Chapter 886: Weapons and Arts
Translator: TransN Editor: TransN
“Reinforcements? Did he understand what he was saying?” Tangen thought to himself while twitching his lips. “It would be useless if the reinforcements could not cross the pathway. Or did he mean reinforcements that could instantly pulverize Hermes to the ground and stride across the ruin of the Holy City? If that were the case, they would need at least a dozen days to get prepared for the strike.”
Noticing that Nail did not have any intention of speaking more on the matter, Tangen decided to drop the topic.
One of the entrances to Cloud Ladder was on a cliff, not far away from Coldwind Ridge. They entered from a cave that was barely visible from the outside. When they could see the sky above their heads again, they found themselves seemingly in midair. The air was wet with clouds and fog filling the road. They suddenly understood why this passage was called Cloud Ladder as they felt like they were climbing to heaven.
Despite the dangerous road, as long as the weather was good, the path was reliable. Tangen had exaggerated how unsafe Cloud Ladder was, to prevent the First Army from going there. He didn’t tell Nail that a couple of merchants reinforced the stability of the cave and strengthened the road with planks and wedges so that they could continuously use the pathway to evade taxes. As a result, the rumors of the dangerous road were false.
Within half a day, Tangen had led Nail and his men up and down the path three times. Without any mountain roads or passes set up by the Holy City, the pathway had shortened the distance considerably. It was more efficient for light infantry to travel via the path than via the main road.
Tangen noticed that Nail was repeatedly making notes in a small book. Apart from the everyday language widely used throughout the continent, there were also some unfamiliar symbols he had never seen. Tangen was surprised that a soldier could not only read and write but also had knowledge he couldn’t understand. If he hadn’t seen it with his own eyes, he probably wouldn’t have believed it.
Tangen had joined a Chamber of Commerce to learn bookkeeping and how to record transactions. He had spent a whole gold royal dedicated to just his primary business education.Tangen did not understand that if Nail could read and write, why he had still selected such a high-risk career, working as a soldier and putting his life on the line. Although Roland Wimbledon’s army was impressive, there was no war without death. Nobody could guarantee that he was not the next.
However, during their conversation, Tangen learned that reading, writing and map drawing were not considered “advanced skills”. It appeared that every member of the First Army possessed such skills.
“What are they all thinking?!”
Tangen was even more confused.
By the time they returned to the campsite, it was almost nightfall. There was quite a buzz around the tent. Tangen saw a group of soldiers excitedly discussing something. All their eyes were locked on the bonfire in the center of the campground.
“It seems that the reinforcements are here.” Nail grinned.
“I think so, too.” Uncle Sang smiled. “I wonder which familiar faces we will see this time.”
“Miss Lightning and Miss Maggie must be among them.” The unit leader accelerated his paces. “Let’s go take a look.”
The reinforcements they’ve been waiting for were … women?
Tangen followed at their heels. He picked an open space, stood on his tiptoes, and looked in the direction of the crowd. Upon seeing the “reinforcements”, he felt like he was going to pass out.
What the hell? They’re the reinforcements?!
These are just a bunch of kids!
Especially the one whose hair nearly reached the ground. Judging from the kid’s round face and bright, sparkling eyes, Tangen thought she couldn’t be more than ten years old!
The others were only a bit older. They all looked frail and tiny; whose legs and arms were not even as thick as Tangen’s fist. He thought they would not be of any use on the battlefield, for they probably couldn’t raise a sword.
“This is ridiculous — Wait…” Tangen paused for a second and suddenly became a little uncertain.
One of the reasons for his uncertainty was the physical appearances of those girls. They looked much prettier than ordinary women. Tangen had not noticed their unique beauty at first, but when a group of them stuck together, he immediately came to realize that they were probably witches.
Witches were not as horrible as people thought them to be. If it were true that they were as powerful as demons from hell, they would’ve destroyed the church and the worldly kingdoms long before. As an experienced, well-informed tradesman, Tangen knew that with a God’s Punishment Stone, even a knight could easily kill several witches at a time. Witches weren’t stronger than ordinary people when their power was rendered useless.
But everything became trickier when another person’s influence was factored in.
Tangen held his breath and rested his eyes on another green-haired lady.
He had seen her once… at the celebration ceremony in the City of Evernight. Although she was not the most beautiful girl among the group, she was more attractive than anybody else he had seen at the celebration. Nobody would ever forget an elegant lady with such a strong and distinctive character.
It was Edith Kant, the daughter of the Duke of the City of Evernight, who was also known as the Pearl of the Northern Region.
She could be charming and enchanted in daily life but also valiant and fearless enough to behead her enemies on the battlefield with her longsword. It was rumored that her skill in fencing was as stunning as her appearance. What people feared most, however, was her unpredictable and even slightly eccentric work style. All the people who had once scorned her had paid a steep price for their insolence. When it came to anecdotes regarding the Pearl of the Northern Region, the residents in the City of Evernight could ramble on and on for several nights.
It appeared that Duke Kant had sided entirely with the new king; otherwise, he would never allow his beloved daughter to come to the barracks alone, unguarded. Further, from the respectful attitude with which the deputy battalion commander treated Edith, Tangen judged that she would not disgrace her title “Pearl” even if she were out of the Northern Region.
The new king’s army was so powerful that they could even defeat the church.
Combining the assistance of the witches and Edith Kant with his invincible army, the new king would probably cause great trouble for the Kingdom of Dawn’s army.
Apart from the “reinforcements”, Tangen was also intrigued by something else.
He saw a strange-looking iron frame next to the bonfire. The symmetrical structure looked like a shoulder pole at first glance, with one basket attached to either end of the pole, each containing four rows of metal cylinders. All the cylinders had pointy tails and fat heads. Tangen could not immediately figure out what they were made of.
He somehow felt a little disturbed at the sight of the metal objects.
After studying them for quite a while, Tangen finally understood from where his anxious feeling came.
The nine cylinders, which were as tall as a full-grown man, were almost identical. From their fat heads to their pointy tails, all of them had the same smooth curve!
This discovery made his hands sweat. Tangen knew that as the hardest material in the world, metals needed to be repeatedly smelted and hammered before being beaten into shape. All the blacksmiths he knew had told him that it required a great amount of skill to forge nicely-shaped, smooth-surfaced ironware.
What a fantastic technique it is to be able to shape a five-foot iron shard into a smooth curve!
And to use that same technique to make nine replicates?
If he told this story to any of the blacksmiths in the City of Neverwinter, they would mock him for his ignorance.
It would be more understandable if all nine cylinders were refined art pieces, but surprisingly they were not.
Tangen knew from their grayish color and the sloppy way they were stored that these cylinders were not expensive, delicate pieces of art.
They were likely some unique weapon since they had been transported here to the barracks by the “reinforcements”.
Nevertheless, these sturdy and durable weapons somehow gave a particular aesthetic pleasure as if they were pieces of art. The intense shock brought by this sheer contrast was unprecedented and indescribable.
Tangen swallowed hard and realized that he probably could not label himself as “well-informed” anymore.
For these people, war seemed to have become something else.
A realm beyond his imagination.