Chapter 87: The Owner of the Battlefield
The sun opened its eyes and shined in the horizon.
The elf soldiers gathered and stepped forward with bravery and without fear. These soldiers walked through the city of Ghazalia in a dreary manner. They showed a murderous intent engraved in their eyes.
How many of them were in total? Were they in the hundreds? These elves were all armed. They carried bows and spears in their hands.
They were going to be engulfed in the war from here on out. Ghazalia was about to become the stage of a great battlefield. They proceeded forward without looking back. How ironic it was, yes, the creation of a tragic battlefield in their own land.
No one could stop them anymore. On the other side of the coin stood the elves who rebelled against the reign of the new fin, Lagias. These elves gave their loyalty to the princess Eldith. As for these newly soldiers, they fought for their Lady, an emotion deeply engraved in the core of their bodies. They held their spears firmly as if they were determined to end their lives for the sake of their cause.
Each of the sides led their respective troops. They finally faced each other at the banks of a great river underneath the soldiers of the Lady. The tide overflowed with intensity, and the direction of the battle was certain.
There was a long, an insanely long peace in this realm. It was, in fact, a utopia, untouched by war. Some could say that this realm had happiness. A form of happiness that they enjoyed greatly. An endless and boring life without any change. However, this long-lasting happiness collapsed today, right at this moment.
Before this collapse, the Hanging Gardens of Ghazalia, along with their Fin and Lady, enjoyed the last moments of the eerie silence that was about to disappear.
「Is he gathering his palace soldiers in front of the palace gate? I see, huh. It seems that the other parties have finished their preparations for the upcoming clash.」
Eldith listened to the report and nodded confidently. The placement of the enemy’s soldiers was to be expected. Eldith bit the edges of her lips with her teeth.
Lagias, her enemy and prime aim, was undoubtedly devising a plan. He prevented his soldiers from leaving the palace grounds by concentrating them in front of the palace gate. He probably distributed his soldiers around the gate and behind the walls. He did so to prevent Eldith’s soldiers from attacking directly the royal palace. Even if Eldith did attack the palace directly, Lagias’ soldiers would be ready to intercept the enemy in front of the palace while attacking them from the sidelines as well.
The royal palace was at the northern end of Ghazalia and the palace gate was at the southern end. It was all just a plan to open his mouth wide in order to bite Eldith with his upper and lower teeth.
Of course, if that plan went ahead as he expected, then Eldith wouldn’t have any chance of winning this war.
Eldith’s soldiers lacked the substantial training, since most of them were civilians. However, that was not the only negative point. If they were caught in a wrong movement, even if small, then the game would definitely end at that point.
Moreover, that Fin had ulterior motives. For a battle, it was important to get ready to fight. However, perhaps the enemy didn’t want to kill Eldith’s soldiers quite immediately. Most probably, that Fin’s scheme was to strangle the opponent’s advantage. But, how so?
His advantage was land, resources, the number of troops, and most important, time. The Fin probably wanted to earn time for the Gharast soldiers to arrive and help him. Definitely, a factor that could determine the fate of the fight. Therefore, Eldith knew that she must cut off Lagias’ head before the arrival of the Gharast soldiers.
There was quite a lot of enemies.
How could she win this war? Eldith knew the schemes of her enemy and the great advantage he had. Therefore, Eldith placed her utmost confidence in Valianne, whose identity was a secret. Eldith knew that Valianne could be her trump card, as her soldier inside of the royal palace. She could betray Lagias at any moment. Her role was crucial, and any small mistake could ruin Eldith’s plan. Eldith truly wished in her heart “Please do your best”.
Nevertheless, when did I have this role as a captain? This was the first time I’ve been at the core of soldiers ready for battle. I noticed that Eldith wasn’t used to her new position, and she twisted her head around. The inside of her belly started to quiver. The fear that overflowed from her belly seemed to raise to her throat.
「I received information that those palace elves said they wouldn’t lose in this war, even if they had to collide head on with others of their kin.」
Eldith murmured to the side while blinking her eyes. I wondered if she saw me through my thoughts. I responded while shrugging my shoulders.
「Naturally. Everyone will try to show their worth in front of their Lord. You won’t win if you waver for even for a minute. However, you won’t lose if you embrace your confidence.」
Peace was the number one poison to the soldiers, since they dedicated their lives to the army, and thus, the wars. This type of role in a society had been around for hundreds of years, and it only got worse over time. However, in the elves’ society, they probably just trained, as they didn’t engage in a war for hundreds of years. It seemed that the soldiers of the palace were over-confident, even if they were about to go to war with the same opponent. Even so, they were mostly from noble families, and they just trained for a long while. Being over-confident could be their trump card, but it could be their fall as well.
The battlefield was not a place of continuity in this world. Therefore, this moment was about to transform their world into a “world of demons”, where anxiety, fear, desperation and death would taint their whole land, a peaceful land would turn into a land of chaos.
Indeed, chaos. First, there was no doubt that everyone would lose their role when they arrived to the battlefield. They would think, “What should I do? Why am I here? What is going on?” Many people die without understanding their purpose on a large-scale war.
Many things could change in war. A place where a rat became a dragon and a dragon became a rat. Anything could happen in the battlefield. You could be the best of the best, and turn out to be nothing. You could be the worst of the worst, and turn out to be someone who shines on the field. Summing up, the battlefield was such a unique place.
After I spoke those words, Eldith stared at my face fixedly from below.
「You speak as if you are familiar with it. Have you been on battlefields that many times?」
Her voice sounded more like curiosity than disbelief. Involuntarily, I raised my eyebrows. I gathered my words while moistening my lips gently.
「Yeah. Wars always come around, whether I want it or not. It’s something inevitable.」
Especially for ordinary people like me. After responding to her, Eldith looked up at some place while lifting her cheeks in a strange way.
「“Whether you want it or not”, I see. Well then, should I congratulate you this time?」
Those blue eyes, which I saw before, had already caught my attention. Strangely, the distance between us shortened. We became much closer. In terms of facial expression, I didn’t see much difference in Eldith. However, the light shining in the back of her eyes showed an unmistakable color of joy.
「…Congratulations. This time, you were brought to the side of the battlefield. The owner of the battlefield is neither Lagias nor me. It’s you, Lugis.」
It felt like a joyous congratulation.
Ah, yes. Is that so? I see, those words made sense actually.
Why was I imitating the brains of a caption in a war that didn’t involve me directly? Why was I the one who tore itself apart?
The answer was simple. That’s because this was the battlefield that I’ve drawn with my body. The war, which I got myself involved, and went with the flow. After all, I was the one who shook the peace of this land called Ghazalia. I was the one who gave myself a battlefield.
I felt a cold sensation on my spine. I exhaled a deep, deep breath, as if I took it out from the deepest part of my internal organs.
「Thank you. But, I think that title actually belongs to you, princess. Where does your irony come from?」
「Well, I can only think of one person who taught me weird things.」
I noticed that she twisted her mouth when she professed those words. I wondered if that was the habit of someone from a royal family, or was it something else.
I could always see the landscape of Ghazalia from the small window of the Tower. At first glance, it looked terribly quiet. However, I felt a strange coldness in the air that seemed tense.
The battlefield was finally here. It was the only way to save the princess and overthrow the rule of the Fin. It was time to disturb the peace of Ghazalia.
「Princess. Just a question, is it okay for me to ask you if you’re having problems or doubts? I was wondering if you’ll share the details of this battle with me.」
「Yes, I already told you that I’ll confide in you. But, there’s one thing I’ve been wondering from some time now…Why did you use that wine back then?」
After she responded positively, Eldith suddenly loosened her cheeks as she mysteriously tilted her neck.
「What? Didn’t you know those monsters’ fondness for wine? I’ve known those beings for some time now, ever since I was on the road traveling.」
That wine…It sounds ominous…
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