Chapter 0251 Battle of Vichy
The two armies combined numbered just under 60,000 on the Vichy Plain.
It was quite a spectacle.
The Imperial Army does not justify its cause before a war.
Nor, by the way, do the Union.
Among the great powers in the Central Nations, only the Kingdom does…it had become a tradition to do so at this point.
Nevertheless, Abel, being originally an adventurer, did not like to make a claim of justification, or rather, that kind of appeal, before the start of war.
At the Battle of Gold Hill, he went to talk to King Raymond, who was also his uncle, but in the end, he did not appeal for the justification of his cause.
In many ways, the art of war seems to be changing.
“Your Excellency, Musel, we will now begin.”
Commander Ebner, leading the 8th Imperial Army, received permission from the Commander-in-Chief, Marquis Musel, and the Battle of Vichy began.
Thus, the Imperial Army moved first.
The Eighth Army, the vanguard, and the Seventh Magic Corps, the mid-guard, which was approaching within range to attack with magic, began their advance.
However, there was no movement from the Kingdom Army.
“Hmph, as usual, the Kingdom Army is a bunch of cowards. It seems that even after changing their King, they retain their same old cowardly nature.”
Count Guther Ostermann, leader of the Seventh Magic Corps, said.
His eyes were full of contempt for the Kingdom Army.
It could be said that he was convinced of his army’s superiority.
As a matter of fact, the simultaneous bombardment of the imperial magic corps is extremely powerful.
No army has ever been able to survive such a barrage and not be shaken by it.
It’s only natural for them to believe in the superiority of their own army.
“Sir, we are in range.”
“Good, I will end this war with a single blow.”
Guther grinned at his subordinate’s report and said.
Every one of them had already finished chanting.
All that was left was to say the trigger word.
With Guther’s command, two thousand offensive magic were released.
The majority were the fire-attributed Fire Arrows, with some wind-attributed Sonic Blade and earth-attributed Stone Arrow, all of which split up after launch and were designed to neutralize the enemy.
They split up along the way, eventually becoming ten thousand-strong offensive magic bombardments.
As he declared, he intended to rip the Kingdom army to shreds with a single blow.
The magic released from the Imperial army just before it reached the Kingdom army….
The entire array of offensive magic vanished.
The scene was clear even to Guther, who was watching with anticipation to see how effective it would be.
All of the offensive magic emitted mutual annihilation particles and disappeared, as if they had been hit with magic of equal power.
But after splitting up, the number of offensive magic could be as many as ten thousand.
To annihilate them all…is theoretically possible with two thousand magicians…but there was no country in the Central Nations that can gather that many magicians on the battlefield, except for the Empire.
So what the hell just happened….
Guther didn’t get it, but decided to fire once more.
It could be some kind of trap or alchemy that Guther was unaware of.
But if it was alchemy of that magnitude, it should definitely be a one-time use.
Thinking so, Guther tried another magic bombardment.
The result was…
Exactly the same as before.
The whole array of magic spells disappeared.
“This can’t be…”
The Imperial army’s signature move had been fundamentally broken.
“What you see there is called, the <Dynamic Steam Mine>, which at one point was set aside as merely a proof of concept.”
“Oh right…as I recall, it’s a magic that automatically freezes unusual monsters or groups of people when they enter within its zone…”
“What the hell, yikes.”
Ryo explained on the intercepted magic, Abel tried recalling the subject from memory, and Rin shuddered.
“Yeah. That was the case back then, during the diplomatic mission, but this time, it’s more like freezing the opponent’s magic…well, if the magic is equally powerful, freezing it will cause both to disintegrate from mutual annihilation. Something like that.”
Although he had conducted so many experiments, he had not been able to test it against ten thousand magic spells, and that was the only thing he was worried about, but it seemed to work just fine.
“The enemy seems to have given up bombarding us. Ryo, that’s our cue.”
“It’s dispelled. You can go ahead.”
As soon as Ryo informed Ilarion of the deactivation, Ilarion used his <Amplification> magic to instruct the Southern Army’s magicians to fire their magic bombardment.
The Southern Army’s bombardment inflicted damage on the Imperial Army.
However, the bombardment was inevitably fewer in number than those from the Empire.
And therefore wasn’t saturated enough to disrupt the Imperial Army.
“The dynamic steam mines react not only to enemy magic, but also to friendly magic, so it is a bit troublesome to have to ‘dispel’ them every time we need to carry out our bombardment. I wonder how interesting it would be if I could incorporate something like enemy/allied force identification into a magic formula and link it with alchemy or something like that…”
“Okay, now that would be something outrageous, so I think we should just make do with this, for now?”
Ryo was about to get absorbed in his alchemy world, so Abel hurriedly pulled him out.
The battle had only just begun, so he needed Ryo to concentrate on the battlefield.
“For the time being, I think we’ve crushed the Empire’s momentum.”
Advisor Arthur said with a single broad nod.
Whether it is a group battle or an individual battle, the same is true if you crush the enemy’s first move, you stand to gain an overwhelming advantage in the battle.
In Japan, the word would be a preemptive strike, and in the West, the word would be counterattack.
Their connotation is slightly different, but it doesn’t matter.
Ryo was thinking about that.
If the enemy makes the first move, then completely crushing that first move…was the idea, so to speak.
“The whole array of magic, just gone like that…how is that even possible?”
Ebner, the leader of the 8th Imperial Army, muttered to himself.
Although he said ‘is that even possible’, there was no denying what just transpired right before his eyes.
The magic from the Kingdom army flew over just fine.
Although not fatal, more than a hundred people were injured.
“We’re shifting to melee battle. Charge the enemy and prevent their bombardments.”
If the offensive magic is invoked by only a few people the size of a party, magicians of a certain caliber would be able to hit their intended target.
However, if there are hundreds or even thousands of magicians, their magic will interfere with each other, and the offensive magic will deviate from the intended target.
Naturally, the magic will travel to the ‘approximate location’, which from the enemy’s point of view, is still a threat.
Because of that, shifting to melee combat is an effective way to prevent the opponent’s magic bombardment.
The main Imperial army retreated to a distance where the magic of the Kingdom’s army could not reach them, and assault troops of five hundred men each came out. Thirty companies, a total of fifteen thousand men.
Each of these assault troops would form a wedge formation, or simply put, a triangle, and charge at the enemy to break through the battle lines…and then bombardment from the magic corps would follow suit on the already broken battle lines, effectively rendering a devastating blow.
But this time, the magic bombardment was ineffective.
On top of that, the two territorial forces that formed the core of the Southern Army, met this assault force head-on.
“Without their overpowering magic bombardment, they’re nothing to fear!”
Marquis Alexis Heinlein exclaimed.
The Marquis of Heinlein’s army does not have the position of ‘Knight Captain’.
That is because the Marquis himself is a Knight Captain.
A man who once served as Captain of the Kingdom’s Knight Order, led them to victory in the previous ‘Great War’, and was called ‘the Demon’…there’s just no way the knights led by him and his territorial army with the addition of volunteer militia could possibly be weak.
They firmly stopped several wedged assault units of the Imperial army in their tracks.
The troops that had lost their mobility were bombarded by magicians, and then counterattacked by the knights.
Whether it is a wedge formation, a bee-arrow formation, or a V-shape formation…if it loses the ability to charge forward, it becomes terribly vulnerable.
Moreover, if it’s stopped and then attacked from the flanks, it will crumble.
Since there is no such thing as a perfect formation, it is only natural that they are strong in one situation and weak in another…so they can only be used aptly.
But neither Marquis Musel, the commander-in-chief of the Imperial army, nor Linus, the chief deputy, nor the commander of the Eighth Army, Ebner, understood that.
That was because their wedged formation assault charge had never been stopped before.
The Marquis of Heinlein’s army was able to stop them…and the other main force of the Southern Army, the Rune Frontier County troops, was no less formidable.
As the name ‘Frontier Count’ suggests, it is a title that is associated with the frontier of a country and is assumed to have a certain level of powerful military force.
As is the case on Earth, its rank is higher than that of a regular ‘Count’ and is equivalent to that of a Marquis.
Currently the only ‘Frontier Count’ in the Kingdom, the army of the Rune Frontier Count was unrivaled in its wealth of actual battle experience.
Although many of their enemies were monsters, that only goes to show that they are always in constant danger during their drill exercises outside the castle… there was no way such a group would be greenhorns.
Also in the castle, they have been trained by a swordsmanship instructor who boasts of strength beyond that of a human…so first of all, they are never ‘frightened’ no matter who they face.
Compared to the strength of their ‘Elf’ swordsmanship instructor and their ‘Magician’ swordsmanship instructor…it’s rather doubtful that they will ever meet a stronger opponent than her or him…in their lifetime.
In any case, the two well-trained territorial forces took on the seemingly half-hearted Empire army assault perfectly.
Stopped at the center.
Then, what about the flanks?
Naturally, the left and right wings of the Kingdom army began to advance.
More like charge rather than advance.
This time, both the left and right wings were fielded by adventurers, except for those from Rune.
The right wing was led by Master McGrath, and the left wing by Landenvia and ‘Six Petals’.
The Imperial army charged into the center, increasing the distance between the main force and the vanguard, leaving the flank wide open.
Then, adventurers positioned on both wings of the Kingdom army attacked from the flanks.
The wedged assault had been stopped in its tracks, and the adventurers were attacking from the flanks…needless to say, the leaders of the Imperial army were aware of the danger.
“This isn’t good.”
Marquis Musel, the commander-in-chief, muttered involuntarily.
In a corner of the tent, Mel, the captain of his guard detail, handed an urgent report to the chief deputy, Linus.
“This just came in.”
Linus sensed a slight tremor in Mel’s voice, which was usually indifferent.
But after reading it, he understood why.
“Rebellion in Wingston and Stonelake…and further invasion by troops believed to be Kingdom forces from the outside, and the fall of the cities…”
Wingston is the largest city in the eastern part of the Kingdom and where the Imperial Army was based.
Stonelake is also a city near the Vichy Plain….
“This means our army can’t remain in the Eastern region of the Kingdom…”
Even Linus, a confident man, understood the seriousness of the implications of the report.
The front line had collapsed, so it would be better to retreat temporarily in this situation…and they just lost the place they could retreat to and regroup.
Little did they know that behind the rebellion lies the shadow of the ‘Professor’, or ‘Schemer’ as they call him.
Those who invaded Wingston and Stonelake from the outside were the remnants of the Kingdom’s First Army, once defeated and crushed at Death Valley, led by Natalie Schwarzkopf, and the brothers of the former finance minister Hookah.
The intermediary between them was Phelps A. Heinlein.
The ‘Schemer’, Phelps, Natalie, and the Hookah family, all of whom probably barely knew each other, worked together miraculously to regain Wingston and Stonelake for the Kingdom.
“Your Majesty, the operation in Wingston and Stonelake is a success.”
Phelps’ voice was somewhat upbeat.
That was very unusual.
Phelps also knew that the method employed to recapture these two cities had a very low chance of success.
Yet, they succeeded.
They took back the eastern region of the Kingdom.
“So we’ve taken it back. Good job!”
Abel must have understood how low the chances were. As he was quite pleased.
“It’s all thanks to Natalie, the Hookah family, and the ‘Schemer’.”
“Prince Willy told me about the ‘Schemer’…well, the person in question apparently doesn’t wish to be known, so I’ll leave him be. Natalie is firmly established as the new head of the Schwarzkopf family. And as for Hookah and his brothers…well, it’s quite unlikely he’d be able to return to the position of Minister of Finance, but I’m sure I can find one or two positions for his younger brothers.”
Abel was thinking about the merits and rewards.
If he screwed this part up, he would fail from the very beginning of his reign…winning isn’t the end of the story…the difficulty of governing a nation….
“All in all, I can always deal with these after defeating the enemy in front of me.”
Abel regained his composure.
Ryo looked at him from behind, crossed his arms, and nodded his head in a pompous manner.
Abel noticed that, but did not dare to say anything.
Because behind Ryo, Rin and Rihya were nodding in the same way….
Such an atmosphere in the command center could at least be considered a sign that the Southern army was advancing with the upper hand.
The attack by the adventurers on both flanks was beginning to yield results.
“It’s about time.”
Abel muttered as he watched the situation, and announced to Ilarion beside him.
“All troops, charge.”
Ilarion said, and announced to all the troops using <Amplification>.
“All troops, charge!”
With that order, the two defending territorial armies, as well as the Kingsguard, led by Abel himself, began to charge from the center.
Unable to hold their ground, the Imperial troops soon began to rout.
“Our losses are minimal. We are in pursuit of the Imperial army.”
“There is some sporadic resistance from the Imperial army, but the entire force has been decimated.”
Abel’s main camp was also following the pursuit and moving north.
Then, a change suddenly occurred.
It was as if a stone was thrown from nowhere into a pool of water that hadn’t a single wave on the surface….
As if a ripple suddenly formed on the surface of the water without any warning….
That’s what Ryo discerned using <Passive Sonar>.
And, he had experienced it before.
(This is how the Princess and that guy showed up back when we went to rescue the Duke of Inbury.)
And this time…two hundred reactions popped up, and among them were the aforementioned two.
Ryo muttered quietly and leaped to the forefront with his <Water Jet Thruster>.
“<Ice Wall Layer 10>”
Ryo chanted at the same time as 1,000 offensive magic attacks hit the front line of the Southern Army.
Two hundred members of the Emperor’s Magic Division, Princess Fiona, and Oscar, the Explosive Flame Magician, appeared before the Southern Army.
At last, we will see Ryo vs Oscar in the next chapter.