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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.
“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.
Tigre and the others spent the night on that day at Fort Severac. Because the Knight Leader announced that the fort would be burned down at dawn, things were busy inside the fort.
It was hard to call the dinner luxurious by all means, but given that they had decided to use up everything they wouldn’t be able to take with them, tables were lined up, and plenty of bread and pickled meat were dished out.
“One day. Hey, if we had one more day, we would be able wrap up the preparations after eating everything.” The knights who were eating the food heartily said, lamenting that there wasn’t any time.
In reality there were many other things they had to prioritize over food. Most of them were forced to finish eating in the breaks between their jobs.
On the other hand, the Moonlight Knight Army was taking a slow rest, allowing them to finish eating calmly. Tigre and Bouroullec had offered their help to Cauvin, but they were politely refused with the very logical reason that it would instead take more time to have people, who weren’t accustomed to the fort, help out.
Tigre was assigned a guest room, allowing him to lie down on a bed for the first time in a while. Because it had been cleaned up by the Severac Knight Squadron in advance, this room had nothing besides a bed, a blanket, and a lamp. It was plenty for just sleeping, however.
The sounds of knights running around could be heard from the corridor. It probably wasn’t owed to just that, but Tigre couldn’t readily fall asleep.
It was around half a koku after the youth had lied down when someone knocked on the door. Tigre got up and walked up to the door. Once he opened it, he found Elen standing there.
“If it’s as noisy as this, I can’t really sleep. I came for some recreation.” Elen laughed without any concern.
Tigre invited her in while smiling wryly. Inside the room that was only illuminated by the lamp, the two sat down on the bed next to each other.
“──Which reminds me, there’s something I should tell you.” Tigre intended to broach the topic with a casual tone, but since he spoke up after some time had already passed, Elen narrowed her eyes and threw a short question at him.
“Is it a woman?”
Tigre held his tongue and stared at the silver-haired Vanadis.
Elen laughed sarcastically, “At this point, that’s probably the only time when you would hesitate to speak to me.”
However, Elen immediately put on a serious expression, and turned her face and body towards Tigre.
“So, who is it?” Elen asked.
“It’s Titta.” Seemingly having resigned himself after being cornered, the name left Tigre’s mouth very naturally. Tigre told her that he had called Titta to his room the night before their departure from the capital. “I told Titta that there are two girls who I like.”
“That’s a rather brave thing to say.” Elen stared at her lover with an amazed expression.
Tigre scratched his head while embarrassed, “I couldn’t come up with another way to say it back then. But, I think it was the right decision.”
Saying that he wanted both of them were Tigre’s true feelings. He had no intention to make any differences in the levels of affection devoted to Elen and Titta. Neither did he think that he could.
“Seeing your face, I guess it means Titta accepted your confession. It’s really good for it to not have developed into a scene of carnage.” Elen commented.
Even while feelings of relief showed through on Tigre’s face in response to Elen’s words, he also looked surprised. To be frank, I had resolved myself for at least some sarcasm, though.
“Are you, umm, fine with that?” Tigre asked cautiously.
“Back then I told that you could have a concubine, didn’t I?” Elen replied with an expression as if asking him what he was talking about this late in the game. “I won’t mind even if I’m the concubine and Titta the legal wife. I also think that Titta is cute. If we can keep her at our side, she will be a big help in various ways. However, why did you feel like answering Titta’s feelings at this point in time?”
Elen’s question was reasonable. Tigre had noticed a good while back that Titta harbored feelings towards him not as a maid but as a woman. Tigre didn’t answer those feelings since he knew that Titta wouldn’t be able to become any more than a concubine.
Being questioned about something that was difficult to answer, Tigre groaned a bit. However, he had decided to talk about that as well. After sorting the words in his head, the young man spoke up resolutely, “Elen, I seem to be quite the lustful man. No, I believe that I am.”
As the silver-haired Vanadis knitted her eyebrows, Tigre continued, “Until around two years ago I couldn’t give Titta an answer because I was immature. After all, I had known that I would just make Titta experience painful feelings.”
For example, there was the move to go through the proper steps of having Titta become Mashas’ adopted daughter, and then turn her into the lord’s wife.
However, that wouldn’t mean that her past of being a born commoner would disappear. In addition, unless she learned the proper etiquette once she became a noble’s wife, she would be coldly looked down upon by other nobles when visiting the royal palace and similar.
Until only two years ago, even Tigre himself was scornfully laughed at by the noble lords, being ridiculed as a small noble who couldn’t use anything but the bow. If he had taken Titta as his wife in such a situation, it would have been impossible for him to make her happy. Even if he took her as concubine, depending on her relation to the legal wife, something like what Mashas experienced in the past might have occurred. It was inevitable that he couldn’t answer her feelings.
“After I fell in love with you, I was also troubled about why I couldn’t clearly decide on one woman, even though I should do so.” Tigre said.
“In other words, you’re saying you couldn’t answer Titta because you couldn’t have endured desiring me and Titta at the same time as a hopelessly, lustful man?” Something chilly was mixed into Elen’s voice, and Tigre sensed a choking pressure. He felt like the atmosphere inside the room had significantly cooled down despite it being summer right now.
However, Tigre didn’t avert his eyes from her, strained his muscles to move, and nodded. It has taken time to simply accept that, but that was the answer I was able to reach by just facing my own feelings after clearing away all that’s related to my own position as best as I could.
Elen smiled wryly, “I guess it can’t be helped. I think your liking of me and your liking of Titta is slightly different within you, though.”
Tigre stared in astonishment. He wondered how she knew from his face and not his words.
In regards to that point, he still hadn’t completely sorted his own feelings. However, the only possible explanation he could come up with was him being a lustful man.
Elen looked at the young man’s face, laughed slightly, and said, “Titta and I have different temperaments. I can’t do what Titta can, and Titta can’t do what I can. There’s no way that the shape of loving us will be exactly the same in spite of that, right? If you had said that we are the same, I would have hit you.”
Elen clenched her fist and showed it to him by lightly swinging it. Tigre nodded vaguely. He couldn’t clearly voice out that she had skillfully expressed and moreover forgiven him for what had been worrying him.
“As long as you properly look at me and give me your love as the human I am, I won’t complain. That doesn’t mean that I won’t feel anything about it at all, but that’s inevitable. After all people are envious of the things they don’t possess.” Elen said.
Tigre extended his hand, and hugged Elen gently. He put his right hand on her back, and his left on her head, overlapping her cheek with his.
“I like you. Your straightforwardness and your cheerfulness. Your silver hair and your red eyes. Your expression when you laugh and when you are angry. Your happy expression when you listen to the songs of a minstrel and when you eat something you seem to like.” Tigre told Elen.
“…Being told that you’re liked isn’t bad, but I’d really like you to use a slightly stronger word here.” Elen lightly complained.
“I love you.” He immediately knew which word Elen wanted to hear, and smoothly formed it with his mouth. Tigre didn’t consider it strange.
Elen extended her hand, and lightly tapped the youth’s back. The two stayed like that for some time.
Most of Brune Kingdom’s land, be it plains, hills or mountains, were covered by lush greenery, but the southeastern area was different. If one advanced along the highway stretching out towards the south east from Nice, it was possible to actually experience how the vegetation became less and the wind more dry from a certain point onwards.
Before long the highway entered an area called Agnes.
In the past it had been Brune’s territory, but now it belonged to Zhcted. Agnes was a deserted and desolate land with little amounts of water, and was plastered with sandstone cliffs all over. Once summer came, the sunlight blazed down fiercely, and the sand-laden wind became rough. So strong that even caravans accustomed to traveling wavered how to pass through it.
A group of cavalry was hurrying along that highway towards Brune early in the morning. Going by their characteristic skin colors and armaments, it was obvious to anyone that they were Muozinel soldiers. They numbered a hundred riders.
They had departed their home country, rushing towards the location of Kureys who was attacking Brune’s capital. If one considered the distance, it could be called very natural to mobilize hundred riders for the sake of safety.
However, they couldn’t enter Brune. That’s because a group of up to five times their number stood in their way as they were galloping across the highway.
The flags hoisted by that group were of two kinds. One depicted a golden bishop’s staff, which bore the impression of a bird spreading its wings, on a green tract of land. The other was the black dragon flag symbolizing the Zhcted Kingdom.
They were Zhcted’s army. The flag with the green tract of land belonged to Sofya Obertas, nicknamed 『Brilliant Princess of the Light Flower』.
That Sofya spurred her horse on at the head of the soldiers, in her hand the golden bishop’s staff, her own draconic tool. Her golden hair, shining in the summer sunshine, flowed down all the way to her hips. She wore silken clothes that used green as base, and had put on a thin mantle. Her skirt was long, reaching her feet. While each and every single of the embroideries decorating her clothes, the jasper hair ornament, and the golden bracelets were beautiful, all of them seemed to only exist for the sake of promoting her beauty.
Even after the Muozinel cavalry unit recognized her, they didn’t stop their horses. They knew that this was Zhcted’s territory and that they were trespassing without permission. Even if they were to negotiate, they would only be returned the way they urgently came from. In that case, they had to break through, even while using force. Just one among them had to reach Kureys. If it was that, it might be possible.
However, they soon realized that this had been naive thinking.
It was difficult to imagine from her lovely, gentle appearance, but Sofy was a Vanadis, too. Even if she didn’t match up to Elen or Mila, average soldiers posed no threat to her, even if they challenged her in a group.
Sofy made her horse gallop, plunging into the enemy ranks. Each time her golden bishop’s staff sparkled as it made the wind buzz, a Muozinel soldier was forced off his horse, slapping onto the ground. The draconic tool mercilessly crushed the heads and shoulders of the Muozinel soldiers alongside their bones.
The Polesia soldiers led by her stood in front of those trying to run away, thwarting their path of escape. Not a single of the Muozinel soldiers was able to break through, resulting in their corpses littering the ground.
“Good grief, Muozinel is sure acting boldly.” Sofy muttered with a serious look while looking down on the Muozinel soldiers that had stopped moving.
It was merely a few days ago that she had arrived in Agnes.
Having read the letter Ludmila Lourie had sent just before departing Olmutz, She had left Polesia while taking a mere 500 soldiers with her, believing that she ought to be close to Brune which would likely turn into a battlefield.
The reason for her having chosen that number of soldiers was because she couldn’t neglect Polesia’s defense and because she had prioritized speed. It had been only once, but Muozinel’s army had shown up in Polesia as well.
Upon Sofy’s order, Polesia’s soldiers investigated the personal effects of the Muozinel soldiers. Seeing as they had deliberately used this road, there was no mistake that they must have carried some important information.
Before long, one of the soldiers presented Sofy a single letter. The blond Vanadis thanked him with a smile, and accepted the letter. It was stained with blood and mud, but she didn’t pay any heed to that.
Sofy opened the letter on the spot, and scanned its contents. Naturally it was written in the Muozinel language, but she was capable of reading the language to some extent. She had been several times dispatched to Muozinel as diplomatic emissary.
Tension ran along on her face, but it only lasted for an instant. She took a short breath, and closed the letter. Then she turned around to her soldiers, “I’m very sorry everyone, but it looks like this journey will continue for a bit longer.”
The soldiers nodded silently. It was impossible for them to deny the decision of their lord, their Vanadis. One of them simply asked what they would do from now on.
Sofy pressed a finger against her lips, continuing to ponder for a bit, but soon lifted her head, and stated, “We will remain on this road for a few more days. Afterwards we will head to Brune.”
Along the way, until they came to Agnes, Sofy had regularly collected information by sending out the soldiers on reconnaissance or dropping by at big cities. When she put together those pieces of information and considered them, there was no mistake that the capital Nice was under attack by an overwhelming military force of the Muozinel army.
Sofy felt anxious about the safety of Elen, Mila, and Tigre, but she was a Vanadis, and thus was responsible for Polesia, her governed territory, and the soldiers with her right now. She couldn’t move carelessly, and had no choice but to pray to the gods which was unlike her.
Due to a report stating that Gaspar had been seriously wounded, all blood drained from Tigre’s face and he stood up. He started to walk with the rest of the report not entering his ears, trying to go outside the tent.
“──Where do you plan to go, Tigre?” The cutting voice from behind stopped Tigre just before he left the tent.
The youth finally came to his senses, and turned around with an awkward expression that failed to hide his anxiety and impatience. At the end of the line of his sight were Elen, Bouroullec, Cauvin, and Gaspar’s scout.
The face of that soldier was deeply colored by fatigue, his clothes were disheveled, and his leather armor was stained with mud.
The location was inside the supreme commander’s tent located in the center of the Moonlight Knight Army’s camp. Tigre exhaled lightly, and ransacked his darkened, red hair.
He needed a little time to calm down. Afterwards, he returned to the spot where he should sit with a pace that felt slow, and then looked at the scout with a stern expression.
“Sorry, my bad. Can I have you tell me the rest?” Tigre requested.
The scout nodded slightly, and bowed his head towards the supreme commander.
Currently the army of approximately 20,000 soldiers after including the Severac Knight Squadron with the Moonlight Knight Army were halfway between Fort Severac, which had changed into a ruin, and Massilia. Tigre’s army moved up until here after Fort Severac had burned down, set up camp, and pretended to actually prepare for attacking Massilia.
Moreover, Tigre had entrusted 200 cavalrymen to Gaspar and asked him to go have a look at the state of Fort Gergovia. That was five days ago.
The ones besieging Fort Gergovia were 10,000 soldiers led by General Murat, but if they were to head south, the Moonlight Knight army would obtain two advantages.
First, it would improve the success of heading to the capital in the north if they wouldn’t need to worry about their rear. And even when Murat realized Tigre’s intention, Tigre’s group would already be far apart from them at that time.
Second, if Murat’s army moved, it would also change the range of what they could watch. Because of that, Tigre’s group could hurry towards the capital while taking a different road.
By the way, besides Murat’s army there was also the unit guarding Laferte between the capital and the Moonlight Knight Army’s current location, but Tigre didn’t worry about them. It’s because he knew that they wouldn’t be able to move much as they were defending the city.
Gaspar willingly accepted the task, headed for Gelgovia, and then returned around half a koku ago. The result was more than half of the 200 cavalrymen lost, 43 knights of the Gelgovia Knight Squadron rescued, and Gaspar himself having suffered serious wounds.
“It was just past noon two days ago when we arrived in the vicinity of Fort Gelgovia…” The voice of the scout, who couldn’t suppress his resentment, resounded within the tent. Tigre, Elen, Bouroullec, and Cauvin listened attentively with tense expressions.
After reaching a place allowing them to see Fort Gelgovia, Gaspar’s cavalry moved cautiously so as to not be found out by the enemy. Hiding in the forest close to the fort, they observed the situation at Murat’s army.
The movements of Murat’s army were weird. Suddenly they canceled the fort’s siege in a hurry, and started to tidy up their camp.
“This is something I heard from a member of the Gelgovia Knight Squadron who understands the Muozinel language, but he said they were talking about 『going to help their allies in the south since they had been done in』.”
Allies in the south likely referred to Avshall’s army which was defeated by Tigre’s army. Anyway, since they dissolved the siege, the Gelgovia Knight Squadron shouted in delight.
Murat’s army rushed south without even keeping any proper ranks. The Gelgovia Knight Squadron perceived this as a good opportunity. After all, they had been surrounded for more than twenty days, which had caused their hostility and fighting spirit to go up through the roof.
With Knight Leader Gastaldi in the lead, all knights sallied out of the fort. The 3,000 of Gelgovia Knight Squadron versus the 10,000 of Murat’s army. Thinking that they wouldn’t be able to deliver a devastating blow unless they dispatched all knights despite attacking the rear of a rushing enemy was natural.
However, when the Gelgovia Knight Squadron got close to Murat’s army, they orderly turned around as if they had been waiting for this.
Gastaldi comprehended that they had been led into a trap. At the time he tried to make an escape, it was already too late. Murat cleverly moved the soldiers, fencing in the Gelgovia Knight Squadron. They were mercilessly annihilated. Gastaldi was also defeated after a long struggle.
Murat noticed Gaspar’s reconnaissance unit at this time. But even here Murat kept his composure. While pretending to not have noticed them, he secretly formed a detached force, had them take a detour so that they could plunge into the back of Gaspar’s unit.
The assaulted Gaspar unit just barely got away without even thinking of scouting or fighting at this point. Somehow managing to shake off the enemy’s pursuit, they luckily escaped. At the time when they met the knights of the Gelgovia Knight Squadron, Gaspar’s unit had already decreased by half and more.
Afterwards, Murat returned to in front of Fort Gelgovia, set up camp outside without occupying the fort itself.
Tigre and the others, who finished listening to the report, were speechless.
──To use the unexpected twist that their allies had been defeated for planting a trap… That means formidable enemies exist anywhere. Even Avshall, who I defeated the other day, was such a splendid commander that it was no surprise for him having been entrusted with a part of the Muozinel army.
Once he pulled himself together, Tigre gave his thanks to the scout, and had him withdraw after telling him to get some medical treatment and take a rest.
“I’m going out for a bit.” He said to Elen and the others, leaving his own tent.
It had been close to evening when Gaspar’s unit returned, but more than half of the sky had taken on a shade of indigo blue. The soldiers had already started to prepare dinner, and fires had been lit all around.
Tigre passed between the soldiers with a calm gait as if nothing had happened, heading towards Gaspar’s tent. A guard stood in front of the tent, but once he saw Tigre’s face, he immediately called out to Gaspar, who was inside, confirming that it was okay for Tigre to enter. Tigre thanked the guard, and stepped inside the tent.
“Yo, sorry for making you expressly come all the way here, Sir Supreme Commander.”
Inside the slightly bright tent illuminated by a lamp, Gaspar was lying face-down on a carpet with his upper body naked. His right shoulder and half of his back were plastered with bandages. Same for his left leg. His face was pale and drenched in sweat.
There was no one besides Gaspar inside the tent. Tigre sat down next to him, and wondered what he should say, but nothing smart came to his mind on the spot.
After around five seconds, he managed to say, “What’s most important is you returning alive.”
Gaspar laughed and said, “You’re right,” but then grimaced, seemingly having strained his wounds by laughing. However, he immediately adopted a serious and sorrowful expression, “I’m terribly sorry. I allowed many of the soldiers you had entrusted to me to die, Sir Supreme Commander.”
“…I have no intention to blame you for it. You accomplished your duty. Just take it easy and rest.” Understanding his own duty, Tigre replied to Gaspar as supreme commander.
“I’m sorry to be in this pitiful state even though I told you that I would give you advice… I cannot help regretting that I won’t be ready in time for the coming battles.” Gaspar’s voice trembled.
The wounds he suffered, especially the ones on his back and left leg, were deep, but looking at his state, that much was obvious. There was no doubt that he would have raised his body when Tigre had entered the tent as long as it posed no problem, even if he had to strain himself a bit.
However, the youth shook his head, “I will say it once more, but take it easy and rest up for now. After all, the job of being scolded by your father awaits you once we return to the capital.”
“That person never changes, does he?” Gaspar laughed once more and grimaced again.
The youth stood up and left the tent with the words, “I will visit again later.”
He was flurried, but as long as he knew that Gaspar’s life wasn’t in serious danger, it was plenty for the meantime. Besides, if they were to continue talking like that, it would be harmful to his wounds.
Afterwards Tigre visited the tents of the Gelgovia knights and the scouts who had returned, consoling each and every one of them. He was worried about their condition, but there was also something he wanted to hear.
When the sun had completely sunk and the sky had become pitch black, Tigre stopped by Bouroullec’s tent, requested a certain thing from him, and returned to his own tent. Only Elen was inside his tent which was illuminated by a lamp’s light. She was sitting on a carpet that had been spread out on the ground.
Once she saw the youth’s face, she revealed a gentle smile and said, “I went to have a look at Gaspar as well. It’s great that he looks lively.”
Tigre nodded. More than half of the scout unit didn’t return ali lost its life. It might be serious wounds, but he should be happy that Gaspar would be able to come back with no physical defects.
Elen brought in some food from outside, and both of them had dinner together. It consisted of bread, cheese, pickled meat, cooked soup, and wine.
Soon after they started to eat, Tigre asked Elen, “What do you think about the enemy?”
The enemy he meant on this occasion was Murat’s army. He had listened to the recounts of the scouts and the Gelgovia knights, but it was said that Murat’s army wasn’t moving away from Fort Gelgovia’s vicinity. Even though they should know that Avshall’s army had been defeated.
“Did they read our aim?” Elen asked back.
“I think it’s not like we have been read completely,” Tigre replied carefully. “If the enemy had seen through my plans, they would have acted differently.”
Murat should have heard the story about Avshall’s army from the survivors, and know that the Moonlight Knight Army had bigger numbers than his own army. If he were to try fighting against the Moonlight Knight Army, he had no choice but to head north to join up with his allies, or wait for reinforcements while gaining time by barricading themselves inside the fort.
“I’m pretty sure the enemy is waiting and watching how we’re going to move.”
“However, doesn’t not moving at this point result in forsaking Massilia? The supply line will be completely cut off.” Elen said.
Tigre nodded at her words. The youth couldn’t understand that part either. Considering that the Gelgovia Knight Squadron had been annihilated, the enemy comander must be fairly excellent. I think it’s impossible for him to not have noticed this fact.
“Isn’t he thinking that they will be able to hold out? Lord Cauvin said so as well, didn’t he?”
The two continued talking afterwards as well, but the dinner was gone before they could solve the riddle. They called Bouroullec and Cauvin, and held out with just wine and water until late at night, but in the end they couldn’t find a conclusive answer.
“Let’s watch the situation for one more day…no, two more days.” Tigre reluctantly brought their discussion to a close with those words.
Tigre spent most of the next day inside his tent. He sent out reconnaissance teams in all directions, eagerly gazed on the maps, and speculated about Murat’s aim.
Occasionally he walked around the camp as recreation while worried about the capital which might be under heavy attack by the Muozinel’s big army. The returning scouts didn’t bring any special news with them.
──That’s bad, isn’t it…?
Impatience weighed down on his heart like cotton that had become heavy after soaking up water. He couldn’t wipe away the feeling that he was wasting precious days despite having to return to the capital as fast as possible.
He pondered whether he should boldly challenge Murat’s army to a battle. Our side has 20,000, his side has 10,000 soldiers. I can’t imagine that we will lose.
──No, that’s no good.
He wanted to avoid losing any more soldiers. Tigre’s target was Kureys. Even if his current forces were nowhere near enough.
He went to sleep after the sun went down, and woke up at dawn. Tigre spent this day in the same way as the day before. He sent out reconnaissance teams and surveyed the maps. He also talked with Elen and the others, but no one among them could provide a persuasive reason why Murat didn’t make any moves.
──Does the enemy think nothing of their supply line…?
Even as he was worrying, time passed fruitlessly. The sun that had risen in the east, crossed its zenith, and slowly descended towards the west.
Considering that it will take several days to reach the capital from here, I should reach a decision how we’re going to move by the end of the day. However, Tigre lacked a reasoning backing a decision. If he couldn’t come up with anything, he would likely have no choice but to travel north while ignoring the danger in their rear.
The scouts, which he had sent out early in the morning, trickled back in one after the other, and reported to Tigre. The majority of the reports were no different from yesterday, but there was just one that piqued Tigre’s interest.
“Muozinel cavalry was galloping across the highway connected to Argdeau at a considerably high pace. It was a unit of around ten riders.”
Argdeau was one of port towns located in Brune’s south. Just like Massilia, it was ruled by the Muozinel army. It wasn’t odd for a unit of the Muozinel army to head for Argdeau.
Once Tigre thanked the scout and had him withdraw, he shifted his focus on a map close at hand.
He looked at the city mentioned in the report just now. A single possibility surfaced inside his mind, and he leaked an “Ah!”
“I see,” muttered Tigre with a trembling voice. Tigre recalled the uncomfortable feeling he had about his own strategy when he had listened to Cauvin at Fort Severac. He finally understood the reason. He groaned while ruffling up his hair, “I was wrong about the supply line…”
Tigre ordered a soldier outside his tent to immediately call for Elen and the other leaders. Elen, Bouroullec, and Cauvin showed up at Tigre’s tent within less than a quarter koku.
“Did you grasp something?” It was Bouroullec who asked this as if having waited for a long time while sitting down on top of the carpet.
Tigre nodded while restraining his excitement and tension, “I’m pretty sure that the enemy doesn’t have any intention to head to Massilia as reinforcement.”
“But, in that case the supply line would be cut off, no? Not to mention food and materials, they would also lose contact with their home country.” Elen objected.
Tigre shook his head in response and let his finger wander across the map all four of them were surrounding, “The supply line will be alright if you let it run through a different port town. There’s no need to fuss over Massilia. That was likely the very reason why Muozinel had seized control over the southern port towns.”
Elen, Bouroullec, and Cauvin raised their voices in admiration at Tigre’s explanation.
“I see. I guess what matters is the sea and the ships traveling it,” Elen concluded.
“I thought that we just needed to cut off the supply line running along the highway, but it looks like that wasn’t it…” Bouroullec groaned repeatedly while staring at the sea drawn on the lower part of the map.
It was inevitable that no one had noticed this point when Tigre explained his strategy at the royal palace. After all, not one of them, be it Tigre, Elen, Mashas, Mila, or Bouroullec, possessed a territory facing the sea. Even the area under Olivier’s protection was far from the sea.
“So the Muozinel army just has to send its ships, which are used to transport the food, to another city, even if we blockade Massilia from the land side, huh? In that case there’s really no point in going to Massilia to reinforce it.” Cauvin raised his eyes from the map and looked at Tigre. “Earl Vorn, no, Sir Supreme Commander, what are we going to do from now on?”
Tigre looked at the three with a serious look, “If we do something about the ships, the enemy at Gelgovia will very likely move south. If it’s just a modification in the city connected to the supply line, it might be possible for them to stay at Gelgovia, but anything going beyond that would force them to actually head on-site. They will likely believe that they can’t leave it to just the soldiers stationed in Massilia.”
The problem was how to deal with the ships. When Tigre asked whether they didn’t have some kind of means at hand, Cauvin thoughtfully asked, “Sir Supreme Commander, can you give me a chance to redeem myself?”
Although Tigre raised his eyebrow quizzically, he nodded at the round-faced Knight Leader, “Please tell us the details.”
After waiting for dawnbreak of the next day, the Moonlight Knight Army vacated its camp.
“Well then, may the fortunes of war be with you.” Tigre exchanged a handshake with Cauvin. However, unable to finish with just these words, he asked against his better judgment despite knowing that it was uncalled-for, “Will it be really alright with just the Severac Knight Squadron?”
“Of course. There are many among our knights who grew up in places close to the sea. People, who don’t know about ships and the ocean, would instead become hindrances. Rather, it’s your side that needs as many soldiers as possible, don’t you think? I think I will show you by just putting 300 cavalrymen to use.” Cauvin laughed, full of confidence.
Tigre was pulled into laughing as well. This Knight Leader is truly attractive if he laughs. If you add his abundant emotions to that, he’s likely to gather the trust of many knights.
Cauvin’s proposal was for him to attack the port town Massilia with his Severac Knight Squadron of little less than 3,000 cavalrymen. Tigre was surprised, but he agreed because they didn’t have the leeway to continue staying here any longer, and because there was something in Cauvin’s explanation that made him consider that it might be possible.
Elen said, “Isn’t it fine to let him do it?” and Bouroullec supported it as well by stating, “If we’re going to do something about this within a few days, there might be no option but to go with his idea.”
Cauvin, who had finished bidding farewell from Tigre, next exchanged a handshake with Elen, “I’d like you to tell me one thing, are all of Zhcted’s Vanadis tomboys like you?”
“Tomboy is a rather interesting way to phrase it, but compared to the other Vanadis, I’m a reasonable person.” Elen answered.
“Is that so? It looks like it might really be better for me to avoid meeting other Vanadis as much as possible.” Cauvin laughed and grasped Elen’s hand with both of his. “I didn’t expect to be scolded by a woman who could be my daughter after becoming this old, but I thank you, Lady Vanadis. If you hadn’t scolded me back then, I would have piled shame on top of shame.”
At the end Cauvin bid farewell from Bouroullec, “Earl Bouroullec, please beat up my share of Muozinel soldiers.”
“Gladly. If we had time, I’d like to say that I will leave some for you. Let’s have a toast in the capital once this war comes to an end.” Bouroullec replied.
“The capital is far from Severac, so I haven’t been there overly often. But, I suppose I will make an exception just this one time.” Cauvin said.
“While it may be presumptuous, allow me to accompany when Her Highness Regin calls upon you.” Bouroullec said in a joking manner.
Cauvin responded to the smiling Bouroullec with an artificial sigh.
The air and ground were rapidly heated up beneath the summer sun with its strengthened brightness. The Moonlight Knight Army cautiously moved northwards while the Severac Knight Squadron headed southwards. A little while later neither could see the other anymore even when turning around.
Morning of that day, when she left for a sunny place after getting up, Limalisha perceived the sun’s light as something heavy. After exchanging a greeting with Rurick at the base of the wall and finishing a simple briefing with him, she suddenly asked something that had been bothering her for a while now, “It might sound as if I’m asking something weird, but…are you shaving your hair every morning?”
“That’s one of the things that I cannot miss doing by all means. I do it quickly before taking a nap.” Faint shadows were visible beneath Rurick’s eyes as he replied to her, and his smile had become strained. His lips were developing cracks because of the excessive dryness. He couldn’t hide his fatigue any longer.
“I respect your mettle, but I think you should now spend some time sleeping, even if only for a short time.” Lim commented.
“This is also something to provide me tranquility during my meager sleeping hours. What, compared to the fight against the folks from Muozinel two years ago, this much isn’t anything significant.” Rurick stroked his smooth head, and laughed brightly. As it wasn’t anything unpleasant, Lim was drawn into smiling as well.
“If you go this far, I will leave it up to your own judgment. However, make sure to be careful.” Lim said.
Leaving the bald knight, she climbed the stairs leading to atop the wall. She could assume that Rurick would likely be alright for a while going by his tone.
── Today’s the 20th day, huh…?
Lim muttered in her mind while loosening her body by stretching it, and silently putting on an armor.
As of yet, the capital Nice had been withstanding the Muozinel’s offensive. Many soldiers and knights passionately said, “We will show them that we can hold out another 30 or 40 days.”
Even now Regin was devotedly going around the walls and castle town, calling out to the soldiers and citizens.
In reality the situation wasn’t all that bad. The Muozinel army had focused its soldiers on the southern wall, and although there had been many times where soldiers, who had climbed siege ladders, got atop the wall, they had been completely repelled by the Moonlight Knight Army.
What worried Lim was that she couldn’t see any impatience in the Muozinel army’s camp when looking down at it from the wall.
── How many days does the enemy calculate for this capital to fall?
Of course she didn’t know that Kureys, the supreme commander of the Muozinel army, had answered 45 days when asked so by one of his aides. However, she had vaguely been perceiving that the Muozinel army seemed to hold a composure going beyond that of their side.
Eight stairways had been set up in the moat below. After the offense and defense of the third day, four more had been added, but they succeeded in burning down two of them. They were lucky as the earth that covered the stairways had peeled and fallen off due to the prolonged battle.
The corpses of Muozinel soldiers had reached numbers that made it impossible to count. After the fourth day, the Muozinel army had started to wait until sunset to collect the corpses. They had probably become a hindrance and a sanitary issue. Right now it was summer, meaning corpses decayed in no time. The wall’s surface was riddled with cracks and dirt from soot, blood and oil.
Lim shifted her eyes towards the inside of the wall. The traces of medical treatment and filth stood out on the soldiers standing guard. Most of them had bandages coiled around their arms and legs while wearing their armor on top. And it wasn’t just them. Most of the soldiers, who had been fighting in this battle from the start were the same.
Suddenly Lim noticed a single crossbow lying in a corner of the wall. After they had exhausted their bolts in the battles of the fourth and fifth day, the bows had become useless. The Navarl Knight Squadron should have cleaned up all of them, but they apparently missed one.
“You’re sure pulling a long face there.” A voice came from Lim’s side.
Once she looked to the side, she saw Mila standing there. She was shouldering Lavias, her draconic tool. She didn’t show any exhaustion worthy to be called such. Her garments, which used blue as basic color, weren’t disheveled, and her silver breastplate dazzlingly reflected the sunlight. Her white ribbon, which looked bright to one’s eyes, was fluttering in the wind, too.
Up until today Mila had exhibited great efforts on countless occasions. She had knocked down enemy soldiers who stepped atop the wall after having climbed siege ladders, she had buried the tunnel which the enemy had dug up to below the gate, and she had many times given precise instructions in regards to the alternation and deployment of the knights and soldiers to Lim. Nowadays, everyone approved of her presence. The Snow Princess of the Frozen Wave had proven her value through her actions.
Lim bowed lightly and gave a greeting, and then voiced out what had been bothering her, “Lyudmila-sama, how are Eleonora-sama and Lord Tigrevurmud doing?”
“Considering it’s you, that’s a rather abstract question, isn’t it?” Mila revealed a somewhat mean smile, and after taking her eyes off Lim, looked into the far distance. Beyond the horizon where Tigre and the others might appear someday.
Lim turned her blue eyes in the same direction, murmuring, “More than thirty days have passed since the detached force led by those two and Earl Bouroullec departed this capital. Will they be able to return within another ten days?”
“It’s not that simple, is it?” Mila looked up to Lim with an astonished face. “I wonder whether it won’t be around fifteen more days if things go smoothly? If something happens, forcing them into a harsh battle, it will take longer. Take a good look in around twenty to twenty-five days.”
Being told about another twenty-five days although twenty days had already passed, Lim felt dizzy, albeit only for an instant. It seemed like a number of days that seemed far too absurd.
“The most troublesome point of a siege battle begins from here on out.” Mila continued with a grave expression while looking in the far distance once more. “If you are surrounded in such a way, absolutely no information enters from the outside. Even if reinforcements are heading this way right now, you don’t know who and in what state. Only the food and weapons, which used to exist in abundance, keep decreasing. The enemy is as boisterous as usual, showing no fatigue.”
“Just going by the dead and injured, it seems our side has overwhelmingly less, though.” Searching for something bright to counter with, Lim stated dispassionately.
Mila didn’t deny it. “I agree. Our side’s losses are still below 500, the losses of the Muozinel army should exceed 10,000. However, such numbers are irrelevant. You know the reason, don’t you?”
Lim was reluctant, but then nodded. It might be coming from the daily effects of the soldiers’ exhaustion and the weapon consumption.
Even limited to what she knew, they had been talking among the Zhcted soldiers about the remaining number of arrows. Arrows were produced in the castle town, but in Brune, which slighted archery, they hadn’t been produced in any significant amount. That meant they would probably run out of arrows very soon. Even the stones for throwing of which they had so many that they could have built a mountain were now down to less than a half.
Once they were to use up the ranged weapons, the enemy’s momentum would increase.
Besides, there was also the matter with the militia. The militia, which had counted 40,000 when the battle began, had decreased to close to 30,000. Not because they lost their lives. It was the result of people dropping out because of overwork.
The battle cries of the Muozinel army, which resounded every night, had caused them to exhaust their minds and bodies. Regin didn’t try to detain them. She knew that it would just turn into a seed of quarrels if she were to force them. Once that happened, they would be stuck diverting manpower towards unnecessary things. Rather, she visited the houses of the people who had collapsed from overwork, and even expressed her sympathy.
Looking up to Lim whose expression had turned grave, Mila said as if to console her, “If you are so anxious, just go to pray at the temple. Although it’s an odd story, fortunately Zhcted and Brune believe in the same gods.”
“A temple…?” Lim asked.
“I met Titta before coming here, and it looks like that girl has been going every day to the temple to pray since Tigre left the capital.”
As she was easily capable of imagining that scene, Lim’s expression softened. She shook her head with a calm look, “Let’s drop that matter. I’m not overly religious. Calling the names of the gods during battle is more than enough for me.”
Perceiving that will-power had returned into Lim’s voice, Mila nodded while looking satisfied. Exchanging a silly chitchat was necessary in order to survive today.
Suddenly Mila shifted her eyes, donning a grim expression. Groups of soldiers were appearing in succession from the Muozinel army’s camp.
“Come on, the real deal starts from today onwards.” Mila showed a fearless smile
Lim nodded powerfully, and the soldiers and knights atop the wall tightly grasped their shields and weapons after noticing the enemy’s movements.
Currently the general of the Muozinel army, which was attacking the southern wall, was Yargash. Ekrem and him alternated every few days, continuing the attacks. The generals besides those two were each standing by in the east, west and north of the capital while commanding 3,000 cavalrymen and 7,000 battle slaves.
Ekrem’s evaluation of Yargash was “vulgar and ostentatious,” and there was no one, including the person himself, denying that assessment.
Yargash was 33 years old. Flashy, red clothes covered his thick body, and balm had been thickly smeared into his black hair. Even the subordinates who respected him were wholly rumored to avoid standing leeway of him. He had golden rings on all fingers of his hands, and even wore gilded daggers at his waist.
As he was a man who would reply, “Money in my right hand, and women in my left,” when asked about what he desired, he had beautiful Muozinel, Brune, Zhcted, and Asvarre female slaves wait upon him in his extravagant mansion in the capital of his home country. His treatment of slaves appeared to be deeply compassionate.
On this day as well, he summoned his chief subordinates to his tent before starting the attack. And then turned a bag, which looked very heavy as he was holding it with both hands, upside down.
This caused sounds of metals clinking against each other to reverberate, and a great amount of gold coins spilled over on the ground. Those standing in front had their eyes light up while staring at the small mountain of gold coins.
Yargash told them to inform all soldiers of this sight, “No matter how many ladders you set up, it bears no meaning if you don’t get atop the wall. I will give all of this to the one who climbed the wall first and those who prepared the ladder put to use at that time.”
Yargash deliberately scooped up the gold coins with his hands, intentionally causing the coins to clink. The morale of the Muozinel soldiers visibly skyrocketed.
Yargash had been doing this every day. And, once the battle of that day came to an end, he handed the coins to those who had achieved the goal in front of many soldiers. There was no way that this wouldn’t boost the Muozinel soldiers’ morale.
As the soldier left the tent in high spirits while dreaming of holding that gold in their hands, they crossed paths with a single youth entering. It was Damad.
Yargash stared at him in wonder and curiosity, “Yo, youngster. What’s up?”
Yargash generally called all those younger than him like that. Damad had already grown accustomed to it, but he still couldn’t let it pass without giving a short comment, “Aren’t you hated by General Ekrem because you’re using such a way of calling him?”
“I don’t recall having called him in any way that contained spite or hostility. So, what’s your business with me?” Yargash easily brushed the objection off.
“It looks like General Avshall was defeated. The news reached us today morning.” Damad reported.
Yargash stopped moving for a moment. It’s not that he had been overly close with Avshall, rather, he considered him to be a man with a disgusting attitude. However, he was a comrade who departed on this expedition together with him. It was impossible for him to not feel anything after being informed about the death of such a man.
“Assuming we learned about it today morning, I guess it means he was actually done in ten days ago. I don’t know from where he popped up, but there must be an outrageous guy in Brune, too.” Yargash commented.
“According to the report of the soldier who was General Avshall’s subordinate, it was apparently a woman who finished him off. A girl with long, silver hair, red eyes and around seventeen to eighteen years old. I have an idea about a woman with such an outward appearance.” Damad explained.
“Is she a beauty?” That was Yargash’s first question.
Damad sighed with a disappointed expression.
While knocking the rings on both hands together, Yargash laughed and said, “If she’s your prey, I will refrain from making a move on her. So, is that all?”
“There’s one more thing. Did you finish what I had requested of you some time ago?” Damad asked.
“Ah, that, huh?” Yargash nodded, called a soldier, and gave him an order. That soldier withdrew from in front of Yargash and Damad for a moment, and returned before long. In his hands, a leather bag with a golden bordering. The soldier respectfully passed the bag to Damad.
Having received the bag, Damad turned it upside down. Round, old nuts the size of a grape’s grain fell on his palm. Damad brought them close to his nose and sniffed. The scent of earth was dense.
He thought that these might be alright, but even if he doubted Yargash, it would be of no use. He returned the nuts into the bag, and thanked Yargash.
“Is there anything to pay attention to when using these?” Damad asked.
“Don’t use them when having sex with a woman. You will die.” Yargash answered.
Damad glared at Yargash with his eyes half-closed. Even though he knew that Yargash was joking, he felt angry.
Yargash warded it off the black-haired warrior’s look by laughing, “When using them, chew them with your molars alongside their shells. Count to hundred afterwards. However, do you think there will come a time for you, who’s next to His Excellency, to use something like that? Or did you receive permission to depart to the front line?”
Without answering Yargash’s questions, Damad grabbed the leather bag, and turned his back on Yargash, saying, “I will have you let me take good care of it.”
Then he left Yargash’s tent.
The offense and defense of the twentieth day had started.
The attack methods of the Muozinel army hadn’t changed from before. They ran while carrying siege ladders in groups of ten-odd people, passed through the moat, and clung to the wall. The archers lined up atop the scaffoldings supported them.
The Moonlight Knight Army blocked the arrows by lining up shields atop the wall, hurling boiling oil as well as stones and torches at the Muozinel soldiers climbing the siege ladders through the gaps between the shields.
However, the Moonlight Knight Army’s counterattack abruptly paused. Soldiers, whose movements had grown dull from fatigue and injuries, and soldiers, who made mistakes at procedures they should be used to by now, started to appear, producing gaps in their defense.
The Muozinel soldiers, who had been climbing the ladders, leaped upon that chance. They continued to jump atop the wall by pushing their own bodies, and wielded their curved swords. A second, then a third followed. And while they were drawing the attention towards them, a fourth and fifth jumped on top of the wall while holding spears.
The arrows of the Muozinel army fired from the scaffoldings poured down without paying any heed to friend and foe. However, the ones suffering the most damage were crowded formations, and it was the Moonlight Knight Army’s side that ended up having its ranks thrown into disorder.
The Muozinel soldiers came slashing at them at the moments when they faltered after being hit by arrows. The Muozinel soldiers actively targeted their arms and legs. And then they delivered the finishing blow after the Moonlight knights dropped their weapons or went down on their knees.
Once they pushed onto the wall, it wasn’t simple to push them back. The more the numbers of Muozinel soldiers atop the wall increased, the less the Moonlight Knight Army had the ability to take care of the siege ladders. As a result, the enemies kept endlessly appearing even after cutting down countless of them.
Lim, who had taken command of the southern wall, immediately rushed over to that place.
“Use your shields rather than your spears and swords! Force them back while lining up your shields and blocking the arrows!”
Several soldiers abode to those instructions within the chaos and bloodshed, starting to literally knock the Muozinel soldiers off the wall. Those soldiers, who were thrown into the air, fell from a height of ten alsin and crashed into the bottom of the moat. Almost all of their bones were broken, and their bodies were strangely twisted, making them look like broken puppets.
Even Lim herself stood at the front and cut down two Muozinel soldiers. Arrows that came flying grazed her helmet and shoulder reinforcements. However, Lim held her ground, commanding the soldiers from there.
The Brune and Zhcted soldiers staged a fierce counterattack. The Muozinel soldiers were forced to retreat by being bashed rather than forced back with the shields. Retreat in this case directly connected to death.
They slipped on the blood and were thrown off balance after stepping on corpses. At the moment when both sides had paid a toll of five, six more soldiers, the Moonlight Knight Army began to drive the Muozinel forces off the wall.
“Commander, we ran out of stones to throw!” A single soldier reported while breathing heavily.
Lim frowned, “There should be spares at the bottom of the wall.”
“Those spares are completely gone as well.”
“Tell them that it’s my order and have the other stations yield some to us.”
She knew that it was an irrational order, but she had no other option. That soldier yelled, “Roger!”, while starting to run at the same time.
── As long as not all wall sections besides this one here are hit, I think we will be somehow able to get a supply, but…
Cheers were audible from a distant place. The Muozinel soldiers had climbed the wall at another place after cutting through. This time the Muozinel army actually set up twenty siege ladders against the southern wall.
Lim tried to rush over there in a hurry, but it was unnecessary. Mila, who was nearby, brandished Lavias, dealing with the Muozinel soldiers with thrusts.
Each time she wielded her spear that looked as if it had been shaved out of ice and crystal, trails of white chill danced atop the wall. With each flash the enemies’ faces or abdomen were stabbed, and they collapsed. Its skillfulness and dreadfulness were at such a high level that the following Muozinel soldiers hesitated to go up on the wall.
Soon afterwards Lim’s group withdrew from the wall in order to take a rest. In exchange a group composed of the western lords and knight squadrons took over the southern wall.
While they blocked the arrows with their shields, they successively pushed the Muozinel soldiers off the ladders by using long-handled weapons including spears. Cutting many times at the ladders with hatchets, they destroyed several of them.
Morning turned into noon, noon turned into evening. And then the Muozinel army stopped attacking and pulled back.
The Moonlight Knight Army celebrated that day’s victory by raising loud cheers, but tiredness was blended into the soldiers’s voices.
Receiving the report that flames were rising at the southern Massilia, the approximately 20,000 soldiers of the Moonlight Knight Army led by Tigre shouted in joy. Five days had passed since they parted with the Severac Knight Squadron led by Cauvin. During these five days, Tigre’s army had been at a place located twenty belsta from Fort Gelgovia. While splitting into several smaller units and hiding inside the forest and in the shadows of rocks, they had awaited good news from Massilia. Moreover, for Tigre this conduct also served as training.
“They really did it!”
Tigre smiled and looked at Elen and Bouroullec who had lined up their horses next to him under the sky that had started to darken. The three immediately split the work, called together their commanding officers, and informed them of the departure.
“The day will very soon come to an end, but for several days we will march on at night. I don’t mind even if we drop the speed a bit. We will prioritize routes staying away from the enemy as much as possible.” The commanding officers nodded at Tigre’s words, saluted, and ran off.
Next to Tigre, who saw them off, Elen folded her arms and sighed in admiration, “To be honest, when I heard about the method from Lord Cauvin, I was worried, but I guess he skilfully pulled it off.”
Not just Tigre, but even Bouroullec nodded, obviously sharing her opinion.
When Tigre and the others asked how he was going to burn down the ships lined up in Massilia’s port, he replied that they would use rafts.
“If it comes to most of the port town being under the control of the Muozinel army, obtaining ships might be impossible to begin with. Even small boats allowing five or six people to board should be difficult to obtain. Accordingly, we will link together rafts at a beach distant from Massilia and depart to the sea. Afterwards we will head to Massilia’s port by riding the tidal current. Once we make a round while setting the ships on fire, we will escape by riding the tidal current once more.” Cauvin explained.
Seeing as the port town had been seized, and accordingly the ships and boats as well, it was Cauvin’s idea that the enemy likely wouldn’t expect an attack from the sea, and that splendidly proved to be right.
Before long the commanding officers came to report that the troops had been put in order.
The Moonlight Knight Army advanced while causing thundering roars with the hooves of their horses on the ground that had become dark.
The thin, silver moon floating in the sky looked as if it was quietly watching over the humans.
The information that many of the ships in Massilia’s port were ablaze also reached Murat’s army, which had been staying near Fort Gelgovia.
After Murat fervently cursed at his unreliable allies under his breath, he vacated his camp while sending a messenger to Kureys at the same time. He started moving south.
“Isn’t this a trap by the enemy who is trying to fight us by luring us away from this place?” One of Murat’s subordinates asked, but Murat didn’t lend an ear to him. He possessed enough confidence in his own commanding abilities that he could consider it convenient if that was really the case.
Just as Tigre had guessed, Murat ignored Massilia, intending to rebuild the supply line in Agdeau. Seeing as it was conceivable that the numbers of the Moonlight Knight Army exceeded those of his own army now that Avshall was dead, that was an urgent task for him. But, above that, he was able to do something he had to do.
As a result, Murat allowed the Moonlight Knight Army to head north.
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 (currently 14 / 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. 🙂