The next morning, Darkness God Corps and the ambassador’s party had vacated their lodgings. Firstly they had advanced along the forest towards the southern end of the peninsula and then changed their direction southwards and entered the forest. They felt no fatigue due to the effect of Yuusuke’s rings. Aisha seemed to benefit the most from the ring as she even increased her pace instead.
Using the routine wind arts transmissions they confirmed the locations of both the guard convoy sent by Nossentes, and their camp.
Not going too fast, nor too slow, keeping their pace so they would not overexert themselves, they moved through an animal trail at a surprising rate. They did not even stop to eat, instead replenishing themselves with simple supplies and rara fruits while continuing to move. They were able to arrive close to the nation’s border by the evening.
“Are we heading in the right direction?” (Ambassador)
“Yes, do not worry. We should reach the border… in half an hour.” (Yuusuke)
The sun that shone through the trees was starting to set. Everyone was breathing heavily, although that was to be expected, as they were going at such a pace since morning. Probably understanding that they will be able to rest safely and peacefully at the camp, the ambassador’s party continued walking without voicing any complaints.
Rather, such a trip with camping and force marching through the forest was a completely new experience for the castle officials, who, up until now, were only responsible for managerial work. The current experience, which was completely different from their usual work became quite an uplifting experience once they had gotten used to it.
Travelling through the wild, unexplored territories, through unseen paths, going on a difficult mission, we must do our best! They were in such an adventurous mood, enjoying themselves to their fullest.
Around the time that they were about to reach the Nossentes camp, Isotta started glancing over her left shoulder. Noticing that, Yuusuke inquired her in a quiet voice.
“Did you notice something?” (Yuusuke)
“!? N..no… Maybe it was just my imagination.” (Isotta)
Startled by the unexpected question, Isotta flailed her hands around as she answered the question.
“Is that so? Maybe it’s the guys from that time! Maybe we have raised a flag.” (Yuusuke)(T.N. Event flag as in a game. Maybe as in that they have cleared the conditions for Gazzetta to start their advance.)
Isotta replied with a quiet, questioning voice as she slightly bent her head. Remembering the trick with the boat, Yuusuke asked to be informed about the smallest things that she noticed.
“For now, tell me what you felt.” (Yuusuke)
“…uhm, to tell the truth… It was quite far off, but I think I sensed the artless soldiers.” (Isotta)
In a quiet, hesitant voice Isotta had voiced the feeling that she had already felt during the boat trip.
The forest that grew on the peninsula, protruding into the lake, was just like any ordinary forest, but it was part of a huge forest, that was called the [Sea of Trees], which covered most of Trent Rietta’s territory. It was an enormous forest where any travelers would easily lose their way should they try to walk off the road, unless they had a skilled communication type wind arts user amongst them.
The [sea of trees] was like a fortress made by nature, that allowed such a small country to survive despite not being one of the major powers in Kaltcio.
Having just entered the edge of this vast forest, a group of White Sword Cavalry soldiers were hiding around half a day’s distance from Nossentes’ border.
Having received information about a goodwill ambassador of Fonclanc, they decided to take this chance to attack the capital of Nossentes, a city named Patrucia Nost, from the rear. They crossed Blue Garden’s territory and swam through the lake from a nearby Fonclanc port town and have been hiding in the Trent Rietta’s Sea of Trees for a few days.
“It seems that Fonclanc’s ambassador’s party has joined up with Nossentes’ convoy.” (Scout)
“Track and report their position to me. Take care to avoid detection.” (Shinha)
Shinha gave these orders in response to the intel of the Darkness God Corps’ party joining up with the Nossentes escorts and inquired about the gathering of his forces.
“According to the plan six soldiers are to arrive today. The remaining soldiers are also moving according to the plan.” (Shinha)
“Two more days are needed until we can form the unit.” (Scout)
“Two days, eh…? We might be cutting it close.” (Shinha)
At first, Gazzetta (Shinha) thought that Fonclanc ambassador’s party would take either Trent Rietta’s main road to the east or go west through Blue Garden and use the Nossentes main road. However, they had to hastily gather into one place once they found out that the party was going to use the shortest route and cross the lake.
Patrucia Nost, for the larger part, used the huge castle, built by the royalty of the white tribe during their days of power, for the same purpose (T. N. of housing the rulers of the nation). Being the descendant of the royalty of the white tribe, Shinha knew all the secrets of the castle as well as the location of the Divine Halls, where the Divine Parliament, the ruling body of Nossentes, resided.
However, the city was built with a defensive function in mind, so invading and gaining complete control of the castle was extremely difficult to carry out. The aim of Shinha’s group was to attack the place that the ambassador’s party was supposed to meet with the council and take control of the commanding body of Nossentes.
“And then, there seems to be a lot of sudden movements in Fonclanc’s port town.” (Scout)
“Hmm, port town… For now continue gathering the information.” (Shinha)
Shinha decided to prioritize on gathering his raiding party over everything else, and decided to see what will come out of all the ruckus on the opposite shore.
At the same time in the port town—
“Their forces increased again. Reinforcements seems to have just arrived and reinforced the siege at the east side.” (Scout)
“Hmm… so they intend to block off our retreat path towards Trent Rietta?” (Volmes)
After receiving information from the Darkness God Corps, a group of soldiers were sent to the port town with all due haste and they were currently engaged with the enemy (T.N. Volmes’ unit).
Their opponent were a special unit commanded by Volmes. When the sun had gone down, the group spread around the town and joined up at some place that was devoid of any unnecessary public attention. Since they had just arrived, some of them were already caught by enemy spies, belonging to the forces outside the town.
Quickly evaluating the attacking group’s size, Volmes understood that the only way to break out was to focus their strength on a single point and push through there. Deciding on a course of action he immediately ordered the troops to prepare.
Quickly sensing the preparations, Fonclanc soldiers started storming the town. While the citizens were being evacuated, Volmes group started their struggle to weaken the encirclement and find some way to break through.
Cornered like that, Volmes group had finally been driven to the center of the town and had secluded themselves within a huge inn, which became their final standoff against the siege.
“Third and fourth groups, defend the barricades. First and second groups, line up at the second floor of the main room and tear down the frontal barricade.”
Giving precise orders, Volmes ordered to open one path of the defended perimeter in an attempt to lure their enemies in, basing his strategy on avoiding the damage from all directions.
Having given the order to defend that line to the last man, he brought his subordinates to the room that acted as his quarters and awaited the chance to escape.
The attackers took the bait and concentrated their forces around the bait thus thinning the siege, allowing Volmes for his chance for escape.
“Good, let’s go!” (Volmes) (T.N. all unmarked dialogue in this paragraph will be between Volmes and his subbordinates)
Volmes and his two subordinates entered the secret passage to the nearby house and escaped the area, glancing back at the assaulted inn.
“We will hide in the forest north of the town. Don’t fall behind me.”
“Eh? Captain, what about the other soldiers?”
His subordinates inquired about the detached force that was arriving as their backup. Volmes, showing [“What are you saying?”] look on his face, glanced at his subordinates and explained his escape tactics.
“I would not say that they are abandoned. At the very least they can still escape. After we hide in the forest, they will be able to withdraw towards Trentorietta.”
“But, isn’t this the same as abandoning them?!”
“Gazzetta collaborators (T.N. probably referring to the attacks in Fonclanc), Nossentes soldiers, aren’t these the guys that walked with us through all of that?!”
“Silence! This time the enemy read us like a book!”
From their point of view, leaving the men from the same elite group without any clear plan was nothing short of betrayal. These two men originally belonged to the fire troupe, the elite group of the Blue Garden. Order to leave their fellows to die like that was unacceptable for them.
“I am sorry captain.”
“We cannot follow you anymore.”
“Is that so, well then, goodbye.”
Saying that in an indifferent voice, Volmes turned his back on his subordinates.
“You two were serving me well up until today.”
Volmes looked at them over his shoulder. With a flash, a flame scythe slashed the air and the head of one of the two people rolled down, the thankful expressions from receiving praise from his captain was still on his face. Second subordinate was still in shock as Volmes stabbed him with a sword, clad from flames.
“It’s a waste, I thought you two would still be useful for me for a while longer. Sadly you have just become troublesome for me.”
Volmes increased the strength of the flames and, after waiting some time to burn the insides of his prey, drew the sword out from the now lifeless body. Laying a final glance on the corpse Volmes resumed walking, aiming for the town’s gate.
Volmes passed an alleyway and walked towards a wide crossroad. (T.N. several wide crossroads in original, but that does not sound well in English imo). Suddenly a flame bullet was shot at him from his flank, which he easily blocked with his sword of flames. The next moment soldiers spilled from the alley, encircling him and readying their weapons for combat.
A person, clad in the bright red palace corps uniform, stood amongst soldiers.
“Using your troops as a decoy to save yourself, despicable.” (Hivodir)
“You, from that time… You actually belong to the Fire God Corps, I am surprised.” (Volmes)
Hivodir, who volunteered to lead this investigation, stood before Volmes and his path to freedom.
He found it suspicious, that after some time the movements of the defenders within the inn became dull so he assembled a squad and scoured the entire town with it. Following his usual style he withheld the feelings of revenge against the group that was destroying the artless villages within Fonclanc.
“It’s over for you, surrender.” (Hivodir)
Hivodir’s group remained on guard against Hivodir as he seemed to completely surrender, throwing his sword away, saying “It can’t be helped.”
“I am saying that I will be your prisoner of war. I know important information regarding the attacks on the artless villages.” (Volmes)
Although he surrendered nearly instantly, inside his mind Volmes was planning ahead on what he should do to survive.
He bet on a chances that, based on the policies and character of king Esvobus, cruel treatment of surrendered prisoners should be prohibited. If he was right, then he should be soon transported to Sanc Adiet.
Once he, a spy and a sympathizer of Nossentes will be captured by Fonclanc, an official statement will be expected from Patrucia Nost.
If they remain silent, he would reveal the plan “to entice the captain of the Darkness God Corps to defect” and attempt to switch sides again. For this reason he had arranged the boat that ferried the Darkness God Corps to return safely after they corps crossed the lake.
[“Those bastard Nossentians think too highly of themselves.”] (Volmes)
It should be enough if I feed them some information that I obtained directly from the divine parliament. If I play it right, that should suffice for these conceited bastards. Volmes planned to play around both, Nossentes and Fonclanc and escape them both.
With that, the group that was attacking the villages in Fonclanc was finally subjugated in the town by the Moon Mirror lake.
The fight at the inn continued until late night. When the battle was over, excluding those that surrendered, almost all of the Volmes’ former soldiers had perished in action.