Chapter 4 Epiosde 22
Editors : Starbuck11, Kev
Built within the Zalda Kingdom’s territory, was an Ortomea Empire’s fort.
The fort was built at the foot of the mountain range that lies on the border between the two countries, it was the most important fort for the invasion of Ortomea Empire.
In one of the rooms inside the fort, Sardina was laying her body on the sofa listening to Seria’s report.
“The personnel and goods we have gathered at the Notiz fort would arrive here at least within a month. That was the report regarding the supply status.”
Seria cut her words after she read the numbers listed in the documents.
Notiz fort had become a place where personnel and goods gathered from the Ortomea Empire.
From there, via the mountain range valley, they carried the goods to the highway and then brought toward the inner territory of the Zalda Kingdom.
“Good… Finally, we will finish all of this mess…”
Sardina shaked her head while sighing.
This invasion had ended up as a costly invasion that span more than one year.
The disaster happened after the first battle against the Zalda Kingdom.
For Sardina who had thought that the war could end within six month, she could only curse her luck for the war that was still on-going even after a year.
Sardina who had nearly lost the same amount of soldiers as the enemy during the battle of Notiz Plain, stopped the advance of her troops in order to observe the movement of ErnestGora who had began to move their soldiers along the border of their nation with the Zalda Kingdom.
Being wary of an intervention by a great nation such as ErnestGora, it was a natural decision for her to divide her army in two, the main force and the invading one. <TLN: Some might use “Spearhead/Vanguard force” but hey the author uses Invading words. As for the purpose of her dividing the army, well, think if the ErnestGora actually cut off the supply lines of the invading force, she needs to save them by using the main force.>
Even when she thought back on it, Sardina didn’t think that her decision was wrong.
As a result however, it was also true that Sardina’s decision was one of the reasons that prolonged the conquest of the Zalda Kingdom.
If she had advanced with the army after the defeat of the Zalda Kingdom’s main army as a whole, it was possible for her to capture the capital city of Periveria and move their troops into the Rozeria Kingdom by now.
“Finally, I can get rid of that bothersome man…”
Remembering the biggest cause of all this mess, Sardina murmured those words while chewing her thumbnail.
It was one of her bad habits whenever Sardina felt irritated.
“Is this about Joshua Belharres?”
“Thanks to that man, everything has become a complete mess…”
After his father Belharres’ honorable death during the battle of Notiz Plain, Joshua had withdrew the surviving soldiers.
Although she had suffered the same casualties as the enemy, since the enemy commander-in-chief ended up dead, victory was indeed in Sardina’s hand.
Although the competence of individual soldiers was important, the most critical elements during warfare were cooperation and command capabilities.
For Sardina, it was natural for her to feel convinced that she had obtained victory after the death of General Belharres, which the Zalda people thought of as the Kingdom’s Guardian.
Indeed, within the Zalda Kingdom, no one boasted the same fame and track record as the deceased general.
However, the invasion army that should have proceeded smoothly met a counter-attack from the Zalda forces under the command of Joshua Belharres, leading the invasion force to end up with high casualties and fail.
Because of ErnestGora’s movement, it was impossible to increase the invasion troops, but the invasion force should have enough power to invade deep into the Zalda Kingdom’s territory since the enemy general was already dead, and the enemy chain of command should have become a complete mess too.
But such force was defeated by Joshua Belharres.
It was not because Sardina was stupid, Joshua had made use of the poor visibility and other features along the mountain valleys to his advantage, which caused her to praise him for his superb surprise attack.
And with Joshua’s ability in leading a defensive battle, coupled with the sympathy after his father death, he had attracted the hearts of many Zalda aristocrats who were keen on protecting the country and their territory.
Thanks to that he was hailed as a hero…
At that moment, the outcast third son jumped into fame.
“We’ve been temporarily forced to pull in the Western Army which is strong in mountainous warfare. From here on out, I won’t let you do as you please, Joshua Belharres.”
In a war, the more troops one possessed, the more advantageous it would become.
But then again, even if that thought was not wrong, on a battlefield nothing was certain.
Sharp mountains and deep forests filled most of the Zalda Kingdom territory, making a commander unfamiliar with such topography unable to lead an army properly.
In addition, the metallic fullbody armor worn by the knights might have exerted an outstanding power in plain battle, but in the mountainous areas where there was a difference in elevations, such armor would only become a burden that exhausts the soldiers’ physical strength.
However, Ortomea Empire could overcome such limitations by putting soldiers who had experience in irregular battlefields as well as provide them with a map that they had painstakingly made by making use of the locals.
With the soldiers quality becoming equal, the element that could determine the victor would be the number of soldiers one possessed.
(With the Zalda Kingdom’s aristocrats turning over to us, strategic victory could have been achieved… I should not make any mistakes afterwards. Letting a prey escape once is enough…)
Carelessness, self-conceit, arrogance…
Sardina knew that such momentary mistakes could lead her into disaster.
Strategic planning fills only 99 percent of the victory conditions. A tactical victory was also needed to fill the 1 percent gap and make it a 100% decisive victory.
“Also, there is a letter sent by his majesty the emperor for your highness Sardina…”
When Sardina was drifting through the sea of thoughts, Seria took out a letter from her bosom.
“From father huh?… It must be filled with a reminder that the war with Zalda Kingdom needs to be finished soon, no?”
While sighing, Sardina sat up and fixed her posture.
For the past year, all the letters that had been delivered using fast horse and birds once a week had the same content.
(Father is too impatient… Though I can understand his feeling, but…)
Naturally, there were limits to both, national strength, and mobilization capability.
Not only that, the fighting along the border with ErnestGora on the western side of the continent had not ended yet.
It was natural that the Emperor wanted to end the battle quickly.
“Give me the letter…”
Seria handed the letter to her silently.
Sardina’s face turned cloudy after she read the letter from the Emperor, and after she read one of the sentences inside the letter, she clicked her tongue.
Such an act was very rare for Sardina who had always kept her elegant appearance as the first princess of the Empire.
(It seems like bad news have come…)
An uneasy feeling appeared inside Seria’s heart.
“Here, you read it as well…”
“Is it alright?”
Seria took the letter being presented to her after Sardina replied by nodding her head.
(I see… no wonder…)
Seria’s facial expression who read the letter also turned cloudy.
“Here it comes, the northern female fox. Finally, she started to move…”
Seria sighed after she read the letter that informed them that ErnestGora army had started to move.
“As of now, their second corps had been stationed near the Zalda Kingdom’s border…”
From the beginning of the war, Sardina had anticipated that this time would come someday.
However, one year had passed since the Notiz battle, and for her, it was definitely a bad timing to have them move now.
“Our plan of dividing the Zalda Kingdom is already in front of our eyes, and yet… Geez, why nothing has gone according to plan…”
All the bad fortunes in this war made her felt like the God of War hated the idea of Ortomea Empire becoming prosperous.
Most likely, ErnestGora had sent their spies into the Zalda Kingdom to monitor Sardina’s movements.
“Is there any possibility that this movement is only a bluff? One year has passed since ErnestGora had declared war on both Ortomea Empire, and the Mist Kingdom, but all this time they only occupied the northern part of the Zalda Kingdom without moving south. If they had any intention to actively intervene in this war, then they should’ve moved a year ago.” <TLN: Not sure why ErnestGora declared war on Mist kingdom, author didn’t explain it, maybe it was typos by the author? It should be Zalda?, I didn’t change it because the author tendency of foreshadowing>
“Which means ErnestGora has no interest in moving to the south eh?”
Seria nodded her head to answer Sardina’s question.
After the Notiz Plain, ErnestGora first corps had broken through the border, entered the Zalda Kingdom territory and occupied several cities located in the northwest of the country.
However, in the past one year, other than occupying those cities, ErnestGora troops had not moved.
Despite having replied to the letter sent by the Zalda Kingdom properly, they didn’t make any move.
“One year had already passed. Your Highness had stopped the advance of our entire army because of ErnestGora movement. I think this time is also a bluff to delay the movement of our army…”
“You might be right, even so, we still need to think about the countermeasures, just in case…”
This kind of problem, even if it was a bluff, one had to prepare a countermeasure…
Sardina and the others would not be able to stop ErnestGora from moving toward the south if they didn’t prepare something.
And, while it might be true that ErnestGora had no intentions of moving toward the south, one could not be sure about the future.
Sardina had sent a messenger at the time when ErnestGora entered the Zalda Kingdom’s border, suggesting that they should split the Zalda Kingdom into two, but as expected, no reply arrived.
Because of that, Sardina could not proceed to capture the Royal capital Periveria since it would expose her flank.
“What are we going to do now?”
Hearing Seria’s question, Sardina creased her forehead.
(Wait for the reinforcements to arrive, then gain victory by dragging Joshua Belharres out… After that, lower the Zalda’s morale by dividing the country into two north and south halves… We need to obtain a decisive victory by using a small amount of time… I guess that is the only way…)
What crossed Sardina’s mind was the plan they had devised before the war broke out.
Just in case when they could not move that northern country into a negotiation table.
If Sardina kept being concerned about the movement of that country, she wouldn’t be able to occupy the Zalda Kingdom for many years.
Sardina then opened a paper on the table, and immediately run her quill pen with intense force.
“Call back Sudou who is currently in Rozeria. As soon as the reinforcements from the west arrive, we will immediately begin our decisive battle. Also, sent this to father…”
Seria opened her eyes wide when she heard the content that needed to be written in the letter.
“Your Highness, you want Rolf-dono to come here?”
He was the leader of the imperial guard that had been praised by many countries as [The Emperor’s Shield].
As one of the Emperor’s trusted aides, he was the commander-in-chief of the Emperor’s guard.
The moment when Rolf went to the frontline, was the moment the emperor himself moved.
“There’s no other choice, no one is better in defensive battle than Rolf… After we move our army forward, the fort would be left empty with no one protecting it, we cannot afford that to happen.”
“There’s the chance that Zalda would move and cut us from the flank is it?”
Sardina nodded her head in response to Seria’s question.
If this fort fell, Ortomea Empire’s soldiers would be disconnected from their homeland, unable to obtain their supply and become isolated.
Looking at the remaining of the Zalda Kingdom’s soldiers and the quality of their commanders, such a thing had a low possibility of happening, but Sardina was aiming for perfection.
“As expected, I can’t just move the Imperial Guard. However, I intend to have my close aides defend this fort. It is inexcusable but, I have no choice other than to convince my father… We absolutely cannot lose the next battle.”
Seria nodded her head in silent after she heard Sardina made her decision, then she turned her heels and left the tent.
“… Absolutely, we cannot lose…”
Sardina murmured those words once again to confirm her resolve while glaring at the sky outside via the tent’s window.
Various expectations intersected, while the decisive battle that would decide the fate of the Zalda Kingdom approached day by day…
<TLN: Imperial Guard, Imperial Knight Orders, Imperial army.. This might be confusing for some people…
Here is a brief explanation,
-Imperial Guard is a unit under the Emperor’s direct command, no General could give the Imperial Guard an order or move them unless the Emperor said so.
-Imperial Knight Orders are under Generals’ command given by Imperial authority.
-lastly, the Imperial Army is a combination of both, under the command of the Emperor.>