Chapter 0221 Defense of the Western Forest Part 1
“Deputy Chief, these two are the most prominent failures among the ‘priority targets’ we failed to secure.”
Upon returning to the quarters assigned to the Emperor’s Magic Division, Adjutant Jurgen reported.
“The Royal Alchemy Workshop and the Elven Autonomous Region huh…. It was already deserted when you stormed in?”
“Yes. It seems that they were ordered to evacuate three days ago.”
“The crown prince’s orders…. The same crown prince who died of illness. Looks like he gave the order in anticipation of the fall of the royal capital.”
Oscar sighed as he read the report.
Those two places had been designated by Emperor Rupert VI as the most important among the ‘priority targets’.
And the only ‘top priority target’ was the royal castle.
In other words, those two places were instructed to be secured as the next priority after the royal castle in the capital, but now…it wouldn’t count as ‘secured’ if there was no one inside.
“The crown prince…must have been quite the shrewd fellow. Saving the kingdom even in death. Maybe it’s a good thing he’s dead.”
The latter part of his muttering was so faint that it didn’t even reach the ears of his adjutant, Jurgen.
“I have to say that it’s unexpected that we failed to secure the alchemy workshop, Baron Kenneth Hayward, and their research materials, but what bothers me more is the autonomous region.”
“You’re talking about that forest?”
“Yeah. We may have to prepare ourselves for more surprises when capturing the ‘Western Forest’…”
More than two hundred kilometers west of the royal capital.
The western edge of the Kingdom is covered by a vast forest.
The area is called the ‘Western Forest’, and although it is within the Kingdom, it is recognized as an autonomous region for the Elves.
The history of this autonomy dates back to the reign of King Richard, the founder of the Kingdom.
For several hundred years since then, the Western Forest has been a forest home to elves, a symbol of peace and tranquility.
But that peace was broken two days ago.
“The watchtower to the southeast has razed.”
A female grand elder received the report from her subordinate with a bitter look on her face.
She is also known as ‘Obaba-sama’.
She’s the elf who, along with Sera, commanded the defense at the Autonomous Region in the royal capital during the royal capital disturbance.
After the disturbance, she returned to the Western Forest and her normal life, but two days ago, they were suddenly attacked.
It was right after the news of the Royal Army’s defeat on the Desborough Plains, and the attacker was….
“How can elves be defeated in the forest…is the Empire troops made up of freaks?”
Obaba-sama held her forehead and lamented.
Then, more sad news followed.
“Grand Elder Gorin-sama has fallen.”
The news of Gorin’s death, one of the Grand Elders who had been in command at the front line, came as quite a shock even to Obaba-sama.
“You’ve finally gone and done it…Gorin, you old fool! That’s what happens when a grand elder, who should tread carefully, takes to the front line.”
Her mouth was full of nothing but curses, but her expression was more somber than ever.
The elves around her also understood Obaba-sama’s grief, so none of them opened their mouths with grave looks on their faces.
Of the three grand elders, including Obaba-sama, the grand elders…who had developed this Western Forest over a long time, Grand Elder Gunn was killed in the early stages of the war. And now, Grand Elder Gorin too has fallen in battle.
Both of them died defending other elves, and although the number of casualties was only about twenty, for the elves, whose original numbers were small with an extremely low population growth rate, there’s no doubt that they’d been dealt a very serious blow.
And so Obaba-sama made a decision.
“Damn it all to hell. We’re abandoning the eastern part of the forest. Pull back to the central fort. Call everyone back.”
Her frowning face did not return to normal after making such a difficult decision as the sole remaining Grand Elder.
The western forest, eastern edge.
There lies the base of the Empire troops that attacked the forest.
“Those elves are goddamn monsters.”
General Rancias, the leader of the assault force muttered.
“The number of casualties is extraordinary…”
Amber, Rancias’ second-in-command, commented.
“Death toll of over two hundred…it doesn’t make any sense! We are supposed to be ‘Shadows’, aren’t we?”
General Rancias shouted.
He leads the 12th Imperial Army. Commonly known as the ‘Shadow Army’.
They are a group of specialists in close combat, specializing not in open plains, but in urban areas, inside buildings, mountainous regions, forests, and other terrains with many obstacles.
Compared to other Imperial forces, this unit has fought an overwhelming number of actual battles and is feared by other countries as well.
However, its true nature is rarely revealed, so much so that even among the nobles of the empire, some are unaware of the existence of the ‘Shadow Army’.
However, its strength is overwhelming.
If the Empire’s ace in the hole on the surface is the Imperial Magic Division led by Fiona and Oscar, its hidden ace is this ‘Shadow Army’ led by Rancias.
However, these ‘Shadows’ were now experiencing losses they’d never experienced before.
The unit that had previously suffered a maximum of only a dozen casualties in a single engagement had now suffered over 200 casualties in just over two days of fighting.
It was no wonder that Rancias exclaimed, “It doesn’t make any sense”.
“I can see why His Majesty the Emperor would give top priority to eliminating the elves. Hundreds of those monsters…are a nightmare!”
Rancias spat out.
Then a report arrived from the front lines.
“Reporting. The elves have abandoned their eastern stronghold and have begun to retreat deeper into the forest.”
“Good work. Your Excellency, we should move to the second phase of the operation.”
In response to the report, Amber, the second-in-command, advised moving to the second phase.
“Hmm-mm. I hereby authorize the second phase. Eradicate every last one of those abominable elves!”
General Rancias, who had lost two hundred of his men whom he had raised with great care, stared deep into the forest with a glint of hatred in his eyes.
As if the person who had killed his men was standing right there.