Chapter 18 – Backing out from the Front Lines
“The knight’s duty is to protect the king. Thus, tis is the height of shamefulness that I am ordered to stay at home while Prince Schild, my lord, master, and king, is outside battling on his own.”
Schild couldn’t help but be stupefied on the unexpected reply of her loyal knight.
In the first place, why did Schild arrive at such decision?
In the previous battle with Ante, it was predicted that the outcome of their skirmish would be a short one, so Schild allowed Lesnussa and the knights to participate as he thought he could immediately make them return just in case something happens to the capital.
But this time, it would be a long campaign that could lead to a possibility of a castle siege. And considering it was also the enemy’s stronghold, heavy resistance should be expected upon their arrival. In other words, it was already a guaranteed prolonged battle of attrition either way.
Whatever happens, they must leave adequate personnel in place to defend the royal capital just in case the enemy splits their forces and attacks the city.
Lesnussa also knew of this, but she was so uncomfortable staying at home that she started talking back, even though she wasn’t asked to.
“Also, wouldn’t it be more appropriate if it’s Lady Carney who is in charge of the royal capital defense instead of me?”
Carney yelped out in surprise upon her sudden call, but Lesnussa further added.
“The Lady Carney’s abilities are already well known, and since rumors have already been confirmed both inside and outside the country that she will be the first consort of Master Schild, I think this is the best time to make her establish her standing throughout the kingdom. Also, what better person is there to choose to defend one’s home in her husband’s absence if not the wife?”
“I refuse! I have been with Lord Schild in every battle since he came to the royal capital! There’s no way I will declare my absence now!”
Carney also took a firm stance of refusal.
“Right. In that case, since Miss Lagothe has come all the way here, how about we put her in charg-“
“Are you right in the head, Schild!? How can you expect me, a complete stranger to these things, to be in charge of such heavy responsibility!?”
No one wanted to play the role of the keeper, and sparks flew at the meeting.
It was a problem that no one saw coming among the attendees in the room.
“Can I ask something?”
It was then when the Oscar’s former patriarch came in. He raised his hand in a gesture of exuberance as if he was totally not an old man. If you a re ab le to r ead th is me ss age, y ou are read ing f ro m an unau tho rized a ggreg ate s ite. Read at my Word Pres s at stab bing wit h a syr inge. ho me. bl og to suppo rt m e and my tran slat ions.
“Instead of him leading the army, why not let the prince stay in the capital?”
This time, it was Schild who was perplexed by the sudden mention of his name.
“The royal family has always been a militaristic one. I know that because I had been at the forefront of their campaigns and operations numerous times. Not to mention, Prince Schild is one of the bravest kings in modern times. I am sure that he is itching to settle the matter with his own hands, just like his father, King Preslate, who once took the lead in the battle to exterminate the previous army of the Demon Lord.”
“But in that case…”
“But as you mentioned earlier, this is a castle siege. To take down a well-defended stronghold requires far more effort and time than a field battle.”
And because that is the case, we shall not rush the commander-in-chief of our army at the first opportunity to avoid showing them our whole hand, the old patriarch continued to add.
“Instead, Prince Schild shall first get a bird’s eye view of the war from the royal capital. Then, when it comes to the critical point, he will lead the reserve force from here and go all out to crush them once and for all.”
“As for the first party, leave it to the three women here who are busy screwing around with each other. If they make a good show by the time His Highness comes over, who knows? They might be rewarded well…if you know what I mean.”
At the suggestion of the retired old man, Carney, Lesnussa, and Lagothe, who had been quarreling and arguing a while ago, immediately widened their eyes. Then, they took the offer of the former patriarch with no questions asked.
“Very well! As a man who fights alongside Lord Schild, I will prove that I’m not only good as an enthroned assistant!”
“It is the knight’s duty to fight for the king. As such, to this humble officer, a battle like this is nothing but the best outcome!”
“To fight in the front lines is what I’m here for! And I’d rather choose this any day than becoming some sort of glorified warden!”
Seeing the three of them now on good terms as if the earlier bickering was just a farce, Schild let out a sigh of relief.
Then, he approached the Oscar elder and told him in a whisper.
“Thanks. You really saved my hide back there. Thanks to your compromise, the meeting didn’t turn into a lovers’ quarrel.”
“It’s the wisdom of old men. You will have the chance to fulfill these roles yourself when you get old.”
Anyways, with this plan, Schild’s presence from the front line would be absent in the first half of the battle.
Instead, his presence would be put into use in the rear guard at the royal capital, staying home and playing as an overseer as the vanguard composed of Carney, Lesnussa, and Lagothe commence their assault on the enemy forces.
“I have another concern, though. In this upcoming big battle.”
“What is it?”
“The Hex of the Gladiator.”
It was the curse derived from the innate powers of the royal blood and is used by the New Demon Lord’s Army in their series of experiments with the abducted King Preslate.
It was a spell that made those “enslaved to the king” invincible, creating the strongest valiant warriors on the battlefield that are impervious to harm unless it is from a royal blood.
“It’s true that the hex is not a problem for me, as the hex has the disadvantage of being useless against the royal family, but that is not the case for them.”
If a possessor of the “Hex of the Gladiator” were to appear on a battlefield without Schild, it would only mean that the defeat of the Kingdom’s army would be good as assured.
In the past two cases where the “Hexes” had appeared, both sides had been resolved due to Schild’s presence, but it couldn’t be denied that if Schild had become unavailable at that time or came at a much later date, it would have been the human side that had lost by a huge margin.
“This makes me think that our victories till this day have been nothing but sheer luck…”
“Indeed, and it’s spine-chilling for me as well. In any case, it is a good idea not to let the prince leave the capital so carelessly.”
There is but only one Schild.
If he leaves for the battlefield, the capital would be empty, and if he stays in the capital, there would be no cards for the Kingdom’s vanguards to counter the Hex of the Gladiator. Th s chapt er tra nslation is m ade poss ibl e by sta bbi ng wit h a sy ri nge tra nslat ion s. che ck o nly up -to -da te trans latio ns on my Wor dpre ss sit e.
It will be a distressing situation, no matter where he will be put in.
“Argome. How many of those “Gladiators” does the New Demon Lord’s Army have at the ready?”
“Not too many, that’s for sure.”
Upon asking, Argome easily revealed the confidential information of their camp in a generous way to Schild.
“The “Hex of the Gladiator” is Zaria’s private research, and she is so tight-lipped about it that even I am not allowed to see the details. However, from the way she sometimes talks about it, it seems that it is impossible to bestow the curse on many soldiers at once.”
“I see. In other words, the possibility of a situation where all of our enemies are “gladiators” is as good as nil then. At least, that’s one problem solved.”
This was Schild’s concern ever since he discovered the existence of such “Hex” from Dernonos. As such, he was relieved to hear that the horror he imagined will not become a reality.
“Still, it is inevitable that we will encounter one of these “Gladiators” before we reach Zaria. For one, the “Mad Demon Warrior” Berzeld already had the blessing.”
The “Mad Demon Warrior” Berzeld.
The third of the “Four Devas” Schild has been told about in the past.
“Berzeld is a dangerous being. That Demon is the most powerful of the Four Devas in terms of raw strength alone, and their only interest is in destruction and killing.”
“That being is so dangerous that we couldn’t even hold a proper conversation as allies. Or rather, even though we are the same “Devas”, we never actually “talked” to Berzeld.”
Ante also joined in the conversation, confessing to them the strangeness of the strongest singularity of the New Demon Lord’s Army.
“If such a curse is added to a being like that, then that being is as good as untouchable. Should I go?”
“Please rethink again, Master Schild! We will feel even more useless if we always leave all the troublesome things to you!”
Lesnussa cited her persistence, but Schild was unfazed.
“There’s nothing we can really do about it. Should we rethink our formation from scratch for the remaining Devas and that troublesome curse?” But when Schild was about to say that…
The one who threw a light of salvation on the darkening situation was Argome, the former enemy of Schild.
“About the “Hex of the Gladiator” and Berzeld. I think I might have something to fill in that hole.”