Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi Chapter 368
–Third Person POV–
Hardlett Territory Southeast Area. Near Kisatto.
Light from the sun shines in through the window and wakes up a soldier.
「Kuh…… tch, it’s still not time to wake up. Now I’m awake because of the breeze.」
The soldier……Gyuran curses to himself, although he knows wake up time is near considering the sun’s position in the sky.
If he went back to sleep, he would look sleepy during roll-call and be scolded by his annoying commander.
Gyuran gets up, grabs the jug left in the room and takes a few gulps of chilled water.
「I’ll kill you…… uurngh.」
The noise made by his actions were enough to disturb the peaceful slumber of the other soldiers, who all complain instantly.
「Yeah, yeah, I’ll go outside.」
Gyuran sighs and exposes his body to the cold outside air.
Only bad-tempered men have been gathered here in the garrison, and while the atmosphere isn’t the friendliest, it isn’t straining or tense either for the moment.
In the first place, a garrison was built near Kisatto to accommodate the squad responsible for suppressing the fire pox.
With that fire pox currently held in check, there is no particular role for the private army to play.
On the occasion that the feudal lord, Margrave Hardlett, headed out to provide reinforcements in the war between Libatis and Wilhelmina, they were wary of any potential invasions as a form of retaliation or restraining attempt.
As the troop count increased, it was safe to say most of the soldiers in the private army who did not go to Libatis were stationed here.
However there was no invasion, and the vigilant squad was made to wait endlessly in vain.
In the end, the war was finished with Libatis’s surrender.
「What happened to those guys who went as reinforcements was a disaster…… well, it has nothing to do with us.」
Gyuran, who exited the place, didn’t pay attention and stretched his body.
Once the cold air hits him, he quickly curls up his back.
It’s unfortunate that those soldiers died, but the outcome of the fight was not especially important.
That was the opinion of the people in Hardlett’s territory as well as most of the people in Goldonia.
Doubts arose around the order to protect this place―― whether it was fine to simply stay in the camp, but Gyuran and the others, rather than worrying about South Yuguria’s movements, quickly shifted to thinking about when they could return to Rafen and when the next travelling prostitutes would come.
It was then that a sudden yell was heard.
Following that was the sound of hurried footsteps, then the clank of a bucket or something metal being kicked.
「A brawl between the night sentries? So early in the morning, how funny.」
Gyuran smiles and turns in the direction where the voice came from.
Still, it was more interesting to watch the scuffle than to sit under the wintry sky.
Except the commotion would far exceed his expectations.
「It’s an emergency! An army of cavalry is approaching from the south! Get into battle positions immediately!」
「They’re moving quick! They’re right behind the messenger! There’s no time!」
The messenger, who rushed his horse to get to camp as fast as possible, sits down in a tired heap, and collects himself as the commanders gather around.
「Hey, you can’t be serious…… we haven’t heard anything.」
The war should be over.
If it started again, there at least should have been some form of communication from the higher-ups.
As soldiers who realized they don’t have their spears or armor go back to the lodging house, the soldier on top of the lookout tower calls out.
「Numerous cavalry of unknown origin spotted coming from the south! An exact count can’t be confirmed because of the cloud of dust!」
「You’re kidding…… the messenger just arrived.」
Gyuran, who was initially jogging, accelerated to a full speed sprint and tumbled into the lodging house.
「What’s the fuss…… dowah!!」
He pulls the sheets off of his fellow soldier and drops the sleepy man to the floor.
「Everyone up! It’s the enemy. I don’t know who it is, they’re just here!」
「The enemy!? From where?」
「Idiot! There’s no way Malt would attack. It has to be South Yuguria!」
The sufficiently trained soldiers don their armors and pick up their weapons despite the franticness of the situation.
It didn’t take more than five minutes for 20 fully armed soldiers to stand in a line outside the building.
Greeting them is a clearly frazzled commander who came with bed hair.
「Everyone…… is already prepared I see! Good, we will sortie from the garrison and meet the enemy. We will slow the enemy down and stall for time!」
「Stall for time?」
「Wait, there are also several squads south of Kisatto, right? Don’t tell me, were they all taken care of?」
The commander does not answer the soldiers’ doubts.
Actually, he himself did not have a good grasp of the whole picture.
「Anyway, we have one job. We will stick our spears out and block the enemy. Reinforcements will come soon.」
Uncertainty and dissatisfaction colored the soldiers’ faces more so than fear.
Many soldiers have an abundance of experience in battle from constantly fighting wars as a part of Hardlett’s army.
They know first hand that in order to survive, they need to remain calm and move in an orderly fashion.
Gyuran personally has been in ten battles where he risked his life.
He no longer pisses his pants right before battle.
As soon as they leave the garrison, the enemy comes into sight.
Gyuran’s co-workers curse under their breath and click their tongues.
The rising dust cloud and the sound of innumerable trampling hooves convey the authenticity and scale of the attack.
Gyuran couldn’t help feeling a little overwhelmed, yet a tiny sense of relief washes over him as he sees more and more of his allies run out from the garrison.
The personal army of every feudal lord can vary in an infinite number of ways from being an accessory of authority to a band of night burglars, but Hardlett’s army is composed of elites who won’t be outdone by the royal army of Goldonia.
While a certain extent of formality is required, every soldier is thankful to have allies they can rely on in battle.
On the commander’s order, the army lowers their hips and point their spears outward.
Not a single soldier runs away.
The force from the charging horses is tremendous. It is however still possible for the spear unit to defend if the formation remains tight.
Everyone knew that panicking and turning their backs in fear was the worst option.
「Distance, 200 m! 150 m! Hold your ground!」
Commanders raise their voices while the other soldiers either keep quiet or mutter softly.
Before they knew it, Gyuran and his group were supported from behind by archers and light infantry.
Those reinforcements will wait behind the spear line until after the cavalry charge and fire arrows at the stationary enemies or dash in from the sides to defeat isolated opponents.
「Our duty is to hold the enemy back. Don’t let them pass you!」
「You don’t have to tell me twice.」
If the enemy breaks through, it doesn’t matter if the army wins or achieves some kind of merit, everything will fall apart and the chances of dying jumps up.
Every soldier must give their all to blocking the enemy, otherwise it won’t work.
「The enemy is closing in…… they’re coming!!」
At the same time the commander yells, Gyuran thrusts out his spear from the hip.
There was a clashing of metal and a distinct feeling of resistance.
The war horse’s neighing changes to shrieking and the sensation of his spear twisting transmits through his hands.
Directing the spear to the right, the war horse is pierced through the throat and falls over lifelessly, throwing the rider off head-first to the ground.
The enemy who rolled on the ground tries to pull out the sword at his waist, however the ally soldiers around Gyuran swing down their spears, rendering the enemy unable to move.
There, a loaded crossbow steadies its aim and fires the bolt, ending the enemy soldier’s life with a shot to the face.
Several other enemies nearby also get finished off in a similar manner.
「The next wave is coming! Get ready!」
Gyuran tosses aside his bent spear and equips his spare weapon before getting into a defensive stance.
Again, there was a collision, yelling, and screaming…… this time more enemies charge forward, pushing through by slipping into the gaps between spears.
「Like I’ll let you!」
Arrows rain down from above and light infantry rush in from the flanks.
Enemies who stopped moving were easy pickings for the light infantry.
Crossbows fire consecutively and the enemy suffers casualties one-sidedly.
「They’re just running at us. We’ll win.」
As somebody in the squad mutters, the fellow soldiers near him also smile in agreement.
That was when a strange object comes soaring through the air with a low-pitched humming sound.
A spear-holding soldier is impaled in the abdomen by a long stick-like object and sent flying backwards.
One of their allies was killed after receiving a direct hit from a ballista.
The experienced soldiers immediately knew what was going on.
Those who couldn’t understand were left wondering why a ballista was fired by the enemy.
Ballistae are excellent offensive weapons which can be used by the attacking or defending side, however they are large, heavy and can’t be carried very easily.
Considering the enemy charged in with cavalry, it is not likely they brought ballistae with them.
In actuality, ally after ally are falling victim to the giant bolts.
Gyuran, who takes cover in a hurry, feels an arrow whoosh past right above his head.
He noticed the truth when he strained his eyes in his lowered position.
「Hey, hey…… isn’t that our thing? They have chariots, chariots are coming!」
Horses were pulling wagons without roofs which carried the ballistae.
The characteristic sound of the large wheels could not be mistaken.
「Why do they have those things!?」
「Argh, we have to do something!」
Spear units are extremely weak to projectile-based weapons such as arrows or cannons.
Two hands are needed to wield the long spears so shields can’t be used to protect themselves, plus the horizontal line formation awaiting the enemy makes them easy targets.
The incoming bolts tear apart Gyuran and company’s ranks who didn’t take a single step back against the cavalry assault.
Seeing the formation collapse, the chariots rush in.
「T-they’re coming! Stop them, stop them!」
A commander shouts in an especially loud voice.
「Stupid! Did you not see the chariots? Even if you block their path――」
Before Gyuran could finish, the one who tried to stand in the way took an arrow straight through his head, while those who tried to flank from the sides were gouged by the blades attached to the wheels.
The chariots run right down the middle of the formation, then sends a parting gift of bolts shot from behind.
Enemy cavalry flood into the opened hole.
One commander gets interrupted by another.
「An enemy squad got around us by detouring from the left wing! They’re going to surround us!」
「The enemy is starting to shift to the rear of the right wing. Have capable units intercept them!」
Gyuran’s group look at each other.
They knew that the seemingly stupid charge was simply a smokescreen.
「They circled around in that instant?」
「Wait…… isn’t this bad?」
Being enclosed on an open plains by cavalry is the worst nightmare for an infantry unit.
It becomes impossible to defend or run away.
When everyone could no longer hide their discomposure, a lazy and unmotivated order was given.
「This is pretty harsh. Why don’t we run away as planned and shut ourselves in. If we do as we trained, I’m sure things will be fine.」
From a knight gallantly riding his horse…… no, from the back of a wagon, Tristan, who looks like he’s about to fall off, relays his instructions.
「Ooh, temporary director-dono of the occupied territory!」
「Idiot, that’s the previous title. Right now he’s the defense commander-dono!」
「You’re the one who is out of date! It’s southern defence force commander-dono!」
Tristan scratches his head and sighs.
「Call me whatever you want, I don’t even know which one it is. In the first place, a new title is picked randomly by that person every time. And because of that Celia-san and Myla-san gets angry if one character is wrong…… how unreasonable is that? Haah, now I have a soldier’s standing before I realized. If I knew this would happen, I would have sought asylum in Libatis as a refugee from the start…… although with the current state of the country…… why did this happen……」
Tristan grumbles out loud, then clears his throat as he turns his attention to the now-or-never situation in front of him.
「Alright, then we’re activating the plan. It’ll be plan A. If everything goes according to plan―― uwah!」
Tristan’s declaration was cut short as the horse pulls the wagon to retreat to the rear, shaking Tristan off balance in the process and leaving him in a pathetic overturned state.
「Hey, what the heck was that?」
「Is it over for us……」
Gyuran and his friends stiffen their grim resolve whereas their commander is conversely quite cheerful.
「All units, change course to the west. Climb the hill!」
The rest of the soldiers move without hesitation.
「To the east hill――」
「To the riverside up north――」
「Split up and head into the woods――」
At first glance, the army seems to be scattering in all directions, but in reality the movements are as complex as mollusks.
「W-what’s with this formation…… it’s all over the place……」
The sudden change in formation, made irrespective of the bewildered enemy, had the army divide itself into smaller groups and head to key geographical points.
「Are they trying to split up carefully to halt our advance? They’re spreading out to nasty areas.」
「How stupid, splitting up into small groups just means we have to crush them one by one!」
Determining there is no need to surround anymore, the enemy gives chase to the allies in each location.
Enemy cavalry also ran at full speed to the hill where Gyuran’s squad was…… then tumbled over.
Stakes hidden by low-growing bushes stab into the legs of the horses.
「W-what the……!? Wooden stakes? Be careful, lower your speed!」
The enemy slows down right away, watching where they step.
That was when a barrage of arrows rained down.
Cavalry slowly ascending the hill were easy targets for Gyuran’s allies camped out nearby.
Then, the enemy trying to attack the group in the woods on top of the hill is in plain view to Gyuran’s unit.
Detailed orders and perfect timing were not needed. The enemy is in a position which basically screams “shoot me”, so all Gyuran and his team needed to do was shoot to produce outstanding results.
Gyuran could not help expressing his amazement.
Similar scenarios are happening in various other places.
Blindspots of one ally encampment are covered by the other encampments.
When the enemy focuses on one encampment, they open themselves up to the other encampments.
As they switch to capture the other encampments first, they enter into the range of yet another encampment, plus they encounter the multiple traps waiting for them.
「This is incredible. The entire area is like one big castle.」
「No, it might be more troublesome than a castle. Look there.」
In the direction of where the ally was pointing, the enemy is forcing their way to attack one of the encampments while prepared to lose some of their forces.
Allies at that encampment readily abandon their position when unable to hold off the enemy, but set up another camp on the hill right behind.
Brief excitement spread amongst the enemy after occupying the camp, though they soon realize their situation hasn’t changed at all.
The place where the allies ran to and set up a new encampment is a place that cannot be ignored if the enemy wants to proceed.
The wide-eyed Gyuran could hear a listless voice behind him.
「Aah, you guys can run too if you feel pressured. If you abandon this place, then move to the woods over there, and if you abandon that place, then move to the basin over there, and after that…… I think ten more locations are written in the directive, so just follow that.」
Tristan’s voice didn’t contain any sense of urgency as he let out a sigh and searched for some tea. When he realized there wasn’t any on the frontlines, he resigned himself to drinking water from a canteen.
「I don’t think this is a full scale invasion.」
Leopolt asserts as we are on the way to Kisatto after departing Rafen.
「How can that be possible? Are you saying that 10 000 cavalry attacking is not considered an invasion?」
When the report of the attack came in, I was with the newly hired maid.
I was literally about to tear through the virginity of the innocent girl from the countryside until this guy knocked and came in.
Actually, Leopolt must have anticipated the attack, since he reorganized the army which was messed up after the battle in Libatis and made it so they could sortie at anytime.
Because of that, we left without delay and I ultimately did not get to take that girl’s virginity.
I just got the tip in.
「The spy we captured in Rafen had investigated the transport of food to Lintbloom and to the mountain nation. Taking into account the previous hostilities, the enemy must realize that the bow cavalry are a special squad from the mountain nation.」
「Realizing who they are doesn’t really change anything.」
It’s not like knowing their identity would make their arrows miss.
「The enemy also knows of the major loss suffered by the mountain nation in the last battle. In other words, they are probably thinking there is a possibility that friction has been created between Lord Hardlett and the mountain tribe. We’ll have a clearer understanding once the fight is over, but we can call this a type of reconnaissance in force.」
10 000 soldiers seems a bit overkill for reconnaissance to me.
「They are picking a fight to confirm whether my relationship with those guys have worsened? Would they really do something so stupid?」
I smile, thinking it’s not true, although Leopolt’s expression remains serious.
This guy never smiles, does he.
「That only shows how much of a threat the enemy thinks of Lord Hardlett and the bow cavalry.」
Leopolt continues on.
「In any case, it doesn’t matter if their main objective is reconnaissance in force, we’ll erode in an instant if we become weak. The territory we stole from Vandolea is, strictly speaking, still in a temporarily occupied status. It is not unlikely for South Yuguria, who has absorbed Vandolea, to claim what is legitimately theirs.」
Normally, wars are fought between nations when it comes to fighting over territory I occupy, albeit temporarily this time.
Even if it’s Wilhelmina we’re talking about, it’s hard to think she has recovered enough strength after swallowing Libatis to mount an attack on Goldonia.
「However the current Goldonia clearly lacks the resources and intentions.」
Leopolt is right, the king is focused solely on the culprits behind the Rosario incident.
While Goldonia will go to war if an attack was made on their own territory, it’s doubtful how far they will go for a piece of land in a rather ambiguous state of occupation.
「Either way, we must settle things in the occupied land.」
「You’re right. It would be a great loss for the land we spent time and effort to develop to be ruined. Adolph will go bald again.」
It was then that Celia pops in.
「South Yuguria is powerful and has shown skillful use of tactics with cavalry. Will the infantry unit defending the raid be able to hold on?」
I smile and pat Celia on the head.
「That’s why I sent Tristan. It should be fine.」
「He seems confident. I’m sure there won’t be any problems.」
When Leopolt and I speak up at the same time, Celia gets sulky for some reason.
I wonder what’s wrong.
「We should hurry as well. Let’s tell them we aren’t estranged with the mountain nation.」
I glance over at the bow cavalry.
Hearing of the enemy invasion, the mountain nation, regardless of the major blow suffered to their forces, gathered again in full force.
Their loyalty is without question.
Leopolt appears to be deep in thought, ultimately choosing to not say anything.
We eventually reach the frontlines.
「Hey, isn’t that reinforcements!?」
「Definitely. They came in four days!?」
「We’re going to be alright!」
Cheers can be heard from the small forts and encampments.
It looks like these guys were able to stop the charge.
I want to move up to respond to our allies except there are alot of structures.
I see close to 20 forts and there are more simple camps than I can count.
「When you say “protect”, you would normally think of a large castle with many soldiers inside.」
「That way of defence is not suitable to deal with opponents possessing high mobility. If the enemy detours around the castle and primary forts, then heads north, it would be hard to catch up to them. From what I can see, soldiers were shuffled around from place to place, using the terrain itself as a defensive structure as well as small forts and reserve supplies to supplement their defense strategy. This would not stand up against a trampling by a massive army, however it is sufficient to hinder the movement and supply of a smaller more mobile force. I believe it is especially effective against cavalry.」
「Wouldn’t the small forts fall in no time……」
They’re cheap and simply-constructed wooden forts after all.
「The forts are small and easy to take over. But that is completely fine. Their objective is to slow down the enemy enough until we arrive, so if the enemy has to take time to siege and destroy them, we can consider it a success.」
In other words, the goal was to keep the enemy cavalry at bay.
Who knows how the battle would have turned out if their raid in Libatis was stopped.
That initial crushing defeat in the first engagement really dragged us down all the way to the end.
「This way of defense spread out across this entire region is hard to bypass or surround. It seems easy enough to crush each camp one by one…… ah, that camp on the hill has fallen.」
Myla points out an area where the enemy has driven off our allies.
The enemy is shouting victoriously, though they are held in check by other camps in the vicinity and cannot follow.
Furthermore, cavalry who forcefully advance are suddenly standing upright and falling over.
Knowing Tristan, he must have set up a trap or something.
In that opening, the supposedly scattering allies regroup and quickly get into formation.
Overall, the enemy has only progressed about 100 m and the state of battle has not changed at all.
「The places where the soldiers have set up their formation are all places cavalry do not like…… places with an incline and places with low-growing trees.」
Every location was determined carefully with the assumption cavalry would attack.
Judging on the smooth movements of our allies just now, the actions to take when a camp falls was probably decided from the start as well.
Putting myself in the enemy’s position, the opponent is hard to fight and even if one or two camps get taken, they would simply step back a few paces to another camp and restart the whole cycle like nothing happened.
Besides gaining nothing for their sacrifices, they must be getting pretty frustrated.
「Tristan is doing a good job. Why don’t we finish things off?」
I pull out my longsword and Leopolt gives orders for the formation to shift.
The bow cavalry spreads out horizontally, getting ready to charge after launching a volley of arrows.
Celia, after muttering something two or three times while looking down, raises her head and shouts.
「All of you guys, rout the enemy and show them our strength! Chargeee――!」
Ooh, she was practicing that line.
Celia often gives out commands in my place, though she sometimes fumbles her words.
Celia’s “chyaarge” is cute enough to motivate even though she is self-conscious about it.
This time she is satisfied with how it came out and is picking up speed with her sword out.
「Celia, Myla, stay behind me. You two are responsible for commanding so I don’t want you to be in the front.」
Schwartz and I accelerate past them.
Before we departed, I think it was my imagination that the female caretaker was breastfeeding his foal and wishing him a safe trip.
「Enemy reinforcements from the north! Damn, they’re here already!?」
「There…… are lots of them! At the very least 5000 cavalry――wait, I thought they only had 2000! Those damn idiots sending wrong information!」
「Halt the attack and gather up. Or else we’ll be the ones picked apart one by one!」
A trumpet sounded to signal the enemy soldiers dispersed to the various camps to group up.
Their response speed is to be expected.
「Rather, it’s convenient for us.」
Leopolt waits for the enemy before ordering for the formation to change.
At the same time, flaming arrows fired by our ally infantry fly from all directions, stick into the ground, and let out a red smoke.
Those arrows indicate the locations where traps have been laid.
We charge in a peculiar concave formation with our cavalry.
The bow cavalry proceed forward and spread out on both wings, meanwhile me and my escort unit, as well as the spear cavalry trail behind in the center of the formation.
This would mean the two wings would hit the enemy first and, with so little space taken up, it would appear that they cannot make use of their force of collision.
Moreover, they cannot hope to break through when spread so thin.
On the contrary, the enemy has a standard triangular cavalry formation.
If both sides were to collide, it might seem our army is weak in the middle.
That would be true only if our cavalry were wielding spears and swords.
「Concentrate your attacks to the center! Loose!」
Bow cavalry on both wings ignore the enemy in front of them and release a volley aimed at the middle.
Arrows fly accurately at those leading the charge in the middle from the left and right.
Screams and bellows can be heard as the cavalry fall down one after the other, which can be seen even at a distance.
Although they are already aware of the bow cavalry’s existence, the enemy cavalry, who are naturally weak to arrows, can do nothing against the 20 000 incoming projectiles.
After the bow cavalry fire three successive volleys, they turn around and run off.
We don’t give the enemy a chance to give chase.
I take the rest of the cavalry and head towards the center in the midst of the chaotic crossfire.
「30 percent of the squad have been injured! We should substitute them with healthy soldiers and――」
「The fallen horses are getting our lines messed up! If they charge at us now……」
As we get closer, we can tell how panicked the enemy are.
All the ally soldiers follow my lead and roar as we approach the moment of impact.
By the way, Celia let out a cute roar, while Leopolt ignored me.
I utilize my longsword like a spear, sticking it out and piercing through everybody.
「Y-you are…… guwah!」
The soldier’s half-hearted and unskilled attempt to block my strike with his shield prove to be futile.
My sword, with the added boost from my momentum, bends the likely steel shield out of shape and sends it flying, then continues straight through the enemy’s armor and into his torso.
Skewering people from the start would make it difficult to use my sword later on, but it doesn’t matter right now.
The escort unit and spear cavalry are adjacent to me.
A few seconds after my charge, they also run forward.
Spears cross all over the place, riders fall off their horses and horses drop to the ground like flies.
The number of defeated enemies overwhelms that of the defeated allies.
It of course has something to do with their disorder, though the main reason is because the attackers generally have the advantage in a contest between cavalry.
Having the wind taken out of their sails and being put on the defensive by the volley of arrows was fatal.
「They broke through the middle!」
「Stop pursuing, circle around to help the center! We’ll surround the enemy.」
However the enemy is not stupid.
While we have the advantage in the middle, the enemy’s wings are not touched.
They switch from chasing after the bow cavalry to wrapping around to our rear.
「We’re going to get rammed from behind.」
「There are…… a lot.」
I glance at Leopolt, who doesn’t say anything.
If he’s not saying anything, I’m guessing there’s nothing to worry about.
Colored arrows simultaneously fly up from the scattered ally camps.
「The infantry are moving!」
The infantry units hidden in the camps have started to amass.
Small squads consisting of several dozens of soldiers quickly unite with other squads to complete a larger army in the hundreds of troops.
Again, the way they group together has been decided beforehand.
「These guys, now of all times!」
「Eeei, stop circling around! Don’t stop moving or you’ll get surrounded!」
The enemy cavalry, wary of the steadily approaching infantry from the left and right, give up on going around us.
Now is our chance.
「We’ll collapse them in one go.」
I toss aside the soldier I skewered earlier and dive into the enemy lines.
「You’re Hardlett himself! For Her Majesty, I will――」
Before he could finish, I slice him in half horizontally at the stomach.
His screaming upper half and blood-squirting lower half separate.
「If we kill this demon here, this battle is as good as――」
I deflect the second cavalry’s spearhead with my arm guard and also slice him half at the stomach.
With our respective speeds amplifying the collision, large sparks spray out as the enemy’s metal armor gets cut.
「Oh my fatherland, grant me strength…… get ready――!!」
A third cavalry comes running in shouting loudly and our paths cross.
The friction of his sword grazing my helmet creates a small spark, meanwhile my sword sweeps away his entire body from the chest up.
Reduced to a bleeding torso, the halved rider continues to ride past me for a while until falling over.
All three horses, after losing their owners, sniffle sadly and disappear somewhere.
Another cavalry charges in screaming.
Except this one is feels weaker than the other three and has a girly voice.
I roar back.
The female’s horse gets surprised and stands upright, dropping the girl with a plop.
Umu, this is fine.
I take some time to pause and look at the bigger picture.
Some of my allies have broken through the center where we have an overwhelming advantage.
The enemy soldiers on both wings are moving around so our infantry don’t surround them while waiting for an opening, though the bow cavalry are coming back.
Their movements should be limited.
「The enemy will retreat soon. Otherwise they’ll be wiped out.」
Tristan’s wagon is beside me before I realized.
「Riding a carriage without regards for Aegir-sama…… wait, you said you couldn’t ride a horse, right?」
Myla lets out a big sigh.
「Now, now, don’t complain. Tristan did a good job.」
When I praise Tristan, Celia puffs her cheeks.
Getting jealous of a guy, what a cutie.
That was when I hear yelling from the spear cavalry who broke past the enemy.
I turn my eyes to determine what is going on and see a familiar form running wild.
I remember seeing it before, this is just the first time I’ve seen it on the enemy side.
「That is a chariot―― the enemy is using chariots!」
Those are without a doubt the same chariots we’ve been using.
They shoot with the mounted ballistae and defeat our cavalry who are trying to line up beside them with crossbows or the blades attached to their wheels.
「They must have captured the chariots we left at the Libatis battle and reproduced them. They are focusing heavily on mobility too. Chariots are effective weapons.」
「T-they stole from us! This isn’t good!」
Leopolt is calm, whereas Celia becomes flustered.
For them to have copied, reconstructed, and brought them here when it hasn’t been long since that fight, it tells us how fast they act.
「We can’t speak like it doesn’t concern us.」
At this moment, our ally cavalry are getting taken down.
I don’t think they can flip the battle around, however our momentum getting dampened isn’t funny.
「We’re going, Schwartz.」
I kick Schwartz’s belly and urge him to run forward.
I push aside the allies who are indecisive about how to deal with the enemy chariots.
「Let me borrow this.」
On the way, I take a spear from one of my ally cavalry.
He shouldn’t mind since the fight is about to end.
「Next is him!」
The chariot changes their aim.
The ballista swivels and sets their sights on me.
I narrow my eyes, watching carefully for the moment they release the bolt…… then I kick Schwartz’s belly.
After a soft neigh, Schwartz tilts slightly to the right. That was enough to dodge the bolt.
A whoosh can be heard as the giant arrow passes by my ear, but I don’t feel any impact.
「Kuh, it missed! Use the crossbows――」
Unfortunately, they don’t have time.
I point the tip of my spear at the chariot and throw it.
「Hmph! That kind of spear won’t work against our metal armor!」
「Yeah, I know.」
That’s why I didn’t aim for the chassis.
The spear travels through the air and straight through the gap of the spinning left wheel, then stabs into the ground.
The left wheel gets caught by the foreign object and stops while the right wheel continues to spin.
Of course, the chariot trips up and falls on its side with a loud crash.
「Gyaaa! Wa-wait…… uwaah!!」
My allies crowd around the fallen chariot and as the enemy soldiers on board try to get up, they instantly get stabbed and killed.
「Don’t let them get to the sides! Go from the front!」
The next chariot charges in head on.
Thinking they cannot possibly fire their ballista while running at full speed, they look to pass us, using the blades attached to the wheels to finish us off.
Interesting, I’ll take them on.
Schwartz, unfazed, runs at the enemy.
Then comes the moment when we pass by each other.
「Drop dead demon!」
When a cruel smile appears on the enemy’s face, Schwartz does a tiny hop.
He made the least amount of movement, just so the blades spinning with the wheels grazes the bottom of Schwartz’s hooves.
It allows me a stable footing to swing my longsword.
Magnified by our racing speeds, the single strike sent the chariot’s armor, driver, boarded soldiers, ballista, and everything else on the wagon flying.
Fragments of metal, wood, and flesh explode.
「A normal sword would have broken.」
I confirm my longsword is still intact.
I don’t have the courage to do the same thing with the Dual Crater.
If I get the angle wrong even a little and the sword snaps, Nonna will make my dick go “snap”.
Woah, this isn’t the time to be acting calm.
Another chariot is closing in from the opposite side.
I have stopped moving so I don’t have enough momentum. I can’t cut through steel this time.
I brush away the crossbow bolts fired at me with my sword, then steady my aim.
「Is it here?」
I focus on the blades on the turning wheels, then wait with my sword ready to catch them from below.
When I feel the weight of the chariot, I quickly pull my sword up in a scooping motion.
In exchange for accepting the burden on my arm and Schwartz’s wobbling, the chariot is lifted up and wipes out even worse than the other one I threw the spear at.
Allies swarm around to finish off the passengers, except the crash had already killed everyone on board.
「He flipped a chariot with his sword…… how heavy does he think it is……?」
「He’s truly a monster! Our seniors were not exaggerating at all!」
Even after destroying three chariots, the enemy doesn’t run away.
That was when enough arrows to darken the sky rain down.
The bow cavalry has begun their attack.
It doesn’t matter if the chariots are steel-plated, they can’t stand under a continuous pelting of several thousand arrows for long.
I’m sure the order to retreat was given.
The entire enemy army is fleeing in a rout.
「I guess it’s over for now.」
「It is established that the enemy has a total force of 10 000. We have 14 000 infantry, and if we include the cavalry, we can set up superior numbers. Now that we’ve endured the first offensive, we can drive them away with a standard attack.」
If the enemy can move freely, they could just detour around the infantry no matter how many there are.
However, now that the enemy is on the defensive, numbers come into play.
We just have to safely chase them off from here without making mistakes.
And I can’t imagine Leopolt making careless mistakes.
「I’ll leave the rest to Leopolt and Tristan. Crush them.」
「Eh? Just Leopolt is fine, isn’t it? I want to go home―― I mean, I want to be here. Yeah, for now.」
Leopolt deliberately waits a few seconds later before responding. He doesn’t hear Tristan’s complaint.
「――crush them. That’s enough, right?」
「That’s it. We don’t have a chance for success if we do more than that.」
We can take this opportunity to invade their territory…… I’ve thought about doing that too, except with Goldonia mixed up in its own problems, we won’t get any reinforcements. Which means it will be the same kind of situation as the one we had in Libatis.
「The kingdom’s discord will drag us down.」
Leopolt looks to the north and says.
I didn’t reply.
Afterwards, nothing happened outside our expectations.
Leopolt systematically pushed the enemy out of our occupied land.
As the enemy resisted during their withdrawal, they ended up suffering major casualties. Further backup did not come.
Although the occupied territory took considerable damage, not allowing the enemy to invade the developed areas meant the overall damage was trivial in comparison.
Once the fight ended, I reported to the kingdom that I was invaded by South Yuguria.
Naturally it became a national issue, but South Yuguria―― Wilhelmina to be precise, sent a messenger to the kingdom before my report arrived.
The contents of the letter colored with a collection of diplomatic etiquette was as follows:
“The invasion was the sole reckless decision of the eastern commander.”
“That commander has already been executed.”
“I offer the greatest apologies.”
Attached with the letter are the heads of the commander and his fellow sympathizers.
One sentence was appended at the end.
“I intend to repay you for this matter. Let us discuss this along with the treatment of the temporarily occupied land.”
That’s how it is.
By the way, a messenger came to my place to explain the situation and apologize as well.
What was said was roughly the same with one difference.
「This incident was due to a personal grudge of the commander――」
For some reason, the messenger representative is a young and beautiful girl.
Not to mention her breasts are pretty big.
「Her Majesty Wilhelmina also offers her heartfelt――」
For some reason, the other messengers are also beautiful ladies.
Not to mention they’re all in my preferred age range and have my preferred body types.
「Both citizens and soldiers died in the fight. I can’t just forgive that with a simple sorry.」
I keep the messenger in check with a strict tone of voice.
「Aegir-sama, you’re loosening up」
Nonna fiddles with my face.
Oops, that wasn’t good.
「However, there is the problem of Lord Hardlett stealing away part of the land from former Vandolea, which is the root cause of the collision.」
The female messenger lowers her head, then tilts her eyes so they look upward at me.
Why are her lips trembling?
「That happened in the past and is unrelated to the current issue.」
The way I spat out those words decisively caused tears to well up in the frightened messenger’s eyes.
「You’re loosening up.」
Celia fixes my face.
Sorry, I can see the valley of her breasts.
「In any case, I would like to request a meeting with you and the diplomatic official of your country.」
「It’s going to be a harsh negotiation.」
The messenger stands up with her head bowing down.
For some reason, all the messengers are wearing skirts with large slits on the side so when they stand up I can see their thighs and underwear. How detestably fleshy.
「「You’re loosening up.」」
I maintain my serious expression with Nonna’s and Celia’s help.
In the end, the messengers were permitted to stay in Rafen to prepare for the negotiations and I exchange a courteous handshake with the representative.
「I humbly ask that you not to be too hard on me.」
「That won’t do.」
For some reason, I can’t exert any strength while I’m holding the girl’s soft hand.
I expected Leopolt to complain by now, though he doesn’t.
He says one thing when the messenger leaves.
「The results of the negotiations will be temporary. They’ll be overturned in no time.」
I could hear him say that to Myla.
–Third Person POV–
Side Story. Christoph Acts Out.
Zilia, the torturer, sleeps soundly on Christoph’s bed.
She’s cruel enough to take away the one tranquility her prisoner had in his sleep.
「Zilia? How strange, she only drank one glass……」
Christoph tilts his head in confusion.
She occasionally brought food and alcohol and drank together with him, though she never once got drunk.
However she is completely passed out today.
Christoph’s breathing gets rough when he sees the defenceless Zilia snoring away.
「Aah, looking at her like this, she’s really pretty…… dammit, so irresistible.」
Christoph was tortured harshly before his mealtime.
Zilia turned him face down and relentlessly massaged his arms and legs.
「Today’s massage felt somewhat…… erotic…… her hands would sometimes touch my crotch…… because of that, I was in a tough spot the whole time……」
「……nnn. Zzz, zzz.」
Zilia tosses around in her sleep.
Her arm swings over and opens up her chest area, revealing her vulnerable body.
The downtrodden Christoph loses his rationality and finally goes on the counterattack.
「Zilia, I’m at my limit! Sorry! I’m sorry!!」
Christoph apologizes and pounces on the woman.
「Zilia, forgive me! I…… I’m also a man! And I’m pent up!! Uoooh!」
The sexual assault continued for a while until Christoph collapses on the bed, spent from his release but satisfied.
Not long after two sets of snoring can be heard, one of them stops.
Confirming Christoph is fast asleep, Zilia wakes up.
After checking her violated body, she mutters with an annoyed look.
「Eh, that’s it? He’s satisfied after touching my breasts through my clothes? Wouldn’t you normally fuck the girl in this situation……」
Zilia prods Christoph’s body, though the man is totally passed out.
「Nnn, I’m sorry Zilia…… how could I do such a thing…… nnn, munyamuya.」
「I even gave him a risky massage…… how much of a chicken can he be? I should just rape him myself.」
It would be easy for her to tie Christoph up and attack.
No, actually a woman’s strength is enough to easily hold Christoph down without him being tied up.
「……no, I can’t. I have to get him to do it. He won’t change if I don’t get him to act a little like a man.」
Zilia sighs and straightens up her clothes, which can easily be taken off.
「Are you really a man……」
Just when she was about to jokingly step on his crotch, a voice called out.
「Zilia! It’s time to change shifts!」
The door swings open violently.
This room they are in is one where torture happens so nobody knocks before coming in.
Surprised, Zilia’s foot presses down hard on the man’s crotch.
A squishy feeling transmit through the girl’s leg.
The sudden violence made Christoph spring up and scream.
「C-crap. I stepped on him for real.」
「Ooh, you’re in the middle of torturing him. I thought you were going easy on him…… but going for his crotch, nice one. Let me warn you though, the balls are a vital point, be careful not to torment him so much that he dies. Since you’re getting into it, I’ll wait for you to finish before taking over.」
「I-I’m sorry! I’ll give you some alcoh