Chapter 4 Episode 31
All started a few days before the time the Ortomea army led by Sardina, withdrew in a hurry.
A huge fort standing tall above flat ground.
It was a stone-made fortress, something that wouldn’t fall from a half-baked attack.
Inside the fortress, several thousands soldiers were stationed.
And within the warehouses of the fortress, abundant foods and weapons collected from various locations in Ortomea Empire were being stored.
If one was to choose to attack the fortress from the front, one needed to prepare tens of thousands of soldiers, siege weapons and be ready to spend months of time.
While being swayed by the horse’s back, the man lifted his helmet’s face cover and gazed at the fortress.
This fort that had been built on the western end of Notiz plain and had since continued to exist as a defense base against the Zalda Kingdom.
For Ortomea Empire, the Notiz fort was similar to that of Ushias fort for the Zalda Kingdom.
“Indeed, certainly that is magnificent…”
A beautiful voice comes out from someone who followed the man.
Her chest presented a rich curve.
One can’t see her face because she didn’t lift her helmet’s face cover like the man did, but spilling out from the gap of the helmet, one could see silky shiny silver hair swayed by the wind.
The man shrugged his shoulders when he heard the lady’s words.
“Well, because of that we have prepared extensively… If we fail here, then we won’t be able to show our face…”
It might be difficult to bring down Notiz fort by using a frontal attack.
However, it was not necessarily impossible if one were to choose the means.
For that reason, he had prepared many things.
And finally, it was the time for him to attack…
“I’m sorry for making you wait. It took me some time to do the explanation, but they have agreed for us to enter the fortress…”
The knight who reported such news breathed out a heavily .
Looking back, the man gazed at the long lines of soldier formations that were behind him.
(We’ve finished all of our preparations … Everything has gone according to plan…)
Although his expression looked calm, inside the man’s heart he could feel raging anxiety and frustration.
Because the fate of three countries lay heavily on his shoulders.
If he was just an ordinary man, he might shrink from the responsibility and be unable to properly move.
However, inside the man’s heart, an earnest desire to fight could not be forgotten. He also felt the joy of being given the opportunity to demonstrate his power, mixed among various other emotions.
(This is fine… Everything should go well… It’s no different compared to that time…)
He lifted the corner of his lips, tension and excitement began to rule.
The scene from a few years ago resurfaced inside his mind.
He remembered the times when he was desperately trying to protect his life and pride as a human being…
“Here we come!”
Following the man’s words, the others nodded their head.
The troops slowly advanced towards Notiz plain.
Sounds of countless horses and wheels of the carriages.
In the dark night, the light of torches illuminated the silver armors.
They looked like the messengers of the god of death, that had come out from the realm of the dead.
The stage was the Notiz fort located on the border between Ortomea Empire and the Zalda Kingdom. Everything will end at the place where everything began, at the Notiz plain where General Belharres met his honorable end.
“Finally, next is the transport unit, huh? Their escort is around 2,000 men… Fumu, it seems like I can breathe a sigh of relief for now…”
Such words can be heard inside one of the offices inside the Notiz fort.
Along with a deep sigh, Greg Moore smokes a high grade cigar, a product of the central continent, as he tried to calm his heart. He had been appointed as the Notiz fort defense commanding officer to replace Rolf, and was also responsible for providing support to the front line troops.
“Indeed, finally we’ve finished carrying the foods and weapons from the imperial capital…”
Moore then put the cigar on the ashtray and received the documents his adjutant presented him with.
It was an official document with Ortomea Empire’s seal on it.
“Still… Isn’t this number a bit too much?”
“Yes… I think they made it this way in anticipation of the possibility that the enemy performed a surprise attack…”
Hearing those words, Moore’s temple twitched.
“Joshua Belharres, huh?”
Unkempt appearance with short blonde hair.
And the characteristic aura of a warrior that had survived many battlefields.
Wound marks on his face made him look very intimidating.
His belly might be slightly bulging because of age, but he was without a doubt a seasoned warrior.
And more than that, it was because of his abilities that he was appointed as the commanding officer of the Notiz fort.
Moore unconsciously rubbed his right thigh.
It was a wound he suffered during the battle against the Zalda Kingdom during the battle of Notiz plain.
His right leg was supposed to be amputated after getting crushed by a horseshoe.
Using expensive secret medicine and high-rank healing magic arts, they finally managed to regenerate the crushed foot but he still feels some discomfort from it.
Although there was no problems to perform with daily life.
However, when he wore armors and wielded his sword, it felt like his foot wouldn’t move properly.
It might not be much of a problem if he fights against an ordinary opponent. But it would be an issue if he had to fight against someone very experienced.
It might be only a small little discomfort.
But such discomfort might be fatal during battles.
(Had this wound not leave this kind of feeling… I would’ve gone to the frontline…)
He had no intention of making light of his defense mission, but for Moore who was a warrior that was used to the front line, the situation was something worth to contemplate.
He then turned his sight at his beloved sword leaning against the wall.
“That annoying pest… Although the outcome of the war already can be seen, they keep on struggling… What a hateful parent and child. To think those two tried to stop the Ortomea Empire’s movements… Well, with what we have here, we might be able to soothe her imperial highness’ feelings a little…”
Currently, the frontline was being stalled at Ushias basin.
And Moore was irritated that he could not do more for the troops on the frontline.
“Well, with how many of our transport supplies are getting destroyed by Zalda’s surprise attacks, it was natural for her imperial highness to be mad…”
As a result of the Zalda Kingdom’ scorched-earth strategy, supply procurement locally was extremely difficult.
And no matter how much soldiers one possessed, one cannot do anything if one didn’t have stable supplies.
“Lately we’ve failed to fulfill the demand from her highness Sardina, at least with this we can save our face a little…”
Although they had managed to not lose everything, but because they had to be wary of a surprise attack, the speed of the transportation had become considerably slower, and even if not all the supplies were destroyed, the damage done to them was not insignificant either.
And the reason for that was because the Zalda troops have no wish for the supplies.
They didn’t hesitate to burn or crush the transports with rocks.
Making use of the advantages of narrow roads along the valley between the mountains to perform surprise attacks.
And because they were wary of a surprise attack, the Ortomea Empire had to increase the security of the transportation units which further hampered their delivery speed.
On the other hand, if they wanted more speed, they needed to reduce the security.
“But well, apparently the end of the war is near…”
Moore adjutant nodded his head while looking at Moore who lifted his mouth and laughed.
Information from the front line had said that Sardina had made a decision to perform an all-out attack against Fort Ushias.
“Indeed… What we have to do now is to send the supplies to the front line. Well, with 2,000 guards guarding the supplies it should be sufficient enough.”
The troops led by Joshua Belharres was estimated around 800 to 1,000 troops.
Joshua choose to take that numbers because it was very effective in terms of mobility and chain of command.
“Fumu, if we sent nearly 4,000 troops, that annoying man will meet his end. Although it is only temporary, the defense of the Fort would be reduced….”
Hearing his aide words, Moore placed his hand on his beard while thinking.
Initially, Notiz Fort defense force was numbered around five thousand, but now it was down to around 2,500.
If two thousand soldiers were being assigned to supply transport security, then the defense of the fort will only have 500 troops in it.
Although it was sufficient enough to protect the fort from thieves, it was not near enough to protect such an important base.
“How about we wait for the dispatched troops to return?”
“No, it would be better for us to deliver the supplies soon, given the situation on the front line…”
Answering his aide, Moore shook his head while reading the letter he took from the drawer.
He could not let Sardina’s all-out attack be hampered because of supplies problem.
Seeing Moore’s determination, his aide nodded his head.
“Very well then, I will prepare everything. Please excuse me.”
The aide bows his head and leaves the office room.
After he left, Moore muttered in some small voice.
“A little bit more… After the war is over, everything will be restored…”
Although the Empire possessed a vast territory, the ruling foundation was more fragile compared to the other nations.
And right now, it can be said Ortomea Empire’s control over its territory had began to shake.
The biggest reason for that was the declining of public security within the Ortomea Empire because of the invasion.
It was because Sardina had pulled out a considerable amount of soldiers from all over the country.
Thanks to that, there was only minimum security left for small cities or rural villages that possessed little to no strategic value.
Because Ortomea Empire was surrounded by enemies, they could not pull out soldiers guarding the borders, thus they pulled out the troops assigned to the domestic security instead, causing the public safety to deteriorate.
Particularly for the small cities and villages with little to no strategic value, the damage caused by thieves had escalated. –
Moore himself had no intention of pampering the commoners.
He also didn’t possess a lofty sense of mission such as the duty of a ruler.
In this world, the country was much more important than individuals.
Besides, the value of commoner lives was never that high either.
However, security deterioration was not something Ortomea Empire could ignore as an invading state.
And although the value of a commoner was low, it would be bad to completely ignore their needs as well.
In fact, if the public order gets much worse, the prestige of the country will fall, and the citizen will begin to question Ortomea Empire’s right ot rule.
Although the aristocrats might think of the commoners as dust, they will be troubled if they start to revolt against them.
Once revolt happens, they might link it with the citizens’ dissatisfactions.
And following that, trade and tax revenue will be hampered greatly too.
If it were to occur during the time the army invaded the Zalda Kingdom, then the troops might get isolated in the enemy’s territory instead.
(It would be bad if the commoners’ dissatisfaction exploded. It would be best to immediately fix the problem…)
In the Empire, Moore who understood the value of human resources was quite a rare existence.
Ortomea Empire might possess a vast land area, and when it comes to physical strength, many people were comparable to Moore.
Many also had studied more than Moore.
However, only a few people could achieve both in balance.
Just the other day, villages in the vicinity of Adelpho were seriously getting damaged by thief groups.
In order to calm the commoners, Moore had to dispatch security troops from the fort.
Also since he also needs good security for the supply transportation, it was inevitable that he did that.
“Your highness Sardina-sama… Please hold on for a while…”
While turning his eyes at the stars outside the window, Moore prayed for Sardina.
However, Greg Moore didn’t realize.
That the God of death was creeping behind him…