Going up the ladders, Riku arrived at the lookout of the temple.
With the sun setting, the sea, which was surrounding the island, was being dyed in orange. Ordering the demons that were there to go down for a moment, Riku leaned against the edge of the lookout. The red hair of the same color as the sunset was fluttering with the breeze of the sea. While holding down her hair, Riku glared at the sea, annoyed. She didn´t have good memories with the sea to begin with, and she felt that the more she spent her time on this mission, the more she came to hate it.
“I finally found you, ojou-chan.”
To make Riku even more irritated, a voice was calling for her from behind. Vrusto, who was holding a eyeglass, had just gone up to the lookout. Despite how they were in their current situation, the weak smile didn´t vanish from his face. Riku frowned
“What is it?”
“Stupid, it is obvious. It is so that we can think of a plan to deal with those guys.”
Vrusto looked with his eyeglass at the direction of the sea. Even if he wasn´t to look at the direction he was looking now, it would be possible to see the figure of the irritating fellows there.
In the present situation, the Sherr island was surrounded by all sides by ten warships.
Today, at dawn, was when they noticed the warships approaching.
…Going back a few days, after they suppressed the surviving spiritualists, they immediately started to search for the Demon Lord crown. However, just going search crown-like objects in the vast treasury room that reached to the skies already took many efforts. The treasury room was so replete of treasures that those spiritualists from the temple couldn´t be thought as the same ones that would grumble about how they abstained themselves from desires. Even after taking three days and three nights, they couldn´t find all the crowns that were in there.
At the moment Riku would start to feel exhausted just by looking at that mountain of gold that was making trouble for her mission… At this same time, the report that Fert had fallen and that the military forces of the spiritualists were coming got to her.
“Really, what are we to do now…”
“For something like that, isn´t it fine to just go attack them? We also have the warships those spiritualists fellows left to us.”
“That´s what it would be a bad plan.”
Riku rejected Vrusto´s opinion. And then, she gave a sidelong glance to the warships anchored at the shore of the island.
“They came at the same time the information about the fall of Fert reached us. In order words, they had immediately come to Sherr island right after they had captured Fert.”
“Then, shouldn´t we be aiming for now that they are exhausted?”
“There is no way we can escape from those people that had their measures for the naval battle already set, you know?”
Riku had more or less read the book of war strategies. It was possible for her if it was to the extent of memorizing the knowledge about naval battles. However, she didn´t actually have experience of them. Of course, she wasn´t going to use her lack of experience as an excuse to avoid a naval battle. Not doing something because of lack of experience was the same concept of not doing a math question just because the methods of doing it was something you didn´t study in class yet. But right now, the problem was something else.
“But why was it? Why did they came here right away?”
“That is… Because we had invaded them… That´s strange for sure.”
Being asked that by Riku, Vrusto crossed his arms troubled.
“With all the preparations they would do after capturing Fert, it would have been too short for them to go attack someone… And so, wouldn´t it be that they were planning on coming to Sherr island after attacking Fert?”
“This is only a possibility, though.”
If by any chance this guess was to be correct, then, the possibility of the report of the discovery of the location of the Demon Lord crown being a false information would become extremely high. No matter how they were to look for it, they would only be able to find similar objects.
“A strategy to lure the demons and take away a great part of their forces in one go, right? I guess they intended to attack them after we would get exhausted from the battle against the the temple… But could it be that, out of their calculations, the people of the temple had lost the battle too fast? Looking at those ships we acquired, they still have the same numbers, and all of them are undamaged. They didn´t fight anyone after all.”
“…Then, wouldn´t it be better to attack them as expected?”
“But the ships we would be using are spiritualist ships, you know?”
Riku and her subordinates didn´t know in detail about the ships used by the spiritualists, but it wasn´t the case for the enemy. They were familiar with them; they had full knowledge from its highest places of the ship to its lowest. With them being that familiarized with their ships, to go attack them like that was too dangerous. How Riku had procured merchant ships on purpose in order to avoid naval battles had actually backfired in the end. Riku pondered.
“…The problem is: why are they not attacking?”
Even though a day had passed, there were no signs of them trying to land at the island. Of course, they were watching them for if they launched a night attack. However, even so, they didn´t see any signs of them being willing to attack. All they did was to keep surrounding them, as if they only wanted to keep them staying there.
“It doesn´t look like they are confused about how something out of their expectations happened… Are they going for a siege?”
“I can´t find any advantage for them to be doing a siege war. I have no idea what they are thinking about.”
That´s why they were troubled, without being able to think of any plans. Riku was hoping that by looking at their formation from a high place just like that, it would perhaps be possible for her to think of something, but she didn´t get any useful information in particular by doing that. All she was able to do was to confirm the reality of them still being anchored from a distance without coming closer or distancing themselves.
“But you know, if we are not going for a naval battle, what are we going to do? Or are you planning on letting them land here on purpose?
“At the worst case, it would be that. We can´t go for a naval battle, so all we can do is that. …Or if we go escape to Perikka somehow.”
Of course, slipping through them in merchant ships that didn´t have any weapons installed or anything of the sort was next to impossible. If they had the resolve to use up about one or two of the ships as baits, then maybe it would be possible to escape. However, originally, the people she would be sacrificing were soldiers of the Demon Lord army. If she was to be known as someone that sacrificed her own soldiers to run away, it was possible that Leivein´s reputation would fall. Therefore, there was no way she could use her soldiers life like that.
If only she were to receive reinforcements, the tide of the battle would change. Since the port of Perikka still wasn´t captured by the spiritualists, Riku still had some hopes that reinforcements could come. But no matter how, she couldn´t imagine Charlotte sending her reinforcements. Imagining Charlotte saying something like “If it is only this much, do something about it yourself!” in an brazen posture, Riku let out a big sigh.
“…For now, let´s send a report to the main forces of the Demon Lord army.”
Because they were in an isolated island at the middle of the sea, she couldn´t use Roppu. That´s why, without any other options, she entrusted that with an special kind of demon that could remain hidden in the sea for long periods of time. It was a demon that looked like a [walrus]; an animal that lived at the north of the sea that very long ago her younger brother had boastfully talked about once. While holding the package the letter was inside with his big hands that had fins, a demon that looked like a walrus left to the sea through the drainage channels.
Sucking in the snot of his nose, he muttered in manner that looked completely irresponsible.(I don´t know how this would be called in english… Also, having it described in details like that makes it extra gross .-.)
“Either doing a suicide attack and having a honorable death or waiting for reinforcements.”
“Oh, I don´t intend to die, you know? …For me to die a dog´s death in a island of spiritualists makes me want to vomit.”
Riku muttered as if she was saying that to herself. She needed to think of a plan somehow. Once again, Riku looked at the warships surrounding the island. In that instant, Shibira´s prophecy came to her mind. But as to shook it away, she shook her head.
“There is no way I am dying at a place like this.”
The sun was sinking down at the sea. It was the time the moon would rise, replacing it. Bit by bit, the moon started to be covered by an eclipse. They themselves weren´t having problems regarding the light, however, it would become easier to do a surprise attack with the darkness resulted from that. Being on guard at night day after day must be straining. Until then, Riku wanted to do anything she could to have all this end as soon as possible.
While smelling the smell of the sea she couldn´t get used to, Riku kept thinking.
At this same time, a war council was happening at the Demon Lord castle.
The impenetrable city of Fert was captured and the brave general, Edgar Zerrik, who would go cut his way through anything throw at him, had died in battle. And what came in as an accompaniment right after that was the information that the Sherr island had been surrounded by warships.
“At the present moment, the one who is at the Sherr island is the troops of Riku Barusak of my third army.”
Rudogar Gortoberuk, who had become one-armed, was the one to start the discursion at the meeting. With his remaining hand, as if protesting, he strongly hit the table. Because he had hit it too hard, the tea in his cup spilled out a bit. However, there was nobody that cared about it. All the leaders, who had their attention called, looked at Gortoberuk.
“I ask for reinforcements by all means.”
However, because of Gortoberuk´s words, everyone was making troubled faces. Keeping in silence, they wouldn´t move their mouths that looked to be weighted down by something. Gortoberuk pointed to one person among them… A field officer that had arms of a tiger.
“Hey, you bastard… What are you making that troubled face for? If you have any problems, then try saying it!”
“I must say that… I would want ask for the reinforcements as well.
Keity Fostar, who had been called, got up from her seat and said in a troubled tone.
“However, with the problems we have presently, it is impossible. Our fleet is not so big for us to be sending help to a little island surrounded by ten spiritualist warships. Especially now that the port of Fert has been taken, we hold control over only the port of Perikka. We are already at our best efforts just to have the preparations for the defenses at Perikka. It´s not possible for us to spare any troops for that.”
Clenching her hand, Keity was showing a frustrated expression. Her true feelings was that she wanted to go save Riku, who had once fought alongside her. However, there was no way she could let herself be carried by the emotions of the moment and have such decisions cause harm. Hardening her heart, she opposed to Gortoberuk´s thoughts.
“Guh… However, have you forgot the accomplishments of Riku Barusak? Who was the one to recapture Myuuz? Who was the one to protect her highness, Charlotte-sama, and achieve a great victory at Karkata? It was lieutenant commander Riku Barusak!! Is it fine to let such an excellent first-class soldier die!?”( ぐぬぅ)
“However, there are other elites too.”
“Yes, that´s right. Rather than a jumped-up human, aren´t there exceptional demons of good lineages? There is nothing to care about only a single human.”
The generals and field officers that had been silent since now started to oppose Gortoberuk´s opinion. Gortoberuk´s situation was clearly bad. Even at normal conditions, it was close to impossible for Gortoberuk, who had fallen in reputation, to reverse this situation.
“…Charlotte-sama, we should send a messenger ordering them to kill as many enemies with their last effords. Would this be acceptable?”
Keity asked for Charlotte´s view of the situation. Without saying anything, Chalotte kept silent. And then, at the instant her thin lips were about to open, someone raised one´s voice, interrupting her.
“No, we must send reinforcements.”
It was a declaration that cut off everything that was said until now. Gortoberuk, with eyes shining with the hope, and everyone else with eyes of criticism, looked at the owner of the voice. Representing everyone, Keity nervously asked the owner of that voice.
“Lieutenant general Adlar, does that… Does that mean you have some kind of plan?”
Without having feared anything, and without having twisted his face in grief either, lieutenant general Leivein Adlar kept his calm expression. Calmly standing up, he pointed at the map that was spread at the table.
“If we sent the ships stationed at Perikka, it would be possible to send them reinforcements.”
“However, the two or three ships we would have been able to deploy at best would never be able to face against ten.”
“However, it is impossible for their encirclement to be perfect. There should be a hole somewhere. …And besides, this is a situation we must send reinforcements even if risking the dignity of the Demon Lord army.”
Leivein´s words made the meeting room become silent in an instant. Right now, there was a demon that was saying they should go help a human at all costs and even relating that to dignity. However, with the glare of his blue eyes, it made everyone keep their mouth shut. With the complete silence, Leivein finally opened his mouth once again.
“The lieutenant commander Riku Barusak didn´t simply go fight. She went there to go look for the [the Demon Lord crown]. It is a necessity for us to retrieve the crow, which perhaps would be able to greatly affect our current situation.”
The whereabouts of the [crown of the Demon Lord] was something everyone had interest of. Since they found the perfect chance to get that treasured object that had fallen into the hands of the spiritualists, there was no way they could let it slip by.
With Leivein sitting on his chair and silently closing his eyes, everyone started to say their own opinions.
“In-indeed… If thinking that it is not to save the jumped-up human, but to retrieve the Demon Lord crown.. Doesn´t it make it look worth sending some warships from Perikka?”
“Bu-but! We don´t have any officers or soldiers that are skilled at naval battles enough to face that fleet of ten warships, you know?”
“In a realistic sense, it is impossible!”
“No, it is something that must be done!”
Charlotte´s cold voice echoed through the meeting room. Everybody went back to the silence. There was nobody foolish enough to object that. Giving a big nod, Charlotte looked at each of the faces of the demons that were called to the council room one by one. Her eyes full of determination were representing what the final decision of this discussion would be.
Everyone waited for Charlotte´s words. Because of how silent it was, the sound of Gortoberuk swallowing his saliva resounded awfully loud.
“Umu, I´ve heard everyone´s thoughts. Now, I will pass my decision. The reinforcements to Sherr island are…”