Titan Beneath the Heavens
Chapter 128: Fifteenth Episode: Chapter 1
Chapter 128: Fifteenth Episode: Chapter 1
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The greenish-white sun hung high in the sky. A massive banyan tree in Alborto spread its skinny branches, casting dim shadows on the grassland. The early winter of Deiss was already freezing cold, even the land on Alborto Basin was beginning to form thin ice and frost.
On the high slopes of the south of the Basin came a loud and clear bugle call, followed by the sound of marches in orderly steps. The clamor of noises sounded like a sudden gush of mountain torrents. A fully-armed knight appeared on the high slope. He stood alone underneath the banyan tree, in his hand held an army flag. The golden lion on the flag shone brightly under the reflected rays of faint sunlight. The knight held tightly onto the rein focused on inspecting the plain land that stretched beyond his eyes.
Eventually, Titan soldiers appeared from behind the knight in an orderly phalanx formation. The troop in shining armors resembled a wave of mercury flowing from the top of the hill, forming a massive bay at the vast land below.
Commands and flags whistled along the strong breeze. Commanding officers and messengers shuttled back and forth around the land according to the arrangement planned on the map.
The long spears of Titan soldiers resembled a monotonous forest, their sharp ends gleamed with death. The icy winds cut into the faces of these young men, causing their features to turn into an expression that no words could explain. The front line was finally calm. These soldiers at the front line covered themselves with tall shields, exposing only their chest and head. The chilly sunlight shone upon the soldiers who kept their faces straight. Never forget, these stern faces belonged to someone's father, son, brother, nephews. Many individuals from separate families came together to form this unified and strong fist to fight against invaders.
The army pastors who accompanied the troops sang songs of worship, and these soldiers began to make silent vows in their hearts. Some asked God for forgiveness, some prayed piously for blessings from the omniscient being.
A peculiar voice caused a commotion from within the orderly troop. One after another, the troop of thousands of soldiers turned their head to the source of the noise, and they witnessed an unforgettable experience they would never forget in their entire lives. Their regimental commander, who was a viscount from an eminent family, was rolling and wailing on the icy cold ground.
A strong and vigorous steed suddenly appeared in front of the viscount. The frail silhouette on the horse overshadowed the man lying on the thin ice.
"Marshal! I… I feel sick to my stomach! I… really can't take it anymore! Let me go home!"
Alan gave a weak smile as he nodded. The viscount on the ground wiped off his snot and tears of joy in delight. He didn't seem to notice the surrounding soldiers who were spitting at him.
"Come over here, the few of you!" Alan called out to several soldiers from the phalanx formation. One among them even has the military rank badge of Major General. "Keep him down, dissect his stomach to inspect what went wrong!"
The viscount was struck dumb with fear. Abruptly, he took to his heels and ran to the direction of the hill, but his plan fell through. His soldiers, those tame little sheep who have endured all his unwarranted beatings in the past, were blocking his way forward with shields and weapons.
One officer overturned the viscount and pinned him to the ground. He was wailing like a sow who was about to give birth, trembling like a whore who was about to receive a customer for the first time. With the soldiers weighing him down using their knees, the same officer from before revealed a gleaming dagger from his boots.
The armor was lifted off his body, the viscount's pale tummy was moving up and down. Alan leaped off his horse to the ground, startling himself slightly with the shock from his heavy landing. The marshal grabbed the shining dagger from his officer and squatted down to his knees. Ignoring the viscount's pleading and the constant dissuading from the crowd behind, in one swift move the old marshal slid this sharp weapon into the young man's stomach. The viscount went into convulsions as he watched a steady stream of fresh blood ooze out from his body, slowly but continuously. Hovering his hand above the viscount's body, Alan's movement was practiced and meticulous. He cut at the crying man's skin, into his fatty layer, venturing into his peritoneum, until his damaged large intestines and rancid body fluid continued to ooze out.
"Everyone can be my witness!" Marshal sprung to his feet suddenly, and the shocked crowd took a few steps backward, "This young man's stomach is completely fine! In fact, it is the healthiest digestive system I've ever seen! So… where is the problem?"
Once again, the old marshal squatted on the ground appeared to be looking for something in the dead viscount's corpse.
"Found it! There it is!" Vann Hewitt Alan raised aloft a bloody heart. "It's his heart! This heart already stopped beating when his owner was still alive. It has long since lost its will and is unable to distinguish honor!"
He paused a couple of seconds for effect, "Are your hearts like this too?", he asked.
All the soldiers shook their heads vigorously in response to the marshal's question! With indifference, the old man cast aside the heart that slowly shriveled up in the cold breeze as if to him, it was nothing more than a rotten aubergine.
The marshal once again boarded his own horse and steered this little guy of strong physique toward the long front line that seemed to stretch on forever. The marshal looked at each and every soldier who stood on the front line. He has no idea how many of these faces would be torn, destroyed, but he didn't feel a tiny fraction of remorse for this. As a soldier, some things can never be evaded.
Church's Calendar year 797, the 20th day of 11th month. At noon, the main force of Southern Region of Deiss finally appeared in front of the Titans. They moved slowly from the horizon on the northern side of the basin, only gradually falling into silence after more than half an hour's journey. The massive formation of troops that came to a standstill looked like a Black Forest in the distance. Accompanied by the sad cries and shrill screams of the howling cold wind, the sea of forest composed by warriors appeared to be brewing a stunning cold wave.
"Scorpion formation!" Vann Hewitt Alan retrieved the monocular. His seemed to have aged much since Dulin. Around his eyes were thin rims of dark circles, and his messy silvery long hair drifted underneath the helmet as the wind blew. It seemed that although the curve of the mouth displayed the charm of a marshal, those wrinkles in the corners of his eyes were ridiculing the enemy's obedience.
Glancing afar from the edge of the hills located in the basin, the formation of Deiss soldiers appeared indeed like the shape of a scorpion. To the left and right wings of this massive troops were the kingdom's Fifth SS Independent Cavalry Brigade and their incomplete Ninth SS Independent Cavalry Brigade respectively. In the middle of the battle line was the kingdom's Seventh Infantry Corps and Sixth Infantry Corps, who formed the shape of a scorpion head. Following closely after the two Infantry Army Groups was the mixed battalion consisted of the Fourteenth Infantry Corps and the Third Cavalry Corps. Lastly, at the end of the formation, the Titans could make out vague figures of those Teutonic Knights.
Accompanied by numerous other officers and soldiers, General Rondraisse sped into the middle of the battle array, where the soldiers had set a low observation post for the commander. The general jumped off his horse as he arrived. Together with his flag officer, the two of them mounted the commanding point.
Rondraisse appeared to be heavy-hearted. His troops estimated that this was due to the fact their general had been tricked by sly Silver Fox Alan. Just as the armed forces completely renewed their battle disposition, from the front-line observation post came the news of Titan's sudden outburst. This made Rondraisse extremely frustrated. After weighing the condition for a long time, the general felt it would be better to not slap himself in the face. If there happened another change of disposition when the war was near, he believed that the war would come to a pessimistic end. His colleagues' mocking would also be enough to make him kill himself by the throat.
The Deiss battlefield commander looked at the Titan's array with doubtful eyes. He didn't understand why Alan positioned five integrated Infantry Corps all out in phalanx formation on the battlefield. The way the five Corps came together resembled a piece of solid brick. What the hell was that? That wasn't even a tactical formation at all!
"Exactly! Like a piece of brick!" Alan glanced at the young colonel, "Leigh! Don't you think the best way to kill a scorpion is by hitting it directly with a brick?"
Division Commander of Northern Army Fourth Corps Third Division Colonel Leigh McCaren quickly shook his head, "Marshal, I'm not picking at your deployment decision, but I want to know why did you transfer me and my Division out of the battle formation?"
Alan returned to his strict self, "That's because you have a greater task!"
"What task?" Colonel Leigh frowned. He couldn't think of any task that was more essential than pulling down to the enemy commander's flag.
"Oversee all actions that weaken our offensives, and enforce battlefield rules accordingly!"
"Enforcement unit? You want to change my assault division to an enforcement unit?" Colonel Leigh McCaren widened his eyes. At that moment, the only thing that came to his mind was that battlefield enforcement unit would definitely have to stain their hands with the blood of their own brothers.
"Yes! Your enforcement unit is going to decide the fate of this campaign! You should know your men better than myself, and I don't reckon anyone of them could successfully break the enemy's flag into a half. Therefore, you should ensure the soldiers at frontline move only forward. Those who turn around or surrender would only result in one fate – which is absolute death!"
Colonel Leigh McCaren sunk his gaze into the marshal's eyes. He discovered that there wasn't a slight change in the latter's expression. The young colonel lowered his head. Although he had been looking forward to this day, he wouldn't have thought that he would be the one to execute this role. Nonetheless, he was a soldier, and soldiers must obey orders.
"I tend to nag more often now. I'm really getting older!" Alan turned the horse around to face the battlefield as he mocked himself. In this instance, he felt excited like a groom about to get married but also felt solitary like he was an old pastor.
The withered and yellowed grass shivered in the chilly wind. It swayed in a uniform direction at once, one patch after another, creating a sight as violent as waves of the sea. The vast expense of the countryside was still and quiet, the fading sunlight formed a gloomy yurt. It was as if the air between these two thousand meters distance separating the two troops was suddenly drawn away, drawing the battlefield that was about to open fire into an empty, silent vacuum of quietness.
The bugler finally sounded a call indicating the attack. Without hesitation, the assigned first formation went forward into the battle zone. The warriors of golden lions took their first steps into facing the monsters!
Shiny surfaces of weapons and armors reflected silver flowing light. Clouds of white mists rising swiftly were living evidence of the thousands and hundreds of peoples' breaths. Titan Empire Imperial Guards' Northern Army Group First and Fourth Corps set out at once. The troops of eighteen phalanx formation made of a thousand people each marched uniformly toward the enemy's frontline.
Following the marshal's request, all the high-ranking officers positioned themselves in the front of the formation. Leaders of the platoon followed after leaders of the company, who stood behind regimental commanders, who positioned themselves behind the division commander, who followed closely after the corps commanders. There was no shouting nor bellowing, what lingered in the air was only the deafening sound of soldiers' marches.
The sound resembled mudslide, an ear-shattering noise that could shatter all kind of psychological defense.
However, the Deiss soldiers didn't seem to have any form of psychological defense in their mind. Having been fighting for thousands of years, Yaran people have long since been accustomed to wars and battles. Just as Colonel Rondraisse said to his warriors before he mobilized them to the frontline, their opponents were still boys who were only used to standing guard in castles and towns, while they themselves were Deiss warriors who already have numerous brilliant records on the real battlefield!
"Arrow!" The commander of the scorpion's head formation shouted a clear and straightforward order. As an old soldier who has experienced countless summers and winters in the battleground, he was definitely confident about his own estimation. As he welcomed the wind that came from the north, he calculated the measurements and angles silently in his heart. Soon the experienced soldier lifted three fingers at the Deiss archers who stood prepared, waiting for instructions.
Deiss archers stepped forward at once. In front of each soldier were two filled arrow tubes.
"At thirty degrees! Facing directly front of enemy's front line! Attack!"
In no particular order, the bowstrings trembled one after another. From the sky above poured a shower of arrows. From afar, it sounded like a hornet of bumblebees flying out of a nest simultaneously. After the loss of momentum, these arrows seemed to stay in the air for a second, before quickly pounding to the ground.
"Raise your shields!" A loud command was heard from the Titan site. In the twinkling of an eye, the phalanx formation cramped together as the soldiers held their large shields over the head. Closely linked together, the phalanx moved slowly as if it was a flying map made out of iron.
The shower of arrows finally hit on the Titan's shield. Initially, it was only a few far between two or three, but almost immediately these arrows flooded in one after another at an overwhelming speed! Gradually the soldiers positioned on the front lost determination and patience, their hands that held the shields began to tremble uncontrollably. Arrows planted themselves at the soldiers through the tiny gaps between shields, causing the assaulted to voice out miserable muffled noises. These arrows could pierce through eyes, chest, legs, or basically anything that obstructed it from moving forward! The change of soldiers happened at the front line every once in a while, to introduce the arrows to unfamiliar faces and fresher lives. Stepping over comrades who fell to the ground, stepping over the ground covered with arrows, the Titan soldiers moved forward bravely nonetheless. Their eyes widened with fright, as they tried their best to avoid the misfortune that fell from the sky.
Concurrently at the observation tower, General Rondraisse finally issued an order for the scorpion's head to receive the enemy, but suddenly he became suspicious of himself. Immediately, at the beginning of the open fire, he realized he made a grave mistake. He had a powerful Cavalry Army Group of thirty-three thousand people, and his enemy only had a mere number of nine thousand cavalries. Hence why did this troop of thirty-three thousand not launch an attack but instead confined themselves to defend from within the scorpion array?
Titan soldiers on the front line could already make out the faces of their Deiss opponents. Just as the sparse arrows were shooting their direction, a tall able general suddenly jumped out of the square array. With all his might, he threw out an ax ferociously toward the enemy, and it was embedded accurately into the forehead of a startled Deiss soldier.
"Long live our motherland!" This able general pulled out a wide-blade sword from behind his back. Like a male lion, he threw himself at the group of leopard community.
"Long live our motherland!" Titans shouted out loud as the warriors lifted their shields over their heads, and dashed away to the enemies close at hand in the speed and strength of a raged, irritated rhinoceros.
Church's calendar year 797, the 20th day of 11th month. At 12:39, the First Battle of Alborto in the history of Westland finally commenced, with a good start, when the Titan soldier who rushed in the Deiss scorpion's head formation was thrown across the air.
The sound of a human body pierced by a spear was as melodious as a violin's string snapped into two, while the sound of shields shattering into pieces resembled a broken iron drum. The forward line that was closed to about one kilometer formed a thin red line. It was constantly distorted and continuously stretched, gradually filling its rich color with fresh blood and corpses.
Titan soldiers sent out axes, and in return, the Deiss threw spears at them. Titan soldiers struck with longswords while Deiss returned the favor with knives and arrows. Surrounding the red line, countless lives who were crying desperately were eventually gifted a painless calm.
In order to prevent the enemy's counter-assault that would destroy the Imperial Guards' battle formation, Titan soldiers in the front line maintained a dense battle formation. the phalanx of ax warriors pounded restlessly between the walls constructed by iron shields. A phalanx of spear throwers fought with their lives against the enemy. Archers of both parties continuously greeted each other with non-stop shower of arrows. Those soldiers at the rear of the formation were also merciless at attacking the enemy's head with whatever it was that could be reached by an arm's length.
The shouts and screams of the thin red line awakened the sky. The shadow of the clouds sometimes covered the wailing crowd, and sometimes cast light on the reddened front line. The front line seemed to be moving slowly, but the people weren't quite sure about the change. The battle on both sides resembled a tug-of-war race between two wild snails. They didn't know how to give in, and they didn't know that their soft limbs couldn't support the force of steel weapons.
Imperial Guards Northern Army Group First Corps Third Division First Group had a remarkable designation of a military unit called "Group 1-3-1". As the most powerful commando force in the Northern Army Group, Don Carlos thought he had exercised excellent leadership in attacking this heavily fortified position. In this Battle of Alborto, the task of the one-eyed leader was to raid the most vulnerable position of the scorpion - between the two teeth, a plier-shaped juncture of 50 meters.
Regardless of the ax speeding toward his way, Major Don Carlos fiercely kicked at the enemy in front. Without even a blink of an eye, he moved quickly the circular shield hanging on his arm above his head. A spark was ignited on the shield when the tomahawk brushed against it, although at the same time it caused Carlos to fall to the ground. At the same moment, the tall commander waved his sword in one swift move in front. A similarly sturdy Deiss warrior screamed miserably and fell to the ground. Both of his legs were chopped from the knees downward, his tomahawk thrown aside.
Soldiers of Group 1-3-1 dragged their regimental commander back to the rear of the battle line. Seconds later, Don Carlos rose to his full height. He organized a team of spear throwers at a distance of fewer than ten meters from the forward line. Followed by the enemy's sorrowful cries, the red line forced forward one meter. Carlos sighed with disappointment. The frontline was too crowded that he couldn't start an effective attack.
The regimental commander of Deiss Sixth Infantry Corps First Division Second Group was almost killed by a sudden spear that came his way. Fortunately for him who realized the surprise attack, he immediately pulled a soldier to make use as his shield. Defending the juncture of two armed forces was not an easy task. This was the crucial position of the entire scorpion formation. Once it was broken through, the connection that linked Seventh and Sixth Corps would be intercepted by the enemy.
"Supplementary soldiers!" Regimental commander of Deiss 6-1-2 shouted loudly at the rear of its troop. Numerous soldiers appeared at the back of the line, further flooding the front line. Feeling the pressure from behind, the soldiers, with no alternative, had to welcome the Titans' weapons with their own bodies.
Don Carlos retrieved a corpse from the front line. That was his brother, his own brother who joined the army under his influence! Without tears or extra unnecessary words, he handed his brother to a corporal, as he didn't want other comrades to trample on the damaged corpse of his brother!
Regimental commander of 6-1-2 screamed aloud and sent a Titan soldier to the ground, although simultaneously a piece of flesh was also cut off his shoulder by the enemy's longsword. Just as the enemy's military boot landed on the chest of the man, Don Carlos rushed forward and demanded the Deiss not hurt his brother! However, the regimental commander of 6-1-2 didn't understand the Titan's clamor, and his saber fell downward quickly. The moment it pierced through the enemy's chest, another brother of Don Carlos curled up into a ball under the sharp blade. Immediately the young man lost his breathing!
The two warriors finally met. Don Carlos waved his sword frantically, his saliva falling in all directions as he cursed loudly while engaging in the fight. He couldn't accept the fact that he lost two of his dearest brothers in a blink of an eye! When his aimless tenacious attack was finally held back, Don Carlos realized that the enemy in front of him was no longer the guy who took the lives of his loved ones. A thin stream of redness flowed from his feet, all the way to the depth of the battle line!
Rondraisse stared at the chaotic battle scene in confusion. Only after such a long while that he finally discovered his own stupidity. The reason for Alan to have extended the frontline into such length was simply to utilize the vast battlefield space to limit the cavalry's counterattack.
"If so... pedipalp! Make a pincer attack!"
"Wolves Cavalry to intercept the enemy! Split in the center!" Alan decided his mind seconds after the moment Deiss waved their war flags.
Suddenly, the banner-bearer under the banyan tree raised a flag imprinted with a double blade pulling on a bow. Immediately, Steinberger Timberwolves' Independent Cavalry Corps launched an assault on Deiss Ninth SS Infantry Brigade, the most vulnerable spot situated in between the pair of pedipalp, from its intended location on the south-eastern side of the battlefield.
Wolves cavalry's attack was exceptionally fast. Carrying double blades in their hands and longbows on their backs, these wolves rushed into the battlefield almost the same time as the Deiss. Steinberger's superb archery skills managed to launch successful heavy blows to the enemy from six hundred meters away. The assaulted war horses tangled with the falling men like a huge domino mess.
Three of Deiss Ninth SS Infantry Brigade's integrated cavalry regiment quickly disappeared into the core of the wolf cavalry camp. The whistling wolves with their abdomen equipped with sabers continuously savored at the enemy's vitality!
The tail of the scorpion finally moved! Teutonic Knights took on the role of this poisonous hook. With their flag still waving in the air, a steel torrent composed of nine thousand Deiss knights sped across the vast land into the right wing of the battlefield.
The effort for Fifth SS Independent Cavalry Brigade to outflank the Titans from both sides became more and more difficult! Although they deployed strong armies to disperse the two outermost phalanxes of the Titan camp, the sudden shower of arrows from the center camp caused this integrated brigade of five thousand soldiers to stay distant from the left wing. When the Fifth Independent Brigade returned to outflank the enemy on the left again, the Titan camp already combined two square phalanxes of three thousand soldiers each in the open area on the left side of the central battlefield. These soldiers squatted on the ground prepared to face the enemy's raid by aligning countless spears around vertically.
Wolves cavalry finally clashed with Deiss's most elite cavalry commando forces. The knights of both sides soon penetrated each other. Long knives clashed in the air while arrows greeted each other in the most violent way. Wolves' mobility was more superior than their opponent, but Teutonic Knights surpassed them in courage! Battle flags accurately delivered the commands of the Imperial Guard's commander - "to break the whole into fragments, use agility to disrupt the enemy!"
Gradually, the wolves dispersed and spread around. Following the size of a company, they continuously fought with Teutonic Knights, always leaving several dead bodies after each round. The knights' team away from the enemy camp continued to scatter and snipe using hidden arrows and dark knives. Almost all of the men were greeted by those at the edge of the enemy camp, almost all of the wolves' cavalry soldiers fiercely fought against the sabers of Teutonic Knights.
In the open grass plains, dust and smoke swirled upward to the sky. Whirring of horses and desperate cries of fighting intertwined. The strong odor of earth filled the gray sky. It seemed that life has become the most insignificant article between heaven and earth.
Two teams of wolves finally lost their way on the dusty battlefield. As they twisted their way through the crowd they accidentally entered the cluster of Teutonic Knights. Sounds of metal frantically clashing immediately exploded in the air, and soon enough Teutonic Knights escaped from the combat forces of the wolves. Dust and fog gradually dissipated, and appeared on the ground now were numerous bodies of wolves' cavalry, leaving only numerous horses who lost their lords wandering alone on the battlefield.
"Recall cavalry!" Alan's brows drew together. Teutonic Knights' capability seemed to be more stretched anticipated. However, it was understandable, as the staff of the Combat Department has estimated the combat effectiveness of Teutonic Knights in accordance with their performance in Saijo Mountain Battle. Perhaps around the world, only Narcissus Knights could tear down a united front of cavalry with using only the force of one division!
Silver hair Marshal smirked as he sized the Teutonic Knights who were tail chasing the wolves cavalry but simultaneously forced to move back under the shower attack of arrows coming from the front. In fact, he has prepared a great gift for the Deiss cavalry commando.
Don Carlos was pushed to the side by those soldiers who re-entered the battlefield as supplementary forces. The loud miserable cries surrounding him have messed with his sight and hearing. His exhausted limbs were unable to respond effectively to the enemy's offense. The regimental commander of 1-3-1 inspected his surrounding, looked around, and he came to realize the men surrounding him were no longer the faces that he was familiar with. Those whom he knew have already been shattered into pieces by those Deiss soldiers!
"Which Group do you belonged to?" Carlos grabbed at the collar of one supplementary soldier and demanded.
"Damn it! You should be at the east of the battle line!" The commando division's regimental commander threw the unlucky man aside. This suggested that the battle line has fallen into chaos. The gap between the supplementary soldiers and commando division was intruded upon. Ineffective commands would only result in an ineffective counterattack.
Don Carlos made a prompt decision at that moment. He revealed a firework tube from his arms and ignited the live wire to it near the inside of the Imperial Guards campsite. A red firework exploded in the wailing sky.
"It's 1-3-1! 1-3-1 is down!" One messenger shouted at the top of his lungs.
"1-3-1?" Alan shook his head lightly, "It's no wonder that it's the main force regular army of Deiss Kingdom. They drown us out in less than one hour!"
"Fifth Corps!" Alan said as he glanced at his messenger.
"Fifth Corps... Fifth Corps!" From the top of the mountain came a series of shouting, and the flag-bearer under the banyan tree hung the flag of the Northern Army Group Fifth Integrated Infantry Corps' designation unit on the streamer. Accompanied by the commands and officers' hysterical shouts, nine phalanxes consisted of thousand people began to slowly move forward to the battlefield.
"Evacuate the Third Cavalry Corps! Outflank and attack the approaching Fifth Infantry Corps from both sides!" General Rondraisse on the observation post finally seized the opportunity to initiate an offense. Once they exhausted the Fifth Corps before they managed to arrive at the forward line, then the rest that took place would possibly glorify this Deiss marshal's name forever in the history.
However, the timing appeared to be a little inaccurate. When Deiss Kingdom Third Cavalry Corps's vanguard approached at three of the more outward phalanxes of Imperial Guards' Fifth Infantry Corps, the center of Fifth Camp has already been moved to the rear of the line.
Three of the thousand Infantry phalanxes were badly battered rapidly and thrown into confusion by the fully integrated Cavalry Group's violent charge. Shields were shattered into pieces by the attack of sabers, their bodies were trampled by the horses on the greyish yellow field.
"Haha! It's an appropriate response!" This was perhaps Silver Fox Alan's only comment about General Rondraisse.
"Wolves Cavalry cover for Eight Corps who is taking offense! Your task is to disassemble that wounded pedipalp! No matter what, Fifth Corps must remain resisting and slowly charge forward while waiting for Eight Corps to attack the body of the scorpion formation."
The messenger accurately distributed the marshal's command. The camp of Imperial Guards Northern Army Group Eight Corps swung into action rapidly and rushed into the battlefield under the cover of the wolves cavalry. They mounted what could be called the most powerful assault since the beginning of the battle, to the outermost periphery of the enemy that was guarded by the Ninth SS Independent Cavalry Brigade!
Although Deiss Ninth SS Cavalry Brigade that wasn't fully integrated has already been greatly wounded and exhausted during their first exchange with the wolves cavalry, the brigade commander didn't choose to detour or avoid the assault. The brigadier gave wholehearted support to the command - "Fight the enemy!", ordered by General Rondraisse. The brigade welcomed the Titans' knives and spears with passionate fires that roared in their heart!
Shortly after, the cavalry troop that consisted of less than two thousand people was turned into fertilizer and scattered on the ground during the attacks of the Titans' infantry and wolves knights. Fresh blood splattered on the field and later seeped into the ground.
The scorpion finally moved! As the brain of this poison scorpion, General Rondraisse, and his aides, at last, discovered the enemy's intention for their Eighth Corps to attack at the rear side of the scorpion's teeth! The scorpion began to move from the middle of its waist, alongside with the Teutonic Knights positioned as the tail was also thrown to the right side of the battlefield. Deiss Kingdom Fourteenth Infantry Corps gradually entered into the people sight. This huge scorpion moved its body horizontally across the battlefield.
"Division 5-3-3! Hold on! Squat low! Lower!" The outer periphery of Titan's Fifth Corps broke out into loud chaos under the attack of the enemy's cavalry. Soldiers buried the shields deep into the grassland, using their knees and body weight to support the spear that was nearly three meters long. The enemy was approaching, as galloping horseshoes sent dust and smoke into the sky. These fierce beasts finally burst into the group of soldiers protected by swords and spears. Although corpses of horses and dead human bodies constantly accumulated in front of the line, Titan soldiers were desperate in guarding the side wings of the central battlefield.
Compared with the anxious and festering scorpion's head front, the battle between two vital forces - Titan's Eighth Corps and Fourteenth Infantry Corps were a rather impressive sight. Eight Corps displayed an array of spears at the front of their battle line. The Deiss soldiers lost some time at their initial change of warriors, which cost them the lives of almost half of their ax warriors positioned in the vanguard. When Deiss spears soldiers eventually resisted the enemy's attack, the two fighting parties turned into two hedgehogs that were twisted together, trying to probe each other with their spikes.
Numerous long spears entangled in mid-air like a criss-cross steel fence. The crashing noise of metal against each other was ear-splitting. Warriors anxiously looked for a gap between the wall of spears and constantly sought an opportunity to kill one another.
The air was filled with the uproarious hustle of fighting and killing. All of a sudden condor and flocks of crows came into the scene. They were attracted by the stench of the bloody massacre, which constantly provoked the sense of smell of these birds of prey. On the ground was cramped with the initial killings, while in the sky these agitated flying creatures combined into one entity of greyish green pool water.
On the plains lay dead bodies of horses and men. Fragmented knives and spears as well as lone feathered arrows accumulated on the ground. Underneath the feet of humans were a pool of muddy, bloody water. Early winter's cold wind swept the battlefield, causing the muddy blood to cool and precipitated.
Silver fox shuffled his feet gently. He inserted his palms into the pocket of his leather jacket, but what welcomed it was merely a piece of cold air. Alan was a little surprised as to where his tobacco case had gone, but immediately he remembered, that he no longer smoked tobacco since many years ago.
"Have you ever heard of the Devil's attack?"
Colonel Leigh McCaren shook his head at the question. He only knew that there was no sign of positivity in this unfamiliar term.
All four of the fully integrated Corps of Deiss has been deployed into combat. It seemed that the Teutonic Knights and the Fifth SS Independent Cavalry Brigade were used as the last striking force. The two cavalry troops were divided into defending the left and right sides of the battlefield.
Titan Imperial Guards also deployed five fully integrated Corps, only the Sixth Corps was reserved in attack position.
The front line was gradually stabilizing, the soldiers involved in the killings were only now competing for every inch of land underneath their feet. The thin red line became a bond between the battlefield. Both parties continuously stood on this tensed red wire, pulling at each other. With no other alternative, they could only continue harvesting the opponents' lives with knives, swords, spears, and axes, tirelessly exhausting each other's' will in order to stay alive.
"This is the moment of Devil's attack!" Alan's voice trembled slightly. He knew that in this very second and minute, countless lives have vanished in the battlefield.
"It is when a battle has reached a stalemate that it is suddenly intruded by a devil, who comes from an unknown purgatory! A devil who devours the soul and flesh and blood! It doesn't care who is stronger or weaker, who is right or wrong, from both sides of the war. It puzzles and confuses the soldiers' minds utilizing one of the oldest horror spells, taking away the soldiers' sense of hearing and sight, poisoning them with only the thoughts of waving their swords to slaughter anyone who stands in their way! But the spell usually doesn't remain for a long time. These soldiers eventually get tired, and they will give up, willingly sacrificing their soul and body to the devil."
Leigh McCaren let out a low, helpless sigh as he looked at the two parties caught in a deadlock! Devil's attack! What a vivid metaphor! On both sides of the battlefield were puppets who have been eroded by magic spells. Instinctively each of them competed for the chance to stay alive, and the strong will made them stomp their feet on the ground. Nonetheless, the devil was always the final winner. It was everywhere, indulging itself in delicious blood and chewing fresh human flesh.
"Success or failure of each battle hinges on this moment – during the Devil's attack!" Marshal Alan suddenly handed his Marshal Sword to Colonel Leigh. "Although the Sixth Corps is the main reserved squadron, I will not let it be on the attack. In the case where the war grows unfavorable to us, we can later rely on this Corps for a safe evacuation, if not the Deiss cavalry will kill us all. Can you imagine?"
Leigh McCaren shook his head. Although confused, what concerned him was another matter.
"Marshal, are you not intending to win this battle?"
"What a joke! Why would I even be here if I'm not intending to win this war?" Alan raised his brows in confidence, "As I've mentioned earlier, the outcome of this battle is in your hands, the fate is decided by you and your enforcement team! Be ruthless! Be tough! Be extremely cold-hearted no matter what! During the Devil's attack, I don't want to see anyone moving backward! Once we retreat, we will bounce back to our motherland. All the honor and sacrifices of those previous martyrs would turn out to be no avail. Northern Army Group will never be able to recover from the setback. You and your descendants will spend the rest of your lives on the whips of the Deiss."
Grasping hard at the great power of the marshal sword in his hands, Colonel Leigh McCaren saluted to the marshal.
"Battlefield enforcement team! Get into Crash formation!"
Following the command of their division commander, the enforcement team of Imperial Guards stretched themselves into a long line of barrier in the shape of a web. They were not aiming for the enemy, instead, they were trying to fight back their own comrades, those Titan soldiers who had been in and out of death with them previously. Colonel Leigh couldn't clearly describe his feelings at the moment. He flogged his warhorse along the field to the rear of the battle line, while simultaneously using his leather crop to whip his soldiers who stood idly and read aloud the open letter Marshal Alan wrote to all combatants before the war.
"To all the officers and soldiers of Imperial Guards! Today, I will lead you to receive one of the highest honors. While fighting the unscrupulous and vicious enemy from Deiss, we have to throw out our chest, polish our knives and spears, in order to impose revenge on the barbaric invaders! Do not fall short of the fervent expectations of His Majesty the Emperor and our Motherland, never let down the ardent exhortation of our hometown folks! The most loyal warriors of Titan Empire! Ignite your morale! Tear down the enemy into pieces! Honor and wealth are waiting for you! Imperial Guards... charge!"
"General! Look at the scorpion's head! Titan is moving back!"
General Rondraisse quickly turned his monocular around. Indeed! Titan soldiers in the middle of the battle line were retreating. What a disgrace! A severely ragged body being hung on a long spear entered his sight. Rondraisse couldn't identify the military rank of this unfortunate man, but he knew that he must have been someone of high ranking to cause his troop to retreat after his defeat.
"Arrow! Shoot at flat level!" Leigh McCaren got impatient eventually. His whipping hasn't been efficient in blocking the soldiers that were gradually retreating back into the rear.
Titan fighters who dashed out of the frontline fell onto the ground one after another like a domino effect. Colonel Leigh let out a painful low roar at the sight!
"Advance! Advance! Advance, the Imperial Guards! Those who retreat will be killed! Charge! You cowardly bastard! Get back up the front line! God of Light will not accept deserters! At least take a couple of Deiss' lives with you!"
The panicked Titan warriors yelled and cursed like lunatics. They were all drenched in blood. Using their equally weak arms they supported each other's exhausted limbs. The scorpion's teeth were swallowing in huge bites, moving forward mercilessly. The vanguard of the Imperial Guards appeared two or three gaps. These gaps were expanding as the soldiers receded constantly.
Colonel Leigh's marshal sword took away the lives of several idiots who dared to fight against the enforcement team. All of a sudden, he discovered that he didn't feel anyhow guilty about this anymore!
A shining thing caught McCaren's attention. Damn! This time it was an officer who rushed out of the enforcement team's barrier. What a shameless guy! He should really be sent to death!
The marshal's sword pierced into the man's body without hesitation! Don Carlos fell and rolled forward on the ground, in his arms held another body. The regimental commander of Group 1-3-1 widened his eyes. He looked at the sharp edge of the attacker's sword which was dripping with blood in disbelieve!
"My brother! What are you doing?" Don Carlos turned to glare at the ferocious looking colonel of the enforcement team.
"Brother….." McCaren slowly tasted the way this word rolled his tongue. An inexplicable bitterness filled his mouth. He knew that the major on the ground was indeed a brave and skillful warrior. His body was covered with severe wounds, those fresh blood oozing out from them were about to flood the whole field into a pool of redness.
"Brother… put down the man! And get back to the frontline!"
"Of course I'll get back to the frontline! But this is my only remaining blood brother now! I've already lost two, and this one is severely injured! I'll never let him..."
Leigh McCaren jumped off his horse. Without a word, he took the unconscious man in the major's arms and flung him across the horseback, before whipping the warhorse to speed to the direction of the accumulation point of death and wounded.
"Thank you, my brother!" Don Carlos struggled to his feet. Leigh McCaren didn't return the manner as he was already dashing to another man with a shining shoulder strap. Not every officer could get away with an excuse like this.
"Army commander!" Just before the colonel's sword pierced through the coward's chest armor, he was extremely stunned to see this familiar face in front of him.
"No! No! I'm not going back! My division commanders are dead! My regimental commanders are dead! My soldiers are dead! I'm not going back! I'm never going back! Never!"
Colonel Leigh stared at his army commander who has turned into a weeping child. With his eyes closed, he pierced the marshal sword directly into the chest of this crying man!
When he finally opened his eyes, the earth was moving around in circles. Soldiers were wailing miserably; his brothers were bleeding! More have retreated backward! McCaren tore off the white armband, which signified the enforcement team, from his arm. It was fairly apparent to him that he has completely lost control in the Fourth Corps. Alan should be the one to go to hell! He needed to execute something with more practicality!
"Fourth Corps! After me! Let's fight back with honor!" McCaren kept on pushing violently on the soldiers who sandwiched him. He shouted out commands loudly to left and right as he charged forward. He cursed the enemy with the lewdest words of abuse! He urged the soldiers to fight bravely with indignation! He could feel his body boiling with anger and enthusiasm!
Don Carlos finally returned to his own battlefield. Although the soldiers who were still resisting have already disrupted the organizational system, they remained the most determined and valiant fighters of the Northern Army Group! Even though the enemy's sabers swung above their heads, these soldiers withstanding at the frontline still raised their hands in salute to the approaching commander.
"I've just been away for a while and you have already lost your pants?" The major ridiculed those soldiers who seemed unfamiliar to him. After a brief roaring laughter, Titan soldiers used their last might to counter the enemy's assault.
"This can't go on any longer! We can't allow them to continue to resist like this!" Colonel Rondraisse clenched his teeth and stared closely at the tight contend happening in the middle of the battlefield. He wasn't intending to complain about Third Cavalry Corps' weak offense, nor was he feeling sorry about the annihilation of his Ninth Independent Cavalry Brigade. He just felt that he needed to do at least something in order to put a perfect ending to this war that has been going on for three hours.
"Fifth SS Independent Cavalry Brigade, attack!"
At the command of their marshal, the cornetcy on the observation post waved the command flag in his hand aggressively.
Without hesitation, Alan deployed the wolves cavalry fighting on the left side to receive the enemy's independent cavalry. After going in and out of the battlefield for several times, the wolves cavalry already lost more than half of its force. However, these Timberwolves still raised their double blade and bows and arrow fiercely in the air to ward off the Deiss assault. In the west of the battlefield, Timberwolves and National Defense Forces set off dirt and dust into the sky. The two sides engaged in a bout of fierce fighting. Knights slaughtered knights, platoons crisscrossed as they advanced on the enemy.
"This is it!" Rondraisse finally revealed a smile. Alan's only cavalry army group was limited to one side of the battlefield, which meant that...
"Teutonic Knights launch to assault! Target the enemy's central position!"
Scorpion's poisonous hook finally struck a terrifying blow like the deadliest prey! Teutonic knights crossed the eastern side of the battlefield and passed through the Imperial Army's Eight Corps phalanx with ease. The knights who sped by sent the dust into the air, and the Titans defeated and dispersed among the midst of dust. Due to the severe loss of the battlefield commanding officers, these scattered square arrays of soldiers simply couldn't resist the assault coming from the strongest and most elite Deiss' forces.
Alan gave a faint smile. This was also the moment that he has long awaited! Command flags fluttered frantically in the air, the formation of the first Corps positioned in the middle of the battlefield was already beginning to change. The battle on the front was still intensifying, but the First Corps who remained in the final two square phalanxes were completely turned around. They were now spreading out into a blocking formation toward the enemy who came charging from the eastern side!
"Silver fox Alan! Do you think that by virtue of two teams of thousands you can block the Teutonic Knights?"
"Oh! Rondraisse! You're so much worse! Doesn't it occur to you that your scorpion is coming to a near death if someone held its poisonous tail and crushed it into pieces?" Alan leaned his back against the trunk of the banyan tree. Resting comfortably under the shade, his features grew even smugger.
Two teams of thousand men absolutely couldn't stop the Teutonic Knights. Titan fighters were knocked over to the ground by a strong impact! But they have at least eased the assault of the enemy. The scorpion's tail swayed in the battlefield. Although it stabbed the enemy, at the same time it also exposed its most vulnerable parts to others.
"How long can the Titans last?" Rondraisse utilized a monocular to inspect the small hill located in the distant. He was eager to see how Alan looked like at the moment of his approaching defeat.
The view of the monocular flew across to the hill but rapidly returned to its original position. Rondraisse hurriedly readjusted the lens of the monocular, completely panic-stricken. Who could answer his question? Who was the knight who suddenly appeared on the mountain ridge? What was that huge flag with red lines over a white surface he held in his hand?
The lone knight raised aloft the Fierce Tiger Flag of Narcissus! As if being cast with a spell, gradually, near to ten thousand of knights entered Rondraisse's sight. The men positioned themselves on the mountain, looking like a group of sculptures, a team of spirits.
"Red Tiger Cavalry Corps, attack! End this war!" Alan commanded his final order.
Between heaven and earth sounded an ear-splitting cheer. A bugle call calling for the attack was made by the bugler of Narcissus Knight. The beasts that were ambushed in the mountains for months were finally released from their cage, in the form of a red stream of blood. Like an unbelievable miracle, the Imperial Guards in the front line raised aloft their weapons above their head. High-spirited, these soldiers threw themselves at the direction where the Red Tigers had gone earlier.
"Andrew Haila!" It sounded as if the call of a lover, the regards of a mother, a blessing from the God.