Monarch of Evernight - Volume 10 - The Flag of Evernight (1183-) Chapter 1207: The Will to Fight
Xu Jingxuan was familiar with military matters, to begin with, and he had formed his own strategies against the enemy. It was just that he had no place to suggest them to, considering the situation. Now that there was an objective in mind, he attended to matters rapidly, drafting a recruitment plan for fifty thousand new soldiers. As a key strategic location along the western border, Pagoda City was home to a large store of weapons, ammunition, and supplies. Now, all of these reserves were being poured out for military use.
As for Xu Jingxuan’s family members, he never had time to pick them up. He only requested Qianye to send someone to the capital to bring them over. It could be assumed that Qianye’s foot soldier would hold more weight than Xu Jingxuan in front of the new king.
Qianye, of course, wouldn’t refuse such a small request. Xu Jingxuan was a rare, outstanding talent, one who would’ve broken through to the divine champion realm if it weren’t for having to grow up on Fort Continent. He was also a talented general, producing textbook-worthy accomplishments in several battles since his assignment to the western region. It was just that Zheng was too busy with civil strife to consider an expansion, allowing such good opportunities to slip away.
Now that Qianye was here with an unprecedented advantage, he naturally wouldn’t let go of this opportunity. Having found a glimpse of hope for the aspiration he had hidden deep inside his heart, Xu Jingxuan was highly motivated and dedicated to the cause.
Three days went by in the blink of an eye, and the army in Pagoda City was starting to take shape. The city itself couldn’t support an army in the tens of thousands, but the western region was quite fertile, so there were small towns and villages scattered all over the area. The population scattered in the vicinity was several times greater than that of the city itself, serving as the main source of troop replenishment. It was Xu Jingxuan’s familiarity with the situation that allowed him to set such a seemingly-impossible recruitment target.
But raising an army was no joke. The equipment alone was barely enough, and the subsequent consumption of supplies was no small number. Pagoda City’s food production and reserves were far from enough to support such an army.
Qianye understood this perfectly, but he did not object to this recruitment target. Xu Jingxuan understood from this that their future supplies would come from the dark races. He actually became more motivated after finding out Qianye’s will to fight.
Just as Pagoda City was at the height of activity, another unannounced guest arrived at their doors.
Qianye was stunned after listening to the attendant’s report. “Royal Guard? What are they doing here?”
The attendant replied, “This Royal Guard officer wishes to see you and discuss matters related to a handover.”
Qianye was puzzled. “Handover?”
The attendant lowered his voice. “Yes, the officer wishes to confirm when you will hand Pagoda City over to them.”
Qianye was dazed for a minute. This demand was so outrageous that he couldn’t even get angry about it. He simply couldn’t figure out what kind of deity this Royal Guard officer was. For a split second, he really wanted to see what was in that person’s brain to entertain such thoughts.
But Qianye quickly pushed these wilful thoughts aside as there were numerous decisions for him to make. Xu Jingxuan might be capable, but many strategic decisions required his attention. The remaining time wasn’t even enough for him to cultivate; how could he have enough time to spend on such people?
He told the attendant, “Assemble all generals, I’ll be waiting for them in the war room in thirty minutes.”
The attendant ran away at top speed. Thirty minutes wasn’t long, and any delay might end up in people being late.
Moments later, all the generals had arrived in the war room, some of them huffing and puffing. Apparently, those people were located further away from the center and had to run at top speed. Qianye glanced at the time and found, to his satisfaction, that only twenty minutes had passed.
“I heard the Royal Guard is outside the city, how many people are there, where are they stationed?”
Xu Jingxuan stood up. “They have thirty thousand men under the command of the first and seventh divisions, the best in the Royal Guard. The commander is the vice-commander of the entire Royal Guard, Xue Yang.”
“The number one general of the Royal Guard, huh?” Qianye laughed. “How strong is he?”
Xu Jingxuan replied again, “Just like me, he’s rank-sixteen in cultivation. However, I heard he switched to a cultivation art handed down in the Zheng Royal Family after Royal Consort Xue was promoted. If we do fight, I’m more likely to lose.”
Qianye nodded. “No wonder his tone is so big.”
At this moment, the generals had all heard about this commander’s demands. His army of thirty thousand was less than ten kilometers from the city, seemingly ready to attack at a moment’s notice.
The mercenaries were all quite angry. If it wasn’t for Qianye’s presence, they would’ve started shouting to charge out. Xu Jingxuan, on the other hand, was quite reserved and his expression was serious. Even with the defender’s advantage, his six thousand soldiers weren’t a match for Commander Xue’s thirty thousand Royal Guards.
Seeing that everyone was waiting for him to speak, Qianye said, “Okay, let’s talk about organizing the new army.”
The new army’s organization was multi-faced. The food, lodgings, and supplies of fifty thousand men were no small matter. These generals knew that Qianye’s time was precious, so they summarized their reports as best they could. Even then, it took an hour for the discussions to end.
The attendant at the door peeped into the room repeatedly, looking quite nervous.
Qianye called the attendant in and asked calmly, “What’s the matter?”
The attendant said, “Sire, the emissary from the Royal Guard has been waiting outside. He’s already quite impatient.”
Qianye turned to Xu Jingxuan. “Is this one of your men?”
Xu Jingxuan stood up hurriedly, sweating on the forehead. “Yes, please punish me for the lack of discipline!”
Qianye said calmly, “What’s the point of leaving such a spineless person in the army? Drive him away.”
Xu Jingxuan walked over to the door in large strides. He picked up the attendant and tossed him to one of his trusted followers, saying, “Take him away and remove his military rank, never accept him again!”
The follower affirmed the order and dragged the crying attendant away.
After Xu Jingxuan was back at his seat, Qianye said, “Since it has been brought up, let’s get it done with. It’s not an important matter, so there’s no need to discuss it in-depth. Jingxuan!”
Xu Jingxuan stood up and said, “I stand ready!”
“Tell them that the area fifty kilometers around Pagoda City is a forbidden zone. They have half an hour to leave, or remain here forever.”
Xu Jingxuan took a moment to come to his senses, not expecting Qianye to assume such a harsh stance. He was determined enough to accept the order without a single word.
Qianye retracted his gaze in satisfaction. “Song Lun, Song Hui, set out with the flagship and scramble all the other vessels. Start bombarding the Royal Guards’ camp in half an hour, whether or not there are people inside.
Song Lun trembled as he stood up to accept his orders, but Song Hui’s eyes lit up in excitement.
The group of mercenary generals was eager to fight and immediately started requesting permission. Some wanted to flank the enemy, while others wanted to charge head-on. Qianye didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry when he saw them intent on wiping out the thirty thousand Royal Guards.
Qianye waved his hand down, gesturing for silence as he summed up the preparation work for the new army. Then, after making some arrangements for defense, he dismissed the generals.
Half an hour later, several giant shadows moved across the land and began bombarding the distant camp. Dense smoke curled up into the sky amidst thunderous rumbles as raging flames devoured the target.
One kilometer away from the camp, a tall, burly man was absolutely furious. “Goddammit, this is absolutely intolerable. Let me go, this daddy’s going to fight it out with them!”
The general was so strong that he was dragging over ten Royal Guard officers along, some clinging to his legs and others hugging him at the waist. The officers cried out while trying to pull him back, “Sire, you must not! You must not!”
The man roared back, “What about our brothers in the camp?”
“It’s too late, they can’t be saved anymore.”
The man stamped his feet in a daze. “I was too useless and greedy. I killed them!”
The officers heaved a sigh of relief. “Commander, Sire, we only wanted to show off our might for that person. Who would’ve thought this Qianye would be so ruthless as to bombard the camp?”
“We don’t have a single warship, our only choice was to retreat first.”
“Sire, where there’s life, there’s hope. We will come back even stronger in the future! Why not stoop to his level and compete in the short term?”
The burly man remained silent for a while. “Let it be, it’s all my fault. Why did I leave a few hundred brothers to ambush them? Sigh.”
At this point, the entire camp was drowned in flames. Even a champion would find it hard to escape the blazing inferno and the raining cannon shells. The dozen or so airships eventually stopped their fire and began circling about to hunt for survivors.
On the warship, Song Hui pointed into the distance. “Those people aren’t leaving yet. It looks like they still haven’t given up their evil intentions.”
Song Lun hesitated for a moment. “They’ve already left the main camp. It can be considered compliance.”
Song Hui shook her head. “That’s not how it should be. Since they’ve been humiliated once, a second time doesn’t mean much. The important thing is not whether they listen, but whether they are convinced. If they are not, we should give them a lesson they won’t soon forget.”
Song Lun said cautiously, “What are you doing? The commander did not order us to start a fight.”
“He didn’t say we should just let it be, either.”
Retorting thus, Song Hui drew a line in the air and said to the captain, “Concentrate auxiliary cannons onto that area, then fire a second barrage thirty meters forward.”
The experienced captain immediately realized the intention and began making the necessary arrangements.
Moments later, the battlecruiser moved elegantly, turning to the side and lowering its auxiliary cannons in the direction Song Hui had pointed out. The first round of artillery fire began.
The well-trained cannoneers fired with great precision, forming a line made up of dozens of explosions. The smoke rose several dozen meters into the air, and the consequent rumble was shocking.
This line of cannon-fire was only a hundred or so meters from the commander of the Royal Guard. The explosions left the officers pale and their ears, ringing. They watched the wall of smoke with terrified expressions; this was probably the first time they had experienced the firepower of a giant warship up close.
The warship slowly adjusted its position and the cannons readied themselves to fire again. The dust hadn’t settled from the first barrage when the second one landed thirty meters to the front.
A hundred meters was the area of effect of these powerful cannons. The officers began to feel the impact with greater intensity as the barrage inched forward thirty meters—that and, of course, the threatening implications.
One of the officers watched as the battlecruiser moved sideways and adjusted its cannons. “Commander! They’re planning to bombard us to death. Let’s pull back!”
Commander Xue said furiously, “I want to see if they really have the courage to kill an important member of the royal court!”
His words hadn’t even ended when a third barrage landed, only fifty meters away this time. The dust and gravel from the impact covered everyone’s faces, and the shockwaves were strong enough to hurt people.
Seeing the warship slowly moving over and taking aim again, the commander said through clenched teeth, “Let’s go!”