Second World - Chapter 869
"If we send all our best soldiers to the dragon army, won't our left and right armies be weakened? If we are defeated before the dragon army defeats the enemy, it will be our morale that is lowered instead," Meryl said.
"The left army, designated as the phoenix army, will lead 800,000 natives. Even if the enemy has 200,000 more outworlders, the outworlders' levels are still not far from the regular soldiers' levels. The phoenix army will be led by you, our beautiful and graceful hero, Meryl the manslayer. I believe you should have no problem surviving with this number, will you?"
The manslayer was what both Meryl's soldiers and the enemies had called her. She didn't mind the title. But everyone in the army knew that she hated being called either beautiful or graceful. She wondered if this outworlder was oblivious of that fact or if he knew it and intentionally said it to piss her off.
"I have no problem," Meryl answered. "But that will leave the right army, led by your friend here, with only 200,000 natives and 500,000 outworlders. How are you going to fight with that number?"
"Good question, my beautiful Meryl," John said, which earned him a stare from Meryl which he completely ignored. "The right army, designated here as the turtle army…"
Jack's head snapped to John upon the word. 'Man… Can't you give my army a better name?' He complained within.
"… will be in total defense mode. The area where the enemy's third army occupied, which is the Thesewal region, had a mountain range blocking large armies from entering further into our country." John had the map projection above to zoom in on the place he mentioned. "There are only two passes in this mountain range. One is a wide plain which provides the largest gap in this mountain range. This should be the most ideal pass for the enemy to cross, but there is a fort here, built specifically to defend this pass. Half of the turtle army will be stationed in this fort while the other half will defend this other pass, which is a much narrower gap in the mountain range here."
Jack saw the projection shown on the map. There was a name hovering above the place John had pointed, Themisphylae.
'Hey, isn't that…'
'Yes, it's the place where you have the simulated war when you entered the Ancient Battleground,' Peniel confirmed.
John never stopped his explanation, "With the turtle army watching over these two passes, the enemy won't be able to pass. Then we just need to wait for the dragon army to complete their task and then we can win the war."
"For the dragon and phoenix army, I might agree the enemy will wait to engage us in the area where they gathered. But for these two passes. I don't think the enemy will wait until we get into the forts before they mount their attack, will they?" Emris asked.
"That's why half the turtle army with the fastest mobility will rush to the two forts to reinforce them before the enemy arrived. The two forts are already manned. The expeditionary force the orcs had sent to occupy Thesewal won't be able to take down either fort. They will need to wait for their main army. After that, they still need around three to four days of marching. Meaning we have one and a half weeks to get there before them. After that, they just need to defend until the rest of the turtle army arrives."
The hall was quiet as they contemplated John's strategy.
"Sounds rather simple this time," Jack whispered to Jeanny.
"I think simple is good, I never like his roundabout tricks," It was Peniel who responded to his remark. Jeanny just gave the two a 'please be silent' sign.
"Any objection to this plan?" John asked.
The two Lord Marshalls looked at one another. This plan put the turtle army at a disadvantage, but since the two were not in charge of that army, they didn't mind. If they could settle their portion of the opponents, then they could come to the other's aid.
The two expressed their agreement.
John nodded. "Please note that the objectives were to reoccupy the three border towns that the orcs had taken for their invasion bases. Once this was achieved, Verremor would lose their footholds and had no choice but to retreat."
"The army outside is being reorganized according to the arrangement discussed in this meeting as we speak. Of course, each of Lord Marshall's private forces is included in the respective army the two of you are commanding, so you will have your most trusted soldiers by your side. We also have here the rosters of which officers joining which army. Please report to the base camp of each army that had been set up outside the capital. We expect all three armies to depart by tomorrow. Everyone is dismissed… Except for the high officers of the Turtle army. Please stay, we have more to discuss."
The mass started to trickle out of the throne hall. The huge hall that was crowded before became rather empty, leaving only a handful of people, most of whom Jack recognized. These were the people with whom he had fought together in the civil war. John had organized the turtle army with personnel that had the experience of working together.
The door to the throne hall was closed again after the last people walked out. Once the large door was closed, John said, "Okay, now I'm going to describe the real plan."
"The real plan?" Jack asked.
"Of course. You don't think I will put my entire hope on that old man now, do you?" John said.
"That old man is one of the heroes of our country, outworlder," Ahab said.
"Forgive my words then, good Commander Ahab. You know I am never one with a good mouth. Now, with that being said, I can tell you that despite Lord Marshall Emris commanding more natives in his army than the opponent, he won't be having a good time."
"Because the opponent has two high-level mythical-grade enemies?"
"No. Our higher proportion of high-level officers in the dragon army should cover that gap. But if the intelligence we have gathered from Verremor is true, then the trouble will come from the outworlders."
"The outworlders? Aren't you giving your kind too much credit? The outworlders in Verremor can't be that higher level than yours here, can they?"
"No, our average levels are similar. What will cause the trouble is that the outworlders in Verremor have been joining the local wars for quite some time. They have somehow developed some forms of coordination between the natives and outworlders. They are not an army like the late Prince Therribus, where the native and the outworlder acted completely separately. They are more similar to us at the end of the civil war when we banded together. But since they had been doing this longer, their coordination is much better. If you factor in the outworlder's number into the orc's army, the number difference between the dragon army with the opponent is only twenty percent. Winning is possible, but it's not a certainty, and even if the dragon army can win, it won't be fast enough. By the time they actually win, the phoenix or the turtle army might already fall."
"Then you have another plan to win this war?" Armstrong asked.
"Of course!" John replied with a smile.
"See, I told you it was too simple," Jack said to Jeanny, to which Jeanny again gave him the quiet sign.
"So, what is this secret plan to win this war?" Duke Alfredo asked.
"The same as the time when we fought with the orcs in the Fulgur region. Their supplies."
John nodded. "In any invasion scenario, supplies are critical. As the defending force fighting on our own turf, we can easily gain supplies from any nearby city. The invading army does not have this privilege. They can only rely on supply shipments from their home country. Otherwise, they have to pillage the supplies from the towns or cities they defeated, which is not only limited but also unreliable."
"That's why you told the defeated border towns to burn their supplies before they retreated," Royal advisor Mason remarked.
"That's right," John said.
"I am afraid it won't be as easy as the last time," Quintus said. "We are only dealing with a small-scale army during the conflict in the Fulgur region. This time it is a proper army. That's why they had taken our border towns and made them into their home bases. Trying to get to their supplies is the same as attacking those fortified towns."
"We won't be taking out the supplies themselves. It is the supply lines we are targeting."
John nodded. "The supplies needed to maintain the orcs' massive army will be tremendous. They will need a constant supply. No doubt the Verremor built a series of depots along the route they had passed and the supplies are continuously being transported through this line. By occupying and cutting these supply lines, it will seriously impact the invading army's morale and ability to fight."
"These supply lines are most certainly being guarded as well."
"Of course, but with how large an area this supply line covers, it is impossible to cover the entire line. I say there might be only a few legions patrolling the line. With scouts spread out to spot any possible intruders so the real army can react if needed."
"And this plan only involves the turtle army?" Armstrong asked.
"Yeah," John confirmed.
"The turtle army already has the smallest number of natives that are to be divided amongst those two passes. Outworlders make up the bulk of our army. You can't be serious about dividing it further to form the shock army to go after this supply line?"
"Oh, that is exactly what I'm saying," John said with a grin.
Armstrong looked at the prince and the royal advisor. "Do Your Highness and Your Excellency agree to this plan?"
"Well, I…," Mason seemed undecided.
"I trust his plan," Prince Alonzo declared firmly.