Chapter 219 “provocation”
Despite repeated delays, spring is finally upon the Northwest which signals the start of another busy season drill for the soldiers.
Since the Roland Empire was founded through military strength, it’s no surprise that the first emperor Aragon would establish such a rule of enforcing an annual spring drill.
In order to ensure that the Empire’s army does not fall into disuse, the imperial army would all go through this each year.
Though this iron clad rule was gradually abandoned after the end of Aragon’s era to the point where there are points in history that the imperial army had never done a single exercise in over 10 years, this quickly changed after Augustine the 6th took the throne. Since then, this once long forgotten rule was hence forth strictly enforced.
After all, the Augustine dynasty is only 200 years old and through this period, there had been a number of small scale regional conflicts.
In particular, one really has to thank the current emperor for this. Though Augustine the 6th is more of tyrant than a wise ruler, but at least in his reign, the military showed an unprecedented focus on improving the soldiers’ combat capabilities.
Although Augustine the 6th did quite a lot of ridiculous things in his reign like: wasting the empire’s resource on a civil war in the Northwest, building a massive fleet to conquer the Southeastern Sea, but it’s undeniable that thanks to his effort, the average fighting strength of the army is by far the strongest in the past hundred years.
With the first gust of spring breeze, the great army of the imperial empire begins to march!
Through the provincial decree set out by the wartime period, the two provinces in the Northwest naturally falls under the rule of the Northwestern Army. Despite the fact that they no longer takes order from central command, the Northwestern Army never once abandoned the tedious task of going through the spring drill.
What’s more, this annual spring drill is a perfect opportunity for the Northwestern Army to showcase their might. By putting up a tough stance, not only can they deter the central command from making any rash decisions, it can also act as a political chip when negotiating. As such, the Northwestern Army would always send out their most powerful and highly trained units during this mobilization.
Of course, this is also to guard against the central command in case there are any worrying movements.
Worth mentioning is that during this exercise, the central command would also pay particularly more attention to the Northwestern army’s movement.
Who wouldn’t be worried when a 200,000 strong army marches at your doorstep?!
Hence the reason why the imperial high command would mobilize large numbers of royal elite guards to the bordering province in the west – this acts as insurance in case the Northwestern Army truly rebels.
Likewise, the Northwestern Army would also do the same and station their strongest unit in the Nuling Province. On the surface, they are training, but in reality, they are there to confront the royal guards in case the high command takes this opportunity to enter the Northwest.
For the Northwestern army, the annual spring drill may be a worrisome matter, but over the years, things have always been at a stalemate due to the indecision of the high command.
Over the years, the aggressive and non-aggressive parties in the capital have been arguing about this matter over and over again.
Those in the aggressive camp are usually the newly appointed generals. In order to protect the authoritarian rule of the empire, these young generals would always advocate that the answer to solving the crisis in the Northwest is through the use of force.
Although the non-aggressive party can be quite hateful at times, one can’t blame them. Among these people, there are many that truly cared for the wellbeing of the empire. In their argument, they analyzed the current financial situation of the empire and came to several conclusions:
One being the empire barely manages to subdue the Northwestern Army. If that does come to past, the natives living in the prairie will take this chance to invade the empire. At that time, where will the empire get more troops to fend off those hundreds of thousands of prairie wolves?
Another scenario is that the prairie natives don’t take this chance to invade….. Then the problem left is the troops, where are they going to get so many soldiers? The best choice would naturally fall upon the capital defense garrison stationed in the capital. In theory, the capital’s regiment, formerly known as the ‘Thorn Flower Regiment’, should be more than adequate in going up against the Northwestern army in terms of equipment, but what about after the war? After solving the problem in the Northwest, the military might of the emperor would become unstable. At that time, there’s no guarantee the other army corps like the Northern Army stationed at the frozen forest wouldn’t rebel? Even if that doesn’t happen, what about the powerful lords scattered across the empire?
There’s no such thing as a gun in this world, but the people of this world at least knows a regime is only as good as their biggest weapon.
If the central high command becomes weak due to the civil war, the situation may become lethal when another problem arises, hence the reason why the soft stance against the Northwestern Army.
Unlike the problem faced by the lords in the capital, this occasion is actually a great opportunity for Northwestern Army to reap more benefits:
The iron clad rule of the Empire states: during the annual spring drill, the resources used can be directly taken from the local government. Afterwards, the local cities will be compensated through the yearly funding allocation.
Regarding this issue, Governor Bohan did have quite the headache when coming up with a solution. Nevertheless, after thinking it through, he came up with the perfect plan of emptying all the warehouses several months prior to the spring drill. This way, the locusts known as the Northwestern Army wouldn’t be able to tap into this resource.
Over the years, the comical act of one hiding and one robbing would always play out several times in the Northwest.
But this year, Du Wei would break this routine!
Under the afternoon sun, the defense garrison of Loulan City is already standing by for orders.
Since yesterday, his lordship the Duke had already handed down the order to limit access to the city by closing the gates completely. Seeing this, the traveling caravans would all make a detour to the nearby towns to replenish their supplies before moving on.
But for those unwilling to take the detour, they would take refuge in some of the nearby villages.
When an overcasting shadow slowly appeared over the horizon, the soldiers standing guard on top of the wall was soon hit by an intense thundering sound of galloping horses.
For those veteran soldiers atop of the wall, it didn’t take much for them to estimate the number of riders coming their way. With no less than 20,000, the other party is like a tidal wave charging towards the city like an unstoppable force. Forget the overbearing atmosphere the enemy gave off, just the dust alone is enough to block off the entire sky behind them!
In merely a short period of time, the large number of cavalry riders was already at the city front with only a mile of land between Du Wei’s forces.
Unlike the regular soldiers of the empire, these riders were all outfitted with black armors etched with a insignia representing the Northwestern Army. Looking at the banner, this 20,000 strong force should be a complete cavalry unit.
Despite being in such close vicinity to the city, these soldiers showed no signs of relenting; instead, they were blatantly organizing themselves into attack formation!
Within this unit, the blowing of horns were endless with no end in sight. Then under the instruction of the waving flags, the soldier columns split apart to reform into a siege formation!
Knowing this, someone had already ran into the castle to report this to Du Wei. Despite the urgency outside, Du Wei only replied with “I know”.
The truth is Du Wei’s wrath was boiling over, but he didn’t show it because his anger was being suppressed inside.
As early as three days ago, the Northwestern army had already sent someone over to inform him that they will be using the area around his city to do their spring drill. To top it all off, the messenger uttered this sly remark before he left: “The army will be here in three days.”
Such a move almost made him flip out on the spot, but through sheer will, he managed to suppress it.
Why the third day?
The meaning behind the message is that before he even received the news, the army was already on their way!
The alleged messenger is nothing but a farce. Before the owner even knew, you are already coming. The meaning behind this is simple: you better agree to this, even if you don’t, you still have it agree!!
After listening to the report right now, Du Wei immediately dressed himself to go outside. When he was choosing his outfit, he actually hesitated for a second. The reason is because the outfit he chose is not the magicians robe he usually worn, nor is it the nobles attire he had in his wardrobe, it is a set of armor. Like the overly exaggerated armor worn by Rolynn in the capital, this set of armor can be called luxurious to the extreme, but here’s the important part, it was much more practical for real life combat after making some improvements.
Du Wei is tall to begin with, but due to illness in his childhood, his body looked much frailer compared to other kids. Nevertheless, after practicing the Stars Dou Qi martial movement set, his body has already started to improve a lot over this period.
And now under the effect of this fierce looking armor, our Du Wei here is finally starting to look like a handsome young general like his father once was.
With one order, Du Wei along with Old Smoke and his bodyguards all headed out of the castle for the city gates.
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