Chapter 171: Siegfried’s Advance (1)

“There’s a change in the enemy’s front line, sir.”

“Instead of the infantry carrying shields, they brought out long spearmen to place in the front, sir.”

Siegfried smiled as he listened to the messenger’s report.

“You’re telling me that they’re making changes where we can see what they’re doing instantly?”

“Yes, Sir, that’s correct. Their troops might not be well trained, Sir. They’re taking a long time to rearrange the soldiers.”

Siegfried looked out towards the enemy as he listened.

“Is the enemy commander someone who only learned about battles from a book with soldiers who lack training?”

They had probably switched tactics and placed long spearmen at the front as soon as they found out that Siegfried’s side had placed horsemen in the frontline. However, tactics were meaningless unless they were used accordingly to the situation. Siegfried’s troops had finished their preparations. He could attack at any moment, but they were still frantically changing their formation. If an enemy were to attack at such a time, what use was a tactic then? If you wanted to change the formation in such a hurry like that, then at the very least, the soldiers had to be very highly trained.

An elite soldier wasn’t determined just by their strength. They weren’t knights and most soldiers' strengths were about the same. A truly elite soldier was one who completely obeyed their commander’s orders and responded quickly to commands with countless training and practice. It was stupid to even think about changing formation with soldiers who had no clue what to do when orders were given.

“There’s a limit to watching such stupidity. Jake.”

“Yes, My Lord.”

“Have the entire army attack! Move according to the plan.”

“Yes, Sir!”

Siegfried’s order spread across the Republican Army.

“Army, advance!”

Peuuhh!

With the sound of the horn, the Republican forces moved forward.

***

“Attacking without an opening signal? Those barbarians!”

High up in a watchtower, Marquis Berg burst out in anger as he watched the Republican forces’ movements. Although Siegfried had considered Marquis Berg to be a thoughtless idiot, Marquis Berg had his own plans, that’s why he had given such instructions.

This wasn’t just a simple battle. It wasn’t a small skirmish but a large battle consisting of 150,000 troops if you combined the forces of both countries. Then shouldn’t there be courtesies and formalities of war that suit such a large battle? First of all, a signal should be sent to inform each other that the war was starting after which the knights of each country should ride forward and fight, one against one. Once that was finished, both countries would start charging forward to fight head-on. That was what Marquis Berg knew to be the correct rules of war. That’s why he had the peace of mind to fix his formation, but he had never thought they would be so cowardly (?) use that time to attack. 

“You just can’t associate with barbarians like them…”

Marquis Berg clenched his teeth, but there was nothing he could do about it. He most likely didn’t know, but what he knew as courtesies (?) in a war between kingdoms was a thing of the past. It had been created so that nobles would blemish their honor as little as possible during the war. 

Naturally, there was no such thing in the Republic. Other countries who had dealt with the Republic many times in the past, such as the former Strabus Kingdom or the Lester Kingdom, knew very well what the Republicans were like. However, Marquis Berg didn’t know that and the war that he thought he knew, would never happen. That was how Siegfried had evaluated him. Marquis Berg really was someone who had learned about fighting in a war from a book.

“Hurry and straighten up the lines! Before their cavalry hits, the long spearmen must have a dense and strong formation!”

Marquis Berg shouted at the messenger and had him instruct the soldiers to move faster. However, could the soldiers who lacked training move faster just because their commander was yelling at them? No, it only added to the confusion.

“Damn it, they’re approaching!”

“This isn’t working! Raise your spears. Shove them into the ground and raise them diagonally!”

“If you don’t want to die, hurry up and move!”

In the end, the formation completely changed and the commanders settled the spearmen. The pointy tips of the spear were shoved into the ground and placed in angles to restrain the cavalry. In the end, it did not form a formation nor did it create a dense forest of long spears. It turned out to be very sparse, but it was still better than nothing. Although the frontline commanders’ judgements were correct…

“Fire!”

There was always someone better than yourself. Siegfried had given orders to the archers who had been waiting in the back even before the cavalry had even started to charge forward. The moment they did, arrows soared high into the sky and poured into the enemy’s camp.

“Guh!”

“Kaah! My… my eye…”

“Ack!”

The shieldless long spearmen might be strong against the cavalry, but they were weak when archers targeted them. On top of that, the arrows raining down upon them weren’t ordinary arrows.

“Marquis, the first group has been exposed to the arrows.”

“What? The archers were waiting way in the back, so how come they are here… huh?!”

Marquis Berg finally realized it. The opponent was a Republican. He had heard rumors before that the Kobrook Republic used special crossbows that had a much longer range than normal bows. He had heard the rumors but since he had never fought against such enemies before, he hadn’t thought of the possibility of it being true. In that case, wasn’t it counterproductive to put the long spearmen in the first line in the frontline then?

“Kuh…Have the second and third lines move forward! Fill in the gaps where the first line collapsed!”

With the assumption that the first line would collapse, Marquis Berg gave out his orders. In fact, the first line collapsing wasn’t an assumption, it was an established fact. The Republic’s cavalry smashed into their enemy’s first line which had been destroyed by the arrows. On top of that…

“Follow after me! Those who fall behind will be dealt with according to the military law!”

Siegfried was at the forefront. Different from usual, Siegfried stood at the front and courageously wielded his sword as he destroyed his enemy’s battle lines and behind him were the Ghost members.

“Gahh!”

“U…ugh!”

“Save me… kuh…”

They wielded their swords without hesitation and killed the enemies in front of them. Not only Siegfried, but the Ghost members hadn’t even exuded their auras but were still able to easily fight in close-quarter combat. From the beginning, they knew that the enemy’s formation overlapped in several layers, so they weren’t using their strength in the beginning. In fact, even if they didn’t use their full strength, this type of shoddy battle lines might as well not even exist as they continued to rampage through the enemy. Even as Siegfried fought in the forefront, he continued to look at the whole flow of the battle with a sharp eye.

‘The infantry in the back are following very well. As long as I get rid of their last attempt made from anxiety, we’ll be able to completely crush them.’

He turned towards a Ghost member following him.

“Raise the flag.”

“Yes, sir!”

As Siegfried ordered, the flag was raised high up into the air, and from under it, he raised his voice as he spoke towards his troops.

“We are defeating the enemy! Show your strength and power to the green and undisciplined enemy soldiers!”

“WAAAHHH!!”

“Long live the Republic!!”

“Hooray for Commander Siegfried!!”

By standing at the forefront and valiantly fighting as the commander, Siegfried greatly raised the morale of his men. Although it was very risky, nothing was better in raising morale than this.

Having been encouraged, the Republican Army completely destroyed the enemy and the Valence Kingdom failed to withstand the Republic’s military power and collapsed. 

***

“The third line is broken! The fourth is also in danger, sir!”

“The right flank has collapsed, sir. We’ll use the reserve troops for the fifth line, sir.”

“Marquis, there are less than 10,000 reserve troops in the back.”

Receiving urgent report after report from his messengers, was like a nightmare for Marquis Berg. Even without the reports, he could clearly see the Valence Kingdom collapsing before his eyes.

“How… how can this be? Are you sure they’re humans?”

Marquis Berg’s voice was trembling. Initially, he had thought they had overpowered him through underhanded methods. He believed that was why the first line had been defeated and that by immediately putting in the second and third line, he could fix the frontline. However, that was a mistake. Leading the Ghosts from the front and fighting his enemies, Siegfried’s advance did not stop. Their advance was truly unstoppable and the Marquis Berg’s allies and troops had already lost their will to fight. There were more people who were trampled to death after running away in fright than those who died fighting. 

“How… how could he be so overwhelming? How?”

Although Marquis Berg couldn’t understand it, Siegfried thought it was a matter of fact. Even with a large army of 100,000 men, most of the Valence Kingdom’s soldiers were commoners who had been conscripted into the army. Additionally, most of the regular troops were recruits who had never experienced war.

In comparison, the Republican Army soldiers were the elite amongst the elite. Not only were they rigorously trained, but most of them had experienced war before. In the Republic, soldiers who had never experienced war before were treated as new recruits, no matter how many years they had served. Not to mention, they were highly confident since in the previous war, their powerful enemy, the Strabus Kingdom had been defeated. Compared to the military powerhouse that was the Strabus Kingdom, the hastily put together army of the Valence Kingdom was nothing. When Seigfried, their commander-in-chief began to fight in the frontline, their already high morale got another boost which further widened the gap between the two armies. 

Now, there was only one way for the Valence Kingdom to reverse this situation. 

***

“All Knights will follow me! We’re taking their commander’s head!”

Marquis Berg shouted as he ran down from the watchtower. No matter what kind of tactical orders he gave, it was impossible to change the situation.  He had seen with his own eyes that the difference between the two armies was that of an adult and a child. However, in a desperate situation like now, their only ray of hope was that the enemy’s commander-in-chief was at the frontlines. It was still possible to instantly change their circumstances by capturing their commander. 

Marquis Berg was confident. He was one of the best swordsmen in the Valence Kingdom and had reached the highest level of an Expert. The level of his personal Knights that he had trained was also very high.  Now that they had completely lost tactically, the only thing he could trust was his personal skills. Fortunately, there was no need to look for their target since he had raised his military flag high into the air that it could be seen from a distance and was currently fighting in the frontline. 

“The Knights will follow me! We will capture the enemy’s head!”

“Yes, Sir!”

With that last bit of hope in his heart, Marquis Berg rode forward.

***

“My Lord, the enemy is approaching.”

Jake, who had been lessening his presence, spoke up from Siegfried’s side. 

“Are they Knights?”

“Yes, Sir. It seems like the enemy’s commander-in-chief is directly leading them.”

“He took the bait.”

The corners of Siegfried’s mouth curled up. There were two reasons behind Siegfried personally fighting in the frontline and raising his military flag high into the air. Of course, the first reason was to raise the morale of his men. That was only common sense. However, the second reason was a bit illogical — he was using himself as bait to lure the enemy’s knights. If there was one thing that could potentially change the battle between the soldiers, it was the strength that Knights held.

In the past when Siegfried had fought against Milton, a Knight with the name of Jerome had played an active role in causing his line to collapse. With that past experience, Siegfried was now using himself as a bait just in case the Knights might see the difference in skills and not come out to the front. It was so rewarding when the enemy just snapped up the bait, especially when they did it so fervently. Not only were the Knights coming, but the enemy’s commander-in-chief was coming as well.

“He must be confident in his skills.”

At Siegfried’s words, Jake cautiously responded.

“Why don’t I deal with it, sir? Just in case.”

Listening to Jake speak cautiously and anxiously, Siegfried only responded calmly. 

“If it gets to be too much, I’ll leave it to you.

Although Siegfried was a Master, he had zero competitive spirit as a fighter.

“But there’s no reason it should be. And if possible, I must win it personally to maximize the effect.”

“Effect, Sir?”

“I’ll explain it later.”

Siegfried put off answering Jake’s question, the enemy had arrived in front of them.

“I am Marquis Mikhail Berg of the Valence Kingdom!”

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