Chapter 4 Episode 30
Whether it was the science-ruled Earth, or the mystery and miracle-filled another world, that rule alone stays the same.
There was always a cause and a consequence.
(What will happen, what is the consequence of this event…)
Sudou and Sardina, the two of them were contemplating the same thing.
And Seria desperately tried to understand the situation while looking at Sardina who has her face down.
(I’m here as a military strategist. Think… What do I know, what should I see in this situation… All started the moment when that messenger arrived…)
Seria could still remember every single conversations after the surprise attack.
And finally, Seria noticed something.
(Wait… What did the messenger say? Part of our army sortied out?)
Then she remembered what Sudou said after that.
(Sudou said we might suffer fatal injury if we continue to act recklessly… reckless? In other words, their sortie was not part of her highness’ expectations… Those troops came out from the camp, in other words, if the surprise attack was actually a decoy then… the unit that sortied out will…)
After she thought further ahead, all the pieces started to come together.
(Depending on our troops’ movements after this, it will decide the trend of the war… And the real intention of letting Rolf-dono and Saitou calm the troops…)
After that, Seria’s thoughts come to a conclusion.
“The surprise attack is a decoy… Then what awaits for the lured unit is…”
When Seria said those words, Sardina raised her face and look at her with a sharp look.
Eyes filled with rage and sorrow.
It showed that the conclusion that Seria had reached was the correct one.
Sardina and Seria stared at each other in silence.
Other than that, Sudou had an unchanging smile on his face.
After a while, the heavy silence was broken by a knight who runs into the tent.
He was coming into the tent hastily.
He kneeled before Sardina immediately while trying to fix his rough breath.
“Report ! Saitou-sama and Rolf-sama have successfully calmed the army.”
Seria unintentionally stroked her chest after she heard the report.
It can be said that having Rolf who was originally tasked to defend the rear come to the front line was a fortunate thing.
At first, Sardina just wants more manpower before she launched the all-out battle, but it has unexpectedly brought good luck.
It would’ve been impossible to calm the soldiers unless the words came out from a man with a proven track record like Rolf.
Saitou was not bad either, but he won’t be able to calm the current situation alone.
Seria smiled in relief.
However, Sardina’s wary expression have not yet disappeared.
“How many soldiers went out without permission?”
“We’ve confirmed the soldiers who sortied numbered around eight thousands, the soldiers mostly belong to the 3rd, 5th, and 8th chivalric orders that were part of the western region army.”
Hearing that, Sardina clicked her tongue.
If Zalda’s intention was to lure Ortomea’s troops, then their chance of coming back was low.
(Eight thousands… It’s more than I had expected… And as I had feared, it was the troops from the western area we had asked as reinforcements… My command seems to not have spread properly…)
Most of the reinforcement soldiers had gone out without Sardina’s permission.
That was one of the Empire’s downside for having a large territory.
Even though they had come from the same Imperial Army, for those who were not familiar with her command, it was particularly hard to enforce an order.
Thus Sardina herself could not utilize them efficiently.
“Rolf-sama also asked permission to sent a rescue unit…”
Sardina didn’t reply the messenger…
If they do nothing, eight thousands men might well die.
However, knowing that there was a trap, Sardina could not order the rest of the army to jump into it either…
“We have no choice but to cut our losses, huh..?”
Sudou opened his mouth while looking at Sardina who kept silent.
His voice felt irritating.
Despite the current situation, Sudou’s manner of speaking didn’t even change.
“Cut our losses, you said?”
Seria looked puzzled, unable to understand such term.
“Yes, cut one’s losses. If we tried to help and save those soldiers poorly, we might suffer a bigger disaster instead…”
Cut one’s losses
In term of business, it was a move where one abandons an enterprise or course of action that was clearly going to be unprofitable or unsuccessful before one suffers too much losses or harm.
Following that thought, what did Sudou meant by saying “cut our losses”?
The answer was…
“We should not send a rescue unit, you want us to abandon them, is that right?”
Seria held her breath when Sardina said those words while glaring at Sudou full of hatred.
“Of course, if your highness wanted to… This Sudou will not say anything more and dispatch a rescue unit… However, although it might be rude of me, I want to say that if we sent a rescue unit now, the chance of success for the invasion would be drastically reduced. Furthermore, It is already too late, if we go now, instead of a rescue we will be met with a crushing defeat…”
Sudou laughed lightly…
It was written on his face.
That he wants Sardina to decide…
“You already know that much yet still want me to decide huh?”
(Sudou Akitake… He was the right-hand man of Gaies who had already passed away…)
Although his personality can be said as nothing but disgusting, when it comes to his ability, Sardina could not say anything.
In fact, Sudou merely stated the truth.
And like the old people said, sometimes the truth can be painful…
“Of course… If we let our subordinates got killed in front of us like that, the morale of the whole army will fall. That is why, no matter which path your highness choose, we will sustain heavy damage. If that is the case then, I suggest we take the choice with less damage…”
“Should we maintain morale, or should we choose to preserve the soldiers’ numbers, is that it?”
Sardina then chewed her thumb’s fingernail.
(If we don’t send a rescue unit, the soldiers will be dissatisfied with my command… Creating the possibility of them deserting the army… But if we sent a rescue team while fully knowing that it was a trap, we might suffer heavier losses instead…)
Either choice was a major problem for Ortomea Empire army, one wrong move here might cause the invasion to become a complete failure.
It was a very difficult choice.
And the right answer might not exist when it comes to these two choices.
It was two disadvantageous options.
And just like Sudou had said.
Sardina needs to make a decision.
That was the responsibility of someone who leads an army.
“Very well then…”
After a long silence, Sardina finally opened her mouth.
But the choice she made never reached anyone ears.
“Urgent! Please let me have an audience with her imperial princess Sardina-sama.”
Because her voice was overlapped by the voice of another messenger who entered her tent in a hurry…
It was already dark outside the window; in her private room located in the corner of the fort,.Elena sat on the chair while drinking.
Strong alcohol slides down her throat.
Elena didn’t like drinking too much, but on the battlefield, occasionally some people want to drink alcohol so badly to relieve stress.
Especially right after a battle.
During those times, the image of dead bodies across the battlefield would usually appear inside one’s mind.
However, what was inside Elena’s mind right now was the appearance of a single woman.
A young lady with luxurious armor.
Her white-skinned face looked very smooth.
That’s right, the figure that appeared inside Elena’s mind was the beloved daughter of the Ortomea Empire’s Emperor, Sardina.
“Fuuh… I thought she would choose to bring a rescue unit, but unexpectedly she was calmer than I thought she would be… I wonder if I underestimated her too much?”
Looking at the sighing Eclatia, Elena poured some alcohol into Eclatia’s cup.
“In my eyes, she has made a splendid decision. Because they should vaguely realize that the previous move was a trap. I guess, as a military commander, her judgment was right, but…”
Eclatia smiled in a grand manner.
As a matter of fact, they both didn’t care whether or not Sardina sent a rescue unit.
Since, no matter which choice Sardina made, she was bound to lose something…
“I guess so…”
“Now, the question is whether she would be able to regain her soldiers’ trust or not…”
For soldiers, what was most important were their own lives.
And sometimes the commander best choice was not always the best one for the soldiers.
Because Sardina didn’t send a rescue, strong distrust would start to appear among the Ortomea Empire soldiers.
Out of uneasiness, those soldiers might start to think that they were just disposable goods.
“Well, for her being that young, it would be impossible. Even though she has war experience, all of it comes from using the overwhelming military power of the Ortomea Empire. No matter how much talent she has, she lacked the experience to tilt the situation back to the Ortomea side…”
Inside the room, warriors born from the weak smiled.
Indeed, no matter how much talent she had, for Elena and Eclatia, Sardina was a little bird lacking the experience of being weak.
Sardina had too little knowledge when it comes to waging a war with disadvantageous situations.
She was especially lacking the resourcefulness of someone who survived a desperate warfare.
“I guess it all depends on her adjutants now?”
“I guess so… We can’t let our guard down now…”
Elena nodded in agreement.
They both generally understood Sardina’s situation.
What they needed to do now was to understand the men who assisted her.
“Well, even if we think about that now, we won’t be able to reach a conclusion… For now, let us rejoice at the small victory we just had…”
Saying that Elena raised her cup.
“Agreed, Grahart-san also did a great job, more than I had expected. In today’s battle alone, we managed to cut off more than 5000 enemy soldiers…”
After Eclatia successfully lured out the Ortomea Empire, Grahart performed another surprise attack on the soldiers who were chasing Eclatia, causing a massive damage.
It was two surprise raids.
The plan itself can be regarded as successful, but on the corner of her mind, Eclatia felt unsatisfied by the result.
“Although the result was a bit unsatisfying for something that took a lot of time to prepare, I guess it can’t be helped… I should be satisfied with this for now…”
Elena showed a bitter smile after hearing her remark.
They had sacrificed a lot of time in preparing the previous strategy.
Since they arrived as reinforcements, Elena and Eclatia had done nothing but defensive warfare.
Comparing the result with the time spent and the troubles they went through in preparing the previous surprise strategy, it was indeed disappointing.
“Well let’s forget about it for now… We’ve managed to perform our role, and besides, the result wouldn’t decide the fate of the war either.”
“That’s right… But with this, we have no trump card left, since we also already used the bow cavalry in today’s attack. After this, we have no choice but dedicate ourselves fully to defensive warfare…”
They both shrugged at each other.
However, they both didn’t show any anxiety in their expressions.
In fact, the two of them only smiled at each others.
They laughed as if they didn’t have any concerns at all.
That was because the two of them believed in the man who was currently in a distant land within Ortomea Empire territory… <TLN: Include occupied territory.>
Then suddenly the door of Elena’s private room was knocked.
By the hand of the goddess of destiny…
“Emergency ! Ortomea Empire’s army is showing some weird movements!”
A knight high-pitched voice could be heard from outside the room.
Hearing the knight report, Elena and Eclatia nodded at each other.
“It seems the time has come… Eclatia.”
“That seems to be the case…”
They didn’t continue into details.
During the day, Ortomea Empire didn’t only lose soldier lives, but also some of its morale.
Under such circumstances, it was unlikely for Ortomea Empire to perform a night battle.
With that being the case, only one possibility was left.
It was something Elena and Eclatia had believed in.
Had they not, Eclatia and Elena wouldn’t just stay and perform defensive battle in Ushias basin all this time.
However, as a human being, they did have some uneasiness inside their hearts that they refused to let it show.
“So, you made it in time… Mikoshiba Ryouma…”
Along with admiration, Elena speaks out a man’s name.
The war between the Zalda Kingdom and the Ortomea Empire had spanned for one year and a few months, starting with the Notiz plain battle.
It finally came to an end.
By the scheme of a one man…