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Volume 4: Chapter 284 – Battle of Lusis Plains I (2/3)
“What exactly are you worried about?”
Of the generals gathered, the one most impressed with the imperial capital was Eleanor, so she asked that question.
“The hero,” the supreme commander, Grendal, said.
“…You shouldn’t criticize him,” Rasdir said.
Rasdir had once met the hero, so he looked at Grendal with brows furrowed. The hero was also responsible for improving Eleanor’s position, so she didn’t want anyone finding fault with him either.
“Why not?” Grendal asked.
“That’s…” Rasdir said.
“No human is perfect. Every human has a weakness somewhere. If someone appears perfect, then that’s only because there’s a charm or power great enough to hide that flaws, am I mistaken?”
“And you’re supposed to be different from that hero?” Gulland asked uninterestedly.
“I might not be the most considerate person out there, but I can tell when there’s something strange going on.”
Grendal avoided making any direct statements, but apparently, he didn’t like the hero much.
“What’s the point of saying that before a battle?” Gerald asked.
“Hmm. Gerald-dono, do you know about the april pie on the third avenue of the imperial capital?” Grendal said.
Gerald asked a question, but Grendal replied with something completely different altogether.
“…No, I don’t.”
Gerald said with a troubled face, and then Grendal turned his attention to the women.
“What about you, Eleanor-dono?”
Judith awkwardly nodded.
“It’s a favorite of mine, you see. Even when my parents scolded me and my comrades criticized me, I could never really stop. What do you think, Judith-dono?”
“…I agree with you.”
It wasn’t that popular with the masses, but it did have a small but dedicated following. When he looked at her inquisitively, she nodded uncomfortably.
“The pie’s crust is topped with overflowing cream, dusted with as much sugar as possible, and lined with fruit soaked in honey…”
“Don’t think I can digest that.”
Gulland and Rasdir inadvertently glanced at each other.
“But that’s what makes it good.”
As the illusion slowly spread in her mouth, Judith found herself saying that and nodded. Before she knew it, Eleanor was tugging on her sleeves and glaring at her. ‘Why didn’t you tell me about that pie?’ She seemed to say with that envious gaze of hers, and for a moment, Judith the Zealot faltered.
“Yes, indeed,” Grendel said.
“Ah… So, Supreme Commander, what exactly is it that you want to say?”
Gerald interjected to say that. It would be problematic if the war council were to be derailed any further.
“Right, my apologies. What I want to say, is that that’s the reason why we have to fight.”
Gerald asked in jest, and Judith glared at him with enough intensity to be mistaken for killing intent. Eleanor also glared at him. Her glare wasn’t as intense as Judith’s, but she looked like she was looking at trash.
“No— We fight to protect our daily life.”
The expression on the faces of those present tightened without exception at Grendal’s firm and poised answer.
“The hero indeed possess a great deal of knowledge and power. But it was because the people have entrusted us with the sword that we have fought until now, is it not? The people pay taxes, and we live off of those taxes, all so that when a day such as this comes, we would rise to fight. To allow the people their daily life, that is the duty of a soldier.”
Already, not a hint of that Supreme Commander that had been talking flippantly could be seen.
“To that end, please lend me your strength. Together, let us protect this country – not by relying on some strange force – but with our own hands.”
When everyone nodded, the council was dismissed.
“Looks like the commander this time has a good character,” Eleanor said.
“Yes, a far cry from Gerald, evidently,” Judith said.
“But that aside… Judith nee-sama.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“…Uh, I-I thought it was still too early for you…”
It was at this time that Yuan learned that even a zealot like Judith could flinch.
Neither side was heading for Lusis Plains without a plan. Both sides were fully aware that Alrodena had the advantage on land, so Altigand would be attacking, while Altigand would be defending. The key in this battle would be the battle in the skies. On Altigand’s side were their 500 wyverns, while Alrodena had Douhet the Flame Ryuu. Pale believed that it was how those two forces were used that would decide the battle. Altigand knew about Douhet the Flame Ryuu as well.
After all, the wyvern knights once tried to help Elfa, only to be sent home terrified by a single ryuu. However, they didn’t trust that intel completely.
One reason was that it was hard to swallow the fact that a half-legendary ryuu was lending power to an enemy that was the demon king’s army.
The ryuu was already an existence that existed only in legends. The long-lived elves were one thing, but the short-lived humans considered ryuus and dragons to be but mythical creatures spoken of only in fairy-tales. Could an existence like that really lend a hand to the evil demon king’s army?
Grendal was a realistc person, so he too questioned the notion of antagonizing a ryuu.
If one were to go a step further, there was no guarantee that the wyvern knights would be able to win even with all of their army. Moreover they were already disadvantaged on land, so if they were to add even the threat of a ryuu on top of that, then what would be left of them? Indeed, only defeat would be waiting for them.
Hence, to Altigand, that was about to go to war, that was an intel they’d much rather believe wasn’t true.
That’s why they ignored the existence of the ryuu.