Overlord Light Novel Volume 14 Chapter 1 Part 3
Philip had finally reached his destination, a patch of road in Baron Delvin’s demesne. He had led his soldiers on a march, starting from the previous day and camping overnight, to the location of the attack. According to intel, a Sorcerous Kingdom’s caravan would be passing through this place.
Philip was on horseback, looking down upon his lined up soldiers.
They were soldiers, or more accurately villagers, under his command.
A total of fifty were gathered.
He had sent draft orders throughout his entire territory, but not many men responded to the call. The most common response was that they had already served the time they were obligated to.
The truth was, this heavily upset Philip.
The plan was devised for the future prosperity of their lands, for the good of everyone who lived there. There was also an abundance of potential spoils of war, which Philip had given thought to and proposed that it should be distributed to everybody. Still, no one came to help.
They’re too foolish.
A bunch of ignoramuses who could not tell if something was beneficial to them or not. Nay, this was the exact reason why they had to be led and lorded over by a genius such as himself.
Despite trying so hard to convince himself otherwise, his anger towards those who didn’t understand him flared up. He had thought about forced conscription, but that would definitely enrage his old man, who already had a foot through death’s door.
In the end, he paid them in advance with the money he had borrowed from Hilma.
After all of his hard work, he managed to gather fifty men, but these were either old geezers well past their prime, sick youths with frail bodies, or men with inflated egos who went around looking for fights in their villages and were generally fractious.
To put it bluntly, they were the nuisances of their village and none of them were worth the money. Even so, Philip felt an indescribable excitement basking in the gaze of his soldiers.
He had a hunch that a widely circulated heroic tale of his own was about to begin. No, it had already begun.
As his territory will inevitably expand, so too would his status grow. He will soon be joining the world’s stage under brilliant limelight.
He was about to deliver the first blow to the Sorcerous Kingdom, a feat no one else could accomplish. As a ploy to contain the Sorcerous Kingdom, this would surely allow Philip to receive high praise from the royal family and a rank that’s befitting this achievement. Perhaps he could even marry that beautiful princess-
“-So, milord, can we actually attack them?”
Philip, who had been basking in his dream, was dragged back to reality as if a bucket of cold water had just been dumped over him.
He returned to his senses and looked at the soldier who had asked the question.
The soldier was an ordinary man, around 30 years old. He wore disheveled clothes and, for some reason, was holding a wooden shovel. Even a club would have been better than a shovel, otherwise even some of the sticks lying around here would have worked as well. Philip wanted to say something about that, but the shovel was probably the result of his order to have them bring their own weapons.
Frankly, seeing that a few of the villagers were without even sticks gave Philip a bit of a headache. Apart from them, however, the group as a whole appeared as though they were some destitute bandits. Perhaps it could even fool their opponents into believing so.
The soldiers around them apparently agreed with the man’s doubts, as everyone within sight turned their heads towards him as if to say “yeah, I was thinking about the same thing”.
“It’ll be fine, this is a move to save the Kingdom.”
“Uh, milord, we don’t really get the whole Kingdom thing, it’s too complicated for us. We won’t get tied up and ‘ave our heads chopped off though, ye?” Another man asked, and soon the others started to echo along with their “yeah”s.
Philip was greatly surprised by the questions that demonstrated a complete lack of an understanding of justice.
-It’s precisely because so many people like them exist, that someone talented like me has to lead them. Nobody obeyed my plans on farm management because these people could only think on a surface level…
“I said there would be no problems, are you all deaf?”
“…No, no we aren’t.”
The soldiers were not convinced, their spite was visible.
Maybe he should have executed someone as a warning to the others, but that would make it seem like he couldn’t lead at all. He would lose his dignity if he couldn’t get them to work despite knowing that there were risks involved.
As Philip panicked and knew not what to do, he heard the overpowering sound of horses’ hooves stomping on the ground. He turned his head to see two horsemen galloping towards him. Their faces were both covered save for the eyes, but he still knew who they were.
The two stopped afar and waved at him.
Why didn’t they come over here? Shouldn’t they come towards me and not the other way round? Philip thought maybe they had something to say that must be kept secret.
“Hm, I guess I have to.”
He could finally feel a bit better about himself by saying things in a pretentious manner and so changed his expression to a flippant one to match.
Philip moved towards them on horseback. He had had some practice riding, so having a horse walk in a straight line was not a problem.
“Baron, how are your preparations coming along?”
The man’s face was masked so it was hard to identify him, but judging from the voice and his build, the man could be deduced to be Baron Delvin, or Wayne.
His outfit, however, was nothing like that of a baron’s.
The hide armour was a bit dirty and a sword hung by his waist. His horse looked bored and lifeless, like a farm horse instead of a warhorse. Next to him was Baron Rokerson, or Igthorn, who looked pretty much the same. Their appearances matched so well that even their horses looked similar.
Unlike Philip who had some financial backing, they must have been quite poor. Philip thought about the time when he had seen them wearing shabby clothes, and tried his best to hide the sense of superiority that was about to show on his face.
Well, now I can’t show this pathetic duo that I’m irritated by my soldiers’ low morale, can I? This is such a pain.
He, as someone of higher status, must show to those below him what exactly made him superior to them. Philip must act as a role model for society, and the inferior must follow Philip. That way, the world could run smoothly.
“Only the two of you? What about your men?”
“We have already prepared them, right?”
“Exactly, our soldiers will flank Philip-kakka’s and form the Crane-Wing Formation.”
“Oh! The Crane-Wing Formation!”
Even Philip knew about that formation. Deploying such a famous formation was quite a gratifying thing to do; it was as though he had become the protagonist of some tale.
“So, if things go south please scatter towards the left and right. The enemy won’t scatter if we only go in one direction. Remember to spread as far apart as possible when retreating.”
“I understand. It’s fine, you don’t need to remind-”
“-Wouldn’t it be better to decide in advance who should go which way? A successful retreat can be difficult in the heat of battle. This applies to Philip-kakka as well. Which direction will you be retreating to?”
They spoke as though they had foreseen his defeat, this made Philip quite upset.
“So you’re sure that I’ll lose?”
“No, no, it’s nothing like that, Philip-kakka. Have you heard of the tactic of feigning a retreat to exterminate all the pursuing enemies in one go?”
“-ah, aha, yes I have.”
Oh I see, Philip accepted their explanation, but since it would be unpleasant to admit his ignorance, he acted as though he had already known of the tactic.
“As I thought, you knew about it. Well there you have it, this is the strategy, one that includes a strategic retreat.”
Well in that case… As Philip was getting ready to discuss which way to retreat to, he realized that an important piece of information was missing.
“Before I answer, I have a question. You two haven’t told me about the size of your forces yet. How many men did you bring?”
Philip was so shocked that they could muster up more men than he could that the thought that with these numbers, escaping in any direction would be the same never crossed his mind until later on. Philip rationalized that, since this was their demesne after all, it made sense that it wouldn’t be as difficult for them to do so. If this were simply a matter of quantity, things would have been much easier, the problem lied in their prior considerations. Philip estimates that he could have mustered at least twice the number of men had this been his demesne.
“…if we have this much manpower, doesn’t it make more sense for us to attack all at the same time? After all, we have around 200 men here.”
“Though that would be a viable option too, it wouldn’t be the Crane-Wing Formation. For it to be a Crane-Wing Formation, Philip-kakka soldiers must advance first with our forces covering the side flanks.”
“Ahh, so that’s why!”
Right, that’s why. He had managed to completely forget about it.
Wayne let out an audible sigh. Since his face was completely covered, no one could see his current expression.
“I’m glad you could understand. Now then, which direction should we retreat to?”
“Ah, yes. We’ll retreat towards Igthorn-kakka’s direction then.”
“So towards the left flank, I understand. Then I’ll request that you stick to the battle plan we had discussed before. Please also keep an eye out for archers, it’s not so uncommon for horses to kill their riders in a stampede once they’ve been struck by arrows.”
“As long as I have this armor, I’ll be fine even if a horse stepped on me. This is a high-grade item that was crafted by a renowned blacksmith and enchanted by magic casters.”
Philip’s armor set was a gift from Hilma. The armor had been enchanted with magic that boosted its defense, allowing it to outclass the armor set that had been passed down as a family heirloom in his house. Though he had received this gift quite a while back, he had never had the chance to try it out yet. This will be the armor’s debut.
That Baron over there certainly did not have something of such high quality. Philip tried his hardest to stop his sense of superiority from showing up in his voice.
“Even so, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Everything would be for naught if kakka were to be killed in the fray. This is the truth.”
“That’s correct, because Philip-kakka is our general.”
“Even if you’re donned with such excellent armor, there are still weak points where an arrow could strike. In addition, no matter how durable the armor is, it cannot defend against most spells. Please do not let down your guard because of the armor, after all, Philip-kakka is our general.”
Their repeated warnings greatly annoyed Philip, but he understood where they were coming from. If a general were to be slain, then the battle would be over, that was common sense.
Knowing that these two saw him as their leader, Philip couldn’t help but smile.
“Of course, I understand.”
“…Also, where will Philip-kakka deploy our formations? It would be too dangerous to deploy on the road. I believe it would be best to stay back, that way we could rush to your aid if we have to retreat. It would help if you can tell us your position.”
Umu, umu. Philip was in agreement.
When the general is in danger, it is the duty of his subordinates to rush to his aid. Though this was common sense, Philip was shocked that he wasn’t the one to suggest this in the first place.
I would have noticed these things if this was the usual me…right now I’m just too excited. This is my first time organizing a battle of this scale.
Philip gulped slightly and took a deep breath.
“Wha-, what’s wrong?”
“Ah, nothing. I was just trying to temper the fiery passion for this battle in my heart.”
“…oh-, I see. Is that so…? Umm, then where would Philip-kakka like to wait for the caravan?”
“First of all-”
Philip took a look to his left and right.
The paved roads were quite wide, enough space for two carriages to pass through side-by-side. This road seemed to be a major source of income for Baron Delvin.
There were lush forests to the sides of the road but the closest spots to the road where bandits would usually hide, had been cleared completely down to just grass.
The forest was under human management, apparently to allow pigs to forage the grounds for acorns and the like, so there was no need for them to be on alert for monsters or wild beasts.
If that’s the case-
“We’ll set up the ambush in the forest.”
“I see. If that’s the case, I know of a suitable spot. There’s a patch of forest where twigs, weeds, and whatnot have already been cleared out, that could allow us to retreat on horseback. How do you feel about that?”
“Such a place exists?”
“Indeed. When Philip-kakka decided to launch the ambush in these lands we knew something like that was necessary, so we took the time to prepare that spot”
Philip had repeatedly chosen this patch of land for the ambush in their previous meetings. Though he had asked Wayne and Igthorn for their opinions, both of them deferred to Philip. It must have been quite troublesome for them to make preparations after that.
“Then I’m truly grateful to you.”
“Nonsense, since you had to take on the risks of leading the first charge, what we did was just our fair share, right?”
“It’s just as Wayne-kakka had surmised!”
The two led Philip to the site and it was just as they had described. There shouldn’t be an issue for horses to gallop if the grounds were in this condition.
As he finished his discussion with the two, Philip simply walked back to his soldiers.
Philip couldn’t stop sweating because of his full body armor, and because they were on uneven ground, his helmet could cause him to lose his balance and fall over easily.
Philip wheezed heavily as he took off his helmet to clip on below his waist. He took out a handkerchief and began to furiously wipe his forehead.
Philip felt like the armor was a failure. Even though an armor’s defensive capabilities are its most important quality, mobility is equally as important. He seems to remember that there were enchantments that lighten armor, he’ll have to ask for one of those in the future. Or perhaps an enchantment that prevents him from sweating while he’s wearing the armor.
He should talk to Hilma about this the next time he’s in the capital.
After making a mental note of that, he walked back to the site where he saw his soldiers bored out of their minds doing nothing.
“Sorry for the wait”
“-milord. Who is that man who’s covered his face? His appearance screams bandit. Are we being set up?”
“That’s impossible, that man’s obviously an esteemed noble of the Kingdom. Speaking of appearance, don’t mention it. It’s not as though every nobleman could afford full body armor.”
Plus, during the battle of the Katze Plains, those families that had lost their successors also lost many heirloom weapons and armor. Philip’s household was in this exact situation, if he loses this set of armor it would be difficult to acquire one again.
Though it appears the soldiers do not believe in his reasoning, there was no need to force them to accept it.
“Okay! Let’s wait till the caravan arrives! After it does, we’ll attack it immediately!”
Philip heard no response and raised his voice.
“Do you understand!!?”
Though everybody answered begrudgingly, their voices in unison were still loud enough to be heard.
Philip was unsatisfied with their response, but he’ll have to leave it at that. This is their first battle after all, there was no need for them to meet all expectations.
For them to develop into excellent soldiers, they will have to focus on the most immediate problems at hand.
As Philip mulled over these thoughts, he sat on the ground as if his body was giving in to the desire for rest.
Q: Do your parts correspond to the actual parts in the book?
A: No, these “parts” stand for partial releases.
Q: Where are we at?
A: As of this part: page 78/568