Vol 3 Prologue 2
The new general, Guiscard, who was in the position of governing Kasandora’s army, stared at a large map attached on the wall of his office.
It was a map of Kasandora Kingdom’s surroundings and borders. Fort Ein was located along the main road stretching from the royal capital. Ahead of the fort, there was a wasteland that unfolded from the other side of the river with a vast black forest drawn on top of the great cliff.
Will the witches end up launching an attack on our side of the river? This was a big problem, which troubled Guiscard.
(Despite our army getting pummelled during the battle, it’s hard to consider the witches attacking this side of the river. I can’t believe that such a small group would deliberately risk such danger.)
That’s right. As long as the witches can continue to live in the black forest peacefully, there shouldn’t be a reason for them to willingly attack humanity. That’s why Guiscard thought there was no need to fear. However, as the new general, he couldn’t neglect his defenses.
Judging from the witches’ behaviour thus far, the fact that the witches had initiated an assault on the Kasandora Kingdom’s forces at the Schweiz River was, in itself, an extremely unlikely scenario.
Despite that, there wasn’t much Guiscard could do.
Even though he was the general of Kasandora’s army, as long as there was no orders coming from the group directly under the command of the royal family, he could, at most, mobilize 1500 soldiers on his own.
Not to mention, the nobles felt like withdrawing following the loss and were hesitant about deploying their troops for one reason or another. Were Guiscard to propose raising another army for the extermination of the witches, even those soldiers, whom he was able to deploy, may possibly retire.
With his baton in his right hand, Guiscard lightly tapped a single point on the map, it was the path near the Schweiz River where both sides intersected.
(Should we at least build some sort of defensive facility? Like a fort near the river…..no, we don’t have any spare soldiers. In the first place, if the witches learn about that, they will probably come and destroy it. What’s more, we might lure them to this side. Even if we were to protect the river more than before, it would be meaningless. Since the river can be crossed from anywhere along it, perhaps, we should set up defensive camps or positions instead of forts…….?)
For that to happen, they would need to invest lots of time and soldiers; nevertheless, the kingdom had no spare budget for that. Guiscard, who was the former treasurer of the army, knew more than anyone else the amount of funds available.
(…..Wouldn’t strengthening Fort Ein and increasing the number of guards be a more realistic countermeasure?)
It was a counterplan that was no different from maintaining the current situation, however, even this had its benefits, as Guiscard could avoid provoking the nobles and the soldiers who felt uneasy.
Nonetheless, this plan wasn’t that simple.
Following the great defeat they had suffered, soldiers continued to retire from active duty one after another. The nobles, officers, and soldiers became frightened, and even a disturbance broke out inside the group under the direct supervision of the royal family. Just punishing the soldiers and dispatching them to the river would be a big mistake.
For the time being, Guiscard managed to send in Raibach’s troop, whose fate was of little importance to him. Still, the numbers in Raibach’s troop wasn’t sufficient to set up a defensive position along the river.
(Assuming that guy’s troop continues to carry out their duty without any problems, those cowardly noble officers and their men should also gain enough courage to approach the river, but…)
Because it didn’t seem like the witches would immediately cross the river and assault them, for now, Guiscard could only bear with that much.
For him, there was something of bigger concern.
They had to replenish those soldiers who had promptly resigned with new ones.
Besides the fact that a whole battalion was crushed, resigning soldiers continued to appear. With the kingdom’s military force cut almost in half right now, unless they resolved the problem of their numbers, no further invasion could be considered.
However, if another battle against the witches is expected to take place in the near future, Guiscard might not be able to recruit fresh soldiers unless he increases their salary.
As the former treasurer, the budget constraints were the greatest type of headache for him.
Clicking his tongue sternly, Guiscard threw the baton against the map.
No matter how hard he pondered, no good ideas came to him. He could only come back to the conclusion that they were cornered.
The voice of his adjutant, Ligaya, emerged from the doorway.
Picking up the baton from the floor in a hurry, Guiscard quickly returned to his seat and answered.
“I apologize for the interruption.”
The tall Ligaya, whose body was wrapped in a strong bitter tea colored military suit, entered inside.
Ligaya was a cool and collected man who would rarely show his emotions. Nevertheless, today, his footsteps were noisier and faster paced. Guiscard, who understood that something had happened, straightened himself unconsciously.
“Could it be that the witches attacked?”
“No, they haven’t.”
At his reply, Guiscard breathed out a sigh of relief. Then he relaxed himself to keep up appearances in front of the adjutant.
“Then, what’s the matter?”
“For some reason, it appears that various neighboring countries are arming themselves with weapons and army provisions.”
Guiscard thought about the meaning behind Rigaya’s new report.
“Those guys, could it be that they intend to assault our country?”
“……That’s unlikely to happen. After all, we are under the custody of Cardinal Aiba.”
“I wonder about that.”
(To begin with, that Cardinal Aiba is an eyesore for our country, but…)
The other day too, Aiba went through the trouble of paying a visit to the royal capital in order to offer his congratulations to Guiscard on his assumption of the office. However, putting that aside, Aiba expressed his sarcasm toward the major loss, which Kasandora suffered at the river on his way back.
If the Kasandora Kingdom were to just accept their defeat and remain idle, they might lose favor with Aiba. If that happened, then a major deterrence would be removed and other countries may move to wipe Kasandora right off the map.
(Truly, my head is killing me. If only I didn’t take up the position as general….)
Guiscard desperately tried to endure the urge to hold his head between his hands.
(That’s right, I’ve got to do it despite all this. In order to make my wish come true, I will obtain the throne.)
“For the time being…….. for the time being, we will strengthen the defenses of Fort Ein and assign Maglev to command it. Rigaya, please make the estimations for the necessary materials.”
Exactly at that time, Naga and the witches began to move as they set their eyes on Fort Ein, while watching vigilantly for an opportunity to prey upon it. Nonetheless, not anticipating that that would happen, Guiscard could do nothing but throw his hands up in despair, even if he had known beforehand.
If this only concerned the witches and Naga and Kasandora Kingdom, the witches would already be on the side of victory.