Having the orange tinted bluish sword pointed towards him, the young man suspected to be a nobility panickily turned around his horse. With the surrounding cavalries following him in a tight formation, the magician and the infantries left behind in hopes to stop Ardis.
「The radiance that pierces through the abyssal darkness, marble path that leads to the world within――」
A long chant was coming out of the magician. It is the spell 『Teill ・ Sele ・ Kvois (Dazzling Light) 』.
(Did he thought that he would have enough time to get it off?)
Ardis would never wait for the completion of his spell.
While dispersing the soldiers in front of him, Ardis tossed 『Moon’s Blizzard』 high in the sky. The 『Moon’s Blizzard』 had climbed into the sky, and became one with the clouds, without getting any interference, it started dropping down straight onto the magician’s head.
「Invisible domain that blocks the way that is the curtain――」
With a face that expressed he didn’t know, the magician’s chanting stopped. There was only the 『Moon’s Blizzard』stabbed deep into his body with only the hilt left outside. The slightly visible white blade was dyed with red blood spewing out.
A cough of blood replaced the chant, and the magician fell onto the ground.
As for the remaining Imperial soldiers, no matter how they struggled, it didn’t mean anything for Ardis. While dispersing the soldiers, he sent out 『Springtime Mist』 ahead of him.
「Young Master! Quickly! 」
He could hear it barely. They had already ridden on the horse and put up a distance where anyone couldn’t possibly catch up by foot.
But that’s if it’s by 『Foot』.
It’s easy for a short sword that flew in the air without any obstruction to catch up. With a speed like an arrow, 『Springtime Mist』 locked its aim on the young noble riding on the horse.
When the sword stabbed into the horse’s rear, the horse went out of control under the unbearable pain, swinging the man off his saddle. There’s nothing short of fortune that the rampaging horse didn’t crash into the other horses.
On top of that, he only fell from the horse, it might be good fortune of his to have survived longer. But the young man’s fortune ends here.
The escorts that had realized the noble falling off the horse tried to turn around but there was already a black-haired young man with a broad sword in his hand standing in their way.
Realizing that it is the mercenary that had dealt with the Imperial army on his own, the young nobleman panickily spoke.
「I surrender! I surrender myself! I request to be treated as a prisoner! 」
It’s likely the young nobleman has bone fractures all over his body but, at the impeding danger, he probably forgot all of that and begged.
Ardis’s short question brought misunderstanding to the young nobleman.
「Is it money!? I will pay any ransom! My father would pay a huge ransom if it’s for my sake! It’s enough for you to live in indulgence for your entire life! 」
「Sorry but I’m not concerned with money. 」
In the first place, even if he said ransom, a mercenary like Ardis would probably only receive a small cut of the entirety. The reason why Ardis had chased after the commander-like person wasn’t because of any ransom nor achievements.
If he can bring chaos to the enemy commanding chain by finishing off the commander, Kyrill and the other students would have more time to retreat.
「S-Save me! 」
Noticing that Ardis’s eyes had no benevolence, the young man started to beg for his life.
「You have come to a war to kill, of course you have made up your mind to be killed? 」
Ardis’s reply was cold as ice.
He wouldn’t kill someone that isn’t capable of fighting like a normal citizen. If it’s just a normal soldier who begged for life, and isn’t hostile to Ardis, he might’ve spared him.
But the one in front of him is the commander of a unit that had conducted the war. Having sent many Kingdom soldiers to the afterlife, begging for his life now is just hypocrisy, Ardis had no intention to listen to him.
Even if Ardis chose to spare him, there’s no guarantee he would retreat his unit quietly. If someone else took command, the situation wouldn’t change much than now.
That’s why he should do it properly, engrave the fact that their commander is taken down to the entire Imperial army.
There’re no emotions in there. It’s a war. Because it’s needed, Ardis stabbed 『Skies of Myriad Colors』 straight into the young man’s chest without hesitation.
Dealing with the cavalries that came back to save the commander, he beheaded the young nobleman just in case, and left the area while the surrounding is covered in a dead silence staring at the scene.
The Empire’s right wing that had gotten a critical hit from Ardis, their command chain broken, and they could no longer function as one unit. Even if they can get the remaining troops together, there aren’t any officers left to lead them.
That weakened the Empire’s offense, and let the Kingdom take a breather. It’s not just Kyrill and the other few that received the blessings of Ardis’s actions, the drafted soldiers and the other students managed to have a breather too.
「Commander Remshade! The enemy’s offense has weakened! 」
One of the students reported to the officer on the horse.
「Good! We will retreat now! Those from warrior class be alert on the outer circle and prepare for any attacks! 」
The young officer on the horse ―― Hansrick ・ Remshade shouted his orders loudly.
There’re only less than fifty members around him. It’s too less to be called a force.
On top of that, they aren’t soldiers but normal students from the academy. They are weak, and didn’t even have any experience nor training, Hansrick cursed at his bad luck of having to command such a group of people.
But now all he can do is make use of the whatever leftovers of they have and retreat from the war and survive.
「There’re still friendlies that are surrounded by enemy soldiers……」
「Are we abandoning them……? 」
Although none of them were directed at Hansrick directly, he heard it from the murmurs around.
「Even if we went, there’s no difference, only more will be sacrificed! 」
Hansrick yelled out angrily without hiding his irritation.
In fact, there’s nothing wrong with Hansrick’s judgement in this situation. Even if the Imperial army weakened their assault, the difference in power is still evident, it’s still a matter of time before they push through. They must retreat now or never.
They must take the chance and retreat now or choose to be overrun by enemy. It’s not a wrong choice as a commander to abandon the little number of students
Though, there’s no time nor reason for Hansrick to explain every one of his decisions to mere students that understand nothing of strategy. Just mere greenhorn brats, even the time to complain such in his mind is precious, it wasn’t a result brought by his self-constraint.
「Stay here if you want! I won’t stop you if you want to save them! 」
Saying so to the students that showed reluctant at his orders to retreat, the commander gave out the order to do as they wish.
「Hurry! We will enter the forest to avoid attacks! Don’t get strayed! 」
Hansrick leaded the retreat.
There’re about thirty students that followed him. Were they prioritizing their own lives rather than their friends’ or are they prioritizing the commander’s orders, no one knew. The small number of people behind him made Hansrick click his tongue audibly.
About ten students chose to not follow Hansrick’s order and stay behind.
They should’ve known too. It’s impossible to save those encompassed by Imperial soldiers in this situation. However, the inability to abandon their fellow students and the inept of understanding the situation made them unable to make the correct choice.
「Don’t regret even if you die」
Hansrick grumbled even when understanding that.
He gave them options. He gave them orders. They had chosen so despite it, he wouldn’t care anymore than this.
Although he was angry at the upper echelons of forcing him the role of commanding all these untrained students, his tolerance had reached its limits now.
「Shit! Why did this……」
Receiving elite education ever since birth as the second son in the martial family of Remshade, Hansrick was sailing smoothly in Mariules Academy as the best student.
And everything went wrong because of the expedition before they graduated.
「If it’s not for that time……」
Hansrick recalled his past hardship while leading the retreat.
Hansrick had challenged the Corsas Forest along with his classmates once. But they couldn’t even do anything to the beasts inside the forest despite being the best students, in the end, they were saved thanks to a traveling merchant and mercenaries.
Hansrick that had returned to the capital was met with the nameplate of 『Saved by mercenaries after arrogantly overestimating himself』. Having scolded by his father after spending a huge sum on his saving, looked down coldly by his brother who is the successor of the house.
Even the classmates in the academy that were good to him before distanced themselves, and for the half year till graduation, they were forbidden of venturing out the capital.
Even now, after entering the military three years after graduation, that event still remained on Hansrick’s mind. Even though they were all the same, Solte who was raising her name steadily as someone of an holy occupation was different.
Luckily, there seems to be no pursuit from the Imperial army, the unit that Hansrick led stepped into the forest near the battlefield.
「We will get into the forest like this to distance ourselves from the battlefield! Don’t rest yet! Move your legs! 」
Hansrick and the others proceeded in the forest that seemed eerie through the beast path. When they had finally left the battlefield far enough that the sounds of clashing metal dimmed out.
The students that were walking in line suddenly shrieked.
「What is it!? 」
Hansrick that turned around panickily saw the figures of several students covered with net that seemed like made with plant vines.
Hansrick suddenly threw out an unlucky word. As if replying to that, there’s now another shriek from the students that walked ahead.
Facing back forward at the voice, there was a deep hole that extended the width of the road.
「A pitfall!? 」
It’s obvious that it’s something made by humans.
「Ambush! Everyone be on alert! Tighten our defe――」
Hansrick showed excellency with rapid response trying to calm down the chaos. But that is already too late.
Hansrick that was giving out orders to the unit suddenly felt pain at the multiple arrows stabbing into him. But that is also but a moment. The next moment, he felt something by his head, and everything felt far, with his senses feeling faded away, his consciousness faded along from the world with that.