shaar immediately shouted: “Almost there! It’s after the highlands!”
Just when his voice quiet down, a group of people could be seen coming out of the forest from the highlands. Those fellows all wore leather armor and had tall stature with wild hairstyles. While holding large swords and other types of weapons in their hands, they were also carrying a round shields. Roughly about hundred people quickly rushed out of the forest to greet the cavalrymen!
These guys were not riding horse, but instead they were riding a strange mounts which resembled horses. However, they seemed more majestic with their fur full of black markings and their two long horns on their head.
Seeing this Shaar got a strange feeling in his heart before hearing Kevin roaring anxiously: “Is the Odin’s caribou cavalry unit!! Breaking through!!”
Both forces would soon smash against each other and Shaar heard the Odin’s roaring a strange tone as they came closer. Those caribou mounts growled loudly and their running momentum was unexpectedly more astonishing than that of horses!
With a strong wind caressing his face, both group of cavalrymen maliciously crushed against each other making loud sounds of clashing!
With Shaar and Kevin spearheading the formation they immediately crashed into the Odin’s formation!
What was quite shameful was that Shaar’s horse-riding skill was not very advanced and when he hit a majestic caribou head-on, his horse’s neck was twisted from the impact while he immediately fell off his saddle!