Chapter 69 – Battle Formation!
“Sir Joshua. All of the armies have been deployed!”
As I stared at the road, in a place just outside of the forest, Iria came and made her report.
Today, she was covered in armor of purple iron, and her expression was more serious than usual.
“Thank you, Iria. Now we are prepared to strike back at them.”
Four hundred Kijins, five hundred werewolves. I had positioned them so that they spread out like wings, with the forest behind them.
In terms of fighting force, both the right wing and left wing were equal.
In the front guard, there were ten Golems who were armed with purple iron helmets and shields. They stood in a row, equal distances apart.
Not only would they act as a shield for the demihumans, but they could charge as well, if necessary.
And then behind the Golem, waited the demihumans, with their purple iron shields and armor.
And even farther behind, were the units with bows and crossbows.
Mette asked me,
“While I am ready to face the enemy anywhere, why are we not hiding in the forest this time?”
“We cannot use the same strategy twice. Besides, Royg…the enemy chief, will send his finest men first. These are soldiers who are veterans on the battlefield. They will not be tricked into believing there is a great army, just because they heard some clamor coming from the trees.”
In fact, this scheme of using extra flags in forests and castle walls to exaggerate the size of our army was something that I had employed in the Knights Order before.
Vilian had never been in a proper battle, and the new recruits would not have known of it. But Royg and the old guard would be highly suspicious.
Of course, it could be effective if combined with other tricks.
That was why I had the Ents and slimes carry banners in the forest.
It would make the enemy assume that we had reserves waiting to join us.
Of course, I also had them move to the north and south, which would make the enemy even more cautious.
“I see… So that is why. You are able to use such strategies because you know the enemy.”
“Aye. These will be seasoned warriors. Generally, they will not fall for little tricks.”
“In that case, it will be pure strength that will decide who will be victorious… Mmm. How very exciting!”
Mette wasn’t wrong.
While strategy was important, what was more important, was the size of your fighting force.
How many of your soldiers had armor and weapons and horses.
How much experience they had. Were they properly trained?
It was the combination of all of these factors that were your fighting force.
Of course, there were times when cunning schemes could get you out of a disadvantageous situation.
However, it was because such things were rare, that tales of them were passed down through generations. Besides, they were usually because that side was superior in some way. Also, sudden changes in weather, or knowing the land better could also be what leads you to victory.
And so it was my belief that the amount of preparation was the deciding factor.
In that way, a production magician was very important. That was what I thought while working for all of those years.
As Melk and the others waited excitedly, Melk looked around with a puzzled expression.
“Say, I don’t see Celes and the others anywhere.”
“I had the Mopes go to the south. So they will be out on the road.”
“Oh, are they going to run in those strange boxes?”
The strange boxes that Melk was talking about were the purple iron battle carriages.
I had Celes and the Mopes take the carriages and wait by the southern town road.
And inside, Kijins were waiting with crossbows.
However, there was also one more secret weapon hiding amongst the battle carriages.
…Well, it was really just a bonus.
“Aye. Battle carriages need flat land to show their true power. And there is no better place to run than the roads. As soon as I give the signal, they will charge to the north.”
“I see. Melk wanted to ride one too.”
“While I’m sure that werewolves could move them… But Melk, your role today is very important. I’m counting on you.”
“Don’t worry. Melk practiced and will be fine.”
I had Melk carry the healing staff.
She would work as a combat medic, running through the battlefield and healing people.
In a way, you could say that she had the most important role of the day.
The slimes and Ents had the same role as well.
A field hospital had been set up within the forest, and they would treat the wounded there.
The leaves of Ents had healing properties.
And the slimes would carry the wounded.
Mette was full of confidence as she said,
“And the rear support is perfect. Now we have nothing to fear, no matter what comes! Asuha and the others are also prepared, aren’t they?”
“Aye. Because it is the Tengu that will make the first move in this battle. I’m counting on you as well, Mette.”
“Leave it to me. We will deal with the enemy’s aerial units.”
It wasn’t as if the Knights Order had no air-borne soldiers.
While there were fewer than fifty, there were some who rode on pegasuses.
And so I had Mette select the best archers and form a unit that would focus on taking them down.
“So the sky won’t be a problem… And now… It all depends on the negotiation with Royg.”
It might be odd to say it, given the amount of preparation, but I did intend on talking with him.
I would speak to Royg, and once again try and pursuade him to stop this slave hunting.
I even thought that I would return to the Knights Order, if it meant that no blood would be spilled.
The demihumans were now strong enough. They did not need me.
I had taught them how to make tools and weapons. And there were the dwarves as well.
They would get by when I was gone…
As I thought of such things, Iria held my hand.
“Sir Joshua… We will go with you. You will…never be alone.”
“Do you remember, Sir Joshua? What happened on this road?”
Iria looked at the road ahead.
This was the place that Iria and I first met.
She was being attacked by slave hunters, and I had helped her.
“You fought for me. And not just me, but for everyone who is here… And if you wish it, we will all fight for you now.”
Iria said as she looked at me with a serious expression.
The other demihumans all nodded in agreement. Some even raised their voices in assent.
“Iria… Everyone. Thank you.”
Mette also nodded firmly.
“In other words, we will never let them take you, Joshua!”
“Yes. Joshua belongs to Melk. No more letting go.”
Mette raised her voice when she heard this.
“What! But Joshua belongs to me!”
“This is most embarrassing for you two. A true couple can be recognized by others on sight, and they do not require such loud declarations.”
Iria said as she leaned against me.
“Ah, princess. You always refuse to argue, and instead try and act like you are the only mature person here.”
“Iria. You hold back. Holding back is bad. Melk will not hold back.”
“Th-that is not true at all!”
After that, the three began to argue heatedly, refuting and denying.
Well, the sense of nervousness was gone… But at least I understood that they all needed me.
I too did not want to part from Iria and the others.
I wanted to continue to live with them. To protect them.
…Whether we fought or not, I would do just that.
It was with this new resolve that I saw what looked like the scouts from the Knights Order, coming down the road.