|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 1989 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 992 words|
The news that monsters had crossed the Haunted Lands’ border and invaded Strom reached Surfour as well. Even if Bordaule had not been attacked yet, orders to stop travelers from leaving were sent, as well as directions for the residents of cities near the border to evacuate farther from there. All soldiers stationed there were given orders to be watchful and prepare to fight back in case anything happened as well, and the capital dispatched reinforcement troops to Strom. The next day after the news reached here, an army of three thousand soldiers left the palace.
Apparently, all those details would be kept from someone like me, but considering the gravity of the situation, Grom ordered for everything to be told to me as soon as he could.
“Guild Master, I don’t think we can afford to wait for Luvias and the troops to get there, I’ll go ahead on my own.”
“Alright, if you’re there I’m sure Strom’s army will do better as well. But remember that Luvias will be on her way as well, so don’t get too reckless while you’re alone. If it’s too much for you, try to rely on those around you a bit. And take care.”
“Understood. Thanks for covering for me in the guild. Until later.”
After I got the message, I told the guild master I was leaving to support the army and quickly headed back home to prepare and tell Maria what happened. Rina was still too young to understand most of it, but Maria looked quite shocked and hesitantly saw me off.
“I’m leaving a month’s worth of pay ahead of time, so please take care of everything while I’m gone. And Rina, be a good girl and listen to your mom, okay?”
“Don’t worry about the house, but please take care.”
“See you, Lapis!”
Rina waved her little hand as I flew into the air, and after waving back for a bit I flew like an arrow southwards.
As soon as I reached Strom, all cities were closed off to outsiders given the attacks, so I had a hard time figuring out the exact spot where they were fighting now. Eventually, I decided to head to their capital, and from there follow the tracks of the army, which ended up taking more time than necessary. Luckily I was able to reach them just before the two armies were about to clash, and I did my best to hide how desperate I had been to reach there.
§ § §
“…And that’s pretty much my plan. We’ll have to improvise after that.”
The king and other generals that heard my suggested strategy looked unsure. In short, my strategy was to infiltrate the city and sabotage their army. Late at night, Freya and I would sneak into the city, set their supplies on fire, then start destroying whatever we could of their army. I would be in charge of carrying us there undetected with Flight Magic, and most of the destruction would be done by me as well, while Freya and her party would slow down the enemy movements with Holy Magic. As a hero, Lumiere’s protection was strong on Freya, and she possessed the divination power of a high priest as well. With all that, she had the power of numbing the senses of the enemy with her magic. She could also cast it on a decently sized area, so many monsters would get slowed down.
“The bigger I make the area the weaker the effect, but if we want to rescue everyone we’ll need to slow down all of the monsters, so I’ll have no choice but to cast it on the entire city.”
First I had to get Freya and party inside the city, then I would head straight to the front gate and destroy it, and as soon as I could, set fire to their provisions. The fire would serve as a signal to Freya to cast her magic to numb all the enemies in the city. At the same time, the army would rush in to rescue all the hostages and kill as many monsters as they could. Getting the entire army to stay put until then was asking for a bit too much, so small groups of soldiers would also sneak in closer to the city, so they could quickly lend a hand when the gates opened to rescue the most endangered hostages. Those few soldiers would have as much of a dangerous role as me and Freya though.
Obviously making a large fire inside the city could lead to more casualties as well, but there was no better way to save as many as possible than this, so we just had to move as quickly as we could. It was a hard decision for the king as well, but this was obviously safer than just charging ahead.
“…If we were to fight without any sabotage, what would happen?”
“They probably will start slaughtering the hostages simply by seeing us march ahead, or they’ll take them somewhere else. Or in the worst case, they’ll use them as meat shields. Considering that, I think Lapis’ plan is our best option…”
The king muttered that question to no one in particular, but one of the generals standing behind him answered.
As king, he regretted being unable to save everyone, but even I, as the hero of old, was not powerful enough to do that. I could only try to rescue as many as I could.
“Alright. We’ll take Lapis’ advice then. The plan will be set in motion tonight, only soldiers who are quick on their feet will form the smaller groups for the initial rescue team. Lapis, Freya, good luck.”
“Leave everything to us.”
“We’ll do our best.”
I felt a bit unsure how much we could do with our few numbers, but we would fight with all our strength.
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