The Greatest General
As if waiting for the moment when Demon King Ashtaroth ran out of patience and sent soldiers to the northern battlefront, Hannnibal sent out his elite soldiers.
They were his main battle unit that he had been saving. They were a mixed group that included winged ants and human soldiers. Hannibal had trained the human soldiers himself, and so they were powerful.
And this time, Hannibal would lead them.
The man who had once shaken the great country of Rome was now going to the frontline.
Before he left, Alesha asked him,
“General Hannibal. Why are you working so hard for a young girl like me?”
But to this, he did not reply.
He just thought back on the day that they had met.
It was in a world that was not this one.
Hannibal had once fought for a country known as Carthage. During that time, he did whatever the politicians of Carthage said, which meant battling the overwhelming might of Rome.
And while Hannibal fought for his country until the end, ultimately, he lost to Rome that was led by Scipio. Defeated, he returned to Carthage.
However, Hannibal Barca was not the kind of person to end his life like that without doing anything. And so he replaced the useless politicians and led the country. And then he succeeded in making the country richer than it was before they were defeated by Rome.
But this caused the great politicians of Rome to fear him. And even people within Carthage were jealous.
Hannibal was accused of being in secret communication with Syria, which was also part of the Mediterranean world. And so he was exiled.
He escaped to Syria as an exile. But then he was banished from Syria as well, and so he wandered around the Mediterranean world as if running away.
In the end, he was caught by some local king and was said to have taken his own life. However, right before his death, he was summoned to this world.
It was Alesha who summoned him.
As Alioshe’s daughter, she had given some of her life force to a drifted relic in order to summon him. Due to this, her own lifespan was halved.
Why did she do such a thing? She said it was because she felt sorry for him.
He had done so much for his country. He had continued to fight for their honor, but they betrayed him in the end. She pitied him too much.
That was why she summoned Hannibal.
Perhaps he reminded her of how her own mother treated her. Regardless, upon feeling the gentleness of the girl, Hannibal changed his ways.
He had only thought of getting revenge before that. But now he decided to fight for someone. Not for a country or for honor.
After that, Hannibal worked as Alioshe’s general while serving Alesha.
Of course, he had never told her all of this. However, Hannibal meant to build a great empire for her.
A place that was not bound by anyone else. A place that was not controlled by anyone. A country that would not betray them.
He wanted to make a world with a saint called Alesha in the center of it.
Hannibal looked at the future queen that was Alesha once more and then departed.
He meant to go to the underground of Ashtaroth castle and destroy the core.
Hannibal stood in the lead and swung his sword.
He was not only a genius strategist, but also a courageous general.
Otherwise, he would not have been able to attack Rome with inferior numbers and fight on enemy territory for decades.
Hannibal cut down the Ashtaroth soldiers and advanced with his men.
They were on a straight course towards the core. While he had no reason to hesitate, he felt that something was wrong behind him.
Something was strange. His senses had been sharpened after many years of this.
And so he made his men halt. However, at the same time, he heard an explosion from behind.
“General Hannibal. There is fire behind us.”
“What? Is it a trap?”
“It appears to be.”
“That bastard. Does he mean to destroy the entire castle?”
Apparently, Ashtaroth had set bombs all over the castle. He wanted to separate Hannibal and his men.
“However, there doesn’t seem to be any commanders here. At least, none that are Heroes. So there is nothing to fear even if we are separated. Continue onward.”
But as he said this, a pillar of fire rose up ahead.
“Tsk. What is this?”
This time it wasn’t his men, but the Demon King in front of him that made the report.
“General Hannibal. That fire is my magic. It’s true that there are no Heroes left in this castle. But there is a Demon King.”
Hannibal was most surprised by this.
He had only attacked the castle because he believed that Ashtaroth had left.
Hannibal asked. And so Ashtaroth answered him.
“I sent out a dummy corps to the north. I have slimes that are very good with disguises.”
Ashta said, and then a screen appeared in the air. Indeed, it was slimes that were heading to the northern battlefront.
Upon seeing this, Hannibal laughed self-deprecatingly.
“What a blunder I have made. To think that I would fall for such a simple trap.”
“The simple ones can be the trickiest. I knew you would come if you saw that the castle was unprotected.”
“Well, it was our only hope of winning.”
“While our fighting force may look equal at a glance, the ant army has not yet gone all out. You seem to be split up.”
“Aye. Most of the soldiers for this attack are Alesha’s.”
“So Queen Alioshe is staying in Ismalia, while she made her daughter attack this castle.”
“Aye. If we took this castle, it could become Alesha’s base. I wanted to give it to her.”
“Why must you do something so troublesome like that? Surely someone like you could just start a rebellion?”
Hannibal answered Ashta’s question.
“That’s not possible. If we killed Queen Alioshe, the entire army would be destroyed. And all the daughters as well.”
“I see. So they all share the same destiny.”
“Aye. The only thing that I can do is build a superior army so that we can imprison Alioshe. And then pass her authority as queen to her daughter.”
“And you will fight as much as you have to in order to realize that.”
Hannibal said as he swung his sword. Ashta blocked it with his own long sword.
“I never thought that I would be crossing blades with you.”
“With a sword, I can beat even you.”
“That’s likely true.”
Ashta praised his prowess with the sword honestly, and then stepped back.
And then his soldiers moved between them.
Perhaps it was cowardly of him, but he hadn’t earned that reputation for nothing.
And if there was one area where Ashta was superior to Hannibal, it was this.
He could not match Hannibal when it came to commanding many soldiers.
He could not strengthen and enrich a country as well as Hannibal.
And he also knew that he was inferior in terms of swordsmanship.
So, how could he win? Ashta had thought hard about this, and one idea came to him.
It was that Ashta was a coward. He would do anything to win.
Ashta wouldn’t fight with general Hannibal directly, and would rely on scheming. And so he had lured him here.
And he would defeat him with trickery as well. In a way that he was guaranteed to win.
One of Ashta’s greatest assets was the immense magic energy inside of his body.
And so he chanted a curse, creating giant flames, which burned Hannibal’s men.
Both ant and human soldiers burned at the same time.
As oil had been spread throughout the castle in advance, the place immediately burst into flames.
“So you would burn your own castle in order to kill my men.”
“I have no other choice.”
It was the truth. No half measures would be effective against such a genius as Hannibal. And so he had to act without thinking about the future.
Like this, Ashta surprised General Hannibal and surpassed him.