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Volume 3: Chapter 229 – Opening of Hostilities (3/3)
On Germion Kingdom’s side, Crown Prince Ishtar was at the head of their army and five organizations were under his banner. The holy knight, Valdor’s, infantry numbered 1,300. The holy knight, Jize’s, numbered 800. The Kingdom Magic Corps numbered 700. The imperial guards numbered 1,200. And that would have been it at first, but thanks to the support of the Minister of the Military, Lord Bedoru, the noble children brought with them the nobles’ army, which numbered 1,300.
Other than the nobles’ army, the rest of the forces were infantry. This stark contrast between the nobles’ forces and the other forces was actually due to Lord Bedoru’s consideration. The nobles were pushing him to allow them to join, so Bedoru – in a sleight of genius – decided that only those who could ride would be allowed to join.
When Valdor heard at the party of the imperial capital that Bedoru wanted to allow the army of the noble children to join the fray, at first, he was worried, but after Bedoru’s unexpected gift, that worry turned out to be needless.
Even the nobles’ army joining them midway was also Bedoru’s request. In the case of defeat, if it were known that they had lost to the likes of goblins, the participants would have no face left to return. As such, to provide a way out for the nobles who would find it hard to return after a losing battle against the goblins, they decided to make it so that these noble children would not be fighting against the goblins but be joining a battle known as the Invasion of the Western Region instead.
The Minister of the Military, Lord Bedoru, had done all this to gain favor from the nobles, as well as to not lag behind in giving his support for the army meant to retake the Western Region. It was the sort of political maneuvering one could only expect from a great noble like Lord Bedoru to whom was entrusted the position of the Minister of the Military.
Also, since they had rendezvoused with the nobles who were fighting against the goblins before them, it was only a given that they would talk to them about the tactics that the goblins had employed. This way they might be able to take some measures against the goblins themselves.
“They blend in the night and attack by surprise.”
“They attack during nighttime and even use bows while riding.”
Valdor the Twin Swords and Jize the One-Eyed held the meeting regarding the goblins’ tactics in front of Ishtar. From their meeting, it appears that the biggest hurdle would be how to deal with the goblins in the night. During nighttime they wouldn’t be able to see well, but the goblins could. As such, they would end up being shot at one-sidedly. These two holy knights, who had fought many battles, knew just how painful this was mentally. They knew it so well they did not even need to say it.
“There’s no other way around it. We will have to strengthen our defenses.”
“I suppose there is no other way. I agree.”
In response to Valdor’s opinion that left even he himself frowning, Jize nodded.
“If that’s what our two veterans say, then we shall go with that. But we can’t win just by defending. We do have a chance at winning this, right?”
As Crown Prince Ishtar complied with their opinion, he also asked them about their prospects at victory. Jize, who hadn’t interacted with the crown prince much, was surprised when he heard the prince say that.
In his mind, he raised up his value of the prince. This should be the crown prince’s first battle. People who are confident in their abilities usually have a tendency to be caught up with youthful indiscretion, let their blood get to their head, and force their own opinion through.
But this crown prince showed no signs of such behavior. He naturally listened to the opinions of his subordinates and indirectly suggested which direction he wishes to take. Just how excellent of a teacher was Valdor? Jize wondered as he looked at him.
Valdor, whom the crown prince was talking to, glanced momentarily at Jize.
“If I may speak,” Jize interjected. “If the goblins dwell in the night, then we should simply move in the day.”
“In the night, we should make camp where the arrows won’t reach us, and in the day, fight the enemy. Is this what you’re saying?” Crown Prince Ishtar asked.
“Yes. If they move in the night, then they will surely tire in the day,” jize replied.
“So, a battle of endurance. We have the advantage in numbers. I expect much from the both of you in battle.”
“As you will.”
“Crown Prince Ishtar-dono, I believe we should set three days as the limit for enduring. Any longer than that and our men might slacken.”
Ishtar nodded to Valdor’s opinion.
“Getting accustomed to something is forbidden, I see. Let’s send the imperial guards to stand guard in the night then. As for your soldiers, get them to properly rest and prepare for the battle. The same for the nobles’ army.”
At Ishtar’s words, all the people present at the place bowed.
“With that this council is adjourned. Rest well.”
Valdor and Jize left Ishtar’s camp and went back to theirs, talking along the way. The holy knights protecting the country actually have barely any chance to meet each other because of the distance of their territories. Because of that when they do have the chance to meet, they like to talk and learn the thoughts of their equals.
They will be fighting side-by-side, so it was good to know how each other thought. In these two holy knights’ case, they shared a common trait in that they both would spare no effort to survive.
“Crown Prince Ishtar sure gave me a surprise. I’d heard the rumors, but it seems they weren’t just rumors,” Jize said.
“He has the potential to become king. I was tasked to teach him, but honestly, he wasn’t really a difficult student,” Valdor replied.
“Giving the merit to one’s subordinates is not something that young people can usually do. Did you instruct him to do that?”
Having the imperial guards keep watch during the night was the same thing as giving the merits to the nobles and the knights since the exhausted imperial guards would not be of much use during the battles in the morning. It was also the same thing as giving the powerful holy knights and the nobles desperately hungry for merits the opportunity to gain the merits they so desire.
The crown prince’s decision was so precise politically speaking that Jize couldn’t help but be shocked. With this move, not only would he gain the support of the kingdom’s army, he would also gain the support of the nobles.
“The king has found a good successor,” Valdor said.
“Truer words have never been spoken. When I was at the crown prince’s age, all I knew was how to swing about my sword,” Jize said.
In preparation for the battle three days later, morale of the holy knights and the noble was high.