Chapter 343: All Overtures
Fort Suzif, the northernmost point of the Gharast Kingdom.
This fortress, which lost its original master, felt strangely lonely. Amidst the cold wind, only the violent sighs and gulps of the soldiers were heard.
At the top of the outer wall, Dore slammed the soles of her feet against the chunks of death snow. Due to the dryness and cold, her throat was sightly sore.
「…General. Reinforcements have arrived. About 60,000 soldiers combined by the National Army and the Aristocratic Private Army. Cavalry, infantry, and some magic-wielding soldiers are also part of those numbers.」
Dore was originally Valerie Brightness’ lieutenant, but now that she was gone, Dore was entrusted with guarding this fortress even though she was not the general herself. She, therefore, became the temporary master and controlled almost everything in this fortress. It was not an exaggeration to say that she was the actual ruler if one compared her with the Decorated General standing by her side.
The man, who had been referred to as Decorated General, said nothing about the report. Dore didn’t know if this man thought things would be easy now or if it would be just a temporary solution. She just knew he was a discreet person.
This man opened his mouth for the first time today.
「I wonder if it’s okay to tell the soldiers they are quite unlucky. Or should I encourage them instead?」
It was a feeble voice. Dore didn’t think such voice suited a General of the Gharast Kingdom. Speaking of which, his choice of words reminded her of a civilian.
That was to be expected, since according to Dore’s research, it seemed that he was originally a person who wanted to pursue a career in politics.
If she thought about it, his way of thinking was not that of a military officer. His appearance gave the impression of a gentleman. Dore had no intention of investigating why he was now a military officer or a general.
It was probably due to the convenience of his family, and that kind of background always stood the most. Aristocrats were always like that.
However, this time, Dore was not trying to demean or inspire contempt for the faint-hearted gentleman standing next to her. No, rather, she even felt respect for him.
Why? One reason. Because he didn’t run away from this place.
Dore glanced at what seemed to weave through the gaps of death snow.
…At first, it seemed like an overabundance of giant trees, or an abandoned ruin.
After raising her line of sight, she looked up further, and when she looked up at the sky, she could finally see the top. It was such a huge building.
It was assumed that a considerable amount of time had passed since ivy was tangled and moss had grown. There were even scattered places that had decayed. It felt like an elf’s residence rather than a human’s residence.
It was huge. At least from the outer wall of Fort Suzif, everyone still had to look up in order to see the highest point. Now, it was slowly creeping towards the fortress.
Yes, it was getting closer. And it was getting bigger than before.
At first everyone said it was a mistake. Their eyes were clearly mistaken. It felt like a dream. After that, rumors spread that those magical beasts used magic and sorcery.
Nonetheless, no one said anything like that anymore once their eyes finally recognized such anomaly. Needless to say, Dore clearly knew.
From the discomfort felt on the skin, from the real image reflected in the eyes, and from the audible crawling sound resonating in the ears. It was an undeniable reality.
That mighty foreign body truly existed and was crawling towards Fort Suzif.
…The Bastion Giant Beast Zebrililith.
It was spoken as a symbol of a great disaster. Forests, buildings, beasts, people. A calamity that advanced while crushing everything in its path.
The Giant Beast that destroyed everything was now approaching Fort Suzif. It was not alone; it was bringing a wide variety of magical beasts that stood by its side. The disaster was coming.
Was the military a fragile organization? No, it was not. However, in this case, it was just a collection of people. Why? If they pointed their spears at this disaster, they would end up being blown away like dead leaves.
The horror evoked such thoughts in all who saw it. The menacing threat, in the form of a death reaper, was now closer. It had now come to a point where it was clearly visible.
The National Army and the Aristocratic Private Army dispatched here were extremely unlucky. Dore believed so. They no longer had the means to fight. However, some disasters were preventable.
How should people deal with said disasters? Should they endure and wait for it all to pass?
If there was an existence that could oppose these disasters, that existence would also be a disaster. No, was she thinking too much? Dore unwittingly gave a wry smile.
The death snow tangled in Dore’s hair and hit her on her cheeks.
「…Your body is getting cold. Let’s go inside, General. You must take command of the National Army.」
The man called General opened his eyes wide upon hearing Dore’s words. He even seemed somewhat dazed.
「I’m what, Dore? Do I command all the soldiers? 」
Wasn’t that obvious? There was only one general here. Until now, it had only been a skirmish with the magical beasts, so there was no problem with Dore’s command. But in order to lead a large army, the commander should be a general.
To the man who repeatedly asked those questions, Dore nodded while suppressing her white breath. She was not sure whether to lament this situation. She was not even sure if this man was okay as a general.
She even felt a strange sense of defiantness. Yet, under this hopeless situation, everyone got useless. But not this fortress’ master. Despite his appearance and choice of words, this man did not choose to run away. He deserved respect for that.
Maybe he was just an idiot. It was the same with Dore. She distorted her lips and opened her mouth.
「Shall we appoint a representative? Perhaps, delegate military authority to another person or…」
It was when Dore was about to say it when the man ate her words.
「…No, it’s fine. I’ll do it. I might be terribly unsuccessful, but the general is still the general. I have to take responsibility, and I need to fulfill my duties as a noble.」
Was he serious when referring to his duty as a noble person? Dore couldn’t possibly dislike this man, even though she didn’t like nice men either.
Her respect was devoted to her master, the general. Therefore, the respect for him was the right respect she could display.
There were nobles everywhere who didn’t fulfill their obligations, even though they usually proclaimed the so-called noble duty. How could those people be called nobles? They devoured the rights and despised obligations.
Yet, this man was unusual, and he was trying to do his duty despite his lack of experience.
For that reason alone, he deserved respect. Even if it meant losing his life as a result.
「Okay, four days is enough. Even if I’m weak, I’ll resist for four days. Even if the monsters climb up the outer wall, I’ll fight with my spear. So listen, Dore.」
He, the Decorated General, narrowed his eyes and put his overcoat over his shoulder as he opened his mouth to Dore. His expression looked unyielding.
Dore had seen many generals and soldiers. It was the first time she had met a general like him. No matter how much she thought about it, he didn’t suit the battlefield.
At this moment, however, he had something in his eyes that resembled a general’s gaze and said the following.
「I will give you a special command, and I want you to do it. It’s for the sake of the nation.」
After saying those words, he forced the parchment that had been rolled into Dore’s hands. This was the last time Dore heard his words or saw his face.
He returned to being the discreet man he was, and then headed to the battlefield.
…Six days after this. Due to the existence of the Bastion Giant Beast Zebrililith, Fort Suzif fell.
There was no mercy, no miracles, and everyone died. The general and soldiers in the fortress were completely annihilated. There were no written records of how they fought valiantly to protect their people.
Because there were no eyewitnesses.
From this, the great catastrophe opened its thick curtain.
…Damn, that was…I’m speechless. A good chapter btw.
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!