Chapter 0224 Defense of the Western Forest Extra
By the time Rancias woke up, it was already morning.
“You’ve finally come to.”
Rancias looked to his side and saw an elf.
“You’re the guy from last night.”
There he was, the man with whom Rancias had a sword fight.
“Carson, the chief of the Autonomous Region. I take it you are General Rancias of the 20th Imperial Army.”
“Wow, to think you’d even know who I am.”
Rancias laughed self-deprecatingly.
Most Empire nobles don’t even know about the 20th Army, also known as the ‘Shadow Army’.
It was quite shocking that the elves knew about them so accurately.
“It’s the Autonomous Region’s job to gather those kinds of intel, you see.”
Carson said, holding out a bottle of water in front of Rancias.
“I know it’s kind of rude to tie your hands and feet, General, but you’re just too dangerous and we can’t take any chances. I’m sorry, but I’ll have to leave those restraints on. If you need some water, now is the time. What do you say?”
“Sure, I’ll have some.”
Carson brought the bottle to Rancias’ mouth and gave him some water to drink.
“Sure. Also, hate to break it to you, but you can forget about trying to escape. The one who took you out with a single blow last night will be keeping a watchful eye on you the entire time.”
Rancias’ muttering now startled Carson.
“How did you…wait, right, I blurted it out.”
Carson scratched his head and continued.
“Yeah, Sera. Even you lot couldn’t handle her…forget about you guys, even if we all joined hands, I bet we’d be wiped out in less than an hour.”
Carson smiled awkwardly as he said that.
“I wonder what kind of training she had to go through to turn out like that…anyway, don’t get any weird ideas.”
With that, Carson left Rancias.
But four watchers stood guard around Rancias.
The next people to appear in front of Rancias were a woman who looked to be in her mid-thirties and an immensely beautiful woman with platinum blonde hair.
“I understand you are General Rancias of the 20th Imperial Army. I am the Grand Elder currently in charge of the forest.”
Neither of them bowed their heads, but simply introduced themselves.
“You have been taken prisoner by us. Along with five of your subordinates. They are all currently locked up.”
“Yes. The rest are in no position to move. We’ve used recovery magic on them to keep them alive, but I can’t let them completely recover and start a rebellion.”
“Even if you exclude the eastern fortress, there must have been more than a thousand men…now combined with the reinforcements, they should number over two thousand. You’re telling me, they’re all out of commission?”
Rancias confirmed Obaba-sama’s explanation in a low voice.
“That’s right. They all seem to have lost a lot of blood and were rendered incapable of fighting. Although they’ve recovered to a certain extent, the blood they lost has yet to recover, so they are still in bed. In a little while, more soldiers will be coming from Marquis Hope’s territory, and I promise they will be treated properly as prisoners of war.”
“Two thousand men rendered out of commission…. How is that…even possible…?”
“I’m the one who put your men out of action and knocked you unconscious.”
The platinum blonde beauty, Sera, answered Rancias’ mutterings.
“What…. How did that happen?”
“Even if you ask me, how am I supposed to…. There were about two thousand three hundred of them. I overpowered them all.”
Sera said this in a rather refreshing tone, in a very Ryo-like manner.
Her face was devoid of any emotion.
She had simply eliminated those who came to harm the elves. That was all.
“Left to me, I’d have killed them all. But if we keep them as prisoners of war, we can use them as bargaining chips for negotiations with the Empire, which will eventually happen, right? Well, whether it be choosing to kill or render them incapable of fighting, it didn’t make much difference to me anyway.”
She paused and then continued as if remembering something.
“Still, I took way too long taking care of them. I could have done it a little quicker…. Sorry for being so slow, Obaba-sama.”
“Nah, I think you were plenty quick though…”
Sera apologized, and Obaba-sama, unsure of how to respond, said a few words portraying common sense.
“That many ‘shadows’…annihilated…within twenty minutes. Are you kiddin’ me?”
“Twenty long minutes…that’s way too long. I know a magician who would have wiped them out in thirty seconds. And have all their heads too.”
Sera recalled the scene of Ryo using his water jet to instantly chop off the heads of the devils during the royal capital disturbance.
“That very magician said this told me. ‘While you’re over there protecting the forest, I will lay waste to the Imperial troops’. If even I can do this to the Imperial army, all I can say is, their doom is already set in stone.”
Rancias saw absolute certainty in Sera’s eyes.
From the bottom of her heart, she did not doubt that this would be the case.
Rancias understood that it had already become a foregone conclusion in Sera’s mind.
Rancias muttered involuntarily.
Hearing that, Sera laughed for the first time.
“Monster huh! I guess I’ve finally grown to the point where I could be called that! Strangely enough, that makes me happy.”
“Why would that make you happy…?”
Sera smiled and was pleased, and seeing this, Obaba-sama shook her head and muttered.
“Well, General Rancias.”
Obaba-sama called out, regaining her composure.
“We intend to make you our emissary to the Imperial forces occupying the royal capital.”
Rancias was somewhat lost.
He’s not being executed to send a message or as an outlet for resentment, or used as a bargaining chip, but as an emissary?
“You mean you’re going to release me unharmed?”
“Well, that’s the idea. You will bring some documents with you. After that, you can do as you please.”
Rancias thought for a moment and then opened his mouth.
“You want me to inform them of the things that happened here so it can serve as a deterrent.”
By sending Rancias, they will be revealing that the Western Forest has the power…to completely annihilate the 20th Imperial Army.
Mess with us again, and you will meet the same fate.
“After getting all the troops under my command annihilated…which face do I…”
“Even so, you have to report back, don’t you?”
In response to Rancias’ frustrated words, Obaba-sama spoke some common sense to him.
“I know! I know that, but…”
Perhaps he would not be spared by the Emperor.
But if he fled before the enemy, the safety of his family, who remained in the Empire, would be threatened.
But if he surrendered his life, his transgressions would not extend to his family…Emperor Rupert VI is one such person.
He would make children redeem their parents by allowing them to achieve greater accomplishments, and by encouraging them to grow and contribute to the development of the Empire.
That is how he uses people.
In the first place, Rancias had no other choice.
“I understand. I will be your messenger.”
Thus, the attack on the Western Forest by the 20th Imperial Army ended in complete failure.