A place about half a day south of Glock.
Within a small forest with several hills, an army of three thousand soldiers was marching north.
There were three people floating in the air looking down upon the army.
One of the twins that were floating with Ardis in between, Fillia, unintentionally muttered her thoughts.
For the girls that had been living while avoiding people, it must’ve been quite a shocking scene to see three thousand people forming lines.
「Ardis, the center of the Imperial army has passed the landmark. 」
「The commander…… there huh. 」
As Riana said, the Elmenia Imperial army stretched front and back had just passed through the tree that served as a landmark.
Naturally, they couldn’t see clearly from above, but by viewing the entire army as a whole organism, there was a part clearly standing out.
From a glance, because the defense was particularly stricter, with soldiers wearing a different getup, there was no doubt the enemy commander was there.
「Let’s begin. Fillia use ice, and Riana, earth. 」
Hearing Ardis’s short instructions, the twins replied nervously.
Ardis and the others were about to engage in a battle with the Imperial army attempting to invade Glock.
Although it was the twins themselves who voiced their intention to participate in the battle, as expected, they couldn’t hide their nervous feelings that arose from their first time in a battlefield.
At Ardis’ signal, he created several fireballs while ignoring chants, and slammed them on the ground.
The fireballs landed evenly along the long stretch of Imperial troops, creating explosions everywhere.
Since they weren’t for the purpose of killing, the potency was considerably weaker than what he used when he fought against the Empire on the Kingdom’s side.
Rather, they were created with the flashiest appearance than power to introduce chaos to the enemies.
At the same time, the twins casted chantless arts of their own.
What the twins used weren’t arts accompanied by destruction.
Riana’s arts caused the earth to suddenly soften and move, while Fillia’s arts manifested a giant chunk of ice in the air.
Even if the fireballs were focused only on appearance, that didn’t mean there weren’t any casualties.
Several casualties appeared with just one fireball, and many more soldiers suffered with burnt wounds.
After losing their balance from Riana’s arts, as a result from the intense heat radiating, the chunk of ice that Fillia created melted into water and created artificial rain.
Although both were arts that used to make field work more efficient, depending on its usage, they were more than sufficient to stop a large army.
With the soft aeriated earth showered with rain, it absorbed the water rapidly, and the Imperial army suddenly found themselves within a pool of mud.
「Enemy attack!? 」
「Up there! They’re in the sky! 」
Amid the chaos, several sharp-eyed soldiers noticed their presence in the sky.
「Shoot them down! 」
The soldiers around the commander quickly recovered from the chaos, and tried to shoot arrows towards the sky, naturally failing, as Ardis and the others were high enough for none of them to reach.
The arrows fired upwards lost their momentum long before reaching the three and fell back to earth following a parabola.
「It’s about time……」
As if they were matching Ardis’s mutter, a group of about four hundred people jumped out from one side of the forest.
It was the volunteering soldiers that Moore led to take the enemy commander down.
With several leading riders, the group completely ignored the others, and rushed into the Imperial army’s center.
Distracted by Ardis and the others in the air, the Imperial Army failed to quickly notice the presence of an ambush.
However, it was as expected of the highly trained soldiers around the commander.
Albeit late by a beat, several officer-like figures immediately yelled out to counter the sudden ambush.
「Get ready! It’s not just a few! 」
「Protect His Excellency! 」
Still, being hit at an unexpected direction meant their response was ineffective.
On top of that, with Ardis and the twins’ arts, the entire Imperial army was in disarray.
Albeit slowly, Moore and the others were surely getting closer to break through the Imperial army’s defense.
「I will get down too. Both of you, stay here, and try to restrain the soldiers on both ends. 」
Ardis fired rocks towards places clear of allies on the ground while speaking to the girls on his side.
「Don’t ever put down your barriers. Even if it’s a little thin, keep it up at all costs. 」
Although they were floating at a distance where normal arrows wouldn’t reach, it was still impossible to predict what can happen on a battlefield.
Mixed within the army, there could be soldiers that can handle strong bows that normal people can’t.
Although caution was something Ardis had become natural with after living as a mercenary for long, the two girls hadn’t had such conscious yet, since this is only their first battlefield.
「It’s different from fighting beasts or demonic beings. There’s no need to attack especially. Just restraining them is more than enough. 」
Ardis who didn’t want the twins to be burdened with battles like this said those late words.
As a result of his complicated feelings, he didn’t allow the two to attack directly, but only allowed them to restrain the enemy soldiers.
「Listen, you can’t lower your altitude no matter what. Landing on the ground is forbidden. 」
Leaving those words behind, Ardis dispelled the foothold he was on and surrendered himself to gravity.
Ardis landed on the ground and regrouped with Moore and the others who were ripping into the central area of the army that was in utter chaos.
「Here, Shishou! 」
With Ardis’s question, a response came immediately.
Besides the twins, Minerva had also participated in the battle this time.
Naturally, Ardis and Moore tried to object to the idea, but as the former duke’s daughter and the symbol of Rovres Alliance’s resistance holding the succession rights to the Nagras royal family, Minerva’s existence had great influence.
Her presence was what allowed them to be regarded as soldiers of the Rovres Alliance resistance rather than a self-defense force, Minerva leading the battle greatly increased the overall morale.
『Losing my home country and my home, surely I still have at least this much use. 』
But rather than the reason at the surface, there was another reason for her to come, as after hearing 『Besides, with shackles like me around, Shishou surely can’t be reckless like before, right? 』, Ardis could find no words to rebut.
In fact, in the previous Thoria battle, Ardis had become too careless and too arrogant that he ended up showing his pathetic side.
Minerva’s presence certainly would serve as shackles in the sense that her existence will make Ardis more cautious than ever in making his decisions.
Either way, Ardis had no right to stop Minerva from participating.
In the end, they gave in, and allowed her to participate with the condition that she will always be within the vision of either Moore or Ardis.
「Where is Moore!? 」
「Cain-san and the others are up ahead! 」
It looks as though the bodyguards had rushed towards the enemy general as soon as Ardis arrived and swapped roles.
「We’re going after Moore. Don’t mind me, just focus ahead! 」
To ambush from the sides against the Imperial army that marched in long lines, and immediately retreat right after taking the enemy commander down; it was a strategy that Ardis and the others came up with to fight against enemies on the scale almost tenfold of theirs.
The chances were more than enough.
Even if the enemy had a force of three thousand, with their lines outstretching while marching, it would take considerable time for both ends to arrive to the middle for reinforcements.
On top of that, due to the arts from the twins and Ardis from above, their movements were restricted. If it were a short period, it was possible to create an advantageous situation.
All that’s left after that is up to the performance of Moore and his subordinates.
Ardis planned to strike the enemy commander if the situation looked iffy, but with how it was going so far, it looked as though there was no need for that.
Rather than aggressively defeating the enemy, Ardis stayed behind and surveyed the situation, while occasionally sending his flying swords to support his allies wherever it was disadvantageous.
「Any that fell behind…… there isn’t any, right. 」
Checking his back to confirm that everyone followed up, Ardis fired a few arts to the enemies intermittently to catch their attention.
Although the strategy this time naturally included victory, it was still an important aspect to keep ally losses to the minimum.
Unlike the enemy, replacing people wasn’t very easy for Ardis and the others who have limited human resources.
「That purple hair, she’s one of the royalty remains! 」
「Get her! That’s a special merit! 」
Amidst that, suddenly, enemies flocked over to Minerva.
Looks like even within the Imperial army, Minerva had already become quite the popular figure.
「Tch, where’s the royalty here. 」
While clicking his tongue from the spread of incorrect information that wasn’t particularly desirable, Ardis summoned several more swords across the 『Gate』 to support Minerva.
At that time, several streaks of thunder suddenly fell from above.
The few that tried to go for Minerva were struck by lightning and screamed.
There were a lot of enemy soldiers who screamed before collapsing after taking a direct hit.
Understanding the origin of the lightning that aimed only at the Imperial soldiers immediately, Ardis looked up at the figure of the twins floating in the sky.
While feeling a little regretful, Ardis changed his mindset, as being overly sentimental on a battlefield is forbidden.
「This is a battlefield. A battlefield. 」
Saying so to himself, Ardis cut down more enemy soldiers that tried to flock over to Minerva with his flying swords.