Sunday, July 16, 2017

Hero Without Blood or Tear Chapter 5

Chapter 5 - Achievement on the Battlefield (1)


Translator: Rockgollem
Editor: Deus Ex Machina, Perditor



It’s been three months since I became a mercenary.


Thanks to the swordsmanship tournament on the first day, I became the squad leader for a 10-man assault squad. It was all thanks to my abilities.


In those three months, I fought in a battle once and showed off my skill to the fullest. No one has called me a rookie since then. My second battle crept up just as I was getting adjusted to the life as a mercenary.


“The Iron Prince-Elector is planning a decisive battle with a Demon Lord at Hofheim. He’s gathering all the men he can and our Fähnlein plans on joining in as well.”


My heart beat faster as I listened to Sergeant Schultz’s explanation. I could finally have a chance to meet one of the guardian characters I could have chosen in this world.


Iron Prince-Elector was a nickname. He is the ruler of the Electorate of Palatinate and one of several Prince-Electors in the Empire. Technically, his title is Prince-Elector of Palatinate, but everyone simply referred to him as the Iron Prince-Elector.


“Then I’ll go as well.”


The Battle of Hofheim was essentially the debut stage for the Iron Price-Elector. He could win the battle or lose. The story shifted dramatically depending on the result so I planned on keeping a close eye on it.


There could also be a way to get acquainted with him if the opportunity presented itself.



***


One month later.


We joined the Iron Prince-Elector’s army which was marching to oppose the Demon Lord. The Iron Prince-Elector’s army met Demon Lord Pejamut’s, which was marching north, at Hofheim. Finally, both armies were ready to duke it out.


“Our fähnlein has been ordered to retake this hill from the enemy’s hands! Forward!”


The commander of our fähnlein, the Captain, shouted loudly. We maintained our square phalanx formation as we advanced. Arquebusiers who were extended like wings on each side of the formation fired continuously.


Bang! Ba-bang! Blam!


But the enemy’s response was not light either. The demonic army casted magic in response to our bullets.


Blaaaam! Baaam!


It was a bloodbath in every direction. However, I walked calmly alongside the pikemen. Soon, we would be close enough for the assault squad to charge.


“Listen up ya sorry lot of pigs! Get ready to run wild!”


Sergeant Schultz seemed to be the one who would lead the charge. He looked around and after picking me out from the group nodded his head at me.


“Valler! I have high expectations of you! If I fall, you will lead them.”


Amidst their preparation, all the assault squad soldiers looked at me. They also nodded at me as if they approved.


“Charge!”


Sergeant Schultz took the lead. Then, the assault squad soldiers armed with halberds and two handed swords followed. Everyone had already set foot in a battlefield, so the bullets whizzing by didn’t faze them one bit.


It was a leisurely pace at the start, but everyone sped up little by little and it became a full sprint once the distance closed to about 20m. Courageous war cries echoed from everywhere.


“Waaaarrrggghhh! Let’s go!”


“Time to die!”


Our target was a line of orc pikemen. Boasting large muscles and stronger than humans, they were common foot soldiers in  Demon Lords’ armies. Many humans did not enjoy the sight of their green skin.


“Kill them all!”


As Sergeant Schultz shouted his order, we collided with the orc pike line.


Clang! Twack! Kang! Clang!


The sound of weapons clashing with each other was noisy. The orcs tried to keep us back by stabbing towards us with their pikes as we vigorously swung our two handed swords to smack them away. Pikes broke and splinters flew in all direction.


I dodged a pike aimed at my face and grabbed it. The orc held on to the pike trying not to lose it.  


“I don’t think so!”


Crack


The pike shattered immediately. The orcs nearby screamed in astonishment. Some couldn’t believe what had happened in front of their eyes.


I dug into the gap created by shattering the pike. I held my two handed swords in a reverse grip like an oar and started sweeping away the pikemen  left and right.


“Urgh!”


They fell like wheat as I used my strength. I was using the law of the lever so they couldn’t hold on even if they tried.


“Alright! I’m going in!”


When I widened the gap, other assault troops waded in as if they had been waiting for this chance and started swinging down their swords. No matter how tough the orcs were, they couldn’t withstand two handed swords. Their arms and legs flew in all direction.


“Kuaaagh!”
“Kuuurggggh!”


Parts of the orc pike line wavered and descended into confusion. We didn’t miss the opportunity.


“Get ‘em!”
“Push them back!”


Everyone started driving their way in while pushing back the pikes with their swords. The area I was swinging my sword at was especially wiped clean of orcs. I had as much strength as an ogre. All those muscular orc warriors dived at me but were knocked back immediately.


“Kuaagh! It’s a monster! A monster!”
“A human with the strength of an ogre!”


I was proficient in the orcish language so I could understand everything they were saying. As I was wiping out the area, a squad member ran up and shouted.


“Our boys have started the push of pike!”
(TL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Push_of_pike)


Looking at the place the squad member was pointing at, the allies who had somehow managed to climb up the hill were stabbing away at the orcs. The way we disrupted the enemy line probably helped greatly.


“What do we do? Give us an order.”


It wasn’t just him. All the assault troops nearby were looking at me. Sergeant Schultz had taken a pike to his shoulder during an earlier engagement and was wounded.


“Valler, I’m sorry, but I leave it to you.”


I had the command. Everyone else shouted too.


“Everyone will follow you, Squad Leader Valler. Your orders!”
I’ve decided to aim for achieving something substantial on the battlefield along with everybody. If I managed a significant feat, there would be an opportunity to meet with the Iron Prince-Elector. My goal was clear.


“Listen up! We’ll capture the enemy’s colours!”


It was evident everyone was surprised at what I had to say. The enemy’s colours were deep in the centre of the pike line. For now, they were in disarray, but it was an incredibly risky task. However, if done successfully, it would be an incomparable achievement.


“Everyone here knows how important the colours are, right!? That right there is the most delicious prey in sight!”


Soldiers gathered around their regimental colours. Soldiers knew where to go even amidst the chaos because the flag stood tall. If the colours disappeared, the regiment’s unity and morale would plummet.


“If we use this momentum to seize the colours, we can capture this hill! Orc bastards run the moment they feel like they’re losing.”


It looked like everybody’s appetite for this tempting target was worked up.


“I’ll take the lead! Follow!”
“Waaarrrgghhh! Follow Squad Leader Valler!”
“Let’s goooo!”


We charged at the enemy line like an angry bull while shouting courageous war cries.


“Die!”


Every time a two handed sword flashed, an orc’s head flew. Our indiscriminate charge splattered enemy blood everywhere; but, the orcs managed to take down several of us as well.


Pant! Pant! Just a little bit more! We’re almost there!”


Despite having a numerical advantage, the orcs were on the back foot due to our ferocity. I could not let this opportunity pass and dug in even deeper. Finally, I swung my sword at the one holding the regimental colours.


“Kueeegh!”


He must have been a formidable warrior to be guarding the colours, but he couldn’t withstand a single blow and collapsed on the ground a headless corpse. I shouted while holding the flag that had fallen down.


“I, Valler from Spandau, have taken the enemy colours!”


When I waved the blood soaked flag, all the assault troops who had followed in broke out in cheer.


“Waaarrrgghh! Hurrah!”
“Squad Leader Valler captured the enemy colours!”


There were less voices than before. Unfortunately, out of roughly 50 men who charged the pike line with me, only about 30 remained.


The ones who remained were covered in injuries. But everyone looked ecstatic because we had taken the enemy colours. It was a valor they could brag about in beer halls for the next 10 years.


“We need to hold out now! Rally around the colours! Our men are coming up!”
I gathered the surviving members of the assault troop. The reason we could break through was due to the main body engaging in push of pike. I never thought it was possible to escape with the colours all by ourselves in the first place.


“Alright! Let’s hold out!”
“If we make it, it’s a jackpot!”


Everyone shared similar thoughts. We held back the swarm of orcs with all our might. But the situation didn’t progress as anticipated.


“Our boys are being pushed back!”


One of the squad members shouted out in a hurry.


“No! Damn it!”


Desperation seeped out in his voice. The allied troops were failing to take the hill and were slowly being pushed back from the orc counter-attack. At this rate, we would be isolated amidst the enemy position.


“What about us, you bastards!”
“Come back! You cowards!”


I never thought it would turn out like this. Taking the enemy colours was undoubtedly successful. It was reckless, but we succeeded. However, our troops being pushed back was outside the calculation. Everyone looked towards me flabbergasted.


“Squad Leader Valler!”


The orcs stood roughly two sword lengths away and had us surrounded in a circle.
It was calm for now, but I couldn’t see an escape route.


“Your orders! If it’s come to this...”


Some looked like they were ready to fight to the death.




“You all know! Death is something that can come at any moment for a mercenary. Of course, it would preferably not have been today.”


Everyone here knew they would probably meet an end like this one day. But I didn’t want to shout for everyone to prepare to dine in hell tonight. Since I dragged them here I wanted to see them make it out alive.


But how?


I couldn’t think of anything.


“Hmm….”


Everyone hurried me for orders since I was pondering silently.


“Squad Leader! I don’t blame you for it. Who would’ve thought that the idiot captain would call for a retreat while we were still here!
“That’s right! Since it came to this, let’s go out with a bang!”


It was the soldiers Marx and Telmann from my squad who said this. Both were excellent swordsmen and soldiers as courageous as lions. After witnessing their display of courage, I had all the more reason not to let them die here.


“Marx.”


“Yes, Squad Leader!”


“Start a fire.”


He looked confused at the sudden order. However, Telmann, who was standing right beside him, took out his flints and looked for an oil canister. Then he ripped off a piece of cloth from a dead soldier nearby to make a torch.


“What do you plan to do?”


“Light it. Quickly!”


“Understood!”


Woosh.


Once the torch was lit, I stepped forward. Then I proclaimed loudly towards the orcs.


“You sorry sons of whores! If you come any closer, I’ll burn your standard to a crisp!”


I could see several orcs who seemed to understand Imperial language flinch. When I tried to light the colours on fire, several orcs jumped in their spot and shouted something. Eventually one of their officers came forward and shouted in Imperial tongue.


“Don’t be foolish! We won’t let you leave alive if anything happens to the colours!”


“You what? Not going to let us leave alive? I knew orcs were stupid, but you must be on another level! You’re going to kill us anyways! I said stay back!”


I waved the torch while pouring insults at them.


“Seriously, this psychotic human.”


The orc officer couldn’t hide his consternation. Regimental colours were not only for practical usage but carried the regiment’s history as well. I sneaked a peek at the letters written on the flag. Based on the demons’ calendar, it was a 22-year old colours.


No wonder it felt like a rag...


“Come try it you bastards! We won’t go down easily.”


The attempt to set the regiment’s 22 years of history ablaze took the orcs completely unaware.


“Calm down, humans. If you hand back the colours, we’ll let you return to your regiment safely.”


“As if you aren’t an orc. Every time you open your mouth, lies comes flowing out! Get back!”


I was holding off the massacre by holding the colours as hostage. It wasn’t just my life on the line. All I could think about was saving my men. However, this wouldn’t last too long.


The orcs weren’t stupid. They were taken aback, but would soon come up with something. My life and my comrades’ life were burning away like a candle.

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