Chapter 10
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"Bang!"

The two armies collided brutally.

The sounds of slaughter and screams mixed together, and fresh blood splattered onto the white ground, painting a bloody mural on the snow.

From the onset of the battle, the Hunter family's peasant soldiers overwhelmed their opponents with their ferocity and aggression. Each one fought like a ravenous, bloodthirsty hound that had caught sight of a meaty bone; no one hesitated to sink their teeth in.

In the face of these Hunter family soldiers, who showed no signs of the typical timidity and fear common among peasant soldiers, many of the House of Welles's soldiers quickly faltered.

The quasi-knight overseeing the House of Welles's battle operations stepped forward and personally cut down several enemies before their line stabilized.

Of course, the House of Welles would not simply stand by and watch their peasant soldiers collapse.

A group of quasi-knight captains led by a quasi-knight personally tore into the Hunter family's battle lines, and the leading quasi-knight beheaded a Hunter family peasant soldier, severing him and his pike in two with a single swing of his greatsword. The Hunter family soldiers faltered.

Perhaps the quasi-knights of the House of Welles were not excellent commanders, but they were certainly qualified junior officers. They led from the front, fearless and aggressive, and stopped the retreat of the House of Welles soldiers in its tracks.

A good general inspires courage in his troops, and under the leadership of these quasi-knights, the House of Welles farmers managed to regain some of their initial bravery, and none of them fled. The battle, now a desperate, white-hot struggle, reached a deadlock.

"Kill!"

After slaying another one of the Hunter family's farmers, this quasi-knight of the House of Welles felt something was terribly wrong. The situation felt different; he couldn't shake the uneasy feeling that something was off.

In his experience, when he and his fellow quasi-knights charged into battle with their personal retinues, the common soldiers lost their courage and retreated. If no opposing knights emerged to stop them, the rest of the fight would devolve into a simple chase and slaughter.

But this time, the common soldiers did not scatter as he expected, leaving their backs exposed to him. Instead, they held their positions firmly and even showed signs of surrounding him, fighting with far more tenacity than he had anticipated.

This was all thanks to Richard's management methods. In Richard's eyes, maintaining the combat effectiveness of an army could be achieved through three methods: "Incentivize, Rationalize, and Discipline."

"Incentivize" referred to offering land and opportunities for promotion in exchange for military achievements, thereby stimulating the soldiers' passion for war and prompting them to fight valiantly and take the initiative in battle.

"Rationalize" focused on education during peacetime. Richard adopted a method inspired by the Xiang Army and tried to organize soldiers from the same villages or towns into the same units so they would be reluctant to abandon their comrades in battle.

Alongside this, he provided them with education on loyalty and righteousness, as well as the propaganda of defending their homes, to stabilize their fighting spirit and ensure they wouldn't flee even when at a disadvantage.

Finally, "Discipline" involved harsh punishments. Aside from executing deserters on the spot, Richard also punished their families. In extreme cases, if a village produced a certain number of deserters, the entire village would be punished with increased taxation the following year.

Through these methods, even if the cruel ravages of war had extinguished these peasant soldiers' passion and resolve, they would still be reluctant to flee due to their fear of strict military discipline.

Even the spectacle of a knight from the House of Welles slicing a man in two couldn't scare off the Hunter family's peasant soldiers. In addition, the City Guards, being more battle-hardened, stepped up to fill the gap, and the entire battle entered a stalemate.

Watching the situation unfold, Richard frowned, clearly displeased with the stalemate on the battlefield.

I've underestimated the House of Welles, Richard thought.

In his view, the peasant soldiers he had raised, though they lacked slightly in terms of equipment and training, were no less in terms of fighting will and discipline than professional soldiers. The kind of untrained peasant soldiers they faced shouldn't have been capable of resisting them at all.

However, the quasi-knight sons of the House of Welles taught Richard a lesson with their martial prowess. These professional warriors, possessing four to five times the physical strength of an average person, donned heavy suits of armor and wielded heavy weapons.

Any one of them, if transplanted into an ancient battlefield in their previous life, would have been a terrifying general whose name echoed through history, a veritable meat grinder.

Seeing more than ten of them appear simultaneously on a battlefield was no small feat. The fact that the Hunter family's peasant soldiers hadn't yet collapsed under the onslaught was testament to Richard's competent military leadership.

No wonder the lords of this world seemed to care little for ordinary soldiers. In a sense, individual bravery was even more important than it had been in the ancient world of Richard's previous life. That was not even considering the terrifying knights, who stood above the quasi-knight class.

If Richard could have deployed more quasi-knight units, he naturally would not have sent ordinary soldiers to face them. Unfortunately, the House of Welles far surpassed the Hunter family in terms of resources. It took only a few years to train elite soldiers, but quasi-knight training required much more time and could not be rushed. Including the three System-sourced swordsmen, Richard had only two uncles, two first cousins, and two newly minted quasi-knight cadets—totaling no more than ten.

The House of Welles, on the other hand, boasted over twenty surnamed quasi-knight cadets. Add to that the personal guards and retainers accumulated over generations, and the total number of quasi-knight-class fighters under Viscount Weylin's command approached thirty. Even if Viscount Weylin sent nearly ten quasi-knight cadets and personal guards to spearhead the charge, he still had twenty remaining quasi-knight cadets waiting for their chance at his side. No wonder the House of Welles had launched the war with such confidence.

The System's pawns continued to protect their ranged units, allowing them to release a barrage of arrows. These System archers were incredibly accurate, almost as if they had access to cheats. It was difficult to see this advantage during the initial volley, but in the ensuing melee, they could precisely target enemies and cause trouble for the opposing quasi-knight, revealing their exceptional skill.

While Richard was dissatisfied with the current state of the battlefield, Viscount Weylin was even more so.

Viscount Weylin believed that his forces had a significant numerical advantage. Even if they couldn't utterly crush the enemy, they should at least have an obvious advantage, yet the battle had reached a stalemate.

"Whoa, whoa."

After both sides' cavalry units probed each other, neither found an opportunity to charge, and both retreated back to their respective formations.

The northern region lacked horses, or rather, all the horses of the northern region were centralized in the hands of the Marquis of the North. The House of Welles had relied on generations of careful management to amass a force of over a hundred riders, while Richard had purchased additional horses at high prices and thus scraped together close to a hundred cavalrymen.

The two forces of cavalrymen stood assembled at their respective commanders' sides, silently staring at each other across a few hundred paces. Suddenly, they raised their battle blades and cried out in unison.

Regardless of any earlier calculations, the success of this battle once again rested on the knights' shoulders.


You can read more of this novel, updated to at least 110 chapters, at this link below.

Heroes of Might and Magic: Knight

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