While I was preoccupied with Mefuri in the underground tunnels, the combat situation that had stagnated for eight months suddenly changed all at once.
At almost the same time as Mefuri’s escape from the dungeon, Densel’s army began a massive attack, marching out its entire army from its largest city, Eris. Their target was our small defensive bases that we previously captured from them, and our troops at the farthest frontline base which was on a hillside and named Fort Droyan were already engaging them.
Unexpectedly, the Arxian army was ambushed even though they were expecting the enemy’s attack. At the second defensive base, Fort Droidas, which is located on a tributary of the Tave River, they detected an enemy platoon of ships arriving from the sea’s direction.
The enemy’s naval troops seemed to be under a different chain of command from the Densel army. The Arxian troops stationed at Fort Droyan were caught in a surprise pincer attack and defeated. They no longer even have the option of retreating and abandoning their base, and have been encircled and are currently under siege.
Currently on the battlefield, we were facing two of the enemy army’s units, with the forces stationed at Fort Droyan that were now under siege, as well as the relief troops from Fort Droidas and the third defensive base Fort Droitros.
Our draconis scout teams were able to detect the enemy army’s march from a long distance away, so each base was able to smoothly prepare for combat and be on guard for battle.
However, the main forces of the Arxian army, the Royal Army under the command of Marquis Rolentsor, had returned to Fort Jugfena to rest, and the new troops that Ergnade, leader of the Fort Jugfena knights, was bringing weren’t even close to arriving when battle already started. Fort Droyan’s remaining troops were mostly scout troops and guerilla troops, so they could only focus on defending their fort, while the relief troops from Fort Droidas that consisted of mostly cavalry troops which were getting bogged down forced to fight the enemy’s naval troops in order to attempt crossing the river. It would take Fort Jugfena’s forces at least half a day to reach where the fighting was, an extremely disadvantageous state for the beginning of Arxia’s battle.
“…Will the enemy find out immediately about our troops organizing and moving out?”
After I finished questioning and brainwashing… I mean, persuading Mefuri, I headed to meet Wiegraf with one of the senior officers in my army as well as one of the cavalry squad leaders, Agil, in place of the injured Claudia.
Even in a combat situation, Wiegraf seemed calm and composed and even worked on his other duties while explaining the combat situation to me.
At a glance, the documents he was working on were about Wiegraf’s decision as the person with full authority over Fort Jugfena to temporarily move the rearmost Arxian base from Fort Jugfena and establish a communication base in the rolling hills, much closer to the area of combat.
The communication base would be forcibly taking over one of Densel’s rural villages, an action that hasn’t been permitted by Arxian nobility that feared any action deemed as invasive. Well, considering that the battle situation has become quite ugly, I suppose that we’re just going to have to pretend that there’s no such order restricting us from doing so.
“I don’t want to think about the possibility that there are spies among us Arxians, but…”
Wiegraf seemed so relaxed even though he was currently perusing information on the roughly just over two thousand knights and soldiers stationed at Fort Jugfena, as well as the information on the Royal Army here which numbered over ten thousand.
He glanced over at me for less than a second before instantaneously returning his gaze to the documents in front of him. He seemed to deeply trust in me.
“…Ahh, more importantly, I have a message for you from Ergnade. He borrowed Elise, Gunther, and Oscar from your army.”
I was quite shocked at the fact that he took some of my personnel with him without even asking me first, and Wiegraf sighed as if he had a headache.
“Indeed. He said that he apologizes for it, but because of the current situation he asked the three of them to safely escort Eric-sama back to the Kaldia domain. Of course, some of Jugfena’s soldiers are with them as well.”
So that’s why he even used Elise who was really Ratoka, I finally understood. Even in our current circumstances, it would be necessary to spare some people to move Eric and ensure his safety. Since he referred to Ratoka as “Elise,” it meant that Ratoka was currently acting as “Eliza” while escorting Eric back to safety. I wouldn’t actually be able to go back, as I need to stay here and command the Kaldia army. I have no reason to complain about Ergnade’s judgement, as he did what he decided was best during a chaotic situation.
Although I don’t have any complaints… Ergnade shouldn’t have known about Ratoka. The only people here that know of Ratoka’s existence are me, Claudia, and Gunther and Oscar that Ergnade happened to make use of.
When did Ergnade realize? No matter how similar Ratoka looks to me, using him as my substitute isn’t an idea a normal person would come up with.
At almost the same time as my doubt, I felt like I obtained the answer from the smile in Wiegraf’s eyes.
“It’s excellent that you understand so quickly. Now then, shall we also leave Fort Jugfena? We need to make the preparations for the communication base as soon as possible.”