Chapter 203 – Lily War(6)
At dawn. The sound of horns started to resonate from the other side of the plains.
It started with a single horn, but once a flock of sparrows coincidentally flew up into the sky, dozens of more horns followed suit like birds following the flock.
Horns rang 400 years ago when a unit of ogres belonging to the Crescent Alliance was wiped out in a single assault. Be it 500 years ago or 800 years ago, horns have always sounded without fail whenever a cavalry charge won a battle in the history books. They were arrogantly declaring to the world that they were going to recreate history.
– Grrrrguu, guaah…….
The forest spirits started to stir.
Did they foretell that the plants and grass were going to be showered in blood? Spirits emitting a green light peaked out from behind the trees, but they quickly fled into the forest once the sound of horns rang out again. The branches and leaves were swaying even though there was no wind.
“Spearmen forward! Spearmen forward!”
The dwarven mercenaries encouraged the farmers. The dwarves had small bodies, but they had innately powerful voices. Dwarves were naturally one of the most elite soldiers in the world as they were born in sterile, alpine areas and would spend either their entire lives or at most 150 years on the battlefield.
“Do you understand? Do not step away from the fences! If the person in front of you falls, then immediately go forward and take their place next to the fences.”
“Regardless of whether the knights fly or crawl, they cannot charge through our barricade. Remember this. Defend the fences! If the fences fall, then we will perish. If the fences stand firm, then the enemy will perish.”
The dwarves walked between the soldiers and slapped them on their rears. They were trying to relax their nerves. All 50 of the dwarves from the Double Ax Mercenary Brigade had become officers and they skillfully led our soldiers to battle.
The farmers knew how to use their spears against goblins and orcs. Spearheads that can pierce through monsters can obviously pierce through humans as well. What they needed now was to learn how to keep ranks, not how to wield their weapons. The mercenaries were helping them with that.
“……It seems the Queen of Brittany intends to omit the speeches.”
I muttered. I was standing behind my army, so I could see all 12,000 soldiers all at once. Jeremi, who was acting as my guard, chimed in.
“It is more certain that the Emperor is not present.”
“Mm. She must not be confident in a battle of causes.”
She even omitted the procedure where the priests would go forward and sing a hymn before the battle. Even though they have a saintess. Henrietta de Brittany was focusing purely on combat.
There was a thin layer of morning fog settled around us. Roughly 5 to 6 bolts of fire pierced through the white mist. The mages on the enemy side were attacking us. Fire spells were powerful and also an easy way to set our wooden fences ablaze. As expected, they were treating the fences as proper obstructions.
Nonetheless, they weren’t the only ones who had mages.
Our army had 26 mages. Most mage towers had declared their neutrality, but the nobles did whatever they could to bring mages here. Mages extremely despised their magic spells, which they had refined through many years of studying, being used as mere tools for mass slaughter, but being summoned by a noble wasn’t something they could take lightly.
A wide shield appeared above us in the air. The fireballs were blocked in midair. A certain mage even went as far as to show off and accurately hit a fireball with a water bolt.
“Glory to Frankia!”
Our soldiers started to cheer once the enemy’s assault failed. The dwarves were leading the cheer. Raising our morale like this before our soldiers actually went into battle was crucial. On the other hand, the enemy beyond the fog was quiet.
“It seems they are not going to attack us with spells anymore.”
“Indeed! They must have concluded that it would be difficult to burn down our barricade.”
I clenched my right hand into a fist. Strength had unconsciously flowed into my hand. Our magic prowess was either above or, at the very least, equal to the enemy’s!
There were numerous advantages to making St. Denis Plains our field of battle. There was a river to our right and a forest to our left, so the terrain was narrow. The fact that it was narrow was what was important. Our main battle power, the spearmen, became stronger the closer together they were.
“Now the only card left in the Queen’s hands is her cavalry charge……!”
On the other hand, cavalrymen became stronger the more spread out they were.
They would wield 3 to 4 meter-long lances. Brittany’s cavalry was especially known for using 8 meter-long lances. Although normal cavalrymen that cannot use auras have no other choice but to use 4 to 5 meter-long lances…….
Cavalrymen would stand in a line and hold their lances forward. This sight in itself was terrifying.
However, what if they had to fight on terrain as narrow as St. Denis Plains? That would weaken the strength of their cavalry charge.
To make matters worse for them, we also had wooden fences set up in front of our army. There were only tiny gaps between each fence. Brittany’s cavalrymen have no other choice but aim for those small gaps. Their strength wouldn’t be simply decreasing, it would be decreasing drastically.
Our spearmen were the final uppercut. They only had 5 meter-long spears, but if they rely on the fences, then they would be able to deal with both the cavalrymen and the knights. I guarantee that this was going to be their grave.
– Clip clop, clip clop, clip clop…….
A portion of their cavalrymen finally appeared from beyond the fog. Were they about 200 meters from the barricade? Hundreds, thousands of cavalrymen wearing elaborate armor and helmets brought their horses to a trot. The numerous plates of armor were approaching like a silver tsunami.
“A spectacle is still a spectacle, I see.”
I clenched my baton tightly. Cavalrymen were most likely approaching our other armies as well. It was time for the battle to begin.
“Jeremi. Order them to fire!”
Once Jeremi gave a sign with her hand, assassins wearing soldier garb raised their flags. The dwarves at the front received the signal and started to shout loudly. Ready your bows! Ready your bows!
3,000 archers raised their bows with a slight delay.
Our army didn’t ignorantly have only spearmen. We had positioned plenty of archers in the back as well. While our spearmen blocked the knights from charging with the wooden fences, our archers rained arrows down on our enemy. It was practically a perfect combination.
The dwarves shouted energetically.
A volley of arrows flew through the sky and landed on Brittany’s mounted troops. About 20 cavalrymen fell off their horses. Arrows weren’t very effective against heavy cavalry and their plate armor, but some of the horses would, unfortunately, get hit instead.
I let out a cheer.
“Good! Continue to fire our arrows! I will pay the full amount for our arrows!”
“Spearmen! Spearmen forward!”
The cavalrymen who managed to avoid the arrows quickly arrived in front of our fences.
20 people falling off their horses probably doesn’t sound like much, but that was 20 people becoming powerless after a single volley. If we fire a few more volleys, then we could easily neutralize a hundred of them. Their losses will only increase as long as they cannot get through our barricade.
Jeremi let out a gasp next to me. I turned to see Jeremi’s eyes wide open.
“I thought something was weird! Commander! They don’t have them!”
“Don’t have them? What do they not have?”
“They do not have their lances!”
I looked back at the battlefield in surprise. Silver-plated armor that had no opening. Warhorses that were bred by crossbreeding with monsters. They had everything necessary to be considered heavy cavalry━and yet, they didn’t have their lances!
Be it the 8-meter lances that were characteristic to Brittany and which usually brought fear to normal infantrymen or even the common 5-meter lances, none of them were present. The heavy cavalrymen were instead holding something completely different.
At that moment, thousands of arrows flew through the air. Brittany’s cavalry unit had become mounted archers! They got about 10 meters in front of our barricade before readying their bows. Our forces were completely bewildered by this unexpected attack.
Screams erupted from here and there. The soldiers that were clinging to the fences were shot down by the arrows. Dozens, no, I could tell from a glance that hundreds of our spearmen had fallen. Different from the heavy cavalrymen who were in full armor, our side mostly had farmers. Their defenses against arrows were abysmal.
Brittany’s mounted archers kept firing in rotation a short distance from our barricade. The front row would shoot their bows before retreating and changing position with the row behind them.
Like this, it felt like they would repeat this endlessly. A swarm! They were doing a swarm tactic! Brittany’s cavalrymen that boasted the most discipline in the continent were carrying out a tactic meant for mounted archers which was commonly carried out by nomadic tribes.
“You fools! Raise your shields! Raise your shields!”
“Guaagh, arm, my arm!”
Our army instantly fell into disarray. The spearmen did the best they could to block the arrows with their small wooden shields. The farmers hastily raised their shields to their heads. They were experiencing a rain of arrows for the first time. This naturally caused them to gradually lower their spears.
I was so dumbfounded that I was at a loss for words for a few seconds. The words that came out of my mouth right after were more like a sound of astonishment than an actual sentence.
“Was this what you were aiming for, Henrietta……!?”
“Commander! Please give an order!”
Jeremi brought me back to my senses. Damn it. I didn’t have the time to even get angry. Our formation was still being maintained thanks to the dwarves, but we would only incur more and more losses if we let things continue like this. I gnashed my teeth and shouted.
“Fight arrows back with arrows! Send the archers forward and make those who have shields protect the archers!”
“Give the order to the others immediately!”
Fortunately, they were elite assassins who competed for first and second place in the demon world. Even though there were thousands of spearmen crowded together, they dashed in skillfully and gave the orders to the dwarves. It didn’t take even two minutes since I gave the order before the dwarves started to shout the order.
“Archers forward! Archers forwaaard!”
“Defend the archers with your shields! Men, don’t be scared! Archers always win against mounted archers!”
“Believe in your allies! Protect your allies!”
The soldiers moved urgently. The archers merged with the frontline. The archers who had gotten swept away during the panic were pushed forward with the help of their comrades. There was a bit of a delay, but they began to fire back. The dwarves did their best to raise morale.
“Aim for the horses! Shoot at the horses!”
A majority of our 3,000 archers were hunters. They couldn’t fire volleys like trained military archers, but their aim was at least up to par. The archers trusted that they would be protected by their allies as they proceeded to fire their bows.
I couldn’t hold back my anger as I stomped on the ground. I was completely fooled!
Queen Henrietta knew that we would go on the defense. Our side was in high spirits because we were going to fight on St. Denis Plains. However, Queen Henrietta was hoping for that.
I grit my teeth. I had experienced something like this before. Margrave Rosenberg, he had also turned his highly trained cavalrymen into mounted archers.
“Is this going to be a repeat of Austerlitz……!?”
There were tens of thousands of spearmen crowded on these narrow plains. This was probably the perfect opportunity to maximize our losses by using bows against us. We were so afraid of Brittany’s cavalry charge that we didn’t prepare countermeasures for mounted archers.
“Commander, we still have the advantage.”
Jeremi spoke to me calmly. She wasn’t faking an emotion on her face like usual. Her natural cold and dry face came out.
“If we continue to protect our archers with shields, then their mounted archers will have no other choice but to retreat. Look. The wooden fences are carrying out their roles.”
Jeremi was right. I made sure our fences were made incredibly sturdy, so they were acting as excellent shields against the arrows.
A fair number of archers clung on to them to avoid the enemy’s attack before peaking out the small gaps between the fences to fire their arrows. The spearmen were slowly backing away to where the arrows didn’t reach.
“I know. However, I feel pathetic for allowing myself to get fooled by Queen Henrietta!”
“Their sudden attack may have been immediately effective, but it does not change the fact that Queen Henrietta does not have the advantage. If we continue to remain calm…….”
Jeremi trailed off. She was staring ahead of us. I instinctively felt a foreboding feeling when I saw her eyes. I turned my head as I followed her gaze.
Their mounted archers slowly backed away. There were several warhorses that were shot down by arrows sprawled out here and there on the ground. At a glance, it looked like they were withdrawing in order to avoid our arrows.
“Their second line……!”
The cavalrymen in their second line came forward like they were changing places with their first line. Cavalrymen that were wearing more elaborate armor than the mounted archers we saw a second ago had come forward. It was their knights. Knights wearing mantles that had a black lily, the symbol that represented Brittany, embroidered into them made their horses gallop towards us.
Even their horses were fully armored.
Different from their first line of offense, the cavalrymen of their second line were fully armed. That’s right. Fully armed! They were holding their 8 meter-long lances!
Urgent cries came out from our soldiers.
“Knights! It’s a cavalry charge━!”
TL Note: Thanks for reading the chapter. As expected, it’s time for Dant to struggle after acting so overconfident. He actively jinxed himself before the fight.
On another note, Korean Thanksgiving is next Tuesday. I’m not sure when, but I’ll probably be visiting my relatives on Monday or Tuesday. There are still heavy restrictions on gatherings here, so I’m honestly not sure if I’m actually going or not. I’ll just wait for one of my relatives to contact me.
See you guys in the next chapter.