Second Death Row Series: A Death Row Convict Teaches at a School of Magic - Cel b8
- Second Death Row Series: A Death Row Convict Teaches at a School of Magic
- Cel b8 - First Line of Defense
Translator: MadHatter Editor: MadHatter
Information from a reconnaissance party scouting the area the next morning was relayed.
According to the report, a sizeable force of Zaghir was advancing toward Uranus Hill. The timing of the action was as he had expected, but it was about two days earlier than he had estimated.
In other words, the preparations had to be at least in shape by tonight if not completely finalized in two days. Officers and infantrymen alike started to work, with the exception of the troops who were making the last modifications to the weapons.
Nevertheless, it was only yesterday that we had assembled in Uranus. It was by no means possible to erect solid defenses or fortifications, and the best we could do was to assemble and place sandbag barricades and artillery that had been dismantled and transported to the site.
Even so, it was a strenuous effort to bring sandbags and ammunition to each position in the front, left, and right. Along with the children in the military, I carried sandbags from place to place, but by the time we had finished setting up the barricades to the satisfaction of the upper ranks, the sun had set halfway into the distance and darkness was beginning to envelop the sky.
“The reconnaissance report indicated that the 3,000 infantrymen, 300 of whom seemed to be artillerymen, and 12 knights who were thought to be spirit knights made up the Zaghir troops stationed at the base of the hill.”
“3,000… and our strength, including wounded soldiers, is less than 2,000…”
A heavy sigh escaped from the headquarters tent as the results of the reconnaissance report came in.
The results of the reconnaissance and final confirmation were to take place here, so the commander of each location, Eira and Vincent, were there.
Each of them glanced at Brownie after hearing the report, but when she remained silent, they all cast their gaze down in disappointment.
“However, this degree of force disparity is to be expected. We have the geographic advantage and the cannon are already in position. The issue is the spirit knights’ ability to completely change the dynamics of combat by themselves. Do you have any information on the spirit knights on the other side?”
As I interpreted the message, the man who was one of the reconnaissance men answered.
“At present, Zaghir’s army has begun to deploy to surround Uranus, with three knights each carrying E-class spirit armaments on either side, six E-class knights in the center, one D-class knight, one C-class knight, and one D-class knight in the rear. The terrain in the rear was too unfavorable to verify, but I could sense a powerful curse power, so there is a strong possibility that there are B-class level spirit knights there.”
“…Even if the troops in the rear were to move, I would take care of them. The problem will be in the center. Second Lieutenant Eira Verse and Warrant Officer Vincent Schnoor are on the left and right wings, respectively, but no matter how strong Major Gowes is, it will be tricky for him to dominate the center by himself.”
“Lieutenant Colonel, if I were alone at this level of strength―”
“Major, you certainly won’t lose in a single combat, but the other side is a large force. And even though you are in the center, your area is more than twice as large as the right or left flanks. You can pin down a hundred men, but it won’t make any difference if other points are attacked.”
Gowes, a field officer who was usually by Brownie’s side, supported his stance. The young man who caught her eye opened his mouth after realizing what she was attempting to communicate.
“Along with Major Gowes, we have stationed a thousand infantrymen, three spirit knights, in the center. They both possess E-class spirit armaments…”
“Even so, it’s bound to be demanding. However, if we are able to successfully direct the opposition to the second line of defense, we might be able to effectively pincer them with the artillery that is lying down…”
I almost choke up when I heard that.
That would mean that the first relay line, where we were, would have to do the work―
“Thilia, interpret for me.”
At his instruction, I was reminded of my original job and gave Brownie’s words a more thorough interpretation than usual so that he would find me helpful, even if only a little.
“I see… I understand. I’m on the first relay line, and I’ll try to guide things well here.”
He did not grasp my wish, though, and astonishingly readily consented to play this volatile role with a simple “okay”. What, did he think that I would be okay because he would use me as a decoy? Should I be left behind, I’ll turn into a ghost, won’t I?
“…Is this really okay? You’ll be playing the role of the rearguard, which is a rather menacing role.”
“Everywhere is equally dangerous. Since everyone else is fulfilling their own duties, I have to perform my assigned role as well.”
He laughed after uttering these remarks. It was a flawless, energizing smile. I wanted to hit him as hard as I could.
Out of the corner of my eye, I could catch a glimpse of Eira smiling sourly at me.
“…It looks like I have underestimated you, Sir Kanaki Taiga, then, please take charge of this task.”
“Yes, please leave it to me.”
And so, without consulting me, he so chose to take up the most hazardous position on the battlefield
By the time we passed through the headquarters tent and arrived at the first relay line, our post, it was already dark outside.
Under the plain lights, slave soldiers moved restlessly among rows of sandbags that were more than 10 meters wide and cannons that were spaced evenly apart.
The majority of the soldiers on the first relay line were slave soldiers, which was to say, everyone else was but us.
Our Imperial Kingdom would never subject its citizens to slave class, but individuals from other countries, those who were regarded as heretics because they used curse power rather than sacred power, usually fell into slavery as for those who had no faith in the Aether God.
Such slaves would spend their whole lives entertaining themselves in nearby agricultural communities during times of peace, but during times of war, they would be the first to be dispatched to the battlefield’s danger zones.
In this operation, many wounded soldiers were dispatched, but in this relay line, none of them were injured, all of them were between the ages of elementary and middle school, and all of them were children who possessed strong sacred power (or perhaps it was a curse power if one were to speak from a place of deep faith).
Some of the kids appeared to be no more than 10 years old, and I could see them clutching machine short rifles that were around the same height as themselves in their arms. Even a little child like that would be forced to guard this perilous area just because they were slaves. Along with the sentiments of the old soldier who had left me with the words, “This country is doomed,” a feeling of disdain for my country welled up in my heart.
“Everyone, halt your work and assemble.”
The young man’s command brought me to my senses, and with a loud voice that I seldom uttered, I gathered the boys and girls who were working on the site.
Under the plain lighting, there were roughly 30 slave children assembled. The sheer quantity briefly made me queasy, but considering our strategy, it was only inevitable. We were bait, after all. Having dared to deploy a force that could easily be crushed, we would draw them to us and then sweep them away with our concealed cannons. From our inferiority in terms of strength, it was certainly an effective strategy, but it was also certain that we were disregarding the damage to the decoy units.
Then it dawned on me: “Perhaps he did not come up with this arrangement.” In the face of such a powerful force, I would be worthless no matter how often he exploited me as a decoy. He would be swept away in less than a second, and the bullets would soon be closing in on him. It was doubtful that he would let himself sink that far by his own maneuvering.
Seeing that everyone had gathered, he began to speak in a harsher tone than usual.
“This is Kanaki Taiga, the commander of the first relay line. Our job is to cover the retreating troops in case the first defense line is breached, and to guide the enemies to the point of the second relay line, point α, while acting as rearguard. With such a force to guide approximately 1,000 enemy soldiers, it is nothing short of absurdity. But we must do it in order to survive. You must first focus on your own survival. This will ultimately lead to a higher success rate of the operation and your own survival rate.”
As I interpreted his words, I wondered what he meant.
The slave children just remained motionless, their expressions unaltered, as his words were conveyed through me. They all shared the same expression, which was adequate to convince me that they were considerably more prepared than I was.
“There is still no word from the troops in the frontline standoff, but presumably by tonight they will be on the offensive. Maintain a reasonable sense of urgency among yourselves, but try not to strain yourself at this time. We won’t stand a chance if we exhaust our energy at the very last minute.”
At his signal, we all returned to our work.
He then turned to me this time.
“Thilia, have you ever been an observer before?”
“Well, then you’d better get used to it once. There is a lens in the vehicle, so make your own adjustments.”
My heart was beating out of control at those words. I was really going to be the observer from now on. I subconsciously cast my gaze over the landscape that I could still see with the naked eye.
“They say that if 50 percent of the deployed lenses are destroyed, it will affect the vision of the synchronized observer, and that this will not change regardless of whether the number of lenses is increased or decreased. The number of lenses to be moved by you this time is five. In essence, you might not be able to see the view you are currently observing if three lenses are damaged. Are you prepared for that?”
I was not prepared. Even now I was incredibly afraid, and my legs were wobbling.
Despite this, I spoke in a voice that was trembling from the sight of the kids in front of me. Even such little youngsters were courageous and prepared to face the threat of death. I couldn’t allow myself to be frightened by that as a military member. My desperation and half-willpower imparted to me what little vitality I had left.
It was then that I heard the sound of a siren.
A slave boy walking nearby stiffened his shoulders, and both of our complexion changed and ran to the communicator.
When I took up the receiver, I simultaneously overheard a guy yelling on the other end.
[This is point C of the first defense line! Zaghir’s army has begun shelling! We will return fire!]
It was a signal that the war had commenced much more rapidly than the young man had predicted.
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