Chapter 74. A World of Schemers (1)
A tension filled stand still situation was ongoing against the demon queen Amunde. We made minor maneuvers to get a good feel for each other, but nothing led to easy openings.
However, it did not take very long before a special situation developed.
-Marie, what’s going on!
The voice of Margarita who contacted me unexpectedly was filled with excitement. I could not keep myself from getting nervous.
-I’m about to mobilize in order to make a way out through the siege line.
-Really! How come you didn’t let me know that earlier? I could have given you assistance and created a diversion.
-I know. It was because if your troops were on the move, that sneaky demon queen could have recognized something.
-You are confident of a victory?
As she gave more importance to a surprise attack, rather than on reinforcements, she must have concluded that the Sisterhood’s forces, alone, were sufficient.
-Right. We haven’t exactly been just playing around. I’ve called my apprentices who have been dispersed all over the world.
There was something I had simply overlooked. It was the instantaneous teleportation portal, the internal secret of the Walpurgis Sisterhood, which has not been advertised to the outside world.
That portal was connected to the 11 branches of the Walpurgis Sisterhood, located in 11 other cities. While making loud noise, she must have been contacting the skilled ones via the portal.
-Correct. There was a limit as the cost of using the portal was very high, yet many sisters of our Sisterhood, and allies have joined us. If we just push forward, we ought to be able to defeat them.
It was already past midnight. She must have planned to mobilize in the middle of the night.
-However, the number of the enemy troops, surrounding the Sisterhood, is countless. There may be over 5,000.
-It’s an ambush, not an ordinary mobilization. We have many warriors who each can take on 100 men at once, so we should be able to manage it.
There were about 2,000 troops from the Walpurgis Sisterhood. And as there were many powerful well known warriors, I thought that she should be able to pull it through.
-Besides, the demon queen Amunde has been absent from her place, lately. Can’t lose such opportune time.
-Understood. When the ambush starts, I’ll assist as well.
Currently, I was staying in Bryzach in order to stop the demon queen Amunde’s strategy of pushing the water monsters down by overflowing the river. The Sisterhoood wasn’t too far from here.
I brought 10,000 troops with me, and left the defense of Wittenweier to Gen. Tilly. Although Tilly was left in charge of the difficult task of keeping the Orc general, on the other side of the river, at bay, I trusted his natural talent.
-That was the reason I’m contacting you. When they get pushed back, they will try to return to Rheinfelden. So, Valer, I am asking you to see them there.
-I understand what you’re getting at.
Margarita was asking for my help under the guise that she will be victorious. We concluded our call after discussing additional details on how to go about finishing her off.
-I wish you the best. By the time we mobilize, you will be in the middle of a battle.
-Hoho, no need to be worried. Just take care of their runaway troops.
Immediately after the call, I brought the regiment to attention. After 2 hours at Bryzach, we were finally ready to march.
“Pappenheim, it will be bad if we get attacked while on the move in the middle of the night. Take the day walkers, and space them out for a reconnaissance purpose.”
I sent nearly 100 day walkers in advance, following our marching path. With this, there won’t be any surprise attacks on us. And I took 10,000 troops, and headed south, towards the Walpurgis Sisterhood.
After marching for three hours, I was able to hear faint shouting from a distance. Then a message came in from Pappenheim.
-The demon queen’s forces which were besieging the Walpurgis Sisterhood are on the run after being defeated.
As expected, Margarita has penetrated through the besiegement! She has taken her time for this maneuver, from her perspective.
-About 1,000 demon queen’s troops have been killed, and the remnant 4,000 are running away to the south.
The Rhine River was in the south. As the water demons were slow in swamp region, they must have decided to go around it, via the Rhine River. We had to get there before they got to the river.
“We are ready at any time! Valer!”
After bringing her up to date on the developments, I asked her to go after them by mobilizing her cavalry regiment, and keep them occupied as much as possible.
“Please keep them busy until my forces beat them to the river.”
“Don’t worry. Such task is the cavalry’s specialty.”
“Here, take this crystal ball. Pappenheim, one of my staff members is chasing them. He will continue to provide his location, so that will be helpful.”
Taking the crystal ball, Walpurgis gathered up the cavalry. About 2,000 cavalry troops immediately took off under her command. Then a countless number of torch lights and magical spot lights moved forward like waves. The enemy on the run would be scared to death when they see those lights.
However, it was nearly impossible for the water demons to run away from the cavalry while in the swamps. Not surprisingly, sounds similar to gun firing were heard from several kilometers ahead. It looked like the cavalry troops were shooting at the demons after catching up with them.
“We’re going to hurry, too! Must get to the river before the bastards!”
Then Margarita called and asked about her meeting us. But, I asked Walpurgis to keep protecting the Sisterhood.
-I am concerned about the possibility of the demon queen Amunde attacking the Sisterhood in your absence. She is highly cunning. Or something that we did not anticipate could take place, so please be ready for anything. Besides, you have exerted much energy from the 4 hours of battle.
-I can still fight! Not a problem!
-You may be fine, but please think about the other sisters, too. Our troops will be sufficient at this end.
-Geez, got it, now that you put it that way.
After leaving Margarita in charge, I rushed to go after the runaways. I’ve marched for 5 hours, like that. I thought that I could quickly catch up with them, but as the enemy was also desperate, it wasn’t so easy.
Finally, not too far from the Rhine River, the rear of the enemy line came into vision. The early sun was about to rise for an early summer day.
The sky was beginning to turn blue, but as there was thick fog, nothing was clearly visible ahead. However, the flashes of light from gun fires did not cease at the battlefront.
The friendly forces that were chipping off the enemy’s rear line, all night, must still be struggling to do so. Everyone must be exhausted to the limit due to the battle lasting over 5 hours, already.
When we signaled our arrival, one of the cavalry officers rode his horse over to us.
“Report the status!”
“The enemy has given up running away! Presently, they formed a line and readying to fight.”
They must have decided to stand and fight after learning that we have arrived, it seemed. It was because they concluded that running away in the current situation would only lead to their demise.
“Call and gather the cavalry.”
After calling up the cavalry from the battlefront, I was forming a camp for rotation. As I was focused on forming the camp, I could feel the summer morning’s hot sun.
The fog has already lifted, and the view of the battlefield was clearly visible. Then the enemy that was on the run throughout the night came in to the view.
“Hmm… About 3,000, total.”
Having so much experience of being in wars, I could assess the enemy count in a matter of seconds. As if the cavalry had chipped them off like wolves in the night, their count was already reduced by 1,000.
Come to think of it, the road which we’ve marched on was littered with the dead water demons. At any rate, seeing the enemy congregated there, they looked truly pitiful.
Other officers echoed their agreement at my impression.
“Definitely agree. My lord.”
“That’s such a simple formation. The big sized ones are at the front while the weak ones are supporting them with their javelins from the rear.”
Although it was a simple and effective formation, compared to the unceasingly evolving human’s art of war, they were certainly old fashioned.
However, they still couldn’t be undermined, due to their innate power. Especially, that alligator human could withstand multiple strikes by spears, so they couldn’t be thought of easily. So only after having rechecked the troops, I issued my order.
“Regiment, march! Cavalry, cut off their escape path! We’ll surround them and annihilate completely!”
With certainty, I was going to kill every one of them, today.
At the same time, while Valer was going attacking the runaway demon forces, the demon queen Amunde was, surprisingly, already at the south side of the Rhine River.
To be exact, it was the city of Schletstadtran where the Orc general Kukushrak’s base was.
“Welcome. Your highness. I, Kukushrak, is grateful to meet the leader of Lake Baden.”
Kukushrak welcomed the demon queen Amunde, with all the decorum. No matter how much he had accomplished, the old medusa was a being that he could not even easily look straight into her eyes.
Besides, didn’t she say that she will endow him to the stature of a demon king. There was a need for him to be on her good side.
“Thank you. General.”
Along with Kukushrak, all of his high ranking officers were inside that building. The demon queen Amunde did not have any supporting casts, but she, alone, dominated all of them.
“Appreciate you, all, gathering here today. To show my appreciation to you, I will speak to you about the nature of this operation.”
Everyone was filled with curiosity when they heard that. They were responsible for Pajemut, who appeared in the southwest of the empire, but they did not know what was happening with the series of the recent events that took place.
“Well, where should I start? First, I’ll tell you why that coward Pajemut had decided to attack that Rose Harlot, in the first place.”
The extremist demon queen Amunde always called centric Roelin as the Rose Harlot in a sarcastic manner. To that, the demons believed that she was jealous of Roelin’s beauty.
“That was because I had enticed them. Pajemut hates, but at the same time, fears that Rose Harlot more than anything. However, since I told him that I will be with him, he was easily moved. Then we swore an oath in the name of darkness. That neither of us will attack the other for 5 years.”
The oath of darkness was made based on the powerful dark forces of the demon king. Breaking the oath would lose the throne of the demon king. As a result, the demon queen Amunde was not allowed to attack Pajemut’s camp, or launch a direct attack against the Orc general, on this side of the Rhine River.
“The foolish Pajemut probably thought that that oath was sufficient. But, do you know that there was one loophole in the oath of darkness?”
No one replied to the demon queen Amunde’s question. They were only thinking that the ambience was a little strange.
“It was OK to use a scheme, not a direct attack. For example, lure the opponent’s underlings to betray him.”
Everyone turned pale when they heard her. They all betrayed the demon king Pajemut, because of the demon queen Amunde’s appeasement. And with her help, they were going to take a position on the land, southwest of the empire.
However, the demon queen Amunde was talking nonsensical things which were uncomfortable for them to hear. Yet, no one was able to speak their minds, before the all powerful demon.
“Kkkkk. You, spineless bastards.”
The demon queen Amunde laughed sarcastically before continuing.
“Look at the current land on the south of the Rhine River, in the southwest of the empire. It originally belonged to Pajemut, but today, you have declared independence. I came here to congratulate you on that.”
“That’s right. Your highness. But, your words seem a bit strange. This is a good meeting, but I feel sarcasm.”
Kukushrak, the Orc general, protested by overcoming his uneasiness. It was supposed to be the time to discuss how he could cooperate with the demon queen Amunde, and be endowed the position of a demon king. But, why was she continuing to undermine them so openly from the get go.
The demon queen Amude broke out into laughter for the first time. As she did not laugh in normal times, it was rather uncharacteristic of her. Her snake like mouth stretched to the ends of her ears.
“You still don’t comprehend? This land is yours now, not Pajemut’s anymore.”
“That’s right. I’m glad that your highness also approves it.”
Kukushrak was trying hard to end the discussion pleasantly. However, he had no other recourse, but to turn pale when he heard what the demon queen Amunde said next.
“That implies that this place is no longer part of the pact formed under the oath of darkness between Pajemut and me. In the original agreement, this is a holy land which could not even be approached by me for the next 5 years. However, Kukushrak, everything has changed because you have declared independence.”
The demon queen Amunde looked around by exaggeratingly extending both her arms out.
“Look, you, foolish Orc. Where am I standing, right now?”
By now, any stupid person would understand what she was getting at. On top of that, Kukushrak had the power and discernment to become a leader of an army. He immediately took out his axe.
“Amunde! I can’t no longer listen to the nonsense, coming out of your serpent mouth! The troops which you brought are only 100! We have over 20,000 troops. What can you dare to do?”
To be in support of their leader, every officer of the Orc general immediately stood up, raising their weapons. Every one of them was powerful with over one hundred battles under their belts. However, all of that was viewed as silly gestures to the demon queen Amunde.
“Kukushrak. I left behind about 5,000 troops of mine behind at the Walpurgis Sisterhood. Do you know why? It is so that no one would understand or pay any attention to what is to happen here. The bastards are probably making mess out of the poor 5,000 troops of mine. Well, let them enjoy their song of victory, all they want.”
Moving with the serpent’s lower part of her body, the demon queen Amunde moved closer to everyone. Then just by that, the Orc general and his underlings were overwhelmed as they all jumped and moved backwards.
“However, when they come to their senses, they will know…That I have completely overtaken the west of the Rhine River, in one night. My plan to take over the southwest is already completed, halfway.”
Everything was smoke and mirror. The demon queen did not truly believe that she could overtake Walpurgis Sisterhood. It was a surprising failure as far as Wittenweier went, but it did not hurt her overall plan.
That was because Kukushrak, the Orc general who was on the west of the Rhine River, had been her intended target from the start. Having created a lot of noise on the east side of the Rhine River, the demon queen Amunde was already in a position to simply take over the west side.
“This is known as taking a strategic victory even at the cost of a tactical defeat.”
Taking several painful defeats did not matter to her. That was because a process was only a way to reaching the objective.