I had not expected to see the invading enemy army while we were on our way to General Farneze’s town.
To be honest, I was in shock.
“All of you. Wait. I have to think.”
I needed to calm down and assess the situation.
Judging by our position, it must be the army from Lesser Demon King Rous’s country.
And of course, it would be General Dardaroth’s army that they were fighting.
I could understand that much.
“…But, why was Rous’s army here?”
There were much better roads to take if they were advancing towards the royal castle.
This area was filled with mountains and winding roads that could be hard to navigate.
It was difficult to get a good view of the land, and the roads were narrow.
That’s why they were fighting in the field.
And so I tried to think of the reason that the enemy had chosen a route that made it difficult to march.
It would be the first time that they entered our country.
Did they make a mistake?
“No, even if they had gotten a little lost, they wouldn’t come this far to the south.”
Besides, they had split up their army.
According to the report the enemy was a corps in scale. That meant there should be several other armies of similar size within this area.
This route was so far from the fastest one to reach the castle.
If compared, the two routes were like the difference between a diameter and a half circle.
Why would they go around like that?
Was it to confuse us? To stay hidden?
If they avoided the routes that we predicted, any battle positions we set up would be wasted. And with so many mountains, it would be difficult for them to be found.
“But it would also take them several extra days. Staying hidden wasn’t a good enough reason…”
After all, this wasn’t a small group trying to infiltrate the country. It was an invasion by an army.
We had men who could fly, which meant high scouting ability.
It was not worth wasting a few days to go around.
In that case, I couldn’t think of a good reason for the enemy to appear here.
As I thought hard about this, Rig looked at me worriedly.
“What is it?”
“We’re far from the town. And the roads are narrow. No good for an army on the march.”
“Not only that, but there are probably two or three other enemy armies on nearby roads.”
“Why do you think they are here?”
I couldn’t understand it. But what about Rig?
“There must be some reason for it.”
“Yes…there must be.”
That’s what I wanted to know. But perhaps I was asking too much of Rig.
Maybe I needed to think about it from a different angle.
I had given it so much thought, but could think of no merits for taking this longer route. There were only demerits.
So, why had they done it?
Was there a reason that forced them to?
“A reason that they couldn’t take the shortest route. …Was there such a thing?”
Of course not. There was no way…
There were no paved roads anywhere near the village that I lived in.
You could barely walk once it rained, and where there were rivers, you would find single logs used for bridges.
As only we villagers would pass through, there was no point in putting in any effort.
On the other hand, the roads between towns and to the castle were wide.
Hell, carriages were able to travel between them with ease.
If an army was going to march, they would normally make use of such roads.
Something suddenly came to me.
When Leninoth’s army had invaded, they also used the town roads.
The road that connected to the town on the hill.
A road that connected to a town would be ideal for an army on the march.
There was no way that they wouldn’t use it.
—However, what if it was being used by someone else?
When I heard that Kurulu and Rous had attacked, I immediately knew that the four countries had become our enemies.
It was obvious. After all, Kurulu was in an alliance with Nacti, and Rous with Lubanga.
“Tsk!! We’ve been had!”
“Sir Golan!? What is it?”
“A road that is perfect for marching…a different army is going to use it. Probably…Lubanga.”
If Lubanga was going to come here while moving through Rous’s territory, they would be delayed by a few days.
Perhaps they were adjusting things so that they could unite at the castle during the same day.
And if all four countries were our enemies, then there was no guarantee that we would only be attacked by two of them.
“We’re going to join Dardaroth’s army. Prepare the men for battle.”
“They are already prepared.”
He had apparently done it while I was thinking.
As we were just passing through our own country, all the heavy equipment had been put up in wagons.
But everyone was prepared now.
“Good work. Then I will tell you our strategy.”
Aside from the Kobolds, everyone was carrying weapons.
The Kobolds were in charge of the luggage.
The rest…would have to fight, in spite having little experience.
But they were all residents of the Demon World. From their early childhood, it was kill or be killed.
For some, it would be their first real battle. But they knew what they had signed up for.
“We’re going to take the enemy from behind and target their leader. I’ll be in the front. All of you. Follow after me!”
They answered. No one disagreed.
“We have no time! Let’s go!’
The enemy was the size of a corps. The leader was likely a Corps Commander.
Still, it was better than going against any of Leninoth’s men.
Their Corps Commanders…were much too strong.
And so as the two armies fought, we quietly made our way to the enemy’s back.