「This much huh」
While watching the central battlefield, Hasim groaned lightly.
「After seeing this much, I begin to doubt whether we’re even the same species or not」
He unconsciously spoke those words. That was something that came to mind after seeing Merea’s abnormal strength.
The level of shock is considerably different between hearing about it and actually seeing it in action.
That combat prowess of Merea’s was a happy miscalculation for Hasim but, on the other hand,
――I might actually end up having to use a part of Lemuse as collateral.
That sort of a frightening thought came about as well.
However, that sort of thought was only for a brief moment.
「I can’t just keep admiring him. I need to do the things that I’m capable of」
Hasim once again concentrated on the entire battlefield.
Since Hasim had already predicted that the battle would follow this kind of a pattern, he was able to put in place a rotational defense line. Based his soldier’s level of exhaustion, he would exchange them for new soldiers. If the situation called for a counterattack against the enemy then separating his soldiers into multiple groups would be a bad idea but if it was just to parry the enemy’s attacks then it was a different situation. Although with extreme difficulty but there was still some room to use this method.
「Right now! Exchange!」
The biggest problem with this method was the timing to exchange the front line soldiers. If they are too tired then they would have issues while retreating and when they’re freshly exchanged, they would give the enemies too many openings to attack.
However, when it came to that point, Hasim’s abilities were something that could only be categorised as excellent.
The observation powers to infer the 『aggression』 of the enemy without getting confused as well as the timing to deflect that aggression. Over and above everything else, the ability to accurately figure out his soldier’s level of exhaustion.
「Second platoon, retreat the minimum possible distance and don’t let their siege advance!」
While keeping the minimum required distance in the back, he kept the balance of all three battlefields. [TLN: Left, right and center (where Merea is fighting)]
The battle that didn’t allow one to take their eyes off the battlefield for a single moment was being supported with Hasim’s commands.
On the other hand, the ones supporting Hasim’s sturdy commands were the demon lords. Since the demon lords would take care of any of Mūzeg’s cavalry that made it through from the front, Hasim could concentrate completely on both sides.
Those demon lords had gradually started to show their true worth in the central battlefield.
「As I thought, the power of money is great!!!」
「Stop raising a shrill scream at such a time!!」
On the central battlefield, a huge golden sphere was flying around. A sphere of gold which was almost as large as the body of the land dragon that had collapsed in the distance.
「Ahh! But the sight of the money going away from me is somewhat painful!」
「Shut up! Just create the next one quickly! The cavalrymen on the other side keep increasing don’t they!」
The voices of the〈Alchemy King〉Shaw and the〈Fist Emperor〉Salman could be heard resounding throughout the area.
The two of them were standing next to each other, slightly to the right side of the central battlefield.
Although there were no enemies in their surroundings but in front of them, they could see the wave like army of black armours of Mūzeg.
With that kind of a wave of humans in front of him, Shaw slowly moved around.
「I’m definitely going to get these back later!」
Shaw brought out large quantities of gold coins, to an extent where people might wonder where exactly he had kept so many of them and then he put both his hands on them. When he did that, a technique formation could be seen where his hands had touched the mountain of gold coins and in the next instant, the gold coins mixed with the soil on the ground and expanded quickly and turned into a huge sphere, like the one that flew towards Mūzeg’s cavalrymen earlier.
「Ahhh…! The purity…! This foolish act of mixing gold with other materials! This war that makes me do something like that, really is horrible!!」
「The claim itself is quite proper but the hesitation that leads to that claim is completely messed up! ――Well, whatever! Come on, move over! I’m doing this!」
While Shaw was rubbing his cheeks on the golden sphere looking like he didn’t want to part with it no matter what but, Salman pushed him aside since it would be dangerous. Standing in front of the sphere, Salman spoke.
「Alrighty, there’s no one in front huh!」
After confirming that there were no people in front of the sphere,
For a moment, the purple particles came out and wrapped around his fists and in the next moment, at a speed that couldn’t be seen with the naked eye, he shot his fist out. He punched the golden sphere with a speed that caused a roaring sound.
「Why would a simple punch make my golden sphere fly that fast…」
「『Not unlike the seven imperials』 isn’t something they say just for show. Well, it’s slightly hard to use but I’ve finally gotten used to it」
The gold nugget flew off at a speed that would be hard to tell that it had been punched. The other side was Mūzeg’s cavalry.
It was a direct hit.
Accompanied by a roar and screams, the golden sphere opened up a hole in the enemy’s formation.
「Damn, they don’t reduce no matter what we do! ――What’s the situation on the left!?」
「There seems t be a pillar of flame flying up high. Might it be Miss Lilium, I wonder」
「Ahh, alright, the other side seems to be fine」
「That was a quick judgement」
「I can hear laughter coming through from that side so I really don’t want to go there! Merea seems to be heading in that direction anyway so it’s fine! Uhm, what’s left is――」
Thanks to shooting the golden spheres, the speed of Mūzeg’s army had slowed down. In that gap, Salman looked around his surroundings and confirmed the status of the battle.
「We have a bunch of close-range fighters including Marisa on this side huh」
「That fake maid doesn’t seem to have used any techniques or secret arts and she’s still running around the frontlines killing enemies...isn’t that a little too scary?」
「She’s quite frightening to begin with. It might also be because she can’t use techniques. The people with the title of〈Emperor of Violence〉seem to have some circumstances of their own as well. Well, it’s fine with that for now」
「What about the twins?」
「They’re in the back. 『Don’t go out there』 was the unanimous decision. No matter how close the battle is, there are some things that I definitely can’t let go. How old you think they are anyway? ――Well, even if I say that, they seem to be using their techniques to help out the battles on both sides so they’re not being left without a job」
「In which case, this situation is basically of how long we can hold out huh」
「That’s right. We seem to be holding out for now. But, the number of enemy forces keeps increasing so I’d like for Lemuse’s general to take some further actions」
「Miss Elma seems to be with them so I think they’ll take some action soon」
「That’s right. We’ve left the person we need at the frontlines more than most with him. If he messed up now, I’ll make sure to pound his head into the ground. ...Oh, they’re already here. Come on, make the next one」
「Don’t you seem to think that gold coins will come out of my pocket infinitely? ――I’m about to almost run out you know! My money is almost about to run out!!」
「If it runs out then we’ll go pick them up!」
「That place is full of enemies!!」
「Make do by making some sort of armour made of gold!」
「Ah, that’s nice! Let’s do that!!」
The two of them turned their gazes towards Mūzeg’s army once more.
Although not at the same pace as earlier but the black wave of people came assaulting them.
While thinking that they would want the situation to turn favourable for them right about now, the two of them got into their battle stances and kicked the ground.
「――To the right」
Hasim who had been commanding the defensive retreat battle so far, noticed something while looking at Mūzeg’s army. The moment he noticed that, he decided to play a new hand.
「It’s about time huh」
There was a very slight difference in the army of Mūzeg which was trying to siege them from both sides. Specifically, there was a difference in the speed of the army resuming their attack after having their formation destroyed as well as the accuracy of the reformation of their formation. At first there was only a small difference but as they repeated it, the difference became larger.
――The right side has a higher precision.
What he could understand from that was,
――The 『commander』 was most probably on the right side.
Hasim finally called for Elma.
「What is it!?」
As soon as she was called, Elma answered immediately. Within two seconds of that, she guided her horse to Hasim and with a 「finally my turn」 kind of feeling she came up.
「Can you see it, around that area. Most probably, the enemy’s commander is towards the right of the central battlefield」
Elma turned her gaze towards the direction Hasim had pointed at. Hasim narrowed his eyes and turned a sharp gaze towards the enemy army trying to find the figure of the commander.
At that time, as if to advice those two, another voice spoke up.
「He was, most probably, there. He was there near Saru-kun a little while back, a large person」
Aiz, who had been sitting behind Elma, stuck her head out from behind and spoke.
「As I remember, the〈Heavenly Demon〉――」
Hasim looked at Aiz and recalled the information that he had heard before the battle and based on that, asked a question.
「If you know the general location, can you narrow it down to a more precise one with those eyes?」
「I can, try」
At Hasim’s question, Aiz replied without a moment’s hesitation.
「Alright, then concentrate on that large man. If we can at least understand if he’s giving instructions or not, that alone is enough」
「Got it. Wait, a little」
Aiz closed her eyes. There was a short silence.
「――Yeah, as I thought, he seems to be the one」
She nodded as soon as she opened her eyes.
「I confirmed it myself right now. If Aiz says so then it’s definitely true. That’s more than enough for me to believe it」
Elma unsheathed the demon sword while speaking. Looking at her, Hasim once more spoke to Elma.
「Like I told you a while back, I’ll lend you one cavalry platoon. Use them as a scaffold and flank the enemy from the right」
The meaning of those words were,
「Go get the head of the commander」
Hasim spoke with a serious expression. At those words, Elma had a sarcastic smile on her face as she lightly shook her head in exasperation.
「I said this earlier as well but you seriously say some unreasonable things, king of Lemuse」
She replied so but, in the next moment, that smile disappeared. In place of that, she had an extremely serious expression on her face.
「――However, I understand. As the descendant of the commander of the 38 heavenly sword brigade, I’ll show you that I can fulfil the duty entrusted to me」
「Yeah, I entrust it to you. ――I’ll send a decoy to the left. Don’t move until there is a signal」
He calmly told her and then he followed up.
「――Be careful. If it seems impossible then it’s fine even if you don’t kill him. I at least hope for intimidation that’ll make them gulp at the thought of fighting back」
「Don’t worry, I’ve already experienced multiple such disadvantageous battles. In those times I managed to take the heads of three commanders. One is quite simple」
There was some exaggeration in Elma’s words. That was meant to make Hasim feel relief as well as to encourage herself.
At Elma’s words, Hasim nodded. Elma now turned towards her back and looked at Aiz who was tightly clinging onto her back and smiled.
「Aiz, you stay here」
Aiz had a surprised expression for a moment but it quickly turned to a sad one. Seeing that, Elma had a troubled wry smile but she didn’t budge from her point.
「It’ll be too dangerous for you from here on. I know the general direction now so I don’t need guidance anymore」
「If I end up letting you get injured then I’ll get shouted at by Marisa after all. She, herself, probably wants to be stay by your side but, as expected, in this situation where we’re overwhelmingly short on numbers, she has no choice but to go to the frontlines and rampage. I took you away from such a Marisa, although it is 『our own selfish responsibility』 but――I still can’t take you knowing that it will be dangerous」
Aiz immediately understood what Elma had tried not to say. She was extremely intelligent when it came to topics like this.
「...is that so? It’s dangerous, even for Elma, from now on huh」
Hearing that short reply, Aiz put some strength into the arm that was hugging Elma.
She quickly removed her arm. Without anyone’s help, she jumped off the horse. Seeing her like that, Elma spoke,
「Well, on the contrary, this place can be called safe. After all is said and done, it’s right behind Merea, not to mention that it’s right next to the supreme commander of our side as well. Not to mention, your powers would be much more useful if you’re next to the commander after all. This may not be a very nice thing to say but I’m saying it out of respect for your determination to fight」
As if it to say 「forgive me」, Elma’s eyebrows drooped a little as she smiled.
「Yeah, I’ll be, fine. So, Elma too――be careful」
Aiz had a similar smile on her face as she looked up at Elma. Elma patted her head once, looking like it was regrettable to part and finally turned her gaze away. Then,
In the end, she turned a sharp gaze towards Hasim who was currently watching the battle. At some point her way of calling him had changed from 『King of Lemuse』 to his name. However, rather than a change that originated from familiarity, it seemed to be one that stemmed from her wanting to give a warning instead.
「If you want the demon lords to help you then, make amply sure that Aiz doesn’t get a single injury. ――Any injury on Aiz will be quite expensive for you」
「I’ll make sure to keep that in mind」
Seeing Hasim reply clearly, Elma breathed a sigh of satisfaction. She put her heel to the horse’s side and faced the horse towards the right.
「In that case, I’ll be off. I’ll leave my comrades to you」
After speaking, with her back facing them, she mixed into Lemuse’s soldiers and went off towards the right. Aiz continued watching her back with a worried expression.
Around the time that Elma had gotten instructions from Hasim, the cavalry of Mūzeg had fought and pushed Lemuse’s side quite a bit.
It was quite the violent charge.
Though, it was the source of a lot of irritation for them that Lemuse’s soldiers were considerably more tenacious than they had expected.
At that time, Hasim had confirmed the 『narrow view』 of Mūzeg’s cavalry with his own eyes. When they were looking over the entire battlefield, they kept concentrating on one side too much.
The siege wasn’t going well.
The central battlefield was facing an unexpectedly fierce resistance.
Unable to wait any longer for at least one side to fall apart, showing clear signs of impatience.
Along with the resistance put up by the demon lords, more than anything else, since Merea used those showy technique equips, they seem to have gradually started to give up on breaking through that section.
In which case, they probably felt that it would be faster to go according to the original plan and flank from either the left or the right.
They were aiming mainly towards the battle to Hasim’s left. Lemuse’s soldiers on that left side seemed to especially be 『on the retreat』.
If they continued the way they were going, then they would probably be able to break through on that side the fastest.
That expectation is something that could be seen clearly from their faces and their gazes.
That was a trap laid by Hasim.
Hasim had deliberately had Lemuse’s soldiers on the left side 『retreat a little』.
In the first place, there was no change in the fact that it was a close battle so, the retreat wasn’t something that seemed unnatural at all. In a sense, this was a trap that could only be laid because they were so overwhelmingly outnumbered.
While making sure that the front lines would be careful to the utmost limits, Hasim confirmed that his plan had played out well.
Then, as if landing the final blow, he played his last hand.
「As ostentatiously as possible, go around them」
The few 『decoys』 that he had left with him. A corps that was especially fast.
He had them further flank the fierce battle happening on the left.
They acted as if to go around to the headquarters of the enemies by going around the left.
Although it’s going too far to try to launch a sudden attack towards the their headquarters but they were more than enough to grab the enemy’s attention.
「Raise up a dust cloud. Cover your bodies up in an opaque, as large as possible cloud. Grab their attention by causing an exaggeratedly threatening scene」
The corps of Lemuse’s cavalry that was going around the left side, used the handles of their spears to raise a huge dust cloud and spread up a little, they caused the horses to stomp the ground hard to make themselves look big.
While watching their actions, at the same time, Hasim also looked at the entirety of Mūzeg’s army.
Without blinking even once, he waited. As much as possible, he waited.
After gathering their attention as much as possible, after that, in one go――
He pierced the right side with the 『sword』.
At that time he was already a step ahead. His brain processed all the information that he got while looking at the situation and finally――
Hasim opened up the right side horizontally as much as possible and then gave the 『signal』.
At the same time, as if to go around the fierce battle on the right side, 『Lemuse’s fastest cavalry corps』 with the〈Sword Emperor〉Elma mixed in, ran with all their might.
That was also a strike back at Mūzeg to repay them.
――Hold on for me.
After he sent off Elma, Hasim immediately turned his gaze towards the left side. If Elma managed to infiltrate properly and kill the commander then they could cause the command structure to completely collapse.
However, in that time, there’s also the problem of whether the left side would be able to hold out or not.
There’s also the fact that, Mūzeg’s army gained that much more momentum because of Hasim ordering the left side to partially retreat on purpose.
Among them, he could see Merea wrapped in white lightning, spreading destruction throughout the central battlefield at a phenomenal speed and putting pressure on both sides at the same time.
Merea, without having to be told, was making sure to keep an eye on the state of the battlefield.
Without stopping for even a second, he continued to run across the battlefield. Seeing that, Hasim while feeling awe at Merea’s power, tightly gripped the hilt of his sword.
If it came down to it, he himself might have to join the battle.
He had already given the instructions that needed to be given and his soldiers seemed gradually be getting used to this way of fighting as well.
In this situation, if physical prowess was needed more than mental prowess then,
――I’m not as good at Melee battles as Serius or Muran though.
Even then, I’ll probably still go out. Hasim gazed up front while thinking about the excuses he would have to give Aisha in the future.
It was――in the next moment.
「Ahh…, no! 『It’s coming』!」
The girl who Elma had dropped off over there, with silver eyes, the〈Heavenly Demon〉Aiz looked like she was hugging her body out of the sheer fear she felt as she let out a voice. What is, is something that Hasim was about to ask but the words never came out.
Even if he didn’t go out of his way to ask, he understood.
What Hasim felt in the next instant was a gaze from behind his back, that made him feel like it could see everything to the very depths of his being.
His spine trembled and a chill ran up it.
He didn’t know whose gaze that was.
However, one thing was for certain――
――I’m being watched.
Hasim felt his body assailed by a strange power. It was as if his body instead of his mind was ordering him to 『quickly turn that way』. He even thought of it as a revelation from god.
Hasim violently turned back in his seat and turned his gaze into the very depths of Mūzeg’s army.
What came into view, was what he saw even before the battle, a flag bearer cavalryman of Mūzeg. At the rear of the central area, the people with the duty to keep raising the flag which is the symbol of the country’s prestige and authority, no matter the situation, were still continuing to raise the flag with Mūzeg’s black emblem.
However, it wasn’t them.
Hasim concentrated his eyes even further and sent his gaze further into the depths, further than those flag bearers.
When he did so, in the next moment. From behind the flag that flapped to the side――
Something big could be seen.
However, the flag swayed in the wind and covered whatever that was once more.
Hasim even forgot to blink.
He concentrated so that he could see what it was as soon as the flag swayed once more.
Finally, the flag swayed once more.
「――Land dragon (Reirnote)」
He could see a 『land dragon』 with red scales.
On that dragon’s back――
He saw a man with gray coloured hair.
A far away, still small figure.
However, Hasim did not doubt that that it was a man.
He also intuitively knew that, that man was the person that he knew very well.
As far as Hasim was concerned, that hair colour was something――
That he could never forget.