The Devil's Evolution Catalog Chapter 153: Battle Preparations
Fine, that wasn't exactly a scene of carnage since none of them actually asked me who I liked or disliked…
Speaking of which, even if they asked me…
Due to Eugenia and Elena's clans being added to our army, we had almost reached our target number of forces.
Adding up the harpies from Elena, Eugenia and Numila, that would mean that we had gained around 6,000 harpies. Adding that to the 2,000 from Mo En and the 1,500 or so from the medusas and demonic werewolves, we had almost reached the target of 10,000. However, one does not simply walk into battle like that. On top of numbers, there were a number of logistic problems to handle, for example, weapons.
The main reason why my subordinates were able to possess a greater combat strength than their peers was because of the weapons I crafted for them. By that logic, if I were to distribute some weapons to the various elites of the clans, the various races should experience an explosive boost in strength as well.
Furthermore, there was one more easily overlooked but critical issue we had to tackle, the issue of food.
What was it like inside this so-called prison exit? No one knew for sure, but according to rumors, anyone who tried to forcefully break through were all dead. Plus, those four-stars who supposedly left the Prison of the Dead hadn't sent a single word back; so there was basically no news about this mysterious exit.
Since we had no information about the exit, this brings us to another problem; the problem of time. We had nearly 10,000 troops on our side; exactly how long did we have to sustain these massive numbers for? How much food did we need to bring?
Furthermore, what kind of traps awaited us there, and how many enemies did we have to face?
Even though we had all basically agreed that a horde of undead awaited us in there, and we could sustain ourselves off those souls, I couldn't guarantee that there would be no regions that were just paved with traps. If we encountered such a region, what were we to do? Having no enemies means having no food too.
Without food, we would be lucky if the army didn't just implode let alone fighting against the enemy. There's no way we could advance while feeding on our own.
Plus, there were still a ton of details to iron out. Sigh...there's just so much to do.
With the three harpy witches in tow, we returned to Mo En's nest. Until the day we set off for the prison exit, his nest was to be our temporary headquarters.
The location of the exit had already been determined; roughly half a month's march from our current location. Along the way, we would definitely encounter the territories of numerous other races. However, if they knew what was good for them, they would join us. My army wasn't just for show after all.
In this world, there were only two outcomes, eat or be eaten, there was no third option.
Initially, I had intended to turn the harpies into javelineers, but none of them had hands to speak of since they had an eagle's body after all; though with a female human's head. Strictly speaking, harpies were half-beast monsters. While their claws were able to wield a javelin, their flexibility wasn't on the same level as a human's arm.
I experimented with this idea several times but the result wasn't really ideal. The main issue was that their accuracy was too low, to the point where it shattered whatever pre-conceptions I had about them.
Originally, I assumed that they would be fantastic javelineers since they had an eagle's eye and all. Plus, with their high ground, they should have a better view of their target. However, the lack of arms ended up sinking this idea in the end.
Yet, taking into account that there were 6,000 of them, their individual accuracy wasn't such a crippling problem. After all, with 6,000 javelins raining down on the enemy, I'm sure at least a few of them will hit.
In that sense, me trying to turn them into elite air javelineers with their horrid conditions was simply nitpicking.
This wasn't some YY (Chinese Discord) novel after all, there's no way one could casually encounter some unknown flying species that so happened to fit one's requirements. These harpies were experts at diving and auditory charms, not ranged attacks.
Normally, this wouldn't be a problem, but the undead were immune to psychic magic so their own deadly weapon was basically useless against the undead.
Right now, I was swarmed with a host of things to do since I was the only one who could use Dark Alchemy. As for the others...I tried to get them to help out, but the Grimoire of the Dead would have none of that. It wouldn't even allow any of them to touch it, or rather, it didn't allow any male lifeform to touch it.
Besides, not everyone had the talent for magic, even if they were devils. At the end of the day, it was only me who could use Dark Alchemy...so tiring...how I wish someone was here to share this load with me…
There were around 6,000 harpies so in order to arm them all, I would have to create 6,000 javelins. If I wanted to arm them with two javelins each, that would make it 12,000; if three, then it would be 18,000...someone kill me. There's no way this was possible with just me alone.
Thus, I decided on a different plan. Under my command, my subordinates began gathering up bones and sharpening them into stakes. The length of the bones didn't matter; as long as they were sharpened, they could be used as shortspears. With their height advantage, the speed of these spears would get boosted by gravity...given enough speed, even paper can kill a person let alone a bone stake. (TL: Science!)
The task of grinding these bone javelins were given to the devils. Though they were mostly simple brutes, sharpening bones shouldn't be a problem for them, plus, they had their brutish strength going for them. I ended up handing this task over to No.5, that little potato. This unevolved potato was no help in a fight, so if he couldn't even manage my army, then perhaps it's time to review my hiring policies.
With the matter of my aerial forces settled, next came the problem of my mounted forces. For that, I would have to rely on Violet Snow and her hellhounds.
Seeing as that oddity Big 5 was able to tame a hellhound and use it as his mount, that meant a hellhound cavalry was a possibility; at the very least, their backs weren't as weak as I had initially feared.
During my little jaunt in the human world, I made sure to keep an eye out for saddle schematics, so in a sense, that trip wasn't a complete disaster. Thus, with my Dark Alchemy and the hides I skinned from some creature, I created the first ever doggie saddle...doggie saddle...why does that sound so weird...I'll just call it a saddle…
The experimental saddle was basically a success; while there were still some kinks to work out, it performed its function of stabilizing Big 5 as he rode his hellhound. In a test fight between Big 5 and No.3, No.3 ended up being pushed back a couple of paces while Big 5 was still seated comfortably on his hellhound. Based on that, the saddle was a success. As for the kinks, I could work them out when I had more time.
Now that we have a cavalry unit, we don't have to cower in fear from those undead horsemen anymore. All we have to do is charge right at them and I guarantee my saddles would do their job.
The newly minted cavalry unit was naturally commanded by Big 5. However, due to our previous skirmishes, there weren't many hellhounds left, coming out at roughly 40. There were 5 other hellhounds, but those were Violet Snow's personal guard so naturally they couldn't be counted as part of the cavalry unit.
While I did leave the cavalry unit in Big 5's command, in essence, it was a unit led by Violet Snow since she was the princess of those hellhounds. Who else would they listen to if not her?
However, she didn't have much desire for authority, all she forbade was that I use her hounds as cannon fodder. It went without saying that I agreed to that. In my eyes, the hellhounds were basically an endangered species right now. Plus in light of my relationship with Violet Snow, these hellhounds were naturally treated as a sort of special forces and received the corresponding grooming.
In order to prevent any unexpected casualties amongst the hellhounds, I even considered creating hide armors for them. Unfortunately, armors for animals were different from the usual leather armors made for humans; the fact that I had no experience crafting leather armors didn't help either. Not to mention that such an armor design was inherently more complex that normal leather armors. If it was too heavily armored, it would affect their mobility, yet too little protection would defeat the purpose of it as well.
Thus, the whole plan was axed.
With Mo En's nest as our gathering point, we created an alliance of races that was, for the time being, managed by me. My mission right now was to make the preparations for the upcoming assault, procure supplies and craft weapons.
Coming back to the issue of food, I had to say this was a rather tricky one. Storing them was a whole issue in of itself. Souls dissipated easily while meat spoiled quickly. That was why we had only managed to bring close to two day's worth of food when we first entered the Prison of the Dead; any longer than that and the stench alone could probably cause us to have diarrhea.
Thankfully, the medusas didn't require any equipment since their innate abilities gave them a ranged attack. The demonic werewolves were basically the same as well though they seemed to like the shields I sent them last time; I'll just craft a batch and send it as a gift then.
Amongst my subordinates, the ones who required the most gear were actually the demonic half-orcs. While each and every one of them had a strength that was much higher than an equivalent devil, they had a habit of using weapons. Not only that, looking at their weapon clad selves, they almost looked like a proper army, not a very strict one though. Compared to their unruly devil counterparts, giving them a set of finely crafted gear would achieve much more than if I were to hand that same set over to the devils.
However, a more pressing issue was their small numbers. After killing off the head of the demonic half-orcs, there were less than 50 of them left alive, 49 to be exact. While I did make sure to prevent any losses, we ended up losing some anyway, and now there was only 41 of them left.
What I had in mind for them was a lot more complicated than anything I had ever crafted before. Javelins, shields, longswords, long spears and maces; pretty much everything but the kitchen sink. More than anyone else, how could I not know what kind of potatoes were in my army? Trying to find the a tall one amongst these midgets, I decided to make use of this opportunity to create an elite force.
(TL: "make the best out of nothing", essentially in a group of midgets you try to find the "tall" one, but in the end they are all midgets. It's just a slightly taller midget)
Who knows, these "elites" of mine might end up giving me a surprise later on down the road.
Their leader, Baccarel, wasn't the strongest of them but his ability to command wasn't half bad. He should be able to lead this team, which I had high hopes for, to victory.
Of my devils, a third of them were tasked to gather bones while another third was instructed to sharpen said bones. That left one third of my devils to hunt for food.
As for the werewolves and medusas, they were tasked with capturing more slaves for our army while finding food. The prison exit was a fortress that hadn't been captured despite the passing of countless years; one couldn't be too safe in the face of such a formidable fortress. Plus the fact that there was no news of those four-stars who had left concerned me deeply.
After tens of thousands of years, no matter how stupid they were, some of them had to have thought of some way to send a message into the Prison of the Dead.
It's called scouting out the enemy, dont'cha know? Even the half-orcs who had muscles for brains knew the importance of scouting out their enemy.
Thus, no matter how you looked at it, the fact that there was no word from them was highly suspicious.
Even so, breaking through the exit was something I had to do. I simply had no time to waste here. More importantly, No.3 and my other potatoes were all subordinates that had been with me since the Blood Sea; I wanted to lead them out of this hell hole and into Abaddon. Once we were out of here, I planned to huddle up in some remote corner and slowly build up my power, while at the same time, look for Yi Yi.
Speaking of Yi Yi, this little Abaddon Princess wasn't someone you could see just because you wanted to.
Though my hereditary memory was rather lacking, there were still a mountain of useful information within. In Hell, power was everything; no matter where you went, your power was tied to your right to speak. Since I had already recruited a bunch of subordinates, there was no reason to abandon them was there? Besides, if I was alone, I might end up being surrounded by a bunch of brainless buffoons...so Ferti'nier, when do you plan on leaving my body!?
Special thanks to Kaung Thant Win Naing!!