Madan no Ou to Vanadis:Volume 08 Chapter 1
Chapter 1 - Olsina
The bright moon of autumn quietly illuminated the group of ships, which floated on the night sea.
It was the warships of Legnica. It was composed of thirty one small galley ships called “BeakerSpear” and three large galley ships called “RookCrossbow”. Each ship hung big lanterns which lighted fire at the prow and the stern. They measured the distance to other ships by this light.
The subjugation of the pirates on the heels of the Zchted Kingdom was their purpose.
At the prow of the flagship “Zhelezo LevIron Lion” of this fleet, one girl was currently up against a monster.
She was 22-year-old this year. Her glossy black hair trimmed around her shoulders, she wrapped her slender body with a black battle outfit.
In spite of her lovely features and body build, the presence of the two small swords grasped in both her hands and the fighting spirit colored in her black pupils did not give a lovely and delicate impression.
Alexandra Alshavin was the young girl’s name. Those close to her called her by her nickname “Sasha”. She was the supreme commander of this fleet and one of the seven Vanadis of Zchted.
The swords in Sasha’s hands had respectively golden and vermillion colors and they were clad in crimson flames. It was not that something was burning. The blades themselves were emitting flames.
Those two blades with a mysterious power were Sasha’s ViraltDragonic Tool, the Luminous Flame Bargren. It was also called “Toki no SojinTwin Blades of Demonic Force”.
The monster before her was looking down at the Vanadis of black clothing with a faint smile. His big frame was more than twice Sasha’s, his shoulders and chest greatly swelled and he was burly enough to make one think that he could crush a human with one hand. There was a gruesome scar from his right shoulder to his right chest.
There was no body hair, and there was an uncanny texture in his white skin. Three curved horns had grown from his forehead and the right half of his atrocious face reminiscent of an ogre coming out of a fairy tale was hideously burned.
The monster’s right arm was cut around the elbow. The part that was cut from the elbow became a white lump of meat and fell down on the deck.
The monster went by the name Torbalan. Sasha had heard rumor of such a demon, but it was actually the first time she saw him.
However, Sasha did not falter. She set up her twin swords and carefully shortened the interval. The scars on the monster’s face and shoulder were something he already had, but Torbalan’s cut right arm was Sasha’s doing just now. Since it was an opponent on whom blades had no effect, she did not hesitate.
---How will he attack…?
What she understood from Torbalan’s attack patterns so far was that he was proud of his amazing superhuman strength. Moreover, he released an invisible shock wave from his whole body. However, since it was a monster, it was not necessarily limited to this much. As expected, even Sasha could not predict what kind of other attack means he had.
---I remembered that Olga said something.
Sasha tried to recall what the Vanadis Olga who fought against this monster said, but she had no recollection of information other than that he could release shock waves. It was a tough situation.
“It’s a splendid display of skill.”
Torbalan picked up his arm which fell down on the deck. Though the cut part was burnt black by the flame of the blades, the monster pressed it against the wound with practiced hands movements.
White smoke rose from the cut section. Ahead of the look of Sasha, who revealed a puzzled face, Torbalan removed his hand.
The arm did not fall. The Demon’s right arm, which should have been cut, was connected (joined) as if such a thing never happened. Sasha was dumbfounded by this, too. It was not of the dimension of fast healing.
---This is… So, even if I cut his head, there is no guarantee he will die.
A line of cold sweat streamed down the black-haired Vanadis’ temple. Torbalan waved his right arm so as to check its condition.
While the tense atmosphere increased its intensity, suddenly, a noise which rode on the night air reached her ears. Many lights appeared in a faraway place and were drawing near this place while swaying irregularly.
Sasha immediately understood that it was the soldiers and sailors. They probably heard the sound when Torbalan destroyed the gunwale and prow with the shock wave and came to check the situation.
Impatience blurred on Sasha’s face. The soldiers aboard the flagship were all elite, and the opponent was an inhuman monster. It was not as different as facing a dragon.
It was when they were about to step forward, aware of the danger.
“––I shall retreat here.”
These unexpected words leaked out from the monster’s mouth. Torbalan took a step back while merrily watching the group of torches that were approaching. Sasha frowned and switched her twin swords to a defense stance. It might be a trap. She could not let her guard down.
The deck shook to a heavy, yet dull impact as Torbalan kicked it and jumped.
But, it was not an action for attack. The monster’s big frame crossed over the gunwale and fell to the night sea. A bunch of loud sounds of water were intermittently heard.
---No way, did he really run away…?
Or did he invite them by making them think so?
As she started to run up to the gunwale, Sasha stopped her movement. She stared straight at the darkness motionless. She stayed just like that for a time of about ten counts.
---It lessens, huh.
Sasha took a small breath. She did not stop because of her wariness against the monster, but due to the pain that occurred within her body. The pain was not that much acute and only to the degree of making slightly dulling her movements, but it could not be ignored in this situation.
The soldiers and sailors, who gathered with torches blazing of flame in hand, stood motionless at the sight of the surroundings’ disastrous scene. They came to their senses as they saw Sasha’s figure; their expression changed and they rushed over.
“Vanadis-sama, are you safe?”
“…I’m all right. You don’t need to worry about me.”
Sasha’s reply was delayed for a moment, but no one noticed it in the hectic atmosphere. While putting the twin swords in which flame disappeared in her waist, the black-haired Vanadis continued.
“I was attacked by something. When I cut it, it ran away. Since it was dark, I don’t really know what it was, but it may have been a badvasea dragon.”
Thinking that it would only scare them more than necessary if she was to talk about Torbalan, Sasha intermingled lie and fact and explained to her subordinates.
Everyone, who was boarding this ship, knew the story that a fleet returning from Asvarre was attacked by a badvasea dragon. It should have been very easier to understand than the monster.
“There may be some people who fell into the sea. Even if it’s just around the ship, please, search them.”
“Understood. Vanadis-sama, please wait for the report in the cabin.”
It was the captain of the “Zhelezo LevIron Lion” who respectfully bowed. He was an excellent man, be it as a sailor or as a warrior, and it was for this reason that Sasha chose this ship in which he served as the captain as the flagship.
However, Sasha shook her head at the captain’s offer.
“I will stay here until the search is completed. After all, if the badvasea dragon was to appear again, I would be to kill it.”
The sailors looked at each other; certainly, no one except the black-haired Vanadis could face the badvasea dragon.
“Vanadis-sama, please use this.”
Among the sailors, Matvey stepped forward and held out a blanket to Sasha. He was a Charismatic man who was the owner of an outstanding large build body even compared to the sailors around, a fierce look and crimson coat on which a White Dolphin was stitched on the back. He was a former sailor.
He was also a man to whom Sasha had a deep trust. He volunteered himself for this battle and boarded the ship.
Sasha did not feel as cold thanks to the ViraltDragonic Tool hung on her waist, but she appreciated Matvey’s consideration, thanked him and received the blanket. The black-haired Vanadis who put it on lost herself in thought while watching the sailors’ work. She wondered what that monster’s purpose was.
“Matvey. There is something I want to ask you.”
As Sasha called out to the scary looking giant in a lower voice, he sent a signal with a look to the captain and left the place with casual steps. The sailors were busily moving around and almost no one had noticed that the two people’s figures disappeared.
Also because most of the sailors had been roped in work at the prow, there were few people on the stern’s side. As Sasha stopped and looked back, she directly cut to the chase.
“Could you tell me more about the monster that attacked you riding on a badvasea dragon?”
Matvey’s expression completely changed at these words. Suddenly swallowing his loud voice that was about to come out, the former sailor confirmed in a voice that repressed his intense feelings.
“Did that guy appear?”
“Probably. It was the first time I saw him.”
As he nodded to that answer, Matvey talked once again about the appearance of the monster he saw. Sasha, who heard it, confirmed that there was no doubt that it was the same monster.
“He is in the vicinity…”
Matvey shook his large build and scowled at the night sea. His emotions which were mixed with anger and fear were swaying within the man’s pupils. Waiting for him to calm down, Sasha opened her mouth.
“Please, keep this secret to everyone. Since there is the coming battle with the pirates, I don’t want to upset the soldiers and sailors.”
“But, Vanadis-sama. There is the possibility of Torbalan leading the pirates…”
Though Sasha looked doubtful, she immediately recalled what Olga and the others said. Torbalan disguised himself as a human called Lester and concealed himself in the Asvarre Kingdom; he was accompanied by soldiers and was responsible of the defense of a Fort.
After a little thought, Sasha shook her head and said.
“Let’s keep silent about it. Even if I explain it to the captains of each ship, we don’t have enough evidence to make them believe it. But, you’re right… Let’s opt for instructions along the line ‘if the flagship raises a yellow flag, then hurriedly retreat’ for example, in such a special situation.”
Matvey nodded with a sigh of relief. Like this, in case the badvasea dragon appeared, he could explain with an easy-to-understand example.
When the two people returned to the prow, the number of sailors decreased as the work was coming to an end and the commotion had also been settled. The ship’s captain spotted Sasha and Matvey and walked towards them.
“Vanadis-sama. Excuse me, you should change the flagship.”
“Is the damage so bad?”
Sasha furrowed her eyebrows. The captain nodded with a sad look which could not conceal his regret. Serving as the flagship of a fleet of this scale was, for a sailor, a great honor. Moreover, the supreme commander was the Vanadis Sasha. It must have been a tough decision after a very thorough thinking.
“It can endure the sailing and battle, but as expected, it’s impossible to restore it in one night. Keep using a ship in such a state as Vanadis-sama’s flagship will be our shame.”
The black-haired Vanadis guessed the captain’s innermost thoughts which he could not put into words. Sasha and company were scheduled to join with the fleet of Lebus tomorrow. He probably did not want to show the people of Lebus the figure of his master boarding a damaged ship. With a wry smile, Sasha answered that she understood.
“Well then, please give me your opinion about which ship should be used as the new flagship.”
The Zhelezo LevIron Lion was a RookCrossbow type galley ship, and there were another two ships of the same type.
The captain recommended a ship named “Dospe RybaArmor Fish”. The captain of the “Dospe RybaArmor Fish” was a man named Pavel who was once a subordinate of the captain of the Zhelezo LevIron Lion.
Pavel who heard the order to make his ship the flagship was surprised at first, before being pleased; and then when he learnt of the circumstances, he thought about his past boss’s regret and deeply sighed. But, he soon put on a serious expression, directed his crews and went to pick up Sasha.
After hearing once again the story from the captain of the Zhelezo LevIron Lion and tapping his shoulder so as to comfort him, Pavel advanced up to Sasha.
“I thank you from the bottom of my heart for having chosen my ship as the flagship. Although this body lacks ability, I shall exert this poor ability for Vanadis-sama.”
Pavel was 45-year-old now. His back was slightly plumper than the average, and he was wearing leather armor on which a large quantity of iron scraps was sewed in scale shape. When he bowed to Sasha, the iron scraps sewed on the armor made a sound as they rubbed against each other. Though his manners were sloppy, the sincerity in his expression and tone could be felt.
“I am sorry for the short notice, but please take care of me.”
And while Sasha was moving to the new flagship, the search was over.
Although it was found out that about three sailors were missing, they did not even find their bodies in spite of the strenuous search.
The next day, Sasha meet with the fleet of Lebus as scheduled.
The sky was clear blue, and under the glittering sun, the sea was boundlessly spreading with vividness as if melting the jasper. The fleet of Lebus appeared from the other side of the sea.
Similarly, the warships of Lebus were composed of two types of ships like Legnica, that’s, the small galley ships and the large galley ships. Although the details were different, they were not that much different in terms of performance (efficiency).
The flagship of the Lebus troops was a small galley ship called “Margarita”. Unlike in Legnica, which often used the name of animals, in Lebus female names were mainly given to ships.
Fluttering aloft the mast were the ZirnitraBlack Dragon flag, which was the banner of the Zchted Kingdom, and the large banner of Lebus. In the vivid purple ground even from a distant view, the golden whip, which made the design of her ViraltDragonic Tool “Saika no SenteiLightning Flash of Broken Calamity” Valitsaif, was drawing a splendid arc.
The supreme commandant was Elizavetta Fomina also known as the “IsgrifaFlash Princess of the Thunder Swirl”. The Vanadis of “LazirisRainbow eyes” born with left and right pupils of different colors showed up that day wearing also a gorgeous purple dress with plenty of laces and frills.
Roundly bundling and holding the black whip at the waist –– Valitsaif, and letting her red hair and the hem of her dress flutter about, she was standing at the prow of the Margarita.
Her dignified attitude and beauty were enough to make even the Legnica soldiers, who were not holding a good impression of Lebus, leak a sigh of admiration. The Lebus troops retreated so as not to conflict against the Legnica troops, and only the ship Margarita moved forward.
The Dospe RybaArmor Fish waved the large banner of Legnica, which showed that it was the flagship and informed the Margarita of its position.
With gold and vermilion blades crossed diagonally on a yellow background, it was also a design that was eye-catching as much as Lebus’s.
The Lebus soldiers and sailors had lined up on the Margarita’s deck, and they were sending a challenging look to the Legnica troops.
The Legnica troops confronted to it did not lose, either. After all, the soldiers and sailors, who were lined up on the deck, returned a glare in response to it. Both parties were thinking “we are only comrades just for this time”. Sasha could only smile wryly.
The Margarita came alongside the Dospe RybaArmor Fish. Elizavetta accompanied by two captains got on the Dospe RybaArmor Fish. In fact, Sasha intended to go to Elizavetta’s flagship in today’s war council. However, the Vanadis of LazirisRainbow eyes declined it and instead came up to here.
One did not know whether she did it out of consideration of Sasha’s physical condition, or she simply hated inviting the Legnica soldiers to her ships. Or it might be both.
Sasha stepped forward and held out her hand so as to welcome her.
“Welcome. Thank you for coming all the way here.”
However, Elizavetta did not take her hand. As she stuck out her chest, folded her arms and glared at the Legnica soldiers standing behind Sasha, she opened her mouth with a disinterested expression.
“We don’t have much time. Let’s quickly begin.”
The war council was carried out in a cabin of the Dospe RybaArmor Fish. Aside from Sasha and Elizavetta, there were four men. There were two from Lebus’s side, one captain from Legnica’s side. And Matvey.
On top of the big worktable fixed to the floor, several sea charts and pieces were placed. The six people surrounded the worktable and looked down at them. Elizavetta said.
“We have thirty one ships. That’s Five big ships and twenty six small ships.”
“Our side has thirty four ships. Namely three big ships and thirty one small ships.”
The enemy was about eighty ships. Though it was something they knew, even if summing both armies, they were fewer than the pirates.
It is said that a numerical factor/advantage is more effective in a battle of the sea than in the battle over land. In addition of being a vast battlefield, this was not because there was a big difference in performance between friend and foe’s ships, but because the attack methods were also limited.
“About the enemy movement… Our scout ship detected about ten pirate ships yesterday.”
In response to Sasha’s words, the captain of the Legnica troops put a piece on the chart. Elizavetta turned her pupils of different colors towards the captains of her own army.
“Even the scout ship we sent have discovered the enemy yesterday’s afternoon. Similarly, it seemed that about ten ships that they noticed were escaping to the west.”
A new piece was put on the chart. The captains shortly groaned. They could not yet narrow down the enemy position only with these two. Elizavetta folded her arms and turned a provocative look towards Sasha.
“Alexandra. Can you let me hear your opinion?”
“They have investigated our position and number while aiming at Zchted.”
Sasha received the red-haired Vanadis’ look and replied with a gentle demeanor.
“Let’s assume that the number of pirate ships is eighty. I think that they divided it into eight parties of ten ships, and after deciding of the meeting place beforehand, each party proceeded at different angles. The enemy discovered by our scout ship was probably different from the enemy found by yours.”
Matvey nodded, impressed.
“I see. Now that you mention it, with a large army of eighty ships, they must have a hard time with both mobilization and anchorage; but with about ten ships, it’s easier to anchor in small islands of the neighborhood.”
There were countless small islands located in the sea which spread from Zchted to Asvarre, and some had been used as hideouts of pirates. Not only Zchted, but also countries such as Brune and Asvarre happened to dispatch warships in such small islands more than once and cleaned up the pirates.
However, new pirates settled in these islands as one or two years passed.
No matter how much money and manpower they were, it was not enough to manage every single island, and having no choice but to deal with them at all such times was the actual circumstances.
“Isn’t there a possibility that those guys shut themselves in small islands?”
Elizavetta stared at the chart and raised a question. Sasha shook her head.
“I don’t think that they have enough food to get through the winter.”
The wind carrying cold air incessantly swept over the sea of winter, and the waves also increased their intensity. Since there was also the danger of freezing to death in addition to the overturn, even merchant ships hardly left ports in winter. It meant that they would be no prey for pirates, and if the food on hand was used up, they would continue starving afterward.
“Vanadis-dono. As you said, let’s assume that the pirates are divided into parties of ten ships each and they advance. Isn’t it possible to think that they let us go past and aim straight at the continent?”
One of the captains of Lebus asked Sasha with a cautious tone.
“If they are blessed with wind, they might do so.”
Sasha’s reply considered the other party’s viewpoint. If she did not feel the need, she would just have cut in by saying “it’s impossible”.
“But, in that case, they would then throw away their advantage of large army. Furthermore, they would expose their back and flank to us, who are chasing them in return. Also, if the enemy number is around ten ships, they would probably be being held in the port town. We should just advance while crushing each one of them.”
The captain of Lebus shook his big body and groaned, and Elizavetta from the side butted in.
“The pirates will first crush us and attack the port town driving the momentum. You seem to think so. As our side which falls behind in number, how do you intend to fight?”
“You’re right. Shall we hear what you propose?”
Sasha turned a slightly nasty smile towards Elizavetta. Though Elizavetta squinted in displeasure, she stuck out her chest and responded.
“Divide the enemy and crush them one by one. Avoid enemies with great number, or break through and aim at the flagship. We only have these two options in this situation. I want to move by the option which aims at the enemy flagship.”
“Then, let’s do this way. The battle formation will be the center, the right wing and the left wing; after that, as for the organization of the reserves troops in the rear…”
Sasha picked up several pieces and displayed them on the chart.
“Legnica will take charge of the center and the left wing. I will have Lebus in charge of the right wing and the rear. From here on, it will depend on the enemy’s attitude, but in case where the enemy’s right wing is weak, Legnica will attack the enemy’s right wing together, and crush them. In case where the enemy’s left wing is weak, then it will be Lebus to do so.”
“…you said together, but do you mean that, in case that Legnica moves, both the center and the left wing shall become one group?”
With her pupils of different colors retaining unexpectedness and vigilance, Elizavetta asked. Sasha answered with her unchanging serene expression.
“Indeed. In case that Lebus is to attack, of course Legnica will support the offensive at the enemy.”
One wrong move and they might give the opportunity to the enemy to crush them one by one. It was a stern move hard to imagine from Sasha’s calm demeanor, and the other captains could say nothing because of too much nervousness and admiration. Only Elizavetta was not shaken.
“And in case that the enemy’s right and left wings are thick to the same extent?”
“I want Lebus to attack. We will support you for a long time after all.”
“In case we were to move, there would be no reserves troops left, you know?”
Originally, the reserves troops were a unit for supplying in situation where the military power was absolutely necessary.
“We are fewer than the enemy. Some patience is required.”
Sasha answered without hesitation, and Elizavetta revealed a satisfied smile.
“I heard that you were in convalescence, but it looks like it’s needless to worry.”
Afterward, they moved to trivial arrangements such as the signal of attack. They finished all these in about a quarter koku; and Sasha hailed Elizavetta who were about to leave the cabin with her captains.
“Elizavetta. I have something to tell you.”
Although the red-haired Vanadis looked back with a dubious face, she told her two captains to wait outside as she realized that Sasha’s expression was serious. Sasha also gave a signal with a look to the captain of her army and had him wait outside.
Only the three people Sasha, Elizavetta and Matvey remained in the room. In the indoor atmosphere where feeling of high tension drifted even more than during the war council, Elizavetta felt slightly confused.
“This is a serious talk.” Sasha said as introduction.
“Have you ever seen a Demon?”
A silence of one minute of breathing fully controlled the cabin.
What broke it was the reaction of Elizavetta, who could not hide her amazement. Sasha and Matvey looked at each other so as to say that her expression was understandable. But, they could not afford to end the talk like this.
“I didn’t say this to surprise (scare) or deceive you. There is no helping if you hear so, but it is true.”
Sasha winked at Matvey next to her. It was for this purpose that she had him to be there since the war council.
Matvey talked about the matter where the ship which was returning from Asvarre was attacked by Torbalan and a badvasea dragon, while being careful so as not to become emotional. It was at this time that Elizavetta learned for the first time of the news of Olga, whom she did not know the whereabouts, and that Tigre fell into the sea.
“He~e. So Olga came back.”
Elizavetta revealed a scornful smile. She did not know what kind of reason Olga had, but Olga who she could only see as someone, who ran away from what she should do was an object of contempt for Elizavetta.
Although Matvey frowned, he refrained from rebuttal. He understood that even if he was to talk about Olga’s personality here, it would not have any meaning.
“But, Alexandra. In the letter that I received from you the other day, I think it was only written about the badvasea dragon.”
“I’m sorry about it. At that time, I myself was half in doubt about the existence of Demons. Even though I know that there is no way Sophie… Sophia would tell such a lie. And I was not expecting that I would also get involved in it.”
Sasha frankly admitted her fault and lowered her head. Though Elizavetta suspiciously narrowed her eyes, it was not about the black-haired Vanadis’ attitude, but about the contents of the speech.
“What do you mean by getting involved?”
“Last night, my ship was attacked.”
At Elizavetta, who opened wide her eyes, Sasha talked about the time she encountered Torbalan at the prow of the Zhelezo LevIron Lion last night with an indifferent tone. Even about the monster’s appearance and his paranormal abilities.
“Torbalan disguises himself as human and lay hidden in the Asvarre Kingdom. He was left with the defense of a Fort, and he seems to have the ability to command three thousand soldiers. The possibility of him leading the pirates is non negligible.”
“…Is there any evidence except the fact that he attacked your ship?”
“From the number of ships, eighty vessels, we can guess that the pirates number easily exceed ten thousand. Bringing together that much number of people and make them go not towards Asvarre or Brune, but towards Zchted. Don’t you think it required a considerable amount of ability?”
Elizavetta dropped her eyes to the worktable, and sank into silence as if to verify Sasha’s words. Before long, she asked with a sigh.
“What is that monster’s purpose?”
“I don’t know. According to Sophia and Olga, he seems to know something about Vanadis. Anyway, in this battle, I want you to keep in mind that Torbalan may appear from anywhere and attack.”
“I gratefully accept your advice. ––Are we done talking with this?”
As Sasha nodded, Elizavetta turned her back letting the hem of her dress flutter about. Though Matvey was about to move to send her off, she opened the door by herself earlier than it.
“Well then, see you again tomorrow.”
She said so and walked away. Matvey put on an amazed face, and Sasha saw off Elizavetta with a wry smile.
“Will it be all right?”
“I said what I had to say. I can only expect that it will be.”
Sasha’s tone of voice got dry. Although she did not hate Elizavetta, she did not hold so much trust to her as to rely on her, either.
In a place ahead of the sea of about a day and a half from the sea area to the west where the fleet of Legnica and Lebus had gathered, there was an island called Olsina.
The origin of the name was not known. Since it was called so since ancient times, one wondered whether it was not probably the name of the person, who discovered it. On the uninhabited island with nothing but rocks, merchant ships, which often happened to pass by the neighborhood, took a rest and anchored to avoid wind and rain.
And now in that uninhabited island, indeed eighty ships were anchored. The folded sails were painted in pitch-black and eerie, huge eyes were drawn at the prow.
All were pirate ships. It was a group led by Torbalan across the sea from Asvarre. As Sasha predicted, they advanced while dividing into ten ships each and investigated the enemy movement, but they gathered to this island by order of the leader Torbalan.
Torbalan called the captain of each squad in the center of the island, and held a war council. His identity being hidden, he acted as the human called Lester, the same as the time when he had lay hidden in Asvarre.
Though Torbalan sat on a wooden chair that was brought by a subordinate, the captains sat down on the ground. It was a scene like that of a King and his retainers.
“What is the number?”
Torbalan asked a question and the captains answered in turn. The pirates’ number had decreased by nearly three hundred people compared to when they left Asvarre. If there were those, who died from aggravation of injury and accident during the voyage, they were also those, who ran away. This result was within Torbalan’s range of expectation.
“What about the weapons, food and water?”
While shaking their body to the cold wind which drifted the sign of winter, the pirates answered. That there were enough weapons, and that food and water could last another two days, too.
As Torbalan contentedly nodded, he told with a happy smile and voice.
“We will leave this island in the early morning of the day after tomorrow, and engage the Zchted army.”
A wave of tension and shiver ran among the captains. They were originally pirate veterans, but they had never fought against the army of one country from the front and moreover on such a scale. Applying a surprise attack on the merchant ships and its escort ships, depriving them and burning them was their way of doing.
“The enemy has approximately sixty ships. As I thought, there are fewer than us. If we were to defeat these sixty ships, there is nothing that will get on our way up to the port town which lined up in the coast. You shall attack it, deprive it and burn it to your heart’s content.”
Cold sweat blurred on several pirates’ faces. For them, Torbalan’s cheerful voice sounded like that of a monster out of a fairy tale which invited one into deep darkness.
In that fairy tale, those invited were deprived of the sense of sight, then, the sense of smell and hearing within the darkness, and the sense of their whole body gradually became dull with them no longer knowing whether they are moving forward or they are turning back; and they would have been greedily devoured by the monster lurking within the darkness.
The pirates’ imagination was right in a sense. After all, the person sitting before them was not human. But, there was no one who noticed that.
“––Gerhard. Moritz. Albert.”
Among the captains sitting in front of Torbalan, the three people whose names were called stood up.
Gerhard was a big man whose face was nearly half covered with red hair and beard. Owner of a burly body, he had a double-edged battle axe and a dagger put on his waist as weapons.
In contrast to Gerhard, Moritz was a short man of small stature. He had short golden hair and no beard. This man’s weapon was two daggers hung on the waist.
Albert had a gloomy face and was usually less talkative. But, he was a brave man enough to take the lead and charge once a battle began. The spear, which was put at his feet, was this man’s weapon.
“I leave the rear to Gerhard, the left wing to Moritz and the right wing to Albert.”
It was not only for a wide range reconnaissance that Torbalan divided the eighty ships into eight squads, but also for the purpose to ascertain the ability of the captains of each squad. These three people passed his selection. They had enough capability, be it as warriors or as captains.
“Rest up to tomorrow night and recharge your batteries. Drink as much sake and water as you want and eat to your heart’s content.”
At Torbalan’s instructions, the captains simultaneously bowed their heads so as to show their gratitude. But, on their faces staring at the ground, it was not joy, but resignation mixed with awe that was blurring.
They had accurately sensed that the supreme commander’s intention was not just to raise the morale of his allies, but that he also intended to cut off their retreat by not giving room in food and water.
And the captains also understood that they no longer had any choice except to follow him.
It was the early afternoon of the next day that the scout ships of Legnica and Lebus’ Allied Forces discovered the eighty pirate ships which had anchored on Olsina Island.
Sasha and Elizavetta, who received the report, headed towards Olsina Island at less than half the normal speed in order to let the soldiers and sailors rest in turns. Now that they knew the enemy position, there was really no need to rush. Moreover, there was another reason to drop the speed for the Legnica troops.
This day, Sasha had a fever since morning and was lying in bed. The fact that she was steadily conscious and she had meal even a little made the doctor, the captain Pavel and her personal attendant Matvey, who were riding together in the flagship, relieved.
“I cannot do much while we are heading for the battlefield, but please calm down and slowly rest your body.”
Though the old doctor who grew his white beard long revealed a smile, from his shaking eyes, one could easily guess that he was irritated at himself, who could only say such a thing. Matvey and Pavel were standing side by side behind the doctor and were looking down at Sasha with grim faces.
“Vanadis-sama. Please, do not push yourselves too much. Vanadis-sama rides on this ship and is in the same battlefield as us. Just that alone gets the soldiers fired up.”
When Pavel spoke words of comfort, Matvey also said with a smile.
“When something would be up, we may also leave it to Vanadis-sama of Lebus. I understand your feelings, but please do not overdo it.”
That ‘something’ Matvey said, referred to Torbalan in this case. So as not to reveal it even to Pavel, the captain of this Dospe RybaArmor Fish, he shaded it off.
“Yes. Thank you.”
On the forehead of Sasha, who answered so, sweat blurred and some of her black hairs had clung. The old doctor softly wiped the sweat with a clean towel.
Leaving Sasha to the doctor, Pavel and Matvey left the room. They looked at each other.
“Do the soldiers know about this?”
Asked by Matvey, Pavel shook his head.
“But, since we left the port town of Lippner, Vanadis-sama behaved as much as possible so that her figure catches the soldiers’ attention. Those with good intuition may have noticed though.”
“I wonder if we can’t keep on covering it the whole day by the war council. Given the distance between the enemy movement and us, tomorrow will be the battle. If we explain so, there won’t be any doubt.”
“At any rate, given the situation, the Allied Forces are troublesome. It can’t stop suddenly, either.”
As Pavel irritatingly shook his body, the scales of the armor he was wearing made a strange sound as they rubbed against each other. Both Matvey and Pavel wanted to rest until Sasha’s physical condition improved, but they could not help being furious in the situation where they could not say such a thing.
Early morning of the next day, the pirates finally left Olsina Island.
Back to the western sky that the white light of morning could not yet reach, a deep black outline of a ship appeared. It which looked at first like one ship increased to two, then to four ships in a blink of an eye, and spread through the azure sea.
The scout ships which were near Olsina Island immediately returned to the side of the Legnica and Lebus Allied Forces. At this time, the Allied Forces were in the sea area in about ten Belsta (about ten kilometers) to the southeast from the Olsina Island. Both soldiers and sailors were in a state where they could move at any time.
Standing at the prow of the Dospe RybaArmor Fish, Sasha calmly told. Fortunately, her fever calmed down in one night, and she was on the deck with a composed attitude. The morale of the soldiers and sailors rose at her appearance, and they strove to work with vigor which blew off the cold air at dawn. Matvey and Pavel also stroked their chest in relief.
Regarding the Lebus troops, too, Elizavetta showed her dignified figure at the prow of the Margarita. As they must not fall behind the Legnica troops, the fleet of thirty one ships went forward as it sliced through the waves.
And then, it was when about one koku had passed that both armies recognized each other’s figures. The sun was not yet as a small deer top, and it would be the period of time where one wondered whether or not those living in cities and towns had finished eating breakfast.
One could not say that bright clouds spread thinly in the sky, and the wind showed no signs of being able to count on both the blowing direction and its strength. Both the Allied Forces and the pirates already folded sail and switched to navigation with only paddles.
Though the distance between both armies was about two Belsta (about two kilometers), both sides did not immediately advanced their ships and clashed. At one sea area, a little less than one hundred fifty ships in total (counting both armies) floated. Between the sky and the sea, the sound of drums and trumpets echoed, and even just reforming the lineup was not easy task.
The small galley ship Margarita, which could move faster than the big galley ship Dospe RybaArmor Fish, advanced before the fleet of the Allied Forces while leaving trails of white waves. Though it was for confirmation of the lineup, it was also meant to encourage the soldiers.
Elizavetta who was standing at the prow of the Margarita suddenly turned her eyes around when they were passing in front of the Dospe RybaArmor Fish. Her eyes and the eyes of Sasha who was standing at the prow of the Dospe RybaArmor Fish met.
As Sasha smiled, she unsheathed the twin swords at her waist and raised them high. Getting hooked on it, Elizavetta tightly grasped in her right hand the black whip, which was roundly bundled and raised it so as to push up her fist. From between the soldiers and sailors, who saw it, cheers also similar to battle cry arose.
In a place far away from the Dospe RybaArmor Fish, Elizavetta lowered her right hand. It was not only due to the cold sea breeze that her face had been dyed red.
The Legnica and Lebus Allied Forces formed a lineup almost as planned.
The Legnica troops led by Sasha took charge of the main troops of the center and the left wing. It was a distribution of twenty ships to the center and fourteen to the left wing. Commanding the left wing was a knight named Zaul, who had plenty experience of pirate subjugation. He was a man who had enough ability to be left alone in charge of one side of the battlefield.
The Lebus troops led by Elizavetta took charge of the right wing and the rear. They were twenty ships to the right wing and eleven to the rear.
The pirates also finished deploying their eighty ships. The flagship “Boogeyman” where Torbalan rode on was hoisting a large flag floating to the mast. It was something ominous, which drew red eyes on a white background.
The main troops to the center led by Torbalan had thirty five ships. The right wing commanded by Albert and the left wing by Moritz respectively had ten ships, and the rear troops of Gerhard were fifteen ships.
“So it'll be us who catch (receive) the enemy, huh.”
Matvey, who was at Sasha’s side let the tension blur and muttered.
Clouds which thinly spread in the sky increased in size and thickness, and gray lumps obstructed the sun. Torbalan who was looking up at the sky on the deck of the Boogeyman grinned.
Though the Allied Forces had the sun at their back and the pirates had become a shape bathing in sunlight from the front, the cloudy sky erased the handicap of burning their eyes in the rays of the sun. They were thinking about how to buy time until the sun reached right overhead, but that was no longer necessary.
“I suppose we shall start.”
The sound of drums and trumpets echoed from the pirate ships and the advance guard of ten ships began to advance.
This sea area had no name. Therefore, the name of the near Olsina Island was used. The battle called “Naval Battle of Olsina” or simply “Olsina” began.
The wind though not strong, was cold, and white waves were beginning to be conspicuous in the azure sea. To the roar of the waves and the sound in which rowers handled dozens of huge paddles, the hustle and bustle on the deck mixed with the soldiers’ noise and the sailors’ bellow became tremendous.
---Since it may be cold, if a strong wind blows…
Looking up at the sky, Sasha could not help thinking so. That, even though the sun would light up the sea if clouds were blown off.
The Dospe RybaArmor Fish which was Sasha’s flagship was floating slightly in front the main troops.
Though the black-haired Vanadis wanted to stand at the vanguard, she gave up due to Matvey's, the captain's as well as the sailors’ strong opposition. Since they firmly requested her to be in the rear of the main troops, this was the position that was in accord with each other’s request by half.
Though Sasha was standing at the prow until the battle started, she was now around the center of the deck. This was not because there was a demand in particular, but because the soldiers, who set up a large shield in order to defend against the enemy’s bows, crossbows and arrows lined up at the prow.
Matvey was diagonally behind Sasha. He had not forgotten about the purpose of looking for Tigre after this fight, but he was also ready to become Sasha’s shield.
“The enemy has formed a horizontal line and is heading towards us. Their number is about ten ships.”
The captain Pavel made the report. Even within the hustle and bustle, strangely, his voice was properly audible.
“Judging from the numbers, I wonder whether they are the dew sweeper…. sacrificial pawns. Have they mounted a naval ram?”
The naval ram is a weapon which is substantially mounted right under the prow. When simply built, it uses a sturdy log whose tip is sharpened. One could make a hole in the tonnage of the enemy ship and sunk it by installing this and doing a ramming (suicide) attack. Pavel replied with a stern look.
“I cannot assert, but I think that there is no doubt.”
“I leave it to you as planned.”
For Legnica which had plenty of experience in naval battles, unless in extreme circumstances, this level of conversational exchange was enough. Otherwise, no matter how much time there was, it would not be enough.
Though there was no opening because several dozens of paddles stretched left and right, the ten pirate ships, without destroying their formation of horizontal line, gradually increased the speed and pushed forward. The huge eyes drawn under the prow looked like something sinister to the Legnica soldiers.
Similarly, there were pirates, who were standing on the deck of the pirate ships and they set up bows, crossbows and a large shield, but if anything, there were more people, who were holding the large shield. The captains of the Legnica troops, who knew of that by the report of sailors, were convinced that the enemy intended to attack by means of the naval ram.
In the Legnica troops, which were confronting these ten ships, only ten ships like the enemy started to advance slowly. On every small galley ship called “ BeakerSpear”, unlike the enemy, there was no naval ram installed. The other ships moved their paddles reversely and retreated.
The pirate ships and the Legnica troops mutually shortened the distance.
From each ship, arrows and bolts for crossbows were simultaneously shot.
If the arrows, which went flying along and were drawing an arc in the sky, incessantly rained overhead of them, the bolts tore the wind and aimed straight at the enemy, pulverized the large shield and deeply pierced their bodies. The bolts could not be prevented with something like leather armor. It was also a serious injury if arrows were to hit the faces. Groans and screams of pain rose from here and there on the deck.
While the arrows continuously flew, the sound of drums and trumpets strongly reverberated. It was the Legnica troops’. The captains gave orders in loud voices like barking, and the ten ships of the Legnica troops quickly stowed the paddles on the right or the left side while subtly shifting their course in order to avoid the ram of the enemy ships.
Realizing the aim of the Legnica troops, the captains of the pirate ships got impatient. They hurriedly issued instructions to retract the paddles of the ships which they themselves directed, but it was late.
At that instant, several great, hard overlapping destructions sounds enough to burst the ears echoed.
The Legnica army ships, by avoiding the rams of the pirate ships and advancing as is, rattlingly broke several dozens of paddles stretching from the sides of the enemy ship. The scream of rowers followed in succession from inboard of the pirate ships.
To the extent that in case of failure, the ships which received a hit of the ram would sank, it was a movement impossible to realize if one, did not possess an extraordinary resolution in addition of an outstanding ability.
In fact, it did not mean that the ten ships all succeeded. The three ships which failed in the interception were pierced near the prow by the rams and inclined their hulls as early as possible.
In the ships drilled of holes, it was the very pandemonium.
Those, who were on the deck, while feeling the ship was sinking with their whole body, were busy to deal with the enemy immediately before them, and the others gathered in the place with the hole and desperately held back the inundation.
They used whatever which could be used for mending such as clothes, sails and woods to block up the hole and extracted the sea water with buckets while being submerged with the sea water up to the knees.
However, when they understood that it was no longer possible to rebuild the ship, they hurriedly escaped to the deck. At this time, the inclination of the ship got more and more worse, those who were on the deck could no longer even think of fighting.
Since the pirate ships also escaped so as not to get involved in overturn or sinking, the soldiers and sailors threw away their weapons and jumped down to the sea. Screams and jeers flew about and confusion was steadily accelerating as instructions were not transmitted.
The unlucky ones tumbled on the deck hindered by the ropes and gears thrown out due to the inclination of the barrels and ship, and they shared the same fate as the ship. They did not even have time to pray to the gods or to mutter the name of their beloved ones in their last moments.
At this stage, one could not yet say that those who escaped in the sea were safe. This was because the current dragged in the sea by the sinking of the ships occurred in the surroundings. And if caught up in it, even skilled sailors could never again surface to the surface of the sea.
Those, who desperately escaped from the sinking ships by swimming, clung to the wreckage of wood chips scattered from the ships and drifted to the surface of the sea while being careful of the arrows and humans who were falling down.
The water of the sea was nearly cold as the winter, and the allies being in the middle of a fierce battle had no room to save themselves. After all, one should say that most of the people who were boarding these three ships were not saved.
About eighty soldiers, twenty sailors and hundred rowers were riding in the “BeakerSpear” type galley types of Legnica. The three ships having sunk meant that nearly six hundred lives were lost in a little time of a count of several hundreds.
Even if they had lost three ships, it did not mean that the battle would be interrupted. As the remaining seven ships of the Legnica troops passed through the flank of the pirate ships, they spread out right and left while drawing an arc in the swelling surface of sea.
The pirate ships were not able to chase them. With just three ships of the Legnica ships sunk and the other ships, which folded their paddles and fell into a behavioral incapacitation, one could say that they were unscathed.
There, the ten ships which retreated regarding the assault of earlier approached. There were also three “RookCrossbows”, which were large galley ships here. One of them was the “Dospe RybaArmor Fish”.
“What about the movement of the enemy main troops?”
On the deck of the Dospe RybaArmor Fish, Sasha asked Pavel. The plump captain checked to the sailor, who was widely looking out over the battlefield from above the mast, and answered.
“Currently, there seems to be no sign of progress.”
“So, the first ten ships were sacrificial pawns after all.”
Though emotions disappeared from Sasha’s face, it was only temporary. While Torbalan investigated their ability, he had sent with the intent of sacrifice, ten ships in order to exhaust the Legnica troops even a little. And three ships had already been sunk.
“Pavel. Regarding the enemy proficiency, I want to hear your opinion.”
“With just these ten ships, I can’t make a judgment.”
Introducing so with a cautious tone, the captain replied while jolting his scaly armor.
“But, I think that they are tough. Perhaps their main troops may be faster than us.”
“I see. There are still more enemies. I ask based on it.”
Sasha’s words, was meaning to thoroughly crush them without relaxing their guard.
The seven pirate ships which could hardly move mercilessly poured arrows and bolts when the Legnica troops approached up to a certain distance.
The pirates were desperately fighting back, but contrary to the Legnica troops, which struck a rain of arrows while freely moving around the pirate ships, the pirate ships could not move as they wanted. They turned to the right or the left only with the paddles on one side and they could not move forward.
In addition, the Legnica troops started to shoot stone projectiles with a catapult.
This catapult was a size smaller than the one used on land, its flying distance was just about 100 Alsins (about 100 meters) and it was a stuff which could only be loaded into a “RookCrossbow” due to its weight.
But, the destructive power could not be compared to that of an arrow or a bolt.
The stone projectile being something which packed an amount of stones of fist size necessary to fill a barrel, the pirates directly hit by this were instantly reduced to a bloody lump of meat. In addition, the barrels were broken by the shock, and the stones which were packed inside popped out and attacked the pirates who were near.
Their body was squashed, their bones were smashed and screams mixed with blood splash and confusion expanded.
The three pirate ships which could freely move did not try to save their comrades who had fallen into a predicament. Deciding the aim of the rams at a new prey, they savagely pushed forward.
The three ships from the Legnica troops closest to the pirate ships, which coming towards them, changed their course and began to advance. They were all small galley ships of “ BeakerSpear” type.
They shortened the distance and mutually shot arrows and bolts. Though neither of both armies slowed down, the Legnica side slightly shifted their course in order to avoid the ram. But, the pirates, already aware of that method, also changed the angle.
A roaring sound echoed. The Legnica warships and the pirate ships collided from the front. The soldiers and the pirates fell on their knees and endured the intense shaking. The Legnica side barely avoided the rams.
After the space of about two minutes breathing, the battle along with battle cry switched over to the next stage –– hand-to-hand combat. The Legnica soldiers and the pirates, who had gathered on their respective prows, threw away their bows and crossbows and switched weapons to hand axes and small swords. They scrambled to take the lead and tried to invade to the enemy ship.
They wielded small swords and hatchets, charged with spears and threw hand axes. The people, who were in a faraway place from the prow, grasped the crossbow, charged it with a bolt and aimed at the enemy far away.
Rather than ship and ship, human and human clashed, and they shed blood letting drawn swords glitter. They smashed the head with hand axes and thrust down the large shield to the sea. They gouged belly with spear and crushed jaw with hatchet. Anyone was pushed from behind, thrust away from the flank, dragged by the feet and taken down.
Screams drowned out roars, and these screams were likewise shut out by other screams. Bloodshed of dozens of people dyed the deck red, was trampled underfoot and countless red shoe marks were done. Corpses, pieces of meat and entrails fell to the sea and disappeared into the white waves.
Both armies had high morale, the number of soldiers (of both sides) who had gathered at the prow was almost the same and though one did think that the battle would drag on, it did not happen.
The other ships of the Legnica troops took a roundabout path in the left, right and the rear of the pirate ships and mercilessly showered bows, bolts and stone projectiles. There was no one among the soldiers and sailors of the Legnica troops who hesitated to surround and gang up on the pirate ships.
Arrows pierced all over the pirate ships, the masts were dyed with blood and corpses piled up on the deck. The Legnica soldiers got in there one after another from the prow.
The pirates up to the rowers left their post, picked up weapons and fought, but they could no longer overturn their inferiority. They abandoned resistance and jumped down to the sea.
Though there were those, who threw away their weapons and surrendered, the spearhead and the tip of small swords were thrust and dropped into the sea. The rowers were no exception, too. This was because unlike the Legnica side where there were respectively soldiers and sailors, in the pirate ships those who fought as well as those engaged in work inboard were all pirates.
If they could afford, they would have captured the ships, which became empty, as spoils of war, but Sasha, without showing hesitation, ordered to set fire on them.
The report that the central troops of the enemy began to move was brought, and Sasha suddenly looked up at the sky. The gray clouds were still hovering in the background and covered the sun.
“We have seventeen ships. And the enemy has thirty five ships, huh…”
If it was as planned, the Lebus troops led by Elizavetta in charge of the right wing should join with the rear troops and make a great detour in order to attack the enemy flank. Also, the fourteen ships of the Legnica troops in charge of the left wing were probably clashing with the ten pirate ships of the right wing by now.
“It’s tough, eh. We have no choice but to do it though.”
Actually, Sasha only had one more card to play.
However, it was not something that she could reveal right now, and if possible, it was a strategy that she did not want to execute.
It was the Lebus troops of the right wing commanded by Elizavetta Fomina which were engaging the ten pirate ships commanded by Moritz since now.
The time that the battle began in the center, Elizavetta had joined with the squad of eleven ships which had been deployed in the rear. With this, the military power of the Lebus troops became thirty one ships. It was three times the enemy number.
Without throwing this number at the enemy from the front, Elizavetta made it advance to the northwest as she created a column of two rows. Which meant that she took a roundabout path to the left side of the enemy.
The wind came blowing from the north, but it was not to the extent of impairing the ship navigation. The front row of the Lebus troops cut their way through the waves and proceeded with great speed, but the back row was slightly slow and it looked like it could only advance at a speed of about half that of the front row.
The figure of the Margarita which was the flagship was in the rearmost row of the column. Though it was strange not to have stood at the vanguard of the army, Elizavetta did not rebuke in the slowness of the movement of the Margarita and turned her gaze towards the azure sea which continually played the sea roars.
Regarding the movement of these Lebus troops, Moritz also gave orders to his subordinate ships. The pirate ships were lined up in a row, but the ship at the right end advanced first and the ship next to it followed behind. Repeating this flow sequentially, the ten pirate ships changed their lineup to a vertical line at an amazing speed.
If the Lebus troops moved to the northwest, a huge empty space would be born between the main troops in the center under Sasha’s command and them. Moritz got in there and intended to attack the central main troops from the front.
“––It is as planned.”
Elizavetta, who saw the movement of the pirate ships, smiled with the eyes of a hunter looking at his prey walked into a trap. The Margarita had already begun its reversal.
If you create an opening by making a detour, the opponent will come aiming at there.
Elizavetta who thought so ordered some ships including the flagship to drop the speed while advancing, and moreover deployed the Margarita in the rearmost row.
The Lebus troops were divided in sixteen ships which continued to make a detour and fifteen ships to attack the enemy who were coming. Standing at the vanguard of the fifteen ships was the Margarita. Dozens of paddles ransacked the sea as they let a violent sound of water echo. The Lebus troops which sharply cut the waves attacked.
The pirate ships, which noticed that movement, turned to face the Lebus troops while drawing a distorted curve on the surface of the sea. There was still distance to the central main troops which they were aiming at, and it seemed that they decided to take down the Lebus troops first.
The distance between both armies narrowed every second. The figure of Elizavetta standing at the prow of the Margarita, also her vivid red hair and purple dress immediately caught the pirates’ attention. Vulgar jeering rose from the pirate ships. There were also those who whistled.
Elizavetta, far from being frightened by such a provocation, pinched the hem of her dress and gracefully bowed with a scornful laugh. Though the pirates’ wild cries became more and more awful, they turned into screams the next moment.
Tearing the cloudy sky, countless arrows were shot from behind Elizavetta. Both armies were already close enough for the arrows to reach. The Margarita’s soldiers, who felt that their master was insulted, let the sound of their bowstring resound with their face dyed red with anger.
Though the pirates fought back by shooting arrows, too, they were forestalled, their posture crumbled and their momentum was weak. And as they noticed that Elizavetta was still standing at the prow, even they also harbored suspicions.
She was still a young girl who had not yet reached 20-year-old, but she intended to fight without wearing armor. Moreover, the captain and the soldiers showed no sign of trying to stop it.
Actually, the captain and soldiers had partly given up on it, too, but there was no way that the pirates knew that fact. Battle cries overlapped in the space, the heat emitted by each one and the fighting spirit became entangled and formed the atmosphere of the battlefield.
The wind increased its ferocity, raised its groan and the prows collided with each other. Or each other’s paddles got entwined and they got bogged down. After the violent impact and shaking, the path leading to the enemy ships was opened.
The first one, who began to move at the prow of the Margarita, was none other than Elizavetta. The Thunder Swirl, which had been hung on her waist, was already in her hands.
A black shadow tinged with light, passed from right to left in an instant. A strong explosive sound, which gave one the impression of the slap of a giant, echoed and many blood sprays danced. The echo was drowned out by the duet of scream.
The whip which Elizavetta wielded blew nearly half the faces of the pirates and exposed their bones, or it completely shaved their arm flesh and moreover tore off the shoulders of their leather armor. No one would have imagined that the thin whip held in her small white hand, was endowed with this much destructive power.
Some staggered and fell into the sea without hesitation, some had already crouched in the pool of blood spawned by themselves and raised a soundless voice with a confused face.
Elizavetta, ignoring them, turned her wrist and slammed a second strike. Lightning with a black core scampered and a roaring sound also similar to that of lightning tearing off green wood pressed the atmosphere (air).
Short screams and groans overlapped, another six pirates gouged their bodies somewhere and fell down on the deck. They held their bloody head, belly or hand chipped of its fingers and shook their body in pain.
The pirates, who were setting up their weapons to try to board the enemy ship, stood stock still in blank amazement and were staring at Elizavetta with eyes as if they saw a monster. The red-haired Vanadis looked around the pirates with a sweet-looking smile.
“––Why don’t you come here?”
While kicking the prow of the flagship and letting the hem of her dress softly flutter, Elizavetta lightly jumped to the pirate ship.
The pirates, who finally came to their senses, raised hand axes and hatchets from right and left and attacked Elizavetta. And they rolled over while scattering blood and pieces of meat by the flash of the Thunder Swirl.
Whenever Elizavetta wielded her black whip, a flash of light and thunder stroke raged in all directions and the pirates fell down in the spray of blood. It was a too much one-sided fight, and her figure which proudly advanced on the deck filled with corpses was worthy of the nickname “IsgrifaFlash Princess of the Thunder Swirl”.
“Arrows! Shoot the arrows!”
Someone driven by fear shouted, and the pirates who were behind him shot the arrows without even caring about involving their comrades. They set up the crossbow and shot a bolt. There were also those who threw daggers and hand axes.
Elizavetta, not even trying to avoid them, turned her wrist. Valitsaif drew a spiral with fluid movements, and surrounded the red-haired Vanadis. The black whip became a defensive wall tinged with thunder stroke and repelled not only the arrows but even the bolt and the hand axes.
The pirates faltered. Their faces grew pale and they could not take their eyes off Elizavetta, however they stepped back trying to take distance even a little.
There, the Lebus soldiers raised battle cry and invaded their ship. The pirates had already lost their fighting spirit. Even those, who were barely holding their ground, were already at their limit. Either they crushingly turned their back and ran away or they jumped into the sea. Those who surrendered were pushed down in the sea.
Elizavetta left the control of the ship to the soldiers, turned her head and confirmed the situation.
Not only here, but also the other ships collided and a battle following it occurred. The Lebus troops hit from the side the group of pirate ships which were going straight ahead. One might say that it was a natural result that it would become a melee. But, Elizavetta felt a sense of incongruity and sharply narrowed her eyes.
As she was lost in thought, one of the soldiers hurriedly ran on the deck. Spurts of blood on his face and armor made a spotted stain of pattern due to sweat and waves splash.
“The rowers surrendered. The others dropped into the sea; we almost have complete control of the ship.”
“Very well. Well then––”
Elizavetta turned her gaze. With her whip, she pointed the pirate ship floating directly next to this ship. Here as well, a fierce battle between the pirates and the soldiers of the Lebus troops was unfolded on the deck.
“We will now invade that ship. Bump this into it.”
Even though it was immediately near, they took enough distance so as not to entangle each other’s paddles. Even if it was Elizavetta, she could not jump.
The rowers were also pirates, so in this case, it became a harmful result once they held a weapon and appeared on the deck. In accordance with the words that they would be released if they, who were scared by Elizavetta’s power, moved the ship as instructed, they immediately turned the ship around.
The prow, which turned, mowed down dozens of paddles which extended from the side of a ship ally. The noise wildly struck the eardrum, the fragments of broken paddles pranced at the deck and struck the mast, and the soldiers reflexively held down their head.
The pirate ship moved forward and ran into the allied ship and a roaring sound oppressed the hustle and bustle and the sound of weapons, and taunted the humans’ ears. Elizavetta ran taking the lead, jumped from the prow on to the pirates.
What was deployed there was, like earlier, a merciless infringement by Valitsaif. Moreover, since the pirates here were already crossing blades with the Lebus soldiers, it became the form where they were incessantly attacked from two directions.
Elizavetta wielded her black whip and continually created a bloody wind on the deck. The morale of the Lebus soldiers, who saw her figure, increased more and more and the pirates saw their number decreasing very fast.
However, Elizavetta, more than the control, had her attention focused on another thing. Though she boarded the ship from the port , she crossed the deck straight ahead while kicking about the pirates and headed to the starboard.
The azure sea was spreading over there while setting wood chips and human beings adrift on the waves. In the distance, there were figures of pirate ships forming a line. It was five ships.
---The enemy’s reinforcements? No, it isn’t.
Elizavetta immediately denied the question which welled up in her mind. This was because the group of pirate ships was gradually going away.
She suddenly heard a cry of resentment saying “they are running away”. It was from the pirate ships which were away.
Opening wide her eyes of different colors, Elizavetta stood stock still in blank amazement for about two breath minute. The red-haired Vanadis bit her lower lip so as to restrain her highly strung emotions, but even so it looked like it was still not enough and she strongly gripped the gunwale with her empty left hand.<-- 呼吸ふたつ分ほど-->
“So, it’s like that. They have done it…”
Glaring at the group of pirate ships going away, Elizavetta spat out hatefully.
It was one part of the enemy who had charged. Without even joining the battle, they abandoned their comrades and retreated.
Elizavetta finally discovered the real nature of her sense of incongruity which was shadowing her. She felt with her skin the atmosphere and noise of the battlefield which rapidly became small due to the fact that the enemy decreased.
Elizavetta returned to the Margarita while either flooring in a sea of blood the pirates who came swarming with a weapon in hand, or knocking them down in the azure sea. The captain rushed over as he was impatiently waiting the return of the supreme commander.
“I am well aware of Vanadis-sama’s strength, but please stop putting yourself in dangerous situations.”
“Leave the scolding for later and tell me about the status of the current situation.”
With a curt reply at the entreaty of the elderly captain, Elizavetta asked without beating about the bush.
According to the captain’s report, among the ten enemy ships which had attacked, the five ships which were in the front row remained in this place and fought against the Lebus troops, and the remaining five ships began to retreat before clashing with them.
“I was cautious on the fact that they would make a detour and intend to aim at our flank or rear, but it doesn’t seem to be the case. We were also able to orient several ships, but until I grasp the enemy’s intent…”
Elizavetta praised the captain’s judgment. The Lebus troops had already divided their force in two. Further dividing their force here was dangerous.
While the IsgrifaFlash Princess of the Thunder Swirl was checking the situation, five pirate ships were brought under control one after another. The Lebus troops which were here were fifteen ships. So, it was respectively three warships against one pirate ship. In addition, there was also Elizavetta who literally showed the ability of being a match for a thousand.
After a quarter koku, the Lebus troops sunk two pirate ships and captured the three others. In fact, it was not unscathed. One ship of the Lebus troops was also sunk. Moreover, another one was seriously damaged and was in a difficult state to keep fighting.
“Those who can still move, follow me. Those, who cannot, remain here and do what you should do.”
As Elizavetta ordered like that, the captain called the sailors and gave instructions. The sound of drums and trumpets soon rode through the sea breeze and echoed, and the IsgrifaFlash Princess of the Thunder Swirl’s will was transmitted to each ship.
The one ship which was damaged waved a large blue flag. It meant that it remained here. But, it did not mean that they would just idly wait for the fight to be over. Rescue as many people, who fell into the sea as possible, and afterwards pull the captured pirate ships and leave the battlefield. That was their job.
Leading the remaining thirteen ships, Elizavetta proceeded west. They had to join one koku earlier with the sixteen ships which had gone ahead and assault the enemy main troops.
Multiple signs of ships could be seen before long. The soldiers and sailors of the Lebus troops raised voice of surprise. Elizavetta softened her breath, too.
The sixteen ships of the Lebus troops which took a detour were half surrounded by a group of pirate ships. One could understand even from a distance that they were in a disadvantageous situation. The enemy number was without doubt more than ten. It might be twenty.
Hurry up. Elizavetta swallowed immediately the cry that was about to come out of her throat. She strongly grasped Valitsaif to the point that her hand hurt. While persuading herself to calm down, she drew the battlefield in her head.
---It’s hard to think that the military power of the main troops was cleft. They probably put into this place without leaving the reserve troops in the rear. It was in order to keep us away from the enemy main troops the left wing came out to the front…
Elizavetta saw through Torbalan’s tactics. Also from the fact that he had gathered nearly half the number of the whole army, that’s thirty-five ships, in the central main troops, his thought must be to crush the Legnica troops at the center in a short time. And then, he intended to crush the Lebus side one by one.
In that case, the role of the right wing and the left wing was to prevent the enemy’s detour unit from approaching their main troops.
In case that pirate ships of the left wing which had been projected were stopped by the Lebus whole army, the pirate ships in reserves would increase the thickness of the battle line for the rear of the left wing and the battle would drag on.
In the case that the Lebus troops let one part of their military power make a detour, the reserves troops in the rear would strike that detour unit. On that occasion, while the left wing which was projected was to draw the enemy main troops at the expenses of sacrifice of their several ships, the remaining would retreat as much as possible and join with the reserves troops. It was to the bitter end to reduce the number of the enemy that was in a place near the main troops.
Though it was a strategy which used his allies as a decoy, Moritz did not hesitate at all. He did not even tell anything to his comrades that he intended to abandon. It was because he was that kind of man that Torbalan left the left wing to him.
In addition, the leadership of Gerhard who was left the reserves troops was very ingenious. He did not directly stand in the way the detour unit of the Lebus troops. He first attacked from the right side, moved his pirate ships subordinates little by little and sneaked around to the front.
There, the five ships led by Moritz attacked from the left side of the detour unit and completed a half encirclement status. If it wasn’t for those two, the pirate ships would not have been able to surround the sixteen ships of the detour unit of the Lebus troops in this much short time.
While standing at the prow of the Margarita and glaring at the enemy who gradually increased and her ships allies, Elizavetta spoke bitterly.
“We were splendidly outwitted; to think that they easily abandoned their allies. I should say it’s as expected of the pirates.”
The distance to the enemy ships narrowed. If they advanced straight like that, they would probably strike the squad led by Moritz from the side or behind. However, Elizavetta gave an order other than advancing.
“––To the southwest.”
Which would mean to the left and diagonally forward. The Margarita which was advancing at the vanguard changed its course to there and the following twelve ships emulated it. Blade sounds, roars, the sound of water and the crash sound of ships. The sea breeze carried various sounds of the battle to Elizavetta’s ears.
Pushing the anger welling up within (her), Elizavetta hung up the Thunder Swirl and fixed her breathing.
The fatigue was felt, but she could fight.
Though Sasha told her to preserve her stamina, it was probably still all right.
The distance to the pirate ships narrowed down to several hundred alsins. The pirates who noticed their presence shot arrows, but probably because most of them were concentrated on the attack of the detour unit, there were few (arrows).
The Lebus troops passed through the side of Moritz’s squad and approached the squad led by Gerhard.
Elizavetta pointed one ship with a finger.
The Lebus troops increased their speed. The sea breeze increased its strength and coldness. In spite of the arrow which fell with a clattering sound, the Margarita pushed their way kicking about the surging sea.
Since the pirate ships faced towards the detour unit, the Margarita used a strategy which aimed at the stern (of the ship). Dozens of pirates set up their weapons and gathered at the stern with a fiendish smile. They intended to invade the moment that the Margarita came in contact.
However, that ‘moment’ that they eagerly waited for never came.
In a place at about ten alsins (about ten meters) until the Margarita came in contact with the pirate ships, Elizavetta raised Valitsaif.
The black whip, which cut the air and danced, was divided in nine parts from the tip of the handle, and each part was wrapped in white lightning. It was too much dazzling, to the extent that the figure of Elizavetta who held it in her hand could not be seen. A sound, which burst the air that swelled due to the electrical discharge, struck the earlobes of the pirates who stood stock still in surprise.
Brightening her golden and azure pupils with a strong will of destruction, the Vanadis of LazirisRainbow eyes shouted.
“––Gron LazrigaBurn and Split Heaven and Earth!”
Nine flashes of lightning growled and burst in the pirate ships and lightning illuminated the area. A huge column of water blew up along with a thunderous sound, and poured down over the pirate ships and the Margarita in a rain of sea water containing a large quantity of wood chips. Screams rose from the pirate ships and many sounds of water followed it.
The time that lightning melted in the air and that the humans’ eyes recovered the view of the surroundings, the stern of the pirate ships were greatly destroyed and were sinking with a tremendous force.
Rather than saying that it had hole, it would be appropriate to say that the stern was scooped out. The pirates who had gathered in the stern fell into the sea all without exception; the sea water became an unusual torrent and was sucked up inside the ships. What Elizavetta aimed at was not the pirates, but right under the ships.
At Elizavetta, who heaved a small sigh, the soldiers holding the shield rushed over. From this situation, there was no telling whether or not arrows might come flying. They had to protect their master.
As the IsgrifaFlash Princess of the Thunder Swirl walked up to the captain, she ordered to keep attacking the squad of Gerhard. The captain did not answer “understood” and with a sullen face, said this.
“Would you please behave yourself from here on?”
“I have been behaving myself for quite a while, you know?”
Elizavetta brushed her hair that was about to fall on her forehead and answered. She was quite tired. Considering the fight against Torbalan, it would better that she no longer used her VedaDragonic Skill.
Using the opportunity at which the pirate ships were confused by the lightning which appeared on the ground, the Lebus troops took a roundabout path to the flank of Gerhard’s squad. They bumped into the pirate ships with ferocity like a shark attacking its prey, raised battle cries and got in.
Although the pirates fought hard, too, they, who did not know the VedaDragonic Skill, were not able to forget the sight of the earlier attack and their morale did not increase very much. One ship, then another one were brought under the control of the Lebus troops or sunk, and the number was reduced. There were also ships which were set on fire and were sinking while blowing up black smoke.
If Moritz and Gerhard could keep their coordination, they might have taken a little more effective response against Elizavetta. But, now that they were completely divided, it was impossible.
After all, the pirate ships, which Elizavetta sank with her VedaDragonic Skill, were playing the role to convey to the enemy the intent of Moritz and Gerhard respectively. This was not a coincidence; the red-haired Vanadis aimed at it and passed by the side without attacking Moritz’s squad.
Even Torbalan who gave the plan to Moritz and company did not expect that Elizavetta would accurately devise the division up to here.
By Torbalan’s assumption, the Lebus troops should come straight to assault Moritz’s squad in order to save their allies surrounded by the enemy, and Moritz would invite them within the encirclement formation by pretending to break through and annihilate them together with the detour unit. It should have been so.
Elizavetta, or only at this time anyway, outwitted Torbalan.
The detour unit of the Lebus troops which was released from the half encirclement status left its friendly troops deal with Gerhard’s squad which was on the right side, and started a counterattack to Moritz’s squad which was on the left side.
Elizavetta’s VedaDragonic Skill was something which rang a bell to the pirates.
A white lightning and roaring thunder were the proof that she was fighting in the front line where arrows flew about and blades were jumbled together. There was no Lebus soldier who did not cheer up after knowing it. Even those who were severely wounded and fell to their knees stood up with bloody weapons in hand and attacked the pirates.
If they had no weapon, they fought with shield or held boat for work with several people and threw it. If there were those who took the weapons on the corpses lying down and slashed, there were also those who received a body blow and fell together into the sea.
It was a tremendous offensive to the extent that the pirates who were used to fighting scene turned pale.
At this time, Moritz’s squad had four ships remaining, but two ships sank in the sea within a short time. The detour unit of the Lebus troops, which was attacked from three directions, the front, the right and the left until just a while ago, threw all the anger they stored without saving anything.
Moritz abandoned resistance. He retreated using one ship ally as a shield and turned back the ship that he boarded.
He ran away. He deserted his comrades.
Though the detour unit was also surprised at this, it could not be compared to the shock that the pirates received. From the ship used as a shield, those who gave themselves up to despair and jumped into sea and those who threw away their weapons and surrendered appeared one after another. It did not mean that there was no one who kept fighting, but their fighting spirit had visibly declined.
Moritz’s withdrawal, not being even conveyed to Gerhard’s squad, also gave them unrest. Similarly here, there were also those who threw away their weapons and surrendered and those who tried to escape by boats for work; they divided here and there.
Gerhard had eagerly taken command in the flagship, but seeing the Lebus soldiers invading one after another from the prow and stern, he finally gave up the command. As he tightly grasped the double-edged battle axe which was in his hand, he raised a beast-like roar and charged.
Though the Lebus soldiers held up their swords, set up their spears and shot them on Gerhard, the strength of this red-haired pirate who was proud of his big frame forged in war and rough seas was not average.
A blow of the battle axe which was spun from his strong arm smashed the cranium along with the helmet of a Lebus soldier and threw out blood and gray matter on the deck. As he pulled out his bloodstained axe with all his strength and kicked down the corpse, this time he swung with a side blow and sent flying the head of a second person.
The pirates recovered their fighting spirit to the valiant courage of their commander and the Lebus soldiers, overwhelmed by their intensity, moved backward by several steps. While spreading new blood on the deck painted out with blood of allies and foes, Gerhard pushed forward.
Ahead of his gaze, there was the figure of Elizavetta who swung the Thunder Swirl and defeated the pirates.
Her black whip made irregular movements, and partly because it had a long range, the Lebus soldiers had opened a distance of three or four steps. Her vivid red hair and purple dress, which could clearly be confirmed even by soldiers far away, encouraged them.
Being able to turn the tide of the battle by defeating the enemy commander was also possible even in sea battle. Gerhard who either pushed the Lebus soldiers or mowed them down with his battle axe attacked Elizavetta. He released his right hand from the battle axe which he was holding with both hands and raised it only with his left hand.
As Elizavetta glanced at the redhead pirate, she silently turned her right hand.
The handle of the battle axe was blown off along with a dry, plosive sound, and the dark gray double-edged blade flew in midair while rotating and pierced the gunwale. Gerhard who seemed to have lost his weapon, however, pulled out the dagger on his waist with quite natural movements.
He defeated most of the opponents with his battle axe, but against a formidable enemy, while attracting attention with his big frame and battle axe, he aimed at the vital part with his dagger. That was this redhead pirate’s way of fighting.
He could not defend against the whip. The soldiers were not in time, too. Gerhard while being convinced of his victory tried to thrust his dagger on Elizavetta’s face.
The next moment, the redhead pirate’s view made an about-turn. The dagger cut the sky and Gerhard’s big frame was slammed on the deck.
As Elizavetta who did not even try to avoid the dagger extended her empty left hand and casually grabbed Gerhard’s face, she dragged it down with all her might. Not by destroying his balance to make him fall down, but with physical strength and grip.
It was an unbelievable strength enough to make one think that even the term “superhuman” was somewhat kind to describe it with. Gerhard’s big frame covered with muscles was heavy to the extent that it would be difficult even for an adult to lift it. But a young girl who had not yet reached 20-year-old managed it with one hand.
However, Gerhard was not even given enough time to understand that fact. As Elizavetta released her hand from the pirate’s face, the Lebus soldiers, who rushed over, one by one thrust his body with spears. With a stunned face as could be, Gerhard died.
Due to Moritz’s flight and Gerhard’s death, the battle finally came to an end in this area. The pirate ships which were still remaining scattered about and escaped.
Elizavetta gave strict order not to chase them. It was not out of mercy. This was not because there was no need to wipe out pirates, but because there was still an enemy that should be defeated.
“Postpone the damage check. It’s also fine not to reform the ranks. We will attack the flank of the enemy main troops.”
Elizavetta ordered to the captain and he turned the prow of the Margarita to the west. The main troops of pirates led by Torbalan should be over there.
As the sound of drums and trumpets conveyed Elizavetta’s order to the other ships, the Margarita stood at the vanguard and pushed its way through the sea. The twenty ships which could still fight followed; the three ships which were damaged to the extent that they could no longer fight were left in this place, and they would deal with the rescue of those who fell into the sea.
“It took more time than I thought. Even the ships and people…”
While hearing the report at the bow of the Margarita, Elizavetta bit her lower lip with an annoyed expression. She wondered how the battle of the center and the battle of the left wing turned out.
“Please hold out until I arrive.”
It was at that time that the Legnica army left wing was wiped out by the right wing squad of the pirates.
The battle between the Legnica army left wing commanded by the knight Zaul and the pirates right wing led by Albert was as followed.
Regarding each military power at this sea area, the Legnica troops were fourteen ships and the pirates’ side was ten ships. When Zaul knew that the enemy number was fewer than his army, he changed his lineup that was one horizontal line. He made a bow type formation by making the left and right advance and the center retreat. He intended to exterminate the enemy with half encirclement.
On the other hand, the ten pirate ships with Albert as their commander organized their fleet in a vertical line. It was clear that they intended to go around behind the Legnica troops by a central breakthrough.
In this clash, Albert was the winner. The pirate ships which charged straight bathed in a rain of arrows, ate Zaul’s fleet even though they took out three ships damaged by receiving the Legnica army’s ramming attack, tore it off, divided it and came out to the back.
The pirate ships made a detour to the left like that, half surrounded one side of the Legnica warships which were divided. Losing the advantage of the number, the Legnica warships which were attacked from the flank and rear were burnt one after another without putting up a good fight and were sunk.
“The flagship. Search the enemy flagship!”
Zaul who commanded the Legnica troops shouted with a hoarse voice and fiercely advanced the flagship which he boarded to the enemy camp. Although this greatly raised the morale of his allies, it was a failure as a result.
One pirate ship had set a strong blow from the side and Zaul’s ship was caught up by (in) the reef. Albert who was the commander of the pirate ships knew well where in this battlefield the reef was.
Although Zaul’s ship desperately moved the paddles, it could only either ransack the sea surface with waves or hit the reef. The Legnica troops left wing, whose flagship’s movement was sealed, was confused and their movement began to be disordered.
The pirate ship which managed the blow also ran aground on the same reef, but it intended to crash into it to from the beginning.
The pirates started shooting arrows towards Zaul’s ships one after another with the bows and crossbows they had prepared. In addition, even other pirate ships hit fire arrows from all directions.
“This is as far as I can go, huh… I would not even be able to apologize for letting the soldiers and sailors entrusted to me by Vanadis-sama die”
On board a ship which can no longer keep fighting with the fire, Zaul regretted. While the rain of arrows poured incessantly, he ordered to his remaining subordinates to take down all the boats for operation on the reef. And then, that they picked up the soldier and sailors on them and escaped to the sea as far as possible.
However, he himself would remain to the end and share the same fate with the burning ship. The time that his body disappeared within the flames, it was said that more than thirty arrows were stuck to his body.
The flame which wrapped up the ship also spread to the pirate ships which ran aground on the reef. The two ships turned into a huge torch on the reef and kept blowing up black smoke until they burned out.
Though it was thought that the morale of the Legnica soldiers fell due to the lost of their commander, it was opposite.
They, who knew Zaul’s heroic death, turned their sorrow and anger into fighting spirit and bravely continued to fight. Those who escaped from the flagship were rescued by other ships, but they again challenged the pirates without even taking a rest.
The side of the Legnica soldier, who defeated the pirate in front of him, was scooped out with the battle axe of the pirate who came attacking from the flank. That pirate was also beat with a club and fell into the sea and with his face applied to the water’s surface, he never moved again. Such a scene was unfolded countless times while changing the details.
Speaking from the results, the Legnica army left wing squad was wiped out. However, they reduced the number of pirate ships to two by then.
Albert, who was the commander of the pirates stood many times at the vanguard, boarded the enemy ship and each time dyed his favorite spear with the Legnica soldiers’ blood, but he was killed by receiving a stray arrow in his head.
It was a too disappointing death which could not be imagined from his severe way of fighting.
There were only two remaining ships on the pirate side, but both, full of damages, were no longer in a state to fight.
Above all else, due to the lost of their commander Albert, they were not able to decide how they should move.
As they pulled up their comrades who were floating on the sea surface, based on the talk between those who were playing the supporting role, they arrived at the conclusion to observe a good time and join with their allies. Then, they began to move slowly.
However, they were discovered by the Lebus troops led by Elizavetta about a half koku after and captured.
- this ship is the pirate ship where Elizavetta jumped
- here means the left side of the ship
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