Release that Witch Chapter 823
Although it was snowing slightly, it was a fair day in the Northern Region.
Nail was rubbing the oil stick on the gun barrel out of sheer boredom. He occasionally glanced at the Impassable Mountain Range with the telescope. Since they had been stationed here, he did not observe the mountain as frequently as he did before. He usually checked it two or three times a day and spent the rest of time on maintaining the flintlock and chatting with his companions.
Maintenance of weapons required a person to be detail-oriented. Every half a month or so, they would get a portion of a thumb-long "oil stick" wrapped in hard paper. It was heard that the oil stick was made of abandoned oil from the soap factory. When they used it, they needed to heat it up and then rub it onto the special double-ended brush, which had a large and a small brush on either end, to be inserted into the gun barrel and cartridge. In the past, every squad was equipped with only one set of cleaning tools. But nowadays as there were more and more factories and workshops in Neverwinter, the brushes became accessories to the guns and everyone had one.
Of course, when there was no bonfire, they could heat the oil stick by body or mouth temperature. Though the soldiers in the First Army was forbidden to eat the abandoned oil, some people still secretly rubbed it on their dried food as a seasoning.
As a squad leader, he usually chose to turn a blind eye.
After all, the teams responsible for guarding the Northern Region were basically veterans. Some of them were even over 20 years older than him. If he had not attended the primary education class, he would not be selected as the squad leader. He could only smile to those who used to be his neighbors in the past.
After assembling the parts one by one, the rifle became shiny again. He pressed the trigger several times to ensure the empty gun could shoot normally before he once again checked the front.
He was still unable to forget the defense battle in autumn. Once he closed his eyes, the image of that young woman wearing a red cope would emerge in his mind. It was in this blockhouse that he witnessed her death. He knew that she was an enemy and a Pure Witch of the church, but her struggling in the gunshots still made him uncomfortable. If it were not Iron Axe's command and his loyalty to His Majesty, he would have chosen to leave the army and return to his previous job as a steam engine operator in the mining area.
Although he still served in the First Army, Nail made up his mind to leave the machine gun team but become an observer who protected machine gunners. He knew that he was self-deceiving, but he had no way to overcome the obstacle in his heart.
The battlefield, which had been soaked with blood, was restored to the ordinary look as if nothing had happened. The barbed wires had long been removed, leaving only a dozen of crooked stakes. Trenches were also filled with snow. If there were no blockhouses, one could not distinguish this field from the wild field around. Except them, no one knew that over 2,000 people had once died here, just several hundred meters in front of the first line of stakes.
"Chief, we're running out of firewood. Let me go to fetch some," said a soldier who was nearly as young as Nail. The firewood he mentioned was the stakes once used to fix the barbed wires. He said, "Otherwise the other squad will blame us for not adding more firewood after using it."
"But it's duty time now..." Nail shook his head and said, "You may be seen by others."
"They won't say anything," another veteran said, laughing. "It's so cold today. No one will care if we go to get firewood to warm us up. It has been several months since the cowards of the church retreated. Do you think they'll come today?"
His words were agreed by everyone else.
Nail also knew the veteran was right. At first, Iron Axe required 500 soldiers in the camp keeping stationed at the foot of Coldwind Ridge to guard against the last struggle of the church or the invasion of the demonic beasts. However, to their surprise, no enemies appeared. Maybe the superiors believed that enemies would not come, so they transferred over 200 soldiers to other places and divided the rest of soldiers into patrol teams, whose mission was to stay in the blockhouses to monitor in the northwestern direction in turns.
Nail hesitated but finally agreed with that soldier. He said, "You alone will be too slow. Go there with more people."
The soldier whistled and replied, "Yes, Head!"
Nail turned back and picked up the telescope to look toward the snow-covered field. What he could see was the white snow. Nothing changed.
Just when he was about to wipe his pistol, he suddenly saw two or three dark spots which were especially striking in a white background.
He was startled, and then shouted, "Wait!"
The soldiers who had reached the stairs stopped immediately, and the others around the stove hurriedly stood up and drew close. "What's wrong?"
Nail wiped the lens with his wool neckline and looked back in the northwestern direction. He saw more dark spots. He held his breath and observed them for a moment, only to find that they were a group of people slowly walking in the snow.
"Blow the horn to alert the soldiers! Someone is approaching the front!"
"Woo—woo—woo—woo—" As the horn sounded, the entire camp was seething at once.
With a rifle in his hand, Nail led his squad members out of the blockhouse and stood in a line around the blockhouse, placing their gun barrels on the sandbags covered with snow. As the trench was filled with snow, they had to shorten the front line, assisting the heavy machine gun to defend.
"Are they from the church?" someone asked.
"Who else will come?" muttered the former veteran unhappily. "Coldwind Ridge has long been abandoned by His Majesty. Only people in Hermes will come from that direction. I underestimated their guts."
"I hope they're not the monster-like warriors. We don't have the support of the Artillery Battalion this time."
"We have nothing to be afraid of. I don't believe they can run quickly in the heavy snow." The veteran spat. "If they wear armors, they'll sink in the snow and become our targets."
"Head, their distance?"
"At least 1,000 meters away," replied Nail, frowning at the suspicious group. "It's so strange. Something is wrong..."
"They... aren't like the God's Punishment Army."
"Does the church send the Judgement Army?" All soldiers were relieved. If they were just ordinary Judgement Warriors, it would be impossible for them to approach in the crossfire of machine guns on the blockhouse.
"No, not the Judgement Army... They're not armored. Actually, they're so ragged." said Nail, holding the telescope and said in surprise, "Gosh, how did these people come down from the mountain? They're like... a group of refugees! "
"Or maybe the God's Punishment Warriors disguised as refugees," the veteran shrugged. "Hey, where are you going?"
"I'm going to tell them to stop!" Nail said without turning back, "Otherwise, the other squads will shoot them!"