The air of the battlefield had a unique smell to it. It was a muddled mess of all kinds of odors, and simply put, it was a revolting stench. Still, it was a stench that one could get used to.
The sole person behind the closed portcullis — Remedios — took several deep breaths of that stinking air.
Her eyes were fixed on the advancing force before her, which numbered over 10’000.
The leaders of the assault on this location were Ogres and horse-like demihumans. Remedios gripped her holy sword tightly.
She liked using the sword to settle matters. She loved it. It clearly defined winners and losers. After all, there would be no more trouble after you killed the opposition. Life would have been so much easier if things were all so simple. Her sister–Kelart–and her master–Calca–would no longer knit their brows.
After that, Remedios thought about what she had to do.
Gustav had said a lot of hard-to-understand things just now, but the gist of it was that they could not let a single demihuman past this gate.
The demihumans numbered in the tens of thousands. Around 10’000 of them were bearing down on the gate.
Not letting a single one past would be impossible if we were fighting on the plains, but here I can use the gate to limit the numbers who can attack me. So as long as I can keep fighting, it’ll be easy enough to keep them from getting past! I just need to keep drinking fatigue recovery potions and keep fighting them one-on-one!
If Gustav were here and he heard this, the look on his face would probably say “Are you fucking serious”, and as she calmly considered that mental image, Remedios laughed. Still, the idea was quite ridiculous, and it was no wonder he would often grab his head in frustration.
See how perfect my plan is! Calca-sama said I could delegate command to someone else, and Caspond-sama seems like an excellent person.
Umu, Remedios nodded.
After that, Remedios thought about the only flaw in her plan to “fight one-on-one ten thousand times”
That was the existence of Jaldabaoth.
Remedios’ plan broke down when it encountered someone stronger than her.
She was retarded for the most part, but she was surprisingly intelligent when it came to warfare.
That was why she understood that it would be very difficult for her to defeat Jaldabaoth. Of course, she could not admit that in front of her subordinates. She was the strongest paladin in the Holy Kingdom, and if she admitted her defeat to him, morale would probably plunge to rock bottom.
That was why they should have brought the Sorcerer King over.
The Sorcerer King, huh…
The fact that they had to entrust one of the undead with the fate of the nation upset her so much that she wanted to throw up. However, they had no other option.
Tch. If only that undead creature had fought in a sneaky way, like using those goats or sheep which killed all those Kingdom troops. That way, no innocents would have to be sacrificed. Don’t the undead understand that people with strength have to protect the weak? Still… he’s really strong, isn’t he?
Taking a city by oneself was an impressive feat. Buser was a famous demihuman — according to Gustav — and defeating him was also quite outstanding. However, Jaldabaoth was a different matter altogether. She had her doubts as to whether even a magic caster who could conquer a city without assistance could actually defeat him.
Perhaps she would have learned the truth if she could have crossed blades with him just once, but Gustav had desperately pleaded with her not to. Therefore, she did not know exactly how strong the Sorcerer King was.
Remedios remained dubious of the Sorcerer King’s strength.
She had personally experienced Jaldabaoth’s might when he had revealed his true nature, but she could not sense anything like that from the Sorcerer King. If he was truly able to crush the Kingdom’s army, then he ought to be surrounded in an aura of power that could not be hidden.
Was that because he was a magic caster? However, if he was on Jaldabaoth’s level, she ought to be able to sense something from him.
It would be good if he was really as strong as he claimed. Well, we won’t lose much if he dies. That undead creature will be a thorn in the Holy Kingdom’s side in the future. Ideally, the two of them would kill each other.
Remedios’ opinion had not changed even after her subordinates protested it. No, it had only grown more deeply rooted after the Sorcerer King killed the boy who had been taken hostage. As a paladin, she could not tolerate anyone who could calmly commit such inhuman acts.
The people of that country were actually ruled by fear, right?
When she thought about it, she found a lot of points which pointed to that conclusion. Perhaps having him and Jaldabaoth kill each other would be for their good too.
The problem is the people of our nation. Gustav was right when he said that this was a chance for us. We paladins can show our strength and abandon the foolish words of the Sorcerer King… Still, if Jaldabaoth shows up, we have to let him handle it.
Remedios took off her helmet. She wanted to scratch her head.
It was hard to imagine that the citizens of a country run by an amazing individual such as Calca would tolerate one of the undead like that. Just thinking about the matter should have revolted them.
Squire Baraja also — hm? Could it be that she’s been charmed by a spell or something? Yes! He might be using some spell with a wide area of effect that forces people to like him!
Dammit! Remedios thought. She had not considered that possibility.
I should tell Gustav about this. That said, it’ll have to wait until we win this battle!
Remedios looked behind her.
There stood neat ranks of civilians holding spears and shields.
“Brave gentlemen! Regretfully, the Holy Kingdom is currently being trampled by demihumans, but you must accept it! Defeat the demihumans and save the innocent civilians — your friends and family — from their suffering! This is the first step towards our goal, which is to drive out these bastards here and take the Holy Kingdom back with our own hands!”
As Remedios shouted imposingly, anxious looks filled the faces of the militiamen.
“The filthy demihumans are attacking this place. Gentlemen, raise your shields and thrust your spears! Become a wall that will not let the enemy past you! There’s no need to be afraid. Other than their first strike, the only demihumans you will have to deal with are the demihumans fleeing from me! All you need to do is hold them for a while so that the paladins and I can take them down!”
That eased their tension a little. While being too relaxed was not a good thing, being too tense was even worse. Remedios mused that all the militiamen she could see were in an ideal frame of mind.
“You lot were trained all day yesterday! All you need to do now is show the fruits of that training. No need to be so tense!” Remedios paused for a moment, and then shouted louder than before.
“First rank! Shields up!”
The first row of the militiamen — who looked like they were encircling the gate — braced their shields.
These were greatshields which could completely conceal a human body, and their bottoms were lined with spikes that were the length of a finger.
“Shields! Dig in!”
The shield-wielding civilians slammed the spiked portions down with all their might. Thus, they produced a wall of steel in moments.
Yesterday, these shieldbearers had vigorously practiced three drills. The first was to raise their greatshields into the air and slam them back down, in order to drive the spikes deep into the ground. The second was not to falter, regardless of the pressure they were under.
“Second rank! Shields up!”
While the shields they carried were roughly the same size as those of the first rank, theirs did not have spikes. Those shields would go over the heads of the first and the second ranks, like a lid on top of them. This way, they could defend against attacks which made it past the first rank.
There were also paladins who could cast 「Under Divine Flag」spaced evenly through the second rank, to protect them from the fear of being pushed by the enemy.
“Third rank spearmen, advance! Fourth rank spearmen, advance!”
The third and fourth ranks were composed of longspear users.
Their longspears would protrude from between the shield teams, their butts firmly planted in the ground to stop the enemy’s advance. The third rank and the fourth rank’s spears were slightly different from each other in that the fourth rank’s were slightly longer. Normally they ought to have had several more ranks of spearmen to form a spear wall, but since they were lacking in numbers, their aim was to overlap killing zones to prevent the enemy from breaking through.
It was a perfect formation.
However, it had a flaw.
While this formation did very well against warriors, it was very weak against demihumans with special abilities or magic casters.
It was true that the shield wall could block spells like 「Fireball」 and greatly minimize the damage done. However, spells like 「Lightning」would pierce straight through them, and one could not say the demihumans did not have similar special abilities.
They knew this, but they had taught those drills anyway because there was no other effective formation they could take under these circumstances.