The Pagemasters Vol 2 Chapter 33

 


Author: Literataku


Chapter 33:
Doesn’t Mind The Eternal Scar

 

 

The morning came far too soon for my liking, I rubbed my eyes while trying to hold back a yawn and looked across the army camp soon to turn into a battlefield. The only good news about last night was that they had managed to create enough potholes across the main pass that it would take the rest of the afternoon for the Baron’s army to refill enough safely to ride his cavalry through. It’ll hopefully buy us enough time to get away and rejoin Blue before getting to the main camp for the final fight.

Violet moved up behind me, her face turned toward the direction of the enemy camp with a worried expression as she shook her head. Clarion was perched on her shoulder for emotional support and lightly patting her head with his wings. It’s actually a little cute, though I’d never say it out loud. The two of them looked at me, I knew Violet wanted to say something and I gave a tilt of my head in questioning.

“It could be nerves because of how many times Blue and I did this, but there feels like something is very, very wrong. I know he’s supposed to be back in the village but… I have a bad feeling about this.”

I frowned and looked at Clarion, he returned my look with a shrug of his wings.

“I can’t pick up anything from either of them. It could be we are out of range of |{Search}|, but I am starting to agree with the young lady. I don’t think there is much any of us can do right now if anything has happened. But keep it in yer mind that we are going to have to be very flexible about what we may end up having to do once we start fleeing the battlefield.”

I gave a slight nod, biting my lip while praying silently that we weren’t going to have any major troubles. Though after how our last adventure ended I couldn’t say anything was certain at this moment. I took a deep breath and looked back out across the field.

“I guess we’ll move as needed. Do we at least know they are alive?”

“Yes, I’d know if… something happens. I’m still the second most senior Pagemaster here so I’d be informed that I’m now the primary if…”

“Alright, I got it. Long as he’s still alive we can do something about it. Let’s lose this battle first.”

Violet gave a slight giggle and shook her head as we both looked at her with curious expressions. She turned away with a blush on her cheeks and started to move toward the command tents. Pausing as she glanced at me once more.

“Sorry. It’s probably in bad taste but I think it’s funny… Blue and I have never gone into a fight thinking that we had to lose before. And here Red-san and I are, treating the battle as lost before we even start it. It feels different, ironic maybe. Please stay safe, Red-san.”

I tried to smile at her gently, giving a quick glance to Clarion.

“As you said, we know the fight is lost already. There is no point in trying to go all out here when this isn’t a do or die situation.”

“Hopefully he isn’t as obsessed with winning all the time right now. It’ll be good for the boy to learn that losing is acceptable at times when you can win later.”

I nodded slightly when the sound of a trumpet blasted across the camp. The soldiers around us picking up the pace carrying things around and readying for battle. I gave a quick salute to them before turning and running for the rearguard.

A lieutenant saluted me as I joined one of the backline regiments. He was acting very stiff as his arm pointed out across the field toward the edge where I could see the beginning movements of the enemy lines marching forward out of the wooded area that had separated our camps. He passed a spyglass to me to gaze through.

“We just spotted them, sir. The scouts say most of their infantry is holding back and allowing the cavalry forward. Spearmen are being placed at the front line to handle their charges. The commander has instructed that you are allowed to override his orders to this group as you see fit.”

I smiled slightly at that comment. A commander who doesn’t mind being countermanded by some new guy that was not directly a superior? That isn’t something you read about in a lot of stories. I hope this guy manages to survive this battle cause I really want to say thanks for not being ‘that guy.’

Lifting up the spyglass I peek through, trying to get a feel for standing in the middle of a battlefield. My stomach was starting to feel uneasy as the moment started getting closer. I’ve fought life and death battles for real only a handful of times, but never on this scale before. And the last few weren’t fights as much as one-sided slaughters because my opponents weren’t prepared to deal with a guy like me.

I watched the cavalry ride out of the wooded area, noting the odd equipment that was held by more than half the army. Furrowing my brow slightly as I tried to look closer. I was starting to get a bad feeling about this myself.

“Do we have shields to protect the spearmen from archers?”

“Sir?”

“Most of that cavalry out there are equipped with bows and arrows.”

“If they tried to fire arrows at us they would have to halt their charge and lose momentum, sir. Otherwise, they would just be completely inaccurate and the losses wouldn’t be high enough to deploy shields.”

I gritted my teeth and then shook my head, I knew how this story goes and I am not on the side I would want to be for it. I could feel it in my gut that every war novel trope was happening in favor of the other side, minus the commander who was being nice to me, so far the only plus.

“Get those shields up and deployed! The biggest problem is the number of people who underestimate this Baron. I don’t care how an ordinary army would function in this battle, This guy is way beyond the ordinary we can’t assume he fights the same way we do.”

The cavalry started to charge as I finished speaking, we were losing time and it needed to be done now. The lieutenant saluted me and immediately barked out the orders to the surrounding contingent toward the front line. In a matter of moments, half the front line was shifting as large door-sized shields were planted in the front and raised over the heads of the first several ranks of our infantry.

Once they had gotten in range of the longbows our archers fired off a volley at the charging mass approaching us. Their speed was faster than anticipated and the arrows only managed to hit a few dozen out of the thousands approaching us. While on the charge they returned fire at us, their speed throwing off their aim it appeared that most of the volley harmlessly fell in sporadic locations in front and around the troops, some landing on the shield and a few strays slipping into the cracks.

“As expected of trying to horseback, casualties should be even less than normal but if we don’t change back to the spearmen they will trample right through us, sir.”

I shook my head and peered into the spyglass, the riders were reloading their bows and preparing for another volley. But they were now just over a hundred meters away, too close to get a normal shot with arrows, my gut tightened up more as I clenched my other fist.

“Keep the shields up. Trust me on this.”
The charging mass reached our troops and instead of crashing into our lines they suddenly broke and spread across either side along the frontline as a volley of arrows was fired at point-blank range into our front rank. The shield catching the majority of the arrows, though I could see at least a fourth had slipped into the cracks and there were several dozen casualties on our side already. The lieutenant looked at me with a pale face as the riders spread out and turned back away from us preparing for another charge.

“Sir, that would have destroyed our frontline if we hadn’t…”

I watched the cavalry reorganize while our own frontline shifts and fill in gaps as the wounded were moved away. Our Archers trying to catch the tail ends of the regiments, creating a few more losses, though not near enough for any impact with what would be coming next. I saw another small group riding up with the rest of the cavalry, a new set of riders in heavy armor, and in the middle of them…

My throat went dry, this guy was a giant among even his men. If that armor was any accurate to his size he was bigger than most professional bodybuilders back in our world. The black horse he was riding was just as big compared to the ones galloping hard just to keep up with him in guard formation. I was starting to figure out why Violet said they never beat him at rank one. This guy felt like he was ridiculously overpowered and I haven’t even seen him start fighting yet.

“Get the spearmen ready behind the shields, leave them up until the last minute and drop them so the spear can deal with the charge. It looks like the Baron is coming out this time to join the fight.”

“We should focus on him, sir. Kill him now and the whole army collapses.”

I shook my head and peered through the spyglass again, They were starting the charge just out of arrow range looks like one last volley before they actually crashed into us. The Baron was taking point amongst his riders, actually, it looked like his horse was charging in much faster than the rest of his army could follow.

“Let the other commanders deal with him if they want. This whole battle is to tire them out so they can’t chase after us during the rout. I’m not sure we stand much chance of dealing with him here.”

Or without getting some ridiculously overpowered plot devices ourselves, I added silently to myself. We aren’t here to win, just stall and run for it. This was a losing battle to start, though it was starting to smart that even with that mindset we were way out of our league with this fight. If it wasn’t for my own foreknowledge of this kind of light novel trope we’d be in worse trouble right now.

I shifted slightly, as I watched the archers exchange volleys again, several of our groups trying to take down the leader as he rode ahead, but thanks to his speed and plot armor he was missed entirely, though some of the riders that were just behind him weren’t as lucky. Their return fire was much more accurate than last time but thanks to the shields still remaining on our side both sides only suffered minimal casualties.

They switched from bows to scimitar looking blades as they continued to charge forward. This one would be the real thing now.

“Drop the shields and get spears fully deployed!”

Our troops switched out as the shields fell forward and the spearmen setup at the front just in time as the horses crashed into our lines. Several horses and riders were impaled as they rushed into our lines weighing down and breaking spears as more cavalry forced their way into the gaps trying to break into the lines. The lines started to blur as ranks of infantry surged in to handle the horses and riders crashing against them.

The real battle had begun.


 


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