The Seventh Imperial Army
Editor: Skythewood, Darkdhaos
The next day.
Shortly after noon, the Seventh Imperial Army arrived at Rouen city.
Although the unit was filled with infantry and little cavalry, they were veterans who served in the eastern frontlines which saw action as intense as the northern frontlines.
The Seventh Imperial Army’s core was Duke Barguesonne’s private army. Excluding the mercenaries, half of it were regulars while the others were light infantry, militias conscripted from their territories
Whatever the case was, all of them were veterans, hence explaining the General aura they were emitting.
Beilschmidt Border Regiment’s camp was located the south of the city. The Seventh Imperial Army set their formation as if half surrounding them.
Seeing this situation, Altina frowned.
“What is that supposed to mean? Even though the north, east and west of the city are empty, they choose to come to the south?”
“Most likely, they want to intimidate us.”
Regis could not think of any other reasons.
In such situation, they should not be foolish enough to fight amongst themselves. Even the General of the Seventh Imperial Army knew that.
It was likely that this provocation was meaningless… That or the Seventh Imperial Army had their own plans. Whatever it was, the most important thing for them now was not to care about this.
However, Altina was unable to calm down.
“Do you want to protest against this?”
“It’s just a cheap provocation, there’s no need to react to it… If we aren’t careful, we might make a blunder and be labelled as overstepping our authority.”
“Ahh, not bad. That’s the way to go.”
“While I don’t know Lieutenant General Barguesonne, I got the feeling he is someone I do not wish to meet.”
“Ara, how rare for Regis not to know something.”
“About the nobles, while there are biographies about them, they cannot be used as a reference as they usually beautify the work.”
“They are just filled with praises and compliments anyway.”
“Well… According to all the legendary exploits of the nobles, we should have decimated the armies of the neighbouring countries three times over. But somehow, we are still at war with them..”
“What a stupid legend.”
While they were conversing, a horseman carrying the Seventh Imperial Army’s banner came over.
He was a messenger.
Soon, the heavy cavalryman reached the front of the Beilschmidt Border Regiment’s camp. From his impressive appearance, most likely he was not a normal messenger but an officer who was a noble.
Despite being an ally, soldiers from the regiment were filled with killing intent due to the pointless provocation by the Seventh Imperial Army.
The Seventh Imperial Army surrounded their unit as if they were the enemy.
As if not caring about this, the messenger dismounted and kneeled.
“Pardon me! A message from General Barguesonne!”
In terms of hierarchy, General Barguesonne had the right to issue orders due to his rank being higher than Altina. Even so, they should first link up as it was basic etiquette.
Altina had a terrifying look.
Even though Regis did not like to stand out, he walked forwards as it would be troublesome if a problem arise here.
“Pray convey the orders.”
“A war council will convene soon, please make haste to the Seventh Army’s headquarters.”
“As ordered, we will attend immediately.”
Regis didn't bother with the lack of preceeding etiquette.. If he wanted to pursue this, he should do so only in his heart.
Regis who lacked self-esteem did not feel angry about how arrogant the messenger was.
Do they have to do this as to assert their position? He harboured doubts.
Intimidating one’s ally was the same as fighting with a dog. No matter what, it was impossible for them to be enemies officially.
Regis took out a watch from his chest pocket and confirmed the time.
“Then… Please pass down the message that we will be attending at fourteen hundred hours.”
The horseman stood up and looked at the regiment’s soldiers
“I heard that the Beilschmidt Border Regiment held the northern border and captured Fort Volks, but to think the regiment is just so normal.”
The surrounding was getting agitated to the point they would immediately jumped on him and cut him up.
Just before Altina who felt the strongest urge to do just that could react, Regis replied the messenger despite not being interested in it.
“Was it General Barguesonne’s order to disparage us?”
“Then, please pass down the following message to the General. It’s better not to send a noisy messenger.”
The messenger was embarrassed and angered by it.
The soldiers around them could not stop laughing.
If Regis did not say those words, then the army’s morale would be affected.
After being called annoying, saying anything more would be foolish. The messenger saluted and quickly mounted the horse.
Woohoo! The soldiers let out sounds as to ridicule the messenger.
Altina sighed in relief.
“To think that after two weeks of marching, we would need to engage in a war of words between allies, how appalling.”
“If not for you, I would have drawn my sword out.”
“As we had to meet the General after this, it would be troublesome if we do not control ourselves a little.”
“To think there is another strong enemy other than the High Britannia’s army.”
She doesn't seem like shes joking. I'm going to have a headache.
“Thanks for your hard work, come in.”
General Barguesonne was sitting on a chair larger than anyone else and said so without lowering his head.
From his unwelcoming attitude, one could understand his speech was for the sake of formality.
He was an old man with white hair and beard. Because of his wrinkles, his scary look was even more terrifying. His eyes was like lightning, and pierced through the Regis who did not train his back muscles.
Beside him was an aide armed with spear.
The Lieutenant General was someone who experienced many wars even before Regis was born.
Altina who was addressing him saluted by moving her right hand to her chest.
“General Barguesonne, I have a question to ask before coming under your command.”
Regis felt something heavy hitting him.
What does she want to say? Regis began to tremble as he could not determine what she mean to say.
Those who came to the Seventh Imperial Army’s camp were only Altina, Regis and a few guards who were outside waiting.
Jerome said “I’ll leave the troublesome things to you guys” and did not show himself up. Considering his reputation, he should be attending the meeting too.
The Seventh Imperial Army’s headquarters tent was larger than that of Beilschmidt Border Regiment.
Rather than saying that it was a conference room, it felt closer to an audience room with the General sitting at the innermost. The senior officers stood at either sides as if they were opening a path in the middle.
There were about thirty people.
Even for a meeting between staff officers, it was a large number.
Altina was staring straight at the General.
The soldiers at the sides glared at them.
While Regis wanted to stop Altina from talking, he could not do something so improper.
Altina received their glares and said.
“General, I know that you do not acknowledge me, but that’s fine since you support Latreille. However, if you view and purposely take action against the Beilschmidt Border Regiment as an enemy in this battle... Can I consider that as a rebellion against the Empire?”
This was spoken verbally anyway and would be off the records.
Like a bursting bubble, Regis almost fainted on the spot.
While her words were not wrong,
They did not know how the General would react.
Before provocating others, Regis would prepare himself well against the opponent first.
However, the way Altina did things was bad for Regis’ heart.
The General opened his mouth.
“You’re ten years too early to talk about the empire with me. Just enter the formation.”
Reluctantly, Altina saluted and stood at the very end of the formation.
So he’s not just a soldier… Regis thought.
Probably because of his old age, the General did not react towards Altina’s rebellious attitude. If that wasn’t the case, it would be impossible for Regis and Altina to triumph over him.
Furthermore, Altina did not receive any reply to her words which basically means ‘do not bring politics and private affairs into the military.’
Even so, he replied to the word ‘empire’. If they were of the same status, she would likely point out that Barguesonne was confusing the main point. However, Altina was arguing with a higher ranking General, which was why she was unable to use the point against him.
What a cunning man he is. Regis thought.
Regis had the impression of them being led on by the General.
An old strategist came forward and reported the situation.
“The High Britannia’s army had occupied Chaineboule’s harbour which was under the Trouin House. A force of thirty thousand had landed and the Second Imperial Army which was holding the line was defeated. Luckily, General Beaumarchais survived. The enemy split their forces into three, two of which are occupying the city and a fortress. The last unit is moving towards the capital. As to relief the emperor’s worry, we will crush the vicious enemy.”
The officers in the line began shouting things like “That’s right, that’s the way it should be!”.
Should I respect the difference in culture between different regiment? Though I’m not used to it. Regis thought while being a little uneasy. At the very least, he wanted to separate the information regarding the current situation and their fighting spirit.
However, the old strategist stood back into the line before they entered the main topic.
“After that, the head battle strategist will explain our plans. Second grade Admin Officer Vicente.”
It seemed like the roles were distributed quite well. After the general situation was explained, another person stood out.
He was a young admin officer. Rather than having an impression of healthy youth, he looked more like a sickly person.
“I’ll be explaining the plans for the upcoming battle.”
Be it his name or his looks, Regis felt it was familiar.
Altina whispered to Regis.
“That Vicente, could he be someone you know when you’re in the military academy?”
“I think it’s him... “
It was only that one battle.
As the representative for his academy, Regis had a strategies debate with Vicente who was a cadet for another school.
Regis who never lost before within the school experienced his first defeat there.
While there were a few rumours, but a loss was a loss.
Never did Regis expected to see him again in here.
However, to Regis, there was nothing happier than seeing someone he knew being alive and healthy.
As per Vicente’s instruction, a map was brought over.
The map depicted the current situation in the Empire. The Seventh Imperial Army who was staying at Rouen, including the Beilschmidt Border Regiment, was represented by the red pieces.
While the enemy which was at the south west was represented by blue pieces.
“According to scout reports, a ten thousand strong army is heading towards the capital. While the battlefield is different from the eastern frontline, our Seventh Imperial Army is twenty-five thousand strong. Just like always, nothing can prevent us from obtaining victory!”
The other soldiers let out powerful wail.
There was not much difference between what Regis got from the regiment and what was explained.
However, even against an army of ten thousand, the Empire’s army have to consider about the enemy splitting their force into three.
The basics of war was to consider the number of soldiers one had and splitting the opponent’s forces. However, what meaning was there to split their own army?
Regis then remembered a book he read before.
In Belgaria, books regarding wars and strategies were numerous. Searching through his library in his head, Regis began flipping through countless number of books.
Regis then had a doubt.
“Is the enemy really a force of ten thousand...?”
As he muttered those words, the place fell into silence.
The soldiers who were wailing earlier was now quiet.
By the time he realised, the soldiers were all looking at Regis.
As Regis was unaware, he accidentally muttered his words a little too loud.
Standing beside General Barguesonne, strategist Vicente was staring daggers at him.
“Fifth Grade Admin Officer, Regis Auric, what did you said? Just speak of what you have thought of. Even if it’s an opinion of someone sitting at the end of the table, we will still hear it.”
Even though Regis had not introduced himself, he got a scare when he was suddenly called by his rank and name.
Then again, it was nothing surprising that he knew about the commander and the essential people of the regiment who was coming under their command. After all, Vicente was the war advisor of the Seventh Imperial Army.
While Regis was not used to speaking in front of so many people, it was also his responsibilities to clear the doubts he had, leaving him no other choice.
“Although we obtained the information of the enemy splitting their force into three… The reason behind it was unclear as it was unconventional. Is the army coming towards the capital only ten thousand?”
“Ahh, could it be that you do not trust the report by our army?”
“I’m just a coward, which is why I can’t stop worrying...”
“If it’s about the other two forces, the Empire’s First Imperial Army of thirty thousand is already moving towards one of them. The one leading them is General Latreille. There’s no doubt that he would obtain victory. The remaining unit is occupying the harbour. Most likely, they are the reserves.”
“Out of thirty thousand, ten thousand of them are reserves...?”
“After all, they are occupying an unfamiliar place. It’s not surprising for them to prepare that much as a reserves. The enemy commander seems to be quite cautious.”
At the side of the large map, the west coast was included with three pieces representing the enemy.
Regis could see the enemy was moving towards the east like snakes.
That was the same for the Empire’s army. In response to them splitting their force, the northern line was the First Imperial Army led by Latreille while the southern line was this Seventh Imperial Army.
One piece represent a force of ten thousand. Each of the enemy units only had one.
In contrast, the Empire’s army had three for the northern line while the southern line had two. In addition, there were three for the reserves behind.
Even though they were called reserves, they were just units that were too slow to join up. There were various reasons for being slow like spending too much time preparing their army or pessimistic units that did not want to suffer losses.
No matter the reasons, there was a high chance the units that were late would be criticised later. If the Beilschmidt Border Regiment was held up by the Varden’s army, they would be included in the reserves.
Also, while the Empire had a hundred thousand intercepting the attack, there were only eight pieces.
Most likely, twenty thousand was lost as the Second Imperial Army in the west was decimated.
Regis focused on the large map.
“If the enemy at the northern line began marching southwards and the enemy behind moved forward, then the enemy would be concentrated at this Seventh Imperial Army. At that time, we would be facing a force of thirty thousand with twenty-five thousand men.”
As both sides included the supply teams, the actual soldiers were not that many.
“It seems like you are still the same. This might happen and that might happen. You always said so timidly. Isn’t it impossible for the High Britannia’s Army to speed up their marching in this foreign land?”
It seemed like he remember Regis.
In an instant, the debate flashed in Regis’ brain for a moment.
However, this was not the time to reminisce those memories.
“Is that really so…? High Britannia army used the steamship to send their supplies and army. Even when the ship is filled with goods, they could still return here within ten days. When the enemy first landed, it was 23th April. Now, it’s already 16th May... Isn’t it better to consider them having better preparation than we expected? For example, having military horses?”
From the occupied Chainboule’s harbour to High Britannia’s harbour, the distance was about 150Li (666km)
A ship filled with supplies could travel 30Li (133km) a day.
It was even faster for a steamship.
Furthermore, one of the trip was when the steamship was empty.
Regis felt that it was dangerous to have the thoughts that the enemy only had thirty thousand infantry.
Vicente’s attitude was that of a teacher facing a useless student.
“It’s obvious that I had already considered the steamship capability, which was why I confirmed the force of thirty thousand. That is something you do not even need to ask.”
“Within Belgaria, we do not have any detailed information regarding the steamship. Or could it be that you managed to get some through some methods?”
“While the steamship could travel in a high speed even on windless condition, the central of the ship is occupied by the engine and coals. As such, a large space is used up, making the cargo small. At least, those are what I got.”
Even Belgaria had tried building a steamship.
The ship had something like a waterwheel at both sides. Even though it could work in windless condition, the space available for cargo was little. Furthermore, it required a large amount of coals. As such, the limited space was further taken up by the engine and coals. This was why they deemed it impractical.
Even the screw propeller required a hole for propulsion to be opened at the bottom. The Empire did not even try experimenting on it as it might result in accidents.
“Are you not concerned about the Empire…? I heard that recently, the propeller had been improved and that even a small size propeller could generate enough speed. With such technology available, shouldn’t we consider that the enemy is using this?”
The old propeller was designed with reference to manual power pushing the water back.
While the latest propeller was made by considering the power difference before and after the fan was turned on, which could be used to propel the ship.
This idea was most likely found while experimenting. The propeller that sunk and broke had a higher speed. People began to understand that compared to blades that were long like those oars, a shorter blades would result in a higher propulsion.
This happened a few years back, when they finally understood theories of similar nature.
This news was something Regis read in a book he bought this April while he was in the capital. It was included as a trivia in the book that was was sent to Fort Volks.
It was a book with oceans as it theme. The protagonist was a young pirate leader. In that book, the enemy was using the latest ship, which was the steamship equipped with new propeller by High Britannia.
As he would be scolded for saying his source, Regis decided to hide the truth.
“Hmph! Perhaps you can reveal your best plan to us!”
Using words like ‘reveal’ and ‘best’, Regis knew that exchange in the future would be tough. However, Altina’s standing would be lowered if he was to back down here.
More importantly, the way the Empire’s armies were proceeding was filled with dangers. Thinking that doing so could make him had the chance to change it, Regis started talking.
“I... Suggest that the Seventh Imperial Army marched north. As we linked up with the First Imperial Army, we would have a force of fifty thousand to fight against the enemy.”
The soldiers who were in line were becoming rowdy.
“I see, so you’re trying to get an over-kill victory. However, what would happen to the defense of the capital?”
“Thirty thousand from the reserves should be enough to do so.”
“The reserves? If that’s the case, the final defense line would be close to the capital.”
“If we obtain victory, it doesn’t matter where the battle is.”
“I see. As expected of a commoner admin officer. Thinking that it’s fine as long as we win. You completely do not understand the nature of war!”
“Is that so...”
Regis did not deny it.
Vicente spoke eloquently.
“Belgaria as it is, we need to one sidedly overwhelm our enemy! To let the enemy approach the capital is something shameful that is not even allowed! Moreover, to let the enemy invade that deeply is due to us, the southern line! Are you really not trying to lower the Seventh Imperial Army’s reputation and prestige?!”
The soldiers all agreed with him.
Looks like I’m not welcomed at all… If he is using reputation and prestige as reasons, there’s no other choice… Regis thought.
“I understand... If we must have a victory here in the southern line, it’s best that we intercept them by taking the high grounds. The area around here have a few suitable hills to set the formation.”
Vicente considered it for a moment and nodded his head.
“I have thought of that too. The enemy is marching in the vast land of the Empire. Doing so will stretch their supply line, which is why they will be looking for a quick battle. Even when they are in a disadvantage, they will still attack us directly.”
“Isn’t it easier for us if we engage the enemy with us on higher grounds? In this case, it’s permissible, no?”
“That’s right, but this army is more suited for attack. The enemy have the latest model of guns and cannon. However! Using our superior numbers, we will not let them have the time to even use the cannons and decimate them! Isn’t this the way the strong Belgaria fights?!”
“... The right way of doing things.”
There was no flaw in his plan, which was why he thought nothing would go wrong… He was just following what the books said.
Precisely because of that, the enemy would have guessed his plan.
Since they had thought of the assault, what was the reason for them to proceed with ten thousand?
The answer was that the enemy had countermeasures for it.
However, what is the reason behind them to think of getting victory despite having a smaller force? Could it be that they have confidence in their guns and cannons, or that they have something to turn the tide of war?
There’s not enough information.
Even when Regis sent out scouts, he did not see any decisive action made by the enemy.
Even towards allies, he also sent scouts to check their strengths, though not to the extent of the whole empire.
Having a wrong information was more dangerous than having no information.
It was not easy to increase the number of scouts who could produce accurate information. One needs to be brave, skilled, knowledgeable, loyal and many other criterias. In addition, they would not earn any fame. For the stars in the battlefield, it would be the cavalry and infantry that formed the vanguard.
Seeing that the conversation between Regis and Vicente had ended, General Barguesonne raised one of his hand.
The senior officers returned back to their originally posture.
The old commander sat on the chair and said.
“We will be using war advisor Vicente’s plan.”
After that, captains of each units were called and given their roles.
They are not going to put the Beilschmidt Border Regiment at the forefront, are they? Regis thought while worrying as Altina was called last.
“Major General Belgaria, you are situated at the very back. Just sit back and have a look what war is.”
The soldiers around them could not stop themselves from laughing.
To them, this battle was another victory to claim. Belgaria was not only strong, but also had numerous soldiers. Even if the enemy was equipped with the latest model of guns and cannons, it was hard for them to imagine they would lose.
Since they determined that they would win, the way they looked at how the formation was set would change.
Most likely, the Seventh Imperial Army’s officers had already viewed the enemy as a fish on the chopping board. Outsiders were to stand far away while they devoured the enemy without leaving anything to them— which was how they sneered at the Beilschmidt Border Regiment.
To Regis, the enemy was not the only one on a chopping board… ...
Altina faced the soldiers who had stood in line.
“We don’t have any intention to intervene though, However, it’s fine if you asked for help when you are losing, we won’t be just sitting there doing nothing.”
“Hmph, there’s no need for it, Arrow-sparrow Princess, you can return to the north empty-handed!”
The one who was scorning her was the messenger from earlier.
Apparently, he was a battalion commander.
It have been awhile since I last heard the outdated nickname of Altina.
That reminds me, have brother-in-law entered the Empire’s Art Museum safely? He wanted to look at the painting of the original sword quickly. If that’s the case, he should have left the city this morning.
While pondering about useless things, Regis raised his hand.
“...I think that the enemy have some ulterior motive, hence I suggest that increasing the number of scouts.”
“Motive, is it? Can you say what it is?”
Vicente asked back with a dull tone.
Regis did not back down.
“That, I do not know, but I believe that it’s better to be cautious while predicting the enemy.”
“Ha, for a strategist to say ‘I do not know’ so easily…”
Would it be better if I acted as if I knew? Well,now I should just leave aside whether what’s right or wrong for a strategist
“Then, war advisor Vicente, can you deduce the enemy’s intent?”
Towards Regis’ question, Vicente had a vague smile.
“The High Britannia Army invaded because of their latest model of guns and cannons. If that’s the case, their tactics would revolve around similar concept, that’s common sense. As such, they would have plans to effectively use their weapons, especially the cannons which is more suited on bombarding thousands of soldiers. However, the enemy is not used to large-scale battle. In front of the hundred thousand strong Empire’s army, the soldiers would run away before even firing their cannons. Taking in the consideration of their prided weapons and the soldiers’ psychological state, the enemy commander split their force as to conduct battles in a smaller scale, is what I think.”
He was good with his words.
Hearing Vicente’s explanation, the General and the other officers all showed a face of agreement.
The soldiers shouted things like “As expected of the war advisor!” and “First-class war advisor!”
Just as Regis was about to say something, Vicente continued his words first.
“Fifth grade admin officer, Regis Auric, it would affect the morale of the army if your cowardice spread. Please be careful of what you are going to say.”
Since his superior had already said that, he had no other choice but to abide.
Regis saluted and add on to his words.
“The Beilschmidt Border Regiment will standby at the very back and will not be a hindrance to our allies.”
The other officers laughed uncontrollably as if they were seeing new recruits.
Barguesonne nodded his head.
After the war council with the Seventh Imperial Army proceeded with the main topic.
Pata! Altina kicked on a stone, causing it to roll down.
The stone which was the size of a fist flew as if a catapult threw it.
Regis shrugged his shoulders.
“Experimenting new weapons…?”
“Ahhh, how frustrating!”
They had left the Seventh Imperial Army’ camp and were on their way back to the regiment’s camp.
While the guards were with them, they were at a distance in which they could not hear anything unless it was spoken loudly.
Even so, they were surrounded by the Empire’s armies and it was funny that they maintained a distance outside the range of archers.
Altina kicked another stone.
“What do those guys want! That kind of war council, they might as well directly order us to standby at the back! They called us there even though they do not have any intention to discuss with us!”
“well… it’s true they have no intention to discuss…”
While words seemed to have exchanged between them, no actual conversation was made. In the first place, they had already determined which course to take and was bounded to reject Altina and Regis’ opinions.
“They are taking us as fools!”
“Well, they are taking us lightly... Most likely, they will give us the chance to speak our opinions, but will not consider anything at all… Isn’t a piece of mind is what they wanted?”
“What meaning is there in that?!”
In such council where they were being rejected, it was just a waste of time and effort to both sides.
Even though the other party also knew this.
“Perhaps… it’s unfortunate for both us and them... The people from Seventh Imperial Army are not aware that they have set their mind on rejecting any proposals.”
Altina had a stunned look.
It was clear that they were oblivious from the way they rejected Regis’ ideas wholesale.
“While having a conversation with others, it would agonized oneself if he changed his train of thoughts according to what was exchanged between them. Them thinking that ‘the exchange was eye-opening, causing them to change their views’ is just an illusion… That illusion, if someone had the same opinions as them, they would accept him with a completely different expression. After all, humans would be happy if their actions are accepted by others.”
“Well, even I understand that...”
“If it’s the opposite and they accept opinions different from theirs, it would be self-denial and is the same as destroying a part of their thoughts. These kind of actions obviously would be hated.”
“Is that so? Though I quite like listening to your opinions?!”
“That was just me answering some of your doubts. If doubts were to melt like ice, you would be happier... If that’s not the case and you have a strong belief, you would have a hard time accepting my opinion that was different from yours. For example, when I stopped you when you said you want to be the empress, when I stopped you from having a duel with Sir Jerome, when you suggested attacking Fort Volk—”
“Ahhh, enough, I understand! How excruciating, I can’t take it!”
Altina shook her hands.
“Well… Despite what I said… I can still converse with you.”
“Ah, is that so? Why is that so?”
“Just like the pain received from parts of their thoughts being destroyed, it is to accept others’ viewpoints and exchange ideals. Though there is a prerequisite of respecting that the conversing partner is more outstanding. At the very least, one must accept the fact that others are more outstanding than yourself in some ways. If one believes he could learn something from it, he would listen to their opinions. Even though if he had to suffer through the pain of self-denial, he could still accept it.”
Ahhh, Altina widen her eyes.
The respectful look that Regis mentioned should looked like this.
Regis was embarrassed from being looked like this by a girl who was four years younger than him.
“As expected of Regis!”
“In short, they are denying us because they are underestimating us!”
“That is so. This isn’t just limited to conversation, it goes the same to reading books. If one believe that the content is boring while reading books, all the books would be boring to him. Conversely, if one believe there is something to gain from while reading... Ahh, well, most likely…”
“What is it?”
“No, it’s nothing. After all, there are all kind of books in this world...”
Regis remembered all sort of things.
“Is it because my mother is a commoner…? Even though that is unnecessary, it was denied... “
“There’s that… But I think that isn’t the only reason.”
“Eh? Then, is it because I’m a girl or that I’m underaged?”
There were those too.
However, Regis believed that those were not the essential points.
“Other than themselves, they would look down on anyone else.”
“How? What about Latreille?”
“For people like him, he is placed under the ‘special’ category by them. If they were to rank them, it would be “special’, ‘their own clique’, followed by ‘others’
Strictly speaking, there should be ranking even within the ‘insiders’ and ‘special’ category.
Altina furrowed her brow as she did not understand that.
“That special ranking would be something similar to the ranks within the military or nobles’ titles.”
“I believe that they are not aware that they are looking down on others or that they are evaluating themselves too highly… ...When comrades are unchanging, in that efficient organisation, in the process of confirming and accepting their comrades, they denied anyone else.”
“It isn’t bad to accept and confirm one’s friends. But for them to deny others, what exactly happened?”
“Let’s see, for example, don’t you dislike the Seventh Imperial Army? Thinking that they are wrong?”
“For those in the Beilschmidt Border Regiment, you will have a different view. You’re likely to evaluate them highly and think that they are the best, right?”
“I guess so.”
“Then… what if someone else appeared and denied your comrades’ opinions, how would you feel?”
While Altina was straightforward, she was not brainless.
From the conversation, she seemed to realised she had committed the same mistake as others.
“Between us, we had experienced various things that strengthen our relations. However, that could not be used as a reason to deny others.”
“You’re right... While I believe my comrades and evaluate them highly, to think that I deny others because of that… That’s too strange.”
“It’s wrong to one-sidedly judge others. It’s strange, isn’t it? Even though we are supposed to be impartial between the opinions and the person suggesting it.”
“Is that so?”
“Well... It’s a fact that it’s common for people to think that the words of others are wrong. While it’s regrettable, such authoritative way of thinking should be rejected when conversing with others.”
“Should be denied? But between Regis and others’ opinions, isn’t it obvious that I would put more weight on one side than the other?”
“As a human, that might be natural... However, to me, regardless who the person is, I tend to treat the opinion equally. That is what I wish to view things with. Though, this can also be called as the philosophy of Enlightenment.”
“Regardless of the person and treat their opinions equally... Does this applies to both emperor or commoner?”
“Yes, that’s right. Though such theories is only found within books… Among those enlightenment philosophers, there is one who even entered into deep discussion from just his dog barking… Though he was stopped by his assistance.”
“Is that so… Hey, Regis, even you think that isn’t good, right?”
Altina had a look as if she was looking at a sick person.
Even though it was a good anecdote...
“Compared to someone like me, perhaps a dog barking somewhere might even have better views.”
“That isn’t enlightenment! It’s just something your sister imprinted on you?!”
18th May, dusk.
Regis obtained information that the northern unit of ten thousand force that was proceeding east was now moving south.
Regis’ concerns came true.
However, the Seventh Imperial Army’s war advisor did not agree on changing the battle location.
“While the enemy’s intention is clear, they would not be able to link up at the southern line if we disrupted their plan. Our victory remain firm!”
According to him, the estimated time for the enemy to link up was two days later.
Furthermore, in the southern defense line, the distance between the enemy and them was just half a day.
He believed that tomorrow would be the clash.
“The Seventh Imperial Army, on 19th, which is tomorrow, will cut through the enemy. After that, we will face the enemy unit coming south on the 20th. We will coordinate with General Latreille’s First Imperial Army and do a pincer attack! We will decimate the enemy!”
Regis could not not stop worrying.
“If would be ideal if things go according to plan. However, is it even possible for the enemy to do something akin to jumping into their graves?”
As he continued to wait for information to come, he kept feeling the upcoming dangers.
However, the him right now, let aside the imperial army, he did not have the authority to change the course the Seventh Imperial Army was proceeding.
The ten thousand unit in Chainboule’s harbour did not move.
However he received words that there were six military vessels in the sea. Those ships did not look like transport ships. Most likely, those ships were heading towards the Empire.
There was even an operations to sink those ships.
Trouin’s naval battle.
The large sailing ship, Ateluna, which was Belgaria’s pride with eighty cannons as the flagship, twenty-four ships fleet launch an attack on High Britannia.
Aterna class ships was 40Co (18m) in length and had three masts.
The ship had three layers of gundeck, making it looked like a castle wall with eighty cannons on its broadside spread over three layers. The cannons used were not only super sized ones, they could fire exploding shells and canister shots.
The canister shot were shells that would explode into shrapnels and caused great damage. Though the accuracy and range was lower than normal.
The ship used the biggest cannon, which had the best firepower in the Empire. However, the cannon was the muzzle-loading smoothbore gun type, which was outdated when compared to the enemy’s weapon.
The High Britannia’s navy, also known as the ‘Queen’s Navy’, was the first among the neighbouring countries to use the latest technologies into weaponry.
The ships escorting the supply ships were six Princess class steamships that were equipped with seventy-four cannons. Though not all of them were equipped with Type 41 Elswick Cannon.
Be it the range, power or speed, the enemy was better in all aspect.
13th May, Belgaria predicted the supply line used by the enemy and stationed an unit to ambush them with wind on their side.
The preparation was near perfect... However, in their fight against the world’s strongest ship, the inferior Belgaria’s force had to retreat without achieving anything.
It was a complete defeat.
Belgaria decided to use the precious Poseidon Class armoured ship that could hold up to hundred and twenty cannons. This ship was usually ridiculed as the floating fort for its low speed. Just entering the battle took up a lot of time.
For the time being, no reinforcement was expected to come from the sea.
It was a cloudy day as if it was going to rain.
Empire 851, 19th May
Twenty-two thousand empire’s soldiers were stationed at a hill somewhere at the Lafressange area. While the supply teams were sent to the back of the battlefield to stand by.
Belgaria’s infantry units, if they continued to let musketeers as the vanguard, would only widen the gap in gun’s performance and hindered their own assault.
The infantry were not the key to victory in this battle.
That was because it was that reason for the defeat of Second Imperial Army at Lafressange. This time, the vanguard consisted of those equipped with spears. They were spread out like a carpet on the hills.
Below the hills, about 50Ar (3573m) away from them, the enemy of ten thousand approached. At the forefront were the line infantry. Their guns, the Snider, was excellent for its consecutive shooting and was all-weather. The gun was so good that in the time the empire’s soldiers shot once, they could shoot up to three times.
Behind them stood soldiers holding large shields. It was a common tactic of preparing against any incoming spearmen in close combat.
Behind the shieldbearers who stood like a wall were the artillery unit. There were about two hundred Type 41 Elswick Cannon. Coupled with the shield-wall, it looked like a moving fortress.
From the Second Imperial Army’s defeat, they knew that the range of the cannon was about 45Ar (3216m).
By maintaining the current distance, the cannons would not reach.
When aiming at a higher place, they need to be closer than the distance used for aiming at flatlands.
Conversely, if they were stationed at higher ground, the distance could even increase... However, the regrettable thing was that the cannons the Seventh Imperial Army had was the medium Empire’s cannons which could only shoot no further than 28Ar (2000m).
Even the Type 41 at the foot of the hills could shoot further than that of the Empire’s cannons.
Slightly further away at the back of the Seventh Imperial Army, the Beilschmidt Border Regiment was stationed there. Excluding the supply team, they had about three thousand soldiers.
This time, the headquarter were at the front of the formation.Other than Altina who was wearing heavy armour on this rare occasion and Regis who was dressed as usual, Jerome who was fully armoured was also standing here.
“Hmph, Those cannons which can’t even hit the enemy would only be a hindrance. Why did they even bother taking those out.”
“That’s because the strategist for the Seventh Imperial Army likes to follow what the books said.”
However, those textbooks did not mention about how to deploy the soldiers when the enemy was using cannons that were vastly superior.
Jerome sarcastically asked,
“Do you like the textbooks too?”
“Yes... While I like those textbooks, I won’t follow exactly what the books said.”
“Be it attacking or defending, I believe that the crucial thing is not letting the enemy know my intent... That’s because the enemy would fear and panic if he do not know what his opponent is doing, neither could he do a proper countermeasurement.”
“That’s exactly the case.”
“While what was written on the textbooks are true... Those happened without any unforeseen situations. No matter how small an unexpected thing occurred, it could greatly affect the strategy.”
Jerome had a smile on his face which rarely occurred.
If one listen tentatively to their conversation about strategies, one would realised that the topic had broaden and include various things other than strategies.
Ah, Altina exclaimed.
“Is that them moving?!”
“It seems to have started...”
Regis shifted his sight to the front and nodded his head.
In response to the enemy who was gradually approaching, the Seventh Imperial Army began to move.
With a force of nineteen thousand, they did not rushed an assault but was moving in a marching pace.
Altina tilted her head.
“If that’s the case, won’t they just get shot?”
“It couldn’t be help... Even if they ran down the hills, the soldiers could only run at full speed up to 5Ar (357m) at best. While they can’t move leisurely, they would only tire themselves out if they ran without caring about their stamina. If they were slow within the enemy musketeers’ range, the damage caused would be larger than that of the cannons.”
Thinking about it, this was her first time participating in a large scale battle on open grounds.
As the Beilschmidt Border Regiment had the Black Knights Corps which was under the hero Jerome, many of their strategies had the cavalry as the core. The regiment did not have large number of infantry either.
“Take a good look at it, Altina. The Seventh Imperial Army is one of the few who excel in using infantry”
“Well, even the General said ‘take a good look what’s a battle is like’.”
“It would be nice if all we have to do is watch...”
The back of the Seventh Imperial Army who was marching was gradually shrinking.
“Do you think they can win?”
“If it’s just a frontal clash… If the cannons and musketeers were cut down by half, even with weapons made with the latest alloy, the experienced Seventh Imperial Army would not lose… However…”
“The enemy commander should know these too… It’s impossible for them not to have any countermeasurement.”
If things were to continue proceeding like this, it would be like how Vicente said, the Seventh Imperial Army would break through the enemy and could do a pincer attack on the unit marching south, achieving a major victory.
If that was the case, Regis who kept saying worrying words would only end up being branded as a coward and be criticised.
However, the enemy attacked the harbour right after their queen was crowned. Furthermore, they even urged the neighbouring countries to attack the Empire. As the enemy commander was that competent, it was hard to imagine him ordering such a cruel and thoughtless clash that would decimate his frontlines.
Altina tilted her head.
“Are there ambushing units?”
“There’s no ambush... I believe that the Seventh Imperial Army’s scouting the enemy was properly carried out. They even had intelligence to confirm it.”
Speaking about intelligence, Regis brought up another topic.
“I already investigated the commander for the unit marching south... He seems to be called Colonel Oswald Coulthard. In the Empire, he would be equivalent to a first grade combat officer. He’s rank is not very high and he is rather young. Are their generals following to his commands?”
“Not a strategist?”
“That’s right. Even if their position is lower, they can still devise plans. That’s is usually the position for strategists and advisors. According to the reports, that man called Oswald seems to have the authority to give out orders.”
“If that’s the case, he should be the commander.”
“Yes. Though officially, the commander is an old General.”
Oswald’s title seemed to be advisor.
“I do not understand. What could be the reason behind this? Could he be a noble?”
The difference between the military ranks and nobility was that the army command chain followed the military ranks… Even though that was the case, the two were usually mixed together.
Especially in Belgaria, where the nobles’ armies exist. There was even times when nobility titles took precedence over the military ranking.
In the case of High Britannia, there was no nobles’ armies. Neither had there be any news of nobles granted the authority to command the army.
The reason for Oswald being the de facto commander was unclear.
“I’m currently looking into his identity... Also, while this isn’t confirmed, the new queen, Margaret Steelart, is also here.”
“Well, while there are emperors in the Empire coming into the frontline, High Britannia is ruled by a queen for generations. As such, this is something that rarely occurs.”
“If that’s true, she seems to be proactive. I want to meet her.”
“At the very least, when it’s more peaceful...”
I wonder how’s her swordsmanship?!”
Altina was rather happy as she felt that she met an opponent that was similar to her.
Regis gave a wry smile.
“I believe she’s not that type…”
Most likely, Belgaria’s royalties were special. There were no rumours or news that the High Britannia’s royalties possess extraordinary strengths.
“Anyway, the enemy unit at the southern front was regular army while most of the unit marching southwards seems to be mercenaries... Normally, the core of an army is the regulars with mercenaries being the minority… Perhaps they have a reason to do so like this?”
“Do you know why?”
“Hm… While an unit that only have regulars are expensive, they can cooperate with others without a problem. Even though the mercenaries are powerful in single combat... For the northern front unit to be delayed by the mercenaries... There is… No, that wrong, there isn’t a chance for them to lose….”
“While that unit is filled with mercenaries, but their commander seems to to be Gilbert Schweinzeberg who holds the title of ‘Mercenary King’.”
Hearing this name, Altina was displeased as she furrowed her brow.
She seemed to remember Eric getting injured and the sword being damaged.
“Huh, aren’t they Germania Federation’s mercenaries?”
“Precisely that they are mercenary, they will work for anyone as long as the rewards is good. According to reports, the northern front unit had Renard Pendu as the core. Compared to those normal commanders, they are concrete. It’s hard to imagine them getting the timing wrong.”
“Even so, not all of the Renard Pendu was hired, right?”
“Yes. While I’m not sure of the scale of the mercenaries, but Renard Pendu members are about a thousand? The rest of the nine thousand are likely to be some other groups.”
“Will they listen to him?”
Altina had a point. Even if Gilbert was the commander, not all mercenaries would follow his commands.
“... However, it would be fine even if their units in the south move northwards. They are orderly and easy to estimate their movement speed, but they should be able to handle it.”
“They really didn’t mess up somewhere?”
“For someone commanding a force of thirty thousand… I can’t imagine him making a mistake like this.”
“However, they didn’t manage to link up.”
The war had already began.
Cannons began to fire.
The roar of the cannons reverberate through the air
The Seventh Imperial Army could only receive the enemy attack one-sidedly.
The enemy began firing when they were about 40Ar (2858m) away. To shorten that distance, the Seventh Imperial Army would need another twenty minutes.
Among the infantry, this was called a ‘marché de la mort’ (Death March).
The shells of the Type 41 Elswick Cannons that the High Britannia used came flying towards them. The shell size was about a child’s brain. If they took a direct hit, the empire’s soldier would definitely be blown into smithereens.
It was a merciless sight. The soldiers who received the cannons were blown into pieces. Even the soldiers around them were affected by the shockwave.
In this era, soldiers were lined closely to one another without any gaps. Even when they march, they looked like a wall moving forward.
If they ever move with spaces in between them and that the enemy were concentrated, it would become a situation where a soldier have to face two or three enemy at a time.
As to prevent that from happening, there was a need to line them closely.
While the shells that could even break apart walls came flying towards them.
The damage caused by the shells were not just the injuries. The exploding sound, the cries of their comrades, the fear of death, these were slowly chipping away their will.
There were people who wished that they faster approached the enemy, some who slowed down due to fear. However, the formation that was on a verge of collapsing managed to maintain a certain pace as the strategically placed captains of each corps scolded them from behind.
They were really top-notch.
The opponents of the Seventh Imperial Army were usually small countries like Estaburg Kingdom. Though the battle were not relaxing either, these countries did not have the latest cannons. Even when facing an unknown threat, the soldiers continued to march on.
Belgaria’s army also began to fire their cannons.
The distance between the two armies was gradually shrinking.
The enemy seemed to remain still. As the Beilschmidt Border Regiment was at the back, they could not see clearly, but there were no one escaping nor moving forward.
Most likely, they were trying to gain some time as to link up with the northern front unit.
About 25Ar (1787m) away—
It looked as if they were sieging a fort.
Even if the cannons were the latest models, it could not shoot accurately at a long distance. However, no matter where the shells hit the Empire’s soldiers, it would produce large damage.
Soldiers who were praying while marching turned into many bloody pieces the next moment.
Even the captains urging the troops on were blown into smithereens.
Limbs of their comrades were flying everywhere and those that were hit and fallen down was trampled to death by their comrades behind.
Even so, the soldiers continue to march over their comrades’ corpses while under the bombardment.
The Beilschmidt Border Regiment under Altina, as if following the Seventh Imperial Army, continued to survey the battlefield from higher grounds.
Altina covered her mouth.
She looked like she was holding back her vomit and tears were forming at the corners of her eyes.
As the distance had increased, one should not be able to see the scene clearly. Probably, Altina had better sight than a normal civilian.
Regis also swallowed his urge to vomit back.
They could not display any weakness in front of the soldiers. Leaving aside Regis, Altina need to have a resolute look for the soldiers.
“... … Is this your first time seeing this?”
“It’s my first time seeing such terrifying scene...”
“Ahhh,I guess so.”
“You’re fine, Regis?”
“Do I looked like fine…?”
Even though he did not seem shaken, he could not stop trembling after reaching the battlefield.
Even without the latest cannons, the battlefield was a tragic scene that was always filled with death.
People were dying at this moment— This terrifying fact made their throats parched.
Even if one would yelled in a city, they would not be able to be calm as they were on the battlefield.
Regardless of who, death would always be terrifying, sudden and fatal.
Even the ash carried the stench of blood. The death of someone seemed to have mixed with the air and entered their body, making even breathing difficult for them.
Bang! Jerome simply dissipated this gloomy atmosphere.
“Stop panicking at something like this! Humans, no matter where and when, would eventually die! It’s just a matter of time!”
“Well… Even if that’s the case…”
“If one keep remembering such a boring scene, one would eventually join their side.”
Regis shook his head.
I can’t be swallowed by the atmosphere. If I made a mistake as a strategist, many soldiers and Altina could die.
I must think…
As Regis’ hand was trembling due to fear and being nervous, Altina stretch her hand out and placed it ontop of his hand.
She then held onto his fingers.
“Eh? T,that… Altina…?”
Even though the guards were at a distance where they could not hear anything— They would be able to understand from just seeing what they were doing. Seeing them holding hands, what could they be thinking?
If rumours began to spread, it would affect the troops’ morale.
With sincere eyes, Altina looked at him.
She is really a beautiful girl.
Even her hands are warm.
“Regis, I’m fine... It’s fine to think after calming yourself first.”
Even though he was about to lose his calm, thanks to Jerome’s shout and Altina’s trust, he managed to suppress them.
Regis took a deep breathe. Even if the air is filled with death, we have to breathe in order to survive. To let everyone able to go back.
Regis began to calm down.
“I think that the enemy have some secret counter measurement... We would lose if we continued to stay here and look.”
However, they would not be able to move without seeing through the enemy’s plan.
Regis looked at the battlefield once more.
He barely managed to forget about the scene of soldiers dying.
Just like looking at a chessboard, emotionless and calm… ...
The Seventh Imperial Army who was moving down the hill had a formation like a carpet being spread was now in a messy state as if they were bitten by bugs. Their number should be around sixteen thousand.
The ten thousand High Britannia’s soldiers had a semi-circle formation. The cannons were slowly moved to the back. Even as to maintain a minimum range, the cannons could still hit the Seventh Imperial Army.
The front of the enemy formation were the prepared musketeers and behind them were shieldbearers. After the cannons retreated back, the musketeers began to move forward.
There should be some meaning behind such changes.
The enemy’s headquarter should be at the centre of their formation. The place where heavy infantry were guarding.
Regis were searching the bookshelves within his brain.
He flipped through many books.
Even so, there were no books that used the latest model of guns and cannons.
“Not this... However… that shape… Where … did I see it before…?”
Regis muttered with pauses in between.
Altina kept clenching her hands.
While Jerome was waiting in silence.
Ever since the battle began, Regis flipped through the books he read before as to assert the enemy’s actions. However, he could not find anything regarding the latest guns and cannons.
As expected, there’s nothing?
Regis did not know any strategies regarding those weapons. What was not known was not known.
“But… I… Where…. Ah?! T,that’s right! — Magic!”
Towards Altina who had her eyes widen, Regis had a serious expression and said
“— I am the Legendary Wizard, that!”
“What are you saying, Regis?! Are you fine?!”
“Ah, no, there’s a work called that. ‘I am the Legendary Wizard’ is written by Olenburke. While the author’s selling point is his whimsical works, the Magic Nation Army in his works used the same formation as them.”
Suddenly hearing about magic, Altina tilted her head while being uneasy.
Jerome looked at Regis as if he was looking at dirt.
“Oi, Regis! That thing, can it be used on the battlefield? To me, I would even use dirt if it’s useful. If not, I would throw them into the fire!”
“Ahh... Of course it can be used. Leaving aside the origin, the basic is not wrong. As time is precious, I will be explaining while moving. Ah, though the carriage will be at the back together with the supply teams.”
The luxurious carriage and Clarisse were entrusted to the supply corp.
Regis did not ride any horse.
As he was not confident in his horse-riding skill, he could only move together with the soldiers. It could not be help that he had to do so in order to explain to Altina and Jerome who were both riding a horse.
Since I’m not equipped with any weapons or armour, I should be able to do that. Probably.
Altina pulled her horse over.
“Then, you can ride on my Karakara!”
“That’s the horse’s name?!”
“Yup, isn’t it cute?!”
“Ahh, yeah... Though, won’t it be troublesome if you let me ride it…?”
Regis was not speaking fluently anymore.
Even Jerome had rarely agreed with Altina.
“Let’s do that! As the princess does not have her sword, even while using a sword she is not used to will only be a hindrance. She can just ride with you and watch at the back.”
“T,t,then... A,at least… at the back...”
If he was to let it be, they would be stationed at the front.
If the soldiers see this, it will be troublesome if rumours began to spread— Regis nodded his head despite thinking so.
“Understood, Then, please take of me, Altina. I will explain while moving.”
“Oi, Regis! Is it fine to advance?!”
“Yes. Half way down the hill— we are going to do a detour around the place where the shells are going to hit.Though from which side, I will decide it after five minutes. For now, we just advance.”
“Five minutes? Tch, I really don’t get you!”
Despite him complaining, Jerome continued to mount his horse and waved his spear, 'Le Cheveu D'une Dame' (Dame’s hair).
“Oryah! Fellows! The afternoon nap is over! Onwards!”
There were many soldiers who thought they would continue being on standby, so their reaction was slow.
“Ha! The strategist had said something like ‘I’m a Wizard’! Hurry up if you do not wish to be turned into a frog! Follow the princess!!”
A rumour existed since long ago— The barbarian’s defeat, capturing Fort Volk and setting fire to a swamp as to burn the knights, were not those things that only a monster or a Wizard could achieve?
Since long ago, Belgaria believed in a certain monolithic religion. Within their scripture, it was recorded that ‘Monster’ was considered the enemy of God while ‘Wizard’ was a sage that would lead the believers.
However, the sage did not only give advice, but also mete out punishments to traitors.
Many of the soldiers were told that they would turned into frogs by the Wizard since young.
In a religious world, that was the case.
— In fictional entertainment works, things like ‘Dragon Lightning’ and black beams of light ‘Negative Burst’ were techniques Overlords could use.
To many of the soldiers here, the Wizard refers to the one in the holy scripture.
As it was Jerome who never joked before said it, many religious soldiers paled.
They secretly whispered among themselves like “Is that true?!”,”So he’s actually a Wizard.” or “As expected!”
“Wait?! That’s just a title of a book……!!”
Regis who wanted to clear the misunderstanding up was carried up the horse like cargo.
It was the same as last time.
Altina heaved him up just with her wrist. Since he had mounted, he could only grab on to the horse. Altina got up shortly after.
“Aren’t you used to it!”
“That, I think that the way we ride are different?”
Even though he denied it in a soft voice, it seemed like Altina did not hear it.
Altina shouted on her horse.
“Is everyone prepared?!”
This time, the soldiers shouted uniformly.
“The enemy seems to be scheming something! However, Regis would help us on the difficult part! Bring forth your courage and march forward!!”
Altina pushed everything aside and drew the sword on her waist— She pointed towards the front.
She lightly tighten her legs on the horse’s waist, causing the chestnut war horse, Karakara, to move.
What was blocking Regis’ view was not just the horse’s head, but also the battlefield in front of them.
Next to the large hills was a plains. Dust rolled behind the back of the brave soldiers.
The horse increased its speed.
Three thousand soldiers were behind them.
Jerome’s horse was beside them as Jerome was gathering the Black Knights Corps who were outside.
The cheering sounds and the clopping of the horse resounded in the area.
Regis could feel his heart was beating even faster.