15 Two weeks later
The next two weeks passed in a flash.
Drake never worked so hard in his two lives reunited. During the day, he would train his immaculate soldiers, and teach them basic formations that all heavy cavalry units should know. He didn't want his immaculate soldiers to merely know them, he wanted them to master these formations.
Triangle formation was used to pierce through the enemy's ranks, with the fittest and sturdiest soldiers on the front. Square formations were used to face other heavy cavalry units, limiting the damage upon collisions. Sparse formation was used to limit the casualties when the enemy possessed crossbowmen formations or bowmen formations.
The Immaculate trained in these formations, days and nights. At this point, even the training in the Immaculate Camp was lighter. Drake knew the immaculate soldiers' individual limits, so he pushed them to overcome these.
He knew that in two weeks, he could not truly turn these immaculate soldiers into the elite he dreamed of, but the improvement was still visible to the naked eye. Their attacks were simpler, more efficient and more lethal. Their horsemanship skills were refined, and their discipline had increased tenfold.
After all, the fearsome capabilities of his biochip were being fully used. With the precise help of his biochip, he could analyse his men's training and point out eventual mistakes or give guidance. Combining his biochip's analysis, his understanding of fighting and the environment he created, it was only a matter of time before these soldiers became true killing machines.
Although they were war slaves, they still needed to acknowledge their master to display their greatest value. And this time, it only took a few days for the Immaculate Soldiers to see Drake as a model. Not just as a human person, but as a warrior. Drake didn't just order them around. He created an environment in which they could focus entirely on their training. They were allowed to eat to their fill, which included tasting delicacies such as grilled meat, chicken and vegetables, kinds that couldn't possibly grow considering the harsh droughts in the South.
In the evening, Drake would order Lewis around to conduct trades in his stead. It included hiring mercenaries, purchasing gear and horses, slaves and many more things.
Hence, in just two weeks, in the North of the Moonlight Territory, a military camp had risen from nothingness. Sturdy wooden walls protected the camp, preventing thieves and wild beasts from entering it. Wooden towers were used to spot any spy, scout or incoming enemies.
Inside, about three hundred tents had been set in an organized and near-machinal positions.
They belonged to Immaculate Soldiers, Mercenaries and trainees that did chores and tedious tasks, like cooking, feeding the horses, sharpening swords and spears, packing bags etc…
Immaculate soldiers were either training, or resting.
Drake had purchased over a hundred horses for his army, each one of them being of the Darkalion race, known for their sturdiness, stamina, and strength. These horses were very suited for a heavy cavalry unit since they could carry a lot of weight on their back.
[Beep! Darkalion Horse – High-quality mortal mount (Tamed)
Strength – 3.2 | Dexterity – 2.2 | Constitution – 3.0]
Drake purposefully bought more than a hundred horses so that any loss would not cripple his unit. Furthermore, the horses might reproduce in the future and save him the effort of finding such high-quality horses. However, though the immaculate soldiers might be the strongest force in the military camp, they were far from being the highest in number.
Drake managed to hire 3 mercenary troops: Blood Raven, Golden Lions and the Snakes. These mercenaries rallied to his cause, each troop being constituted of a hundred elite soldiers who made a name by selling their swords.
As for their loyalty, Drake had no doubt about it. He knew that once they sold their sword, they wouldn't go back on their words. After all, a mercenary that betrayed his word was a dead mercenary, or a mercenary who would never be hired again. Words spread faster than horses in this world.
However, there was still a possibility of betrayal, hence Drake's plans of using these mercenaries as scouts, meat shields and probes.
Inside the Commander Tent, Drake had summoned the leaders: George Hillson, head of the blood raven, Billy, leader of the Snakes, Arson, founder of the Golden Lions. Lewis and the pair of twin lunar elves were also present, acting as Drake's most influent advisors.
They no longer looked like maids who tried to earn the favours of their master, like their original plan made by their Queen, Freya. They had the looks of elven female warriors, infamous for their cold-bloodedness and strength. Both of them were Knights, though their techniques were unrefined compared to the norm of human knights. However, their physical attributes, especially their speed, exceeded that of normal knights, hence giving them an essential advantage, should they face a knight in a battlefield.
They were, after all, elite knights chosen by the Queen of Lunar elves, Drake's own mother.
"Tonight, we will march. Billy, you and the rest of the snakes, will plunder the Greenhill Village and burn the farms around. Do not massacre enemies who surrender, and instead make prisoners. After your job is done, escort the prisoners to the military camp, and strengthen the defences. When I come back, I want these structures to be built, along with the traps.", Drake said while pointing to a series of blueprints he made with his own hands, inspiring himself from books he had read from his father's library.
These blueprints were not anything special, but Drake had come up with ingenious traps that complemented well with the geography of the region. The Military Camp, which Drake named Drake's den in honour to his own name, was located in a plain. If enemies wanted to attack the camp, they could only charge.
The blueprints indicated the construction of traps, holes that would render impossible a cavalry attack, and spikes that would greatly reduce the mobility of infantry enemies. As for archers, the high walls already made their danger greatly reduce.
However, Drake also planned on construction some sort of miniature siege weapons: ballistae.
In the past two weeks, Drake had gathered the materials and drew the blueprints. Only labour was required.
"George, you have horses and high mobility. You will thus raid the Clary Town. Capture the inhabitants, steal their gold, destroy the ships, and return to the military camp and aid the Snakes once it's done. Do it fast, and use the sewers to ambush them in a night raid, which will likely increase your success rate. I have already bought you crossbows, so the guards within Clary Town should not be too difficult to deal with"
"Yes sir!", George replied, with proper etiquette.
Drake knew George's story. He was not a commoner, but a fallen noble whose household met a disaster. Bankrupted after losing a war, his household fell apart from both external and internal crisis. Escaping with a few loyal servants and soldiers, George created a mercenary troop that eventually reached a scale that was recognized by nobles. He had served the Viscount Allan more than once, earning himself a spot in the high-circle of Blackwater City. Among the three mercenary groups, the Blood Raven was probably the strongest and the one with the best gear.
"Arson, I want you to take half of your forces and capture the Bastard Son of the Viscount Frey, Peterson Town's mayor. Although there is no proof, my spies have confirmed that the Viscount truly supported the Peterson Town's mayor over the past years, in the shadows. He meets him on a monthly basis, though no one actually have proof of this. If my intuition is wrong, you will still earn a lot by plundering the town, which is famous for its abundance of trade."
"Thank you, my lord."
"As for the rest of your forces, order the archers to stay in the Military Camp to defend against potential attackers. 50 archers should suffice, since there are quite a lot of trainees in case it becomes heated. Although they cannot compare to veteran soldiers, some of them have experience in battling, I made sure of that. If you have a wife, write them a letter, for you might not necessarily survive the incoming battles. If you don't, then you better help the trainees pack their things. Tonight, WE HUNT!"
Drake didn't tell them any of his plans. In his eyes, the mercenaries were pawns that were bought with money. They cost him a fortune: more than a thousand gold coins reunited. They would serve as distractions for the Viscount Frey. Drake's eyes were set on something much higher.
He didn't care about a few villages, or the wealth of a Port, or the life of a bastard who didn't even know how to wield a sword.
Drake was aiming at reducing the Viscount's forces. Every single knight who swore allegiance to the Frey Household was on Drake's killing list.
As the orders were spread, a war cry was created. Drake's own war cry.
"TONIGHT WE HUNT"
As these words entered his ears, a feeling of confidence, mixed with bloodlust entered his heart.
As the three mercenary leaders left, Lewis sighed: "My lord, if you want to try drinking, you might as well try that tonight. You never know what a battlefield reserves you. I have seen people stronger than me falling in battle because they were unlucky, including knights who were loyal to your father."
"Thanks for your concern, Lewis but I have more important things to do."
No one knew his plans, not even Lewis or the two elven knights. The former was too anxious and too conservative to adhere to Drake's reckless plans of aiming at thinning the numbers of a strong Viscount's army with only a handful of mercenaries and a hundred immaculate soldiers recently purchased. As for the latter, they were individually strong, and probably very smart. However, if elven knights were well versed in tactics, they would not have been pushed to near extinction, to a point that the Lunar Tribe which once occupied a kingdom no longer had a land to their name or inheritances to create a new force capable of conquering Barnolia.
As the camp was extremely active, Drake no longer had anything to do.
'Training the immaculate soldiers would be detrimental to tomorrow's battle…'
Drake thus decided to complete his afternoon ritual: Meditating, using the Grand-knight level breathing technique left behind by his ancestor.
[Beep! Moonlight Grand Knight level breathing Cycle successfully completed! Expected gains: +0.005 Strength, +0.06 Constitution, +0.005 Dexterity, +0.01 Internal Energy.]
[Beep! Anomaly has been detected! Host's body can only absorb 44% of the breathing technique's true benefits due to the difference in half-elf and humans.]
It was a major discovery. Drake always felt like part of his potential was…lying dormant. His growth rate was ridiculously fast for a fifteen-years-old boy, but considering his dedication and his supposedly high talent in internal energy control and quantity, it was a bit lacking in Drake's eyes.
'Turns out that the Grand-Knight Level breathing technique was not even being used to half of its potential!'
Drake didn't know whether to laugh or cry, since he practiced a flawed breathing technique for over ten years. If he had practiced a grand-knight level technique suited to his body, he might have become as strong as his father by now. Perhaps even stronger.
However, with every problem, a solution arose.
[Beep! Gathering three sets of breathing technique of knight-level or above is expected to suffice to adapt the Grand Knight-level breathing technique of the Moonlight Household to Host's body.]
'One more reason to hunt Frey soldiers, I guess…'