Afternoon, 24th day. Chart army had reached 2ri(about 8 kilometers) north of provincial capital.
Due to the forest, they had detoured via the west. If they continue through the forest along the highway, Eidon would attack them right at the end of the forest.
In order for them to make use of the number of soldiers, they need to spread it to the side.
And they could not do that in a narrow forest path, making the difference in numbers meaningless. It will only benefit the enemy.
Moreover, since they could not camp near Eidon, they decided to stop the march while the sun still high and camp northwest of the forest.
“For us who have the numerical advantage, impatience is the enemy. Tomorrow, we will calmly move forward. How is it, Torame-dono?”
“Yes, as you’ve said, your highness…” Torame replied, while inside his mind, he was astonished.
Speaking about aristocrats, many of them can’t stand impatience, probably because of how they were raised. In fact, if one was to see Keynes expression which was sitting next to Chart, his expression could only mean ‘The provincial capital is only beyond here, and yet…’
However, the prince had led the army from the beginning thoroughly and didn’t try to mess around.
“Remember this, Keynes-dono. The one who is the most patient, and tenacious in the battlefield is called the greatest general since the ancient times…”
Chart who was only a 23 years old youngster give out a rare reasonable warning.
Seeing that, Torame thought what he saw as the style of a king.
With that being the case, he steeled himself to do his part of the job.
“But, your highness. I have a little concern…”
“What is it? Don’t hesitate to tell me.”
“I’m curious as to why Earl Eidonia hasn’t disturbed our advance so far. I’m wondering if something is going on…”
Hearing that, Keyness laughed from the side.
“Well, that’s how Alan is, rather than he didn’t come, he can’t come is more precise is it not?”
Chart, on the other hand, he calmly thought about it and replied a reasonable theory.
“From my point of view, they are going to fight against a bigger enemy. That’s why maybe he had no choice but pull his force back and perform a siege battle?”
Torame was still not convinced…
“If they stay indoors, they won’t have any chance of winning. … Isn’t that right?”
The provincial capital didn’t have tall walls to protect them, the difference in force cannot be reversed.
In general, the defensive position had the advantages, since they could disturb the enemy advance line. (Ultimately, it was similar to the aggressive defensive plan that Rozalia had done at the beginning of the Admov invasion.) The only advantage of a complete withdrawal was when one had a solid fortress.
And everyone thought that no nobles would help Alan if they knew that the enemy was Due Dinkwood. It was a suicide move to holed up inside a fortification without a reinforcement.
Not only that, but they should also have refugees more than 250,000 people. Even if Chart didn’t attack, they could just besiege them until they run out of supplies. Soon after that, the stress would accumulate, and riots would quickly occur.
“Since I’ve prepared to win since the beginning, isn’t that natural?”
Chart who understand that, puffed his chest out while riding his horse.
“I won’t play with words game but… The people who could not win didn’t do anything… That in itself is creepy in my eyes…”
However, Torame didn’t back down.
His intuition as a warrior known as ‘the uncatchable Teumessian fox’ was ringing high.
“They are just some incompetent fools! What are you doing elevating the enemy like that, making unnecessary fear to spread, idiot?!”
Keynes was a coward that could only speak abusive language.
No matter what the pigs say, Torame didn’t care about it but…
“… Well, fine then.”
Since he could not explain his intuition, it would only cause the air to become more muddy. Thus he decided to shut his mouth.
Chart then tried to say something. But, before he manages to do that, the scouts that were tasked to examine the forest state had come back. “We didn’t find any soldiers and ambushes!”
“Alright, then, round this place should be fine. Stop the march. And prepare for camping…”
Following Chart orders, Keynes and Torame aides scattered to spread the command.
Then soon, one of the spies that were being sent into Eidon come back with a report.
“How is the state there?” Chart gives a straightforward question.
“Yes. Earl Eidonia had gone out in front of the people every day to told the people to have a peace of mind, but there was no sign that morale had risen. The same goes for the soldiers. Due to too many refugees, the fears were spreading around.”
“That happened because he put too much cheap affection toward those residents. So, are there any reinforcement coming so far?”
“We didn’t see any so far…”
“Even Alexis Knights didn’t come? That Leonard bastard, such a heartless fellow…”
“Hihahahaha, This is why crossbreed, he didn’t have any pride like the emperor’s family should…”
Chart laughed thinly, while Keyness laughed until his belly move ups and down vulgarly.
“… But, your highness… One thing worries me.”
“There were hundreds of horses that had been taken by the refugees, as the day passed, some people riding them running around the streets as if they were training…”
“I see… What do you think, Torame-dono?”
“They must’ve thought foolishly that since there are many horses around, why not try to imitate the cavalry,” Torame replied in amazement.
The horse was a coward creature. Therefore, it was usually not useful on a battlefield. That was why those who had especially being trained were called the warhorses. The warhorses were so expensive that ordinary people won’t be able to afford them, and there was no reason for them to have it either. Therefore, it was not possible that the horses the refugees had bought were warhorses, in other words, no matter how much they gathered the horses, it would be meaningless…
“I guess that’s how much incompetent the Eidonia people are, yes?”
While Chart sneered, Torame could not laugh at it even now.
After all, the intuition alarm didn’t stop ringing even now.
While looking as if something had stuck in between his teeth, Chart proposed something…
“Then, why not we go like this? Alan must’ve planned for a night attack or early morning assault. After all, he had a lot of horses at his disposal…”
Torame then gives an agreeable response. Though the horses didn’t have much use, Alan didn’t seem to know it, so it was possible that he would make a surprise attack.
“If that is the case, then we will take some measures. First, let us double the nigh time watch. We will also send out more scouts to monitor the west side of the forest to see if the enemy make a move. Don’t worry about the highway. No one would take the risk to enter it during the night time. It would be more effective for us to keep an eye on the side where the enemy might make a detour.” Chart given orders without hesitation, it was ‘playing by the books’ in the right way… His measures were indeed a role model. “Please point out and supplement any problem. Torame-dono.”
“I think there’s no need for me to say something…” Torame bowed his head.
“Then, let us go with that order. Tomorrow morning, we will leave by sunrise. Whether or not they would perform night battle, finally it is a war. Immediately arrange the watch soldiers, and tell the rest to immediately rest. I will allow alcohol up to one serving…”
“Yes sir” Torame obeyed respectfully and leave the place with the messenger.
Though his eyes were thin like foxes, on his face, an unusual smile could be seen. -=TLN: A Gin Ichimaru smile, that is what called as ‘fox smile.’
There was no blunder in Chart order. Thus Torame thinks this was a ‘winning game.’
The uncatchable Teumessian Fox then shivered a little.
(I guess, I should think about it a little more…)
He didn’t want to neglect his intuition that had saved his life so many times. Torame was that kind of a man.
24th day. 22:00.
Leonard who rented the post town mayor house called Beauman and all of the knights under his command.
The hall had a structure where the second floor had a hole in the middle of it, but when 500 men gathered, it was small indeed. The soldiers’ shoulders were making contact with each other.
All of the wooden windows on the first floor were closed, and only replying the candlestick placed on the four sides of the walls.
Being called in the middle of the night caused confusion among the knights.
Leonard was standing in front of them rather than looking down on them from the mezzanine floor. Shera was also stood next to him.
“Calling us this late-night, is there something wrong?”
Beauman asked on behalf of everyone.
Leonard didn’t answer immediately and took a deep breath.
Then he speaks decisively.
“We will perform night attack just like this…”
His voice was almost quiet, but the effect was very effective.
Immediately, the hall becomes noisy.
The only way to win an opponent with twice the strength was by using a surprise attack.
The key whether or not a night battle would succeed was to know the enemy army position perfectly.
In this regard, Shera had managed to guide Chart army from slowing down his army to where his army should camp perfectly. Torame had shown suspicion as to why the enemy didn’t make any move at all, but he could not come to a conclusion, in other words, Shera’s plan was one stage higher compared to his level, where only she knows the plan.
With the circumstance being omitted from Leonard words, Shera then took over to explain the plan.
“Eidonia soldiers will not be used, we will go alone.”
“…Well, that is fine and all but…”
“The distance from here to their place is too far, that is your concern, yes?”
“If our horses got tired, we won’t be able to perform cavalry charge…”
Here concerns were being raised one after another but…
“It is alright…” Shera guaranteed. “Eidon had prepared horses for us…”
“500 Horses? Just where did they manage to get all of that?”
“I do feel guilty about it but, I asked Alan to take them from the refugees…”
“Oooh…!” A convinced sigh could be heard from here and there…
Up until there, the strategy explanation went smoothly so far.
The problem was next. As Shera winked at him to continue…
Leonard once again took a deep breath.
This time he raised his voice.
“We will cut through the highway, and attack Chart army from the back!”
The response from the others was not that good.
Screams come out from the knights at the same time.
“I heard that people should question their sanity if they decided to enter the forest at night, you know?!”
Someone shouted. His voice was also quavered…
And one by one appeared to agree with him.
“My grandfather said… We will meet a beautiful demon woman if we enter the forest at night—…”
“In my hometown, the spirit of the dead people would go out and invites you from the darkness of the forest…”
“Inside that forest, I heard that there was a demon tiger who invites children by using face cry—…”
“Then in the morning people would go to search… What they found are the child’s clothes and scattered bones…”
The knights told the story of the danger entering the forest at night while looking slightly scared…
From their homes, from their previous assignments, various monsters and demons from various lands— The folklore were coming out from their mouth one after another…
(… Here we go, it’s started…) Leonard crossed his arms.
While waiting for them to calm down, he keeps looking around the knight’s face.
He knew from the beginning that this would happen. In this era, for the people of this continent, the fear of entering the forest at night would equal that of a taboo…
“Please consider your order, your highness… All of us not afraid when it comes to dying on the battlefield. It is an honor, in fact. We will accept it in satisfaction. However, being attacked by unknown monsters and being eaten alive is a bit… It can’t be, are you telling us to die in vain?”
Even the courageous Bauman said that…