–Third Person/Malt POV–
Malt Kingdom Army, Headquarters
「Whaat!? You took the wrong path? Are you guys all idiots!!?」
Pablo’s yelling voice rings out and one of his subordinates get kicked.
An advance guard made up of several hundred soldiers preceded the main army of 10,000 to do reconnaissance and scouting of the topography. That advance guard just notified the main army that they reached a swamp which cut off their path on the way forward. The main army already followed the advance guard in that direction so it would be a considerable waste of time if they were to double back.
「Where did they get it wrong……we followed the path exactly too!」
「Your Highness, perhaps we were wrong from the very beginning……」
「What? Didn’t we head straight in the direction of Rafen when we left? I also checked the markers.」
「Well……isn’t there a possibility that the markers themselves are fake?」
The air froze over for a short moment.
「Damn! Shit, fuck!! He tricked me, that sneaky fucker!」
「It’s nice how the enemy has it so easy. Seeing how we got caught in some childlike trick and all.」
Hilario was about to add something and sneer at Pablo, but the commanders have serious looks on their faces. If they knew about it, they would have pointed it out at that moment. Which just means, two grown men fell for some infantile prank.
「Your Highness, there is also an increasing amount of people in the army who are feeling ill. They are especially suffering from stomach pain and intense diarrhea, preventing a lot of them from being able to continue marching……」
「Abandon those weaklings!」
「We are guessing that this has something to do with the wells being tampered-」「Shut up! Is this really the time to worry about some stomach pain!? We’re going right back to the beginning of the path. We’re marching on a stricter schedule to make up the time!」
Not a single person said anything else after that.
They knew Pablo would not get the message, and Hilario is criticizing people but hasn’t made many constructive remarks.
「Abandoning all the ill soldiers and advancing……」
「There really isn’t much choice, we’re already running out of food. If we take them with us, we won’t be able to move at all either.」
「Let’s consolidate the immobile sick soldiers at a watering hole. Some might survive if they get some clean water, plus the enemy isn’t so inhuman that they would kill all of them.」
Everyone except the two royalty are crestfallen. Being the invading army, they knew it wasn’t out of the ordinary if Goldonia didn’t show them any mercy.
「Enemy attack! From the left, numbers……about 50!」
Ever since they passed by the first village, they’ve been getting attacked frequently by a group of small forces. This time again, they get showered with arrows from the top of a hill and a few soldiers get taken down.
「Tch, again with this petty harassment! Chase them down and crush them!!」
Infantry and cavalry head out on Pablo’s orders.
However, their arrows couldn’t reach the enemy disappearing below the ridgeline of the hill and by the time they desperately worked their way up the hill, they could no longer catch up to the enemy. The cavalry wanted to close the distance, but there was an area of wetlands on the other side of the hill and would probably stop them from moving if they crossed carelessly, so they gave up.
「Again? ……those soldiers hiding there have already decided where to escape from the very beginning. We’re being led around by the nose.」
One of the commanders makes a rather pathetic comment.
The casualties suffered from that attack is insignificant, but that’s the third attack today. Having soldiers fall over from small attacks chipping away at the sides does nothing to improve morale.
In addition, there hasn’t been a day where they did not get raided at night ever since they crossed the border, although the scale might be different every time, so the soldiers have not been able to get a decent sleep.
Everytime the weary soldiers see any forests, hills or marshlands, they would feel frightened. Their marching speed slowed down even further and they wouldn’t walk faster than the pace of an old cow no matter how much Pablo yelled at them.
「If only His Excellency Brutus was here……」
「Hey you! What did you just say!?」
Pablo grabs one of the commanders, who was whispering to himself, by the collars and punches him. The commander falls to the ground and suffers a nosebleed, but because Pablo hit the helmet, he winces at the pain he caused his own hand.
「What problem do you have with me, that guy’s superior, taking command!? If you say something like that again, off goes your head!」
Nothing you say to Pablo registers in his mind.
The soldiers have no other choice but to entrust the fate of their lives to the heavens.
「Captain, what are you looking at?」
「The sky. This is the same winter sky as the one I saw in my home village.」
「It’s not that far away after all, right?」
「You should look too.」
「This might be the last time.」
When they start turning back and heading to where they came from, sounds of battle can be heard behind the main army again – the fourth attack today.
–Third Person/Tristan POV–
At the same time, Zan Dora: Defense Headquarters
「Fumu, fumu, it’s roughly what I expected.」
「The only squads which failed to escape and were captured or exceeded the predicted amount of casualties suffered are the 12th and 17th squads. The squads which lost more than 10 people are the 3rd, 6th, 10th, and 19th squads.」
「Yes, let’s have the 12th and 17th squads fall back temporarily to Zan Dora and reorganize themselves. Other than that, let’s have the other squads get closer together and work with each other.」
Suffering a little over 100 casualties while trying to slow down an enemy with over 10 times your forces is a terrifyingly small amount. 20 molded chess pieces representing each of the 50-man squads are placed on top of an open map, with a single red piece in the middle indicating the enemy. Since scouts are tailing the enemy quite closely, their accurate whereabouts can be determined.
「The enemy’s advance guard should be approaching the swamp now. They’re going to realize they went in the wrong direction and turn back, so let’s deploy the 4th squad and kill their momentum.」
The chess piece with the number 4 written on it is moved to the path the enemy would turn back and take on the map.
「That person is really commanding without even a glance at the battlefield.」
「I’ve never seen that before.」
Tristan opens a book and begins to read, as if saying ‘All that’s left is to wait’, while the soldiers in the headquarters speak in amazement.
But their eyes have no hint of doubt.
They have no reason to complain when the individual has shown his ability to put up a good fight against an enemy with 10 times their numbers.
「Defense Commander, emergency report. It looks like a part of the enemy is branching off and doing a thorough patrol.」
「Well that’s a problem. Let’s move squads here and here. The patrol unit shouldn’t be that powerful, so we can defeat them if we lure them correctly.」
Contrary to his words, Tristan doesn’t seem impatient at all and gives instructions while holding his book in one hand.
「If they send out a patrol squad now, then they won’t do it when the enemy is in front of them. There isn’t much meaning in sending them when all areas around you are suspicious……in any case, this enemy is just like the ones in books.」
The soldiers were peeking curiously so Tristan opens the book up and shows them.
「Here look, taboos in war – “Invading without knowledge of the enemy’s position nor the terrain/routes”, “Making use of the food and water left in enemy territory”, “Believing information gained from the enemy grounds without close scrutiny” ……see? The enemy is doing everything you’re not supposed to do, so of course we’re having an easy time.」
「Even so, can’t you consider not allowing the enemy with 10 times your numbers to invade as a product of your ability?」
「The enemy is organized in so many different formations, so it seems they aren’t bringing any veteran soldiers. When we pit a 50-man squad against this long vertical line of 10,000 soldiers, we actually have about 100 people against them, you see. Things will be easy on us if we just run away before they can gather themselves.」
「Is that how it is?」
「Yes, the enemy’s most optimal move is heading to Rafen in a straight line. If they come straight at us from the front, we would have 10 times our numbers alive and knocking on our doors. I did make preparations around Rafen just in case, but it would have been a much harder fight than it is now. 」
It is usually the case when facing a smaller army that the most optimal solution is to just charge in a straight line without any petty tricks. Tristan must have remembered the time he got his confidence crushed as he makes a slightly displeased face.
「Well, I wasn’t thinking of creating something like a peasant country anyways. Maybe this is just fate.」
「Then if the enemy changes their strategy in the future and makes heads into Zan Dora at full speed, would we be in a dilemma?」
「I guess……I’ll leave 300 bow cavalry behind just in case, but……that would be bad.」
The soldiers look uneasy again, but Tristan smiles.
「It’ll be too late though. See, look……」
As if Tristan was done thinking, he tosses his conducting baton on the map spread out on his desk.
Listening carefully, one might hear the cheers of joy from the soldiers on top of the watchtowers.
「The enemy doesn’t have the numerical advantage anymore, you see.」
A pitch-black flag was being flown from beyond the horizon.
The faint cloud rising in the air wasn’t fog nor sand blown up by the winter breeze. It was the dust kicked up by the hooves of several thousand horses.
「Looks like time’s up.」
The soldiers in the headquarters also stick their heads out of the windows and wave flags.
The feudal lord’s main force has come back from Magrado at last.
Now that he knew his job is finished, Tristan picks up his book in one hand and begins reading while sipping his tea.
「Ally flags are being flown in Zan Dora! It doesn’t look like they’re being surrounded.」
Celia informs me happily.
「So Tristan’s done his job. I was prepared for Zan Dora to have fallen already, but he’s quite the impressive fellow.」
「Now that we have arrived, an army of 10,000 or so shouldn’t be a problem at all. Let’s thoroughly annihilate them.」
「They’ll all be skewered!」
Myla and Irijina are in high spirits too.
But don’t say anything too extreme.
There, look, Celestina is troubled now.
In her eyes, the citizens are people she should be protecting, even though she was chased out. Since Celestina is especially kind, she thinks that being chased out is partly her fault too.
On the way to Zan Dora, we returned Gido to Rafen and brought Celestina along.
It made us a little late, but the situation doesn’t seem too depressing from what Tristan told me, and there should be more benefit to picking up the girl than to arriving one or two days earlier.
I pick up Celestina who is clinging to Monica.
「……brother, are you going to kill all the Malt soldiers ?」
「Of course! They’re the invading army, do you think we can let them leave here ali-!!」
I stuff my fingers in Celia’s mouth to stop her from talking about delivering the finishing blow to the enemies.
I thought she just went quiet, but she was actually licking my fingers with a flushed face.
It feels like Celia’s been in heat a lot recently.
「They came to attack us so there’s no choice but to fight them. If we leave them alone, then everyone will become just like Celestina’s father.」
「Yeah, but……that happened because I was at fault. Is it not enough that I was chased out ?」
It’s not possible to hold back like that in a war.
But we can hold off on the thorough sweep to clean up the enemies, plus there’s not much meaning in doing so.
「This is a fight, you see. But, we can still do as much as we can to limit the amount of deaths. So will Celestina help out too?」
Celestina cheers up instantly, her smile beaming brightly.
「Yes! Of course! If it’s something I can do, I’ll do anything.」
I pat her head to tell her how she’s such a good girl and return the happy little sun back to Monica.
Then I whisper something into the woman’s ear.
「Don’t let her go outside the tent when the fighting starts, put her to sleep with some alcohol or something.」
Monica might just be an attendant in the royal courts, but it’s not like she was unaware of what was happening on the battlefield. Normally, she would respond with a biting remark, but this time she nods silently.
「……so, why am I coming too?」
After resting for one night in Zan Dora, we’ll head out for the decisive battle with the enemy. Now that we’ve arrived, the defense army has lost its meaning, so the unit which did its best will all return to Zan Dora and take a breather, and now that Tristan lost his title as the defense commander he will be accompanying me.
「The defense is over, isn’t it? Please let me go back to Rafen.」
「I can’t do that. It makes sense for you to see your work through to the end.」
「Eeeh, it’s cold though.」
What a spoiled brat, the winter in the Central plains is nothing compared to the winter in the Federation. Besides, why are you complaining when you’re riding a carriage with a roof?
「What about getting some practice for horseback riding then!? You’re a soldier, right?」
「No way. I’ll die.」
Tristan’s unathletic ability is deep-seated.
The sword placed on his hip as a courtesy also had the blade removed. Even if the sword was intact, he wouldn’t be able to use it properly, and there’s an overwhelming possibility he would cut his own leg. The scene where he falls head first off his horse as soon as he gets on also comes into my mind.
「Fine, enough then. So do you have anything else in particular you need to report to me?」
「Haah……no, not really. The enemy will continue their unnecessary march, and their forces have not decreased all that much, but they’re fatigued from our intermittent surprise attacks. It’s exactly how I reported to you before, but they’re fairly unskilled and they aren’t able to use a decent formation to defend against surprise attacks.」
「Fumu, do you know their position?」
「Yes, they are here on the map……they should be going through the woods here. They’re advancing slowly while preparing for our surprise attacks, so I think it should take them until tomorrow morning to pass through.」
「Alright, then advance the army to the plains past the woods. We’ll hit them all at once in the open space. We’ll send a small detachment of spear and bow cavalry in the front and systematically eliminate the enemy scouts, but make sure they don’t discover our position.」
「Sounds fine to me?」
「You’re speaking in such a rude manner again!」
「I think that’s an excellent idea too.」
「Finally!? It’s time now, right!!?」
Myla doesn’t seem to have any objections either.
Let’s teach them what a real field battle is.
The Next Day, Midday
「It’s coming into view……what horrible ranks.」
The 10,000 Malt Kingdom army soldiers are marching towards us in a long, snaking column formation. They’re really just trudging along the road in a straight line without any squads deployed to the right or left.
「Even if they don’t realize our presence, this is enemy territory. I don’t know if they’re bold or just dumb to march straight in two lines like this.」
This is almost like the marching parades in the capital celebrating a victory – a defenseless formation.
「They’re probably idiots.」「They’re idiots.」「They’re idiots!!」
That means we can do as many surprise attacks as we want.
「If they hid cavalry at their flanks, they might be waiting for this moment.」
It’s not like I was blaming Myla. I just thought Leopolt would say something like that if he were here. Plus, I don’t feel like annihilating them at all.
「The enemy has realized we’re here……both sides? They’re deploying on both sides.」
「That isn’t them deploying to the left and right, they’re just spreading out randomly.」
「The Kingdom army and the infantry unit will advance while remaining in your horizontal position, cavalry will position in the flanks and look to cut in!」
The soldiers move according to Myla’s orders.
Not to brag or anything, but the Kingdom army trained by Erich and my private army trained by me are moving so quickly it’s like there’s a time lag between them and then Malt army in front of them.
Compared to the hectic enemy soldiers, our army is closing the distance in an orderly manner. From what I can see, the flustered enemy looks like they’re struggling just getting soldiers to the front.
And then, a group looking like the archer squad somehow pushes their way to the front of the enemy’s ranks. No long after my allied forces were given the order to ready their shields, the enemy fires their arrows all at once.
「What are they thinking?」
The distance is still too great. Even the most skilled of the bow cavalry can barely shoot at this range, so the enemy’s aim will be all over the place.
Sure enough, their arrows fruitlessly fall to the ground and cause no damage to us. My soldiers could barely hold back their laughter.
「Shall we return fire?」
「That would be a waste of arrows, loose them when you get in range.」
Ally soldiers trot forward and close the distance.
「Pick up the pace!」
If the soldiers were walking briskly, they increased their speed.
I can practically hear the enemy leak out agitated groans.
「Even faster now!」
The soldiers accelerate even further, though their formation is slightly messed up.
They are already within shooting range, and the enemy was about to release their arrows again.
Beating the enemy to the punch, my allied archers and bow cavalry collectively shoot their volley of arrows high in the air. Unlike the amateurish attack earlier, several thousand arrows fly through the air in a nice arc and rain down on the enemy.
「Uwaaaaaah!」「What the heck is this!?」
Their aim is precise and their impact much greater because of how high they were fired in the air. The archer unit acting as their vanguard topple over and their ranks are immediately in disarray.
The commanders would not let a chance like this slip from their grasps.
The soldiers roared altogether and dashed forward vigorously.
They didn’t give the enemy time to fire another volley.
The enemy already appeared slightly pressured just from seeing the soldiers run at them.
「Coming! They’re cominggg!」
Using their momentum from their dash, the soldiers slashed and swung their spears and swords at the enemy who were holding up their shields, beginning the first of many close-combat fights. We have the numerical advantage so the infantry are colliding in the front while the cavalry are on standby on the flanks. When the enemy starts to collapse and change formation, the cavalry would instantly charge in and disrupt them.
「Well, let’s see what kind of resistance the Malt soldiers can put up.」
The first clash is really just to gauge the enemy’s strength.
「The enemy, they’re collapsing!」
Myla and I look at each other automatically when Celia shouts.
「Collapsed? It hasn’t even been five minutes since we collided with them.」
「But, they’re actually……」
Taking a look at the Malt army, their ranks are already in shambles and they’re running around in confusion. The escaping soldiers are pushing through the soldiers to the rear, while the fallen soldiers get trampled and killed just like that. It isn’t a form of deception or a slight retreat, it’s a genuine rout.
「S-so weak. How are they this weak?」
「Skewering……will have to wait!」
Myla is left dumbfounded while Irijina and I lower the spears we were about to swing.
「The bow cavalry are awaiting orders.」
Since the collapse happened so quickly, Luna came back to ask what they should do.
If we chase them here, we can definitely wipe them out. They are quite far away from their own territory. None of them should be able to return alive if we pursued them for several days.
「No, let’s not give chase. If there’s a squad which looks like they’ll put up a fight, finish them with arrows.」
「But why!? We should annihilate them in one fell swoop here!」
What Celia is saying is correct.
But Monica must have failed in deceiving her, because Celestina has been peeking her head halfway out of the tent and looking on miserably some time ago.
「That fragility can’t be explained just because they’re weak. I think there’s a reason why their morale is practically nonexistent. 」
Tristan chimes in while drinking his tea.
「You’re probably right, so it should be fine to let them escape. Besides, the entire Malt Kingdom might be ruined if we massacre that many of them.」
There are 10,000 enemy soldiers and 200,000 people in the Malt Kingdom.
But the soldiers have families to feed and are farmers in addition to being soldiers, so they’re the working force too.
If that working force all but vanishes, there’s a chance the nation will have no chance of recovery.
「That would be meaningless.」
I brought Celestina to this dangerous battlefield in hopes that I could do something about Malt after all.
「I’ve had enough……of fighting.」
Celestina buries her half-crying face in Monica’s chest.
Don’t worry, if things are as we predicted, there won’t be anymore killing.
We suffer zero casualties from the one-sidedly collapsing enemy.
With the enemy running away so soon and our ally army not giving chase, the total number of enemy casualties stop at a thousand.
We promptly resume our march and drive the retreating enemy away, crossing over the Malt Kingdom border ourselves.
Again, Christoph got hit in the helmet by a stray arrow blown by the wind and fell off his horse, getting knocked out unconscious. He wasn’t really hurt elsewhere though.
Side Story: Substitute
「Relax and stay still. I’ll give you lots of love.」
「Feudal lord-sama……it’s a dangerous day for me today……」
「Then bear my child, you prepared?」
「Aah……I will also be a mother……th-thick! It hurrtttsss!!」
「Endure it, it’ll get better soon.」
「Aaaah, feudal lord-sama! I adore you, feudal lord-sama! How wonderful……I love youuuu !!」
After the two stop shouting, the still-clothed maid, whose underwear was slid to the side and her breasts exposed, collapses. She asks for one more kiss with an enticing expression, tangling her tongue plenty before falling on the bed and laying her head down.
「Thank you very much, Melissa-san.」
「Ah, yeah……I’m happy if you’re satisfied.」
A soaking wet dildo sticks out from Melissa’s crotch. That woman’s love juices saturated it to the core, making it look darker in color.
「I don’t think I would be able to get through the times when the feudal lord-sama isn’t here if it weren’t for Melissa-san. I have two others wanting you to help them too……」
「Ah, okay. I’ll be with them after I take a break.」
「Oh good! Everyone’s been lonely without the feudal lord-sama here and have been comforting each other, but it’s not enough at all……also those two seem to enjoy being raped, so it’d be nice if you could force yourself on them. One of them would also like their asshole to be violated.」
「Melissa-san, you’re really kind……you’re also so attractive, and I might have fallen prisoner to you if I didn’t meet the feudal lord-sama.」
The maid squeals as she adjusts her clothes, hiding her face and running off.
Melissa, now left alone, sighs after drinking some water from her cup.
「Three maids in the day……Catherine and Maria at night……」
She slumps her shoulders and pulls the dildo out of her body.
「Why did it become like this……why did it become like thisss—!!?」
Melissa’s scream resonates in the room, unheard by anyone else.
Aegir Hardlett. 22 years old. Winter. Wartime.
Commander of Third Army Corps
Subordinate Squad: 22,850
Private Army: 7880
Infantry: 2480, Cavalry: 500, Archers: 700, Engineers: 300, Bow Cavalry: 3900
Kingdom Army – 1 divisions: 14, 970
Military Subordinates: Celia (adjutant), Myla (deputy commander), Irijina (commander), Luna (commander of the bow cavalry), Pipi, Tristan (defense army commander), Gido (severely injured)
Current Location: Malt Border
Achievements: Capitulated Port Randel, Annihilated the Magrado Army, Defeated Radgalf in man-to-man combat, Capitulated the capital Odoros (joint), Defeated the So-called Powerful Malt Kingdom Army