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Chapter 206 - Moving Out 2

Emperor of Steel
     Chapter 206: Moving Out 2

    Early morning.

    The lodgings near the capital gates were noisy; it was because the mercenaries who were staying there were rushing to join the army.

    The guides from the mercenary guild were already waiting for them to come.

    “Ahm, is everyone here?”

    “Yes!”

    Philip and the other Rakan knights were rubbing their eyes when they replied.

    Perhaps, it was because they were witnessing the actual situation, but everyone seemed to be nervous.

    However, it wasn’t that excessive, and Philip hadn’t given them any advice on handling their tension and nervousness on the battlefield.

    “We will enter the battle soon. I know your skills, and if you want to live and return back to your homes, don’t act recklessly and trust your fellow companions and obey orders. Do you understand?”

    “We will keep that in our mind!”

    After a while, Luke came out with his equipment and armor to lead them.

    Luke’s group came out of the castle and stopped at the wasteland in the east of Bless.

    Already 100,000 troops were gathered there.

    They were hired by Bless and the local mercenary guilds, like Luke and the local army from the Holy Empire.

    Their shelter was spread beyond the horizon, and its magnificent appearance amazed the Rakan knights.

    “Wah, how many knights are there?!”

    “It looks like maybe a hundred thousand, right?”

    “The Gigants itself seems to be around a hundred.”

    Although the Rakan had developed and made considerable strides, no one had ever seen knights that were over 100,000.

    It was the same with Luke.

    In many of his wars, which he had witnessed in his two years of military service, he never saw 100,000 troops even when adding the soldiers from both sides.

    ‘Is this what an Empire is?’

    There were only two nations in the Rhodesia continent that could mobilize such a huge amount of troops for a civil-war and not an all-out war with its neighbors.

    The Baroque Empire and the Holy Arthenia Empire.

    One of them was Luke’s enemy.

    ‘There is a long way to go. If the Baroque Empire can mobilize this much force…’

    Luke’s heart felt tired. The guide spoke to the knights who were talking, “Huhu, don’t be so surprised. I heard that the troops who were running for the capital are 150,000.”

    “What? 150,000?”

    “Hu! We intend to harass the rebels.”

    The knights clicked their tongues after listening to the guides.

    It was time for breakfast, and white smoke was rising everywhere. The soldiers were eating hard rye bread with hot soup.

    White tunic outfit with a cross on the chains.

    The central army of Holy Arthenia Empire.

    The soldiers, who wore a tunic with the same basic dress but different colors and crests, were of different territories.

    ‘Hmm, the outfit of the Holy Empire army hadn’t changed much even after 500 years. Are they this dedicated to their traditions?’

    Unlike the regular soldiers, few mercenaries wore tunics as well.

    Most were only wearing iron or leather armor of thick coats or breastplates. The wealthy mercenaries were armed with a breastplate.

    Anyway, the mercenaries wore various different styles of armor and attire so that they could be recognized at a glance.

    “What? They are priests?”

    “They look too good to be priests.”

    The knights looked puzzled at the men who had the physique of knights and were wearing brown priestly suits.

    It was because their weapons were maces.

    “Ah! They are monks, the pride of our Holy Arthenia Empire.”

    The knight who heard the guide asked for an explanation. “Monk?”

    “Yes, some of the monks in the temple learn martial arts and even become combat priests.”

    The true power of monks wasn’t their combat force.

    When they read out a holy prayer, a green film forms around their body, and the strength and stamina of the nearby soldiers, as well as the monks, improve remarkably.

    “In addition, their body’s ability to recover will also increase, so they could treat minor injuries themselves.”

    ‘Kuk, I went through some hard times because of those damn bastards.’

    Luke grunted upon hearing the guide.

    In his days as the Devil King Saymon, the Holy Army was the most toughest one he had dealt with.

    It was frustrating that his army’s physical power fell due to the Holy Army’s powerful divine power, but they managed to avoid them and chase the monks away.

    Moreover, those ignorant men were fearless.

    Rather than hesitating to see the huge army of Golems, they rushed in with sticks and hammers to break them.

    “The monks use their bare hands as well?”

    When Philip asked that while pointing to a monk, the guide immediately answered,

    “Maybe he traveled to the southern continent to learn martial arts there. The Song Empire, even the nobles in there aren’t allowed to carry weapons to improve their physical skills and martial skills.”

    “But coming to a battlefield with bare hands…”

    Luke, who had spent some time with the soldiers, reached the location of the 4th squadron.

    He was able to meet Aldof there once again.

    Aldof had assigned them a place to set up their tents and took Luke to another side.

    “I’m just curious, but do you have Gigants?”

    “Gigants?”

    “Count Marcus said that he would give more money to the mercenaries who possesses Gigants. If you have Gigants, bring them right away.”

    Aldof figured out that Luke was a knight dressed as a mercenary.

    Although he didn’t belong to their mercenary guild, since Luke worked under their Guild, they too would benefit from it.

    “Actually, I do have Gigants. I’ll ask them to bring it.”

    Luke, however, had prepared several Gigants, including Kratos, which were all in his subspace bracelet.

    He did think that he would use it once he entered the battlefield, but Count Marcus opened an opportunity for them.

    “No. The count said that he has a plan and that he would support the army with iron mages. Apart from that, he said that he has military weapons.”

    “Really?” Asked Luke.

    “Exactly, Count Marcus is the cousin of Archbishop Constantine, the regent, and the richest man in the nation. He said that he was going to pay for everything.”

    ‘That was why the 4th squadron mercenaries were acting very proudly.’

    Whatever the case, Luke had nothing to lose.

    Luke looked at Philip, who was listening from the side. Seeing Luke’s sign, Philip moved away from the place along with the knights who were close by.

    “I will let you know the details of the mission and the unit assignments after lunch.”

    As Aldof did what he had come for, Luke grabbed his arm and asked slowly, “Will the pope come out at the ceremony?”

    “Why do you want to know?” Asked Aldof with curiosity.

    “I heard that there was a miracle at the main square of Bless. Did you know about that? If the Holiness would bless me, then the arrows which would fly at me will fly to the wrong place.”

    Even the mercenaries were accustomed to the war and were fine with death by arrows and sword; that was why there was no mercenary of war who didn’t carry one or two talismans on their hands.

    “Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like that would happen. I heard it from Count Marcus. The Holiness was feeling bad and mourning for the people who are struggling in this empire. Instead, Archbishop Constantine is presiding over the mass.”

    Luke looked upset upon hearing that.

    Luke originally had no will in participating in the civil war, but the reason he did was to see the pope’s face at the ceremony.

    Yet, it was still too early to be disappointed.

    If he could build merits in the civil war, he might be able to see the pope.

    ‘I’ll wait. I’ll definitely see you!’

    Recalling Reina’s face, Luke clenched his fists.

    Three days later, when all the troops gathered, the grand ceremony was held in the wasteland.

    Archbishop Constantine and the other high-ranking priests and nobles of the empire had attended the opening ceremony, where the capital people had gathered like sand.

    However, the expression of the people watching the mass was full of disappointment. Like Luke, they had all hoped to meet the pope and see her miracles.

    Without knowing the hearts of the people, Archbishop Constantine, who finished the mass, began to give his speech.

    “Those who don’t believe in the apostle. Those who are blinded by power, and those who incite the simple-minded people. How can such men not be punished?”

    “Retribution for the non-believers!”

    “Retribution! Retribution!”

    Perhaps, they had already been informed. The leading central troops raised their voices in response to Constantine’s speech.

    Right then, the other mercenaries began to join in too and shouted.

    As the atmosphere turned heated, Constantine along with the other high priests divinized and blessed the soldiers.

    The blessed soldiers and the mercenaries cheered in a louder voice. However, Luke was just grinning.

    ‘Boring. I hope this gets done soon…’

    Unlike Luke’s wishes, the ceremony had continued for more than three hours.

    The ceremony ended after the entire camp of Luke had turned exhausted, and a total of 150,000 troops of four armies began to march toward Konrad.