Saturday, October 7, 2017

Altina the Sword Princess Volume 12 Side Story part 2

Translator: Skythewood
Editor: Darkdhaos

The next morning——

The soldiers were a little excited.
Because there had turkey for breakfast.

Marion showed a “How’s that!” face.

【The troops will become stronger now right?】

【This will do.】

After breakfast, Jerome gathered the soldiers in the plaza.

And said bluntly:

【You lot are too weak!】

【Ugh…】

The soldiers reacted timidly. There were people who scolds others in normal units, but this came from the black knight himself, so no one dare refute him.

【Absolutely weak. If this unit loses, the fort will fall and the citizens will be dead.】

【Ughhh…】

They looked as if they were about to cry.

【So you have to win! In order to do so, I will train you!】

Jerome roared.

The soldiers looked at each other.

A youth standing in front raised his hand.

【W-We will become stronger?】

【Of course! Strength and sword skills can’t be trained in a day or two. But your mentality can become stronger! It will just take an instant!】

【Woahh!】

The soldiers’ expression became cheerful.

The eyes of Marion who was listening besides him also started sparkling.

Jerome spat:

【Why are you lot showing such a naive expression!? When I say you can change in an instant, I mean—— you will change the instant you see hell!】

【H-Hell!?】

The atmosphere of hope that was hyped up disappeared in an instant.

Jerome raised the corners of his lips.

【I will let you witness hell! So change properly for the sake of defeating the enemy —— No, when the time comes, you probably won’t think much of the enemy.】

Marion panicked.

【W-Wait! What are you going to do!? There’s only recruits and old timers here!? If you go too far, they will be worn out before the battle...】

【Who cares about that! We will start the ‘you will rather be dead’ training today! No, people will actually die. Those without drive, those not capable enough and those who are unlucky!】

【That won’t do!】

【Anyone who can’t do it can sound out. I can excuse him from training.】

Marion patted her chest in relief.

The soldiers also showed an expression that says “Since you say so”.

【You lots… really want to live your entire lives in a decadent way huh. You believe you won’t be treated harshly just because you’re weak soldiers. Even now, when the enemy might come this day and murder your entire family, you still can’t find the resolve to die for the cause. Retards! That’s why you lot are the worst unit. It has nothing to do with being recruits or old timer. It’s because of your wimpy nature! That’s why you all will die, every single one of you!】

【What…!?】

The faces of Marion and the soldiers turned green.

He didn’t care how scared they were, and spoke mercilessly.

【I’m not a drill instructor. This is not a boot camp. You are in a fort, at the front line, a warzone! I will treat weaklings like weaklings. Those who can’t keep up with today’s training just sound out. I will assign them to hunt wild games in the forest.】

The soldier who raised his hand stepped forward.

【This is tyranny! It’s as good as telling us to die! There are 《Green Berets》 in the forest! How can you give such a cruel order!?】

【Hmmp, then complain to the Ministry… I don’t mind. When those damn bureaucrats in the capital slowly make their way here in the autumn to investigate, you think this fort will still be here?】

【Ughh…】

【Don’t you lots have the will to die for the sake of protecting this fort?】

【O-Of course we have… But, everyone needs to fight together...】

【Bunch of retards! Battles have to be fought on your own! Allies will just hold you back!】

【Eehhh!?!】

The youth stumbled a step back.

Marion hugged her head.

【T-That’s because… you are strong. The weak needs to work together with others...】

【The precondition for co-op battle is for each individual to have a certain skill standard! Cooperation between the weak just makes me laugh! Even if you pile up trash to form a hill, that is still garbage!】

The youth refuted again.

【T-There’s power in numbers! That’s what the others taught me. If everyone work together, there can be miracles… We have 600 people here… Even if you are the black knight, we can beat you too!】

He rest his hand on his hilt.

Jerome didn’t move, or reach for his sword.

【And?】

【Take back your words! Don’t conduct training that might lead to deaths! Don’t issue the cruel orders of heading into the forest!】

Fufufu… Jerome laughed quietly.

【You can beat me with 600 men? Then try me. Let me show you that gathering trash together will still be trash. Draw your sword!】

【U-Ughhh...】

Jerome sauntered forward slowly, closing in on that young soldier.

【The training starts now. The rules are simple. Survive.】

【Ehh?】

【Survive in a fight against me. Don’t worry, I will hold back since this is training.】

【What are you saying…!?】

The young soldier flew into the air.

He was sent flying because Jerome punched him in the stomach.

At the same time, he snatched the sword fastened to the soldier’s waist. It was a mass produced product of the military, but it was well taken care of.

【Hmmp… Only your weapon is good. Oh right, let me say this first, this is training. Anyone who runs from this plaza will be treated as desertion before the enemy —— I will really kill them. If you don’t want to die, then don’t run.】

【K-Kill him ahhhh—— !!】

Another soldier charged him.

Jerome leaned back to dodge.

He then hit that person with the flat of his sword, flooring him.

Next, he swing his sword at someone just standing with a blank face. Blood gush out from that man’s forehead.

【Ahhh—— !?】

【How careless! Dozing off in my face!? You have a death wish!?】

A few men behind cried out and fled.

【Uwahhhh——!!, T-This is weird! Weird! Noooo!】

【No! Don’t run! You will really be killed!】

Marion yelled.

Those who had not completely lost it reacted to her orders. They pulled and grounded those who were trying to escape.

【D-Don’t run! Lady Marion is right! If the black knight really wanted to kill, there would be plenty of corpses already!】

【B-B-But but!】

【Look! H-He’s alive! Probably!】

The youth who were sent flying at the start staggered to his feet.

【Ugghhhh… Blaarrgghh!!】

He threw up.

Jerome shrugged.

【Ara, even though we had turkey for breakfast.】

【D-Demon.】

【Kukuku… don’t be retarded —— I’m a good guy who won’t talk back when the priest lectures me during mass.】

The soldiers finally understood the situation.

The man before them was a hero, had extraordinary prowess, a terrible personality and didn’t care about the sanctity of life.

Marion shouted:

【Everyone, remember how it is done in our training! Surround him and finish him off!】

【Good, that’s more like it. The whole lot of you, come at me. I suggest you hurry up. If I get tired —— I won’t be able to hold back my strength.】

The screams of 600 men echoed through Fort Hauport.




Night——

Jerome lied in his bed that was beside the window. The candle was already out.

There was a knocking on the door.

He didn’t answer.

After a moment, the door opened quietly.

Someone came in.

The moonlight shining through the window illuminated a petite figure.

【……】

【Night raid? That’s nice, but don’t need to knock for that.】

That figure was surprised by Jerome’s voice—— then exhaled.

It was Marion.

【Answer properly if you are still awake.】

【I was asleep.】

【… Liar. Can the knocking sound wake you?】

【This is a battlefield.】

【Then… No, forget it. By the way, about the training today...】

【Was I too lenient?】

【It’s the opposite! I think you went too far. That was like a war. The infirmary is full, and our hands are full with the injured… S-Some of them even cried!?】

【I’m one of them. You lot are so useless it made me cried.】

【Please don’t joke with me!】

【Hah… You are the one who is joking with me. What’s the use of such weak soldiers in a war? If the enemy attacks, when the first few soldiers are killed, half of the troops will flee. Even though I’m their only opponent, they ended up in such a state.】

【T-that’s because… You’re too fast...】

【In war, that’s how sudden a situation would change in your immediate region. When your allies in front of you falls, you will become the front rank.】

【… Most of the soldiers are conscripted farmers. They used to work in farms or construction.】

【I can tell from how they mustered. The standard of the Seventh Army expedition unit is still acceptable. But those who stayed behind in this fort are trash.】

【I don’t deny that. That’s why no one complain even when a woman like me became the commander. The soldiers here aren’t elite like the Fourth Army.】

【What then? Raise the white flag and surrender when Estaburg invades?】

【Erm…】

【We will all die one day. Since they are soldiers, they should at least die in a battle with the enemy. Being shot dead while running away will be absolutely disgraceful.】

【I-I know… But that’s too harsh...】

【You should know very well that normal training will never make those lot become standard soldiers.】

【Such a thing!】

Marion went closer to the bed.

Unexpectedly, she wasn’t wearing a uniform, but a dress that bares her shoulder. Just like an aristocratic lady.

Jerome looked at her figure illuminated by the moonlight.

【Has the bruising faded…?】

【That’s impossible. I put on make-up.】

【Going into a man’s room in the middle of the night with make-up. This wouldn’t end with nothing. Well, no one would be unmoved by this.】

【Y-Yes… That’s right… The black knight should be used to such things...】

Marion said with her voice trembling.

Jerome said with a voice that seemed to be melting into the night.

【Well then, first is night time etiquettes… Before you get on the bed, take off your dress.】

【...】

She put her hands on her shoulders and froze.

Taking off her clothes —— She seemed to be struggling with her sense of shame.

Jerome smiled wryly.

【If you want to use the dagger you hid behind you effectively, then hide your killing intent.】

【You knew…!?】

Marion whose face turned completely red stabbed with her dagger.

Acting decisively, not bad.

Jerome grabbed her wrist that was holding the dagger.

Her wrist was so slender that it would probably break if he exert a bit more force. As expected of a woman’s wrist power.
Unlike that Princess.
【Well, it’s that princess who is strange. This is normal.】

【I-I will kill you!】

【Don’t you want to defend the fort? How are you going to do that if you kill me?】

【Everyone will be dead before that if they undergo such harsh training! I will protect everyone!】

Jerome grabbed the front of collar and pulled her in.

【Retard! Those lots are so useless because you’re overly protective of them!】

【Overly protective!?】

【Just watch me carefully! As long as I don’t think you all are hopeless, I won’t give up on all of you just yet!】

【Think I’m… hopeless… give up…!?】

【What people really think isn’t expressed through words, but actions—— I’m training them, and you want to stop me. Who do you think the troops will choose for the sake of becoming stronger? Who will they choose to win the war? Harsh training? They survived. So they will be stronger tomorrow!】

【I, I… Everyone...】

Marion trembled and couldn’t say a word.




The bugle for reverie was blown before dawn.

Training just like yesterday began.

【Hyaaaa—!!】

【Gyaaa——!!】

Jerome swung his fist and a soldier flew.

At this moment, several swords slashed at him.

Many people was sent flying the day before, so they got used to it. They were not fazed when a couple of them were knock into the air.

【Die, black knight!】

【Hmmp… Naive.】

Jerome drew his sword, parried all the incoming swords and kicked the stomach of his opponent.

【Blarrghhh—!!】

The training continued until breakfast, and then went on until the bell signalling the night fall.

One month passed.




Fortress City Marschtedt——

Morning, Coignieres practiced his sword in the courtyard.

Even though he spent most of his day on war conference and administrative paper work.

But on the battlefield, the thing he could count on was his own body. So he couldn’t relax on his training.

【Hah! Hee!】

【Morning, you are full of drive.】

The man who came to the courtyard was the acting commander of the black knights—— Holger.

After wiping his sweat with a towel handed to him by a maid, Coignieres said with a smile.

【You flatter me… This must be child’s play for Sir Holger.】

The black knights had the reputation of being the strongest knights in the Empire after all.

The First Army was said to be the strongest in the past, but there was a rumour of a skirmish during the Founding Day Festival in which the black knights won convincingly.

Holger shook his head.

【No no… you are really strong. Sorry for interrupting your practice, I received a letter here.】

【Letter?】

【From our Sir Strategist.】

【Oh, Sir Regis!?】

There were two letters.

【One is for Lord Jerome. I took a look, it concerns aiding Hauport City on their food supply and some other matters.】

【Eh, you opened a personal letter!?】

【Well, if there is any orders for the Black Knights, I have to carry them out after all.】

【Oh, I see.】

【I didn’t open the letter addressed to Sir Coignieres, so don’t worry.】

The wax seal on the letter was intact.

【Ah, no… I’m not doubting you.】

【Haha… I know you don’t mean anything by that. But I’m from a foreign nation, so it’s normal for you to be suspicious. There’s nothing wrong with that.】

【You think there’s nothing wrong with this?】

【Trusting others might be a virtue, but others will prefer a commander to be wary of everything.】

【Indeed, a commander that’s easily tricked don’t feel reliable.】

【That’s right… By the way, did you write a letter to Sir Strategist earlier?】

【I merely tagged along with Lord Jerome’s personal mail. I’m ashamed to say that I wrote about the current situation in the eastern front, and hope to get his advice.】

Coignieres broke open the wax.

He opened the letter.

Regis’ signature was on the letter.

Holger had an intrigued expression.

【Ohh, what did the Sir Strategist say? Ah, no… it’s fine if it’s not convenient to tell me.】

【Fufu… I already told you that I trust Sir Holger.】

Coignieres opened the letter for Holger could read it too.

Holger was surprised, and his gaze then fell on the words.
【Hmmm… This is...】

【Yes, this is just like a divination letter.】

【What should we do?】

【I was thinking about focusing on defending earlier but...】

【The Black Knights can deploy at any moment.】

【The Seventh Army too.】

Coignieres and Holger locked eyes, then nodded.




Fort Hauport——

Lunch time.

【Meat! Give me more!】

The soldiers had a murderous air about them.

Blood kept dripping from the young soldier’s outreached arm. Marion ran to him with bandages when she saw that.

【Aren’t you hurt!?】

【Ah, Lady Marion… Hurt? Ohh, this is just a scratch from the black knight’s sword. It didn’t hit break the bone, I will be fine.】

【Y-You got slashed by a sword...】

【There are guys with fractures too. If I get bothered by this, I would lose my head.】

【But pus will form if you ignore your wounds?】

【If it rots, I can just cauterize it. Everyone does that, it’s much simpler.】

【… Cauterize!?】

【But I will feel hungry if I bleeds—— Ah, speaking of which, Lady Marion.】

【W-What…?】

【Thank you very much! I heard these meat are prepared by Lady Marion. Everyone’s very grateful!】

【Erm… It’s thanks to the citizens who are willing to share it with us, and Sir Regis who promised to prepare their winter provisions...】

【Sir Regis is awesome! But Lady Marion is the one who brought us the meat. Please watch me, I will do it! I will definitely hit the black knight tomorrow!】

The soldiers around her also said 【That’s right!】【Kill him!】

Marion sighed again.

【… Be careful.】

【Yes!】

A messenger ran over and knelt before Marion.

I’m the deputy commander now—— Even though that was what Marion was thinking, it must be important since the messenger was in such a rush.

【What’s the matter!?】

【A large group of men was sighted in the forest! It might be an enemy attack!】

【E-Enemy attack!?】

【What should we do!?】

【Are you sure about that? We need to grasp their numbers first...】

A face suddenly appeared—— it was Jerome.

He grabbed the messenger by the collar.

【You must report to me, the commander first.】

【M-My apologies.】

He apologized with a bitter face.

Jerome roared:

【Sound the alarm right now!】

Marion said frantically:

【Ehh!? But we need to confirm if it really is the enemy...】

【Retard, speed is of the essence in war! If the report is wrong, then just snap the neck of the guard on watch!】

He flung the messenger out.

【Uwahh!?】

【Sprint! Sprint with all your might! Sound the alarm and report on the enemy’s movements!】

【Yes Sir!】

The messenger stumbled and ran off.
Marion’s face turned gloomy.

【If it was a mistake, then everyone would be worried over nothing...】

【This can be a training drill. More importantly… They are here. It’s real.】

【Eh?】

Jerome twisted his lips.

【Kukuku… This atmosphere isn’t bad. There’s a powerful guy. And he’s letting out his killing intent purposely in order to intimidate.】

【L-Liar! Who… Who would know about killing intent or something!】

【Is that the extent of your common sense? Your power level is too low.】

【What!?】

【Just stay in a place the arrows won’t reach and watch.】

【I can fight too!】

Jerome pat Marion’s shoulder.

【You are shaking, don’t push yourself.】

【Ah…】

【Cowards will just get in the way.】

After leaving a hurtful comment, Jerome walked to his horse.

A moment later, the alarm rang.

【Enemy attack————!! Enemy attack———— It’s the Estaburgers!!】




As they had planned ahead of time, the gate on the city side was opened to let the citizens in.

They were allowed to squeeze into the courtyard. There was no roof, no place to lie down, and only the muddy ground. It wasn’t a place one could stay for several days.

But staying here was better than staying in the city and being slaughtered by the enemy. The citizens weren’t unhappy about this, and even offered words of encouragement to the troops.

A messenger ran over.
【Lady Marion, we have rounded up all the citizens! Closing the west gate now!】

【Good, hurry. And inform Sir Coignieres about the attack.】

【We will send a smoke signal!】

【Right, make it quick.】

Marion looked to the sky. The sun was a bit to the west now, but it would be six hours before it gets dark.

Will the fort hold til then…

Will reinforcement come…?

The smoke signal reporting the enemy attack was sent.

Marion looked towards the eastern wall.

The black knight was there.

Jerome scaled the eastern wall and stare down his enemy.

Enemy soldiers kept pouring in, numbering about 20,000.

They have not attack yet.

It might look close, but this place was still 50Ar (3573m) from the forest. Not a distance that could be closed in one go.

It would be 15 minutes before they reached the point where the fort’s arrows could reach them.

【Kukuku… that’s quite a number.】

Jerome said something terrifying with a laugh.

The soldiers looked scared.

【C-Commander, aren’t you afraid?】

【Afraid of what?】

【We only have 600 people while the enemy have 20,000… Erm… How many times do they outnumber us?】

Another soldier said:

【It’s 30 times. And those in green armour are the 《Green Berets》. The archers of Estaburg are really strong.】

Jerome glared at the troops.

【Fu? You think 30 mob soldiers from Estaburg are stronger than me? Seems like I have been going too easy for my training.】

【Ugh!? No… not at all...】

【Then laugh! Don’t lose to those bastards!】

【Y-Yes!】

The atmosphere changed.
The soldiers intimidated by the 20,000 enemy started laughing. Soon, others joined them.

Forcefully laughing to suppress one’s fear was better than trembling.

Jerome thought:

—— They actually committed their main forces all at once huh.

Their intention was to win an overwhelming debut battle, then ride the momentum to continue their attack.

The Estaburg soldiers wore green armour and held bows. Even though they were attacking a fort, they were using mid poundage bows. Those were probably their preferred weapon.

The enemy commander was no fool. He knew no weapons were better than the ones they were used to.

When sprinting in the forest, a long bow gets in the way. It was more effective to use a shorter bow in the woods.

It was very difficult to watch out for arrows shot by enemies hiding in the shadows of the woods.

On top of that, the grass and roots made the terrain worse, making it hard to close in with the enemy. A clumsy pursuit might run into an ambush. Archers in the woods were a formidable foe.

However, those Estaburg soldiers had come out onto the plains.

This was a good chance.

It was impossible for the 600 men to proactively attack the 20,000 enemy, but they could definitely hit the enemy’s vanguard hard.

A messenger ran to him.

【Commander! A letter from the capital!】

【What?】

【It’s from the strategist Sir Regis d’Auric!】

—— At a time like this!?

Jerome glared at him fiercely, which made the innocent messenger yelp.

【Tchh… Later! A battle is ongoing right now!】

【Eh!? But Sir Strategist...】

【What use is a letter from a capital when the battle here had already started!? Just toss it over there!】

【Y-Yes Sire...】

The messenger backed away with a nod.

Jerome gritted his teeth.

Maybe Regis predicted this situation and wrote down a counter measure.

But Jerome was a man known as a hero.

He wasn’t that desolate that he had to rely on someone so far away from the battlefield.

——Even without Regis’ schemes, I can win!

The sentry yelled:

【Commander! They have passed the marker!】

【Fire the ballistas!】

The catapults fixed to the city walls toss out stones the size of a human head.

They had marked the range before hand, so it would definitely hit.

Even though the Estaburg archers were skilled, their shots couldn’t reach the fort with the mid poundage bows they used in the woods.

For the time being, the attacks were one sided.

—— There isn’t enough ballistas in this fort.

They inflicted less than a thousand enemy casualty.

Soon, the arrows from the Estaburg army came flying.

They already knew about the proficiency of the enemy’s archer, so the defenders were prepared.

A large shield that needed several people to erect was lifted up.

Arrows fell like a torrential rain.

【Wahh!】

A soldier who screamed got hit by the others.

【Damn it, now’s not the time to be scared!】

【O-Oh!】

Even with adequate preparation, they couldn’t avoid injuries, and there were several wounded.

Even so, they still withstood the enemy’s first wave.

The Estaburg side placed their ladders onto the stone wall.

This was a classic fort attack.
Arrows were used to suppress the defender’s movement, and soldiers used the opportunity to scale the walls.

Jerome shouted:

【Burn them!】

The fort defenders opened the lid on barrels and poured the content onto the ladders. This was oil. Some men got shot, but they successfully poured down the oil.

The old soldier wounded by arrow still threw the torch in his hand even though he was still bleeding.

【Long live the Empire!】

【Uwahhh——!!】

Screams came from the Estaburg side.

The blinding light was just like the sun.

The light of the ladder and human being burnt.

They continued delivering heavy blows to the enemy.

But the difference in numbers was too large. Fort Hauport was completely surrounded.

Merely 600 imperial soldiers fended off arrows and soldiers coming from all sides, and they slowly fell through attrition.




Evening——

Concentrated attacks from three directions were directed towards one corner of the wall.

The best men had been assigned there from the start, but this was a weak point right from the beginning.

After the guards around there died, they couldn’t keep the ladders away any longer and the Estaburg soldiers finally scaled the wall.

【Gyaahh!!】

The Imperial soldiers draw their bows and unleashed arrows of fury.

【Warrghh!】

It was a short period of time, but the soldiers who had been through the hellish training wasn’t afraid of battle.

But the enemy came up the ladders one after another.

The number of enemies appearing outnumber their dead.

Despite that, not a single imperial soldier turn to flee.

【We can’t lose! If we lose the fort will fall!】

【Don’t joke with me! We are the Belgaria army! We won’t lose to Estaburg trash!】

The young soldier stabbed with his pike.

He wasn’t skilled enough to avoid arrows.

He was shot in the stomach.

【It doesn’t hurt! Compared to the black knight’s beating, this is nothing!】

「Gyahhh!!」

The pike of the young soldier pierced the Estaburg soldier.

【Alright! Next!】

「Die Gaian pig!」

【I’m not afraid of small fries like you! Compared to the scary black knight, this is nothing!】

Their excitement dulled their pain, and they exerted arm power that might hurt their muscles. The pikes pierce the enemy’s heart with a speed of a skilled wielder.

【Again!】

A sword suddenly swung out from the midst of the Estaburg archers.

The right arm of the young imperial soldier was lopped off.

「Damn fools.」

【Ughhh!?】

This man was wearing white armour unlike the others. He had a sword in hand, a larger stature than the soldiers around him, and moved much faster.

「Revenge for my sister!」

【Huh!?】

The sword slashing at the young soldier——

Was deflected by a black lance.

A man in black armour stepped forth.

【Hmmp… I thought you guys can only spam arrows, aren’t you an interesting one.】

The young soldier who was on the verge of keeling over mumbled:

【… Black… Black knight.】

His vision was gradually engulfed by darkness.

Jerome said without turning back.

【You held on until my arrival. You have splendidly accomplished your duties as an imperial soldier.】

Tears fell from the young soldier’s eyes.

【P-Please… black knight… win...】

【Of course!】

Jerome thrust out his lance.

The Estaburg soldier in white armour dodged with feral-like movement.

「Revenge—— for my sister Johaprecia! I will kill the imperial commander——」

【Don’t nag during a fight, it’s annoying!】

Three incredibly fast thrust pierced the white armour.

「What!?」

【Woahhhh!】

Jerome roared furiously.

He knocked the white armoured soldier that was gushing blood off the wall. He then thrust with a speed that the surrounding archers didn’t have the time to react to.

He kept killing the enemy soldiers scaling the wall, until the reserves finally arrived.

Although they were all old timers, they weren’t fazed by the corpses on the ground and calmly doused the ladders and lit them up.
When the Estaburg side saw that their allies on the wall had been wiped up, they started shooting arrows again.
By this time, the defenders had erected wooden shields.

Jerome lowered his gaze.

The young soldier by the stone wall had collapsed. He won’t ever move again.

The sun setted.

When night falls, they wouldn’t be able to see where their arrows were landing and wouldn’t know if their allies had scaled the walls. That would just result in more unnecessary sacrifices for the attackers.

The bugle was sounded, and the Estaburg army withdrew from Fort Hauport.

The tattered imperial soldiers trembled at this sight.

【The enemy… is pulling back…!?】

【20,000 enemy soldiers… retreated… retreated...】

【Won… We won...】

【Uwaaahhhh! We won—!!】

The soldiers shouted.

The 600 men of Fort Hauport fended off the Estaburg army of 20,000.

Even though the defenders had the advantage of being fort defenders, this was a miraculous victory.

Even though this was just the first day...




Fort Hauport was like a morgue.

Even the some of the citizens seeking refuge in the courtyard died from stray arrows.

There were more dead soldiers than living soldiers.
Cautious of an enemy night raid, Jerome sat on the stairs to the city wall with his eyes closed.

【……】

Sound of footfalls made him open his eyes.

It was Marion.

【Ah…】

【You didn’t bring a dagger tonight.】

【But I have a sword. I have no intention of cutting you down though.】

【Hmmp… How’s that… we won.】

【I think that is marvelous. But what about tomorrow?】

Jerome turned silent.

Marion offered him a cup.

He took and drank it.

The water nourished his dehydrated body.

【Tchh… At a time like this, you should bring beer.】

【It’s not good for your wounds.】

【A battle on this level is not enough to wound me.】

【You let the doctor treat you just now.】

Jerome clicked his tongue.

【That quack doctor.】

【You are a key personnel for the defences of this fort, I ordered him in advance to report any issues to me.】

【Relax, tis but a flesh wound.】

【Is that so… but the troops are at their limits. You already know that. Only 300 or so survived, and less than 200 are fighting fit. We have no more reserves… If there is another breach, we won’t be able to stop the gap.】

【Then what? Surrender?】

【T-That...】

【I killed a man in white armour… That’s probably the son of King Estaburg. Consort Johaprecia’s elder brother. Although he didn’t even say his name...】

Marion gasped.

The enemy would become more driven.

Even if they surrender, they would get massacred.

She said vexingly:

【Going from Marschtedt city to Fort Hauport, reinforcement will reach by evening if they are fast… or nightfall if they are slow.】

【Yes.】

【So why isn’t reinforcement coming!?】

【Don’t ask such an obvious question. We had been abandoned. There’s no other answer.】

【Why!?】

【In the first place, this is a fort that should be abandoned. And the enemy numbered 20,000 while the Seventh Army can only mobilize 13,000 men. Even if reinforcements come, they would be overwhelmed by the enemy instead.】

Even if they could fend off the enemy, they would pay a heavy price and make it harder to maintain the frontline.

Abandoning this place was an obvious decision.

【Ugghhh… I know… I know. But are they really going to turn a blind eye to us…?】

Marion’s tears fell.

Jerome didn’t expect any reinforcement.

However, he did consider the possibility that the black knights would come. He felt that he was abandoned.

【This is depressing.】

【… Why did you come here? You aren’t born in Hauport in the first place.】

Jerome crossed his arms.

And tilted his head.

—— Was he trying to achieve a victory that was as improbable as magic in order to prove that he was as good as that strategist?

Wasn’t that childish?

【Hmmp… I already told you. I hate failing. Even if it is this small fort, I won’t allow Estaburg to take it.】

He upheld his pride.

Even if it cost him his life.

Fearing, running and dying without putting up a fight was a shitty life.

Marion rubbed the corners of her eyes.

【What… should we do…?】

【There is only one thing soldiers doomed for hell should do.】

【Eh?】

【That is to bring one more enemy with them. Kill kill kill, send them a message that a war with Belgaria is not worth it. That is the mission of doomed soldiers. Their final mission.】

She said tremblingly:

【What about the citizens…?】

【Give them knives to off themselves. Being taken prisoner would be a worse fate.】

【Ugghhh…】

Marion cried again.

A quiet night that didn’t feel like a battlefield passed.

Only the constant sound of sobbing.




Imperial Year 851 August 3rd——

The sky was clear this morning.

The Estaburg army approached Fort Hauport once again with the rising sun.

Most of the ballistas had been destroyed by fire arrows, they couldn’t pull off the same attack they used yesterday.

The troops waited on the fort walls.

Everyone who could move was already on there.

They had depleted their reserves.

Marion stood besides Jerome. Her eyes were red.

【T-The enemy is approaching.】

【Hmmp… I can see that. They are determined to take this fort and kill everyone inside. They can’t withdraw or ignore us and continue advancing. It’s not like they have magic.】

At this moment, the sentry said something strange.

【Black smoke sighted to the east!】

Jerome tilted his head.

He could see the black smoke.

—— A forest fire?

A wild fire? But it wasn’t spreading.

Marion squainted.

【That direction… Could it be… the Estaburg base?】

【What!? Hey, the map! Bring it to me!】

A soldier ran over.

The Estaburg side seemed to have noticed too.

The advance halted and the turned rowdy.

A thunderous boom came from afar.

Jerome’s expression turned sinister.

【That’s actually… a cannon?】

Sounds that came from a far distance were usually cannons.

Marion said:

【Did someone else attacked the enemy’s base!?】

Not just anyone.

The only group that could prepare cannons and mount an attack on the Estaburg’s base could only be the Seventh Army.

The troops noticed too.

【It’s the Seventh Army! General Coignieres!】

A map was brought to Jerome.

He stared at the map.

—— From Fort Hauport to Estaburg’s base.

The distance was 5 Li (22km).

The sound of cannons might be audible.

Jerome couldn’t tell if it really was audible.

And of course it was the same for the Estaburg army.

But the sound of cannons was coming from the direction of their base and there were signs of fire.

Even a retard would understand.
While their main forces was attacking a small fort, their own base had been attacked by the Empire.

When they saw their allies debuting from an unexpected place, the expression of the soldiers in the fort brightened up.

Only Jerome was looking at the battle.

【Damn it… This scheme is used to divert the enemy’s next actions!】

The sentry yelled:

【Turning! The Estaburg army is turning! They are turning east and leaving!】

Warrrghhh!! The soldiers cheered like they did yesterday.

Jerome roared:

【Don’t relax! Things are just starting!】

【Ehh?】

Marion who was as happy as the troops opened her eyes wide.

【What’s the matter? Isn’t the Estaburg army returning to their base?】

【Look carefully. His plan isn’t something so “gentle”.】

In this battlefield, only Jerome noticed.

The Estaburg army entered the forest.

At this moment, rifle reports sounded out.

Countless of them.

It came from the forest.

Even the soldiers looking from Fort Hauport yelped in surprise.

The Estaburg army fell into disarray after being attacked.

Marion yelled:

【W-What’s going on!?】

【It’s an ambush. The soldiers laying the ambush in the forest is definitely not from Estaburg.】

【T-Then, who…?】

【Are you all retards? It’s the Seventh Army of course.】

【Eh!? Then the attack on the Estaburg base is…?】

Jerome understood what kind of scheme this was.

He spat and said:

【That’s a ruse. After seeing the fire and hearing the cannons, even you lot thought that  “Estaburg’s base had been attacked”. Their target is the enemy main forces that are retreating in a panic. When the enemy got hit by the ambush of riflemen and fall into confusion——】

Black armoured knights appeared in the forest.

The soldiers in Fort Hauport pointed and said:

【It’s the black knights! And the banner of general Coignieres!】

Even if the Seventh Army commit their entire force, they would just be caught in an unfavourable battle of 13,000 against 20,000.

They would pay a heavy price even if they won.

But now, they were attacking one sidedly.

Because the Estaburg army was hit by the ambush in the woods they were so proud of, the entire army fell into disarray.

Jerome roared:

【This is a good chance right now! Anyone who can still move pick up your pikes!】

Marion said frantically:

【Eehhh!? W-What do you want to do!?】

【Those bastards are our prey! There’s no reason to gift them to the Seventh Army! Attack! Open the gates!】

【Please stop! Everyone’s tired...】

The soldier’s roar drowned out her voice.

【Warrghhh! Let’s get it on!】【Revenge!】【I will cut off the enemy commander’s head!】

If they weren’t that excited, they couldn’t bring their exhausted body to the battlefield.

And it wasn’t Jerome’s character to let confused enemy soldiers who were fleeing go.

【Kill those bastards!】

Two hundred men charged out of the gates.

There was a huge difference in numbers after all, so the enemy soldiers fleeing their way outnumbered them…

However, this was a pincer attack by an organized unit against a panicking mob, so the match was already decided.

The commander of the Estaburg army raised the white flag before noon.

The eastern front achieved an overwhelming victory.




In front of Fort Hauport.

The black knights gathered after finding Jerome.

The knight leading them—— Holger dismounted.

【Sorry for the wait.】

【Hmmp… I don’t remember calling for you.】

【Then we have poked our nose into your business. Sorry about that.】

【Is this that guy’s scheme?】

【Yes it is… You haven’t read that letter yet huh. Or he didn’t write the details clearly on his letter to you?】

【Tch… So it happened again.】

It’s Regis’ scheme again. Were the actions of both friend and foe within his grasp!?

Jerome glared at the ground.

Holger smiled wryly and said:

【Sir Regis’ plan was based on the assumption that Fort Hauport could hold for one day. We set off from Marschtedt and went the long way around the battlefield to set our traps. If there wasn’t enough time, the plan wouldn’t have worked.】

【Tch… Did he predicted the valiant struggles of the troops too!?】

【Well, that too… But I think his trust in Lord Jerome plays a big part.】

Regis seemed to have grasped the situation from Coignieres and Jerome’s letters, and proposed this strategy.

He had different proposals based on the different ways the enemy might attacks, and one of his plan worked.

Holger handed Regis’ letter over.

【The letter starts with ‘this situation is just like a book I read’.】

【It’s this attitude of his that makes me so mad!】

Jerome snatched the letter, crumpled it up and threw it onto the ground.

Holger shrugged.

【By the way, I think the responsibility of acting knight commander is too heavy for me. It’s too suffocating for me, can you come back?】

The other riders of the Black Knights also dismounted and kneeled on one knee.

【General, please come back!】

Jerome looked at them.

And said sternly:

【… You lot, what’s that battle just now? I was just gone for a month… and that’s how slow you all got? I will train you all properly again, prepare yourselves!】

【Y-Yes!】

Their shout was a mixture of fear and joy.

Jerome suddenly turned back.

Before him was the short and small Fort Hauport.

The walls were burned and the gate was on the verge of collapse.

Soldiers and citizens formed long lines in front of the fort. Many had tears flowing from their eyes.

Marion issued the order.

【Everyone, to our hero, General Jerome… Salute!】


Volume 12 End


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