“Please remember the reasons for why we attacked this city.”
All the zoan leaders present think of the same words:
— If you seclude yourselves in the plains, the zoan will get annihilated sooner or later!
— You have no other choice but to set out into the vast world!
Those were the words Souma threw at the zoan, who disapproved of capturing Bolnis.
“We cannot afford to lose Bolnis, no matter what. With that as the premise, it’s completely necessary that we leave the city and attack the punitive force.”
A gloomy silence descends at the meeting venue.
After a short time, Garam, who once again distinctly remembered Souma’s words when they attacked Bolnis, had his eyes fill with fighting spirit and says,
“… The reason is clear. It’s not like we can run away when we’re in this deep.”
Taking over for Garam, Zurgu says,
“So, I guess the problem is on how we are going to fight?”
Garam and Zurgu look at each other for a short while, and without knowing who started it first, both shined a smile all of a sudden.
After that, Garam erases that smile, faces Zurgu with a serious expression and states,
“How about assaulting them on foot?”
Zurgu denies that by shaking his head.
“There is a limit for our feet as well. In such an open field with no real obstructions, they will see us charging from far away. The enemy will likely welcome us with a line of spears when we finally come in contact with them.”
Next Zurgu proposes a plan to Garam.
“How about launching a surprise attack after laying an ambush somewhere?”
“I think the opponent is expecting at least this much. Even if it went well, there’s no way we’d defeat all 7,000 soldiers with one ambush. If we miss our chance to retreat by even a moment or if we run into some unexpected troubles, it will spell our end. It’s too dangerous.”
Triggered by their dialogue, the others also voiced their opinions one after the other.
“How about attacking at night?”
“It’s an opponent that saw through our ambush at the river. They’ve surely thought of countermeasures against something like that long ago.”
“What about assaulting them repeatedly while capitalising on our mobility?”
“With such a large army as an opponent, our side will fatigue before the other side will be forced to pull back.”
“I wonder, what about trying to set up traps?”
“What kind of traps could damage that large of an army from now on? We’re not hunting boars and deer here.”
Opinions fly about from everywhere, with heated arguments and discussions on what each person believes to be correct, but no actual conclusion becomes apparent. Gradually, things begin to quiet down. At last, they stopped presenting their own opinions, and everyone’s gazes naturally began to focus on Souma.
Conscious of those stares as he stands up, Souma slowly stretches out his right hand and points at a location on the map that was spread out on the table.
Shyemul, who looked at it from next to Souma, yelps quietly in surprise.
There was no doubt that it was the spot she had visited together with Souma just a bit ago.
“I plan to build an encampment in this place.”
“Marius, if it were you, how would you attack us?”
Marius couldn’t immediately respond to that question.
Compared to the rebels whom have less than 2,000 warriors, our forces number more than 7,000. Even if they tried to attack us, there’s only plain fields until we reach Bolnis. There’s no chance for the rebels with their inferior numbers to assault us there.
“Anything’s fine. Try saying it.”
Being pressured by Darius, he presents several ideas even while considering them impossible himself.
“It would be the height of folly to enter into a direct clash with an enemy that has several times the numbers of your own army. I would force losses among the enemies by using tactics such as throwing stones, spears, and jars of fire as I retreat and avoid a direct confrontation. Otherwise, I would make use of the zoan’s mobility and attack the rears and flanks of the punitive force while running about. I guess that’s about it?”
“In that case I would split the army into two or three parts, leave them to people whom I can truly trust, and have them go around to the rear and flank of the rebels.”
With our side having more than twice the numbers of the rebels, that’s a reasonable choice.
Even if they attack with throwing weapons or directly clash with us by making use of their mobility, it’s not like they can keep on running away while they attack us. If we manage to cut them off by having detached forces circle around to the enemy’s rear, the rest will be annihilated through a pincer attack
Marius tries to present the next plan in desperation.
“That being the case, how about trying to build an encampment?”
“I suppose that’s quite the interesting idea. I hear there are also many dwarves among the rebels. If it’s them, it might be possible to build a strong encampment in a relatively short time. — So, where would you build that encampment?”
“I would make sure to block the road we will definitely pass?”
‘If the preamble is that it will be a defeat if the city of Bolnis is taken, the primary focus would be to not allow us to get close to the city. Considering that, I think it would be natural to build an encampment that blocks the road.
“However, they won’t be able to win by just taking up position in an encampment. We can deal with that by simply surrounding the encampment.”
Marius, who knew that even without being told, had a further idea. As if having waited for those words, he announces,
“I would only leave the dwarves and dinosaurians, who are slow-footed, inside the encampment and employ the zoan as a mobile unit. The dinosaurians boast of unrivaled hand to hand combat skills and can act as shield, and the dwarves are supposed to be skilled at defensive battles. I don’t think it will be possible to take that encampment so easily. Moreover, if we try to take the encampment, we will be forced to suffer attacks from the zoan in our rear.”
With that, even Darius read Marius’ aim.
“I see. And, if we face the brunt of the zoan attack, we will be next attacked by the dinosaurians stationed in the encampment. If we face them, that would mean that we will once again be threatened by the zoan in our rear, huh…?”
“It’s just as you say. How about that?”
Marius asked with a sparkling expression as if demanding to compare the answers of a test with a teacher who is respected for his vast knowledge.
Darius thinks it over while stroking his goatee for a while and then replies,
“Wouldn’t it be better to not build the encampment at the road then? I’d make sure that the mountains located north of the road are to the back of the encampment, for example.”
“Have the mountains in the back?”
“Yeah. No matter how sturdy the encampments built by the dwarves might be, they wouldn’t be capable of defending against a continuous onslaught from all four cardinal directions. However, they would be able to prevent an attack from one direction by having the mountains protect the back of the encampment. And it’s not only that. By cutting off their own path of retreat, they would corner their comrades, who would be ready to run away at a disadvantage, and force them to fight with the madness of someone who will die.”
No matter how much soldiers are used to battle, they will end up preparing to flee once they are surrounded by the enemy. In that case, cutting off the paths of retreat would be something you would call rather gutsy.
And it would be unwise to forget how strong soldiers who have resolved themselves from death truly are.
“If the rebels came upon us like that, how would you attack them, Your Excellency?”
If we directly fight with soldiers who have resolved themselves for death despite their disadvantages, we likely won’t lose, but our side’s casualties would be large as well. Darius answered with an expression similar to that of a mischievous boy to Marius, who asked with that face full of curiosity on how Darius would face such an enemy as his opponent.
“I wouldn’t fight them. Naturally, I’d just ignore them and head straight for Bolnis to capture it.”
“The place where we’ll set up the encampment is here. With the northern mountains in our back and a forest spreading in the east, we will be shielded from two sides. If it’s this place, the enemy’s options for attacking are limited to the south and west.”
Thereupon Souma faces Dvalin.
“With the abilities of the dwarves, can you build an encampment at this location within a short period of time that can withstand the attacks of the punitive force?”
Dvalin sighed with a displeased look. If their dwarven abilities are called out here, it’s impossible for him to say that they can’t do it.
“Still, there’s not enough time to build an encampment that can repel an enemy numbering 7,000 soldiers. — But, if you tell me that it will be fine as long as it can get us through the attacks for just a short while, we can do anything as long as we put our mind into it.”
Souma nodded, satisfied upon that reply.
However, Garam immediately brings up a question at that point.
“Won’t the punitive force ignore us and attack the city first?”
Even without having that pointed out to him, Souma had pondered about that as well.
“Of course. The possibility exists.”
However, Souma had a secret plan to counter that.
“But, I do have a little plan of my own. If it goes smoothly, I think we will be able to protect the city with only brushwood from the mountains without using even a single soldier.”
“Protect the city with only brushwood from the mountains, you say!?”
Everyone voiced out their surprise simultaneously.
“Just what the heck do you mean by protecting protecting the city with brushwood from the mountains?”
“I can’t believe that you are going to defend the city with only that from the enemy forces.”
Due to the questions flooding in one after the other, Souma makes a gesture similar to restraining them with both his opened hands as if telling them “Calm down.” Due to that, even the people who lost themselves out of surprise regained their composure and settled down.
Acting as representative for all of them, Garam then questions Souma in detail.
“Honestly said, I can’t believe it. Just how are you going to do that?”
“Sorry. At this current point in time I can’t tell you.”
However, Souma refused to answer as he shakes his head.
“It will be the end of the road for us if the enemy learnt of this. I don’t know if enemy agents… err, spies? Informants? Ummm…those kind of people have infiltrated the city from somewhere. Please allow me to keep it a secret for as long as possible.”
It’s unlikely that any of them would be agreeable with his answer. However, what Souma has said is reasonable. Garam had no other option but to agree against his will while sighing very deeply.
Having switched over his feelings with that, Garam threw another question at Souma.
“However, assuming we would build an encampment there, can we win with only that much?”
Souma answers with an outrageous reply.
“No, we can’t.”
Everyone feels dumbfounded due to Souma’s answer, which even goes beyond betraying their imaginations.
However, there was a continuation to Souma’s answer.
“— That’s why we will do it like this.”
Souma moved his finger from the place, which he indicated as the site for the encampment, to an area close to the entrance of the Solbiant Plains.
“We will have a few zoan lay an ambush around here.”
“… Your Excellency.”
Marius feels let down. He was looking forwards to some ingenious answer. Darius shook his beard grandly and launched a cackle at Marius who looks his way as if saying “That’s not all, is it?” with upturned eyes.
“I told you, didn’t I? If Bolnis falls, it will be rebels’ end. If they seclude themselves in an encampment, be it on the road or near the mountains, recovering the emptied Bolnis will be a brief entertainment, won’t it?”
“That is certainly so…”
Marius says with his eyes suddenly sparkling.
“I see! You say that the rebel leader is a fellow who has come up with an unexpected plan? He might have worked out a plan that doesn’t allow us to make a move on Bolnis! What will you do in such case?”
Due to the state of his favorite pupil, who tries to get the information on how he’s going to defeat the rebels that would have built an encampment out of him by all means necessary, Darius answered after smiling wryly.
“I would split our army in two after all. I would have one part get ready to occupy the zoan, and first crush the encampment with the remaining army. It will be alright to finish off the zoan afterwards.”
Darius had already grasped around how many sub-race slaves were present in Bolnis at the time when the revolt took place by getting the information out of the people who escaped from the city.
According to them, the total count of dwarves is around three hundred, and even if you add the dinosaurians to this number, they don’t reach four hundred.
Even if I used 2,000 soldiers, which would be twice the number of the zoan, as a unit prepared to deal with the zoan, there would still 5,000 soldiers remaining within the main force. No matter how many dwarves skilled at defending the encampment they might have, assaulting the location will probably be easier than taking candy from a baby if we have close to twenty times more troops than them.
And, once even the encampment falls, the remaining zoan will have no other option but to face annihilation in a pointless battle or face a slow destruction after running away.
“However, if I had a defense plan for Bolnis as the rebel leader, I think I would play yet another hand.”
“What kind of move might that be?”
After nodding once with a big motion at Marius, who asks with his eyes gleaming due to curiosity, Darius answers,
“I wouldn’t use all zoan as mobile unit. Instead, I would entrust a handful of soldiers to someone I truly can trust and have them lay an ambush somewhere.”
“An ambush with a few soldiers, you say?”
“If they not only place the dwarves and dinosaurians in the encampment, but also the majority of the zoan, even we would have to attack with the whole army. And even then, the encampment probably wouldn’t fall that easily.”
At that point Darius pauses his words for a moment, and after stirring up Marius’ interest, said the following,
“And, while we would have a hard time with the capture of the encampment, the ambush troops would strike our vital points.”
The throat of Marius, who held his breath due to Darius’ words, mves with a gulp.
“What do you mean with vital points?”
“The left or right wing, or the rear of the heavy spear infantry’s dense formation. Or maybe—”
Darius slaps his nape with a palm.
“Or they would come aiming directly for my head, I suppose.”
“While we will be holding back the enemy’s main force’s fierce attack that will come from the southern side at the encampment, a unit consisting of zoan elites will move—”
Souma’s finger busily dances across the map.
“— And then they will stab the enemy’s main army’s flank!”
Everyone’s faces are full of astonishment after chasing the movements of Souma’s finger with their eyes.
After slowly looking at everyone’s faces, Souma said,
“The dense formation of the heavy spear infantry is a formation specialised on attacks towards the front. If you attack their flank, you should be able to defeat them even if you have a numerical inferiority.”
“They would lose everything if the encampment was destroyed before they can carry out the surprise attack. Also, if they use too many soldiers, our side will be able to infer the existence of an ambush unit. In that case, the number of troops they can use in this squad is around two to three hundred, going by the biggest possible estimation. Therefore it would be fine for us to hit them with one battalion which included the two companies of Borgus and the soldiers under my direct command.”
Is this a man who has long ago reached the stage of senility? Marius cannot help but be amazed. Giving off a powerful aura, Darius continued,
“If they come directly aiming for my head, it will be alright as long as I retaliate against that. It will also be alright to exclusively focus on defense until the heavy spear infantry unit overruns the enemy’s encampment. If they try to attack the rear or the flanks of the heavy spear infantry, it will be fine as well, since we will strike their rear or flanks in reverse!”
“I will defeat the punitive force through this surprise attack!” Souma says.
“I will defeat the rebels by killing every single last one of them!” Darius says.
The statements of the two were fired at the same time by chance at places far distant from each other.