Chapter 5 The Freed White Wolves
Translator: MythosIXEditor: Skythewood, Darkdhaos, Gaelas
The brown door of ‘Atlas’ room was opened.
The one who had pointed at Regis was Altina, who had changed.
She wore her usual clothes that emphasised ease of movement, and brought along Grand Tonnerre Quatre.
Because of the way she acted and dressed, the people of the Empire used to call her ‘the Arrow-sparrow princess’.
However, it seemed that no one ever called her that now.
Other than Altina, Eddie was the only one that used his plain military uniform as ceremonial clothes.
The difference between Eddie and Altina was that he was carrying Defendre Sept.
Standing beside Altina was Auguste who was still in his ceremonial clothes-- Of course, it was actually Felicia.
Although Regis’ military uniform was in the room, but… …
Regis took a watch out and checked it.
“Looks like there’s no time to change.”
“Still, you should at least wash your face.”
Altina took her handkerchief out and wiped Regis’ face.
Although Altina sounded calm, she did not hold back. Moreover, her eyes were terrifying.
This was how she wiped Regis’ cheek strongly.
“What? So you don’t want to clean this off?”
“No, it’s not painful at all, please continue.”
After all this, the mark left by Eleanor was finally wiped off.
Altina who had an unhappy face all this time stared at Regis.
“Regis, do you like girls that are older than you?”
“... … What are you saying? I never once considered such things before.”
“But, what about the girls in stories? Regis, you like the older type, right?”
“Eh?! You can’t really say that; in Count Rudsel’s work ‘Messenger from the Stars’, it was a "ground-breaking and fantastic misty heroine”
"Is Misty her name?"
“No, it’s a creature made of mist. Do not mind the small details like the race difference, Groys, the protagonist, is a tortoise.”
“At the least the characters should be human.”
“Then, after renting a room in the capital, the protagonist found that a female ghost decided to make the room her own. That ghost used pankration to break the protagonist’s arm.”
“In my opinion, ghosts aren’t human.”
They chatted happily as they drew topics from books.
However, there was no more time for such leisure.
Regis and the rest moved deeper into of the room.
Eddie lowered his head and said.
“That, Regis, is it really fine even if we don’t escape?”
Not knowing when, Eddie began to speak to Regis like a friend. Eddie was not only older than Regis, he was also a duke. By right, he should be speaking to Regis in a loftier manner.
No matter what, it was normal for Regis to feel troubled because of this.
The plan has been proceeding smoothly. Now, Auguste has been liberated from the political struggle. On the other hand, Altina has gained most of the nobles’ support.
“... Normally, it’s fine to exit from the front gate. However, due to the incident earlier, it’s better to be cautious- let’s not exit from the front.”
Auguste— To be accurate, Felicia- cast her eyes downward.
“About that, seems like I overdid it.”
“...... That’s also normal. No matter what, it’s impossible to predict the development of an event that much, we can only come up with the best answer. For things to go according to our prediction is something that can only be achieved with magic… However, we also cannot just stand aside and let things develop… Til the very end, what we can do is to adapt to the situation, it’s the same right now…”
Noises could be heard from the corridor.
Those were the sounds of people running in their armour.
Hearing this familiar sound, both Altina and Eddie stiffened.
“Wearing heavy armour in the palace?”
“Hey! Could it be that they are here to arrest us?!”
“...I’m not sure either… Do you want me to ask them?”
Eddie shook his head at Regis' question.
“Then let’s not do that, instead we should focus on escaping first. We could make an excuse for Latreille like 'we went back because of a stomach problem'.”
Altina made a wry smile after hearing this.
“Eddie, you always use having a stomachache when you are making excuses.”
“It’s easier to be exposed if I said I had a cold.”
“Ah, I see. Rather, I feel that getting deceived by such an excuse will surprise me more.”
Aware of his past mistakes, Eddie began to reflect. At the same time, Regis pushed the curtain aside and opened the windows.
The wind blew in.
The sun was slowly setting in the west.
Although it was still clear, black clouds quickly sweeping over the sky.
It might rain tonight.
“...... It should be possible to go the courtyard directly from here. I have already made arrangements to join our comrades.”
Felicia slowly moved closer to Regis and brought her face close.
Their shoulders touched.
As she was wearing a male uniform, the gold trinkets made a sound.
Regis slowly moved away while Felicia slowly closed in.
It resulted in Felicia’s chest touching Regis’ body.
Although Felicia was in man's clothing, upon closer inspection, she was actually a beauty.
They were obviously siblings, yet Altina was totally different from her.
Altina was healthy and full of vitality. On the other hand, Felicia was like a lake deep in the forest, like a flower blooming in the plateau, or like piled up snow- something fleeting that would likely disappear.
Felicia looked out of the window and said hesitantly:
“J, jump down… f, from here?”
Years ago, there was a popular book in the palace titled “The Lost Pearl Necklace is in my Bag”, the author was Florien Jean du Weiyaller.
There was a scene in which the princess jumped down to the courtyard from the ‘Atlas Room’.
Although the room was on the third floor, the height was the same as a normal building, which was about 30 Co (13 m) high.
——Master Florien~ That’s impossible?!?!
I suppose that in the novel, the princess had a foothold like a footrest below the window. However, the situation right now is that there is a narrow foothold that not even a mouse could step on. Rather than saying it's a foothold, it’s better to describe it as art carved on the wall.
The slight protrusion from the wall seemed impossible to climb.
There were no portrayals of the princess slowly climbing down a pillar or digging through the wall with sheer force in the book.
“What’s going on… Was I not thorough enough in my investigation?... Or is it that the popular book did not conduct any research about this place…”
Altina who heard this also looked down.
“Eh? What, is everything that was written down fake?”
“N, no, there’s no lies. Accurate reporting isn’t everything, rather, isn’t conjecture the first step to entertainment?”
“Why are you crying? Although I’m not very clear, but we just need to jump down, right?”
“... … That was my plan.”
“The faster we go down, the better?”
Eddie then opened all the windows.
The strong wind blew in.
“I’m going ahead.”
Beside Regis, Eddie held the waist of Felicia who was looking down.
“Felicia… Hold tight, don’t speak and close your eyes.”
“O, okay, thanks.”
“There’s no need to thank me.”
Eddie used his hand to lightly support Felicia’s legs and waist, carrying her in a princess-style.
Then he jumped down from the third floor with a girl as if he was using the stairs to go down.
Regis stared at the pair who had landed safely after jumping out of the window.
Even if Eddie was fine with it, this should be shocking to Felicia.
However, Eddie kicked the wall about 15Co (7m) above the ground.
What sorcery is this? They were falling at a very slow speed.
Thus, they successfully landed.
Felicia who had just descended was full of spirit and waved back at Regis.
Regis began doubting his own eyes.
“... What just happened?”
“He applied a little strength on the foothold slightly below the window, did you not see it?”
“... By foothold, you mean that slightly protruding carving??”
“Yes, if it has more than one finger's length of space, you can use it to reduce the landing speed.”
“To do that during the fast journey down? It’s impossible for me… Seems like I won’t be descending from here. Altina, although it was short, I won’t ever forget the time I spent with you… Ahh, if I‘m killed instantly, then I can’t say that I won’t forget, it’s just a few days after all… Eh, that, wait, Altina~? What are you doing?...”
Altina removed the Grand Tonnerre Quatre from her back, kept it in the scabbard and tossed it out of the window.
A loud sound could be heard from the ground.
“Okay, now it’s your turn, Regis.”
“W,what are you planning to do? I can’t, I'm absolutely unable to go down, no~”
Altina carried Regis from his waist, using both of her hands to support his back and knees.
“Don’t speak and close your eyes… Ah, that… that, hugging me tightly is fine.”
Altina also princess-carried Regis and jumped out of the window.
Huu~~, The sound of the wind rushing by reached his ears.
It felt as if he was floating.
Soon, they reached the ground.
Regis experienced two impacts.
The last impact felt as if all the air in Regis’ lung was forced out, causing him to roll around the ground.
“... … …”
“Regis, did something happen? Is it painful?”
“... I thought that I was going to die.”
“You're alive, right?”
“...... To think that you guys dare to do such outrageous things.”
Altina, who had recovered from the fall, went and picked up her sword.
“I’m different from Eddie, not using the foothold is fine for me… Are we not discussing something urgent?”
“... Ahh, I knew this would happen.”
This was all because I thought of Altina as a normal person.
Eddie stretched his hand out to help Regis up.
Regis’ knee was shaking, not due to the impact, but due to the terror of his near-death experience.
“... Haah… …Let's hurry up to the courtyard.”
“This way! Let me lead the way, I’m very familiar with the area here.”
The temporary fence that was used as a blockade was smashed by Altina’s sword.
After reaching the courtyard, three horses were prepared there.
Regis and the rest reunited with Eric there.
“It’s great that you are fine.”
Regis nodded towards Eric who expressed his peace of mind.
“I bet that they did not think that we would jump down from the third floor, which is why we are not discovered. We will be too eye-catching if we walked through the streets.”
“The journey begins here.”
Altina smiled after seeing one of the horses in the line.
“Ara, isn’t this child the one that Latreille gave me? I thought I wouldn’t see it again.”
It was a maroon-coloured military horse, with a golden tail and hind legs that were white at the front.
“I thought so too, but I managed to bring it along with the help of the people working in the stables.”
“Is that so, that’s great!”
When Altina’s subordinate requested three horses, someone must have comprehended the dire situation they were in.
From another perspective, Regis worried that the enemy deliberately did not control the movements of the horses.
Before leaving the capital, everything seemed smooth.
“... Let’s hurry and set off.”
Eric spoke hesitantly.
“Actually, I did not manage to loan a light carriage. Instead, there’s only the slow luxurious carriage.”
“... I see, that’s inevitable anyway. I’m not good at horse riding either.”
Seems like we are going to part here.
I hope I don’t need to escape on foot.
Perhaps I should hide at my friends’ house while Altina and the rest escape.
At this point, Felicia also lowered her head and said.
“Actually… I do not know how to ride a horse.”
“What, it’s just that? Ride with me then.”
Eddie supported Felicia's waist and helped her onto the horse.
“The horse will kick randomly if you keep moving around.”
Felicia swallowed her cries.
That was how Felicia got on top of the horse while Eddie sat behind her.
Even though it was carrying two people, the horse did not move about as it was trained.
“Th~ere there, what a good child. Be it the horse or Felicia, you need to behave.”
Regis suddenly felt something bad was going to happen.
He felt someone grabbing his belt.
“W, wait, Altina… C, calm down. Even if both of us are light, there’s still the sword.”
“Don’t say such foolish words, Regis. If I have to leave one behind, I will absolutely choose the sword.
“... … Anything but that.”
“Then stop being so long-winded, learn from Felicia and just sit still quietly.”
“... … I,I understand.”
Regis gradually gave in.
With the help of Altina, Regis climbed onto the maroon horse.
He did not fall off and sat steadily.
If it was the past Regis, he would have shouted while climbing onto the horse back. Any horse would hate that and attempt to shake him off.
“... Eh, I did not fall off?”
“Could it be that you always ride a horse with a dreadful mood?”
“Because falling down will be painful.”
“It feels good while riding, hence it’s normal to be painful after falling down.”
“... Because I have never ridden one before, I’m wasn't aware of that.”
“In that case, you should try to enjoy it now.”
The arrangement was Regis and Altina, Felicia and Eddie, and Eric alone.
Altina pulled the reins to change the direction the horse was going. Ah, no, it’s accurate to say that the horse changed to the correct direction himself.
“What a smart horse.”
“It seems that way.”
“Have you not named him?”
“...... I will name him once we returned safely.”
Regis and the rest walked along the palace’s wall.
Even if it was just the courtyard, it was still big. Altina increased the speed of the horse, Eddie and Eric also did the same and maintained the same speed as Altina.
Be it the palace’s wall, railings, lawns, flowerbeds or even the patrolling soldiers, the surrounding scenery flew past them.
Felicia’s expression was as if she was about to cry.
Regis who had a similar expression looked at Felicia.
Although the situation now did not allow them to be slow, the speed was simply terrifying.
At this moment, Eddie moved his horse closer to Altina's.
“Ahh, that reminds me, Regis~”
“...W, wha, what!?”
Not only was it shaky on top of the horse, the clatter of hoofs was loud, hence Eddie shouted.
“Clarisse and Lilim, they were escorted out by Abidal Evra.”
As Regis was not used to horse riding, he could not speak properly.
It’s great that the both of them escaped.
Regis told Abidal Evra and the rest to leave the capital first, in his plan, 8 riders were not going to make a difference.
Avoiding any pointless sacrifice.
If Altina and Felicia escape now, it will be our victory.
There’s no need for us to exit via the front gate.
Regis was prepared to exit from the gate which was used by the supply carriages.
“There are knights ahead!”
In the path towards the gate, there were about 10 knights holding spears.
Green armour covered their body.
Regis did not have the time to think about other things.
Regis turned his head to Altina and said.
“...... They are imperial guards! I do not know how they got the information about us, but it will be troublesome if we are stopped here.”
“Are they strong?”
“Although they are soldiers, they did not participate in any war, they are typical children sent out to train in the army and hail from good families.”
“Try not to be too harsh on them… …”
“So we can easily charge them!”
“Keep your head down!”
When Altina shouted, Regis already stuck his body to the horse as close as possible. Altina was leaning on Regis’ back.
“Maintain it like this, charge~~~~~~!”
She commanded with the aura of commanding an army of thousands.
But in reality, it were only Eddie and Eric.
The imperial guards raised their spears in a panic. In addition, they were supposed to prevent people from entering, hence their direction was facing the gate...
“S, stop right there!”
They seemed to receive a command to stop all personnel from passing through.
Altina turned a deaf ear to it.
They did not slow down at all.
“I am the 4th princess of Belgaria, Marie Quatre Argentina de Belgaria. Listen to my command, withdraw now and you will be pardoned!”
A group of the knights retreated.
However, there was still 5 knights pointing spears at their direction.
Altina released the reins and used her legs to stabilise herself while using Grand Tonnerre Quatre.
The sword and spears clashed.
The line of spears was shattered just like that.
Altina’s idea of smashing their spears and breaking through is reckless. This horse also has a problem for it to act in concert with her, was what Regis thought
This horse was only ridden by Altina twice and was able to understand its owner’s personality.
“How are you able to understand Altina’s thoughts?”
“Ara, I talked to him every morning.”
“So that’s the reason!!!!”
Perhaps that was the reason why the people working in the stable were so willing to help.
However, if it was me, forget three days, not even with three years would I be able to make the horse rush into the spears, was what Regis thought.
Eddie who followed them shouted.
“What a convenient sword!”
“Do you want to try switching it?”
“Haa~! I feel that I won’t be able to lift it, so forget it.”
This isn’t something worth laughing about, just carrying this is already tough for normal people.
If not for the fact that it was a military horse, the horse would not be able to move with the weight of two people and the sword combined.
Precisely because of that, the sword’s destructive power was like a lightning strike.
Just waving the sword was enough to shatter the spears was even strong enough to cause the heavy cavalry to step back.
Although the imperial guards were often ridiculed as being weak and for ceremonial uses, Altina’s aura and the sword’s strength were not normal either.
After the gate was breached, Regis pointed in a direction.
“Just continue to head towards the north!”
“... Most likely there will be pursuers, those real knights.”
If possible, please give me a pleasant surprise, was what Regis prayed for. However, that would never come true as those thoughts were not feasible.
Coming out of the capital, they reached outside——
They were close to the hills.
From the back came clattering sounds, and a dust cloud was drawing near them.
Regis turned his head to confirm the pursuers.
When their white armours received the light of the setting sun, they shone with a golden and deep red colour.
“... Although there are no banners, but, they… should be the Knights of the White Wolves!”
They were the core of the first army.
“They were the ones that welcomed us, to think that they are the ones sending us off.”
“Do you want to greet them?”
“Yeah, they will catch up with us soon anyway.”
Normally, the speed of the heavy cavalry was not fast enough to chase after Regis and the rest. However, as 2 horses were carrying the weight of two people on their side, the heavy cavalry gradually caught up.
Regis was looking at the map inside his brain.
He then pointed in a direction and told Altina to move towards that way.
“Let’s go towards that small hill first.”
“Is there anything there?”
“If we want to survive, that is the only way out.”
“Regis, the horse is about to hit its limit.
“No matter what, we must reach the small hill.”
“If we push too hard, we won’t be able to escape later on!”
Regis and the rest head towards the normal looking hill. In the pursuers’ perspective, it seemed like they were running around randomly as if they were avoiding rain.
There is a small hill near the capital, on top was a vast plain with nothing that can be used to obstruct vision.
Because this area was a wetland, the horses' hooves were covered in mud.
The speed of the horses would be reduced over here.
Their pursuers hadn't used bows or guns against them, so they were likely ordered to bring them back unharmed.
Latreille’s aide wanted to make up for his losses, so he planned to capture Auguste and reveal his real identity.
Following that, they would have the rights to nullify her recommendation of Altina being a candidate, hence eliminating the obstacles for Latreille to inherit the throne.
Clinging to the horse, a man muttered.
“... Prince Latreille, you are a military man. Until the end, you can only rely on the soldiers. Because of your over-reliance, you never would have guessed this would happen, hence you did not make any preparations, is it not such? No, could it be that the one leading the soldiers this time is Germain?”
The smell of oil gradually intensified.
Dragging through the mud, the horses finally went past the wetlands and reached the summit.
The sky was gradually getting darker.
“... I would definitely book a carriage if there were still time.”
“Isn’t it your fault for not considering that in your plans?”
“That is so, however the plan is about to succeed.”
The horse which carried Felicia and Eddie, as well as Eric’s horse also reached the summit. The horses' breathing was very erratic.
The Knights of the White Wolves also reached the wetland and were heading towards the summit. If projectile weapons were allowed, the distance now was close enough to shoot.
At the front was the captain of the knights.
The white armour shined under the radiance of the dusk.
“My name is Constant Felix de Bartoli!! Prince Auguste, please return to the capital with me.”
The one who rejected them was Eddie.
In fact, they did not even want to hear what the opposite side had to say.
Constant, the captain of the Knights of the White Wolves drew his sword, which looked yellowish under the light of the setting sun.
“In that case, I can only do the best of my capability to bring you back.”
The knights behind him did the same and drew their swords.
The enemies numbered about 1000.
They had crossed three hills ever since setting off from the capital, yet not a single one dropped out. As expected of the strongest unit in the Imperial Army.
Altina held up her sword.
“Despite knowing who I am, you still dare to say those kinds of words? Do you still consider yourself a knight of Belgaria? Or are you just Latreille’s private army?”
“For the Empire! We need to bring Prince Auguste back to the capital! That, I firmly believe!”
“Then you should carry out your faith! I will not yield no matter my opponent!”
It had reached to the point where words were no longer required, Constant ordered the attack.
The knights who were still in the muddy area charged.
It was close enough to see the pupils of the closest knights; it was too late to turn back and escape now.
Altina brandished the large sword of hers.
That was the signal to attack.
Roaring sounds could be heard on the hill behind them.
Knights wearing black armour appeared.
This ambush reduced the aggression of the enemy.
Constant could not believe it and moaned.
“...... Those're Jerome’s Black Knights!? Could they be decoys?... Still, with just a mere 500 knights from the countryside? These elite troops of mine will not lose!! Attack~~! Do not let Prince Auguste escape!!”
The enemy once again went on the offensive.
At this point, the Black Knights launched fire arrows, their target was the center of the Knights of the White Wolves.
Using fire arrows on cavalry was not effective at all.
However, the Knights of the White Wolves finally recognized the stench around them.
It was too late to shout that out now.
This vast wetland was filled with the cheap plants for oil extraction in the empire.
The result would be the same no matter what action was to be taken.
Oil is a combustible liquid and the area here was filled with barrels of such oil.
A pillar of fire rose into the sky.
Screams and cries could be heard.
Under the setting sun, the wetland contained a flaming lotus flower.
The figures of the cavalry were hard to see in the red flames.
Some allowed their horses to run freely, others fell off their mounts and escaped from the hellfire.
However, what awaited the knights who lost their momentum was the spears of the Black Knights.
The White Wolves captain Constant couldn't breathe.
His own unit was falling in the flames.
These elites among elites, these warriors that were trained for many years had become charcoal just like this.
Constant let out an angry and desperate cry.
Before him was someone dressed in black.
“Hmph, how foolish… If you could issue orders other than ‘attack’, your units wouldn't be burning like fuel.”
“How despicable, Black Knight Jerome! You have lost sight of the chivalric path and turned into a demon!!”
“Huhu, this demon-like method is what our strategist excels in. Moreover, had you notice the oil and halted your advances, you should understand that you shouldn't be moving forward, useless captain.”
Jerome who was on a horse raised his 'Le Cheveux D'une Dame'.
Constant also drew his longsword.
“It must be an error that a youngster like you is flattered as a hero! Your so-called achievements must be due to the soldiers of the Germania Federation being too weak.”
“Kukuku… … Although you guys were hailed as the strongest unit in the empire… But what results have you gotten for the past three years? In the end, you guys are just clowns who are waving that title around.”
“How dare you ridicule the First Army!”
“Kuhahaha! That prideful army, because of your lack of intelligence, has already burned to a crisp.”
With bloodshot eyes, Constant charged towards Jerome with his sword.
This was a sharp thrust.
Jerome used his spear and blocked it, allowing the horse to retreat to a distance suitable for a charge.
The spear was longer compared to a sword.
In a moment, Jerome thrust out 3 to 4 times.
This was the technique he used to kill the enemy cavalry during the Siege of Volk Fortress.
Constant let go of the reins, holding a sword in each hand, and blocked the attacks.
“Ho~ I thought that you would have lost your strength from holding wineglasses in the palace all day.”
“I don't drink!
“Pardon me for my mistake. Could it be that's the reason why your brain is empty?”
“Die, you foolish person!”
Constant used his left hand to block the spear while the right hand thrust at Jerome’s heart.
“You are looking down on me if you think that using a single hand can ward off my attack.”
The spear that was deflected suddenly came in again at the same speed as before.
However, the strength applied was different.
The first attack was to cause a crack on Constant’s sword, the second was to break it.
By the third attack, there would no longer be a sword in his left hand to block with.
The white steel armour was punctured.
“That reminds me, among the 3 knight orders in the first army, what is your ranking? Don’t tell me you are the strongest, if that is so, I’m too disappointed… Eh?”
The White Wolves captain died just like this and could not answer his question.
Jerome removed the spear and Constant fell down from the horse.
“Tch, what an ugly sight… If you tighten your grip with your thighs at the last moment, you would not have fallen off the horse even when you die. To believe that the enemy nation’s soldiers are weak, you are just another fool that loves horses.”
If Regis was not on the horse, Altina would have entered the battle.
Altina had been watching the fight between Jerome and Constant.
“That guy sure is strong.”
“Sir Jerome is strong indeed… … Well, my eyes couldn’t keep up with their movement.”
“Did he hold back during our duel?”
“The choice of weapon is also a factor in a duel… Jerome will be stronger than you if he is using a spear and is mounted.”
“Compared to Latreille, which side do you think is stronger?”
“... That is also something I want to know.”
Eddie replied in her stead.
“Jerome should be stronger when using the spear? Latreille will win if it is limited to sword. The spear is strong in the battlefield after all. If it's in a confined space and close combat starts, under those special circumstances the outcome would be different.”
“Argentina’s sword is special, hence it is not a good reference.”
Eddie shrugged his shoulders and changed the subject.
“——That reminds me, was using fire part of your strategy?”
“Yes, because I felt that the chances of the First Army chasing us was quite high.”
“You even knew about that?”
“Based on the situation at the banquet, Latreille would have considered something like this. If we change the way we think, after the clash, the chances of him losing credibility is high. Be it emotionally or logically, considering the position of the commander-in-chief, Latreille will resort to using the First Army… Isn’t that to be expected?”
“Ah, is that so?”
Eddie tilted his head and said.
Ever since the beginning, Felicia was unaware of how the military works.
Altina shrugged her shoulder.
“Hearing it from you, it is easy to understand. However, if I were to think alone, I won’t think that far ahead. After setting off, who knows what will happen. The only thing I could possibly do would be to be more careful.”
“... Is that so?”
“Was it really necessary to attack with fire?”
“Regarding this, think about it, the knight orders are the core of the First Army, hence they are quite prideful. Therefore, the chances of them wanting a fair fight is high, hence using fire on them just come naturally to me.”
“Looks like what Jerome said was true, how despicable.”
“I believe that using 1000 knights to chase after 5 people on 3 horses isn’t noble either.”
“... Now, Altina, please sit behind a little.”
“I won’t be able to see the enemy that way.”
“The situation has already concluded, we should be retreating too. There should be messenger soldiers behind them, so the army will also withdraw.
“Just withdraw like this?”
“Ahh, there is no longer a need to fight, we are just pushing it if we continue to do so… They should be returning to the capital.”