The battle ended faster than Zhang Tie had expected. Besides that more than ten soldiers of the Sun Dynasty had escaped and some had been hit by Zhang Tie and rolled off the hillside, while the rest of the troop had laid down in the mountain pass.
In sharp contrast, only five members of the Iron-Blood Camp were slightly wounded. None of theirs were heavily wounded or sacrificed.
Zhang Tie was very satisfied by this. After other similar raids, he found that the soldiers of the Sun Dynasty relied extremely on the orders of their commander in the battle. For these common soldiers of companies or platoons, once their military officers were killed, they would immediately be lost and hardly organize any effective resistance.
Zhang Tie presumed that this might be related to some system of the Sun Dynasty. These days, he heard many things about the Sun Dynasty's troops, which followed a strict hierarchical system and many rigid regulations. As a result, soldiers' creativity and personal willingness were under very great control. One very perverted regulation was that unless in the military camp or executing orders, more than three common soldiers were forbidden to join in a group at any time.
In Sun Dynasty's army, common soldiers were not allowed to have their own thoughts at any time as the commander's will was their will. The benefit of such a troop was that even if there was a fiery pit in front of them, the common soldiers would choose to jump inside without any hesitation. Such an army was actually very terrifying.
However, if taking into account the ambushes these days as an example, when Zhang Tie killed all the military officers first with his javelins, most of the common soldiers lost their commanding people; they then did not know what to do next, like flies with no heads. In this case, their fighting force was greatly weakened.
Although his group had won another battle by eliminating all the enemies, for some reason, Zhang Tie felt even more restless than before.
After taking out of that pocket watch that he had collected from the battlefield, Zhang Tie gave an order with an icy expression, "You have three minutes to clean the battlefield. Three minutes later, we have to evacuate!"
They usually had at least ten minutes to clean the battlefield; the soldiers of the Third Platoon didn't understand why their boss had only given them three minutes today. However, at the sight of Zhang Tie's icy face, nobody asked why, instead, they all rapidly moved.
This time, everybody had a great harvest. Zhang Tie gained more than 20 Sun Dynasty's gold coins from the military officers that he had killed, which was a bit more than usual. Additionally, he got some nice weapons, two senior leather belts, and some useful widgets.
Zhang Tie only kept the gold coins. Besides them, he selected a beautiful silver lighter. After that, he allocated the rest to his subordinates who had fought together with him.
Three minutes later, after cleaning the battlefield, over fifty people quickly left under the leadership of Zhang Tie. Until they left, nothing special happened, so Zhang Tie started to mumble inside, 'Am I thinking too much?'
The wolf den of Iron-Blood Camp was in a weird lava zone in the karst region in this mountainous area. A battle between two troops of more than 2000 soldiers in total would hardly break out here. Even if it did, the weird topography would separate the troops into different groups, which would hardly form any formation with powerful fighting force.
If they fought in this terrain, the personal fighting force of the soldiers of the Iron-Blood Camp could be exerted to the utmost. Even the most common member of the Iron-Blood Camp were ranked as corporals, namely warriors who had not formed Iron-Blood hidden strength; however the most common members of Brilliant Feathers' troops ranked LV 2-5. This indicated that Iron-Blood Camp had an overwhelming advantage over common troops in fighting force.
This also explained why Iron-Blood Camp could be the king troop in each division of the Iron-Horn Army.
According to Major Guderian's judgment, after the Solanet event and three small bases of Brilliant Feathers in this region were cleared by Iron-Blood Camp, if the Sun Dynasty knew their existence in this region, they would definitely come to take a revenge. Therefore, Major Guderian chose a hidden place as the wolf den of the Iron-Blood Camp in case of being surrounded by the enemy. Each day, Iron-Blood Camp would move and hunt the local troops of Brilliant Feathers in the surrounding mountainous area of dozens of square meters in platoons by taking turns...
Before the final battle, both marshals of the two armies seemed to have the intention of dispatching their own troops here to fight by turns so as to test the opponents and train their own troops. The casualties and achievements of their soldiers at the cost of numerous lives and rivers of fresh blood would only turn into emotionless data on the tables of the decision-makers, but whether that data would influence the decision-makers' decisions, only god knew.
When Zhang Tie led his troop back into this weird lava zone, most of the other wolf packs hunting outside had already returned. Most of them had gained some booty, more or less. However, compared to Zhang Tie's Third Platoon, other troops had less booty yet had sacrificed more.
Since they entered this war zone, the were casualties in the Iron-Blood Camp everyday, more or less.
The moment Zhang Tie came back to the wolf den, he entered the command tent. Many military officers who had led their troops out today were gathering there. They reported their troops' achievements and the situations on how they had encountered their enemies today to Major Guderian one by one. Hearing their reports, Major Guderian lowered his body and continually marked something on the map spread on the table while asking one or two questions every now and then.
When it was Zhang Tie's turn, he reported the achievements of the Third Platoon while pulling out the certificates of his achievements—the ID plates of the military officers of the Sun Dynasty that he had taken off them.
When he submitted the ID plates, the surrounding military officers all admired him. In the entire Iron-Blood Camp, only Zhang Tie's troop could easily gain a great harvest each time.
"After going back, you will definitely gain a warrior's medal!" Second Lieutenant Moosa told Zhang Tie.
These days, Zhang Tie had already killed dozens of military officers of the Sun Dynasty. For a person who came to the battlefield for the first time, this was really a very great achievement.
Hearing Moosa's praise, the surrounding military officers all nodded.
"Zhang Tie is simply a nut too hard to crack for the low-ranked military officers of the Sun Dynasty. Those LV 6-LV 7 guys are almost like target practice for Zhang Tie."
Hearing the surrounding military officers' words, Zhang Tie just revealed a smile. However, that restlessness inside him didn't fully disappear even now. He hesitated whether he should express his doubt so that Major Guderian could make a judgment on whether there was truly a problem somewhere.
Lowering his body to the map, Major Guderian instantly noticed Zhang Tie's shadow of hesitation. Raising his head, he lifted his golden-rimmed glasses with his hand.
"Second Lieutenant Zhang Tie, do you have anything to add?"
"Major, I just feel something is not right today!" After taking a deep breath, Zhang Tie decided to pour out what he wanted to say. "Although we've been very successful in today's ambush, for some reason, from the start of the ambush to the present, I still feel that something was not right!"
"Something not right?" Major Guderian looked a bit solemn while the surrounding military officers became quiet too. They all stared at Zhang Tie. "Can you describe it more clearly? What is not right?"
"I cannot say it clearly, but I keep feeling that there's a problem somewhere. But I don't know where. After the ambush to coming back here, I felt someone was following us. Therefore, I especially led my troop to take two circuitous routes and set a pocket trick. However after more than an hour, I still couldn't find that hidden person!" Seeing the amazed expressions of the surrounding military officers, Zhang Tie could only continue, "Previously, when I encountered dangers, I would also have this kind of sense of restlessness!"
If it was not Zhang Tie's excellent military exploits and braveness in battles, someone at present would have definitely bursted out laughing. However, because it was Second Lieutenant Mummy who said this, nobody laughed.
Major Guderian even revealed a thoughtful expression. He carefully gazed at the map on the table. Boss Reinhardt also walked over to take a better look at the map together with Major Guderian.
"Is there any problem?"
"Everything looks normal, there are also no problems with the encounters and ambushes!" Major Guderian frowned. "However, as is mentioned in the school motto of the Imperial Ground Force College, when you cannot find problems on the battlefield, that is the true problem! After Zhang Tie's warning, I also feel somewhat uneasy, as if something is not right..."
Major Guderian pointed at the places with special marks on the map with his finger. "These battles broke out four days ago, these three days ago, these yesterday, these today. These days, our troops would fight Sun Dynasty's troops four or five times a day, six at most. This frequency remains unchanged. That's the problem! If you're the commander of Sun Dynasty's troops, through previous days' fights, you must have already confirmed that there is a troop of the Iron-Blood Camp in this zone, what will you do then?"
"Temporarily shrink their manpower in this zone. Then, they will find another chance to annihilate us!" Reinhardt answered calmly.
"That's it; however, the zone where we operate hasn't changed since the beginning. That's the problem!"
The moment a military officer standing nearby opened his mouth, he was interrupted by Major Guderian.
"The survival of Iron-Blood Camp should not be established on the presumption that our enemies are idiots!" he explained solemnly.
Hearing his words, everyone went quiet.
Reinhardt then frowned. "Has any troop found that they were being tailed on the way back today?"
"No, we're all very careful. Since we're veterans, we've set some tricks on the way back, but did not find any trickery!" Guderian shook his head. "I'm really confused by this. If our opponents have some traps or plans, they have to firstl confirm our location. However, they don't seem anxious. Since no spy airships have flown above us these days, the location of the wolf den should not have been exposed!"
"Have all the troops returned today?"
"Still missing two!"
After a consideration, Reinhardt gave a decisive order, "When the two troops come back, we'll transfer tomorrow early morning!"
Saying this, Reinhardt pointed at a place on the map closer on the north side of this mountainous area. Major Guderian examined the place and nodded.
After the decision was made, everyone left the command tent. On their way out, many military officers glanced at Zhang Tie aimlessly. Before leaving the tent, First Lieutenant Freo even patted his shoulders.
When Zhang Tie left, he still felt a bit worried. If he was excessively meticulous this time, he would have made a fuss. Then, he would be a real laughing stock.
After Zhang Tie left the tent, First Lieutenant Liu Xing walked towards him and comforted him.
"No need to be that tense. Each major decision of the Iron-Blood Camp has its own reasons. Without genuine consideration, Major Guderian and Boss Reinhardt would not decide to have us transfer just because of a military officer's baseless concern. As we are isolated here, we should always be meticulous!"
Zhang Tie smiled at him.
When Zhang Tie came back to his own tent, many soldiers of the Iron-Blood Camp were attempting to pull that "Man's Certificate" from the empty land outside Zhang Tie's tent. Although that huge sword was nominally his weapon, most of the time these days it was more like a public one.
When Zhang Tie didn't use it, he would insert it into the soil. Anyone then could have a go at it. Actually, that "Man's Certificate" had gradually become a standard for the common soldiers of the Iron-Blood Camp to test their own ability. It was also like a big toy. Many guys who were free after supper would have a try here. Because of this huge sword, many people practiced harder than usual. Even those dandyish ruffians didn't want to be called women. Out of basic self-respect, they still cared it very much.
Before Zhang Tie came back, many guys were shouting loudly beside the huge sword. However, seeing him returning and entering his own tent for rest, all the guys lowered their voices in case of bothering him.
After entering his tent, Zhang Tie ate a piece of dried meat and had some water. After that, he started today's cultivation. Even in war-time, once he had free time, Zhang Tie would never lessen his requirements for personal cultivation. Cultivation time was like women's cleavage, as long as you squeezed it, you would have it...
He polished his burning point first before practicing the visualization of two abacuses and carrying out four different arithmetic operations on the two abacuses at the same time. After that, Zhang Tie activated a Trouble-Reappearance Fruit and entered the situation within where the terrain was almost like that of the present mountainous area.
Waving his huge sword, he started to fight wild wolves, huge wolves, and various other wild beasts of different quantities all over the mountain. Through the fights, the wild beasts seem to also be becoming increasingly more tricky. As Zhang Tie grew, those wild beasts seemed to also be growing and becoming smarter.
After realizing that it would consume a lot of Zhang Tie's strength to wave the huge sword, those wild beasts constantly changed their tactics against him these days. They didn't rush forward at the same time, instead, they started to attempt various attacks with differing quantities and combinations.
In the end, those wild beasts found the most effective tactic—after surrounding Zhang Tie, they would keep a distance from him. Once that was done, they would attack Zhang Tie from three different directions at the same time in groups of three.
They kept attacking Zhang Tie in turns ceaselessly, and here started his miserable days in the trouble-reappearance situation...
Each time, Zhang Tie would run through the mountainous land with his huge sword as he fought those wild beasts. He attempted to break through the wild wolves' siege. However, each time, Zhang Tie would be so exhausted that he could not even raise his hand in the end. As a result, he would be torn into pieces by the rest of the wild wolves and huge wolves.
Each time in the trouble-reappearance situation, Zhang Tie would exert his fighting capability to the utmost and break through his fighting limit, as well as experiencing various painful ways to be killed. He would constantly analyse and improve himself by finding his own problems and shortcomings, and then would continue to fight and die in the trouble-reappearance situations...
Nobody in the Iron-Blood Camp knew what Zhang Tie was experiencing when he was alone everyday. Actually, by the time Zhang Tie won the reputation of "One-Hundred People Down", he had died almost 100 times in the mysterious space.
Each day, Zhang Tie would learn and improve through "death".
After Zhang Tie finished his cultivation, almost six hours had passed. He then walked out of his tent. At this time, numerous stars were hanging in the sky while the two moons were as crystal as water.
Zhang Tie asked a person nearby and learned that the other two troops had already come back several hours ago. He then became reassured.
At this hour, many people had already fallen asleep.
Due to still being restless, after going to the toilet, Zhang Tie especially went around the wolf den of the Iron-Blood Camp. Finding no problem with the sentry posts, he returned to his tent and slept in armor.
According to the rules of the Iron-Blood Camp, when camping outdoors, everybody should wear armor. In the beginning, he didn't feel comfortable sleeping in armor, so he could only lie on the side. But, several days later, he started to get used to it.
'The Iron-Blood Camp will move tomorrow morning; maybe I'm a bit too tense today,' Zhang Tie thought before falling asleep. 'It's just a warning, I prefer to be mocked than seeing people getting killed!'
Zhang Tie soon fell asleep.
At midnight, Zhang Tie suddenly woke up from a sweet dream, his heart pounding heavily. This time, it was like that time when he had met Huck and Snade for the first time.
Zhang Tie felt that his mouth was dry. After drinking a mouthful of water, he put on his battle boots and picked up his "Woman's Excellence". Carrying his container of javelins, he left his tent. As it was just an instinctive movement to bring his container of javelins, Zhang Tie didn't find anything wrong with it.
At this moment, the encampment of the Iron-Blood Camp was in an absolute quiet state. Everybody was in deep sleep besides the lone chirping insects and weirdly shaped rocks under the starlight.
Because his restlessness was growing sharper, Zhang Tie decided to have a peep at the hidden sentry posts on the borders of the encampment.
The nearest hidden sentry post was only 70 m away from the border of the encampment, which was the shortest safe distance.
As it was midnight, Zhang Tie's footsteps were very light. He didn't want to shock anyone else. After arriving behind a lava zone in this karst terrain, Zhang Tie froze when he caught sight of the hidden sentry post.
The sentry post was covered in a weird lilac fog. It looked really weird under the starlight, but what caught Zhang Tie's attention were the numerous silhouettes walking in that fog. They came from all directions like ghosts and quietly moved towards the encampment of the Iron-Blood Camp.
Since the hidden sentry hadn't given any warning, obviously he had been killed.
In the end, what woke everybody in the encampment was the sonic boom caused by Zhang Tie's javelin that flashed so fast through the air.
In a wink, four growls had already made the whole Iron-Blood Camp boil up.
Soon after that, the military officers who were the first to rush out of their tents with weapons in hands heard Zhang Tie's furious growls like thunders from afar.