It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (126/130), enjoy~
Chapter 5 – The Rose Princess and the White Night King
The sun began to tilt to the west. In another hour, the sun would set, and cool air would arrive.
Even so, the hot wind that was blowing on the ground had not abated in the slightest. The mixture of blood and sweat emitted a peculiar smell, and a foul odor that made one feel nauseous continued to smolder.
In the main camp of the Grantz, things were a bit hectic now that the battle was reaching its climax.
The messengers, who traveled back and forth between the tent and the battlefield, visited and left reports in rapid succession. The officials who had scrutinized the new information were placing pieces on the map. Furthermore, they were compiling reports and handing them over to the person in the upper ranks.
“Your Highness, the victory or defeat of the main battlefield will not be overturned. I believe victory is assured.”
The official presented the report to Liz, who brushed her sideburns before reading through the document.
The official’s cheeks flushed red at the somewhat sexy gesture. But then, he looked at the white wolf sleeping at her feet.
“Thank you for your efforts; so did the Grantz army reach the enemy’s main camp?”
“No, it seems they have not yet reached the enemy’s main camp. According to the messenger’s report, they found an enemy ambusher and engaged them, but they defeated them without difficulty. Still, it seems that it has taken some time to correct the disorganized formation ― they are behind their original schedule.”
“So… it looks like it will be done by the end of the day.”
The battle, which began with 30,000 against 25,000, was likely to be settled in a single day.
Even though the morale of the Nidavellir army was low, to begin with, it was the fighting power of the Jotunheim army that should be praised. They easily broke through the wall of Nidavellir heavy infantry, which was famous throughout the world.
Reports say that Skadi continues to claim the top ranks one after another, and the morale and momentum of Jotunheim’s army show no signs of slowing down. More importantly, they had destroyed the enemy’s surprise attack force that had appeared on the left flank. Even so, on the main battlefield, the Jotunheim army was pushed back due to the commander’s temporary and reckless desertion. However, Skadi immediately joined up with them, and they were able to regroup,due to her commanding ability.
“The Beastman are a fighting race. They were born to fight.”
For better or worse, the Beastman were straightforward people. In this respect, they were not good at tactics.
The battle this time showed that it was so. The main camp was thinly defended, and almost all the soldiers were deployed on the main battlefield. Although they had noticed the presence of the ambush soldiers with their innate sixth sense, if they had made a mistake, Jotunheim’s main camp would have been burnt to the ground by now.
On the other hand, the Dwarves are craftsmen by nature, but they also have the temperament of merchants. The Steichen Republic has been established by the successful interplay of these two races up until now.
“The future is uncertain.”
The era of the Dwarves who had been in control until now has come to an end, and it remains to be seen what path the Beastman that replaced them will take.
“I hope the senate functions well since that is what it is there for…”
It would be nice to have a diverse group of people running the senate instead of having the same corrupt Dwarves occupy it.
“But first, we must be on our guard… and make sure we win this battle.”
Once again, Liz looked at the map spread out on her desk. It would be very difficult for Nidavellir’s forces to turn the tables from here. It would not be easy to cut off the Jotunheim army’s momentum. But that does not mean that the Nidavellir army, which has been forced into a position of inferiority, will just sit back and be annihilated.
There is still the option of withdrawing from the situation, holding up in their stronghold of Garza, and then urging the lords to rally to their feet and make a fresh start. There may be few who will follow them due to the oppressive regime that has been in place until now…
“But if we do go into a siege, we will have to be prepared for a long war.”
That would not be welcome on the Grantz’ side. The reason is that there was no emperor in the Great Grantz Empire. The heir to the throne had died one after another, and the absence of Liz for an extended period is something to be avoided. If possible, they really wanted to capture Utgarde here and bring the war to an end.
Liz stopped thinking, lifted her brows and turned her attention to the officials.
“Any word from the scouting party?”
Liz wondered about Tris’ late return.
“No, there hasn’t been, ma’am. They should be back by now…”
Tris was a cautious man, so it was possible that he had headed off to some faraway place. However, he is by no means the kind of man who would neglect regular contact. Liz, who was holding her fluttering chest, was beginning to think about organizing a new unit.
“Message! Message! Message!”
A soldier covered in mud and blood, smeared with dust, rolled into the tent.
The workers’ hands stopped, and all eyes turned to the intruder.
“The enemy’s shadow is on the right rear of the main camp, numbering about 2,000! The number is about 2,000!”
“What do you say… an ambush!”
The officials rose from their seats and trembled in astonishment.
Liz did not get up but stared wide-eyed at the young soldier. Cerberus jumped up and down at her feet at the noisy commotion. Liz put her hand on Cerberus’ head to distract her from her vague anxiety.
Meanwhile, the officials jumped on the map and began to bombard the new soldier with questions.
“How long ago did you find it?”
“About half an hour ago, sir.”
“Then it must not have moved that much, and I’m sorry, I know you’re tired, but take a look at the map and tell me exactly where you found it.”
The young soldier nodded at the official’s words and walked over to the map with the help of the others.
“We found them in the woods about two hundred rou (six hundred meters) to the right rear of the main camp. They number about 2,000 and are mounted only.”
“Tell the watchmen to check it out. If they are taking advantage of our blind spots, they should be able to predict our path to some extent. So don’t miss even a tiny speck of dust!”
Several people rushed outside after receiving the order.
“There are 1,900 left in the main camp. We can fight them even if we have to.”
“Give orders to the commanders of each unit to be ready to move at any time. Be ready to deal with them no matter where they come from.”
So far, there was no information about Tris’s safety. Still, Liz closed her eyes and listened in silence. Her hands were clenched so tightly that they bled. Perhaps sensing Liz’s concern, Cerberus rubbed the tip of her nose against Liz’s leg. Liz gave a slightly wry smile to the gentle white wolf. The commander cannot be distraught. The one who should be the emperor should not put her personal feelings first and ask about Tris’s safety.
“But what about the others? Why are you alone?”
One of the officials questioned. The young soldier who was explaining the situation twisted his face.
“It seems that Brutus-dono has been in contact with Nidavellir… We were ambushed in the woods, where we found the enemy forces. The other scouting parties were probably wiped out!”
The officials were at a loss for words.
It would have been extremely dishonorable to have someone on the inside working for another country.
“I was lucky that Tris-sama helped me escape…”
As if struck by lightning, the officials stiffened and turned their concerned gazes toward Liz.
They knew exactly who Tris was.
Although he was only a low-ranking officer, he had been rumored among the soldiers as a loyalist who had supported Liz since the days when she had been treated coldly.
Unsure of what to say to her, the officials simply looked at Liz in amazement.
Then they received the more sad news.
“A message! Request for reinforcements from the Jotunheim main camp! They are being ambushed!”
The officials, their eyes peeled back, held their mouths as they grunted. The shock was so strong that their hearts almost jumped out of their mouths.
The officials, who had almost lost their train of thought, quickly regained their composure when they saw Liz’s condition.
“One after another ― where did they come from?”
“They seem to have appeared from the front left of Jotunheim’s main camp.”
“That’s ridiculous. Did they miss them? How could they be so foolish as to assume that they had destroyed them without even checking?”
The official slammed the desk down angrily and turned his attention to the messenger again.
“Do you hear the numbers? We have a surprise attack force closing in on us as well. We don’t have any extra men.”
“The number is six hundred, but Jotunheim’s army has put almost all of its forces into the main battlefield, and the main camp is so thinly defended that it will not be able to hold out for long.”
“Two thousand six hundred…”
The remaining strength in Grantz’s main camp is only 1900 men. The only way to deal with both is to spread out.
“Or we could abandon Jotunheim.”
“Nonsense. That would ruin Grantz’s reputation.”
“Victory on the main battlefield is assured. If that is the case, the fall of Jotunheim’s main camp will not have much of an effect. The Jotunheim commander seems to be on the front line. Therefore, they should be able to regroup easily.”
“But isn’t there a possibility of things getting awkward with the Jotunheim side? Considering the future of diplomacy, we don’t want to tarnish their goodwill.”
Opinions are hard to come to terms with. Perhaps it was because they had been doing surprisingly well up to this point that their thinking ability was not working properly due to the huge gap between the two sides. Moreover, with the time limit approaching every minute, impatience was beginning to dull the decision-making abilities of the officials.
“The enemy is closing in on our main camp even now! What is there to hesitate about? We should strike now and destroy the ambush force in the right rear. There is no greater dishonor than the fall of the Grantz’ main line!”
“If we were committed only to victory, that would be fine. But if we think about the future, abandoning Jotunheim’s main camp will be the laughing stock of the nations.”
The heated exchanges of words that had almost escalated into a fistfight were now doused with cold water.
It was a zero-degree stare ― the officials held their breath at the unusual air emanating from the sixth princess.
“This is not the time to be fighting amongst yourselves. Stop showing yourself in such a disgraceful manner that the soldiers will distrust you.”
“Yes… I-I apologize…”
The words were sharper than a blade, and the official’s forehead broke out in a profusion of greasy sweat.
In the silent tent, Liz stood up from her chair and began to move the pieces of the map.
“Send a thousand men to the relief of Jotunheim’s main camp.”
The faces of the officials stiffened in surprise, but Liz continued speaking without concern.
“Four hundred men will be placed in the main camp, and the remaining five hundred will attack the ambush force that has appeared in the right rear. I will take command.”
Saying this, Liz tossed on her cloak and began to walk. Cerberus followed without making a sound.
One of the officials saw her back and called out hurriedly with a pale face.
“Your Highness, I beg you to reconsider. It would be extremely dangerous to spread out our forces here.”
Liz stopped at the entrance and spoke to the officials over her back.
“If Jotunheim’s main camp falls, the enemy will come at us with full force. Furthermore, the ambush force discovered to the right rear will attack in unison. If that happens, the main Grantz camp will be surrounded.”
“T-then, shouldn’t we intercept the enemy at the main Grantz camp?”
Liz turned to the official who was still persisting.
“If Jotunheim’s main camp falls, it will set off a huge firestorm in the Steichen Republic.”
Nidavellir’s army’s aim was to make it a painful defeat for us. Despite being outnumbered, they would have to use a deceptive strategy to bring down Jotunheim’s main camp and then half destroy the Grantz’ main camp ― and if they made a beautiful story and spread the word, new supporters would gather under Utgarde’s wing.
In the face of the brilliance of a miracle, people of all races would be drawn together.
“Above all, the main battlefield has not yet been won or lost. If there is a sense of gloom in the rear, no matter how superior the position, morale will visibly drop due to anxiety.”
The sun would soon set. It was not difficult to imagine what would happen to Jotunheim’s army, which had lost its main camp if the battle was not settled by the end of today. However, the expressions on the faces of the officials told that Liz’s explanation, though understandable, was unacceptable.
“There is only one plan. So, why don’t you trust me here?”
Liz turned her body to the officials again and smiled.
“I believe that with you, we can overcome any difficulties.”
A wind blew.
The entrance shook, and the sunlight streamed through the cracks, making Liz shine brightly.
Everyone closed their mouths and became mesmerized by her divine appearance.
Soon, without anyone saying a word, the officials straightened their posture and saluted in unison in a Grantz-style salute.
“As you wish.”
Liz’s presence was beginning to stand out.
Who could have imagined that a girl who was born into the imperial family, but was unwanted by all, would grow up to be this good? Then there was no one to underestimate her as a little girl anymore.
The officials must have realized that the person in front of them was the next emperor whom they should revere. Then they tightened their faces and began to act swiftly.
“Hurry up with the formation of units, contact the commanders of each unit, and send reinforcements to the Jotunheim main camp first.”
“How’s the contact from the watchmen? Did they find the ambush force lurking in the right rear?”
They were all excellent men from the start. The Grantz do their best to do what they are assigned to do.
Liz nodded in satisfaction and turned to leave the tent.
“Your Highness, what about the scouting party? We know where they are, so we have to consider the possibility that there may be survivors――”
“…Not necessary. Just focus on the enemy in sight.”
Liz left the tent after saying that.