That night, we are moved to a cage inside a wagon. It’s cram because we have six people inside of it. There are other supplies inside the wagon like food crates, spare weapons and armors, and some kind of strange things. There are twenty wagons and two hundreds soldiers altogether.
Our wagon is the third in line so we can see the parade of soldiers and wagon behind us through the gap of the cloth cover. We slowly move out of the slum area towards the eastern gate. The outside is noisy so I guess there are quite a lot of people watching us.
Shortly after, we reach the eastern gate and go outside the city. The wagon pick up some paces right after we are outside. The scenery outside is moving a bit fast.
“We have to march fast. We have to arrive on time.”
A rider shouts to the soldiers. The slacking soldiers start to move faster while complaining. They are all lightly armed so the forced march isn’t too taxing. We move through the plain where I put up the beacon. Construction noises are heard from the plain. It looks like our soldiers have received permission to build camp.
I casually check my interface. I request reinforcement from them but suggest that they move stealthily. Soon after, I can see some blue markers appear fifty meters from my location. They are moving parallel to the marching soldiers on left side. I count them to be five people. It should be enough to rescue us.
The march are moving south to the front line. The first day is harsh because they have been marching since last night. We are having breaks every two hours. The inside of the wagon is hot and uncomfortable. We are sweating a lot but didn’t get any water. I have to take out water bottles from my storage. We are only given some food and water at meal time.
The whole march is moving a pretty fast pace. After a day and night, we meet up with more troops in a camp. We will rest here for tonight. We are moved to a small tent near the outskirt of the camp. I check where my rescuers are. They are outside the camp so I can expect the rescue tonight.
I have to admit that I am annoyed because no rescue operation can happen that night.
“Stand down and give me reports on the front line.”
In the biggest tent in the center of the camp, the general who happened to be the commander from the small group of troops are listening to his subordinates’ reports.
“We are two days away from the front line. We are expected to meet up with General Rosford at the afternoon tomorrow.”
“How many are their troops?”
“The same number as us at two thousands troops.”
“Good. With this number, we can finally push them back.”
“General, there is a report from our scout. The enemy has received reinforcements. They are now numbered fifteen thousands troops while we only have eight thousands troops.”
“What!? We are nearly outnumbered two to one. Is there more reinforcement coming in?”
“None, General. This is all we can afford now. The west is getting restless so they cannot send reinforcements anymore.”
“Give me reports on their composition and ours.”
“They have approximately twelve thousands infantries with eight thousands of them being militia, three thousands light infantries, and one thousand heavy infantries.”
“Where are the cavalries?”
“We can’t find them. There are a thousand cavalries before they disappeared without any trace.”
“How did we lose sight of such a large number of cavalries?”
The subordinates are lowering their faces.
“Send out the scouts. I don’t want to be ambushed before we reach the front line.”
“How about our troops?”
“We have around four thousands light infantries, one thousand heavy infantries, two thousands and five hundreds cavalries, and five hundreds magicians.”
“How many militia?”
“None. They are either sent back or have deserted us.”
“What are they thinking sending them back? We are going at faster pace tomorrow.”
“General! We won’t be able to fight immediately if we march faster than this.”
“If we are late then we won’t have any fight at all. The front line has been collapsing since the First Prince’s defeat. We have to act fast.”
“Send those cursed children tonight! We don’t know how that oracle will work so we can only do this.”
“Will this country fall like this? I won’t allow it. Send out orders that we will march at dawn and have them rest earlier. Also, send messenger to General Rosford to hasten their march.”
The troops are getting busy at that night contrary to their expectation for a long rest. The cursed children and cursed artifacts are sent that night with haste to the front line.
“Huh? I thought we will rest for a night here. Why would we be gathered at the wagon?” (Soldier A)
“General’s order! We have to deliver the package to the front line immediately.” (Rider)
“What!? We haven’t rest yet!?” (Soldier B)
“Just move it or you will be sent to jail for insubordination.” (Rider)
The outside of the wagon is noisy. I wake up along with the other slaves. Suddenly, wagon shook a little and we are moving. This is too sudden. We have just arrive this evening and we are moving already. I can hear the soldiers outside complaining.
It looks like we are moving at faster pace from before. The soldiers are all riding horses and fully equipped. One glance and we know that we are moving into danger zone soon. We are moving through the night without any obstacle on the way. There are occasional stops to check their direction.
At day time, the soldiers fight off some deserter-turned-bandits. Though their numbers are sometimes big, they don’t pose any problem to the cavalries marching with us. Well, there are times when the smaller band of bandits are killed off by Earth’s soldiers.
We reach another camp at the evening. This camp is much larger than the last camp. A lot of lightly injured soldiers are moving about. Bandages are covering their faces, torso, and waist. Heavily injured people can be seen inside a large tent that we pass through. It should be their field infirmary.
We are brought to a large tent that is much more luxurious than other tents. There are flags outside the tent. We are moved from inside the cage to the tent.
“Halt! State your business!”
“We are delivering packages from the king. This is the order.”
The soldier leading our way, takes out a paper and gives it to the guard. The guard reads it for a while and gets inside to report.
“Messenger from General Eugene has arrived!”
“Let them in.”
The guard comes out and urge us in. We move into the tent. There are a large table in the middle and several other small tables at the sides. There are three people surrounding the large table. One of them is still young and around my ages. He shouldn’t be more than twenty.
“We have arrived with the packages. This is the people sent by His Majesty’s order. The artifacts are outside.”
“We have received the packages. You may go out.”
“Excuse me, Your Highness. I still have to transfer the slave’s authority over. Who should I transfer it to?”
“Transfer it to me. I will see if I can use them.”
“Yes, Your Highness. Please, excuse me.”
The soldier stand in front of the young man and hover his hand on top of the young man’s right hand. A magic formation can be seen hovering between their hands. The soldier is chanting in low voices so I can’t hear it. Shortly after, the magic formation is sucked into the young man’s hand.
“It is finished. Please, excuse us.”
“Alright, you may go. The slaves are to stay here.”
“You heard me. Leave them here.”
The soldier quickly moves out of tent and leaves us. The young man looks over us. I am not interested in this young man. The map is more interesting and important. This map reveals our situation. I need to know everything I can to ensure my safety. Looking at the map, we are in dire situation.
One big mark is facing three big marks. They are surrounding the one in a crescent shape. The place is in this huge area of plain. This plain is have small elevations but overall it is just a really huge open plain suitable for cavalries. The young man suddenly speaks.
“Hey, young man. Do you know how to see map? You are seeing it so intently.” (Young man)
“I can and we are in a dire situation. With their number, they will overwhelm us in a direct fight. How do you plan to fight them?” (Erwin)
“You bastard! Is that how you talk as a slave?” (General A)
The young man hold out his hand to pacify the man. The other man is looking with disinterest eyes.
“Ho? You understand it pretty quickly despite just seeing the map.” (Young man)
“Anyone can understand it with a little knowledge.” (Erwin)
“Then, tell me. How will you escape from this situation?” (Young man)
“So, you don’t have a plan after all. I will retreat in this situation.” (Erwin)
“Ha!? All of us can think of it but we can’t retreat.” (General A)
“You don’t need to know.” (General A)
“We cannot allow them any further than this. Our front line has been pushed too far.” (Young man)
“How will you fight them then?” (Erwin)
“Using advanced magic to strike them.” (Young man)
“What is your chance of winning with that?” (Erwin)
“How is it, General Gerard?” (Young man)
“Really low. We don’t have enough magicians to cast large scale advanced magic.” (Gerard)
The other general responds with low heavy voice. He should be the field commander of the army that I heard from rumor. General Gerard is the best general in Yamato Kingdom. He has commanded two campaigns with huge success.
This time, he is tasked to defend the kingdom from the attacking three kingdoms. The problem is he can’t fully utilize his skills in defensive battle especially where he is outnumbered by thousands of soldiers. He barely held on until the Prince’s army was defeated.
“Hmm... Since this is concerning my survival, I will help you think up a plan but I have three demands.” (Erwin)
“What kind of demands?” (Young man)
“I want to know if you can guarantee that my demands can be fulfilled.” (Erwin)
“I am the First Prince of Yamato, Prince Kojiro and this is General Gerard, the field commander of this army.” (Kojiro)
Hmm? An Asian name? Whatever.
“I came to this country to have a negotiation but I am captured and enslaved due to this hair. This can’t be ignored. First, I want to be released from slavery along with the others with me.” (Erwin)
“Hmm... Why should I release them?” (Kojiro)
“They are also enslaved because of their hair color. This hair color didn’t have any connection to curse at all. Majority of people in my homeland have this hair color and we are living just fine.” (Erwin)
“They are them and this is my country’s citizen. Why should we follow your demand?” (Kojiro)
“Good point. I will take them out of your country. This way, you won’t have to worry about curse and they are free. How about it?” (Erwin)
“Hmm. There is nothing to lose. Okay, I accept it.” (Kojiro)
“Second demand. I want to be rewarded after this is all over. I don’t want to work for free.” (Erwin)
“Accepted. What is the last demand?” (Kojiro)
“Before that, I want to know something. When do you think they will attack?” (Erwin)
“The earliest will be tomorrow. They have just reached here this afternoon after we arrived so they will rest tonight.” (Kojiro)
“Then, for my last demand, I will command the army for this battle.” (Erwin)
I say it to the field commander, General Gerard. Silence ensues. The general and the young man are staring hard at Erwin while General Gerard is glaring at me. I have to hold my fear back. The slaves don’t understand what happened and are scared stiff.
“Why must you command my army?” (Gerard)
“This should be a fast paced battle. If I have to relay it to the commander each time, it will delay the command or the command might not even be carried out.” (Erwin)
“My army won’t listen to a newcomer. You can give up the thought of commanding my army.” (Gerard)
“Then, I won’t tell you my plan.” (Erwin)
Gerard discusses the matter with other general and Prince Kojiro. I am studying the map while they are discussing. I have planned out a rough plan for the defensive battle but I need more confirmation on the terrain and troops available. There are several plans and there is only one that is most suitable for this. The problem is how they will be accepted and how the enemy’s generals will react. Having the ability to directly command the army is needed here.
After a while, General Gerard comes to me.
“I have my own demand for your last demand. Will you accept it?”