As Greyth said, the opportunity to return the favor came within 2 months.
Opposing the ever-expanding Rodelia, the surrounding smaller countries started to link hands, and the tension between the two sides continued to increase.
Armies of various countries came together, as Rodelia too started advancing their troops in response. The Rodelia that became powerful enough to threaten its surrounding countries will be facing against five other countries.
With a total of five countries merging their armies, the numbers between the two sides are close, and no one could predict the outcome for when they would clash.
「Alright! With this, we can punch that woman general in the face! 」
Joan was strangely on a very good and refreshing mood. He was full of energy with his intention to punch the opponent that made him angry in the ceremony before.
Naturally, Ardis and the other Wisteria mercenaries knew what Joan meant, as they all stood against Rodelia, and therefore on the side of the five countries.
Like before, Rodelia gathered mercenaries with a massive price tag, but for Wisteria, it’s not a matter about money this time.
This time, the goal is to make the woman general who undervalued and looked down on them feel agony.
「I heard they didn’t manage to gather many mercenaries. 」
「That’s because they have a bad record after all. Unlike us, there are mercenary bands that were completely wiped out. 」
Victor replied to Lexy in a cool-headed fashion.
「Well, no one wants to die a fool’s death. So, Captain, is our standing place decided? 」
「Yeah, listen and rejoice. 」
Greyth who was asked took a serious expression and announced to everyone.
「It’s in the assault unit aiming for the enemy headquarters where that woman will be. 」
In an instant, Lexy’s expression filled with killing intent.
「Woah, listen to the end first. Don’t worry, it’s not a suicide attack. We are part of a proper strategy. 」
「And, what’s that strategy? 」
Darwat inquired instead of Lexy, who was still staring coldly at Greyth.
「It’s not anything that grandiose. A while after the two armies collide, they plan to first retreat slowly to draw the enemies in. Then, when the main unit separates from the battlefront, another unit will strike from the side, and fire smokescreen arts with the mages they have. After that, we will go from above in a surprise attack. 」
「That’s quite the big role to play. I’m impressed we got that. Sounds like a role that each country would have fought to get for themselves. 」
「We have many people that can make footholds after all. 」
「I guess that’s true too. 」
It’s the minorities that can’t use arts to create footholds in Wisteria. They were the ones that were late to escape in the last battle and died.
As for the result, most of the surviving members are the ones who know how to create footholds. Darwat probably understood that as well as he nodded.
In a normal mercenary band or regular army, there are at most three tenths of people that can use footholds. In a sense, it was inevitable that almost everyone in Wisteria was enlisted in the assault unit.
「As for the other reasons, you can think of it as a compromise reached by all the armies after a lengthy debate. 」
「The armies are so troublesome.」
「Very true. 」
For the people tasked with leading a country’s army, there are probably many things to worry about other than fighting.
Lexy, who had been put in a good mood by Victor’s explanation, grumbled, while everyone else who listened smiled wryly.
Adding on the five armies and mercenaries, they had a total force of 8000. Rodelia, on the other side, had grown to 6500 people since the last war.
Although the five countries had an advantage in headcount, it was more like a gathering of different groups of people, where the lack of cooperation and unity cannot be wiped out.
Rodelia, on the other side, had a cohesive army with a clear command structure, and leading the assault was the lady commander known as the Catastrophic Butterfly, who knew no defeat. It is not an easy struggle to anticipate based on numbers alone.
「That’s why our performance will be very valuable. 」
Darwat grinned as he hit Ardis’s back.
「Isn’t that right, Ardis? 」
「……Why are you hitting me? 」
The noises of footsteps and the vibrations generated by troops walking on the plains could be felt through the earth as Ardis moaned about being hit so hard that he almost fell. The lid on the raging fires of war was thrown away.
「You guys, remember to not overdo it! Save your mana! 」
As Greyth’s orders flowed, Ardis and Luciel together with Rona plunged into the battlefield. The surroundings immediately became filled with sounds of angry voices and metal clashing.
Ardis was solely minded on swinging his sword and cutting down the enemies ahead of him.
Severing their limbs, tripping their legs, piercing their throats, and slashing open their necks. As he cut down the sixth person, a warning came from Rona and Luciel.
「Al! A big one is coming! 」
「Ardis! Dodge it! 」
Immediately, Ardis put up a barrier and leapt to the side. A beam of light passed directly in front of him; it was too large to be considered a ray and was more akin to a pillar of white lighting.
There was no way that it was a typical illumination on a battlefield. The white glow licked the ground like a lantern cutting away the darkness, with a radius that could wrap around a full carriage.
At the same time, some people who were unable to flee its radius began to combust. Although it was only a short period, the mercenaries and soldiers that were caught in it became charcoal as smell of burnt flesh spread in the atmosphere.
「That’s a troublesome one there. 」
「Isn’t it bad to leave that alone? 」
As Ardis muttered, Rona who came beside him asked.
「Crushing it……is better. 」
「Yeah, agreed. 」
「Hey wait. Ardis, Rona? 」
Ignoring Luciel who was about to stop them, Ardis and Rona both rushed into the enemies.
「Cover me, Al. 」
「Got it. 」
Drawing closer to the group that was likely protecting the mage, Ardis released a fireball towards the center. Although it could be defended with a simple barrier, its role is to only draw their attention in the first place.
Ardis, who had managed to attract their attention, grabbed up a blade dropped by god knows who and controlled it with his mana.
「It’s a mage, look out! 」
The enemies shouted a warning. Ardis cut down an enemy that stood in his way and immediately jumped back to release another fireball.
Although it was neither accurate nor powerful enough, it was enough to draw their attention. Rona, who had been waiting, surged towards the enemy in one move, taking advantage of a gap created by the troops’ attention on Ardis.
「Uwahk! A beast! 」
「Is it the enemy’s!? 」
Rona, who is faster than humans, quickly raced by them on a path that was lower than their waist. Rona’s teeth gripped the target’s neck as he plunged into the middle of their group.
「They got our mage! 」
「Shit, don’t let it get away! 」
Hearing that, Ardis didn’t wait for Rona, and quickly retreated.
「I think it’s really horrible of you to run away without waiting for me. 」
Rona who returned a while later complained with displeasure, but Ardis’s reply was simple.
「You don’t need my cover if you’re just running, right? 」
「I mean that’s true, but… 」
Luciel ran towards the two who were like that.
「Are you two fine? 」
「Of course. That much is an easy win even with just me and Al. 」
「That’s good to hear…….the signal to prepare is already out there. 」
Following Luciel’s gaze, there were three flags. White, red, and green, it was the signal to prepare for executing the plan.
「Then, we should start getting back. 」
The three started slowly withdrawing towards Greyth’s location, while fending off attacks from the enemies.
They had surely seen the signaling flags as well. At a place a little behind the battlefront, faces of Wisteria were gathering one after another.
Seeing everyone gathered there, Greyth gave one look to everyone and spoke.
「We’re pretty much all here. Our role is to strike from above. Y’all still have enough mana to create footholds, right? Tightened the marking cloth on your wrist yet? Confess now if you are one of the fools that overused your mana. 」
Of course, there were no such fools in Wisteria. Even if there were, they must be in the dirt already.
「Alright, listen up. Our job is to launch an assault to the enemy’s headquarters. The target is the enemy commander, that woman general called Jelia. Of course, everyone there is also our targets of elimination, but don’t forget who is the one that deserves the beating most! 」
「Yeah right! 」
「We have to repay the favor of being made a laugh! 」
「For our deceased comrades too! 」
The mercenaries were fired up.
「It’s almost time. The plan will soon begin. Don’t lag behind! 」
As Greyth said, a big change was visiting the battlefield. The allied forces displayed unbelievable cooperation as a gathering of different armies, but on the opposite side of the allied forces that were fighting patiently while slowly retreating, Rodelia’s army was inching closer and closer.
As a result, Rodelia’s army was slowly distancing from their headquarters. It wasn’t a distance great enough to warrant a relocation of the headquarters, nor cause them to withdraw their units.
That’s when the five allied countries aimed to strike with a diverted unit. Even the enemy wouldn’t know that the diverted unit is just a distraction.
The diverted unit released arts that were half purposed for offense and half purposed to create smokescreens. As arts were fired continuously, sands were raised, sunlight was blocked, and with clouds of smoke rising, Rodelia’s army suffered in visibility.
「Now! It’s time to go! 」
At that time, everyone of Wisteria that had been waiting thus far, started moving all at once. As if arrows fired from archers, they sprinted upwards, relying on the invisible footholds they made, and dived straight into Rodelia’s headquarters covered in smoke.
The aim is the central axis of the enemy. If possible, the head of the commander, Catastrophic Butterfly.
There’s not much time before the field gets cleared up. If they don’t manage to assault the enemy base and retreat quickly, they will be surrounded by the enemies and fall into a serious predicament.
Although the diverted unit’s next course of action will also be heading towards the enemy’s headquarters while making use of the chaos, it’s not like they can expect everything to go positively.
Their job can be considered successful the moment they manage to introduce chaos into the enemy’s headquarters. With the assault, they will already have accomplished more than enough as mercenaries hired by the five allied countries.
What’s remaining is to hit some sense to the enemy general because of their own selfish reasons.
「Rona, Ruu, stay close! 」
「Who are you telling that to!? 」
「Of course, I will be right beside! 」
Hearing the two’s response, Ardis, along with everyone else, leapt into the enemy’s headquarters.