The wind of the night caressed her cheeks.
With her head hair being blown by the wind, Riku looked upwards. The flag fluttering at the night sky now wasn´t the unicorn and the griffon flags anymore, but the Demon Lord arm flag. Riku wanted to use the Dragon Demon Division flag, but right now, she wasn´t part of them. With that said, she didn´t feel like using lieutenant general Gortoberuk´s flag either, so in order to have all parties satisfied, she put the generic Demon Lord army flag. The symbol drawn in yellow color of the Demon Lord army would even with the darkness of the night stand out.
“If it is this much, even from the Myuuz castle they should be able to notice it.”
With more or less having the feeling of just finishing a job, Riku stretched herself. With only about fifty solders, they were able to take the fort back. With that, the spiritualists located at the plains, which were surrounded by the mountains, had been successfully denied a retreat path. With that, all it was necessary to do was to coordinate to Gortoberuk´s moves well and defeat the spiritualists. With all she had done, without doubt she was going to get a promotion.
If she were to get promoted, then she would get to have Leivein praising her. Just by thinking about that, her heart warmed up. Even thought she was under a cold weather, it felt to her as if she was in front of a fire place, comfortably sleeping.
“It´s a serious matter, first lieutenant Barusak!!”
But because of the hindering voice, the warm feelings flew away to somewhere. She felt the impulse of cutting down the owner of the voice with her halberd, but seeing the troubled face of that voice´s owner, she gave up on that. For some reason, a bad feeling went through her heart.
“A serious matter!! Lieutenant general Gortoberuk´s army and the spiritualists started to move!”
“…They started to move?”
Unconsciously, she ended up repeating what the soldier said.
With Riku recapturing the fort, the situation for the spiritualist and demon sides should have changed. Taking that change in consideration, even though they should have been revising their strategies, without bothering to do that, both started attacking each other. It really made one wonder what they were thinking about.
“I don´t know the details really well but…”
“What is that mustache thinking about?”
Moving very fast, she went to the lookout.
In the lookout, inside a metal basket, a fire was lighted up, dimly giving off light. Under the lookout, there were some demon soldiers gathered, who were somewhat anxious. Some leaning forward and pointing to the direction of the Myuuz castle.
“Hey, that is really bad, right?”
“No, maybe it is something included in their plan.”
“How is the situation?”
As Riku came closer, the group of demons opened up a gap for her to walk through. After responding to their salutes by with her hand, she leaned forward to see the situation. Doing that, she strained her eyes. Amidst the darkness of the night, she was able to see many fires moving.
“They are definitely going for an attack, but… Which of them are they?”
It was possible to know that there were many torchlight moving around. But, whether those were from the demon side or the spiritualist side, she didn´t know well. She thought about go getting the binoculars, but unfortunately, it didn´t seem she had enough time for that. Riku clicked her tongue.
“Is there someone with confidence on seeing at night?”
“Y, yes. I do.”
“You can see, right? Describe the situation in as much detail as possible.”
He changed places with another demon that was before looking. The demon soldier that had bird eyes narrowed his sharp eyes and started to observe the situation. Doing his job as well as he could, he explained the situation of the battle in detail. With each word he spoke, Riku and the other soldiers gradually became colder and colder. The person himself explaining, as if being afraid of the reality he was talking about, had his voice starting to tremble more and more by each word. Riku tightly grasped her halberd.
“Thank you, that is enough. You keep up watching over them like that.”
Lightly tapping his shoulder, Riku turned her look away from the battlefield.
“Half of you are to remain here. The rest must start making preparations for battle! Quickly!!”
“But what about the horses? If we go down to the foot of the mountain, we won´t reach in time.”
“Isn´t it fine to just use the ones the spiritualist had been using? There were about twenty of them, right? It´s not enough? You have legs, don´t you!? The slow ones should ride on horses, and the fast ones go on foot.”
From now on, it was all a question of time.
If they weren´t to do something, the demon side would receive a blow they wouldn´t be able to recover from. As if to scold the herself that was too soaked in the aftertaste of victory, she slapped her own cheeks and started the preparations for battle.
Unexpected to the people at the fort who were in unrest, Gortoberuk and his soldiers were all calm.
Silently advancing, they had an increasing morale. The horses were going fast, and the foot soldiers were accompanying the pace. Together, the numbers were of four thousand, all going through the night, disappearing amidst its darkness. The strategy they were using was one that the staff officer had proposed; a pincer attack using a bait, and added in to that was the surprise attack they were going to do now. To Gortoberuk´s point of view, the plan didn´t really need to have any more twists on it. But his staff officer urged against not having them until the end, saying they were necessary as a precaution.
“What do you think about the strategy, adjutant?”
While riding his horse, positioned at the vanguard of his forces, he asked a question to his adjutant, who was riding next to him. Then, the adjutant showed a pleased smile.
“Tonight, they are definitely exhausted. From their capital to here, no matter how fast they forced the horses to go, it would take at least five days. With them moving nonstop for five days without resting and even taking their time capturing the fort, they should have just finished building their encampment, and today, they definitely have their guard down.”
“That´s right, umu”
Gortoberuk became pleased with the answer, confirming his victory as he touched his prided mustache.
“The adjutant is really a worrywart. Indeed, their leader have come to participate in the war, but as far as I am concerned, it should be only a fourteen years little girl. I will show her the difference in experience between us.”
“As expected of lieutenant general Gortoberuk. If you are able to take down that lass of a leader, you might get a promotion to general.”
At the beginning, the adjutant was feeling very anxious about the battle, but that anxiety had already faded away. Right now, all what was in the back of his mind was only things related to things after they win the battle. At this dawn, which is about the time when they should have won the battle, Gortoberuk will definitely be promoted from lieutenant general to general by that time. If that happens, he will inevitably get promoted to a higher position. And if Gortoberuk were to give him a hand then, he possibly could get promoted to a even higher position. Normally, it would have been a promotion he wouldn´t be able to get even if twenty years had passed, and even so, he might get his hand on it in only one night. Thinking about that, he couldn´t calm down.
“Right now, concentrate in the battle in front of your eyes. If you start getting cocky and get a hole in your throat, don´t blame me.”
Gortoberuk said half-jokingly. The adjutant, without saying anything, smiled. The soldiers following behind them too happily smiled. A fight that victory was so much visible is something that wouldn´t happen often.*2 All of them were believing their victory as they were going through the darkness.
“Look! It´s the spiritualist´s bonfires. You guys prepare yourselves.”
The bonfires that were visible from afar were little by little coming closer. Together with Gortoberuk´s words, the mood around became tense in one go. Their faces were seriousness itself, as if their relaxed faces from before were a lie. Drawing his sword, Gortoberuk raised his voice.
“Raise your battle cries!*3 Light your fires! We will annihilate the enemy in their sleep!!”
Their battle cries made the ground tremble. Lighting up their torches, their surroundings became clear all at once. But…
While still riding on his horse, Gortoberuk became speechless. The Bistolru and Barusak troops that should have been spread out there sleeping around the bonfires weren´t there. Except for the fires still being there, they had completely left the place.
“What does this mean? The enemy soldiers… There is nobody here!”
“Don´t low down your guard! They must be hiding somewhere around!”
Right in the instant the adjutant´s got his message across, it happened.
Voices full of ridicule were coming from all the sides. Surrounding Gortoberuk´s group, many black shadows stood up.
“Damn it, they got us!!
The adjutant´s voice was close to a scream. As if his scream was a signal, the whole spiritualist army attacked at that moment. Raising their battle cries, those voices made the mountains vibrate. Using their silver swords, they charged against the demons. The demons that were taken by surprise by those sudden actions soon were already crumbling down.
Receiving a spear strike, one would fall down from one´s horse and be chopped up by the spiritualists. Even if they were to jump back away from there*5, there would be spiritualists ready to attack around where one would land at. Even if they were to retreat back, they would just get killed. Even if they were to plan to break through them, themselves would be the ones pierced through, and even fighting head on, all it would result in was all of them dying. For the demons, the place had already been turning into hell itself.
But the demons wouldn´t just keep silent as they got killed. Cutting down a spiritualist, Gortoberuk raised his voice.
“Don´t be flustered! Press on!!”
“We must hold on! We must persist somehow!!”
The adjutant also shouted all the words he could think of.
Right now, all they could do was solely to depend on their plan. All they could do was to wait for the army being led by the staff officer that was following behind them to strike behind the spiritualist encirclement. But even this last ray of hope was brutally extinguished.*6 The adjutant ended up seeing that scene. While he was trying his best to increase the morale of his allies, he turned back to the direction of the castle, and then he saw an unbelievable scene.
“The castle… It is on fire?”
The castle that he was standing on not long ago; the Myuuz castle was burning.
While periodically crumbling a bit, the Myuuz castle was enveloped by the red fire. The crest on the flag, which was of the Gortoberuk family and represented the third army, was being scorched down black.
“Im-impossible. The Myuuz castle… had already fallen?”
Without fighting anymore, he only gazed at the castle perplexed. And as to let such gap go by, the spiritualists weren´t kind enough. From behind, the adjutant had his heart pierced through. The last thing he saw before dying was the scene of a unknown spiritualist exposing the head of the staff officer.
“Shit, we can´t retreat anymore.”
Gortoberuk´s head was now boiling in rage.
He losing his excellent staff officer and adjutant was like having lost both his arms. But as a leading figure of the Demon Lord third army, part of him was still composed. While he was bathing in spiritualist blood, he was thinking on how to break away from the current situation. Then, he started to try inspire the demons that seemed to have their morale fracturing.
“Don´t scatter! Group up as much as possible! The real battle starts now!!”
With his sole voice, the whole field trembled. His voice that had the weight of a leader, although only a bit, it still had some spirit. Swinging his sword, he kept shouting.
“Let´s cut the heads of these cowards as a sacrifice to our ancestors!!”
“The cowards are you, you dirty demons!”
A refined voice that didn´t seem fitting to the battlefield followed Gortoberuk´s words.*7
Riding on a horse, the one that got in front of Gortoberuk was none other than Selestinna Bistolru. Putting down her crossbow to her waist, she held her slender sword. Looking at Gortoberuk in such way that people would think she held a grudge over him, she gripped the slender sword with more strength.*7
“For you to do such a thing as a night attack on a fair and square battle is outrageous! You should take back what you said!”*7
“Hmph, you, who were just about to do exactly the same thing, don´t have the right to say those words!”
Raising his sword, he kept on riding at full speed. Gortoberuk´s bloodshot eyes were aiming at Selestinna without doubt. In other to break through this desperate situation, by all possible means it was necessary for him to take down the enemy general so that the spiritualist side receive a blow to their morale. No matter what, Gortoberuk wanted to get his hands on Selestinna´s head. On the other hand, Selestinna also desired Gortoberuk´s head. To lead the Bistolru family forward, it was a necessary prestige, and besides, it was also for the sake of her loved one.
“Die at once, you little lass!”
“Go back to the earth, you senile old fool!”
Both swords collided to each other.
With her silver slender sword and his crude iron sword, both of them violently exchanged blows. Gortoberuk was getting angered with the silver colored sword that seemed so fragile but just wouldn´t break while Selestinna was irritated at the iron sword that wouldn´t even get a single crack from her blows and started to attack more fiercely. And like that, their duel kept going. Until either side get careless, the swordfight would continue. Such a thing, both of them understood that.
“Little lass… This is foul play. What is with this sword?”
Gortoberuk provoked Selestinna.
In fact, Selestinna was using her demon banning technique on her silver sword. The power she was using was a hardening technique. Her slender sword now had the hardness equal to the one of a diamond. Not seeing any problem with that, she replied as if he had asked a stupid question.
“Is there a problem for a spiritualist to use demon banning arts? Rather than that, it is your sword that has something fishy. If you are going to complain about my technique, then what about using another weapon?”
Just as Serestinna had said, in Gortoberuk´s sword, there were some mithril mixed in. It was a super hard metal that could only be harvested from a certain ore. Even to Selestinna, who as the head of the family would deal with a lot of money to a certain point, it was an material she rarely would see. Even for the demons, who had confidence in their muscle strength, it was hard for them to be able to handle that long sword Gortoberuk was using. For him to easily handle it was proof of his excelling physical strength.
“I can wait the time for you to change your sword.”
It wasn´t possible to know when the sword fighting would have its conclusion. But the time for their stamina they were relying on to exhaust would definitely come. The instant Selestinna´s breathing became rough, Gortoberuk didn´t let the opportunity slip by. Warding off the slender blade that was already becoming dull, the sword flew to the air. With that, Selestinna shrieked.
“Ah, such a thing!”
“Since you were that weak, you should have focused on not letting your sword get stolen.”
Selestinna´s sword vanished somewhere far behind from her. She didn´t have enough time to go retrieve it back. With that, Gortoberuk happily smiled. If he was able to kill her now, the morale of the enemies would go down and the one of his own allies would go up. The situation might lighten up a bit with that. With all his strength, Gortoberuk raised his sword high in order to give her the finishing blow.*8
“This is the end, little lass!”
“I return to you these same words!”
Selestinna took crossbow that was before on her waist. There was already a bolt loaded in. Previously, he had raised his arm high, and therefore, his chest got completely defenseless.
In a rush, in order to evade the bolt, he tried to pull back his horse. But that arrow was shot almost from point-blank range. The bolt that was shot blew off Gortoberuk´s right arm. With a faint sound, his arm, still holding to the sword, fell to the ground. Right in that instant, the arm was stepped on by the horse, becoming crushed to an atrocious shape. While covering the bleeding remaining part of his arm with his hand, he groaned in a low voice.*9
“You bastard… For you to have used a crossbow…”
“Did you forget that the spiritualist from Bistolru specialized in using archery?*10 And also, was there even a rule saying that you can´t use crossbows at war?
While saying that, she loaded up another bolt. Without being affected by the movement of her horse, she quickly aimed the crossbow at him.
“This is the end, Rudogar Gortoberuk”
And with that, she pulled the trigger.
Traveling through the air, the bolt went straight towards Gortoberuk´s forehead. With only one hand, it was impossible to properly handle the horse, and he didn´t have a sword to repel arrows anymore. All Gortoberuk could do was to watch the approaching arrow that was already right in front of his eyes.
“You damnable lass!!”
Together with his shout of resentment, right when he resolved himself over his own death…
“So this kind of situation is how it would be… “by a hair´s breadth”?”*11
Right in front of Gortoberuk´s eyes, something red cut in. The dull sound of the arrow being repelled reached Gortoberuk´s ears. Somehow, it seemed the reddish thing protected him.
“This is… A halberd?”
It was a blood covered halberd. The halberd that previously blocked him from the bolt slowly distanced itself from his face. Selestinna was now pointing her crossbow at the other person rather than Gortoberuk. Following Selestinna´s gaze, he ended up letting out a voice of surprise.
That person leaned the halberd onto her shoulders.
The person was wearing a blood covered armor and showing a bold smile. The halberd wielding soldier looked at Gortoberuk and lightly saluted him.
“From the third army, first lieutenant Riku… It´s been a bit late, but I completed my task and came to report.”
1.Once again that ->掎角の計<-, which is most likely a reference to the three kingdoms thing. Again, I don´t really want to search a lot just for this single thing f I can just outright put what the plan is actually about, right?
2.Kind of weird… I don´t think I did a mistake here, but it feels kind of weird, so I will put it there just in case. これほど勝利の図が見えた戦いは、そうそうない
3.鬨の声をあげろI don´t know how to translate it in english… I mean, it IS “raise your battle cries!” in the literal meaning, but written like that, it just feels weird… Or is it just me? Well, if someone has a better way of saying this part, tell me please.
5.一旦飛行と後ろに下がったとしても、そこにも退魔師が待ち構えているのだ。Whaaaaat? Now I really wonder whether the author is using expressions that exist… With一旦飛行 = being momentary flight. I guess in japanese it might not exactly be too weird, but for me that is translating all that in english, it is tragedy. Ah, this sweet despair… Now, all I can do is guess they jumped back ^^ By the way, I probably wasn´t able to properly translate this one, and there is high chances the message it wants to pass isn´t even similar to what I wrote…
6.だが、その頼みの綱は無残にも切り捨てられた後だった。I don´t understand this ->後<- Why was it added there? -.- …Either way, it still means that their last ray of hope is over regardless of the details.
7.It´s a pain in the ass to add new notes for each mistake I find after adding all these, so I will just add this single one…. 戦場には似つかわしくない洗練とした声が、ゴルトベルクの上を貫いた。//ゴルトベルクに親の仇でも見るかのような眼差しを向けると、細身の剣を握り直す。//「正々堂々の勝負に夜襲など言語道断！ その言葉、あの世で詫びなさい！」// Stuff I have no idea what it means ->上を貫いた。//細身の剣を握り直す//その言葉、あの世で詫びなさい！<- So I just put what they seemed to mean.
8.ゴルトベルクは、思いっ切り腕を大きく持ち上げた。Lack of description… It only says he raised his arms up. There wasn´t even anything talking about his sword, but either way it still was probably to finish her off. I mean, there is NO OTHER REASON other than that… So it will be raising his sword, unless you are looking forward to a weird winning pose that ended as a tragic self-destroying maneuver.
9.血を吹き出す腕を庇いながら、ゴルトベルクは低く唸った。Once again lack of details for a proper english translation. Even though people just love to fill stuff with details in only one line in japanese….
10.It´s written with the kanji of bow, although she is definitely using a crossbow (and so did that other guy). Because of that, I can´t really be sure if the Bistolru people are specialized in only crossbows or archery stuff all-round.(Edit: They are the all-round archery family.)
11.「間一髪ってことかしら？」 Weird to translate in english… The message should be something approximated to that.