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The one leading the army of 500 soldiers is in name Count Aspilketa. The other eight family head’s of the noble households led the soldiers, they brought along from their respective territories, as equal-ranked commanders.
However, the one who was in fact placed as general leading the troops is an about 50 years old man called Okshion (T/N: >> Okushion <<). The nobles below the rank of count are following in the rear while rebuking the soldiers.
Gently caressing his short-cut dark brown hair, the mounted Okshion is at the front of the ranks.
“If we are honest, such battle is pointless.” (Okshion)
“General, that is…”
The aide, who is travelling next to him, surveyed the vicinity without concealing his panic due to Okshion’s small mutter.
It looks like it hasn’t reached the ears of anyone else.
“Please be careful. It will affect the morale of the troops.”
Okshion snorted due to the aide cautioning him with a self-satisfied look.
“Humph, something like morale isn’t necessary. If we storm in with 500 soldiers, the military gains will follow up easily in accordance. If we just endure the magic attacks, the soldiers of Horant won’t be that strong.” (Okshion)
“However. The timing is bad. Why are we moving the soldiers at this time without having even obtained the permission from Her Majesty?” (Okshion)
Okshion was formerly attached to the royal army which is directly commanded by the royal castle, but he possesses a personal history of having been head-hunted as top of Count Aspilketa army. Three years haven’t yet passed since his change of assignments and it had been not more than three months since he met his aide, too. (Copyrighted by Infinite Novel Translations, read the story on the translator’s blog!)
Similarly, with the majority being new recruits, who had been gathered up in a hurry as military forces, each of the feudal army’s soldiers have become platoon leaders who are commanding several new recruits. It seems like there are also some who lack in things like leadership.
“I heard it from an acquaintance in the capital, but in the previous war against Horant it was a spectacular victory by Count Tohno who plunged into the centre of Horant by himself and killed the crown prince.”
“That’s correct and also the reason why Count Aspilketa is aiming for military gains that are equal or going beyond that and formed the current alliance, I have been told.”
Okshion endured his desire to hit the aide who is talking as if wanting to say “How about that!” Just how much and why is he pleased with himself? This aide seems to adore Aspilketa.
“If he thinks that, it would have been fine for him to infiltrate by himself after taking lessons from Count Tohno.” (Okshion)
“Such tomfoolery. The count can’t be expected to do such thing. Besides, with him inviting his friends like this, he will make sure to finish it without acting lowly like boasting about just his own achievements. You might say that it will result in a deep prudence.”
“Tomfoolery, eh?” (Okshion)
From my point of view, both actions are bad though, Okshion judged.
Okshion didn’t encounter the man called Hifumi. With him learning of Hifumi only through the rumours he has heard, he can’t imagine him as man of valour like the ones appearing in some hero stories at all.
But, although it’s hearsay, Hifumi has definitely produced results. The talk, I heard about Hifumi’s way of using soldiers, is something very good to be used as reference. The talk is about a man who’s less than half my age, but if pushed to say, I can only believe less in the rumours about his age than his military achievements.
When he thought I wonder what kind of fellow he is. I’d like to try speaking with him once if we meet, a low-ranking soldier whispered something into the ear of the aide.
“General, we will soon arrive at the national border.”
“Well, that’s no good.” (Okshion)
“It’s not soon. If it’s at this speed, we should see the national border in 15 minutes.” (Okshion)
Mixing in the scolding of “Give precise reports”, Okshion issued instructions to tell the counts in the rear that they are about to get in contact with the enemy, just to be sure.
Hifumi got on a horse and headed by himself towards the vicinity where Alyssa fought with Balzephon.
Hifumi, who departed first thing in the morning in a straight line using the quickest horse, arrived at the actual site before sunset.
Once he surveyed the surroundings he found remains of deep black blood here and there.
“Around here, huh?” (Hifumi)
The area around the highway is covered by dense thickets and even though it’s before sunset, the area is turning dark quickly.
When he smelled the air’s scent, he sensed a faint stench of a beast within the thick fragrance of greenery.
“… I don’t sense its presence, but…” (Hifumi)
Without drawing the katana, Hifumi took out one shuriken from his pocket. It’s a cross shuriken that has been carefully polished so that it pierces deeply.
He closes his eyes while holding the shuriken in his right hand.
“… Over there!?” (Hifumi)
Twisting his hips, he throws the shuriken towards the thicket on the left side.
The one who dodged the shuriken, which flew like a bullet, alongside a yell is Balzephon.
“Oh, oh, you hid that large build nicely.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi drew his katana skilfully while avoiding Balzephon, who comes attacking to crash into him, with a forward somersault.
Balzephon’s long arm came stretching for Hifumi’s back, but in the act of standing up Hifumi jumped up and cut off the wrist in a flash.
“There’s nothing that can’t be cut by a katana, but…” (Hifumi)
Balzephon picked up the fallen wrist while raising a groan.
In front of the watching Hifumi Balzephon presses it on the wound with a wet sound, the bones connect in the blink of an eye and the wound closes just like that.
Balzephon turned his look at the katana and face of Hifumi during that time.
“It’s just as Alyssa said, you are definitely the fellow who was a knight in the castle. Your body has become really huge, but your face hasn’t changed overly much.” (Hifumi)
Once he looked at Hifumi, Balzephon’s eyes suddenly became grim.
“Do you know about me? I valued you highly at that time. You escaped without fail at the time you realized that you wouldn’t win. That was a significant deed.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi points at Balzephon with the left hand which was covered by a glove.
“I don’t know what happened to you and I don’t have any interest in it either.” (Hifumi)
The katana, he grasped in his right hand, was lowered loosely.
“You have fought to the point of ceasing to be a human. This time I will enjoy the fight until the end.” (Hifumi)
At the same time Hifumi finishes his words, Balzephon, whose injury had completely healed, advances on his long legs and approaches right in front of Hifumi’s eyes with just two steps.
Balzephon swings his right hand swiftly with a long sweeping stroke, but it doesn’t hit Hifumi.
“Let’s cut you all over as test.” (Hifumi)
Slashing at the flank in the process of passing by, Hifumi cuts him open even more after dodging.
Hifumi takes his distance from Balzephon who is wielding his left hand blindly. Balzephon’s wounds close up during that time.
Even with the intestines spilling out, Balzephon forcibly stuffs them back in and the wound closes.
“I see. This is troublesome.” (Hifumi)
Balzephon does a sharp roundhouse kick, however although Hifumi’s temporal region was aimed at, Hifumi eluded it by moving his neck sideways with a jerk.
Hifumi’s earlobe is torn by the sharp nails of Balzephon’s foot.
Moreover, using the swung foot as axis, Balzephon approaches to crush Hifumi by falling with his back, but Hifumi avoided by doing a backward somersault.
Balzephon, who fell down and raised a cloud of dust, loses sight of Hifumi’s figure for just a few seconds.
That was plenty for Hifumi.
“How about this?” (Hifumi)
The katana brought down by Hifumi from a stance of holding it above his head accurately aimed for the centre of Balzephon’s face and and cleanly smashed it into left and right.
Balzephon, who was divided into two just like a flower from the neck to the top, spilled grey matter and had an eyeball plop out due to the impact.
Nevertheless, his gaze caught Hifumi.
“… Pheew.” (Hifumi)
Although he wiped the katana with a paper, Hifumi didn’t return it to its scabbard.
“It seems like you still want to play.” (Hifumi)
Both hands of Balzephon were trembling, but he pressed together his split head from left and right with all his strength.
“That’s right. It’s great. You came this far to start a war. If you do your best to such a degree, I will be happy as well.” (Hifumi)
A portion of the spilled-out brain had fallen down and was torn to shreds, but while pressing the two halves together with a squish, he completely re-connected his head.
Treading down on the face, Hifumi pushed in the eyeball which plopped out.
“It’s a great world after all, this one! Hurrah to fantasy! You probably think so, too, don’t you?” (Hifumi)
“But”, Hifumi tilted his head while laughing.
“What to do about this? There’s no martial arts to be found that knows how to defeat something like an immortal opponent.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi pondered about the means to kill him in front of the slowly standing-up Balzephon.
“All hands, release the spears. Drop them in front of you without hitting the enemy.”
“Without hitting them?” (If you read this anywhere but on infinitenoveltranslations.net, then it’s been stolen!)
Hearing Ma Carme’s order, the messenger of Count Biron, who stayed behind, voiced out his doubts.
“This time it’s not our goal to kill the enemy.” (Ma)
It is foolish to try dealing with 500 people, Ma Carme strokes his beard.
“Withdraw as fast as possible after the second volley.” (Ma)
His subordinates, who precisely followed the order, began to set up the firing of the five spear throwers in pairs.
“There’s still quite the distance left…”
As the shouts and vibrations are slightly audible, they convey the approach of a large army with a rattling.
If it was the common bows and arrows, they wouldn’t be in range yet.
One spear after the other is fired from the lined-up spear throwers next to the baffled messenger.
The spear, fired off with a *bam* fell precisely down in front of the enemy’s leading group with a *plop*. Two of the five spears have been stabbed into the ground.
“Until such far distance…”
“Get the second charge ready…. Fire!” (Ma)
Even the next five released spears hit the ground in front of the enemy forces and one broke miserably.
Several jeers and loud laughters can be heard from the enemy army.
“Alright, that’s enough. Withdraw! We will abandon the spear throwers, but cut the bowstrings so that we are not hit in the back!” (Ma)
Once Ma Carme began to run in the direction of Horant followed by the messenger, the other unit members cut off the bowstrings installed at the discharge device of the spear throwers with knives and followed afterwards.
Once again ridiculing voices can be heard from the enemy army in the rear, but Ma Carme and the other members run without minding it in the least. The messenger ran off the highway as well while taking the horse along. He has been told the route in advance by Ma Carme.
When he ran desperately for about a minute, he reached the national border of Horant.
“Five people set up the spear throwers, the rest gets ready to receive them as planned!” (Ma)
“W-What are you going to do?”
“Well, just watch it.” (Ma)
In front of the border there have been placed thirty high stakes at various places. The unit members are tying a rope between those one after the other.
As it’s obvious from their appearance that the stakes and rope are thick and sturdy, they probably won’t be torn down even from being kicked by horses.
“Won’t those be seen by the enemy army right away?”
“I guess so.” (Ma)
Once one of his subordinates told him that the preparations are done, Ma Carme told the troops, who were working on that, to help preparing the spear throwers.
(Will they fire the spears after the horses get ensnared by the rope? They will step over that obvious rope…)(Messenger)
The messenger, who is drenched with sweat and stirred up by worries, looked at Ma Carme calmly watching in the direction of the approaching enemy army.
The light mood, that had lasted until just now, has vanished and he is moving attentively in order to grasp the entirety of the enemy forces with a serious gaze.
“… They came!” (Ma Carme)
At the same time Ma Carme was convinced of something, screams began to rise in the rear of the enemy army.
“They got here, it’s Count Biron’s army.” (Ma)
“However, the vanguard is already this close…”
The enemy army, which was attacked in the rear due to its long file of soldiers, approaches with an even further increased speed towards the border where Ma Carme is waiting in order to drive them away.
Several mounted knights, who are affiliated to territories in the provinces, are getting close while holding their spears out in front of them.
“Those kind of fellows, who are in a hurry to obtain achievements, are the easiest to set up.” (Ma)
Once Ma Carme mutters that, the leading horses jump over the obvious rope and fell down just like that.
Having been thrown off, the knights tumble around while being smeared with dirt.
“What the heck…”
“Our side’s rope is laid out over sand. If you walk normally, it’s no problem, but it will likely give in once the forelegs of horses are thrust into it.” (Ma)
None of the knights, who are falling off their horses one after the other unable to cope with it, are able to get up.
Since they are scared of being stepped on by the following riders, they were crawling frantically, but it was apparently in vain.
Although the knights, who noticed the sandy soil, lowered their speed, they die instantly after being sniped by spears. (Support this novel by reading it on the translator’s site!)
“The cavalry is insufficient. The rest is staying with the nobles in the rear.” (Ma)
There is also the matter of it being a mish-mash army. There’s likely only few people who can mount a horse, Ma Carme saw through that accurately.
“The rest is a large quantity of infantry, eh?” (Ma)
The infantrymen, who have come running, are approaching with bloodshot eyes due to being pressured from behind without any concerns towards the knights who had been done in.
Stepping over the rope and although there were also some who tripped by having their feet entangled, the vanguard comes walking on the sandy soil after stepping across their fallen comrades. Their movements have become quite slow, but as the pressure of a large army closing in continuously is quite high, even Ma Carme begins to get cold sweat on his back.
“And, will you fire spears at them?”
“Not yet. Look.” (Ma)
A soldier, who placed his foot on solid ground after the sandy soil ended, showed a relieved expression for just an instant, but the second step turns into hell.
It’s a hole with just a shallow depth, which was hidden by covering a cloth under the sand, but their numbers are plenty. A fistful amount of sharp pointed scrap iron has been prepared in those holes.
If it’s the shoes worn by a common soldiers, they will be easily penetrated.
The soldiers, who crawls with blood flowing from his feet, disappeared in a cloud of dust after being crushed underfoot by those following him.
The soldiers, who stepped into the traps one after the other after that, fall down and their speed of advance become even slower than walking.
“Now’s the time. Fire!” (Ma)
One spear after the other is fired off upon Ma Carme’s order.
“Aim properly at them! Ignore the collapsed fellows and target the healthy ones behind them!” (Ma)
The spears are pouring down with a force of piercing two people at once.
At this point in time the 500 knights and and infantrymen surrender to death or combat inability.
A soldier, who saw his comrade dying by being skewered next to him, was unable to bear it and tried to change his course, but he trampled his comrade, who had fallen while facing upwards, to death due to the strong pressure still coming from behind him.
“Move! I have to escape!”
“Don’t spout unreasonable stuff, idiot! From behind. they are steadily…”
The dispute turns into a fist fight and there are people appearing who try to get away from the battlefield even if they have to draw their swords against their comrades.
“Move back! Withdraw!” (Okshion)
General Okshion raised an angry voice from atop his horse.
“You have seen the range of the spears just now, haven’t you!? Hurry up and take some distance!” (Okshion)
His voice, which had shouted at his subordinates for many years, resounded clearly.
Earnestly conveying his verbal message, the madness settles down a bit and stops the flow of advancing. They begin to retreat slowly.
“We were probably attacked by the feudal army of Count Biron in the back. Go and confirm the circumstances of the counts. Once you have calmed down, we will reverse it and attack the enemy from behind. Thus if the counts are safe, tell them to proceed in the direction of the enemy with the allies who have been separated away from the highway.” (Okshion)
The aide, who was stunned by the situation, came back to his senses after being hit on his back by Okshion.
“However, the enemy in front is…” (Read this novel at Infinite Novel Translations!)
“As they set up traps at such vast range, they are not planning to make a move themselves. It’s unnecessary to worry about them.” (Okshion)
Seeing off his aide, who headed towards the rear while pushing his way through the soldiers, Okshion clicked his tongue after gazing at the border of Horant once again.
“I got a bad feeling.” (Okshion)
The numbers are overwhelmingly in our favour, he estimated, but it was absolutely unforeseen for him to be attacked within the territory of his own country by those who should be their allies. It seems the queen is more angry at the actions of Count Aspilketa than I imagined.
“Do we have to give up on the attack against Horant? But, assuming that we defeated Count Biron’s army here, who would become the opponent to boast as achievement?” (Okshion)
However, at this point in time Okshion hadn’t realized it yet. The reason why Ma Carme had the first spears drop in front of Okshion and the others.
If a telescope had been already invented, Okshion and the others might have seen the appearance of Ma Carme chuckling as he watched them turning around. If he had seen that, Okshion might have reconsidered.
But, all of the rebels had turned their backs towards Ma Carme already.