«AN: Three simultaneous chapter updates. They are on the same points timeline-wise so you can read them in any order (probably)»
«TN: Renaming Van to Vannes. Same pronunciation»
[The Five-Day War]
This war that in later years would come to be called thus unexpectedly birthed a large number of classic idioms – idioms like [as a fish to water] that originate in an ancient event. They come in various kinds, like strategies or maxims, but if the person they originate from were to hear of them, they would likely be able to do nothing but make a sour face. For to them, these five days were a frantic battle of life and death.
◇ ◇ ◇
~ Day 1 – Noon – A certain place ~
In the slightly gloomy room, I was receiving a report of the [Principality of Amidonia Army Invasion] from Hakuya. On top of the large center table lay a still larger map of the Kingdom of Elfrieden and its environs. It was exactly what you’d call a war HQ. Hakuya placed a chess piece representing the Amidonian Army on the southern part of that map.
«TN: BEHOLD my shitty mapdrawing skills»
“The Amidonian Army invaded after crossing the Ursula Mountains. I was informed that they had left Gordoa Valley and are now besieging Altomura. They numbered approximately thirty thousand”
“Their total military strength is about forty thousand, right? They sure brought out a lot”
“They seem to have thrown all the troops they can move. They’re staking their whole bet on this”
“Well, it’s good that they didn’t pass by Carmine Duchy. It would be a lot of trouble if they meddled in our fight with the army”
“That would be a needless fear. We properly ‘arranged’ things so that doesn’t happen”
Hakuya said so in a composed manner. He was full of confidence but … Thinking of the trouble the villages on the Amidonian Army’s path went through, I can’t really be happy.
“…… I thought it was an old and worn tactic, but it unexpectedly went well”
“Well, humans basically believe what they want to believe. Your highness must pay attention as well”
“I’ll take it to heart. All right then, how are the Amidonians going to move”
“After capitulating Altomura, they would sweep out the surrounding areas, They would probably want to secure the breadbasket region. Once they gained control of the region they would likely declare the land theirs”
To be staking everything on looting someone in a crisis.
“It might be expected of them, but …. How miserly”
“That’s because of the difference in national power. This is the limit for the military Amidonia possesses”
“I suppose so. How about the Altomura garrison?”
“Including the reinforcements we can send in, about five thousand”
Thirty thousand vs five thousand. That’s six times the difference.
“……. How long will they hold out?”
“It’s a fortress town sitting on plain ground, not suitable for defense. Added with the difference in manpower, they probably won’t stand two days of continuous siege”
“They will fall in one day at worst, huh?”
Which means if you consider information delays, it won’t be strange for them to have fallen already. However, this is only counting from when open hostilities began. I said to Hakuya with a smile.
“We anticipated this and sent ‘that person’ in, didn’t we?”
“It is as you say. It’s only a matter of whether they can hold out”
“Then we won’t change our strategy. We won’t ‘send reinforcements’ to Altomura”
“It’s a daring move, I think”
Hakuya bowed to Soma’s decision.
◇ ◇ ◇
~ At the same time – Altomura Environs ~
At the time the decision was made by Soma and Hakuya, one man was grovelling in the headquarters of the Amidonian Army encircling Altomura. The name of this thin and obviously timid man was Wyst Garrotte, the Lord governing this area. As a resident of Altomura, he should be the man leading the defense of Altomura, but because of the circumstances, he was now kowtowing in front of Gaius VIII who was leading the Amidonian Army. Standing next to Gaius VIII who was sitting on a stool, was the Crown Prince Julius. Gaius, glaring at Wyst, said.
“Hoo … you mean Altomura will capitulate without resisting?”
“H, hyesh! We do not intend to oppose the Amidonian Army!”
Wyst replied with a slight stutter. Gaius narrowed his eyes.
“……. Let’s hear your reason”
“Nothing else but because it’s impossible for us to defend against you! Altomura is a town built on a grain producing plains region which is not an easy terrain to defend. We also only have the walls for defense, and only several thousand guards, too. Under attack by these tens of thousands of troops, it will only be a matter of time until we fell!”
Gaius looked toward Julius, to which Julius silently nodded, signalling that there wasn’t anything strange with what he was saying. Gaius nodded, “humm”.
“Then will you fall under us?”
“Yes. Without a way to defend ourselves we can only beg for Your Princely Highness’s pity”
Hearing Wyst, Gaius grinned.
“Very well. Now open the gates”
“I, I would ask you to wait a little for that”
Gaius’ eyebrows twitched in displeasure.
“R, right now opinion is divided between the anti-war faction and the resistance faction. There are some from the resistance faction who claims that they will [kill all Amidonians even if we capitulated], and even some from the anti-war faction are suspected of it as well”
“Hoo … Would that be you?”
“T, that’s unthinkable! I’m begging for my life here. Please don’t be suspicious of me”
“But it is a fact that there are people with that opinion. Which is why I went into this camp first to listen to what your Princely Highness has to say”
Gaius gave Wyst’s words some thought. What he said wasn’t strange but then, should he believe this man’s words or not. While Gaius was deep in thought, Julius interjected.
“Even if you don’t persuade the people inside the fort, we can always attack Altomura, you know?”
“Yes. I understand that all too well”
Wyst replied to Julius while still in the prostrating position.
“However, there are fools who still doesn’t understand that. I would not want Your Highness Gaius or your soldiers to be hurt on account of those fools. If you would allow me my life I will direct the opinion of the people inside”
Looking at Wyst bowing up and down like a locust, Julius wanted to spit on him in his mind.
(Damn opportunist. Have the Royal Nobles fallen this far. … hmph, well it’s obvious since even the Three Dukes’ Georg Carmine became like that)
After Julius had calmed himself thusly, Gaius slapped his lap with a loud pop.
“Very well. If you capitulate then I guarantee the safety of those inside the fort. Get back inside the fort at once and get your act together”
Hearing Gaius, Wyst became so happy he almost flew.
“T, thank you very much! Then please, excuse me!”
No sooner than he said that, he left the HQ in a quick trot. While looking at his receding back, Julius inquired Gaius.
“Is this all right?”
“Hmph, if they capitulate then we’ve already won”
Gaius made an evil smile.
“I don’t need a mouse that cowers before the enemy. Once we’re done with him we’ll put his head on the gates as an example”
“Fufufu … I see”
Julius also made an evil smile.
Gaius stood up from his stool and sent orders to all his generals to [Enter Altomura as soon as it capitulates and gain total control].
However, until the sun has set the Altomura castle gates showed no signs of opening.
“Ey! What is Wyst doing!”
Gaius became irritated. On the other hand, Julius calmly analysed the situation.
“Did he fail to direct opinion inside the fort … or he might be plotting something against us”
“Goddammit! Let’s send in all troops immediately!”
“Please wait. If the enemy has a plan then it would be dangerous to attack at night. Also, if you consider the possibility of a surprise night attack, it’s better to harden defenses and wait the night. Once dawn broke and we attack with full force, that town will fall within half a day.
Being rightly pointed out by Julius, Gaius lowered his raised fist.
“Uggh … Can’t be helped”
Gaius accepted Julius’ plan and ordered his generals to wait until dawn to attack, but even while being relieved with Gaius’ judgement, Julius felt a bad premonition coming from the direction of Altomura.
(I have … a bad feeling about this. It’s like we’re being dragged, dragged down somewhere deep … something like that. It doesn’t feel like something Wyst Garrote would do, though … )
The direction he was looking, Altomura, was eerily quiet.
◇ ◇ ◇
~ Day 2 ~
The dawn has broken. The night raid Julius feared didn’t come.
Gaius VIII went to his whole army to attack, As planned. Just then…
[[[ UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHH!!! ]]]
From within the silent walls of Altomura, an eerie war cry rose. It was so spirited that Gaius hesitated to give the attack orders. What in the world happened to Altomura that was so quiet yesterday? Did reinforcements arrive? Gaius’ head was so filled with all sorts of questions he was unable to make a decision.
Meanwhile, a horseman rushed in from the direction of Altomura towards the Amidonian camp.
The one riding the horse was that Wyst Garrotte. Wyst dehorsed so fast he looked like he almost rolled over, and kowtowed before Gaius with a face full of fear.
“Wyst! Where’s your promise to open the gates for us!”
Gaius yelled at him and Wyst made himself even smaller.
“I, I’m very sorry! The people inside the fort had fallen into desperation, and it took a lot of time to persuade them”
“Ei, I’ll have none of your excuses!”
Gaius unsheathed the sword he was wearing and thrusted the tip at Wyst’s neck.
“I’ll have your head and make an example of it for the people inside!”
“W, with all due respect Your Highness. I know this is not for me to say … but they have lost proper judgement being surrounded by these tens of thousands of troops …”
While being terribly flustered, Wyst started making excuses.
“T, that war cry coming from Altomura just now was because of voices saying [Amidonia isn’t going to keep their promises anyway so we’re going to take them down with us]”
Gaius, who was actually planning to go back on his word could not say a word. The soldiers inside the fort were death soldiers, warriors with the resolve to die, which means forcing an attack would be risky. Death soldiers are like machines that’ll keep on fighting for as long as they draw breath, so naturally, they inflict more damage than normal soldiers. They won’t change the fact of Amidonia’s victory, but that is exactly why he doesn’t want to waste manpower here.
Unable to silently watch, Julius interjected.
“Father, there will be large casualties fighting death soldiers, we must avoid it. Let’s show magnanimity here and let Sir Wyst go back and persuade them one more time, how about it?”
Wyst jumped at Julius’ proposal, almost as if to say “I will stake my life on it!”
“T, this time, I will make sure to persuade the people inside the fort!”
Gaius pondered, but in the end he decided to leave it to Wyst.
“Very well. Consider this your last chance”
“Y, yes! Please leave it to me!”
“Hmph … but how can we show our generosity?”
“In that case, how about lifting the siege once I’m back inside the fort?”
This proposal of Wyst’s raised Gaius’ ire.
“Raise the siege you say!? Are you making fun of me!?”
“P, perish the thought! Of course, it would be just for a little while! At least until noon, if you would lift the siege I can use Your Princely Highness’ magnanimity to persuade the citizens!”
“Hmph,” snorted Gaius.
“…….. very well. I will lift the siege until noon. If you still haven’t opened the gates by then we will force ourselves in. Is that clear?”
“Y, yes! I will surely persuade the people inside!”
As Wyst returned as vigorously as the way he came, Gaius promptly moved and lifted the siege on Altomura. Of course, in order to be able to immediately capture any forces inside the fort that might try and use this chance to slip out, he gave Julius the reins of a highly mobile corps and stationed them in front.
(Hmph, Altomura only has half a day left to live ….)
Gaius sent Altomura a gaze filled with hatred.
◇ ◇ ◇
~ At the same time, inside Castle Altomura ~
A woman was making herself at home in Wyst Garotte’s mansion within Altomura. Despite being inside a city that was besieged by fifty thousand men, the woman was elegantly enjoying her tea. Seeing the woman’s out of place boldness, Wyst who just came back from the Amidonia camp made a wry smile while explaining the details of the negotiation. There was not an ounce of his earlier disgraceful appearance at the Amidonia camp in his face right now.
“Is this all right, mam… no, Duchess Ecksel”
“Yes. You did well. So Wyst can put up an act now, there’s a good boy”
The woman sipping tea was the Admiral of the Navy Ecksel Walter. She looked to be in her mid-twenties but since she was actually a mizuchi who was over five hundred years in age, even Wyst who was in his fifties was a child to her”
“Duchess Ecksel … would you please stop treating me like a child?”
“Every marine are children from my point of view, though?”
“But I’m not a marine any more”
“Fufu, no matter how much you go up in life, you will always be my underling and a child”
“Ah–, so am I going to be stuck with the child treatment for life?”
Even when the human Wyst became a graying old man, the youthful-looking Ecksel will probably keep treating him like a child.
“But …. That new King is something too, isn’t he? To even make Duchess Ecksel do errands for him”
“His highness handles his people roughly. Even though I did swear fealty to him from the start, but to suddenly tell me to [take the Royal Broadcast orb and go to Altomura]”
Ecksel received the King’s Final Counsel three days ago, not in the Walter Duchy, but here in Altomura, in Wyst’s mansion. Because what was shown in the broadcast is limited, as long as one is in a properly prepared indoor space, one’s whereabouts would not be known. Even if an Amidonian spy were to see the broadcast, they will surely think that she was in Walter Duchy. Soma made use of that and secretly sent Ecksel to Altomura.
Her job was to stall the Amidonian Army. He expected the Amidonians to first take control of the city in the center of the breadbasket region, Altomura, and do sweeping attacks from there to gain effective control over the surrounding areas. Because he can’t afford to send reinforcements and had to keep casualties in check, he had no other way but to hold them out at Altomura, and even then he had to avoid a fight as much as possible. Which is why the job fell on the sly old fox Lady Ecksel.
“The Amidonians would never have guessed that Duchess Ecksel would be in a place like this”
“It would take three days to get here from Lagoon City after all. Well, I have been here since five days ago though … goodness gracious, His Highness sure handles his old workers roughly”
“Please don’t use your age only when it’s convenient”
“Self-derision is a good thing you know, though I absolutely won’t allow anyone else to say so about me”
You’re just as reckless as Duke Vargas! Wyst wanted to yell, but he kept it all in his chest. Even though he’s already past fifty years old he still values his life.
“By the way Duchess Ecksel. I could only buy time until noon, will that be alright? Do you still need a little more time for the plan?”
“It’s all right. If they would lift the siege until noon, they’ll need some more time to get it going again. If they wanted to do a full-scale assault then that would happen at dusk at the earliest”
“I see. So there’s nothing else for me to do?”
“Yes. Good work Wyst. Leave the rest to me and take a break”
Ecksel said so while smiling at Wyst like a gentle mother. Just by seeing that smile, Wyst felt like he could forget all the fear from when he was standing before Gaius VIII.
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«Elfrieden Classical Idioms Course»
[Lord of Altomura] … figure of speech. Denotes a person who makes promises they cannot keep. The origin of the term was when the Lord of Altomura, Wyst Garrotte, fell under attack by the Principality of Amidonia’s Gaius VIII at the brink of the Five Day War, he repeatedly made empty promise to Gaius that he “would capitulate” in order to buy time. Usage example: “He’s a L— so you’d be better off not believing him”