113. Undecided (11)
The eyes of the Gnolls, who had been hiding within a forest near the City of Twilight, grew wide. The Harpies in the air also appeared flustered, as they weren’t sure what to do. The fortress’s gate opened, and the soldiers of Lome began their march. They had broken their brief ten day silence.
Nasis, the Gnolls’ leader, was taken aback by the enemy’s unexpectedly fast movement and began to bite his nails.
“I-I thought they weren’t going to move? Bastards! They’re suddenly dragging their soldiers somewhere? What is that? A large army? H-how many are there?”
The marching soldiers numbered about 20,000, so the defenders in the City of Twilight were still around 10,000.
“Dear lord…! We have to let Skarni know! The Demon Lord’s reinforcements haven’t arrived yet…!”
The Harpies urgently shot up and flew toward Tom’s position. Noticing the Harpies’ and Gnolls’ movements, Pygni, riding upon his horse, exploded in laughter.
“Haha! Look at that. They’re fleeing in confusion…! Isn’t it hilarious? It’s funnier than looking at the entertainers in the capital!”
Oskal watched Pygni’s reaction and voiced his concerns while gazing at their vanishing backs, “Is it okay to just let them leave? They’ll alert the enemy of our situation.”
“There is no way for them to respond even if they know. Also, ten days have already passed since the Hero Party left, so they should be reaching the demon capital soon. The party members of the Hero will be able to take the Demon Lord hostage and leave safely if we draw as much attention on our end.”
“Won’t the Hero’s side be tracked?”
“I dispatched them disguised as scouts, so they should probably be okay. Also, it looked like the Luis guy had his head on straight. If it’s someone with their ability, they should be able to shake off a tracker.”
“Besides, it’s us that should be concerned. According to the ambassador that we sent out last time, their capital’s outer wall is incredibly tall. We were lucky that the Devil of Lania wasn’t present in the fortress, but if he is at the place we’re headed…”
“If he’s there…?”
Pygni smiled refreshingly and replied, “We just gotta book it.”
“We’re going to retreat without putting up any fight. There is no other choice. With a frontal assault, it’s a coin toss whether we can win or not… And an unfavorable siege? It doesn’t make any sense!”
“…You’re taking it quite casually. I should be able to handle someone of the Devil of Lania’s caliber.”
“But you shouldn’t be able to win against him?”
“Why do you think so?”
“Can you fight and win against the Archbishop Holffmann?”
Oskal frowned and scratched his head.
“…I would probably lose, maybe by a paper-thin margin? If Holffmann made a mistake, however, I could win.”
“The Devil of Lania killed that Holffmann, so how will you handle that kind of bastard? I’m just hoping you can ‘buy us time’ against him.”
“To use me like that…” Oskal smiled bitterly.
“How’s your body? Our lives depend on it.”
“It’s fine. You, our great king, ordered me to bathe in Holy Water for ten days. I thought I was going to die of boredom. Thanks to that, I think my body has gotten stiff.”
“That’s a relief. You’re saying you’re in perfect condition?” Pygni licked his lips and scanned ahead. “Now that we’ve started moving, how will the other side react? Will they avoid us and run? Or will they make a stand?”
Once the Kingdom of Lome left the fortress, demons quickly grew busier.
“…They began to move?”
Tom couldn’t understand their strategy. However, Skarni nodded before continuing,
“I-It’s true! The bastards are rushing over! A lot of them, in fact~!”
“…Didn’t you say that they would be standing by?”
When Skarni turned to look at Tom, Tom just scratched his head.
“Aah, as expected…he’s hard to predict. The enemy commander has exceeded my expectations! Just what is his style? Is he a human blinded by glory? Or a talented genius? Ungh…! Just what is that brashness? They might have taken over the City of Twilight, but a march after only ten days…?”
‘It can’t be that they decided to move early to get me…?’
Could it truly be a commander blinded by glory? Had he been overcome by his greed for accomplishments at the cost of his men? Or, was he that assured that he would win using Oskal?
‘…It could be both, or it could be none of the above and something else entirely…’
As he couldn’t wrap his mind around the enemy’s thoughts; he was in a passive position. While Tom moaned and racked his brain, Karakul approached him and broke the silence.
“What will you do?”
“…We will have to fight them. There will be nothing left if we retreat. Furthermore, if we withdraw from this point, it’ll cause the residents of the capital to feel more anxious than ever. Bringing victory at this time to reassure national security is our first priority.”
Also, it would be harder to read the enemy’s movements if they fell back. Under Tom’s command, the demons moved faster and hurried to finish the preparations.
“Chop down the trees!”
“Don’t let mere filthy humans sully the lands of the Demon Lord any longer-!”
The Orcs cut down the nearby trees to make pikes and built barricades in various places around the encampment.
“Place them all, quickly!”
“We’re setting up the fireworks! Kyakyakyakya!”
The Goblins fixed the siege-type Magic Cannons they had been carrying directly behind the barricade and reinspected them.
“I’m not an Apostle, but I have once again received command over you all. Let us show them why we’re the strongest this time around-!”
The Centaur tribe slammed their spears onto the ground while letting out their war cries, with their former leader Hecaron in the center.
“Hmph-! What an upstart… I won’t listen to the commands of someone like Karakul, but for the Demon Kingdom, we must fight for Her Majesty, the Demon Lord. We will follow Her Majesty with pride!”
Allen roused the crowd while putting his helmet over his broken horn. The enraged Minotaurs hollered together, their blood boiling and their hearts pumping.
The encampment soon came together as the soldiers formed an orderly line and began to inspect their equipment one last time. They were preparing for the coming battle.
“Wow…so scary. After spending all our time in the forests in the outlands…we sure have come far. It has completely turned into a nation of monsters!”
Skarni, the Harpy, noted mockingly as she watched them while hovering in the air.
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