Chapter 225: No Resignation and No Abandonment
The soldiers of the Heraldry religion devoured the belly of the Great Holy Church army while staying in formation. Everyone walked forward, as if tearing the sea by going through an uninhabited field.
The enemy soldiers, who were far higher in number and skills than our soldiers, collapsed in an interesting way. Were they drunk, or were they caught by the heat of the battlefield? The feet of the soldiers running on the frontline were getting faster and faster. I shall see the enemy’s main camp soon, and then, the game would be decided. All I thought was grabbing glory along with the hands of the Heraldics. And above all, our soldiers could go home alive.
If they went home alive, they could drink ale and hold women. They could get out of this ugly hell. Just thinking about it distracted the soldiers. It would be impossible to see anything else.
In the blazing enthusiasm of the soldiers, I was squinting by myself. Something that resembled fear slowly crawled up from the bottom of my stomach and tightened my heart.
I hoped that we could win this war. However, I felt grief at the same time since it seemed uneasy to accomplish. These two emotions ate through my body, competing for heat.
The soldiers continued to move forward without any problems. The enemy soldiers were weak as if their will had been crushed.
Did the enemy soldiers really collapse? Was it possible to break through the enemy’s main formation as it was? Would the old man Richard let it happen?
Nonetheless, on the battlefield, something unexpected could happen at any time. Rather, people said the battlefield was a place where unexpected events happened right from the very beginning. No matter how skilled a general was, he could ruin everything just by missing one crucial point.
Anything could happen during war times.
Then, was it possible? In front of my devilish teacher, my warrior’s measures such as breaking through worked somehow.
I felt thirsty and swallowed the saliva of greed. The expectation seemed to cover my chest for a moment. My heart told me that it was okay to move forward as it was.
…Was that really the right thing to do?
At that moment, I opened my eyes wide and looked at the whole battlefield from the horse.
There was no way that I could see something good in such a cloudy view. Therefore, there was no point in seeing the enemy soldiers collapsing in front of me. I had to search for my devilish teacher instead.
I looked briefly at the left and right wings of the battlefield that were now far away from me. I wondered if Caria and Eldith were fighting hard. Only the waving of their flags could be seen slightly from the distance, but they still seemed to be in a stalemate. After all, it was only the central part that was pushing through.
I felt my breath getting rough. It was as if the heat that had accumulated in my lungs was finally coming out.
Next, I turned my eyes at the frontline and saw the horses on which the enemy soldiers were riding on. I wondered if I held my breath since I didn’t even blink for about ten seconds.
After that, I finally took a deep breath.
…This was no good.
As soon as I had that intuition, I felt my lungs filled with indescribable cold air. The truth was usually determined to be unscrupulous. I knew that well. I was reminded of that truth many times during my former journey.
But it was such a poignant thing, the truth. I felt this shock for the first time in a long time. It felt as if my chest was hit with a heavy weight. But I could no longer deny what I saw with my own eyes.
The formation of the entire army of the Great Holy Church looked completely unnatural. The army was like a living thing; if a part collapsed, the whole formation would follow suit. However, this was not the case at all.
Besides, even if such an unnatural situation occurred in the natural course, that devilish teacher of mine wouldn’t succumb immediately. He was not invincible but he was a veteran. Rather, the fact that there was no old man Richard here made me realize that the “theater” being performed in front of me was malice itself.
In addition, it was obvious at first glance when I looked at the legs of the horses that marched on the battlefield.
Human feet act as many times as one would like, and it was difficult to read the speculation beforehand because there were too many individual differences. But horses were much more straightforward than humans. If the rider was upset or if the untrained reins were to be pulled, that alone would make horse’s legs flutter.
Then, why? None of those frontline enemy soldiers had swayed their horses’ legs in spite of the sudden retreat. Rather, I could see the sharpness hidden in their reins. Was it because the confusion caused by Filaret’s battlefield magic had diminished?
Although I was in the center of the frontlines, I inadvertently turned my eyes to the back. Turned my thoughts in my mind and tried to gasp whether we could withdraw or at least hold back the momentum. However, that idea was denied in an instant.
No, my soldiers kept moving forward without hesitation. Besides, everyone kept roaring, so even if I increased my voice, the range would only reach a few dozen of people around me.
I felt as if my nape had been scraped off by someone. My lips and tongue were dry since what seemed to be water disappeared from my throat. I realized that, no matter how many times I thought about it, the inescapable ending was just around the corner.
I wrinkled the green military uniform, grabbed the treasure sword, and sighed while squeezing my eyes firmly. The deep breath from my lungs felt quite long.
I turned my vision from behind to forward. Although it was still far away, the enemy’s camp was already in my sight. If I let my horse run at full speed, I could reach it in no time.
On this moment, I asked my heart what happened. The situation was the worst, to say the least. Defeat and death stood in front of me, and I could no longer move my feet away from it. I was like a gladiator who was forced to move forward in front of a raging beast.
If I went a little closer to the enemy’s camp, the spears in the ambush would probably break through my flanks from both sides. I may be able to die comfortably. Losing a war and dying was a sufficiently easy-to-understand way of dying. It was much better than dying hungry and miserably in the slums, or ridiculed by a large number of people.
Even if I were to meet my death right there, this was the only way to do it. Anyway, I wanted to reach the end of my life in a way that saw fit. Was it an extravagant wish?
The enemy soldiers rebelled slightly afterwards. The battlefield stagnated for a moment. I chewed the tobacco and smoked on horseback, looking at the gap.
For a short while, I threw my thoughts away and enjoyed the scent of chewing tobacco passing through my nostrils. The dry wind of the battlefield hit my cheeks.
…Yes, there was always a certain way to die. I wanted to choose that much.
I thought it was kinda funny. Things were getting worse and there was no longer a good way to turn things around, and all I could do was struggle.
However, there was no such thing as resignation or abandonment in my heart. There was only the will to do what had to be done.
Anyway, every time said resignation went through my heart, that abominable voice echoed in my ears.
『You’ve done enough. Just give up. No, you’ve done well. You don’t have to work hard anymore. You don’t have to get hurt. 』
So ask for salvation and take my hand. I could hear that extremely unpleasant voice through my ears. It was the voice of someone who deceived Ariene, and whom I heard at Belfein. It was a voice that seemed to be a mixture of all that unpleasantness and pain. It echoed in my ears like a hallucination, as if it were a curse.
I hated it, and I felt uncomfortable. That voice that remained in my ears was both painful and unbearable.
Ah, even if I suffered a miserable defeat, even if I got covered in mud and exposed to shame, and even if I tried to achieve a brutal end that seemed to eat through my intestines. Did I uphold my hand until the last moment? Or would I ever return to the days dominated by that resignation?
Neither a miserable defeat nor a brutal death was a reason for me to give up. I leaked the following words while twisting my own lips.
「Filaret, one more time, only once is fine. Can you invoke magic again? 」
Shall we rewrite the battlefield? Betraying the opponent’s speculation and breaking through it was what kept the battlefield within our hands.
That’s my Lugis! 😀 Love it when he doesn’t give up!
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