Chapter 20 – Match
Having had a day to rest, I was ready for this month’s inspection. I even woke up early to get myself ready to have one final meeting with my recruits before they started their mission with the other recruits. The training mission today was capture the flag, a simple mission that is often used to train both, experienced and new soldiers alike.
The recruits under me had experience going against each other in groups of twenty-five against twenty-five. But they haven’t had the opportunity to try a mission where all fifty of the recruits in my platoon went against another platoon.
However, I had faith in them as I did work hard for months to train these guys in adaptability. I would be disappointed if they were not able to live up to expectations. All those hours I spent drilling them in combat tactics and critical thinking.
When I arrived at the barracks that my recruits were staying at, they were checking each other’s armour to make sure all the straps were tied correctly. This had become a habit for them as I would often check to see if they were put on properly. If they where put on incorrectly I would punish the whole group. Plus they knew the generals were coming to watch today.
What they didn’t know was that the generals were not the only people they had to watch out for. My brother and sister-in-law the king and queen of Kar had also come to watch. While they knew that my name was Ayra they still had no idea that I was the princess of Kar. If they knew about my status, it would make it much harder for me to train them because I would have to be mindful of my conduct.
As a princess, I had to constantly be mindful of how others may perceive me. I had always been mindful to not acting like a wilful child when I was out in public as I didn’t want to face the fury of Ingrid. Recently, it hasn’t been possible. Most of the time in my rush, I was often bullish in my actions.
Hopefully, Claude can give me some slack and be more lenient with this deadline, giving us some much-needed time.
After checking to see that everyone was well-rested, I led everyone to Conflict Valley where the inspection would be held. As to keep everything objective I did not give any of the recruits’ information about the valley before coming here, as it would defeat the purpose of this inspection.
I was trying to demonstrate that with proper training, these soldiers can function even without the command of an officer. To prove this, I was going to sit with Claude, Ingrid, and the generals. I was prepared to even have my recruits face one of the generals and their soldiers to prove the point.
After leaving the recruits to a member of the student council that was supervising this event, like they did for the large-scale warfare club. Seeing that there were as many as two thousand of the two thousand five hundred recruits already gathered here, it was safe to say that it was soon time to start.
Heading to the stands that the student council that set up for the officials and generals that had come to spectate. I found the stand was heavily guarded by royal knights and guards. From that, it was easy to predict that my brother was already here.
As I walked up to the stand, a guard I had never seen before was about to stop me, but the royal knight next to him stopped him and let me through. While I did not recognise this guard it was strange for any guard of the royal family to not even recognise me as the current crown princess. It was simply unthinkable. While I was trying to think of a reason for this, I was interrupted from my thoughts by a general that had also just arrived. She was one of the few female generals that existed on this continent and one of Kars best generals, while also being its oldest. However, many people from other countries called her the witch general, as she was not a warrior but a mage, and her progressing age didn’t help. Her fire magic was known to be capable of melting stone and city walls alike.
“I was not expecting to find you here Princess Ayra. I would have thought that you would have been down there commanding your recruits in person.” Said the general.
“Well, I cannot tell you too much right now general Tanith, but I can tell you I have a surprise for all of you guys today.” I replied.
“I can’t say I’m not looking forward to it then.”
With that, I walked with general Tanith the rest of the way. Having almost reach seventy, general Tanith was still very fit and healthy and was able to walk at a fast pace. We were able to quickly reach Claude and Ingrid that were seated on the highest chair, with all the generals that were at the capital were being present.
Next to Claude, there was an empty seat saved for me as I had already informed him, that I would come to join him. The only other seat left was the one below my seat and was reserved for general Tanith. The way that the seats were aligned was that the closer you were to royalty the higher your rank was. General Tanith had her seat directly below mine and was the closest to a member of the royal family, indicated that she was the highest-ranking general here today.
Without having to wait very long the recruits were all ready to start with the first groups already at their home base with a knight course student acting as an officer. For today’s battle, they had not raised any fortifications and had simply left the land barren. This was so that the round would end quickly as we had twenty-five rounds today.
All the rounds were variations of the same battle plans. The officers just had some members head off to grab the flag while others stayed to defend. There weren’t any fancy battle strategies or the likes.
By lunchtime, nine-round had already gone by. As we would never finish if we stopped for lunch Ingrid had already informed the maids to prepare food that was convenient to eat ahead of time.
When it was finally time for the last match which included my recruits, a few of the generals that had become bored from all the similar clashes look curiously at me. It was most likely because they had expected that I would have gone down to join my recruits for the battle. But contrary to their expectations I had just sat there next to Claude.
Even Claude was curious as to why I had not personally gone down to command the recruits. Everyone present had heard about my track record as a commander. During my matches in the large-scale warfare club, I acted as the commander for thirteen matches. Of those thirteen matches I had obtained victory in all thirteen matches.
Trying to act mysterious, I continued to say, ‘you will find out soon,’ every time they asked me.
They were dissatisfied with my reply but finally realised that I wouldn’t say anything, so they decided to just watch the match.
Some of them even thought that I had given up as my group did not even have a trained officer to lead them.
Thinking of how wrong they all were. I let out a big goofy grin, which earned a glare from Ingrid.
The only thing that saved me was that the match had finally started. Against all expectations from those present, my group of recruits were not disorganised and clueless as to what to do but had sent out three skirmish groups consisting of three squads. One to the left one to the centre and one to the right. Soon after they left another three squads started to head out after them but stopped halfway to the enemy base while the first groups stopped a distance away from the enemy base. While the two of the remaining four squads started to patrol around the base, leaving the last two squads to guard the flag.
They completed all that in under ten minutes.
While in that time amount of time the opposing side had just finished splitting up all their members into an attack group and a defence group. Having their archers as defenders and having their light and heavy infantry act as the attackers. This made sense as archers who aren’t proficient in melee combat were more suited to warding off attackers with their arrows.
The generals that had now focused on the opposing side’s movements had unknowingly lost sight of all the recruits from my side. As I had kept an eye on them in the first place, I knew that they had broken some of the leafy tree branches and attached them to their armour and shield as a form of camouflage. While lying flat on the ground, blending into the undergrowth. Ingrid with her trained and experienced eyes from her days as an adventurer, was most likely also capable of locating my recruits.
The opposing side sent their attack force out, completely unaware that they were being watched. Someone from the opposing side almost walked on one of my recruits, but ended up missing them, and continued walking through. Once all of them had passed by, my recruits suddenly all got up at the same time and pounced on the opposing team catching them all by surprise, they were almost wiped out instantly, save for ten recruits.
Having seen all that from the high grounds, Claude and the generals were all shocked beyond words and moved to the edge of their seats, as they continued to watch on.
Being outnumber and still stunned from the recent attack it was without question that the opposing side would lose. My recruits easily eliminated all the infantry members from the opposing side and moved onto their next target, the flag.
Moving ahead of the group of four light infantry members from my side had sneaked behind the opposing side's base and once again stopped, lying flat on their stomach. Their fellow recruits stayed where they were until they were sure that the light infantry members were ready.
Once they were all set and ready the archers started firing at the opposing side eliminating a few members before the enemy could even locate them. However, the opposing side was destined to be disappointed as their shots were unable to hit their targets as the heavy infantry recruits from my side covered their archer counterparts.
With their fellow recruits having successfully gained all the attention, the light infantry made their move in grabbing the red flag that was guarded by only one recruit. Now that they had the enemy flag, they started their sprint back to our base, running right past the enemy and their fellow recruits. The enemy noticing that their flag had been taken gave chase, but the squad members that had stay behind to kept harassing them and slowed their response.
The light infantry members with the flag passed it onto their fellow recruits that were waiting at the halfway mark. Trading positions, the four light infantries stopped there and caught their breath while the other squads continued the mission in carrying the flag back to the base uninterrupted. The enemy archers that had finally gotten past the squads' members that had stayed behind were once again impeded by the four-light infantry. However, by that time the flag had already been carried all the way to our base.
With the sounds of loud beating drums that signalled the end of the match the fighting stopped.
Claude who was sitting next to me turned my way and congratulated me.
“I’m impressed by how well you trained your recruits, they performed excellently. Their movements and skills were a bit rough and unpolished, but they have the making of an elite force. If I was to say what put them apart from other recruits, it would be their unhesitant and quick responses to changes in the battlefield and creative tactics. I must ask, did you tell them to use these strategies and tactics in advance?”
“No, I only taught them to think creatively in situations during their daily training. Everything they did today was planned by themselves without any intervention from me.”
Following this, I continued to explain how I got these results from my recruits. I detailed how I had not trained them to fight in formations, but instead, smaller battles that emphasised on tactics and deception above personal combat skills.
I also talked about the benefits of this style sighting that because each squad had members that covered areas in scouting, defence, and ranged combat their ability to respond to different situations was quicker and more applicable to large formations that separated units into their roles as light and heavy infantry, and ranged combatants.
The generals present were still slightly sceptical of the application of such training, but Claude overruled them and had me trained one thousand of the recruits using a similar strategy while the others would continued with the traditional training method.
Wanting this to be officially binding, Claude made a decree under his name as a king. I got down onto a half kneel waiting for Claude’s official decree.
“As the sun of the Kar, I decree that Princess Ayra star of the kingdom is to train one thousand of this year’s recruits in any way she sees fit. Additionally, upon completing this mission she will be recognised for her achievements and reward the rank of Lieutenant colonel. She will become the commander of the first independent battalion under Queen Ingrid’s command. Do you choose to accept this mission Princess Ayra?”
Looking directly into Claude’s eyes from my kneeling position, I started my reply.
“I, Princess Ayra, star of the kingdom, choose to take on this mission given by the Sun, King of Kar.”