The nobles’ building in Fort Jugfena is farther north than the knight building I was currently staying at, it’s where Earl Einsbark and his family usually live, and there’s extra rooms for the occasional visiting noble as well. When the earl and his sons had treated me to a feast to welcome me here, the dining hall had been in this building as well.
On the first floor and the basement level of the nobles’ building, there’s also housing and rooms for the servants to use and work in. I had a room prepared for me in the knight building instead because my current bodyguard was Gunther who was a commoner, but for things like having my clothes washed, the servants would do that here.
Currently, everyone from the nobles’ building should be in the basement. It seems that the basement’s supposed to be the shelter in times of war.
Going through the completely empty nobles’ building, we arrived at the tower connecting it with the knight building. It’s a tower with a spiral staircase where no more than two people could possibly squeeze through at a time. It took a while for all of us to climb up, due to the lack of space. Maybe it’s because everyone is worried, our pace was quite fast, almost like trotting. Well, for the adults it was like trotting, but for me I basically almost had to sprint.
The knight in front didn’t even seem to consider the possibility that this place may have been attacked, and he knocked on a door at the top of the tower. Behind this door should have been Earl Einsbark, his son the military strategist Wiegraf, and the bow troops equipped with greatbows.
“……Oi, why’s there no response!?”
The soldiers were beginning to hit the door, getting very worried. Just as we opened the door, we heard someone shouting “Einsbark-sama!!” in despair.
The knights hurriedly began moving out. Being caught in the flow, I was forced to go along with them.
Sunlight was reflecting down on red liquid spreading out from the bodies of men clad in metal armor that were all slumped down on the cold stone floor. The floor was drenched completely red, and the entire place had an unbearable stench caused by all the blood, despite this being the outside of the tower, on the tower’s roof.
It all felt like it almost wasn’t real.
I could hear faint sounds of groaning coming from here and there. There must be a few people barely clinging on to life.
When my Kaldia army followed the knights here and arrived, it seems that none of them managed to throw up at this scene. Everyone seemed tense, with their eyes burning at the terrible tragic scene in front of them.
There were about forty archers that had fallen down in their pools of blood here, and the knights in charge of Earl Einsbark’s personal protection had fallen here as well. There were another thirty or so dead people that appeared to be enemy soldiers here, a trivial amount compared to their overall numbers.
My intuition tells me that they’re Densel soldiers, because they aren’t wearing the tunics common to this region. However, I couldn’t see Earl Einsbark who should be dressed in black knightly attire, or his son Wiegraf anywhere.
“Einsbark-sama, he’s not here! Einsbark-sama, Wiegraf-sama, where are you!!”
The members of the knights began desperately searching this area. Earl Einsbark also serves as the leader of all the knights. Of course the knights would look up to and respect him. Wiegraf is the strategist. He would come up with the battle strategy, and the knights would carry it out, their very lives depend on him. I feel like the knights must have a very strong sense of trust in them to be able to rely on each other so much.
While looking at this situation, the question of whether or not my own army would also desperately search for me like this popped into my mind. I don’t think I’ve done anything deserving of respect, nor do I think I’ve established a foundation of trust with them.
My relationship with my soldiers is, I’m the daughter of someone they all hate, and I have to be on guard for them rebelling and killing me at any moment, since I don’t think it would be strange at all for any of them to want to do that.
However – I think that dying by betrayal would be for the best. Even if I died, nobody would get worked up about me.
When I slowly blinked and looked back up at my surroundings, I saw an old archer leaning against the wall. The man laying on top of him had black hair with streaks of blue in it spilling out of his helmet.
And just like these two laying on top of each other, so many soldiers have lost their lives. But somehow, the more I looked at these two, the more I felt like they were positioned as if to protect them from something.
I wondered if it could possibly be, and I checked to make sure, they turned out to be Earl Einsbark and his son Wiegraf. They were both unconscious, but still breathing. I told the knights escorting me what I had noticed, and as they confirmed it for themselves, they sighed in relief.
“It, it’s Earl Einsbark and his son Wiegraf-sama! They’re still living!”
“What, really!? Where!!”
“Right here! He’s disguised as an archer!!”
The knights were making a big fuss as they gathered around us. My army and I allowed them to have this place to themselves, and took a step back.
I turned to look at the wide Great Plains that could be seen from the fort. Just yesterday it had still been a lush green, filled with flowers, and after being trampled by people and horses today, there was hardly anything left worth seeing. Beyond that, I could see clouds of dust being raised in the distance. I could hear faint sounds of battle all the way from here, I wonder if it’s because of the wind’s direction. Or, I wonder if it’s because everything is too quiet at Fort Jugfena. The archers should have been packed on top of the tower’s roof as well, but not a single one of them was standing. They’ve probably all been defeated.
“Charlie, can I have a moment of your time?”
One of my soldiers called out to me. He was on the opposite side of the tower from me, looking at the direction of Arxia.
The soldier was pointing straight below him. What should have been there was the refugees’ tents.
However, what was there instead was an incredible amount of dead bodies stacked on top of each other. The very earth itself seemed to be stained red.
“How could this happen……”
I couldn’t help but speak that out loud. I could feel myself almost choking.
The refugees were people without any weapons or riches. Even so, the Densel soldiers killed all of them.
This is just a massacre. Rather than hoping to gain something from this war, I’m wondering if they came here just in search of people to slaughter.
I could feel my hand shaking against the cold stone wall.
Why did they kill them all. Was it all just for pleasure? I bit my lip as I tried to bear the brunt of what I was feeling.
A memory of red eyes flashed across my mind. I saw the cold yet beautiful face of my father with that ecstatic smile of his.