A.N. Benefost is actually a female, so she will be referred to as such from this chapter on. I’ll backtrack and replace earlier chapters at a later time.
Yuusuke started to work on customizing the high road surface when he was closing in to the expected clash site, enveloping the surroundings with the fluttering lights. In one customization he managed to fill six hundred meters of the road with traps.
As he was approaching the expected battle ground, Yuusuke started to work on customizing the high road surface. Enveloping the surroundings with fluttering lights, in one customization he managed to to fill six hundred meters of road with traps.
Upon arriving at the soon-to-be battlefield, Yuusuke repeated the same customization on the road behind him. He also added a small path to connect both areas. With that, around two kilometers of road was customized for the upcoming battle.
“Phew, somehow I managed to get it done in time. I leave the rest to you.”
“Understood. I’ll take over from here.”
Placing poles to mark the beginning and the end of the eastern customized area, he ordered a decoy group – a small squad consisting of twenty four soldiers, specializing in either long distance offensive divine arts, movement divine arts, or communication type wind arts – to take their positions.
Led by Vermeer, the squad’s mission was to provoke the enemy by harassing them with divine arts and then retreat with the help of the movement buffs.
Watching Vermeer finish his deployment, Yuusuke walked to the opposite side and took control of the western squad, and positioned the troops in front of the eight hundred meter customized area, thus finishing the battle preparations.
The battle formation was as follows: western customized area – Darkness God Corps Investigation Squad – Yuusuke – eastern customized area – decoy squad.
“It seems that they are intending to fight,” said someone, watching the battle preparations from within the shadows of the forest.
Mercenaries were marching in platoons composing of fifteen people. Twenty of these platoons totaled to four hundred soldiers. In addition, eighty of Benefost’s elite soldiers were marching along with the mercenaries. The Darkness God Corps used wind arts to scan the surrounding area and were fully aware of incoming enemies.
“We cannot contact the evil beast soldiers, that…”
“There seems to be no traces of the divine arts obstruction aura.”
They were probably annihilated or forced to retreat. In any case they have fulfilled their duty and Benefost valued that. As he was about to denote that, the front mercenary platoon had warned the battalion (t.n. author used ‘platoon’ to refer to the mercenary groups, so I chose ‘battalion’ as the closest fitting military unit to the size of the entire force.) of the enemy positions ahead of them.
“Enemy ahead! Around twenty of them – they are attacking us!”
“Hmm, they are trying to challenge us with only one platoon. And when we are outside of the divine arts range too?”
Wondering whether the small platoon had launched a preemptive attack after panicking due to a difference in size or whether it was all part of some sort of battle plan, the small platoon started retreating after firing off their attacks. The battalion was centered on close combat fighters and they had no evil beast handlers. Continuing to advance at the current pace would mean unnecessary losses, so the commander has changed the formation to reinforce the vanguard with defensive art wielding mercenaries and ordered mercenaries to march onward at a brisker pace. However, the platoon had increased their speed, matching it with Wind Edge’s speed.
“Are they intending to retreat? They broke the formation but it doesn’t look like they’re fleeing…”
It was also possible that the other party knew that their long range divine art attacks were barely out of range to do any damage. If they were to retreat while matching the pace of his army, the small squad would only exhaust themselves while dealing no damage to Benefost’s forces.
“Are they aiming to lure us somewhere?”
“We heard that the Darkness God Corps number around seventy. Could it be that they are trying to lure us to their main force?”
Even if the Darkness God Corps planned to attack them, they could not carelessly attack a platoon of this size. Taking the enemy commander’s rapid construction divine art into the consideration, Benefost unwillingly ordered her army to attack.
“EVERYONE, COMMENCE THE ASSAULT! DON’T BE SWAYED EVEN IF YOU SEE A TOWER OR A FORTRESS RISE IN FRONT OF YOU!”
Benefost knew of Yuusuke’s exploits in Sanc Adiet, Blue Garden and the experimental area for Evil Beast research. Thus when ordering the attack she expected for something unusual like that to happen.
“Even if they created something like that here, if we charge them altogether, they won’t be able to wall themselves in.”
It would be a staggering blow for the enemy commander to lose the retreating platoon. Afterwards Benefost would surround the remaining Darkness God Corps forces and slowly wither them down.
With a loud roar, the mercenaries lunged after the retreating group of a famous and distinguished enemy, chasing them as if attempting to swallow them whole… yet a few moments later their target was suddenly enveloped by beads of light and vanished.
“No! Over there!”
“When? Why now?”
Mercenary vanguards could only shout in confusion, when the platoon that was right in front of them had suddenly moved far ahead. The platoon then split into two groups and assumed battle positions. At that moment someone spotted one more person –
“It’s the Fonclanc’s hero!”
“The Darkness God Corps Captain is here!”
Following the plan, Vermeer’s platoon used shift-map to whisk away to safety. Following that, Yuusuke confronted the mercenary vanguard by causing underground tremors.
The platoon’s sole purpose was to lure Wind’s Edge inside the modified part of the road. Their strategy was to trek through the forest and then show themselves to their enemy. Afterwards, Vermeer was to retreat while making the enemy believe that they would soon catch up to the small platoon.
“That was really scary,” sighed Vermeer, looking at the exhausted mercenaries, who had spread all around the highway. His own squad, now standing behind Yuusuke, were also panting, exhausted after the chase.
However, their efforts were not in vain – most of the enemy forces now were within the customized area and Yuusuke was fast at work, manipulating the customization menu with his finger.
Seeing the enemy commander and the Hero of Fonclanc in front of them raised the mercenaries’ bloodlust to the maximum – slaying him would make one’s name echo throughout Kaltcio.
However, the strange art that he had been preparing by pointing his finger at them also had instilled a sort of caution into some of the mercenaries. In the end, the mercenaries brushed their doubts aside – after all, what can such a small force do to them – and plunged forward, weapons drawn.
“Don’t rush, we should be within the range of his walls now!”
Elite soldiers had caught up to the mercenaries and somehow managed to calm them down. Immediately after that, the road began to shine around where they expected a wall to appear. However, once the fluttering sparks had disappeared, the mercenaries were nowhere to be seen.
“What was that?! What happened?!”
“A wall? No… a hole.”
“W-when did they fall into the hole?!”
A two meter deep hole, or rather a trench, had appeared before them, and the mercenaries were squeezed together at the bottom of this large trench. However, even if the Hero had prepared such a trap in advance, it was impossible even for him to completely disable such a huge army with but a pitfall.
Yet, both sides of the road had shone yet again and walls rose on both sides of the trench. The walls then fell down, enclosing the mercenaries in a huge earthen prison.
“C-commander! The mercenaries…”
“Don’t panic, we still outnumber them by far. Divide our forces into attack and rescue squads—“ an indistinguishable divine art aura spread throughout the area and the mercenary commander instinctively looked towards the Darkness God Corps captain, where he saw the small platoon that lured them here.
He immediately understood the trap that he had fallen for, however the beads of light had disappeared and soon silence fell on the highway. The cries of birds in the forest and a sound of a black cloak fluttering in the wind were the only sounds that disturbed the now empty road.
The road looked as if nothing had happened here. The mercenaries and their prisons were nowhere to be found. The metallic sound of pieces of armor rubbing at each other and weapons occasionally hitting it were gone.
[“Phew… it went easier than expected.”]
Yuusuke’s plan to use large scale map item alteration had succeeded spectacularly – the opponent was completely trapped and powerless.
To lure the enemy to the eastern customized area, he raised several walls, leaving the trapped area as a lucrative escape path. Then, he customized traps that looked like irrigation channels. After imprisoning the enemy within a six hundred meter long trap, he turned towards the western area.
In case the mercenaries managed to escape the trap, Yuusuke left half of his force to patrol the eastern area. Then again that was highly unlikely as the ditch itself as well as the walls that fell on top of it were fortified by customization and it would have taken a considerable effort to break out of.
In the beginning Yuusuke planned to create a small fort on the highway and lure the enemy there with movement enhancing customization, however there was not enough time to prepare everything so he had to resort to having Vermeer’s group lure the Wind’s Edge into the trap.
Looking over his shoulder, Yuusuke nodded at Vermeer, praising his comrades for giving their all in this crazy plan, and turned to face the remaining Wind Edge’s forces.
On the other side of the now empty highway, he now could clearly distinguish the figure that was giving orders to the remaining enemy forces.
She was wearing exposing armor, which emphasized her body lines and her voluptuous bust. Characteristic green hair freely fell down her back. She was probably the Military Officer Benefost that Valerie had been speaking of.
“Call Valerie’s party over here.”
“Understood, transmission officer!”
Yuusuke asked to call Valerie to the front, hoping to negotiate with Benefost. Meanwhile, on Benefost’s side the remaining soldiers had turned pale after witnessing three hundred of their comrades being buried alive and confronted the Wind Edge’s elites.
“It was too reckless to challenge the Darkness God Corps! I’ll not fight anymore.”
“Wait, isn’t that a breach of contract?”
“Our contract said nothing about having to fight such a monster!”
“You should’ve informed us about your intentions to fight the Darkness God Corps from the start.”
The soldiers were frightened to their very core and could not think about anything but fleeing. Benefost understood them, but she had nowhere to retreat to. She glared angrilly at the black haired person, framed by a black mantle, standing far ahead of her.
Her warrior’s heart beat even faster. “I want to fight him,” she murmured, unable to contain the excitement that was boiling within her.