GOR Chapter 238: Commanding An Army For The First Time
Merlin, this name was an iconic name for Western legends about magicians.
That was especially true for the legend of King Arthur. There, Merlin was depicted as a legendary figure with many spectacular stories.
He was King Arthur’s magician, mentor, prophet, adviser…
Hmm, that was correct. ‘He’ and not ‘she’.
In some films and television works, Merlin was interpreted as a woman.
However, in the widely accepted Western legends, Merlin was a male.
In the widely accepted Western legends, Merlin was the product of one from the demon races and a human. He appeared from the forest and could disguise himself through various appearances, male or female, young or old. He could even transform into animals and communicate with other animals. Additionally, he also possessed the powers of prophecy and foresight.
Through those descriptions found in the Western legends, it could be seen that Merlin was a standard magician.
Or maybe a… … druid?
Merlin occupied an important role in the legend of King Arthur – even more so compared to Lancelot.
For example, after King Arthur’s Sword in the Stone was broken, Merlin was the one who brought King Arthur to the lake so that he may acquire the more powerful Sword of Promised Victory from the Lady of the Lake.
It was then that Merlin made an interesting prophecy:
Merlin warned King Arthur: Although the sword is sharper than the scabbard, the scabbard holds greater importance because the scabbard holds the power to stop any bleeding. Thus, Merlin reminded King Arthur to never forget to always carry the scabbard with him.
At the end of the legend, King Arthur died in battle because he forgot to keep the scabbard by his side.
That was a famous prophecy.
The problem though…
Merlin and King Arthur were both characters in mythical legends!
Chen Xiaolian had speculated that perhaps William’s story had become the base for King Arthur.
But the problem was… he did not expect that there would be a Merlin beside William!
Could this Merlin… … also be a magician?
There was actually a magician in history?
Merlin appeared to have noticed the expression of shock spreading through Chen Xiaolian’s face. However, this middle-aged man did not say anything.
In comparison, the reactions by both Lun Tai and Bei Tai were more common – it would seem that they had not read much Western legends and did not understand the meaning behind the name Merlin.
“If so… … Lord Merlin.” Chen Xiaolian exhaled and said, “What can we do for you?”
Merlin cast a profound gaze at Chen Xiaolian and said, “Just now, I saw that you could actually understand the map. That was a surprise to me. Or should I saw, that was a pleasant surprise. I had originally made an arrangement for you fellow. But nows, it seems that plan can be modified somewhat.”
Merlin moved until he was beside the map. He used his fingers to draw a circle upon the map.
“The vanguard army sent by Harold consists of roughly 500 to 1,000 men. That was the speculation we made after going through the information we obtained from our scouts and the mobilization potential that Harold has. The real number is probably not too far off.
“Before this, Harold had just fought off against the Norwegians to the north. The Norwegians are our allies. Although they were defeated, they did succeed in exhausting a part of Harold’s army. Most importantly, the personal armies belonging to those aristocrats loyal to Harold have been greatly reduced.
“At present, the strongest military force that Harold could muster should be his own personal guards. His personal guards would never leave him. Thus, this vanguard army is probably led by some aristocrat loyal to Harold. In addition, there are also some freemen who formed a peasant militia.
“The present advantage that we hold over Harold is his lack of cavalry. Majority of his army consists of infantry soldiers. This vanguard army should be of no exception.
“Now look here. We can set an ambush at this hill and spring it up at night… according to my calculations, considering their marching speed and the fact that they had set off from London, they should arrive at this place by tomorrow night. At the very latest, they should arrive here by morning, the day after tomorrow. If we set up the ambush here, there is a high chance that we can route this vanguard army.”
After saying that, Merlin purposely paused for a moment and he turned to look at Chen Xiaolian.
Chen Xiaolian had a steady expression on his face. He was in no hurry to ask any questions. He simply observed Merlin quietly and waited for him to continue.
The calmness shown by Chen Xiaolian was something Merlin did not expect. This show of calmness caused Merlin’s evaluation of Chen Xiaolian to increase.
“Our troops consists of one hundred men from the royal Norman army, which includes the three of you, Tayloff and his 20 squires and personal army and the 100 mercenaries recruited from the mercenary camp.
“Our ally, the Brittany troops is willing to provide us with 80 men. Even better, these 80 men are mounted soldiers. Add that with Tayloff and his retinue, we could throw up 100 mounted soldiers at the enemy. They will play an important role in routing the enemy forces.”
Chen Xiaolian calculated inwardly and found that his side had about 300 men…
The enemy number was around 500 to 1,000 men.
While his side have a lower number, this was an ambush. They would be well-prepared; additionally, the enemy do not have mounted soldiers and only have infantry soldiers… as for his side, he had 100 mounted soldiers.
Winning seemed like a very real possibility!
Besides, he also had Lun Tai and Bei Tai with him for the war!
Unfortunately, their firearms could not be taken out. Back in the tent, they had tried but to no avail.
If not for that, an AK47 alone might be able to solve this problem.
It was only logical for the system to restrict the usage of technology in this phase of the instance dungeon.
If not for that, Roddy could come in and directly summon his Mech. After that, there would be no need to wage this war. The Mech would have the ability to trample all of London several times over.
“What is our role in this?”
Chen Xiaolian cast a sharp gaze at Merlin.
Merlin smiled faintly and said, “My new idea for you is… the three of you will lead a group of men. I plan on handing over the command of the 100 mercenaries to you.
As he spoke, he pointed at the map and said, “The ambush point is here. You will set up an ambush at the front and wait for the enemy soldiers to pass. Don’t attack first and wait for them to move pass your location. I will bring the other group to attack them from the front. When that happens, regardless if they chooses to resist or turn around in retreat… you are to lead the mercenaries to flank them from behind!”
Chen Xiaolian quietly calculated the plan for a bit before nodding his head.
“Once I make my move, I will get someone to light a fire on top of the hill. Once you catch sight of the fire, quickly bring your men to flank them from behind! Remember, once you see the fire, you must attack! If you do not see any fire, then maintain your position!”
“All right, this order is very detailed,” said Chen Xiaolian, nodding his head.
“Additionally, I also need a soldier who can break through the enemy defence.” Merlin’s gaze turned toward Lun Tai and Bei Tai and finally came to rest upon Lun Tai. “I hope to have him by my side. Harold’s soldiers may only be infantry, but they have a good shield defensive formation. At the critical moment, I need a warrior who can break through their shield wall!”
Chen Xiaolian glanced at Lun Tai. Lun Tai frowned but did not say anything.
Chen Xiaolian understood what he meant. Lun Tai had given him the right to make the decision.
“Then, it’s settled.” Merlin laughed. He looked at Chen Xiaolian with squinted eyes and said, “I hope, in this battle, you will show off sufficient performance. King William is a generous person. As long as you perform merits, he would not hesitate to reward you.
“Perhaps, there may be no need for you to fight all the way to London. Perhaps, after this battle, you fellows will be bestowed the title of Knights.”
Soon, Tayloff arrived at Merlin’s tent. Merlin had Tayloff lead Chen Xiaolian and Bei Tai away to the team of mercenaries that he will be leading.
After reaching the team of mercenaries, Tayloff relayed the order of the King, pointing out that Chen Xiaolian and Bei Tai had been appointed as the commanders of this group of 100 mercenaries.
Naturally, there were no small number of opposition to this command – after all, before this, the three of them had only been average members of the mercenary camp. Besides, mercenaries were a bunch of rebellious and undisciplined fellows.
However, Bei Tai had stepped forward and consecutively beaten up seven to eight robust and strong mercenaries. When that happened, the opposition gradually faded away.
Might brought respect. That was also a rule that the mercenary world followed.
“How did things go? Is everything in order?”
William was standing within the tent. When he saw Merlin enter, he raised his head and asked.
Merlin nodded and said, “Everything is prepared. I am here to say goodbye before I leave.”
William stood up and walked until he was standing before Merlin. He looked into Merlin’s eyes and said, “You… must be careful! I will be awaiting your triumphant message! Also… you must return alive, Merlin!”
“I do not doubt your ability.” William shook his head. “You must understand this, your existence is more important to me compared to a victorious ambush! Even if these 300 men were to die, I won’t care – as long as you can return alive! To me, your loyalty and wisdom are a priceless treasure!”
Merlin stared into William’s eyes. Through the middle-aged man’s eyes, it would appear that he was moved. However, that expression was quick to disappear.
“Right, how are the three new kids?”
Merlin pondered the question and answered, “Somewhat beyond my expectations – additionally, I’ve come to the conclusion. Among the three of them, the one known as Garen is the leader. The other two would absolutely obey his commands.”
“After this battle is over, if they had performed well, you may consider elevating one of them to the rank of Knight.”
“I will consider it.” William solemnly promised.
“Remember your task.”
Tayloff could be considered as one of the few ‘acquaintances’ that Chen Xiaolian and his team had here.
Although this knight who served William was often ridiculed as a flatterer, it would appear that this fellow did possess some abilities. At the very least, the 20 squires that he brought with him all had manly looks – there were all capable mounted soldiers!
Even though France was well known among the European continent for their cavalry, such a sight was rare.
This Tayloff must be very rich!
In the medieval period, it was very expensive to maintain the equipment for mounted soldiers.
“Wait for us to light up the fire signal!” Tayloff said as he cast one last look at Chen Xiaolian.
“Where is Lord Merlin?” Chen Xiaolian asked Tayloff who was about to lead his mounted soldiers away.
Tayloff turned around and smiled. Then, he said in a disdainful tone, “Lord Merlin is King William’s most trusted advisor. You are already lucky enough as it is to be able to meet him once. Do you want to move out together with him? Lord Merlin will lead the soldiers from the Norman army with him.
“As for you fellows… your guide will lead you to the designated location.”
It wasn’t long before Chen Xiaolian found out who the guide was.
It was actually… an old acquaintance.
Two soldiers came forward with a helpless Bighead caught in between them.
There was a dejected look on his face. He was now wearing a chainmail and a helmet that appeared a little too small for him. He was simply unable to wear it – his head was indeed quite big.
“How could it be you?” Chen Xiaolian was unable to restrain himself and he laughed out. “Didn’t you say you have no interest in this?”
“I … I was forced.”
Bighead said with a mournful expression, “Two years ago, one of my brothers and I came to London. We smuggled wine and became familiar with the terrain of this place. It’s all my fault. Two days ago, I drank too much and started boasting about it. In the end, these fellows came and caught me up. I must now join this campaign… otherwise, they will think of a hundred different ways to kill me.”
Chen Xiaolian held back his laughter and gestured to the soldiers around to release Bighead.
Bighead struggled for a bit and broke free of the soldiers’ grasp. He quickly rushed before Chen Xiaolian and looked at him with a docile and submissive expression. He said, “I say, dear Lord, back then I did not know of your esteemed identity. You see…”
Chen Xiaolian waved his hand and said, “If you want to leave, I cannot agree to it – I need a guide.”
Bighead’s face fell and he smiled bitterly. “I understand, however…”
“Don’t worry, I will do my best to ensure your safety. As long as you are obedient, I can guarantee you that you will be able to return alive.”
There was a clear look of disagreement on Bighead’s face.
He had been able to gather some information about what was happening. The camp was sending out 300 men to ambush the enemy as they were making their way here – it was said that the enemy number up to 1,000 men.
This was the medieval period after all. The discipline of the soldiers in the medieval period was relatively poor and the concept of confidential matter was not too clear. Thus, it was not too difficult to find out about that information.
There was a very simple thought process within Bighead’s mind: 300 men vs 1,000 men.
How good could this task be?
It’s pretty much the equivalent of having his one foot tied to the Grim Reaper.
Maybe… he could escape someplace in between?
Chen Xiaolian pulled the fellow to his side and pulled out a dagger. He then placed the dagger upon Bighead’s cheeks.
The coldness of the dagger’s blade caused Bighead’s face to fall.
“I would advise you not to try anything funny,” said Chen Xiaolian coolly. “As long as you remain obedient and bring us over to the right spot, I give you my word, you will not need to join the battle. When we start fighting, you may hide behind. Naturally… after the fight is over, there won’t be any loot for you as well.”
“You mean it?” Bighead’s eyes lit up.
“Of course I mean it.” Chen Xiaolian gave him a glance and said, “You don’t look like someone who can fight. Having you in the fight won’t give us an advantage. Not having you in the fight won’t be a loss either.”
“All right! I hope you can keep your promise!” Bighead said seriously.
“Jarvan!” Chen Xiaolian shouted out. However, it was only after he shouted the name for the third time did Bei Tai realized that Chen Xiaolian was calling him. He quickly shouted back, “What is it?”
Chen Xiaolian turned to regard Bei Tai and pushed Bighead to him. He said, “I leave this fellow to you. Keep an eye on him along the way. If he dares to run away, break off his legs!”
“I will never run away! I swear to God!” Bighead was quick to make the vow.
Chen Xiaolian no longer bothered with him. Instead, he walked to stand before the 100 mercenaries and shouted out, “Are you fellows ready, you mongrels? If you’re ready, then move out! Remember, this time, we are not going to throw our lives away! We are going to earn a fortune! Those men from London don’t even know that we are waiting for them! Our appearance will make them piss their pants! The only thing you bastards need to do is use your knives to cut off their heads! Then, grab your loot!
“Do you understand?!”
Mercenaries were after all, a bloody bunch. At that moment, his words had incited the savage nature within their hearts and they shouted out in unison.
Then, after getting them to form a disorganized line, they set off.
While Chen Xiaolian was at the end of the line, Bei Tai leaned over and whispered to him, “Guild Leader, you are commanding an army for the first time. How does it feel?”
“Damn it.” Chen Xiaolian smiled bitterly and replied, “You call this motley bunch an army? Even the group fights I got into back in junior high were more disciplined than this bunch here.”