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It was three o’clock in the morning when Brendel finally met with the Archdruid named Wochik, who looked exactly how Brendel remembered him to be. The first impression Brendel had of him was that he was just like a blend between man and crow. His face was long and sharp, and was covered in dark, lined patterns. He wore a raincoat made of straw which resembled the feathers of a crow. His arms and fingers were withered and slender, similar to claws.
Had this person been a character in one of those television shows that Brendel was oh-so-familiar with, he would be the typical classic antagonist in the show. In spite of his looks, though, he was the complete opposite. In history, he was cold, but strictly neutral, just like a non-player character. Of course, this was a virtue that most druids possessed.
Wochik had rushed back from Ampere Seale, exhaustion clearly visible on his face. Even if he claimed to be capable of fighting one or two more low-intensity battles. Brendel quickly had him rest. With the addition of this Archdruid, he soon realized that the group of mages under him had an unparalleled lineup.
There were at least four Gold-ranked sorcerers: Archdruid Wochik, Conjurer Ciel, Sea Monster Bridget, and Andrea the Lord of Night. Then there were the twenty mages of the Nagas, a few wandering wizards of Count Audine, Felaern, and the Tia sisters. While they lacked a person who could act as an Elemental user , this group of thirty mages - whose weakest link was still a silver rank - could still crush basically all of Aouine’s forces.
It was such a pity that in Brendel’s opinion, the group was still a little too small. Thirty-plus mages were only just enough to be scattered among an army of thousands. It was not like the War of the Great Demonic Wave in the future, in which one army could mobilize a group of mages comprising over a hundred people. Excluding those scattered around the army placed in charge of defense, they could also mobilize specialized mage groups consisting of dozens of people to act as long-range support.
Of course, this was just a pipe dream for now. A wizard without a Silver rank had extremely low survival rates in large-scale battlefields, but Silver-ranked wizards or higher were pitifully scarce due to the current situation in Vaunte.
It was four-thirty in the morning.
The break for the Royal Cavalry Academy’s students’ was over. Following that, the Nagas, as well as the nobles’ private soldiers, woke up one after another. Brendel took out the map that he had been strategizing with overnight and had them put up the defense lines as required. This caught everyone by surprise as they did not know Brendel had long since familiarized himself with the terrain here. They had thought their commander had personally surveyed the land himself at night in order to let them rest well.
Although the young students did not say anything, they were internally grateful. Only Princess Gryphine vaguely knew the truth, but she kept it to herself.
The terrain of the Mar Highlands was a surprise to the defenders. The surrounding three mountain ranges intersected to form a huge valley. A dense fog hung over the valley, a river of rushing water flowing through it noisily.
There was a high mountain ridge right across from the northern part of the valley which looked almost grey from such a distance. It was hazy and dark before the break of dawn. This was the foothills of the Farma Mountains that extended towards the south. The locals called it the Anker Mountain, which meant ‘wall’ in their ancient language.
Two streams intersected at the foot of Anker Mountain, converging into a shallow creek. The creek flowed down along the banks, and after years and years, a large open plain had formed here. The plain was angled downwards like a gigantic slope. It was sandwiched between the Mount Marchenko and Mount Leviko, which were both wreathed in vegetation.
However, the Mount Marchenko and Mount Leviko were relatively flat and low compared to the height of the Mount Anker. This meant if they were to claim a foothold on top of Mount Anker, the archers would be able to attack the two other mountain tops to the south from their position.
If the Northern Coalition Army’s infantry attacked them through the valley, the first battle would have been a disaster for Brendel’s side. But if they did not occupy the mountain peaks to the south, then it would be an even bigger nightmare to fight their way up from their lower vantage point.
This was practically a natural line of defense.
The defensive line would last unless the Black Blade Corps found a way to cross the Farma Mountains and attack from behind the Anker Mountains. But that would take a long time - at least half a month, so they did not have to worry about enemies that might have snuck up to them from behind.
So the remaining matters were simple. Although there were still a few people who thought that going deep into the Arreck Mountains was a better idea, that was just one of the other possibilities, and most were already setting up the defense lines enthusiastically. The students very quickly proposed a typical yet realistic plan.
This proposal was immediately delivered to Brendel, the princess, and Oberwei. It was simple; if everything went their way, their main camp would be set at the northern part of the intersection of the creeks, under the foothills of Arreck Mountains, followed by the archery troop, as well as their main camp. But their main defense would be forced forwards until both the East side of the Marchenko Mountains and Leviko Mountains were included within their territory.
Brendel saw the core of this proposal immediately, which was to set up a battlefield on each of the two mountain tops in the south. The young students were planning to use their terrain advantage to consume the Southern Army’s energy.
Such battle tactics were very classical, like a layout that could be found in a textbook. In Brendel’s opinion, however, it was still lacking and too conservative. He glanced at the others, the princess did not say anything and Oberwei just shook his head.
Can’t be helped if I’m a lone wolf, I guess.
So Brendel shook his head, “It’s generally feasible, but some corrections have to be made on the details.”
“Oh, how?” Carglise, who submitted the proposal confidently, was a little surprised. This proposal had been made by him, actually, and was approved by all the other students. He thought it would be accepted immediately, but now it seemed as if he had thought of Brendel too lightly.
“This will do.” Brendel gestured twice on the temporary map with his fingers and said.
Carglise almost wanted to throw the proposal right into his Lord’s face. How is this even a plan? Isn’t this the same as giving up our main campsite? What’s the difference between that and just surrendering?
He looked at Brendel pitifully, as if he wanted to make sure his Lord is not talking nonsense due to his lack of sleep. But he did not expect Brendel to glare at him and say harshly, “What are you waiting for?”
So this young noble from Trentheim accepted his fate and walked out, feeling disappointed.
“This is a little……” Oberwei could not help but shake his head too. Brendel’s plan was a little too risky and daring, a bit out of my expectations.
No, it wasn’t just daring. If he had not known this young man beforehand, he would have doubted if he was a traitor. He looks down on the Northrnn Coalition Army’s intelligence.
“This move is very risky. And you are indeed quite similar to Makarov, but it’s a pity……” The kingdom’s lone wolf sighed. The kingdom had seen so much glory in the past, but could only rely on these young people now.
He could only hope his choice was the right one.
Only Brendel was confident in his plans.
The sky turned bright, and an army started to stealthily gather in the forest. Nosidal and his Dragon Cavalry squad departed up into the sky in the morning breeze, and with the cooperation of the Wind Spirit Spiders controlled by Brendel, they began to drive out the Northern Coalition Army’s scouts in the sky.
This was clearance work before the great battle.
By now, neither party could hide their tactics and intentions anymore. The Northern Coalition Army’s commanders understood immediately that Brendel was prepared to fight against them to death.
“Now you know you can’t run away?”
Williams reached out to catch a parchment delivered by a Dragon Calvary unit. After looking at it for a moment, a disdainful smile spread across his face.
He lifted his head- The Mar Highlands was just right in front.
It was twenty minutes past eight.
Brendel closed the pocket watch’s brass cover and looked towards the other side of the valley. His vision was set somewhere faraway; his strong senses enabled him to see things miles away with his naked eyes. On the other side of the valley, the first unit of the Northern Coalition Army had appeared, but he was not sure which unit it was yet.
“It should be Viscount Finn. There’s a large number of men; I’m afraid there are thousands of them.” Oberwei put down his telescope and muttered to himself, “They stopped. They should be waiting for back-up.”
Brendel nodded. Oberwei lived up to his reputation as an old noble who had served in both the Black Blade Corps and the Southern Army, as his judgment was very accurate. Brendel had guessed it was Viscount Finn’s unit too.
Surprisingly, it was Enrique who was standing at the side who remained unbothered by the enemy’s numbers. The young man shrugged and said, “It doesn’t matter how many people they have. They’d be lucky if the valley allows fifteen hundred men to attack together. But they sure are taking their time to prepare.”
“But they could conquer the two southern mountain tops, Marchenko and Leviko, first.” Freya frowned in worry, standing beside Brendel fully-armored with a sword in her hands.
“Then there will be a good show to watch.” Brendel chuckled.