Madan no Ou to Vanadis:Volume 04 Chapter 4 - MTL
|This text is a machine translation (MTL).
Be warned that the degree of translation error may be higher than usual.
This page was created before the updated (July 19, 2015) MTL guidelines and has not been reviewed.
Chapter 4 - Gathering
“--- One battle.”
Ludmira pointed with her finger and spoke sternly.
“We will fight once and destroy the Muozinel Army.”
In the tent for the General in the camp of the Unstoppable Silver Flow[Silver Meteor Army], several maps surrounded Tigre, Ludmira, and Rurick.
Ludmira specifically visited to give the men a sense of relief. The soldiers of LeitMeritz did not particularly feel good while the soldiers of Brune were simply confused about seeing an ally suddenly appear.
“Can you do it?”
“It is not about whether we can do it or not. We must do it.”
Glancing at the bald Knight, the Vanadis with blue hair responded arrogantly.
--- She's similar to Ellen.
Ludmira's attitude and expressions gave Tigre that impression. Though Ludmira and Rurick would be angry to hear it, her unshakable will and ability to make decisions reminded Tigre of Ellen and Lim.
--- I hope those two are safe. I wonder if Ellen was able to help her friend.
One after another, Tigre remembered Teita and Batran, then Augre and Massas. He did not expect help from them; rather, he hoped they managed to evacuate safely.
Again, Ellen's smile crossed his mind. He felt secure when she was nearby. Of course, she was a powerful military force, but it was more than that---
Cold air sprayed at his face along with her words. Tigre brought his mind back to the surroundings and noticed Ludmira looking at him in disappointment.
“I understand you are tired, but why are you so absent-minded in the middle of an important war council? What were you thinking about?”
It was clear Ludmira would leave immediately if he honestly answered that he was thinking about Ellen. Tigre would earnestly beg for forgiveness and Rurick would look at him bitterly. It was fortunate, perhaps, that Ludmira simply sighed.
“Let us return to the conversation. At most, your men will last for one battle.”
Tigre scowled hearing that fact. Ludmira continued with a grim expression.
“I am not blaming you, but to fight an army of twenty thousand with a little less than two thousand is reckless. Your men need days of rest... This is especially important since they are on the battlefield.”
“But... You said we will last for a single battle. Did you have a plan in mind with that?”
Tigre asked with an expression that did not hide his confusion. Unfortunately for Tigre, he could only think of the increasing necessity to rely on the power of his bow the more and more he became cornered.
It was evident that Tigre was mentally and physically fatigued.
“Fundamentally, you do the same thing as when you fought twenty thousand.”
A bright light, as if appraising him, shined in Ludmira's blue eyes as she looked at Tigre.
“You will ignore the enemy and aim at the enemy General. Against a large force, you can only aim at the food supply and the General.”
“Why not aim for the food?”
“In that case, you need to be thorough.”
Rurick looked at Ludmira, showing he did not understand what she meant.
“First, you would need to move deeper into the enemy's troops. Next, the towns and villages along their path have been emptied and burned down. On a clear night with good conditions, even an idiot would not put them out in the open, and the enemy is no idiot.
“Do you know anything about the enemy?”
Ludmira's expression became strained when she heard Tigre's frank question. She frowned in annoyance as she answered.
“Kreshu Shaheen Baramir. He is the brother of the King of Muozinel with the nickname of Barbaros[Red Beard].”
Tigre and Rurick looked at each other dubiously.
“... Is he famous?”
“Judging from her expression, I would say so.”
“You do not know because you are ignorant.”
She stared at them coldly in anger. Tigre scratched his head in response.
“This kind of conversation wasn't really relevant in Alsace. Sorry, but do you mind teaching us?”
“Honestly... What is Eleanora teaching you?”
Though Ludmira showed dissatisfaction, she provided an explanation.
“About ten years ago, the Sachstein Army took their fleet of one thousand ships and invaded Muozinel. At that time, Kreshu had two hundred small vessels.”
“Judging from the flow of the conversation, Kreshu won.”
“He was victorious. The Sachstein Army became so afraid of his strength, they gave him the nickname [Red Beard]. In a Muozinel dialect, he is called Barbaros.”
Tigre and Rurick looked at each other. Neither had knowledge of naval warfare, but they realized the man had an overwhelming victory against an enemy five times his strength. He was a powerful enemy who was far from normal.
However, he could not run away. The people and the soldiers would not be able to make it.
“First, it is impossible to fight within Agnes. We must retreat.”
Picking up one map, the blue-haired Vanadis showed Rurick and Tigre a place beyond Agnes within Brune, the Ormea Plains.
It was full of rolling hills with a single highway curving through the center of it. There were two hills nearby surrounded by smooth ground.
“Agnes is covered in cliffs; it will be advantageous for a large army.”
Rurick spoke with a thorny tone. After tapping his shoulder to calm him down, Tigre asked Ludmira a question in as gentle a tone as possible.
“I suppose you have a reason for choosing this location.”
Ludmira nodded as if it were natural.
“I will explain... but before that, please explain the difference between the army of twenty thousand you fought and this enemy of forty thousand.”
Ludmira glared at the two. Despite her petite body, a shiver of intimidation ran down their spines. Tigre obediently admired her as even Rurick made a wry face from her pressure.
“First, the number is obviously different, so the actual depth of the army will change.”
Responding to her request, Tigre tried to give a point by point explanation while counting them on his fingers. Probably because it was Tigre rather than Rurick that Ludmira gave it thought.
“There is also the difference between an advanced force and the main force. They most likely have the information on the battles already held.”
They likely swept through Agnes to learn its geographical features. In other words, Tigre could not replay his hands.
“Those two points are enough.”
Ludmira's blue pupils pierced the two men.
“They know the topology and have a rough estimate of our numbers, so they will not get caught with petty tricks. Even if we use a surprise attack, we will not reach their General.”
“So you believe we can manage somehow in Ormea Plains?”
“That's one reason, but we still lack in numbers. We will likely need the two thousand refugees to help.”
Tigre inhaled deeply after hearing those words. After staring at Ludmira's emotionless face, he spoke with a bitter face.
“... What will we have them do?”
“They will be a decoy.”
Ludmira showed them the location on the map, surprising Tigre and Rurick.
--- Certainly, we have a good chance of winning if we do this, but...
After examining the blue-haired Vanadis' plan on his own, Tigre looked at Ludmira with a stone-like expression. Gratitude and tension, perplexity and doubt. There were a variety of emotions piling up within him, but his face betrayed none of them.
“... It's a dangerous plan.”
“Are you afraid?”
Tigre quietly refused the Snow Princess' provocation. It was too late for fear, but he was anxious.
“Why are you leaving this to me?”
Ludmira's response was clear cut.
“If you want, you can borrow some more.”
He was satisfied with that. It seems he was borrowing quite a bit. Tigre looked away from her and glanced at his black bow leaning in the corner of the tent. He thought about the bow.
--- No, I should do this with my own power.
“You have offered conditions, and I am quite satisfied. I have expectations of you.”
The moment he had this thought, Ludmira smiled mischievously. Tigre looked at her intently and smiled with renewed vitality.
“Got it. Thank you.”
After the meeting finished, Tigre saw Ludmira off as she returned to the Olmutz Army and headed to the people, since he needed to ask for their cooperation.
“Shall we go together? I am uneasy to say this, Lord Tigrevurmud, but I would not be surprised if things got out of hand on accident.”
“No. I am enough on my own.”
He declined Rurick's invitation and walked along with his black bow. Though it was reassuring to him, Tigre was afraid the people would consider it a threat.
Furthermore, he wanted to place as little responsibility on the people.
Kreshu Shaheen Baramir, the General of the Muozinel Army received a reply from the messenger he sent to the Zhcted Army. He did not wait silently. Even if he did not move his military force early, the supply of food, water, and fuel would only decrease by a day.
He moved without hesitation and moved his army along the Agnes path, sandwiched between the sandstone cliffs.
Of the forty thousand soldiers, fifty-five hundred had organized as a single force. Three thousand were placed in the center, one thousand on each flank, and five hundred were in the rear as a reserve force.
With this number, their movements would not be hindered by the narrow path. Kreshu designed the formation of these troops based on the map Kashim had made.
He had made seven separate armies with the brother of the King, Red Beard, proceeding a certain distance from the road. The remaining soldiers remained at the rear as reserve power.
Kreshu, in the beginning, tried to give a name to these seven units.
“For a temporary name, let's go with Red Cattle Army, Blue Cattle Army, Green Cattle Army... That should do, I suppose.”
“If it is temporary, it may be best to call them by number.”
His subordinate responded to his names. Kreshu accepted the advice, since he had only thought of the names off the top of his head.
Amongst the seven armies, Kreshu made the seventh army the main unit.
--- Now, these should be acceptable against Zhcted and Brune if they come out.
However, nothing obstructed their advance by the time they left the narrow path.
When they finally escaped from the narrow pass, they were confronted with a prairie of rolling ups and downs. Since it was winter, it was dark. However, once spring arrived, the greenery would spread about, blanketed by a carpet of grass. In the distance was a small hill.
While he caught the snow drifting down from the gray sky in his palm, Kreshu's subordinate quickly gave a report, saying the messenger sent to the Zhcted Army had returned.
“I have received word from the Vanadis Ludmira Lurie, the Commander of the Zhcted Army. I will repeat what she said.”
Seeing the messenger wipe his sweat away, Kreshu urged him to continue with a nod.
“... We have left our land and entered this country to help an important member of Brune Kingdom who asked for our aid. We differ from your Army which lawlessly violates the land of other countries. If you should doubt my word, you have only to hear of it from Tigrevurmud Vorn. Though I do not have any desire to actively fight your Army, it cannot be helped should you obstruct our duties. I pray you safely return through the path you have come by.”
After saying everything, the messenger let out a small breath and bowed.
“So she's saying to turn back if we don't wish to be hurt.”
Kreshu roughly summarized Ludmira's words before opening his large, hollowed out eyes.
--- If I doubt her words, I should ask the small noble of Brune...
Ludmira's response was advantageous for Tigre. There was no righteousness on his side. Although Ludmira responded herself, she left no room for an explanation on their end.
--- Whether it is someone from Brune or someone from Zhcted, there is no need to get heated up.
“We have forty thousand men. We have no reason to flee simply because they have a Vanadis on their side. I know of Ludmira Lurie. Very well. Let us see who will feel the pain.”
Kreshu laughed and told the messenger to take a rest.
After a while, a report came from the reconnaissance unit.
“Should we proceed to the west along the highway, we will eventually reach the hills where the Brune and Zhcted Army are setting formation. We have confirmed both flags.”
“There is a group of approximately two thousand to the northwest. Considering their clothing, they are the people that were once caught.”
Kreshu walked with his seven aids as he listened to the report. The highway they were on extended straight and curved slightly to the northwest near the hills.
In that area, there were no geographical changes other than the two hills. There were no forests or marshes, and the river was thin.
After confirming the information, Kreshu asked for the opinion of his aids.
“They are probably just staying on the hill to keep us in check while allowing the slaves to escape.”
“If we chase the slaves, they will have no means of retreat down the hill.”
“According to the scout's report, they have about five thousand troops remaining. They do not seem to be able to prepare provisions within a day.”
Kreshu also had the same general idea as they did.
“Very well. We will surround the hill with the first four armies and chase after the slaves with the remaining three.”
There was a reason to capture the slaves. The first reason was because it would be an effective tactic against the Brune soldiers on the hill. Also, the fact that a slave managed to escape from the Muozinel Army was harmful to them.
Above all, it was natural for them to take slaves on the battlefield.
In fact, Kreshu had another purpose, but he held that from the others.
“Ludmira Lurie is known for her excellent defense. We do not need to actively attack the hill, we simply need to confine them there.”
It began to snow. Though late in the morning, it was still not past midday.
The confrontation later known as the [Battle of Ormea] began.
The Muozinel Army moved quickly with splendid cooperation. Four armies of fifty-five hundred troops, numbering more than twenty thousand in total, advanced toward the hill without taking much distance from one another. The other three armies moved away toward the highway.
“How is the situation on the hill?”
At the center of the three armies advancing along the road, Kreshu asked his aide. He had prepared twice the normal amount of reconnaissance as usual and was receiving information from all directions. He accurately gripped any changes.
“We have confirmed four flags, currently. There is currently the BayardRed Horse Flag, the ZirnitraBlack Dragon Flag, then...”
“It seems they have made barricades of spears throughout the hill. Horses can be heard in a small fort. When we approached too closely, we were attacked with stones and arrows.”
“No. Fortunately, we were not hit.”
Kreshu gave his words of appreciation.
“One more thing. What about the small hill further back?”
“It is covered in a blanket of snow. We have seen no signs of the enemy's appearance.”
“I see. In that case, tell the men to surround the hill. Do not approach, simply surround them.”
Though obstructed by the thick gray clouds, the sun slowly approached the peak of the heavens. When midday approached, the Muozinel Army caught the two thousand refugees in their sights.
“Any movements on the hill?”
Kreshu confirmed that there were no movements and ordered his soldiers to increase their pace.
“That renowned Vanadis, she must have known it would be hopeless to attack such large numbers. No, perhaps her only obligation to Brune was to remain on the hill? Perhaps it has to do with the politics of war...”
However, Kreshu's reading was off. One soldier appeared and quickly gave a report.
“Your excellency. The enemy has appeared. They number approximately three thousand.
“They must be attacking the nearest army... But where did they come from?”
Kreshu showed no signs of being upset. When an enemy suddenly sprung out of nowhere, they must have hidden themselves somewhere.
Hearing that there were three thousand soldiers, he considered them to be in the shadow of the uninhabited hill.
--- I see. Our soldiers must have been too focused on the troops barricading themselves on the hill.
Of course, they did not neglect the uninhabited hill, but their focus was on the enemy on the hill. Knowing this would happen, the enemy must have hidden itself not on the hill but in the shadow cast by it.
--- Excellent, Ludmira Lurie. It seems the fame of your skill in defensive battles is not unfounded.
Though Kreshu considered many kinds of possibilities, he thought Ludmira would devote herself to a defensive battle on the hill given the rumors to her name.
--- No matter. We also have countermeasures for when we are attacked. Above all, we still have sixteen thousand troops remaining and you have three thousand at most.
At that time, another report was brought forth.
“The slaves which ran away have returned and are attacking here!”
Kreshu's close aids had tense faces and were speaking noisily while the brother of the King of Muozinel simply stroked his red beard. He looked at the flag above, flapping in the wind. On it was a golden helmet and sword, the symbol of Vahram, the God of War.
“Well then, will the God of War hunt the wicked Dragon and horse, or will it be overrun?”
The Muozinel Army had the first through fourth armies encircle the hill while the fifth, sixth, and seventh armies chased after the slaves down the road. The fifth army acted as vanguard, followed by the sixth army, then the seventh army, which served as the main force.
The fifth army was attacked by the Unstoppable Silver Flow[Silver Meteor Army] and the Olmutz Army hidden beneath the hill.
They ambushed the Muozinel Army which rode horses and held spears, with a rain of arrows. Thousands of arrows mixed in with the snow and showered on them from the skies.
Though they returned fire, not a single arrow hit Ludmira. The arrows froze in mid air and shattered to pieces, melting away as the fragments fell to the ground. Seeing a phenomenon beyond common sense, the Muozinel soldiers let out a scream.
“That's... the power of your ViraltDragonic Tool?”
Tigre saw the arrows crumble like paper from the side and asked her.
“Do not say it so loudly.”
Ludmira smiled lightly and confirmed his question. Tigre nodded and nocked a few arrows in his black bow. This time, Ludmira looked into his eyes.
He pulled back the bowstring with great strength. The arrows turned to black shadows and flew, sticking into the heads or arms of the brown skinned soldiers. The men injured were neatly lined up.
Leaving short words of praise, Ludmira bravely rushed forward into the crowd with her horse, brandishing the Frozen Wave in both hands as lumps of ice formed. She mowed down Muozinel soldiers one after another, extending the path Tigre had created as she pressed forward.
The blood which flowed was frozen in an instant, melted, then disappeared in the snow as the corpses fell to the ground. Swords were cut, spears were smashed, and bows crumbled as they were pressed between corpses, their bodies pierced and stuck to the ground.
Though the Muozinel soldiers were lightly dressed, they would not be able to stop her fierce charge even if they were in iron armor.
Spear bearers charged at Ludmira from multiple angles simultaneously. Half she drove away while the remainder she dodged by skillfully manipulating her horse and posture. The next moment, the Frozen Wave drew out from her hand and cut through the Muozinel soldiers in a flash.
A stir wrapped around the Muozinel Army. They were being pushed back in an instant by a small girl in her mid-teens.
Next to her was a boy, not so different in age from the girl, wielding a black bow, firing with an unnatural strength and accuracy.
“Are you not afraid?”
Without stopping the hand wielding her spear, Ludmira asked him in amazement.
“If you think so, then please defend me.”
Tigre responded in a somewhat rough manner. While regretting that he could only speak so simply, he pulled out another arrow from the quiver at his waist. He was already running low. As if he knew in advance, Gerard wore leather armor and approached Tigre quietly from behind with a new quiver. Tigre tapped the new quiver lightly instead of giving a greeting.
“In a situation like this, you can even aim at the enemy's unit Commander.”
Ludmira looked at Tigre with admiration. The battlefield was wrapped in a frenzy and one's field of view shook wildly. Furthermore, it was snowing, and the enemy's unit Commander was wearing a steel helmet, making him difficult to recognize. Even so, he aimed and shot his arrow. It was no easy feat.
However, Tigre gave a casual response.
“He's the only one without a black cloth on his head. If you think about it, it's pretty straightforward.”
If other people heard his reasoning, they would think him mad. In fact, Rurick had heard this theory and tilted his head, asking for an explanation again.
In the battle following Agnes, Tigre knew how the Muozinel soldiers dressed. With the breadth of vision and skill required, only Tigre could accurately attack.
Due to the unexpected surprise attack, the counter-offense of the refugees they were preying upon, Ludmira's bravery, and Tigre's accurate sniping, the fifth army fell in a very short time.
While routing the fifth army, Tigre and Ludmira joined the refugees.
“Lord Tigrevurmud, are you safe?”
Rurick yelled out from his horse. Tigre returned a smile.
“I should ask you that. Well, I'm fine.”
The Muozinel Army had retreated down the highway without any of the people they were pursuing.
The refugees were actually camouflaged soldiers from the Olmutz Army and the Unstoppable Silver Flow[Silver Meteor Army]. They hid themselves as they retreated and matched their movements to when Tigre and Ludmira attacked the fifth force.
The refugees were actually on the hill surrounded by twenty thousand troops from the Muozinel Army.
Two nights ago, after the war council with Ludmira, Tigre was having difficulty in finding words to persuade the refugees.
They would remain on the hill, and should the enemy approach, they would attack with stones and arrows.
Ludmira's strategy was formed on the basis that the enemy would not try to suppress the hill.
“Even if Muozinel attacks, they can capture the refugees and use them as hostages. Thinking about it, they would want to avoid a fight, even more so against people not of Brune.”
With their fatigue, it was questionable whether or not they would understand the explanation. Even if they did understand, there was no guarantee they would cooperate.
Tigre visited the refugee camp, still lacking confidence. Their situation was different from the soldiers'. They had tents established and bonfires burning here and there; however, they lacked physical strength, nor did they have fences or a moat.
A young refugee girl noticed Tigre and trotted up to him. Since they learned of Tigre's title, they called Tigre by it. Tigre nodded to her while ruffling his red hair and asked her to call the representative for the refugees.
Even if they were refugees, they still numbered around two thousand. Ten representatives were elected, and Tigre was able to bring about some semblance of organization. Though it was small, it was no different than his job as a feudal lord.
Tigre borrowed a tent and assembled the representatives without giving them any details. He gave an outline of the situation. He told them the enemy was approaching, and, though they would fight, they were lacking in numbers. He asked them to cooperate. In a more concrete manner, they were to remain on the hill.
As expected, the Refugees showed their disapproval.
“We were thrown into this war. Normally you should be protecting us. It's a bit troublesome if you suddenly ask us to fight.”
“To begin with, can we believe you? How do we know we won't just be left on the hill while you run away?”
“We have no buildings here, either. We have no property, we barely have food, and we shiver in the cold every night, yet you still wish for us to do something?”
--- If they're caught, they will be made into slaves.
Though the words were in his throat, Tigre forced them down. He came to persuade them, not threaten them.
They continued to speak of their unease and anxieties. Tigre waited for them to calm down before speaking.
“I understand your worries, however, will you still accept this plan? If I am to help you, this is a necessity... I hope you can do this.”
“Then you should come to the hill as well. That's right. Why should we believe your acting?”
He had guessed what the refugees were thinking. Bitter feelings were shown in Tigre's expression.
“That cannot be done. We are challenging tens of thousands of enemies. Regrettably, I am one that can fight.”
“Then think of another plan. Why don't you talk to the enemy? Rather than making us do the impossible, if you're a powerful noble, then they should listen to you.”
--- I would have done that if I could.
Though he only knew so through Ludmira, the enemy's basic policy was to plunder.
Even if Ludmira sent a message to the General of the Muozinel Army, he would not necessarily respond for such a pointless thing. In the worst case, he would say he wanted to negotiate while having his men advance.
“To begin with, what about His Majesty, the King, the Knights, and the other aristocrats? Why don't you ask for their help with your power as an Earl?”
When Tigre heard this answer, he was truly disgusted.
“--- I will follow the Earl.”
A deep voice with a quiet, overwhelming strength sounded.
It came from a lone representative, a young man. Tigre knew his face by sight.
When he had freed them from Kashim, he was the man who intensely blamed Tigre. Many people remembered it and were clearly surprised. Tigre also could not conceal his surprise.
“The Earl traveled far to come here.”
“However, he may not have necessarily come to help us.”
Another person spoke up and became quiet after seeing the man glare at him. The man then continued to speak.
“He has helped us and brought us this far. That is a fact. I wouldn't mind having a bit of revenge, either. They killed our families and destroyed our homes.”
The man cut his words there and looked at the other representatives.
“We can fight. If we argue with them face to face, they will just take our necks. But if we follow the Earl, we may survive. Don't you want to stop them?”
Anger and tension was mixed with fear. The man's voice trembled. In response to his words, Tigre nodded strongly.
“To the best of my ability, I will defend you.”
The reason the Muozinel Army scouts mistook the refugees on the hill as soldiers was because Ludmira had them in camouflage for approximately half a day.
“It is difficult to carefully examine a castle. A scout is required to be able to grasp the capabilities of a fortress quickly... conversely, since they showed us their strength there in the first place, they tricked us with minimal time and effort.”
Ludmira had wonderfully used her fame for defense to trick the Muozinel Army.
Even when he received a report that the fifth army was destroyed, Barbaros[Red Beard] showed no signs of confusion. Even if he lost five thousand men, he could send the next unit of five thousand soon afterward.
Although his aides were dismayed by an approaching enemy, Kreshu retained his presence of mind.
“Send a messenger to our fourth army. Surround the hill with the first three groups and have the fourth unit move quickly to provide reinforcement.”
Kreshu thought of several situations before he gave orders. He told anything with a high probability of occurring to each unit Commander.
With the speed the Unstoppable Silver Flow[Silver Meteor Army] and Olmutz Army were moving at, they would eventually clash with the seventh army. The Black Dragon and Red Horse would devour the God of War armed with weapons of gold.
Kreshu ordered the seventh army to retreat.
The Unstoppable Silver Flow[Silver Meteor Army] and the Olmutz Army did not miss the retreat of the seventh unit, and followed closely afterward. At that time, the sixth unit quickly changed direction and moved forward rapidly.
“So it really has come to that..!”
Tigre let out a deep breath as he glared at the sixth army moving in a distance. He did not have the spare time to wipe his sweat or clear away the blood of the defeated. His dull red hair had solidified in a strange shape.
Tigre ordered the Unstoppable Silver Flow[Silver Meteor Army], consisting of only one thousand Brune soldiers, to watch for the movements of the sixth army. It was within expectations.
Instead of attacking from the front with the seventh unit, Kreshu ordered the sixth unit to take a small detour from the side. Their aim was to kill the leaders, Ludmira and Tigre.
However, they could not.
The one thousand Brune soldiers collapsed just before attacking the sixth army.
“... What's going on?”
Ludmira and Tigre looked on in blank surprise. In an instant, they were sure of it.
--- They've reached their limit...
The Brune soldiers had followed him from Territoire. This is why Ludmira called their [One Battle Limit].
Tigre had judged they would barely have enough physical strength to fight, but there was not a single drop of stamina remaining. The cold of the snow and the continuous battle since the morning had taken its toll.
Only a few hundred Brune soldiers continued to attack, but they were sporadic. In the end, they could not meet expectations.
The sixth army from Muozinel was attacking the Unstoppable Silver Flow[Silver Meteor Army] and Olmutz Army from the flank, as well. The violent force stopped Ludmira and Tigre's movements.
“Just one more step...!”
A spear of ice pierced through the leather armor of Muozinel soldiers as Ludmira was forced off her horse. Streaks of blood blotted her blue hair, blue clothes, and skin. Her breathing was rough; it was uncertain how many enemies she had already killed. Tigre, standing next to her, killing the enemy with his arrows, was no different.
Both his left arm gripping the bow and the right arm drawing the bowstring were numb, and he could no longer remember how many quivers he had used.
On the other hand, Kreshu was smiling brightly as his hollow eyes looked at his enemy on its last leg.
“Ha ha ha. Though short, it was a brilliant move, Ludmira Lurie. A Vanadis famous for defense boldly attacked with the aim of taking my neck, but it seems you won't be taking it any time soon.”
Just to be sure, he had moved to the back of the seventh army.
“That's right, my enemy is not just the Vanadis. It was that dreadful archer who took Kashim's head from three hundred alsin.”
The seventh and sixth armies had spread left and right to surround their enemy.
“I will drag this famous Vanadis of a neighboring nation before the King. I will not shame you as a prisoner of war but will treat you warmly as a guest.”
It could not be helped that Kreshu felt he had won. There was no means for the Unstoppable Silver Flow[Silver Meteor Army] or Olmutz Army to attack – they were in such a desperate situation.
The bulk of his army surpassed ten thousand, and they were attacking an enemy with less than six thousand from two directions, and he had half encircled the enemy. Anyone could see it was the Muozinel Army's victory.
One after another, Ludmira had skewered the Muozinel soldiers who raised their sword to her. She thrust through their torso and cut through their necks. Dead bodies piled up in the snow, distorting the ground as they froze.
Tigre also emptied many quivers. He looked back to Gerard.
Viscount Augre's son had little room as well and was hard pressed against Tigre's back with two quivers of arrows, his hair a complete mess. With a look of distress, the man with brown hair spoke.
“This is all we have remaining...”
Only the two quivers remained in his hand, and the situation had become dire.
Tigre looked back at Ludmira while holding his arrows.
“Ludmira, I will hold them with my bow, you---”
As she wielded her spear and forever silenced the enemy before her, the blue-haired Vanadis silenced Tigre. Fatigue was clear in her face, but her high morale shined in her eyes.
“We have plenty of enemies before us. Is this the time to complain?”
Before Tigre answered, he quickly shot an arrow through the neck of a soldier attacking Ludmira.
“It's natural to tell a tired girl to rest.”
Tigre tried to laugh but failed. His breath had fallen into disorder, and it was difficult for him to speak. He did not have much strength and his face had become stiffed.
“... Your face looks terrible.”
Tigre was amazed Ludmira still had room to say such things as a wry smile floated to his face. However, she continued her words with a serious expression.
“I am a Vanadis. My mother and my grandmother... I have pride that I have succeeded their position as a Vanadis who manipulates ice.”
A Muozinel soldier with a particularly large physique brandished a large hatchet and approached Ludmira. Ludmira buried the soldier with a single flash. Her spear released ice in response to its owner's will to fight.
“You are the one who should rest, Tigrevurmud Vorn. I will protect your back.”
Neither Ludmira's expression nor voice were intense. It was quiet like the ice she manipulated. The Muozinel soldiers were overwhelmed.
Tigre looked at her in blank surprise for a moment. The young man with red hair brought his horse next to the Vanadis with blue hair and gripped his black bow.
“You have your pride. I have my stubbornness.”
“From my father... and from many people, little by little. It is my stubborn nature as a man.”
His father, Urz, Massas, Batran, the people of his territory, Augre, Black Knight Roland. Other than the people he had met until this day, there were the refugees who cooperated with him, the girl who thanked him, Teita and Lim who were not here.
“If I can't be proud of myself, then I couldn't possibly show my face to Teita...”
Ludmira's voice was so small and her smile dazzling. Though her voice could not be heard, it brought with it a mysterious feeling with it deep from within her chest. A new-found energy filled the fatigued body of the blue-haired Vanadis.
“Very well. You may fight. Fight by my side. Fight together with me.”
The Vanadis brandished the Frozen Wave while the young man nocked another arrow into his black bow.
At that time, the battle changed substantially yet again. A battle cry was heard from a distance. From the size, it seemed to be a force of several thousand.
Tigre's face became tense, since he was barely able to believe his eyes.
Certainly, they were reinforcements, however, they flew under the BayardRed Horse Flag of Brune Kingdom.
“Fight! Don't let the Muozinel Army further into our country!”
Thousands of men wielding long spears and shields in the hands suddenly appeared on horseback after giving out a battle cry.
They had appeared from the north of Ormea Plains. Having judged there was no possibility of reinforcements, Kreshu's reconnaissance had neglected it.
The net Kreshu's troops had carefully built up was dispersed, as if kicking away soft snow. They were quickly crushed.
“... What is going on?”
Tigre could not respond to Ludmira's voice in blank surprise. The men approached with spear in hand and bows to the air.
“Earl Vorn, Earl Vorn! Where are you?”
A youthful cry sounded out from the corner of the battlefield. Before Tigre and Ludmira could react, the area shined with ice.
The Muozinel soldiers rushed them but were immediately felled by spear and arrow. Knights charged forward, clearing away the troops from Muozinel. Three men appeared on horseback from the group and stood before Tigre.
The brightness of their armor was lost from the cold, blood, and dirt, testament to their desperate fight. A Knight who was Tigre's senior by about ten years bowed to Tigre.
“My name is Emir. I have heard of your name from Earl Massas Rodant and ran here with fifteen-hundred Perucche Knights. I pray you will permit me to fight under your name.”
Next to the Knight known as Emir was a man holding not a spear but a sword. His face was wide and his body was large.
“Forgive me for appearing on horseback, as this is a battlefield. I am Shaie of the Lutece Knights. I have brought fifteen hundred followers with me. I have come at the request of Viscount Augre. We will follow under your command.”
Finally, a middle-aged Knight with a beard gave off a good-natured smile which did not suit the battlefield. Tigre recognized his face immediately.
“I am Auguste of the Knights Calvados along with two thousand men. Allow me to help, Lord Tigrevurmud.”
Tigre did not know what to say due to the series of surprises.
They understood from his voice and expression. Emir and Shaie turned away, while Auguste approached to defend Tigre.
“Now then, let's get rid of these guys immediately.”
“May the fortunes of war be upon us.”
Emir and Shaie kicked the belly of their horses and ran to the battlefield. After seeing them off, Tigre regained his thoughts. He looked at Auguste as he sighed.
“Do you remember me, Tigre-sama?”
He verified with a trembling voice. Auguste smiled; he was originally someone from Alsace when Urz, Tigre's father, ruled before becoming a Knight. He was well acquainted with Tigre.
“So you didn't forget me. It looks like you're healthy; that is most important.”
“Until now, it was impossible to come to your aid as a Knight. I am sorry. I was feeling impatient when I heard about you from Lord Roland and Olivier from the Navarre Knights through a letter.”
Tigre stared in blank surprise, hearing an unexpected name.
“You went to war for the people of Brune – At that time, I was making preparations to fight. I heard of your story from them and rushed to Lords Massas and Augre. Both the Knights of Perucche and Lutece are the same.”
Words of their lives and words of their death, they had pierced through the Knights, bringing them to action.
“Thank you... Thank you, Auguste.”
He had become so emotional that he was brought to tears, but this was a battlefield. Auguste shook his head, and Tigre blotted out the tears at the edge of his vision.
“Tigre-sama. You have become splendid. You are very much like Urz-sama.”
He could not respond. Tigre rubbed his eyes while pretending to mess with his bangs. With the Knights participating in battle, he had room to do so.
“--- Is your talk over?”
Ludmira walked to a horse, as if waiting for their conversation to end. Tigre returned a strong nod. Ludmira, also, responded with a bright smile.
“I was able to rest. You? Will you stay behind?”
“No. My bow is still not spent.”
Strength given to him by the people supporting him breathed new life into his tired body, allowing him to move forward.
“Leave your back to me. I can hold out a little more.”
“I see. Try not to be too enthusiastic, it is unseemly.”
As if it were natural, the two brought their horses side by side. The young man nocked an arrow and the girl drew back her spear. Their clothes were smeared with sweat, blood, dirt, and snow, but their eyes shined strongly.
Straightening their breathing, Ludmira and Tigre jumped back into the fray.
“Knights? Knights is, hmm...”
Kreshu realized the victory he had grasped was disappearing and let out a sound in anger. However, in an instant, he regained his composure.
“However, it is only five thousand men.”
Kreshu was not necessarily defeated. He called for the fourth army to be sure.
While reorganizing the seventh army, Kreshu ordered them to retreat and ordered a messenger to have the sixth army focus on fighting the Unstoppable Silver Flow[Silver Meteor Army] and Olmutz Army.
“They will lose their mobility if they rush an overwhelming force from the front.”
Kreshu's ability as a General was surprising. He skillfully avoided the Knight's charge and had the fourth unit attack them from the side.
“Our first enemy is exhausted. They have more energy with the Knights coming in as allies. Crush them all.”
Kreshu attacked Tigre from the side with the sixth army and the Knights with the fourth and seventh armies.
Even if they could crush the enemy before them by charging, they could not immediately react to an attack from the side and the rear. Countless arrows and spearheads rained over the Knights.
The horses were killed, forcing the men off their steeds. They were overwhelmed by the surrounding people as they tried to stand up against the weight of their armor.
The Unstoppable Silver Flow[Silver Meteor Army] and the Olmutz Army were being blocked by the sixth unit and could not rush to cover the Knights.
How many times had they been cornered? They may not have survived the first wave if not for their surprise attack. It took a good General to bring the Knights to defeat.
However, Barbaros[Red Beard] had even more outstanding judgment. His ability to command the troops despite the addition of the Knights was frightening.
However, new reports had been brought since they joined.
“... A new enemy from the northwest?”
It was not only the Knights, but the armies of Lords Massas and Augre.
They consisted of three thousand cavalry and infantry. Though their strength was not as much as the Knights, they were able to charge at the sixth army pressuring Tigre.
Their existence was decisive in the war.
Kreshu had a serious look of concern when considering his future plans for the battlefield in his mind.
--- What to do, what to do.
Fighting off Tigre and Ludmira and repelling the Knights and a new force of three thousand men. Even if it was impossible for others, it was possible for him.
--- The problem is... whether or not that is the last of them.
Initially, Kreshu assumed the enemy numbered fewer than six thousand. It was almost an exact number, displaying the height of skill of the younger brother of the King, Red Beard.
However, five thousand Knights appeared when he was on the verge of victory. While he was thinking of how to deal with that, an additional three thousand troops joined the battle. The enemy had more than doubled in size since the battle began.
--- Why didn't the scouts see this? Did they miss it?
Kreshu had absolute confidence in the reconnaissance unit he organized and created a plan based on the information they provided. He would lead his soldiers to victory.
--- No, there were no problems this time... If anything, it was bad luck which plagued Kreshu this time.
The enemies before him were neither Dukes Thenardier or Ganelon.
--- Was it Tigrevurmud Vorn? Brune names are too long. I'll shorten it to Tigre.
While insulting his name, Kreshu continued thinking of plans. Even if he defeated Tigre here, that would not be the end of things.
His purpose was to advance his troops through southern Brune to obtain the slaves of a busy port town surrounded by fertile lands. He also wanted to capture Nemetacum, if possible.
He would obtain great wealth by taking the ports to the south, and it would allow him to contact his country via the sea. He could also send the slaves he obtained in Brune to his homeland via ships.
--- Even if I defeat him here, I will not have enough men to fight Duke Thenardier.
Kreshu held grave doubts when reinforcements appeared twice.
Even at an age above 30, Barbaros[Red Beard] had been troubled only a handful of times. He reluctantly ordered his army to retreat. Though he prepared various tricks to give his troops additional time, not a single enemy chased after them.
“How boring. Bravery and recklessness has not fallen to even one or two people, so they're not making any mistakes.”
Kreshu spoke like a child who did not get the toy he wanted. He ordered the three armies encircling the hill to retreat and listened to the damage report.
Six thousand were killed in action; Kreshu grimaced. The number was large. The advanced force of twenty thousand and the main force of thirty thousand... they were fifty thousand strong in total, yet more than 30% had been lost.
“Well, we still have thirty-four thousand remaining. We have nearly three times the number of the enemy before us.”
However, Kreshu did not take further action. He had a camp built with a moat and a fence and instructed his soldiers to get treated and rest.
He had not yet lost the will to fight; the report which would determine his future plans would soon arrive.
The next morning, a messenger from Kreshu's homeland arrived.
“Our fleet attacking from the sea was defeated by Duke Thenardier.”
“I see. In other words, even if I use these thirty-four thousand troops to break through this enemy and defeat Duke Thenardier, I would have to secure the port and endure until reinforcements arrived.”
After Kreshu laughed, the messenger withdrew from the tent.
--- So long as I am not the only one to fail, I don't mind.
“Ah, that's right. I should investigate Tigrevurmud Vorn and praise him.”
Kreshu instructed his soldiers to withdraw and thought of such a thing. There were two reasons for this.
The first reason was to bring forth jealousy of Tigre's influence. Kreshu wanted it to reach the level of Thenardier and Ganelon.
The other reason was for his honor.
“Even if you have lost the Black Knight Roland, there is a young hero who is in no way inferior. The dignity of Brune is still alive, is what we should say. Yes. If it's this, the blow to my honor will decrease.”
The Muozinel Army retreated in an orderly manner through the roads of Agnes.
That was the conclusion of the [Battle at Ormea].
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