Romelia Senki Volume 1 Chapter 2 part 8

“Everyone, listen. As you must understand, the pursuing Demon scout team is a formidable foe, but we have to defeat them no matter what.”
 
The soldiers’ eyes told me that rather than defeat them, they didn’t even see a hope of winning, but I continued speaking.
 
“They are scout troops responsible for infiltrating enemy territory and bringing intelligence back. That they would gather information on a remote place like Cashew means their goal is likely deciding their unit’s direction by collecting intelligence.”
 
My words shook the soldiers. The Demon Army’s main force coming to Cashew. That was synonymous with a terrifying, despairing attack.
 
Just five scout members left them, a group of twenty, fleeing helplessly. What would happen if their main unit came? It wasn’t hard to imagine their homeland dyed red with blood and fire.
 
“Of course, the main force won’t necessarily come. It’s just a possibility they may or may not.”
 
What I said was ultimately just about possibilities. But undoubtedly, this place was now a candidate. If luck went bad, Cashew would vanish in the flames of war.
 
“If we can defeat those scouts, it may reduce the chances of the main force coming. Their general might notice the missing scout unit and use that to decide their direction of advance.”
 
Of course this was just wishful thinking. On the vast battlefield, the influence we could exert was virtually nil.
 
But the future is unknown to all. And because of that, we can only continue striving our utmost for the best outcome.
 
The soldiers, scared of my words, now wore expressions of hardened resolve. Their grip on their weapons strengthened. Their fighting spirit and morale hadn’t faded yet.
 
“Ugh, howh tho.”
 
The one who made the odd noise was Al.
 
Due to the medicinal herbs, his tongue had gone numb. But I understood what he wanted to say.
 
The enemy was an elite unit of just five against our twenty. Not a foe we could triumph against in a frontal clash.
 
“I have a plan.”
 
Al, Ray, and the other soldiers looked to me, who believed we had a chance, with dependent eyes. The responsibility weighed on me, but I couldn’t falter. Showing even slight unease would spread it. I took a deep breath to steel myself internally and stated the battle plan.
 
“First, we have two advantages. One is familiar terrain.”
 
We were currently climbing over the mountain we had fled over, moving along the mountain path we had come here on. Proceeding like this, we could return to the original road. And we had grasped the geography ahead.
 
“Next is numbers. We have a total of twenty-one. Making effective use of our superior numbers will be key to victory or defeat.”
 
No matter how the five-man enemy could fight like twenty, in the end it was just five.
 
“First, we’ll split into four small teams of two, and have two teams each take a different route to advance toward Miredo City.”
 
Miredo City had a garrison of hundreds. If we could convey intelligence of the Demon Army there, the scout troops would likely flee rather than fight.
 
“Uh, thah wonh wor.”
 
Al showed an incredulous expression at my strategy. I understood what he wanted to say. Despite numbers being important, dispersing was a foolish plan.
 
In truth, dividing combat power was a mistake. But even so, dispersal still held meaning.
 
“First we must seize the initiative. If they make the first move, we’ll be pressed and lose.”
 
“Noticing our dispersal tactic, those guys won’t commit the folly of dividing their forces, but quickly move to crush each one starting with us as the main force, the ones here.”
 
I clenched my fist and continued speaking firmly.
 
“If we keep going, we can return to the path we took here. Then continue that way, through the steep mountain slope. At the end of the narrow path is a small clearing where we’ll lie in ambush.”
 
We had rested there on the way too so I remembered it clearly. It was surrounded by steep cliffs above and below with narrow paths front and back. There, even with just a few fighting strength, we should be able to engage the enemy.
 
“But Lady Romelia, can we really win like that?”
 
The frail Cale asked uneasily. Certainly, just forming up in the confined space wouldn’t let us beat them. And the Demon Army were elites. They would surely outdo us.
 
“Seeing our ambush, the scout troops will likely split and attack from both sides.”
 
While this was ultimately my conjecture, I dared to declare it. The seasoned Demon Army would avoid a frontal clash. Most importantly, circling to attack from both sides meant not having to worry about us escaping.
 
“While we may be attacked from front and rear, that is our aim. We’ll use the remaining two teams to counter-ambush the forces hitting us from both sides.”
 
I revealed the crux of the battle plan.

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“The real purpose of the dispersed forces is to deceive about our numbers. Then we position the teams in front and back along the path as ambushers. If the enemy attacks, the main force here will buy time holding out while we lure the enemy in. Then the ambushers strike from behind, enveloping them. There are five enemies. If attacked from behind, they can only allocate two to defend. That leaves three enemies in front. One side will only have to face one person.
 
The Demon Army may all be well-trained, but individually they are two to three times our own. Considering the strength ratio, our twenty should have the advantage. And yet we were still routed because the Demon Army has long experience on the battlefield, able to cooperate seamlessly. That coordination enhanced their might. So if we can divide them and prevent their cooperation, we’ll gain the numerical edge.”
 
Hearing my plan of envelopment, the soldiers also nodded in agreement that it seemed they could win this way.
 
Of course, this didn’t guarantee certain victory. Even factoring the “divine blessing’s” effects, I didn’t know if it would work. But we had done all we could now. If we had archers and mages, more options would be possible, but this was all we could do.
 
“First, we’ll form a feint attack team, and I plan to have those seriously injured handle that role. As for the team encircling the enemy, I want to entrust that to Gran, Ragan, Otto and Cale. Can you do it?”
 
At my designation, the four showed strained expressions before nodding.
 
“I havh to shtay.”
 
Al asserted he had to stay with the main force in his garbled speech.
 
“Al, no one will doubt your courage and valor, but right now you’re just a burden.”
 
“Thash why. Precishelly becaushe I’m injureh, I’m gooh baih.”
 
Though I couldn’t understand Al at all, the meaning got across.
 
The main force’s role was bait. It was necessary that they didn’t notice the other teams and got careless. From that perspective, the seriously wounded Al was prime bait. Even seasoned Demon warriors would likely let their guard down seeing soldiers they themselves injured there.
 
“But Al, you might die, you know?”
 
With his injuries, Al’s survival rate if attacked by the enemy would plummet.
 
“Dohn care. More imporantly, you musht shurvive.”
 
It seemed Al was telling me to escape, but that wasn’t possible. If I fled, the ambush would surely fail.
 
“I’m this unit’s commander. I have a duty to act together until the end.”
 
Most importantly, they had seen me commanding. As a woman, I stood out and the Demon Army would certainly remember me. If I wasn’t visible, they would suspect other teams’ presence. For the ambush to fully succeed, I had to stand before the enemy.
 
And considering both command and the “blessing’s” effects, I couldn’t leave the main force either.
 
“Well then, let’s move out.”
 
I clapped my hands, signaling preparation. Time remaining was short. I promptly issued orders to form four teams. First, the two four-man teams aside from Al, composed of the other injured, were to advance in different directions from the main force. Then this main force proceeded on, leaving Cale and Otto as a two-man ambush before the steeply sloping path. Moving further, the main team halted at the clearing beside the mountainside.
 
“Gran and Ragan will go first. Wait in hiding where you can.”
 
The twins nodded at my words before continuing on ahead.
 
With eight people allocated to the other teams, the main force and I totaled thirteen. Me and Al were non-combat personnel, leaving just eleven who could fight.
 
“Everyone, rest here a moment. All of you sit and rest. I will do the same.”
 
This was acting out appearing exhausted and finally breaking pace. In truth, I was also completely depleted, and upon sitting, fatigue washed over me.
 
Like me, the weary soldiers practically collapsed on the ground, with only one person left standing.
 
“Ray, you sit too.”
 
With everyone else seated, I addressed Ray, standing stiff as a rod, gripping his spear tightly. His face was ghastly pale from fear, twitching in near pity, his body shaking as if frozen in place.
 
“Ray, calm down. It’s alright.”
 
I called out but Ray’s trembling didn’t stop one bit.
 
To be honest, he was my biggest uncertainty.
 
With me and Al present as bait, and the “blessing’s” effects, luring the enemy here should succeed. But fundamentally, if we couldn’t stop the enemy, there was no point discussing anything.
 
For that, it was necessary to place the less injured soldiers at the main force’s center. And yet the unharmed Ray was like this. He had become too rigid trying to make up for his previous blunder. Things would clearly fail like this.
 
I debated whether to reallocate Ray but even if I did, it held no meaning. It should be the opposite.
 
“Please come here, Ray.”
 
“B-But, I-“
 
“It’s fine, come over here and sit in front of me.”
 
I called Ray over. Ray stiffly knelt before me. He looked as if awaiting execution.
 
“I’m considering the troop formation, Ray. I want you in charge of the direct front.”
 
I intentionally placed Ray at the vanguard.
 
“The f-front?”
 
“Hey, you can’t be…”


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