Of course, draconis also have wolf-like characteristics. To name one, they have so much stamina that it made you wonder if they can run forever and never get tired.
… ‘You’re the only one who can do that’, someone once said to me with a wry smile. I took a nap on Rashiok’s back as he kept running and flying while avoiding people as we returned to Fortress Di Lo Fee alone.
I’ll be waiting inside Di Lo Fee until the next signal to start the operation. Wiegraf informed me not to let the enemy know of my presence, so I put a hood on and mingled with the Kaldia army soldiers, who had moved here while I was burning Eris, without a care in the world.
After quietly receiving a report on the war situation, I headed to the dining hall to eat and was immediately surrounded by the senior soldiers. If I was called ‘Tsar’ like in the past, and had food shoved into my mouth like an apprentice soldier, because I needed to restore my energy spent fighting, then, not just the army, but even those who have joined the fief army in the past few years won’t acknowledge me as Earl Kaldia.
“Here, eat this too, Tsar.”
“… No, I’ve had enough. I’ll get sick before I go to the battlefield if I eat that much.”
“What are you saying? Your stomach will be fine! You’re the person who eats the most inedible things!”
“Your stomach can handle anything.”
While exchanging trivial conversation, it occurred to me that in the past few years, with the increased number of soldiers, I have not been able to communicate with them in this way.
I hadn’t noticed this because my conversations with Theomer and Gunter hadn’t changed at all, but even though most of them are in the cavalry, I rarely talk directly to them since they are still only foot soldiers… I suppose they were thinking of the newcomers, so they didn’t talk to me themselves.
I felt nostalgic as if I was an apprentice soldier back in the barracks. And in the corner of my heart, I felt an aching feeling like it was being squeezed.
This atmosphere inevitably reminded me of the time when Kamil was here.
I’ll turn this pain into the very sawdust that had absorbed the oil.
It was perfect since it was just before the battle.
The dawn of Eris, which burnt differently than the colour of the morning sunrise, was apparently visible to the Rindarl soldiers who had surrounded Di Lo Yun. From the other side of Teve River, I received a report that the organised movement of the enemy army had gone completely weird since this morning.
Well, of course they’d start acting weird.
After all, the Rindarl army, who were on the other side of the siege, had mobilised a large number of slave soldiers. Their strategy was to build a wall with their dead bodies, fill the moat, and use the cliff as a ladder to advance. Their morale was at its lowest, and if the Rindarl soldiers, who were in control of them, became confused, then it would cause unrest to the entire army.
It seemed that there were a large number of slave soldiers who had run away or defected to Arxia, and it was only a matter of time before their siege broke down.
On the other hand, the army that had pinned down Teve River seemed to include nobles from Densel and Parmigran. Although their numbers were small, they were skilled in wielding bows and swords, so they were effectively defending against the Arxians who outnumber them.
As for Rindarl, they had planned on taking control of Di Lo Yun while holding back the main force of the Arxian army by the river, and then they had planned on using Di Lo Yun as a base of attack to move their army who had been waiting in Eris.
Wiegraf believed that they had divided their troops and were moving around the clock to suppress our movements and exhaust us. It must have been obvious to the enemy that Arxia’s morale was declining due to the prolonged maintenance of the frontline.
From the perspective of crushing the enemy’s plans, the attack on Eris, where the second line of troops and supplies were stored, was the most effective plan. The next step was to take advantage of the enemy’s confusion and crush the fleets camped on Teve River. If we succeed, then we will deal a fatal blow to their strategy.
… Ships take time and money to build. Not to mention training the men to sail them. Those men and ships come from Parmigran.
Before the attack, I received an order from the commanding general who had sent a red pigeon from Di Lo Fee.
It said, “The enemy forces in Teve River must be destroyed. All ships must be destroyed. Turn the Teve River into a red ditch.”
“Vicious,” I whispered, and Aslan, who was nearby, looked up at me as if he wanted to say something.
Not wanting to miss the opportunity to confuse the enemy soldiers, I quickly attacked the enemy soldiers who were holding the shore.
I left my fief army once again and went to the riverbank with Rashiok. I will be participating in the battle as a guest to the Jugfena Knights led by Ergnard, who had set out from Di Loe Tros.
The horn was blown and the knights who were standing in rank started running towards the enemy soldiers who were waiting on the shore.
According to the reports from those who are already engaged in battle, when you approach the enemy forces, you will be attacked by short-barrelled arrows and bows, thart arrive from the three ships that were docked at the shore. The knight ran in front of me and swung his sword down horizontally, confirming that short-barrelled arrows were fired from the ship just like I had heard it would be.
“Rashiok, go! It’s your turn!”
The Jugfena knights broke their formation and made a road for Rashiok and I. The moment Rashiok ran through the path and leaped into the front line, I could hear the enemy soldiers getting noisy.
The two draconis flapped their wings and created a wind that deflected the arrows and bullets that struck almost simultaneously. A gust of wind blew in and seemed to have neutralised most of the arrows and bullets.
“Ka-Kaldia! It’s the Red-Eyed Kaldia! It’s the monster who controls dragons and sips on human blood and flesh!”
Draconis stood out too much in the mass of warhorses. They stand out even more when they’re running in the front row.
In front of the Rindarl soldiers who were holding out their spears, Rashiok and I, who was in front of our troops, abruptly changed the direction in which we were running in. Flanking them single-handedly was an easy task with these speedy draconis since there were only infantry and archers.
“Eat them Rashiok! It’s time to hunt!”
The draconis howled as if responding to my voice. I could clearly see the enemy soldiers scream and fall down as they couldn’t change their course and got entangled.
Rashiok plunged into the enemy line as if he was squeezing his head between the spears. The halberd I was holding to the side struck something heavy and I twisted as hard as I could to keep my arms and shoulders that wouldn’t take the impact.
Rashiok’s huge body, which can knock down a lot of people, bounced around, and each time he did, the people who got crushed by his body raised death cries.
The Jugfena knights came charging into the chaos. The enemy soldiers were crushed by horses, flung around, or were pierced by the knights’ spears; corpses were piled up in a matter of seconds.
Of course, there were soldiers who calmly dropped their spears and came at me with their swords, but the reach of a halberd and a sword was too different. If I swing my halberd down at the same time Rashiok rushed forward, then the blade would gain power that was impossible for a person to produce and will easily cave in the skull of the soldiers who have their helmets on. Blood gushed out of them like grapes filled with juice, and the surrounding soldiers fell deeper into despair.
The draconis and I continued to push our way diagonally through the enemy troops.
My role on this battlefield ends here. I pulled back to Di Loe Das while watching as the Jugfena knights trampled on the enemy troops and the vast Royal Army infantry followed behind them and killed every last enemy soldier.
Night fell onto the riverbank where the two factions had retreated. Tonight, the moon was conveniently hidden by the clouds and the area had already gone dark.
I opened and closed my right hand lightly as I watched the lightly armoured Kaldia army pass around Di Loe Tros and Di Loe Das, and moved down the river from upstream on Rashiok’s back.
It seemed that swinging my halberd using Rashiok’s rush as momentum during the daytime was a little more than my body could handle. When I returned to Di Loe Das and the excitement of the battle had cooled down, I noticed a slight twitching pain around my wrist. I had stupidly strained a muscle.
However, it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t move my hand and I’m now going back to the battlefield. Well, unlike in the daytime, my role this time was unreplaceable, so I had to go. After all, I command my fief army.
… All the soldiers in Kaldia army had been mobilised to build the new feudal lord’s mansion and newcomer’s village and were engaged in all kinds of construction work for several years.
Taking into account the war with Rindarl, the Kaldia army is now swelling with a number of unsuitable people due to the size of the fief. However, my Kaldia fief is as poor as ever, so there was no way I could leave people idle. We had to get rid of our tradition of securing our own food at night, and barely prevented ourselves from incurring huge deficits, by putting all our energy into cultivating the land and engaging in agriculture.
And well, because of these circumstances, a good percentage of the Kaldia army is more skilled at swinging a hoe and hatchet than wielding a sword or spear, and all of them have experience working in rivers. They often dove into the lakes and fished when they were short on food.
Wiegraf appreciated their familiarity with working in a group underwater. The number of people was also probably just right for this covert operation.
… So, our Kaldia army, who had switched from swords and spears to hatchets and saws, went downriver to make a surprise attack on the ships. The fief army stopped a little ahead of the fleet of ships, and six guys, who were good swimmers, quietly approached the five small ships.
The large ship belongs to Parmigran. They towed small boats that held the infantry who were deployed on the riverbank, and now it functioned as a supply route, carrying supplies such as rations, arrows, and bullets for the short-barrelled arrows.
It seemed that Rindarl, or rather Densel Dukedom, had their backs against the wall. As if to prove this, the ships weren’t going down the river even though the situation is starting to turn unfavourable for them. They must be in a situation where they had no choice but to wait for the Eris troops to recover and move to battle. Inside the ships, the nobles leading the army must be frantically preparing for tomorrow morning.
Below them, the soldiers had reached the bow of the large ship. Each of them swung their hatchets several times as a signal. I responded with my sword and waited for the signal from Di Loe Das.
“… It’s nearly time. Aslan, are we ready?”
I spoke to Aslan, who was sitting behind me, and he replied concisely, “Yes.”
I gradually started to hear the rustling of the wind. Arxia’s infantry unit began to charge towards the fleet all at once.
Their countless torches swayed and spread in the darkness of the night, and the fire that announced the fight illuminated the blood-filled ground once again.
It seemed that Rindarl finally realised that the Arxian army was attacking, and the silence that existed on the ship up until then turned noisy.
The sounds of people hurriedly preparing for battle and jumping out of the ship overlapped with each other, ――― and in the midst of that, the Kaldia soldiers who were clinging to the hull of the ship began to swing their hatchets at the ship.
They were small one-handed hatchets. Of course, there was no way they could destroy the ship with their hatchets. It would take too much time to break a single plank in their unstable positions in the water.
But the hatchets were enough to make a dent or hole where something could be placed or trapped.
After confirming that the six people had finished their tasks and returned to their ranks, I dropped the cylinder that Aslan had handed to me into the hole.
Twenty. Fifteen. Ten.
… Has everything been put in? Then, let’s leave.
Five, four, three, two, one…
The first cylinder that was thrown into the hole exploded. At the same time, the bows of the six ships blew up in a spectacular explosion.
“Go, my army! This is a direct order from Arxia’s commanding general. Annihilate the enemies on Teve River! Destroy all the ships! Turn the Teve River into a red ditch!”