Romelia Senki Volume 1 Chapter 2 part 4

I understood now. It was said most peasants only needed to write their own names. I had thought Ray’s education quite advanced for there, but this explained it.
 
“Do you help out at the church?”
 
“Yes. My surrogate father the priest had knowledge of herbs, so he served as doctor in the surrounding areas. Though he would often go to various villages, when critical patients were brought, I had to immediately fetch the priest back. That’s how I learned to ride.”
 
“I see. That’s wonderful.”
 
I praised Ray. One should be commended for learning skills to help others.
 
As I candidly praised him, he lowered his head, scratching his nose. He still wasn’t used to being praised, it seemed.
 
Faced with such a Ray, Al laughed and reached out, poking his side. They seemed close.
 
In fact, I had high hopes for these two.
 
While arrogant, Al was sturdily built, superior among the recruits. Though only acting captain for now, I planned to appoint him full captain if he didn’t fail. Ray was too cowardly as a soldier, but since he could read and write, I intended to have him handle distributing provisions and weapons.
 
Though both had flaws, I would expect the best of their strengths for now.
 
And so we marched like that, passing over several mountains and camping for two nights along the way.
 
The journey went very smoothly. We climbed a gentle slope. According to the map, our destination lay just ahead. Once over this, we should be able to see the village that was our goal. I led the soldiers up the incline and we stood atop the hill.
 
From the hill, the broad basin depicted on the map was visible below, the village surrounded completely by farmland and fencing. But upon sighting the village, the soldiers and I were shocked.
 
“Hey, hey, that’s…!”
 
Someone pointed at the fields. Ahead where he pointed, fires blazed everywhere in the fields. Black beasts brandishing torches raced wildly through the fields. Villagers fled, chased by the beasts.
 
“Monsters!”
 
As the soldiers shouted, monsters had appeared in the basin.
 
About one meter long, apelike monsters called apelings scrambled around the fields surrounding the village. Around thirty in number. The villagers out working tried to flee into the fenced village but were blocked by the apelings.
 
This sudden encounter left me crestfallen.
 
This was the worst situation. I had intended to prepare before challenging them, never expecting to encounter enemies like this. But it couldn’t be helped now. The villagers unable to flee were under attack before our eyes.
 
“Go! Go save them!”
 
I raised my voice but there was no response. The soldiers were at a loss.
 
No good?
 
I felt powerless. Unable to prepare for this unanticipated enemy, I had failed to ignite the flame within the soldiers’ hearts.
 
But suddenly, a loud roar erupted beside me.
 
“Ohhh, charge!!”
 
It was Al, raising morale. His left hand held the horse’s reins while the right held his spear aloft. Reckless as I knew it was, he still cut an imposing figure.
 
With one so spirited, the other soldiers also caught fire, yelling themselves.
 
Though it was noise to cover their fear, this was fine for now.
 
“We’re going! Follow me!”
 
I took the lead charging down the slope on horseback. The horse-riding Al and Ray followed too.
 
“Milady, please fall back.”
 
Though Ray called from behind, that wasn’t possible.
 
These soldiers were inexperienced recruits. One couldn’t know when someone might halt from fear. If one person stopped, three would stop; if three stopped, ten couldn’t advance. But if they could see someone advancing ahead, they would advance too. Therefore, I had to be positioned where everyone could see me, striding forward.
 
I rode straight for the village.
 
The monsters were chasing the villagers trying to flee into the village, clearly intending to invade just like that. Damage would escalate if they entered the village. Only that absolutely had to be prevented.
 
“I won’t let you have your way!”
 
I kicked the horse’s belly, picking up speed and passing between the monsters and village.
 
The sudden charge of a horse from the side frightened the apelings, halting their advance.
 
Then the soldiers catching up from behind approached and thrust out their spears.
 
Though they successfully struck several from the side, the apelings were numerous. And the torches they held were also troublesome. The apelings had some intellect, understanding how to use simple tools. Though who knew they would even use fire.
 
The apelings brandished the red flames, frightening the soldiers into retreating. For humans to fear beasts using fire was a reversal.
 
“Stay calm! Fire isn’t frightening at all. Just smother it if it burns. Put it out!”
 
I first admonished the soldiers to calm down.
 
It’s not like it was doused in oil. As long as the flames were smothered before they could spread, it would be fine. Aside from those, there were also apelings brandishing clubs and throwing rocks, but unless their heads were struck, it wouldn’t be fatal.

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“Reform ranks, remember your training, cover each other.”
 
In combat between spears and swords, spears were considered to have great advantage due to their longer reach. But the merit of long spears wasn’t just distance. The essence of long spears was group battle. If allies helped each other against opponents trying to slip through the spears, they could overwhelm them.
 
This was basics of basics, but the excited new recruits had forgotten even that in their first battle.
 
“Al and Ray, to me! You lot over there! Don’t fight alone, go to your comrades! Pack in tighter!”
 
Before Al and Ray who had dispersed in the charge could regroup, I called out to the isolated soldiers, somehow forming a battle line.
 
But the line established was far too fragile. Even now, it looked ready to collapse any moment. Worse, the gathered apelings were making motions as if to circle around the soldiers’ flank.
 
Long spears were weak when circumvented from the side. The apelings probably weren’t acting based on knowledge, but if they got around the side here, the line would likely crumble in an instant.
 
I considered using the Burst Magic Stones I had as a last resort, but their effect would be slight against the scattered enemies. Not only that, the explosions and impacts might startle our own side. I had to think of some way myself.
 
“Ray, Al, we’re going. Follow me.”
 
Seeing the two who had spread out return, I called out to them.
 
“Please wait, milady.”
 
“Geez, what a wilful young lady.”
 
Though Ray tried to stop me from behind and Al complained, I had no time for them now. I charged on horseback, aiming for the monsters gathered before the spear infantry’s rear.
 
Drawing the slender sword I could wield, controlling the reins one-handed, I rushed at the apelings’ back. Shouting loudly, I flailed the sword about haphazardly.
 
That said, the act of swinging my sword itself had practically no effect.
 
The apelings were only about one meter tall. My sword swung from horseback could barely reach them. Only a few monkeys were probably startled by the horse galloping up from behind.
 
While my attack didn’t accomplish much, Al’s activity following me was quite eye-catching.
 
Wielding his long spear astride the horse, he struck down several apelings. Partway, the long spear broke in two from the force, and Al used the broken half to fiercely bludgeon them.
 
Assaulted from behind by Al, the apelings instantly fell into disarray.
 
This was when my Grace would display its greatest effect.
 
Keenly sensing the reduced pressure from the apelings, the soldiers immediately raised their spears and charged forward.
 
Several apelings were skewered in a row. The monsters crumbled at once.
 
The soldiers advanced forcefully, pushing on. After they had advanced ten steps, the apelings had lost their will to fight. Throwing down the rocks and clubs in their hands, they began fleeing every which way.
 
“Alright!”
 
Seeing the escaping apelings, I couldn’t help voicing it.
 
Victory was now certain. But it wasn’t over yet. Rather, now it would properly begin. If they escaped into the mountain, it would take considerable time to eradicate them. It was necessary to resolve this here completely.
 
If I had archers here, I could easily shoot them down as they fled. But I had to think of something since there were none.
 
Before I could catch my breath, I pivoted my horse around.
 
“Ray, Al, once more. Let’s go.”
 
Seeing the two conveniently near each other, I called out to them again. Gathering was easy since there were few of them.
 
The two followed me, pursuing the fleeing apelings.
 
Our role now was that of sheepdogs. For the apelings running every which way, we traced a wide arc, herding those trying to escape outward back to the center. There was no need to even swing swords. Simply threatening them as we ran by to deter their flight was enough. Perhaps thanks to my Grace, the scattered apelings were gathered in the basin’s very middle.
 
The soldiers speared up the amassed apelings.
 
“Al, Ray, are you both okay?”
 
I slowed my horse, looking back to check on them.
 
I hadn’t had time to look back until now. Glancing again, Ray was right beside me, his face pale. Breathing heavily, he seemed to be clenching his jaw for all he was worth.
 
Further back was Al. He held no spear, but had drawn his sword, leaning out from his horse to slash at the apelings.
 
Having discarded his broken spear, he was fighting with a sword now. Swinging the bloodied blade, he looked quite valiant.
 
I surveyed our surroundings, confirming the state of battle. Though they had felled nearly every apeling, one had escaped unfelled.
 
“Ray, come with me!”
 
Calling out to Ray beside me, I spurred my horse on.
 
At this point, I wouldn’t let even one escape. I rode in pursuit of the fleeing apeling.
 
I lacked the strength to fell the monsters with my bare hands, but that was wholly unnecessary now. Riding straight, I simply trampled the scrambling apeling under my horse’s hooves.
 
A shriek rang out from below, accompanied by the sensation of something being crushed flat. A fleeting sense of wickedness flashed through me but was swiftly brushed aside. This was war. One couldn’t spout naive nonsense in a life or death situation.
 
I halted my horse and looked back. The apeling lay prone, unable to stand.
 
But it wasn’t dead yet. Its right thigh was deeply sunken in, yet still it lived.
 
“Milady.”
 
Ray looking down at the apeling writhing in pale agony.
 
“Ray, finish it.”
 
“Huh?”


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