Erich's hands were around my neck as he takes me away to his office, and then he releases me as soon as we enter the room.
「You really cause me trouble every single time.」
Perhaps his anger dissipated on the way here, but Erich sighs and then flumps into a chair.
He sat down rather roughly with chainmail still on his body, so the expensive-looking chair creaked, though he doesn't seem to mind.
He proceeds to show me a stack of papers.
「Do you know what this is?」
I flip through and see a list of names, something something proxy, so and so disguised as, and such things.
「I have no clue. I know there aren't many women's names.」
I answer, putting my hands on hidden sweets I found under the table, to which Erich sighs.
「At least remember these names…… they're all feudal lords of Goldonia. The ones in that place are listed here too.」
I don't remember anybody.
If someone introduced themselves alone, I might remember.
This sweet has a nice smelling sauce. I have high hopes.
「The names of the feudal lords written here will be met with a cruel fate after the war. You could call this the devil's notebook.」
Erich flips to a random page.
I see the words "Top Secret, Not for Inspection" written. I recognize the handwriting as Rebecca's.
「For example―――― the household of Viscount Bulut, not a holder of inheritance rights, dispatched as proxy, has insignificant forces. The proxy for the household of Count Moose, second son, says a group of knights were dispatched as elites, but are actually disguised mercenaries. Viscount Biveer, delayed for reasons of organization. ……In other words, the guys who go against the king's orders and skimps out on the forces they bring and the guys who sent a lower-ranked individual in their place are detailed here.」
This baked sweet has a prominent salty flavor. Instead of one caked with sugar, this one suits my tastes more.
「"I see", my a.s.s!」
He takes away the sweet.
「There are plenty of feudal lords who skimp out on soldiers and makes excuses for it, but you're the only idiot who came alone! You didn't give a d.a.m.n about the king's orders! Don't you think it's strange to come by yourself when you were specifically told to bring your army!?」
Don't be so angry. Myla already yelled at me before I left.
「"Margrave Hardlett, head of the household, came alone", do you want me to write that down!? ……sounds so stupid.」
I pick up the sweet left on the desk and force a smile.
「I know. But this is "all the able soldiers" I could send.」
Erich suddenly returns to a calm demeanor.
「Is the east that intense?」
「Very much so. I was able to win against the army of 70 000. However, they are regrouping with the squad of several tens of thousands who captured Malt. They will likely attempt another attack.」
Erich is no longer emitting any anger.
「I didn't expect you to bring a large force in the first place. Just defeating the enemy's eastern army is an achievement enough to earn a medal after all.」
He adds, "I never thought you would come alone", before setting down a pitcher of water rather forcefully.
「I understand you can't mobilize your army. I'll spare your name from being written here.」
「Thanks, I guess.」
Erich never intended to do it from the start. He grins and stuffs the stack of papers away.
「Sorry for scolding you for no reason.」
「It doesn't bother me. You must have your own circ.u.mstances.」
I've recently been called a skilled general, but my mind doesn't come close to Erich's level.
He probably has some purpose for the way he acts.
「If I didn't reproach you for coming alone, the other feudal lords would not be satisfied. They did not come enthusiastically either.」
I saw a bunch of people who looked quite eager, though I'm in no mood to debate.
By the way, is it alright that we left them alone?
「It's not fine. The feudal lords be agitated if we stay together for too long.」
I thought so. At this rate, drinks won't be served so we should go back soon.
「Let's leave things here……」
As I get up from my seat, Erich grabs my arm.
「I really pushed it this time. I even yelled at His Majesty.」
Erich's expression looked stressed and tinted with anxiety.
「It was necessary though, right?」
「Yeah, Goldonia would have lost at that rate. If that happened, everything would be over. That's why I hounded the king so much.」
In that case, he did what he was supposed to do in his position.
「You know how His Majesty is right now? If we lose the battle which will happen in Arkland, I'm finished. His Majesty won't forgive me and Kenneth will joyfully a.s.sign someone to stand in my position as the king's yes-man」
Erich looks out the window.
The armies of the feudal lords don't seem reliable.
「That's why I'm counting on you.」
He turns to me and says.
There's no point in hesitating, so I answer straight away.
「You have nothing to base your answer on, yet you reply so promptly.」
Erich smiles wryly.
In actuality, Erich's command is what will decide the outcome of battle.
The most I'll do is rampage a bit here and there.
「Anyways, you can be at ease for now. By the way, I know you said you couldn't mobilize your soldiers, but you could at least have a retinue with you, there's the danger of being a.s.sa.s.sinated during war time…… no, I guess n.o.body would think a great feudal lord would walk around by himself.」
That's exactly right, this is a high-level strategy to avoid being a.s.sa.s.sinated.
I didn't think of such a risk only because you brought it up just now.
「I'm surprised that girl who always follows you didn't come.」
Erich's expression relaxes and the topic s.h.i.+fts to something more casual.
「Celia grumbled quite a bit, but I ordered her to be c.o.c.ky and act as my body double, so she gave up her duty and didn't come with me.」
「……no, that's not going to work.」
When Celia put on my cloak, she looked like a cloth ghost.
Well, the escort unit is with her, so she should be the safest there. Ever since Myla got injured, she has become a bit of a scaredy cat.
That reminds me, I heard Celia and Myla bickering when I was leaving.
"Let go! I'm going with Aegir-sama!"
"You must not! Do you intend to go against orders!?"
"I know he thought of the idea of body double on the spot! If I secretly follow him, he'll forgive me!"
"I won't allow you to go alone, it's not fair!"
I couldn't make out much of what they were saying, so I left.
Also, I don't think I saw Sekrit since the day before I left. Does she become less fond of me when I do something stupid?
「Fumu…… so that girl isn't here? Then I have something good to tell you.」
「What is it?」
Erich shuts the window and confirms the door is closed.
I could have sworn I saw a sun-tanned woman in the distance outside the window, though I must be imagining things.
「It's about a woman I'm keeping, who is a little over my preferred age range, and who I was thinking about letting go. Since she'll be dismissed, her final request was if you could embrace her.」
「I see, a mature lady?」
Erich still has a ways to go if he's willing to let go of older women. Unless she's elderly, I have no problems at all.
「Umu, she was spoiled a bit too much and she has lost some of her figure…… but I can guarantee her technique.」
An older lady with a loose body, that's wonderful.
「Then tonight, after the ceremony is over, let's meet in that alley.」
「I will go with you. But will we head there together?」
From the way Erich is speaking, it seems like he is foolishly tired of the mature lady.
「She has a daughter who will turn 17, you see…… and she's just really adorable. After doing various things and praising her, I can finally harvest her tonight. It will undoubtedly be her first.」
What a guy, to abandon the mother as she becomes older and then making her daughter his lover. His ethics are backwards.
「Idiot, do you know how much I've supported the mother and daughter? I've paid more money than one of my Corps commander's salary.」
Anyways, it'll be a fun night. It's nice that I get to move around by myself once in a while.
「Alright, let's go back. We can talk about the details later.」
I felt someone's gaze on my back all of a sudden, though n.o.body is there when I turned around.
It must be my imagination. My senses might be getting dull if I'm feeling nervous right before a major battle.
「……fool, what are you doing?」
I swear I could hear a sigh and soft mumblings, but that must be my imagination as well.
I'll have a good time tonight and clear my head, then hopefully the thought will disappear.
Afterwards, I don't remember much of the conversation with the other feudal lords and the events of the banquet.
It was as big of a deal as seeing a somewhat larger bird fly overhead.
That older lady was great though.
We went at it without contraception, but I will worry about what happens if she gets pregnant after she gets pregnant.
Late at night, I walk along the alley in a rather good mood.
「Before I set out tomorrow, I'll make love to Dorothea.」
I don't have many chances to visit the mansion in the capital. I should do it a lot when I do visit.
I arrive at the mansion in a cheery mood after f.u.c.king a nice woman and enjoying a few drinks.
When I got there, something felt off.
「There is no light at the entrance.」
I told Dorothea that I would be coming late in the day.
It is technically the next day so I guess it won't be strange if she has fallen asleep, but the lights should still be on.
「Did she forget?」
I knock on the door lightly.
This one time, I happened to not have the key, and I didn't think the front door would be unlocked at this time of night.
I waited for a while and didn't get any response.
a.s.suming that she really must be asleep, I put my hand on the doork.n.o.b.
The door opens without the slightest bit of resistance. It was unlocked.
Now this is starting to be really weird.
After checking on the doork.n.o.b for a while, I rush into the mansion with my dirty shoes on.
The doork.n.o.b was destroyed.
I strain my ears, but don't hear any sounds.
I toss the ceremonial sword on the floor and draw my Dual Crater.
An urge within me wants to shout in order to ensure Dorothea's safety, however there's a possibility that yelling loudly would worsen the situation.
Crouching like a cat, I tip-toe along the hall in the dark.
n.o.body is in the entrance, the halls or the living room.
As I was about to go around to the bedrooms, I hear a soft noise from the kitchen.
I instinctively suppress my breathing and creep slowly towards the source of the sound.
I slowly open the door to the kitchen.
Laying on the floor of the kitchen are Dorothea and a few children.
Cloth has been stuffed in their mouths and their hands were bound behind their backs.
「Dorothea! Are you alright!?」
Despite a gnawing worry in my heart, I feel a sense of relief when I see her.
Honestly, I considered the possibility that she was stabbed in the heart with a sword.
Noticing me, Dorothea desperately moans to get my attention.
It didn't look to me that she wanted to be saved as quickly as possible.
Nevertheless, I promptly run over to Dorothea and remove the cloth from her mouth.
「Hardlett-sama, behind you――!!!」
As soon as Dorothea shouts out, something drops down behind me from the ceiling.
Turning around, I grab that something―― an arm holding a knife, and slam the body into the ground.
My Dual Crater drops toward the neck of the intruder and then…… stops.
「What is the meaning of this?」
Unfazed by the blade mere centimeters from the person's throat, the intruder smiles.
「I'm just playing around. No need to get angry.」
The intruder―― Sekrit, drops the water canteen held in her hand.
「Geez…… I thought the children were going to be killed and was beside myself with fear. There are certain limits to joking around.」
Dorothea is unusually mad for once.
「Exactly. This time you really crossed the line. Also, if my eyes were not accustomed to the dark, you would be just a head right now.」
I scold Sekrit for real and give her forehead a nice flick.
「……it's a joke, don't be so uptight.」
Sekrit averts my gaze with an anguished expression.
According to Dorothea, she was waiting for my return by the front door with a few older kids when she heard a light striking sound.
Looking to see what was wrong, the door suddenly opened and Sekrit, with her face hidden, attacked her.
She wanted to warn the children at all costs, but the difference in physical ability between her and Sekrit was too great, and her mouth was sealed before she could utter a word.
「I don't mind if it happens to me, but to also gag the children…… what if you hurt them by chance?」
Dorothea pinches Sekrit's cheek and pulls hard.
For the typically mild-mannered Dorothea to lay hands on another, she must really be upset.
By the way, Sekrit is being punished for the ridiculous joke by being tied up and hung from the ceiling, so she can't fight back.
「So, why did you do something like that?」
Dorothea asks after letting go of her cheek.
No matter how she likes to play pranks, she isn't the type of person who would specifically come from Rafen to perform a joke with malicious intent.
「A big war is going to happen in Arkland, right? It seemed more fun to be here.」
Sekrit grins fearlessly. She doesn't look cool when she's swaying in mid-air like that though.
「There's no place for you to stay, huh?」
「Hmph…… I could care less about that.」
Her relations.h.i.+p with the others is volatile to say the least.
Especially with Myla, they're literally at each other's throats whenever they are in the same area.
「It's because you always pick fights wherever you go.」
「Hey, stop that.」
I grab Sekrit's shoulder and spin her around in circles.
After a few rotations, the rope above her twists tight and then unwinds, spinning her in the opposite direction.
「That's not a good enough answer. If you only wanted to come along, there wasn't any need for you to act like a robber.」
Sekrit, with the spinning done, replies with an even more sarcastic expression.
「It's nothing serious, I just wanted to teach you a little about what reality is like.」
「What do you mean?」
Sekrit bends her back like a shrimp and unties the knot with her feet, then lands on the floor.
I forgot how abnormally flexible she is.
Sekrit grabs a fruit knife…… lets it go after I glare at her, then insteads takes a cookie and thrusts it at Dorothea.
「If I was serious, I could have slaughtered her and all the kids. Killed them like bugs too.」
As Dorothea tenses up, Sekrit shoves the cookie into her mouth.
「Is it a secret that this mansion is where you and your woman live? Do you think that those guys from South Yuguria won't find out?」
Ordinary citizens of the capital know the whereabouts of my mansion. Spies disguised as peddlers could easily find that out if they investigated a little.
「On top of that, there are plenty of people more skilled at this kind of thing than me.」
Sekrit is extraordinarily strong but isn't an a.s.sa.s.sin.
If South Yuguria wanted to murder or kidnap Dorothea, it could easily be done.
「You came to warn me?」
「I also wanted to see your panicked face.」
What a tactless person.
I sigh and pat Sekrit on the head.
「What am I, a kid?」
When she springs up, I stroke her cheek.
I scratch the underside of her chin instead.
She finally doesn't put up any resistance.
「It can't be helped now that you're here. I would feel uneasy if I left you in the mansion so I'll take you with me.」
Sekrit proceeds to walk out of the room like the conversation is over, but I grab her arm.
「Your punishment isn't finished yet.」
If I let her off here, Dorothea, who was bound and fearful for her life, would not be satisfied.
「Dorothea. What do you do to orphans who behave badly?」
「Eh? First a verbally scold them, then if they still don't listen, I spank them on the b.u.t.t.」
「There you have it.」
I make eye contact with Sekrit and point to the sofa.
「……what a screwed up fetish.」
She sighs and lays face down on the sofa.
「Your sin is heavier than a child's mischief. So expose your a.s.s.」
Sekrit clicks her tongue reproachfully and takes off her tight-fitting pants together with her underwear.
Her large, bouncy, brown-skinned a.s.s becomes exposed.
「amazing, you can see everything.」
A few kids exclaim at the sight.
Two young boys around ten or so could not take their eyes away from Sekrit's a.s.s, while a young girl of the same age covers her eyes.
「There, if you're going to do it, get it over with quick. Those kids are getting aroused.」
「Gosh, this is bad for the children's education!」
Sekrit doesn't show any signs of being embarra.s.sed by the gaze of the kids.
On the other hand, Dorothea looks at me with criticizing eyes.
「This is a form of education. Go on, hit her.」
I urge the two young boys focusing intently on the woman's a.s.s.
「Wait a minute! You're not the one who's going to hit me?」
What is she talking about? It makes sense that the ones who suffered the damage carry out the punishment, right?
「Why do I have to get spanked by a couple of k――」
When Sekrit tries to get up, I hold her down on the sofa.
「Go ahead and slap her. You don't need to hold back with your level of strength.」
The two kids swing down open palms on Sekrit's b.u.t.t cheeks.
Their hands incessantly hit her b.u.t.t, however it doesn't affect the trained Sekrit, and her skin hasn't turned red at all.
「You brats, I'll remember this…… you're not getting off easy.」
Sekrit's menacing growl scares the kids into taking a step back.
「Hey now, don't threaten them.」
I give Sekrit's tanned a.s.s a slap of my own.
Sekrit arches back and screams. I held back though.
「I was getting used to the lukewarm slaps of the brats…… you……」
Might as well give her three more slaps.
「Gyaan! Guuuh! You'll regret this!」
「Some kind of liquid is flying out??」
「Eh? Eh? From where?」
「Mama Dorothesan. What is this fishy smelling stuff~?」
「Good grief, this isn't good for the children!」
The children are sent back to their bedrooms after the punishment and Sekrit lies exhausted on the sofa with her lower half still naked.
「I feel strange…… it feels hot between my legs.」
「I, I want to hit another girl's b.u.m again.」
「Me…… next time, I want someone to slap me. Hey Tor~, can we play 'a.s.s-slapping' next time?」
I watch the innocently clamoring kids walk away and return to Sekrit, caressing her red a.s.s.
「I won't forget this humiliation. I'll get you back.」
She stares hatefully at me.
Well, the punishment is done, so let's consider what happened as water under the bridge and make up.
「Then let's clear things up right away in bed. You wanna do it now?」
I also call Dorothea, who is in a huff.
「The three of us will do poorly-educated things.」
「Gosh, Hardlett-sama is so…… alright, I'll go.」
Most things can be solved by going to bed together.
I do some serious thinking after allowing the two to wipe down their bodies.
The way Sekrit approached the problem was wrong, however she is definitely correct about the safety of the mansion.
South Yuguria knows my standing, plus it isn't out of the question for them to attack vulnerable places.
Rafen is guarded well because it's my territory, but the same can't be said about the capital.
「I'll get Erich to a.s.sign guards――」
The pet.i.te frame of a female with blonde hair emerges from the darkness.
「So you came along too, Brynhildr.」
「It goes without saying. I've told you countless times already, don't go anywhere without saying anything, you bird brain!」
I think I heard strange voices outside the window saying, "hungry" and "dark, can't see", but I won't worry about it for now.
Brynhildr clears her throat adorably.
「Do you think that woman would be stopped by two or three guards?」
That's probably impossible. It'll take her less than 30 seconds to finish them off.
「So are you going to a.s.sign an army?」
I can't do something like that in the capital.
「If you are willing to swallow some conditions, I can have one of my underlings permanently stay in the mansion.」
That would be appreciated. A vampire would not lose to any ordinary a.s.sa.s.sins and their true worth will be proven at night.
The problem of sunlight can be avoided altogether by staying holed up in the mansion too.
「So, what are these conditions you speak of?」
「Lend me your ear.」
Brynhildr whispers to me.
When I burst out unconsciously, Brynhildr sinks her teeth into my neck.
「If you leak this to anybody, I will ma.s.sacre your entire family and turn you into my slave! Got it!?」
「Alright, alright, I understand.」
I paid a relatively small price for a large return. That was a great deal.
Two Weeks Later. Arkland. Goldonia Royal Army Supreme Headquarters.
After combining the Royal army with the feudal lords' armies, our force of 150 000 deploys in a wide area around Arkland. One reason to do so was because we had too many soldiers to fit inside the city, but the enemy could surround us if we simply stayed inside the city and in the worst case, they could bypa.s.s us and possibly attack the capital without ever engaging us.
Even so, Arkland being a st.u.r.dy fortress city is a huge help and the soldiers seem vaguely rea.s.sured by the towering walls beside them.
「Coming into contact with the enemy western army! As predicted, their forces are believed to total 80 000!」
「So they're finally here.」
As the alarm sounds loudly, n.o.body seems to be too shaken up.
Although we are only making contact now, we knew the enemy would come and we came here to Arkland for that very reason.
「We're 150 000 and the enemy is 80 000.」
I mutter next to Erich. It appears we can win rather easily.
「The enemy's central army of 50 000 is making a large roundabout and closing in so they are actually equal in number with 130 000. 20 000 from the feudal lords' armies are practically a decoration after all. ……I shudder when I think of the possibility where you didn't stop the 70 000 of the eastern army.」
「How many did the Royal army have originally?」
「You're asking this now? ……12 army corps for a total of 180 000. In the first engagement, an entire corps was wiped out, then three more corps were injured during the battle in Roleil. The only ones capable of mobilizing are the eight army corps we have now and one reorganized corps of 10 000―― well, not exactly, but that's it for the time being.」
So he's basically saying that this is not their full strength.
If we lose here, Erich won't be the only one who is finished.
「Based on what I know, this is the first time in history both sides are fighting a battle with hundreds of thousands of forces on the Central plains.」
I spoke out loud unconsciously.
When Erich shows me a doubtful expression, I encourage him to continue.
It came up three times during the history lessons with Lucy after all.
「A battle of colossal proportions that will be engraved in history, huh…… in spite of the nation being in a state of existential crisis, my heart as a soldier can't help dancing in excitement. What a mysterious feeling.」
Erich comments as he gazes into the distance.
「Kuku, hundreds of thousands, eh?」
The one who snickered was Sekrit. Her way of speaking has a mocking tone no matter how you listen to it.
「……I purposely didn't ask, but who is that woman? She has dark skin not often seen in the Central plains.」
Explaining is troublesome so I told her not to do anything that will make her stand out.
「I can't help it. When I see an idiot immersed in deep feelings in antic.i.p.ation of large scale battle, telling me not to laugh is impossible.」
Whatever, just go along with what we decided beforehand.
I give Sekrit an unnatural and deliberate stare.
The corner of her mouth lifts up, but she obeys and falls in line behind me.
「This woman is the head of a bandit gang who operated unlawfully in my territory. I took her to bed because of her appearance, but she also seemed useful in other areas, so I decided to bring her to the capital as a guard for my mansion.」
I have some reluctance in saying that I embraced her, despite the story being a fabricated one, however Sekrit said she wouldn't go with any other story besides this one. Dammit, is she getting me back for the embarra.s.sment she suffered in the mansion?
「This one is acting as Hardlett-sama's meat toilet. As a toilet, this one has no name.」
Erich and the personnel in the headquarters look at me with cold eyes.
What she said just now wasn't in the script and I don't have the acting skills to ad lib.
「Hearing that he was leaving for the front, this one had to follow no matter what. If not, this one was willing to become a military prost.i.tute in order to accompany him, so he allowed this one to come.」
「This life of mine has no meaning if this one is unable to accept your excretory functions…… the days of being whipped to tears. The times you would shout insults as you shove your a.n.u.s at me. And then the moments this one would be covered in fecal matter……」
Spouting baseless statements, Sekrit clings to my leg and licks my shoe.
The eyes of Erich and the others grow colder.
This little b.i.t.c.h, she can't even hide her evil smile anymore.
「……it may not be my place to comment on what you do in your territory, since you are free to pardon criminals as you wish and have s.e.x slaves…… though I feel like you should learn proper moral conduct.」
One of the staff officers advises me with a disdainful look.
My reputation was strange enough as it is, and it just got even worse.
「Military Commissioner, it's time……」
「Umu, let us save the discussion about Lord Hardlett's perverted fetishes for later.」
The staff officers chuckle at Erich's comment, then direct their gazes at the enemy in front.
I guess that was a good way to relieve some of the tension.
In response to our wide left and right deployment with Arkland's city walls in the center, the enemy appears to be initially concentrating their forces in the middle.
Detachments extend out from both wings and, while avoiding an encirclement, siege weapons advance forward towards the castle walls.
「Wings, rout the enemy detachments and surround them!」
「Troops stationed in Arkland, aim for the siege weapons from above the ramparts! Do not engage in close combat.」
「The enemy siege weapons include catapults and…… s.h.i.+t, they have cannons too!」
A fierce battle spreads throughout the wings.
Reports from the right and left indicate an advantage for our allies, however the enemy aimed for Arkland while being careful not to be surrounded from the beginning, and so it can be said that everything was developing as they had hoped.
「South wall has taken damage! The upper portion is crumbling!」
「Battering rams have demolished the southeast gate! It is being repaired!」
Several more reports come in, but Erich remains firmly seated with his eyes closed.
If he isn't saying anything, it isn't the right time yet, so I close my eyes.
That was when a loud sound roared right next to headquarters.
「It's the enemy catapult. A boulder landed close by…… fire is breaking out due to the heated stone!」
「Pouring water over the rocks won't do much, use sand instead.」
It goes without saying that I'm bored, so I can at least provide some instructions.
「Good thing it wasn't a pot filled with gunpowder and oil.」
「Pots don't reach this far. Look, it fell around the castle walls. That distance is pretty much the limit.」
As I am talking with Sekrit, one of the staff officers seemed surprised.
「Lord Hardlett, as expected, is staying calm.」
「I've been in my share of wars after all. Well, if it falls on your head, there's not much you can do.」
Sekrit is even yawning.
With all the defensive battles we've been in lately, she has probably gotten familiar with being shot at.
Arkland has thick castle walls unlike Zan Dora, so projectiles don't fly directly at us, making our lives easier.
「Still, weren't the walls of Arkland made without cannons in mind? What would happen if they continue shooting?」
I look over at Erich, who gives out an order with his eyes remaining closed.
「First Division Cavalry move to the front of the south gate. Disregard casualties and standby.」
A staff officer salutes without saying anything.
「If you need breakthrough ability, I'll go as well.」
「Stay on standby until the order is given, got it? ――don't die.」
I mount Schwartz and ride along with rocks falling all around.
Sekrit is riding with me, though I'm sure she doesn't have her own horse. Where did she steal that one?
「Don't stress the little details in war.」
Cannons are shooting the gate an awful lot and various places are showing signs of crumbling.
Now we can see the outside situation so it can be considered somewhat of a convenience.
Sekrit's mouth curls when she sees what is outside.
「That siege formation seems so familiar. ……oh, they're coming soon.」
The pace of cannonfire drops. At the same time, the catapults change their aim from the center of the walls to further back.
I can tell too. Their aim is starting to deviate as to avoid friendly fire.
Which means their infantry will push forward next and attempt to get over the walls damaged by the cannons.
「That is also a chance for us.」
The cannons completely stop shooting, then the lighter and more accurate ballistae move up to the front.
Simultaneously, soldiers holding ladders and s.h.i.+elds begin to attack.
「Alright, let's go.」
「I don't mind, but didn't the commander-dono say to wait until the order was given?」
Sekrit smiles mockingly.
Muu, shouldn't it be fine…… no, he really looks like he would get mad if I run out early.
「Let's see. If I was commander, I would chop off your d.i.c.k before lopping off the head.」
Ballistae are set in place and enemy soldiers cling onto the wall.
I can hear the clinking sounds of the steel ladders propping up against the wall one after the other.
「They're climbing up.」
「Of course they are.」
The order hasn't been given yet? Is Erich sleeping?
「Will you go against orders then? I know I'm not the commander, but I don't mind.」
「…… I'll wait a bit more.」
I squeeze Sekrit's a.s.s and wait.
Finally, the enemy vanguard has completely climbed to the top of the ladders, and it was at that time when the order was given.
「Open the gates! Commence the attack!」
The gates swung open immediately.
「Squads 1 to 3 are in charge of removing the ladders! Squads 4 to 8 will secure the gate, Squads 9 to the rest of the army will target the enemy cannons!」
All allies let out a war cry and charge out at full speed.
「It's about time!」
「Ow! Stupid muscle head!」
I slap her tight a.s.s and follow the others.
Erich surely kept me in suspense, although the timing of the order was perfect.
Seeing us pour out of the gates, the enemy cannons, ballistae and archers all hesitate to intercept us.
Well that much is natural. Their allies have climbed to the upper portion of the walls, so they would be shooting their own soldiers if they miss.
Not to mention they worked to climb over the walls only to get attacked by us from behind.
「Let's rout the enemy!」
「We're supposed to prioritize the removal of cannons. I'll go along with you if you're going to ignore that imperative.」
Sekrit has been warning me about every little thing for the past while now.
「I get it. We'll crush everything in sight, that should be fine, right?」
I raise my longsword above my head.
Schwartz is as fast as usual and carried me far in front of the other allies.
Thus, the enemy crossbows, which have a shorter range and no risk of friendly fire, were concentrated at me.
「Now then, can you get through my s.h.i.+eld?」
Knocking down the bolts is difficult so I use my s.h.i.+eld to protect my face.
Schwartz glances up at me as if saying "what about me?"
I would like to respond with "every man for himself on the battlefield", but I would be in trouble if my mobility is lost.
Right as the enemy commander swings down his sword, I pull on Schwartz's mane.
「Shoot―― eh, he dodged!? He changed directions at that speed!? How clever, despite having such a large body……」
All the bolts aimed at me missed due to the sudden change in events and hit a few soldiers in the rearguard instead, turning them to porcupines.
They were unlucky, there's nothing they could have done.
Sekrit astutely pops up from behind the fallen ally soldiers. I'm glad she's alright.
Schwartz was already accelerating before the words came out of my mouth.
The enemy crossbows try to reload, but they shouldn't have enough time.
「We're not going to make it! Spearmen, get in front and don't break formation!」
I wanted to charge in before they changed formation. It looks like their reaction was quicker.
「I'll take care of the spears. You do the rest.」
Schwartz snorts reluctantly.
A wall of spears line up in front.
My legs squeeze tightly around Schwartz's body and I pull my sword behind my back.
I unleash a horizontal slash with my longsword, slicing all the interfering spears in half right in the middle, turning them into plain wooden sticks.
Schwartz runs straight into the enemy lines at full speed before the enemy soldier could express his shock.
A bunch of sticks with no sharp ends have no hopes of stopping Schwartz who easily weighs over a ton. Two soldiers were crushed under the horse's hooves and five others were sent flying by the large animal's body.
On its way back, my sword slices through the dumbfounded commander.
The diagonal slash cuts through his raised right hand, pa.s.sing into his head from above his right eye and escaping through his left jaw.
「A hole has opened up. Get moving.」
Sekrit says as she jumps into the vacated s.p.a.ce.
Allies who heard her flood through the gap, instantly widening the crack in enemy lines.
「It's not a bad feeling to stand in front, right?」
My excitement is short-lived as Schwartz raises his head and nudges my arm.
I notice three heavy cavalry in front of us.
They have a different aura about them. They are most likely headquarters personnel, who I would be glad to kill.
「Go straight ahead.」
I ready my sword as I tell Schwartz.
「Argh, move the cavalry up! Pull the siege weapons back! What is the squad leader doing!?」
「Was his attention too focused on crossing over the wall!?」
「That guy is…… the demon mentioned in the report!? He came to the west!?」
「Who are you calling a demon?」
I approach one of them with a diagonal slash.
The enemy deflects with their s.h.i.+eld, although it seems he could not afford to worry about the tip of my blade.
His horse suffers a large gash from the tip of my sword, which in turn flings him up like a catapult launches a loaded stone.
The next enemy targets the opening created after I made a large swing with a sharp thrust.
I block with my s.h.i.+eld to recover and then retaliate with a swing of my longsword.
「It won't be that easy!」
My powerful downward swing is defended nicely by the enemy's s.h.i.+eld.
Of course, he was thrown off balance, but somehow forcefully aims for the gaps in my armor, preventing me from pus.h.i.+ng my way in with strength.
When I deflect his sword, the enemy switches from wielding a s.h.i.+eld to a knife and throws it at Schwartz.
Not wanting my 'legs' to be taken out, I quickly protect my mount, which gives the enemy time to recover.
What he did so far is impressive, but I can't spend anymore time than this.
I exhale deeply.
I raise my arm like I'm about to make another large swing with my sword, then circ.u.mvent the defensive stance taken by the enemy by bas.h.i.+ng my s.h.i.+eld against him with all my might.
A slash isn't impossible to block with a little bit of skill, but when it comes to a s.h.i.+eld slam, it turns into a contest of power.
In terms of raw power, this guy and I have an overwhelming advantage.
After the third blow, the enemy finally drops his s.h.i.+eld, allowing me to bring my sword down on his head.
The cavalry who fought bravely is cut from his shoulder down to his stomach and falls off his horse.
「Last one is you.」
「Kuh, I'm not going to be done in by a demon……」
The man stares me down, then suddenly his eyes widens and his body stiffens.
He appears to be looking at something behind me.
My slash tears into his body with absolutely no resistance and the last enemy dies.
What was that, was he all talk?
「General ――……? Why……」
The man seems to be saying something which I can't make out.
Now that the enemy lines are in disarray, I can run into the base where the siege weapons are.
「The enemy is coming! Pull the cannons back!」
「Have the ballistae retreat with the horses.」
「Disa.s.semble the catapults…… wait, there's not enough time!」
「There are so many of them. Which should I break first?」
「Logically speaking, the order should be cannons, then the catapults next, and then the ballistae last…… although in such chaos, let's go at random.」
Sekrit spurs her horse on and cuts down an enemy soldier, taking away the spear he was holding and thrusting it at a ballista.
'At random', huh. Those are her favorite words.
I swing my longsword, destroying a ballista as well as killing the operators.
The path is cleared and I see four cannons in front. The cannoneers run away in haste when they see me.
「There is a lot of gunpowder in reserve…… if a fire is lit, we'll be blown away. Break the firing mechanism at the back――」
I try to listen to what Sekrit is saying while slamming my sword down on the barrel of the cannon.
The steel barrel deforms into a 'v' shape and falls apart.
I bash another with my s.h.i.+eld, caving in a portion of the barrel and then move on to a third cannon, where I stick my sword into the mouth of the cannon and fling the siege weapon away.
Of course, the cannon is bent out of shape from the impact of landing on the ground and it should be useless.
「Did you say something?」
She sighs as she watches me destroy a fourth cannon.
Our allies also took down their share of siege weapons and a considerable amount were turned to junk.
Nevertheless, the one-sided destruction doesn't continue for long.
「Enemy reinforcements! Heavy cavalry approaching!」
「Third company is surrounded and slowly being annihilated.」
「Headquarters has issued an order for all units to retreat! "Fall back immediately. Especially Lord Hardlett, move without grumbling."」
We destroyed all we could in the few minutes we were given before the enemy's unexpectedly quick reaction.
Offense and defense switched places and reports of ally squads being wiped out also started coming in.
「It's time. We're withdrawing.」
I thought I broke a lot, but many remain undamaged.
If I were to stay behind and persist, our side would be the one suffering more casualties. Besides, Erich specifically called me out.
I look off in the distance at a certain catapult. I had wanted to destroy that one, but I couldn't reach it.
Upon closer inspection, there is a pot of oil still resting on the launch pad.
Perfect, there just happens to be a bonfire torch right next to me.
I toss the torch at Sekrit and jerk my chin in the direction of the catapult.
She abandons her horse and jumps on Schwartz.
Having a st.u.r.dier base is probably better for throwing.
Schwartz neighs happily. Control yourself buddy, this is the battlefield.
With the torch in her right hand, her entire body bends back like a bowstring being pulled.
She exhales at the same time she releases the torch, which flies through the sky in a large arc.
The torch spins around in the air and falls directly on the launch pad at the perfect angle.
There was a sound of a porcelain object shattering, then enemy soldiers can be heard screaming in panic, then the sound of things burning up before an eventual explosion sends vibrations in a somewhat wide radius.
「That last shot was really flashy.」
「Isn't that great? Fights are more fun when they're explosive.」
I ride back to Arkland with Sekrit behind me.