It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (9/47), enjoy~
Chapter 5 – Superior And Inferior Measures
The main camp of the rebel army ― the headquarters ― was dominated by silence.
The main reason for this was that the first line had been destroyed, but the humans, whom they had looked down upon as inferior ― especially the militia ― had shown their strength, and they were shaking with fear.
“The details are being hastened, but more than half of the first line will not be able to participate in the battle.”
“I didn’t think they’d take that kind of provocation.”
“This line is made up of criminals, after all. There is no concept of discipline. All they care about is satisfying their own desires.”
“But how should we reorganize? Losing the first line here is a big deal, don’t you think?”
In the middle of the room, the staff members discussed, but all of their faces were filled with bitterness. Even if they wanted to reorganize the first line, most of the unit commanders, including Garius, had been killed in action.
“I guess we’ll have to temporarily raise the ranks and leave it to the junior officers.”
“Even if we do that, who will be in charge of the first line?”
“We have only inexperienced men. If we entrust it to such a person, we will be annihilated next time.”
The Levering Kingdom, which had been under the protection of the Grantz Empire for many years, had never experienced war. Therefore, many of the young demons only have experience in defeating bandits and monsters.
“Even so, where is Baal-sama going? It’s too much for us to handle alone.”
One of the staff members asked a question, and an old demon opened his mouth.
“He has disappeared since the first line was outmatched.”
“Where has he gone?”
“Well, he has been acting strangely ever since he saw how the descendants of the God of War fought.”
“The descendant of the God of War… The fact that the descendant of the God of War did not flee and joined up with the southern army is a problem. Above all, that fearsome archery was beyond the bounds of humanity.”
“The soldiers say that he also took the head Garius-sama…”
“Hmm, he’s only a human, we’ll figure out how to deal with him later, but first, we need to reorganize.”
When someone says that, a silence falls in the tent.
“The first line will be moved to the rear as a backup. After that, we can use them differently and destroy them. We can incorporate them into other units, but none of them will want criminals, will they?”
The man who appeared at the entrance was Baal, one of the three demon generals. The staff members all saluted him. Baal gave a slight nod, walked to the center of the room, and looked down at the map spread out on the ground. The hood still covered his face, so it was impossible to see his expression, but no one in the room had any doubts.
“Where have you been?”
“I went to report to the Crown Prince Fraus, who is lying ill.”
“Under such circumstances?”
When the staff looked at him accusingly, Baal lifted his mouth from the shadows.
“It was necessary to lose the first battle in order to tighten up the army ― not to affect the second line. Besides, there would have been no need for my command there. And I don’t think you would have needed me there; your decisions were sufficient.”
“So it was as you expected.”
“Yes, I did not expect Garius to be killed, but the impact would have been minimal. He was hated for being a little too belligerent.”
“The first line was also made up of criminals and was considered a nuisance by the regular soldiers.”
“The only thing we didn’t anticipate was that the descendant of the God of War would not flee and lend a hand to the southern army… Other than that, things are going as we planned.”
The old staff officer stroked his graying beard and looked at Baal.
“What do we do now, then?”
“From now on, no one will be so foolish as to dare to charge without listening to orders. Then the strategy will be the same as it was in the beginning. All we have to do is to defeat the southern army first.”
“Then, just like that――.”
Just as the staff member was about to finish his sentence, a drum sounded outside.
The staff members turned bloodthirsty and tried to go outside to see what was going on.
“Wait, if we rush out, the soldiers will distrust us. As a senior officer, you should not panic under any circumstances.”
With that, Baal began to walk in front of the staff.
Outside the tent, the sun had completely set. Darkness was coming from all sides, but the night sky was bright with stars and many bonfires so that they could see where they were going. Within sight, there was a flurry of soldiers craning their necks in all directions.
However, there was no fire coming from anywhere in the main camp, and there was no sign of an enemy attack.
“Hmm, I see. So that’s what you did.”
Baal stopped one of the unit commanders who was passing in front of him.
“There’s no need to take it seriously. First of all, stop making a fuss; it’s far too pathetic.”
He calmly assessed the situation and gave instructions.
“Also, triple up the fences and increase the number of bonfires. Take turns every other second. Also, notify all troops to fire arrows at any place where they hear a sound. That will serve as a check.”
As the soldier walked away, an old staff officer approached Baal.
“What do you think they’re up to?”
“Well, either our guards are more heavily guarded than expected, and they’ve switched to a strategy to exhaust us, or they’ve taken advantage of the chaos to infiltrate our ranks with spies. That’s all I can think of right now.”
His words did not waver, as if he was absolutely sure of his own speculation.
“You should rest now. As long as you don’t get provoked, there won’t be a night attack.”
Baal tugged at the edge of his hood before turning his back from the staff.
“Where are you going?”
“To the Crown Prince, Fraus. He must be anxious because of all the commotion.”
After answering the question, Baal began to walk.
“There are two atmospheres he wears. More importantly, I could definitely feel the presence of “him.” So the blood of the God of War has not diminished.”
Baal gulped and started to dig up his past memories.
“And the way he provoked was similar. It’s just like Schwartz. The time has finally come for us to avenge the grudge of a thousand years. The descendants of the God of War must be killed here in order to fulfill the longing of our King.”
By the time the confusion of the soldiers was over, Baal had arrived at Fraus’s tent.
Inside, darkness reigned, and the air was eerily gloomy.
“How are you feeling?”
He asked, speaking to the hovering mass in the darkness――.
Baal nodded, satisfied with the short answer.
“You have endured well. You are now the King of the Dead Soldiers.”
“Am I really dead?”
“Yes, and… 13,000 people were sacrificed to bring your soul to life.”
It’s a human, but… In addition, it was Fraus who laughed happily.
“Kukakaka, I don’t care how many die as long as they are not my people. But to be given the power of the primordial for such a small sacrifice?”
Baal’s words were met with an eerie smile, but he made no response, his body wavering in the darkness.
When Fraus asked his question, Baal shook his head through the darkness.
“Nothing, but I have a report. The Second Prince seems to be gathering troops from all over the country near the border. It’s about 50,000 or so. If the Fourth Prince requests help, they will be here within eight days.”
“…We have 30,000 ― less than that, since the first line suffered damage.”
“But don’t worry. I’ve read every plan they can come up with. All we have to do now is to do nothing and slowly wait to see what they do.”
The sound of joyful laughter reverberated. The air creaked and swirled, becoming deeply muddy.
The stars twinkled in the night sky as if they were scattered jewels. The moonlight was gentle against the bone-chilling cold wind, and by its light, Hiro was reading a letter. This was the letter that the messenger had brought along with the Second Prince’s letter.
The sender was the Sixth Princess, who was on her way to Felzen with an army of 20,000 strong.
A well-developed road makes the enemy invade faster, but the reverse is also the same ― Liz will be able to join Aura in three days.
(I’m also concerned about the Felzen remnants, but… I should finish my own work first.)
There are a lot of things that are not clear. It was difficult to determine this in a single day. If possible, he should evaluate all of his opponent’s plans by tomorrow or the day after tomorrow at the latest.
(They should be able to come up with more plans, though.)
Hiro returned to his tent and sat down, spreading out the map on the ground.
(I’d like to make some kind of move, but… what should I do?)
As he looked at the map, Hiro noticed the border. The Second Prince is gathering his troops there. But this move is far too dangerous. It’s a move that would take the breath out of the Levering Kingdom.
(But even a flicker of it in the back of my mind can induce an opening in my opponent.)
Hiro gave a small snort, stroked his eye patch, and let out a small breath.
(I should try to shake it… That way, I can get an answer.)
If they come on board, it will be easier to annihilate the enemy by trapping them. Hiro dropped his consciousness further into the depths. Then he laid out several pieces on the map, envisioning and discarding many strategies.
Hugin called out to him, and when he looked up, Hugin was down on one knee.
When Hiro wondered how long she had been there, Hugin spoke up――.
“You’ve finally responded. That’s the fifth time already.”
Hiro was surprised that he had been concentrating so hard, causing Hugin to smiled bitterly.
“What if it was an assassin? Just because we’re close by, that doesn’t mean you can just skip out.”
As expected, he would notice the presence of an assassin. Even if they erase it, the Black Princess Camellia will react to it, so there is nothing to worry about.
“What’s the matter with you, Hugin, at this time of night?”
“Since the light was still on, I brought you some food for the night.”
The place where Hugin was resting was not far from Hiro’s tent. Since there were not many women in the army, Hiro was concerned and had her set up a tent nearby. Her brother, Munin, also spends time with her there, and it seems that all the men around are envious of him.
“It’s only light soup and bread.”
“Thank you. I appreciate it; I was actually hungry.”
As Hugin sat down in front of Hiro, she looked at the map spread out on the ground, probably because she had nothing to do.
“Wise brother, do you always spend a lot of time thinking about strategy?”
“Not really, I guess. Sometimes I go to bed without thinking about it.”
“Is it different today?”
“I can’t sleep when I have something on my mind.”
“Well, do you want me to sleep with you?”
Hiro has no idea how she came to that conclusion.
“…..No, it’s okay. I’ve already eaten a late-night meal, and I’ll be asleep soon.”
“Oh, then I’ll sing you a lullaby to help you sleep better!”
Hiro felt a headache and put his hand on his forehead, wondering why she had come to that conclusion.
“I’ll refrain from doing that because it would not be good for the soldiers.”
He shrugged his shoulders and declined, but Hugin scowled and glared at Hiro.
“Lies. The great brother said that some of the commanders surround themselves with women to show their capability.”
Hiro nodded while inwardly complaining to Ghada for giving her unnecessary wisdom. It is true that there are those who do so. They want to make the soldiers think that the commander can afford it. However, that may be a good thing or a bad thing ― it is a custom that is unacceptable in the current situation.
“Anyway, I’m fine for today, Hugin; you should go back to your tent and get some rest.”
“No, I’m here because I’m worried about wise brother!”
It seemed that nothing he could say would help. She might just want to stay here.
Hiro sighed deeply and came up with a strange idea.
“That’s right. Then let’s come up with some strategies together.”
There are some strategies that are inspired by listening to the opinions of others.
“Are you sure?”
Hiro nodded to her as he placed the pieces on the map, her eyes shining with happiness.