Act 3, Part 1
The Great Plains east of Fort Jugfena has witnessed warfare for the past six years.
First, there was a small defensive battle that the royal capital’s practically forgotten about already, one which I participated in with my shabby domain army consisting of a mere fifty soldiers.
Almost as if it’s a joke, it’s now known as the “hidden defensive battle,” this skirmish has been buried in people’s memories even though it was my first ever battle. In theory, this battle was also the first battle to start it all.
The Kaldia army currently consists of 250 soldiers. More than half of them are actually cavalry troops, which is extremely rare for such a small domain army, and when I turned 12 years old, we became incorporated into the royal knight troops’ left flank formation.
-Eh, how odd. My army’s supposed to be a border defense unit, acting as logistical support from the rear, isn’t it? How did it become like this?
The Densel Dukedom army of the Rindarl Union, numbers approximately 30,000. As for the Arxian royal army, it can mobilize approximately 48,000 people.
The horde of people was so thick that the ground couldn’t even be seen, and the sounds of weapons clanging, screaming, dying, gunpowder, and horses filled the air.
“Curses, what’s with that arrow! Its sound and power is causing the soldiers’ morale to drop, and the front lines of the central army are beginning to collapse!!”
In the middle of the Arxian army, a Shiru warrior who served as our direct messenger from the general commander was pacing back and forth and shouting from his horse. In response to his thick Artolan accent, I replied that he should calm down.
“The core of the central army’s formation consists of the top soldiers in all of Arxia. They’ll be able to fix the formation immediately. What’s more -”
On the other side of where the infantry was doing battle, the sound of gunpowder was booming. This is the fifth battle already since the war has begun. Screams were piercing through the air, drowning out the roaring of our soldiers and causing the soldiers around us to visibly shrink back.
-These new ‘arrows,’ are they guns? I remembered back to six years ago when I managed to escape the fire caused by explosives at Fort Jugfena. If they were already researching explosives and gunpowder back then, it’s well within the realm of possibility that Densel managed to invent the weapon known as a gun.
On a battlefield where swords, spears, and bows are supposed to be the primary weapons, if an unknown weapon suddenly appears that can kill instantly from a distance without any movements you can read, it’s only natural that the soldiers who witness what bullets can do will fall into chaos. Just seeing it won’t give them an understanding of how it works, they won’t know when it can attack, and they can only hope the armor on their bodies manages to protect them from this unknown scary threat.
This is warfare in this world, it’s something that can’t be helped.
“……The northern flank’s attack has deviated from its planned location. Both the enemy army, and our ally army are out of our effective communication range. This will be too dangerous if this goes on.”
“I know, Oscar.”
Oscar beside me gave me his advice on the current situation, and I worked my brain to its utmost limit thinking about the next move to take. I must make a decision in thirty seconds, I can’t afford to take any longer than that.
Right now, my 250 member Kaldia army that’s supposed to be acting as logistical and rear support, is camped out between the central army formation and the left flank, close to the front lines.
Even with the enemy formation’s attack on the left, it’s more chaotic than it should be, and right now dust is gently blowing in the opposite direction, toward the right side. The fight is extending out far more than any of the Arxian royal army’s troop formations. I can hear the sounds of the chaotic melee right behind me.
If we want to regroup and fix the formation, we’d have to retreat. However, the left flank army’s melee has already spread to behind us to block our path, so we’d have to take another route. And I’m not sure how it happened, but it seems that we also happen to be in an excellent position to strike at the enemy army central formation’s unguarded right flank.
“……It’s time to make good use of this chance that the enemy army has given us, let’s go cause chaos in the enemy troops that are using their new weapon.”
“Mmm, an interesting battle plan!”
After I firmed my resolve and decided on a plan of action, Claudia who was next to me smiled in expectation of going to battle.
“What are the new arrows like, Orben?!”
“It’s a type of cylindrical tube, almost as long as a person is tall! It makes a huge sound, and any soldiers standing in front of it will be shot by it…… It seems to fire invisible arrows!”
I ignored Claudia’s overly excited voice that didn’t belong on a battlefield, and focused on listening to the Shiru messenger soldier Orben’s description of the enemy’s new weapon. As I expected, Densel’s new weapon is something I know of already, some type of gun.
“What is the known information on the enemy unit equipped with this weapon?”
“It seems to be a light infantry unit of about thirty enemy soldiers. After they fire their invisible arrows together, they return behind the cover of their heavy cavalry troops. Their heavy cavalry unit is a problem…… they seem to be quite skilled at riding horses, like us.”
Similar in skill to the Shiru tribe, a nomadic group? The former Artolas Kingdom that was conquered and swallowed up by Densel, used to have countless nomadic tribes living in it during the past. Perhaps some of them are now working for Densel.
“I think that their new weapon is probably unable to carry out rapid fire attacks like a bow can. It takes time and effort to reload that barrel weapon with new ammunition. That’s why they always have to take the trouble of retreating back into their formation. ……The next time they appear, I’m going to aim for a surprise attack on them.”
“How do you plan to do this attack, do you have an idea, Eliza-sama?”
“……These long cylinders, are most likely weak to side attacks. I believe their cavalry troops are serving as the guards for that unit. It would be normal to think that Densel doesn’t want to lose the new weapons it just invented. Let’s use a light cavalry formation, and when they bring out their long-barreled weapons unit, how about immediately retreating and regrouping with the central army formation?”
Almost all of my light cavalry troops are Shiru warriors. For their ability as a cavalry unit, they should be top class in all of Arxia. ……I have confidence in them.
“Mmm. It should work as an effective distraction. Claudia-dono and Gunther can lead our remaining troops, and enter the melee behind us to assist our side.”
“Oscar, I would like you to join them as well. Depending on the circumstances, be flexible with the strategy as you see fit. I shall join the light cavalry troops together with Teo.”
“That’s…… Dangerous. I should be the one with the light cavalry.”
I shook my head at Oscar, and patted the head of the huge draconis I was riding on. Rashiok proudly raised his nose, and slightly opened his wing without a sound, causing a light breeze.
“Do you remember who my partner is? If necessary, a draconis can run three times faster than a horse. What’s more, the enemy’s arrows are strongly destructive. This way, I can surely reduce the number of casualties.”
Oscar didn’t object any more. On the other side of the dust billowing about the field, I could see the enemy’s heavy cavalry formation opening up. There were a group of soldiers coming out from it.
“Alright then, let’s go! Do your best to live to tell the tale!”