Chapter 2 – Before Dawn
To the north of Pardu, there was a slight elevated hill where trees grew sparsely.
The Bydgauche army of 3000 led by Ilda Krutis was on that hill. About 50 horsemen looked out every direction from the hill and the remaining soldiers were resting at the foot of the hill.
As Urz thought, they did not go through the highway; they were advancing through the mountains and hills using sleds.
Far overhead of them, the white, dim winter sun was slowly descending to the western sky. The almost cloudless sky was watching over the sun with a bleak blue.
“Still one koku and half until the day falls, huh…”
Ilda who was standing at the vanguard of the soldiers looked up at the sky and muttered with a difficult face. He wore armor on his tall figure, held his helmet under his arm and a sword was hung on his waist. Though his suntanned, finely chiseled face was filled with a preternatural anger and determination, fatigue could also be seen.
Since he left Bydgauche ten days ago, he let his soldiers diligently rest, but Ilda himself hardly took a rest. He was originally the owner of such a stouthearted disposition that he could sleep soundly even in a battlefield, but this time he had not slept that much.
The sense of grief and guilt towards his attendant who lost his life, the anger towards Earl Pardu and the distrust to the King. All those melted together, combined and overexcited Ilda’s emotions.
While looking at the sun which feebly illuminated the ground, Ilda pondered over something.
—If we advance to the south like this, we will enter Pardu.
So far, they were able to march without anyone standing in their way. However, it would not go so well from here on. Eugene’s soldiers should block their way in order to protect their lord.
In addition, there was no doubt that the neighboring nobles who were commanded by the King would appear leading soldiers in order to stop them. Actually, the soldier sent on reconnaissance had seen the troops going through the highway nearby.
—According to the soldier’s report, those troops seemed to have raised the Black Dragon Flag and the battle flag of Lebus.
There was no one among his soldiers in the northern part of the Kingdom who did not know Lebus’ battle flag which drew a golden curve on a vivid purple ground. So, he did not think that the soldiers made a mistake.
—Then, it means that it’s Vanadis-dono who is chasing me, huh.
At this time, Ilda had not noticed the existence of the LeitMeritz army led by Ellen.
Seeing the campfire and smoke of cooking from above the mountains and hills, he grasped the rough number of enemies and their position, but he thought that all of them were only the Lebus army. He misled his judgment about the fact that there were as many soldiers of LeitMeritz army as the Lebus army.
If the reconnaissance unit had approached the enemy troops nearer, they might have seen LeitMeritz’s battle flag which drew a silver sword on a black ground.
But, Ilda, rather than gathering information about the enemy, gave priority to the fact that he had to hurry and not be discovered by the enemy. In addition, the current him got tired and was somewhat lacking composure, too.
He did not even consider the fact that other than Elizavetta, another Vanadis would come with her army.
Ilda ordered his attendant who was beside him and he called three subordinates. Each of them, while having enough skill as one warrior, also possessed the ability to be able to command 1000 soldiers. Ilda had divided the soldiers under him into three squads and entrusted them with each.
When the subordinates gathered, Ilda told them the plan from here on.
“We will camp out here today. When the day breaks, we will head to the closest highway and from there we will aim at the town of Litomyšl where Earl Pardu is.”
In order to avoid an encounter with the enemy until now, they dared to deviate from the highway and went ahead through the mountains and hills. But, as expected the March to the maintained highway was faster. There, the soldiers would also advance without getting too much tired.
Besides, near Litomyšl where Eugene’s mansion was, there were no conspicuous mountains and hills. They had to go towards the highway somewhere.
“Your Excellency, shouldn’t we advance through here throughout the night? We have come so far without drop-out soldiers and we aren’t that much tired, either. We shall display our will to the cowardly bastard who used poison.”
One of the subordinates expressed an assertive opinion in a powerful voice. The fact that their march did not get dull and they did not get dropouts soldiers while daringly going ahead through the mountains and hills would also display the high level of Ilda’s capability.
Ilda turned his gaze towards the other two. Receiving it, one of them opened his mouth.
“I agree with him. Although we are all from Zchted, this neighborhood isn’t as cold as the north where we live. I think that we can advance even if the day set.”
The last one remained silent, but he clearly nodded his head. This meant that he was of the same opinion as the other two.
However, Ilda shook his head to his subordinates’ advice.
“Keep in mind that here is already the Earl’s territory. We are unfamiliar with the geography. We shouldn’t act recklessly.”
“But, I heard that Earl Pardu is a person who lacks experience in war. Even if he has devised some kind of trap, there is no way we will fall for it.”
“The enemy is not only Earl Pardu.”
To Ilda’s sharp voice, the subordinates were startled and gasped. The Lebus army led by the Flash Princess of the Thunder Swirl Elizavetta Fomina was near.
Just by looking up to the Ilda with high honor in bravery as supreme commander, the soldiers of Bydgauche were used to fighting. Regardless of whether the enemy was the Lebus soldiers, they had the mental attitude to fight without drawing back even one step.
But even for them, the existence called ‘Vanadis’ was great. The figure of the Vanadis standing at the vanguard of the soldiers, freely wielding her Dragonic Tool and mowing down all enemies was the object of awe and aspiration.
Similarly, Ilda knew only too well Elizavetta’s strength. This was because he had taught her the basics of sword before.
He did not doubt the fact that Vanadis of Rainbow Eyes alone could be a match for a thousand soldiers. Even the soldiers led by her would probably display more power than before. Although her army was one third of the number of his army, she was an opponent against whom he could by no means be careless.
“I understand that you are impatient. Pardu is just around the corner after all. But, it’s precisely for this reason that we must move carefully.”
Ilda’s words seemed to be persuading himself rather than admonishing his subordinates.
“Start with the preparation for camping at once. And then, send reconnaissance units in every direction. We must confirm whether there is no enemy nearby before the day falls completely.”
When the three subordinates simultaneously bowed, they left by running in order to execute the supreme commander’s orders.
Then, it was after a half koku that there were reports from the reconnaissance units. It was about when the Bydgauche army finished the installation of their camp. Ilda received the reports in the tent for supreme commander use.
“I state! From here to the north at about five Belsta, we discovered troops of about 1000 soldiers. They are floating the Black Dragon Flag and Lebus’s battle flag!”
“So Vanadis-dono already came up to there…!”
A shiver ran down Ilda’s spine. He quickly drew the map of the surroundings in his head.
Five Belsta (about 5 Km). If there were cavalry, it was a distance of less than a half koku.
As Ilda stood up, he left the tent with calm steps. In order not to worry the soldiers, too, he had to endeavor a composed speech and behavior.
The sky which he looked up at started to be dye with sunset. An indigo blue and vermillion bisected the sky; the bright red was dazzling to the eyes as it went towards the west and darkness thickened as it went towards the east.
The ridgeline of the mountain ranging farther to the west was brightened in golden, but the mountain itself was black like a shadow picture. When shifting the gaze to the east, the plain covered with dry grass basked in the setting sun and looked reddish.
“Isn’t it a quite beautiful sky? It’s a shame that theperson we both admire is only a man.”
To Ilda who spoke of a poor joke, the subordinate who was beside him promptly cracked a joke.
“With all due respect, Your Excellency. I deem the women who will think to admire a sunset to be very few. What most women think seeing the sunset will probably be dinner and tomorrow’s weather.”
“That’s why you are still celibate even though you are 30 years old.”
Ilda shrugged his shoulders and laughed. The soldiers who heard their exchanges nearby also laughed without reservation.
There was no one among them who was dissatisfied towards this dispatch of troops. There were only people who held Ilda in high esteem and would gladly follow him if he gave orders. Therefore, they had pushed their way to the mountains and hills even in this season.
While looking at the soldiers’ conditions, Ilda was thinking about something completely different in his head.
—After a little less than a half koku, the day will sink completely. Even if the Lebus army shortens the distance, they will no longer in a state in which they can fight. But…
It was troublesome that the Lebus army was in the north. If the Bydgauche army was going to go towards Pardu as planned, they would found themselves in the situation where they had their back turned to the Lebus army.
—If Earl Pardu is to organize his troops and leads them towards here, we will be caught in a pincer from the front and back. I must avoid it.
Ilda immediately drew a conclusion. His back to the soldiers’ laughter, he gave orders to his attendant while returning to the tent.
“Send a messenger to the Lebus army. Prepare the soldiers so that they can fight at any time.”
It was four days after the war council with Ellen that the Lebus army caught the back figure of the Bydgauche army. By the way, they had found the Bydgauche army several hours earlier than the Bydgauche army discovered them.
“To think that they came until such a place. I should say as expected of Ilda-sama.”
Elizavetta who heard the report of the reconnaissance unit muttered with admiration. If they were another one day later, the Bydgauche army would have probably entered the Pardu territory. It was a close one.
“It’s your merit, Urz.”
On horseback, Elizavetta looked back at Urz was on the side. The youth only bowed. Since they were the soldiers’ eyes, he avoided an outstanding reaction. Elizavetta also understood it. She then faced in front of her not caring about Urz more than necessary.
—At any rate.
It occurred to her when he was working as a stable boy. Urz said so, but was it true?
—Tigrevurmud Vorn is the man who killed Duke Thenardier and won Brune’s civil war. Even if he loses his memory, that ability might not be lost.
Elizavetta violently shook her head and denied that thought.
He is not Tigre. It is Urz.
If she herself did not think so first of all, then she would probably not be able to make others believe it.
“Vanadis-sama. Do we send a messenger to His Excellency the Duke’s place?”
“Not yet. There is something that can be done first.”
As she was asked by Naum, Elizavetta answered so. Adjusting her army’s ranks, she ordered to dispatch reconnaissance units at the surroundings and investigated the geographical features.
“Will it become a war?”
“I don’t know.”
With a stern look, Elizavetta answered Naum’s question.
“I don’t know what will happen. And it won’t also be strange even something happens. It’s a battlefield, isn’t it?”
No matter what kind of past she had, even if she had a face suitable of her age, Elizavetta was after all a Vanadis. Naum turned his horse and issued instructions to the soldiers.
Seeing the grizzled knight off, Elizavetta muttered in her mouth.
“If it’s the usual Ilda-sama, it will be good even without thinking about such a thing…”
According to what she heard from the royal palace’s messenger who requested this from her and from Ellen, it was when Ilda was in his mansion in the capital that he was given the poisoned Vodka. And he, who lost his attendant, returned to his territory Bydgauche in a hurry, gathered soldiers and prepared weapons, food and fuel.
—I wonder how many days it takes from the capital Silesia to Bydgauche. Assuming it’s ten days on horse back and forth, if one prepares substitutes horse and hurries, it’s likely to be reduced up to three or four days.
The highways which connected the territories of those with the Duke rank and the capital should be maintained. Ilda excelled at horse-riding and he also had stamina. He even had the assets which could supply multiple horses immediately. If he felt like it, he might also keep riding on horse all day and night.
As for Elizavetta, the question was why Ilda purposely returned to his territory while being in the capital. Wasn’t the best thing to do to either go in Earl Pardu’s mansion and blame him or appeal to the King who was in the capital?
But, Ilda chose neither of these.
He returned to his territory, gathered soldiers and right now was going to attack Earl Pardu’s territory. It did not take only time and effort. No matter what kind of results it turned out to be and assuming that the kingdom would be confused, Ilda would not escape from criticism.
—Was he unable to make a proper judgment or was there another reason?
Elizavetta did not know in what kind of state of mind Ilda was. She should also take into consideration the fact that he could judge her to be an enemy and suddenly attack.
Since she did not understand, Elizavetta was watching the Bydgauche army’s situation while keeping the distance of five Belsta. While preparing so that they might break into a battle at any time.
It was about a little less than a half koku after until the day set that the messenger of the Bydgauche army showed up under the Lebus army.
It was the very time when the Lebus army was setting their camp. If a war occurred, it would get in the way, so they had postponed the setting of camp until the very last minute; but looking at the sky which began to darken, they reluctantly started the work.
After the messenger gave his weapon into custody, he was let go through in front of Elizavetta, still straddling his horse.
“Man of Bydgauche. I am glad that you have come.”
Under the sky which gradually increased darkness, overlooking the messenger on horseback, Elizavetta gorgeously smiled. By the way, Urz was hanging up a torch with fire next to her. That Naum did not do so was because it was his duty to wield a sword when push comes to shove.
The Bydgauche’s messenger respectfully bowed and conveyed Ilda’s demand after expressing formal greetings.
“Our lord, His Excellency the Duke wants a discussion with Vanadis-sama. Please, I would like you to grant it…”
After Elizavetta generously nodded, she set two conditions. That both of them could only bring two attendants and that they had the discussion at a place exactly in the middle of both armies.
Once the messenger returned to the Bydgauche army, he showed up again before Elizavetta after a half koku.
“His Excellency the Duke has agreed about the discussion’s place. But, about the attendants, he say that he would like both of you to come with at least 50 cavalrymen.”
In the tent, Urz who was beside Elizavetta stared wide eyes. He thought that the Duke was surprisingly wary. However, Naum who was standing next to the youth remained calm as if expecting that demand and the Vanadis whom they served also answered with a graceful smile.
“Yes. I don’t mind it.”
When the Bydgauche army’s messenger went back, Elizavetta looked back towards her two attendants.
“Urz. Naum. Only you two will accompany me.”
“Will you try to persuade His Highness the Duke?”
As Urz asked so as to check, fluttering her red hair to the wind tinged with cold, the Vanadis of Rainbow Eyes floated a lonely smile.
“I would like it if possible. Judging from the fact that he came up to here at this speed, Ilda-sama’s determination is firm. So, it would better not to expect too much.”
The discussion was carried out exactly in the middle of both armies. They did not set a tent like at the time of Elizavetta and Ellen’s war council. The light was only the flame of torches held by the soldiers and the brightness of the moon and stars inlaid in (by) the night sky.
Elizavetta, accompanied only by Urz and Naum, went there. There were of course a lot of soldiers who raised an objection to this, but the red-haired Vanadis personally persuaded them.
“Ilda-sama will surely bring 50 cavalrymen. If I was to take the same number as him, there will definitely be people who will not be able to bear the tension and will rampage. Therefore, so as not to stimulate the enemy, only the three of us will go. If you understand it, calmly see us off.”
Even so, several soldiers held on saying “take at least only me” unanimously, but as she stared at them with her eyes of different colors, they became quiet. Rather than a persuasion, it was more like coercion.
When Elizavetta and company reached the agreed place like that, Ilda accompanied by 50 cavalrymen was already waiting. The flame of torches which they were holding let the shadows of 50 horsemen emerge within the darkness.
To Urz who unintentionally hardened his body, Naum casually brought his horse near him and whispered.
“Do you remember what Vanadis-sama had said before coming here?”
Urz moved only his eyes towards Naum and nodded. I don’t mind if you escape if compelled. Elizavetta said so to Urz and Naum. She also said that be it fifty or one hundred soldiers, she could handle them by herself alone.
Urz thought that it was probably not a lie. The figure of Elizavetta, who mowed down most of the pirates in an instant at the time when they met for the first time, vividly remained in his memory.
Naum put his mouth close to his ear and continued talking.
“Listen. If something were to happen, you should run back to the camp without looking aside. You don’t need to worry about Vanadis-sama or me.”
“If you don’t run away first, I won’t be able to escape. Depending on the situation. Besides, it’d be better that there is no ally around in order for Vanadis-sama to wield her whip.”
Naum said in a tone which posed as a joke. While Urz was wondering to what extent he was serious, the distance Elizavetta and Ilda was shortening.
“Vanadis-dono. I thank you for accepting a discussion in spite of such time. I would like to ask without delay, but why are you here?”
The Duke’s gaze was wearing sharpness as to cut. But, Elizavetta received Ilda’s gaze without flinching and answered back.
“You should know why, right Ilda-sama? It’s in order to stop you.”
“…Do you know the circumstances?”
After a short pause, Ilda asked. Elizavetta nodded.
“I understand your feelings.”
When Elizavetta asked Ilda the name of his attendant, she prayed to the gods for the dead’s soul to rest in peace. Ilda deeply bowed with a sad look.
“I thank you for praying for my attendant.”
Both eyes of Ilda as he said so and raised his face were filled with an intense fighting spirit.
“Vanadis-dono. You said that you came to stop us. Taking it into account, I would like to ask. Can’t you pretend that you didn’t see us?”
The Duke in his prime shouted, his voice shaking.
“I finally came until here! I won’t attack villages or towns which have nothing to do with it. I will defeat those who stand in my way, but do nothing to those who doesn’t resist. I promise on my name. So––”
With no room for consideration, Elizavetta immediately replied.
The atmosphere became filled with tension and got heavy. Behind Ilda, several sounds of armors resounded in succession. The 50 Bydgauche cavalrymen were showing signs that they were likely to attack at any moment.
Urz swallowed his saliva. He exchanged glances with Naum who was next to him. Though Naum frowned, he immediately gave up and they nodded to each other.
Elizavetta said that she would not mind even if they ran away, but neither Urz nor Naum felt like running away leaving their lord. Grasping a torch, Urz stared straight at the 50 cavalrymen.
Suddenly, Ilda raised his hand. As he looked back at his soldiers, he roared with a sharp voice.
“Is the reason why you are here in order to threaten a youth who doesn’t even have a weapon? Just because Vanadis-dono trusted us, only the three of them came! How will the military art of Bydgauche, which the leaders and comrades-in-arms have built up, be regarded as?”
It was by no means loud, but it was a well-projected voice filled with dignity. The cavalrymen stiffened their bodies as if being struck by thunder. The dangerous fighting spirit which they were wearing disappeared at once.
As Ilda turned towards Urz, he bowed.
“I apologize for my subordinates. They are irritated due to the long journey. It’s not something which can be resolved with just an apology, but please can’t you forgive them?”
Urz did not immediately answer; he was fixedly staring at Ilda with a surprised face.
Elizavetta aside, he was only a servant. Nevertheless, this Duke bowed his head to him and apologized.
—Why is such a person…?
As Urz fixed his breathing, he slowly opened his mouth while carefully choosing his words.
“Um, May I say something to His Excellency the Duke? I am called Urz and I serve master… Vanadis-sama.”
Ilda nodded silently and urged Urz. The youth swallowed his saliva once again. He felt not only Ilda’s and the soldiers’ glances, but also those of Elizavetta and Naum around his cheeks.
“With your permission, I would like to ask. Shouldn’t His Excellency the Duke’s anger be directed to the royal palace in the capital? His Majesty the King was also troubled to the point of sending Vanadis-sama here. How about you first call out to the Earl to come to the royal palace, and in case that he don’t move, with the soldiers again––”
“I can’t do that.”
Ilda rejected Urz’s desperate appeal with a short sentence.
“…If you don’t mind, could you tell us the reason?”
“I can’t also do that.”
This was probably what it meant to be unapproachable. Ilda’s expression was so stark that the attitude he showed a little while ago was unthinkable, and his tone was cold, too.
Urz felt impatience and irritation. Ilda did not look like someone who liked to fight. However, it seemed that he did not feel like choosing a way other than fighting.
Still, Urz tried to hold on, but before that a hand was stretched and restrained the youth.
“Enough, Urz. You did well.”
It was Elizavetta’s. As Urz stepped back, the Vanadis of Rainbow Eyes glared at Ilda and his soldiers with a haughty smile.
“If you don’t want to retreat no matter what, we will have no other choice but to fight against you, Ilda-sama.”
In the Vanadis’ high-handed attitude, Ilda certainly felt her thought “please, I want you to retreat”. Moreover, he responded like a lump of ice with calm and coldness.
“I said it before, Vanadis-dono. We took sword and spear, wore armor, rode horses and came here in order to fight. We will defeat all those who stand in our way. Even if it is you.”
“…Even after hearing that not only my troops, but another 5000 soldiers are heading towards here?”
To Elizavetta’s words, Ilda opened his eyes wide. As expected, 5000 was a number that he could not ignore. But, he immediately regained a calm expression.
“Be it 5000 or 10000, it won’t change what I have to do.”
Silence fell. Words to talk any further did no longer come out for the two people’s mouth. This silence was to confirm it. Only Urz held his irritation and was watching the two.
It was Ilda who opened his mouth first. He floated a smile and said.
“Good luck. Vanadis-dono.”
“Thank you. I will get victory from you without holding back.”
Elizavetta also answered with a smile. Then, she turned her horse.
“Let’s go, you two.”
Urz and Naum followed after their lord. While feeling on their back gazes as to feel pain.
Thus, the discussion ended without crop.
Ilda who saw off the trio returned to his camp followed by the 50 cavalrymen.
On the way back to his camp, the Duke in his prime made a bitter face all along. It was Urz’s words which made him make such a face.
—Tell the reason, huh. There is no way I can say it.
About the fact that he doubted the Zchted King Victor.
What Urz suggested, Ilda had also thought about it long ago. But, the enemy was Eugene whom the King chose as the next King.
Even if he appealed for him, the King would definitely cover up for Eugene. Even if he marched into Eugene’s mansion, the result would not change that much.
Driven by such a doubt, Ilda hurriedly returned to his territory Bydgauche. This was because when he decided to attack Pardu which was Eugene’s territory, he intended to settle things before King Victor intervened.
Ilda who returned to his camp called three subordinates in the tent for supreme commander use. As he made them prepare a table and a map, he told them that they would fight against the Lebus army.
“Against that Flash Princess of the Thunder Swirl…?”
Although the three subordinates were by no means cowardly, they shivered as if they bathed in the night wind. Ilda laughed so as to ease their strain.
“It’s me who will fight against Vanadis-dono. You may rest assured.”
“Your Excellency, do you say that you will stand at the vanguard?”
One of the subordinates opened his eyes wide. He shook his head as he wanted to say that it was something outrageous.
“Your Excellency. Our purpose should only be Earl Pardu. If you can leave the fight against Vanadis-sama to us––”
“You guys have no chance of winning against Vanadis-dono.”
Interrupting the subordinate’s fervent speech, Ilda plainly said. However, his expression was serious.
“I don’t know whether or not even I can win. I’m confident in a sword fight, but…”
Elizavetta’s weapon was a whip. And a Dragonic Tool, which only a Vanadis was allowed to wield, at that. Even if it was wielded by her thin arm, it displayed power to easily break a shield, cut a helmet and to blow off armor together with its contents.
Ilda’s sword was a sword of steel which he placed an order to a blacksmith master renown even in the Sachstein Kingdom. It was a hard sword whose blade would not be nicked even if it bisected an armor. Even so, considering that the opponent was Elizavetta, it did not look like he could be completely confident.
“Anyway, Vanadis-dono’s opponent will be me. In return, I want you to devote yourself to command the soldiers.”
As one of the subordinates prepared a map, Ilda explained the plan.
“When midnight comes, we will let the camp intact and we will march towards the south –– towards Pardu.”
Looking around at his subordinates’ faces, Ilda continued.
“This will be a diversion. The Lebus army came in order to prevent us from going to Pardu. If we go towards the south, they will definitely move, too.”
The purpose of leaving the camp as is was so that the Bydgauche army would march under cover of night darkness while making the enemy think that they were still camping.
On the map, Ilda described an arc with a finger.
“When the Lebus army moves, we will make a big detour so as not to be noticed by them and we will sneak around behind them.”
“Do we launch a night attack?”
One of the subordinates let tension fill all over his face and stared at his lord. The Bydgauche army had marched throughout the night several times as part of their training. They were used to take action within darkness.
But, Ilda shook his head.
“It is regrettable, but we will attack at the daybreak.”
If possible, Ilda wanted to launch a night attack. However, the Bydgauche army was unfamiliar with the geography of the vicinity.
Aside of if it was only moving, when it came to attacking, it would be easy to create confusion. Especially a night attack, in a situation when they were uncertain of where they go, was more likely to fail. Let alone being found by the enemy and being repelled, stories about people who lost their way and met an accident or stories of self-destruction by killing each other by mistake were hardly few.
“Assuming that the first squad, second squad and third squad move separately, we will attack the Lebus army with two squads. The remaining squad will stand by as reserve forces.”
The subordinates frowned respectively. Ilda nodded with a difficult face.
“Earl Pardu’s army may appear in the middle of the battle. Besides, the enemy might not be limited only to the Lebus army and Earl Pardu’s army. Vanadis-dono said that 5000 soldiers were heading towards here, but…”
“Isn’t it a bluff in order to stop Your Excellency?”
Elizavetta’s duty was to prevent Ilda from going to the territory of Pardu. Issuing a threat like “we have a large army” by such negotiations was an old trick.
“I think so, too. But, I can’t deny the possibility of reinforcement or a detached force. Though the number 5000 is an exaggeration. Our purpose is, to the bitter end, Earl Pardu. Vanadis-dono and the Lebus army are powerful enemies, but I would like to carry out; if I can keep a military power, I would like to do it.”
As if encouraging his subordinates, Ilda continued in a bright tone.
“Still, against the 1000 soldiers of the Lebus army, we will have 2000. While I will draw Vanadis-dono’s attention, you will defeat them. If the army is partially destroyed, even Vanadis-dono will withdraw.”
The three subordinates bowed (in salutation) to their lord. Since Ilda decided as supreme commander how to fight, they only followed. Besides, they also had the pride that they would not lose against the Vanadis’ army.
In order to advance the preparations of war, they left the tent at a quick pace. Since they would march at midnight, they had to let soldiers rest by turns without delay. Other than, they were also a lot of things that they had to do.
Ilda who was now alone in the tent was quietly looking at the map on the desk.
When the moon rose high in the sky, the Bydgauche army promptly finished the preparations.
They braced horses with board and their hooves were also wrapped with clothes. They smeared armor and spear with dirt so as to prevent them from glittering by the moonlight. The soldiers had put on a dirtier overcoat on their dirty armors.
In addition, they had one long rope every ten people. Since there was no light, they disarranged their formation and were walking while grasping a rope so as not to get lost.
Leaving a small number of scouting party behind, a little less than 3000 soldiers moved. Several people were wistfully staring at the campfire which continued burning brightly.
Under the moon and starlight, the soldiers of Bydgauche quietly walked the meadow while pulling their horses. However much they walked, the moon and stars did not change their forms. The shadow of mountains seen in the far distance did not change, either.
The reins which they held in their right hand and the feel of the rope which they grasped in the left hand. A dim breathing and footsteps were all concerning them.
Whenever it counted five hundred soldiers, the Bydgauche army stopped once. Not to take a rest. But only to adjust their lines and quietly take a deep breath. And then, they advanced again.
It was not as if the lines were disordered so frequently. It was something which Ilda thought of in order not to paralyze the soldiers’ sense within the night darkness.
When they repeated March and stoppage, and kept walking only a half koku while inserting rest. Near Ilda who went at the vanguard, a reconnaissance unit showed with a report. They were on foot, but because the Bydgauche army’s march was slow, they were able to catch up immediately.
“The Lebus army has begun to move.”
Ilda’s eyes shone and were tinged with fighting spirit. But, he could not yet be pleased.
“Did they leave their camp?”
“No. It remains as is.”
—It can also be thought that they have noticed our movement and hurriedly ran after us without even moving out their camp but…
It might have been kept as is in order to make them think so.
“Anyway, the Lebus army has moved.”
As Ilda stopped their march, he made them rest while also changing the formation. They had been advancing towards the south until then, butnow they must head towards the northwest. It was the place where quite the confusion would arise if it was an army which was not used to moving within the darkness, but such a thing did not happen.
“We will raise the speed. After all, our bodies might have gotten warm and our eyes should have got used to darkness, too.”
Gradually drawing an arc, the Bydgauche army walked in the meadow. Spending nearly one koku, they arrived at the targeted place. It was the Lebus army’s camp.
Ilda first sent a reconnaissance unit to the Lebus army’s camp. At the same time, he prepared another reconnaissance unit and dispatched it to the south.
It was the reconnaissance unit which went towards the Lebus army’s camp that came back first. They reported that there was no soldier in the camp.
“They seem to have moved without cleaning up anything; the fence around the camp is not removed and all the tents are also stretched as is. There are also many campfires which continued to burn.”
After that, the reconnaissance unit sent towards the south came back.
“I discovered the Lebus army marching. They are at a distance from about two Belsta in the south from here.”
Ilda looked up at the sky. The darkness which covered up the eastern sky was fading.
As he called his three subordinates, he ordered them to give a break of a quarter koku to the soldiers.
“Make then abandon useless things and adjust the ranks. It’s almost dawn.”
Elizavetta saw through the fact that Ilda intended to attack them from the rear.
It was also in order to make the enemy think that they fell for the fact that they had let their camp as is and gone towards the south at midnight. He told like that to the commander of each squad.
“The Bydgauche army will not take us head on. They will probably sneak around to our back. If they catch the enemy’s figure, they will turn around and intercept them. They will intend to go with such a plan.”
Therefore, when the eastern sky began to turn bright, even when she received the report that the Bydgauche army appeared behind her army, she was not surprised or did not panic. At least outwardly.
—I should say as expected of him.
She inwardly leaked a mutter of shiver. Even in the downtown that she knew by sight, her sense of direction and sense of distance went amiss when night came. If they moved in a large number of people, then all the more.
They marched at midnight in a ground where they should have come for the first time and arrived at their destination before the day broke. To Ilda who accomplished it, Elizavetta couldn’t help feeling admiration.
However, it was not time to feel admiration. She ordered the turning around to the whole army as planned. Elizavetta was standing at the army’s vanguard and advancing her horse up to there, but due to the turning around, she found herself giving directions in the rear.
It was then that confusion occurred in the Lebus army.
Darkness made the soldiers’ movement get out of order. Soldiers and horses collided here and there, and weapons and armors rubbed against each other. One pushed aside someone before him, and another thrust away the one who was behind. The voices appealing in pain and the sounds of falling to the ground occurred all over, the chorus of noises resounded through the meadows.
Elizavetta, amazed, stared at the disastrous scene before her eyes. Urz and Naum swallowed their voices with faces which turned pale. Though not to the extent of the Bydgauche army, the Lebus army should have also been used to move within the night darkness.
But, their formation now was greatly disordered and they were too preoccupied to think about the preparations for the battle.
On horseback, Elizavetta desperately gave instructions. Naum also sent the soldiers around as messengers and tried to settle the situation.
While feeling frustrated as himself who could not help those two people, Urz was silent at Elizavetta’s side. He inwardly persuaded himself that he also had a duty. He should not do unnecessary things which could hinder her.
Within the darkness, the Lebus army somehow managed to rearrange their formation and finished their turning over. The ability of Elizavetta who rebuilt the formation in a short time was admirable, but the Bydgauche army had already approached immediately nearby.
In the meadow where darkness lurked, a lump of black horsemen shadows appeared letting the sound horses’ hooves roar. Ferocious battle cries blew about the cold of before the daybreak.
Elizavetta looked back toward Urz.
“Urz, send the signal!”
As the youth nodded, he got Naum to help him and set fire on the three arrows which he had prepared. A cloth soaked with oil was wrapped on the sickle and blazed up with a popping sound.
It was the duty that Elizavetta gave to Urz.
As Urz tightly grasped the bow which he was carrying on his shoulder and nocked the fire arrows, he shot them one by one towards the sky. The fire arrows reached a surprising height, and disappeared while drawing a parabola and falling.
When the third fire arrow was shot in the empty sky, the Bydgauche army started attacking.
Tearing apart the gloomy atmosphere, hundreds of stones poured into the Lebus army like hail. It was the stone-throwing by the Bydgauche army.
The stones were a size smaller than a clenched fist, but the sound which returned when they hit shields and helmets made the soldiers tense. Dozens of persons crouched down as they received stones on their faces or hands, or they broke their posture and fell from their horses. Of course, the stone-throwing also attacked horses; the horses shook off their rider as they were surprised and the horses which struggled in pain appeared one after another.
There, the Bydgauche soldiers who changed their weapon to spear charged.
Violent emotions and wild excitement superseded tension and fear. Spear and spear crossed, horse and horse collided, and angry roars and jeers flew about. The Lebus army endured the Bydgauche soldiers’ strong charge. They held shield, stuck out spear, raised a roar and held their ground there while encouraging themselves.
To the impact, bloodshed continued. They thrust spear from a close range, beat with a shield, unsheathed sword and slashed. Horses collided with each other and made each opponent fall from his horse. The grass which covered the ground was stained with fresh blood before getting wet in the morning dew. The cold earth mercilessly took away heat from man and horse which fell in a heap.
What was driving them was not hatred or hostility. It was the enemy’s whitish eyes, the sound of weapons and cries as to hurt the ears. It was the weight of the sword or spear which they held in their hand, the neigh of horses and the smell of blood and mud. Those were madness generated as a whole.
The vanguards of both armies were jumbled together with enemy and ally and it displayed the aspect of a melee. The Bydgauche army which inflicted the preemptive blow was not able to kick about the enemy, and the Lebus army which received their charge was not also able to force them back.
In a situation where ebb and flow (seesawing) continued, a change occurred. As a detached force of the Bydgauche army appeared from the east and attacked the Lebus army’s right side while raising a war cry.
This was the second squad of the Bydgauche army; they started moving after waiting for the first squad to open hostilities with the Lebus army. Though the daybreak was near, the sky was still dark, to the point that one could not know the face of the person who was nearby, but it was possible to generally grasp the enemy’s position by voice and sound.
The Lebus troops which found themselves being attack from two directions as expected fall into a numerical inferiority. Elizavetta had sensed such a change of the war situation even earlier than the messenger’s report.
—As expected, he came with that move, huh.
The Bydgauche army was in numerical superiority. The Vanadis of Rainbow Eyes had anticipated that they would at least naturally divide their soldiers and attacked.
—Let’s go, Valitsaif.
As she tightly grasped the black whip roundly bundled and hung on her waist, Elizavetta on horseback told.
“Naum, I leave the command to you.”
“Master. I will also––”
The Flash Princess of the Thunder Swirl shook her head and held back Urz who tried to ride his horse and follow her.
“You stay with Naum.”
When she finished saying it, Elizavetta advanced her horse between her allies. Urz unwillingly saw her off and shifted his attention to the distant battlefield. It felt a little bright even before the battle began, but even so the impression that black shadows were wriggling in the darkness did not change.
“Naum-san. I have a request.”
After a little thought, Urz called out to the grizzled knight as he made up his mind.
When she appeared in the space in which friend and foe was jumbled together, Elizavetta was already grasping the Thunder Swirl. In response to his master’s fighting spirit, the black whip wore a black light which harked back to lightning.
That was the last word of the Bydgauche soldier who shouted so. The whip of thunder which was mowed down blew off the Bydgauche soldier’s head along with his helmet and spread dark red blood mixed with gray matter in the thin air. Ignoring the body which fell to the ground, Elizavetta struck the Thunder Swirl towards the swarm of enemies.
The light danced boisterously and burnt the soldiers’ eyes. Lightning ran through within the very dim light whenever Elizavetta let her whip flash, and the Bydgauche soldiers became bodies which no longer talked and fell down.
The Bydgauche soldiers attacked Elizavetta by two or three, but the Vanadis’ whip was much faster than their swords and spears. Moreover, it held destructive power to the extent that just by grazing the chin, the jaw was blown off from the mouth.
It smashed the head along with the helmet, blew off the arm along with the shield, crushed armor and knocked them down from the horseback. The whip freely changed its trajectory just like the pattern of lightning and there was no one who could avoid it. Let alone cut her, it was not easy even to stand in her way.
The Bydgauche soldiers were wrapped in a stir of shiver and fear, and the Lebus soldiers raised shouts of joy. Elizavetta splendidly restored their morale which was about to collapse. It was indeed a Vanadis like activity.
Elizavetta was going to jump into the enemy’s camp with that momentum, but there was a horseman shadow which fiercely jumped out from among the Bydgauche soldiers earlier than that. Elizavetta stared wide-eyed.
That knight who set up his sword was unmistakably the supreme commander of the Bydgauche army Ilda. The flash of the Thunder Swirl that brushed away darkness and shone white was a sign of appearance for Ilda who aimed at Elizavetta.
Showing no signs of fear towards the Vanadis of Rainbow Eyes and the Thunder Swirl, Ilda drew his horse closer and let out a sharp slash with a cry of spirit.
In response to its master’s cry, the whip in Elizavetta’s hand changed to a rod-shaped weapon.
The Dragonic Tool and the hard sword clashed, and sparks and flash scattered. Both Elizavetta and Ilda instantly realized that the opponent before their eyes was a formidable enemy against whom they were not allowed even a moment of inattention.
Elizavetta dodged the sword thrust out aiming at her face by twisting her body. On the other hand, The Iron Whip wielded by Elizavetta was eluded by Ilda’s sword.
Either of them not being able to deal an effective blow to the opponent, the exchange of strikes and slashes reached more than ten combinations. Although Elizavetta was superior in the weight of a blow, as expected Ilda was above in sword skill. Elizavetta switched her way of fighting to defense.
A color of the doubt flashed on the face of Ilda who noticed that.
Ilda’s intent was to hold Elizavetta. This was because if he extracted the factor “Vanadis” and brought it into a battle between armies, the Bydgauche army would be advantageous with the number. A situation where a one-to-one fight would drag on was convenient for Ilda.
Elizavetta understood that, too. But, she also understood that showing an attitude of hurriedly settling the fight was what the opponent also expected.
At that time, battle cries suddenly arose in the western direction
“It’s an enemy!”
The shout which was similar to a scream was that of a Bydgauche soldier. The group of cavalrymen who appeared from the west sharply broke through the Bydgauche army’s right side. Ilda groaned low with the face which thawed a doubt (question).
“Were you waiting for this, Vanadis-dono?”
Elizavetta did not answer. There was no need to answer.
The identity of the group of cavalrymen who attacked the Bydgauche army’s right side was of course the LeitMeritz army led by Ellen. More precisely, LeitMeritz and Pardu allied troops. It was a group which consisted of about 1000 LeitMeritz cavalrymen and 30 Pardu cavalrymen.
Standing at the vanguard was the silver-haired Vanadis endowed with beauty and dignity.
After finishing the war council four days ago, Ellen sent a messenger to Eugene to explain the situation and borrow 30 cavalrymen. Afterwards, they regularly sent a messenger with the Lebus army and confirmed each other’s positions, and they exchanged information.
Ellen thought whether the Bydgauche army might have considerably approached Pardu, and they were trying not to be so far away from Pardu, but her reading proved right.
It was at midnight that she was told by the messenger of the Lebus army that Elizavetta failed to persuade Ilda. Ellen accepted Elizavetta’s request being that she wanted the LeitMeritz army to join in from the middle of the fight; Ellen left the camp as soon as Elizavetta conveyed the means of signal and carefully advanced within the darkness.
When the battle began, the three fire arrows which Urz had shot towards the sky were the signal to Ellen’s army lurking in the west of the battlefield. By the way, it was Ellen who had thought of this signal.
And now, the LeitMeritz army hung onto the Bydgauche army’s flank.
Whenever the Silver Flash in Ellen’s hand drew a white track in the very dim light, the Bydgauche soldiers fell from horses while being covered with their own blood, and never got up again.
Swinging her sword right and left, Ellen proudly advanced her horse while creating wind mixed with spray of blood. The Bydgauche soldiers challenged her in high spirits, but none of them crossed blades more than twice with Ellen and fell off from the horseback as she cut them one after another.
The LeitMeritz soldiers and also the Pardu soldiers who jumped into the battlefield following her wielded sword and spear and knocked down the Bydgauche soldiers.
The LeitMeritz army broke through with a momentum like a storm, and at last greatly scooped out the side of the Bydgauche army’s first squad.
Without resting her hand wielding the Silver Flash, Ellen called the baldhead knight. Rurick was also fighting as hard as his lord. The spearhead in his hands was dyed with blood and his armor got wet with spurt of blood.
“I leave it to you for a while. Just be careful about the enemy’s reserve forces.”
Receiving Rurick’s words with her back, Ellen speeded along the battlefield while cutting down the enemies crowding around. Before long, she discovered Elizavetta’s figure. The Dragonic Tool in Ellen’s hand vaguely told her the position of Elizavetta’s Dragonic Tool.
“Well done, Arifal.”
When looking, the red-haired Vanadis was unfolding a fierce battle with one knight. As Ellen brushed blood stained on her sword blade with one swing of the Silver Flash, she rode her horse.
Noticing the existence of Ellen who was approaching, Elizavetta and Ilda looked her way. The silver-haired Vanadis asked Ilda with a bright smile unbecoming to a battlefield.
“Are you Duke Bydgauche?”
“Yes, I am. And you? ––A Vanadis?”
He caught on quickly. Ellen brightened her red eyes with fighting spirit and nodded in admiration.
“Lord of LeitMeritz. Eleanora Viltaria. Let me be your opponent.”
“You are that Wind Princess of the Silverflash, huh. I have heard rumors.”
The last words were drowned out by the blades sounds. The collision of the two swords scattered sparks in the thin air and the swords blades reflected and glittered it. A violent metallic sound struck the ears of the people who were there.
Finding out the presence of a powerful enemy before their eyes, both Ellen and Ilda stared wide-eyed. The darkness was getting thinner to the extent one could only see from their expressions.
The Vanadis and the Duke made the bodies of their horses leap and exchanged strikes with drawn swords. Ellen’s sword power was sharp like a gale and Ilda’s slash was strong.
Elizavetta tried to assist Ellen, but she noticed that the battle formation of her allies collapsed in a distant place. The Bydgauche army’s reserve forces –– the third squad began to move.
Ellen also noticed the change in the enemy’s movement. The red Eyes and Rainbow eyes met only for an instant.
“I leave here to you!”
The two girls’ shouts were exactly at the same time. Elizavetta turned her back on Ellen and Ilda, raised her Dragonic Tool and rode her horse. Meanwhile, the offense and defense of Ellen and Ilda continued. Several silver hairs of Ellen danced down and a new crack was chopped on Ilda’s armor.
The fight which seemed to drag on was however quickly settled.
Ilda’s sword had broken from the middle of its length. The sword blade danced in the air while rotating and disappeared in the battlefield.
“It’s a good sword.”
While panting, Ellen sent words which were not ironical, but purely those of praise. He crossed with Elizavetta’s Thunder Swirl, and then clashed with Ellen’s Silver Flash. An ordinary sword would have shattered long ago.
Ellen was about to thrust the tip of the Silver Flash at Ilda, an unexpected hindrance broke in here. From the flank, a Bydgauche soldier raised a spear and attacked Ellen.
“Your Excellency, please escape!”
It was not only one. Other Bydgauche soldiers broke in between the Vanadis and the Duke, built up a thick wall of flesh and iron. There were also those who went towards Ellen with the force of bumping their horses into her.
Ellen reluctantly wielded the Silver Flash and cut down the Bydgauche soldier, but while becoming covered with blood, they stretched their hands to the silver-haired Vanadis and clung to her horse’s leg even when falling on the ground and tried to block the horse’s movement.
“What a great loyalty.”
As Ellen muttered with irritation, she challenged them and mercilessly killed the enemies who stood in her way. But, when she ensured the freedom of his movements, Ilda was far away.
Looking around at the battlefield, the Bydgauche troops were collapsing everywhere. They were eagerly holding their ground, but it was a matter of time.
“It looks like I did well to leave it to Rurick.”
Ellen kicked the horse’s belly and went after Ilda.
Ilda, protected by his soldiers, returned to the Bydgauche army’s second squad, but even here, he was advised by his subordinate to escape.
“Your Excellency. We will apply you about ten horsemen as escort. Please escape while we are holding back.”
“Don’t say stupid things!”
As expected, Ilda’s complexion changed and he shouted.
“It’s me who brought you until here. If we are to withdraw, it’s to me to give that order…”
“If you die, you will not be able to prove your justice. If you return to Bydgauche, then you will be able to prepare new soldiers. Please, for now connect your life.”
The subordinate was stubborn and did not also yield. He was desperate, too. The terrifying fact that there were two Vanadis mentally cornered the Bydgauche army.
If they did not let their lord escape here, the doubt that they might definitely come to kill him was swirling in their minds. After all, Ilda had already shaken off the hand which Elizavetta held out.
“Your Excellency. Although it is hard to say, our troops are outnumbered.”
The first squad was wounded all over by the LeitMeritz army and the second squad also retreated repeatedly unable not endure the Lebus army’s offensive. As for the third squad of reserve forces, they supported the second squad and were desperate to hold back its (second squad) collapse.
Even so, it was the screams of soldiers he heard from a distant place that made Ilda who was still reluctant give up.
“Enemy in the rear!”
Ilda and his subordinates gasped almost at the same time. The enemy was not only the Lebus army and the LeitMeritz army. Even the Duke in his prime finally compromised (yielded).
Since he had lost his favorite hard sword, Ilda said while receiving a spare sword.
“Listen. When you saw that I seceded from the battlefield, surrender immediately.”
“I understand. After all, I did not also intend to die in a place like this.”
Under ultramarine sky, Ilda seceded from the battlefield with ten horsemen.
The ground was still dark even though the dawn would break soon, and the battlefield was still in maelstrom of angry roars and screams. As he succeeded in escaping safely under their cover, Ilda immediately noticed the presence of people who came chasing him.
Within the very dim light, many flames seemed to be torches were flickering.
When they were going to hurry his horse, they heard the sound of arrows which approached cutting the wind.
It sounded like an awfully fresh sound. This was because both armies did not use bow and arrow in this battle. In the first place, the Bydgauche army did not prepare bow and arrow in order to reduce their baggage, and the Lebus army was too preoccupied to use bow and arrow. The LeitMeritz army also refrained to use bow and arrow for fear of hit friendly troops.
An arrow pierced through the horse of the Bydgauche soldier next to Ilda. The horse neighed in pain and turned sideways while throwing up the rider to the ground. Three other cavalrymen fell from their horses as they were caught in it.
Ilda who looked back by moving only his head felt a chill down his spine. Did the arrow just now hit by chance or was it what was aimed at?
There was a distance of 300 Belsta (about 300 meter) between them and the group of torches which were chasing them. Furthermore, there was no way that the aim would be determined as both groups were riding horses. It should have only hit luckily.
But, Ilda was not able to suppress his fear and tension. He felt like the archer who was among the group of torches was aiming at his back.
As they held the same feelings, the remaining six horsemen turned their horses.
“Your Excellency. We will hold them back. In the meantime, please…!”
At this time, Ilda tried to stop them as he felt a sense of incongruity. But, the cavalrymen uttered their voices earlier and went towards the pursuer.
A second arrow came flying, and immediately after pierced the buttocks of Ilda’s horse.
The horse stood erect due to the sudden pain and Ilda’s view raced. During an instant when he was thrown out from the horseback, the Duke in his prime noticed the real nature of his sense of incongruity.
Why did only one arrow come flying? Was it because there was only one person who could fly an arrow to this distance? The best hand in this case was to scatter the seven people including him, was the enemy not perplexed by this?
Be flung against the ground from the horseback, Ilda groaned. Although he rose immediately, the sounds of the horseshoe approached before he could even advance ten steps. He was surrounded.
“Duke Bydgauche, right?”
The youth standing in front of Ilda called out to him in a voice with Brune accent. He remembered him. It was the youth who was at the time of the discussion with Elizavetta.
“Master… Could you come to Vanadis-sama’s place?”
That youth who tightly grasped a bow in his hand was Urz.
What Urz requested to Naum was to borrow 30 horsemen. He thought that one horseman should hang up two torches with the intent to disturb the enemy by appearing behind him.
“In this situation, 30 horsemen are precious, you know? Besides, if something was to happen to you, I might be strangled to death by Vanadis-sama.”
Naum prepared 30 horsemen while scratching his grizzled head about and sighing.
And, Urz made a great detour to the east side of the battlefield and appeared behind the Bydgauche army’s second squad. As he confirmed that the enemy was confused, Urz was about to pull up, but he changed his mind after seeing about ten horsemen shadows rushing from the Bydgauche army.
The Bydgauche army had not yet reached the state of rout. The enemy withdrawing the battlefield in this situation was limited.
“…And then, he said that when he caught him later on, it was a big shot.”
While hearing Naum’s report, Elizavetta’s eyes were turned to the battlefield.
The Lebus soldiers who received her instructions were running the battlefield while crying out that they caught Ilda as a prisoner.
Mixed with the sounds o f weapons, those words gradually reached the ears of the Bydgauche soldiers. One, another one threw away their swords, spears, and there were those who went down from horses and surrender.
While looking at the spectacle, Elizavetta said to Naum beside her.
“Honestly, I’m lost at whether I should scold him or praise him.”
“If you want to scold someone, please scold me. But, could you please praise Urz?”
“There is no way I can do that.”
Elizavetta made a sour face and turned her face away from Naum. After a pause, she asked.
“Do you think that it was just lucky?”
“Even if I were to do to the same thing as Urz, to surprise the enemy will the utmost I could do.”
Naum answered indifferently. He was not being humble, it was a fact.
Even Ilda’s subordinate carefully considered so that his lord might not by caught by the enemy and let his him escape. Both Ellen and Elizavetta did not notice that Ilda had left the battlefield. Even for Urz and the others who discovered Ilda, they could not catch up only with horses.
“Forgive my way of saying it, but he is a monster in bow skill.”
Urz was able to succeed precisely because of the bow and arrow in his hand.
What marked the end of the battle was when the sun showed.
The Bydgauche army had a little less than 400 deceased and the number injured persons were the double of that number. On the other hand, the deceased of the Lebus army and LeitMeritz were less than 100, respectively. However, there were a lot of injured persons. This was because there was the melee in the darkness and there were many people who fell down and were trampled down by enemy or ally during that melee.
The three armies respectively build their camp and they were busy with the burial of deceased and medical care of injured persons.
And in the tent for supreme commander use of the Lebus army, Ellen and Ilda were facing each other.
“I give you my greetings once again, Duke Bydgauche. I am the Vanadis Eleanora Viltaria of LeitMeritz.”
The silver-haired Vanadis courteously bowed as salutation to Ilda. Next to her, Elizavetta made a wary face. Since Ellen insisted, she let her meet Ilda under her presence, but she was not able to wipe the anxiety about what Ellen intended to say.
Although Ilda was not tied with a rope, his weapons up to dagger were taken away, and he was not wearing armor, either. A smile without hostility was floating into his face. Since he was defeated, he intended to behave graciously and fairly.
“Sorry for my discourtesy in the battlefield. I am Ilda Krutis and was granted the territory of Bydgauche by His Majesty. Eleanora-dono. Your sword skill was more than what the rumors say.”
“I am grateful. By the way, Duke. I wanted to ask, but why did you move your soldiers? If it is someone of you caliber, it would have been fine if you had lodged a complaint to His Majesty the King.”
It was exactly the same question that Urz threw at him last night. Ilda gave a sarcastic smile.
“I am sorry, but you will not hear any answer from my mouth. However, it will be clarified sooner or later.”
“…Duke. I will say this knowing that it might get you angry, but as far as I know, Earl Pardu is not someone who would do something mean. I am not saying that I want you to understand, but I want you to know only the fact that I am thinking that way.”
It was as to declare that if Ilda intended to attack Pardu someday again, she would become his opponent. As for Ellen, she intended to protect Eugene depending on his interaction, but if it backfired, she would judge and change her policy.
The Vanadis’ military fame would be enough to keep the other party in check.
“Is Vanadis-done close to Earl Pardu?”
“He is a benefactor.”
“Understood. I will keep that in mind.”
Without being perturbed by Ellen’s immediate reply, Ilda deeply nodded. As if to say “I will be careful next time”.
After having buried the deceased on the foot of the hill, Ellen left Ilda and the Bydgauche army to Elizavetta and parted from them.
“Won’t you meet Earl Pardu?”
Ellen proposed just in case, but Elizavetta shook his head.
“Unlike you, I am suspicious of the Earl. Besides, I came here only to stop Duke Bydgauche.”
“Understood. But, I will tell the Earl about you.”
As Ellen said so, Elizavetta snorted in displeasure and left with the Lebus army and the Bydgauche army. Ellen quietly saw off her retreating figure.
Afterwards, while giving instruction to vacate the camp, Ellen gathered approximately 30 applicants from the soldiers. In the place where she finished preparations for withdrawal, the silver-haired Vanadis called Rurick.
“Rurick. I will go to report to Earl Pardu. I have to return the borrowed soldiers. Go back to LeitMeritz with the other soldiers.”
When they entered the Pardu territory, the soldiers following her were so many that they would make beholder become anxious. Today, there was just a bloody battle.
In addition, from here she had to stop by in Litomyšl where Eugene was, and moreover she also had to prepare food for the soldiers while returning the Imperial Palace of LeitMeritz. It was better that she took only the minimum number of soldiers, and that the remaining soldiers quickly returned.
After Rurick answered so, he stared at his lord’s face with a face which wanted to say something. But, he probably thought “shouldn’t we talk about that story now?”. He did not say anything.