The Beginning of Dusk
Editor: Skythewood, Darkdhaos, Rockgollem
The groans and howls of the cannon blasts echoed through the battlefield.
High Britannia to the south— the First Division continued firing their artillery.
However, the Seventh Imperial Army did not slow down their march.
They were already within 1000yd (914m) from the enemy.
Even so, it was still too far for rifles.
If they fired upwards at an angle, the bullets might reach the enemy. However, bullets flying in an arc would be unable to kill the enemy soldiers equipped with armour.
Compared to the old musket, the new Snider rifle had increased range, though it was only increased to 200yd (182m)
No one knew how many volleys they could fire in the face of the incoming imperial soldiers.
The enemy was closing the gap.
The enemy seemed to have turned into angry beasts, wanting vengeance for their comrades killed by cannons. Their killing intent seemed to morph into a fearsome shadow.
In addition, the imperial soldiers still outnumbered them despite the cannons thinning their numbers by thousands.
Even the new Type 41 Elswick Cannons were not omnipotent. If the enemy was too close to the frontline, they would not be able to use the cannons in fear of hitting their own troops.
For the shells to be fired, the minimum range was about 500yd (457m)
In addition, any slight change to the elevation could cause the rounds to hit their own troops. Also, it took time to adjust the distance due to its bulky weight.
They could now see the enemy, who looked liked demons up close..
They overcome death just to bring death to their enemies.
The captains of each platoon began giving out orders.
“Ready your rifles, aim——!!”
The riflemen at the front began to aim at the approaching targets.
Before that, they had to load their rifle.
They opened the hinged breechblock to reveal the breech. A metallic cartridge was placed in here.
The loading would be complete after one confirmed that the breechblock was closed and secured, thus they could begin to aim
The simple procedure was totally different compared to the old muskets.
They took aim at the imperial soldiers.
Compared to their training, the guns felt heavier and their hands were trembling, making it hard to aim properly.
The more they kill, the less guilt they would feel. A vast majority believed that foreigners were no different from beasts. The fear of being killed if they did not kill took their calmness away.
The imperial army continued to march on.
When is the order to fire going to come?
Once they readied their guns, the soldiers were not allowed to even wipe their sweat on their forehead.
Behind the riflemen was the headquarter for the High Britannia First Division.
There was a man dressed like a white knight. He was tall with long limbs. His grey hair had bits of blue while his eyes were pale blue.
His right wrist was bandaged, which he hid inside the sleeve of his uniform.
He was Oswald Coulthard.
Officially, he was a staff officer, but he was acting as if he was the commander.
He nods his head while listening to his subordinate’s report.
“It’s seems to be going smoothly… … Then, as according to plan, we will begin firing at a distance of 200yd (182m). If the imperial army begins charging before that distance, do not panic and simply shoot at them calmly.”
Even towards his subordinates, Oswald spoke using a courteous tone.
The messenger saluted by bringing his right hand to the edge of his temple, after which he ran to the frontline.
Though there were other generals and staffs in the headquarter, they could only look at the enemy nervously. They were not that useful. However, if they could fulfill their roles, they would be meaningful pawns for Oswald.
The battle was heading towards an ideal situation.
The time to decide who would be the victor was approaching.
At that moment, someone behind him called his name.
“Hey, Oswald… … Aren’t they going to shoot?”
It was said lazily.
Behind him was a two-seater light carriage. Even though a human could pull it, it was being pulled by a horse right now. It was actually an open-air carriage
The carriage was painted black as not to attract attention. If one saw the silver ornaments and silk within, they would know the one sitting in the carriage was someone important.
As if she was sitting on a sofa, a beautiful girl sat with her knee on the seat.
The pink dress was rolled back, revealing her white thighs. As the dress was quite revealing at the shoulder and chest area, a white mantle was draped over it.
Just like a waterfall, her shiny black hair covered the white mantle which hid her chest.
The young girl who slightly narrowed her amber eyes had the look of a mischievous cat.
She was High Britannia’s new queen, Margaret Steelart.
“I feel that it’s about time to fire, Oswald. The new guns should be able to hit them. I’m already sick of hearing the cannon blasts.”
While it was within their range, it did not mean that it would hit. They would not be able to kill the enemy if they could not hit them properly. After all, the distance was still a little too far.
The latest gun had two flaws—— the metallic ammunition required more effort to manufacture, hence the reserve for it was quite low. Secondly, the barrel of the gun had a spiral pattern and because of the thickness of the ammunition, the round would graze the inside of the barrel, so the durability of the gun was slightly inferior to past models.
Bullets were valuable. Be it the guns or cannons, any mis-aim would lower the chance of killing the enemy.
Until the enemy approached , to ensure maximum damage, they needed to avoid meaningless volleys. Hence, the order to fire would only be given when the enemy drew closer.
Just because she was tired of the sound of shooting. What kind of reason was this…?
Oswald politely lowered his head.
“Firing, is it? That’s indeed a smart decision. The wise Queen Margaret’s orders are like the heaven’s decrees. To a foolish person like me, your words are akin to illuminating the path in the darkness. That’s right, if I were to compare, it would be like noticing the brilliance of the lighthouse on a moonless and starless night.”
“Enough. Begin firing, Oswald.”
“As you wish.”
After a deep bow, Oswald signalled the messenger who was on standby at the side.
The young messenger ran over and saluted.
Oswald saluted back.
“Pass down the order to begin firing at Belgaria’s Seventh Imperial Army. When the ammunition are used up, the frontline is to split to the left and right, and retreat to the rear. At the same time, those in the second line of defense is to replace them. That is all.”
Normally, shooting to the point when the ammunition was all used up was impossible as the enemy would have engaged them in hand-to-hand combat before that .
However, they were still trained to perform such a maneuver in the event that the ammunition were all used up. Perhaps this time, the training would be useful as they had to begin shooting at the enemy who was at over twice the predetermined distance.
The young messenger was shocked.
As to confirm the order, he repeated Oswald’s order and ended with “I will deliver the orders as above!”
The generals in the headquarters were shaken and began whispering amongst themselves—— However, none of them opposed Oswald’s decision.
They were just pawns after all.
From amongst this group, the young messenger asked.
“That… … Are we really going to pass down the order to fire? Isn’t the enemy still too far away?”
“Ah, for a messenger to doubt me, who is abiding to the will of the esteemed queen Margaret? What is your name and the place you’re from?”
“Arh?! I,I’m… Lance Corporal William Mallory. I’m from Queens Thames.”
Queen Thames was one of the districts in the capital, Queens Tower. He who hailed from this place should be a born and bred citizen of High Britannia. He looked about eighteen years of age.
Oswald looked at Margaret for confirmation.
She looked his way happily.
The order to fire, and the war was just a way for her to kill time. Even when a mere messenger doubted her order, it was just like seasoning for her.
She got bored easily and loved making people around her perplexed.
Oswald pointed in the direction of the enemy.
“There’s no need to worry. This order is the right decision and will bring us victory. . Go and fulfill your role.”
The young messenger, William, quickly ran off.
After a while, the riflemen began shooting.
Although the distance was within 500yd (457m), it was further than the predetermined 200yd (182m).
It is about time to prepare for movement.
Oswald climbed and sat on the carriage, sitting to the left of Margaret due to the sword hanging on the left side of his waist.
As it was a two-seater carriage, one of them had to direct the horse.
With a happy smile, Margaret snuggled over, hugged Oswald’s right arm and pulled it towards her chest,
As a result, Oswald could only use his left hand to pull the reins.
“Pardon me, but the ride may get a little shaky. My apologies.”
“Fufu… … Are you thinking that I’m quite troublesome, Oswald?”
“——Eh? Why would I find you, the precious queen Margaret, troublesome? I wonder why you would even suspect that I harbour such disrespectful thoughts?”
“That’s because I keep disturbing your battle plans. You should feel angry that I messed up your plans. Just like a cat messing up the place when it was left to watch the house.”
Despite understanding that much, she still ruins the plan. She really isn’t normal.
Losing this battle means death.
Oswald shook his head.
“My existence is to carry out Your Majesty’s noble will. If I was to make a comparison, would your fingers doubt your orders when you stretch your hand out? That’s impossible.”
“Hm? So you are saying that you’re my fingers?”
“Ehehe… … Even so, Oswald, you won’t even touch me, isn’t that strange? Even though you’re a part of my body… What could you be worrying about?”
She raised her head and looked at him.
She was close enough for him to feel her breath.
Even though Oswald was wearing the military uniform, she was only lightly dressed in a silk dress.
Her body’s warmth could be felt.
The right leg with her knee bent revealed her white thigh as her red dress rolled back.
Margaret exhaled a warm breath.
Whispering at his ear.
“Hey… A lot people seem to have died.”
“It seems that’s the case.”
“I feel a little feverish.”
“I see… You're’ right… However, it’s not even mid May now. Exposing yourself to too much breeze would damage your health. For the nation’s peace and prosperity, please take care of your body.”
Oswald took a silk lap blanket from the compartment near the passenger seat. The silk lap blanket was white with two red strips, which was literally the High Britannia’s flag.
Once it covered her knee, Margaret puff her cheeks in protest.
“Ahh, how fitting. Then, shall we welcome the Belgaria Army?”
“Hpmh… Is there even anything interesting to see?”
I see, so she is also a little excited, that’s a little surprising.
“Please enjoy —— The battlefield will no longer be the era of spears and swords. This is the coming of a new war. The old would be destroyed… … Just like how Belgaria’s armies will be destroyed.”
“Pray tell me your gospel.”
“Fufufu… … You, never once issued the important commands when I am present.”
“... Is that so… … That’s would be unforgivable... I am merely leaving the finer details it to Lieutenant Glenda Graham. That’s all.”
Margaret stretch her hand out and gently touched Oswald’s lips.
The Seventh Imperial Army’s fighting spirit had reached its peak.
War Advisor Vicente was riding a horse while the infantry followed closely behind.
He was wearing a light silver armour and held a jet-black sword.
Beside him was general Barguesonne who was riding his black horse calmly, making it hard to imagine that he was old.
Even though Barguesonne was a noble, he did not like to waste things. Things that could be used would be used, things that could not be used would be sent for repairs. Even for things that could not be repaired, he would find ways to use it. This was one of his virtue.
That went the same for the Armure de Plaque he was currently using. Even though this was made thirty-five years ago as his first ornament, it had already become a relic. However, Barguesonne continued using and repairing it.
If it was a normal knight, they would pass down the Armure de Plaque as a family heirloom as it was ridiculously expensive. However, for a house head that had the title of a duke , a new one would be made instead.
Ten years ago——
The emperor Liam XV at that time was more zealous in handling national affairs. He even inspected the Seventh Imperial Army in a parade..
A parade was for the army to march around the main road of the city they were garrisoned at. Not only did the emperor inspect them, even nobles and civilians gathered to watch. Normally, they should be wearing beautiful costumes.
Moreover, it was obvious that he had to wear a masterpiece for someone having the ‘general’ title.
Exactly for that, merchants advertised their newly-styled armour.
“Can a beautiful armour protect the nation?”
Barguesonne then chased them out.
If the commander was wearing a plain old armour, the subordinates would not dress themselves up either. Most of the knights only polished their iron armour before participating in the parade.
Seeing the inelegant parade, nobles who gathered at the capital sneered at them. They even commented that ‘beauty is also part of prestige’.
As the captain of Emperor Liam XV’s guard was asked, he replied.
“Even though I had seen many parades, this is my first time seeing battle-hardened soldiers.”
Hearing his answer, the people around them began speculating, thinking that ‘he answered that way due to pressure’ or ‘it’s a sarcastic comment’ and such.
No matter what, Barguesonne’s belief did not change.
He had the simple idea that adhering to traditions and respecting bloodlines was the best course. He himself would not change, thus the empire would last forever too.
That was the same as to why the young Vicente was made the war advisor, simply because he was the son of the previous war advisor who had served for a long time. Even though the previous war advisor’s opponents were the small nations in the east, he was a strategist who did not lose even a single battle.
Even Vicente himself wished to follow his father’s footstep of not losing.
Now was the time for him to show his results of what he had learned for the last three years.
This battle against High Britannia was a good opportunity for him to let his name echo throughout the empire instead of just the east.
Vicente had the confidence, and even the soldiers from the Seventh Imperial Army believed that they would win.
Scouts came running back.
“Reporting! The vanguard had already broke through 7Ar (500m)!”
Barguesonne nodded his head.
Vicente felt that his plan was going smoothly.
“No matter how new their cannons are, they would eventually be reduced.”
“That’s for sure.”
At that time, what rang was not the blasting sound of the cannons, but something weaker.
——Guns are being fired?!
Vicente was shocked to the point as if his heart was gripped by someone.
He stared at the direction of the enemy intensely.
White smoke was coming out from the guns of the High Britannia’s frontline musketeers.
“Impossible! We are already within their range?!”
“I never heard that the new gun could even shoot this far… …”
Barguesonne narrowed his eyes.
This was something outside his expectation.
If that was the case, once the soldiers at the front were to be injured, one could expect that the range was several times further than what they expected.
Before this, the worst scenario they expected was about five thousand casualties. Now, the casualties could even reach twice what they predicted.
Even so, they would lose without doubt if they retreat now.
Vicente who underestimated the enemy and made the plan based on simple assumptions held heavy responsibility.
He felt something crushing his stomach, making him even want to vomit.
His throat was parched and could even feel something sour in his mouth.
His back was drenched in cold sweat.
“... What is the casualty rate?”
“Someone go and take a look!”
A knight responded to Barguesonne’s command and volunteered. He then quickly mounted a horse and rode to the front.
The gunshots continued.
How many casualties did they sustain?
The knight had returned.
He had a calm expression.
“Casualties are light! Nothing to worry about!”
In the headquarter where the senior officers gathered, the atmosphere began to lighten.
Most likely, Vicente was the one who was the most relieved.
He was cheering and cursing in his heart at the same time.
—— Trying to scare us?! The High Britannians are idiots! Idiots!
“Hehe… … Looks like they couldn’t handle our army’s pressure and made a wrong judgement. Perhaps they wanted to show us that they do not even know the basics.”
“So, it’s too far. This is unexpectedly disappointing.”
Barguesonne seemed unhappy over the enemy commander’s blunder. Rather than feeling relieved, he looked disappointed.
“Ara, are you looking forward to the clash where both side will use all their strength, general?”
“It’s nothing to be proud of winning against the enemy who are like new recruits.”
"It can't be helped since the High Britannia Army is a place where fresh recruits gathers. The corpse of their comrades lying side by side would be proof that they protected their nation."
“Even though I hoped they were opponents that had some capability.”
Compared to the enemy who obviously became complacent and failed, the commander who wished for a strong opponent made those in the headquarter burst into laughter.
Even though they were still a little uneasy due to the huge damage caused by the new cannons, there were no other thoughts than victory in their mind.
Vicente who was nervous began to stroke his chest gently.
“Seeing the situation, it’s as we planned.”
“Hm, we do not need to respond to the enemy’s mistake. I do not want any fools in our army to attack while panicking.”
“Hearing Barguesonne’s words, Vicente called a messenger over.
“Pass down my orders! Before receiving another command, they are to maintain speed. Independent actions are strictly prohibited!”
The messenger quick ran away after saluting by putting his right fist to his chest.
The gunshots continued.
Even though there would still be casualties as they closed the gap, it would not load the cartridge into the rifle due to the heat from firing, which would also slightly distort the barrel.
——Is victory at hand?
Barguesonne’s hand that was holding the reins tightened its grip.
Soon, the distance between the two armies was just 4Ar (286m).
From nineteen thousand, the Belgaria’s Seventh Imperial Army was left with fifteen thousand.
While High Britannia Army of ten thousand remain unscathed.
Even so, many imperial soldiers believed that they would be the winners.
Barguesonne raised one of his hand.
Trumpeters began playing the tune for charging.
As if it was trying to pierce the sky, it was loud enough to lose against the blasting sound of cannons and people thought it was a roar by some beasts.
The assault unit caused the ground to tremor, even Barguesonne who was on a horse could feel it.
Forward! Forward! The imperial officers shouted.
Like ferocious beasts who were released from their cage and were searching their preys, soldiers who were equipped with spears charged towards the enemy.
With some delay, the second and the third line of soldiers began to run too.
The heavy infantry who were guarding the headquarter also began sprinting.
Barguesonne and Vicente who was beside him kept their whips.
The death rate among assault units were high.
Hence, most of the soldiers here were farmers who could not pay their taxes or criminals.
Ducasse, who was thirty years old this year had his corps destroyed by bugs and was conscripted in place of the taxes he failed to pay.
It just so happened that the year when he could not pay taxes, a large-scale battle broke out. He was just that unlucky.
Even though the Empire boasted a strong military, it was only due to their high population which in turn meant more trained regular soldiers. People still died if stabbed by a spear or shot with a gun.
After the assault began, the man beside him fell immediately. During training, the fallen soldier was someone who gave him a good impression as he shared the salt he brought from his hometown with Ducasse. He died from a shot to the throat.
Even the voice of the platoon captain who gave him fruits when he was sick had disappeared.
Everyone was dying.
He remembered the face of his wife who was pregnant with his fourth child. He promised to safely returned before parting. That goes for his parents and his children too.
Ducasse ran while shouting as to suppress his fear.
His metal spear and chain armour were heavy.
However, he would be killed if he stop moving here. The distance was slowly covered. Every step closer made the enemy more likely to fatally shoot him.
If he was slow, he would be shot.
He could not help but to kill the enemy before they shot. Otherwise, he would die.
His breathing almost stopped.
The signal to attack that he awaited anxiously… … He began doubting if it was a little too early as there was still some distance to cover.
Soldiers who were beside him had already ran to the front.
Am I slow? Ducasse began to panic.
Soldiers who were slow were a hindrance and would be stabbed at the back by the soldiers behind.
I don’t want to die.
His legs began to tremble.
If he fell down, he would be trampled by those behind. It would be an unhonourable and sorrowful death.
He was worried that the soldiers behind would misunderstand and stab him.
Don’t be mistaken, I can still run —— Ducasse thought.
If it was now, it was the same as stumbling over a rock.
I can still run. Can run even faster.
He could see the enemy’s figures and they were shouting something while firing.
White smoke came out of their guns.
Did not hit.
Those idiots, where were they aiming?!
If this was just like training, the steps that followed would take a long time. The enemy would turn the gun vertical, pour gunpowder in, place the bullet in, push a ramrod down the muzzle to compress the contents. They also needed to pour gunpowder into the priming pan that would be that would be ignited by a flint during the shot...
But that was not the case for the High Britannia’s musketeers. With no regards for the hot barrel, they opened the breechblock and insert the ammunition they had in their pockets in. In no time, they began to aim again.
——Those bastard, what kind of joke is that?!
For that to be so simple!
Those cowards! Cowards!
Gunshots rang out again.
Ducasse’s left ear was burning.
Got shot?! I got shot?!
Something warm dripped down to the left side of his neck.
The sound… … The left side of his ear seemed to have heard sounds that was similar to that of a waterfall.
Don’t, don’t stop!
He seemed hear someone shout.
His legs began to move.
If he stopped, he would be trampled to death by his comrades.
I still want to return!
He seemed to hear another voice.
That’s right, the pain from earlier. You have to return the pain to them! Kill those enemy who killed your friends!
He had already reached a distance where he could clearly see the colour of the enemy soldiers’ eyes.
Suddenly, he realised that those comrades who were faster than him had disappeared.
Where could they be? No, it isn’t the time to be thinking about that.
The enemy was right in front of him.
One of the High Britannia’s musketeers was a youth with golden hair and had blue eyes——
That guy, he is the enemy who I have to kill!
Another shot was fired.
It was off course.
His hand was trembling.
The lid was open and the bullet —— had fallen to the ground.
Ducasse thrust his spear.
The golden-haired youth let out a scream that could even broke his throat.
The youth died just like this.
The spear stabbed through the youth’s body.
Ducasse stabbed the youth through his abdomen.
It felt softer than wood, just like that of straw.
There were some hardness among the softness.
Did it reach the bone?
The area he stabbed was below the ribs but above the stomach.
The youth who had widened his eyes began to cough out blood.
Ducasse pulled his spear back.
The spear was more important any things, he could not fight other enemies without it.
Once the spear was drawn out, the abdomen began to spurt out blood.
The blood continuously dripped down.
After saying his last speech which was filled with blood, the youth stopped moving.
Ducasse’s left ear was throbbing with pain as he continued hearing sounds that was similar to that of a sandstorm.
It’s because this bastard fired… … No, is it really him? Whatever the case, I have to move on.
Behind the High Britannia’s musketeers were the shieldbearers.
Ducasse used his momentum to stab his spears towards those large shields.
*Clanck.” Only that sound was produced as the spear did not pierce through.
There’s not enough strength behind the thrust?!
After that, the enemy soldiers began retreating.
Trying to escape?!
If they escaped here, he would have to undergo the ‘Marché de la mort’ again.
The trumpets that conveyed Belgaria’s battle orders sounded once more and the tune was that of assault. If the enemy was to retreat, push forward!
“They are just like beasts!”
Curses came behind the back of High Britannia’s shieldbearers.
“I’ll kill you! Stop running!”
He thrust his spear once more.
Those large shields were obstacles.
There were more gunshots.
It seemed that it was fired behind the shieldbearers and his comrades were hit.
The enemy slowly retreated.
Normally, stabbing the enemy at the back was as relaxing as hunting… … However, those large durable shields and the occasionally gunshots that was aimed at them prevented the formation from collapsing.
“Damn! Damn it! Die! Stop running, cowards!”
“Retreat! Quicken the pace and retreat!”
Ducasse crossed over boldly.
Who would want to experience the ‘Death March’ again?! My family is waiting for me to return. Farm work is more suitable for someone like me!
With his body in the air, he thrust his spear at the shieldbearers, creating a gap in their defense. Without any pause, he continued attacking.
The spearhead that went past the shield and pierced into the chest of the enemy who was hiding behind the shield.
That attack stirred the enemy.
“Close the gap! Do not panic!”
Seeing that it was a good chance, Belgaria soldiers stepped over the corpse of the enemy as they threw away their spear and drew their swords.
As the shieldbearers could not move agilely due to the large shields, they could be easily dealt with by attacking from the side.
However, before one of the soldier who drew his sword could strike, gunshots behind the shieldbearers turned him into a beehive.
The gap that Ducasse created was closed by the other bearers
The pace in which they retreat did not change.
It repeated once more.
For some unknown reasons, Ducasse laughed.
“Aha! I’ll continue kill you all, cowards! It’s the same as before!”
He gripped his spear tightly and used his body to ram the shields. If he attack from the front, the bullets would not come flying at him through the gaps.
The spearhead once again pass through the shields and he extended his reach.
it’s the third one!
I can do it. Let it collapse here.
At this moment, a sorrowful voice was heard, it was in Belgaria’s language.
What is he saying? I don’t understand...
The enemy is right in front of us.
It’s the same now, the shieldbearers are right in front of us.
Surrounded? By who?
Gunshots could be heard from all sides.
“Oswald, we’re always escaping. Are we going to lose?~”
“Oh noble queen Margaret, please be careful not to bite your tongue. We are about to stop moving soon.”
“Ara, we don’t need to run anymore?”
Margaret used a handkerchief to wipe off the dust.
Just like before, Oswald’s right arm was being hugged in front of her chest.
“We aren’t escaping. This is a planned maneuver. Retreating while withstanding Belgaria’s assault units’ attack is the role of the shieldbearers. The unit behind the shieldbearers are to split into two and flank the enemy from the left and right.”
The High Britannia Army had formed a ‘U’ shape as they surround the Belgaria Army.
Margaret tilted her head.
“If the pie crust is too thin, it would break while wrapping, Oswald.”
Despite doing foolish things, this young girl actually understood war.
The girl was blessed by God as she was not only clever but also shrewd, which was why she got sick of the world. Perhaps to her, understanding this was natural to her.
“Indeed, that’s the case when the opponent is the strong Belgaria Army… … Furthermore, we are surrounding them when they have more numbers than us… … Generally, this is a bad strategy. However, that only applies in the era of fighting with swords and shields. Our army are equipped with top quality rifles. While shields can be used to block those spears, what about bullets? That’s impossible… … In addition, they have to reorganise to deal with enemy on their flanks. Only those at the outer edge of the formation could fight if they use spears, can they change the formation of the soldiers on the inside? What would they do when bullets came flying at them?”
“Ufufu… … I can’t help wanting to laugh when I imagine you pondering about these.
“As I’m not considerate enough, I’m ashamed to have worried the gentle queen Margaret. I can only pray that this battle isn’t a futile academic exercise.”
“You seems pretty confident.”
“As it is for the sake of the radiant queen Margaret, I had put in all of my effort.”
Oswald did not simply rely on theory.
The effectiveness of the tactics by combining the shields and new guns had already been experimented with and confirmed in High Britannia’s civil war.
He provoked the people at borders to rebel and sent in the riflemen in the name of suppression.
Experimenting it on the citizens of High Britannia would be too bloody, so he didn’t allow Margaret to learn about this...
It could not be help. Unlike weapons, exposing one’s strategy early would cause the value of the tactic to drop, which was why he could not experiment outside the country.
This time, the living shieldbearers or rather, their corpse was used as cover. As long as it could hinder the enemy from approaching, anything would be used.
As the fight continued, even the imperial soldiers’ bodies would be used as cover.
Margaret whispered into Oswald’s ear.
“You can’t do that, Oswald… … To actually kill my subjects for the sake of experimenting.”
“How… … That is… …”
“I can’t forgive you for monopolizing something so interesting.”
Oswald’s ear was bitten by Margaret.
And the bite was filled with strength.
It was enough to tear his ear off.
“A-are you referring to the rebellions that were put down…? That… My apologies for reporting those incidents late. There won’t be a next time, I’ll pay attention——?!”
This time, Margaret licked the ear.
The wounded area was licked, soothing the pain. A slick sticky noise entered his ears.
“Ara… … Blood is oozing out… …
“If it’s for the sacred you, Queen Margaret, I am even willing to offer my organs to you. There’s nothing happier for me than serving you.”
“Pray tell me your wishes.”
“Exactly how many people had we killed?”
“Four thousand before Belgaria Army charged at us. Two thousand after they began charging… … After surrounding them, about another three thousand.”
“It seems more than that.”
“Pardon me. For our side, we lost about two thousand.”
“Ara, that’s rather little.”
Margaret said it unhappily.
Even Oswald was troubled whether to apologise or not.
As to reduce the numbers in Belgaria Army, High Britannia’s musketeers were positioned at the front was used as bait.
There was about a thousand casualties over there.
Ever since the shieldbearers and musketeers began retreating and that after the musketeers had fired, the casualties should be three times of it.
That was because for every enemy infantry, a shieldbearer and a musketeer would cooperate and resist. Hence it was obvious that they succeed. Furthermore, the shields could protect against spears and bullets could even pierce through the thick part of plate armour at a close distance.
In reality, High Britannia was in a more advantageous situation.
Even if the shieldbearers collapsed and the musketeers were defeated, there would be reserves to replace them from the back.
Especially the flanks, ever since they started engaging the enemy, numerous soldiers were dispatched there.
Furthermore, the cannons were repositioned and began firing once more. As the Belgaria Army had maintained their tight formation, the cannons produced great results.
The number of survivors was about ten thousand for Belgaria and eight thousand for High Britannia...
Oswald expressed admiration for the enemy in his heart.
Even when they were in a disadvantageous position, they could still fight with discipline.
In his experiment, once the forefront assault team collapsed, the rebels realised the terror of the musketeers and began to stumble and escaped.
Belgaria Army should had realised their defeat. Even so, they still did not give up.
What a noble spirit they have.
How disciplined their soldiers were.
Oswald slowly got intoxicated. Just like throwing a masterpiece that much time and passion was invested in onto the ground with his two hands.
Vicente was struggling painfully against the disadvantage.
As his role was to design a battle plan, his actual role in battle was just a consultant to the commander.
When something unexpected happened, he would be considered a second-rate strategist. Furthermore, if the army was to be defeated in this situation, he would not be able to escape punishment even if he survived.
“Do not cower! Let them see the might of the Empire Army!”
Even though his voice was filled with strength, it was not that effective as it was blocked by the shields.
In contrast, bullets were flying at them. As it was shot from three direction, it would certainly kill someone even if the soldiers at the front was not hit by it.
The enemy’s attack was sure-hit but on Belgaria’s side, they could only kill one enemy after a few attacks and with much difficulties.
Vicente’s lip was trembling
“Impossible… … Isn’t Belgaria’s armies the strongest in open field battles?”
Before the battle, no, up till the point, the assault units were about to mow down the enemy like weed, it was a bright future to him. He believed that he would bathe in glory and praises.
Now, he could only see the soldiers dying and hear their sorrowful cries of despair.
The bright future was slowly engulfed by the darkness.
“How… … Impossible… …”
Even if they would be a little slow in reaction when fighting in oceans or forests, Belgaria’s infantry was undefeated in open field battles. It was supposed to be their advantage.
Even up till now, they had been winning in the eastern border.
Even though they loved to boast.
“Even though… I trusted the plan for a direct clash…”
“Vicente! Stop dazing around!”
The only thing that he couldn’t accept was disappointing the old lieutenant general. Barguesonne felt like a second father to him.
“I-if we can approach the enemy, the cannons and guns would not matter! They would feel the empire’s might! That’s what the battalion captains said, which was why I!”
“What are you still saying?!”
“Which is why, I! I’m not wrong, Lieutenant General Barguesonne?! They are the one who are wrong!”
Barguesonne showed a lonely expression.
Vicente shouted once more.
“That’s right! T-that border regiment’s Regis Auric! Because of that guy, his words had affected the morale of our troop! Or could it be that he was jealous of my success, he even colluded with the enemy. That’s right! That’s how this situation came to be!”
“So you understand, Lieutenant General Barguesonne?!”
“I have to properly correct your character!”
Vicente felt the pressure as if Barguesonne was announcing his execution.
He felt that the general would used the spear in his hand to stab him.
“Hence… … you can’t die here.”
“I gathered people with pure bloodline as my staff and discussed the strategy repeatedly in earnest and finalized this battle plan. The result of this was my lost as the commanding officer. Someone like you want to shoulder this responsibility? Don’t overestimate yourself!”
“Lieutenant General Barguesonne… …”
After finishing his words, Barguesonne turned to his back.
He shouted at the soldiers once more.
“Do not be bothered by those at the sides! We shall cut the enemy into break through the enemy and cut them into halves! Show them the pride and spirit of the Seventh Imperial Army! All men, forward! For the Empire!”
The command which made the best out of the mistakes ignited the fighting spirit of the dejected soldiers.
If this go on, they would be wiped out.
That being the case, he thought that it would be better that they died as heroes for their country and thus they roared.
The farmers and criminals who were stationed at the front had all fell while the regulars had already engaged the enemy with more aggression.
“Charge! Attack! Forward! March on! Bring the enemy down and stomp them! Step over your comrades who had fallen! All men, forward!”
Barguesonne was shouting commands while moving forward himself.
He had already left the protection of his bodyguards.
The aides who were left behind and the guards who were passed by move forward in a panic after snapping out of their daze.
The surrounding soldiers also pushed forward.
“The general is at the front!”
“Lieutenant General is attacking!”
“We have to follow him!”
“Forward! March on! There is no one else other than us, the Seventh Imperial Army, to protect our nation! How can we just die here! Defeat the enemy!!”
The assault units at the front had closed the gap between them and the shieldbearers and thrust their spear into the gap between the shieldbearers.
For every spear that was thrust, there was a gunshot in response.
It was a headshot—— However, another soldier from the back squeeze through the gap where the fallen soldier was and continued attacking.
Some soldiers threw away their spears and used their hands to grab the enemy’s shields. Even when his abdomen was shot, he did not feel any pain as he was in a frenzy.
The shieldbearer who was lifted up in the air let go of his shield in fear. The shieldbearer without his shield and the musketeers behind him were assaulted by spears.
The enemy collapsed due to pressure.
The decreasing Belgaria Army had suffered much losses up till this point had cause the enemy’s formation to collapse and not just the frontline.
Someone shouted in the language of High Britannia.
We can do it!
Having that mindset, their fatigue disappeared and their concentration increased.
Having that mindset, their fatigue disappeared and their concentration increased.
The Belgaria Army’s momentum had reached their highest point.
Barguesonne was about to charge to the forefront and shouted.
“All men, forward! Quicken your pace! We’re almost there! Attack! All Men——?!”
Suddenly, he felt a burning sensation at his right chest.
A bullet had pierced through his armour.
He could not breath.
His lung was punctured. Even if he tried using his mouth to breath, he could only feel the blood being sucked into his lung and could not breath. This was a painful death akin to drowning.
Barguesonne had defeated many of his enemies… … He realised that it was finally his turn.
The first thing he did was to use his knee and squeezed the horse’s abdomen tightly. Then, he used his elbow and ribs to secure his spear in the forward position. What he grabbed onto was not the reins but the horse mane as he straighten his back.
Both his lungs and mouth was filled with blood, Barguesonne could not speak anymore.
His lips shut tightly while he widened his eyes.
His consciousness was slowly fading away.
He entrusted his will of moving forward to his horse—— Barguesonne died on his horse just like this.
A messenger ran to carriage where Oswald and Margaret were.
“The enemy is about to reach us!”
“Is that so.”
“The frontline could not hold any longer!”
The High Britannia Army had became a ‘凹’ shape while Belgaria Army continued maintaining the square formation as they attempted to break through the front while ignoring the sides.
It seemed that the Belgaria Army realised that being surrounded on three sides meant death to them, so they attempted to break through the front.
“Ara ara, how terrible. They would escape if this go on.”
Margaret said even though she didn’t seem to thought that at all. Even someone would put in more sincerity when keeping their clothes from getting wet from the rain.
“That is so. If that’s the case, isn’t letting them go a gentlemanly act?”
“Looks like you had considered this too.”
“Of course. There’s an old saying that ‘letting the trapped enemy off’. After all, a trapped enemy would fight to their last breathe in an attempt to escape. Furthermore, while the Belgaria Army is proficient in attacking, they aren’t good in retreating. If I stretched the sides and thin out the front, they would definitely break through the front.”
The unit at the front opening up like a hole at the bottom of a pocket.
The Belgaria Army who thought they had succeeded in assaulting began cheering while marching on.
Oswald had a wry smile.
“In war, I feel that we can’t be that whimsical... “
“Won’t that be uninteresting?”
“I pray that it would not be the case.”
Just like before the battle, the musketeers who were shooting at the sides began to gathered once more.
The headquarter was slowly moved.
They had positioned themselves behind the enemy.
It was all going as planned.
The opponent had been fatigue after breaking the encirclement. At the same time, their response had slowed due to the spears and armours. All the High Britannia’s musketeers had to do was to shoot at the escaping enemy.
Margaret yawned and said.
“It should be their pride for not retreating. I take my hat off them for having something more important than their lives.”
“That’s true for a soldier.”
It was as she said, the Belgaria Army should had withdrawn. Even if they would lose, they would not be receiving as much damage as now.
Thanks to the forced assault, it became a situation where the musketeers could shoot at the enemy’s back.
Perhaps the enemy did not comprehend the whole situation. It was possible that they thought High Brittania’s headquarters was at the center when they charged.
However, Oswald had moved the headquarter to the left wing long ago.
The front where the enemy could easily focused on was like a bait. It was originally planned to be penetrated.
Oswald gave an order to the messenger who was moving along with the carriage.
“There’s no reason to prolong the battle. Decimate the enemy in one go. The musketeers are to move forward and pursue them.”
At this moment——
Another messenger came running and reported.
“There’s an ambush! The enemy had attacked us! From the flank, ah, no. it’s the back now! Five hundred cavalry!”
“Ah, it’s the Empire’s… Black Knights!!”
Oswald leaned his body out.
If not for Margaret holding his right arm, he would have jumped down the carriage.
He took a deep breathe as to calm his emotion.
“Huu… … If it’s this amount, it’s nothing. Then, we just need to order the fourth battalion in the left wing to intercept——”
Wa! Cries of anger and sorrow from their back had overlapped.
——We’re already under attack?!
Do you know how wide my surveillance net is?! This is too fast!”
After seeing Oswald’s expression, Margaret laughed.
In an instant, she used her hand to cover her mouth.
Oswald actually let out a awkward sound and expression in front of her.
The clopping of the horses had become louder.
Oswald suppressed his feeling and squeeze out an order.
“Pass the emergency rescue order to Glenda’s unit… … Before that, the bodyguards in the headquarter are to protect Her Majesty at all cost.”
Tactfully removing Margaret’s hand, Oswald’s right arm was finally freed.
He quickly jumped down the carriage.
“Your Majesty… … It would be a little noisy… So please wait a moment here.”
“What a shame, Oswald. You had a manly look now. What should I do. I wonder how you should compensate me for this.”
“Ke… … My apologies for showing you my brash side.”
He had to show such an expression even if he had to force it out.
Margaret lied down on the carriage.
“That’s right, your unsmiling face is really ugly. For a rabbit who is more suited for hiding in its cove trying to imitate a lion sure is funny.”
“For me to hear such praises from the sacred queen Margaret, I’m honoured.”
He had a gentle smile.
After Oswald gently saluted, he walked in the opposite direction of the carriage was facing.
The bodyguards in the headquarter had already engaged the cavalry.