“Good grief, I didn’t want to say this, but the bean soup you make tastes terrible.”
“Make your own then. I’m not your mom.”
The red uniform soldiers sat around the fire of the improvised camp and chatted. A can filled with beef soup and warmth was placed above the fire. A soldier came over to sit, picked up a piece of black bread, cut it up into pieces with a knife and threw it in.
Arrows fired from inside the forest were suddenly heard. One of the arrows accurately hit the bean soup, immediately putting out the fire. The countless fire torches in the camp were quickly shot down drowning the camp in darkness in an instant. The red uniform soldiers didn’t panic at all. They immediately rose and took up their rifles. However, a barrage of arrows flew towards them from every direction. While the camp was pitch black, the arrows still accurately found their way to the necks of the red uniform soldiers.
“Enemy attack! Enemy attack!!!”
The sound of chaos could soon be heard within the camp. The red uniform soldiers quickly took cover in various places and opened fire in the direction of the forest. However, all they heard was the sound of leaves and branches falling to the ground. Every soldier that fired their rifle had revealed their locations. Their hearts were pierced by arrows virtually the instant after they fired their rifles.
“Retreat! Retreat! Retreat! Light up your torches! Light up your torches!”
A few torches got lit up only for them to catch the sight of a sword before their eyes. The elves charged at them from every direction. They neither screamed nor gave orders. They just listened to the sounds of the leaves rustling which was the sound of them running around in the forest.
It was a one-sided slaughter. The elves maintained their strong senses in the darkness while the humans couldn’t see a thing. But even so, every red uniform soldier gave it their all to put up a fight against the elves. However, they were swiftly slashed to death by the swords of the elves. A number of veterans banded together and used their bayonets to form a phalanx formation to defend against the attack of the elves.
The air became filled with the scent of blood and the sound of metal cutting through flesh accompanied by shrieks. The elves accurately slit the throats of the humans and pierced their hearts. The red uniform army were like sheep to the slaughter in the night. Their guns were powerless before the elves who came at them from all sides from inside the forest.
“Captain, what do we do?”
Fire torches lit up one by one. The veterans calmly looked at the elves gathered before them. The usually peace-loving elves were now covered in blood. The number of human red uniform soldiers could basically cover an entire area of land. The blood and their red uniforms mixed together as if the area was originally a red swamp. The ground was like a swamp of blood where your feet would sink into it. The blood put the fires out completely. Not even a spark could be seen where the bean soup fire was before.
The captain of the elves squad cleared his throat, and in humanity’s language said to the human veterans: “Lay down your weapons, humans. We will send you back to humanity.”
“We elves know what you did to us. However, we won’t do the same to you. You committed an act only beasts would, but we won’t let ourselves become demons because of that. Lay down your weapons, strip yourselves and return to your own lands. We won’t kill you.”
The veterans exchanged glances with each other, raised their bayonets and cried out as they charged towards the group of elves.
The fire torches went out again. The sound of grunting and blood spraying into the air after having their necks slit with a blade filled the air again.
“Your majesty, the battle was gone on for two weeks. All four of our vanguard platoons have lost about half of their men. We have pushed half-way to the elven imperial capital. We basically have no more means to push further.”
Castell pointed at the four small blocks of timber on the map which represented their forces which had gone deep into the forest. The empress sat on her chair with her hands clasped as she looked at the map. She then silently swept the four blocks of timber off the map.
“Platoons three, four, ten, and twelve are to orderly retreat from the battle, return to the country and replenish their ranks.”
Castell wrote down the empress’s orders. The empress continued to look at the map while playing with a chess piece made from ivory in her hand. She then pushed it to the front and said: “Platoons one, two, five, six and eight, as well as I shall continue to march forwards. We will push our way to the elven imperial capital within a week. Get more cannons, gunpowder, and moving fires. The next time you set up camp, cut down all the trees nearby and dig traps.”
Castell looked at the empress and asked in a surprised tone: “Are you going to personally command the battle?”
“Yes. This battle is very important to me. I want to personally invade the elven capital and behead the elf queen.”
The empress stood up, smashed the chess-piece onto the elven imperial capital on the map, turned around and commanded Alice: “Break the Valkyrie unit into four groups, and assign one group to each camp. The Valkyries’ sword skill should be on par with the elves, understood?”
“But we only brought four groups of Valkyries this time. Who will protect you?”
The empress swiftly drew her sword, slammed it on the table and coldly laughed: “I actually hope an elf would try and attack me. That way I could brew wine out of their heart.”
“Your highness, our men have already done their best. However, from a territorial standpoint, the humans’ red uniform army don’t seem to be able to defeat our elves that are skilled in guerrilla warfare. And so they are now frantically burning our forests. If we don’t take the initiative to strike, we really will be forced back to our last line and die protecting the imperial city.”
“I understand. I understand, elder.”
The queen massaged her face, let out a long sigh and continued, “All the representatives of the other elven tribes in the forest have arrived, right?”
“Yes. They want us to take responsibility for the war this time. It appears that they think that we are the cause of this war. What nonsense. We are the ones suffering the most severe losses in the war!”
The eight elders looked at the queen angrily and continued: “Your highness, we think that we should hand those elves over to the humans. We had much less men to begin with, so protecting them at the same time is somewhat asking for too much. We must kill off most of the humans in the forest just like the previous battle.”
“We can’t possibly kill a large number of humans. The best skill humans possess is learning. They have already changed the way they set up camp, so our night assaults will be meaningless. If we want to kill a large number of them, relying on ambushes in the forest and invisibility won’t be enough. We must fight them in a face-to-face battle once and defeat them. They have already burned too many forests. We cannot allow our forests to be desecrated. Recall all units, dig traps at the plains in front of the city, and make a star-shaped Earth fortress. The Earth fortress needs to allow for our men to support one another from in-between. I’m going to the holy springs to bless our men by giving them the most pure mana. I will go and see the other elf tribe representatives tonight, and get them to stick one in the rear of the human army during our showdown.”
The queen pinched her forehead. The fatigue on her face wouldn’t go away. She hadn’t had a full-night’s sleep for the last two weeks since the war started.
“Your highness, you are too worn out. You should rest and see them tomorrow.”
“No, we cannot underestimate the speed at which the humans advance. Begin the preparations for what I just said. I too will personally take to the battlefield at the showdown.”
The queen carried Troy who was sound asleep up, stumbled and then walked to the door.
Vyvyan lowered her head, gently kissed her son on his forehead and muttered with determination: “In order to allow my son to continue to sleep peacefully…. I will not hesitate to sacrifice even my life.”