It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (100/116), enjoy~
March 23rd, the 1024th year of the Imperial Calendar.
The Great Grantz Empire ― the Larix Plains in the northwest of the Western Region.
It was a battleground.
It was an abominable place where a fierce battle had once been repeated and where vindictiveness had been endlessly generated.
The damage to the bodies that weren’t recovered ― not a single one was in perfect condition.
They have been devoured by monsters, rotting away, unable to survive the winter, and even their broken armor has been taken by battlefield marauders. Only corpses, stripped of all their valuables, adorned the Larix Plains to the point of being overly decorative.
Such a hellish place was once again about to become a battlefield.
The horizons to the east and west were filled with people, and the sky was filled with banners. All of the banners were fluttering in the air as if to show off their pride.
Arrayed to the east were the 130,000 troops of the Great Grantz Empire.
In the rear of the central army was a peculiar force.
It was the army of the Levering Kingdom, led by Claudia. Since they were from another country, they were treated as a volunteer army, but as expected, they were not welcomed with open arms.
First of all, the main reason was that they couldn’t work together. And since the Levering Kingdom army had accumulated a lot of achievements so far, the higher-ups of the Grantz wanted to avoid any situation that would give them more credit, including sowing discord.
“Thanks to that, we were able to position ourselves in a position where we could overlook the battlefield.”
Hiro said while holding back a sigh on his four-headed chariot. Claudia, who was next to him, responded while making a cup of tea.
“It’s a shame that after such a long journey, the only thing we can do is observe.”
“We don’t have more than two thousand men, so it’s inevitable.”
As a result of repeated battles until the Grantz Army arrived in the west, the number of the Levering Kingdom Army was visibly decreasing. The number of soldiers that had originally numbered 5,000 was now just over 1,000. However, their sacrifice was not in vain. The number of the army of the Six Kingdoms had also decreased in proportion.
“I don’t want to be forced to stand on the front lines.”
Considering the fatigue accumulated from the past battles, it was good that the Levering soldiers could rest.
“So, how do you think this battle will go?”
Hiro turned his gaze to the map spread out beneath his feet in response to Claudia’s question.
The Grantz Army and the Six Kingdoms Army pieces were placed and moved, respectively.
The right army of the Grantz Army was 50,000, with the main emphasis on cavalry. The left army was also 50,000, also with a lot of cavalry.
The central army of 30,000 is mainly infantry and is poised in a passive position.
In contrast, the Army of the Six Kingdoms had fewer cavalry.
The 30,000 on the right and 30,000 on the left are mainly infantry, while the 40,000 in the center are mainly cavalry, mixed with infantry.
The formation was also similar for both armies, with the formation focusing on encirclement and annihilation tactics.
“The Grantz are thinning out the center, but aren’t they indeed too unbalanced?”
Claudia stretched out her head from next to him and peered at the map.
“Sure, it’s like answering what tactics you’re going to use against the enemy. Maybe she’s thinking about something ― Aura is a military strategist who prefers offense to defense… so based on that, this could be seen as a provocation.”
The center of the Grantz Army is thin, while the right and left armies form a thick wall.
The key will be to find out where they will move first.
The number of reserve troops ― the pawns they have ― is greater in the Grantz Army. The Six Kingdoms will have to start the process of cutting down on them. Under normal circumstances, the Six Kingdoms would be in an inferior position, but that would only be the case if they were unprepared.
“What would you do in this situation, Hiro-sama?”
“I would take the challenge. And then I would crush them to the ground and make them regret it.”
Hiro said, looking up from the map and looking at the front line.
The long and short battle that would go down in military history was about to begin.
In a matter of seconds, his lungs will be filled with the choking scent of blood, the smell of rust will scorch the ground, and the smoke of the battlefield will paint the clear sky red.
On the battlefield, good and evil do not exist, but victory and defeat are equal, and the two armies create an isolated world with fierce commands. It will be a hellish picture of evil spirits roaming around.
“It has begun.”
The signal for the start of the war came from a horn blown over the battlefield.
With the sound of the horn, the two armies raised their flags. It was a declaration of mutual pride to kill each other fairly and honestly.
Which one of them will sink the banner into the pool of blood that dripped on the ground?
“The first to make a move will be the… Six Kingdoms.”
The right army of the Six Kingdoms began to advance.
The roar of horseshoes can be heard in the rear of the central army of the Grantz ― even to the Levering Kingdom soldiers who are in the distance.
It was a roar that shook the bottom of the stomach.
“I’ve seen that morale is good enough. Then it’s up to you to respond…”
Hiro turned his attention to the main camp of the Grantz, where Aura was probably suffering from heavy pressure at the moment.
Aura was distressed, as Hiro had predicted.
This is a future option that everyone can laugh at, with no remorse and no regrets. Whether or not she can really win with this strategy, everything will be decided by her own command.
It is difficult for Aura, who is not yet mentally mature, to turn around the enormous pressure.
Still, she knows that it is a battle that cannot be lost.
“Chief of Staff Aura, the enemy right army has started advancing!”
“I know. We’re advancing on the left.”
Both sides want to set up an encirclement attack. Therefore, although the details were different, similar formations overlapped each other.
As soon as Aura signaled to the flag bearer, the left army of the Grantz began to advance vigorously.
“Let us set up a reverse encirclement.”
Aura immediately sent a signal to the flag bearer, ordering the right army to advance. The flag was waved, and the right army immediately sent a reply and started advancing.
This gradually created a gap between the center army and both wings.
Since the two wings of the Grantz army were mainly cavalry with an emphasis on speed, their speed was tremendous, and this operation was also an encirclement and annihilation tactic that took advantage of the strength of the Grantz cavalry.
“I think it would be dangerous to create any more gaps, but what about the central army?”
Aura shook her head at the words of the staff officer. It was still too early to make a decision.
“I want to wait and see what the enemy does.”
The numbers are in their favor. It was time to use the reserves, but there wasn’t enough room for them yet.
The right army of Grantz clashed with the left army of the Six Kingdoms even while they were assessing the time.
Perhaps it was because the central army was quietly waiting for the right moment, but the sound of their sword fights reached them.
Cavalrymen were being shot to death by arrows, and warhorses were neighing in grief at the loss of their masters. Swords clashed with swords to tear flesh, spears crossed with spears to pierce the heart, and blood smoke rose from the battlefield on the right.
“The left army is…”
The left army, which had started to act earlier than the right army, had yet to start fighting.
In the meantime, the right side of the Grantz Army has not yet started fighting.
Judging by the rising dust, they must be running as fast as they can, but they can’t seem to catch a glimpse of the enemy. In the meantime, the right army of the Grantz was surging forward at full speed.
This caused the thick walls on either side of the central army to be completely lost.
“C-Chief of Staff Aura, this is not…”
The staff officer called out with a bloodied face, shaken with agitation.
Aura narrowed her eyes and desperately stretched her neck from her horse to look at the enemy’s main camp.
Several flags were fluttering in the sky. The sound of drums beating furiously rose into the sky.
When she could see the dust rising.
Aura clutched her chest tightly to contain her impatient thoughts.
The main camp of the Six Kingdoms ― under a sky dyed brown.
The person in charge of the 40,000-strong main army is Luca Mamon de Urpeth.
Even as she listened to the reports that came in one after another, she was blank, and her empty eyes dropped to the ground.
On top of her crossed legs is a skull that resembles her dead brother.
While patting his head, Luca watched the procession of ants running on the ground.
“Eagle, ants and soldiers are very similar, don’t you think?”
Luca nodded repeatedly and smiled brokenly as if comprehending, even though there was no reply.
“I see, that’s a very good point. Indeed, even a commander is still a pawn. It’s like ants that are forced to work forever.”
Even though she seemed to have abandoned her ability to think, the truth was that she understood her role very well. Even as the bureaucrats ran past Luca in a flurry of dust and sand, her cloudy eyes remained fixed on them.
Sometimes, when a staff member stopped to read out a report, she would give the minimum instructions as a commander. She was so precise that no one could say anything to her, as long as she could do her job, even if she were broken.
Above all, there is no way that the Five Destructive Holy Principle Swords holder can be dragged down from their position of command.
“It seems that the right army of Grantz has been caught brilliantly.”
While stroking Eagle’s skull, Luca turned her unfocused eyes to the staff member.
This alone is enough to take his breath away, but perhaps not wanting to spoil her good mood, the bureaucrat kept his cheeks tight but still gave a full report. But he did not look at Luca’s hand at all.
“What about our right army?”
“As per our plan, we have succeeded in separating the Grantz left army and the Grantz central army.”
“I see… Then go call General McRill.”
The staff member could not raise his bowed head. The man Luca had mentioned had already been killed in action.
When he looked up, he found a woman waiting for him, as dazed as an empty shell.
“What is it?”
“G-General McRill is…”
But still, he had to point it out. If he could not bring him in under false pretenses, his head would not be safe.
The staff member coughed several times to disguise his nervousness and agitation.
When he was ready, he slammed his fist on the ground and opened his mouth with all his might.
“General McRill has been killed in action! He died the other day at the battle of Fort Tullus with twenty thousand men!”
This is an unprecedented event. Twenty thousand troops were destroyed against only 1,000.
Even if the history of the Six Kingdoms is unraveled, General McRill is the only one who has ever achieved such an impressive result.
To be precise, it was not that 20,000 people died.
About three thousand soldiers returned to the main army exhausted and depressed.
The rest may have changed their jobs to bandits or thieves, or they may have been hunted, but their whereabouts are still unknown.
“…..Oh, so General McRill has passed away.”
As Luca began to walk unsteadily, she ordered the guards to pull on the horse’s reins.
The staff member stood up and rushed over to her, but he kept a short distance away and called out to her.
“Luca-sama, where are you going?”
“If General McRill is not here, then I will have to take the lead.”
“T-there are other excellent commanders. Why don’t you leave it to them?”
“I don’t trust them. I have no one left but Eagle.”
Without giving a second thought to the opinions of the staff, Luca straddled her horse with amazing leg strength and smiled as she rubbed her cheek against Eagle’s skull.
“…Now is the right time. We will begin our assault.”
The wall that protected the central army of the Grantz was ripped down by the two wings of the Six Kingdoms.
In anticipation of the large number of Grantz troops, Luca expected that they would use a strategy of encirclement and annihilation. So she moved the right army of the Six Kingdoms to show them that she would use the same encirclement and annihilation tactics. Then, just as she had expected, the opponent bloody-mindedly made a big move to set up a reverse encirclement.
“All of this is a stepping stone to thin the defense of the central army of Grantz.”
Thus, the Grantz left army of 50,000 was greatly separated from the Grantz right army of 50,000.
In other words, the central army of Grantz, which had the smallest number of troops at 30,000, lost its wall and was left empty.
And since the Six Kingdoms had originally planned to break through the center, their central army outnumbered their opponents by 40,000.
“With the Ghost Squad in the front line, the light cavalry would be the first line and the heavy cavalry the second. Leave the infantry here and hold off the right army of Grantz that is encircling us. In the meantime, I will take the head of the Sixth Princess.”
After instructing the staff in rapid succession, Luca kicked the horse’s belly and headed for the front.
“Eagle, watch your sister’s battle. I’ll make sure to tear the people of the Grantz family to pieces.”
Despite being on a swaying horse, Luca dexterously stroked the head of the skull.
The soldiers in the escort were creeped out by the sight of her, but when they reached the head of the line, their petty feelings dissipated.
The reason was that there was a line of cavalrymen with a strange appearance.
“These people are the Ghost Squad, huh? …They’re creepy as hell.”
In addition to the guards who were talking as if they were trying to make a show of bravado, Luca could sense the smell of the surroundings and exhaled ecstatically as if she were intoxicated.
“I should be grateful to Lucia-sama.”
The “Ghost Squad” that emits a strange odor is not an object of fear for her but an existence that stimulates her thoughts of torment, as she can sense from her expression.
In the past, the “Ghost Squad” was a direct unit of Lucia, but just before leaving for Felzen, she somehow left them behind as a parting gift for Luca.
She had no reason to refuse, so she gladly accepted, and judging from the guards’ reaction, she was right.
“This will allow me to take advantage of their weakness and run through to the enemy’s main camp.”
It’s too warm to be silent, too hot to be solemn, and just too bizarre to be anything other than a scene. The armor they wear is stained reddish-black with dried blood, and the sun’s rays have discolored it to the point where its original color is unrecognizable.
The air smelled of rotting flesh, and their bodies emitted an animal-like body odor. The odor emitted from their bodies attracted small flies to swarm around them. The swords had not been cared for and were rusty, with bits of meat stuck in the gaps where the blades had spilled.
Above all, the eyes of those who belonged to the “Ghost Squad” were as dead as Luca’s.
They’re just like the walking dead, like ghosts wandering in this world, a group of dead people who don’t feel alive.
“W-what are… these people… Ugh.”
One of the guards vomited up the contents of his stomach, unable to bear the nausea he felt.
“That’s rude. It’s disrespectful to brave men like them.”
Luca, who had seen this, looked up at the sky and muttered to herself, still not paying attention to the guards.
“I don’t care if you kill them. After all, they didn’t even say hello to Eagle.”
The members of the Ghost Squad faithfully obeyed Luca’s orders.
“Hyi, w-wait! You’re insane!”
They pulled the surprised soldiers from their horses and crushed their heads.
Some had their throats bitten out in desperation, some were trapped under the horses with their limbs severed, and some were simply beaten to death.
The “Ghost Squad” devoured every single guard with such hatred that it crushed their screams. Luca’s face remained in ecstasy as she watched the tyrannical scene from the corner of her eye.
“It’s good, isn’t it? After all, humans should live according to their instincts.”
After gently cradling the skull between his thighs, Luca tugged on the reins and shouted at the top of her lungs.
“We’ll now eradicate the blood of the Grantz! Eat every single one of those stupid goosenecks you see lined up in front of you!”
With the ugly expression of a starvation-stricken beast, Luca turned her stagnant eyes toward the central army of the Grantz.
“All troops charge!”
Luca ran at the front with vigor.
Accompanying her are monsters that drool in front of their prey ― people who are human but no longer human.
Even the rain of arrows from the Grantz central army didn’t stop the momentum.
“Despise me as vile; call me vicious! My name is Luca Mammon de Urpeth!”
The “Ghost Squad” led by Luca pierced the central army of the Grantz with great precision.
“Wha ― Gogyaah!?”
The infantryman’s head instantly burst open. The brain fluid scattered flamboyantly, but there is no one in the “Ghost Squad” who would be frightened. The power of the Ghost Squad, led by Luca, is tremendous, and the Grantz are put off by their spirit.
“Stop them! Stop them at all costs ― Higyaah!?”
The fatigue and tension accumulated from the march up to this point seem to have exhausted the bodies of the Grantz soldiers. Therefore, the Ghost Squad was like a fish that found water and ran around freely.
On the other hand, the Grantz army was caught in the gap, and their ranks were thrown into disarray, easily destroying the first line of the central army.
And then ― the one-sided slaughter would begin.
“Twist, strangle, chop, and kick every last person who stands in front of you!”
The army led by Luca gained momentum and pressed down on the central army of Grantz.