Overlord Light Novel Volume 14 Chapter 1 Part 3

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?”

“75 each.”

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.

“Whooo, whooo”

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!!?”

“Understood…”

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.

——–

Mini-FAQ:
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

Overlord Light Novel Volume 14 Chapter 1 Part 2

Overlord Light Novel Volume 14 Chapter 1 Part 2

“What the hell, he should’ve said sorry at the very least.” Wayne scoffed after saying goodbye to Philip.

The garment that was now stained with beer used to be his father’s and was quite old in both texture and design, making it quite a rare item. He had originally planned to show up to formal social gatherings with that garment, but now he would have to make preparations all over again.

At the end of the day, the aristocracy was nothing more than a bunch of creatures whose eyes could not see past one’s appearances. Clothing was naturally a part of the game, so what had just happened was absolutely unacceptable. But the truth was that Wayne was at the bottom of the upper class society, so what good could have come from having some nice clothes?

On the contrary, this shabby garment could signify the owner’s weakness, and was therefore very useful for someone who wishes to be under the protection of their superiors. An outfit like this was a must-have for him to play the role of a weak nobleman on the stage that is a salon. So until he takes on the role of another character, he was under its care.

That was why it was even more unbearable than usual to see it sullied.

“That is true.”

A voice besides him chimed in, prompting Wayne to turn to look at its source.

“…Enough, that’s enough.”

His voice turned sombre along with the atmosphere surrounding him. Had Philip stood witness to this change, he would have been shocked speechless.

Wayne was never the extroverted type, he just plain disliked conversing with other people. To do so he would have to create layers upon layers of facades as he desperately attempts to pretend he was the extroverted and effusive type.

“Sorry dude, I really can’t handle that kind of a guise so you had to take care of most of it.”

Igthorn had switched from his previous personality too, his language was now so unrefined that none of the nobility would dare be caught using that language.

“No need, if you’re really sorry, go practice a few of these pleasantries. Lower level nobility like us have to put in real effort to appease those at the top.”

“Life’s just getting more and more difficult. I thought that once we inherited the barony we’d be able to join the racket of the aristocracy… Shameless flattery and ingratiation, just those two things alone annoy the shit out of me”

“Pffft, what are you talking about…? Peasants have to deal with the same shit. Nevermind who has it worse, everybody who’s working under somebody has to be a bootlicker of sorts.”

“And that’s why I never wanted to grow up… Man I miss the days when we were carefree enough to swing sticks around and pretend to be dragonslayers.”

“There’s no going back so don’t think about it. Anyways, just learn to flatter others. That brainlet seems to be a good candidate to practice on, right? Even if we fuck it up our losses would be small.”

To noblemen of the higher echelon or those with more experience in life, basically those who had seen it all, nothing could satisfy them unless it was made to perfection. That was why they had to gain experience every time they had a chance.

“For real…? Well the next time we meet him I’ll try extra hard to put on a face.”

“Yeah, that’ll do, that’ll do. No one dislikes pleasantries. If someone you’re talking to is annoyed at you, it just means that your ability to hold a conversation isn’t there yet… Igthorn, I know this is hard. I’ll make up for your flaws and you can make up for mine, that was our deal, but you can’t just stop trying to overcome your own weaknesses because of that. It’s not like we’ll be with each other forever.”

Though Wayne might be more intelligent than the average person, he was completely outmatched in terms of athleticism. Igthorn was the complete opposite.

If they were of the same type, perhaps they would have been competitors instead. It was for this reason they were grateful for the fact that neither of them thought of each other that way. It was unusual for neighbouring lords to be friendly with each other, but since they were the third and fourth sons of their family, they weren’t indoctrinated with animosity from the past. That was why they were so close.

Most importantly, they had chemistry.

“Is that so…? So, what about what we discussed with him?”

“Absolutely terrible.”

Wayne did not hesitate for a second before answering his friend’s question.

For someone like him to be at the helm of the faction was just far too dangerous of a situation.

“But, wasn’t that guy easily manipulated?”

“Mhm, that’s true.”

This faction was, frankly speaking, a garbage dump.

Its members were only in it to capitalize on their status as noblemen, and had absolutely no interest in developing their lands. Like a child with an iron sword, they abused their windfall authority. They had accomplished nothing whatsoever, yet were overconfident enough to believe they were omnipotent. These people were beyond saving. Even someone like Wayne could understand that he was just a completely ordinary nobleman, yet they couldn’t. The faction was full of that kind of people.

It was safe to say that because of this, the faction had a huge problem.

“The Sorcerous Kingdom storing grain in the capital is a disturbing development because they theoretically have complete control over its market price. They’ll definitely raise the prices due to our bad harvest this year. What’s even more terrifying is the fact that the nobles who are optimistic about such a blatant trap and have switched their farmlands to only grow cash crops aren’t the minority. Their mentality is that even if anything bad were to happen, they could get through a famine by importing grain from the Sorcerous Kingdom, even if the price is a bit higher.”

A lot of landed nobles in this faction had this mentality. Despite his attempts to subtly hint at the perils of doing so, their attitudes clearly demonstrated their belief that they alone would not be affected by it. They were determined to put their plans into action.

“…We lost a great amount of our labour force in that war. It’s easy to see that they’re fixated on the short term profits based off of how they’re distributing their remaining work force alone.”

To let go of petty gains and instead focus on long term profits should’ve been common sense for those at the top of the hierarchy.

“So to even think of robbing a Sorcerous Kingdom’s caravan of grain is evidence that he’s got brain damage. Surely no one is stupid enough to not understand that attacking a caravan that’s flying the Sorcerous Kingdom’s flag would be treated as a declaration of war and would result in serious retribution? Even if he’s this- Hold up. Were we being deceived?”

It was certainly possible that they were being set up and he just couldn’t figure out what that man’s goal was. Perhaps it wasn’t such a bad choice to accept his proposal after all.

“No, aren’t you overthinking? It’s probably because he was really that much of an idiot that he didn’t consider the potential consequences at all while he was coming up with that plan.”

“Hey now,” Wayne smiled bitterly, “to not consider the consequences of attacking those carriages at all- can an idiot of that magnitude really exist?”

“Well…if you put it that way…”

At any rate, there was no plausible way that a noble without common sense would be chosen to inherit his family’s title; hence, Philip must have had a goal. What could his goal be?

“It’s best if we consult Cygnaeus, right?”

“-no, don’t tell her.”

Hilma Cygnaeus, the woman who did everything in her power to establish this faction.

It was rumoured that she was a lover of a certain earl, but the formation of this faction would not have benefited said earl in any shape or form. And so, the origin of her overly plentiful funds and wide connections remained a mystery.

It was probably an organization, not an individual, that was behind the woman. By the simple process of elimination, one could easily arrive at which organization would have had such capabilities.

The Eight Fingers.

The crime syndicate controlling the Kingdom’s underground society.

In that case, Hilma was probably someone who could be readily discarded, like a mannequin.

No, Wayne’s intuition told him.

His few conversations with her told him that she was definitely not some simple sacrificial pawn. In fact, it was more than likely that she was one of the higher-ups of the organization. To have someone like her embedded in the faction was worrying to say the least. Although some nobles had the power to covertly form pacts with the crime syndicate, Wayne did not want to get entangled with such illegal organizations himself.

It was precisely because they didn’t think too highly of themselves that they would want to take advantage of her whilst maintaining a smooth operation.

“Why…? Looks like you’re thinking about something that I won’t be able to grasp again, but isn’t it about time that you tell me what’s going on? Even I know that saying yes to that guy will get us into trouble in the future. We’re about to attack a Sorcerous Kingdom’s caravan in your territory, you know? That bony bastard is definitely not gonna just let it slide. There’s no way that that guy’s not losing his head after this, and yours might not stay connected to your neck for long either.”

Igthorn was completely correct, but Wayne had an idea; he had agreed to the proposal with a full understanding of the risks involved.

“Perhaps that is that idiot’s plan, to make us his scapegoats and pocket the stolen goods for himself. How about we go along with his plan? We’ll be patrolling our own territories and will just so happen to stumble upon a group of bandits, the group that was responsible for the attack on the Sorcerous Kingdom’s caravan. After that, we’ll kill them all. It’s crucial that we alone are responsible for taking care of them.”

If an individual’s caravan were to be attacked, no victim would simply stand down after receiving the news that the perpetrators were killed. This holds true even on a national level. Retaliation would have been more than warranted. This is why they must not leave behind any evidence of their involvement. Moreover, they had managed to make it easier for them to maintain their innocence by painting the narrative that they were simply taking care of an incident that had coincidentally occurred on their lands.

“How about that? Not a bad plan to gain favour with the Sorcerous Kingdom, right? Even if we are suspected of involvement, we can just say that we were attempting to help aid the caravan. We’ll be fine as long as the perpetrators are all dead. You know what they say – dead men tell no tales.”

“We’re getting ahead of ourselves, but we do have to consider the possibility that there are priests who could resurrect the dead. You know what they also say? No lie slips by the priest.”

“…Do you seriously believe that there are priests capable of resurrection in the Sorcerous Kingdom? In a country where the undead are said to proudly walk the streets, tormenting the living?”

“No, I guess?”

Wayne grinned as he concurred with Igthorn.

“Regardless of that man’s goals, an attack on a Sorcerous Kingdom’s caravan is beneficial to us no matter the outcome. It doesn’t matter if the attack succeeds – which I don’t think it will – or fails, because the Sorcerous Kingdom would be on high alert for further attacks in the future either way. They might stop storing grain with the Kingdom’s merchants. That way, those idiots would get a wake up call and start making plans with a more solid foundation. Also-” Wayne laughed mockingly, “that man will be done for no matter what.”

“Is he worth all the hassle? For us to take all of these risks just for him?”

“Of course he’s not worth it personally, but it’s necessary to hinder Cygnaeus, the woman behind him, even if it’s by a little. She must be planning to use him to manipulate the faction and draw attention away from her, ultimately allowing her syndicate to operate in one form out in the open. If that wasn’t the case, it wouldn’t make sense for them to invest so much money on the faction.”

The Royal faction and the Noble faction had already lost much of their power. If one could freely manipulate this third faction of theirs, they would be able to wield a terrifying amount of authority. This meant that the Eight Fingers would be in charge of both the Kingdom’s legal and illegal affairs.

“I would only be able to come up with temporary solutions for these things, but you’ve already thought this far ahead huh?”

As Igthorn said, such an idea should be out of reach from the minds of nobles, let alone a lowly Baron. The truth is of course, not all barons are the same, some of them owned more land than nobles of a higher rank. Unfortunately for the two of them, their territories were of sizes befitting a Baron, so they were your average barons in the Kingdom.

All the nobles without connections in the Royal faction or the Noble faction wanted to do was to better develop their land. For this to happen, the Kingdom must also change for the better.

They had the idea not just because they were nobles, it was also borne of their own ambitions.

What they desired was to become wealthier and happier.

That’s why they would exploit any beneficial opportunities to its maximum potential.

“But even if we switched to a better faction, we would have to rebuild our reputation and connections all over again, right?”

“Yeah, right.”

They had joined the faction to obtain opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to them had they joined a more well-established faction. However, they never expected the Eight Fingers to appoint such a cretin to its leadership position. It seemed as though joining this faction was a mistake.

“Speaking of which, would the Sorcerous Kingdom use this as an excuse to declare war on the Kingdom?”

Wayne thought about it for a moment and shook his head.

“Unlikely. The Sorcerous Kingdom is a nation with a single city, they lack the manpower to fully occupy the entire Kingdom. Even if they have a lot of undead, they’re only suitable for simple manual labor anyways. They can’t properly manage a country, so even if war was declared, they would only ask for land that is closest to them at most… It shouldn’t be an issue for nobles like us whose land is far from the Sorcerous Kingdom. -now then”

He raised up a clenched fist as he spoke and Igthorn mirrored his movements to give him a fistbump.

“Let’s do this!”

“Yeah!”