「The Thoria army has already started its march to here. 」
「…… Ha? 」
Someone’s mouth gaped. It felt like Sera’s revelation echoed many times in the frozen meeting room.
Since Sera’s face is already familiar to every member present, they weren’t surprised by the sudden presence of a young woman.
However, their confusion was not why Sera was here, but what she said. It was Ardis who regained himself first.
「Started their march, when? 」
「About an hour ago. About a thousand soldiers headed west from Thoria. It’s eight out of ten they’re heading here. 」
「No wait, why do you know something that just happened? 」
Moore thought it is suspicious but, as usual, her answer was also something that Ardis and the others are clueless about.
「My daughters had told me. 」
「The daughters again huh. 」
「You had daughters? 」
Her unexpected answer warranted different responses from Ardis and Moore.
Ardis frowned between his brows, while Moore’s eyes were round at the unexpected answer.
「Something like that is not important right? Stand our ground or escape, there’s only ten days for us to make a decision. 」
Minerva took them out of the topic and raised another question.
「Is it possible that they are heading to the Coalition as reinforcements for the Monarchy army. 」
「Naturally, that’s possible but. I don’t think there’s a need for them to be backing up the Monarchy army now. 」
It was as Sera said. They had just gotten reinforcements from their home country, totaling their forces to fifteen thousand currently.
Having an overwhelming upper hand in the war, there’s no need for a thousand more soldiers to join at this point.
「Since the war with the Republic is pretty much over, it’s not strange for Thoria to set their eyes here~nii. Unlike the Empire that has their own Heavy Iron sources back home, Thoria that has gotten independence has no supplies within their own lands right――. For them, they probably might try to seize the Heavy Iron veins no matter what. 」
Marrieda predicted Thoria’s plans calmly.
「If only they would sit still……」
Ardis muttered while seemingly clicking his tongue. Then, Moore continued.
「Either way, it can’t be helped if they’re coming. We should proceed with our preparation more urgently before the Thoria army arrives. 」
They knew it will come eventually. It’s just that the eventual is pushed forward. If so, what they can do now is as Moore said, advance their own plans in urgency.
「Then let’s notify the refugees immediately. 」
「I will also get some help from Ellie and the others~nii. 」
Elma and Marrieda found their roles and left the meeting room quickly.
「Sorry, we might need your help again, Ardis. 」
「Of course. 」
Ardis who was left behind nodded firmly to Moore.
After that, the next four days. The Glock Village was surrounded in a strange tension.
The Thoria army advancement was announced, and those that are planning to leave the town are preparing in a hurry.
「There’re lesser than expected. 」
While seeing the people, Kyrill called out to Ardis.
「It’s not like they actually saw the Thoria army after all. There’re people who won’t believe if they only heard Elma’s words. They will probably try to escape at the last minute when the Thoria army is close enough to see. 」
Despite they already started gathering people who wants to evacuate, the reaction of the people were more lukewarm than expected.
Considering a thousand soldiers heading here, they would arrive in about ten days.
On the other hand, the defending side only has a total of hundred men, even including the guards of the Nyrestia house and trained conscripted soldiers. And they have to reserve escorts when evacuating the refugees.
Everything Ardis and the others knew were publicly disclosed without any veils, it is up to the refugees to make their own decision.
And so, those that wishes to leave are to be gathered five days later but, there were lesser people than expected.
Of course, some refugees took the town as their new home, and chose to defend it.
Though, the majority of the refugees didn’t trust the information about the Thoria army coming in the first place.
When they heard about 『The Thoria army has started their march today』 four days ago, normal people would suspect 『Why would they know something that just happened in Thoria today』.
After all, they are unlike Elma who regards Sera as the Goddess herself and don’t doubt her at all, and Ardis who knew that she’s not a normal person accepted it as fact despite being a little surprised.
Moore and Minerva believe it as well probably on the basis of trusting Ardis.
As for Marrieda, Ardis didn’t know either. Since she has the power of prophetic dreams, she might’ve gotten an insight from there but, she did not doubt Sera’s words at all.
However, the refugees weren’t like that. In the end, only about thirty percent trusted them, and the remaining suspected the falsehood of the information.
There were also people among them that insisted 『They are trying to deter refugees with fake news』, most of them spent the day normally without realizing the approaching danger.
「Well, we gave them the choice. No need to hear their complaints after this. 」
「Everyone is not as strong as Ardis-san after all. 」
Ignoring Kyrill bland voiced accusation, Ardis asked.
「What about Kyrill? 」
「Of course I’m staying. Nee-san and Marrieda-san is here after all, I can’t be the only one escaping. And also, it’s not like we can return to Reiten or the capital now either. 」
「I see. 」
Despite still thinking he’s a little unreliable, Ardis thought that Kyrill isn’t inferior to any fully-fledged mercenary as he has the capability to walk around the Corsas Forest on his own after all.
Most of the people who chose to protect the Glock Village are volunteers that had only been trained for a few months and has no prior combat experience.
Other than them, there’s Moore, guards of the Nyrestia House, former mercenaries and explorers that retired from the battlefield, but their numbers are small.
Currently, for Ardis and the others, those that has graduated from the Mariules Academy and has already experienced a war like Kyrill and Ellenoa is a precious asset.
「But will the Thoria army really come? 」
Seeing Ardis being silent, Kyrill asked without holding back.
「Oh, Kyrill is skeptical about it too huh.」
「Since I never confirmed it with my own eyes. That Sera-san girl, is she trustworthy? 」
Ardis had a bitter smile at Kyrill’s wording. Certainly, Sera looks like a girl in her late tens.
However, Elma and the older folks in the hidden village would know, that Sera’s appearance had never changed for the past tens of years.
Ardis and the twins who have a past case of Nere accepted it naturally but, for normal people, it’s a joke to hear that someone wouldn’t age.
Sera who had reported it immediately returned to the hidden village. She probably thought that they should do something by themselves after she had warned them.
In fact, as long as Ardis is here, a thousand or two soldiers is not a big deal. Though, it’s a different story if the opponents are mercenaries on the level of Ardis.
However, even for 『Bright Stars of White Night』 or Moore that are famous, they can’t be opponents of a serious Ardis.
Currently, in this world, those that can fight on equal grounds with Ardis is Rona, the Demon Beast King Shuder, the timid but strong Rupus, and also Nere.
「Do you still remember about Nere? 」
「Of course. She’s one of the most memorable persons in a different sense than Ardis-san. 」
With a reason unknown to Ardis, Kyrill smiled bitterly.
「It seems like Nere is a niece of Sera.」
The truth that was just revealed widened Kyrill’s eyes.
「Certainly, she looks very similar to Nere-san……」
「Sera and also I don’t really look like our age. So don’t treat her like a normal girl. 」
Ardis’s sincere warning called for a sigh from Kyrill.
「Really, Nere-san too, those people too, there’re only absurd people around Ardis-san……」
Ardis gave up objecting Kyrill’s words of resignation, despite feeling a little unreasonable.
In the end, nearly a thousand people had left the Glock Village. To protect the refugees leaving the town, fifty or so conscripted soldiers accompanied them.
More than half of them are families of the evacuating refugees. With fewer people leaving the town than expected, the decline in defending forces is minimized.
「How much do we still have? 」
「Twenty-four people of my own subordinates from the duke’s house. Eighty-two volunteers that had undergone training recently. Sixty-five people that have offered help for the battle. About a hundred seventy in total. 」
Moore answered Ardis’s question, and Kyrill asked a frank question.
「Isn’t it too little? 」
They are currently within one of the guard post that’s newly built in the Glock Village, one of its room.
To discuss the defense battle, other than Kyrill, there was the magician Ellenoa, the instructor of the guards’ corps, Cain, Endory and also Jake.
As for the personnel that is unrelated to the battle, the chief, Elma and Marrieda is not around.
「They don’t feel any threat. They still really think our announcement is just a hoax. 」
「How easygoing. Will they not realize unless a sword is at their neck? 」
「Rather, it’s probably because everyone hopes that nothing would happen. 」
「It would be easy if the enemies would retreat if we just hoped. 」
「Hey, you guys are going off-topic. 」
Moore pointed out at his subordinates that are going off-topic one after another.
「So, how about it Ardis? 」
「I can handle a thousand or so but……. There’s a need to consider what happens after this. 」
After listening to Ardis who said that calmly, he folded his arms with a serious expression.
「After this? 」
Ellenoa who was beside Kyrill interjected.
「Despite it being a life-threatening danger, there was not even more than a hundred people volunteering to fight. 」
「That’s…… true. 」
Moore said so annoyedly understanding what Ardis was implying, and Kyrill as well agreed.
「What does it mean, Kyrill? 」
Not understanding Ardis and Moore, Ellenoa poked the former classmate beside her.
「The problem they’re worrying is about what happens after this. Even if we manage to drive away the Thoria army this time, it’s not just because of our own efforts. It’s because Ardis-san is here, right? And since Ardis-san can’t be expected to be always here, we will have to think about surviving further attacks on our own. Despite so, there were only sixty-five people that are willing to take up weapons on their own to protect the town……. In other words, the people in town don’t think the Thoria army as something that concerns themselves. 」
Despite excluding the females and elderly, considering the population, it should’ve been possible to gather at least five hundred people.
However, in reality, there were only a hundred fifty people, even after including everyone that are trained before.
It is obvious to their eyes that they are underestimating the threat.
「Well, they might change their mind after seeing the Thoria army. Sorry but Ardis, you will be bearing a heavy burden this time. 」
「I know. I will hit the enemy from the front. I will leave the ones that slip past to you. 」
「Of course, leave that much to me. 」
With Ardis’s ability, he can probably repel the Thoria army with a night attack before they even appear within the town’s range.
However, that would only endorse more ignorant behaviors among the town people.
That’s why, they would fight in a distance that is visible from the town, and make it clear to the town people. All while knowing that it’s going to be a rough treatment.