This is Yukkuri demasu!
SPOILER ALERT, don’t highlight the words below:
[For those who say Souma can’t fight, prepare for a big surprise.]
DISCLAIMER: There is no guarantee that my translation is 100% correct. Please correct me if I was wrong.
11, Decisive Battle (Latter-Half)
At that time, at the center of the encircled Amidonian Army, Gaius VIII, who sat on a folding stool, had a grim expression. His first plan to commence a pincer attack with the soldiers of the Capital 『Van』against the besieging Elfrieden Army had come to nothing. The Elfrieden Army wasn’t besieging Van, but was waiting for the Amidonian Main Army at these plains. The Amidonian Army, that was exhausted after receiving the surprise attack in Goldoa Valley, entered into the battle with the Elfrieden Army, which was not only almost twice its size, but also well-rested.
The true aim of the Elfrieden Army was not 『Van』, but instead the Amidonian Main Army, or rather, Gaius’ head. Gaius VIII grinded his teeth at this fact. Although Amidonian Army put up a good fight at the beginning of the battle, the army was exhausted and diluted by the peasant conscripts, and it couldn’t be expected to hold on for a long time. It was also already impossible to rally the fleeing conscripted soldiers. Since it had come to this state, Gaius resolved his mind and called Julius back from the frontlines.
When Julius returned, he stood in front of his father with an angry expression.
「Father! What is the meaning of calling me back so suddenly! If I leaves the frontlines now, the Elfrieden Army might break through them!」(Julius)
However, Gaius was informing Julius with a thoroughly calm expression.
「You need to withdraw and leave this battlefield.」(Gaius)
「Wh-what is Father talking about!? The battle has only just begun……」(Julius)
「We have lost the war.」(Gaius)
Gaius told the confused Julius directly with a self-mocking tone.
「Our Amidonian Army is strong. The quality of our soldiers is not far behind the Elfrieden Kingdom’s. However, with an Army that has been exhausted from marching, it will be impossible to overturn this battle. I will buy you the time, so open a way to escape where the encirclement has still not been completed, and escape even if it’s only yourself.」 (Gaius)
「Then…If that’s the case, Father should be the one who escapes! If it’s just buying time, then I can do it!」(Julius)
「That is impossible.」(Gaius)
「Because the Elfrieden Army is aiming at my head.」(Gaius)
Gaius VIII, who had decided that this will be his deathbed, had never had his mind so calm before like this. To the extent that he could see through a fragment of Souma’s aims.
「I am a thorn in Elfrieden’s side. I am the figurehead of the anti-Elfrieden faction in the Amidonia Dukedom. Because I had gathered those who were hostile towards Elfrieden, the Hawk Faction suppressed the Dove Faction. It is true for the opposite, if I’m gone, then this time it will be the Doves that will gather strength.」(Gaius)
The national power difference between Amidonia and Elfrieden was obviously clear. In territory size, in population size, in the numbers of soldiers, and in wealth, Amidonia had lost on just about everything. The difference was much greater when compared to the Grand Chaos Empire, that lay in the west from Amidonia. Even Elfrieden would fall short if compared to it. The people that have weak hearts would always move for their own safety, but no one in Amidonia knew which one they should plan to approach, the Empire or the Kingdom. That’s why a heavy anchor named Gaius weighed them down so that Amidonia is still Amidonia, but now Elfireden is going to remove that anchor. Julius opened his eyes wide.
「No way…… They began this war just to defeat Father!? Even to use their own territory as bait!?」(Julis)
「Be careful, Julius. The current King is on another level compared to Albert.」(Gaius)
Gaius didn’t ridicule Souma as a young person anymore.
「Therefore, Elfieden won’t let me escape. Even if I escape, they will still pursue me to the ends of hell. That’s why, it will be better if I fall here.」(Gaius)
「So, I will remain in this place and show my pride as an Amidonian.」(Gaius)
「! Then, I will, too.」(Julius)
「You can’t! What will happen to Amidonia if you are gone, too?」(Gaius)
「There is still Roroa.」(Julius)
「Humph, that girl is useless. The one who leads Amidonia must be someone who is a “venomous snake”. A venomous snake that will someday bite Elfrieden to death. Regardless, whether or not Roroa has the blood of a cunning “snake” flowing in her, she just doesn’t possess any “venom”. After all, she is just a small girl.」(Gaius)
Gaius spat out those words even though she was his own daughter. Julius asked back.
「Father, then what is that “venom”?」(Julius)
「Avengeful heart towards Elfrieden. Maintaining the independence of our Amidonia Dukedom even when it was surrounded by powerful countries, opening new lands even if the productivity is meager, enduring the hunger, excavating ores under the harsh environment, the thing that made us able to do these things as a nation, was solely because of our vengeful heart towards Elfrieden. The source of our energy to become even more stronger, even more wealthier, is the heart that detests Elfrieden that had robbed us of our fertile territory…… Unfortunately, even if Roroa has a talent in raising money, she doesn’t have that vengeful heart. The one can succeed that venomous snake blood is only you, Julius.」(Gaius)
As he said those words, Gaius stood up, and put both of his hands on Julius’ shoulders.
「For that reason, you have to survive. The only one who can inherit this will of revenge and can make Amidonia Amidonia is you.」(Gaius)
「Since it has reached this situation, there is no need to be concerned about being turned into a puppet. You need to beg the Empire for assistance and defend Amidonia from being annexed by Elfrieden.」(Gaius)
「However, just like what Father had said before, do you think Empire will forgive us who have broken the Declaration of Humanity?」(Julius)
「It will be fine if you put all the blame towards me. I, who have passed 50 years of age, declined bodily and lost my mind to become a revenge demon. Without being able to be checked by my son, I plotted to invade Elfrieden against the will of Empire. You can tell them this.」(Gaius)
Julius lost his breath. It can be argued that in this occasion, Gaius wouldn’t only die, but he would also be guaranteed to have a completely bad reputation. Even the always relentless and cold Julius had his heart greatly jolted by this. And, at the same time, flames of anger could be seen in his eyes towards Elfrieden. Seeing those eyes, Gaius nodded in satisfaction and let go of his hands from Julius’ shoulders.
「Now go, Julius. You must never let that spirit of revenge vanish!」(Gaius)
「…… Forgive me.」(Julius)
Julius made a quick bow and then turned around and left. After Gaius couldn’t see Julius anymore, a moment passed before he stood up, took a deep breath and fixed his expression. There was no longer impatience nor bewilderment, it was the expression of a stern warrior as Gaius unsheathed the sword from his waist.
「The remaining thing to do is…… demonstrating the spirit of an Amidonian.」(Gaius)
◇ ◇ ◇
「……Isn’t this a bit shoddy?」(Carla)
Carla, who was watching the battle beside me, said it with displeasure in her tone. On the battlefield, there are definite signs of the defeat of the Amidonian Army as the number of fleeing or surrendering soldiers increased. Even the soldiers who were still resisting had been completely encircled and were only waiting to be annihilated. Are there any shoddy factors here?
「There is no sign of the enemy commander Gaius VIII escaping. It is as if he wants to die in this place.」(Carla)
「If he doesn’t flee, then wouldn’t it be more convenient for us?」(Souma)
「……Those who are weak-hearted flee, those who are weak-bodied die. As a result, only the elite that surrounded Gaius are still putting up resistance. If those people become death soldiers then they wouldn’t be able to be stopped by half-hearted ones. Much less the soldiers from the already winning army that are reluctant to die.」(Carla)
When she pointed this out and I looked at the battlefield, I could see that although the enemy’s main army had been whittled down to 500 or so, our 40000 strong army had quite some difficulty in annihilating them. Even if the number was in the thousands, one soldier at best could be attacked by three soldiers. If they were in dense formations, then that number would decrease. If the enemy had prepared for death and can do reckless things, then we, who were winning, would tend to hold our lives even more dearly. If we die, then we wouldn’t get any rewards or glory, after all. That’s why they couldn’t finish the assault.
There was a chill on my back. I know an “example” of this. In the 「Summer Siege of Osaka」, Sanada Yukimura led 3000 soldiers in a do-or-die assault, and broke through the 13,000 strong army of Matsudaira Tadanao. It was said that he was merely one step from taking Tokugawa Ieyasu’s head. Also, in China’s history, after the「Battle of Gaixia」, the winning Liu Bang Army sent several thousand soldier to pursue Xiang Yu, the commander of the defeated army, but they were defeated by Xiang Yu and 28 of his loyal horsemen numerous times. The number of the soldiers became insignificant if there is a great difference in fighting spirit. An army that lacks fighting spirit won’t be able to obtain victory no matter how great their number is.
(…… perhaps that unit is straightforwardly aiming at my neck.)
Honestly I was afraid. Sun Tzu also said not to strike at death soldiers. Even so, I couldn’t let Gaius escape from this place at any rate. If this happened, the victims created to reach this point would be in vain. However, if…… If the time is…… I looked towards Carla.
「What is it?」(Carla)
「……Let’s talk for a bit.」(Souma)
◇ ◇ ◇
「Our aim is the enemy King, Souma Kazuya’s head!」(Gaius)
The mounted Gaius VIII yelled out. Gaius had gathered 500 of his elite cavalrymen under his direct command from his surroundings, and currently decided to do a desperado attack at the Elfrieden Army’s Headquarters. The thousands strong enemy crowded the surroundings. The road that was awash with enemy soldiers was not a road where they could return alive, but a road that led to their deaths. Even if they were able to kill Souma, they would be killed by the rest of Elfrieden’s soldiers. However, amongst the soldiers under his direct command, who had inherited the grudge against Elfrieden passed from father to son for the past 50 years until it permeated into their marrows, not a single one faltered.
「The spirit of an Amidonian! Valor! Show it to the Elfriedens!」(Gaius)
The soldiers shouted out a war cry, and Gaius swung down his sword towards the Elfrieden Army’s Headquarters.
Gaius VIII led the roughly 500 cavalrymen and rushed towards the Elfrieden Army’s Headquarters.
Along the way, they cut down soldiers with sabers and trampled down not only enemies but even the still resisting ally soldiers, who underneath their horses’ hooves, pushing their way forward like a windstorm. Like a fire that blazed radiantly just before it vanished; that’s why that blaze had such a brilliant light.
「Is Gaius VIII…… insane?」(Ludwin)
Ludwin, the commander of Royal Knights who was guarding the Headquarters from that raging anger, made a sour expression atop his white horse. This reckless attack was not much different from a suicidal action.
(Actually, this might be a real suicidal action. Honestly, I don’t really want to deal with it, but…...)
Ludwin put down the helmet that he had taken off before and raised the tip of his cavalry charge lance towards the sky, and spoke towards the rest of the Royal Knights behind him.
「His Majesty is right behind us! We are the Kingdom’s shield! Swear by the name of theRoyal Knights, that even if you must throw your life way, we must stop that group!」(Ludwin)
The roughly 2000 Royal Knights under Ludwin’s leadership dashed out. Before long, they clashed with Gaius’ 500 horsemen from the front. Receiving that attack, about half of Gaius’ men were blown away from their horses in an instant. The Royal Knights also had roughly the same number blown off. However, since their number was greater from the beginning, the damage they took was relatively lighter than their enemy’s. Inside the jumbled mess of enemies and allies, Ludwin searched for Gaius’ visage.
「! I found you, Gaius VIII!」(Ludwin)
Ludwin finally spotted someone who wore a majestic mantle inside a group of several horsemen which kept pushing towards the Headquarters in this melee. The mantled-person looked at Ludwin and pointed his swords towards Ludwin.
「You bastard! Who are you!」(Gaius)
「Elfrieden Army’s Royal Knights Commander, Ludwin Arcs.」(Ludwin)
「Humph, just a capital decoration group.」(Gaius)
「Empty words! I shall finish you here and end this battle!」(Ludwin)
Ludwin made his horse dash towards him, but the horsemen who surrounded the mantled-person scattered into various directions, as if they had planned this before. Ludwin was bothered by this for a moment, but currently his attention was concentrated on the person in front of him. Ludwin lunged his spear at him, but the mantled-person somehow parried it with his sword as best as he could.
「Gugh…… so you are not just a decoration group.」(Gaius)
「No matter how much it has been decorated, a spear is for piercing through the enemy!」(Ludwin)
Then Ludwin struck up to free his spearhead that was entangled with the sword, and then unleashed a blow at the defenseless body in front of him. The lance didn’t miss its target, sunk into the enemy’s torso, and pierced through the mantle. While vomiting blood, the man dropped his head down and “laughed”.
「Splendid……but it’s meaningless……」(Gaius)
Then, that man turned his head towards the sky and spoke out.
「Your Majesty… Duke…… Splendid…… Our cherished dream……」(Gaius?)
Seeing the man die after saying these words, Ludwin was shocked. If he thought about it, he didn’t actually know what Gaius’ face looked like since Amidonia didn’t have any diplomatic relationships with Elfrieden. If, theoretically, he saw “a soldier wearing Gaius’ mantle”, Ludwin would have thought that that person was Gaius. If the real Gaius was indistinguishable from among the scattered horsemen just now, then…
「! His Majesty!」(Ludwin)
Ludwin turned around, and saw a single horseman heading towards the Headquarters.
◇ ◇ ◇
「Report! There is a single horsemen that dashed towards this Headquarters with a staggering speed.」(Soldier)
When the soldier ran inside the Headquarters to give his report, I had just finished asking a request from Carla…… Thank goodness. It was just in time. However, after Carla heard my request, she opened her eyes wide and ground her teeth, brimming with anger.
「Is that……an order?」(Carla)
「No, this is not an order at all. This is……a request.」(Souma)
Then, when I touched the collar on her neck, my hand was brushed away.
「Don’t kid with me……」(Carla)
「Don’t kid with me! That request, there’s no way I’m going to listen to it!」(Carla)
「However, this is just in case……」(Souma)
「…… Argh… Okay, already! You just stay here obediently!」(Carla)
Then, Carla snatched longswords from two soldiers who were near her, and then she spread out the dragon wings on her back and flew away. Afterwards, she hovered around in mid-air and searched for her prey, and, just like a falcon, she flew in a straight dive towards the southern direction.
◇ ◇ ◇
『Carla…… I will transfer your ownership as a slave to Liscia.』
That guy suddenly said this line to me. Certainly if the owner is willing, the Slave Collar ownership can be transferred to another person. However, in this case, I can now injure him. Even so, why did he suddenly say those words? When I was going to ask him about it, Souma pointed at the death soldiers.
『Those death soldiers are aiming at me. Even in the worst case, if they are able to kill me, those guys would be burnt out. At that time, it would be easy to annihilate them. That’s why there is something I want to request from you, if by some chance, I have been killed in this war, I want you to tell Liscia 「I hand over the throne to you」. Well…… it’s a will.』
A will? Is he messing with me? When I asked, Souma made a serious expression.
『I am serious. I am a King, that’s why I can’t ignore the worst case scenario. Although, I feel sorry about pushing the halfway situation to her, but as long as Gaius is defeated, then it will be easy to make 「Van」 capitulate. Afterwards, just do what Hakuya said and it will surely turn out nicely.』
After saying this, Souma showed a “laugh” on his face…… I noticed that it was different from my thoughts. I had thought that a King is an existence with highest position, the highest authority, and the one who rules the entire country. I remembered that I saw that a king was such an existence from the point of view of a person from the military. That’s why I thought that Souma had been bewitched by such power and usurped the throne, and that the whole situation will settle peacefully if we restored King Albert. We thought that if we rejected Souma, then the citizens who supported him would also sober up, but it can be said that we were picking fights with people who supported Souma. We believed that it was all for this country and I couldn’t understand why Liscia threw herself to Souma’s side to such an extent.
But now, I understand. Souma doesn’t want to become a King. If someone had an arrogant personality and can disregard the responsibility that came with the authority, then they would gladly become a tyrant. However, for the people who understand what that responsibility entails, that authority is only a great burden. The thing that I considered to be stolen, was completely something that was being pushed to another person. From the previous King Albert, for the citizens of this country, Souma had been burdened by every weight possible. I had thought that Souma who was talking about his death ever so lightly was “broken”, but…… it’s different, he is just “almost breaking”. That’s why Liscia was steadfastly trying to support him to that extent.
However, right now, as a danger to his life lies ahead, Souma wants to transfer that burden to Liscia. Can Liscia carry a burden this heavy?…… Don’t mess with me. Liscia is too honest for a honest person’s sake. If she received that burden from Souma, then she would end up carrying an even heavier burden. Her heart would be surely be greatly worn out. In that case, can I allow it? Liscia is my friend. Even if my position is that of a rebel, she is my genuine friend that I want to protect. I can’t let my friend be burdened by something this heavy.
Actually, I still hate Souma even now. I can’t find myself to like his pride, his way of life, and his unreasonable personality to abandon things. However, so that person will carry the heavy burden instead of my friend, for my friend sake, I can’t let him die!
「That’s why, I will defeat you!」(Carla)
I glided towards the general who rode alone towards the Headquarters. With great force, I swung down my swords with both hands. The enemy general received the attack with his sword using both of his hands, but he was thrown off from his horse by that attack. The enemy general fell onto the ground, but he quickly stood up.
「Damn you…… a dragonewt, huh?」(Enemy General)
「I see that you are a general with a name. I am Castor Valgas’ daughter, Carla.」(Carla)
「Castor? Isn’t he rebelling against the King?」(Enemy General)
「……Uh huh. Thanks to this sorry mess.」(Carla)
I pointed at the Slave Collar at my neck. The enemy general barked after seeing it.
「Then move away! My only aim is Souma’s head!」(Enemy General)
「Unfortunately, currently I can’t allow you to do that anymore.」(Carla)
「Isn’t the enemy of your enemy, your friend?」(Enemy General)
「He is an enemy, however I can’t let a friend of my friend get killed.」(Carla)
「Tsk. Then in that case, you can die together!」(Enemy General)
◇ ◇ ◇
The enemy general rushed to slash at Carla. Carla caught it with the swords in her hands, but the attack was heavier than she thought, so she was forced to kneel. To push even a dragonewt who had physical power far surpassing most humanoids…… This enemy general’s strength, couldn’t be thought as something that came from a human.
「What!? Is this really a human’s strength!?」(Carla)
「While you scum were soaking in the cosseted Elfrieden, we had been polishing our magic and martial arts!」(Enemy General)
「……I see. Earth-System Magic, huh?」(Carla)
Earth-System Magic was the gravity manipulating magic that had been used when the Royal Army performed the relief operation at the Dark Elves Village. By making the sword heavier at the moment of the impact, the slashing power would increase. The enemy commander roared.
「Our Royalty’s dearest wish is the revenge against Elfrieden! For that reason, we polished our fangs and sharpened our claws! The three generations of our Royalty’s wishes, I will fulfill them in this place!」(Enemy General)
「I see…… So you are Gaius!」(Carla)
Carla who had recognized the enemy general’s true identity shifted her right sword to ward off the heavy sword, and then, with the blade in her left hand, she slashed from bottom upwards. Gaius barely evaded it by leaping to the back. Carla then pointed the blade at Gaius.
「If you are a Ruler…… Then, rather than revenge, shouldn’t you think about your citizens first?」(Carla)
「Humph. I will be troubled if you think I am similar to the weak Elfrieden Kingdom. The ruler of the Amidonia Dukedom is the one who moves the people with his strong power as he wills!」(Gaius)
「……Hah, I don’t like Souma, but I hate people like you even more!」(Carla)
Although there was nothing good and also nothing bad, King Albert’s rule was a calm one. Carla loved that calm situation, so a person like Gaius, who incites war to satisfy his own personal desire of revenge rather than the wellbeing of his citizens, was the type of person that Carla hated even more than Souma.
「It’s the same with me! I don’t plan on being liked by the enemy!」(Gaius)
Gaius put his hand on the ground and spike-like projections came out from the ground around Carla. Carla evaded a direct hit, but the wings on her back were caught by the surrounding ground that had turned into a needle prison, and she had been trapped in a situation where she couldn’t move.
Gaius swung down his sword at the trapped Carla. Carla reflexively closed her eyes. The next moment, Carla could hear the thick sounds of flesh being pierced by a blade…… However, she didn’t feel any pain. Carla slowly opened her eyes and what she saw was the sight of an unmoving Gaius, still pointing his sword at her. There were four short and stout dolls thrusting their spears into Gaius’ body.
Gaius, who was being pierced by four spears, let out a painful groan. He then changed the way he held his sword from the backhand grip and threw the sword with all of his remaining power. The sword flew weakly and stabbed into the ground, not 10 meters away. As if he had ascertained that sight, Gaius pitched forward and fell down. He wouldn’t move for a second time. The person who controlled the dolls, looked at the sword pierced near his feet and let out a sigh.
「He even reached this far. Maybe I ought to learn, even if it’s only from his tenacity.」(Souma)
Souma said these words while he withdrew the Musashi Boy-kun dolls (medium sized, spear armed) x4. Carla, who had slipped out from the spike prison, turned her face away with a 「Humph」.
「YO-…… If you are like that, then Liecia will cry, you know.」(Carla)
「Well, that’s right. I will pass on this.」(Souma)
As he replied, Souma kneeled before Gaius’ corpse, and put his hands together in a prayer posture. Carla, who didn’t understand the meaning of such a gesture, tilted her head.
「What are you doing?」(Carla)
「No matter who they are, if a human dies, then they can become a Buddha…… in other words, a god; this is a custom from the world that I came from. That’s why I am praying so hat his soul can enter Nirvana without losing its way.」(Souma)
「Even for this revenge demon?」(Carla)
「All the more the reason. You don’t want him to become an evil spirit because of his regrets and haunt you, right?」(Souma)
「What a surprisingly calculating belief.」(Carla)
Souma stood up and stared at his hands as he let out another sigh.
「Even though it was through the dolls…… This is the first time I have killed a person directly.」(Souma)
Hearing Souma say these words, Carla spat out a 「Hah?」.
「What are you talking about? You had ordered many soldiers to kill up until now.」(Carla)
「As always, you’re not going easy on me……」(Souma)
「Don’t go easy on your enemy, this is one of the Valgas House’s precepts.」(Carla)
「Considering that precept, you were unexpectedly trying to save me, right?」(Souma)
「It’s for Liscia’s sake. To protect an ally to the end, this is also one of the Valgas House’s precepts.」(Carla)
While they were quarrelling like this, their friends, who had heard the crisis at the Headquarters, finally arrived. Liscia, Aisha, Ludwin, Hulbert, and Kaede were surprised when they saw the fallen Gaius. Liscia then asked Souma.
「Souma is the one who defeated Gaius?」(Liscia)
「Well, since there were the both of us?」(Souma)
「I see…… Thank you Carla, for protecting Souma.」(Liscia)
As expected, she couldn’t directly tell Liscia, 「It’s for your sake」, so Carla turned her face away and pretend to be mute. While seeing both of them behaving in such a way, Souma clapped his hands.
「Now then, let’s enter 『Van』. After defeating the main force, it needs to be followed by a capitulation demand, right? In that case, it will be better to add the delivery of Gaius’ corpse as one of the terms.」(Souma)
「You will even go so far as to use the corpse, huh?」(Carla)
「If there are things that can be used, then I will use it. Even a poison can become a medicine.」(Souma)
Several hours afterwards, Amidonia Dukedom’s 『Van』 capitulated and complied with the terms 「Sparing the life of the garrison soldiers as well approving those who want to leave from the territory (however, they can only bring what they can carry on hand and nothing more than that)」 and 「Gaius’ corpse will be returned」. Souma took the entire army to enter 『Van』, and thus this series of battle acts, that would be called 『Five Days War』 in the future, came to an end. But then,
The last battle, however…
Prepare for the epilogue, the title: the True Opening (Opening in a sense the curtain is raising and the event/play will soon begin) in other words: True Curtain Raise‼! Yeah, that’s right… This arc, is only an opening act. The curtain had not been raised at all….
 To sum it up in 4 words: Make Amidonia Great Again!
 Death soldier: A unit which is composed of people who don’t care or mind being killed. In some sense, they are like berserker vikings, jihadists, or a suicide squad. Someone who knows that they are gonna die, and laugh at it. They even might seek an honorable death in battlefield (and virgins/mead hall in afterlife) (E/N: Also appropriate. https://youtu.be/NFQPBzl8aLk Warning for gore/suicide?)
 Siege of Osaka Battle, 1615 CE. http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/17thcentury/articles/osaka.aspx
 Battle of Gaixia, 202 BCE. http://www.ancient.eu/Battle_of_Gaixia/
 Art of War, chapter 7. Line 36. “Do not press a desperate foe too hard.”
 A tactical move in which an Army used their doomed piece to eat as much material as possible before it dies. This tend to be a good source of movie plots.
 Carla wanted to use Kisama, but she then changed into a more polite, Anata.
 Hotoke-sama. Just google it. Japanese concept of soul is too long to be mentioned here.
 As far as war go, these terms is really lenient. (E/N: Yeah, Germany got fucked hard after WWI.)