Chapter 1283: The Source of Information
At the Sedimentation Bay in the Kingdom of Wolfheart.
The news of the victory of this counter ambush soon reached Iron Axe.
Iron Axe immediately dispatched a letter through the carrier pigeon, in which he not only heaped praises on Fish Ball for his excellent leadership skill but also instructed the unit to stay safe while waiting for the reinforcement.
Although the enemy in this battle was simply an alliance army organized by nobles, their quick reaction and outstanding performance set a great example for the whole army. Advertising this unusual victory would definitely raise the morale of the First Army in a more significant way than continuing to retrieve refugees, especially when the whole army was in the process of retreating.
Not a long time ago, Iron Axe had actually received two pieces of bad news, one of which was that the soldiers in the Red Mist area were thwarted by the local nobles who had agreed to help the demons.
According to the report, these knights from the Kingdom of Everwinter were currently attacking the units responsible for retrieving refugees. Apparently, these knights, being also human,were better at hindering the evacuation campaign than the demons. As it was quite dangerous for the First Army to advance to the depth of the Red Mist area, most of the time the soldiers simply stayed outside the Red Mist zone. As such, there were fewer people actually helping evacuate the cities.
The other bad news was that the demons' attack became more fierce. First of all, a large number of Devilbeasts flew out of the Red Mist zone in the southeast and off to the Archduke Island. Then, the garrison on the island got prepared for the upcoming war and suspended the service of marine transportation.
However, the Devilbeasts, incredibly, disappeared from the sky above the two outposts and reappeared above a temporary evacuation unit on the island. Very unfortunately, however, the unit had just been informed that the Devilbeast would head to the east and was, therefore, retreating as fast as they could at that moment. They thus ran right into the demons.
Although the unit resisted ferociously, they were vanquished. Iron Axe had yet received a full statistical report, but the reinforcement told him that nearly 2,000 refugees had been attacked. The army had lost at least 100 people.
Considering the substantial loss, Iron Axe had no choice but to slow down the campaign.
The two incidents created a chain reaction. The General Staff had indeed foreseen the possibility of a betrayal by the nobles, but they had not expected that it would happen that fast. The noble families in the Kingdom of Everwinter had been fighting for nearly two years for the throne, but they now, ironically, united together because of the demons.
It was obvious that the immigration campaign was drawing to its end. Now, the First Army needed to recuperate and defend the Red Mist zone on the border.
There were approximately 5,000 soldiers at the Cage Mountain and the Sedimentation Bay, which was not even 1/6 of the total force. Iron Axe did not know what the demons' military force was. Before he had that information, he could not lose any more soldiers.
What Iron Axe was worried about most was that the demons might attack the unmanned areas before the First Army assembled. In that case, they would not only lose these new territories but also those they had occupied.
There was no such things as armored train that could serve as a "mobile fortress" in the Kingdom of Wolfheart.
Just then, a soldier entered the study and reported, "Sir, the chief of the General Staff, Ms. Edith Kant, just arrived at the port."
"Really?" Iron Axe said while knitting his brows. This was such good timing, for he was just hoping that Edith could give him some advice. "Great. I'll meet her at the port."
At the dock, Iron Axe saw that the Pearl of the Northern Region was surrounded by a group of clerks in the General Staff. Everyone looked profoundly relieved at the sight of her. For a moment, they had completely forgotten how she used to torment them.
Within a year after she assumed the office of the chief of the General Staff, Edith was widely acknowledged and highly respected among her subordinates.
Iron Axe was impressed with the great difference between Edith,the daughter of a former duke and the nobles in the Kingdom of Everwinter and the Kingdom of Wolfheart.
"Mr. commander-in-chief," Edith said while staring at Iron Axe after she bowed. "It has been a long time since we last saw each other. I hope my clerks didn't create you too much trouble."
"They all did a good job," Iron Axe replied as he administered a military salute as a return. Since he and Edith had the same rank, their communication was always straightforward without any unncessary formalities. In fact, apart from Roland and Lady Silvermoon, Edith was the only person that Iron Axe was willing to speak with voluntarily.
"In other words, they didn't give you any pleasant surprise?" Edith said while shrugging and then turned to her clerks. "It seems that your performance isn't very satisfactory."
Iron Axe curled up his lips. Miss Pearl of the Northern Region always had a sharp tongue. He thus said, "If we could win the war, they aren't that bad."
Edith did not insist on the topic but said, "By the way, I brought the new weapon created by His Majesty based on the latest intelligence. Are you interested in it?"
Iron Axe's face lit up. He replied immediately, "Of course. Please lead the way."
They thus went to the heavily guarded unloading area, which had already been sealed off by the soldiers. Huge wooden boxes were coming off the ship and were placed neatly at a corner.
Many cases had been open, revealing the weapons covered in parchment paper.
Iron Axe soon noticed a small cannon.
"That's the one," Edith said with a smile. "This 75mm-caliber cannon is the most expensive firearm among all. His Majesty wants it to fill the blank between the mortar and the Longsong Cannon. No witch is required for its shipment. A horse or two people would suffice. Also, it's portable, and another person can carry the shells."
"This reminds me of the original field artillery," Iron Axe said with a nod and immediately figured out what this light weapon was used for. Compared to the anti-demon grenade and the mortar that had a relatively short shooting range, this new cannon could be used to attack the robust Spider Demon. With this weapon, the soldiers at the front could immediately take some measures against the Spider Demon without necessarily building a battlement for the artillery.
"As for the new rifle there, it's a semi-auto weapon," Edith explained as she proceeded. "The testing result is pretty good. Two or three rifles could be as powerful as a heavy machine gun. You must know the person who created this. He's the battalion commander of the Artillery Banttalion, Van'er. Although His Majesty later modified the weapon, the gun is named after Van'er."
"But this is only a substitute. We're currently in the process of producing a real automatic gun and will send you the final product once it's ready."
"The one farthest to you is the latest anti-demon grenade. It's caliber is much larger than the previous one. I believe that the Ministry of Chemical Industry has improved it."
The group was gradually dispersed. By the time Iron Axe reached the edge of the dumpsite, only he and Edith were there.
"What's the matter? Did the battle not go well?" Edith asked suddenly.
It was a second later before Iron Axe realized that Edith had separated him from the crowd deliberately.
"You wouldn't have greeted me at the dock in such a haste if that wasn't the case."
"I know I can't fool you," Iron Axe sighed and told Edith the recent news and what he was worrying about. "Before the transportation resumed, we still need a few months to assemble the army and gather ammunition. The demons could attack us anytime. Even if Miss Sylvie, Lightning and Maggie come, they can't monitor everything. The war is about to begin, but we have little information of our enemy. This isn't a good sign."
"I see," Edith said meditatively. "I can't do anything about the transportation, but it isn't hard to gather intelligence."
"You had an idea already?"
"You can put that way. You're only thinking about the First Army, and that's why you feel it difficult." Edith said slowly, "The demons used nobles to attain their ends, but they've also created us an opportunity. As long as those cities are not evacuated, we would be able to infiltrate the enemy!"
Truth seemed to suddenly dawn on Iron Axe. He said, "You're not talking about the First Army soldiers, are you?"
"Of course not. Soldiers are not good at those stuff. Rats and civilians are better options. I prefer natives, so they won't easily expose themselves. There are tons of ways to have them work for you," Edith said smilingly. "By the way, didn't you receive a black card earlier? Try to contact them."