Commoner-Origin Officer Volume 1 Chapter 1 part 7

Battles between mages often turn into one-on-one duels. Those without magic need significant skill or numbers to fight them. The Kumin tribe force here is about the size of a company in our military. Their commander is probably a lieutenant.
 
Hazen left the 8th platoon and appeared from another thicket.
 
Moments later, one of the Kumin noticed him. He purposely let the enemy chase him to create the distance for the ambush.
 
That’s when ice rings came flying from behind. Hazen maneuvered his horse to avoid them, but the second and third rings kept coming.
 
“I see, so that’s the mage’s staff ability.”
 
The Kumin mage materialized ice axes at the tip of his staff and launched them, forming high-speed rotating rings.
 
Hazen stopped evading and lowered his own staff, Fang’s Shadow, vertically. A gust of wind blew from his shadow, causing the ice rings to change direction and pass by him.
 
Fang’s Shadow has the ability to control shadow and wind. It was inexpensively made at the academy, so its output is not high, but he likes its versatility.
 
Next, Hazen swung Fang’s Shadow left and right, creating multiple thin, paper-like shadows from his own. The shadow papers rushed towards the Kumin mage.
 
Overwhelmed by the erratic movement of the wind-borne shadow papers, the Kumin mage was entangled and immobilized.
 
Hazen then raised Fang’s Shadow towards the sky,
 
signaling the 8th platoon to begin their assault. Ahead was the mage Hazen, and behind was the 8th platoon. Though outnumbered, the planned ambush was executed.
 
The Kumin force charged at Hazen, likely intending to overpower him numerically and free their mage. Hazen immediately turned his horse, maintaining distance while spinning Fang’s Shadow. Countless shadow vortexes were created. Pointing it forward, the shadow vortexes attacked one after another.
 
“Guaahh!”
 
The Kumin tribe warriors were blown away. By shaping wind paths with shadows, he applied a swirling wind pressure to the surroundings. Although not a direct attack, it was an effective magic for disrupting their formations.
 
As the Kumin tribe’s ranks fell into disarray, the soldiers of the 8th Platoon charged in. Having devised strategies based on their daily training, everyone moved without hesitation. They cut down the Kumin tribe warriors one after another.
 
Victory was assured. The Kumin tribe began retreating. When Hazen raised his hand high, cheers erupted from the 8th Platoon all at once.
 
“Sergeants, confirm the casualties.”
 
“Yes, sir!”
 
The sergeants responded vigorously to his calm instructions.
 
“Five lightly injured, zero severely injured, zero dead.”
 
“I see.”
 
Half the Kumin tribe were dead, half had fled. It was essentially a resounding victory. Hazen approached the Kumin tribe mage he had captured with shadow paper.
 
“Can you speak?”
 
“Uru! Nariaga! Kora!”
 
Probably the Kumin tribe’s language. As Hazen picked up the fallen magic staff, he turned towards Sergeant Baz.
 
“Take him prisoner.”
 
“Eh? You’re not killing him?”
 
“Treat prisoners with respect. They may prove useful as bargaining chips.”
 
“Understood.”
 
“Any acts of violence will be severely punished according to military law. Do not neglect the considerations of a warrior.”
 
“Y-Yes, sir!”
 
Thirty minutes later, Lieutenant Mospitza’s platoon finally arrived.
 
“You’re late. The enemy force has already been annihilated.”
 
“…You acted on your own then?”
 
“Yes.”
 
“Why didn’t you request instructions!?”
 
Lieutenant Mospitza shouted, his face flushed red with anger.

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“If we had waited, the Kumin tribe force would have raided the nearest village. Hence, I made the judgment to engage alone.”
 
“Th-That’s just results-oriented thinking! What was the point of having an advance force?! Your job was to relay information to us!”
 
“I judged that if we requested instructions, we would not have made it in time.”
 
“It’s not your place to make that judgment!”
 
“…From the moment we were appointed and dispatched as the advance force, I understood we had discretion for on-site judgments. This is the same as the relationship between the Imperial Palace and us, the Northern Garna Border Patrol. Your statement denies that, but is that really your intent?”
 
“Kuh…I never said anything like that!”
 
“Then what are you trying to say?”
 
Hazen asked with a puzzled expression, but Lieutenant Mospitza fell silent. In terms of results, it was an overwhelming victory with zero casualties. He had thought the intent in dispatching Hazen’s squad as the advance force was to “[Take advantage of the infantry’s stealth capabilities to launch an ambush].”
 
Of course, they had waited until the last possible moment for the following troops, but their 30-minute delayed arrival was unacceptably slow.
 
“But why did it take you so long in the first place?”
 
“B-Because you lot didn’t provide any information, so we couldn’t move out!”
 
“What information?”
 
“V-Various things. Like the size of the Kumin tribe’s force.”
 
“Isn’t that precisely why an advance force was dispatched, because that information had been obtained?”
 
“I-I’m telling you, various things! Like how many mages they had.”
 
“Even if we knew the number of mages, wouldn’t the action of ‘preventing the village raid’ remain the same? In that case, it would suffice to assess that after joining up, no?”
 
“…You! I heard you had a one-on-one duel with the Kumin tribe’s mage!”
 
Suddenly changing the subject, Lieutenant Mospitza. It seemed the previous issue had been resolved.
 
“Yes, I did.”
 
“You wanted to monopolize the glory for yourself, didn’t you? That’s why you launched the ambush alone with just the advance force!”
 
“I acted according to the best strategy available.”
 
“That’s—just—results-oriented—thinking!”
 
“Then please enlighten me. What strategy did you have in mind other than the ambush I executed?”
 
“……”
 
Once again, Lieutenant Mospitza fell silent. An awkward silence followed at the scene. Hazen wondered just what was going on.
 
“B-Besides, what were you planning to do if you lost that one-on-one duel?”
 
“I do not lose. If you doubt my ability, shall we have a duel and you can test me yourself, Lieutenant?”
 
“Wh-What did you say?”
 
Lieutenant Mospitza took a few steps back.
 
“Since you must be quite skilled, Lieutenant, I would appreciate if you could provide some guidance.”
 
“…Why did you think I was strong?”
 
He glanced at me with an expression that didn’t seem entirely disingenuous.
 
“Based on your words and actions up to now, Lieutenant, I deduced you were incompetent. So I thought you must have risen to your current position through ability as a mage.”
 
“H-How dare you insult me!”
 
Lieutenant Mospitza’s face turned purple as he shrieked.
 
“My apologies, ‘incompetent’ was too harsh. Given your markedly low intelligence, underhanded personality, lack of ethics, and utter lack of composure, I judged you must certainly be skilled.”
 
“……”
 
When Hazen answered firmly, Lieutenant Mospitza fell silent for the third time. For some reason, the nearby platoon leaders also held their breath and stared at me. Amidst this, Second Lieutenant Gavi of the 5th Platoon spoke up hesitantly.
 
“Ah, isn’t that going a bit too far, though?”
 
“Stating facts does not constitute rudeness. I am simply reporting facts based on objective analysis.”
 
“…I, I see.”
 
“Lieutenant. If you have no further questions, excuse me. I must check for damage in the nearby villages.”
 
When Hazen turned to rejoin the 8th Platoon, everyone wore stunned expressions.
 
“What’s wrong? Some unforeseen incident?”
 
“No…it’s just, you truly are Second Lieutenant Hazen regardless of who you’re dealing with.”
 
Sergeant Baz answered, his voice trembling.
 
“What are you saying? Isn’t that only natural?”
 
“…For most, it isn’t natural at all.”
 
“Is that so? Well, everyone has their differences from others, so I suppose that’s how it is. In any case, we’re moving out to check the nearby villages for damage.”
 
Hazen gave the order in a loud voice and spurred his horse into motion.


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