Translator: Zen Translations Editor: Zen Translations
From the Crescent City officials, Zhou Weiqing had learned that when the Kalise Empire had occupied the Heavenly Bow Empire, they had greatly increased the tax rates. All the commoners and merchants were extremely angry about it, but under military suppression, they dared not even protest. This was also the reason why the entire city had been relative quiet even after learning about the Heavenly Bow Empire’s counterattack and reoccupation.
As Zhou Weiqing’s orders came into play one after the other, the citizens of the Crescent City slowly calmed down and they finally dared to come out of their houses. Without question, the Peerless Regiment soldiers had given them a very good impression in these past days.
By the time the Kalise Empire received news about the Crescent City, it was already three days since the attack. In this three days, although Zhou Weiqing couldn’t say that he had already gained full control over the city, at least it was tentatively back in working order. Of course, that was still only within the city. For now at least, he still kept the gates sealed, not allowing anyone to leave.
The governor’s mansion had now become Zhou Weiqing’s temporary headquarters. As for Princess Difuya, Zhou Weiqing left Xiao Yan to take care of her. As long as she did not interfere in his matters, he did not need to bother with her.
"Commander, our scouts have spotted an entire Regiment of Kalise Empire forces camped about thirty kilometres from our Crescent City. They might attack us at anytime." Kou Rui brought in the latest news.
Zhou Weiqing nodded and said: "Roger. Thank you. Kou Rui, bring a few brothers to detour around and scout them carefully. I want you to see the surrounding areas as well. Take care to check if they have really only sent a single Regiment."
Kou Rui nodded as he received the orders, leaving to execute them.
Currently, in the main hall that they were using as an administrative assembly room, besides Zhou Weiqing, Shangguan Xue’er, Tian’er, Lin TianAo, Lei Zi, Crow and Ma Qun were all there, as well as Yan Zhexi and the other elite classmates of Zhou Weiqing’s class. At this moment, Yan Zhexi had assumed temporary leadership of the class of military students.
Zhou Weiqing’s gaze turned to Yan Zhexi and he said: "Zhexi, what do you think about the current situation?"
Yan Zhexi said: "From the current situation, I believe that the Kalise Empire has only sent that single Regiment. After all, the Bai Da Empire aside, the Kalise Empire only has a total army strength of ten Regiments. Furthermore, they would be separated to the various parts of the Empire, as well as their own homeland. This time, our attack must have come as a great surprise to them, and we have managed to seal any news of the attack. They should not know our current numbers or strength. I believe that we currently do not need to worry about any of their reinforcements for now. What we need to do now is to entrench ourselves and fortify our position, to defend it until the Fei Li Empire can send their logistic troops with supplies."
Pausing for a moment, he continued: "However, this is only a short term solution. Commander, should we begin recruiting troops? Although our army is extremely powerful, we only number seven hundred in total. If more enemies come, and that is an eventual outcome, they can attack us from all directions. Once our forces are split up, it will be extremely difficult for us to withstand a sustained attack. I propose that we begin recruiting soldiers, and with the core of the Peerless Regiment soldiers leading some new recruits on each wall, we will be able to put up a proper full defense."
Hearing Yan Zhexi’s analysis which was reasonable, clear and logical, Zhou Weiqing nodded in satisfaction as he said: "Your suggestion is not bad. However, the current hearts and minds of the people are still not stabilized, and it is not a suitable time to begin recruitment yet. In terms of military command, I am no match for you all, but do keep in mind that in the long run, the hearts and minds of the citizens is the most important. To put it simply, if you are currently just a normal citizen, and your city has just been invaded by a group of soldiers. Even if these soldiers were once belonging to the city, before you can ascertain their strength, whether or not they have a future, whether or not they can provide you with safety, to protect your city… would you actually be willing to join up with them? When the enemy comes to attack, that will be the time for us to prove ourselves and start building the Crescent City citizen’s confidence in us."
Hearing Zhou Weiqing’s words, Yan Zhexi nodded slowly, as if deep in thought. At last, he asked: "In that case, Commander, what should we do?" In terms of military studies, even ten Zhou Weiqing’s could not compare with him. However, he had never been on an actual battlefield, and he definitely needed actual combat experience, to marry his theoretical knowledge along with experience to have a truly comprehensive understanding and mastery of military matters.
Zhou Weiqing said confidently, as if he had already thought everything through: "Lei Zi, get some men to invite two hundred citizens as representatives. If you are not able to get enough volunteers, grab and ‘persuade’ them to do so. However, I do not want you to injure anyone. I want these two hundred citizens to be able to watch our incoming battle from a good vantage point of the city walls, so try to make sure that there are representatives from all walks of life, hopefully every trade and industry as well. Crow, Ma Qun, this is time for you to shine. If I were to get you two to lead your two hundred Tribesmen to charge and defeat an entire enemy Regiment, do you all dare to do so? Would you have confidence in victory?"
Ma Qun laughed heartily and said: "Boss, in that case, does that mean that if we achieve victory, we will be able to gain a larger percentage of loot?"
Zhou Weiqing laughed heartily as well, saying: "of course, you all will get forty percent of it all, with the rest split amongst the other five hundred brothers. I want you to achieve a resounding and beautiful victory, to charge and show the might of our Peerless Regiment. More importantly, I want the morale of our people! As for how you two wish to conduct the battle, I’ll leave it to you two to command. However, do remember not to charge into their camp, in case of any traps or unforeseen ambushes. At the same time, make sure you all do not overextend and leave energy to return safely."
"For the retreat, I will have our top archers to cover you. This fight, I want to build our reputation and prestige, not only to boost our morale, reputation amongst the citizens, but also to crush the enemy’s morale."
Ma Qun thumped his chest confidently. "Boss, leave it to us. Ever since our Peerless Heavy Cavalry has been set up, we have never met a fight too tough for us. Isn’t it just a Regiment? We might not be able to slaughter them all, but to charge in and out seven times1 is not a big deal."
Zhou Weiqing nodded and said: "Very good, you two go and prepare then."
Ma Qun and Crow strode out in large steps, and Zhou Weiqing smiled faintly as he looked at the others, saying: "Come on then, brothers, follow me to the top of the city walls."
Yan Zhexi could not hold back, saying: "Commander, are you really asking Ma Qun and Crow to lead two hundred out of the city to attack the enemies? They have an entire Regiment!"
Zhou Weiqing laughed and said: "No matter how many ants there are, they can never kill an elephant with their bites2. Although the current strength of our Peerless Regiment is not actually a full formation of a normal Regiment, these trash from the Kalise Empire I do not really take into account. Just wait and see, this time, you will truly witness the real strength of the Peerless Heavy Cavalry. I want the Kalise Empire to truly fear our Peerless Regiment, to tremble from just the sound of our names."
The last sentence, Zhou Weiqing said grimly with great resolution. He truly hated the Kalise Empire men for invading his homeland, forcing his father to use such a desperate skill that would harm himself. As his own cultivation level grew, Zhou Weiqing began to understand the price his father would have to pay to use such a Sealing Skill. Perhaps, in the future, Zhou Weiqing might be able to remove the Seal, but as the user of the Darkness Consolidated Fate Denying Seal… even Long Shiya did not have the confidence to keep Admiral Zhou alive.
This was also an important reason why Zhou Weiqing wanted to keep close ties with the Heavenly Demon Sect. All other reasons aside, he knew that the core of the Heavenly Demon Sect had the Life Attribute. Tian’er’s Divine Attribute and Long Shiya’s power could perhaps have a chance to keep his father alive, but if he truly wanted to help him recover, he would definitely need the support and aid of the Life Attribute. Even if it were just this reason alone, Zhou Weiqing would definitely keep good terms with the Heavenly Demon Sect. Of course, for negotiation’s sake, he would not reveal this fact to them too early.
After all, Zhou Weiqing had never been an ambitious person. One could even say that his character was rather lazy. For him to have his current achievements, a lot of it was forced out of him through all sorts of different pressures and strresses. Especially the fall of the Heavenly Bow Empire and his parents and godfather’s loss, that was a massive influence on him.
Lei Zi’s working efficiency was high, and since Zhou Weiqing had allowed him to use more ‘persuasive’ forceful means, he had sent all five hundred of his Peerless Regiment First Main Company out to do as ordered. In just a short period of time, they had succeeded beyond even his requirements. Just a short while after Zhou Weiqing and the others had ascended the city walls, at least three to four hundred citizens had been grabbed up onto the wall as well.
"Boss, mission accomplished." Lei Zi grinned as he sidled closer to Zhou Weiqing.
Zhou Weiqing glanced at him and said: "This is far more than two hundred eh? Well, get all the brothers up on the walls. I want each one to personally be in charge of a single citizen. Ensure that they open their eyes wide and watch everything that happens outside the city walls. Tell them who our Peerless Regiment fellows are. At the same time, be prepared to receive Ma Qun and the others when they return."
Lei Zi said in a slightly upset tone: "Boss, why don’t you let us go! It’s just a mere Regiment, it wouldn’t be a problem for us five hundred as well! Just kiting them alone, we are confident of killing them all."
Zhou Weiqing said: "The art of kiting takes a lot of skill, but for ordinary citizens, the visual impact and shock of it will not be as impressive. Furthermore, if anything amiss occurs, do you think the Heavy Cavalry and their speed will able to support you in time? On the contrary, you all will be able to support them if anything comes up. Alright, enough. Follow your orders."
Yan Zhexi had followed Zhou Weiqing all the way and was standing by his side. Looking at the enemies in the distance, he muttered: "Commander, if we truly have sufficient power to take these enemies on directly, it is a good way to prevent them from surrounding us and causing us trouble by splitting our forces."
Zhou Weiqing laughed heartily and said: "Indeed, that is also my goal. Well, once our main forces arrive, we will also be relieved of such an awkward position. Oh by the way, how goes the recruitment of temporary army cooks and other logistical positions?"
Yan Zhexi said: "Basically we have gathered enough army cooks. The Heavenly Bow Empire does indeed hold the hearts of the populace. Although many still maintain a suspicious attitude, but there are those who already accept us and are willing to give us help in our fight against the Kalise Empire. In fact, there are already some who wish to join up in the army, which is the reason why I was asking about actual recruitment."
Zhou Weiqing nodded and said: "Good, but there is no rush for recruitment yet. Let’s wait until everything is stabilized before we discuss it. I want every single citizen of the Crescent City to know that not only is the Heavenly Bow Empire back, we also have a powerful army that can crush the Kalise Empire. When they have true confidence in us, full acceptance of us, that will be a cohesive unity that will reforge the entire Crescent City. In truth, our return is already a lot earlier than all my previous expectations, so I am not too worried or urgent. Taking things a step at a time is the best method currently.
Before long, all the preparations had been made. The five hundred archers of the Peerless Regiment First Main Company stood in a row along the wall. The citizens which had been brought up stood along with them, not knowing why they were here. All of them stood there with mixed emotions, many trembling in fear as they looked at the warriors in gleaming mail armour beside them.
"Send orders to Ma Qun and Crow, set up formation outside the city!"
The city gates opened, and the two hundred Heavy Cavalry soldiers rode out. For a small city like the Crescent City, there was no moat, and naturally there was no need for any drawbridge. The citizens on top of the wall saw the massive bodies appearing outside the city, and they couldn’t help but stare dazedly. In the distance, the Kalise Empire soldiers also saw the movement. Those warriors in heavy armor was just too huge and robust looking, and standing together they seemed like a wall of metal… and their warhorses… why did they have wings!? Those mounts were so huge, and they also had their own armour… Were they Heavy Cavalry? But… that didn’t seem exactly right…?
Right at that moment, Zhou Weiqing’s voice rang out across the entire city wall, loud and clear.
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