Arc 3 The Precious, Chapter 53 Betrayal and Trust

T/N: 刻 (Koku): in simple terms around 2 hours (6 koku in day & 6 koku in night).
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The war situation largely went as expected.
A large force attacked Mirskronia, including Gildanstein.
The Third Corps, which has an inferior number of soldiers, retreated step by step while taking a lot of damage.
Gildanstein took possession of the mountain.

In the center of Christand's army, the Second Corps did not go on the aggressive offensive in order to conserve their strength.
Gildanstein's army, believing that the Christand intended to move in conjunction with the troops in the east, Bernaich, also tried to maintain the status quo and sent more troops to Bernaich to set up a solid defensive posture.
However, the enemy garrison on the Bernaich side, who did not know that the attack was to take place at night, were becoming increasingly demoralized.

The problem was that the enemy offensive had lasted longer than expected, and the Third Corps was unable to move toward Bernaich.
Nonetheless, it was an offensive enough to put pressure on the Third Corps.
This means that they're attracting a large enemy force to Mirskronia, and the attack will be carried out as planned.

The sun sets on the ground and the moon rises high in the sky.
It was about four koku after sunset when Bogan received the report.
Gran Agrand, a beautiful young man, was the messenger.
Kolkis son rushed back to the tent and reported.

“Corps Commander of the Third Corps has been killed in action!”


Gallen, Bery, and Kreschenta, who were also in the tent, were all surprised and frowned.
The other tactical staff officer—-on a trial basis attached to Bogan—-was equally astonished.
Bogan stood up and asked.
His already wearing his armor.

“What's the situation? Who is in command?”

A general offensive on Bernaich has just been set in motion.
He had asked Gran to send a message to the Third Corps to start the attack.
However, Bogan could not hide his surprise at the report that came back and asked.

The enemy offensive on Mirskronia continued.
It was only a earlier days ago that Terrius, Corps Commander of the Third Corps, reported that things were proceeding as expected despite the inferiority of the situation.
That's why it was incomprehensible.

“The commander of the Third Corps was hit by a stray arrow and fell to his death on the right wing when attacking of His Royal Highness.
The adjutant is now in command.
The battle line is proceeding as expected.”

“But, we can't just leave it as it is.”

The deaths of his men were shocking, and they had been with him for a long time.
But Bogan didn't take those events as sentimentality, he just took them as facts.

In a battle in the mountains, you never know what will happen.
It was an event that could have been expected, and it is not Bogan's job to mourn or grieve.
He made a decision immediately.

“I'll go.
Adjutant, I leave this place to you.
I'll take temporarily take over the Third Corps command.”

“……Yes sir, please be careful.”

Gallen is an excellent personnel, but he was inexperienced in commanding a large army and could not handle magic.
Bogan had no choice but to go if Gildanstein was the opponent.

“I'll take some cavalry with me.
Just in case, I'd like you to strengthen the defenses on Mirskronia's side.”

“Yes sir.
I'll call some from the second corps.”

“Umu, I leave the rest to you.”

Bogan puts on his helmet and told Kreschenta.

“I'm off, Your Highness”

Please be careful.”

After bowing, Bogan turned to face Bery.

“I leave Her Highness to you, Bery”

Yes sir, godspeed.”

Bery said anxiously and Bogan smiled.
Then, after lightly stroking Bery's red hair, he left the tent.
He mounted his horse, took seven of his guards who were close by, and immediately went off.

On the battlefield, a single delay can mean the difference between victory and defeat.
Knowing this, Bogan acted swiftly.

Seeing the fire arrows being shot and the fire starting to rise from the mountain, he felt a sense of relief for the time being.

With this, the terrain makes it impossible for the enemy to advance into Mirskronia.
And the fact that it's going well means that the organized combat capability was functioning properly.

As they leave the encampment, run through the grasslands and approached the mountains, the music of battlefield sounded.
From the sounds played with steel, shouts and screams, it didn't look that much worse than the situation Terrius had reported a while ago.

“What's the situation?”

Finding a battalion near the forest, Bogan asked the battalion commander.
A battalion of mixed recruits that Selene had brought from Gurgain.
They were operating as a reserve for the Third Corps.


The man saluted immediately, and Bogan also salutes back from his horseback.

“I'm in a hurry.
I heard that Corps Commander Terrius is killed in action.”

“Yes sir.
I have just received word from the messenger, General.”

“I will take over from now on.
Where is the current commander?”

“I heard that the adjutant corps commander Caldera is in command on the right wing, General.”

Caldera was Salva's family name.

“I understand.
The situation being what it is.
Be ready to move at a moment's notice.”

“Yes sir”

Bogan drove off without further ado.
The battalion commander, was also in the midst of confusion as he had just received the report that the corps commander had been killed in action, but he was relieved, there would be nothing better than if the general himself took command.
Although he was in charge of many new recruits, he himself had been in Christand's army for a long time and was well aware of the general's abilities.
The battalion commander, seeing of the general, noticed a messenger driving his horse from the center and turned his head in that direction.

“Order from the corps commander, from now on, pull soldiers from the left wing to the final final retreat line.
The commander of the 6th Battalion is to support this.
That is all.”

“……? Wait, did you say Corps Commander?”

“Huh…? Yes.
It's from the Corps Commander.”

“What's going on.
I heard that the Corps Commander was killed in the battle, and Adjutant Caldera is in command?”

When pressed, the messenger frowns and tells him that it is impossible.

“I have received orders directly from the corps commander…
Where's the report from?”

“Messenge from the right wing…that's what I heard from the General.
And now the General is taking command at the right-wing——“

At that instant, a chill ran through his body, and he looked at his men.
There was no cavalry there, but they still had to go.

“Message! Report to the corps commander.
Due to false reports of the death of the Third Corps Commander, the general went to the right-wing Adjutant Caldera.
Requesting the existing cavalry to be sent to the right wing as soon as possible.
The 6th Battalion will run to the rescue.
No need to repeat!”

Understanding the situation, the messenger also turned pale, and without even saluting, he rode off.

The battalion commander yelled at the adjutant who was at his side.

“We're going after them right now! Battalion messenger, tell the situation as you just heard it to the main camp!”

The adjutant moved immediately, and the battalion messenger also turned pale, mounted his horse, and rode off.

—-Bogan's decisiveness also affected his subordinates.
The excellent battalion commander did the best he could think of.

Your Royal Highness”

“To think you'd set the mountain on fire.
I thought that since it's you, you won't have chose it.
……Is it your adoptive daughter's idea?”

The shadows of what appeared to be elite soldiers in all directions around them.
It was not a large force, but a small unit.
However, it was enough to surround the seven riders—-there were about 30 of them.

In front of them was a lion-shaped helmet and black armor.
In his hand was a long-handled battle axe.
He wasn't riding a horse.

If they were to fight in the mountains, they would be at a disadvantage on horseback.

And seeing the scale probably Gran too, huh.”

forgive me, General.”

Next to the royal prince Gildanstein was Salva.
Scaled armor made of small pieces of steel.
Salva was also here, not on his horse.

For those who have magic power, a horse is just a vehicle to reduce fatigue.
In the thickly wooded mountains, they are faster on their feet.
Bogan dismounts, and so do his seven guards.

“I would have enjoyed comparing tactics with you, but I can't take it so easy.
I don't underestimate your adopted daughter.
I have been preparing for some action by that Kreschenta's older sister, who has brought reinforcements here.”

Gildanstein pointed to Salva.

Salva must have had Gran spread false information to lure Bogan and entice this small unit to their side.
If it was just a small unit then it's easy to lure them in.

“This is the only time when your forces will be at their strongest.
In that case, you will surely make your move now.
But it is a good idea.
Burn the mountain, take away our military strength, and make it an impassable obstacle.
And after that, the entire army will break through from Bernaich—-It's an excellent plan worthy of praise, even if I know it, I can't prevent it.”

From the beginning, Gildanstein had aimed only for Bogan's head.
Gildenstein's side would suffer some blow, but he would also gain a great deal from it.

“It's on account of our friendship.
Take your sword.
In this situation,…I can't say let's fight fair and square, but why don't we have a one-on-one fight.”

“…I'm sorry, but I'm a coward, Your Royal Highness.”

Bogan laughs as he draws the sword from his hip.
Then he jumped back and ran.

“Then, Krische, I'm counting on you.”

And Selene shouldn't be in the front too much.
That's all Krische is worried about.”

“I know, geez.”

She pinched Krische cheeks, smiled, and pats her head.
Krische will lead the Black Century, which will be a separate unit.
The Fourth Corps already went ahead.
They were moving their forces to their position according to the plan.
The First Corps will also follow suit.

Krische leaves reluctantly, and the Black Century followed after her.
Selene sees them off with a sideways glance and heads down the hill.

It was close to dawn when they moved.
Three koku would be enough time to descend the mountain, but some leeway was taken in order to reduce the number of stragglers and proceed with caution.
The movement of the Fourth Corps, which often operates in the woods, was admirable, and despite the march of 4,000 men, the noise were minimal.
In Mirskronia, fires were raging and the surrounding area was noisy.
So for the time being, they would not be noticed.
They marched in multiple columns while taking multiple short breaks.

When Selen had arrived at the waiting point and ordered a break, she heard the sound of horses' hoofs approaching.
For a moment, she gripped the hilt of her sword and nearly raised her voice, and when she realized that she heard only one sound, she cursed herself and shook her head, wondering what she was doing.
It was just a messenger.

“Message, from Commander of the Forth Corps.
We will now begin our action.
The First Corps will break through from the right wing in half a koku.
That is all.”

“Thank you.
Tell them that the First Corps will attack with light infantry.”

“Yes ma'am.
The First Corps will attack with light infantry.”

She could tell that she was nervous.
Her nerves become sensitive.
She tilted her flask, moisten her throat as she watched the messenger descend the mountain again, and take a breath.

She turned toward her subordinates.
There were five battalion commanders, their lieutenants, and about fifty centurion under them assembled.

“Confirming the message.
Bagil, I'll have the light infantry rush in first.
It's a dangerous role, but I'm counting on you.”

Bagil the commander of the First Battalion, composed of light infantry, a man with a grey beard, saluted.

“Yes ma'am, I'll make sure we make a breakthrough.”

“After a successful breakthrough, your priority will be to penetrate the rear of the enemy's center.
If you can do it roughly, cut as deep as you can.
Krische will take care of the rest.”

“Even if it costs this life”

Selene nodded and turned to the Second Battalion Commander next to her.
Faglan, a big man leads the heavy infantry battalion.
Heavy infantry is usually mixed with medium infantry, but as far as this battalion is concerned, it is composed exclusively of heavy infantry.

“The Second Battalion will maintain the breakthrough point.
Bagil is so brave that he would say even if it costs his life.
You are to protect it so that he doesn't waste his life.”

“Haha, even if it costs my life, I'll show that we'll accomplish it.”

He saluted.
He is a man who looks squalid, but there is also something refreshing about him.

“The Third Battalion is to protect Faglan.

“Of course.”

Keith, a thin middle-aged man, laughed quietly and happily, and saluted.

“And the Fourth Battalion is my protector.
Aren't you guys happy?”

“It's an honor above all else, Corps Commander.
I'd even like to get a kiss on the cheek for my distinguished service.”

“Don't want to, you're covered with a beard after all.”

Fourth Battalion Commander, Varga is a bear-like hairy man with a thick beard on his cheeks.
A wave of quiet laughter spread as Selene cut him off, her hands on her hips as if exasperated.
The atmosphere is good.
Seeing this, Selene felt her heart calm down and she found herself getting back into her normal groove.

And the battalion commanders, too, smiled, knowing that this beautiful princess in front of them was trying to soften the place as a corps commander—-a person who stands above them.
They were aware of the strong tension inside her, despite her softly spoken joking words.

She is just fifteen years old.
If she wore a dress to a ball, there would be many who would wish to take her hand.
She could have loved flowers, adored love, and lived a life free from war, and surely she also wished for that.
She has beautiful golden hair and slender limbs.
Her straight nose and long, slitted eye.
Her peach-colored lips that exude softness.
The graceful young lady was simply beautiful.

However instead of a man's hand, she has taken a sword to her hand, and what embraced her body is an armor.
Everyone here knows that she has gone into battle for the sake of her family, that she accomplished the impossible as if it's only natural, and that she works harder than anyone else without a moment's of rest.
How heavy is the weight of that responsibility?
No one here can say that they fulfilled their responsibilities as well as she did when they're 15 years old.
There was undeniable respect.

Literally, for her, even death would be an honor.
That's what they feel and that's why they stood there now.

She suppresses the tension, tried to show a smile, and relieve their tension.
If so, it was only natural to respond to it.
They take pride in the fact that they are the ones who support this beautiful princess.

“The Fifth Battalion is different from the others, if you have the time to risk your life, please pour down the rain of arrows properly.
And don't drop it on us even by mistake.”

“I can't make any promises.
My arrow of love may pierce the beautiful princess's heart.”

“Such a pity.
If you were fifty years younger, I would have considered it.”

“Even though I look like this, I'm only forty-four.”

“My, is that so?”

The Fifth Battalion commander, Gaines, was a man with a face like an elderly person.
He is a hunter by trade, and although he cannot use magic, he has risen from the ranks and file to becoming a battalion commander.
He was experienced, competent —- and a man that can be trusted.
The Fifth Battalion is a battalion composed mostly of archers, and logistical support can be left to them.

Looking at the faces of the centurions lined up in a row, Selene smiles when she sees that each of them is unruffled.

“……Whatever the case may be, this battle will not be the end.
There will always be a next time.
I would like to lead you in the next battle as well.
Can you do that for me?”

Kind words of encouragement.
No one answered, just a quiet salute.
That was enough.
Selene returned the salute and ordered them to disperse.

It was impossible for all of them to return alive.
It is also Selene, who gives the order might led them to their death.
Selene put her hand on her chest, closed her eyes, and simply prayed to the God of War.

When Krische arrived at the waiting point, and called out, 'Bald Eagle' while munya, munya, opening and closing her mouth to hold back her yawn.
Dagra understood and ordered the soldiers to free standby.
The black soldiers, though divided into squads began to sit in messily.
Unlike the standby for war and alert, the free standby means complete rest until it is time to go to war.
It means no need to be on guard.

Although it looks bad, the tension is relaxed.
This was one of the orders that Krische had made up at random, as she didn't want them to get exhausted in a place where it didn't matter.
Krische looked around at each of the faces and noticed that many of them looked nervous, so she thinks a little and tells them.

there are a lot of people who are nervous.”

The soldiers are physically strong due to their magical powers.
However, there are some people who have never even swung a sword before coming here, and compared to the brave soldiers chosen by Red, the degree of tension among them, who are not accustomed to fighting, is great.

“If you get nervous and can't demonstrate your abilities and die, then Krische will be troubled.
Since Krische and Bald Eagle have trained you hard, you have to do your best…
Mia, what are you afraid of?”

“Eh, ah, yes…
Um, to be honest, killing people is…”

Krische nodded and asked if there was anything else.

“Getting hurt, um…
being killed, is scary.
Also, my friends dying…”

“I see.
I see.
So that's what you're afraid of.
Then I'll tell you one by one.”

Krische holds up one of her fingers.

“First of all, killing someone doesn't hurt or make you itch.
The only one that hurts is the other person, don't worry.”

The group looked at the beautiful girl in front of them, stunned.
Krische continued, speaking of madness as if it was a normal thing.

“The other person is a stranger.
They're neither your relative nor your friend, so instead of saying hello, they'll attack you.
Thinking about it normally, you should kill them.
If you like pain, or like being then, it's a different thing if you have a hobby like that.”

Dagra was about to stop her for a moment but stopped when he heard Krische next words.
Because he felt that there was some truth in Krische's words.

If you don't want to die, kill.
On the battlefield, that cruel, animalistic logic prevails.

“Second, being killed is scary.
The answer is simple.
Kill before you get killed.
Krische didn't train you to be killed, Krische trained you to kill.
So does Bald Eagle.
A corpse can't kill you, so don't worry.”

Krische was really satisfied as if she had said something very good.
She held up a third finger.

“Third, I'm afraid of my friends being killed.
This is also simple, just kill the enemy who is trying to kill your friends first.
The reason why you're divided into teams of five people is so that five people can kill the enemy who tries to kill their friends.
The training to cooperate was also done properly, so it's okay.
Bals Eagle also said something nice the other day.
Please remember that.”

Krische cut off her words there and stared off somewhere.

“And you guys are still better.
The one you want to protect is right next to you.
Krische is worried about Selene, who is far away, and if you don't do it properly, Selene will be in danger.”

Then she continued expressionlessly.

If Krische is by her side, there's no way Selene will die even if there are 100 or 1000 enemies.
All Krische have to do is slash and kill everyone who pointed their sword at Selene.
……It's simple, just kill everyone you can see and you're done.”

—-Inorganic cold eyes.
The words spoken so easily.
A glimpse of Krische madness——fear runs through the backs of many who seen those eyes.

“But now that we're apart like this, in order to protect Selene, Krische have to make sure that the soldiers around her can properly protect her.
And to do that, you guys have to do your job properly.
Do you understand?”

The soldiers gulped.

“Krische's orders are simple and clear.
Kill without being killed until Krische says it's okay.
In short, kill all the enemies who resist you.
There is no need to be afraid or nervous.”

'It's simple right.' Krische smiled, then Dagra opened his mouth.

“…The words of adjutant corps commanders are reasonable.
At least if you show fear and don't do what is required, then you yourself and your friends here will die.
And that will take the lives of other soldiers who are fighting together on this battlefield.
It could take the life of the Corps Commander, even the General, and if the war drags on, all the people living in the kingdom will fall victim to it.
Don't forget your own responsibility.”

Saying so, Dagura looked over the soldiers and continued.

“Let me tell you one thing.
I have fought in many squadrons.
I have more experience than anyone here and have seen more.
But this squadron is the strongest among them.
Remember your training.
We won a comfortable victory against the elite red soldiers.
The soldiers you are going to face from now on are much weaker than them.
I don't want to make you conceited, but even if you were to fight every century in the kingdom—-no, even against every century on this continent your victory is unshakable.”

He smiled, then turned his hand to Cliche.

“You are the best century, selected and trained by the best warriors in the world.
And the adjutant corps commander has decided that you were naturally capable of accomplishing it.
There is no need to be worked up.
Just do what you've always done, just like in the training.”

Some of the soldiers saluted, and those who had been anxious followed suit.
Dagra nodded and saluted, and Krische, having witnessed this, followed Dagra lead and saluted, munya, munya, opening and closing her mouth to hold back her yawn.

“Bald Eagle has said most of it.
That's about it.
Oh, Krische will be praying from now until it's time to go, so don't interrupt Krische.
Vulture, please take care of the rest as you see fit.

“….Yes ma'am.

The sleepy Krische said so and stepped away, leaning against a tree while standing and closing her eyes.
Soon, quiet breathing began to be heard, and the soldiers looked at each other when they saw that her right hand was resting on the hilt of the sword at her waist.

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