Event: The Defense of Nyegert
The primary war potential of the forces dispatched to the defense of Nyegert was a five thousand strong army of knights. In addition to that, there were three smaller interception forces deployed in the area of the city, each numbering two thousand. This made up an eleven thousand strong army further reinforced by a reserve force made up from various local noble retinues that amounted to another six thousand of men.
The Kingdom was not negligent in the slightest and had their defensive posture around Nyegert polished to perfection.
「Sir! The scouts report two thousand in the north, two groups of ten thousand total in the northwest and a group of three thousand in the northeast. All heading this way.」
「What about the assault unit?」
「In pursuit of the reinforcing demons and heading this way. 」
「Mhm. I guess things are going according to the plan.」
The Marshall of the Crown seemed satisfied with the scout reports. The army might have been slightly less numerous than the enemies but there were no problematic demon variants spotted and the hostiles were cornered, about to be encircled in front of Nyegert.
This was enough to convince him that the victory was assured, but did not make him drop his vigilance.
「Fifteen thousand, huh? Has the detached force really done its job?」
Lancelot, engaged in conversation with the Marshall when the report arrived, offered a sarcastic question.
「It looks like they have contributed a bit. The demons were more numerous last time.」
His question was answered by Maria, who revealed a hint of her true intentions with the phrase “contributed a bit”. The leading role here would be hers and Rion would not get to hinder her anymore.
Arnold being part of Rion’s detached force was also a really huge problem for her. It made her feel as if the queen ending was slowly slipping out of her grasp. This kind of development was unsettling enough to make her want to do something about it immediately.
「But even so, that is still fifteen thousand. There should be no problem if they are small fries but what if there are stronger variants like during the last time?」
Erwin looked to be focused on thinking about the imminent battle, the detached force not on his mind.
But in fact, he was just pretending to be apathetic. In his heart, he was as flustered as Maria, if not more. Having Rion perform even more great deeds and get closer to the Crown Prince would endanger his position as the heir of the House.
Even though Ariel had been banished by the House Windhill, Lord Marquess had doted on Ariel. Rion might have no standing to challenge him but any child he would have with Ariel would be a completely different matter. Erwin felt pressured to achieve more than Rion, to make his name be known more widely.
「The demons… That last time there were some unexpected types.」
This time Maria wanted to avoid saying careless things that would damage their trust in her even more.
「Is that so. Actually, what kind of demons variants are the strongest?」
「It’s not the demons that are the strongest, it’s the devils.」
「Was one of them not easily defeated by some unnamed army before, though?」
In the previous battle, Kiel and his clan managed to kill a devil. He, like all of the soldiers hailing from remote territories, was just a nameless, worthless, existence for Erwin.
「That happened because the devils have not obtained their full power yet. They gain their strength slowly as time goes by.」
「What do you mean? Are they growing?」
「That’s not really correct. Their main objective is the resurrection of the Demon God, their god. As the seal binding him weakens, more and more of his power materializes in the world making the devils stronger.」
「…The devils have a god?」
Erwin had never heard about the Demon God before. This news made him worry about their ability to defeat a deity-like existence.
「This process can be prevented. This is exactly why we’re trying to subjugate them.」
Maria tried to reassure Erwin but since he did not know anything about the game or its endings, she achieved an opposite effect. It didn’t help that she had only the good outcome in mind.
「What will happen if that god of the devils revives?」
「A bad ending. The kingdom will be ruined.」
「Relax. Stopping this is exactly the reason why I came to this world. And together with everyone I will protect it from the devils.」
「…That is true.」
Erwin couldn’t understand where did Maria get her confidence from. He did, however, comprehend that she must have been carrying even heavier a burden than he had imagined previously.
「Looks like they are here.」
Lancelot, having been scanning the horizon, announced the arrival of the horde.
「And about time. Now then, let’s go!」
She and her entourage, not wanting to repeat the mistake from the previous battle, descended from the outer wall and headed to the army encamped outside the city.
Driven by the desire not to make the same error again, Maria tried to copy Ariel and rouse the soldiers with a speech. It did not work like she expected it would.
At the same moment, and in a way according to expectations, Rion’s detached force also made its appearance on the battlefield. But, unlike the previous time, it completely ignored the kingdom’s army charging straight at the enemy instead. The demon horde spotted by Lancelot was suddenly under attack from three directions.
This left the knights not involved in the engagement. This demon group only numbered two thousand, so with three detached groups of twelve hundred attacking at the same time, there was hardly any room for the main force to join.
「Let’s join the fight! Even on our own!」
Since the knights were not moving, Maria wanted her group to advance on their own.
「Impossible. We will not be able to fight properly in that kind of melee.」
Lancelot refused and was justified in his objection. Their specialty was magic. Trying to use spells in a close quarters battle would only catch allies in the area of effect.
「But if this keeps up…」
「Maria, do calm down. Remember the ten thousand strong main enemy force? It must contain a devil in its ranks and once it arrives it shall be our time to shine.」
Maria decided to obediently wait for the time when the horde of ten thousand arrived. Once that happened they would, unsurprisingly, be required to participate. It wasn’t like at Harcourt where Rion had charged enemy many times more numerous than his troops, they wouldn’t be just facing goblins here. This horde had many strong types of demons, including ogre-class monsters.
However, it soon became clear those powerful foes were no challenge to the detached groups and they were killed off one after another. The reason not a mystery for long, the addition of Arnold and Charlotte made the detached force much stronger than when it only had Rion and Ariel in its arsenal. Maria struggled to get to grips with a situation where those two, who should have been her battle potential, fought alongside Rion instead.
No sooner was the enemy exterminated, their threat dispersed, when another group, three thousand strong this time appeared in the distance. Rion’s soldiers found themselves in a hectic situation without a chance to catch a breath. But that was when two more of his independent elements appeared on the field accompanied by one of the screening forces of the main army.
Spells of four different elements were launched at the approaching enemy causing massive damage and the battle was joined again. This time it was the demons against a mixed force of Rion’s newly arrived squads and the screening troops.
While that was happening, the troops that fought the first engagement were busy treating the injured and preparing for the next battle.
Maria, watching this from the sidelines, spoke up with displeasure.
「Ah, y-yes. I can see that.」
Lancelot could also see what was happening. Even if the main enemy force was ten thousand strong, all the screening elements combined with Rion’s forces would add up to seven thousand. That was enough to try to offer a fight without having to rely on the main knight army.
If things kept developing in that direction, this battle too would end up without them taking part. Lancelot found that prospect very frustrating. And so did Maria but she also found her thoughts to be in a complete disarray.
The Defense of Nyegert was one of the game events. She couldn’t comprehend how a major event like that could possibly end without the main protagonist, her, participating. The only thing she was somewhat certain of was that she now had a rival character in the Strategy Arc, and that character was Rion.
She had never encountered any scenario like this and she had no clue how to deal with this situation. She kept asking herself how could the things end up the way they were now.
Why did the situation become like this? One of the answers was: because Rion had them develop in this way.
「Next group is imminent! Reform ranks!」
Having been appraised of what was about to unfold, Rion barked an order at the soldiers catching a breather.
「How many are we talking about?」
This question came from Arnold.
「Two groups from the northwest. Six thousand followed by another four. Ten thousand total.」
「Two groups? We could deal with them one by one.」
「Can’t be done. They are too close to each other. If we were to be attacked by the second group while still fighting the first one, things would get complicated.」
「I see. How shall we proceed?」
「…Let’s have a short break.」
Rion paused to think for a while before giving this answer.
An answer Arnold found completely unexpected.
「Messengers to all groups. Disperse to the northwest. Regroup behind incoming the enemy. Assume half an hour distance. Keep in mind the demons travel in two groups. Don’t confuse them. That is all.」
The messengers, having memorized the instructions, spread out to all the groups currently fighting.
「Message to the screening elements. Delay the pursuit. Wait for us to reorganize. That is all.」
Rion even sent a messenger to the screening elements notionally attached to the main army. Those had started to cooperate with him due to the influence of the Crown Prince and his Royal Guard and had begun accepting instructions even though the Baron had no official authority over them.
「Well, and what about you?」
Having finished dispatching the messengers, Rion turned towards Arnold.
「Am I to remain here as the bait, perhaps?」
Arnold, after acting alongside Rion until now, gained an understanding of his intentions. The goal was military achievements through the means of detached force alone, that was the core of the strategy he had witnessed.
「I have said nothing of the sort.」
「Is that so. I shall go with you then. That sounds like a more interesting idea.」
「….Alright. Let us go then.」
The detached force elements withdrew from the field one after another. Unsure of their intentions, the knights of the main army watched that in confusion.
But they did not have long to dwell on that. Very soon the main demon horde appeared from the northwest. As the detached force was not present any more, there was no one else but the main army to fight this new enemy. This was something that not only Maria and her group, but the entire force of knights desired. Even they desired to distinguish themselves in battle.
Once they were in range, Maria and her companions wrought a large scale magic that did great damage to the enemy. Then the knight army, five thousand strong, joined the battle. So did one, two thousand strong, screening element. With this, it was seven thousand knights against six thousand demons and the kingdom’s forces immediately gained an advantage.
Until the trailing group of four thousand demons made its appearance.
「Left wing is to hold the assault of the demons!」
「Center needs reinforcements! We cannot hold them back!」
The four thousand demons that made their appearance were different to the groups they have fought until now. Although they were the same familiar variants, they moved and behaved completely different. They seemed to be commanded and react exactly like an army would.
「Maria! What on earth is going on?」
Seeing the knights, who held the upper hand thus far, be thrown into disarray by a flank attack, Lancelot lost his cool and asked Maria in a panic.
「There’s a devil leading them!」
「Which one of them is it!?」
「We don’t know yet!」
A single being in a horde of thousands – it was really hard to reliably point the right target.
「Ah, no, found him! That guy!」
Erwin yelled that he identified the devil, something that should not be so easily achievable. Looking in the direction he was pointing at, Maria and Lancelot saw a demon that not only was acting oddly but was also mounted. Granted, it was riding a demonic beast, not a horse, but it was clearly giving instructions to surrounding demons which made it an officer-like existence, if not a general.
「….A general-class? You gotta be kidding me!」
Maria recognized the thing instantly. Demons could be separated into different classes and this one was of the highest rank, excelling both in strength and intelligence.
However, in the game that she remembered, this type of enemy would appear towards the latter parts of the arc, when the protagonist would be leading a numerous army in a hunt for recognition.
「That is not a devil!?」
「It’s not! It’s just a demon but of the strongest type!」
「The strongest type!?」
「They come in different ranks like Ogre, Ogre Knight, and General Ogre!」
「Is that so…」
Just like how there were strong and weak humans, demons too had leaders and minions. And like for humans, the presence of a leader would have a huge impact on the battlefield.
「They shouldn’t have appeared yet…」
The appearance of a foe that should not be present until she had reached a higher level shook Maria to the core. In this, she fell victim to her own misconceptions, though. There was no such thing as a “level” in this world. The stronger kinds of enemies appeared now because the human side was powerful enough to warrant their deployment. Devils dispatched general-classes exactly because the Kingdom forces were twenty thousand strong.
「Regardless of that, let us eliminate it. Death of the general is bound to disintegrate the chain of command.」
Lancelot was looking at the battle more calmly than Maria. If the demons were organized just like an army of humans would be, then they should just be dealt with just like one.
First order of business was to stall the enemy offensive to give the knights time to reform ranks, whatever it took to achieve that.
「It seems there are many of them present. Crushing them all at once will be hard.」
It looked like Erwin was also not just watching the spectacle and was actually busy identifying the enemy commanders.
「And yet we shall manage regardless. Starting with that one.」
Lancelot and the others launched spells at the designated targets. Since successfully taking down the command structure would require killing many more targets, they restricted themselves to intermediate magic.
The mounted demon’s body was suddenly pierced by two spears of water and sliced up by multiple wind blades. It was hard to tell which of the blows was fatal, nevertheless, the enemy fell. And the effect was just like a death of the human leader, the demons that lost their general fell into chaos.
「Alright! One down. The next is that one!」
Lancelot continued the onslaught aiming at a different general-class. But this time his magic did not reach the target.
「Wha!? A defensive magic!?」
A dome-like shield sprung up to protect the demons from the incoming missiles. It was clearly a defensive magic of sorts, even though its elemental affinity was unknown.
「It’s the devil! I’m sure a devil invoked this defensive magic!」
「So, they really have one in there after all….」
Maria’s question this time did not involve the devil but Rion’s detached force that left the battlefield earlier only to return now with the young Baron at its tip.
「What is happening!?」
Lancelot desperately tried to figure out the reason for that maneuver but he was soon answered by Rion’s word.
「Charge! Our target is that one in the middle!」
Finding their objective, the detached force attacked in order to bring it down.
「Ariel! Keep on the spell barrage!」
Following orders were issued to Ariel. Her position at the back of the troop allowed her to cast a spell after a spell in a rapid manner. All of them crashed on the dome magic protecting the demons one after another.
「The target is inside that circle! Charge!!」
Rion’s and Arnold’s magic began assaulting the demons. That created a gap into which Rion charged without hesitation accompanied by the dragon shaped flames.
Just like before he was executing a forceful, head-on charge but this time he was personally closing in on his target.
「So that is what he was scheming… The bastard!」
Lancelot finally understood that they had all just been used by Rion. Not just their group alone but the whole army was placed in the role of a bait in order to create a gap in the devil’s defense.
And what’s more, Rion even used the devil’s barrier as a mean to pinpoint the enemy’s location, something aided by the spells that his group had fired. None of this was improvised, they had clearly been waiting for this chance while they had been hiding.
Having found himself in a corner, the devil switched from defense to an all-out assault. All his spells, however, were intercepted by Rion’s water element protection.
Using this opportunity both he and Arnold counterattacked with their own magic. This was somehow blocked, but the earth spears shooting up from under his feet were too much for the devil and it found itself pierced and launched into the air.
『R-Rion Frey! As I thought, it was you! Bastard!!』
Those were the last words of the devil that could be heard. Any further sound was blocked by the howling of the wind circling around its body.
The whirlwind started to grow fiercer, yet more compact. It was pretty obvious why it soon turned blood-red.
The devil died, its body in shreds. The conflict reached conclusion. All that remained was chasing after scattered demons trying to flee following their erstwhile leader’s death.
The curtains fell on the Defense of Nyegert.
HnM Staff Corner:
Sorry guys, the week proved to be busier so there won’t be two releases for this week. This will be added to piled up chapters though, just in case our time becomes more flexible.
Thank you very much to David