“Now then, we should prepare here too…”
I throw a light meal into my mouth as I observe the battlefield with my binoculars. The knights of Taizu alone really are on a level of their own. The army of monsters is being sliced apart like paper. I got a glimpse of Cara-jii running at the frontlines and it could be summed up with one word: reliable.
But the soldiers of Gahne have really good coordination. Long spears and bows are their main weapons, avoiding direct confrontation, acting in such a manner that doesn’t get in the way of the knights of Taizu, and facing enemies that have been separated from their lines.
They would surround a monster that has gotten through the arrows and spears with teams of several people; one would distract it, one would break their posture, and the remaining would finish it. They understand that they are weak individually and have properly trained their teamwork.
Compared to that, the army of monsters have the energy, but there’s not much teamwork, and I don’t see much mastery in their weapons either. We should be able to win by a landslide as it is, but…
“Mister Friend, what did Ani-sama say?” (Mix)
“There will most likely be movement soon. He is probably planning on pulling some kind of technique here.”
The ones together with me are Ilias, Wolfe, and Mix. Purple and Dyuvuleori are a bit further away, waiting for our orders. Ekdoik, Blue, Rakura, Haakudoku, and Girista are doing their best in Mejis.
“He is aiming for the moment when all found units have begun battle, isn’t he?” (Mix)
“He knew about the power of Gold, yet spread out his soldiers, and made them clash at the same time. It should be better to assume that this is not a tactic but more like something else. It is better to assume he is going to use this ‘Strife’ power of his…”
It is a situation where the human side is at an extremely big advantage. It would be hard to overturn this with conventional means. Purple had a special equipment called the Pawn Mask, but when I asked whether the Scarlet Demon Lord had such a special artifact like that, there was no Demon Lord that nodded.
In that case, he will most likely be using a transcendental power given by Yugura like the time with Blue.
“Mister Friend, you don’t look too good.” (Mix)
“This is my first time watching a war after all. It hits different in a lot of ways compared to the bandit subjugation.”
The knights still showed some leeway in the bandit subjugation. But this time it is a field where both sides are trying to murder each other, and both enemies and allies are fighting for dear life.
This might be close to a mass panic in a sense, but I am being influenced greatly by it. My pulse and temperature are a bit high. Her being worried about my complexion must mean that that’s the kind of face I have right now.
“It should be fine as long as food can go down his throat. More importantly, how are we going to move if something happens?” (Ilias)
“Keep watching. We might have a turn if Cara-jii and the others are pushed back though.”
“I see… Just watching despite my comrades fighting right in front of my eyes is a pretty vexing sensation.” (Ilias)
“Ilias…your duty right now is protecting Shishou!” (Wolfe)
“Right, Wolfe. I know what I should prioritize.” (Ilias)
Ilias and Wolfe being on standby by my side is a waste of battle resources. I honestly would want one of them to go out there and shine.
But due to the advice of Odyus, I would like to avoid moving Wolfe away from me. That said, throwing Ilias there would mean having her move outside of Marito’s plans. Getting complained by Marito afterwards even if I were to get the head of an enemy commander would be a bit…
“Ilias and Wolfe, I will have you move depending on the situation. I can’t separate from you though. Basically, I will be rushing into dangerous territory together with you. You will have to sharpen up real good when your turn comes, so look forward to it.”
“Meaning that I should protect you with everything I’ve got, right, Mister Friend?” (Mix)
“That’s right. I am more than 50% dead with a single arrow hitting me.”
“That’s an impressive degree of feebleness. You really should wear a chainmail at least…” (Mix)
“Just maintain the barrier.”
The armor that I wore in my kendo lessons in middle and high school at physical education, which was used to protect against bamboo swords, was that heavy. There’s no way I would be able to equip metal armor.
Mix and Ilias didn’t budge saying that I should still wear it, so I had them wear the very same armor they were recommending me to while they were in my body. The conclusion was that it would be better to have more mobility. Seeing someone being crushed by the weight of equipment to the point of immobility was fresh.
The decision of Marito was to have someone always maintaining a Taizu style barrier. Mix is the one carrying out that role. It can absorb a certain degree of impact. I would be able to come out unscathed even if hoodlums from Earth were to surround me. As for the threat in the isekai, it wouldn’t be much. I would say a poisonous fog would be effective.
The downside is that because of the mana used to maintain the barrier, Mix has to take regular breaks like a normal person. It is apparently impossible to pull off a feat like keeping a barrier for 3 days and 3 nights. I would like to rest when I can anyways, so there’s no issues.
If I had to point out any, it would be that Mix has to stay a few meters close to me all the time. There’s no toilets and baths when camping, so without toilet breaks in safe zones, I might take quite a bit of mental damage.
“…A flare has been shot from the backlines.” (Ilias)
I react to the voice of Ilias and direct my gaze at the backlines. The yellow flare and the magic light illuminating this were shot up. That’s one of the set signals: Enemies on the move, pursuing, preparing to retreat. Basically, it means to not go in too much and act in a way so that you can escape at any moment.
“Must be the order of Marito. Has Cara-jii noticed?”
“It is not only Cara-jii. The other knights are also paying attention to the flare. Their formation hasn’t changed, but they have begun being careful about going too deep.” (Ilias)
“It is impressive that you can tell from this distance. Well then, let’s go.”
I roll up the map and tidy up the luggage. I tried to carry it, but Mix took it away from me.
“Please save as much energy as possible. Even though the battle began not that long ago, you already have that complexion, so it will be pretty rough for you as it goes on.” (Mix)
“…Right. Sorry and thanks.”
It is light luggage, so I want to say there’s no issue, but I honestly feel like my energy is being drained from the tension just by being here. Let’s accept her gesture.
There’s no leeway to buckle at such an early stage. The Scarlet Demon Lord is moving in this fashion despite knowing the power of Gold, so there’s no doubt he would have no difficulties turning this situation around.
I just have to leave the strategizing to Marito. But the one that moves to enable the victory for Marito is me. I have to put my back into it.
“Melsastiwer, the situation.”
In the mountain range located at the Gahne Nether, at a location where it is possible to see the vast Nether and Gahne that’s connected to it far off, the Demon Lord-sama spoke to me. He has his eyes closed. He must be hearing the sounds of battle from the horizon with those ears of his.
I summarize the information of the harpies that were spread out high in the skies and were watching the battles. The Demon Lord-sama can order all monsters at the same time. But he can’t receive the information of each monster. Even if he could hear the voices of all monsters, lesser and intermediate monsters who have no intelligence would only sound like noise in his ears. Therefore, I summarize the information of each site through the harpy unit.
“Almost all troops have begun battle, but there’s around 2 who are still marching.” (Melsas)
“What about the division that began the battle first?” (Scarlet)
“Not looking good. All divisions have been met with ambushes and have been forced into disadvantageous situations. The exhaustion of the Kogagyos division that was the fastest to begin battle seems to be over 40%.” (Melsas)
I thought every single one of them was pathetic, but that was only at the beginning. All divisions have been met with traps and ambushes where they invaded. I don’t excel in military strategy, but there’s no way I wouldn’t notice how strange this situation is.
Our actions are clearly being read. The Demon Lord-sama left the decisions to each captain of the divisions, in other words, the thoughts of all captains had been…
“As expected of the Gold of Ruling. She can read it easily despite thoughts being this scattered, huh. No, with the level it has reached, I should consider this as humans also having someone outstanding on their side?” (Scarlet)
“What should we do? It is possible to order them at any moment. With the command of the Demon Lord-sama, this degree of adversity—” (Melsas)
“No need. This is not a battle where we clash wits. This is simply a slaughter between humans and inhumans. Thus, what I shall wield are not words, but the roar that will lead to the awakening of the will of strife sleeping within the blood of the beasts.” (Scarlet)
“Then…you are going to use it?” (Melsas)
I directed an order to the divisions that haven’t begun fighting yet using the harpies: ‘Engage in battle at once. It won’t be possible to await you further. What we will be following from here on is not the commanders, but the beast’.
The Demon Lord-sama raised the axe he was holding in his hand high in the sky, and spoke towards the world while maintaining his composed demeanor.
“—Beasts who have been born from mine mana, the time is ripe. The time to awake the instincts sleeping in the very depths of your body. Crunch the unnecessary wits, devour the wasteful rationality. Don’t treasure your own life; desire the lives of your enemies. Now, release everything with mine Strife!” (Scarlet)
“…That just now…”
A wave of mana suddenly swept the place. That thing that I normally wouldn’t be able to see…for some reason I managed to recognize it as having a crimson color.
The signal of His Majesty to act in a way so that we can withdraw at any moment; there’s no doubt this wave of mana is a precursor of the reason for that order.
I can tell clearly even with the dulled instincts of an old man…something bad is going to happen here. The sensation as if danger will attack from behind, just like the time when devils attacked Taizu.
My comrades also felt this. The knights fighting inside the fire didn’t chase too deeply and were readying to retreat. It is not just because everyone is old.
I avoid the wild attack of the monster and smash my hammer onto its face. It didn’t land that well, but I managed to break its cranium. It shouldn’t be conscious anymore.
I move back to avoid the retaliating blade. The one who retaliated was the kobold that should have had its cranium broken. The eyes in his hideously crushed bloody face had the fierceness of a beast peeking in them.
Was it simply too shallow, or does it have guts? Anyways, there’s no doubt it will be a threat as long as I don’t finish it properly.
I swing my hammer. It read my aim towards its head, so I added a hit to its open torso, and sent it flying to enemy lines.
“Too shallow again… No, it made it shallow, huh.”
There were no issues with my attack. The movements of the enemy changed. It moved its body to the front on both attacks just before they hit, and killed the momentum.
It gambled on the possibility of being saved against attacks that would spell instant death if they were to land directly, and diverted their landing points. A technique that can’t be achieved with normal nerves… No, can’t really call it a technique, huh.
That one wasn’t the only one acting strange. The eyes of all the other monsters have changed.
“That was a splendid battle, Boruveragtein. But this is as far as your onslaught goes.”
There’s a single one who hasn’t changed, huh. The monster I pecked as the captain was still normal. Its victorious face doesn’t count as a change.
“Are you referring to the mana just now? It seems like everyone has gotten spirited aside from you.” (Boru)
“This is the power of the Demon Lord-sama! The lesser monsters are not lesser anymore; the intermediate monsters are not intermediate anymore; the high rank monsters are not high ranked anymore. The advantage you thought you had will be overturned completely!”
They look like monsters with not that much of a brain, so it is most likely not an exaggeration. The reality is that the one that I didn’t manage to kill was an intermediate kobold. But those movements were comparable to those of a high rank one… Let’s probe him for something aside from his bad brain.
“Can’t believe it. Even if you tell me the rank of the monsters has increased all of a sudden, I don’t understand how it works…” (Boru)
“The power of the Demon Lord-sama awakens the instincts for strife in the monsters born from the Gahne Nether. It can draw out our power as beasts over our limits!”
“You look the same though.” (Boru)
“I am on a different level after all. The Unique Monsters that are the center of their species have received the power of the Demon Lord-sama from the very beginning. I normally would want to unleash my power, but I unfortunately have the duty to smash these guys onto you.”
Hmm, blabbering nonstop to an enemy… Looks like instincts can’t erase conceit. It helped us out, so let’s not mention it.
But if that’s true, this is a bit bad. Most of the low rank monsters were burned to death, but the intermediate and high ranks have endured it. The intermediate ones had their stamina taken away from the fire, but with how things are going, I doubt it will be that effective.
The high ranks have been strengthened even further, so we will just be at a disadvantage here. Yeah, this is enough of a reason to withdraw.
“Fumu, then…retreat!” (Boru)
The cavalry jumped over the monsters with that order and disappeared inside the fire. Truly exemplar retreat -aside from the fact that I am left behind since I don’t have a horse. Not a single one of them looked back. I will remember this.
“As if we will let you escape! Get them! Chase after them!”
The monsters who have lost reasoning chased after the cavalry and run into the fire. I doubt they will be able to catch up to horses even if their rank as monsters has increased though.
Now then, I could use my ring here and have monsters hinder them, but…will they be able to buy time until the cavalry manages to run towards the Gahne soldiers surrounding the village and are informed about the retreat…? Guess I shall buy some time here.
“I have to apologize to the ones that lived in this village… No, we burned this on the order of the Gahne King in the first place. Then there’s no need to mind it.” (Boru)
I sweep away the monsters that rushed towards me with my hammer, and create enough distance between me and my enemies. I then use magic and generate breathable air. I take a deep breath and put strength in my stomach, and then, spread my mana strengthening to the very limits. Gather as much mana as I can…and pour it into my hammer.
How many decades has it been…since I have swung with every bit of my power and crushed a mountain in order to stop a monster invasion?
“—! He is trying to pull something here! Stop him!”
“Too late. If you want to stop me, stop me yourself!” (Boru)
The moment I smashed my hammer onto the ground, I forcefully activated magic with the explosive mana. There’s a limit to what I can weave in an instant. But that’s enough. It is fine even if it is haphazard.
The condensed mana burrows deep into the split ground in one go and spreads as far and wide as possible. And then, raging magic activates, making its presence known.
The ground around protrudes to a ridiculous degree. It doesn’t matter whether it is left, right, up, or down. The ground clashing against each other exploded and created a chain reaction. And then, headed towards the easiest to escape location…the surface.
The jutted out ground is swallowed and bursts. What could be heard was the roar of the ground soaring into the skies and the screams of the monsters being blown away. And then, the sound of the rain of earth and rubble.
“Now…let’s escape, too.” (Boru)
The sound stopped, and after confirming that the rain of rubble had ceased, I ran off.
There were many monsters buried in the ground, but they had simply been blown away by the earth and were buried. If the intermediate monsters have evolved into high ones, only very few should have died. The casualties caused were negligible.
They will most likely pop out from the ground eventually. I do hear groaning here and there and see a number of arms popping out from the ground after all.
I smashed the heads of the monsters I could see in the way as I ran through the wasteland that can’t be called a village anymore.
Author: A simple explanation of Boru-jii’s technique.
Destroy the ground heavily through the strongest body strengthening he can muster, pour mana into the broken spots, and immediately activate the spell to protrude the ground. A technique that brings the ground into the air in one go.
The pure destructive power is low, but it is a big technique that has a wide area of effect and is difficult to avoid.