Chapter 56 – Traps Are Most Exciting When They’re Installed
“Assuming that conflict is inevitable, the question is, how do we settle it?”
It’s easy to start a war. The hard part is to end it. There are many factors involved, such as the exhaustion caused by the war, the depletion of supplies, the support of the people, the interests of the nation such as securing key points, and the pride of the leader and the nation.
“The leader of this side will, of course, be Sylphy, but who will be the leader of that side?”
“The supreme leader will naturally be the Holy King Alfred III, but in this case, it will be the consul who rules the Merinard Kingdom.”
“Aureus, the consul in charge. He’s a pig who’s very good at squeezing his people to the breaking point and lining his pockets.”
Sir Leonard has a gentlemanly demeanor, but his words are harsh now, perhaps because he has some sort of history.
“It would be better for the leaders to meet with each other and make peace, but… they won’t agree.”
“That’s right. There is too much difference in the size of the forces.”
From the enemy’s perspective, a small force of about 1300 people would be like an insignificant insect. I don’t think they will come to the negotiating table as equals.
“It’s also impossible to ask a third party to act as an intermediary.”
“For the same reason. There is nothing to be gained by mediating with someone who has no influence. We must expand our power and have enough influence to compete on equal terms with other nations.”
I knew this before it started, but it’s not an easy thing to say. But well, there are things you can do if you choose to.
“Just for the record, is there a custom in this world to have a verbal battle before starting a war, or rather a declaration of war?”
“Before the war begins, messengers and commanders who have raised the white flag meet face to face and recommend surrender to each other from horseback or engage in verbal warfare, I believe.”
“Do you think they will do that this time?”
“I don’t think so. In their eyes, we are the remnants of the rebel army that was destroyed three years ago. We’ll be treated as bandits causing mayhem.”
“Oh… is there no room for discussion at all?”
“If it were possible to talk to them, the Merinard Kingdom would not be a vassal state.”
Sylphy shrugged her shoulders with a sarcastic smile. Hmm, is that so?
“Well, for now, we just have to show them our power. Kosuke, you can start your operations as you see fit.”
“Aye aye, ma’am.”
What I’m going to do, and I don’t need to make this clear now, is to blow up and demolish this fort. I’m going to set up explosive blocks all over the place and blow up this fort without a trace so that it can’t be used. Not even the soldiers of the Holy Kingdom.
The problem is how to detonate them. So far, there are only two ways to detonate the bomb remotely, safely, and reliably. The first is to use a time fuse. The first is to detonate the explosive block at the specified time.
Experiments have shown that explosive blocks within their area of effect will detonate in a chain, so if I place them properly, I can detonate all the explosive blocks by blowing up the first one.
The other is a switch explosion using a mithril copper alloy circuit that I made with Isla’s help. By connecting the explosive block to the detonation tool with wires made of mithril copper alloy, which has high magical conductivity, the explosive block can be instantly detonated by pressing a switch.
This can also be linked to the trap switches of building blocks, so it is possible to use it so that when someone steps on the floor, or presses a switch on the wall, then boom!
The problem is the high cost of the material. The amount of metal used to wire the mithril copper alloy is trivial, but if you extend it to 100m or 200m, the amount consumed will be pretty high. It takes a lot of courage to use it in an almost disposable way like this. Well, I couldn’t turn my back on it, though.
“Now, what should I do…?”
The ideal way to do this is to blow up the fort when the entire army of the Holy Kingdom is inside. Nonetheless, there are no more than 500 people that can fit in this fort. If it were the main base, there would be plenty of room, but in this fort, there would be less than 1000 people at most. Even so, it must be attractive to them to have a fort where they don’t have to worry about being attacked by Gizma.
They’ll be wary, but once they see that we’re gone, they’ll definitely have a certain amount of people in this fort.
“We can either set a trap in the back of the pantry or use a timed detonation… Well, timed detonation is better.”
It would be better to set the trap to detonate in the middle of the night after sunset. There is no such thing as a time bomb in this world yet. There should be no way to be alarmed. They should explore the fort thoroughly, and once it is confirmed that no one is hiding there, the fort will be used.
It would be better to set the fuse to detonate in the middle of the night and retreat. The explosives must be placed in such a way as to destroy the fort and cause widespread damage completely.
“Well, the best way to do that would be to plant an explosive block inside the wall.”
I hollowed out the inside of the three-meter thick wall and placed the explosive blocks evenly. Explosive blocks were also placed in the walls of the internal facilities. It’s got “TNT” written all over it, but nobody would think it’s dangerous. No one would think of setting it on fire just to test it. Right?
“What’s the matter, Kosuke? Why are you frozen in place like that?”
As I was pondering over the placement of the explosive blocks on the dormitory wall, Sylphy, who had been following the installation work, called out to me with concern.
“No, I was worried that some idiot might set it on fire before it blows up.”
“I think it’ll be fine… but if you’re worried about it, why don’t you put a “no fire” sign on it?”
“That would look suspicious.”
I couldn’t help but laugh at Sylphy’s suggestion. I’d be afraid to enter a fort with walls marked “no fire” here and there. Well, I guess I’ll just leave it at that. It’ll be okay, I guess. I can’t drag them all in anyway, and if even one of the explosive blocks explodes, it will trigger a bomb that will blow the fort to bits. Dragging them into it is just a bonus; if we can dismantle this temporary fort, then we’ve achieved our goal.
There’s a saying that the strategist drowns in deceit, so let’s make sure we place the blocks properly so that we can blow them up, yeah.
“Hey, can you tell everyone to refrain from lighting fires? If the bomb explodes while we’re around, it’ll be a disaster.”
“Yeah, that’s true.”
It wouldn’t be funny if we all died in an explosion due to a careless mistake.
The installation of the explosive blocks and the collection of materials was completed without delay. And the next day, the Harpies, who were out scouting for the enemy first thing in the morning, detected the enemy’s movement.
“It’s a total of 5500, with 1000 cavalry, 4000 infantry and archers combined, and 500 Transportation Corps.”
“Hmm, that’s more than five times the number of liberated people who escaped. They are not planning to attack the Black Forest, right?”
“It seems that the troops are probably based on the premise of capturing this fort. I think they intend to use this fort as a bridgehead to pursue us.”
“What’s the ETA?”
“They’ll probably camp a short distance from the fort before sundown and attack it tomorrow morning.”
“Fumu… How do we move?”
If we make a mistake, it won’t be good. If a thousand cavalrymen chase us, we will be in trouble.
“We can escape from the underground passage. Do you think we can resist here until about noon tomorrow and then escape?”
“Yeah… running away without any resistance at all might look suspicious.”
“I don’t think so. They know we have information through the Harpy’s eyes.”
“I see. There is a big difference in strength between them and us, so it would be rather unnatural for us not to run away… Well, let’s leave immediately now. Kosuke, can you set the time fuse tomorrow night?”
“Yeah, I can.”
“Then do so. Leave a certain amount of food and other supplies in the storeroom so that we can pretend that we have escaped without taking anything.”
The retreat was hurriedly started, and thirty minutes later, everyone was ready to leave. The remaining force in the fort was about fifty people. All of them were reasonably well-trained soldiers who had been notified in advance of the enemy’s movements and that they would be retreating immediately depending on the enemy’s movements, so there was no confusion.
“I’d really like to see the results of the battle with my own eyes.”
“Of course, I also want to see the results of the battle, but I don’t want the two of us to put ourselves in danger together.”
I think it’s okay for Sylphy and me to escape even if we’re pursued by cavalry, and after the explosion is confirmed, they’ll be in chaos, so I think it’s safe to say that it’s outrageous for the supreme leader and the key to logistics to remain in a dangerous place, said Sir Leonard. Well, of course, it is. He was absolutely right.
So I decided to build a watchtower that could accommodate about three people in a position that could clearly monitor the fort and leave three of the Harpies there. They’ll also have a timed explosive device to blow up the fort when they find out about the situation in the fort.
“So, Your Highness. Please refrain from observing and staying in there.”
“All right, all right. Stop reminding me over and over again.”
Sylphy returns a wry smile to Sir Leonard, who has a straight face.
“You too, Kosuke? It would be best if you never did that. If you break your promise, I’ll tell Melty.”
“All right, I won’t do that.”
Both Sylphy and I are weak against Melty. Sylphy is in the sense of a childhood friend, and I am in the sense of a black corporate boss. I think Melty is the strongest of the Liberation Army.
We parted ways with Sir Leonard and the other troops who were retreating and moved with the Harpy squad to a small rocky hill a short distance away. Here, we wouldn’t be attacked by Gizma, and we’d have a good vantage point.
“I think I should hollow out the rock pile to make it less conspicuous.”
“Yes, that’s a good idea.”
It’s important to be flexible. I built a scaffold in a position where it could not be seen from the temporary fort, made an entrance, and carved out a room inside the rocky mountain with a pickaxe. Then, I built some peepholes so that I could see into the temporary fort, set up a water hole and furniture, and installed an explosive device just in case, and the watchtower was complete.
“Did I go a little overboard?”
“It would be a shame to blow it up, that’s for sure. But it will be troublesome if the Holy Kingdom army discovers and uses it later on.
“That’s true, too.”
It seems that the three who will be stationed here are Pirna, the brown feather Harpy’s Flame, and Pessar.
“We’ll meet up with you the day after tomorrow after we confirm the results of the battle.”
“Umu, be careful.”
“Be really careful. Make sure you don’t get hurt or anything.”
We parted ways with the three of them and pursued Sir Leonard and the others with the rest of the harpies. I did a series of jumps, and Sylphy ran as usual. The harpies are flying. It took me a while to make the watchtower, but we were able to meet up with them before they arrived at the fourth shelter. It seemed they were just taking a short break for lunch.
We also had a light lunch, and we all walked to the fourth shelter. On the way there, the Golem communicator on my back started ringing. As the Liberation Army soldiers looked at me with interest, I picked up my Golem communicator and began to communicate.
“This is Kosuke.”
“Hmm, it’s connected. I was worried.”
It was a message from Isla. There’s no mistaking her voice.
“Oh, I’m sorry. It seems it couldn’t reach the temporary fort after all.”
“Yeah. Is everything okay? Are you hurt?”
“Everyone is fine. There was some enemy movement, and I’ve set a trap in the fort and are now retreating. Pirna and three other Harpies will stay behind to monitor the fort, check the battle results, and then join us. The rest of us are heading to the fourth shelter and should be arriving soon.”
“Hmm, okay. What is the size of the enemy?”
“5500 including the Transportation Corps. 1000 cavalry, 4000 infantry combined with archers and 500 Transportation Corps.”
“That’s a lot.”
“Yeah… But I think we will be fine. The front-line fort is perfectly defended, after all.”
“…Okay. I’ll let everyone know.”
I finished the communication and put the golem communication device back on my back. Naturally, curious eyes were focused on me. Right? I know that.
“As you can see, this is the latest creation of the research and development department, a tool that allows you to talk to people in distant places. That’s a communication from the front-line fort. I don’t know how it works in detail. It will be placed in frontline units in the future.”
I explained as much as I knew before they started asking questions, but they ended up asking a lot of questions. No, I don’t think you can carry it on your own. At least not for a while.
Oh, but radio broadcasting might be a good idea. We could make a special device to receive it and set up a high-powered antenna at the main base where we can use plenty of magic power and broadcast it on a special frequency. We could broadcast the day’s news or music from liberated people who are good at singing or playing instruments. I’ll definitely make a plan when I get back, yes.
While I was thinking about these things while explaining, we arrived at the fourth shelter. Sylphy and I have set up a simple lodging outside the shelter, so it’s just the two of us tonight. I’m looking forward to a lot of things, but first I have to talk to her about something. About the Harpies, about Isla, and about the upcoming war.
I guess I’m not tense enough since the war comes after my love life. Well, since we haven’t directly exchanged lives… I guess I should really be a little more worried.
Well… what should I say?