The moment when the Empire’s right wing started attacking, the direction of the war is already set in stone. Inside the headquarters tent on the Empire’s side, the General commanding the entire army continued to receive more reports.
「Is that so. The flying horse successfully assaulted the enemy headquarters huh. 」
「Yessir! The enemy units are in a chaos trying to be help of their headquarters! Our left wing is slowly pushing back the enemy’s right wing, and we are now progressing into the phase of cleaning up their remaining forces! 」
Even the messenger that brought the message couldn’t hide his smile at the news.
「Good work! 」
「Congratulations, Your Honor. Our victory in this war is unshakeable now. 」
One of the officers had his fist hitting his open palm and said so to the General.
「Umu. Our victory is assured at this point. So, how is the state of other units? 」
After replying the officer, the General asked the messenger.
「Yessir. At same time when our right wing pressed on the attack, the enemy’s left wing retreated half of their forces. Our soldiers were able to overwhelm them in numbers, it’s an advantageous fight on our side. But the resistance in the center is more than we expected, it looks unlikely that we can push them back. 」
「Fumu……. With the outcome decided now, we shouldn’t waste our soldiers. Give an order to the center to retreat except the mercenaries. And to the mercenaries, tell them to not be so aggressive. 」
Receiving the order from the General, the messenger quickly moved out of the tent.
「Will the mercenaries listen to our orders though? 」
「I afraid not. 」
Unlike soldiers, the mercenaries are trying to make obvious achievements that would increase their payout. Although they would be paid compensation, it’s still not enough for them to bet their entire life on.
For the sake of getting more money, the mercenaries will continue fighting as long as they don’t see any danger to their own lives. The mercenaries would definite take advantage of it now that the Empire’s side is overwhelming the Kingdom.
The officers didn’t think any of the mercenaries would listen even if they asked them to practice self-restraint.
「Well, if the mercenaries are willing to fight aggressively on their own, it’s beneficial for us as well. Since there aren’t any settlements or villages around. There’s no target for them to deprive anything from, so there’s no problem. 」
It doesn’t matter even if the mercenaries ignored some of their commands, the General was implying such.
In the middle of the warzone. Even in the center where two factions of mercenaries are striking at each other intensely, they could still notice a change in the situation.
「The enemies, are they tired already? 」
Ted said so after seeing the weakening of the enemy onslaught.
「Right. Did some order came for them? 」
As expected, even Norris is tired now, he replied unusually with short words. It was a war that isn’t advantageous in the first place, but thanks to Ardis and the members of 『Bright Stars of White Night』, the balance between the two forces aren’t tilting.
The pressure from the Imperial army eased up, there’s also many sightings of friendlies that had fought a bitter fight till now pushing them back. Of course, it still doesn’t change the fact that the Kingdom’s center unit is fighting disadvantageously.
However, there are spots where the kingdom has the upper hand too. A prime example is where Ardis and the others are around, it is the most forefront where the Imperial army is being pushed back.
The one who brought the answer to the change in situation was the commander of the mercenary unit, Moore.
「Why did a commander come to the frontlines? 」
「It’s nothing strange though? Even for a commander, I’m just a lowly unit commander. Isn’t it the safest around here in the first place. 」
At Ted who had a stupefied expression, Moore was looking around before answering. And the small statured man who is his subordinate beside him had another kind of stupefied face unlike Ted’s. It seems like even Moore’s action is kind of outrageous amongst the other soldiers.
「Well, it’s much better than giving out orders from the back. 」
Certainly, with the fierce battle between the mercenaries, it’s not like he can stay anywhere safe to spectate. In that case, the place where Ardis and Ted and the other members of 『Bright Stars of White Night』, it can be said as the only safe haven for him in the warzone.
「Hey, captain-san. The enemy’s assault became weaker, what happened? 」
Orphellia who casted her spell to aide a nearby friendly asked.
「Ah――, you noticed huh……」
Moore was giving an awkward looking face.
「It’s still being confirmed now but, actually――」
「Captain, it’s not something to be told to them. 」
The small statured man spoke beside Moore and shut him up
「Really stubborn eh, you. It’s fine, they aren’t that without backbones that they would run away after hearing it. 」
Retorting so to his subordinates, Moore faced back to Ardis and the others.
「Actually, it seems like the enemy’s cavalry had broken through our right wing. They are that infamous cavalry unit riding on unfamiliar beasts. After breaking through, they went straight for the headquarters. The headquarters that got hit suddenly is now in ruins. The reason why they lightened the pressure, it’s probably because they thought the outcome is decided and decided to retreat their soldiers excluding the mercenaries. 」
The news Moore brought was more than plausible.
「Aaa~ah, it’s a losing battle huh. 」
Norris complained without hiding his tired expression, all while releasing arrows towards a group of enemies. There’s no one who would be willing to stay here knowing that the chances to win is nil.
It was originally a disadvantageous fight. They had already readied themselves to lose to a certain degree, if the situation is already so, they should prioritize on surviving rather than getting achievements.
However, the words that Moore spoke next made Ardis eyes turn sharp.
「As for the left wing that was just lightly having a skirmish till now, the enemy pressed on their attack. On top of that, half of the left wing left the forefront in an attempt to save the headquarters. The remaining forces couldn’t possibly put up a good fight. 」
「Is that true? 」
「That’s why I’m saying it’s still under verification. It’s impossible to hope for all accurate news in a warzone. 」
What Moore said is correct. In a warzone that has no order, it can be a mistake or a decoy that was put out by the enemy. It’s over expectant to hope that their messengers would deliver accurate news.
However, Ardis has his reasons. He wasn’t troubled with money, the reason why he had participated in the war in the first place is a person in the left wing.
「So what are we gonna do now? Retreat? 」
「If the news of the headquarters crushed is real, there’s no meaning to continue the fight here. We will retreat after buying at least some time to make some excuse to those guys up there later. As for if the headquarters is still alive……, then we will have to maintain the frontline until new orders come in. 」
When Moore finished, Ardis suddenly interrupted.
「I have a request. 」
「Nn? What is it? 」
「If the headquarters no longer function, I wish to leave the command and move on my own accord. 」
It wasn’t Moore that had a response to that.
「What are you saying? 」
It was the small statured man beside Moore that narrowed his eyes and was looking at Ardis with a condemning gaze.
「Of course something like that isn’t allowed. 」
What he said is a matter of fact. There’s no way someone of the commanding side would allow an act of leaving the chain of command that simply.
「What’s up? Someone of a caliber like you, no way you would get cold feet, right? 」
「There’s someone I know in the left wing. 」
Moore’s question was answered straight by Ardis.
「The reason I participated is to not let him die in the first place. If what you said was real, then wouldn’t the left wing be quite dangerous now? 」
Seeing that defeat is imminent and leaving, it can’t be helped that his actions is seen as deserting. Originally, he thought he could protect Kyrill without joining the army, but there’s a possibility that he would be recognized as an enemy by the Kingdom.
In fact, a third faction that didn’t belong to neither the Kingdom nor the Empire, in a warzone where all the soldiers are filled with bloodlust. He might be getting attacked as both’s target without question.
「That’s why you want to leave here and head for his rescue? 」
Moore was having a questioning gaze, and Ardis nodded staring straight back.
「I know it’s selfish of me. That’s why it’s a request. 」
Moore became silent as if falling into his thoughts.
「Of course no way such a reason can be acce――」
The small statured man who was speaking with a sermon-like tone was stopped by Moore with his hand.
「Got it. 」
The small statured man had round eyes that indicated that he couldn’t believe it.
「I mean, it’s not like we can avoid this losing battle. If so, we can only retreat. Luckily, all we have here are tough looking mercenaries, so that wouldn’t be a trouble. But the left wing is mostly drafted soldiers and students. I would want them to return in one piece as well. Don’t you think so too? 」
「……Asking like that is cowardly. In the first place, can one mercenary heading there even make a difference? 」
「You’re correct that he’s only one mercenary but, he’s the famous 『Three Great Demons Subjugator』 you know? He must have some tricks up his sleeves. 」
「Against demonic beings and soldiers are totally different though……」
Well, since the commander had already decided so, the small statured man sighed and give up.
「It’s as such. It sounds bad to have someone leaving my command, how about saying it’s under my order to head for rescue of the left wing. Isn’t it better if rescue is done sooner? Leave here to us and go now. 」
「Even though the news just now wasn’t verified? 」
Moore said that the news isn’t confirmed to be true.
「It’s fine. In return, it’s a 『You owe me』. Remember to return a favor next time around. 」
「Got it. A favor it is, I won’t forget. 」
With the two’s conversation ended, Norris who was focusing on shooting arrows without saying anything showed a disappointed face.
「Awww, Ardis is leaving huh. 」
「Sorry, Norris. 」
「Nn――, if you’re sorry, be prepared to treat us to some beer when we get back. 」
「Don’t forget for our portion too, Ardis. 」
「We will manage somehow by ourselves, no need to worry. 」
The three faces of 『Bright Stars of White Night』 acknowledged Ardis’s departure and said their part. Although they were saying that they would rely on Ardis to get by in this war, they weren’t actually so shameless that they have to be carried all the way.
After leaving short words of appreciation to the three, he turned around and left. Instead of a parting gift, he scattered some 『Troa ・ Seus ・ Fote (Storm of the North) 』towards the enemies, leaving behind a white frozen scenery before heading for the left wing.