They were able to eliminate their presence while hunting and grasp enemy movements by sound.
The soldiers’ armor hit the trees and undergrowth, clanked against itself, and caused their movements to slow in the soft soil. They were easily found and if they tried to fight back their swords would get caught on the trees when they swung them. Each of them was eliminated easily.
「How could a human beat an elf in a forest?」
If they had proper teamwork and leadership it was still possible. If the remaining soldiers used the corpses to shield themselves from the arrows and sent 100 of their remaining soldiers into the forest to flank us we wouldn’t be able to deal with it.
We couldn’t ignore the enemies in front of us. But because of the way the forest blocked line of sight we wouldn’t be able to defeat the soldiers who were dispatched into the forest fast enough. A large group couldn’t be defeated by those hunters.
However, there weren’t any commanders left to give those orders.
Before long the distance between our forces had shortened to 70 meters.
Although our the damage had increased once they passed the 100 meter line they didn’t stop advancing.
Around 220 soldiers had been taken out of commission and less than three hundred were fit for combat.
There was still quite a number of enemies left but it was still acceptable. Instead the fact that we had rendered more than a third of the enemy unable to fight was great.
For infantry units it was already fatal once casualties exceeded 30% as they would need 2-4 soldiers to carry each injured ally from the battlefield. They needed to retreat or face a crushing defeat.
But it didn’t look like they were going to care for their injured or fallen brethren. I saw no sign of retreat as they desperately advanced.
I felt a bit puzzled.
No matter how you look at it the imperial soldiers didn’t seem to be being affected by fear.
With so many allies suffering and dying why were they still desperately attacking?
For normal people they’d lose the will to fight after such an incredibly one-sided battle.
It felt like something intangible was pushing them forward.
「Advance chaaaaarge! We have no choice but to avenge our brothers!」
The soldiers cried out as they climbed over the corpses of their allies and charged.
How stupid. Even if they won they would have to abandon their allies. If they retreated now they could avoid total annihilation.
I set aside my speculation for now as the soldiers were getting closer. It would only take a few more minutes before they would reach us. However,
「What’s with this thin chain? I’ll chop it down.」
In their way was barbed wire wrapped around many poles.
It was an old style trap.
It was simply barbed iron wire wrapped around wooden stakes and trees.
It was there to hinder their path. The barbed wire was only 1.3 meters tall. It was too tall for armored soldiers to climb over, but short enough that it wouldn’t affect our arrows.
It fulfilled my expectations, actively restraining their charge using the least material and labor.
「What is this…I can’t cut it. W-wait wait a second, the way forward is blocked!」
The soldiers that came from behind didn’t stop despite the soldiers at the front not moving. The rear ended up crashing into the vanguard.
If they weren’t wearing armor the needles would have torn their flesh. But even so it gained us enough time.
We had plenty of time to nock our arrows.
At that moment the soldiers still standing were struck by the arrows and dozens went down.
Also the soldiers at the front that had fallen on top of the barbed wire became an even greater obstacle to the soldiers behind them.
I had specially ordered 10 elite marksman including Lucy to fire at any soldier trying to save those who were caught in the barbed wire.
In the meantime we continued our volley fire. Our elves were able to avoid those who were caught in the barbed wire and fire at those who were still a threat.
The imperial soldiers were in pandemonium. Not a single one reached our archers. Some leftover soldiers saw how many casualties there were and ran away.
Their casualties had exceeded half of their original number. At this point it would be weirder if none of them retreated. It might be there was no longer anyone who could give the order to retreat.
「Step over the injured! If not we’ll all die here!」
It looks like there was still one soldier left with a brain.
It was the proper response. Step on the injured to overcome the barbed wire.
Of course the elves wouldn’t be able to hit every single person who climbed over.
「Only around 80 left?」
Their forces had only 80 left. Four fifths of their entire force had been eliminated.
They looked like they intended to ignore common strategy and would fight to the last man.
I almost wanted to praise their courage for not turning tail in this desperate situation.
No, it wasn’t even a good thing. Even if they reached us now they wouldn’t be able to win. It was basically suicide at this point.
They still had 40 meters to go.
「Damn elves I’ll kill you! Die!! I’ll have my revenge! Die in regret!!」
I heard their voices filled with resentment.
As the distance decreased our accuracy improved and the results of each volley increased.
Even though they should know that too, the soldiers had demonic expressions on their faces as they continued to charge.
I could understand the feeling because….
「Yeah, this is what we’ve felt for the past five years. It was always this feeling…Fire!!」
Once again another volley fired taking out 30 people.
They just stepped over the fallen and continued.
At this distance we wouldn’t have time to switch rows again before they reached us.
Normally that is…
「Hiii what is this!?」
「Take it off! Take off your armor!」
I had predicted that during this first combat they would approach us. I had made the last thirty meters into a muddy bog.
Elves didn’t only have aptitude for wind magic, but water magic as well. We had drowned the soil making it sticky and muddy.
All we had to do was add more water when we wanted it to turn it into a swamp.
The enraged soldiers had all ran full speed straight into the swamp area, fell into it, and started drowning. They couldn’t stop moving so suddenly.
And luckily there was no cover.
The elves had long finished reloading and shot them like fish in a barrel.
The imperial soldiers were wiped out. They only had a handful of soldiers left. They started to run away after seeing it was hopeless. This battle…
I cried out.
The elves cheered.
Indeed, this was the first victory we’d achieved in five years.
Chapter 19 End