We seemed to have been rewarded for our hard march.
Eligos’s army was nowhere to be seen on the field.
“You are very lucky, Demon King.”
Said Saint Jeanne.
“They are mainly comprised of undead. They must be slow on their feet.”
“Was it really wise to march to the west? What if Eligos were to leave his castle and attack yours?”
“That will not happen. Gottlieb punished him for the last assault. He will be cautious now. At least for the present. Of course, I intend on forcing him to move.”
“…? Do explain.”
“Well, Jeanne. You need only to swing your sword. I will think of the difficult matters.”
Now came Toshizou.
“Still, you sure picked a difficult place for fighting, master.”
“Aye. For them.”
“What do you mean?”
“This is a narrow valley. If we set up formation here, the enemy will only be able to attack from the front.”
“I see. That is true. One cannot face a hundred opponents at once, but luring the enemy out one at a time will give us some hope.”
“Exactly. No wonder they called you the Instigator of Tama.”
“That doesn’t sound like a compliment.”
“It wasn’t supposed to.”
We both chuckled at that.
We knew each other well enough now to be able to trade insults.
“Still, quite brilliant of you to think of such a plan.”
“I didn’t think of it. It was a strategy used in a country known as Sparta, in ancient Greece. A place in a different world.”
“It is quite well known. I believe it is east of where you were born, Jeanne. A city-state.”
“You do know that I am but a humble farmer’s daughter?”
Jeanne said with a troubled expression.
“Forgive me. Then let me explain.
There was once a great city-state known as Sparta in ancient Greece.
They had many warriors who were worth a thousand times that of other soldiers. But they were one day invaded by the neighboring country of Persia. A host of one hundred thousand.”
“Hu-hundred thousand? That is impressive.”
“And how many do you think the Spartans had?”
“Who knows? Thirty thousand?”
“One hundredth of that.”
Jeanne looked puzzled. She did not seem to care for making calculations.
I could see her counting with her fingers now. But she was not very successful, and the irritation showed on her face.
And so I answered out of pity.
“Three hundred. Amusingly, the same number we have right now.”
“Ah, that is interesting. Perhaps it is a sign.”
“Exactly. By the way, according to history, the brave king of Sparta stopped the host of one hundred thousand with only three hundred warriors. In the meantime, the Athenians ships came and destroyed the Persian fleet, cutting off their supplies and forcing them to retreat.”
“Marvelous. And what happened to this powerful king? Did he become emperor?”
“Unfortunately, he died in the battle. Along with his three hundred. But their brave battle has been passed on through generations, and he is remembered as a king of kings.”
“Will the same thing happen to us?”
Jeanne asked with a grim expression.
She did not fear death. And she did not care for glory or honor either.
She was just worried if we could measure up to them.
“No, we cannot be like that Spartan king.”
Jeanne’s shoulders slumped.
“King Leonidas of Sparta had his name echo across the world, but I am not him. I cannot do the same thing. Instead, I will try to save as many of us as I can. And the civilians of the castle town as well.”
“You are too greedy, Demon King. Even more than Leonidas.”
“Perhaps. After all, it’s not just the soldiers, commanders and people. I intend to survive as well. However, I am not a brave king. I am a practical one. I don’t care to die here, regardless of the glory. I want to return to my people, alive and happy.”
“You are truly great, Demon King. It is no wonder that God has chosen you. I will follow you until the end.”
Said Saint Jeanne. Just then, a messenger arrived.
The kobold lowered his head and said,
“Demon King, a great army has come from the west. The stench of the undead is thick in the air.”