Bonus chapter from sponsored chapter.
Finally, battle scene!
Chapter 63 – First Battle
[We will be crossing the border of Brittany soon.]
The one who informed Ares just now was Vulcas, the knight who accompanied him at the front.
These knights are working directly under the Emperor; their duty is to report the general and the army’s activities to the emperor.
[Right. Shall we take a break for a bit here?]
With that, Ares instructed Sigurd to issue a short break command to the soldiers.
Now, in the capital, Prince Carlos, Archduke Saxon and Princess Silvia were attending the sending-off ceremony. Ares had marched ahead of them as he served as the vanguard.
With him were only the soldiers he personally brought from Schwarzer territory, and his retainer Sigurd.
Sigurd has been following behind Ares like shadow.
Since it’ll be very noticeable if he was to ride the ancient dragon [Zephyr], this time he’s riding his horse [Brad].
[Brad] is a crimson horse magic beast. Its size is larger than normal horse. Originally, it was a subjugation target thriving on the Demon Forest, but Sigurd managed to tame it after it was captured. Now it serves as Sigurd’s steed. Due to its nature as a magic beast, it looked very different than any other horses.
Behind him were the 5000 strong [Black Legion]. They have marched for a considerable distance already, but judging from their fluid movement, everyone can see that they are far from being tired.
[Ares-sama. May I inspect the soldiers for a bit?]
As a knight, Vulcas seemed to be fascinated by the Black Legion.
[I don’t mind. You’ll be informed when we started moving again.]
[Thank you very much. Excuse me!]
After confirming that Vulcas was already far away…
When Ares turned around, a man had already stood before him.
[My orders, have you checked it?]
[Yes. Brittany Federation did hire a lot of mercenaries as reported before. However, upon hearing that they’ll be fighting against Arcadia empire, most of them immediately cancelled their contract. What’s left are the more unsavory type of mercenaries.]
[They are wise enough to know that they won’t be able to hold their ground against Arcadia Empire’s main forces. About those who remained, I suppose they’ll just run amok but escape if the situation tilt against them? How many are they anyways?]
[About 10,000. As Ares-sama expected, they’ve started to attack and plunder nearby villages.]
[As expected of a merchant country. To be able to pay that much only means that they have a lot of money to spend. Even so, to think they’ll let those mercenaries to plunder around… I guess they never intended to fight seriously. They are reluctant to field their soldiers, but perhaps Redgear and Grants pressured them to do so. If, by chance the mercenaries can drive us out, then they could go to the negotiating table. But if the mercenaries couldn’t, they could say that they were forced to fight, hence putting all the blame to the mercenaries… That’s why they allowed those ruffians to plunder around. How shallow.]
After saying so, Ares looked around for a while before finally turning to Sigurd who was standing behind him.
[Apparently, we’ll have to resort to some underhanded methods a bit. Shouldn’t the messenger arrive soon? Those mercenaries are unforgivable, but their employers are also vile people. This time around we’ll march in full force to wipe out all those trash.]
The Brittany Federation was a country made of conglomeration of powerful merchants of the East. These merchants gathered and gained autonomy through negotiation with the neighboring countries, making their history quite different from all other countries.
As Ares said, the leaders of Brittany never really wanted to fight in the war. They are merchants after all. Every action has to benefit them in the future.
Even if the 4 countries gathered up all their soldiers together… it still won’t be enough to compete with Arcadia Empire, known as the strongest power in the continent.
However, with Redgear and Grants being their biggest business partners, in addition to the long history of aiding each other, they couldn’t just stay still when the two countries decided to go to war.
Pretending that they’re forced to participate in the war, as well as forcing the mercenaries to shoulder all responsibility, were just their ploy to emerge out of the war mostly unscathed.
[I don’t mind using them as a sacrifice if that’ll save us]
Following that belief, they allowed the mercenaries to plunder as they please.
Originally the upper echelon of the Brittany Federation…never really cared about the people of the lower classes. They could afford being negligent about these people becoming the victims of their decision.
After a short period of rest, the messenger of the Brittany Federation’s upper echelon actually arrived.
Noticing the messenger’s arrival, Ares invited Vulcas to let the knight know of his thought.
[They came as expected. The content of the message is most likely『Cities are devastated due to mercenaries acting on their own. Need help.』or something like that… now what do you think we should do?]
[I suppose it’s alright for Ares-sama to kill the messenger? If anything that’ll pretty much show our refusal.]
[Nn~, that’s fine as well… but if we kill him here the mercenaries will be alerted and escape. It’ll be troublesome for us]
That’s why Ares told Sigurd earlier that they’ll have to resort to underhanded methods.
[Anyways, go meet the messenger and don’t forget to treat him well. If he asked, tell him that the one in charge of the army is this young man, so he should go and talk to this young man instead.]
[Ha? Then what about the letter?]
[I’ve prepared the reply that they wanted. 『Will head there after defeating the mercenaries. Convey that to your lord properly』or something along that line…yep, he’ll convey my intentions properly… for sure. After that messenger gone off to deliver the reply, we’ll begin our march. .
Firstly, we’ll give those mercenaries a light tap.]
The mercenaries freely attacked and plundered nearby towns.
Hearing the voice on one of his subordinates, the ‘commander’ turned his head around.
[I’m in the middle of fun time here! Didn’t I order you to not disturb me?]
Around him were several naked women. Their eyes were empty and lifeless. It’s obvious that they’ve been violated by the mercenaries.
[No, this is really important! The Arcadia Empire’s army had arrived near the border!]
[What did you say?!]
The commander flew into a fit of rage.
[Dammit! I didn’t expect them to arrive this soon. I thought I’ll be able to sack one more village before I have to run!]
Just like Ares had expected, these mercenaries also never intended to fight the Arcadia Empire. The payment from Brittany was good, but all they planned to do was pillaging some villages and towns before escaping.
Brittany has always been a rich country. So it’s a particularly a very enticing place to plunder.
[Shit! How many are they!?]
[Thousands according to the scouts.]
[Yosh… we have 15,000 soldiers here… we should be able to beat them if we attack with everything we got]
The commander then licked his lips.
[Oi! Tell this to the other mercenaries! Prepare for battle! After we rout the Arcadia Empire forces, we’ll immediately escape! Do it right away!]
Ares was watching the mercenaries’ movement from atop the hill.
[Looks like they’ve started moving. Look at them trying to form a formation…a mish-mash pack of stupid mercenaries who only gathered together due to the desire to pillage. Of course their movement will be that bad with only 1 person leading all of them.]
[But we cannot afford to meet that many head on. How come they have such a large number? With only 5000 on our side, if we don’t work up something…]
Ares simply laughed at Vulcas’ assessment.
[The opponent here is at least 10.000 strong. A lot of bandits from around here might’ve joined up along the way since they’ll be allowed to rob and plunder freely. Oh well, this will make for good practice for the Black Legion. No need to do anything, just meet them head on.]
[Ares-sama. We are always ready for your command.]
Sigurd who was waiting behind him spoke.
[Can I leave this one to Sigurd? The mission is to destroy the enemy. No need to keep them alive. Just smash them all to smithereens.]
Sigurd immediately rode back on his horse to meet the Black Legion cavalry.
[Ares-sama’s has spoken! Our mission: eradicate the enemy, leave no one alive! This is the time for us to show them the might of Ares-sama’s Black Legion! Let them know the horror of our cavalry forces!!]
[ [ [ [ OOOOOOOOooooooooooooo! ! ! ! ! ! ] ] ] ]
The Black Legion whose members had remained eerily quiet during the march replied with such intensity all of a sudden. Vulcas who witnessed this was dumbfounded.
At the same time, Ares used wind magic to transmit his words to the soldiers. So unlike Sigurd, he spoke rather relaxedly.
[Show them the might of the Schwarzer. However… don’t you dare to lose your life. Everyone must return safely alive.]
When Ares’ voice echoed in their ears, the Black Legion let out an even more enthusiastic cry. Almost like they are a horde of beasts.
[ [ [ [ OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooo! ! ! ! ! ! ] ] ] ]
[Go, my brave heroes. All forces, charge!]
It was a one-sided slaughter.
Everywhere the Black Legion cavalry passed through, there would be dead bodies in their wake. Arrows never hit them as their spear would skewer the archer on the next moment.
[Commander!! These guys are too strong!!]
[Shit! Move! Run away!]
[Impossible, they’re too fa…gugeee!]
When the commander turned around, his subordinate had already become a corpse.
[What the hell… these guys… one after another appearing like waves… what the fu..]
Before the commander was the so called black wave that had taken many of his troops’ life. Riding at the front was their leader who was riding an abnormally large horse and wielding a spear so stained in blood it makes you wonder how many soldiers had met their end in its tip.
Seeing this, the commander started running away. But at the same time the black wave also caught up to him. The next thing the commander saw after that….was pitch black darkness.
Vulcas who witnessed everything from atop the hill was rendered speechless.
[It’s merry-go-round charge; The Black Legion’s strongest maneuver.]
Ares casual words left Vulcas in daze.
[They rushed one after another like a wave. At least that’s how the opponent will see it. But in fact, it’s just repeated charges with a movement that draws a circle… that may sound simple, but that kind of movement is only possible if both the general and the cavalry are superb.]
(TL Note: I imagine it something like this. If you watch anime Grancrest Senki, one of the major character using this formation to crush the traitor’s army)
[So they are Ares-sama’s private army…and there are more back at the territory?]
[Indeed they are. I think if Red, Blue and the strongest White legion numbers are combined… together with Black Legion they made around 20,000 strong.]
Vulcas was surprised by that reply.
[A total of 20,000 strong… you could fight a country with that many forces… and there is actually a legion stronger than the Black Legion?]
[Yeah. The White Legion is small in number but each one is equal to a thousand men. It won’t be strange if the member of that legion could become a general elsewhere. It’s just that, they are a bunch of weirdos.]
Ares smiled at the thought of the White Legion.
However Vulcas couldn’t even let out a dry laugh.
(These Black Legion is probably far more skilled than even Arcadia army… and there are 20,000 more like them… and to think these fearsome soldiers are owned by an individual instead of the bigger Schwarzer clan. This Ares is truly scary. No wonder His Majesty Sephiros put so much attention on him.)
The Arcadia army had won with an overwhelming momentum. But the cavalry didn’t stop. They kept charging, chasing and killing mercilessly until none of the enemy was left alive.
Those mercenaries had no chance to escape.
Watching the Black Legion’s might from the top of the hill… he felt a terrible fear, especially to their leader Ares. But Vulcas decided to keep this to himself.