Saturday, August 12, 2017

Knight's & Magic Volume 5 Chapter 38

The Birth of the Flying Dragon Arc

New Kuscheperca Kingdom Army Advance
Translator: Skythewood
Editor: Darkdhaos, Cristian Lungu, Ruzenor

The clouds moved peacefully in the sky, and the wind softly caressed the smooth hair of the girl sitting in her chair.

She put down her teacup gently, and got up unhurriedly with her hand pressing on her hair. She approached the railing slowly, and the sights below expanded before her eyes.

In front of her was the 『Lacepede Castle』, known for its four towers, and the city that seemed to radiate out from the castle — this was the the capital of the New Kuscheperca Kingdom, 『Fontaine』.

The city which was lifeless under Žaloudek Kingdom’s rule had returned to the hands of its original owners, and was slowly regaining its vigour. This was because it had renewed commerce with Fremmevira Kingdom, which was on the eastern side of the Aubigne Mountain Range along the 『East-West Highway』, Occident Road

This trade route was a blessing for the citizens, and also a lifeline for the new Kingdom that was having a hard time.
「The city and our nation is gradually returning to the way it was…」

This girl was 『Eleonora Miranda Kuscheperca』, the queen of New Kuscheperca Kingdom who was just coronated a few days ago.

「What’s the matter, Your Majesty?」

At this moment, someone spoke with her softly. It was a knight with a strange staff and silver short sword hanging from his waist. It was clear that he was a 『pilot』 of Silhouette Knights from how lightly he was dressed. Eleonora’s melancholic face turned gentle.

「……Mr Archid.」

In contrast to the smiling queen, the young pilot 『Archid•Olter』 who spoke seemed to be at a lost.

「Erm, I already told you… Your Majesty, I’m just a mere knight, you don’t need to address me as 『Mister』…」

「No, Mr Archid, this is not a matter of our positions, this is my personal preference… And you don’t need to stand on ceremony, just talk to me naturally like we first met… Can’t you do that?」

Eleonora’s face became depressed in an instant. Chid scratched his head, wondering what he should do.

That was back when she was still a princess that had fallen into the clutches of the Žaloudek Kingdom. The Silver Phoenix Knights attacked in order to rescue the imprisoned royals. During that mission Chid swore an oath to Eleonora, saying that he will be her knight and fight for her.

She seem to trust him a lot too — that was great, but her attitude seemed very intimate. The busybody Knight Commander and even the young master ordered him to hold the title of Eleonora’s personal knight on top of his position as a member of the Silver Phoenix Knights.

He had been acting as her escort recently, and when the two of them were together, Eleonora’s mischievous actions got Chid spinning in circles.

「That’s a bit… No, it’s not really a problem. Eh, leaving that aside, I saw you sighing. Are you worried about something?」

Eleonora put her hand on her cheek as if she was surprised.

「Nothing, I’m just thinking it’s great that Fontaine had regained its vigour…」

Despite what she said, her expression still looked stiff. Chid tilted his head in doubt and turned his sights to the scenery beyond the railings.

They were at the balcony at the top of Lacepede Castle. This place was usually plain with just simple decor, but now it has an aura of extravagancy.

There were tables full of all sorts of snacks everywhere. Maids bustled between the participants chatting happily, refilling the drinks for everyone. There was a small scale tea party going on right now.

「Ah — ! The two of you are chatting at that place again. Hey, the tea will get cold okay?」

With a cake in one hand, Ady interrupted the two who were at a loss for words. The maids behind her were preparing to switch the tea that had turned cold. Ady stared at Eleonora, then suddenly held her hand.

「Really now, Ellie. It is a waste of your cute face if you keep lowering your head! Here, have some delicious cake and cheer up!」

「That’s true. Pardon me, Miss Ady. I can’t be so down even at a time like this… I have decided to be positive and look straight ahead. Fufu, let’s enjoy the cake.」

They might be about the same age, but Ady’s attitude was rather brazen towards a reigning queen. Chid was troubled by how his younger sister was acting, but the people around them didn’t seem to mind. Eleonora herself was all smiles as she helped Ady fill her plate with cake. Her demeanour was too different from what was expected of a  『queen』, she was just like a normal girl.

「Haha, aside from us, no one else will see this. Don’t hold back and just enjoy yourself.」

『Martina Alt Kuscheperca』 looked at them with a smile. She was now the ruler of Lacepede Castle in her husband’s stead, and also acting as the deputy of the queen. Because she had been helping Eleonora so closely in recent times, she understood how heavy the burden on her was.

「That’s right〜 the tea and cakes are delicious!」

「You are being too unrestrained…」

They didn’t need to worry about etiquette for this tea party, but Ady wasn’t being modest at all. As the vague idea that 『it’s true that being too polite is suffocating』 surfaced on Chid’s mind, a piece of cake suddenly appeared before him.

「Mr Archid, would you like some cake?」

「Uwah!? Ah, alright, I will be happy to… Eh, can you, put it on a plate, I will eat it myself…」

For some reason, the cake wasn’t on a plate, but offered to him on a fork. Chid had an ominous feeling and tried to dissuade her, but his resistance was weak and futile before Eleonora’s gentle smile.

「Here, please eat it just like this.」
Chid was overwhelmed by her smiling aura, and braced himself after a short while.

Queen Eleonora lived a sheltered life since she was little, up until the drastic change brought about by the war. When she recovered from her depression, she gradually learned to take on the responsibility of a queen, and how to play this role. But perhaps this was the result of her stress, she would occasionally show her mischievous side, especially when she was with Chid.

「Hmm, it’s great to see Ellie being so lively!」

『Emrys Geijer Fremmevira』 nodded strongly as he looked at the next table that was going beyond 『lively』, and gradually getting rowdy. He then grabbed the snacks on the table and attempted to put it into his mouth. But 『Isadora Adalina Kuscheperca』 sitting besides him slapped his hand.

「Sigh, Rys-nii is so crude as usual. You have to eat properly with a knife and fork.」

「Eating small mouthfuls isn’t my style.」

Emrys had no choice with Isadora intimidating him with a stiff face and sharp gaze. He stuck his fork into the cake, and stuff the entire slice into his mouth. Isadora could only nurse her forehead and sigh after witnessing this scene.

When the tea party participants took a break after a while, Eru suddenly appeared.

「Sorry I’m late.」

「Ah, you’re finally here! This way, here, there’s still cake〜」

Ady quickly prepared the refreshments and patting the seat besides her, Eru obediently sat down by her side. After taking a big mouthful of the tea Ady offered him, he exhaled with satisfaction.

Ahh, both people besides me are so cute… How blissful!

Ady was seated between Eru and Eleonora, and couldn’t hide the joy in her heart as she smiled gleefully — let’s ignore her for now.

「The tea tastes delicious after a day of hard work.」

「Thank you for your hard work, Lord Echevarria, your help is much appreciated in all sorts of ways.」

「Don’t mention it, I was only late to the party because I was having too much fun collecting data.」

In contrast to the Kuscheperca side who showed an apologetic face, the members of the Silver Phoenix Knights adopted the attitude of 「here goes the knight commander again」. In actual fact, Eru would have dived into his research relentlessly if he was left alone.

A short moment later, Martina and Eleonora’s expression turned serious. This tea party was held in order for Eleonora to take a breather, but it was also for an important discussion.

「……Lord Echevarria, I would like to discuss something with you.」

「Addressing me as 『Lord』 makes me uneasy. The old master did entrust me with a knight order, but I don’t hold any peerage. Please address me like you usually do.」

The 『knights』 in this world wasn’t an aristocratic title, but 『pilots』 with the skills to man Silhouette Knights.

His opening sentence made Eleonora dumbfounded. She was still inexperienced as a queen, and even if that wasn’t the case, this youth named 『Ernesti Echevarria』 was an unfathomable existence.

He was 17 just like Eleonora, but was as small in stature as she was despite being a man, and had a cute face that would make others mistake him for a girl. His slender body might seem unrelated to violent affairs at a glance, but he was actually the strongest pilot in his knight order. Just his machine 『Ikaruga』 alone had exceptional performance, the amazing battle merits he achieved in the battle of Missillier earned him the nickname of death god and demon god, feared by friend and foe alike.

Kuscheperca knew very well that Silhouette Knights were more important to him than anything else, and he would act on the incredible values he holds. He would expand his energy on nonsensical things at times. Enhancing his allies’ Silhouette Knights or developing the Missile Javelin was all fine, but taking the wreckage of every single enemy machine he defeated is going a bit out of control.

On top of that, he was the knight commander of the strongest fighting force behind the resurgence of the New Kuscheperca Kingdom — the Silver Phoenix Knights. For the people from Kuscheperca, the existence of the 『Silver Phoenix Knights』 was filled with mysteries. In order to lend his aid, Martina’s nephew Emrys brought this knight order from Fremmevira Kingdom, and they were a group that couldn’t be judged by common sense and don’t play by the established rules.

They possessed the most powerful and advanced Silhouette Knights as well as the unique Centaur Knights, and took pride in their top notch combat capability. This alone made them highly regarded, and they provided the technology to forge new models of Silhouette Knights, and successfully defeated the then unknown weapon — the Levitate Ship. Their actions had gone far beyond what was expected of a 『knight order』. Even Queen Eleonora had to show her best hospitality when interacting with their knight commander.

Normally, the queen should be negotiating with Emrys, the second prince of Fremmevira Kingdom, but things weren’t that simple. Compared to Emrys who was royalty, the knight commander’s words seemed to hold more weight with the Silver Phoenix Knights. They might be taken aback by him at times or treat him with a casual attitude, but it was certain that their trust in each other was infallible.

And so, Eleonora had to face this knight commander who was as strong as a monster, despite not holding any peerage. For the Western League of Nations (Occident) where the values of birthrights and Aristocracy was deeply rooted, the very existence of this youth didn’t make sense. And she had to receive him on a higher level protocol than that of a royal.

「… Then I will address you as Mr Ernesti.」

After hesitating momentarily, Eleonora decided to treat him respectfully as Chid’s friend. This was more restraining than he expected, causing Eru to cast a questioning gaze to the person behind her. Chid shook his head without a word.

「… Alright, if that pleases Your Majesty.」

Eleonora’s expression relaxed, and she took a shallow breath before getting right to the point:

「The matter I wish to discuss is about the Silhouette Knights wreckage currently in Mr Ernesti’s possession.」

The New Kuscheperca Kingdom and the Silver Phoenix Merchant had a contractual agreement with regards to the enemy forces that had been defeated. During the battle with these giant humanoid weapons, the destroyed machines were important spoils of war. Parts from the broken machines could be repurposed and in most situation, the stubbornly tough core parts could be installed directly into another machine.

The problem was that the war merit of the Silver Phoenix Knights were too great. The Silver Phoenix Knights with Ikaruga leading the charge decimated one enemy brigade with just a company. And now, these wreckages were in their possession.

「The new nation we have rebuilt needs to expand our forces and launch a counteroffensive against the Žaloudek Kingdom. To do so… We need more Silhouette Knights, every single one counts.」

Following the Resvant Vido, the Kuscheperca Kingdom committed the powerful new machine model, the 『Revantier』, but those were just rushed prototypes to make up the numbers. Despite the workshops in Fontaine and the neighbouring towns working round the clock, it won’t be able to muster the needed numbers. As for the Tower Knights(Resvant Vido) that made up most of their forces, they weren’t suited for attacks due to their incredibly slow movements. Before they forge enough Revantiers, they couldn’t take the initiative and attack. Be it the cores or the steel, they needed as much resources as possible.
「Hence, we would like to reforge the wreckages that has been transferred under Mr Ernesti’s name, and add them to our numbers.」

Eru and the entire Silver Phoenix Knights came from Martina’s hometown — Fremmevira Kingdom, and were here on loan, providing assistance in anything they could. But the New Kuscheperca Kingdom didn’t command authority over them as they were here only to help. And so, they needed to be treated delicately.

「The enemy still has many of our nobles under their control, so we’re stuck in this dire situation of having insufficient forces. This might be a breach of our contract… But please give us your aid...」

「Alright, I understand.」

Eru accepted it without any fuss with a smile. Eleonora and the others were caught off guard, but they turned tense quickly. They had gradually realized that this youth’s smile was rather dangerous.

And without letting down everyone’s expectations (?), Eru added further—

「Let me see, how about this? No matter how good we are in building Silhouette Knights, it would be too much of a hassle to deal with that many wreckages. Considering the time and effort needed to reforge them, I will hold on to some. I’ll loan the rest to your Kingdom’s war efforts. What do you think?」

Their worries appeared to be unfounded, Eru’s answer was completely within the acceptable realm of common sense.

「Thank you, we will have enough forces now…」

Eleonora was just about to breath a sigh of relief, but Eru wasn’t finished yet. What he said next made Eleonora’s entire body tense:

「…The Silhouette Knights I loan out will then be considered a part of my forces, and our contract will still be in effect…Since the enemy defeated by our forces will become my possession — so this will be applicable to the machines I loaned out too correct?」

They quickly realized Eru’s intention. As long as the contract was in effect, with every enemy they defeat, the number of machines belonging to the Silver Phoenix Knights will increase.
When the reforged machines return to the battlefield, they would then defeat even more enemies — a vicious cycle that would continue until all the enemy forces were wiped out would be established.

Not just Eleonora, even Martina was left speechless as they stared at the gleeful youth. Eru was acting like he usually does, which meant — this youth was seriously planning to devour an entire nation.

「Hey Silver commander, look at what you’ve done, aunt doesn’t even know how to react! You’re making things too difficult for them!」

When the scene was shrouded by a strange atmosphere, Emrys who couldn’t read the mood suddenly grabbed Eru’s head. As they watched Eru’s hair being ruffled, they laughed at the same time.

「Fufu, I’m just kidding. Even with that many wreckages, it will just increase the workload in transportation and reforging, and give me a headache. And so, let’s change the terms in the contract, and leave it for negotiation after the new Kingdom is rebuilt. And of course, we will loan out the reforged machines to you. After all, we can’t miss out on this chance to attack the Žaloudek Kingdom.」

Eru finally escaped from Emrys clutches, and said calmly as he tidied his messy hair.

「And compared to broken Silhouette Knights, I prefer ones that can move.」

「Hmm, is that so? Make sense… Thank you for your assistance, Ernesti.」

Martina who was beside the stiff queen finally recovered from her speechless state. Even though Kuscheperca got what they wanted from the negotiation, they didn’t feel at ease. Eru said he was kidding, but no one present thinks that was really a joke.

Compared to the shuddering Kuschepercas, the Silver Phoenix Knights seemed to be used to this. Because when Silhouette Knights were involved, their knight commander might really devour an entire nation.

「Hey Silver commander, don’t bully my aunt and cousins!」

「I’m surprised that you’re saying that. This is just a little joke to lighten the mood so everyone can relax.」

「It obviously made everyone more tensed instead.」

Emrys reached out to grab his head again, but Eru escaped out of his arm range. However, he was nabbed by Ady who was on the other side. She held him tightly in her arms and tidied his ruffled hair. The Kuscheperca royals still didn’t understand if the knight commander was being treated with respect or casually. But from the looks of things, they would need to keep up their relationship with the cute and scary knight commander.

In the past, the Pan-Kucher road was an important road that run across the old Kuscheperca Kingdom. Even after the Žaloudek Kingdom conquered most of these territories and the New Kuscheperca Kingdom was founded, this remains the same. It was difficult to travel within Žaloudek Kingdom’s circle of influence, but there were plenty of laden cargo going about in the cities of the new Kuscheperca kingdom.

In accordance to their discussion a few days ago, the Silver Phoenix Knights handed the wreckages of the enemy Silhouette Knights to the new Kingdom. Despite being wreckages, there were still many recyclable parts, as well as core parts such as Ether Reactors and Magius engines. In most cases, they could be installed for use immediately.

Using these resources as the foundation, the new Kingdom did everything they could to rebuild their forces. Not just the area around Fontaine, they tapped on the workshops in each of the regions to forge the latest model of machine, Revantier.

During the battle of Missillier, the new kingdom and the Silver Phoenix Knights defeated the enemy commander Prince Cristóbal. That might be so, but most of Kuscheperca’s territories still lies in the hand of Žaloudek Kingdom, and didn’t make too much of a dent on their overwhelming forces. If they want to go on the counteroffensive, the most important thing would be to muster enough numbers. On the side note, in their rush to increase production numbers, many of the Revantier made in this period had spare parts taken directly from the Tyrant installed in them. If it didn’t affect performance, they would ignore it most of the time.

And so, the completed Revantiers were despatched to the various territories of the new kingdom. The preparation for the counteroffensive, or maybe the fight to defend the land of the new kingdom was about to begin.

A convoy of carriages galloped along the streets, kicking up clouds of dust behind it.

This was one of the transport units sending the Silhouette Knights towards the frontlines within the Žaloudek Kingdom. This special unit have gigantic carriages that could ferry giant humanoid weapons — the Revantier which were 10m tall. And the thing towing these carriages weren’t ordinary horses, but machines with the upper torso of a man and the lower torso of a horse. Standing 15m tall, they were the Centaur Knights 『Tzendrinble』.

When transporting Silhouette Knights, the norm was to assemble the components partially and load them into several carriages, and then finishing the assembly at the destination. Another way would be to assemble the machine and then let it walk by itself. Both methods need plenty of effort and time, but there was a unit with outstanding performance during this transportation process. And of course, that would be the company (10 units) of Centaur Knights from the 3rd company of the Silver Phoenix Knights.

Tzendrinble’s speed was exceptional amongst Silhouette Knights, and when equipped with carriages, it had excellent transportation capabilities, and could send Silhouette Knights to various destinations speedily. The production speed of the new Kingdom was increasing but their transportation speed remained stagnant, so the aid of these centaur knights were invaluable. Many of the soldiers in the frontlines were still putting up a stubborn defence with the modified Resvant Vido, so the powerful new models were a welcome addition anywhere.

The 3rd company was also galloping along the road on a transport mission today when this incident happened.

「… All units be on alert, something’s coming!」

The captain of the 3rd company 『Helvi Oberg』 shouted through the loudspeakers, and then looked closely at the holo monitor in her machine.

「Sigh, it’s obvious who’s coming.」

The team members realized the true identity of the disturbance immediately — and a black ship appeared in the corner of the sky, the Levitate Ship.

As its silhouette becomes clearer, the Žaloudek Kingdom’s flags drawn on the sails on both sides of the ship could be seen.

The Levitate Ships unit from Žaloudek Kingdom — the Steel Wing Knights suffered tremendous losses during the battle of Missillier and was wiped out. That didn’t mean all the Levitate Ships were lost, but they couldn’t despatch large scale operation any more. On the other hand, there had been an increase in the frequencies of such small scale guerilla attacks.

The Levitate Ships could move without being constrained by terrain, and were elusive as usual. They didn’t attack the strongholds, and were repeatedly harassing the transport teams without rest.

「I thought they prefer clashing head on, but they are good at playing such dirty tricks too? How despicable!」

It was natural for Helvi to feel annoyed. The Levitate Ship units from the Žaloudek Kingdom learned their lesson from failure and stopped using airdrop tactics. Instead of dropping off Silhouette Knights, their primary means of offence had changed to aerial attacks. However, the Levitate Ship only form of anti-ground attacks were 『catapults』.

The accuracy of the catapults were low. It couldn’t even hit a horse drawn carriage that’s on the move. Simply put, the attacks launched by the Levitate Ship weren’t very effective, and were harrassing at best.

「Come on, picking trouble with us every single time, what a pain. And shaking them off… seems unlikely.」

The Tzendrinble might be fast, but it didn’t stand much of a chance against the airborne Levitate Ship. Even if there was just one ship, the enemy having air superiority was still a troubling thing.

「Everyone, beware of stone bombardments! I don’t think they will hit so easily… Huh?」

Like usual, they’re probably here to harass us — But their prediction was overturned quickly.

The Levitate Ship turned and pursue the 3rd company from behind, and will then commence stone bombardment when they reached 3rd company’s flank — That should be happening, but it was different this time. The Levitate Ship unleashed a crimson and ferocious『magic projectile』

Projectiles were fired continuously, landing in close proximity of the 3rd company and bursting into explosive flames. After the initial shock, the 3rd company quickly realized that this encounter was different than usual.

「What!? They are attacking with Silhouette Arms!? Is that…」

Her ominous feeling turned true. Helvi turned back and saw a cylinder protruding from the Levitate Ship. Not only was it huge, it’s outline was very familiar, so she could discern it even from far away.

「Resvant Vido… a pirated version? Whatever that is, this means the enemy has made a model with Wizard Style.」

While they were still shaken, more magic projectiles were fired from the Levitate Ship, casting more explosion around them. The unit couldn’t evade them forever with their heavy cargo in tow.

「Captain! If this goes on…!!

「I know, we can’t let them take pot shots at us so freely. We are hitting back, let them have a taste of our wrath!!」

On the captain’s command, several of the Tzendrinbles deployed their back weapons. The tips of the weapons on the guide rails were pointed to the sky. These were 『Missile Javelins』 powered by jets — anti-air weapon, the 『Vertical launched javelin thrower』.

The 3rd company’s excellent performance in transportation had already been explained, and their results were also top notched. It wasn’t just their transportation capability, their possession of the anti-air Missile Javelins also played a big part. To counter the Levitate Ships, a few units in the company would always be outfitted with Missile Javelins and Vertical launched javelin throwers. The equipment also includes spare javelins and Silhouette Gears responsible for reloading the javelins, and was a substantial load to carry. Even though it eats into the precious cargo space, they couldn’t let their guard down against attacks by the Levitate Ships.

「Aim! Fire! Let them know who they’re messing with!」

The Missile Javelin flew out with an intense fiery trail behind it. It was connected to the Silhouette Knight with silver nerves, and could change directions freely as controlled by the pilot. It aimed for the Levitate Ship and started accelerating hard. The armour of the Levitate Ship alone wouldn’t be strong enough to stop a fully accelerated javelin. The Levitate Ship was large in size, and wouldn’t be fazed by just a few javelins. But if they could destroy the 『Etheric Levitator』 which levitates the ship, it would definitely be sunk. During the battle of Missillier, many ships fell this way.

In the face of the hail of Missile Javelins, the Levitate Ship could only flee — Everyone thought so too, but what happened next gave a huge shock to the 3rd company.

「That can’t be!?」

There was a flash of light in the sky along with a booming sound. Thunder in such clear weather was unnatural, and was definitely triggered by magic. The lightning was as powerful as an overed spell, and hit the Missile Javelin accurately as if they were guided. The javelins hit by the lightning spell directly were destroyed and knocked down.

Even so, the defences of the lighting strike wasn’t perfect. Aside from the few that were knocked down, most of the Missile Javelins passed through the lightning strike and pierced into the Levitate Ship.

In the end, the Levitate Ship left the stunned 3rd company behind and disengaged. The javelins damaged the ship’s hull, but it wasn’t critical. It wouldn’t be so sure if it takes a few more hits. Fleeing might appear cowardly, but it was a wise decision.

Helvi watched the Levitate Ship flying away, still unable to recover from her shock.

「… They blocked a few Missile Javelins with lightning…!?」

This had complicated implications, spelling the end of the absolute advantage of their anti air weapon, and indirectly represents the Levitate Ship regaining their air superiority. It also further implies that the Žaloudek Kingdom would be striking back, and the situation would turn for the worse for the new kingdom.

「The enemy isn’t waiting around idly like retards either. We have to report our encounter with that weird ship to the commander as soon as possible.」

The Tzendrinbles turned around and galloped off. After they delivered the Revantier to the frontlines, they would bring news about the new Levitate Ship model and the machine specializing in magic projectiles back to Fontaine.

While the 3rd company was running around the nation delivering Revantiers, the 1st and 2nd company of the Silver Phoenix Knights were rushing to the borders of New Kuscheperca Kingdom, the frontlines against the Žaloudek Kingdom. On paper, the Silver Phoenix Knights was still a unit on loan from the Fremmevira Kingdom, which would lead to many inconveniences. Hence, they were bestowed the title of 『Queen Eleonora’s special knight unit』. By the way, they still retained their name as the Silver Phoenix Merchants.

With the new kingdom’s organization chart still incomplete, the Silver Phoenix Knights was the only unit fully equipped with the next generation of 『Eastern Mode』 machines — a name that came from it’s place of origin — and has plenty of experience piloting them. As the strongest unit of the new kingdom, they would also provide lessons to the local knights who were new to these machines. This made the unit welcomed wherever they go.

The 1st company of the Silver Phoenix Knights led by『Edgar• C •Blanche』 crossed the borders of the new kingdom and headed into the stronghold of the Žaloudek Kingdom. This unit didn’t have any slow Tower Knights with them, and comprises of Revantiers. The duty of a knight was to guard their territory, but they couldn’t rest on their laurels. They protec, but they also attac.

The powerful Silver Phoenix Knights launched such attacks frequently, recapturing the territories that were lost.

「This isn’t a small stronghold like the ones we encountered last time, the enemy will resist stubbornly. Everyone, advance with caution!」

Edgar’s command was acknowledged by the team members behind him, they had taken down several small strongholds before. For the giant humanoid weapons Silhouette Knights, half hearted forts weren’t much of a defence. It had nothing to do with being the attacker or the defender, the battle would be decided by the match between the Silhouette Knights. Only a fort protected by thick walls built along defensive lines would make a difference in a stronghold attack.

And that was exactly how this stronghold which was built on a hill. It was situated between the forest and uneven grounds, and the paths leading towards it were limited.

The 1st company and machines from the new kingdom raised their shields and continued their march towards the stronghold, moving into catapult range — wary of any attack that might come at them at any moment. Finally, the enemy appeared within their sights. The large figures of the black knights blocked the path leading to the fort, they had huge shields and seemed to have enhanced defences. The 1st company launched attacks with their Silhouette Arms, but it was ineffective against the Tyrants armed with their huge shields.

「As expected of large machines specializing in defence, they are really sturdy.」

The black knights already have thick armour, so staying put and focusing on defence would maximize their advantage. They utilized the terrain and concentrated the black knights where the road was the narrowest, in a formation that negates their opponents offences. If the heavily armoured black knights prioritize on their defences, even the 1st company wouldn’t be able to break through. The terrain constraints made it hard for them to flank behind the enemy for an effective attack. In the end, the new kingdom army retreated right before the sun started to set.

「This type of fort is hard to break through.」

「And the enemies are black knights that completely blockaded the road.」

The Žaloudek Army didn’t pursue the new kingdom forces, so their return to base had a relaxed atmosphere. As he listened to the new kingdom knights discussing the day’s battle, Edgar groaned on his pilot seat — he had a different view about this.

「The black knights might be great in defending, but the strange thing was how 『resilient』 their movement were.」

The Silver Phoenix Knights participated in many attacks, so he had more intel and experiences than the new kingdom army, and could sense how the enemy had changed.

「Recently, our attack on their bases only end up in small skirmishes, something feels off.」

This probably started with the debut of the Revantier which close their gap in performance compared with the Tyrants. Aside from the power out of the Žaloudek Army’s large Tyrants, their heavy armour also gave them outstanding defences. He then noticed one thing—

「… We didn’t take much damage.」

They didn’t deal much damage to the enemy, but it was the same for his allies. He couldn’t feel the proactiveness that prioritize invasion and offence that the Žaloudek Army had in the past. Most of their encounters were skirmishes with small numbers of black knights, or infrequent attacks by the Levitate Ships. It was clear that their opponent wasn’t willing to engage in massive battles, and were switching their policy to being defensive.

「Are they wary of the Revantier, and don’t want to attack carelessly? Or do they fear the carnage wrought by our knight commander?」

He couldn’t give the answer right then. He felt uneasy, as if he was missing something crucial.

「No, they aren’t just shying away from combat, they’re probably waiting for a chance.」

To stall for time? But both sides needed that. After the battle of Missillier, both camps needed to reorganize their forces. Letting more time pass would only allow both forces to consolidate more resources for their knights.

「That might be so, but it isn’t wise to clash with them head on too anxiously.」

He couldn’t make any bold moves since he didn’t know the enemy’s objective. The Silver Phoenix Knights was the strongest unit in the new kingdom army, and the more battles they fought, the more this rang true. They were slowly becoming the emotional support for the nation — that’s why they couldn’t afford to be defeated.
Even the New Kuscheperca Kingdom army showed signs of becoming great again, they weren’t strong enough for an offensive to drive out the Žaloudek Army. Unable to make any headway in their attacks, the new kingdom army could only let the time fly by.

In the end, the objective of the Žaloudek Kingdom remained a mystery as the impasse stretches on.

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