Chapter 224 “First victory” (part one)
Under the disguise of the morning dawn, more than 800 riders made their way out of Loulan City, each had their horse hooves wrapped in cotton cloth to minimize their noise.
Though the time of day is already considered dawn, the sun still hasn’t risen yet, thus, making it the darkest part of the night.
While everyone is busy with their own matter, the overly tense Muse was riding right behind Du Wei. And further behind this kid are his 50 knights of the white feather, each firmly standing by to protect their lord at a moment’s notice.
Everywhere Du Wei looked, all he can see is the endless flat wilderness shrouded in darkness. Seeing this, he inherently made a sigh.
It’s no wonder the Northwest Natives can become a scourge for the empire. With an entire region comprised of flat terrain, perfect for horseback fighting, how can they not be a threat when every member of their people can become a soldier at a single call?
After their group traveled for about seven-eight Li’s, Du Wei turned around to look at the general direction of Loulan City. Seeing how the darkness remained as quiet as ever, he can finally let his heart settle.
The reason for this is because he made a deal with the others. If by chance one of their groups were to encounter the enemy, the first priority is to ignite a signal flare into the sky. This way, even if they were caught, the unfortunate team can draw more attention to themselves to buy time for the other three to get away.
Prior to setting out on this mission, everyone had already come to a secret agreement to have Du Wei head for the safest direction they thought possible, which is to the South-East. Du Wei of course knew of their intent, but because he is the backbone of their operation, he can only silently accept their suggestion.
“My Lord, we should be out of the Northwest Army’s encirclement now.” An officer rode up to his side and said this to him.
This thirty something year old veteran of the army is supposedly a trusted drinking buddy of General Longbottom (also known as general 250). Back when Longbottom was demoted and jailed inside the capital, this guy was living a leisurely life as a landlord of a farm after retiring. However, with a single letter from his former commander, this veteran soldier immediately packed his bags and came running.
Prior to this occasion, Du Wei did have some interactions with this guy. Known as Guptad, he’s a fourth level knight that’s not known to talk too much. Oddly enough, the guy’s personality is very much like Longbottom and was even given the title of “mini 250”.
Du Wei hmm once before looking over at this mini 250.
“My lord, are we going to continue heading south?”
Snorting, Du Wei shakes his head: “We are looking for the prairie wolves, so why should we continue to head south; you want to find air instead? You are just like everyone else; thinking old sir here is a spoiled brat that needs protecting. Pass my orders down, we will all head north after the break of dawn, our destination will the small town of Norrington where a infantry battalion of Knight Robert is currently standing by! And maybe along the way, we can hunt some prairie wolves…..”
Curling up his lips into a smile, Guptad only gave a single glance at Du Wei before quietly turning away to carry out his orders.
Following Du Wei’s command, the group turned around towards the North only to leave behind the somewhat greyish horizon that was soon to be enlightened by the sun’s ray.
When the first light sprinkled onto the ground, the leading scout that was slightly further ahead suddenly held in his reins to impressively stop his horse on the spot. As the elite riders trained by Longbottom, this scout clearly had a good grip on his mount: “My lord, in front!”
Not waiting for Du Wei’s reply, Guptad immediately ordered the group into full alert. At this time, the knights of the white feather also got into formation and firmly circled around Muse with the kid staying in the middle where it’s the safest.
Still on his horse, Du Wei can see that not far into the distance, a dust of cloud was being kicked up and the faint sound of intensive horse beats was reverberating into his ears.
Guptad only needed to look once before calling out: “My Lord, it’s the prairie wolves! There’s no banner flying so there’s no mistake about it!”
Du Wei’s face sank a little. Narrowing his eyes, he readily cast eagle’s eye onto himself and peered over at the hundreds or so prairie riders. Without any obstruction, he is able to get a very clear look at the enemy. Unlike the orderly fashioned cavalry knights of the empire, these people were all riding in a disorganized fashion with a scarf wrapped around their heads. Swinging their machetes in the air, these barbarians can’t get any more threatening.
Like them, the other side seems to have also noticed Du Wei and his men. With a whistle, the prairie riders all stopped in their tracks while keeping a certain amount of distance.
Seeing this, Du Wei came down with a realization: “They must have mistaken us for the Northwest Army!”
Thinking of this, Du Wei immediately got an idea as he peered over at the Guptad. Just as luck would have it, this mini 250 here is donning a black cape like the Northwest Army. Stretching out a hand, he ripped it off and said: “Quick, tie this to the tip of your spear!”
As expected of a veteran soldier like Guptad. With only this little cue, he immediately understood Du Wei’s intent as he yelled out his order with the spear raised into the air: ”Disperse formation, let’s not scare the prey away too quickly!”
From initial estimation, the other group should be numbering around 300-500 strong; As such, Du Wei’s current force should be more than adequate in dealing with this party.
Leading with the black caped spear, Guptad rode in front to do his part in this little scheme. Fortunately, the prairie natives did as Du Wei expected and was easily fooled into thinking the cape was the banner of the Northwest Army. By the time the enemy realized things weren’t looking right, Du Wei and his party were already 300 meters away from them, thus making it way too late to flee!
It can’t be helped; Du Wei and his forces are all wearing silvery white armors, which is too different from the usual black gears donned by the Northwest Army.
Without hesitation, the toughly built prairie natives all let out a wolf like howl and began making their effort to flee. Using their amazing natural riding skills, they truly deserved the description of “going like the wind” from how fast they made the turn!
Seeing how easily the prairie natives fled with a single howl, Du Wei became infuriated: “God damn it! Aren’t these guys famed for being brave and strong, why are they running at the first sight of us?!”
Guptad grunted: “My Lord, the blood running through these barbarians is as cunning as a wolf! They will only engage when the enemy is weak and retreat when the opposition is fiercer!”
This time around, Guptad no longer waited for Du Wei’s order as he blew out a whistle. At his command, the 800 cavalry knights that came out with Du Wei all pulled out their scimitars and began charging forward at full speed.
Flying through the terrain, the land was soon marred with prints of horses galloping at full speed while dusts of clouds followed in their wake.
Out of Du Wei’s expectation, the dozen or so enemy riders that were soon to be caught by his pursuing forces suddenly showcased a spectacular scene of horseback archery!
These prairie people truly are a tribe that grew up behind the backs of a horse. With only a slight move of their body, they were easily able to draw their bow to begin their retaliation despite riding at high speed.
“Spread!!!” Guptad is the most experienced so he knew exactly what is coming. Clutching the spear in his hand, he charged forward and forcefully threw it at the enemy!
From the immense force of the throw, the spear looked like that of a shooting star by the friction created by the metal and air scraping together.
Not even letting the prairie rider that was furthest in the back of the pack to react, the spear easily pierced through the leather coating and went straight through the poor guy’s body. Sadly for the first victim, his death meant nothing in stopping the raw propelling force of Guptad’s spear because within seconds, a second victim was soon killed and impaled to the ground by the spear!
In retaliation, a round of arrows came raining down from the air at the Tulip troops.
Du Wei’s forces did in fact try their best in dispersing to dodge the oncoming attack, but the prairie natives were truly skilled because each one of the arrows was aimed true to their target.
Watching how the hundred or so spiked arrows were about to inflict heavy damage upon his men, Du Wei only led out a cold laugh in response. Then without any indication, he flew out of the saddle and began chanting some sort of magic spell with his arms opened wide.
Immediately, an invisible web rapidly spread out from his arm. Comprised of light and air, this web constructed out of Du Wei’s own energy easily warded off the volley of arrows while in midair.
Laughing aloud at his own doing, Du Wei only needed to slightly flick his arm to toss aside the hundred or so arrows to the ground.
Watching how amazing their lord was, the Tulip troops were invigorated with fighting spirit while they cheered on with joy.
In contrast to the heavy boost to Du Wei‘s men, the prairie wolves were clearly shocked by this outcome. Like a scared pack of animals, all of them tightly gripped their reins and began fleeing at rapid pace without any will to stay.
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