Merry Christmas everyone! Hope everyone’s holiday is going well. Sadly I’ve been down with viral flu for the past 2 weeks but thankfully still able to keep up with releases thanks to all your support that allows me to continue hiring Jay. Stay healthy and looking forward to the new year!
Chapter 0244 Cake on the Battlefield
[List of Southern Army Ranks]
Supreme Commander Abel I (Deputy Ryo)
Kingsguard Captain Phelps A. Heinlein
Kingsguard – composed of adventurers in Rune city with Crimson Sword and White Brigade at its core
Marquis Alexis Heinlein, Commander of the army of Marquis of Heinlein (Deputy Dontan)
Alfonso Spinazola, Commander of the army of the Rune Frontier County (Deputy Neville Black)
Ilarion Baraha, Commander of the Southern Army Magic Corps
Arthur Verasis, Deputy Commander
Hugh McGrath, Commander of the adventurer unit
Landenvia, Deputy Commander
With each territorial army, including volunteer militia, the army total headcount was 20,000 at that point.
Ryo was the only second-in-command to King Abel.
He always followed diagonally behind Abel, escorting him… his duties were more like that of a secret service agent than a deputy.
The Kingsguard Captain and the Kingsguard may be the ones who are supposed to play that role, but they are only the ‘Kingsguard on the battlefield’.
On the battlefield, they’re to secure Abel’s perimeter…but everyone understood.
That even though Abel is the king, he is also an adventurer and a swordsman.
He will probably be the first to rush out when the order is given to charge.
At that time, it would be the Kingsguard and the adventurers of Rune who would charge with Abel.
So, until they arrived at the battlefield, Abel’s guard would be Ryo alone.
This was what Abel wanted, and the other leaders understood that.
“Hey, is that him? You know, the…”
“Yeah, the water-attribute guy…”
“He sure doesn’t look that strong.”
“He’s a magician after all…but I heard he’s quite a monster.”
“It’s impossible to trap anyone in ice. And yet he’s able to pull it off…”
“More importantly, he does look cute, though.”
In the encampment, Abel walked around quite a bit.
Not only among the adventurers and knights he knows, but also actively among those who enlisted from different cities.
In doing so, Ryo always walked behind him.
Fundamentally, no one seemed to be an enemy spy… and the reason they could say ‘no one’ with certainty even though there were more than 20,000 people gathered was all thanks to the Heinlein family, including Phelps and Alexis.
Be that as it may, Ryo always followed him, as one can never know what might happen.
As he did so, he would hear conversations such as the one mentioned above.
“Looks like you’ve become quite famous too, Ryo.”
“I wonder what will become of me after the war…”
Ryo was worried about whether he would get involved in a power struggle between nobles or be forcibly taken into custody, fears he once had.
“Oh, you don’t need to worry about that. I’ve got a few ideas. So, just leave it to me.”
Despite the words of His Majesty the King, the pinnacle of authority…the look in Ryo’s eyes at Abel couldn’t exactly be said to sparkle confidence.
“Hey, what’s with that look? Why are you making such a skeptical face when I just told you everything will be fine.”
“Well…why don’t you put your hand on your chest and think back on what you’ve done in the past, I believe it’ll become clear to you as well.”
“In the past…?”
Abel, being such a good sport, honestly puts his hand on his chest and thought…but nothing, in particular, comes to mind.
“Can’t think of anything?”
“Back in the dungeon, on the 40th floor, you said you would treat me to a meal for a whole week, but you didn’t!”
“You said I’d get cake privileges once a month, but I can’t enjoy those privileges marching to the battlefield now, can I? ”
At this point, Abel also began to scratch his cheek with his right hand.
“To think you’d even deprive me of my monthly cake, that’s just too cruel, Abel!”
Ryo dropped to both knees on the ground and let out a cry from the bottom of his heart.
“Listen…at that time, I didn’t think we’d have to go off to war so soon.”
Abel chuckled as he said that.
But then a woman’s voice descended on them.
“Who decided that you can’t have your cake and eat it on the battlefield?”
Appearing with the voice were Rin and Warren.
Rin was holding something in her right hand, and Warren was holding a box like some kind of offering.
Rubbing his tear-stained eyes, Ryo looked at what Rin was holding.
“No way…cream puffs…”
His extremely low murmur was not heard by anyone else.
Rin opened her mouth as she got even closer.
“This is the final form of the portable cake, the cream puff, which has only recently been developed.”
She then took a bite of the cream puff in her hand.
A single bite…and then more…in the blink of an eye, the cream puff disappeared from her hand.
The expression on her face was one filled with happiness, which could best be described as ‘bliss’.
As Ryo gazed at Rin in a daze, Warren bent down and showed him the contents of the box he was holding.
Inside it were cream puffs arranged in an orderly fashion.
“Ooh…. May I have one…?”
Ryo asked Warren, who smiled and nodded.
Ryo put his trembling hands into the box and picked up one of them.
He then took one look at it and quickly brought it to his mouth.
The words escaped Ryo’s mouth as he took a bite.
Blissful…supreme…truly a supreme treasure.
“Sweet stuffs are the best…”
Ryo, who finished it in no time, muttered that.
And then, all was forgiven.
Even Abel’s terrible deeds all became unimportant before the tasty treat.
The great King Solomon once said, “All is vanity”…but that means that everything is vain when compared to the supreme.
Compared to this supreme ‘cream puff’…surely, everything in this world, including worldly affairs, is vain….
Ryo felt as if he had been touched by Solomon’s wisdom.
When Abel was walking around the encampment, Ryo could always follow him on foot.
However, that wasn’t the case during the march.
The leaders of the southern army, including Abel, and the knights marched on horseback.
Since the adventurers and other volunteer militiamen were on foot, the speed of the march was the same as on foot, but they were still on horseback.
Naturally, Ryo, who sticks close to Abel, would also ride alongside him.
“Looks like you’ve got the hang of it pretty well now, Ryo.”
“I’ve been practicing a lot since back at the mansion after all.”
Ryo was riding without any risk of danger.
Ever since Sera left the mansion to defend the western forest and Ryo came to stay at the mansion to guard Abel, Ryo has been working on his horse-riding skills.
At the time, it never would have occurred to him that he’d be riding alongside Abel.
However, it seemed that many of the Rune Knights were pretty much convinced without a doubt that ‘Ryo would also ride along to the battlefield’….
Therefore, they took it upon themselves to coach him in his horse-riding practice.
He was not always lying on the sofa in Abel’s office!
Back on Earth, Ryo had no experience riding on horseback, but he had at least thought it would be fun to ride a horse.
Since this was realized in ‘Phi’, he loved the horse-riding practice.
Of course, his buttocks would hurt when he first started, but once he got used to it, it was no longer an issue.
Basically, it’s much easier to let a horse run by itself than to let a car drive itself on Earth.
There’s a catchphrase that goes along the lines, ‘the ideal self-driving car is a horse?’, but…not many people on modern Earth actually have any experience riding horses….
In the first place, Ryo was entrusted with taking the knights out on a drill outside the castle because Neville Black, the Knight-Captain, judged that he had become pretty good at horse-riding through practice…and he most certainly traveled on horseback just like the knights did.
And, although they are called ‘knights’, most of the fighting itself is done dismounted.
When they charge, they charge on horseback, but usually, once they collide, they fight in a dismounted state…even if they remain mounted, they are dragged down by the enemy anyway….
That was not only the case in ‘Phi’, but also in the history of Earth.
Therefore, on Earth, aside from the single combat culture of medieval knights, the cavalry charge was often used as the final stage of a battle to determine the victor.
On ‘Phi’, mounted combat is possible because of the saddles and stirrups already invented, but..in the Central Nations, it seemed to be almost impossible.
“The sword won’t reach the opponent.”
In the mounted state, the body is higher from the ground than one might imagine, so it is quite difficult to launch an effective attack from there.
Therefore, if one were to engage in mounted combat, it would have to be done with a spear.
But then again…it’s quite difficult to handle a spear with one hand…since it’s long.
In Earth’s history, there were ‘jousting matches’ in which mounted knights thrust their spears at each other, but it was only a sport.
It takes a lot of skill to handle a spear on horseback, as clearly indicated by the difficulty of wielding a spear properly in the first place.
The best they can do is to hold it under the arm and charge as is….
For these various reasons, it was common for knights to dismount from their horses in battle and fight.
“Looks like the battle will take place at Gold Hill…”
The umpteenth lunch break at the encampment.
In Abel’s tent, a special meeting was being held.
During the meeting, reports from Marquis Heinlein’s domestic intelligence network were used to determine the expected point of contact between the two camps.
Nevertheless, in a battle of this scale, the battlefield would be decided by tacit agreement on both sides.
At just the right spot, near the point of contact.
“It’s the most open area south of the royal capital. If we’re looking for a place that can accommodate a large army, that would be the best spot.”
Marquis Heinlein nodded in reply to Abel’s murmur.
That area is a series of gently rolling plains, unobstructed by anything that would impede the movement of a large army.
By setting up the main camp on one of the several hills, it would be easy to check the movements of both armies and issue orders accordingly.
As the army moved northward, it rallied the armies of the southern provinces in various regions, and the Southern Army exceeded 30,000 men.
In contrast, Raymond’s army, which advanced from the royal capital, was estimated to be 40,000 strong.
Two days later, the two armies finished setting up their formations and commenced the Battle of Gold Hill.