Romelia Senki Volume 1 Chapter 3 part 6

Four days later, after various arrangements, meetings, and contracts in Miredo City, I left town. I first returned to Karulus Fortress, switched from carriage to horse, and departed for Kilie Ravine leading troops.
In the interim, the advance party had only sent one messenger, reporting they were constructing the bridgehead as planned.
“Lady Romelia, will the advance party be alright?”
One of the veteran soldiers riding alongside me, Greyphus, spoke as we headed for Kilie Ravine.
He was rather ostentatious but skilled with the bow. Having taken part in a previous Kilie Ravine subjugation, he was guiding the unit this time.
“There are some veterans who fought there before with the advance party. They’ll be fine.”
To construct the bridgehead, I had dispatched forty troops as reinforcements for Al’s Romelia Unit.
It included seasoned soldiers.
“Certainly, Al and Ray have grown stronger too. They’re undefeated against the demons so far. And though it was just five of them, they managed to defeat the Demon Army scouts. But the demons there are formidable foes.”
Greyphus, who had experience, told me subjugating Kilie Ravine would be difficult.
“I know. The records show dragons will be tough opponents.”
The kingdom had dispatched soldiers to the land many times so far. But without even completing the bridgehead, they were forced to retreat each time. The reason given was a species known as the mightiest dragon, the particularly ferocious Saurian Dragon, inhabited Kilie Ravine.
Cruel and violently temperamental. Often bloodthirsty and refusing human contact.
It walked on two legs, supporting its body with enormous rear limbs. Hooked claws protruded from the thick legs, and a kick from them could easily shatter shields and armor. Rows of jagged fangs could crush bone. Fortunately their scales and skin were thin, so arrows and spears could penetrate them. But they possessed immense stamina, not falling even if struck by several arrows unless hit in a vital spot.
A single Saurian Dragon was already hazardous enough, but they often traveled in packs of several heads. This group operated like wolves with hierarchy, sometimes hunting prey multiples of their number.
Even trained soldiers could be endangered alone. Hence many had been bitten to death so far. They were dangerous foes even in ordinary combat. Constructing a bridgehead in wilderness prowled by them would be no easy feat.
I knew myself that conquering Kilie Ravine would be no simple task. Even with the “divine grace’s” effects, our chances were only around fifty percent. Patiently hunting the surrounding dragons and steadily continuing bridgehead construction after their numbers declined was the only method.
Of course, construction would be impossible for the mere forty men of the advance party. Transporting materials and timber over was likely the limit. Even the current Al and the others would find it a heavy burden. I understood that very clearly. And yet I sent Al’s unit precisely because of it.
Until now, the Romelia Unit had achieved continuous victories since the first battle. They were an army unfamiliar with defeat. But that would change going forward. It wasn’t only fighting we were certain to win. Against formidable foes, they would sometimes fail. I wanted them to become a force able to stubbornly battle even mighty enemies, not collapsing even if routed.
“I told Al’s group to act flexibly.”
While I had ordered them to build the bridgehead, I also said not to overexert.
If they remained vigilant and acted prudently, casualties could be minimized and gains made even if my commands weren’t fully executed. But if they grew conceited after awakening and with their victories so far, insisting on bridgehead construction, the casualties would be extremely heavy.
Riding with the troops, we passed through a forest and came upon barren lands. Stretching before us was the enormous ravine and steep cliffs. This was the majesty of Kilie Ravine. Halting the horses at the clifftop, the valley bottom was visible below. From this optimal vantage, we should be able to see the advance party working at the base.
As I tried angling the horse closer to look, my hands trembled on the reins, unable to turn smoothly.
“Lady Romelia? What’s wrong?”
Greyphus saw me paralyzed and unable to budge.
I firmly grasped my quivering hands. But my hands gripping the reins had already lost color.
If I could see the advance party working down below when I looked over the valley, that would be ideal. But what if the scene below the sheer cliffs was of soldiers routed by demons, their tragic corpses?
Knowing they would likely fail yet still sending them pained me, but I feared seeing the outcome. If Al or Ray or any of them had died, it would be equivalent to me killing them.
Pull yourself together!
I scolded myself. Even if there were casualties, I had to bear it. No commander could reduce losses to zero. There would come a day when someone died. I must not fear that.
I manipulated the reins with numbed hands, drawing the horse to the cliff’s edge. My vision was engulfed by the enormous ravine.
While searching for the advance party, my eyes were drawn to a spot at the valley bottom.
There –
I was so shocked I couldn’t speak. The soldiers with me were also shaken by the scene unfolding below.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. Something like this wasn’t possible.
“Why? How? Why is the bridgehead already built?”
Among the ashen rocks, a lone brown bridgehead stood.
My mind grew jumbled. I hadn’t heard of any such bridgehead. But even Greyphus who had participated in the previous subjugation was stunned by its existence, shaking his head in puzzlement.
“I don’t know, Lady Romelia. It wasn’t there last I saw.”
“Then who built it?”
No one answered my question. But the bridgehead definitely existed within the ravine.
And the interior already had a watchtower, with tents pitched and soldiers visibly active.
“Anyway, let’s head over first.”


At any rate, we descended into the valley and approached the bridgehead. The soldier in the watchtower noticed us nearing and waved this way. It was a member of the advance party. This bridgehead was indeed built by them.
“Lady Romelia, we’ve awaited your arrival. Lady Romelia is here, open the gate!”
The watchtower guard issued orders inside and the wooden gate opened.
I had assumed Al and Ray would come greet me, but when the gate opened, what first entered my vision were barricades on both sides.
Assembled from logs, with protruding spikes, they extended from the gate to the bridgehead’s center like cheval de frise. It was a barricade corridor. Stones were piled behind the adjoining barricades, appearing difficult to readily dismantle.
“Please proceed ahead, Lady Romelia.”
The advance party soldier on the other side of the barricade urged us onward, so we continued down the barricade passage. The barricades ended around the bridgehead’s center, finally allowing our exit.
But looking closely, bloodstains remained on the ground at the bridgehead’s heart. Corpses of several saurian dragons were heaped in one corner.
To defeat so many demons while constructing the bridgehead was unbelievable.
“Captain Romelia, you’ve come early.”
“Lady Romelia, apologies for the late welcome.”
Al and Ray came over to me. Seeing both unharmed relieved me. But the circumstances were still a mystery. The bridgehead’s construction and demon subjugation. I didn’t know how they managed it.
“It’s remarkable…building a bridgehead of this scale in such a short time.”
It couldn’t have been even twenty days since I dispatched the advance party. Achieving this was unbelievable. Impossible under normal circumstances, meaning there was some trick involved.
“This was Ray’s idea.”
Al tried to explain but I halted him with a hand.
“Please wait. Let me think it through myself first.”
I was a little miffed, surveying the bridgehead while desperately wracking my brain.
Looking closely, the walls weren’t as thick as they appeared.
The bridgehead walls would normally be thick round logs embedded in the ground or stones stacked together. But these walls were bundles of slender wood sticks bound board-like.
And they weren’t embedded in the ground, just leaning against it. Though to reinforce them, numerous rocks were piled behind the walls.
Realizing the temporary nature of the bridgehead’s construction clued me in.
“I see! You brought and assembled barricades and wooden boards prepared in advance, right?”
“Following the usual construction methods, one would first need to bring in several large logs and then dig holes. However, using this method would take time and expose the workers to the risk of monster attacks during construction.
But the fortress Al and the others built completely bypassed these troublesome tasks.
This way, the construction could take place in a safe location, with only assembly required on-site.
Though the strength of the fortress might be somewhat reduced, the work speed was impeccable. Building walls all around, it shouldn’t take more than half a day, right?
Once a secure wall was in place, the next step would involve expanding the fortress from the inside and reinforcing the weaker parts with stone. This would eliminate concerns of dragon attacks and ensure safe operations.
“Yes, you told me to think flexibly, so I put in the effort. Even though it doesn’t look very nice…”
As he spoke, Ray’s words started to slur.
He was worried that his unconventional approach might irritate me since it deviated from the norm.
“No, you’ve done well, impressively so.”
When I conveyed my satisfaction to him, Ray’s face bloomed into a smile like a flower.
“But, not only did you build the fortress, but you also hunted down so many dragons?”
I noticed the bodies of Theropods piled up at the edge of the fortress. There was something secretive going on here.
“Ah, well…”
“Wait a moment, let me guess.”
Ray started speaking, but I stopped him, beginning to ponder. Theropods were formidable foes among monsters. If a direct confrontation occurred, the losses would only increase. But surveying the interior of the fortress, many soldiers remained unharmed, moving around freely.
However, even if Al and his Romelia Unit had become stronger, they probably weren’t strong enough.
After all, bringing the bodies of slain monsters back into the fortress wouldn’t make sense. Considering the bloodbath inside, there was only one answer.
“Is it that you lured the monsters into the fortress? You led the dragons inside and trapped them with fences while fighting.”
By thrusting long spears from behind the fence, they could safely attack. Of course, it might be difficult to slay dragons with just this, but simply slowing their advance was sufficient. Utilizing the time they stopped, they could easily bring them down with arrows.
“Exactly, Al came up with that.”
Hearing this unexpected response, I glanced at Al, who looked back at me and said, “I can use my brain too, you know.”
“Especially if we shoot arrows from two directions forming a cross shape, we can take them down in just one volley.”
“I see, so you turned the fortress into a hunting ground.”
I nodded. Generally, fortresses are designed to keep enemies out, yet they deliberately lured enemies in and set up traps with a dual defense strategy.
An unusual fortress construction, a strategy entirely against common sense. Though bold, it was rational. Moreover, this wasn’t my idea or the effect of “Grace.” It was the result of Al and Ray’s thoughtful deliberation.
“Both of you have done a great job.”
While praising the two, I also felt ashamed of myself. I had assumed that without me, they would surely fail.
However, this mindset might be a manifestation of pride in the power of “Grace,” believing that I was the goddess of destiny.
“Is the world even wider than I imagined?”
I had always thought that I needed to do everything myself, but it turned out that even without me, everyone could do well.
Of course, I didn’t plan to stop here. If I joined in, I was certain we could do even better.
“We’ll be busy from now on, everyone, let’s give it our all.”
As I exclaimed this, Al and Ray saluted me.

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