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59 No Retreat

 

With a knight leading the way and a few soldiers guarding us, we rode through the rocky wasteland to the vicinity of our destination.

I paused on top of a hill and ran to check out the camp, which was about five minutes away.

The camp was deliberately built in an open area to block the attack from the other side to the place where the suspension bridge was located, and to serve as a base for the attack from the other side.

The overall shape was similar to a square.

It was surrounded by a wooden wall, with multiple layers of barricades around the perimeter.

“I’d say we’re already at the next stage of the battle.”

Although the encirclement of the camp has been lifted, the fighting is still going on.

The demon troops seemed to be concentrating their forces on the far side of the camp and planning to make a breakthrough from there.

In response, the Knights of the Golden Fang had put reinforcements into position to strengthen their defenses, while also placing forces in the vicinity to prevent a second siege.

“Are we supposed to just stay here until the battle is over?”

“Yes, sir. In a few moments, reinforcements from Hollow Bottom Fortress should be arriving.”

As I was confirming the future course of action with the leading knight, Noire, who was exhausted, caught up with us.

“What…? We’re not surrounded anymore, but we’re still fighting…? Neither one of us is retreating, are we?”

“Of course. This is where it all starts.”

Noire is puzzled by the current situation, but Garnet gives an explanation from a knight’s perspective.

“You know that the mountainous region of the Demon King’s Castle is divided into two by a deep ravine, and each side is a sphere of influence for humans and demons, right?”

Garnet grabbed a sharp stone and began to draw a simple diagram on the hard, dry ground.

“This time, the Golden Fang attempted to invade the other side of the valley, which had been inaccessible. The goal is to take control of the mines where the demon tribe is mining resources. The suspension bridge and that camp are stepping stones to  do that.”

“Yeah, that’s been explained to me….”

“We must secure this spot because without it we will not be able to reach the Demon King’s Castle. This thing can’t be overlooked by both parties. That’s why the demons destroyed the bridge and started attacking the knights. And it was a very good move on their part.”

I’m not a military expert, but even I know the advantages and disadvantages of surrounding a target.

The advantage is that you can limit the damage to your own troops.

This is effective when fierce resistance is expected, and the longer it lasts, the weaker the opponent becomes.

The disadvantage is that your army must also secure a large amount of food.

If the opponents don’t have enough food, we will be trapped.

It also has a weakness in that it cannot be surrounded without a large group of people.

However, for the Demon Lord’s army, there are no disadvantages or weaknesses in the current condition.

This part of the sphere is controlled by demons.

Unlike the isolated position of the Knights, the Demon King’s army can easily replenish men and food.

After that, the tactical victory on the demon side would have been unwavering as long as they continued to prevent reinforcements from arriving, which is a certain way to break the siege.

The battle before had defeated the seige plan of demons.

“In the end, even if the siege is broken and reinforcements arrive, the demons will not retreat. They’ll just switch to other means than siege warfare and keeping attack us.”

“Well, then, why don’t the Knights retreat?

“Once we’ve liberated the position, rescuing everyone and retreating is certainly an option. But…”

Garnet scrawled additional symbols on the chart he had carved into the ground with the stone.

“If we retreat here, we’ll never be able to use this invasion route again. The Demon King’s army will thoroughly strengthen their defense. In addition, there is a possibility that the base for defense will be used as a foothold for a reverse invasion.”

“I see. That’s why they’re both so desperate.”

Noire nodded repeatedly with a satisfied look on her face.

After finishing the explanation, the lead knight spoke to Garnet with a surprised look.

“That was an excellent analysis. I would like to invite you to join our Order. What do you think, would you consider it?”

“Ha-ha-ha, what a joke.”

Although he hides his identity from the public, Garnet is a knight of the Silver Wing Order.

But this knight didn’t know that, so he wondered why he was instantly laughed out of the room.

“Even so, I can’t see much of the battle from here.”

As I stood on the edge of the hill, trying to see what was happening, Noire pulled out a doll that resembled a crow from her bag.

“…I will take a look.”

The crow puppet flapped its wings as if it were real and flew towards the camp.

This is the first time I’ve ever seen a [Dark Magic] skill that allows the user to share senses with a familiar.

I’ve heard that people often use live black cats and the like, but Noire was using dolls that she made herself with her [Create Magic Tool] skill.

“The battle is by the wall, …it hasn’t been breached yet, …where’s Sakura, there are too many people, …Oh! there’s a big golem, three or four times the size of a human, …is it wearing a thick armor?”

Noire was meditating and explaining the information she got through her familiar.

“Oh! …Oh, my God!”

“What is it, Noire?”

“Reinforcements! Demon reinforcements are on the way!”

The moment the knight heard that his complexion changed and he started questioning Noire.

“What the hell? Do you know the size and composition of the reinforcements?”

“…Demon soldiers don’t have the same armor like the ones attacking the camp, the same as the soldiers in the Demon Lord’s castle.”

“Did you just say soldiers from Demon Lord’s Castle? Do you have any more information?”

Noire tried to focus further, but soon after, she suddenly jolted and opened her eyes!

“Aah…!”

“What happened?”

“I’ve been shot down. It’s not normal to notice something at that distance.”

The leading knight shook his shoulders at the information Noire had given him, and hurriedly gave instructions to the soldiers under his command.

“Raise the alarm! Enemy reinforcements, threat level high! Alert local units and reinforcements from the fortress of the danger!”

“Yes, yes!”

Soldiers lit small alchemist-made devices, causing three different colors of smoke to rise up.

In the meantime, the lead knight had unfolded the map and was getting detailed information from Noire.

“What a mess! If the enemy reinforcements are in this position, the reinforcements from Hollow Bottom Fortress won’t make it! If that happens, we won’t stand a chance. The siege golem is already closing in on us. That alone is a threat!”

Within a minute of the signal, two knights on horseback came rushing from the camp at full speed.

“Are you serious about the reinforcements? I’d like to hear the details!”

“We’re in big trouble!”

Garnet muttered to herself as the situation took a sudden turn.

“…Hey, White Wolf. What do you prefer, staring blankly at what’s happening with fingers in your mouth, or running away with your tail between your legs?”

“What’s going on?”

I snickered at the two choices as a matter of course – just as Garnet had hoped I would.

“I refuse to do either. If the Golden Fang Knights lose, it means that the safety of Green Hollow is threatened. Besides, Sakura  is there.”

“That’s right. I knew you’d say that!”

Garnet smiled wryly and grabbed the reins of the horse the knight had just dismounted from and started running.

I immediately sensed her intention and ran after her as fast as I could.

By the time the knight realized that his horse had been taken, Garnet had already jumped into the saddle with a flutter, and I had climbed behind her.

“Hey! What are you doing?”

“I’ll borrow one! With White Wolf present, it doesn’t even matter if the wall gets destroyed!”

“I just need to get the job done a step early! I’m going to ask you to repair the position!”

The horse galloped on, ignoring the cries of the knights.

I grabbed Garnet’s slim waist and focused on not being shaken off.

“Open the gate! I’ve brought Luke from the White Wolf Forest!”

The defense force of the camp, confused by the sudden event, saw my face and hurriedly opened the gate.

As we plunged into the camp on a horse, impatient voices rang in our ears from all directions.

“Support the troops stationed outside the perimeter! Use every bit of archery and magic you can find!”

“Hurry up and put out the fire! Secure the pantry!”

“Don’t let the siege golem get any closer!”

“No! We won’t be able to destroy the golem in time! We’ll take a hit no matter what!”

Garnet accelerated her horse and crossed the camp at once, stopping suddenly in front of the gate at the back where the Demon King’s army was attacking.

Even if she doesn’t say anything, I understand what I have to do.

I dismounted from the horse as if I were rolling down, and quickly moved through the waves of soldiers frantically running around, grabbing the magic crystal from my pouch.

“Golem attack, incoming! Brace for impact!”

“[Repair] activate!”

I put my hands on the wall and poured my magic into it with all my might.

At about the same time, a huge fist covered with thick metal armor pierced the wooden barrier.

–The next moment.

Countless pieces of flying debris, large and small, came to a standstill in midair and returned to their original positions as if they were flowing backward at high speed, bouncing off the giant golem’s arms in the opposite direction.

The ground shook violently as a huge body of rock toppled over behind the protective wall.

My [Repair] was faster than the golem’s fist.

By fixing it as soon as it was destroyed, I was able to counteract the destruction of the wall.

“…Oh, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!”

After a pause of a few seconds, the cheers of the knights and soldiers echoed in the camp.

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