Return25 The Militia  Release that Witch首页

turn off the light Eye Protection    

Font:Big Middle Small

Previous Index Next Add Bookmarks

"These are the men you recruited?" Roland asked. Looking at the crowd of folks in rags, he had to hold back the urge to turn about and get away immediately.

"Your Highness, these men were chosen according to your requirements," Carter replied, counting his fingers. "Male, no criminal record, above 18, under 40 years old and not disabled... I have checked over everyone carefully."

Alright, Roland knew that he could not expect too much. After all, the productive forces of this world were so low that it would be difficult even to fill the people's stomach, not to mention to dress decently. His identity as a prince prevented him from seeing that refugees who had no clothes on their backs and begged for a living were a common sight out of the castle. As a matter of fact, even in the capital of Graycastle, there existed the profession of corpse collecting. These people dragged away the corpses of the starving who dropped dead in the streets and burned them.

[So what's warfare like in this world?] Roland closed his eyes and contemplated. It seems... it was only a little more elegant than gang fights. Generally speaking, when a lord decided to wage a war, or rather, had a fight, since Roland did not think what they were doing had anything in common with warfare, he would convene all the noble families in his domain, whom in turn convene the lower noble families in their respective domains. For example, a duke would convene his earls, while an earl would convene his viscounts, and a viscount his barons, and so on and so forth.

These noble families usually had a bunch of knights and mercenaries as their own forces. These men were the main forces in a fight, and they were well armed and equipped. At the same time, they recruited common men and peasants in their domains to join the fight. To be honest, their purpose was to carry provisions for the troops and to fight in the frontline. The ones who suffered most in battle were those groups of "cannon fodder". As for the warriors from the noble families, as long as they did not die on a battlefield, they would be captured and then treated well so that they could be traded for ransom.

Roland would not count on those few noble families in Border Town to fight for him. In fact, they had nothing to do with Border Town. Instead, their titles of baron were mostly granted by the Lord of Longsong Stronghold, and their territories also belonged to the domain of Longsong Stronghold.

In this age, a platoon completely composed of common men required some imagination to understand. They were too ignorant to read documents or understand orders. Not to mention that they never had any professional training. How could they be compared with knights who started practicing sword fighting since the age of ten?

Carter approached Roland and said softly, "Your Highness, this method has never been acceptable. Look at them. Which one of them can hold a sword? I'm afraid that they'd soon disperse at the sight of demonic beasts. This would instead disturb the line of defense and have a negative effect. I suggest that we should recruit professional mercenaries from Willow Town or other places to defend the city wall. These men could be kept for sundry duties."


"No, I'll use them," Roland said, refusing Carter's suggestion. He did not like those mercenaries who fought for money. Besides, he was not only building this army to defend against demonic beasts. He knew from history that a powerful and dynamic army must be built from the people, and there were countless feudal, modern, and contemporary armies that had attested to this rule.

"Okay, we'll do as you say," said the knight with a shrug. "Then should I train in swordplay? Though it may not be of much use..."

"Swordplay? No. You should instruct them to stand in formation and run." Roland held back his words after this, as it suddenly occurred to him that the chief knight himself might have never had such an experience. He said instead, "Call the hunter whom you approached last time. You both should pay attention to what I'll do."

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

The unimaginable things Van'er experienced today were more than those of the past 20 years combined.

He saw Prince Roland with his own eyes! The prince walked past him and even smiled to him. God, was the prince drunk?

Three days ago, when Prince Roland gave the lecture at the square, he knew that this winter would be different from before. They would not head for Longsong Stronghold, but would instead stay and pass the long winter in Border Town. Most of what the prince said was incomprehensible to him, but yet he agreed wholeheartedly with this decision. Van'er's brother died two years ago in Longsong Stronghold slum. For a whole month there had been no food supply of any kind. He shared the dark bread he bought with the few coppers he had earned unloading cargo at the pier with his brother. But that winter was too cold. Wind came in through every crack of the shack in which they lived, and what they ate could hardly keep them warm. His brother lost consciousness with an ailment and never woke up again.

In Border Town, he at least had a house built by the earth, in which he did not have to fear a heavy snow that lasted long. He also saw wheat transported from elsewhere that piled up on the pier and then was transported to the castle in heaps. So Van'er came as soon as he heard that Prince Roland was recruiting for the militia.

Of course, what had enticed him to give up his quarrying work for enlistment was the pay, which was as high as 10 silver royals per month. It was comparable to the pay of an experienced mason! He was no longer young and planned to marry Sheryl, the tavern waitress the next spring, so it would be wise to start earning money.

As for what the notice said about the militia's duties, he took no notice of it. It was either to carry things for their lordships, or to facilitate the patrol. After all, they couldn't possibly be ordered to fight the frenetic demonic beasts on the city wall.

The selection was strict. The eyes of the knight in shiny armor made Van'er a little nervous. Fortunately, he passed the selection with his rather stout figure, though the knight eliminated many bony fellows through selection. At the end, there were only about 100 people left.

But it had never occurred to Van'er that it was His Highness himself that trained them.

Those who passed the selection were brought to a meadow west of Border Town. Behind them the city wall was being built, while in front of them stretched the endless Misty Forest.

The prince commanded all to stand in formation and then rested aside. It had rained a few days ago and the ground was still mushy. Moisture penetrated his shoes from the water-logged ground, making his whole body uneasy. Not to mention that the posture the prince demanded from them was quite unusual. They had to stand with hands down close to the sides of their thighs and keep their backs straight.

It only took a quarter of an hour to make Van'er exhausted. It was more taxing than hammering stones during the quarrying. But he grinded his teeth and persisted, because His Highness had said the one who moved during the training would not have any egg at lunch. God knew how long it had been since he had last tasted an egg. It was obviously what others thought as well, for they all persisted with all their effort.

It was not until the prince declared that everyone could rest on the spot that Van'er found himself soaked in sweat, despite the fact that he had only stood for half an hour. On the other hand, those who had not made it until the end regretted losing their egg.

Yet Van'er could not think of the use of this training. Could they carry a few more packs of solid food, if they stood like this?

If it was not for the fact that His Highness trained them himself, he would have cried out in doubt much earlier.

But after the rest, the second order His Highness made was even stranger. He commanded that everyone should continue standing in formation. If no one moved this time, each one would have one more egg at lunch. However, this time if even one person gave up, everyone would lose their chance of adding one more egg to their meal.

Van'er heard the sound of someone swallowing.

Hell, was this the new joke of the nobles? With a carrot and a stick, the prince had led everyone on! But Van'er would never consider himself a dumb donkey.

But what if everyone could do it? Then later on he could have two eggs for lunch.

The appeal was too great. Drooling over the eggs, Van'er decided to try his best.


Previous Index Next Add Bookmarks