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"Hoho, sir, look!" My logistics regiment leader hinted the front view and said, "How booming!"
"Certainly," I said with a smile, "this is the only road for the goods to reach the frontline."
We were at a business route 200 miles away from the Ninth Legion camp. Every day, steady flows of heavy military goods and materials will go through this place. There was still more than half year before the War to begin. Thus dozens of military bases were waiting for these commodities to fill up their warehouses.
Although the War concerned every aspect of an alliance, basically the most crucial thing was still money. One will have the best chance to win if he had the most money.
I had about ten men with me standing on a slope beside the route.
"Sir," An officer from the investigation group came running to me, "our target fleet is almost here."
"Sir, they're a total of roughly 300 vans." The officer handed me a list, "Last night, we've managed to investigate each vehicle, here's the list."
"You must be specific when reporting to your commander. Rough 300? Almost here? Check again, be precise!" I passed the list to the logistics leader and told the investigation officer, "Back to the camp later, treat yourself with 20 from the LAD, your men as well."
"Sir, yes, sir!"
Jack, who was standing aside, sighed while shaking his head, "One more work for me. Now the LAD is burdened with work, second to the logistics regiment."
"Aren't you glad when business comes?" I glanced Jack, "Everybody fears Lord Justice."
"Loads of business is not what I expected! You know, boss? During the second day after the outfit issuing, there were a total of 19, 074 soldiers sent to the LAD for punishment. My men were kept busy for the whole night. Dozens of rods broke just for flogging." Jack said with a bitter smile, "Feared by everyone is not a good thing. Nobody wants to talk to me anymore. If I smile at a man, his face will turn almost immediately pale."
"How many are there per day are punished due to sabotaging their outfits?" I ignored Jack's whining, "Does it get better?"
"Much better." Jack said, "There are hundreds per day and declining."
I nodded and said, "Not bad, we need to remove their stinky habits.
While we were chitchatting, the investigation officer came back again to report on the target fleet's situation. Not long after, a medium-sized convey fleet appeared in our sights.
"The old way," I told an IGT officer beside me, "get their fleet officer to see me."
"Yes, sir!" He commanded several others to mount and rode toward the fleet. Though outnumbered, they were imposing.
A Major officer from the transportation fleet came to me with cheer once he heard the great Protoss Knight was summoning him.
"I am captain of the United Forces 37th transportation fleet from the MMS!" He dismounted, "Greeting to Ser Knight of Protoss on behalf of the whole transport fleet!"
"May the God of Light bless you." I said with a smile, "Mr. Major, I need a favor."
"Please, Your Excellency." The Major bumped his chest, "As long as it's within my reach, I will follow."
My logistics leader advanced then gave him a list, "The great Protoss Knight needs these stuff."
He went through the list while shivering, "I… this… Ser, the amount is too large, I can… can’t!"
"How about this, I will not give you a difficult time." I said, "We'll take them ourselves, and you’ll have my note."
"Ser, it's my duty to protect the fleet," The Major yelled, "please forgive me for not giving you anything!"
"Let's start." I told my side men, "It's late."
Before the Major said anything, two of my guarding troopers have put him down, tied and tossed aside."
Soldier's low and deep sound of horn resounded on the wild land.
On the two sides of the business route, rows of soldiers stood up from under the grass as if they were awakened. They removed the camouflaging grass and rattans, drew their weapons then produced an attacking formation to draw near the transportation fleet. They were the three IGT regiments who received first regular training in the Legion. They have been putting themselves down in the grass since last night.
In truth, I could always get the supply I needed with other methods, though I cannot let such an actual training chance to slip away. These 7, 000 men were not having any food or drink and were not discovered since last night until just now. Their training result turned out great.
This location was far behind the frontline, thus there weren't many troops guarding the transportation fleet. They have never been attacked by friendly forces on such a large scale.
As groups of soldiers wearing the PUF standard uniform approached, the fleet flustered at the hostile soldiers cold eyes and sharp blades. They had nothing to do but to draw their weapons as well while going back and forth looking for their commander. Speaking of whom, the commander was under my custody.
"Drop your weapons, or we'll use deadly force!" When the two parties approached close enough to see each other's faces, a roar as loud as thunder resounded, "This is the Ninth Legion!"
The roaring came from an orc officer. He was just an ordinary soldier under Wilder's command. Due to his massive and bright sound, Wilder had him in charge of sound-off in the regiment. Who knew that this guy's voice grew louder and louder and eventually he was loud enough to scare a man to death. Even during the royal trial on the Portaria altar, the shockwave of his sound stunned many beasts. I could not undervalue such a talent. Thus I made him an officer.
Obviously, the soldiers in the transportation fleet cannot compare to the magical beasts. Thus dozens of them were too shocked that their weapons dropped, several men who stood closer even fainted and fell.
Under the deadly force deterrence, all of the fleet soldiers were removed of their weapons.
The rest was easy and smooth. The officers from the logistics regiment went directly to the fleet vans with their list. They commanded the soldiers to gather the supplies we needed. The situation was ordered and disciplined. Since the last time we were in the MMS, the LAD executed on the spot several soldiers who pocket-picked, no such thing has ever happened again.
Every soldier in the Ninth Legion has been informed that punishment will be strictly carried out for the lawbreakers. And the commanders have explained thoroughly to their soldiers the meaning of each military laws. Unlike the soldiers from other Legions, they only knew that they cannot break military rules without knowing why. I had to give the current excellent disciplinary condition credit to my LAD officers.
"Ser, you can't! Ser…" As the things that once on the transportation fleet vans were moved onto our vans, the convey captain was blue in his face, "Lord Luhrmann will skin us…"
"He won't; I'll write you a note right away." I fetched a piece of paper and tucked it into his pocket, "You just tell the Chief Quartermaster, due to his delay, the Protoss Knight has to borrow his supply!"
The logistics leader came to inform me that all goods have been loaded.
"Let's go!" I mounted, "Back to the camp."
I was well aware that my behavior was abominable, which will make me a black sheep or sorts by the PUF headquarter. However, they did not have a good impression on the Ninth Legion from the start, what I did merely added to that already poor impression.
What can they do to a Protoss Knight except for more detestation?"
In fact, I didn't think that anyone, the HQ or MMS, has skimped my supply. As an army of slaves, our only job was to die on the battlefield. Dead men did not need armors or uniforms. There was no place for us on the MMS supply list except for a bit of necessary food.
Deplete the enemy supply by the slave army, then initiate formal war was a popular yet inexpensive and efficient method for war nowadays on this continent.
But as the Protoss United Forces, they cannot call their troops 'slave army' like the Asmodian United Forces did. Thus they made a thing to assign designations and officers for each slave army, which has made my work so much more convenient.
Since it was a designated, established legion, it ought to get its supply. If the MMS cannot offer what we deserved, I will give them trouble. After the trouble, the MMS will still have to give me my supply. If they still can't, I will make trouble again.
To the MMS or Minister Luhrmann, it was regrettable that I became the Supreme Commander of the Ninth Legion, what was even more unfortunate for them was that I was a Knight of Protoss.
When the temple assigned commanders of each legion, I was probably not titled as a Protoss Knight yet. But such a title even I didn't foresee, has changed so much. It made the Prime Minister aka the current Chief Quartermaster, who went so much effort to get rid of me, dropped his own rock on his own feet. Without the Protoss Knight title, I wouldn't be so bold. I had no energy to care about how such a title will benefit me in future fight for power, what I wanted was to survive the War.
Only if I had enough supply will the slave soldiers who were doomed to die have belief in me, will the troops in the Ninth Legion able to buck up and train harder. I had faith in these men who have been in a constant struggle for lives. They had unimaginable stern vital force.
I had my subordinates to carry the goods back to the camp. Then Jack and I went to find our new training ground.
Although there was a great area of wild land around the camp, it was not suitable for training. Since we were to utilize space for training, it had to be a place with peculiar geographic features.
The newly built intelligence system has helped me greatly. When I was on the Heaven Island, Marfa has been building his intelligence agency in Dark City. Up until currently, his intelligence agents have yet to cover the entire P/A line, but they have scratched out the terrain and made detailed maps.
With these maps, Jack and I found our potential place to build the new training ground. There were rivers, valleys, flatlands, and forests. The most valuable thing was that there were many ruined villages, which were hard to come by elsewhere. After I had sent a letter to the Portaria Chief Operator, I had two divisions quartered into this area.
Though the fact that the soldiers in the Legion were undertrained, their body conditions were rather good. The General Staff Department has drafted targeted training plan. Thus I did not worry about time.
Without drawbacks on physical quality, the second and the third division initiated formal field training.
My current officers were all from former Dark Army. Thus the training plans they drew were the same as how they were trained when they were in Dark City. During the mornings, the soldiers will have training on indivitual topics, they were nothing but positioning, striking and weapon utilization. The training during afternoons was the grand opera. The soldiers were divided randomly into two parties ranging from 2 members to dozens to hundreds to fight. The winners will not only be praised by their commanders but also receive bread bigger than usual.
The beginning competitions were all unarmed because the armory regiment had to take the time to build weapons and the logistics regiment was pressing on with the manpower.
When all the conditions were met, the soldiers had their weapons fighting on the uneven mountain lands, in thick forests. The weapons for training were cutproof. As for the troops in the logistics regiment, they were in charge of providing safeguards for the soldiers.
The nights were designated for tactics lessons. Thus the soldiers who were used to be kept in their tents day and night started sitting under lights while listening to the problems that occurred during the daytime training. If the soldiers had questions, they were welcomed to ask, because, at such times, their commanders were extra-patient.
The soldiers did not know that their commanders had asked the same questions when they were just plain soldiers.
During such times, you can always discover a bunch of soldiers with great curiosity, or showed outstanding mental quality or well-respected by others. They usually will be recommended in letter to the training corps under my personal training.
The first batch of soldiers who reported to the training corps was utterly scared for they had no idea of what the training corps was for. I later knew that they thought they will be executed because they had made their commanders unhappy for asking questions. Some of them even said farewell to their best friends.
When I got there, I discovered the entire corps was under a gloomy and miserable atmosphere. I asked repeatedly to know the answer, which made I as well as a bunch of officers tear out of laughter. But I skipped the explaining part because I consider it will benefit them by just let them worry for a few more days.
I assumed the training corps will be full by today.
"Go to the training corps." After entering the training field, I asked a guarding troop officers to go first, "Tell them to assemble, I'll be right there."
"Sir, aren't you gonna see other divisions?" Jack asked, "There will be a 6-regiments matching race in the second division!"
"I'll pass." I said, "I intend to let Wilder stay in charge more. It'll be bad for him if I go too often."
"Why is that?" Jack asked.
I smiled and explained, "An army is like a man. It should have its own battle style. To cultivate styles requires many aspects, but its commander takes up most of the factors. Wilder and I are different in personality, if I go, he will certainly ask me about virtually anything. Two completely different commanding styles will give the soldiers a hard time to justify and comprehend, you got it?"
"Yes!" Jack nodded, "I hope to see the third division's fighting style!"
"You will." I said, "By the next month, you'll see the battle between them."
As we spoke, we've arrived the quartering station of the training corps. The entire corps of 2, 000 soldiers were waiting for me in an empty space in front of the commanding center.
I did not dismount. Instead, I rode straightly to the soldiers.
"Atten-hut!" The duty officer roared, "Commander!"
"I know you're worried about your lives. Let me tell you now, your very lives are directly related to a tiny thing." I fetched a piece of red cloth in the shape of a 'v', "This!"
"This is the symbol of an acting sergeant, it's also the purpose why you're here! What is a sergeant? A sergeant is lower than an officer but bigger than a soldier!" I said, "If you perform better than a sergeant, you will be promoted to be a real officer, you get me?"
"We get you, sir!"
Once they knew such a good thing was to occur, they replied louder.
"I've prepared 2, 000 symbols like this!" I continued, "As long as you train carefully and meet my requirements. You will be allowed to sew this onto your uniform! You will be qualified to assume the leader of your squad!"
Such thing has never happened that a slave soldier could become an officer, Let alone an officer with actual troops under his command! Sure they had no idea that a sergeant was not an officer yet, but it was better than an ordinary soldier!
Their eyes told me some of them still cannot believe what I said. Thus I summoned an IGT officer.
"Say your age, race," I told him, "and how you became an officer, loudly and clearly!"
"Sir, yes, sir!" The officer turned to the soldiers, "I am a sandman. Joined the Dark Army at the age of 26, private. I was selected into the IGT because I outperformed during the previous battles. I was promoted second lieutenant after finishing my training at the year end!"
"You heard him! All of my officers were promoted from the least soldiers." I said, "There're no born officers, only born idiots! Do I have idiots here?"
"No!" Apparently, no one will admit he’s a fool, even for a slave.
"Now, the second division was preparing a large-scale combat training. I want you to watch carefully." I looked at the time, so I issued my first order, "Remember what you see! You'll need them tonight."
"Sir, yes, sir!"
Today's topic for the second division was flatland combat. They were preparing.
I have put time on the section of the training corps' drill sergeant. Now, they were explaining military symbols after they have set up several wooden boards and drawn battlefield maps on them.
As a sound of horn echoed, the second division combat began!
"Observe," I said in front of the soldiers, "no matter how big the battle, if we disregard the catapults and magic attack, only the front soldiers will fight before the equivalence breaks.
"When one party fails to persist, their defensive line will break through, which they will end up fighting in both inside and outside. If this problem isn't fixed timely, the opposing party will seize the advantage and initiate a surround." I hinted the battle line and said, "After being surrounded, all troops will lose contact with each other. Orders cannot pass timely to the soldiers, and the troops cannot mobilize at will. Thus they will fall into a hard battle.
For a sergeant, battle skills were merely one aspect, understanding his superior's idea and a stable mental status were more important. During a war where thousands were involved, the troops' mental state was the most crucial. What will break down for the losing party first was their minds instead of the battle line. A smart commander will always, always start with the enemy's psychological weakness. He will never act stupidly to do foolish fight first.
My soldiers were careful as they widened their eyes and straightened their ears to grasp every piece of details. Although they had a long way to go before they could achieve something, I dare not to say there won't be a few generals or even marshals that will be born among them.
Aside from on-spot coaching, I had to teach them how to analyze past battle examples at night. Also, I need to manage the entire corps, I was busy like hell!
Up until I had witnessed the graduation of the first batch of sergeants from the training corps, I was able to relieve, and I could finally put my soul on other things.
These 2, 000 fresh acting sergeants have brought unparalleled shock for the Ninth Legion. When the soldiers welcomed their friends came back with no missing arms or legs but a red symbols was added to their arms, they were thrilled. Although the acting sergeants had no officers' uniforms yet, they have already started giving lousy orders!
Humanity was born low, which was correct. Self-abasement and self-important were especially highlighted among the slaves. Before, the soldiers could never imagine they could have such change in the identities, but when they saw their slave friends succeeded, everybody thought they could achieve the the same, or even better! So they started competing with their friends and trying to do better in all kinds of occasions, which resulted in increased fist fight in the camp. Thus the LAD once again became prosperous.
I had no time to care about these minor cases because I needed to hump my brain on how to get supplied. After I successfully 'borrowed' some goods from several transportation fleets, the MMS has ordered all the fleets to travel 500 miles away from the Ninth Legion. And for us who lacked horses, 500 miles was the troops' mobilization limit; a distance further will be a march.
Fortunately, our current goods and materials were almost enough. But the armory regiment leader started to complain that he had no enough weapons and armors.
Once he complained, the troops that quartered near the Legion were in serious trouble. No matter they were passing by or on longterm quartering, as long as it was a troop under 30, 000, it will not escape the fate of being robbed by us. Usually, when they woke up, my soldiers were already standing beside their beds. So they were compelled to remove their armor and weapons. The slightest hesitation will incur massive fist punches.
I had to say, even for an ant that wanted to pass through the Ninth Legion, we'll break one of its legs, let alone soldiers.