1

"Can't you just be happy for his success?" Jet admonished Domon.

"I am happy," Domon said.

"Then you should learn to express it better," Jet said before turning to Jack. "Jack boy, where is Grace? I thought she was with you?"

"We got separated during our journey. I have been trying to contact her as well but am unable to," Jack replied.

"Damn it, Jack boy. You can't seriously lose your girlfriend on your first date, can you? What kind of boyfriend are you?"

"I have no time to entertain you. Jeanny, which direction did Armstrong and Ahab take?" Jack asked.

Jeanny pointed in a direction and said, "Will you be chasing after them?"

"Yeah. I heard Verremor has also sent a part of their force to rush to the forts. I want to use my Runestone of Marching to make sure Armstrong and Ahab arrived first."

"The army to strike the supply line will be breaking away soon. They need to take a very long roundabout route to avoid detection. Aren't you supposed to lead them?"

"John can take over for the moment. I will join after making sure the forts are okay. My steed can easily catch up."

"I swear... If only there is another candidate to choose for a general," John muttered.

"Stop whining," Jack chided. He then asked, "The sneaking to where the supply line is, will take more than a week, correct?"

"We will move slowly to avoid detection but once we enter the Fulgur region, we will go at full speed. It will be almost impossible to avoid detection by then. So, to answer your question, yes, it will most likely take more than one week."

"So, it will be enough time for the guild army summoning crystal to refresh its one-week cooldown, right?"

John eyed Jack with narrow eyes upon the question. "What do you want it for? I thought you prefer to be in the battle rather than commanding an army from behind?"

"The controlling is optional, isn't it? The army will attack by itself as long as there are hostiles nearby, won't it?"

"But you still need to stand near the commanding platform. If you move away, the platform will vanish and the guild army is unsummoned."

"I just need to stand next to it. I don't need to touch it or anything, do I?"

John had a realization. "Oh, I see what you are getting at. But why do you want it? Do you think you will get into a battle at the pass? Aren't you leaving the fort once you bring the army there?"

"Just for precaution. I heard the Verremor army is rushing to take the pass as well. Their force and ours might arrive at the same time."

"All right, here," John passed the crystal to Jack. "But don't you lose our troops! It's not easy training them."

"Don't worry, I know what to do," Jack replied.

"While you are at it. I have other things I need you to do." John transferred something to Jack's inventory. He then told Jack what to do with them.

After they were done, Jack said, "Okay, I'm off!"

"Wait! I will be going with you," Paytowin said.

"Don't you say you want to join the army that goes after the supply line? Do you change your mind?" Jack asked.

"No, I will also follow you to that army when you left the fort."

"You do know I won't slow down for you, don't you?"

"I know," Paytowin said and blew a whistle. A torrent of air converged and with it materialized a majestic horse with a pair of feathery wings.

"Holy shit...! A pegasus! You also have one?" Jack uttered. Pandora huffed when the winged horse appeared, as if displeased at the sight of a rival.

"Yeah, the divine priest... I mean, his residual spirit gave me this steed. To help me better traversed the world or flee if needed," Paytowin answered.

"Damn! I guess you are truly living up to your alias now, eh?" Jack remarked.

"Are you two pay-to-win characters about to leave? Just go already, you people are eyesores to everyone here," John said.

"You are the eyesore. Ok, George, let's go!" Jack said.

The two then galloped away, Jack left a blazing trail on the ground while Paytowin took to the sky. The Pegasus speed didn't fall behind the Nightmare. The others just look at the two who went away at a rapid speed, wondering when they would get a steed as cool as those two.

*

With unique grade steeds, the two took only several hours before another mass of soldiers was seen in the distance. As the two approached, horns were sounded to let the leaders of this army aware of their approach. Jack went to the front of the army. He spotted Armstrong, Ahab, Salem, and Duchess Isabelle soon.

He came before them. As he did, Armstrong ordered a halt.

"Attention!" He shouted. Everyone gave a military salute.

Jack was taken aback. It took him a second before he remembered that he was supposed to be the general.

'Aren't you supposed to say something?' Paytowin sent Jack a silent message as he landed by Jack's side.

'I think so, but my mind is blank about what to say,' Jack replied. To which Paytowin rolled his eyes. 'Your mind is blank but you can still send me a reply?'

Jack recovered his poise. He then tried his best to assume a look that projected authority. He then spoke with a clear voice, "I came before you today, not as an outsider or an outworlder. I am here before you as part of this Themisphere kingdom. With a resolve to live and die amongst you all. To lay down for this kingdom. We will drive out the invading enemies from our kingdom. We will do so and we will not rest until every single enemy is expelled from this kingdom. For our freedom, for our honor, for Themisphere...!!"

"For Themisphere...!!!" Commander Armstrong shouted, followed by the other soldiers. Soon, a rallying war cry echoed throughout the army.

'Do you think those at the back of the army hear your speech? Or are they just going through the motions?' Paytowin sent Jack a message.

'Shut up,' Jack sent a reply.

Paytowin chuckled. 'Joke aside, I am impressed. Do you truly just think of that speech on the spot?'

'I don't know. I probably am saying something that I have heard or read in the past. I'm not sure. Didn't you say I have to say something?'

'Yeah, but my thought is something akin to a simple hello. But hey, yours is much better. You are starting to act like a real general, at least.'

'What do you mean at least? Not talking to you anymore.' Jack resumed addressing the army after the war cries died down. "Everyone, I am sure you have heard that a portion of the Verremor army had also been marching to the forts. The current soldiers manning the fort won't be enough to defend the forts. Hence, we have to proceed with haste."

Jack summoned his Runestone of March. "We will march with haste and we will not stop for anything. We will only spare four hours to sleep. The rest of the time we will march. We will not even stop for a meal. We will eat during our march. Now, everyone, forward...!!"

"Forward...!" Armstrong again echoed the command. Jack was glad, the lord commander didn't seem to mind having him as a superior. He was even rather supportive in Jack's opinion.

The army resumed its march. Everyone could feel their movement speed was faster than before. It was all due to Jack's Runestone of Marching.

Jack didn't form vanguard troops and went ahead to clear obstacles anymore. If he did that, his runestone's effect would only affect the vanguard troops. The army needed to be together to be considered under his lead, hence Jack let go of the chance for another exp farming. Most of the monsters ran away after seeing such a large army come their way.

With the help of the runestone and minimal hours of rest, they covered a large distance in a short time. None of the soldiers complained. They all knew the importance of haste in this march. They were also very disciplined. The only one complaining was Paytowin, he was still sleepy when the army began their march again in the morning. He ended up falling asleep on the back of his steed. Luckily, outworlders riding their own steeds couldn't fall unless they consciously wanted to dismount.

Jack was grumbling when he saw Paytowin dozing off at the back of Pegasus. "He still dares to complain," Jack grumbled. Jack himself was sleepy, but unlike Paytowin, he couldn't sleep during the march. Firstly, he had to stay conscious to activate his Runestone of Marching. Secondly, it was unseemly for the general to sleep during the march while the others were awake. So, he forced himself to look spirited. He was the one who proposed the four-hour sleep rule, after all. It would be a shame if he was the one that looked to be struggling with the lack of sleep.

Enduring the tiring journey, they finally arrived at the edge of Slaughterer Plains after three days of march. There, Ahab and Salem went away with a part of the army to defend the Themisphylae pass. That pass was another half-day journey away, but it had a better defense. Even if Verremor troops arrived first, the pass won't fall easily.

Jack, Paytowin, Armstrong, and Duchess Isabelle marched deeper into the Slaughter Plains. After around one hour of march, the fortress came into view. It was much larger than Fort Garadhor. The wall was taller, it also looked more durable. Six towers were positioned around the wall. Each of these towers had a glowing orb on top of them.

"I assume those towers help with the defense, right?" Jack asked Peniel, to which the fairy confirmed.

"Those towers dealt magic damage to incoming enemies."

There was not yet the sign of an orc army. Jack heaved a relieved sigh. They had arrived earlier. All the suffering due to lack of sleep had paid off.