–Third Person POV–
South Yuguria Provisional Capital City: Alteria.
A giant tower extends into the sky.
It is a symbolic building of the Divine Nation of Altair constructed over several decades by the slave labor of tens of thousands of people to praise the G.o.d of Altair.
After the citizens rejected said G.o.d, many idols and churches were burned down, but this great temple was the only structure that remained standing.
Currently, this temple is flying the flag of the South Yuguria Empire.
It has been established as the Empire’s central base.
TOP ARTICLES2/5Rule Breaker Chapter 127
And, fluttering at the highest point overlooking countless other flags is the Emperor’s flag weaved with gold thread.
Such a place was supposed to display the glory of the South Yuguria Empire…… however, under the cloudy sky, the radiance of the Emperor’s flag seemed to be slightly dim as if to reflect the unfavorable state of battle.
――Inside the Temple – Grand Conference Hall.
「With the surrender of Tortoent, the logistics network for the entire region of Libatis has completely fallen apart and recovering is impossible.」
Holding the report in one hand, the supply officer repeatedly crosses out the line drawn on the map with evenly s.p.a.ced ‘X’ marks, finis.h.i.+ng with one last large ‘X’ in ink right in the center before lifting his brush off the paper.
「We narrowly escaped the fierce pursuit of the enemy because of General Maestus’s efforts. However, we suffered heavy losses far beyond the limits of how much we can replenish from the local area.」
One of the high ranking commanders reports the status of his army.
Then, a commander with an even higher standing sighs after a quick glance at the crudely-written doc.u.ment.
「The withdrawal has already begun at the discretion of the on-site commander. The castles and forts are supposed to be destroyed……if there was no leeway, they’ve been left undamaged. ……n.o.body can be blamed. Just send confirmation from headquarters.」
A staff officer folds his arms and continuously presses a seal again and again on doc.u.ments with the same message on it.
「It’s a near miracle that the warfront stayed intact. We need to reconfigure our tactics. ……where is His Excellency Zaphnes?」
「His Excellency is resting.」
The contact person straightened his back and answered the question asked by the staff officer.
「Argh, call him right――」
As soon as the officer raised his voice, the door swung open violently and Zaphnes appeared.
Everyone stood up and saluted.
The female caretaking officer saw him off outside the hall with a salute, but when the door closed, she fell over clutching her lower abdomen.
Zaphnes pushed everyone aside and stared at the map.
「Can’t we stop the enemy at Fort Mereze?」
「……the commander in charge made a decision two days ago for the defense force to retreat and abandon the fort.」
Zaphnes slams his fist onto the desk, expressing his anger.
「How can he just withdraw without an order!? Who’s the commander!?」
Zaphnes yells as his eyes dart to the icon placed on the map representing ally forces stationed near Alteria and go wide.
「Why are there four 1000-man squads of the regular army idle there!? Why not put them on the frontlines!? At this rate, we’ll lose the entire region of Libatis!」
「T-the enemy’s tens of thousands is riding the momentum of victory and heading south! In addition, the citizens have all revolted…… and although the ones here are elite, adding four thousand won’t affect the larger picture――」
The objecting officer is cut off by Zaphnes’s sharp stare and the topic changes.
「Citizens besides the ones in Tortoent have also revolted…… eei, even though we occupied the territory so peacefully…… order the army to burn down every single town and village! If we can’t retain them, there is no need to persuade them gently!」
Zaphnes tears apart the map.
An unsettling tension envelopes the hall containing the commander who lost his composure at the deteriorating situation.
「Now, now, getting upset will not help.」
A handsome face smiles cheerfully and speaks in a lighthearted tone as if unfazed by the heavy atmosphere.
Zaphnes lowers the fist he was about to slam against the desk again and pats the man’s shoulder.
「I heard you clashed with Hardlett during your retreat from Tortoent. Did you get hurt?」
「He kicked me once in the face to mess up my looks. I paid him back with a strike to his side though.」
Everyone cheered in admiration.
「Although it is unconfirmed, rumor has it Hardlett is recovering in bed.」
The mildly good news relaxed those present in the room.
「That’s right. You guys won’t win something winnable if you make such gloomy faces.」
Maestus grabs the cheek of a nearby officer and tugs hard.
Then he apologizes with an encouraging slap to the officer’s shoulder.
「Do your job with a smile on your face like this guy. I’ll force anybody who is depressed to smile!」
Maestus proceeds to stand before Zaphnes.
「Don’t be so angry. When a person with as much impact as Your Excellency yells, everyone will shrink away. I can’t exactly pinch your cheeks either.」
Zaphnes couldn’t help smiling at the joking tone used by his fellow soldier.
「Now, why don’t we look at the current state. The enemy has the edge in momentum and army size, and even a strange monster-like existence――hey, what should we do?」
Maestus spreads his arms with an exaggerated expression of surprise, prompting stifled laughter from the staff officers.
One thing to note, was that they didn’t sound defeated.
A second later, a pair of fingers snapped to refocus everyone.
「The enemy has only won the battles so far. That’s it. There are plenty of points we have the upper hand in――such as the geographic location, information, and most importantly the quality of skilled generals. Now, let’s strip the enemy’s advantages one by one. First, we have to suppress their momentum.」
Everyone nods enthusiastically.
「Conceal soldiers in the southern area of Libatis. We’ll strike the enemy’s vanguard.」
「Tell me about the details of the fort’s condition. Gather cannons and ballistae at strategic points. Instead of defending a fort we can’t protect, we’ll let the enemy run in and then burn it down.」
「Reposition the squad in ten or twenty layers. It doesn’t matter if we lose one or two on the battlefield. We’re going to exhaust them and slow them down.」
All the staff officers spring into action together.
Although n.o.body was as jovial as Maestus, none of them looked miserable.
「Your Excellency, I ask that you negotiate with Her Majesty for an increase of soldiers. Since we have the locational advantage, as long as we have numbers that equal theirs, we’ll manage somehow.」
「Sure, I was planning to visit her anyways.」
Zaphnes walks a few steps only to turn back.
「……I have to declare impressively that I’ve lost this much. How can I face Her Majesty?」
Maestus let out a clueless sound, which prompted Zaphnes to shake his head and retract his statement.
「Nevermind, I’m going. ……wait, why don’t you accompany me?」
「I don’t mind.」
Maestus, after agreeing, drew close to Zaphnes so he was the only one who could hear him speak.
「Don’t be so worried. Nothing is more frightening than the Emperor of Garland.」
「So you say…… but her eyes are scary too.」
Zaphnes whispers back.
「I will also only obey Your Excellency. No matter how angry the Empress gets, she can’t do anything to you. Please be confident.」
Maestus claps his hands and then returns to the room after saying that.
「I forgot to mention one more thing. The citizens of the cities here and here on the map stood up in front of me, prattling about uprising so I burned down the places and killed them all. They don’t exist anymore, so remove the marks.」
He said it in the same casual tone as “I ate the bread left here” in pa.s.sing before walking back out.
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「Now, let’s go to our lovely Empress.」
「Any weak points?」
「He is more of a womanizer than most. He isn’t the frivolous type as one would expect of his appearance, rather he derives pleasure from hurting and dominating his partners.」
Wilhelmina furrows her brow.
「I was also raped on the night I was a.s.signed to the new post. He strangled my neck, tormented both of my holes until they bled, and had me repeat words of submission over and over.」
「So that’s his fetish. To violate the person I recommended, if he isn’t stupid, he must either be a bigshot or……」
Wilhelmina closes the balcony and jumps into bed.
「If I am going to replace Zaphnes, he’s the only choice. I want to somehow win him over…… for now, I guess I’ll excessively extol him as a hero. Perhaps he will believe he is above Zaphnes. Regardless, I wonder why he, and that Hardlett as well, loves a woman’s body so much.」
「My apologies for being presumptuous, but I believe you scheduled for me to be sent to Hardlett.」
Vistacion kneels beside the bed.
「An incompetent ally is more threatening than a skilled enemy. I will have someone else go to Hardlett. It appears he has many excellent subordinates around him as well. Scratching one or two would be a fine result.」
Wilhelmina proceeds to pick up a brush.
「Cleaning up the mess of an incompetent fool, huh. If only I had the ability to command an army.」
What she writes is a doc.u.ment instructing almost all men of the Altair region to be conscripted. Then, she also writes one more doc.u.ment courteously proposing a business transaction―― a contract for mercenaries.
Army – Southern Goldonia
Under Protagonist: (recovering from injuries)
Escort Unit: 55
Infantry: 4400 ⇒ 4500
Cavalry: 530 ⇒ 540
Archers: 570 ⇒ 580
Bow Cavalry: 7000 ⇒ 7100
Independent Celia Squad: 390
Conscripts + Security Unit: 9500 ⇒ 9700
Cannons: 40, Large Cannons: 21, Dwarven Cannons: 15, Field Artillery: 15, Chariots: 35
Reinforcements / Allied Forces
105 Army Corps: 3500 ⇒ 3700
???: 0 ⇒ 1
Battles.h.i.+p Suvorov, Battles.h.i.+p Aless of Aless, and others: All grounded.
Transport s.h.i.+ps: 20
Ally Forces: Royal Army: 38 000 ⇒ 39 000
Conscripts: 45 000 ⇒ 46 000
Enemy Force: Regular Soldiers: 20 000?
Conscripts: 40 000 ⇒ 40 000+++
Cavalry Army: 10 000??
???: ⇒ ?0 000
a.s.sets: -10 000 gold
s.e.xual Partners: 795, children who have been born: 69 + 567
Current Location: within the city of Tortoent
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