… Lyle’s manor in South Beim.
In a room, Monica was stationed surrounded by three Valkyries. She had drafted up a special device, and the ones she was loading it into were the first ones activated, Unit One, Two and Three. The room didn’t particularly have anything in it, it was just a space needlessly wide.
With those four gathered in that room, there was a reason they were surrounding Monica like that. They opened their mouths in order One and up.
“On the Zayin front, they took in a town to their south. They went ahead to dispatch and station soldiers there.”
“On the Lorphys front, they absorbed a territory to their south. There is an insufficiency of personnel to manage it. They are requesting assistance.”
“The squadrons that dispersed to plunder are beginning to reassemble. However a portion of feudal lords and mercenary brigades show no signs of stopping.”
The information entering from the Valkyries stationed through Beim was passing through Lyle to Monica, where it was organized. That role was being left to the three units.
The special three… the Valkyries had their abilities raised by the work of Damien and Letarta.
Because of that, they were given the rolls of host computing automatons to the system.
Monica gathered information from them, and sent the final results to Lyle. If she didn’t, there was so much coming in that even Lyle wouldn’t be able to process it however hard he tried. Because of the great expanse of information, its management was left to Monica and the Valkyries.
“As expected, we can’t fight them individually. Even if it’s as planned, it sure is troubling. And we’ll need the Lorphys front to endure. At present, we don’t have the leisure to send around personnel. Tell them to dismantle Alette’s unit, and instate its members as commanders. We haven’t the time to keep them an elite force.”
From its stream of bad luck, Lorphys aimed to make its war potential based around an elite few. However come this far it was becoming a problem. Unit One transmitted the movements of Fortress Redant.
“Movement in Redant Fortress. Entering preparations to march on Beim.”
Unit Two gave the situation on Beim’s side.
“By accepting refugees, the population of the city sector is experiencing a dramatic rise. No sign of a sortie.”
Unit Three brought it together.
“From South Beim, Aria’s unit, Miranda’s unit and Baldoir’s unit have each sallied forth with five hundred. They are marching towards the villages around South Beim.”
Monica got their information together, before packaging it and sending it to Lyle.
“The Chicken Dickad is also preparing to advance. Let us hurry on the final checks of the scheduled destination.”
While not moving an inch, Monica’s group was shouldered with a vital role in this battle…
… The one invading Beim’s southern area was a Count House with numbers exceeding six thousand.
However, the Count’s soldiers were half of that. The remaining three thousand were made of vassaled houses and mercenaries, and those additions were attacking the villages.
Perhaps they planned to push their plundering to the limit, as there were no signs of their planned return. They were occupying Beim’s south, and as there weren’t any other Bahnseim lords in the area to clash with, they were acting however they pleased.
One of those units.
A few dozen men gathered under a knight house attacked a small village. Gathering the villagers in one spot as they broke into houses around, mercilessly killing whoever opposed to chip away the villagers’ fighting spirit.
A man of knight standing spoke.
“It’s as if they’ve no resistance at all. If something like this happened in my village, even the women and children would arm themselves to attack.”
Another knight who’d been smiling and listening opened his mouth.
“Thus spake the man who gets chased around by his wife with a spear. But truly, like this, it feels like we’re going against nothing. On top of that, the results are superb. I can’t stop laughing.”
Their whole force didn’t reach two hundred, but to a village with only that many members itself, they were a threat.
There, a soldier came running to the gathered knights.
“M-message! There is an army headed our way! Their scale exceeds five hundred!”
The knights looked at the messenger, fed up for a moment on the words coming out of his mouth. The reason was simple. Beim didn’t have any decent soldiers. And since the moment they arrived in Beim, they hadn’t even caught a glimpse of an adventurer force with that scale.
They couldn’t understand why they’d come out at this point in time.
“You sure you didn’t mistake our allies? Is the Count’s unit headed our way?”
The messenger had a desperate look on his face.
“It hoists a different flag! And where they came from is from further south!”
One of the knights stroked his chin.
“So South Beim, eh? It’s been set up quite recently according to the mercenaries.”
As if recalling something, another knight spoke up.
“I heard the son of the Walt House is there. Of all things, he was driven out of the Adventurers’ Guild as well. It seems he performed well at Redant Fortress, but in the end all he has is a gathering of adventurers. No enemy of us… what shall we do?”
Looking around, the pile of plundered goods had yet to be loaded up. After thinking a while…
“… Retreat. They have the numerical advantage. I won’t say we’ll definitely lose, but facing casualty here is of no benefit to anyone. Set fire to the village at once.”
He said and gave orders, but the messenger spoke.
“That’s impossible! The enemy has already come all the way to…”
In the next instant, the messenger’s head was pierced through by arrow, helmet and all. Why didn’t you say that sooner!? Even if they wanted to shout at him, the man had already expired. The knights drew the swords at their waists as the soldiers waving a flag they had never seen before came at them on their horses.
Generally, Beim had a lot of adventurers turned mercenaries. Because of that, there weren’t many trained in riding a horse. When adventurers used horses, it was mainly to carry loads, and come so far, it was the first these knights had seen a cavalry force.
But one of the knights spoke up.
“That can’t be! That flag is of Cartaffs, is it not!!”
The knight in red armor pressing forward as if to cut out a path for their allied soldiers… behind them, the banners were waving, and on them were an insignia they had never seen before. A blue circle surrounded by a silver pattern. Yet some banners were the flag of Cartaffs.
Cartaffs… a land that had warred with Bahnseim for long years, and an army of a country that knew war. The knights immediately went pale. A glance at those knights brandishing their spears on their horses was enough to know they were elites.
“Retreat! Retreat at once!!”
As their allies carried on sporadic battles, the knights ran towards the place their own horses were tethered. However, the red knight who took the vanguard cut off their path.
“It’s a woman!”
The knights with swords drawn cut at the red-armored female knight. But the female knight thrust out her spear, impaling and cleaving to their demise. Once she had slain the armored knights in an instant, other horseback knights approached her.
Among them were two black-haired, red-eyes knights wearing blue armor.
“Aria-sama, a portion of the soldiers have taken flight.”
“Leave them be is the order.”
Around, the knights and soldiers of Cartaffs were still fighting the soldiers of Bahnseim, but the outcome was already determined. From a situation where Bahnseim’s side had to take on three foes per men, it grew to four and five, with the soldiers even giving up their resistance at the end.
Once she confirmed things had died down, Aria removed her helmet.
“… It isn’t the best of feelings.”
Looking at the fallen knights, Aria muttered…
… Miranda led the soldiers of South Beim, rushing into their third village.
The plaza at the village’s center. There was the horses and wagons of the Baronet House she’d just fought. Sitting on a wooden box, there were two Valkyries stationed nearby.
Around her, Beim’s soldiers were cleaning up the horridly dismembered corpses of the soldiers of Bahnseim.
Miranda turned her eyes to the village chief before her. While being village chief, the man who was also a merchant using the village as his base complained to Miranda.
“Why didn’t you come sooner!? Because of you, the village has been damaged! Reimburse us! You’re paying for it!”
Miranda expressionlessly looked at the man, crossing her feet as she sat.
“W-what’s with your attitude!? Don’t you know I’m acquaintance of an influential merchant in Beim!?”
Around, the villagers were sending condemning eyes at her. But Miranda wasn’t flustered. She stood from the crate.
“This place won’t work. We’re retreating. Take all the luggage loaded here.”
There, the village chief grabbed the blue mantle of her emerald armor.
“W-wait! That’s their luggage. It’s necessary for the revival of this village! We’re the ones who faced damages! And you need to protect us!”
Miranda grasped her mantle, and yanked it free of his grasp.
“Look out for yourselves in the future. My apologies, I’ve no interest in any of you. I’ll just say it, but I’ve no obligation to you either. Of all else, I’m a woman of South Beim. That much should be enough for you to know my meaning, right?”
The chief’s mouth opened and closed in silence. Surely he thought they were adventurers or perhaps mercenaries dispatched from Beim. No, that’s what he wanted to think.
Miranda spoke to the Valkyries.
“How’s Aria doing?”
“At present, she is headed towards her second village.”
Hearing that, Miranda sighed. She sighed thinking of how Aria-esque that was.
“She’s a little behind schedule. I’m sure she pushed herself in trying to persuade them, right? How Aria-like. What of Baldoir?”
The other Valkyrie answered.
“In battle with a marching force. He has seized victory on the plain, and will soon head towards his destination village. He is moving as ordered, but it looks like he will accomplish his objective ahead of schedule.”
Miranda sounded glad.
“How talented. I’d like to marry Doris or Lucy to him for connections’ sake, but I wouldn’t wish that fate onto anybody.”
Looking at the anxious villagers, Miranda decided to set off for her next destination at once. It wasn’t as if she left South Beim to save a small village. She was waiting for a larger target to make its move. Or perhaps to flee.
“So how is the all-important Count doing?”
On Miranda’s words, the Valkyries spoke.
“It is thinkable that he has already been informed. But he shows no signs of retreat.”
“Oh my, when his number’s gone down so far, he sure is taking it easy.”
A Valkyrie spoke.
“It is unthinkable he has a precise grasp of the casualties. And it is doubtful he thinks of South Beim as a threat. It is not as if the Count is incompetent. It is surmised he is lacking in luck, and not overly competent.”
If he fled, perhaps his life would have been spared. But if he fled and rejoined the main force, he would likely be called a coward from those around. It was because they knew that, that Miranda and co were going to make a march on that Count.
“I hope he turns out to be good bait.”
Miranda put on her helmet, and made sure the smile on her face wasn’t visible to those around…
Make them think South Beim was a threat.
But having three hundred thousand attack us would be troublesome.
So we wanted the enemy to dispatch just enough of a scale that they’d be able to defeat us.
For that sake, there was work being done on Bahnseim’s side. If that went well, I would lead our six thousand troops forth.
We’d defeat the Count plundering in the south, and have Bahnseim’s army dispatch another. Doing it while the main force marched on Beim was the situation we hoped for.
Novem came to my side.
“Lyle-sama, the preparations are in order.”
Novem was carrying her staff, but she was in full armor. Clearly making her out as a magician, and having her targeted would be troublesome. Looking forward, I saw Clara wearing unfamiliar armor by Porter’s side.
“… Shouldn’t I ride a horse too? You know, as a commander.”
I complained to Novem, but she wouldn’t accept it.
“No, you shouldn’t. And you’ve lent out your horse to Aria-san. We’re lacking in goods, so please give it up.”
My shoulders dropped. From the Jewel, I could hear the Seventh’s voice.
『Well, it’s ideal if Lyle doesn’t have to move himself. If the general is gripping his blade on the battlefield, we cannot win this battle.』
A sound opinion. And I had enough achievements for soldiers to follow me even if I didn’t go out front. I didn’t have to force it.
However, the Third spoke.
『Have some rest before the target comes. Leaving things to his men is also the General’s job.』
The Fifth muttered.
『And when will he have that sort of time… No matter how you look at it, he’s busy as hell. Hah.』
Milleia-san spoke apologetically.
『… Father, don’t be so depressed. It hurts my heart. Lyle, if possible, when you have the time, I’m leaving it to you to give the Fifth a grand sendoff.』
Isn’t it because she keeps saying things like that that the difficulty level keeps going up? For some reason, I felt sorry for the Fifth.