Chapter 219: Twenty-fourth Episode: Chapter 9-1
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

On the morning of Church's year 801, the 23rd day of the 5th month, Venus turned light red. The servant of the God of Light would say that this symbolized tragedy or disaster on earth. Just as the morning mist emerged from the depths of the earth, the endless hills were plated in a layer of dull grey, like giant beasts creeping in their nests, occasionally letting out a few weary growls.

Suddenly, floating flames appeared on the southern slopes. More and more flames gathered, clearing the morning mist gradually. Then, the earth began to tremble, and the sound of horse hooves approached from afar. The pulsation of the flames became gradually distinct. Those were the torches of the knights, flickering brightly. The volume made by the countless cavalry awakened the earth and the sky. The southern wind blew the mist to the bottom of the valley which was then carried by the knights who were rushing out of the valley.

Through a misty ridge, a scout fastened the telescope with utter satisfaction. Although the field of vision was unclear, he could still gather accurate information from the number and extent of the flames.

The scout leaped onto the back of the horse. He called out to the reconnoiters pacing back and forth at the hilltop.

"Return and report to the headquarters that the entire Slovenian Royal Guards has passed through Westell Pass."

Not knowing which reconnoiter replied, he was seen merely shaking his shield and the knight to his left immediately followed him and darted into the thick fog. There were many dewdrops in the mountains and there was a fine layer of droplets which had settled onto the armor of the knights.

The Narcissus flowers on the shield were vivid and life-like, complementing the fierce tiger totem carved onto the knight's visor.

It was probably yesterday afternoon that the Narcissus Knight's Ceres Front, Seist Front, Krem Front, Liszt Front, Traisen Front, Rayshure Front, and Nedgabel Front entered Slovenia through the three-border barracks. They rushed for ninety over kilometers from the battlefield passageway of the Southern Army Group that was left empty and arrived at the predetermined battlefield at two o'clock that morning.

According to the combat deployment of the Lighthouse Strategy, the Narcissus Knights' first attack on Army Group's predetermined battlefield was at thirty kilometers southeast of Potimisino Village. There were hills connected to it. Before the hills were the thousand-acre wasteland outside Westell Pass that was historically an ancient battlefield that the cavalry charged across.

Around six something, the King of Slovenia, His Majesty Tirana XI was stirred from his sleep in the wobbly royal carriage. Two days of army life had almost caused him a nervous breakdown. This noble king never got up so early, nor tried to change his clothes without an attendant.

His Majesty the King's carriage was like an enormous iron cage. In order to protect the country's ruler from the ravages of the religious enthusiasts, the Slovenian Palace Defense Department specially custom-made a massive carriage wrapped in a galvanized iron sheet, weighing more than four tons for the King. In the summer morning, there was still sea breeze and cold and humid fog. Once it was noon, the king would think that the mission of the carriage was only to torture him more cruelly.

However, the silence before the war was the real torture of both sides. Compared to Tirana XI who was heartless and egoistic, Marshal Figg Andrew Tibotty was way more cautious.

The leader of the Narcissus Knights had only slept less than twenty hours in four days. The staff officers and military guards saw him as a devil beast. However, Figg was aware that those gazes had no intention to offend him but were the opposite instead. The knights respected him, loved him and talked to him in respectful tones just like when talking with the elders.

"Mostly?"

"10...18!"

Figg chortled. He even patted the little soldier on the shoulder. The little soldier straightened up and held his chest high. The Commander of the Narcissus Knights turned his horse's head around and faced the next one.

"You, old friend! You're not dead yet?"

The veteran opened his mouth and the smell of overnight tobacco rushed out. "Marshal! I'm still waiting for you to send troops again to Baghdad West!"

Figg laughed even harder and it was not easy to find a veteran in the Knights who had followed him on an expedition to the holy city of Persian anymore. That was a matter of more than ten years ago.

"Soon, soon! You will definitely have a part in it!"

The veteran, having received the marshal's promise, saluted delightedly. Hence, Figg turned to the next one.

***************

At this time, the sun had already shown its bright red face from the eastern horizon. Although it was merely a semicircle, the brilliant morning sun had cleared the mist and closed in on the edge of the world. High above the fiery red earth in the sky, the mountain eagle spread its broad wings and with the ray of light and its instincts as its guide, it glided through the clouds. The empty plains outside Westell Pass had no traces of animals. This made the mountain eagle perplexed. It not only had to worry about breakfast but at the same time, it had no choice but to take the risk and leaped into the jungle which was sparkling with a metallic glow. It did not know why a forest would appear in the wilderness. The forest was silent with only the neighing sound from the creatures called horses which could be heard every once in a while.

Those who had not fought face to face with the Narcissus Knights were unclear of just how powerful this group of military force which was loyal to the Andrews for generations was. Even the worshippers of the Narcissus Knights only dug out the profile of these knights from past legends. When two hundred thousand Narcissus Knights divided into fronts on the left, middle and right, the people would not associate it with a battle because it was more like a beautiful military parade.

To confirm whether the deranged scout was lying, Tirana XI swept his breakfast aside. He personally led a team of Paladins and headed toward the ends of the wilderness.

The wretched scout was right...a cavalry! The cavalry stretched on infinitely forming a forest which was bathed in sunlight. The silhouettes of the Narcissus Knights spread out from the ends of the wilderness to the undulating hills. The glimmer of weapons was a sight to behold and where there was a breeze, the military flag fluttered. The King of Slovenia swayed on the horse's back. His diviner, the Royal Guards of his Kingdom, his previous life of extravagance and the palace that was filled with all sorts of rare playthings were like an extremely amusing dream.

The paladin who had nothing to say supported the delirious king back to the front which came to a halt a long time ago. The commander, who had led them to go against the invaders, cowered on the spot and let out strings of crazy talk until someone handed over Andrew's written war challenge. Only then did he know how to be furious.

"Son of a bitch, shameless, perfidious invaders..." Tirana XI painfully raked through his lacking mind for all the filthy words and phrases. It was at that moment that he thought of the breakfast which he did not manage to enjoy. When he had taken his seat at the dinner table with a spread of dishes, the final generation monarch of Slovenia's Tirana Dynasty finally calmed down. He drank wine together with the officers who dined with him. Perhaps it was the despair he felt of the road up ahead that the king actually started to blame himself.

He listened to the advice of the military and released the Marshal of the Kingdom, imprisoned in the rear team. When Tirana XI saw the bruised and swollen face of the old Marshal, he was in pain and in a loss of words. His mucous and tears splattered on the Marshal. Just like he always did when he was young, he rebuked his culpability.

Moved by the scene before him, Marshal Fernandy forgave his poor ruler. He said that people in the world would make all sorts of mistakes. However, the old Marshal already had no time to comfort the extremely dejected Majesty the King. Firstly, he took over the authority as the Royal Guard's commander and sent out all reconnoiters and scouts. At seven something in the morning, the spies who had ventured out returned to the great front of the Royal Guards. They called to attention the battlefield information they had gathered on the Marshal's sand tray. Fernandy's face filled with dread as he watched on. The people of Narcissus had spread out a four-mile-long cavalry frontline at the front of the battlefield. The number of people who had participated was also three times more than his army.

After a protracted silence, the old Marshal embraced his ruler. He had never done this since Tirana XI became King. After three seconds, the Marshal cast aside the matter he had vowed loyalty to for generations and swiveled around to face the despairing soldiers.

"Since I can't change the enemies, then I will prove to the enemies that they can't change me either!"

***************

Unending cheers of the Slovenian soldiers rang out across the plains. The soldiers of the God of Light were saying their final prayers. The warriors who believed in the True God kneeled on the ground facing the pilgrimage city. The knights of different religions were exchanging blessings while the officers of different sects were chatting and laughing.

At nine thirty in the morning, the last standing Army Group of the Kingdom of Slovenia spread out in a row at the outer perimeter of Westell Pass at three kilometers away from the Narcissus Knights. They did not respond to the unelaborate written war challenge of the Andrews nor did they dispatch symbolic battlefield envoys. They used their decisive battle formation to explain everything. The warriors of the True God had raised the New Moon, a five-star flag high above at the center of the formation. The believers of the Light's flag of a crescent moon with shining stars were also scattered among them. All officers were standing at the frontlines. They sized up the enemies, the battlefield, the Marshal, and the country ruler who was going to lead them toward glory and death.

Tirana XI had drunk a lot of wine. There was a pool of vomit on the back of his horse that was emitting an awful stench. Marshal Fernandy suddenly felt that the king at that moment had truly become a ruler of a country. All the previous cowardice and timidity were gone. What replaced them was continuous ravings and increasing filthy curses instead.

***************

Marshal Figg stood on his lookout point. Despite the world having the air of a valiant, foreboding enemy gathering above the Slovenian Royal Guards' camp, in the eyes of the Narcissus Knight's leader, they were more frivolous and lacked aggressiveness.

Figg cast his gaze at northwest. The Guards' Southern Army Group should have had already started the Potimisino military campaign intended to wipe out the Slovenian Royal Guards' main force. Then, the wipe-out of the kingdom's last combat force in the Westell Wasteland military campaign should be accomplished by him.

Figg Andrew Tibotty could not suppress a smile while thinking about it. His thirst for victory was like all the officers who went down in history. The leader of the knights laughed while ringing the bronze bell on the lookout point. The battlefield commanders crowded around. Figg sized up these comrades who followed him through thick and thin and looked up into the sky lastly. "If only little Oscar is here too! He will see the warriors of the family return the Slovenians back to the Stone Age within an hour. After that, he would exclaim ola ola, Andrew Haila! Victory will always belong to the God-chosen warriors!"

"So..." Figg spun around and looked at the commanders of the seven great Fronts. "My brothers, what are you waiting for?"

The seven generals ran to their respective camps in a wisp of smoke, and soon the earth-shattering cheers that erupted from the younger generation soldiers of the Ceres region could be heard at the left wing of the camp.

"Andrew Haila!"

The fierce cheers that got one's blood racing inspired the Narcissus Knights just like hundreds of years ago. They galloped on their horses through seasons, weaved in and out of the battlefield, killed to their heart's content, and rushed head-long willfully! They were appointed by the gods and invested by the Andrews. They had always been the symbol of justice, bravery, resoluteness, and devoutness. They left their homes and devoted themselves to the war of glory in Slovenia.

"The war of glory". The history used such term to describe the Titan-Slovenia war that erupted in year 801 of the 5th month. From the battlefield, we knew that this description was absolutely a misrepresentation! Slovenia yearned for independence and longed for religious reconciliation. Although people came after tarnishing the original intention to expunge the liberty of religious beliefs, this weak kingdom composed of multi-ethnicity still broke out with an unprecedented fearless spirit when confronted with invaders.

An hour! Marshal Figg's anticipated hour had passed. The thing that left this warlord who was famous for years mystified that the opposite Slovenian camp was still standing perfectly in its original spot. The Ceres Front's initial attack had suffered heavy loss. The enemy used a highly flexible cavalry division to contain the strike. In addition, an archer's division was used to support the left wing. Meanwhile, a heavy Cavalry Corps was used to launch a counterattack from the right wing.

When the Ceres Region's younger generation soldiers were reduced to twenty percent of their original numbers, they withdrew from the battlefield and the formidable Rayshure Front launched a new round of probing attacks on the right wing.

This time, the result was slightly different. However, it caused Marshal Figg to shake his head. The Rayshure Front had invested an entire Mixed Corps prematurely to launch an attack, but the other party did not even send a cavalry to face the attack. The soldiers of the Kingdom of Slovenia's Royal Guards had set up an interception front at the outer perimeter of the right wing using sharpened wooden piles and spears that were three meters in length to stop the invaders.

The Frontline Division of the Rayshure First Mixed Corps overcame all obstacles in their way. However, not a single soldier remained. As for the two remaining divisions, after shooting a few rounds of arrows at the front, they returned to the right wing of the original formation empty-handed.

"Thankfully, Oscar isn't here..." Figg shouted his fortune. He did not even dare to imagine the kind of expression his younger brother would put on when he saw the premature combat losses. Just as the people of the entire world were unconvinced of Andrew's realistic battle strength, he had similarly taken the Slovenian's basic essence of war too lightly. However, such a meager mistake will not change the state of the entire military campaign. When the Rayshure Front returned to the original formation, the opponent's right-wing camp that had been battered beyond recognition was completely exposed before the eyes of the impatient Narcissus Knights.

Figg casually pinched the right wing's main Army Group's command flag. In the next instant, his old partner pinned down his hand that was waving the command flag.

When General Ziyad was serving as deputy commander of the Traisen Front, he protected the famous Narcissus County cautiously and impeccably. He and Figg, the mad dog, complemented each other well. According to the convention, he said to Figg, "According to the tactical response of the Slovenians, the one who commands the battle shouldn't be Tirana XI, who is nothing. We are going to deal with the veterans! So, the exposed opponent's right wing may be a tactical trap."

Figg shook his head. Whether or not that was a trap, it was a fact that the right-wing Army Group of the other party existed only in name.

"They no longer have the energy and sufficient armed forces to drive a tactical trap. Next up will be our show time!"

"You are still so proud!" Ziyad nodded with a wry smile.

Feigo shrugged. "Only the figures on the casualties and statistical report can measure the gains and losses of this battle. The opposite is only second-rate goods. This is simply not a battle series."

The shot and flag signals simultaneously passed on the battlefield command. The three great groups formed by the Narcissus Knights sprang into action at the same time. The Traisen Front of the right wing sent out all members of their famous First Mixed Brigade to the frontlines. The Krem Front and Liszt Front, the pair of old Italia expedition partners entered the enemy's field of vision with one at the front and another behind. As for the left wing, the younger generation soldiers of Ceres had returned. They were very grateful to Marshal Figg for giving this opportunity to take revenge for their shame. According to the arrangement of the Assault Army Group, the battalion of Narcissus Knights would enter their predetermined positions one after another.

The sun was bleak, and the sky was filled with densely-packed clouds. Nature projected bizarre lights and shadows onto the camps of both sides. The contest between the terrestrial heat and air caused a layer of splendor which draped around the Narcissus Knights' figures. The pastor who followed the military raised Andrew's ancestral tablet high above. The commander of the Front with a massive Fierce Tiger Flag of Narcissus in hand ran to the left and right quickly. His soldiers immediately engrossed themselves in a cheer wave.

***************

The Slovenian warriors evaluated everything expressionless. The soldiers that the Narcissus Knights invested in the frontlines were a little more than the entire Army Group. However, this was not the most crucial thing. Their drunken king kicked the knight who supported him and followed an old Marshal who had changed into a full marshal attire to step into the very front of the battlefield.

His Majesty the King shouted the slogans at the top of his lungs. Many of the soldiers could not hear it clearly, but the sound of "fight to the end" and "chase the invaders out" was rather pleasant to the ears. Soldiers from various ethnicities echoed along loudly in completely different accents. Although it sounded extremely chaotic, the soldiers who were filled with intense passion in their hearts already had their faces flushed.

"Guard our home, defend the country!" Such ostentatious shouts! What a great mission! Since the people of Narcissus had already forgotten about the sufferings that the invaders brought upon them and they had renounced the sense of justice given by the gods, then this formidable cavalry no longer had any spirit. They were just a group of pitiful creatures that have been poisoned by Andrew's dogmas and desires.

When those ridiculous invaders opposite them shouted "Andrew Haila", the ethnic sentiments of the Slovenians erupted. The soldiers shouted, "Long live Motherland" in the same language. They had forgotten the troubles brought on by their religious beliefs and the disharmony brought on by their racial discrimination. The drunken figure of the king took the lead and charged into the battlefront. A great number of soldiers trailed along from behind.

The Narcissus Knights did not show any weakness. Even a wise man who was somewhat skeptical of this military campaign would not say that the God-chosen warriors were pitiful creatures. With the purity of the Narcissus as their belief and the heroism of the fierce tiger as their symbol, the Narcissus Knights were still the Narcissus Knights, just that their stand in the battle differed from their ancestor's.

The enormous Cavalry Army Group stirred up smoke and dust everywhere. The cheers of "Andrew Haila" became feeble among the cheering and galloping horse hooves, but this could not snuff out the knights' morale. In the split second during the fierce hand-to-hand infantry combat with the Slovenian Royal Guard's main Army Group, spears pierced into each other's bodies while swords and shields clashed painfully! In the concentrated assault camp, the knights who had nowhere to hide were knocked into the sky together with the opponent's warhorses and fell to the ground. The knights from the rear of the formation rushed forward and trampled on the bodies of their comrades and enemies ruthlessly.

The rain of arrows was a messenger on the battlefield. The swords were hospitable tea sets. The messengers sent hatred and deaths to both parties. The tea sets changed continuously. They were filled with blood until they shattered into tiny pieces. The Narcissus Knights were not in a hurry to defeat the enemies in front of them. Each of the two flanks of the cavalry ranks brushed passed the enemies who were charging toward them. After circling a huge round on the battlefield, they joined back in. However, the mad Slovenians absolutely did not pay any attention to the arrows that were directed at them from behind, just as no one realized that they had been surrounded.

***************

Charge! Charge! Fernandy, who was soaked in blood, raised the Marshal who was bloody and held the Marshal's sword high above. He had killed eight Narcissus knights who tried to stop him in a row. The Fierce Tiger Flag of Narcissus within his vision was progressively getting closer and closer, but the number of comrades by his side was dwindling! His adjutant was stabbed and fell off his horse. His brother was completely dismembered by four to five swords. His flag bearer, his commander, the familiar faces, were all gone. In all the world, it seemed that he was the only one who was charging furiously toward that hypocritical flag.

Perhaps it was because they felt the thriving murderous spirit of the old Marshal, the oncoming Narcissus knights evaded him one after another. The old man shouted "Charge!""Charge!" and then he charged out! There was not a single Narcissus knight before him anymore, only the archers who had arranged themselves into a formation which filled the undulating earth of the motherland.

The Marshal thrust the point of his sword forward with all his might!

"Long live Motherland!"

The old Marshal's voice was hoarse. To his pleasant surprise, he realized that the rallying cry that rushed over his mind was actually coming from the countless gallant soldiers of the Kingdom.

The cries of the Narcissus Knights seemed to be right by his ears, "... raise your bows…" The warriors who charged at fill gallop did not wait for the next words. Before them, a rain of arrows suddenly appeared. The arrows covered the whole earth like flying locusts. The horses and knights that were extremely close to the enemies fell onto the ground, disappointedly.<script>chaptererror();</script>

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