Wei Potian walked out from the barracks and toward the command center. His armor was in tatters and covered in grime. His beard was also unkempt. Apparently, he hadn’t been grooming in several days, just like everyone else in the base.
Not noticing Wei Potian’s arrival, two soldiers were chatting as they moved resource crates.
“When will this battle end?!”
The older soldier said calmly, “Just keep fighting. We won’t need to worry if we’re both dead.”
The younger warrior said, “Looks like it’ll be our turn soon.”
“You’re alive today, at least.”
The dissatisfied young warrior whispered, “How many defeats have been suffered? What kind of strategist god is he when we’re being defeated so badly?”
The veteran shushed at the young man. “Be careful what you say! You’ll be punished by military law if you criticize a commander!”
The young soldier wasn’t in a good mood, either. “It’s death all the same! How many days more can they live after punishing me?”
The old soldier sighed. “At least, we’re still alive now. There might be a miracle if we stay that way.”
“To hell with miracles! As I see it, that other one should be called a strategist god, now that’s a miracle.”
The old man looked up. “That’s not something you should know.”
The young soldier said carelessly, “I know several aristocratic disciples, they told me.”
The old veteran sighed. “Fine, you guys are of noble birth after all.”
The young warrior replied angrily, “What’s the use? Aren’t we still being used as cannon fodder?”
Wei Potian couldn’t keep listening, so he let out a dry cough.
The two soldiers jumped to their feet in shock. They went pale and bowed hurriedly when they saw Wei Potian. The latter wanted to act out at first, but he could only sigh and shake his head when he saw the two men covered in blood-soaked bandages.
Moments later, he walked into Song Zining’s office. The seventh young master was buried behind a pile of documents, reading through them at great speed. He didn’t even look up as Wei Potian entered the room, only pushing a pile of documents toward him. “Help me process these.”
Wei Potian said, “Look at the situation! You’re still buried in documents!”
Song Zining’s pen stopped moving. “How many times have I told you, the front line isn’t the only important part in a war. Rear support and logistics are just as important, if not more so. A war like this will crumble if the supplies are insufficient for even a single day. Can you imagine a fight without airships? These documents are all related to logistics. The entire system will come to a halt if we don’t process…”
Wei Potian took the documents, saying, “Fine fine, enough with your reasonings. I’ll help you. Do you know what people are saying about you?”
“I can guess.”
“Humph, they’re saying that you’re a fake strategist god. You were just lucky before, but now, you’ve revealed your true skills.”
Song Zining wasn’t too concerned, but Wei Potian was angry. “How can they say that! It was clearly those greedy fellows, they gave various reasons to drag out the retreat after receiving the orders. That’s what ruined the battle and allowed the dark races to route them. Now, they’re putting all the blame on you.”
Song Zining looked up. “Nevermind, the military department will decide.”
“Those bastards have taken for granted that you can stay ahead of the enemy! Does divination come free? What right do they have?!”
Song Zining sighed. “One of the main reasons for giving me this seat was because my divination can suppress the dark races. So, this blame is not entirely excessive.”
Wei Potian was awakened by the cruelty, his expression unsightly. Song Zining was ultimately different from himself and Zhao Jundu in that he had no family support during his rise to power. The meteoric promotion was only because he was useful and there was no one to replace him.
Wei Potian sighed after a long daze. “You can’t calculate her movements?”
“What do you think? She can even repel the Profundity Monarch. I won’t be able to divine her even if she has only one weapon, either the Tempest and Awakening Dream.”
“Then what do we do?”
“Fight a normal battle.”
“How…” Wei Potian shrugged without finishing the question. “Let it be. How to fight is your problem, I won’t take on this stress. I’ll go work on these documents first.”
The office quieted down, only leaving the sound of rustling paper.
Moments later, Wei Potian said to himself with a sigh, “How did she become so ruthless?”
Song Zining’s hands stopped for a moment, but he soon went on with his work.
There was another stronghold on a hill not too far from the Imperial forward base.
This base was smaller, but the defenses were even more solid. Apparently, it was made just for defense. Its position was fairly good, overlooking wide-open land on three sides. This allowed for the base to control a vast area around it.
The long-distance cannon-fire from this base could almost reach the main base at the rear. This turned the wide strip of land between the two into a death-zone.
Zhao Jundu stood in the wind atop the fortress walls, gazing into the distance with narrowed eyes.
The vague silhouette of a large base was visible over the horizon. The dark race’s base was much bigger than this fortress, ten times at least.
A nearby general said worriedly, “Sire, the dark races have changed their strategy. They’re pressuring us at every step and squeezing us into a corner. We can’t even move!”
Zhao Jundu looked up. “Correct, their commander has also changed.”
“Now that feels strange. The dark races have never liked one another, and they also like to fight on their own in battle. That’s why they almost always favored field battles to base defense. But look, they’ve been building bases along the way this time. Their forward base has even reached this far. Their cooperation has been fairly good!”
Zhao Jundu said, “You won’t be surprised if you know who their commander is.”
“Fine, I’m not their match anyway, but Old Ma has never feared those dark bastards in troop battles!”
Zhao Jundu patted the man’s shoulder. “I’ll leave the rear to you when I charge.”
The general’s face turned red. “There’s no way we could’ve held them back if you hadn’t taken on their experts. Eh, what is that?”
A commotion was stirring in the dark race camp. Soon, dozens of fire streams shot into the sky and weaved into a mesh of flames.
Several airships appeared over the horizon, charging full speed through the defensive fire.
Caught off-guard, the dark race’s defensive barrage wasn’t dense enough, and some airships managed to get through. One of them was aflame, yet it kept on flying and refused to fall.
“It’s our men! Prepare to help!” Zhao Jundu issued the order.
Some of the heavy cannons on the fortress made fire-preparations. Amidst loud rumbles, a belt of explosions erupted in the region between the two bases. This stopped the dark race pursuers in their tracks.
Some airships finally reached the fortress and landed one after the other. The burning airship forced itself to glide a bit longer before crashing outside of the fortress.
The fortress gates flew open as hundreds of soldiers poured out to save the survivors. Fortunately, those in the aircraft were elites, and most of them had managed to survive their heavy injuries. The wounded were all rushed back into the fortress.
In the blink of an eye, the empty space within the stronghold was filled with wounded soldiers. Many of them were treated here while the more serious cases were transported back to the main base for treatment.
Zhao Jundu patrolled back and forth between the injured soldiers.
He suddenly noticed a group of soldiers gathered together. They seemed to be full of vigor, a stark contrast to the wounded soldiers all around them.
This group was clearly better-equipped than the regular Imperial forces, and the leader was a young man of considerable strength. He was already a champion.
Zhao Jundu walked over. “Which family are you from?”
The young man might be arrogant on his own, but he had to stand up and greet Zhao Jundu respectfully. “I’m Zhang Tianhe, born of the Zhang clan’s side branch. These are private soldiers from my family, people who’ve followed me for many years.”
Zhao Jundu glanced at the group. “You have quite a lot of ammo left, looks like things went pretty well on the front lines.”
Zhang Tianhe’s heart skipped a beat. “The direction we were in charge of wasn’t the dark races’ main target. Also, we’ve been careful to invest in our comrades’ gear, and our ammunition reserves have always been bigger.”
Zhao Jundu nodded. “Good, it just so happened that I need people here. You will stay behind to help defend the front of the fortress. Don’t worry, there’s no lack of enemies here nor any chance of leftover ammo.”
Zhang Tianhe was shocked. “Sire, you jest! Our unit has received orders from headquarters to return to the Empire. We’ll be going against orders if we stay here.”
“The orders have changed.”
“How can a military order change so randomly? That secret missive is still on General He Yong’s body, I’ll go fetch it.”
Zhao Jundu said word-by-word, “The orders have changed.”
Zhang Tianhe came to a sudden stop, a chill spreading throughout his body.
He knew that taking another step might anger Zhao Jundu, and his fate would be ugly if that were to happen. But staying behind in this fortress was also half a dead-end. He had already seen the enemy base when he flew past them just now—it was full of soldiers! There had to be a hundred thousand at least.
Zhao Jundu’s small fortress was garrisoned by a few thousand at most. How were they going to face the dark race army?
At the thought of this, Zhang Tianhe hardened his resolve. “Sire, how can you change the orders just like that? I cannot obey you! I will confirm with the military once I return. If there is indeed a change, I will return to beg for your forgiveness.”
“Are you going against orders?”
Zhang Tianhe said loudly, “Sire, I don’t know how I offended you that you would target me so, but I won’t hold back if you’re going to force my hand. Others might not know why the dark race army is so powerful, but I know quite a bit. It seems the lord on the other side used to be a woman of your Zhao clan. Are you trying to hide the Zhao clan’s collusion with the dark races?”
“Are you done?” Zhao Jundu said.
“Is this not enough yet?”
“Okay, as long as you’re done.” Zhao Jundu raised his gun to Zhang Tianhe’s forehead.
The man’s eyes went wide, not expecting Zhao Jundu to actually shoot him. His face was still full of shock and surprise as he fell on his back.
Zhao Jundu said, “I won’t pursue his non-compliance out of consideration for the Zhang clan, put him on the casualty list.”
With Zhang Tianhe removed, how could his subordinates dare to resist? Dejected, they walked obediently to their positions in the fortress.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie