Chapter 9 – Assault
“Your Highness!! Your Highness!! Please wake up!!”
It was still early morning, but I could hear hurrying footsteps from all around. Feli’s shouting voice filtered through the door.
Even so, I did not exit my room, but a sword formed by my “Spada” was already at my waist, just like in my previous life. Sheath, hilt, and blade, everything was the color of darkness.
“No need to rush me so much.”
The graver the emergency, the more important it was to act as normal. I maintained this stance as I stood up and headed towards the door. As soon as I opened it, my gaze met Feli’s.
“Did you sleep well last night?”
I asked this question to try to calm her.
But no answer came back. She just stared at me, dumbfounded.
“Is there something on my face?”
“N-no, that’s not it…”
Feli was not looking at my face, but at the sword I carried, at me and the sword as a whole.
“That sword looks so natural on you, and I…”
“….what’s that now?”
Feli’s strange reply left me perplexed, but I decided to go on with the conversation.
“Anyway. Since you were shouting like that, something happened, right? Where should I go?”
“King Afillis wishes to talk about the next development.”
“The enemy’s advancing then?”
I smiled, amused.
The assault the day before did not lead to battle in the end, and Mephia’s Distoria army was pretty much in perfect form.
The Afillis kingdom, however, is evidently weakened and exhausted. Taking full advantage of such a chance was an obvious choice. I thought that I would have probably done the same and smiled. The enemy apparently shared my sentiments.
“…it’s exactly as you surmised. According to the sentinels, a force of 25,000 split into two and is heading here…”
“That’s a lot. I guess they want to end things once and for all.”
“They sent a summons of surrender, but there are so many conditions that the Afillis kingdom struggles to accept it.”
“That’s just an act anyway. They want to portray themselves as having respect for human life. But what they actually want is to make a clean sweep of Afillis’ authority and resources.”
My mentor was both a swordsman and a strategist. Having received his teachings, I was something of a strategist myself. So I more or less understood what had to be done.
“This castle has two gates, correct? Which one is the ‘Hero’ heading to? I’m sure the sentinels reported about it too.”
“….no, at the moment that’s still not known…”
“I’ll change the question, then. Which side has most soldiers coming?”
“I will go west, then. Tell king Afillis to prepare the rear support. Also tell him that I don’t need the commander to be Mephia.”
There should have been little to no trust in me at that moment.
Total forces numbering 25,000. Even half of them would be four times the troops I brought from Diestburg. If I used any conventional strategy, our victory chances disappear.
In order to overcome such an overwhelming disadvantage, to win this war, it would be necessary to win over quantity with quality. In other words, it was necessary for us to defend the battlefield with the highest number of enemy troops.
Then, as if it had waited for the right timing, I heard a voice tinged with apprehension.
“You do not plan to die, do you? Your Highness…?”
“Don’t be foolish.”
I laughed, amused. Indeed, from a third party’s viewpoint, it might look like a suicide mission. That’s why I said that the rear support commander didn’t need to be Mephia. The reason why I even asked for rear support was that at the moment, there was little to no trust in me.
If Afillian forces are present as rear support, they could do something in case things went south. It was meant to give some peace of mind to the Afillia side and would influence the battle, albeit not by much.
“If I planned to die, I wouldn’t even pick up a sword. If I wanted to die, I would like to do so while sleeping on my bed, after all.”
“….please, just say that you won’t die. Or I would be scared of leaving you by yourself.”
“Only you and my family worry so much about a “Trash Prince” not even useful for political marriages, really.”
Feli understood quickly that she couldn’t stop me and gave up on trying to convince me. Even so, this loyal vassal told me to survive no matter what happened.
In my previous life, I was always protected. Of course, I did fight on my own too, but those around me were so powerful that not once did I think of myself as strong.
I realized it only when all those I aspired to were gone. To describe their actions, I suppose the words “The strong have a duty to protect the weak” would fit.
“I will be fine. I am a person with someone to protect now.”
In my previous world, death overflowed everywhere. Because of that, I wouldn’t promise or swear that I wouldn’t die. At the very least, however, I was saved by Feli’s loyalty. And I should repay her for that. No matter how unexpectedly the situation might develop, I would definitely keep her alive.
There was no need for anyone to protect me anymore. I was going to be the one protecting others now. And there was also the sword I had honed to survive in a hellish world.
“Even if I have to face thousands or tens of thousands, my ‘Spada’ will cut them all down.”
My “Spada”, which had accepted and carried forward the feelings and wishes of so many people, could cut through anything. Even myself.
“I’ll summon the troops. Join us after you have relayed the message to king Afillis.”
“Yes, Your Highness…!!”
Feli was probably moved by finally seeing me act as a proper prince, so her voice was livelier than ever.
“Well then….time to start.”