Dungeon Defense - Chapter 15 - Volume 2
The Northern Guardian, Margrave of Rosenburg, Georg von Rosenburg
Empire Calendar: Year 1505, Month 9, Day 15
Dantalian’s Demon Lord Castle vicinity
“It appears the enemy has no outposts ahead, your lordship.”
“Mm. So it is according to the information from our spies. It seems there’s nothing impressive about this Demon Lord named Dantalian……”
I nodded after hearing the report from my subordinate.
Currently, my troops, the troops of the Margrave of Rosenburg were marching slowly. The destination was Demon Lord Dantalian’s stronghold. Our advance was proceeding smoothly. The morale among the troops was high, and everyone’s steps were light.
It was an abrupt dispatch, but they were all compliant. I was honestly grateful. A force of 1,500 soldiers were all obediently following orders from their superior without voicing any complaints. There was nothing as fulfilling as this for a person of great stature.
“Your lordship. Do you think it’s true? The rumor that there’s an endless supply of black herbs piled up in Demon Lord Dantalian’s castle……?”
“It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. The important thing is the fact that that kind of rumor has widely spread throughout our land.”
The decisive reason for our dispatch was because of the Black Death.
This terrifying plague had instantly established itself as a nightmare, reigning over all the people of the land. The friends and family that were fine yesterday would end up as cold corpses after a single night. It was terror itself.
Unfortunately, the people of my land were no different. Within a single month of the outbreak, 2,000 of my citizens had died.
Everyone trembled in fear of the plague, regardless of one’s social status. According to a report from a tax collector, the population of a small mountain village had all perished. He had initially gone there to collect taxes, but ended up burying corpses instead. It was a disturbing story……
“Insecurity and fear are at its peak for my subjects. If we were to stay still and take no action, then the public sentiment will be disturbed. If that were to happen, then there is the possibility that a revolt may occur as a result.”
My adjutant’s face stiffened.
He must have been surprised that I, the lord, would mention the possibility of a rebellion. My adjutant may have been competent, but his courage was a bit lacking. Would he relax if I smiled here?
“As far as things go, this is merely a hypothesis. Think about it yourself, what would my subjects do if their lord did nothing while their close friends and colleagues were dying? It would be difficult for my subjects to tolerate that.”
“But that’s irrational…… Is the Black Death not divine punishment from the gods? That’s not something within your lordship’s capability to handle.”
“Be it divine punishment or anything else, it is the lord’s duty to look after his subjects. If a lord were to run away from this situation, the only thing that awaits him or her is ruin.”
My adjutant looked at me with a gaze full of admiration.
Stop looking at me with those kind of eyes. Have I not said something obvious?This is quite troubling that youngsters these days are so easily moved by anything.
Or is it perhaps that I’ve gotten so old that I’m unable to keep up with their sensibility? This is depressing. The only things which increase through age are wrinkles and thigh fat. It would be nice to quickly go into a battlefield and die an honorable death……
If I were to voice a complaint, then it would be the fact that there has been no war that felt like an actual war in these past few years. Something like a massive war was even more improbable due to the outbreak of the Black Death.
Thus, I had a substantial chance of dying, not on the rough grounds of a battlefield, but on top of a comfortable bed instead. In other words, a shameful death for a warrior. I wouldn’t have the honor to face my ancestors in the afterlife……
“At the very least, the citizens must know that the higher-ups are not fooling around. Whether there are black herbs in the demon lord castle or not, that is a secondary issue. Showing them that we’re exerting our utmost effort in order to do something is what’s important.”
“I understand. That’s what politics are, huh……”
“The thing that we should be thankful for is that the main character of the rumor is Dantalian. It’s a relief that it’s the rank 71st Demon Lord.”
That was so.
Suppose the rumor to have spread was that the one holding a monopoly over the black herb was the rank 8th Barbatos. It would be immensely difficult for my Margrave forces alone to assault Barbatos. Making use of the rumor politically would be impossible.
On the other hand, rank 71st Dantalian was a rookie.
He was on the level of an individual that you’d often forget about.
“We can bend Dantalian’s neck whenever we so desire. Honestly, it’s a waste to even call him a Demon Lord. He is simply a ricefish. Nothing more, and nothing less.”
According to the information we’ve gathered, Dantalian doesn’t have a proper base and resides in a cave. He doesn’t even have a single outpost as a rampart.It would be fine to declare; subjugating Demon Lord Dantalian was as easy as breaking a child’s wrist.
Thus, it was fortunate.
“We’re able to dispatch our troops because our target is Dantalian. If it was Barbatos, then we wouldn’t have been able to move an inch. We would have had to sit and wait patiently until my subjects start to riot. It is fortunate that the source of the rumor is Dantalian……”
My adjutant marveled.
“After listening to your lordship’s words, I understand that the Goddess of Fortune is indeed looking over your lordship.”
“Mm? Is that so?”
“Yes. Aren’t the other domains so far away that it would be difficult to dispatch our troops even if we wanted to? But your lordship’s territory is comparatively closer to Dantalian’s Demon Lord castle. No matter how big the empire is, only your lordship was given this opportunity!”
“That is luck. You can only rely on this sort of luck a few times in your entire life.”
But I see. My adjutant has a point. Should I allow myself to be delighted that the Goddess presented me with this chance?
Bringing out my voice from my chest, I ordered.
“Soldiers, advance! There are only two days left until we arrive at Dantalian’s stronghold. We shall obtain our spoils of war there!”
“Yes, your lordship!”
The commanding officers dispersed and spurred on the rest of the soldiers.
“Move quickly. Break time is over. Lift your dirty rears and march like ducks!”
The troops began to move busily. All the soldiers were equipped lightly. We had mobilized lightly equipped troops on purpose in order to end this battle as quickly as possible. It would also be difficult to transport provisions if we did not do this, so it was an obvious tactic.
I gazed up at the sky and muttered.
“The weather is nice.”
The sun was hidden behind clouds. The wind was refreshing. It was the appropriate weather for marching. We will most likely go into battle in two days. Let us quickly sweep Dantalian’s castle and put my land at ease.
▯Weakest Demon Lord, Rank 71st, Dantalian
Empire Calendar: Year 1505, Month 9, Day 15
Dantalian’s Demon Lord Castle vicinity
The witches reported that an unknown army was approaching.
Their military strength, approximately 1,000 soldiers. An army that consisted of solely humans and no demons. According to the witches’ assumptions, by the looks of the enemy’s advancing rate, they were going to arrive soon.
“Did we discover them a bit too slowly……?”
I muttered dejectedly.
We had spotted them late. The reason was simple. It was because we had no idea which location the invaders were going to advance from. The note told us that the invaders were going to appear around this time, however, it didn’t tell us exactly who the invaders were and where they were going to attack from.
The result was this unpleasant situation. We had allowed the enemy forces to arrive right at our noses. It felt like I had become as blind as a bat. Fortunately, we at least had the witches doing reconnaissance from the sky, but if we didn’t have the witches then how late would we have found them……?
Game and reality were different. In a real-life war, there wasn’t something like a map window that would kindly display, ‘the enemy forces are approaching from this direction’. It was depressing. In the end, I had to go through the cumbersome task of searching for the attackers myself. It was the worst possible condition for a shut-in. Was there no magic spell that wiped out the opposition’s forces in a single hit like in the game? Was there really nothing? I see.
I wanted to kill myself……
Ever since the day I fought with Lazuli, I’ve been in a constant despondent mood. Everything in the world was tiresome.
Why was I still living my life? For someone who had already realized that their life was utter shit since the age of 6, why was I still alive. Am I a masochist?
……Yes, I knew the truth. Because of my damn personality disorder, as long as I could achieve my goal, I was fine with even massacring children and elderly people. I did not feel a single bit of remorse from that. The very act of turning another person’s life into a puppet and marionetting them to my desire was the joy of my life, and trampling arrogant fools then shoving them into a ditch was the fruit of my life. What was I supposed to do? When I was born, I was born like this.
Regardless, I did try to escape my fate once. After my father had died, I had given up on the inheritance and shut myself away. But for some reason, I fell back into a world that followed the law of the jungle. My life was in that shape and it had come back to this again……
A sigh came out on its own.
It was already difficult to live life diligently, but for it to also be difficult to live life lazily? This was indeed my destiny. It was certainly fitting for a life that was utter crap. Everyone should just eat shit.
Laura De Farnese spoke.
“Lord, your complexion is unwell. Are you okay?”
The two of us were currently having a strategy meeting. She was probably concerned since I had abruptly let out a sigh in the middle of our meeting. I looked at Miss Farnese with hollowed eyes.
“Farnese. When life feels like shit, what do you do?”
“Mm? What are you talking about? Life has always been shit. Has your lordship, perhaps, ever felt like your life was something besides crap?”
Miss Farnese blinked at me and I raised my shoulders.
“Well…… not as of yet.”
“See. Your lordship sure says useless things. Referentially, this young lady thinks on an average of 2 times a day of wanting to kill herself. Suicidal impulses are already a part of this young lady’s life.”
“I’m a bit less than that. Around an average of 1.5 times a day, perhaps.”
“I knew it. Is that not similar to that of a normal person’s mentality? Do not worry about pointless things, lord. We’re already fated to swim in a ditch for the rest of our lives anyway. Nothing will change even if your lordship worries.”
I nodded slowly.
She was definitely right. Without a doubt, I too am thinking like her so I agree in a present progressive form. But why was I suffering from relapses of depression all of a sudden? I didn’t know what the issue was. Where did the problem start……?
“…… My mood has become very spoiled. Oh Farnese. Seeing as it has come to this, I’ll have to relieve this stress by crushing the enemy. Let us quickly annihilate every last one of them.”
“Although this young lady doesn’t have any objections to that suggestion…… Lord? Acting on emotions is an extremely bad habit. Personal feelings only cause people to descend to 2nd rates.”
“I know that much as well. But what am I to do when I’m unable to improve my mood no matter what I do? I have no other choice but to calm my anger by watching the faces of others in pain.”
Miss Farnese nodded her head reluctantly.
“Well. This young lady only follows your lordship’s orders. However, if your lordship truly feels that displeased, then why not command the army yourself? Your lordship’s frustration may dissipate further if you were to watch those humans fall by your lordship’s own orders.”
“It’s fine. The goal of this battle is to awaken your potential. It would be of no use if we put the cart before the horse here.”
“Your lordship is rather stubborn in peculiar places.”
Laura De Farnese shook her head.
“This young lady shall warn your lordship for the final time. There is a chance that this young lady could get all of the troops, that your lordship had hired, annihilated. This young lady is unsure, but there’s the possibility of defeat even if the enemy has 1,000 soldiers while we have 3,000. Is your lordship still okay with leaving the command to such a lady?”
“Please stop worrying.”
I pressed down on the top of Miss Farnese’s head.
It was a weak spot of hers which I discovered during our time spent together, for the past couple of days.
Miss Farnese swung her arms and squirmed.
“Ah—, ah—. Lord, not the crown. I don’t like it there.”
“Listen carefully. It doesn’t matter if all the troops die. The thing this world is overflowing with are soldiers, anyway. If they die then hire new ones, and if they run out then raise more. Your lord has so much gold that it might start rotting.”
“Ah— hoah, the crown is not alloowed……”
Miss Farnese melted down to a pulp. She had a perplexed expression on her face as she turned into jelly. For someone who wasn’t ticklish at all, she was a lady with a weird weak spot.
“However, you’re an individual that is impossible to replace. A personnel that cannot be made no matter how much gold I pour in. Let me ask you here. Do I seem like a person who’d throw away an outstanding individual, who could carry out the task of 500,000 people in the future, just because I felt like losing 3,000 soldiers would be a waste?”
“Because this young lady lacks military experience……”
“Damn it, be quiet. I don’t recall giving you the permission to talk back. Just obediently be pressed by me.”
“Aak—, aak—, aak—. That’s why the crown is cowardly……”
Seeing Miss Farnese shrink down like this, a bit of my stress disappeared. Indeed I was a healthy sadist. An exemplary individual.
Good. I was able to moderately return back to my normal state. The usual me that was unconditionally correct.
Forget about Lapis Lazuli for now. Immediately deal with these bandits, these half-wit fools, who didn’t know their place and were invading my territory on their own volition. Teach these fools what true etiquette is.
“De Farnese. Think of this place not as a battlefield, but as a playground. A small amount of 3,000 toys has been placed before you to play with at your own desire.”
“Hooah…… Toys, is it?”
“That is so. Treat the lives of these soldiers cheaply. Or simply consider them as mere dots on the map. Do you think I’d punish you for breaking some toys?”
On a normal occasion, I wouldn’t talk this frankly.
However, Laura De Farnese and I were similar. We were part of a set of people who were unexceptionably selfish. Limiting it to at least her, I had no inclination to watch my words.
The other party most likely thought the same.
“I understand. Then this young lady shall carry out your lordship’s order andplay a bout of soldiers.”
Miss Farnese nodded her head.
“This young lady shall move the vanguard first.”
She moved the clay doll that was placed on the map.
The moment she placed the clay figure down with a ‘thud’.
—The battle commenced.
▯The Northern Guardian, Margrave of Rosenburg, Georg von Rosenburg
Empire Calendar: Year 1505, Month 9, Day 16
Dantalian’s Demon Lord Castle vicinity
“Your lordship. The reconnaissance unit has returned.”
“The battle is going to start soon. Call me general, not lord.”
I sternly corrected my adjutant’s mistake.
Becoming an excellent noble was difficult. In a standard occasion, you had to be immersed in social obligations while also taking care of domestic affairs. While in emergency situations, you had to take charge as the supreme commander in war. Magnanimous and leniency had to coexist with callousness.
Therefore, one’s title was imperative. There was a spiritual energy in words. People could change freely depending on the name that was placed on them.
Currently, I was not the sovereign of the duchy of Rosenburg, but the commander of an army of one thousand soldiers. Not his lordship margrave, but a mere general. It was fine to call this the obstinacy of an old man. It was my creed that if one’s name did not stand immediately, then everything else will collapse.
“Yes. My apologies, general. I shall correct my mistakes from now on.”
“Good. Give me the report from the reconnaissance team.”
“They reported that a unit of what is assumed to be the enemy, is blocking the path up ahead.”
I opened my eyes wide.
“Are you telling me that Demon Lord Dantalian has troops under his command?”
“Yes. However, it is not certain.”
Not certain? That wasn’t a pleasant phrase to hear. Vagueness was a foe of the military. One must speak with confidence.
“There were banners spotted at the enemy’s campsite, but the scouts reported that their affiliation was unknown. It seems to be a unit mainly composed of dwarves.”
“A unit of dwarves from an unknown affiliation, is it……? The numbers?”
“It is not an impressive amount, general. According to the report, at the very most, there are between 100 to 200 soldiers.”
“I will confirm this with my own eyes.”
With the mounted troops in tow, I made my way to the front of the army. Shortly after, I could see the enemy campsite stationed at the top of the hilly area. I narrowed my eyes and examined their camp.
“Mm, I see the reconnaissance team is doing their job properly. The enemy numbers do not reach 200.”
“That’s what I think as well. Should we send a messenger to see what affiliation those troops belong to?”
I shook my head.
“There’s no need. Excluding Dantalian, there are no other Demon Lords that reside in this region.”
“But in the small chance that it’s a completely unrelated unit……”
“I’m thankful for the advice, but I will have to turn it down. This unit appeared to block our path on the exact day our forces were advancing. There are no coincidences here.”
Once I responded to him sternly, my adjutant nodded in understanding and backed off.
Anyway, my mind felt uneasy.
For the opposition to be stationed in that location meant that they knew of our invasion beforehand. Where could the information have leaked from……
No, it wasn’t too late to research this later on. Carelessness must be avoided. We must first get rid of the enemy forces before us.
“Adjutant, convey my command! Mobilize the cavalry and assault the enemy forces on both sides. Infantrymen, stay on standby.”
“Roger! Cavalry company, rush their flanks!”
My adjutant repeated my order in a loud voice. As soon as the command reached the other companies, the buglers blew their horns. A high and valiant sound. This was the horn unique to the northern region of Habsburg. I loved this echo in battlefields.
My adjutant muttered.
“The enemy forces must be desperate as well. This might become a difficult battle.”
Was he showing sympathy for the foe? That would be troubling. Personal feelings were nothing more than luxury items with no meaning on a battlefield.
I admonished him.
“But we too, have our own circumstances. Although I feel sorry for Dantalian, there’s no other choice but for us to force him to be our scapegoat.”
Hm. Was it unnecessary concern?
10 minutes since blowing the horn.
My adjutant spoke with a troubled expression on his face.
“……General. The enemies aren’t retaliating?”
My face wasn’t much different from my adjutant. Honestly, I was confused.
Currently, our light cavalry were firing from atop the hill. With crossbows, they were shooting bolts down at the enemy troops.
The enemy forces’ bleeding must have been getting severe, and yet they did not budge an inch. What was going on?
“Maybe they have some other plot in mind……?”
“Their intentions are unknown.”
I creased my brows.
“If they keep that up then only their casualty will increase.”
“There’s no movements at all, general. Maybe they’re receiving less injuries than we think they are?”
“No. There’s a very small chance of that actually being so.”
Of course, the range and power of crossbows used by cavalries were weaker than the ones used by infantrymen. But they were still crossbows. The concept of absorbing the magical energy from the surroundings to shoot a powerful bolt was still the same. You couldn’t treat this lightly. It’s certainly supposed to be that way, but……
“General, there’s the chance of an ambush.”
“On this vast open hill? There are no forests nearby. If they were to hide their troops, then where would they possibly hide them?”
My adjutant shut his mouth. The distraught expression on his face was apparent.
I didn’t feel the need to reproach him. My adjutant most likely knew full well that there wasn’t something like an ambush. It was just that he couldn’t understand the behavior of the enemy troops and was simply voicing his ‘Perhaps?’.
“That, well, they seem to be an elite unit. They’ve been under fire for the past 10 minutes, but there are still no signs of movement. General, they aren’t a ragtag group of soldiers.”
“…… That only brings up further questions.”
“…… That is true.”
The enemy forces were receiving a one-sided shower of arrows and yet they stayed adamant.
Their troops were less than 200. No matter how many crossbows they had, it most definitely wouldn’t be over 100.
On the other hand, we had 400 sentries. 400 soldiers that would fire in turn, allowing an endless stream of bolts to be shot. They weren’t even worthy as an opponent. A fight between an adult and a child would probably be more vigorous than this.
Despite that, their infantry continued to maintain their ranks. They kept their chins high, as if their comrades falling by arrows besides them was no big deal. Their courage was abnormal.
“Normally, we’d compliment them for their impressive military discipline……”
“……Is this not sad? What makes these men any different from a meat shield?”
“Yes. This is truly pitiful.”
My adjutant raised his voice in agreement.
We watched the battlefield in silence for a while.
Finally, after 20 minutes into the battle, my adjutant couldn’t contain his anger any longer.
“I am unable to understand!”
His face was a bright red.
He was most likely raging at the unknown enemy commander’s incompetence.
“What exactly is their commander doing?! Their soldiers are dying. Retaliate, turn the tides of the battle, do something! At the very least they should surrender……!”
In the end.
Around the 30 minute mark since the battle began, the enemy forces were finally defeated.
Unable to withstand the injuries any longer, their ranks fell apart. The sturdy wall had collapsed.
“…… Give the order to charge.”
“…… Yes, general.”
Both the general giving the order and the adjutant receiving the order were worn out. But, the only ones swallowed up by this somber mood was us two. Our troops were obviously enthusiastic by the easy victory.
The sound of horns resonated.
Receiving the signal, our troops unsheathed their blades and boldly rushed forwards towards the enemy’s broken ranks.
It ended with that.
Unable to withstand our charge, the enemy soldiers quickly collapsed. The dwarves ran away left and right. Because of the much too obvious sequence, and the much too obvious result, the strength in my shoulders disappeared……
“General. Should we give the order to pursue?”
“Do it…… I truly can’t understand any of this.”
The enemy soldiers, unable to have run far, were swept away by our forces. Disturbing screams began to echo throughout the hills. My adjutant narrowed his eyes. It was a gruesome scene……
“What was that battle just now?”
“I’d like to ask that as much as you do.”
There were many mysteries in the world.
▯Weakest Demon Lord, Rank 71st, Dantalian
Empire Calendar: Year 1505, Month 9, Day 16
Dantalian’s Demon Lord Castle vicinity
“—I see. I’ve come to a realization.”
Laura De Farnese’s eyes sparkled.
“Infantrymen alone are not enough to beat cavalries!”
“Why are you realizing something that’s obvious!?”
I shouted with all my strength.
Steaming with anger, I firmly pressed down on the crown of this lady’s head.
“Ah—, ah—. I dislike it, lord. I dislike it there.”
“What was that battle just now? Was it not completely lackluster!?”
“Hoah—. That’s why this young lady requested for your lordship to not leave the command to this young lady……”
Miss Farnese spread out like a rice cake under my arm.
Even if a person had absolutely no experience in war, that battle just now was terrible. There was no end to how horrible it was. We had lost a company of 150 infantrymen in a blink of an eye, without having been able to do anything in return.
“You disgrace. I retract my previous statement. We are not in the same category of people. You aren’t like my little sister, either. You are nothing more than my personal stress ball.”
“What’s the difference between that and a sex slave, lord……?”
“At the very least, sex slave are able to resolve their sexual desires, but you are unable to resolve anything. That’s the tremendous difference. You useless thing.”
“This young lady abruptly became a girl lower than a sex slave……”
Miss Farnese became sullen.
In that last battle, the amount of soldiers that succeeded in escaping did not even reach 20. That meant that 9/10 of the total troops we had sent out had died.
With Miss Farnese, I had to watch that miserably lackluster scene from start to finish, while riding on one of the witch’s broom. It felt like I was being forced to watch a B-rated movie.
“Mm. But this is entirely your lordship’s responsibility.”
“Say that again?”
“Since this young lady has only read art of war manuals, it is obvious that this lady would be unfamiliar to real battle. In one of the art of war manuals this young lady had read, it was written that infantry were enough to oppose light cavalry. So there was no other choice but for this young lady to verify which books were correct.”
She was rather shameless for a person who had executed the worst battle in history.
I glanced at Miss Farnese with sullen eyes.
“So? Your true intention?”
“—Since it felt like I’d lose my first battle anyway, this young lady threw out 150 people as disposables to die.”
“I shall knead that loser mentality of yours.”
Press press press
“Ah, ah ah— I’m being kneaded, looord— Hoah. This young lady is being kneaded……”
“Try with a bit more enthusiasm. Do you understand? Victory is a maiden. She only smiles upon the bravest of challengers. Victory stays distant from fools that quietly stay huddled in a corner.”
“The bravest of challengers, is it……?”
Miss Farnese gazed up at me.
I sincerely met her gaze with my own.
“That is so. Boldly act recklessly.”
“So daring that it makes you contemplate on whether what you’re doing is truly okay.”
I wonder if my sincerity got across to her.
Laura De Farnese went into deep thought for a moment before nodding her head. It was a small movement, but there was a certain resolution within it. Since it was I, who was gifted in reading people’s psychology, that was saying this, it was certain.
“Understood. It is surely as your lordship has said. This young lady may have been somewhat half-hearted. Because it was this young lady’s first time, because it was an unknown territory, this young lady may have been cautious.”
“In truth, the first time is the moment when one can test the amount of privilege they have. Even if a child were to fall down, there is no person who would blame them for doing so. Although this young lady may be the greatest genius in the world, this young lady is still a mere infant in regards to military affairs. There is no reason to take care of this lady’s pride here.”
“That’s why, this young lady shall follow your lordship’s advice and overturn that way of thinking. This young lady shall even force the enemies to be shocked. It’s fine to have expectations. Swearing on this young lady’s name, Laura De Farnese, this lady will not disappoint your lordship.”
“Though it feels like modesty and self-pride were chaotically mixed together in that speech, whatever. That’s precisely the spirit, Laura De Farnese! Did I not assure you that it was fine to use up our soldiers as you please? I shall bear the responsibilities and the losses, while you take the glory and victory. That way there is no lucrative business.”
“As you command. My lord.”
Miss Farnese grabbed a clay doll.
“This is this young lady’s sincerity.”
With a ‘thud’, she placed the clay figure on the center of the map.
▯The Northern Guardian, Margrave of Rosenburg, Georg von Rosenburg
Empire Calendar: Year 1505, Month 9, Day 16
Dantalian’s Demon Lord Castle vicinity
“General. Another corp of enemy troops has appeared in the front.”
I furrowed my brows because of my adjutant’s report.
After obtaining our incomprehensible victory from this morning —I may have gone through a countless number of battlefields in my life, but this was the first time I’ve ever obtained an ‘incomprehensible victory’ instead of an ‘incomprehensible defeat’— our troops reorganized their ranks and were marching again.
Normally, it would be appropriate to allow my soldiers to rest after a battle. The fatigue military personnel received while engaging in a battlefield was unimaginable. It was an obvious consideration.
However, this time I was unable to allow them such leisure. The reason was simple. My voice of reason and common sense fused together and declared that ‘that’ could not possibly be considered as a battle. Since there was no combat there was no rest. There was no hole in my logic.
But for the enemy troops to appear again? What was he talking about?
“Give me the full details, adjutant.”
“Yes. It is estimated that the number of enemy soldiers is approximately around 150 this time as well. They seem to be in a battle formation on top of a relatively tall hill.”
“……Why wasn’t this unit with the troops we ‘clashed’ with this morning?”
“My apologies, but I am uncertain of that as well.”
My adjutant was as confused as I was. It would be difficult to expect a proper answer here.
With the cavalry following behind me, I made my way to the front. And sure enough, another unit of enemy forces lay ahead. Flags from an unknown affiliation were waving once more.
However, there was something decisively different about these soldiers compared to the troops we faced this morning.
“Adjutant. Don’t tell me that’s……”
“……Yes. General. After seeing it with my own eyes, I’ve come to the realization as well.
My adjutant murmured.
“That company, has nothing but crossbowmen.”
My vision felt faint.
In truth, this was an outrageous group.
It was my first time seeing a unit like this in my entire life.
Typically, an infantry unit consisted of spearmen and crossbowmen. It wasn’t like that for no reason. There was a rationale for all of this.
The spearmen used their long spears to prevent the other side’s troops from approaching. When the time came, they would keep their spear heads extended out to prevent things like cavalry from charging in.
As what happened in this morning’s ‘clash’ —Yes, I plan to use this term persistently— my men did not rush in recklessly from the start. It was because the enemy spearmen were standing their ranks without leaving a single gap. Thus, we had poured arrows down upon them from afar to force an opening in their ranks. The charge happened after that.
My adjutant spoke sourly.
“Though it seems they’ve set up wooden spikes around their position……”
The enemy forces had put down wooden spikes around themselves like a fence, for anti-cavalry purposes. As if they were trying to make up for what they lacked. Certainly, those were effective in hindering our cavalry from approaching, but spikes were inferior to actual puncture wounds. It would be impossible to completely block off our cavalry with just that.
“Adjutant. Is that, perhaps, a popular strategy in battlefields nowadays? Since I’ve aged, I’ve been unable follow recent trends.”
“My apologies, general. If something like that was a trend, then the empire would have united the entire continent long time ago. And I would have lost my job and currently be unemployed.”
“Should we…… judge it as an original strategy?”
“You’re quite kind, general. If it were me, I’d express it as nonsense.”
Overcoming the generation gap, I was able to identify with my adjutant……
At that moment, as if my adjutant had realized something, he opened his eyes wide.
“General. The enemy may be utilizing that kind of strategy involuntarily!”
“Involuntarily, you say?”
“Yes. This may be nothing more than my own speculation, but those soldiers over there must have been planning to meet up with the troops we clashed against this morning. They most likely intended to face us with these two units together. However, since their joining together was delayed, they ended up being defeated beforehand!”
It felt like my vision had brightened. That was certainly possible.
“I see. Was that what it was…… That would explain why the troops we faced this morning did not retaliate. They were waiting for their reinforcement to arrive.”
“That is so, general. And we had arrived before their troops could join forces. They probably didn’t expect we would advance so quickly. It must have been completely out of their prediction.”
At last, everything made sense.
The ‘clash’ this morning was simply the enemy’s mistake. They were engaged before their forces could properly gather together. In conclusion, it resulted in their exceedingly eccentric and ridiculous defeat.
Certainly, the enemy soldiers this morning most likely didn’t have their commander present. At the time, they were probably earnestly waiting for their commander and reinforcements to arrive. But in the end, their commander wasn’t able to arrive on time and their entire unit ended up being annihilated……
“This is all thanks to your insight, general! If you had organized our troops to mainly consist of heavy infantry and heavy cavalry, then our marching speed would have slowed down that much as well. We would have presumably arrived at the battlefield after the enemy units had joined together.”
“Mm, that is just luck.”
“They say that if a coincidence happens twice then it is destiny. There is no doubt that the Goddesses are looking after you, general. Ooh, Goddess Athena’s blessing is upon us!”
My adjutant became excited and exclaimed.
Soldiers had the tendency to rely heavily on religion because of their rough experiences in the battlefield. There was nothing that could put more courage into troops than the knowledge that the Goddesses were on their side. That was why my adjutant, who knew of this fact, was shouting enthusiastically.
“Goddess Athena has given our lordship, Rosenburg, her divine protection!”
“What’s the matter?”
At the mention of the Goddess’ name, the other commanding officers gathered.
Once my adjutant energetically explained to them the situation, their faces also bloomed brightly.
“Congratulations, your lordship!”
“It is clear that the Goddesses desires to protect your lordship’s land from the Black Death!”
The other commanding officers gave their congratulations as if we had already obtained victory.
With a cold expression, I shook my head.
“Silence. It is too soon to be celebrating our victory when the enemy is still there before us. It wouldn’t be too late to share a toast after we’ve returned to our land.”
Although, I too was delighted, this was being hasty.
The battle wasn’t over yet. The fight went on until we’ve defeated the enemy and returned back to our homes. Carelessness called upon an unforeseen ruin.
“You all, return to your units and organize the ranks! Stay on standby until the sound of the horn.”
The commanding officers responded promptly. They had immediately understood my intent. Indeed they were competent. Their wages weren’t high for no reason. They were a reliable bunch of personnel.
“Adjutant. Give the order for the cavalry company to charge. Teach the enemy crossbowmen that something trivial like spikes are pointless resistance by leaping over them with our horses.”
“I shall convey your command. We shall make sure to beat those bastard dwarves until their bottoms turn red.”
After the sound of the horn, our cavalry rushed forward.
A portion of our cavalry were dismounted by the enemy’s volley, but that was it.
Our troops skillfully avoided the wooden spikes and trampled the enemy forces.
This content feeling took a load off of my mind.
With this, all of Demon Lord Dantalian’s troops were exhausted.
Now there was no more obstacles to stop our advance.
Let us march with light steps.
▯Weakest Demon Lord, Rank 71st, Dantalian
Empire Calendar: Year 1505, Month 9, Day 16
Dantalian’s Demon Lord Castle vicinity
“I will knead you.”
“Hoack, ackack—ah, ah—, you can’t. You really caaan’t—”
“Yes. I certainly advised you to act recklessly. I also advised you to behave boldly. I admit this entirely. However, who told you to behave like an idiot!? That goes beyond being creative and is plainly dropping our forces into a pile of shit!”
“Ack—, to breathe down on the crown, that sort of cunning high level technique…… This young lady cannot hold on any longer…… this young laady, ah—, this young lady is being kneaded by her lord……”
What was there to hide?
Following the 1st unit, the 2nd unit was cleanly wiped out as well. Each company had 150 soldiers. Miss Farnese had sent a total of 300 elite troops off into space in just a quarter of a day. Was this not an impressive ability?
“You could have just utilized our entire forces at once and ended it, but why did you send out small bits of 150 soldiers at a time!? Are you a masochist? Laura De Farnese, were you part of the group of people who received pleasure from pushing themselves into delicate situations? If you desire for pain that much, then I can personally show you Heaven. Aaang? Is it here? Is this your weak spot?”
“No…… any further, hoah—, reaaaaally……”
Miss Farnese spread out completely like jelly.
Her blonde hair was messy like a rice cake. I stopped here.
After being a pulp for a long period of time, Laura De Farnese muttered.
“But this is strange. According to this young lady’s calculation, they should have at least been able to defend against the cavalry.”
“The thing that’s strange is your head. You idiot.”
“This is the first time this young lady has ever been called an idiot in her entire life. This young lady has always been curious as to how people, who were constantly called fools, felt like. But after being called it herself, it is incredibly depressing. I want to kill myself……”
With a tearful expression, Miss Farnese fixed her hair and spoke.
“……It seems the enemy cavalry were not riding normal horses but the improved breed of horses, warhorses.”
“Mm. A breed that is born by cross breeding a centaur and a horse. This young lady has heard that compared to normal horses, warhorses do not fear edged objects or avoid flames. Referentially, although warhorses are considered to be the core of the Kingdom of Brittany’s militia, the enemy do not seem to be from there. Since it was written in a book this young lady had read that a Brittany warhorse was as large as an orc.”
“I couldn’t care less about your boast of knowledge. Show results. Results!”
“The thing that I scorn the most in the world is sacrifice without growth. Do not tell me that after 300 deaths, you were still unable to go through any growth?”
“How cheap. You even told me to treat them like toys……”
“I meant that you should at least play within the realm of common sense that people can comprehend.”
Laura De Farnese stared straight at me.
“Lord, is it not fun?”
“This young lady is having fun. It really feels like I’m playing as a sergeant.”
Miss Farnese spoke.
Although the focus in her emerald colored eyes was still hazy, there was a tint of more liveliness within them than usual.
“Honestly, this young lady was surprised. Your lordship had instructed this young lady to treat the lives of the soldiers like toys, but it was a question on if that was possible for this young lady. Separate to the absence of an organ called conscience within this young lady, this young lady still has an understanding of the concept of ethics and moral. This young lady believes that true joy comes from the euphoria of the brain. So the question was if this young lady’s body would accept an action that went against this young lady’s rationality as happiness……”
Miss Farnese smiled faintly.
Truthfully, it was too ungainly to even be considered as a smile.
It was like a machine imitating a human, there was an absence of a soul.
A smile that merely followed the gesture of ‘raising the corners of your mouth’.
“—It was enjoyable beyond this young lady’s imagination.”
That was currently Laura De Farnese’s best.
“It was the complete opposite. Treating another person’s life like a toy is the most interesting recreation in the entire world. As much as when I read a historical book, no, it might have been more exciting than reading a historical book. It’s wonderful. This young lady has never felt like this before……”
With a soft touch, I patted Miss Farnese’s head.
“Indeed, you are the same as I, De Farnese. That emotion. Do you know what people call that pleasure?”
“No, I do not know.”
Miss Farnese shook her head.
“Please tell me, lord. Enlighten this ignorant young lady. What this eerily pleasant feeling is called. What does this young lady call this joy that feels like it’s oozing from this young lady’s heart and enveloping her chest?”
“Some people call it possessive instinct. Other people refer to it as a will to control. And slightly more intelligent individuals refer to it as the process of satisfying one’s own superiority. However, if I were to say it in my language, then it would be much more intuitive and is even a single word at that.”
“What would that be?”
I stroked her cheek.
Laura De Farnese’s expression became dazed as if she was struck by lightning.
“That is so. Authority, my companion. As it is the driving force behind the eternal bloodshed in our world, it is also my personal reason to keep living this damn life of mine.”
“Authority. Is your lordship living your life in order to enjoy authority to its fullest?”
If this was Lapis Lazuli, then she would have never asked this sort of question in the first place.
Because it was such a self-evident fact.
“Think about it, De Farnese. The smell of blood is rancid. The smell of internal organs is so disgusting that it makes you want to vomit. But despite all that, have you truly never considered why people still indulged in endless murder and slaughter? It is because the sweetness of authority is so blissful that it overwhelms the vile stench of blood.”
“Aah. Of course. A person who has never had a proper taste of this particular delicacy are unable to understand. They truly cannot fathom it. Just like you, Farnese, who did not know of this feeling for the 16 years of your life……”
Laura De Farnese was a love-child.
She had spent nearly her entire life confined in her room.
The place this girl escaped to within her abuse and captivity was the library.
She had protected her own ego by exiling herself into the world of books.
The universe inside the books was soon her own universe.
In that process, the method of making facial expressions, the instinct of focusing one’s eyes, and even the technique of raising and lowering one’s voice, she had forgotten everything.
…… From a third person perspective, she was nothing more than a person who had failed tremendously in adjusting to the world.
In her perspective, it was the complete opposite, as all of her effort and sacrifice had gone into adjusting to her own world.
Laura De Farnese’s infatuation with history was not a coincidence either. The inner desires she had, the impulse that should be simply referred to as her instinct, was reflected after being ‘distorted once’.
Because every existing historical event was a history of authority.
Until now, Miss Farnese had lived her life unaware of what kind of person she originally was, and what sort of blood flowed through her veins.
“Do you not desire for more?”
The role I was given for this girl was already determined.
A devil tempting a pure maiden.
“Do you not desire more for what you’ve already tasted once? To once again control people, put people to death. Do you not desire to feel as if you are omnipotent?”
“You are a slave. But I will tell you what kind of slave you shall become from this point on. It is not something like a sex slave. Never would that be so. If you were to become a sex slave then you will have no other choice but to be chained down by me. De Farnese. You can only become a slave to authority.”
I passed my hand over Miss Farnese’s mouth.
Brushing the tips of my fingers over her soft lips.
“Any other type of slave will bind you down, but a slave to authority is different. Authority will set you free. If you wish to become the master of authority then the only path you can take is to become a slave of authority first! This is the land that freedom lives and breathes. Therefore, this is a kingdom where the slaves soon become the master, and masters become the slaves.”
I had presented a proper milestone to my still young junior.
Similar to the time that I had kindly taught this to my younger step-siblings.
…… Unfortunately, my siblings were not the same as me.
Regardless, I was certain that this girl in front of me was going to walk the same path which I had walked and was still walking.
“…… Haa, aaah.”
Miss Farnese let out a breath.
It was a breath that contained the warmth of her heart.
“Lord. This young lady…… has never had her chest pound as much as this moment. This is strange. This young lady can much too clearly feel the truth in your lordship’s words. My heart keeps beating……”
She was unable to show emotions well on her face.
But it did not matter. Her heated breaths were more proof than anything else of her sincerity.
One’s expression was minor, anyway. Was Lapis Lazuli not always expressionless, and yet was more taken in by the desire for power than anyone else? Authority had leaped over emotions long ago, and was much too deep to express with one’s face.
“Do you feel like you are alive?”
“Yes, lord. This young lady feels alive……”
“Inscribe into your memory that you are the type of human who can only feel life from this. If you ever feel like things are going wrong, then look back at what kind of human you are. If you do not forget your root, then you will never stray from your path……”
It was at the moment I was about to give her my last advice.
Someone’s voice played in my head abruptly.
Piece by piece, like the sound that resonated whenever a raindrop fell into water, each memory was quietly rippled by a voice.
‘That is not the problem.’
‘The real problem is something else.’
‘Does your highness not know?’
The wavelength spread out like a circle and slowly drifted away.
Eventually, different parts of my consciousness responded to it.
It was not only the voice, but her face, the gaze of her eyes, and the dynamics of each and every one of her words remained intact and played.
‘It is not a debate. It is a simple test.’
‘…… Lord Dantalian.’
How could this be.
My mouth opened and my lips twitched.
My entire body was engulfed by currents because of the shock.
‘It seems your highness still does not know what kind of person this one is.’
‘…… This one is disappointed.’
‘Please etch this moment into your highness’ brain.’
‘Yes, your highness. Please speak.’
‘You are a devilish woman.’
‘Until now, what did your highness consider this one to be?’
—Everything, became clear.
I became aware as to why Lapis Lazuli was angered and disappointed by me.
And I could only be appalled by the fact that I had figured this out so late. Are you telling me that I was a fool? Even though the answer was right before me, I couldn’t see it until now.
Oh my lord, good God, mother, father, my siblings, chicken hamburger, from Allah to Buddha.
I was an imbecile.
I was a driveling idiot and a mental bastard.
Now I was able to understand why Lapis Lazuli had behaved so unruly for such a lengthy period of time. It was obvious to have done so. It was obvious there was no other choice but to have done so. If Lapis Lazuli had behaved like I did, then I too would have been enraged!
I was crazy.
Why exactly have I stayed alive and not commit suicide? How would I possibly live in this world with such a substandard brain. It would only be appropriate to bite my tongue and kill myself. A 6-year-old child would probably be more intelligent than I was.
My senses quickly returned by Miss Farnese’s call.
She was staring vacantly at me.
“Are you all right? Your lordship had stopped talking all of a sudden and started to tremble. If perhaps, your lordship desires to use the bathroom, then do not mind this young lady and go.”
Miss Farnese placed both of her hands on her chest.
It was over her heart.
“The words your lordship wish to convey to this young lady, has properly reached all the way here. In a small but distinct form.…… This young lady won’t ever forget your lordship’s words till the day she dies.”
[Your devilish eloquence has captivated the other party!]
[Laura De Farnese’s affection went up by 24!]
With startled eyes, I looked at her.
Honestly receiving my gaze— Laura De Farnese beamed brightly.
“That’s why, it’s fine to go and come back.”
Although it was still a clumsy imitation of a smile, her feelings were properly contained within it.
It was the first time since she was born that she had smiled on her own volition.
“Do not worry about the battle. The tests are over. Verifying which aspect of which art of war manual is correct, is complete. Now all this young lady has to do is simply apply this knowledge accordingly.”
I slowly stood up.
Even after lifting myself up, I walked back and forth in my spot for a while. What I planned to do from now on was sorted out in my head. Miss Farnese was looking at me as if I was strange, but I was not concerned.
Since the contemplation was long, the decision was firm.
“I’ll be right back.”
In the end, I was not someone with an indecisive and hesitant personality. By nature, I despised that kind of behavior. Striking while the iron is hot had the best taste.
“Mm. It seems your lordship has the tendency to hold it in till the very end before using the bathroom. Take your time—.”
I could not hear the rest of what Miss Farnese had said. I was already making a mad dash back to my Demon Lord castle. Since our military headquarters was set up outside, I had to run for a fair amount of time before reaching the castle.
I wonder how much I had run. It was clear that I ran long enough that it would be considered excessive for the pitiful stamina of a shut-in. Honestly, it would have been more convenient if I had asked one of the witches from the Berbere Sisters to give me a lift, but I had realized this fact later on. To be exact, I had realized this fact after I arrived in front of Lapis Lazuli’s office in my castle.
I slammed open the door.
Thankfully, Lapis Lazuli was in her office. Except, the timing wasn’t that great. In truth, it was really bad. Lapis Lazuli was half nude and changing her black stockings. No, if anything, wasn’t this a good timing? I’m not sure.
Lapis Lazuli looked this way and let out a small sigh.
“Your highness. Has this one not informed your highness many times before to knock on the door before entering this one’s room?”
“Wait. Listen to what I have to say from there.”
I took a deep breath.
Because I had run so recklessly, my chest was burning more than necessary. I wheezed roughly. A lot of time was needed before my breathing settled down. This was why I hated intensive exercise. It stole one’s composure. I was always cool-headed and calm.
“……Surely, did your highness run all the way here? This is surprising. Until now, this one had always assumed that your highness only knew how to walk and lie down and no other body movements.”
“Listen carefully, Lala.”
I straightened my back.
And using both my hands, I utilized all kinds of gestures.
“What we need right now is dialogue. The need for us to reach mutual understanding through complex and delicate, but essential, dialogue is urgent. This is a very grave political matter, as well as it is a core issue more important than anythin