Chapter 2 Episode 31
Day 176 day after being summoned to another world: (Decisive Battle 3)
The Sun rises above the horizon, marked the seventh day since the mission started. Princess Lupis’ main force are supposed to arrive today.
Ryouma stood by the Thaves river bank and looked toward the opposite shore.
He sees the first group, led by Elena, is about to cross the river.
“Nothing happened, huh…”
“Indeed… I was expecting a night raid, but Duke Gerhardt did not make any move. I wonder what happened…”
Sara’s remark left Ryouma pondering.
Judging from the result of the battle against Kyle, it was a logical to think that Duke Gerhardt would want to retaliate.
However, the enemy’s main army never show up.
Last night, Ryouma and co braced themselves for a possible night raid from the enemy’s main force. The troops were on high alert all night, but nothing happened in the end.
And now Princess Lupis’ main force has arrived as scheduled.
“Could it be because of the rumor Ryouma-sama spreaded?”
“Indeed. While I’m positive that the rumour will have a significant effect, there is no way that this alone would reduce the total number of enemy to zero. At most, I expect no more than 30% reduction in enemy force.”
Just like Sara had pointed out, the rumor Ryouma spreaded was effective.
However, there are still many measures Duke Gerhardt can use to recruit soldiers.
He can threaten with brute force,
Offer them with money,
Or perhaps a combination of both.
Some peasants would be forced to join despite their reluctance.
Of course, the rumor can reduce their numbers. However, not to the point where the Duke cannot recruit at all.
Ryouma does not doubt the effectiveness of his strategy. He is simply being realistic.
“Is there still no movement at Irachion?”
“Yes, the reconnaissance unit is keeping the city under close monitor. If they make any movement, then we should know about it right away.”
“If they were planning to attack us while our main force is in the middle of crossing the river then, they won’t arrive here in time if they don’t depart now.”
Toward Sara’s answer, Ryouma looked puzzled.
“If that is the case, then… Are they trying to attack us on the plain?”
“Decisive Battle, huh?”
Between Ryouma’s camping location and Irachion, there’s a field sandwiched in between two forests.
The plain area is especially large, as it is a place where wheat is produced.
Within Rozeria Kingdom, Irachion is one of the most resourceful territory that generates a lot of income.
However, it would undoubtedly turn into ash if the land becomes the battlefield.
But looking at the Duke’s movement, it is likely that he plans to use this place for the decisive battle.
If Princess Lupis’ main force can cross the river without any intervention, then there is nothing else the Duke can do to cause Ryouma worry.
The plain is a perfect place to organise a large army. However, considering the consequent of the battle, there is no doubt that this valuable land will be severely damaged. It is a terrible place to hold a battle from a country-governing perspective.
Thinking that, Ryouma felt something was off.
(This is too fishy… I feel something is wrong… As if someone is pulling the strings from behind the scene…)
The more Ryouma thinks about the situation, the more he becomes suspicious.
(But… Looking at the Duke’s movement, It feels like he is not exactly aiming for the win… What’s going on…?)
Sara called out Ryouma’s name as he spaced out.
“Ah… My bad, I have something in mind…”
“No, if I’m in the way, should I leave?”
“Don’t worry about it. It was something trivial anyway… Has Sara considered the possibility that this could turn into a siege battle?”
Ryouma changed the topic.
(I guess I might have overthink this, huh? I should forget about it for now, until things go sour……)
Ryouma calculated the possible gains and losses in his mind while giving Sara a question.
“Siege battle? I think that’s very unlikely.”
Smile appeared on Ryouma’s face after hearing Sara’s response.
From the start, Ryouma has never considered that possibility at all.
Because judging by the city scale, it is impossible to host the tens of thousands of soldiers.
In other words, the city does not have sufficient power to maintain even if they managed to gather the soldiers.
Ryouma predicted that they can hold up to half a month at most.
“It would be impossible to fight Princess Lupis from inside the city alone. If we include the citizen and the soldiers, they will run out of supplies by around the end of the month.”
A siege battle would be difficult without using a large number of troops.
However, supplies would run out if they gathered too much.
In the end, Duke Gerhardt can only use maximum force to wage a short battle.
However, the same can be said for Princess Lupis too.
Feeling satisfied, Ryouma nodded toward Sara’s words with a smile.
In the past several months, the sisters have shown considerable improvement at strategy and analysis.
By improving in this area, Ryouma’s chance of survival has increased as well.
“Ryouma-sama! Elena-sama and her unit of 3,000 Knights have crossed the river.”
“Understood. Please guide Elena-san to my tent, and tell the others to rest.”
After instructing the reporting Knight, Ryouma returned to his tent with Sara.
This is where the real deal begins…
“You’ve completed an impossible feat… To create such impressive fortification…”
Elena had nothing but words of admiration for Ryouma.
“It was nothing praiseworthy…”
“A humble one, aren’t you? At least, this isn’t something I can do.. I’m sure her highness the princess would be very surprised too.”
Ryouma shrugged his shoulders as Elena continued to shower him with praises.
“On the contrary, I’m afraid that I might have disappointed the princess intead…”
Elena showed a perplexed expression.
As far as Elena see, this was the best result they could have hoped for. Why would the princess be disappointed?
The answer is, there is one small flaw in what otherwise was a perfect result.
That one flaw is the loss of Mikhail Banashu.
Ryouma decided to report everything to Elena.
There is no use in keeping it a secret, as it would only raise her suspicion and eventually lose her trust afterwards.
“I see… so Mikhail is…”
“Well I’ve not confirmed his dead body yet, but at least I’ve not seen him since the reconnaissance mission… While he made a grave mistake of ignoring my order, since he is the Princess’ aide……”
Elena sighed involuntarily.
(This is bad… Indeed, this could turn into a big problem…)
She feels Ryouma’s concern is very justified.
Since Mikhail was the one who found Ryouma, the princess assigned him to supervise the newcomer by working closely under Ryouma.
With Princess Lupis entrusting the control of her soldiers with Ryouma, she cannot risk any possibility of betrayal.
Other than Meltina, Mikhail is the only other person with the same level of loyalty that can be relied on.
That is why Princess Lupis trusts Mikhail.
Even though it was Mikhail fault for neglecting orders, the fact remains that he died under Ryouma’s command.
Despite no clear confirmation of his death, the probability of being alive is rather bleak.
Regardless of the battle outcome, from the princess’ perspective, she has lost an important servant.
If the princess can understand that this is a result of war, then there would be no problem.
However, in the worst case scenario, she might think it was Ryouma who killed Mikhail instead.
“I sure hope I’m overthinking this.”
Elena wished she could tell him “yes” right away. However, this matter is far too complicated to simply laugh it off.
But, realistically speaking, Ryouma’s concern is very possible.
“No… But we still have to report it, no?”
Certainly… Well, that’s why I decided to consult with Elena-san first.”
If Ryouma actually killed Mikhail, there is no way the other 1500 Knights would have followed him.
As for Elena, the fact that Ryouma had secured the beachhead is already a proof of Ryouma’s innocent.
However, despite all these concrete proofs, there is no telling whether the princess would accept the outcome.
Both Ryouma and Elena are not closely associated with Princess Lupis.
Their relationship is simply a princess and her retainers.
Other than during the meetings between them, there is no contact between Ryouma and the princess whatsoever.
And Princess Lupis’ trust in Ryouma does not extend to the point where she could allow him free control of her army. Hence the reason why Mikhail went sent as an insurance.
“Very well… I shall be the one to report this matter…”
Elena decided to volunteer herself.
Regardless how justified Ryouma is, there is a chance that the princess still takes it as a lie.
However, if Elena is the one who explains the situation, Princess Lupis won’t judge it emotionally because she’s someone unrelated.
“Sorry to make you do this, Elena-san. And thank you.”
Ryouma quickly understood Elena’s intention and offered his gratitude.
“It’s fine. We cannot afford to have you dismissed right now… Let’s see… You should take the duty of reorganising the army. I will bring up the subject to the princess tonight. Well, someone has to do this anyway.”
Elena allocated her work to Ryouma.
To make a reason for Ryouma not reporting directly to the Princess.
“Understood… Well then.”
Elena breathes a deep sigh while looking at the back figure of Ryouma who was leaving the tent.
“Now then… I wonder how should I report this… No, I should not report it directly.Perhaps it would be safer if I talk to Meltina first.”
Although there is no direct correlation between this incident and the result of the future battles, if she were to make a wrong move right now and cause distrust between the princess and Ryouma, the rest of the plan will undoubtedly fall apart.
“As expected, I should speak to Meltina first…”
As she made her decision, Elena walked to the dock to meet Meltina, who is on the verge of arriving with the second unit.
Meltina let out an inevitable sigh.
“As I said, it was not Ryouma’s fault that this happened.”
“No, I understand that… It’s just…”
Elena’s grew impatient as Meltina hesitated.
“You see, Mikhail served the princess as her personal guard since she was a young child… It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say his bond with the princess goes a long way back…”
Elena’s expression changed instantly upon hearing Meltina’s explanation.
The development is indeed just like what Ryouma had feared.
“As expected, would the princess have doubts on Ryouma?”
“No, I don’t think so… I doubt the princess will blame everything on Ryouma, but she will, without a doubt, be greatly saddened by this…”
Meltina immediately ruled out the worst possible outcome that Elena was concerned about
Even Meltina understood that the last thing they want happened is for the princess to lose her trust in Ryouma.
After all, the Princess’ chance of victory in this war depends heavily on Mikoshiba Ryouma’s strategies.
“Then would it be better for us to leave the reporting to the princess to you?”
“Yes… I shall be the one to report this matter to her Highness…”
Meltina nodded her head toward Elena’s question.
At night, when all the 23.000 soldiers led by Princess Lupis have successfully crossed the river.
The camping area is being quickly expanded.
Princess Lupis’ tent is also one of the many tents that was recently built.
The Princess muttered Mikhail’s name softly as she lays on her bed.
“Mikhail… Didn’t you say that you would protect me forever…”
Upon hearing the news of Mikhail’s death from Meltina, memories of the time they spent time together when they were young begins to reappear in her head one after another.
Streaks of tear streamed down on her beautiful face, like droplets of pearl.
After receiving the report from Meltina, Princess Lupis tried her best to put up a tough front.
As a princess, she refuses to blame Ryouma for it.
In all fairness, from a strategic point of view, there was nothing wrong with Ryouma’s command.
It is in fact Mikhail who was at fault for ignoring the order and led 500 knights to their annihilation.
The princess understands that much.
It was a sensible conclusion.
Yet her heart just could not accept such outcome.
As a result, Princess Lupis headed back to her tent from dinner party earlier than scheduled.
Because she was well aware that she could have directed all her anger and disappointment onto Ryouma had she stayed any longer.
“Aah… Mikhail… You promised me that you are going to take me as your bride…”
Since Princess Lupis is a royalty and he’s merely a knight, of course, she has never considered this as serious.
A childhood promise is usually nothing but children’s fantasy.
However, memories of the time they had spent together begins to resurface one after another.
“You even promised that you will always be by my side…”
For Princess Lupis, Meltina and Mikhail are her two most trustworthy vassals.
In fact, it was Mikhail who made the proposal to suppress General Holdram’s ambitious plans.
For Princess Lupis, Meltina can be considered as her sister, while Mikhail is her elder brother or a father figure.
The sorrow she is experiencing is even greater than when her biological father, King Farst the Second, passed away.
After all, the relationship between the late king and Lupis is more of a king and a princess, rather than father and child.
“Hou~… It seems you’re very upset, as I expected. Your Highness Lupis.”
Suddenly, an unknown man’s voice spoke out of nowhere.
“Who’s there!? An assassin?! Is there anyone?! Somebody!”
Princess Lupis tried to raise her voice immediately.
It is unknown as to how he entered the tent, but there should be a few knights guarding around her tent.
And they should have responded immediately after hearing her voice.
However, no matter how long she waits, no one answered her call.
“It’s useless, your Highness. Because right now, they are asleep due to my sleep magic.”
As the man spoke, Princess Lupis begins to grasp the situation.
She pulled out the sword near her bed.
“You do not look like an assassin. State your purpose!”
No assassin would talk with their victim.
But it does not mean that he’s not a threat.
Until she finds out his motive, she’s not willing to put her guard down.
“Purpose huh… Let’s see… Since we do not have the time, I’ll be frank… I came here to talk business with you.”
The princess’ tension loosened after hearing the man’s words.
“What do you want? In the first place, who are you? How are you able to enter here?”
The man slowly revealed his face hidden under the hood.
“I’m sorry for the late introduction. My name is Sudou, Sudou Akitake.”
Sudou lowered his head as he introduced himself.
To show that he does not have any hostile intentions.