This plan made sense. They wouldn’t need to bear the burden of extra food and equipment on the way to and from the relay base and could even get support from them.
However, there was a large shortcoming to this plan.
「I got what ya wanna say Chief. If we’re able to stop em for long enough they’ll run out of food and starve.」
「That’s right. That is the key point of our plan. Our policy is, stop them thoroughly. Specifically we will move ahead of them on their route towards us, hide in the trees, and snipe them for three days and three nights with poison arrows while making sure not to kill them. If we are caught then we need to retreat immediately. We will repeat this as many times as necessary.」
Not killing them wasn’t out of mercy. I wanted to force them to care for injured people.
If they got hit by my poison they would suffer hellish pains that would immobilize them causing them to cry out. This would undoubtedly cause the soldiers’ morale to fall. Every one of them would think ‘I don’t want to end up like that’. Furthermore, those who didn’t die would still need them to carry 70kg of goods for them on top of caring for them.
If they lost their composure they might kill the injured soldiers themselves, but even that was helpful to us. Killing their own allies would cause great mental and spiritual damage to the soldiers, plus the soldiers who saw it would have their loyalty quickly drop.
「If they send soldiers to search for snipers they will never find us since we have 『Perception Expansion』 and 『Body Enhancement』 to allow us to detect them within 200 meters, this will allow us to run away immediately. In fact, them searching for us would be better since they’ll have to halt their march. Before long they will have to continue moving even while we continue to injure their troops.」
They did not have enough time. The supplies they carried would quickly run out. The screams of their fellow soldiers would slowly increase with time. They would have no choice but to advance.
「Even if they end up ignoring us their pace will still slow a great deal. After all, seeing a suffering ally nearby you can’t help but think ‘what if I’m next?’ The other soldiers will think this and be on guard while moving cautiously.」
Then after a while both their bodies and minds would be exhausted by the constant tension.
「Even at night they will be unable to rest in peace. Using 『Perception Expansion』 we are able to see them. It’s even better than during the day. We will swap between day and night teams not letting them rest at any time. We will thoroughly exhaust them. Day by day they will slow and collapse.」
Once what I planned was enacted, I suspect that not a single imperial soldier will be able to smile again.
Disaffected and broken-spirited men would continue to emerge.
For the soldiers it would become a fight even more painful than death.
「Ten days will pass in the blink of an eye. They surely are no fools so once their emergency supplies decrease they will send men on fast horses to request for supplies from the base. However, half of us will take up positions behind the army and kill the messengers. If by the off chance they manage to get supplies sent, we will kill the horses pulling the supply carts. We’ll never let them replenish. Even better would be if they stopped moving to wait for supplies that were never coming.」
The people were speechless at the vicious tactics I had outlined for them.
This was not a regular war, in fact it was an irregular tactic.
I didn’t bring it up, but they could also kill the villagers along the way to obtain food. However, that was wasted effort. The further out of the Empire they marched, the smaller the villages would become.
For an army of 5,000 the food that a small village would eat in a month would only support them for a day. That made such actions meaningless, and in fact would only exhaust their minds and bodies without benefit.
「Even going that far, it is almost certain they will reach the supply base.」
I believed that was completely possible for a man like Lurvish.
Even more so, reaching the last supply base would be the last hope for the soldiers. As long as they had hope then they could endure. Even if they were starving, exhausted, and plagued by nightmares, hope would keep them marching forward.
「However, what will await them there is despair. The supply base has a storehouse for food, we will have Kuu and Yukino use their fire stones to destroy it. After seeing their last hope go up in flames before their eyes, their hearts will break. They will be out of supplies, have many injured, and will already be more than halfway here. It will make completing their journey here impossible. In that condition and not carrying enough food for the return trip, almost all of the 5,000 soldiers will die of hunger before making it back.」
Our forces were 300 at most. It was almost certain that half the soldiers would end up deserting and becoming bandits to assault nearby villages which would dirty the name of the Empire and cause rebellious feelings to emerge. Most of the remaining soldiers would die of hunger and thirst, and the ones who survived would bear trauma for the rest of their lives.
This was what it meant to crush their spirits.
However, this plan was not just enacted to give us victory. It was made to make the Imperial Soldiers fear the suffering that came with attacking us, and to make the villages along the route to Erucy rebellious.
「Cyril, if we do that then I think we can win. But I have two problems, the first is what will we do about our own supplies, and the second is how will we know when the Empire is coming? If we don’t know when they’ll leave…no…if we don’t know before they leave then this plan won’t work.」
Lucy said. I was proud of how sharp she was.
Good thinking. It was proof that she was growing.
「Don’t worry, I have already solved that. Firstly our supplies are solved through the use of the ‘cookies’. They won’t rot for 2 months and only weigh 200 grams each. Three meals a day will be 600 grams and a week worth is only 18 kg. The crossbow and arrows weigh around 3kg, so you should be able to bear it. Plus, there are some small hidden cabins within the woods that I have stocked with cookies and arrows.」
「What about water?」
「With me there you won’t have a problem.」
I could use water mana to gather moisture from the atmosphere and produce drinking water.
I would also borrow moisture from the soil and trees around us to make it easier to gather.
You couldn’t create water from thin air, but gathering it from the surroundings was possible.
However, because of the high difficulty of the magic spell, most Elves, despite having the necessary affinity, would be unable to do so. It was magic that almost no one but me could use.
「Plus there are some wells dug throughout the forest. I can even set one up within one night. If there’s an issue with water then I can just use magic to dig us a new one.」
「As expected of Cyril-kun」
「Cyril-niisama is amazing~」
Kuu and Yukino praised me as their ears twitched. Ahhh I wanted to pet them.
「Lastly, your worries about the Empire’s movements are unnecessary. I have the new elite Nettle members out there. If we rely on them it’ll work out.」
Though at this moment they should be chirping about how hungry they were out in the cabin. I couldn’t help but smile while thinking of them.