Monarch of Evernight - Volume 10 - The Flag of Evernight (1183-) Chapter 1213: The Crazy Truth
“Pick out the young and strong, then attack the Jade Sea with them as cannon fodder. Problem solved,” Song Hui replied quickly.
Song Lun shook his head. “The werewolves aren’t stupid enough to obey such a death sentence.” In truth, Count Eiseka’s performance was far better than everyone in Dark Flame had imagined. There really was no telling whether it was a good thing or a bad thing that such an intelligent creature of the opposite attribute was working for them.
“There will always be casualties in war, and it’ll be too late by the time they realize it. As long as we arrange it well, we can at least have forty percent of them die on the battlefield. What can they do even if they realize it at that point? We’ll have weakened the werewolves in the entire corridor and the Jade Sea. If they disobey, it’ll be a good reason for us to destroy them.” Song Hui’s plan was fairly ruthless.
Qianye remained silent, his expression unreadable.
Song Lun already understood Qianye’s character. “That’s not appropriate, the sire has already promised them the right to survive.”
“There’s no need to discuss the four virtues with the werewolves.”
“It’s not good to break promises.”
“The dark races are naturally untrustworthy, alright? When have they ever submitted to the humans with full sincerity? Hoping that they won’t rebel is no different from hoping men will not be lecherous, is that even possible?” Song Hui’s rapid retort caused Song Lun to choke on his words.
The latter took a step back and stopped speaking. Their positions in the Song clan were fairly different, to begin with, and the clan did enforce hierarchy quite strictly. A short argument like this was already the limit. In the end, the werewolves’ treatment had nothing to do with him.
Qianye finally spoke, “The werewolves must join the battle but not as cannon fodder. I promised them a basic status and the opportunity to move upward. For now, at least, I don’t see the immediate need to go back on my words. How about this? Reform the new army with human officers as the foundation, and a mixture of humans and werewolf soldiers. Also, organize two units with a higher werewolf ratio and commence basic training. They may take to the field after a month of training.”
Xu Jingxuan had been keeping silent all the while. He affirmed Qianye’s decision but said with a difficult expression, “What do we do about their gear? Almost every adult werewolf is a qualified warrior. We can enlist an army of eighty thousand just from the tribes that have already submitted.”
Song Hui said angrily, “Why would we need to give them gear? Isn’t a leather skirt enough? Are their claws and fangs for decoration?”
Xu Jingxuan laughed along before glancing at Qianye.
Weapons and armor would still make a big difference even for born-warriors like the werewolves, not to mention the werewolves were strong enough to use hand cannons as long as their origin power was at a certain standard. They would easily turn into mobile cannon turrets if well-equipped. The only problem was that the tribes in the great corridor were so primitive that even metal weapons were a rarity. Most of them were still using wooden stakes and beast-tooth arrowheads.
The thought of outfitting a hundred thousand werewolves was headache-inducing.
The werewolves in the great corridor possessed very low smelting standards, and the Jade Sea wouldn’t be much better. Most of their metal production had been requisitioned to construct and maintain the two fortresses, as well as to equip those on the front line. Yet those supposedly well-equipped elites were beaten back to their primitive states by Qianye’s airships and mercenaries, and the two fortresses didn’t even last one day.
Supplies and logistics weren’t Qianye’s strong suit, and what little Xu Jingxuan knew came from Zheng’s outdated system. So, all eyes fell on Song Hui—that scene of an entire wall filled with numbers and formulas was still fresh on their mind.
Song Hui sighed unwillingly. “It’s impossible to outfit all of them, but it won’t be too hard to give all of them a weapon and hang a piece of armor on them.”
As someone who knew the werewolves well, Xu Jingxuan said, “A weapon of standard durability and sharpness is enough. We can talk about their armor later on, most of them aren’t used to wearing one anyway.”
Werewolves would grow bigger after changing into combat form, so the type of armor humans was used to would actually be a restraint to them. The hide they were born with offered sufficient protection. The higher-ranking nobles, of course, were much more tasteful. They have customized segmented combat attire and all kinds of secret arts to reduce the troubles brought about by their form change. None of the werewolves on Fort Continent possessed these things, however.
Song Hui snapped back at him. “I’m only suggesting it, you guys decide whether or not you want to use them.”
Qianye said, “All werewolves must have armor, at least one plate to protect their backs.”
Werewolves were proficient in frontal assault, and hence, their backs would become a weakness. With enemies everywhere on the battlefield, this protection would reduce casualties.
Seeing Qianye so insistent, Song Hui said angrily, “Time is short. There’s definitely not enough time to mine and refine raw ores. Zheng has no steel reserve in the great corridor, either, but there seems to be enough stock right where we are.”
Xu Jingxuan was puzzled. “There’s only food and ammunition in the warehouses. Are you referring to our cannon shells?”
It would be insane to smelt something so expensive. Song Hui shook her head. “Isn’t the warehouse itself a steel reserve?”
Everyone was enlightened.
Song Hui continued, “It’s not just the warehouse. I think many of the steel structures in these fortresses can be recast. For instance, the four fortress gates should be enough to outfit tens of thousands of werewolves. The armor plates on the city towers can also be removed.”
“How do we defend the fortress without its doors?” Xu Jingxuan found the notion outrageous. Were they going to disassemble the fortress that they had finally captured?
Song Hui rolled her eyes at him. “Do we still have enemies in the great corridor? What’s the point of these fortresses? Who are we defending against?”
Xu Jingxuan suddenly understood. With all the werewolves in the great corridor submitting, there was no longer a need for the fortresses. Speaking of potential enemies, it was the country at their back that they needed to be wary of.
Qianye nodded inwardly regarding Song Hui’s idea. Dismantling a fortress to outfit the army had a hint of Zhang Boqian’s defense style. The man was never one to play defender, and one of his famous quotes was: “Destroying the enemy is the best defense.”
With the steel supply ensured, the training and incorporation went ahead in an orderly fashion. Eiseka rounded up all the talented warriors from the surrendered tribes and worked with Xu Jingxuan to distribute them into the new army. He then used his tribesmen as the skeleton to form dozens of smaller squads.
Before the campaign, Eiseka produced hundreds of badges with the Dark Flame insignia upon them and asked Qianye to stain them with dark golden blood energy. According to him, they were to represent the new multi-race unit. Then, he charged out into the depths of the great corridor with the new squads.
As Qianye was instilling the badges with his aura, he suddenly thought of a name for Dark Flame’s elite force: “Blaze”.
At this moment, the true army was still training in Wolf Fang Fortress while Xu Jingxuan’s new army and the just-arrived Dark Flame mercenaries were keeping watch, lest the werewolves revolt. Although Qianye felt that the possibility was quite low under the present circumstances, being so close to such a big werewolf army would give the human soldiers considerable psychological pressure, otherwise.
As for Eiseka, Xu Jingxuan felt that his small squads could barely be considered a scouting party. The bigger units numbered over a hundred, while the smaller ones consisted of a dozen or so men. What could they do in the vast corridor?
No one thought too highly of Eiseka, but the werewolf returned to the fortress three days later with a majestic werewolf army. At this point, Wolf Fang Fortress was no longer fortified, with its gates and armor plates removed. The entire army of werewolves caused a bit of disturbance in the new army-in-training. The unrest was soon quelled as Dark Flame’s elites took up positions and the airship fleet scrambled into position. Just Blaze and the airship fleet was enough to destroy this ten-thousand-strong army.
A corvette flew over the arriving army and actually sent back a safe signal. Only at this point did the defenders realize that there was a long motorcade at the back. The soldiers at the front were only armored but not armed. Their weapons were all in the cargo trucks at the back.
Xu Jingxuan realized, after seeing the first-rank viscount leader, that it was a mixed unit made up of several dozen tribes that Eiseka had recruited. Their objective was to deliver a batch of captured resources, also to transfer command, rearrange, and receive training.
After the transfer was completed, the werewolf viscount said impatiently, “Where is Lord Qianye? Please allow us to convey our eternal loyalty to him in person!”
Xu Jingxuan couldn’t believe his eyes. These werewolves were almost fanatical; who knew how Eiseka had brainwashed them? At this rate, was Eiseka going to unify the entire great corridor with a dozen or so small squads?
He shook his head, realizing that the idea was somewhat crazy. The werewolves had always lived on their own as tribes, attaching great importance to their traditions and territory. How could they surrender so easily?
In just half a month, Eiseka proved that this crazy idea could be realized. When he finally returned to the fortress, he even brought a new map of the great corridor.
The map contained notes on the errors and deficiencies of their current intelligence. What attracted everyone’s attention was the dense array of Dark Flame insignias on the map. These represented the tribes that had sworn loyalty to Qianye, covering the entire great corridor. The two big tribes at the outer end lay beyond the great corridor and under the Jade Sea’s command.
This map stunned all the mercenary generals, even Xu Jingxuan and Song Hui. There was nothing wrong with it. In fact, it was simply too good. The werewolves who had been beating up Zheng all this time had surrendered just like that?
Song Hui glanced at Eiseka, feeling that there was something fishy going on. The other generals had the same idea. Eiseka kneeled before Qianye, saying, “Sire, a total of eleven first-grade tribes, ninety-seven second-grade tribes, and over four hundred third-grade ones have sworn fealty to your glory. From my rough calculations, your citizens in the region number around five million. Five hundred thousand of them are warriors you can call upon at a moment’s notice. We have a hundred thousand talented hunters in the roster, men who will become your elite warriors after training.”
Everyone exchanged glances. They were all quite familiar with the werewolf tribal system—a second-grade tribe would have at least one viscount-rank expert, while a first-grade tribe would be overseen by a count. This meant that, in one night, Qianye had gained a hundred experts at or close to the champion level. Although most of the leaders wouldn’t leave their territories, they were willing to move out once required.
This number was far beyond what was expected. Even the mercenary generals who had just gotten used to the mixed-race fighting force became somewhat restless. Eiseka seemed to understand everyone’s concerns. “Sire, if you’re interested, you can make your rounds to the tribes that have vowed fealty to you. You’ll understand once you see them.”
“Very well.” Qianye nodded.
An unreasonable phenomenon had to have a reasonable explanation. Otherwise, it would be little more than a farce.