Split into three forces of five hundred.
By the actions of Aria, Miranda and Baldoir, the Count whose vassals were being attacked made his move. Unable to step down before a mere enemy of fifteen hundred, the main force was springing to action. However, the number of troops they were able to regroup into had decreased to four thousand.
Their drop in number was due to the squadrons who failed to return from plunder. Aria and the others’ work had largely chipped them away.
Both sides held camps on small knolls, and as they faced one another, a field battle was about to begin. However, once our three forces merged… along with a force of my own, I stood before the enemy with our close-to-eight thousand troops, and thought.
“We’re close to twice their numbers. Even so, going at them upfront will have a bit of a high casualty count.”
With them being borrowed soldiers, if possible, I didn’t want to injure them too much. I could tell the enemy was hesitant before a force beyond their imaginations.
If I closed my eyes, through the Fifth’s… Dimension… the battlefield was displayed in my head as a three dimensional terrain map, while allies and enemies were identified with the Sixth’s… Search. I really think if you use the Fifth’s and Sixth’s Skills together, it enters the realm of downright unfair.
But if you didn’t put those skills to effective use, there wasn’t any meaning.
Sitting on Porter’s roof, as I thought over what to do next, the Seventh gave some advice.
『Lyle, look closely at the enemy’s formation. Take in more precise information. You may be economizing with Mana consumption in mind, but the enemy’s organization is something you should know.』
The first I’d angered him in a while.
“… You’re right. Then Real Spec it is.”
The Sixth’s Third Stage Skill… Real Spec… let me gain further details on the other party. Alongside intensely increasing the info coming it, the sensation of it all flooding into my head… and by temporarily diverting the flow to Monica, she processed it, and sent it back in a way easier for me to understand.
“Basically, they have a vassaled army covering both flanks of their main House’s force. Their cavalry is gathered in the center.”
The Third read their movements from within the Jewel.
『Oh, if they’re gathering like that… it’s true that in morale, training and equipment… we have the upper hand, but perhaps they’re planning to go straight for Lyle’s head.』
Our saving grace was that our foe barely had any of our information. If we wanted to, we could provoke the enemies out to the center, surround them, and take them down.
The Fifth gave a serious voice.
『Lyle, call back Baldoir’s unit to the center. Concentrate cavalry on both sides. Station Aria and Miranda at the flanks. Novem and Maksim by your side, and if anyone breaks through, have them clash.』
I abided his word to give orders.
Novem nearby approached me. And once I informed her of the Fifth’s directions, she headed towards the runners.
Looking over that, the Third spoke in an intrigued voice.
『Come to think of it, it’s Lyle’s first time on a battlefield of this scale, isn’t it?』
Up to now, I had fought in Zayin and Lorphys, but it seems the ancestors weren’t satisfied with that.
When I gripped the Jewel, and Third laughed.
『Then you’ve got to watch properly. What happens in the case that your foe possesses a level of competence. And considerable magicians as well… it’ll become flashy.』
Listening to the Third’s words, I faced forwards.
… When the Count mounted his horse, the surrounding elites- his vassals and soldiers- hardened their formation.
For better or worse, it was a military house, The Count at the head of it looked at the army before him.
“So we were lacking in information. To think South Beim had so many soldiers…”
To his side was a retainer knight he trusted. Similarily riding a horse, his hand held an axe… a battle axe.
“Count just by the numbers, we’re at a disadvantage. Just looking at enemy movements, breaching through the center will be most difficult. In this battle, why not look up the option of retreat?”
The Count snorted, and fastened down his helmet’s mask. Full plate armor, his horse wore metal protectors as well, and he was truly fully armored. One of his hands held a large sword, and through his daily training, he was easily able to hold its mass against his shoulder.
“If I did such a thing, it would tarnish my family’s name… if that’s all that would happen then so be it, but a majority of my vassals have been crushed. If we run just like that, even if I can return to the territory, the problems will remain. What vassal would follow such an unreliable lord? If it goes poorly, then they will change sides to the lords we skirmish with. ”
If only his name was on the line, he would have retreated. But the merits that would come from that wounded name, and the rumors that would spread of him not being able to avenge his vassals would make further management of his territory difficult.
“… I need the fact we did go and fight. Once we clash once, and the enemy receives light injury, escape would be most favorable.”
On the Count’s tall order, the knight also fastened down his mask and answered.
“You ask for too much. Just how much casualty would that afford us?”
The Count, in a small voice.
“If we run away, we’ll face even greater casualty. Breach the center, and once that’s over, gather up and pull out! That I moved is the important part. Please understand.”
“Even if he was driven out, he’s a man of the Walt House. Don’t you want to try fighting him?”
After the knight silently nodded, the Count raised a loud voice. Holding up his large sword, and once the surrounding soldiers answered his call in kind, those cries slowly made their way to the furthest edges of his army.
With the cavalry at the center, and the soldiers following behind, the armies ran to collide. The Count looked at both armies from under his helmet.
“Lyle, was it? Now how will you fight?”
The knights around him raised their left hands, and deployed a Magic Shield. To block magic, and arrows, thin as it was, it was prepared to cover a vast expanse. The army raced under that umbrella of light. It was the fundamental of Bahnseimian assault.
The knight was looking at the enemy movements. He could follow them by Skill as well, and he raised a loud voice to the Count.
“It looks like they plan to wait for us! Their flanks are moving to enclose us in! But they’re making a wide encirclement, and won’t be able to keep up with our movements!”
The Count laughed in his visor.
“Slow! Before you can do that, we’ll break through the center you thinned out yourself! Whelp of the Walt House… are you a let-down!?”
As both armies gradually drew closer, an enemy force was waiting up front.
“What? Are those golems?”
Dolls of iron were prepared with their large shields. They could see the enemy force through the gaps between metal plates, and seeing the weapons they had on hand, the Count…
“Don’t fear those swords! Prepare shields on the front line!”
Holding up their Shields, the knights directed the Magic Shield towards the front. The soldiers had been racing behind the horses from behind, but they were slowly growing further appart.
Seeing the enemy soldiers and their guns, the Count thought his men could handle something on that level, having no fear even when the gunshots rang out. However…
The knights at the front were sent flying backwards. A spray of blood rose, and the horse collapsed thrashing about. There was a possibility the gunshot startled them, but even for that, their movements were strange.
The count urged his own steed to jump over the collapsed horse, but following behind him, some knights failed to do so, falling to the ground when their horses legs tripped up.
One of the young knights who went up front had his chest shot through alongside the bang. His armor of iron had been pierced, blowing him backwards.
“Kuh! We have a chance of victory if we can approach! Attack without hesitation! Send attacks from our side!”
Unable to turn and run at this point, the knights capable of magic fired shots at the enemies before them. Fireballs, lightning, and blades of wind assailed them. But those heavy-looking golems holding their large shields in both hands had impaled their ends into the ground. Behind them hid the enemy soldiers and their guns.
When the magic hit the golems, it raised an explosion, but even if their surfaces were damaged, it didn’t go as far as to reach the soldiers behind them.
The Count looked upon the scene.
“… You mean to change war, whelp of the Walt House!”
It wasn’t a tactic that had never been used. It wasn’t as if there weren’t any other magicians capable of using golems, and such methods had been thought out. But on a financial and production front, there were too many problems that they were never fully actualized.
Both enemy and ally shot magic, and as it was blocked, he heard an incessant stream of explosion around. The count turned his eyes to the knight beside him.
“There’s no longer any victory. But I won’t be their prisoner!”
On the Count’s words, the knight nodded.
“I shall accompany you.”
And the horse he road leapt over the golem before it, bringing its master into enemy lines.
Behind him, knight and horse crossed over the golems one after another. Among them were some unable to cross, their horses colliding with the men of iron.
And nearby a conspicuously shaped golem, they could see what looked to be the enemy commander. The armor he wore, and the knights around him… making a judgement from those, the Count held up his sword.
“This war is my loss. But I won’t let it end with that!”
At the very least, bringing him down with him. Thinking that, the Count spotted a lightly-armored man wielding a spear beside the man with white and blue armor. Around that man, sand began to gather and take the shape of armor.
“It couldn’t be… Maksim Danhel!!?”
A famous knight of Bahnseim. By the rumors, his whereabouts were unknown, but who was to think they would find him here.
The Count’s right hand knight rushed at Maksim. When he cut at Maksim’s armor of sand, the blade stuck in, and to avoid it pulling him down from his horse, he had to discard it and pull his sword.
“Your enemy is me!”
As the two of them fought, the count made his way towards Lyle. Slowly drawing the sabre-like weapon at his waist, the enemy gave orders for the surrounding members to step back.
(The same sort of weapon as the current head. But like hell I’ll fall short in close combat!)
Whatever the case, they were surrounded, so he would be captured afterwards. From the Count’s point of view, the question was whether he could take Lyle’s head or not. He thought it would make a large difference in how he evaluated himself from the world beyond.
But seeing his enemy so unflustered under this situation, he felt a bit uneasy.
When he swung his large sword at Lyle, it was turned aside by his thin and slender blade.
“You’ve got a nice weapon! But…!”
The Count let go of the reigns, and prepared magic with his left hand. It wasn’t like he specialized in magic, but there were no absolutes in war. For that sake, he had polished just a single magic as a trump card. Perhaps because of that, the Skill he manifested wasn’t an enhancement Skill, but a magic-specialized Rearguard Skill.
Turning that left hand towards Lyle, a large fireball appeared on its palm… and danced in the air alongside his left arm. The severed arm fell onto the ground, and scattered flames around it. As the enemy magicians went into extinguishing the flames, the Count looked down at his hands.
His left hand was no longer there.
“… My armor was a Magic Tool, you know. You cut it?”
Giving a sigh, the Count looked at Lyle floating in the air, and pointing his sword his way, and laughed.
“As expected, the Walt House is a gathering of monsters!”
The Count received Lyle’s attack and rolled along the ground. He watched the sight of his own body straddling his horse as his consciousness grew faint…
Maksim-san stuck his spear in to give the final blow to the knight who’d cut in alongside the Count.
In the chest… a single stab to the heart, and the foe spat blood from his helmet, dying with a grip on his spear.
“… I’ve heard his name before. A Support who had a Skill to overlook his surroundings or so. Known as the Count’s right-hand man.”
As Maksim-san evaluated the man, I looked around. The knights that breached through were taken out by we laying in wait.
The enemy soldiers had yet to break through the golems with Shields, and with the loss of their commander, they tried dispersing and fleeing, but Aria’s force had already surrounded them, so there was nowhere for them to run.
The Count’s headless body fell from its horse.
When I looked at the Katana, it was sticky with blood. Novem approached me in worry, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the Count.
“Hey, why was he smiling?”
Unable to understand why he laughed to his death, and as I muttered that, Novem grasped my arm.
“It means that for better or worse, the Count was a knight. A warrior, I’m sure. Lyle-sama, if you remain too mindful of it, you’ll bring unrest to your surroundings.”
“… You’re right.”
I couldn’t understand him. From the Jewel, the third let out a sigh.
『You may not be able to understand it Lyle, but there are those sorts of people out there. The sorts who’ll die if they don’t fight. The sorts that love war to death. They’re out there I tell you!』
Is it really no good not to fight if you don’t have to fight? I confirmed the battlefield with the Skills. And I confirmed the enemy remnants fleeing around.
“… That’s fine. With this, Bahnseim can’t ignore us. I hope they give an accurate measure of our scale.”
In regards to my failure to understand, the Fifth called over.
『If looked at as individuals, there are those you’ll think favorably of. But I wonder what it is… there are people who seek battlefields. It’s different from wanting to plunder, and wanting to go wild. They just want to fight, want to enjoy fighting. In the Walt House, that trend was strong in the First, right?』
I don’t want to think the First was that sort of person. But I could picture him laughing as he charged at a strong foe.
Milleia-san spoke to me.
『Lyle, remember this. There are people with thought processes you won’t be able to understand. And to look at it the other way, there are people who won’t be able to understand us. You cannot deny them. Because it’s a fact.』
After shaking my head, I looked forward. But the Seventh…
『Looked on from the side, I’m sure we look quite belligerent ourselves. Well, I doubt I smiled to the end though.』