The summer sun whitely glittered in the cloudless morning sky. A pleasant wind carrying some heat blew, and various types of greenery vividly covered the ground which was overflowing with vitality.
It’s been twenty five days since General Avshall started besieging Fort Severac with 10,000 soldiers. Since this place was located three days from Massilia by foot, they never ran out of food and water. But, as expected, even Avshall was beyond bored. He had just finished breakfast moments ago, but found himself with nothing to do until lunch already.
“I know that His Excellency has appointed me to this task because he trusts me, but… I never expected for absolutely nothing to happen.” Avshall grumbled with a sigh while uninterestedly looking up to the fort towering between two hills in the east and west. He sunk his teeth into the bunch of grapes in his hand, chewing through them with skin and all.
Avshall was currently twenty five years old. One year younger than Ekrem who was participating in the capital’s siege. With his tall and trained figure, even the plainly colored leather armor looked splendid if worn by this man. His reddish, short hair was stuffed into a white cloth, and a radiance filled with confidence and liveliness dwelt inside his amber eyes.
As second son of an upstart noble, Avshall departed to the battlefield for the sake of getting something to eat at first. That was when he had been fifteen years old. He had started from being a simple soldier, but was entrusted with a small number of soldiers in no time. The number of soldiers he led grew each time he returned from the battlefield.
It was three years ago that he led soldiers for the first under the command of Kureys. At that moment Avshall decided that he would follow this red-bearded prince. Kureys had the ability to draw out more than the full power of each and every soldier. If led by him, even people that had been scorned as weak soldiers were able to achieve military results to a surprising degree. Avshall himself also experienced that.
He had the pride of completely managing the soldiers under his command. That was definitely no conceit as he had proven it with many deeds of arms. The fighting spirit of his soldiers was alway high, they were never in disorder during a march, and their attacks against the enemies were powerful.
But, when they entered under Kureys’s command, Avshall’s soldiers exhibited abilities going beyond those of before. Their movements became fast and yet nimble, and they fought cleverly. Even when simply advancing or retreating, Avshall couldn’t suppress being deeply moved.
Three years have passed since then. Avshall piled up plenty of war merits under Kureys. He thought that this was the very reason why he had been called for this campaign as well. Because he had planned to obtain even more deeds of arms while showing his usefulness to Kureys, he now smoldered in discontent over the current state of merely besieging a single fort.
“Your Excellency. Our task is not just besieging the fort, but also to control the highway, and maintain the supply line for our army. I sympathize with your feelings, but…” His elderly adjutant called out as if to console him.
Avshall responded while pouting like a child, “I know that. The ones at fault are these donkeys to begin with.”
The ones he called donkeys were the 3000 Brune knights that had barricaded themselves inside the fort.
“What if they have taken some measures so that they won’t run out of food inside the fort? Does Brune have such a shortage of talented personnel that they would entrust a single fort to such people?” The elderly adjutant asked.
“A shortfall in human resources in our neighboring country is a welcome occurrence, isn’t it?” Avshall countered.
“Doesn’t that depend on the situation? Even if we took back these guys as slaves, it’s not very likely that they would have much of a value.” The elderly adjutant said.
“What, they are knights. Unless they are quite old, it will be alright.” Avshall guaranteed.
Male slaves with trained bodies could be steadily sold because they would be used as miners or rowers on galley ships. Avshall’s mood having recovered somewhat was owed to his adjutant being considerate of him rather than him agreeing with his adjutant’s words.
“I wonder how things are going over at the capital. Did it already fall?” Avshall pondered.
Assuming the Muozinel’s main army advanced along the highway at a good rate, they should have arrived at the capital Nice eight days ago.
“I’m jealous of Ekrem and Yargash. And even that Damad.” As Avshall was thinking about the far distant capital while envying his colleagues, a single soldier turned up to give a report.
“The unit standing by atop the hill passed on a message that they caught sight of something that seems to be enemy forces.” The soldiers said crisply.
“Hoh.” The voice of Avshall was overflowing with delight surpassing his faint surprise.
He had split the 10,000 soldiers into four units, and deployed them so that they surrounded the fort. 2,000 infantrymen on each of the hills flanking the fort, 3,000 infantrymen on the northern side of the fort, and 1,000 cavalrymen and 2,000 infantrymen on the fort’s southern side. He had ordered the soldiers stationed on the hills to watch the fort and at the same time be cautious of the vicinity.
“I had expected that a relief army might show up sooner or later, but they finally came, huh?” Avshall’s amber eyes sparkled as he imagined the battle, and the victory that would likely follow. He urged the soldier, demanding detailed information.
The unit on the western hill reported that they discovered a group advancing through the plains in the southwestern direction while flying red horse flags. According to them they appeared to number approximately 8,000 soldiers.
Avshall chose 300 from among the 1,000 cavalrymen, forming a scouting party, and sent them out from the west to the south. And then, the scouting party, which returned a bit before noon, reported that they had found the enemy forces.
“They number roughly 8,000. All of them are cavalry. They are flying Brune’s red horse flag.” A soldier reported.
“Well done. All things considered, I would have wanted every single soldier for the defense of the capital, and yet they did quite well to spare 8,000 soldiers of their troops.” Avshall muttered as if admiring them, but his eyes were filled with energy as he contemplated the enemy’s objective.
Needless to say, the enemy’s aim is to defeat us, rescue the soldiers in the fort, and sever the supply line of the Muozinel army. Seeing as they are confronted with an overwhelming difference in military forces, they have no other option after all.
“The enemy is probably planning to cut off our supply line, but why are they aiming for that in this place? I think it would have been fine even if they had headed for northern Fort Gergovia or southern Massilia.” The adjutant cocked his head in puzzlement.
Avshall laughed and replied, “The final objective of Brune’s army is likely Massilia and not this fort.”
Massilia had a defense of 10,000 Muozinel soldiers, and there was a strong wall surrounding the entire city. Recapturing it wouldn’t be simple.
If they were to unskillfully need time for that, it was also possible Avshall’s army to dispatch soldiers after noticing that movement, forcing the Brune army, which would try to take Massilia, into a pincer attack.
“Accordingly I have no doubt that they intend to scatter us on the open field, which is the strong point of Brune’s cavalry, before attacking Massilia.” Avshall suspected.
Avshall knew that his enemies were apparently calling themselves Moonlight Knights Army, but since it was a bother to voice it out, he simply called them Brune’s army.
The adjutant nodded deeply as the explanation of the young general possessed persuasiveness, and then said, “What are you going to do? There are 8,000 enemy soldiers. If we add the soldiers of the fort, they will have 11,000. Our army will be at a slight disadvantage. There’s also the alternative option to stop the fort’s siege and fall back to Massilia…”
“That’s far too prudent. You might as well call that cowardice.” Avshall snorted while looking discontent.
It’s certainly a sound view. However, withdrawing here will result in the supply line being cut off, albeit temporarily. Besides, if we abandoned the besieged fort without having fought even once, it would likely affect the soldiers’ morale.
“Have all soldiers gather south of the fort.” Avshall ordered.
He had decided to meet the 8,000 enemy soldiers which had appeared as reinforcements. If he could repel them, he would be able to smash the morale of Brune’s knights who had barricaded themselves inside Fort Severac. Besides, there was no doubt that it would be good news to Kureys who was probably attacking the capital by now.
Avshall’s army took up formation in the open area south of the fort. 8,000 infantrymen were deployed in long, horizontal lines on the grass-covered plain with its soft undulations. The 1,000 cavalrymen were positioned in their rear, and behind them waited the last 1,000 infantrymen. Avshall himself took command close to the cavalry unit. Their battle flag depicting a golden helmet and sword on scarlet ground fluttered in the summer wind.
Once he received the report that Avshall’s army had undone the siege of Fort Severac and gathered on the southern side from the scouts, Tigrevurmud Vorn breathed out in relief. The one commanding the 8,000 cavalrymen was this young man.
“Looks like he’s inclined to fight.” Tigre said.
For Tigre that part was essential. If Avshall had prioritized joining up with his allies and headed to either Massilia or Gergovia, Tigre would have been compelled to forcibly drag him into a battle.
In order for it to not turn out like that, Tigre deliberately showed up while only leading 8,000 soldiers. Tigre informed the soldiers that they would cross swords with the enemy, and ordered them to advance. The soldiers thrust their spears in the air, cheering ferociously. It was the twentieth day after departing the capital. Their fighting spirit was filled to the brim.
“It will be fine as long as they don’t go on a rampage, but I really wonder whether they will be able to hold back.” Gaspar, who had been standing next to Tigre as his adjutant, frowned.
The youth smiled at him as if to give him a peace of mind, “Around this much liveliness is welcome. It’s enough that I’d like them to continue in this state until the end, if possible.”
The end mentioned by Tigre was the time of their attack against Muozinel’s main army which was likely attacking the capital around now.
Gaspar shook his head and lightly tapped Tigre’s shoulder, saying quietly enough so that only the youth could hear it, “It’s not necessary for you to continue bearing the burden all by yourself, okay Tigre? I can give you some advice also.”
For a mere instant, both returned to being a young nobleman and his older friend, and not commandant and adjutant. However, that was truly just for an instant. Both tightened their faces immediately.
Soon after that, the 8,000 soldiers of the Moonlight Knights Army showed up directly in front of Avshall’s army. Tigre split his army in center, right wing, and left wing. He deployed 4,000 to the center, and 2,000 cavalrymen to each wing. And, he had the center unit protrude out further in front than the wings.
The red horse flag flapping in the wind looked as if a ferocious horse was impatiently struggling to jump out of the flag.
Both armies gradually closed their distance while glaring at each other under the sun which had passed the zenith. Feeling the scorching heat on their exposed skin burned, their respective armors and weapons glittered as they reflected the sunlight.
The infantrymen lining up at the front of Avshall’s army readied their bow, nocked their arrows, and drew the bowstrings to the limit all at once.
Horns and drums reverberated across the plain. The moment when the Moonlight Knights Army charged and the Avshall army released their arrows was almost identical. The rumbling of the hooves of 8,000 horses and sound of thousands of arrows cutting through the wind caused the atmosphere to tremble violently.
The Moonlight Knights Army spurred on their horses while holding their shield aloft, but a thousand riders couldn’t block the arrows, and between two and three hundred among them fell off their horses. However, the momentum of the charge didn’t wane. They, who swung their swords and readied their spears, closed in upon Avshall’s army.
Avshall’s army’s reaction was swift. Throwing away their bows, they tightly grasped long spears which they had placed on the ground. Countless spearheads formed a dark gray wall welcoming the Moonlight Knights.
Both armies clashed. The noise of flesh striking flesh and iron being squashed overlapped manifold within an instant, causing an unpleasant sound of destruction.
Several Muozinel soldiers were blown away altogether by the severe ramming attack of the Moonlight Knights Army’s soldiers, or were mercilessly crushed beneath the hooves. There were also some who pierced through an enemy soldier, including their leather armor, with their spears.
Others were skewered by countless spears or fell off their horses that got stabbed, just to be ganged up on and chopped apart, but looking at the whole, it seemed as if the Moonlight Knights Army might overwhelm the enemy.
Avshall revealed a fearless smile as he commanded his soldiers, “Ain’t they quite good for a bunch of donkeys?”
He knew that the Moonlight Knights Army would charge from the front. After all he had deployed his soldiers so as to induce just that.
“Their lot probably plans to charge, break through our army, and call out to the fort. If the fort’s group comes out in response, the enemy’s forces will exceed ours.” Avshall stated confidently.
However, Avshall had no intention to allow the enemy to break through. He made the soldiers on the left and right advance while having the soldiers in the center retreat. Pulling that off while enduring the Moonlight Knights Army’s attack might be called a prodigal ability. It resulted in the Moonlight Knights Army being enclosed from three sides.
At that moment, a new report reached Avshall.
“The Brune soldiers in the fort opened the gate and rushed out!” The face of the reporting soldier had gone pale and he was sweating.
At this rate they would be stabbed in the back by the enemy. Avshall had stationed one thousand infantrymen close to the fort in order to restrain the fort’s soldiers, but they likely wouldn’t be able to withstand them.
“Inform the infantrymen in the rear. There’s no need to hold the enemy back. Allow the enemy soldiers to pass through.” Avshall ordered.
The runner, who had received the order, swallowed his breath in surprise, but the commander’s orders were absolute. Leaving behind a short reply of “Certainly!”, he straddled his horse and galloped away.
The 3,000 knights that had sortied from Fort Severac passed the short distance and ferociously swooped down on the rear of Avshall’s army. Having been surrounded by Avshall’s army for twenty odd days, they couldn’t leave the fort. They relentlessly slapped their humiliation and rage onto the Muozinel soldiers.
With them being attacked from the front and the back, the center of Avshall’s army collapsed. The Muozinel soldiers dispersed, escaping to either the right or left side while enduring the intense pressure. It seemed as if the Moonlight Knights Army and the Severac Knight Squadron might manage to merge, but that was exactly Avshall’s aim.
His army, which should have been divided into parts by them, promptly rallied according to his orders, and launched a pincer attack against the enemy from the left and right.
The Moonlight Knights Army and the Severac Knight Squadron succumbed into chaos all too quickly. Retreat was difficult, and even when they tried to break through by advancing, they ended up hindering each other. Being slashed by swords and stabbed by spears from both sides, both had their numbers decreased.
“Tighten the defense! Huddle together with your comrades, and line up the shields without any gaps! Wield your swords and spears to protect yourselves!” Tigre dished out instructions in a loud voice while being protected by soldiers, commencing with Gaspar.
While shouting, the youth nocked an arrow on his black bow, targeted a distant enemy soldier, and shot.
The Muozinel soldiers had black cloths coiled around their heads as a characteristic trait of the Muozinel army. Their commanding officers wore iron helmets.
Tigre targeted a commanding officer wearing an iron helmet, and killed him with his shot, but even though the Avshall army showed some confusion, it didn’t reach the point of them becoming majorly disordered. Avshall had quickly taken measures to that end.
That Avshall shouted in joy while watching the battle progress from his troop headquarter, “Did you see, you damn Brune donkeys!?”
If it’s at this rate, I might pulverize the Moonlight Knights Army reinforcement and the Severac Knight Squadron with 8,000 infantrymen, Avshall thought. It’s about the right time to make the next move.
Avshall ordered the one thousand infantrymen, which he had standby in the rear, to march on Fort Severac. Seeing that there were almost no knights left in the fort right now as their allies had sallied out, there was no way that they closed the gate. Assaulting the fort with a thousand infantrymen wasn’t all that difficult.
However, his exaltation didn’t last for long.
A single soldier rushed up to report while gasping, “New enemies appeared on the western hill! Roughly 5,000!”
Avshall looked dumbfounded atop his horse. He immediately came back to his senses, but in the instant he understood the situation, he tightly grasped his fists. The numbers of the Moonlight Knights Army hadn’t been 8,000.
“The one who lured out was me!?” He yelled.
Blood dribbled down from his clenched fists. Had the Moonlight Knights Army shown up with 13,000 soldiers from the start, Avshall would have likely dissolved the fort siege without hesitation, and headed for Massilia. In order for that to not happen, they had lured Avshall into battle by showing him 8,000 soldiers.
── Moreover, in this situation I can’t move most of my soldiers.
If he were to stop attacking now, the Moonlight Knights Army and the Severac Knight Squadron would come around, and put their ranks in order. He had no choice but to recall the one thousand infantrymen headed for the fort, have them join up with the one thousand cavalrymen, whom he left behind as reserve force, and have both meet the new enemy.
“Your Excellency, please escape at once.” His adjutant said while tightly grasping his spear. “I will command the soldiers. We will be able to at least buy enough time for you to escape.”
“Don’t be absurd.” Avshall curtly shot down his adjutant’s words. “If it’s about gaining time either way, think how to buy time until we annihilate the enemies under the attack of our soldiers. It’s not like our side is at complete disadvantage. We will capitalize on our advantages.”
His fighting spirit and his ambitions hadn’t left his amber eyes yet.
“We have fought many times over against a lot more enemies than allies. This time it’s just the same.” Avshall stated.
The 5,000 enemies on the hill rushed down while causing thundering hooves sounds. The red horse flags fluttered in the strong wind. Avshall didn’t know, but the one spurring on her horse at the head of the troops was a Zhcted girl possessing crimson eyes and silver hair.
“Cut through them!” Elen made her horse gallop while brandishing Silver Flash.
The 5,000 Moonlight Knights spearheaded by her fiercely leaped into Avshall’s forces that had somehow managed to muster 2,000 soldiers after calling back the infantrymen.
Her silver hair fluttered in the wind and Silver Flash glistened in the sunlight. Each time Elen swung her sword, a Muozinel soldier fell while spurting out a spray of blood. The swords thrust out at her were repelled with shrill sounds, the spears had their spearheads sent flying.
The Muozinel soldiers, who witnessed that sight, got trapped in an optical illusion, which had a tinge of superstitious belief, that it might be impossible to injure Elen.
Even the cavalrymen following her resolutely unleashed reckless attacks as if not seeing the enemy blades. While being cut by swords and stabbed by spears, they brandished their swords and thrust out their spears with a force going beyond that of their attackers.
The blood of allies and enemies mutually poured down on the ground gouged out by horse hooves and military boots. The plants were dyed so crimson that it gave one the impression they had been like that from the beginning.
Avshall eagerly prevented the collapse of his army by moving soldiers around. He bought time by repeatedly retreating a bit, but at long last he reached his limit. In front of him had the silver-haired war princess appeared.
“A woman…?” Avshall muttered.
—————- End of Part 1 —————-
“Zhcted’s Vanadis, Eleonora Viltaria. You are the commander, right?” Elen’s words were a confirmation.
The Muozinel soldiers, which she had cut down until just now, had been obviously rushing at her to protect Avshall. Avshall unsheathed his sword in response to Elen. The clash of the two swords caused white sparks to scatter into the air. Even as a warrior, Avshall wasn’t weak by any means, but he was no match for Elen.
With each exchange, Avshall was forced to retreat, his hands became increasingly numb, and the sword gradually felt heavier. While frantically swinging his sword, Avshall suddenly thought about something completely different. This might be more of a proof of him being the commandant than a warrior.
──If it’s just for the sake of severing the supply line, more than 10,000 soldiers are too much…
Avshall’s line of thinking that it was the entire enemy army after first seeing the 8,000 soldiers was owed to him being aware of Brune’s side having no leeway to wastefully deploy soldiers. ‘Is the enemy’s aim really nothing more than severing the supply line?
At that moment the point of Elen’s longsword seized Avshall’s nape. Blood sprayed into the air, and dyed half of his body red. Avshall’s body tilted over with a violent shaking, and he fell off his horse. At the moment his body hit the ground, his eyes had already lost their light.
Elen breathed out lightly, and hoisted her bloodstained Silver Flash into the air, “I defeated the commandant!”
It was a yell in the language of Zhcted, but because the Moonlight Knight Army raised battle cries after hearing it, the Muozinel soldiers grasped what had happened. When the battle flag that had been fluttering in the wind at Avshall’s side fell next, the situation also became clear to the soldiers fighting further away.
Turmoil and panic spread among the Muozinel soldiers. Even the infantrymen, who had been performing a pincer attack against the Moonlight Knight Army and the Severac Knight Squadron, slowly became disorganized starting with the edges, and finally broke down completely.
Tigre didn’t miss the opportunity of the enemy’s offensive having weakened. While lifting up his black bow, he shouted, “Shift to a counter-offensive!”
The Moonlight Knight Army roared. They had been caught by enemy soldiers from the eastern and western direction, but they started to slash and stab at the enemies in the west.
The Muozinel soldiers, who still hadn’t lost their fighting spirit, tried to withstand the onslaught, but their allies behind them had slowly started to escape. There was no commandant to correct the collapsing ranks anymore either.
The breakdown produced by the Moonlight Knight Army’s attacks expanded in the twinkling of an eye.
The Muozinel soldiers on the eastern side slashed at the Moonlight Knight Army from behind, but it didn’t amount to damage that would make the Moonlight Knight Army falter. Moreover, the Severac Knight Squadron, which had regained its freedom of movement as well, started to press on them.
Once it took such a turn, it was nothing that could be handled with the individual strength of each and every soldier any longer. Before they realized, situations where they were surrounded by soldiers of the Moonlight Knight Army weren’t rare anymore. Units of twenty soldiers were divided into ten soldiers each, and the units of ten people were isolated in the midst of the enemy and annihilated.
At the time when the 5,000 soldiers led by Elen managed to join up with Tigre, the battle was mostly over. The casualties on the Moonlight Knight Army’s side didn’t amount to 500, those of the Avshall army exceeded 5,000. The survivors had scattered and escaped to the north and south, with the number of those having surrendered being negligible.
At last Brune’s side managed to stage a first retaliation since the invasion by the Muozinel army.
The first thing Cauvin, the leader of the Severac Knight Squadron, did after meeting Tigre was shouting, “What the hell are you doing in this crisis!?”
Cauvin was in the middle of his forties. His face was round and his physique bulky, allowing obstinacy and attractiveness to coexist. He was somewhat plump, but if you regarded that he was stylishly wearing his armor and helmet without any issues, it was probably no stretch to say that he hadn’t been negligent on training himself.
Tigre was surprised to be yelled at by the man he had supposedly rescued, but that question was resolved with his next words.
“I saw the terrifyingly huge army of the Muozinel with my very own eyes. That monstrosity, that monstrosity will attack the capital, right!? Right now the capital must be lacking men, no matter how much they have! Why do you spare soldiers for a fort like this!? As long as we can protect the capital, Her Highness, and the country, we have resolved ourselves to become sacrifices!” Cauvin rattled on while making his saliva fly.
Tigre recalled Earl Bouroullec’s words while watching him. He had heard that Cauvin had a tendency to become emotional, and it was just as he was told. The one who should complain in this situation was rather Tigre. After all it was a fact that Cauvin had disobeyed Regin’s decree.
But, Tigre didn’t feel like saying anything to Cauvin. It was because he had the feelings of having discreetly used him who had stayed back in the fort.
“You’re sure running your mouth as you please, bastard.” The one who reprimanded Cauvin instead of the supreme commander was the silver-haired Vanadis.
Cauvin, who didn’t know Elen, clearly faltered after being exposed to her menacing look.
“Girl, I don’t know who you are, but right now I’m having an important discussion…” Cauvin tried to rebuke her.
“My name is Eleonora Viltaria. I guess you will understand if I tell you that I’m a Vanadis of Zhcted.” Elen declared and mercilessly pressed the Knight Leader of Fort Severac, who was at a loss for words, for an answer, “Before you criticize the supreme commander, reflect about your own actions of not having listened to Princess Regin’s decree and being helpless after having your fort surrounded by the enemy.”
“No, I’m of course thankful about that, but…” Cauvin started to rebut.
“Then you’d express your gratitude first, right? Because the supreme commander is a soft-hearted person, he has tried to ignore your abusive remarks, but don’t think that his subordinates share the same sentiments. Would your subordinates quietly take it if you were to be shouted at irrationally!?” Elen reprimanded him further.
Cauvin became flustered and looked at Tigre with an expression that could be described as utterly embarrassed.
Tigre smiled wryly and lightly tapped Elen’s shoulder, “Please leave it at that, Elen. It looks like he properly understood.”
Looking at Cauvin, his shoulders were huddled and he had completely withered away.
“I’m sorry, Earl Vorn…” He said with a voice that seemed to vanish any time soon.
Tigre took his hand and said to him, “Lord Cauvin, there’s no time for feeling depressed. There’s something I’d like you to do for me from now on. ──It’s something extremely difficult.”
Cauvin vigorously lifted his face upon Tigre’s words. The word ‘difficult’ has apparently fired up his fighting spirit which was about to turn into smoke.
“I am to head for the capital and fight against the Muozinel army?” Cauvin asked confidently.
However, Tigre shook his head, and said, “It’s true that I will have you fight against the Muozinel army, but not at the capital.”
Cauvin cocked his head in puzzlement at the youth’s words.
The sun was about to sink at the western horizon when the 7,000 soldiers of the Moonlight Knight Army led by Bouroullec showed up at Fort Severac. At this time most of the after-battle processing had finished, and there were no Muozinel soldiers visible around the fort.
“By no means did I expected to be ordered to stay away from the main battle, although I had served as guide up to this point.” Bouroullec, who met with Tigre, complained while smiling.
It wasn’t said seriously, but that probably didn’t mean that it was all joking either. While exchanging a handshake with him, Tigre apologized with, “On the next opportunity.”
As a matter of fact, without the guidance of Bouroullec who knew the geography of Brune’s southern areas well, the Moonlight Knight Army’s arrival at Fort Severac would have been doubtlessly delayed much more. After all they had marched cautiously without taking the highway so as to not be found out by the Muozinel army’s scouts.
However, Tigre couldn’t afford to show his 20,000 soldiers to the enemy. Any smart person would harbor doubts if they were to see a detached force of such a scale. And there was no one else but Bouroullec who could command several thousand soldiers besides Tigre and Elen.
Bouroullec finished his greetings towards Elen as well, and faced Cauvin. “It’s been a long time, Lord Cauvin. It’s wonderful to see you in good health,” said Bouroullec.
“Earl Bouroullec, you came here as well? We were saved thanks to you.” Cauvin’s expression loosened after meeting an old friend. Bouroullec grasped his hand, and intimately tapped his shoulder.
Being led by Cauvin, Tigre, Elen, and Bouroullec were guided to the council room of Fort Severac. Because they had been under siege for a long time, the council room was slightly dirty, but no one of them minded it. The lamp hanging down from the ceiling was turned on as illumination.
The four surrounded the table, and Tigre explained the current situation to Cauvin. He hadn’t talked about it yet because he prioritized dealing with the clean-up and the after-battle procedures. Hearing the details, shock dyed Cauvin’s face, and he swallowed his breath.
“Fort Gelgovia was surrounded, and Laferte was occupied? And even the capital…” Cauvin muttered.
“According to the newest information we obtained, the capital has held out until the fifth day after being surrounded.” Tigre’s tone had become very grave.
If the capital had been able to withstand the Muozinel army’s offensive, today should be the eighth day of the siege. Even if it was their newest information, it was still no more than something from three days ago.
“Shouldn’t we quickly head to the capital then?” Cauvin appealed to Tigre while leaning forward with a grim look.
An astonished voice cut in from the side, chiding the leader of the Severac Knight Squadron, “Calm down. The capital won’t fall so easily from being surrounded by 100,000 soldiers.”
It was Elen. The silver-haired Vanadis folded her arms and adopted a confident attitude.
Cauvin answered in agitation, “Zhcted’s Vanadis-dono, why can you say something like that? Currently there’s no more than 40,000 soldiers in the capital, right?”
“Unlike you, I have taken a close look at the capital with my own eyes.” Elen retorted.
Cauvin was disappointed by Elen’s sarcasm, but didn’t object.
Tigre spoke up, “Lord Cauvin, I believe in the people at the capital.”
“…Is that about Her Highness Regin?” Cauvin asked.
“It’s not just Her Highness. Earl Rodant, Viscount Augre, the lords who rushed over from various places, the knights, the soldiers of Zhcted, the people working in the capital, the people who answered Her Highness’ call; because I was able to depart while being trusted by all of them, I’m here right now.” Tigre’s voice was quiet, but that was because he forcefully suppressed the strong emotions welling up within him as he spun word for word.
For the youth, there were many precious people in the capital. Something like leaving while knowing that this place will be attacked by a huge enemy army was nothing he could have done if he didn’t believe in them and if he wasn’t trusted by them.
“Right now I have no means to know what’s happening in the capital. All I can do is answer their trust and fulfill my objective.” Unintentionally he returned to his usual tone, but sincerity and fighting spirit were visible on the youth’s face. Not only Cauvin, but also Elen and Bouroullec silently stared at Tigre.
Cauvin, the target of Tigre’s look, cast his eyes down, obviously feeling ashamed. It’s not that he was overpowered. He was forced to realize. What kind of feelings this young man was currently shouldering.
Cauvin stood up from his chair, straightened his back, and deeply bowed his head towards Tigre, “I’m terribly sorry. It looks like I didn’t sufficiently think it through.”
Bouroullec looked at him with feelings of relief and faith, and Tigre urged Cauvin to sit down.
And once he sat down again, the war council resumed.
Cauvin called for one of his men and had him bring several maps of the vicinity. He spread those out on top of the table. Tigre pulled out one of them and put it atop.
“Our plans from now on will be to split into two groups. First, Earl Bouroullec, Lord Cauvin, I will have you pretend to attack Massilia.” Tigre stated.
“Pretend to attack? I guess that means we won’t actually attack it.” Cauvin asked while alternately looking at the map and Tigre.
The youth nodded, “I think you know the details about Massilia better than I do, Lord Cauvin, but it’s not a city that would fall so easily, is it?”
“Yeah. Massilia is surrounded by thick walls on three sides. The remaining side is facing the sea. Also, the east of the city is mostly a rocky area which would make a deployment of soldiers difficult. If we were to attack it seriously, it would likely take time. Besides, right now there’s another troublesome issue.” Cauvin explained.
“What troublesome issue are you talking about?” Bouroullec inquired.
Cauvin frowned while looking sullen, “The current Massilia is directly ruled by the Muozinel army. Its previous mayor was arrested together with his relatives, and they were apparently turned into battle slaves or regular slaves. Leaving aside his family, it could be called the appropriate end for a low-life who first changed sides to Sachstein and then to Muozinel, but…”
“What you want to say is that we probably won’t be able to gain the cooperation of the Brune people living in Massilia, correct Lord Cauvin?” Elen asked to confirm.
The Knight Squadron leader nodded, “Indeed. The Bruno people are completely scared of the Muozinel army. That means they will likely lend quite a bit of their strength to the foreigners. Besides Massilia, Lameille and Argdeau seem to be directly governed by the Muozinel army, too.”
“To make an example, huh?” Bouroullec sighed.
Lameille and Argdeau were also port towns that had betrayed Brune, and supported Sachstein, and once Sachstein was gone, Muozinel. For Muozinel there was no reason to treat them cordially.
Tigre, who had been listening to Cauvin’s words, suddenly felt something pulling at his mind.
──I wonder what it is. I feel like we’re completely mistaken about something. I will check the strategy once more. Basically, this course of events should be correct. Mashas and Lim also told me that there’s no problem. Elen, Mila, and Bouroullec also approved. And yet, why do I suddenly have an uncomfortable feeling?
“For that reason it will be extremely difficult to attack Massilia. Earl Vorn, you said pretend attacking and not actually attacking, but…” Cauvin implicitly asked.
Cauvin’s eyes fixed upon Tigre. Tigre didn’t know the uncomfortable feeling’s true identity, neither could he amend his strategy at this point in time. He had no choice but to proceed.
“If we could regain Massilia, the enemy’s supply line would be completely cut off. In order to definitely prevent this, the Muozinel army besieging Fort Gergovia will likely head south. That’s our aim.” Tigre said.
“It doesn’t sound as if you’re going to attack that Muozinel army.”
“That’s correct. We will head north, going past them, and attack the Muozinel army from behind.” Once Tigre explained while letting his finger run across the map, Cauvin groaned lowly.
“I thought you did well to move 20,000 soldiers, but…even 20,000 will be nowhere near enough.” Cauvin’s face had become slightly pale. He apparently recalled the spectacle of the Muozinel army with its more than 100,000 soldiers passing this fort. He pulled himself together by deeply exhaling, and gazed at Tigre with a serious look, “Understood, then let’s burn down this fort. For the sake of making the enemy believe that we are attacking Massilia.”
Tigre widened his eyes upon Cauvin’s words that lacked any hesitation. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t thought of this move, but as expected, he had hesitated to voice it out.
Cauvin laughed, “Rather than it being stolen by the Muozinel army that will move south, it’s better to abandon it on our own accord. Besides, it might be best for you to have as many soldiers at hand as possible, Earl Vorn.”
“Thank you…!” Tigre bowed deeply towards Cauvin, expressing his gratitude.
——————– End of Part 2 ——————-
Important so read:
I have observed the reader numbers over the last few releases. Unfortunately, it looks like the break in translation of roughly three years didn’t do this series any favor. If I weren’t a huge fan of this series myself, I would probably downgrade it to the same level as Summoned Slaughterer.
However, I know that many of you wish to see the end of this series, and I’m willing to keep going at this. I won’t increase the release rate from my side, seeing as I try to make a living from translation and thus have to plan my time wisely, but I will give you, the readers, a chance.
I added this series to my Patreon, which you can find here, allowing you to read ahead, and if we reach more than 40 patrons supporting this series (only the tiers Brune Soldier or Brune Knight will count), I will upgrade this series to a weekly release for as long as the count stays above 40.
Of course there will be additional tiers for an increased release speed at higher patron numbers as well. Feel free to check it out, and no, Patreon is no obligation. This series will be released in parts every two weeks even without a single person supporting it. 🙂