TL: So I recently found a webnovel about chinese history.
Gravity tales is translating The Grandmaster Strategist, and I find that it’s translated really well. The story is about an alternate universe that talks about chinese history as a genre (no cheat skills or systems. It’s not a xianxia.). This novel isn’t a real historical novel, but it picks from famous chinese poets and combine their poems which the protagonist writes, which then invites drama that comes into play. This is like a webnovel that introduces you to chinese history written in an entertaining way. I kind of have to tip my hat off for the guts to even try and translate this novel.
Honestly, the original text picked off hardcore poems that needs a whole chapter devoted to explain the origin’s text and meaning, but the translator did a really fine job in making it sound great in english and retain its general essence.
Chapter 71 – The oncoming premonition
Brendel rubbed his forehead as he recalled a particular battle during the game, as he traveled into the Baern’s forest.
Before entering a war filled with bloodshed, the gamers who led a peaceful lifestyle could hardly imagine the fanatical eyes of every person that seemed to be swallowed in bloodlust. The battles were as chilling as it appeared, the cold and merciless blades that went into each throat, causing crimson blood to spray everywhere, filling the air with iron rust, while each victim struggled on the ground as the night melted into the background. Their weary eyes saw their final moments before their vision became dim.
That did not mark the end of them, because their own blood would pool within their lungs and they would cough incessantly, in a painful bid to cling for life before they finally expire in sorrow.
Once upon a time, ‘Sophie’ thought ‘The Amber Sword’ was going to progress like a scene in a novel. He recalled the moments of how the battles unfolded in a bizarre manner.
There were no two armies deployed in an orderly fashion facing each other. His first true battle with large numbers occurred in the Delttal Forest. Tall trees with dense leaves lined across a precipice which led into a meandering shoreline. The enemies that consisted of slavery merchants and their private armies hid within the cliffs’ large fissures.
The number of gamers and NPCs were more than three times the slavers’ private armies, but the true battle was decided by how proficient their scouts were in a place like this.
The initial battle started off with the gamers completely falling into chaos as they were flanked from an ambush in an unfavorable spot. Team members were separated from each other and the appointed leaders lost sight of their position, and the majority of the people had to form into small groups to fight for themselves.
The enemy employed multiple highly mobile ambushes that came for the flanks and back, and the thousand odd gamers were held back by a single unit of cavalry.
No one knew where the scouts were spying them from, and the chaos had made it impossible for the leaders to keep track of where their flanks were. In retrospect, Brendel felt that having the option to command a battleground from an isometric view like how other games were, was something of a blissful thought.
During the thick of the battle, countless swallow-tail flags were carried by a myriad number of guilds that served to obscure sight and contributed nothing but disorder. They were ushered to move in a direction that no one knew where they were going, occasionally encountering small groups of the slavery’s private army and defeating them easily. Everyone thought they had the greater numbers and thought they were going to win, but the longer the battle went on, the more splintered the groups became.
The slavers’ main private army moved in an organized manner with numbers that dwarfed the splintered groups, picking them off one by one, like how Brendel had done so earlier when he fought the undead army with the refugees.
By the time dusk came, the remaining gamers found themselves surrounded by the enemies’ flags—
[‘The Delttal’s massacre’, aptly named in the forums. Seventeen hundred gamers gathered together by three large guilds to fight along the NPCs. There was no question to the gamers’ skill and courage. Even until the end they formed small parties to fight to their deaths, but the result was the gamers being utterly obliterated.]
The irony in the situation was how the smaller groups of gamers caused more damage to the slavers in the night, compared to the situation in the daytime where they had the advantage in numbers. Brendel gave a wry smile.
[This memory still chills me to my soul even though that battle happened just after Bucce’s battle with Madara. The gamers only learned how to employ tactics and memorized the guild flags and whether they belonged to the cavalries or foot soldiers. The commanders situated themselves onto higher grounds so they could observe the batleground and adjust their positions accordingly within a ten-mile radius.]
Brendel watched Makarov issued commands that the gamers had to learn themselves.
There were certainly differences to the battle Brendel had because of the scale, but the principles behind them were similar. Brendel held the horse’s reins closely and directed it to avoid shrubs so that they would not prick it. He glanced around from time to time, and discovered figures wearing green robes and painted bows darting across. Normal people would not have noticed them.
[‘The Forest Spirits’? They are definitely the best hunters that appeared in this world as far I can see. Kirrlutz’s soldiers called them the ‘Forest Spirits’ when they invaded this land two hundred years ago, but it’s a name that the local citizens saw as praise. This meant they were the swiftest hunters, the most accurate archers and the best rangers.]
“I wonder where Makarov found them.” Brendel subconsciously mumbled as he tapped the gold plated bits on the reins. He had actually teamed up with them before, even though the time he had with them was not long, they left a deep impression on him.
“I wonder if they scouted this place for a long time.”
The mercenaries would have an easy time if they had excellent scouts. Makarov certainly handled things well. Brendel understood that mercenaries could only perform well if they were far more familiar with the lands compared to their enemies.
The members of Makarov’s mercenaries were definitely veterans. It was a common thing for mercenaries to be hired to clear bandits, and the more famous their name was, the more experienced they tend to be. Makarov himself was clearly someone who’s renowned.
[There wouldn’t be many differences to how I would employ our positions if I was to lead the mercenaries. He even has an advantage over me since he already knows where the lizardmen are. The Elven ruins in Baern should prove to be a difficult place to access if they are not locals, but it seems his men knows this place well. I wondered how I’m going to work with him and I considered the possibility of hiring other mercenaries to follow his tail, but that itself can be considered as a great affront.]
Brendel ultimately chose to use the Mercenaries’ Oath, and was secretly delighted that Makarov had a great number of scouts. It also highlighted the disadvantage if he chose to chose his former plan. If he followed them from the back, he would not have seen the scouts.
He looked over to Makarov and Buga.
Their faces were taut. They had shown Brendel’s their scouts because they had no choice. If they hid them, sooner or later Brendel would have noticed them, so revealing them now was a choice they made to give him a warning. Brendel’s men seemed to be like a bomb waiting to explode. Placing them in front or at the back was even more dangerous, compared to placing them at the center where they could surround them quickly.
If he had a choice, Makarov would have Brendel thrown out a long time ago. Even through the journey he wanted to do so several times, but he shook his head in the end.
[Even if other groups of mercenaries would do something otherwise, the Grey Wolves must not do something dishonorable. The agreement stands.]
“Is Eke still in the town?” Makarov turns to Buga and asks.
“Forget it. Let him do whatever he wants. This isn’t his fault,” Makarov shook his head and let a sardonic smile spread across his face. “It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t tell him too much.”
“He’s doing this because of you.”
“I know he’s concerned about the ‘Paper Cards’, but he doesn’t know that we know about their presence already. That idiot bastard Drake thinks he’s fooling us, but what he doesn’t know is we’re playing along with his trick.” Makarov tilted his head with contempt: “But the most troublesome person is not him, but the youth in front of us. I’m certain that he’s not with the ‘Paper Cards’ yet that doesn’t give me relief.”
Makarov gave a rarely seen expression that was full of disdain.
“That’s a terrible irony, you do know that right.” He said.
Buga agreed as well.
Brendel did not know that he caused such grief to them, but started to calculate the number of men marching. There were seventy odd men altogether heading straight to the Elven ruins.
[It would be best if we could ambush the lizardmen, otherwise this excursion would take a few days.]
Brendel’s thoughts drifted to this morning.
[The insignia of the Grey Wolves are lilac flowers that specifically blooms in the southern region. The insignia are the exact same as the Greenwoods Mountain Mercenaries… Wait… what’s the composition of the Grey Wolves Mercenaries again? ]
Brendel looked at the Makarov’s men around him.
[Half of them are Iron-ranked fighters, a fifth are Silver-ranked, along with ‘The Forest Spirits’? With such a group of mercenaries to clear a hundred odd level 20 Lizardmen Bandits, there’s no need to even arrange tactics here. Something is off about this.]
Brendel finally realized the origins of the Grey Wolves as he observed them, but his train of thoughts were interrupted when he heard Amandina snapping in a loud voice.
“Why are you placing your men over here? This isn’t normal!”
Brendel could imagine Amandina’s frown on her face without turning around.
“What the hell do you know, you wench.” Redi’s voice rang out loudly.
Brendel’s face immediately darkened.