Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi Chapter 334
I don’t have any reason to stay in the capital now that my business with the king is finished, however Tristan said, “It isn’t good to leave for your territory so soon. You might be suspected of plotting an uprising due to being unhappy about the punishment”, so I decided to take it easy for a while before going home.
It should also be mentioned that Wilhelmina is going wild in the south and that needs to be dealt with.
「I will take care of it, so it shouldn’t matter if Lord Hardlett isn’t there.」
That’s what Leopolt told me.
「Rather you’d just get in the way so-」「Insolent!」「Ow! You’re going to break my bones!」
Celia kicks Tristan when he said something she didn’t like.
「Well, I wanted to spend some time with Dorothea anyways. It all works out.」
「……Dorothea-san still hasn’t woken up yet.」
Pounding the over forty year old Dorothea repeatedly until morning might have been too much.
She was like this before dawn and is still the same now.
「Also don’t say that in front of your wife.」
Oops, I made Nonna sulk.
「Sorry, sorry. I’ll give you plenty of affection today.」
「Kyaa, it’s still daytime!」
When I push Nonna down onto the couch, I feel several eyes on me.
The kids were peeking through the gap in the door.
I normally leave Dorothea in charge of looking after the mansion in the capital.
That means she can allow the children from the orphanage to live here freely.
It can’t be helped if they peek since we’re in the living room and I thought it might act as a little thrill for them, but then I spotted a strange face among them.
「What are you doing?」
Celia mixed herself in with the children and is peeking too.
When I call out to her, she comes in the room with slightly puffed cheeks.
Nonna blushes and straightens her clothes.
「Just now a messenger arrived from Count Monashi asking if you would like to go for dinner. What will you do?」
Oh right, it wasn’t just me fighting with Zilgray, the other feudal lords who participated in the clash were also summoned.
「I can’t go because I’m embracing Nonna today.」
Nonna rams her head into me after I give an immediate answer.
「You should go. It’s your duty as a noble.」
Hmm, I guess I have to if my sleeping partner says so.
「Then at least let me rest on your lap until it’s time. I’d like to feel your breasts directly on my face.」
Nonna claps her hands and attending maids appear, unfurling a cloth and wrapping it around us so others can’t see.
「There we go.」
Then those mounds of dreams get placed firmly on my face.
I can’t get enough of the soft, warm, and slightly wet sensation.
「Can I suck on your nipples too?」
「D-don’t make so much noise. They’ll hear you.」
I pay no mind to the children nearby and suck loudly regardless.
「Nothing’s coming out.」
「O-of course it’s stopped already! If you want to drink it, you’d have to implant your seed in me again……」
「Geez you two…… hey now! Hurry up and scram kids!」
Listening to Celia chase away the little ones, I continue sucking on Nonna’s tits until time is up.
–Third Person POV–
Vandolea Southwest Area
「Rullus army on the right wing is being pushed back!」
「Elgerrid army on the left wing is being suppressed by the enemy’s furious attack and can’t act, aiding them isn’t possible!」
The Vandolea army is forced into a disadvantageous fight. Not a single condition is to their advantage.
First, the war preparations. It was completely insufficient on their part.
It wasn’t just because of the natural disaster and the outbreak of disease.
Vandolea also got word of the overthrowing of the Altair regime.
The upper echelon of Vandolea patted their chests in relief when they heard that news.
They thought that the toppling of Altair’s political system would mean the state of their nation would be in continued disarray and they could not participate in war for a while.
Some even considered suggesting an invasion of their own.
In the end, a portion of their soldiers were either sent to deal with the disease or restore the farmlands, and that was when the large-scale invasion started.
The next point is in regards to the poor terrain.
Many branches in Vandolea’s army consists of spearmen, archers and cavalry.
Even in its weakened state, the composition stayed the same.
On the other hand, Altair relies on a high amount of infantry as their primary means of attack.
Vandolea uses a combination of each branch of their army with an efficient formation and rate of mobility to deal with the massive Altair army, however the ash from the volcanic eruption piled up quite a bit over a wide range between their nations.
After the ash was exposed to rainfall, it turned into a wet sludge consistency and moving around in it was remarkably more difficult.
That meant the cavalry were useless depending on the location, leaving only the infantry to slog through the quagmire.
The Altair army took advantage and purposely advanced in the spots where cavalry couldn’t move.
With Vandolea unable to make the most of their mobility to bring their formation together, the Altair army became the stronger army simply because of their superior numbers.
Lastly, it was the change in movement of the Altair army.
「The enemy’s attack is focused more on the right wing! Send a squad over as reinforcements!」
「I’m telling you it’s not there, the left wing attack is a diversion! Enemy reinforcements are looking to breakthrough the middle!」
No longer were they relying solely on brute force.
Altair attacked left and right to throw Vandolea off balance, then aimed for the areas with weaker defenses.
「An enemy platoon is circling around from the right…… do we not have any spare troops to move? Cavalry!? I told you we can’t use horses here! They’ll get in the way so send them to the rear!」
「It looks like the enemy is making moves to send a squad to the left as well. Right side, adjust your formation and figure something out on your own!」
When chances arise, Altair would even move smaller squads around the perimeter to disrupt the main frontlines.
「What the hell’s going on? These guys are completely different than before. It’s almost like we’re facing another nation!」
「Have they finally learned military tactics? No, it can’t be…… that’s not possible……」
The commissioned officers of Vandolea are veteran soldiers with plenty of experience to draw from.
That’s why they know. These movements are not from a single skilled commander leading them.
Such precise maneuvering would not be possible unless each of the platoon commanders used their own judgement to adapt to the situation and move accordingly.
It was unthinkable of the Altair army up until now.
「Order from command headquarters! All squads retreat 5 km and rebuild the defense line!」
The messenger shouts out and then the generals groan.
「Retreating again…… how far are we going to fall back?」
「We have no choice. If we stay in position, they’ll break past us.」
「There’s no more room between us and the capital Vandola. We can’t go back any further……do we not have reinforcements?」
The Vandolea army barely prevents the enemy from overrunning them while gradually inching backwards.
Altair Army? Stronghold.
「Oooh! They retreated once more!」
「Victory! It’s our victory again!」
When the Altair soldiers shout excitedly, Wilhelmina smiles back cheerfully.
「We’ve fought Vandolea for such a long time and we’ve never pushed them this far before!」
「So we are strong after all! More importantly Her Majesty Wilhelmina is our savior!」
The soldiers raise their voices at Wilhelmina.
In response, she waves back at them while making her way into the tent.
「Your expression really changes after just one second.」
Once she made her way into the tent, Zaphnes jokes about how Wilhelmina’s face returns to being cold.
「If you’re unhappy, shall I smile for you too?」
Wilhelmina’s expression instantly changes back to the same embarrassingly happy smile she showed to the citizens.
Her voice however remains monotone and detached.
「Stop. Your cute smile doesn’t match the tone of your voice. It’s almost creepy.」
「Is that so?」
Zaphnes looks serious again.
「Let’s reconfirm the state of battle.」
Ally and enemy markers get placed one after the other onto a map.
「The enemy army was routed, but only lost about 5 percent of their forces. Their 5 km retreat is probably to allow them time to set up their defense line again.」
「Fumu…… that place has a lighter accumulation of ash. It seems they want to make use of their cavalry no matter what.」
Wilhelmina lightly taps the map.
「So what are you going to do?」
「I’ll divide the army into four and have each of them proceed from this direction.」
After replying, Zaphnes goes silent and looks at Wilhelmina.
「What’s wrong, Zaphnes?」
「No, I was just wondering if the Supreme General had any opinions.」
The woman uncrosses her legs and then crosses them again.
「I said I would leave the military to you. If you really want to hear my thoughts, I’ll speak. It’s basic military strategy to concentrate your forces, so why are you steering away from the fundamentals and splitting up the army?」
Zaphnes smiles bitterly again.
「You’re like an elderly eager for an explanation. Currently we have double the amount of soldiers Vandolea has. Even if we divide our total forces into four, a single section won’t get annihilated that quickly. While the enemy is busy dealing with that squad, the other three will breakthrough the defense lines and reach the capital. Either the enemy will continue to fall back…… or be forced to divide their own army into four parts to simultaneously fight against all of our separate armies, which is disadvantageous for them to do.」
Wilhelmina nods likes she understands.
「The enemy will most likely choose the latter option. Unlike the vast and spacious Federation, this is the narrow Central plains. There is not much room to retreat. Well, I will watch how they move and then act accordingly.」
Wilhelmina’s eyebrows furrow when she notices the word ‘narrow’, though she doesn’t interrupt Zaphnes.
「I was surprised when I first heard we would be invading. I thought it would be pushing this group too much……」
Despite countermeasures being deployed against the unfortunate spread of disease, the effective rate hasn’t gone up yet.
Knowing Vandolea is likely in a similar situation, Wilhelmina forced the war to start prematurely.
「The state of confusion is the same for both friend and foe, so Altair with the simpler structure should be affected less. As long as we get the citizens on our side, Altair’s army will function. It doesn’t matter if there’s some disarray……their minds will change quickly.」
Many of the Altair army commanders were once priests or bishops who were either exiled or executed by the soldiers after the political upheaval.
Stepping in to take their places are the commissioned officers under Zaphnes’s command.
The soldiers accepted the new commander without problems.
It wasn’t because they believed in the commanders themselves, rather it was Wilhelmina they believed in.
Adding to the fact that they experienced consecutive victories in their first few battles, their trust in her only strengthened.
「The difficulty of changing commanders is deeply ingrained in the body. To bypass it so easily is pretty ridiculous. It’s unbelievable you could reorganize the army without a single rebellion.」
「The reason we’re able to put up a good fight is due to your subordinates’ abilities. I may have captured the citizens’ hearts, but a group of amateurs would not have won.」
In the past, Altair’s army fought with absolute loyalty in their hearts as well.
That wasn’t enough to win against Vandolea.
This time the former Empire officers under Zaphnes displayed their superb commanding ability and overwhelmed Vandolea.
They got proper education about tactics in the military schools of the Empire.
All those around Zaphnes have especially good grades.
No country in the Central plains is able to conduct officer training to that degree.
「It takes much time and effort to raise skilled soldiers. It takes at least twice the time and effort to produce skilled commanders. You don’t always get skilled commanders by investing time and effort…… Sometimes you need luck.」
It is an unbelievable stroke of luck for a commander to bring their subordinate commanders with them.
Wilhelmina told Zaphnes he was skilled so he felt a little proud of himself.
「Altair soldiers are as skilled as inexperienced amateurs but they’re not afraid of death. They’re like military slaves who won’t run away even without supervision. The enemy’s command ability…… is equivalent to about a rear squad commander in the Empire, not a match for us at all.」
「You were defeated by the Federation though.」
Zaphnes stiffens and then looks down.
「……I was winning. In fact, I had White City surrounded and them completely cornered.」
Zaphnes stares at Wilhelmina and retorts firmly.
Wilhelmina nods without arguing back.
「We did not lose to the Federation army. We lost to the mountain which is the White City walls and the hellish cold. Either of those things are not in the Central plains!」
「You’re right, what I said was mean. Forgive me.」
Seeing how calm Wilhelmina was, the agitated Zaphnes felt somewhat embarrassed and cleared his throat to reset the situation.
「In any case, the walls of the capital Vandola are like the walls of a sand castle built by a child compared to White City. Even without siege weapons…… I’ll bring them down.」
It goes without saying Polpo and Altair did not have a huge amount of catapults or cannons.
Having taken the poor road laden with ash, they could not take them along anyways.
Wilhelmina doesn’t say more than that.
In her heart, she thought that it would not be easy to conquer the capital without siege weapons, however she refrained from needlessly interfering with Zaphnes who she recognized as being more proficient than herself in battle.
「We could even force our way through with soldiers if necessary and still have a chance of winning. The worse case scenario is that we fire flaming arrows from all sides and burn the entire city to the ground.」
「That…… would be a problem.」
「You people only need to go so far as closing in on the capital city. That point onwards is my domain.」
「What? Isn’t it our job to take down the capital?」
Zaphnes furrows his eyebrows.
「If you can capture the city, feel free to do so, it’s the destruction that troubles me. That would interfere with my ruling in the future.」
Wilhelmina stands up from her chair and approaches Zaphnes.
There is a 30 cm difference in height between the two of them, with the woman seeming like a child compared to the adult Zaphnes.
「I want all of Vandolea. Blood, flesh, bone and guts…… not in a ruined or decaying state, but something fresh.」
She lightly puts a hand on Zaphnes’s chest, which unconsciously causes the large man to step back.
「What isn’t needed…… is everything from here to the top.」
Her hand extends from his chest to his neck then her finger draws a line in the air across his throat.
「I want to cut the head off and take the rest. We still need to fight several more times…… so I’m counting on you.」
She gives a final encouraging pat to Zaphnes’s chest before leaving the tent.
「We somehow attained victory because of everyone’s efforts. However the enemy hasn’t given up yet. Our fight continues on! Victory and glory is not too far from reach!」
Zaphnes takes a seat in his chair as he listens to the awe-inspiring yet charming voice from outside.
Then he checks over and over that his head is still connected to his body.