Chapter 210 – The Night Before
It was only five minutes after Archbishop Deckard told that to us, a large group of people had been found that appeared to be the enemy. Was it because of the flag I had set up in my mind? No, it had nothing to do with that. Considering the information that had flown in from Archbishop Deckard on the fast horse, it would have been no surprise if they appeared at any time.
Upon hearing the news, the reaction of the people in the dining hall was almost split down the middle.
One was those with anxious expressions on their faces. The High Priestess Katerina, the sisters who were serving the guests, the maids, and the four elven sisters and Seraphita-san, except for Sylphy, all had anxious expressions on their faces.
On the other hand, the reaction of the remaining party was the exact opposite. Some smiled fearlessly. Some finally bared their fangs ferociously, while others continued to bring their breakfast to their mouths at their own pace. Those who smile cheerfully while observing… show no signs of being overawed or anxious at all.
Naturally, I belong to the latter group.
“At last. I hope I’ll have a turn.”
“If there is, it will be at the last minute.”
“I suppose so. I hope there are no more wounded among us.”
“Nnu… it can’t be helped. But we need to have a place to play.”
As Isla said, at the final moment, we will need you and your elite soldiers, Leonard. We have to take control of the main camp.”
While Sir Leonard, Isla and Sylphy, and the others were talking, Melty and I were discussing today’s schedule.
“You were supposed to be planting medicinal herbs today, weren’t you?”
“Yes, that’s right. But I should go to the ramparts, right?”
“Right. Because you need to set up the golem-style ballista and lay down the supply point for the air bombing squadron. What about resupplying the airboards?”
“The airboards themselves have enough capacity, so I’ll just load them directly onto the airboards. When they run out of ammunition, they can leave the battlefield at full speed.”
The truth is, I could have built golem ballistas and supply points at any time, but I had not yet built the deployment of installation-type weapons or storage facilities for delicate air bombs because it would be troublesome if they were installed too quickly and mischievously or even sabotaged. I can remodel and set up the walls in no time at all, and I can even build a temporary storage facility like a tofu type in an instant.
“Wait, Sylphy, um… aren’t you afraid?”
“If-aneesama. We came out in the first place because we got information that a subjugation army was on its way here. If there were no chance of winning, we would have fled immediately after freeing If-aneesama and the others. We are not a group of suicidal people.”
Sylphy answered Ifrita’s question with a ferocious smile. Perhaps taken aback by her high spirits, Ifrita shuddered. Maybe the Sylphy in her mind was still the cute Sylphiel who was following behind her. Even if she had grown up a little and changed her appearance according to her elven characteristics, Sylphy was still the same Sylphy to her.
However, this was the first time Ifrita saw Sylphy’s appearance as the “Witch of the Black Forest” and her attitude. It was the same for the other sisters and Seraphita-san. Their eyes, looking at Sylphy with a ferocious smile on her face, were clearly looking at something different.
” For If-aneesama, the memory of the war must be fresh. It was only a week or so ago. But for me, it was twenty years ago. I have lived for 20 years with the desire to take revenge against the Holy Kingdom, which deprived me and the people of the Merinard Kingdom and my family. The moment is approaching when that revenge will be fulfilled. How can I not smile at this?”
Saying this, Sylphy held out her fist as if to show Ifrita.
“With my own hands, I have lived to crush those of the Holy Kingdom who occupy the Merinard Kingdom, those of the Adol religion, and to take it all back. For that, and for that alone, I have spent twenty years of my life.”
She clenched her fists so tightly that they seemed to make a grinding sound and turned her gaze this time to Archbishop Deckard.
“The rebels are a group of people who feel more or less the same way I do, who have hated the Holy Kingdom and the Adol religion for twenty years. I will protect and support your nostalgic group as long as you continue to be useful to us and cooperate with us. But when you lose that stance, this outright hatred will turn on you without mercy. Keep that in mind. If you do the same thing as the Adol believers have done up until now, I will hang your heads on pillars and expose you to the world.”
“I shall keep that in my mind.”
Archbishop Deckard nodded with a mysterious face. Sylphy confirmed this, removed her gaze from Archbishop Deckard, and turned her attention to Sir Leonard.
“Leonard, start preparing to intercept with Kosuke. Melty, coordinate with Leonard and Zamir while supporting them, and proceeds to seize control of Merinesburg. Isla, prepare to move the mage corps at any time and arrange for medical supplies to the extent that it is reasonable. I will give instructions using Harpy and the Golem communicator. Now, move. We’re going to make a bloodbath of the Holy Kingdom.”
As I was checking the automatic grenade launcher, Sylphy, who was saying cool things this morning, was leaning on my back. I wouldn’t say it’s heavy, but to be honest, it’s a little bit in the way. Just a little bit.
“It was good that you said that on the spur of the moment, but it was a shock to have your sister look at you like that.”
“Well, it can’t be helped. I’m not going to show weakness in front of Archbishop Deckard and High Priestess Katerina, am I?”
“That’s true, though… hah.”
Sylphy said something about taking command of the camp, but in reality, it’s almost as if the preparations are already almost complete, and the control of the troops by Sir Leonard and Ms. Zamir is perfect. The civil officers led by Melty had already organized the supplies and decided where they should be taken, so all that remained was to wait for the subjugation army from the Holy Kingdoms to arrive.
“Well, maybe it’s better to be a little intimidated. No matter how I try to make up for it, my hands are stained with blood. Twenty years have passed since my sisters and mother were put to sleep. Hence, it’s only natural that we can’t have exactly the same relationship as we did before.”
“Don’t be so pessimistic.”
“I don’t think there is anything to be pessimistic about. I’m just saying that relationships have to change and that it’s okay to have a new relationship now.”
“I can understand and support that kind of talk. If there is anything I can do, please let me know.”
“Yes. I’ll ask for your help when I think of something.”
While we were talking about these things, a message came into the Golem communicator. Sylphy, who had been hugging me from behind, separated from me and picked up the receiver of the Golem communicator.
“This is Pirna. The Holy Kingdom’s army stopped marching about an hour and a half away from Merinesburg on foot. They are in position at that point and are sending out reconnaissance in all directions.”
“Understood. Keep a safe distance and do not cause any casualties.”
The communication from Pirna was cut off.
“Don’t you think Pirna and the others’ positions are too far away from here?”
If you say it takes about an hour and a half on foot, it’s about 15 kilometers away. I can’t see them from the walls here. At least not with my eyes. Since Sylphy doesn’t seem to be able to see her either, perhaps it is just barely far enough away to not be captured from the city walls.
“They probably saw Pirna and the others and thought it was suspicious. According to the information they have, the Holy Kingdom is still in control of Merinesburg. No, it is not as though we have completely blocked out the spy network, so there is a possibility that information has leaked out… Anyway, there is no doubt that they are on the lookout for us.”
“I see. What do we do?”
“The first step would be to send a surrender notice. We’ve already sealed the gates of Merinesburg, so we’ll just be on the lookout today to ensure no one from the outside gets in. Tomorrow, we will take the Adol clergyman and a few prisoners of war with us, and we will send a surrender proposal. With that breakdown, we will enter into a formal state of engagement.”
“Will there be a breakdown? Is it likely, right?”
“I see no reason not to. From their point of view, we are just a small bandit who is excited about being a local tributary state. They have no intention of negotiating with us. Tomorrow, we will make an alibi for their surrender so that they won’t poke us in some strange way after all is said and done.”
Sylphy shrugged her shoulders and began to circulate the information she had received from Pirna to the various divisions. The golem communicator is still very useful at times like this.
At this stage, we are planning to open the war tomorrow when the negotiations break down and the subjugation army begins their invasion. Specifically, we will conduct air strikes by the Harpy Bombardment Unit and maneuver attacks by the gunners’ airboards. If it is not poorly done, I have a feeling that this alone could crush the morale of the opponent, but, well, that is the time for that. So let’s give them a thorough chase. How far can they run against airboards that move faster than horses and Harpy-san, who flies in the sky? I don’t think they’ll be able to escape if they’re in a state of chaos on foot.
We plan to have the Harpies, who are not assigned to bombing missions, fly over to give us updates on the frontline battle situation, and depending on the situation on the battlefield, not only the gunners but also some of the elite troops will be riding airboards to join the pursuit.
“I wonder if they will attack up to the ramparts… impossible, right?”
“It’s impossible. No matter what you think, they can’t even make it to the ramparts.”
Sylphy, who knows both the performance of the general-purpose machine guns equipped by the gunners and the power of the aerial bombardment by Harpy’s group, assured me of that. That’s what I think, too.
It’s going to rain blood tomorrow.