With the battle with the count over, we retreated to the planned point, and began our preparations.
Our main approximately ten-thousand men army need only wait for the forces of Bahnseim to come. In a tent of our camp, I looked over the words Shannon was copying out.
In the letter that came from Redant Fortress, it was written a force of small scale was coming to investigate. However, in the letter’s margin…
‘Around thirty thousand preparing to depart’
‘The royal guard, and feudal lords close to Celes-sama are taking part.’
‘A few betrayals on this side. Already disposed of.’
‘Target is to defend Redant Fortress alongside unit.’
… Various things were written briefly. The target was General Blois. He was talented, and a valuable personnel uncharmed by Celes. Born to imperial nobles, and with his talent, he received too many promotions in his youth that they began treating him as a trouble maker.
By Rauno-san’s investigation, the individual himself didn’t strongly wish for promotion, and he just got them naturally as he completed the jobs that were given to him, apparently.
Within the tent, I returned the letter to Shannon.
“Have you gotten able to properly read them?”
She averted her eyes.
“These people have a peculiar style of handwriting and… a-around eighty percent.”
I could surmise it from looking at the characters she copied over, and it didn’t seem that was mistaken. If Shannon could read and write a little better, she’d be able to read the letters written in Mana-imbued water on her own, I’m sure.
Touching her light-violet hair, I spoke to the distracted lass.
“I do want perfection, but for now, this is enough. Good job.”
Perhaps relieved, she pat her chest. A little away, Baldoir peered at the letter, and offered his piece.
“All I can see is them writing whatever was convenient, and I can’t tell anything else.”
He was touching his chin in thought. Miranda offered him a kind explanation.
“Shannon’s eyes are special. With this, we can drag our mark onto the battlefield.”
But Baldoir’s expression wasn’t the greatest.
“Celes-sama… no, Celes’ royal guard. And the elites of Centralle, you say. Just by rumor, I’ve heard they are throwaway soldiers resolved for death. A man resolved for death is scary. When you’ve got ten thousand of them, outnumbering their foe… and the battle won’t end until one side is completely annihilated.”
Charmed by Celes. An army that didn’t fear death. It had surpassed troublesome into the realm of scary. No matter how many allies fell, it wouldn’t dent their morale.
“I’ll have the alliance and Cartaffs dispatch manpower. Even if we don’t reach fifty thousand, we’ll have more than the enemy. We have a need to annihilate them on favorable conditions, so I have gotten the preparations together already.”
I looked at the blue-armored Valkyries standing around. In a sense, those girls were also soldiers resolved for death.
Eva looked at the map, and pointed out a marked point.
“… We’ll properly do our job, but there are too many of them. We won’t be able to thin them out too much.”
I looked at her nervous air.
“If it’s dangerous, fall back. No, you only have to put them on their guard. I only want to chip away their stamina a bit, and whittling their numbers isn’t the objective. What’s important is to irritate them.”
Eva looked at me, her face twitching.
“You really are good at thinking up these sorts of means. What a foul personality.”
There, from the Jewel, the Fifth who proposed this plan…
Reacted. Right, the one who thought it up was the Fifth, and it consisted of a night raid to put them on guard, and quite plainly drain away their stamina. We had various other plans in place to incessantly chip away at their strength.
Noticing the Fifth, Milleia-san spoke.
『Don’t worry, father. Coward is a compliment.』
There, Eva looked at me, while Baldoir fidgeted. He had yet to grow accustomed to the air around us. Or rather, he was amazed when he heard a large majority of the female camp here were my wife candidates. And it seems he was lost for how to interact with them.
“Eva-sama? Lyle-sama’s tactics are effective ones. This is for the sake of victory.”
Eva looked at him a little troubled. She likely never expected an earnest explanation. She had intended for some light banter.
“I get it. I get you, Baldoir-dono. At the start, I had my troubles with this peculiar air. But it’s fine. This is normal.”
I spoke to Baldoir.
“These light exchanges are an everyday thing. You don’t need to be mindful of them.”
There Baldoir seemed even more troubled.
“That’s a bit… but if a problem comes from me opening my mouth… however my lord’s honor is at stake and…”
Looking at Baldoir, the Third in the Jewel was laughing.
『Ahaha, this kid sure is earnest. He resembles the first Randbergh who became a knight in my time. He was a bit too earnest and awkward. But I guess this is fate and such and such for you.』
The Seventh seemed to be nodding.
『The Forxuz House, and the Circry House… it’s true some have been lost, but some still remain. And the new ones Lyle gained are…』
The Seventh sounded a little glad. In order to get myself back on track, I clapped my hands.
“Now then, let’s continue the meeting. I don’t think this time’s a battle we can enjoy, but it’s one that’s definitely necessary. It carries a large significance in largely thinning Celes’ personal force.”
Right, the elites were soldiers from Centralle. If I could put a large chip in that war potential, it would make future battles easier. And if I sent death-bound soldiers at Beim, there was a possibility Beim would be completely wiped off the map.
“The war has only just begun. But if we lose here, there won’t be a next. Why don’t we strengthen our resolve.”
… At Redant Fortress, Blois approached the general serving as supreme commander.
Entering the room he used, he made his enquiry.
“I would like to ask. Lyle Walt of South Beim is dangerous. Why are you sending thirty thousand troops centered on the royal guard of all things? Here, you should send fifty thousand. No, sixty thousand, or ignore them entirely and set course for Beim!”
The supreme commander spoke disinterestedly.
“It isn’t particularly a bad plan. We are heading for Beim ahead of our initial schedule. And we lost the army of one Count. Damage to our total forces exceed ten thousand. Lords who had the tables turned in their plunder aren’t few in number. On top of that, there are idiots who refuse to return after setting out to pillage. In such a state, we don’t have the leisure to send sixty thousand. So we’ll have thirty five thousand seal off South Beim’s movements. I’m sure they can do at least that much. Better than having South Beim attack us from behind in the middle of our assault on Beim.”
Blois took in the supreme commander’s words, and thought there was no mistake in them. In the end, he believed there wouldn’t be a problem even if the royal guard lost.
The royal guard and the elites… what squad would be selected to fill in the hole they left behind? The army of the eastern front returning from Beim… with their victory still fresh in memory, the supreme commander thought he could get even closer to Celes in Centralle upon his return. Or so Blois surmised.
“But in the case South Beim has war potential exceeding our expectations…”
“General Blois. It does seem there are some bad rumors spreading about you.”
Hearing his words, Blois made a vexed expression. It didn’t seem the supreme commander actually believed the rumors, but he planned to use them to refuse this talk.
“I’ve left the fortress’ defense to you. With your soldiers and three thousand from the main body, you will be commanding seven thousand, but please proceed with the utmost caution. What, as long as you can pull off a good job, those bad rumors will fade away just like that.”
Blois left the supreme commander’s room as if driven away. Led out by the arm by the commander’s guard…
… Breid supplemented the soldiers he lost in the mountains with some from the main body and feudal nobles before setting off from Redant Fortress.
His royal guard. And the elites had gone down to numbering twenty eight thousand. Two thousand had died in the mountains, or were too injured to move.
But taking in seven thousand more to reinforce his fighting force, he headed for South Beim. There were mercenary brigades among them, but they were to lead the way and nothing more.
“There are more monsters than I thought.”
On Breid’s words, the mercenary brigade chief who came to report shrugged his shoulders.
“Aren’t they going up because all the adventurers are gathering in Beim? Because those things pop up everywhere.”
Breid sought the opinion of the Baronet stationed nearby. Regardless of merit, he was stationed nearby for Breid to seek his council.
“Baronet, if we’re to disarm traps as we proceed, it will take time for our arrival. Can we push through the traps?”
The Baronet spoke without any fluster.
“That will lead to expenditure. If an army of our scale marches, it will reach their ear whether we like it or not. If it doesn’t, that means our foe is incompetent. There is no need to worry. Even if there are more enemies than reported, we have over three times their number. There is no way we will lose.”
Breid took in that opinion, and thought.
(If we put out casualties, and keep troops lost to a minimum, there’s no way they’ll press us into a disadvantage. The reports say they don’t reach ten thousand, but our side has thirty five thousand. Normally, I’d have liked four times their forces, but if it’s for Celes’ sake, the elites have no fear of death. This ability to break through isn’t something so easily defended against. The probability they’ll go out into a field battle is low, but… we’ve prepared siege weapons as well. Even if they hole up in that south Beim place, we’ll have the advantage!)
Breid determined that if he was going to win either way, there was no need to push his forces to march on. So he decided to avoid traps as the main force proceeded forwards…
Eva led an elven clan- what’s more, a clan that lived in the forests- to approach the enemy camp camping out.
There were dark elves stationed around to protect her, and the ones swift on their feet had just returned from recon.
Wearing not black, but deep blue cloth, they had slipped into the darkness, and scouted out the enemy forces. And they were reporting to Eva.
“There’s no doubt about it. Those of the Baronet’s have put up the mark. If it’s like this, we can aim with ease, even if it be flaming arrows.”
Eva looked afar.
“I can’t see a thing.”
The surrounding elves laughed. And while apologizing to Eva…
“If we don’t use our night eyes, it’ll be a problem to our lifestyles. Unlike the clans that left the forests, our legs and eyes and bows are our pride.”
The dark elves dispersed, prepared flaming arrows, and fired them. Eva ran off protected by them, as she witnessed an arrow pierce the roof of a carriage, setting it alight.
The oil or something similar within caught light, burning up supplies.
The elves immediately extinguished the flame, and headed for a nearby forest, an arrow fired from a completely different place into where they were before.
In an instant, hundreds of arrows had been fired, showing the elves the difference in their supplies.
“How envious. They can keep firing those for so long. Even so close as we are, their aim is completely off. They’re lacking in skill.”
Eva followed so as not to fall behind anyone.
“I had a bit of confidence in myself, but you’ve exceeded that.”
There, a dark elf woman near her spoke.
“You don’t need it. Just do your best to be liked by that man. If you do, the chief said it would be linked to a rise in our status.”
It seems the reason the elves helped Eva wasn’t just because she was of the Nihil. Eva smiled having attained such determined comrades.
“Just leave it to me. Even like this, I’ve a beautiful voice. I’ll use songs to grab Lyle’s heart through the ear. More importantly, it seems the horses are coming.”
Looking behind, the knights were riding horses waving lanterns around, and inspecting the environment. But the dark elves shot arrows as they ran.
“No problem. And we’re just about to enter a forest. If we get that far, the horses are just another target.”
The knight dropped the arrow-pierced lantern, and a different arrow hit his horse, causing it to rear and throw him off.
“This much is only natural. Look, we’re entering the forest. Stay close.”
Surrounded by dark elves, Eva entered the forest.
… A village near Beim.
As the adventurers and soldiers wouldn’t come out of Beim, a Baronet had led his own hundred and fifty troops towards it. And now he was crumbling at the knees.
No, one hundred and fifty was a story of a few moments prior. Around the Baronet, there were only a few knights and soldiers remaining. A small girl sat atop the roof of the carriage he had brought.
And a large woman stood on the ground… with only two, they had annihilated the Baronet’s unit bare-handed.
The large woman hit her right hand’s fist against her left palm.
“No resistance at all. When you had us surrounded, that’s the best you can do?”
Surrounding them with spears, and with the support of archers, the Baronet’s soldiers had lost to just two women. What’s more, one was a little girl.
“What… what are you people!”
Even if they were close to Beim, that was looking at Beim’s territory as a whole. When the little girl jumped down from the carriage, she landed before the Baronet’s eyes.
But as she did, the surrounding knights and soldiers were blown off their feet.
Blown away, and as they rolled along the ground, they stopped moving. On that moon-lit night, the Baronet thought he was seeing a dream. He fell onto the ground, and looked up at the girl with the full moon at her back.
“Sorry, but you all rampaged however you liked, and you don’t need anyone to hold back, right? You came all the way here just to fight… you’re already resolved for death, right?”
Seeing something sharp come out of the girl’s right hand, when she swung it, the Baronet’s line of visio took a sudden turn. And when he saw his own body collapse limp, his vision grew dark…
… Once the fighting was over, May looked at the village chief who approached.
It seems he was formerly an adventurer, but lately he had gained flesh around the stomach, and perhaps he could no longer wear his old armor, as he came with his weapons alone.
“Y-you’re adventurers, right? The way you fight… you’ve got considerable skill. I beg of you! Protect our village!”
In regards to the chief’s pleas, May shrugged her shoulders. Marina didn’t have any intent to do the negotiations from the start.
(Though Marina should be more suited to this sort of thing than me.)
“Unfortunately, you’re mistaken. We’re members of Lyle’s party… former party members, I guess. We’ve been driven out by the Guild, and we just happened to pass by. But we do have business elsewhere, so we must be on our way.”
The man knew of Lyle’s name, and knew the fact he had been driven out, so he dropped his shoulders.
“I-I see. When it comes to Lyle, he’s the guy from Redant Fortress… yeah, I don’t have the money to hire such an amazing adventurer. But why did you save us?”
May folded her arms.
“Because we couldn’t leave you be. But we can’t protect you forever. So you’re going to run. Bahnseim is raising ruckus all over the place, and most of the attacked villages have been completely annihilated.”
After May said that, Marina accompanied her out of the village.
And far enough away from the villagers, May took on her quilin form and raced across the sky. Marina rode on her back looking down at the ground.
“… That boy really is thorough. If the folks we saved make their way to Beim, the rumors will definitely spread. Beim… no, the Guild and Merchants will definitely see hell.”
May marveled at those actions of humanity.
“That’s how Lyle does things. Humans… really are scary.”
Saying that, May searched for another village under attack. May and Marina were going around saving villages being attacked by small-scale forces. Mainly to have their residents flee to Beim and spread the rumors…