It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (76/105), enjoy~
11th February, 1024th year of the Imperial Calendar.
The darkness was being lifted from the sky. The sun rose in the east, giving the world a kaleidoscopic glow of color.
The sky was a deep blue, with white clouds adding color, and the sky was filled with peaceful scenery.
On the ground, however, the atmosphere was bleak and desolate.
The Great Grantz Empire ― Larix Plains in the western region.
Among the many flags moving about, the one that stands out the most is the “Black Dragon” banner.
A vigorous shout roared out. It was so loud that it almost broke the air.
The soldiers raised their weapons high above their heads and offered words of honor to the sky in praise of the nation.
The enthusiasm was directed at the enemy troops facing them. The main camp of the Six Kingdoms was set up not too far away.
In the center of the main camp of the Six Kingdoms, which was set up in a position that overlooked the battlefield, was a simple command center, where Lucia and the Urpeth siblings, as well as the heavyweights and bureaucrats of each country, had gathered.
There was a flashy bed in the higher part of the room, on which Lucia was lying.
“Oh… their morale is quite high, isn’t it?”
She grabbed an apple from a basket of fruit and bit into it.
The entrance to the tent was wide open, giving a good view of the battlefield.
A cold wind came in and brushed her hair. Her body, which had been heated up by the murderous intent of the enemy, was rapidly cooling down.
“Your Majesty Queen Lucia, it seems that the entire army is ready for battle.”
“Then give the order. Let them surround and annihilate the enemy.”
They had 180,000 troops on their side and 40,000 on the enemy’s side. The difference in strength is obvious. However, even though there are many of them, the people gathered in this place will not let their guard down.
“Why are you so quiet?”
The command center was filled with a strange silence. It was almost suffocating. No one foolishly thought that they could win the battle easily. It was the tension of the possibility of losing that created the strange atmosphere.
The enemy was the Great Grantz Empire, which had reigned as the ruler of the central continent for a thousand years.
Furthermore, the commander is the fourth prince, the descendant of the mythical “God of War” who had left behind many legends.
But unfortunately, none of the people present had ever seen him before.
Those who live in the distant Krim region have only heard of his wisdom through hearsay.
“…I have never been so afraid of forty thousand men.”
A member of the staff muttered nervously. Everyone nodded gravely as if to say they agreed.
Lucia wondered if she should threaten him with pity but decided that there was no point, as it would only make him shrivel up further. And she could not help but feel uneasy. She was not sure whether her plan would succeed or not.
(…The House of Mark has been completely destroyed.)
There was no communication from Orléans, who had been linked with her secretly. It is safe to assume that the fourth prince has found out about the plot.
(But well… I still have a hand to play.)
At the very least, they succeeded in dragging the fourth prince to this point, which is something she should be happy about.
Lucia looked at the bundle of letters on her bedside table.
When she was about to take one of them, a horn blew loudly.
Lucia squinted her eyes and listened carefully, trying not to forget the sound. It was the overture to a battle that would be remembered for generations to come.
The command center became a little noisier. The tense atmosphere from earlier had disappeared.
“The first group is moving ― the first and second cavalry corps have moved first.”
Hearing the report of the staff officer looking at the battlefield, the aides hurriedly placed the pieces on the map.
The first line of the Six Kingdoms has taken a dragon wing stance. It is the most suitable formation for encircling the enemy.
Their first cavalry corps is 20,000, and the second cavalry corps is also 20,000.
And the first infantry corps, which occupies the center, is made up of 30,000 highly trained soldiers.
The total for the first group was 70,000. This alone was more than the 40,000 soldiers of the Grantz Army.
“What about the enemy’s formation?”
“This is also… a formation that is difficult to react to.”
“Oh… a common formation with a bunch of people who can’t even coordinate.”
Lucia was impressed, but inwardly she could not hide her surprise at the enemy’s daring, even reckless, leadership. It is a strange formation in which the troops are arranged diagonally.
It was named “Ryuko-jin” because it resembles a dragon swimming in the sky, and it can transform into dragon wings and dragon scales. However, it is a formation where coordination is most important, and no one likes to use it with a hodgepodge of troops. It has the feature that all the troops can fight immediately, but because of this, it is not suitable for enduring battles, and it was even reckless in the face of such a large army.
In other words, the fact that they were using it meant that they were most likely planning something.
“Let’s hope for the first group first. We’ll know soon enough what they’re up to.”
Lucia narrowed her eyes and looked to the front lines.
The first and second cavalry corps are about to bite into both wings of the enemy army.
A fierce sound rang out. The rumbling of the ground reached the main camp. Screams could be heard, and shouts of anger were launched.
Swords overlap, sparks fly, and to demonstrate their strength, they cut off the heads of their opponents.
Blood smoke rises violently as the five organs are scattered.
Over time, tens, hundreds, thousands, and tens of thousands of lives will be scattered across this ground.
Lucia thought it was a beautiful sight.
It is in these life-and-death battles that the inner workings of human nature come to life.
This is the moment when the ugly and the beautiful are all brought out without hiding.
There is no mercy. There is no malice. There is only a pure heart ― the desire to live.
They crush each other with it. In order to live, they pluck the lives of their opponents with their childish hearts.
“I can say nothing about it… Fufufu, it’s a privilege allowed to humans.”
Lucia looked ecstatic and licked the edge of her mouth, which was covered with apple juice.
“But when will they do it?”
The more time passes, the more conspicuous the inferiority of the Grantz Army becomes.
But the enemy is also desperate. They’re trying their best not to die, and they’re putting up a desperate resistance.
“The second group of fifty thousand has begun to move. I’m afraid this will be the end of the Grantz Army.”
“No way… are you planning to annihilate them like this ― no, that’s not possible.”
Lucia picked up one of the letters that lay on her bedside table. It was a letter from a different informant than the head of the House of Mark, Orléans.
It was written that the fourth prince Hiro was thinking of a raid operation.
(Hmm… could it be that he too has been exposed as an informant?)
Lucia crushed the letter in her hand and stood up.
“Seleucus, how is the reconnaissance going?”
At the call of his name, the handsome assistant approached with a grin and a frivolous smile, as usual. It was indeed annoying under the circumstances, and Lucia glared at Seleucus, making no attempt to hide her annoyance.
“Your Majesty Lucia, your gaze is frightening.”
“It’s an emergency. I’ll pretend I didn’t hear you say that.”
“Thank you, Your Majesty. So, the reconnaissance was it?”
“Yes, what’s the situation?”
“According to the reconnaissance unit… there were no suspicious shadows around. But we’re not familiar with the geography of the western regions, so we think there are a few places to hide.”
Lucia put her hand on her chin and stepped out of the tent. The main camp is built in a high position, so it is easy to see the state of the battlefield.
There was nothing that seemed like a plot by the Grantz Army, and there were no traps to speak of. They just continued to fight like savages on the spot and suffered many casualties.
“The third group of 30,000 should be sent out to thin out the enemy lines.”
“Are you still not satisfied with just winning?”
Seleucus spoke to her. Lucia turned around, anger rising in her voice.
“How can you speak like that after serving me for so many years?”
Seleucus retreated, holding on to his smile in response to the unhuman-like form of rage he had just seen.
A wild wind swirled around Lucia, gouging the ground as if to express her anger.
“I apologize for my mistake… Please forgive me. And I believe that the descendant of the God of War will be appearing.”
Seleucus said slowly, choosing his words carefully as if his life was in danger. Lucia’s eyes widened, and for the first time, she realized that he was mistaken.
“Are you certain that the Ancient King will attack here?”
Seleucus’s smile faltered at this statement, and his eyes darted around in a dazed expression.
“And what is it that angers you, then?”
“It’s too responsive.”
Ignoring the absent-minded reply, Lucia pointed her hand at the battlefield.
Her fingertips pointed towards the Grantz Army.
“Why do they continue to fight? Who’s in charge?”
“It’s the descendant of the God of War, but he’s hiding in plain sight to raid the main camp, so by process of elimination, we followed him. ――Wait, who are the ones giving the orders?”
“Isn’t that strange? You can’t blame me for being angry, can you?”
The central nobility that followed the fourth prince Hiro in the Grantz Empire ― most of them are those who turned to the Six Kingdoms. But Lucia is convinced that they were exposed as informants and were executed by Hiro. If the central nobility were still alive and well, they would be raising the flag of the Six Kingdoms and slashing at their allies right now.
“Then… Isn’t it the western nobility?”
That’s impossible ― that word was lost in the screams that came from the battlefield.
When Lucia turned around to see what was going on, the people in the tent came running out with surprised expressions on their faces.
A strange scene was unfolding on the battlefield.
Several familiar flags were raised from the dying Grantz Army.
“That’s the Anguis Serpent banner, isn’t it?”
Luca, who had been standing next to Lucia for some time, said in a whisper.
It’s impossible. The central nobility who planned the betrayal must have died. No, even if they are still alive, they should have taken action earlier in the battle.
“Seleucus! What are the instructions for the first group commander?”
“Since we were prioritizing reorganization, we put off… rescinding the instructions.”
Lucia had given strict orders not to attack if the central nobility turned. If it were faithfully carried out, they would be showing their backs to the enemy.
Lucia thought about sending a message to revoke the instruction, but that would have disrupted the chain of command. It was a very rudimentary mistake, and Lucia’s mouth twitched.
“…We have no choice but to withdraw them temporarily.”
Victory is at hand, but if they persist, the damage to them will be enormous.
Lucia calmly made a decision and opened her mouth to give instructions.
“S-stupid… What are they doing…?”
However, what came out of Lucia’s mouth were completely different words.
Below her eyes, an unimaginable scene was unfolding.
Some troops began to charge into the backs of the first and second lines that were surrounding the Grantz Army. Everyone was speechless at this. It was definitely not the Grantz ambushers or reinforcements. It was definitely the Urpeth cavalry, one of the Six Kingdoms.
“Hey, hey! It’s not Urpeth. We didn’t make a separate force!”
The one who denied it was Eagle, the youngest member of the Urpeth royal family.
“…..Is he going to come here and use the ploy?”
Things get confusing. It is hard to keep up with all the problems being thrown at them one after the other.
However, there is one thing that is certain. If this continues, it will provoke another battle.
Even if it wasn’t the Urpeth cavalry, soldiers from the Ezell Kingdom are actually being attacked.
This is very troublesome ― the harmful effects of the allied forces will come to the surface.
Even though they have been cooperating with each other for many years, they are still just a mixture of different countries.
There are no family ties to be formed there. Nor will they be able to form bonds of friendship. A large army of 180,000 people, not all of whom knew each other.
If the Ezell soldiers fought back against the fake Urpeth cavalry under such circumstances, the Urpeth soldiers, mistakenly thinking that their allies were being attacked, would attack the Ezell.
“Order the army to retreat immediately.”
If they were not careful, the situation could become irreversible. They did not expect that they would attack each other when it was not even dark yet.
One of the staff members ran to the flag bearer in a panic.
What to do next ― Lucia couldn’t get her thoughts together. The sensation of a blade being held to her throat kept coming back to haunt her. But if she didn’t regain her composure here, she would fail as a commander.
“Calm down… It’s only the first battle. There is still a chance to make up for the blunder.”
Lucia said to herself. She didn’t want to be humiliated like that again and to be laughed at by that woman if she exposed herself like this.
She didn’t want to cry out like a little child.
“No! I will not be defeated again, no matter who it is.”
She stared at the battlefield with indignant eyes and struck her own cheek with her iron fan.
“…It is a trivial matter. If we can deal with it properly, we can solve it.”
This is the purpose of the enemy, to make them upset. The enemy’s plan was like a child’s trick. It was an event that could be resolved by calming her anger and assessing the situation.
However, Lucia had spent too much time trying to unify her mind. In addition, she has been so busy dealing with repeated problems that she has forgotten one important thing.
“…Wait, why did they come up with that plan after all this time?”
As soon as it became clear that the enemy was going to be defeated, why did they choose to wreak havoc on the battlefield by playing one trick after another?
Lucia looked around and noticed that everyone’s eyes were glued to the front lines.
“Is this what you want? God of War!”
――The world was covered in darkness.