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Chapter 11: The Young Commanders

TL: No, I'm not stockpiling chapters, I seriously didn't have the time to do one yesterday. I don't think I'll be able to tomorrow either.

The Young Commanders

From the station in the center of the village, I issued orders on horseback.

Looking up in the sky, the Gryphon was looking down on us all from up high.

The air was filled with the cries of monsters, and the war cries of the soldiers, knights and fief.

We had greater numbers than that of the monsters.

But the numbers we had capable of combat was lower.

Even so...

[We hold the advantage in a defensive battle, but how will the Gryphon move... oy, we managed to let the orcs pass magnificently.]

As the Fifth said that, my Skills confirmed a few orcs had purposely been let passed, and cornered.

The Third spoke.

[How wonderful. How about you go meet them?]

His grin surfaced in my mind, and I let out a loud voice.

"Activate the traps on the east side! Move out!"

A large bell chimed in the number of times decided by the party of three. To confirm they had received the necessary instruction, bells rang out in return.

The small village was growing loud, and within that, the ancestors instructed me to make my orders short and precise.

For the expeditionary force made up of the odds and ends, complex orders wouldn't be transmitted.

The one stationed on the east side was Miranda.

The traps were quite simple ones.

Shannon popped her face out of Porter.

"You stay inside!"

"I can't help but be curious!"

Perhaps worried about her elder sister, Shannon looked to the east.

(Can she see it? Her eyes truly are amazing.)

While we were doing that, Marcus-san posed questions to me.

"Oy, it's really alright, right!? If they keep flooding in like this..."

The Sixth seemed quite irritated. Even if Marcus-san couldn't hear it, he shouted out.

[Don't raise a ruckus about the commander! You'll make the surroundings anxious!]

The Seventh seemed cold.

[Lyle's first defensive battle... and he has these men as his troops...]

Why did all the ancestors seem to be having such fun? I couldn't understand, nor did I have the sentiment to.

"... If they come in, we just have to fight them. We've made more than enough preparations for that sake."

And I confirmed the body of our troops with Skills.

There were some places stagnating, and some reducing the monsters' numbers at a favorable pace.

As I thought, this is where the gap in commander experience comes up.

(The one doing best is Clark-san's station. Crossbows sure are powerful.)

Enjoying himself, the Third spoke.

[Up so high in the sky, it thinks it's playing at being commander? Is it still young... I thought it would be a little more competent. How unfortunate.]

The Fourth spoke.

[It likely understands its disadvantage when we're on a defensive front. I doubt it had much of a choice. Well, perhaps that Gryphon cares not how many of the small fries are killed off? Lyle, make sure you command in a way that makes you stand out.]

If it were clever, the beast should be looking down at me.

Getting a grasp of who it was giving commands...

When the runners returned, I heard out their reports.

To put it bluntly, it wasn't necessary, but it was to show off who the commander was to the sky.

I was waiting for the Gryphon and Hippogryphs circling around the perimeter of the village to make a move.

-

-

-

... At the gate in the east, Miranda had nicely timed the opening of the gate to let in the attacking orcs.

Soaked in water and mud, the gate had a rope fastened to it, and it was always prepared to open and close.

Even when it was the bright and early morning, Miranda held a torch in good humor.

"As expected of Lyle. He knows who to use where."

The inside of the gate was fenced in by stockades.

In order to prevent the advance of intruders, logs with sharpened ends had been impaled into the ground, and the gaps between them were just enough that goblins wouldn't be able to make it past.

And in order to pierce their spears through those small openings, the soldiers were lying in wait.

When the gate opened, perhaps the enemy found it surprising as well, as they stared at Miranda with wide eyes.

Even with fencing in between them, the soldiers and knights faltered at their sight.

But the enemies that had attempted to ram the door open didn't find a point to transfer their momentum, so they tried to brace their feet as they burst through the gate.

"How unfortunate."

When Miranda smiled, the orcs continued sliding forward, pushed from behind, without an end, finding their place impaled on the spears.

Monsters came in one after another, but they were unable to deal with the spikes shooting through the gaps.

Miranda held up her torch, and a nearby soldier tossed a sack full of oil.

When the sack tore, Miranda chucked the flame.

"I'm sorry, we're over capacity."

She said that in a cute tone, as the burning monsters raised screams of agony.

For those among them that tried to use their comrades as footholds to escape to the other side of the stockades, the knights stuck their spears out to end them.

An ominous one-eyed bird tried coming down at Miranda from the sky, but she threw her knife, pierced its head, and it fell to the ground.

There were other, smaller, monsters left alive, but the men with their eyes clouded by the prospect of money surrounded them, and dealt the fatal blows.

"There really are too few. Come in three times that number next."

While complaining on the scarcity of good monsters, Miranda walked over to a slightly-far soldier with a bell, and notified him of their success.

The bell of the prevalence of the traps.

Another ring was immediately returned from the center.

"Yes, close the gate. I'll extinguish the fires, so step back."

Nearby buckets of water were grabbed and poured over the stockades.

The burning carcasses covering the earth let off a putrid scent.

Miranda didn't even grimace, as she calmly wrapped a cloth across her face.

Using the rope, the soldiers shut the door, and all the remaining monsters within it were promptly taken care of.

A nearby soldier called out to Miranda.

"It looks like it went well, Miranda-san!"

But all that came from her mouth was the single word, 'yep.'

(And wait, this is more of an add on. The main battle looks like it'll be around Aria again.)

Miranda worried for Aria on the north side, but she soon changed her thoughts.

(Now then, won't a troublesome monster come my way?)

Seeing the rejoicing troops around her, Miranda ordered for them to return to their stations at once...

-

-

-

...On the north of the village, fire was being rained on the gate.

Goblins wearing robes held up staves as they made use of magic.

But...

"Aim for the robed ones! The rest can wait!"

Clark issued out orders, as he shot down monsters with his crossbow.

Footing had been made on the inside wall, and he sniped them down from there.

Only the space in front of the gate had been left without a trench, so the monsters naturally gathered there.

"But the orcs are...!"

A crossbow wielding soldier cried out, but Clark handed his empty crossbow to his subordinate, and accepted another loaded one as he yelled in response.

He quickly stanced himself to aim to the outside of the wall.

"If it burns down, they'll come in all at once! Take down the troublesome monsters first!"

The screaming soldier, of course, knew that the orcs would pay out a higher reward. For that sake, he had wanted to focus his aim on them.

Clark continued his attacks with the priority of taking down their magic users as the basis for his aim.

He was perhaps the only one who continued hitting on the mark, and a large majority of arrows found their places in the ground.

Maybe they were nervous, as the nearby monsters were raising up quite a cry.

The orcs continued bashing at the doors, and it seemed like they could burst through at any minute.

(Even if we do have the traps in place, they can't help but be uneasy...)

His aimed bolt pierced a robed goblin, and it collapsed.

The number of enemies wasn't going down as quickly as he had hoped.

(But having them flow through, and leaving it to that girl is a little...)

On the inside, was the form of Aria, waiting for the monsters to break through.

She had slain a Hippogryph on the second day, so no one raised a complaint.

There wasn't a soul who thought she'd be done in by something on the level of an orc.

But there were no absolutes in the world.

Even a warrior who could take down orcs could lose their life if surrounded by measly goblins.

As one fought, there were ways of going about things to put them at an advantage or disadvantage.

Clark knew that.

"At the very least, I have to take down those... alright!"

His arrow found its mark again, and the final of the troublesome robed goblins fell. Hearing a scream from nearby, he saw a soldier had lost their footing.

"H-heeeeellpppp!!"

Attacked by a black crow-like monster with a single eye, he continued falling, and collided, likely suffering a fracture or two.

Clark immediately stopped the other crossbowed soldiers who had turned to aim at it.

"Don't shoot at it! You all just concentrate on the monsters outside!"

He was scared of them hitting an ally, but more than that, they already had their set roles.

The knights who came running struck at the monster with their spears. They saved the soldier, and carried him off as an injured.

The fall had caused the bowstring to snap, so one of their limited supply of crossbows had become unusable.

"Whoever was that man's partner, go accompany him! Everyone else, keep aiming at the monsters below!"

There were still plenty of monsters beyond the gate.

If those numbers were to enter, even if they could be defeated, the number of patients would increase.

So Clark continued to fire his crossbow...

-

-

-

When I learned that Miranda-san's side had gone through successfully, I sent out a runner.

"Send reinforcements from the east to the north. Ten soldiers!"

"Yes!"

Seeing the messenger run off, I looked to the sky.

Not showing a notable movement, it didn't even seem the numbers being shaved away even held any meaning to the Gryphon, as it continued sending its gaze over here.

The Second spoke.

[This is where it should come at you in one fell swoop! Attack from the sky or something already. There are plenty of ways!]

(Whose ally are you trying to be?)

The Third was...

[Lyle, make sure to follow through for Marcus and his group as well. They do seem to be quite irritated, so go give them a job or something.]

(And just what is it they're irritated about? They do have a prim and proper job to do!)

The Fourth...

[Don't just concentrate on one spot. Look over the entire field. Before the Gryphon comes, make preparations to send Marcus and the others as reinforcements to the north.]

(And I have to concentrate to get the right timing for that...)

The Fifth...

[Yeah, they really will be in the way.]

(I can't argue with that logic, but it's a request... why are my comrades the larger pain here?)

The Gryphon's party looking down on us from up high didn't display signs of action.

The Second spoke.

[... It's kinda like that. Perhaps the higherup wants you guys to exhaust your power dealing with the small ones before it comes in for the kill.]

The Seventh.

[Well from what I see, it is quite young. If it grew up just a little bit more, it may develop some wisdom in a good direction, but...]

For some reason, the Sixth was quite buoyant.

[Lyle, do you have your rope and cloth? Also, make sure you take the Gryphon in a single strike. It'll sell for quite a bit.]

The Fifth.

[If you get too much blood on it, you'll slip off. When you're riding its back, make sure you...]

(I ain't riding nothing!)

Atop the horse, I took a deep breath, and looked around.

The ones looking at me with clear displeasure were the ones stationed by my side. Marcus, and friends. They were irritatedly waiting for their part to come.

In contrast, Norma-san seemed quite calm sitting in her chair.

(... I wonder what it is. I did definitely receive the commanding authority, but for some reason, I want her to look a little more annoyed.)

I ignored the noisy ancestors in the Jewel, and spoke to Marcus-san.

"... After a while, I'll be having you go to the north as reinforcements. Please prepare yourself to move out at a moment's notice."

Marcus-san grew brighter, and more motivated, but it looked like Breid-san was reaching his limit.

"And when will that be! At this rate, the battle will draw to an end, will it not!?"

Marcus-san attempted to soothe him.

"O-oy..."

"And won't you pipe down!? The rest of my life is on the line in this battle!"

His life is on the line.

Hearing those words, I couldn't help but think.

... On something of this level...?

...

And I heard a shrill cry from high above. On that voice louder than a Hippogryph's, I looked up, and immediately gave orders to nearby runners.

"Tell the north gate to continue concentrating on defense! And the east gate that a Hippogryph is headed their way!"

The two messengers ran off.

And to Marcus-san and the others, looking at the sky in a similar fashion, I spoke.

"Wait on standby here! They'll come aiming at me."

Breid-san burst out.

"Why is that! Even I can make myself useful!"

Based on the map birthed by my Skills, one Hippogryph had headed off towards the east gate.

The Fourth spoke.

[Yes, perhaps it's because the numbers have dwindled there. They should have just come at Lyle, the three of them together. Or maybe gather in one place.]

The Second...

[But at that point, it'd just be reinforcements, and the end. And wait, the Fifth and Sixth's Skills sure are convenient. I'd have given an arm and a leg for them in my time.]

I abandoned Breid-san, and galloped off on the horse.

Having separated from Porter, I observed them again, to find the remaining Hippogryph and Gryphon were following me.

As I thought, they've come to crush the leader.

The Third spoke.

[Lyle, how about you exterminate the troublesome Hippogryph first? That one's just a small one borrowing the face of a big-shot. If it were human, it'd be a useless one.]

I wondered whether monsters really had that sort of typing, but the one who attacked me from my horse first was indeed the Hippogryph.

I used some Skills.

To output abilities beyond one's limit, [Limit Burst].

The Second's Skill that covered a wider range than All, [Field].

I leapt off the horse, and hit it with my right arm to signal it to run and take refuge.

"Lightning!"

An electric charge emerged, and came down at the two beasts.

The Hippogryph was hit without the chance to dodge, but the Gryphon showed off its leisure as it easily avoided.

Electrocuted, the Hippogryph fell to the ground.

But it was still alive.

Even when I ordered them to standby, Marcus-san and co. ran up.

"Ooooy!"

"Please flee!"

"As if we could do that! Even we're...!"

The Second spoke.

[Yeah, I'm getting a bad feeling about this one.]

The Seventh spoke.

[Lyle, leave the killing of the Hippogryph to these guys. You just take on the Gryphon.]

I immediately gave out orders.

"Then please take care of that Hippogryph. It's still alive and kicking, exercise the utmost caution!"

Saying that, I looked to the sky.

Peering in our direction as it drew a circle in the air, it seems the Gryphon still had me set as its target. The sharp glint in its eyes met with my own.

The Sixth spoke.

[Hahaha, it's staring at you, Lyle! Nice. That's a sign you've been recognized as one of the strong!]

That didn't make me happy at all, but I rushed forth, drawing my sabre in my right hand, and concentrating magic on my left.

I let out electricity a couple more times, but the Gryphon dodged my attacks.

(He's a troublesome one!)

While thinking myself shameful for never imagining a flying enemy to present this much trouble, I saw the Gryphon taking a nose-dive at me.

-

-

-

... On Lyle's words, Breid and the rest had surrounded the Hippogryph.

"Hey, isn't it fine if we just pierce it with a spear?"

"Nah, it's safest to drop its head."

The leader-ish man saw that the two alongside him were nervous, so he had presented out his spear first.

There, Breid stopped him.

"What do you think you're doing!? These sorts of monsters sell for much more with fewer external wounds. Also, there are plenty of nobles who enjoy to stuff them. We have to go for its heart."

The leader-ish man looked at the Hippogryph.

"Heart? No, how am I supposed to know where that is? Before it starts moving again, let's just..."

Perhaps Marcus was of the same opinion, as he was holding up his spear.

"Finish this already, and move on to the next. If we stay here any longer, it's not like we'll be earning more."

Breid took his own spear, aimed it, and stabbed in.

"... How loathful for our opinions to align, but truly, standing here makes nothing. Let's head out already. Also, please remember I'm the one who killed it while preserving the body. "

Marcus looked at Breid, and clicked his tongue.

"It's already burnt the hell up, though."

Breid looked at the Hippogryph Lyle had burnt up with his magic with annoyed eyes.

Even the things that he usually wouldn't pay much mind to became unnecessarily detestable when Lyle was involved.

He drew out his spear, and wiped off the blood before running off.

"Oy, wait up! I'm the damn leader here!"

So as not to lose, Marcus ran towards the north side, and the party of three followed behind.

... The fact that the Hippogryph's front leg had twitched, was a fact missed by all five...