Chapter 721: Artillery Exercise
Translator: TransN Editor: TransN
Ferlin Eltek was quite surprised seeing the parade of the soldiers of the First Army climb up the wall in order.
Known as the star knight of the Western Region he was naturally familiar with the training of knights, and knew how difficult it was to ensure that people kept order while marching in a group. Whether for knights or mercenaries, when they were under a Lord's purview, their numbers in each row would be no more than five, for if the horizontal line became too long, it would be very easy to become disordered, giving the audience whose seats were far away the sight of a messy eyesore.
In general, the difficulty of keeping order increased exponentially with the number of soldiers. But in this group, the number of soldiers was over 100, with more than 10 soldiers in each column and row, and all of them were in uniforms of the same color with bright ribbons diagonally across their chests, making them look like a moving square.
This visual impact gave Ferlin an unstoppable momentum, once the formation was maintained, the advantage of keeping a large group became most incisive.
This could also be seen from the enthusiastic response of the crowds around him.
"Look at the third row. There is my boy!"
"They're marching in such good order!"
"All of them look like one person!"
"If two armies are confronting each other on the battlefield, I'm afraid that the enemies will be frightened out of their wits just by seeing this kind of formation."
"Ha, I think they'll be fleeing just on hearing the name of His Majesty."
"What's the name of this song?"
"I don't know, but... I feel full of strength!"
"That's the effect made by Miss Echo's magic power."
"It's a pity that May couldn't witness this," Irene said, holding the arm of Morning Light. "If she were here seeing it, she'd surely have been able to reproduce the exciting scene in the drama."
"She's pregnant. Of course, she can't stand on the city wall in the chilly wind with you," Ferlin shook his head and said with a smiling face. "Rest assured that you'll definitely get another chance. I bet there'll be more and more activities like this in the future."
Both the review of knights and artillery exercises were the means for the lord to show his power. The current strength accumulated in Neverwinter was beyond everyone's imagination. There was no doubt that his Majesty was capable of conquering more territories. With such a troop, it would not be surprising that he could even take all of the four kingdoms under his dominion when the time came. Demonstrations like this one would be absolutely necessary in order to overawe the people.
"My dear, would you like to join this team?" Irene asked abruptly.
"What?" Morning Light was a little shocked.
"I can feel it," Irene said, smiling at him. "Your heart is beating fast."
"Is it..." Ferlin exhaled a white breath. He realized that even if his father did not say the words at that time, he would not be a teacher for his whole life.
Sir Eltek was right. If he really liked books, he would not have decided to be a knight at the very beginning and would not have done his best to earn the reputation, the well-known Morning Light.
The army was the best place for him.
He wanted to join the First Army and become His Majesty's sword, to fight for the king and to play a role in expanding the kingdom's territory to an unprecedented scale.
Although His Majesty had said that he, a knight who had surrendered, would have no chance to pick up a weapon again, there were other ways to join the First Army, according to his father.
He wondered to what extent His Majesty's Adviser Department had developed now.
He watched the artillerymen entering the shooting positions as if he had seen himself in the future.
The music stopped.
This was an indication to be ready for the firing.
Van'er gave the order to take aim.
Six Longsong Cannons that were set at the widened area of the city wall dropped the barrels to point at the cages 300 meters away-a distance to which shells would keep flying straight to the target without falling. Because it was uncertain whether the demonic beasts' bodies would trigger the fuze, they must keep the muzzles lower so that the shells would hit the snow under the cages.
"My God, this one is so ugly." Nelson whistled. The mortar team he was in charge of was aiming at a large wolf-bear hybrid. The beast probably had felt a gloomy foreboding and was struggling to get rid of the shackles. The huge body crashed hard against the bars, making the cage shake constantly.
"Be serious," Van'er frowned and warned. "This isn't the usual training. Everyone is watching us."
"I'm a little nervous," Cat's Claw said, his voice a bit stiff. "Being stared at by so many people makes me want to pee..."
Many members at the scene shared the same feeling.
"Yeah, it's more uncomfortable than confronting the duke's knightage before."
"If you miss the target, you'll be laughed at by all of the citizens."
"Just do it as you did in the previous exercise. No more nonsense!" Van'er shot Cat's Claw a glance, "Remember not to mistake the live shell with the headless shell. If something goes wrong, detention will be waiting for you. Now, load!"
After entering the loading process, everyone at the spot suddenly got busy. No matter how they felt now, they had been so familiar with the procedure after the long period of training that they would be able to complete it even with their eyes closed.
The loading of the 152-mm Longsong Cannon was much faster than the twelve-pound field artillery cannon. After all of the six cannons were ready, Iron Axe's voice of countdown was heard from the top of the wall.
"Ten, nine, eight..."
At the same time, the noise of the audience came to an abrupt end, as if everyone was waiting for the moment when the muzzles burst out flames and thunder.
But Van'er was unexpectedly calm in his heart. Looking at the demonic beasts roaring crazily in the cages, he recalled the days four years ago when his younger brother had died of famine and cold in his arms, when he had practiced day and night for eating one more egg, when he had fought the demonic beasts on the rubble-built city wall with pikes.
The changes that had taken place in recent years were vivid before his eyes.
"Five, four, three..."
He had only been an ordinary miner in the old street of Border Town. He did not make up his mind to stay in the Militia to defend His Majesty's land against demonic beasts until His Majesty had said to him, "I have faith in you. Keep it up." But even so, he did not expect things to come to this state today.
Van'er secretly turned his head and looked at the gray-haired man in the distance, Roland Wimbledon, who had made him calm. As long as His Majesty stood behind him, no matter what kind of enemy stood in front of him, he would not retreat.
"Two, one! Fire!"
Van'er waved down his arm abruptly.
At the same time, six Longsong Cannons spewed out long flames and green smoke, accompanied by the huge boom that turned the snow on the wall into flying white mist. Within a blink of an eye, the shells shot across the distance of 300 meters. When people heard the deafening bombarding bang, the shells had dropped in front of the hybrid demonic beasts.
The compressed fuze triggered the double-base gunpowder in the warhead, blasting away six mud pillars in a flash and smashing the wooden cages-the beasts' seemingly sturdy bodies were like paper swirling in front of rampant waves. The flakes of wood mingled with hot and bloody flesh were flying straight up into the sky. Meanwhile, intestines and broken limbs scattered all around.
The crowds suddenly burst out fanatic cheers.