It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (44/85), enjoy~
December 31st, 1023rd year of the Imperial Calendar.
Former General Loing led thirty thousand rebel troops. Three thousand eight hundred allied forces led by Liz and Hiro.
The two armies faced off on the Plains of Hope.
The sky was clear, and the air was free of groundless fears. It even made one feel refreshed. But what swept over the ground was a wild, blood-curdling hot wind.
The season is winter, yet the heat emanating from both armies is causing the temperature to rise violently.
The main army was filled with strange tranquility, while the encouragement of the troop leaders flew from various places.
“Your Highness Hiro, it appears that Her Highness Celia Estrella is in position.”
A messenger on one knee looked up. There was a roofless carriage parked there.
The one sitting down on it, on its floor, watching the surroundings, is Hiro.
“Then, we will raise the crest.”
When Hiro looked at the guard, his reply came back with vigor.
“Raise the flag! Show the rebels the divine flag of our “God of War”!”
As the flag bearer of the main army raised a large flag, Hiro’s crest flags were raised one after another from various places. The soldiers were suddenly buzzing, and a horse approached Hiro.
“It looks like you’re ready.”
It was a man wearing full body armor ― black armor with grooves. He is Hiro’s second-in-command and is also a pure-blooded demon, which is rare in the central continent.
Therefore, due to its rarity, he had to cover his head with armor to protect himself from curious glances.
“Ghada, have you prepared everything?”
“Yes, I’ve left that to Munin. We are ready.”
Hiro nodded in reply and looked at the battlefield again.
The other 2,000 were left to Liz and were positioned one cell (three kilometers) away. They seemed to have noticed that Hiro’s side was raising a flag, and a large flag from Liz’s side was floating gracefully in the air, driven by the wind.
“I can’t help but notice that morale is low. Also, it’s obvious that they are nervous.”
Ghada’s point was sharp. Even if you are experienced ― or even a layman ― you can see that the soldiers Hiro is leading are straining their bodies.
“I think it’s understandable in this situation.”
Anyone would feel deflated in the face of an army that filled their field of vision.
In the first place, they are not the “Raven Army” trained by Ghada.
The soldiers’ Rosa had left behind ― their homeland was far away in the east. No one wants to die in a strange land. So they are not prepared, and their faces are so pale that if you shouted in their ears, they would faint.
Above all, the other side is commanded by a living legend, former General Loing.
The desperation and pressure must not be half as great as it seems. The only thing Hiro could think of was that it was better that they didn’t run away.
“One-Eyed Dragon, take a look over there. There’s a big difference between here and there.”
In contrast, the morale of the rebels was visibly high. They were beating their drums and blowing their horns to inspire the soldiers.
Every time a shout was released from the enemy forces, the soldiers on Hiro’s side would get scared.
“Shouldn’t we take action soon?”
Hiro shook his head at Ghada’s advice that he should inspire his allies as much as his opponents.
“No, I’ll stick it out until the last minute. Half-hearted enthusiasm will quickly cool off.”
Since yesterday, he had been trying to maintain morale. He had allowed a small amount of alcohol to be consumed, worked hard on the soldiers, and spread the rumor that there would be a huge reward when things were done.
To prevent deserters, he also spread lies that the battle was aimed at deceiving the other side and that there would be no real fight. Seeing that all the soldiers are here without a single one escaping, there is no doubt that it is working.
(Now, all that remains is the final touch.)
The best time to do this is right before the war starts.
“Wise brother! I have just gone to scout the enemy army!”
The pleasant sound of a cheerful, trembling bell touched Hiro’s ear. When Hiro shifted his gaze from the battlefield to the bottom of the carriage, he saw a brown-skinned woman on one knee with a fearless smile on her face.
“Hugin, thank you for your work. I’ll listen to your report as we head to the front.”
Hiro gave her a word of thanks and beckoned to the Swift Dragon, who was standing comfortably next to Hugin.
Hiro jumped on the back of the Swift Dragon, who approached the carriage with just a gesture.
“Wise brother, it seems that the enemy army has split into two groups. The number of the enemy forces coming towards us is about 15,000. They have 5,000 cavalry and horses in the front line and have taken a horizontal position.”
Hiro put the head of the Swift Dragon around the front line and listened to the report of Hugin, who was riding alongside him.
“In addition, in the middle of the enemy’s army of 8,000, there seems to be the figure of former General Loing.”
“Former General Loing has arrived here… and it looks like he won’t take it easy on us.”
Above all, the formation with the cavalry in the front row ― if the war begins, the appearance will be transformed. Out of the eight black formations, he envisioned a few that would be suitable for a large army on the plains.
“He’s a tough opponent.”
Ghada blurted out his honest opinion.
“Do you think so?”
“Yeah, it would be sweet if they were more cautious and wary of our tactics, but their lineup seems to have no regard for tricks.”
Part of it is probably due to the fact that there are so few of them, but the other side is not afraid to take damage. Even if it is only three thousand eight hundred, a collision is sure to cause damage.
Depending on the skill of the commander, many soldiers would lose their precious lives.
“He’s not thinking about the rest of the battle at all ― or maybe he thinks he can think about it after he wins.”
Ghada snorted, making an unhappy face atop his horse.
They’re not going to let their guard down ― they’re going to do everything they can, even if the numbers are small. It is possible to judge that they appreciate them as a difficult enemy, but they are unlikely to have enough reinforcements to replenish their dwindling ranks.
“And even if they defeat us, there are still the Golden Lion Knights in the Great Imperial Capital. I think they want to keep their losses to a minimum, but judging from this bullish lineup, they’re going to try to beat us to the punch.”
“It’s possible that they’ve seen through our plan, and that’s why they’re taking such a strong stance.”
“Yes… that might be a very good possibility.”
After designating this place, which is dotted with swamps due to the rains, as a battleground, Hiro bought up as much oil as he could from nearby villages and towns. He also bought as many arrows as possible and gave his soldiers as many as they could carry.
The formation also followed the same pattern, with archers in the front row and cavalry in the middle and back rows, forming a shape like an arrowhead. The archers would bare away the thick walls of the enemy army, and when they saw an opportunity to open up to the left and right, the cavalry would charge forward and bite through the bellies. It was a formation designed to break through the center.
This is one of the eight black formations ― the spearhead formation.
“…It is safe to assume that the fire plan has been read. Otherwise, they would not have come to this place.”
“No, I think they should be half-confident.”
In order to raise suspicion as to whether or not they were really going to set off a fireworks display, Hiro bought up more oil than necessary. That information must have immediately reached the ears of the opponent. And the place he chose for the battlefield was a place dotted with swamps. If he were a simple man, he would have decided to use the oil as a swamp to set up a fire plan. However, his opponent was a fierce warrior who had risen to the rank of one of the five great generals.
He would have suspected that there was an ulterior motive and would have come to make sure that the bait hanging in front of him was not poisoned and that it was safe to eat.
“Whatever the case, we’ll win this battle if Liz and the others survive.”
Reaching the front, Hiro looked around.
There were oil-soaked horse fences surrounding the 1,800-strong army from left to right and back. In front of them, there were no horse fences, and 20 roos (60 meters) away from the front row, there was an unnatural number of short, easily surmountable trees lying on top of each other.
“Ghada, I leave you in charge of the other eight hundred.”
The battle this time has been entrusted to the eight hundred ‘Raven Army’ and the six hundred cavalrymen out of the one thousand led by Hiro.
“Yes, I understand, but… be careful, okay?”
“You don’t have to worry about me. I want you to concentrate on your role, Ghada.”
He’s prepared to be wiped out. It’s not a problem as long as Liz and the others survive. The result will be resented, scorned, and even abused.
(I’d rather accept it all than regret it.)
That’s what war is all about. Above all, he has abandoned his naivety in the past.
“I’ll leave the rest up to you, but make sure you don’t misjudge.”
“I know what my priorities are. I don’t have any personal feelings about it.”
Hiro nodded in response to Ghada’s strong words and then looked ahead.
A battle cry rang out from the enemy troops as if torrential thunder was raining down on them.
It is not righteous for the emperor to use such despicable means! Those who participate in it are equally guilty! Bring down the hammer without mercy! The Spirit King will surely smile upon us!
The sound of drums shot up into the sky, and the shout of horns stimulated the eardrums as if to pierce them.
The first group charges! Show our anger to those who tremble in fear!
The footsteps of military boots rang through the air, and the impact of horseshoes shook the earth.
“Kuh, here they come…”
“Are we really going to fight…?”
“There’s no way we can win against those numbers…”
Shouts of agitation and dismay came from the allies.
Anxiety, suspicion, grumbling, frustration, and negative emotions spread rapidly.
As he looked out at the buzzing soldiers, Hiro saw that their will to fight had begun to drop rapidly.
“It’s about time… let’s get started too.”
Hiro drew the “Heavenly Emperor” from its sheath and pointed the sword’s tip at the sun.
A strong, seven-colored glow covered the land, illuminating it.
“Everyone, is there any need to be afraid?”
The voice resonated well ― it was a natural quality.
The words, which could be called the voice of a king, rushed through the soldiers in all directions.
“The opponent is only 15,000. There is no need to fear anything.”
Hiro smiled quietly.
“Victory always lies in the name of the God of War. Therefore, I offer the promised victory to the Spirit King.”
After Hiro finished, an indescribable silence filled the battlefield. Everyone stared at Hiro blankly, as if they had forgotten how even to breathe.
Gradually, however, people began to understand. They must have begun to feel the heat smoldering deep inside their bodies as they were brought back to reality, to the meaning of the words.
A moment later ― a shout went up.
Spears, bows, and swords were thrust into the sky, and an unstoppable battle cry erupted. Morale rose violently. A tremendous heat began to envelop the area.