Chapter 4 Episode 29
Eclatia who rushed out from Ushias fort could immediately see the tents of the Ortomea Empire’s soldiers.
The troops she led had entered the 300 to 400 meters distance separating them and the enemy camp.
It was quite a far distance for effective bow range, but regardless of it, Eclatia still gives out her order.
“Second wave prepares to shoot ! Do not hesitate ! Give hell to those Ortomean dogs !”
Following Eclatia’s order, the knights on horseback pulled the bow again.
“Loose the arrows !”
Eclatia swung down her sword and the Knights shot the arrows.
The sounds of bowstrings and the flying projectiles penetrating the wind, resounded in Ushias basin.
On the Knights’ hands, they held a bow with a unique curve. The shape was fairly similar to that of a Turkish bow.
Such bow was quite unusual in this world where the longbow was the most popular one.
Or at least in the western continent.
Such bow certainly had a convenient shape to use on horseback. But of course, there was also a drawback.
Because of its compact size, it was easy to handle when riding, but on the other hand, the distance and penetrating power were quite low compared to the longbow.
Well, the bow itself was not widely used for some reasons despite existing in this world.
The greatest weapons in this world’s warfare was the body, that was strengthened by magic arts.
That was the common sense in this world.
However, the bow the knight order that Eclatia led was different in many aspects.
It was Mist Kingdom state-of-the-art weapon that cost a lot of money and time to develop.
Taking advantage of their status as a trading nation, they managed to fuse the technology they procured from a distant continent.
The bow was created by making use of a thin metal, leather, and bones from various creatures. The bow itself boasts very strong tension which makes it impossible for a normal human to draw.
It was already impossible for ordinary people to draw such bow.
Let alone drawing such bow on the unstable horseback.
It would be more reasonable to use a crossbow in such situation.
However, there was no problem for a knight that was capable of boosting their physical ability by using magic arts.
Of course, because the knights were shooting the arrows from horsebacks that shake violently, they could not hope for a high rate of accuracy, but in the current situation, such high accuracy was not needed.
Since what they needed to do was only to make the arrows reach the Ortomea camp. For the sake of disturbing the enemy.
“The enemy seems to fall into confusion…”
“That is natural. They must have never thought that their enemy would steal the first move. After all, we’ve been only doing defensive battles, and never came out of our fort before…”
Eclatia lifted her lips and laughed after she heard her adjutant words.
Her smile was very elegant yet felt like a wild animal smiling at its prey.
Despite her elegant behavior, she gives off the same ferocious aura that Mikoshiba Ryouma has.
But one can say that it was normal, because without such attitude, she wouldn’t be able to rule the army of a country as a general.
“I guess you’re right…”
Their move caused huge surprise because they never made any aggressive moves since the beginning. Only defensive warfare.
“I can understand your sentiment, but this kind of scenario can always happen. Please prepare the next stage carefully…”
Following Eclatia’s meaningful words, her adjutant nodded his head.
“Please do not worry. I’ve prepared everything quite carefully after all…”
Their surprise attack was aiming only to bleed the opponent.
It was part of a multi-layered trap they had devised.
There was a plan that was aimed at stopping the Ortomea Empire’s breath. And while waiting ‘that’ plan could be executed, they needed to do something to fill in the blank.
Looking at the her adjutant’s back moving away, Eclatia murmured in a small voice.
“You’re quite a naive one… O Imperial Princess… You cannot win against me and Elena with mere numbers alone… Especially, against that man…”
Sardina’s strategy by moving a huge force and performing consecutive wave attacks was not a mistake.
However, such an idea was not the best one either.
The more troops the army dispatched, the slower they could move, and it also accelerated the consumption of supplies.
To be able to effectively use a large army, a general needs a lot of experience and ability.
And Sardina was still lacking in experience for moving a large army…
“Now then, it’s time for our counterattack… Let’s carve Mist Kingdom’s horror into their hearts…”
Eastern alliance might sound good to one’s ears, but it was an alliance of convenience made because of a war.
If there was an opening, interest, or opportunity…
Any of them will attack each others by using the fangs they had previously hidden.
In that sense, this war against Ortomea Empire was also an opportunity to show off one’s national power to the other two.
Now that Eclatia began to see that the war was about to end, she decided to show off her country’s strength.
“Retreat if the enemy starts to make a move!”
Eclatia lifted her lips in a good mood while watching the enemy screaming across the field.
“Reporting ! Approximately 2,500 enemy troops have attacked our camp, because of the enemy’s rain of arrows, hundreds of people have suffered injuries….”
The moment she heard the report, the bowl filled with soup fell from Sardina’s hand.
Because of the unexpected report, Sardina’s mind ceased to work for a moment.
It was also the same for Saitou and Seria who were surrounding the table.
After being able to understand the situation, Sardina immediately raised her voice.
“An enemy surprise attack ? What were the forward sentries doing ?! I told you to dispatch scouts and pay close attention to any movements from the fort!”
The messenger immediately replied despite being showered with Sardina’s sharp gaze.
“I beg your pardon, your highness. The enemy movement was too fast…”
The messenger lowered his head while gasping for air, everyone could see an arrow stuck on his shoulder.
Looking at his figure, small clicking sounds leaked from Sardina’s mouth.
“Very well then… Go instruct all units to calm the situation and prepare for a counterattack!”
Regardless of how much she wants to complain, it was the truth that her army suffered a surprise attack.
(What the hell had happened… I never thought they would make a move when we’re about to intensify our offensive…)
Sardina, of course, was wary of Zalda’s counterattack, but she was impressed by Eclatia’s knights that were able to move like a thunder. <TLN: Like a thunder, fast and surprising.>
“Your Highness ! Please wait a moment. we have to move carefully here…”
Saitou immediately opened his mouth to stop Sardina making a hasty decision.
“Saitou, there’s no time for us to slack. If we talk about numbers, we’re superior compared to them. They have finally come out from the fortress you know ? What are you going to do if we don’t strike now ?!”
“But your highness, the Zalda’s side that was only doing defensive battles finally took an offensive stance… They must be hiding something….”
“That is right, the most important thing right now is to reorganize our troops.”
Seria agreed to Saitou’s words
Certainly, even if the enemy managed to perform a surprise attack by using one knight group, it was impossible for such an attack to continue.
As the time goes on, the group will be overwhelmed by Sardina’s army.
If that was the case, then one should think about Zalda’s true aim.
Thinking of that, Sardina took a deep breath.
(I need to calm myself… They are right… What is the enemy trying to achieve by doing this?)
Rain of arrows comes flying from the distance.
It was certainly possible to reduce the opponent’s numbers, but it could not be said as a decisive strike either.
The first attack seems to have caused substantial damage against the opponent, but once they entered the battle mode, the damage should’ve been reduced considerably.
The moment the soldiers wear their helmet and hold their shields, it should reduce the effectiveness of the attack.
(If that is the case then, is this just a harassment ? That can’t be, right ?)
Such attack was surely baffling to the opponent, but it was only that.
Over time, the Ortomea army will manage to calm down.
And in front of the Ortomea army that would have regained its composure, the enemy force of 2,500 troops was too small.
“Is this a decoy?”
Hearing Saitou’s words, Sardina knitted her eyebrows.
“Which mean, they want us to focus on their attack from the front, and the enemy will take us from the side?”
Sardina who was lost in thought glanced at Seria on her side.
“No, that’s probably not it. Because this camp is surrounded by flat land, there is little possibility of that to happen…”
“I guess you’re right… I don’t think they will switch from defense to offense hastily…”
“Of course, the possibility is low but…”
From the beginning of the war, the Zalda Kingdom’s movements were fairly consistent.
They performed defensive battles inside a fortress in the basin to reduces damage and made use of the surrounding fortresses in the mountain to their advantages.
For them to suddenly change their strategy, the chance was quite low.
(So then… Why now…)
Every action always had a reason.
How quickly one can realize the reason, usually determines the victor.
And it was a report from a messenger that makes Sardina realized the enemy’s motive.
“Report ! We’ve some parts of our troops sortieing out. They are currently chasing the Zalda Kingdom’s advancing troops, heading directly towards the Ushias Fort !”
The moment she heard that report, Sardina immediately realized.
Cold sweat runs down Sardina’s back.
(Luring… Don’t tell me, this is the reason ?)
That thought turned into conviction when someone in the tent began to speak.
“The situation has turned into an unfavorable development. Saitou, you should head out and consolidate our troops immediately. We might have Rolf-dono here, but it would make her highness Sardina have a peace of mind if you head out as well. Do not let those guys run wild any more than this…”
“Sudou-san… What does that mean?”
Saitou who could not completely grasp the situation asked Sudou.
However, Sardina immediately interrupts.
“Saitou, I’m sorry but please head out immediately. Do not let the soldiers to be lured in much deeper !”
The situation had become a race against time.
They understand Rolf’s competence well enough, but insurance was necessary for this situation.
Just like Sudou had indicated, if the invading army makes a reckless move here, it might cause a fatal injury to their forces.
Saitou stopped asking further questions after one look at Sardina’s eyes, and he immediately leaves the tent.
“Kukuku, finally the enemy makes their real move, Elena Steiner and Eclatia Marienel, is it ? It seems they understood our army quite well. As expected from people who have abundant experience. Now then, to what extent did they read our army preparations…”
“Close your mouth. Sudou!”
Towards Sardina’s anger, Sudou replied with a sarcastic smile on his face.
While staring at his attitude, Sardina sat down on her chair once again.
“Ah, light God Meneoz, please bestow us your divine protection, so that those two could make it in time.”
Words of prayer came out from Sardina’s mouth.
However, Seria who was on her side could not understand the situation.
“Your Highness… Just what has happened?…”
Looking at the praying Sardina who closed her eyes and clasped her hands,
Seria could not hide her feelings of surprise.