The silver-whitish snow covered the vast land. The winter breeze blew and swept along a bone-chilling coldness. Lize cupped her cheeks and let out a soft sigh before shyly looking at Rhode ahead of her.
It was a crazy and preposterous night for the trio, and it was especially so for Rhode. Although he had plenty such experiences, he had never hugged two women so blissfully in bed in modern society. It would have been a waste if he missed this great opportunity that was gifted to him. Moreover, Lize and Marlene were each their own. The differences in their personalities and the way they vulnerably laid on bed made it irresistible for any men.
It was the same for Lize and Marlene. They were the closest of friends, but,even as best friends, they had never seen this wild side of each other. This feeling of freshness and taboo made them lose their senses. They let themselves go as they craved for instinctive happiness.
The trio's wild activities only ended at the break of dawn and they fell asleep in the pleasant lingering effect of their passion.
But even so, Rhode was the first to wake up. Lize couldn't wrap her head around how Rhode was able to remain so skillful after such a long night. If it were her, perhaps she would have strained her waist and her head would be spinning. However, she wasn't all that terrible because, on the contrary, Marlene couldn't sustain Rhode's penetrations and she had been sleeping for the entire day. When Rhode led his men out of the Land of Atonement, Marlene was still sleeping away in her room.
Although a few days had gone after that night, Lize couldn't help but blush whenever she thought about it. The wildness brought along an unprecedented thrill for Lize who had always been cautious and timid. Whenever she was reminded about the night between the three of them, she wished that she could dig a hole and jump right into it. But on the other hand, she couldn't resist the enchanting happiness that derived from their activities... It doesn't seem too bad?
Rhode didn't know that this was going through Lize's mind because there was no point dwelling on that night and he would have other chances in the future. At the moment, he stood on the peak of the hills. He squinted to scan the snow-covered Ice Field in search for traces of the Orcs.
Orcs were a type of evil creature on the Dragon Soul Continent. Unlike the Half-Beasts who had Demon bloodline flowing in them, the Orcs were more like a race of unevolved barbarians. They were tall and strong and devouring blood had become their second nature. They never learned to plant crops or raise livestock. Instead, they plundered wherever they went to, which was why they were hated. Besides, they were never long-term residents of a certain place and they would migrate all around the continent like locusts. The places that they had been to would either end up being robbed or left in conflagration. Not only that, but the Orcs' quick reproduction was also a huge headache. Although various nations had encircled and annihilated these annoying crooks, thousands of them would often return after two to three years.
"We have to slaughter them all. If not, as long as one male and female survives, we will face thousands of them in years to come."
Although this statement from the people was rather exaggerated, it clearly showed the amount of trouble that the Orcs had caused. Besides, Orcs possessed powerful strength and sturdy physique. Moreover, they often used the human wave attack, where even the garrisons weren't willing to go against them. Fortunately, after years of perseverance in cracking down on the Orcs, they seldom emerged in civilized zones. As of now, they mainly roamed the remote border regions of various nations and robbed whatever they could.
The distance between Rhode's Land of Atonement and the Northern Ice Field wasn't too far. But for the sake of safety, Rhode had inquired the residents about matters regarding the Orcs. As a player, Rhode knew that the Orcs were a typical case of brainless creatures that lived day by day. They often robbed and ate like a swarm of bees and never stored food for backup because, to them, they could snatch food once their current haul was all consumed. It was winter right now and there weren't any animals for them to hunt. The only choice left was to plunder the nearby villages. As long as Rhode followed the trail, he was confident that he could spot them.
Indeed, the group had received clues about the Orcs' location from the nearby villagers. They had also heard that a neighboring village had been attacked by two waves of Orcs continuously. However, the villages were long prepared and the Orcs failed to get away with it. But the Orcs weren't ready to give up just yet and would definitely attack again, which was why Rhode led his men into the Ice Field to search for them.
Randolf emerged beside Rhode.
"We've discovered the Orcs' location."
Rhode turned to the young Ranger.
"How's the situation?"
"There are only about 800 to 900 of them, Sir. Besides..."
"Continue monitoring them and work according to our training. You should be aware of it."
Randolf left swiftly. On the other hand, John, who had been quietly observing their conversation, arrived at Rhode's side. This time, Rhode had moved out in the name of the private soldiers and not the mercenaries. Therefore, John's Cavalrymen would naturally join forces with Rhode's elite squad. Although the individual strength of his elite squad was definitely stronger than the Cavalrymen, his elite squad failed to be as neat and orderly in terms of discipline, which was why Rhode had arranged for John to assist in disciplining his elite squad. John was the only one with this experience on the entire continent. Although Rhode was experienced in commanding, he was still a player with unorthodox methods. Even though the players had their expertise, the soldiers had their strong points too, which couldn't be easily taught in two to three months.
Under John's training, there were significant changes in the discipline of the mercenaries. Although it wasn't perfect yet, most of them had gotten rid of their rogue mannerism and became iron-blooded and rigid. And this also meant that their identities were slowly transforming.
John jumped down from his horse and bowed respectfully. Although John was dubious of Rhode from the start, he was slowly convinced by him. Although Rhode was younger than him, there were many aspects where John was weaker. As a soldier, John was aware of this point. Since Rhode was worthy of his trust, John would show the amount of respect that he deserved.
"What's wrong, John?"
"Please pardon my rudeness. I think that you might need to consider not choosing such a risky method, Sir..."
John was equally resolute in opposing to Rhode's 'backstabbing' tactic, just like Marlene. Rhode was an overlord of a territory, the chief commander of an army, and held a mighty status. Rushing in as the first line of attack wasn't suitable for him, not to mention penetrating the enemy's rear. As a soldier, John understood the high rate of success for Rhode's tactic. However, it appeared rather foolish for Rhode to risk himself. An army commander must protect himself at all costs and not bring about one's own destruction. Even though they would be capable of luring most of the enemies away, the enemies would be extremely protective of their own base camp no matter what kind of enemies or race they were. Furthermore, no matter how powerful Rhode was, it would be impossible to penetrate the enemy's rear with too much manpower and the chances of losing would increase dramatically. John wouldn't mind others taking Rhode's place in the rear ambush, but the situation would be entirely different if Rhode were to be involved.
This honest and frank soldier strongly opposed from the start, but Rhode neglected him. John could only helplessly coordinate with his elite squad in training and even though everyone performed well during their training, John was still worried because his troops would follow this main tactic in future. Once or twice would be fine with Rhode's standard. However, it would be a devastating blow for his men if any mishap were to happen within a hundred battles. John had no doubts about Rhode's strength. But he was afraid of bad luck, which was extremely normal. There were many times when the powerful army failed due to some inexplicable reasons. Strength was in them, but luck wasn't within their control.
"I know what's on your mind, John. But I've made up my mind."
Rhode shook his head and denied John's suggestion firmly. He knew what was John thinking about because he had mentioned his concerns previously. John hoped that Rhode would take things one step at a time. However, Rhode was familiar with the historical process and he knew he didn't have the time to stabilize the situation. He knew that 'backstabbing' might be risky and was highly related to luck. Even in the game, Starlight had failed several times due to ridiculous reasons. However, high risk meant high reward. If the opponent's forces were only a fraction of his own, Rhode wouldn't be foolish enough to stab their backs. At least in the foreseeable future, Rhode knew that he wouldn't have sufficient forces to go against the Country of Light and Country of Darkness up front.
Taking the risk was his only choice.
Of course, Rhode definitely wouldn't tell John that he knew the Country of Darkness and Country of Light would launch attacks on the Munn Kingdom in the near future. Besides, futuristic situations were difficult to explain. Moreover, such secrets wouldn't be kept for long and who knew what would change in the future. Therefore, all Rhode could do now was to prepare for everything and welcome the impact of fate in waves.
"We don't have sufficient manpower and this method has the highest success rate for now. You can't possibly lead a hundred Cavalrymen and overwhelm a thousand men defensive line. This is the only risk that we can take and trust me, everything will be fine."
John shook his head hopelessly. He knew that he had failed to convince Rhode. What surprised him the most was that he could see the extraordinary confidence Rhode had, something he witnessed in countless commanders in the past. He had heard the rumors of Rhode, but he didn't seem to have led an army into war before. Besides, Rhode didn't usually appear like a soldier, so where did his confidence come from?
Perhaps, this might be a good chance for me to witness it.
Joey and Randolf reported to Rhode once again. There were 800 to 900 Orcs gathered on the Ice Field and most of them were strong, muscular adults. They were currently residing in an abandoned fort and had set up lookout posts on the sentry towers. Although they appeared slow-witted and clumsy, they had the natural talent and instinct for battle. Moreover, the Orcs had sharp sense of smell and they were able to detect the presence of other creatures through their scent.
Judging from the intelligence reports, Rhode had more or less figured out their strength. This should be a medium-sized Orc tribe and wasn't weak in strength. If they fought head on, they would have a hard time securing victory even with Rhode's contribution. Although it seemed difficult to attack the fort, this fitted Rhode's training requirement. Rhode gathered everyone and gave an order.
"You've heard the specific situation from Randolf and Joey. The Orcs have occupied an abandoned fort. They have the upperhand in manpower, but they're relatively simple-minded... John."
John stepped out of the group with a solemn expression and slapped his right hand onto his chest.
"Just like in the training, I want you to lead your men to lure the Orcs away. The Orcs have failed in their previous ambushes and I believe that your plump warhorses will be deliciously tempting for them. Grasp the distance and speed well and don't force the situation. Understood?"
John nodded. Rhode swept a glance at the young commander and turned to Sol.
"There are usually three to five Shamans in an Orc tribe and they are almost as strong as intermediate Mages. I need you and your men to suppress their strength. Shamans mostly use the elemental powers of nature and as long as you take note of that, you will be fine."
"I understand. Please don't worry, Sir Overlord. We will surely accomplish this mission."
Sol hurriedly nodded. He knew that this battle was a great opportunity for them to display their value and they wouldn't let this chance slip. Rhode turned to Randolf, Joey, and Marfa on the other side.
"Both of you are aware of the Orcs' characteristics. They're powerful and have strong recovery skills. It won't be as easy to face them as ordinary Humans. I hope you can wipe out their sentries in the shortest time possible, just like in the training sessions... Marfa, you're responsible for taking the charge. But you have to be attentive of Lize's Cleric team and your coordination with Sol's group. I will be responsible in suppressing their core. Everything will follow our practice. Remember your roles. Do you understand?!"
Rhode nodded in satisfaction. Then, he looked forward at his target.