Second Death Row Series: A Death Row Convict Teaches at a School of Magic - Cel b7
Translator: MadHatter Editor: MadHatter
The following step has been taken right away once the battle formation and strategy had been established.
In the abrupt and bustling headquarters tent, I left the headquarters tent after the young man gave me a brief recess. I took another look at the camp’s map.
Uranus Hill was the only elevated area in this forested region, and the hill and its surroundings were covered with nothing but short grass similar to that which grew in a meadow, and its size was so broad and high that its existence could be seen from far away, even if viewed from outside of the forest.
The hill itself was also fairly spacious, for the roughly 1,000 Imperial Army soldiers that were now congregated there. This area of the world may be the only one with this type of topography, but the young man said, “It looks like Ayers Rock,” when he first saw this hill, suggesting that there may have been a similar terrain in the Kingdom of Ortesia.
Whatever the case, Uranus Hill was broad and elevated above its surroundings. Therefore, conventional weapon strikes on the hillside have been proven to be ineffective during prior engagements with Zaghir’s forces. If Zaghir’s forces were to capture this area, they would have to either climb the slope that spread out gently in front of them and to the left and right, or they would have to rush up the precipitous cliffs located behind them.
For the latter, our utmost force has already been deployed, as they suffered a bitter blow the last time. And the five hundred-odd soldiers, minus the rear support group, who have positioned themselves close to the top of the hill, which will be the front line. Given that there were currently 1,000 soldiers in Uranus, only about half of them were engaged in the front line, revealing that the young man had indeed brought wounded and sick soldiers with him to bulk up the number of soldiers.
“What are you going to do with all these wounded soldiers you are bringing?”
During the meeting, this issue inevitably came up.
In response, he answered with a cool face.
“Their presence is meaningful in terms of encouraging Zaghir’s army to press the offensive. However, they are still a force to be reckoned with. I will ask them to do something, but I will most likely ask them to serve as the ‘eyes’.”
The “eyes” was a reconnaissance-type lens originally developed by the imperial government.
With a rounded form that can fit in one’s palm, it can be freely manipulated by sacred power, and by operating it, the user will be linked to the lens installed within, allowing them to see the surroundings directly via the lens.
The drawback with this device was that it can only be utilized within a five-kilometer radius of the user, regardless of the fact that it may be quite beneficial in warfare and reconnaissance circumstances. The user would feel anguish as if their own eye had been shattered if the lens were to be destroyed during synchronization since even the nerves would be synchronized. Aside from the former, the latter problem can be fatal, and without a firm mentality, it may even lead to suffering from aftereffects. Depending on the perspective, this role—which typically belonged to the slave class—might be considered more hazardous than the front line.
But it was also true that, in the midst of a war in which even the losing side was still profoundly in crisis, we could not afford to be complacent. The usage of the “eyes” was still widespread despite the reality that 10,000 or more people went blind every year, and this time, even those who issued commands from the rear would be placed in the heart of a perilous battlefield. No one opposed to the usage of the “eye” among the wounded troops, many of whom were general rank.
“Ah, my deployment.”
The most critical part, which I forgot to do, was to double-check where my deployment would be. Since I had promised to inform Eira about it later, it would be wise to check it as soon as possible. I had earlier glanced for it in the headquarters tent but couldn’t locate my position.
With this in mind, I stretched out the deployment map, but I had trouble finding my name. The front line came first, followed by the headquarters tent, and subsequently Brownie’s position in the rear. After checking them one by one, and almost tilting my head in confusion when I couldn’t find my name, I finally discovered my name.
First Relay Line Special Flying Corps Kanaki Taiga
Observer Thilia Schubert
“…You must be joking.”
All at once, my complexion turned pale and my vision rapidly narrowed. A shiver coursed through me and I even broke out in a chilly sweat despite feeling hot and sweaty only seconds before.
An observer. My gaze was drawn to the letters at the beginning of my name. What this word means, in other words, was the role of the “eyes”.
Up until a few minutes ago, the exchange seemed to be about something else’s matter, but now it suddenly loomed up to me. When I heard that a wounded soldier was assigned to the role of “eyes,” I felt sympathy and pity for him, but I was also somewhat relieved. This was because when those who were initially assigned as operators were frequently tasked with supply units or reconnaissance—in other words, acting as the “eyes”—when they were dispatched to the front lines as soldiers.
Even if you were in the rear, you should think of it as an ever-present battlefield.
“―Ever-present battlefield. That reminds me of an old lady at military school.”
The words that had been playing in my brain were suddenly whispered in my ear, and I thought my heart had failed to beat.
“I didn’t expect to find your face to be on the battlefield, but you’re an observer at the first relay point. You are the definition of a “death job,” aren’t you? Did you engage in any behavior that made your superior detest you?”
Calling out the name of the girl of my classmate with a trembling voice, she gave a slightly troubled smile and pointed with her thumb at a log that was lying nearby.
“There is still time. Let’s take a break and talk, crybaby.”
We sat down side by side on the log after I wiped my tears with my fingers.
While many people were moving swiftly in and out owing to preparations, I noticed that there were also other troops, like us, relaxing and taking breaks. I eventually realized that they were the individuals assigned with serving as the first line of defense—the very first to be on the front line.
“The reconnaissance crew has not yet communicated with us. Yakko and the others are probably still struggling with preparations. As soon as things get going, we are unable to take a break. Let’s relax and let the folks in the rear do the intricate job.”
After saying this, Eira lighted a cigarette she had taken from her pocket and placed it on her lips.
She offered me one as well after taking a breath, but of course, I politely declined.
For a while, silence reigned. My brain, which had been in a state of panic earlier, craved time to collect its thoughts. Eira knew this, so she simply smoked her cigarette and didn’t say anything.
How long had passed since then? Eira had just put out her fourth cigarette and lit up her fifth when I said in a hushed voice.
“…I’m a first-time observer.”
“No doubt. Even I have never been an observer.”
“I wonder if I screwed something up…”
This operation was coordinated by my superior. If so, he would have been the one to choose to put me in this situation regardless of the specifics. The relay line functioned as a point where the fleeing soldiers could use it as a ladder to climb out of vulnerable positions if the defense line was breached. It was shocking that he would be accompanying me to such a deadly site, but what was even more astounding was the choice to designate me as an observer, the so-called “death job,” and a sense of resentment began to build within me.
What the hell, I will curse him if I die.
“If something goes wrong with your superior, even if you are not at fault, everything will collapse on us. For instance, your boss is trying to win people’s trust by putting you in a precarious position and then using you as a scapegoat in case something goes south.”
Now that you put it that way, I can see how that might be a possibility. Ah, I knew that he was very skillful in risk management.
I did, however, also recognize that there was a part of me that wasn’t at ease with it.
“Do you think he would go to such lengths just for self-preservation?”
“As if I know. I’ve never even met him. Shouldn’t you be focusing more on how to survive now?”
Right. But as a military officer, I must adhere strictly to the directives of my superior and cannot openly disobey instructions. What I should focus on was to somehow save my life while obeying his orders to the extent that I would not be summoned to appear before the Court of Inquiry. Well, I supposed even someone like him won’t be the kind of soldier who would say, “Stall the enemy until you die here!” or something like that.
“The left-wing is where I’ll be stationed. On that side, you have me, so unless something happens, you’ll be fine, and on the right, you have Vincent. At least there is Gowes, but the fact that that monstrous woman is in the rear of the team makes me uneasy about the strength of the force. We can move in accordance with the enemy’s location if the reconnaissance is effective, but what would happen is still uncertain… Moreover, the forces that are going to seize the opposing base will follow Yakko’s lead. It’s almost like a siege without reinforcements.”
“Ugh… even if you don’t bother telling me that, I can tell…”
“So, don’t fret about what you can’t do, think about what you are going to do. Even if you’re unfortunate, it only means dying, so calm down Take it easy.”
“You really are…”
Eira stood up after extinguishing the cigarette with a single swipe of her shoe. It seemed that she was going to go back to her position.
I sighed and got to my feet as well. In any case, it would be detrimental if I did not meet up with the young man again soon.
Despite what Eira had told me, my mood was not going to shift that easily. With a heavy heart, I made my way to the headquarters tent.
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