Chapter 4 Episode 23
Editors : Starbuck11, Kev
From high above a cliff, Joshua put a cigar in his mouth while overlooking the transportation corps with a phoenix flag moving by on the highway, indicating that itbelonged to the Ortomea Empire.
That place was the mountain range on the border of the Zalda Kingdom. Innumerable men and horses covered the highway.
That group was the army corp that had been tasked by the Imperial princess Sardina to carry the supplies from Ortomea Empire.
Just how much goods did they had brought, no one could really guess.
The Ortomea Empire was one of the three strongest countries in the western continent.
Such sight was as if to show the enormous national strength they possessed.
(I guess the information was right huh? Which means that that woman had become impatient…)
It was impossible for Ortomea Empire to gather that amount of supplies and just spent them on one front line no matter how much national strength they possessed.
(This is really troubling…)
With a bitter smile on his expression, the figure of the first imperial princess of the Ortomea Empire which he had confronted this past one year appeared inside Joshua’s mind.
However, Sardina’s figure inside Joshua’s mind had no face.
Joshua only knew from the rumors and reports that Sardina was a beautiful woman, but in this world where photograph and tv basically were non-existent it was impossible for him to know the face of the princess from an enemy’s country.
(Looking at this, that means they are planning on crushing us in one go by using their national strength huh? Just what I’ve expected, they have chosen that option… Well, looking from the various point of view, this is indeed a sound tactic.)
Somehow his expression looked casual despite all of the events.
Beard that had never been maintained.
The smells of liquor and cigar drifted from his whole body, his hair was also being unkempt.
Although he did not have the usual smell of cheap perfume which a prostitute would had used, the figure standing there was indeed the third son who had spent all his time in the slums inside the royal capital.
Joshua then summoned fire on his fingertip using fire magic arts, and brought the fire closer to the cigar in his mouth.
Then he quietly inhaled and enjoyed the tobacco for a moment.
(Sensing the movement of ErnestGora, she wants to deal with the obstacle before her eyes immediately. I guess she is pressed for time huh? Although, I guess we’re also the same…)
Joshua’s brain already knew that the Zalda Kingdom had little time left.
And it seemed that the Ortomea Empire also had the same problem.
In the past one year, the Zalda army had used irregular warfare by using the topography and successfully reduced the speed of the Ortomea Empire’s progress, but they had not yet solved the fundamental problem.
It was like putting a life support treatment on a terminally ill patient and betting everything on the arrival of an unknown new medicine.
And the flock of people that were moving under the cliff was equal to that of a god of death who ruthlessly announced the death of the said sick patient.
(Well whatever… Either way, I’ve already decided to gamble my life and the destiny of this country by following that man’s plan, I just need to do my job here…)
The face of the man who had exchanged words with him for the first time appeared inside Joshua’s mind.
It was a young man, younger than Joshua.
Furthermore, he was a man from an unknown origin which had become a noble.
However, the plan presented by the young man had sufficient value to even make Joshua bet everything on it.
The plan itself was not original in particular.
With just a little bit of wisdom, anyone could come up with such plan.
However, while it might be true that the plan was easy to come by, the possibility of the realization was near impossible.
(I can’t help but think that he is an interesting man…)
The figure of Mikoshiba Ryouma with a fearless smile on his face appeared inside Joshua’s mind causing him to lift his lips into a smirk.
Joshua knew that he himself was a hopeless gambler.
High risk, and high return.
It was a gamble several times more thrilling than the one he had on the outskirts of the town.
And from it, Joshua felt an indescribable feeling of excitement.
“Now then… It’s almost time…”
From here on out, it was the biggest gambling he had ever made before.
It was a gambling betting the fate of the three eastern countries.
Joshua then threw away the cigar to his feet and step the fire with his boots.
At that moment, a ferocious expression emerged on Joshua’s face.
“Geez, you’re going to push all of the work on me huh? Such a good social position you have there…”
The one who spoke to Joshua with teasing words from behind was a mercenary woman with burning red hair.
“Are all the preparations finish already?”
“Yes, we can begin anytime…”
When he turned back looking at the person, Lione nodded with confidence.
“I see… Good work. Lione.”
“You’re welcome. Troublesome brat-san.”
Looking at the smiling Lione who said those words, Joshua leaked a sigh from his mouth.
Joshua knew that Lione was not as easy going as she sounded.
“My guys’ skills are indeed good, but they are kind of the quirky type. Unless they admit it themselves that someone is above them, they won’t easily bow their head.”
In fact, they won’t even listen to the command of the knights dispatched from the royal capital Periveria.
They were soldiers specially organized by the late general Belharres. And now, since the general had died, the soldiers belonged to Joshua.
They were special because, after all, they were previously criminals such as small time bandits and thieves that vandalized the Zalda domestic territories.
General Belharres was a great knight and also a great strategist, he was aware that he could not win against the Ortomea Empire national strength if he fought straightforwardly, just like a knight would.
The size of the country, the national strength, human resources, basically the differences were too much.
No matter how much militaristic the Zalda Kingdom was, no matter how good a single knight was, they would not be able to compete because of the inferior numerical numbers. <TLN: You can take example of German Nazi vs the Soviet Union>
Besides, the Zalda Kingdom was not entirely made of rocks either.
Originally, the land was obtained by opening up forest and hills.
Although the Zalda Kingdom’s king was a sovereign and the leader of the aristocrats, he was not an absolute ruler. <TLN: Basically the court which usually is filled with nobles hold significant power>
It was difficult to make a decision in the Zalda Kingdom without causing the nobles to ask questions, quite different compared to the Ortomea Empire where they were unified under the will of the Emperor.
Even a baby knew which one was better. <TLN: For us living in the world of modern democracy, the Zalda Kingdom model might sound better, but in the medieval world, an absolute aristocratic model was much more efficient.> <ED: I agree>
Therefore, General Belharres who knew about that, took various measures to compensate the national power difference between the Ortomea empire and the Zalda kingdom.
Naturally, the measures where he waged a war that deviated from the way of the knights was also included.
One of such measures was making the security within the Ortomea Empire to decline.
To that end, General Belharres had sent the bandit leaders who had been sentenced to death in Zalda to the Ortomea Empire, and ordered them to disturb the security there in exchange for their pardon.
Those men were people who had rougher lives compared to the mercenaries and the adventurers. And to make such men abide by her command confirmed Lione’s ability.
“You’re thinking too much. I didn’t do anything special, I just teased them and kicked their asses a little bit. They are quite adorable.”
Lione laughed while narrowing her eyes.
In reality, Lione had no problem getting accustomed to Joshua’s men.
While being a woman she was the leader of [Red Lion] which shows she’s a capable one.
(I see… Just like that man had said, she was a useful woman. Besides, I have faith in that man.)
Mikoshiba Ryouma was not in this place.
Currently, he was heading to meet the female fox while betting the destiny of the three countries.
Joshua and Lione were given the responsibility of blocking the Ortomea Empire’s advance as much as possible while Ryouma would work to realize the plan.
The job both of them took can be considered as a sacrificial pawn.
But despite under such conditions, Lione didn’t show any uneasy expression on her face.
It showed that Mikoshiba Ryouma and Lione shared a bond that was not half-hearted.
“Fine then… Let us begin.”
“Roger that. “
After nodding her head Lione turned her body around.
“Listen! There’s the possibility that the enemy might strike anytime. Tell the leading soldiers to keep an eye on the surrounding. And inform the rear soldiers as well!”
When the commander on the horseback raised such voice, the messengers immediately ran to their destination.
“Aren’t you being a bit too vigilant?”
The commander shakes his head in response to his aide’s question.
While it might be true that he looked too wary, it’s also true that in the past one year, many troops had lost their lives at the hands of Joshua Belharres and his surprise attacks.
The commander wanted to avoid his predecessors’ mistakes
Furthermore, he absolutely cannot fail the transport duty this time.
“Her Highness Sardina-sama has firmly told me to be cautious. Or do you want us to fail this mission?”
Toward his boss question, the aide shook his head in panic.
“Please don’t joke like that…”
“If you know that then just shut up and follow me… The scale of the importance of this mission was incomparable compared to the previous one, you realize that don’t you?”
According to Sardina’s command, they had brought a significant amount of goods and soldiers from across the Empire toward the Notiz fort.
However, no matter how much supplies they had at the rear base, it had no value if they could not bring them to the front line.
Answering the commander question, the adjutant nodded his head silently.
Following Lione’s order, more than two hundred soldiers started chanting.
“””O Mother earth, Thou shall defend the child from the evil with thy firm arms, Stone Wall!!!”””
Rock walls were raised one after another from the earth.
It was big rocks. It was best described as thick and heavy walls rather than rock walls.
Although it was a magic art that was used only as a barrier in the past, in their expression there was no doubt.
Again, following the order, the soldiers put their strength on the walls.
“OOOOH! PUSH THEM!”
“Put more of your strength!”
“Don’t be lazy. PUSH IT!”
It was rock walls weighing a few tons.
Even those who had strengthened their physical ability with martial arts wouldn’t be able to move those rocks easily.
They pushed the rock walls to the point where their face turned red.
Their muscles bulged, blood ran through their whole body.
“Just like that, push them down the cliff all at once!”
With a final push, the soldiers managed to move the rock walls.
They had done so to crush the Ortomea Empire’s troops under the cliff.
“What was that sound?”
The commander tilted his head toward the mountain where he felt he heard the voice.
“Your Excellency! Rocks! There are rocks falling down from the cliff!”
When looking at the place pointed by the aide, gigantic rocks fell from the cliffs rolling down with dust and dirt trailing behind.
Because the rocks themselves were not perfectly circular, they were rolling down by changing their course in irregular movements.
The rocks movements were hard to predict and difficult to avoid.
“Kuh! This must be Zalda’s surprise attack! What were the scouts doing?!”
“We will talk about that later. Your Excellency, please escape!”
Of course, they don’t have any way to escape.
Because if they wanted to escape, they would need to move the soldiers who filled the highway to the sides.
On this day, Joshua Belharres would cause serious damage, enough to further reduce Ortomea Empire’s advance.
And such event gives Mikoshiba Ryouma the most vital time he needs…