78. Chapter 78
“Everyone, well done at gathering in the crisis of the Dalimarx Family.”
Edgar de Dalimarx gazed at those in line. Influential people, including Baron Josh of the Ador Family, a vassal Family, were gathered at the tent on the field battlefield, as well as others from the Family.
Among them were, the remnant army of the Highserk Empire, who had become allies in the past year. The man dispatched from the remnant army was a Battalion Commander called Hadro.
Edgar once had the impression that this tall and plain-spoken man with slender limbs would break if hit, but after witnessing the work he did in the Demon Territory and the buffer zone, Edgar renewed that careless idea.
Despite the destruction of their home country, the general class soldiers still maintained discipline and leadership, striving to maintain the combat capabilities of the troops. Near Liberitoa, it had been grasped that there was another remnant army larger than the one near the Archipelago.
It was unclear whether there was a strong patriotism or “something” to prevent the county from the real end, either way, they did well to put it up together. But one of the biggest factors that made Edgar choose an armed clash with the Meisenav Family was without a doubt, their presence.
And so, the strategy meeting went on.
“The Meisenav soldiers are using the site abandoned in the Fourth Expedition as a resource point, and from there, straighten the road to the Carorolaia Vein. The number marching is expected to exceed 6,000.”
Such a prediction was said by one of the people.
The troops that Edgar had assembled were about 3,200, roughly half of the enemy numbers.
“I expected it, but more than 6,000 huh?”
“Multiple sources told the same, so it must be the case. The Meisenav Family is showing off without hiding the troops they have gathered. Also, it seems that they hired a large number of mercenaries.”
Simply speaking, the enemy had almost double the number of soldiers. The Dalimarx Family was at disadvantage even before the start of the war, and even if they wanted to hire mercenaries, the mercenaries mostly chose to go to the Meisenav Family, which had higher status and reputation.
Mercenaries were a kind of business people whose business was to devote themselves to the war, of course, they would want a lord who could provide a balanced situation of environments and rewards. Therefore, the few mercenaries who came to the Dalimarx Family were the weirdos, the frivolous people, and the ones who were caught by the amount of reward.
“What time will they arrive?”
“By the report of our scout, we will meet within three days.”
After thinking for a while, Edgar asked Baron Josh, who summarized the information.
“Josh, what about the capacity and defense structure of the branch castle?”
“The branch castle has a capacity of 700 people, and there are embankments, empty moats, and obstacles for infantry soldiers, but the walls are made of wood and soil. Just a few heavy shots of magic attacks and it’ll reach the limit.”
Considering the advantage of the land and the number of troops that reached 3,200, they weren’t in a real bad position. However, even if you could win in purely attrition warfare, the chances of winning would diminish the longer the battle went on. After all, the Meisenav Family had many vassals and had a connection to the capital. Even if they bounced back once, they would soon be ready to attack again. The Meisenav Family was always greedy for wealth, and the head of the Family, Odilon de Meisenav, was no exception.
Meisenav wasn’t so easy to give up after a single defeat. The neighboring lord, Edgar de Dalimarx, had tasted that himself. Using the background as the power, he was given unfavorable territories and water rights for generations. That was why, now that he had the cooperation with the Highserk soldiers and finally got a good resource for the future, the Carorolaia Vein, it was the last opportunity that Edgar… The Dalimarx Family could never miss.
Once the Meisenav Family had the Magical Silver Mine in their hands, the Dalimarx Family could no longer even rebel. And Edgar’s power as a Lord would slowly be diminished.
“The branch castle will be filled with Josh’s retainers and 700 recruited soldiers. The remaining soldiers will meet the Meisenav Family at the field battlefield at the foot of the mine.”
“Why don’t we deploy the army in front of the branch castle?”
A voice of doubt rose from a group of people. Perhaps he wanted to say that if the soldiers were divided, the possibility of both groups being defeated might increase.
“The branch castle will take on the role of fishing the enemy soldiers. In situations where the sides and back are threatened, he will try to not throw away even one soldier.”
A core area for the military and civilians would be needed to control the Carorolaia Vein, and a branch castle had already been constructed in the most favorable location. Odilon, who didn’t like to spare money, would have no choice than abandoning to ruin the castle. He wouldn’t like the construction of the castle from scratch, and chose to use the branch castle if he could. Such was Edgar’s prediction.
“I see, the branch castle is responsible for fishing the force, and at the time of the early decisive battle, turn to counterattack with my army.”
Josh realized his role and confirmed it aloud.
“The general of the branch castle is forced to make difficult choices. Considering the skill level, I could only entrust this mission to you.”
There was no lie in Edgar’s words. Among the Dalimarx soldiers, Josh was the most skillful and excellent at breaking through the enemy.
“But if that happens, the defense of the main unit will be weakened.”
Josh’s concerns could be applied to the Dalimarx Family in the past, but not to the Dalimarx Family today.
“Fortunately, there is a “mercenary unit” led by our guest general, Hadro-dono.”
If the outsider was drawn into the conflict between the lords, there was a possibility that the other Lords would meddle with the conflict. Even if most of the soldiers were from the Highserk Army itself, formally it was a mercenary unit gathered by the Dalimarx Family. Fortunately, they hadn’t raised complaints, even once, about not being able to hold their country’s flag.
“Leave it to me. All the members will complete the given orders.”
“Remember, there is also a saying ‘Give them an inch and they will take a yard’. We shouldn’t expect too much.”
Edgar was aware that some, including Josh, were dissatisfied with the heavy use of Highserk soldiers.
“Do you need a lot of words on the battlefield?”
During the meeting, Hadro, who had closed his mouth until earlier, leaked such words to Josh in a flat tone. He was trying to say that Josh had a long tongue in a roundabout way.
“What?! Bastard, are you insulting me?”
“We have always shown in action. Words are unnecessary, right?”
That said, Hadro shut his mouth again. Josh had nerves pop out on his face. If Edgar were to defend Hadro or Josh here, the gap between the two would widen further.
“Stop it there. Now we’re just about to enter the decisive battle with Meizenav.”
Josh didn’t try to hide his dissatisfaction, but he wasn’t stupid enough to keep arguing. Sucking a cigarette, purple smoke began to spread in the air, as well as his stress.
Edgar regretted what he did in the past. He left Josh as a reserve and set out to deal with the Outbreak. Hadro and Highserk soldiers wouldn’t have sounded so overrated if they had ever toured the battlefield together. Whether limbs were torn, viscera exposed, or eyes crushed, the Highserk soldiers continued to fight against the attacking monsters without fear. Their crazy figures were comparable to the monsters.
Such events he would never forget, especially the blue flames that continued to smoke on the battlefield and the monsters as they spread. A hundred monsters sunk into the sea of blue flames and were burned down until carbonized. His body trembled as such a scene burned into his mind. There was such a strong man in the not-so-important country.
How many people from the Big Three Countries could achieve the same thing? No one knew, but must be not that many.
Even if personal savings must be used, Edgar tried to hire the person, but he couldn’t find the person after all. The person might have been seriously injured or have serious sequela, but Edgar didn’t believe the person was killed in action.
Edgar thought that the person must have been carefully concealed by the remnant of Highserk Army. In the defense of the Magical Silver Mine, which could be said as the thread of life of not only Dalimarx Family but also the remnant army of Highserk, perhaps the person would finally make an appearance.
After such events, Myard left the Four Countries Alliance, and with the destroyed Ferrius, leaving only two countries in the Alliance. There were some different opinions, but the Three Big Countries were told by the Two Countries Alliance that the outrage of the stupid King Ferrius was the cause of the Great Outbreak. The facts didn’t matter to Edgar. After all, it led to this present, where the remnant army of the Highserk Empire helped the Dalimarx Family in securing the Magical Silver Mine. Even though more compensation was required, he got the help of the remnant army to defend the Carorolaia Vein.
Such favorable conditions were in place, as if it was destiny. But, all in all, was enough to bet Family’s future.
The Carorolaia Vein was a quarry built by scrapping the Demon Territory, and had opened a transportation route between the Dalimarx territory and the territory of Highserk remnant which was called the buffer zone. According to the regular soldiers, the Meisenav Family used the base they had built during their past expeditions as a resource point and turned it into an outpost, and from there they would connect the road to the Carorolaia Vein.
It was clear that the declaration of war was just before the full-scale operation of the mining of the Carorolaia Vein. As the road was prepared so that the large army could pass through, it could be said that the declaration was thoroughly planned. The Dalimarx Family, on the other hand, was inferior to the Meisenav Family in terms of the number of troops, but had anticipated the future skirmishes with the monsters, so they had been strengthening the defenses near the Carorolaia Vein.
A defense in depth was built at the base of the main force set up at the foot of the mine, and the depth was widened by combining multiple embankments and wood walls. It wouldn’t be a short decisive field battle but a long battle.
Unlike the former world of Walm, it was a world where the technical form of the mechanical system hadn’t been developed, but this world had people with the ability called <Magic> and 《Skill》, which had a great advantage in civil engineering work. The work, which would take several weeks if only using human power, was being carried out in a short period of time.
Although the ratio was low, magic had gotten its own position in terms of firepower, and there were those who were comparable to small arms and heavy artillery. Even if it looked like a fine embankment, if it was only a single track, a breakthrough would be easy if such a talented person was there.
In addition, the technique of covering armor and the human body with mana called magical barrier, which made humans acquire rigidity, elasticity, and various resistances, further caused preventing the assault only by relying on the firepower of the magic-users to be difficult.
The unit to which Walm belonged wasn’t Edgar’s main force, but the force under his subordinate, Baron Josh Ador, who had a blood relationship with Viscount Edgar.
The branch castle, which was built about a kilometer away from the main force, would act as a sword and shield against the enemy. For the Meisenav Family, if the branch castle were to be left unattended and concentrated only on Edgar’s main force, a counterattack from the castle might pierce the sides and back.
However, it was a fact that the force was split, and depending on the situation at the branch castle, each force might be defeated. Even so, the reason why Baron Josh’s unit was separated was that the capacity of the branch castle was at most 700 people, and the entire main force couldn’t enter the castle.
Besides, this would be a battle for control of the Carorolaia Vein, and Viscount Edgar couldn’t win just by siege. He must use the branch castle as a stake and force the Meisenav Family to make a choice.
“Empty moat, abatis and stakes, and walls made of wood, huh…”
Walm didn’t know if the embankment was used to build the foundation or if the castle was built on a hill, but the ground was about a meter higher than the surrounding area. Added the empty moat, the height difference was about 2 meters. In the empty moat and the slope, abatis and stakes were installed.
Abatis… an obstacle in form of sharpened branches, and by installing it in the direction of the enemy’s movement, the branches would pierce the flesh of a person who approached carelessly, slowing down the attack on the defense facility. It could be procured in large quantities from forests rich in flora and fauna. This was often used by Walm in his rookie days fighting Liberitoa.
It had been less than a year since the Carorolaia Vein was opened. Considering that, the branch castle, which now could be said as a symbol of the area, wasn’t badly made, it was in fact a reasonable result.
In Walm’s experience, a wooden wall could prevent a few direct hits of magic attacks, but a concentrated magic attack would half-destroy the wall. For that reason, they must have installed abatis and stakes as an aid.
It was said that this war had been a long time since the Archipelago was founded, but the know-how wasn’t forgotten, more than that, it seemed that they had gathered some information about the war battlefield.
“It feels like a fort.”
“The Viscount’s main castle was made of stone, but this is wood and soil.”
Behind Walm were young soldiers. Making him feel like a tourist guide, he slowly felt a headache and wanted to hold down his temples.
The role of the branch castle was important, and the force there must move more flexibly than the main force. It seemed that there were about 200 regular soldiers and most of the rest were just citizens who gathered to work in the war. Not everyone has combat experience, Walm couldn’t help but be gloom.
There were no castle towers in the fort, other than barracks and places to rest, only warehouses. At the core was a two-story command post and watchtower overlooking the surrounding area.
A fort with no defense layer like Sarajevo Fortress would be fragile due to its lack of defensive depth. If the wall was breached, the soldier would be entangled in hand-to-hand combat, and the troops will be forced to speak with their fighting skill. Before getting near the wall, the enemy soldiers must be exhausted, and once they got near, the soldiers had to be spread to prevent them from breaking through from any side.
Walm was assigned to the left corner of the branch castle, which was the most dangerous place considering that the main force would be in the right rear of the castle. It took a long time for the support from the main force to arrive, hoping for interference at any moment would be a bad move. It could be seen that Walm was expected as a member of the blocking force.
The only problem was that the boys, Kuwen and Karim, who were supposed to be assigned separately in the castle, were right next to him. There was no deep meaning. Only two people who happened to be nearby at the time when he entered the castle, and so were positioned together.
Many soldiers, not just the boys, looked into the ground from the edge of the wall and gazed around in a restless manner.
There were regular soldiers among them, but most of them were battle virgins, and no Baron Josh’s retainers were positioned on the wall.
Perhaps they would be used as a fire extinguisher in an emergency or as a decisive force in a counterattack. Rather than exhausting precious elites in small quantities, it was a common practice to throw them into a group and got the desirable results of the battle.
However, Walm didn’t feel happy, as he would be on the exhausted side. At the very least, it would have been nice to have people who had experience in military service on both sides. He hoped so, but when he saw the ones nearby him looking at the distant enemies trembling in fear, he realized it was just a faint hope.
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