"Everyone, ready your weapons, but refrain from shooting unless I order otherwise!"
After leaving the furious officer behind us, I lead the entire group and our horses to the river itself, before signalling for my steam paddlers to approach us. With my forces in the city still prepared to resume fighting at any given time, I didn't need to worry about the enemies assaulting us at all.
In the end, despite how cocky the Ostros appointed officer was, he couldn't change the reality of the battlefield. To be frank, after I witnessed the tragedy that transpired for so many people on my own soil, rather than turning mute to their desperate screams, I pushed one of my escorts to notify the city. Rather than turning around to the human's suffering, I ordered them to provide as much medical care as they were capable off!
Yet what others could take as a sign of compassion and thus weakness, was, in fact, a perfectly calculated move. From how I spoke loudly and openly about the invasion from the east, through how I decided to lay my fate in the hands of approaching army from the west, all the way to providing medics and at least basic medical supplies, it was all aimed at the small chance of coaxing some of the wounded and survivors into actually joining my camp!
Even though I was perfectly conscious of the fact that no matter what, it would take a long time before I would allow them to actually fight for my cause if that was their will in the first place, preparing for the future was a part of a ruler's responsibilities, no matter how small and unimportant land was under my governance!
Yet after wasting quite a lot of time required to force the horses on top of the paddlers and into chasing them back on the stable ground on the other side of the river, by the time my group once again mounted our mounts, the enemy front guard was already in plain sight.
"I will repeat that once again, do not shoot unless I give you a direct order."
With everything that happened today, I knew that most of my troops were most likely trigger-happy, so rather than counting on a single order being enough to stop them from overreacting, I preferred to keep nailing it down to their heads!
"Stop where you are!"
It didn't take long after we finally got back on horseback for the approaching front guard of the army to finally enter the speakable distance. Yet rather than allowing us to approach the distance where talking would be actually comfortable, they forced us to remain at the very edge of what they must take for the range of our weapons.
"I'm Mike of the Leliwa Coat of Arms, owner of the Tarnowian, Pilznian and Ropian lands. I hereby proclaim that I will let my actions be judged and my fate decided by the Commonwealth Senate! As such, I ask for the right of hearing with the commanding officers of the army, as the news that I'm bringing are dire and urgent!"
Rather than provoking the clear veterans on the other side, I stood up in my bearings and shouted, while gesturing at my men to lower their weapons.
"You dare to ask for a hearing, you damned rebel? How about you come with us so that we could judge you ourselves!"
Seeing how the soldiers of the front guard responded to my words, I really wished to know just from which noble house did they came from. Yet in the current situation, there was no way for me to know that.
"Who is the best shooter amongst you all?"
Turning my head back to the people around me, I looked at the half-familiar faces in wait, before one of the younger-looking soldiers hesitantly raised his hand.
"Sir… I don't want to be prideful…"
"Good, I like your attitude. Do you still have your shots?"
Rather than putting down a youth that dared to be confident in his shooting abilities, seeing that no one protested as he volunteered, I decided that he might be just as good pick as anyone else. In fact, if I really cared that much about accuracy, I would use my own rifle and take the shoot myself!
In reality, though, all I required from the youth, was to not miss by some kind of huge margin!
"Listen up. I want you to shoot down one of their horses. Don't aim for the people, just the mount. I think they are feeling a bit too comfortable standing there. When you are done, make sure to raise your rifle and send two more into the skies."
While some might consider it a waste, to just shoot at the heavens in the current situation, where if the approaching front guard were to attack, every single bullet would count!
Yet rather than thinking about what would happen if they were to attack, I preferred to do my best to prevent them from doing so!
"What happened? Now that you have real soldiers against you, you are not in such a hurry to rebel? Surrender now or…"
Most likely infuriated with the attitude that this damned soldier had towards me and all of my people in extension, the youth made a good choice by aiming his rifle at that specific soldier's horse!
Seeing how the poor mount almost instantly stood on its hind legs before falling to the side along with the soldier in its saddle, I watched with delight as the same youth raised his weapon as ordered and fired two more shots at one of the nearby clouds.
"As a noble of the major household, you have no right to refuse my requests, you commoner! Go and fetch someone worthy of talking with me before I tell my men to not miss on purpose next time!"
"Okay, okay, that will be enough. I will talk with you, so how about we both get a bit closer, away from the prying ears of the common soldiers?"
Almost instantly, the moment I spoke those words, a small commotion appeared in the lines of the front guard of the approaching army before a new figure appeared from behind the cavalry's back, before shouting back to me.
It seemed that the real negotiations were about to start soon!
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