Our midday break ended, and our squad resumed its advance.
The Magic Arrow I shot blew away a lizardman in a single shot.
The sense of discomfort I felt in my Magic Arrow all morning vanished. Just like before, it flew nicely and accurately struck the places I aimed at.
I’m sure it was thanks to Laura.
I looked at Laura standing beside me. She must’ve noticed my gaze, as she gently smiled back at me.
Feeling a little embarrassed, I gave her a slight nod and looked away from her.
I wasn’t able to squeeze any motivation out of myself, nor was I firing many Magic Arrows, but now I proactively participated in the battle.
“…This somehow feels easier than this morning.”
“There aren’t many lizardmen coming to us anymore.”
“The number of enemies hasn’t decreased, right?”
“There are more than last time. We’re probably getting more support from the rear guard.”
I could hear the knights whispering about various things.
Laura quietly spoke to me beside me.
“It’s because you’re doing your best! You’re amazing!”
“I wonder… It’d be great if that was true.”
I really didn’t think that my actions alone would change the situation this much. Laura’s probably overestimating me.
Firvus took over the conversation with a fed-up look.
“…Wouldn’t it be fine for you to do everything at this point, Albert?”
Firvus enjoyed his light banter as usual.
“I can’t do a thing by myself.”
Just like that, our squad crushed the lizardmen one by one and continued to steadily advance—
“Alriiight, that’s all for today! We’re withdrawing!”
We triumphantly returned back to headquarters in high spirits.
However, we were the only ones in cheerful moods.
The knights in headquarters were ready for another cakewalk pre-departure, but something had clearly changed. There were many injured soldiers, and a gloomy mood hung in the air.
What on earth happened…?
Alencia clutched his temples in the main office located in headquarters.
Today’s battle was an unforeseen struggle.
A short while ago, a debriefing session was held with the captains of each main squad assembled.
Their fatigue was evident compared to the first battle. However, the contents of their reports were all the same.
“Although we were unable to proceed as smoothly as last time, our army still reigned superior!”
They were all officers who assumed key positions within the kingdom. As long as they had ambition and honor to uphold, Alencia couldn’t take their words at face value.
Therefore, Alencia scanned over the written reports.
Alencia thoroughly analyzed statistics such as casualties and area covered, which could be fiddled with but not flat out lied about.
Thus, what Alencia concluded was—
The captains’ reports were certainly not lies, but they weren’t telling the honest truth, either.
As of now, the army still reigned superior.
If we assumed that the previous triumph was 8-to-2, then this battle was around a 6-to-4 victory. We were winning, but the difference was shrinking.
Even so, an advantage was an advantage.
If the war continued to develop at this pace, then victory was probably assured.
However, Alencia was unable to accept that. What Alencia wanted was overwhelming conquest that would be praised by all—not narrow victory paid at the cost of hefty sacrifice.
In the first place, the opponent consisted of nothing but lizardmen.
Although they were enhanced by the Crest Master, there were still many who staunchly believed that they were still mere lizardmen.
If Alencia mobilized the kingdom’s military and struggled against the likes of lizardmen, he was bound to be laughed at by nobles from the shadows, who knew not of the front lines.
The king expected a landslide victory as well.
A barely won war would be no good.
No, far from winning in the first place, there was a chance that the scales would tip in the lizardmen’s favor—
Alencia shook his head and drowned out those thoughts. At the very least, he needed to avoid that scenario.
In the midsts of these displeasing circumstances, there existed a single ray of hope.
Amongst the ongoing struggles, Govilbalfesse Squad displayed their dominance on the battlefield.
According to Govilbalfesse’s report, his squad had struggled similarly to the others until noon. However, they charged through without pause thereafter.
“The fruits of this battle are all because of my dauntless knights! The likes of lizardmen are of no adversary to us!”
In the debriefing from earlier, Govilbalfesse brazenly touted while looking down upon the downcasted captains.
Unamused with their achievements, a captain from another squad spoke in a murmur.
“…Hmph, is it not thanks to those magicians you took along?”
Govilbalfesse laughed scornfully.
“What could the worthless Magic Arrows of those damned cowards possibly change!? In the first place, you have magicians acting as reinforcements in your ranks as well; This is no special trait of my squad!”
The captain pretentiously trumpeted that it was the work of his knights until the very end.
He spectacularly prevailed where others struggled—he probably wanted to appeal to Alencia as much as possible.
…I don’t care as long as they produce results…
He exploited the ambition of those below him, nothing more. If Govilbalfesse was optimistic, then all Alencia had to do was skillfully make use of him.
If they were genuinely competent, then they would pump out results in the next battle as well.
Nevertheless, there was something that left a bad taste in Alencia’s mouth.
…Govilbalfesse Squad… If I’m not mistaken…
Alencia stood up and retrieved some files from the nearby shelf. Flipping through page after page, he found the page he was looking for.
It read like so:
“Magician Albert, member of Govilbalfesse Squad.”
Alencia was not amused.
The victory and glory of a squad would be shared with its members as well. In the case that the domineering Govilbalfesse Squad win multiple battles in a row, there was a risk that even Albert would rise to fame.
That lowlife who could only shoot “worthless Magic Arrows”, just as Govilbalfesse said.
…That absolutely worthless piece of trash! Looks like all you’ve got is luck!
Alencia did not find Albert becoming famous amusing.
It’s possible that Father might end up having a change of heart. Naturally, Alencia was aware that he was overthinking it, but—
…It never hurts to be extra cautious…
At that moment, an idea flashed into Alencia’s mind.
—I can just send Albert to the cannon fodder detached squad.
Alencia trembled from the flawlessness of his plan, entranced by his own genius.
The detached force, which would act as the lizardmen’s target, was pivotal. However, in continuation from the first day, many lives were lost in today’s fierce battle.
Alencia could compensate for their losses to an extent—
as well as remove Albert from the glory.
On top of that, if Albert died, then Alencia wouldn’t have to worry about his brother’s existence for the rest of eternity.
You get to die honorably on the battlefield. I’ll prepare a magnificent funeral for you at the Luminous residence in the very end, Brother. It’s great that you have such a thoughtful younger brother.
Warping his lips into a smile, Alencia roared with laughter.
This took way too long, I mindblocked so it might not be as good. Next chapter later tomorrow, see you then and sorry for the late release.