The war fell in a stalemate. Although the Arcadian army was fighting with a handicap, lacking pieces, which were now owned by Willian, their had set their defenses, and also had a wall being built other than that. With the heavy defenses that denied Nehderks´ army (commanded by wolf) their strong point of [speed], even the Noir Guard, which had won many battlefields, was in a situation they couldn´t completely break through the defenses.
In the third day since his failure, Volf attacked. Not having the peons that couldn´t properly follow his orders, even though his Noir Guard was eating through the enemy formations, he still lacked the troops to make a follow-up. In result of that, he was thrown into a situation he could only pull back since he couldn´t go forward by himself.
Thinking of a counterplan at the fourth day, Volf and Nikka launched at fierce assault at Gregour´s position. Against the plan of breaking through in one go, Gregour´s command shone at the defensive battle. By buying time, the other centurions were able to come to reinforce in time. In result, the battle ended in both armies suffering more losses.
At the fifth day, Volf´s self-taught tactics exploded, displaying its true strength. In order to once again try to break through, but this time not from [above], but from [below], he took most of Ywain´s troops and attacked from a shallow point at the river that was barely passeable. Even though Arcadia´s army was greatly surprised, it was then that the wall Anzerm prepared denied them of their mobility. In result, they were pushed back. When Anzerm himself also had to move out himself, he showed his true worth and prevented their defeat.(TL note:)
As both armies were losing great amounts of soldiers, the war slowly advanced.
“…This might be the first time meeting an opponent that had me wo.”
Volf had put his head in a situation all doors were closed to him. His situation wasn´t really bad. Nehderks´ army was on the attacking side, and Arcadia´s was on the defending side. The number of casualties wasn´t that much different. In fact, the reason why the number of losses was even despite how the defending side was supposed to be on the advantage was because of Wolf´s ability.
“It´s not like he isn´t aiming for the win. With that said, it doesn´t seem like reinforcements will be coming for him. No, even if reinforcements were to come, I can just threaten the young master here and borrow more troops. The battles at the flatlands are still only skirmishes, so it won´t be that much of a problem if I was to move some troops from there. Of course, it would become a gamble if I was to do that…”
Though defeat would become distant to Arcadia if they were to continue to defend, they wouldn´t get closer to victory. In such situation that the number of losses are close on both the attacking and defending side, even if it is just flattery, it is impossible to say that Arcadia has the lead. Rather than that, if Nehderks was to keep pushing at Arcadia, sooner or later a [hole] would open. There was no way Willian wouldn´t notice that.
“I can´t read into his goal. Even an idiot can realise he is buying time, but… where is the follow-up then?”
A war without follow-ups. The war they were doing was this kind of war. If Arcadia was to keep themselves shut in their shell, at some point they would fall in bankruptcy. That was the reality for any sort of mobilization.
“Is he doing this so that he can recover from his injuries? Rather, how can he even push back the army if he is that hurt? There must definitely be a reason. There is no way there isn´t. That guy is the White Mask.”(TL note:-><いや、そんなことで軍を抑えられるか？- Not sure if he is saying it like “Would he even do it for such reason?” or the one I put it up there)
Volf was worrying about his trust in White Mask as an enemy.
“I guess soon will be the time?”
With most of his injuries healed up, Willian was removing his bandages. Of course, the main problems wouldn´t be solved just by him participating in the battle. His [aim] wasn´t resolved on that.
“I will also go tomorrow. I guess I should go shake the enemy up a bit.”
Willian patted Karl, who has been looking to always be in a deplorable state since they were exposed.
“Really, for how long are you planning on having this teary face? It was better that way. Gilberto and Anzerm probably had already guessed before that. Hilda´s group were suspicious about that from the beginning. It is difficult to fool those guys. It is better to let them know about that since we´ve been exposed anyway. ….Well, I have the feeling I´ve been saying this since yesterday… and also the days before.”
Karl became dejected.
“Or could it be that you thought I was going to leave you behind?”
Karl became surprised. Of course, he was being really apologetic to Willian due to how his own strength and Willian´s has never been at the same league, and also how their relationship became exposed. But even so, the real thoughts he had deep in his mind wasn´t that.
“After all… there won´t be any reason for us to be together.”
Karl wasn´t stupid. Karl had long ago guessed the utility Willian had by going along with him. Of course, he didn´t doubt that Willian was his friend. But even so, he was still a bit anxious. For how long would Willian, someone that had both might and knowledge, serve under Karl? Despite being exposed, Gilberto and the others recognized Willian´s [strength]. Was there really any space remaining for Karl to be with him? He was nothing but the successor of a household of baron status. Could really somebody that only had this much of use to him be able to stand next to him?
“Was that the extent of our connection? Of our friendship? You saying that makes me… a bit sad.”
Willian made a sorrowful face. Seeing that, Karl showed a surprised face.
“To me, my daily life with you has always been one full of surprises. You´ve received me with the same eyes despite being a noble, and I being lower than a commoner. This is more than enough of a surprise. I was happy. Ever since I came from Rushtania to Arkas, everyone would at best treat me as some foreigner. Treat me as an outsider… As a weirdo with white hair. This was the sort of treatment I would receive.”
Willian gently hugged Karl. Karl became even more surprised.
“Meeting with you has saved me. Status and birthplace isn´t everything. Friendship sprouted between me, someone lower than a commoner, and you, a noble. I was able to realise… that such a thing is possible.”
Willian´s warmth reached Karl. Karl´s tear gland started to feel loose.
“I am your sword. I also ask you to always be my friend. Would this… not be acceptable?”
“I-I´m sorry, Willian. I… I… Uwaaaaaaahhhn”
And at the back of the crying Karl, Willian…
“”That guy is really a pain in the ass. Really.””
Despite his gentle hug, his emotions were completely clear at the undersurface.
“”I will still be making use of you. To the point all that will remain is an empty husk.””
Willian had only two friends. Everyone else were only prey to eat. It still wasn´t the time to eat Karl. That was all there was to it.
“”If you had met me when I was still a slave, you would have definitely looked at me as some insect.””
Willian couldn´t trust him. Willian has not forgotten those [eyes].