Harem Dynast

Part 1: Chapter 6 - Battle of Corlal Field
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Part 1: Chapter 6 - Battle of Corlal Field

The day after the wedding ceremony in the Domos capital of Fenrir, the Domos’s military flag was raised: black with a yellow border and a legendary divine wolf in the center.

The supreme commander was of course Domos King Lorent. He was followed by his generals: Stephan, Almeida, Kubdai, Shigsal, Naja, Carnap, Vatistuta, and Lumishas. The army was 12 thousand strong. They had far more horses than soldiers, so 20 thousand horses kicked dust high into the sky.

Domos Queen Ansandra rode in a carriage in the reverse of the journey she had taken just a month earlier.

The maids and knights that had accompanied her from Clanaria were shocked and dumbfounded by this sudden turn of events. The marriage had been intended to build friendship between the kingdoms, but it had led to the exact opposite.

They had no idea what to do, but they were forced to choose one of two things: Serve Ansandra by assisting Domos, or die.

Every last one of them chose to serve Ansandra as before. This had less to do with Ansandra’s leadership ability and more to do with the na?ve idea that surviving now would lead to alternative options in the future.

Ansandra sat in the shaking carriage and it was Dominic rather than Mimi who sat opposite her this time.

That viper of a woman was trying to gather information on Clanaria from the traitorous princess. Ansandra hated Dominic, but she was Lorent’s wife now and she had steeled her resolve, so she was willing to help.

“Look at that.”

There was a commotion outside the carriage and one of the soldiers cried out. Ansandra looked out the window and followed everyone’s gazes.

A truly large flying dragon was soaring calmly north to south in the western sky. Its massive body glittered gold in the summer sunlight.

“A gold dragon. The Divine Golden Dragon has appeared!”

Someone else cried out that name and smiles spread across the people’s faces like a ripple.

“The Divine Golden Dragon?”

Ansandra had never heard of a god named that, so Dominic explained while giving the excited soldiers a scornful look.

“It is one of Domos’s folk beliefs. It is very widely believed.”

She spoke resonantly, like she was singing.

“When a dragon lives for more than a thousand years, it is said to become a god beyond human understanding. And the greatest of these divine dragons has scales that glitter with gold and a roar that travels a thousand miles and smashes mountains. Any who bathe in its blood gain a body of steel and any who drink its blood become immortal. A sword forged from its fang can cleave even the sea and a shield hammered from its bones can stop even the sky.”

It sounded like she could continue, but Dominic stopped there.

“Well, a lot of it is contradictory and they are no more than legends. The divine dragon is supposed to come from a flying dragon that lives for a thousand years, but they live for at most 30 years and usually only 20. It simply isn’t possible for them to reach 1000.”

Dominic shrugged, but the wild passion outside was growing out of control.

Lorent wore black armor and rode his great black steed named Black Flame Hair. He rode up onto a small hill, drew his sword in front of his troops, and struck a grand pose.

“Behold! The Divine Golden Dragon watches over us. This is proof that heaven has blessed us. There is no doubting our victory now!”

“Ohhhhhhh!!!”

Some of the soldiers were moved to tears.

“His Majesty looks incredible no matter what he does.”

Ansandra sighed as she watched the man who had made her body his captive, but Dominic responded much more coldly despite having fallen for the same man.

“That dragon is either covered in moss or has some kind of disease. He is merely using the legend to his own ends. He will use whatever it takes to win. From a whiny little girl to a great dragon.”

Ansandra responded indifferently to Dominic’s blunt statement.

“Appearance is what matters in all things. A little girl will develop feelings for you if you sleep with her every day and a dragon will raise morale if you call it a god.”

The carriage continued on as Ansandra and Dominic fought their icy feminine battle within.

Led by the ever-victorious King Lorent, the Domos army travelled south from the northern mountains at lightning speed. They attacked Gorod Fortress, a barracks on the Clanarian border, and it fell in a single night. But they ignored all of the other strongly defended fortress cities and enveloped 10 or so villages in crimson flames as if paying a toll along the way. The army marched swiftly across the empty fields.

The Clanarian army was waiting to stop the Domos army at Corlal Field, which was located 3 days south from Domos-controlled Sulbey and 8 days north of the Clanarian capital of Curling.

The area barely qualified even as “remote” for the Clanarian forces. Crossing that field would take the Domos army to the granary region of Bastore. Clanaria had to protect that region at all costs, so Vanguard General Madelene had used day laborers to build a fence.

“That vanguard general uses some loathsome tactics.”

Madelene’s troops were far from elites, but there were 2000 of them. Lorent had 6 times that many, but after one glance at the enemy formation, he decided against a direct assault. He instead stopped his army atop a hill that gave him a view of Corlal Field in its entirety.

“I had wanted to take Bastore, but Clanaria reacted quicker than expected.”

Domos King Lorent sat on a stool at the very back of his tent. He stroked his chin in surprise and peered at his new wife’s face where she sat next to him.

“…”

Ansandra only casually looked away while successfully hiding her panic, but that told Lorent something.

“It would seem you really did send a secret messenger back home. I had thought you were drowning in pleasure in my arms, but it would seem I can’t let my guard down around you even for a second.”

Ansandra neither confirmed nor denied the accusation. She remained expressionless and ignored him.

It was true she had sent a secret messenger, but she had never imagined Mimi would actually fulfill her duty and she could not suppress the surprise in her heart.

“Well, fine. I knew this would come down to a showdown somewhere. If they are focused on defense, there is no need to spill our own blood in a forced attack. They will shift to attack once their main force arrives. That is when we will strike.”

Lorent’s prediction provided accurate. With time, more and more reinforcements arrived for the Clanarian army.

The Clanarian army gathered at Corlal Field had Right General Duchess Chamomile in control of the eastern defensive army, Left General Hopard in charge of the western defensive army, and General Albare in charge of the full interception army. All told, there numbers reached 30 thousand.

This was the same troop formation they had used around 2 months prior in the battle against the Exstar Kingdom in the western Catra territory. That meant it was a flawless formation.

Also, King Baldwin must have been quite upset after handing over his daughter and having that good will trampled underfoot. Defense of Curling had been left to Prime Minister Stuart and the king himself commanded 3000 troops at Satarfia, approximately halfway between the royal capital and the front line. Of course, that was only to demonstrate his resolve to the army and he had no intention of actually participating in the battle.

This was the strongest and most certain formation that Clanaria could think of. Some would call it the strongest on the continent.

Clanaria’s troops now had the strength they needed to ruin their enemy, so there was no need to hesitate. Intending to begin the battle the following morning, General Albare gathered his commanders to his headquarters, so Lucy was on her way there.

“Hey, Demon Princess, you’re looking pretty grim.”

A knight in bright red armor lined his horse up alongside hers.

“Madelene!?”

He was the lover of Clanaria’s 1st Princess Virginia and a favored retainer of King Baldwin. He was also the first and only man Lucy had shared a bed with.

“You have guts to continue brazenly showing your face before me and even calling out to me. My spear White Heaven can easily pierce that red breastplate of yours.”

Lucy did not even try to hide her displeasure as she raised her slender spear. The lady killer raised both hands in an expression of surrender.

“Don’t be like that. I was trying to be nice since I can guess how it must feel to have your best friend on the other side of the battle. I’d like it if you recognized that kindness, my former lover.”

Madelene’s jocular tone really made Lucy want to put the spear right through his chest, but she smiled bitterly because she knew this was just the kind of guy he was.

“Former lover, hm? Giving you access to my body was the greatest mistake in my life. I’d prefer not to remember that.”

Lucy was special enough just being General Albare’s daughter and she was also known as a Demon Princess, a Fierce Woman, and a War Goddess, so no man had had the guts to seduce her. Except for this one, that is.

In bed, he had whispered to her while groping her body.

“I will be king one day. And I will bring all the many kingdoms together with my own power. I can do it, so you come with me.”

Madelene had always burned with insubordinate ambition. Due to her lineage, Lucy was more than loyal to Clanaria’s royal family, so she had trembled with fear upon learning this man was plotting to usurp the throne in the future. But his bold and ambitious charm had kept its grasp on her feminine heart and she had spent her days agonizing between her duty and her emotions.

She had never even dreamed he would use a trick like seducing 1st Princess Virginia. His plans had far exceeded Lucy’s expectations.

“I should have realized what was going on when you refused to make our relationship public. To think you were secretly working to steal a princess’s heart.”

Lucy desperately kept her feelings inside, but she could not hide the tremor of anger and humiliation in her voice.

“Don’t say that. I still love you.”

The gentleman said it so readily that Lucy had to give him a skeptical look. And she finally opened her mouth.

“You are a bold man. You will marry a princess in the near future, but you’re already looking for mistresses? You will be a royal soon, so how about you watch what you say?”

Those biting words were not enough to shake Madelene.

“Virginia has her own mistress: magic. Her magic research is apparently an irreplaceable hobby for her. She happens to be focused on me now, but she will eventually return to her magical pursuits.”

“Don’t act like you don’t put your ambitions above love in the same way.”

“I wasn’t trying to. That’s one reason why we’ll make such a good couple.”

Madelene readily accepted Lucy’s critique and looked up into the azure sky. It was somewhat cloudy.

“How about it? The position of mistress is still open. I want a woman who can ride out onto the battlefield with me. Do you think we can redo this?”

He approached with a serious expression.

Lucy looked away with a furious expression and exploded into laughter.

“Ha ha ha… You really are bold! A bold man indeed. You don’t know your place. You have no right to look down on that savage king Lorent who thinks himself a conqueror.”

Lucy grabbed her horse’s reins and kicked it in the gut. She needed to get to the headquarters, so she did not have time to chat here.

“I will seduce you eventually.”

Madelene called out to her as she galloped off.

Her chest burned and she just about cried. She hated herself for being unable to forget that love she had supposedly thrown out.

(This is no time to deal with that man. I need to save Princess Ansandra.)

It was the end of summer. As the clear morning air covered the field, the dawn’s first light gently shined down from east to west. The grass and trees were brightly illuminated and a silver river of armor and weapons began flowing out onto the green field.

“They’re finally coming.”

Lorent told his entire army the time was ripe and ordered them to prepare for a counterattack.

The Clanarian army had 33 thousand men and the Domos army had 12 thousand. A simple comparison suggested the Domos army did not stand a chance, but the veteran Domos soldiers did not take a pessimistic view.

“If the enemy outnumbers us 3-to-1, we can wipe them out if every 1 of us takes out 3 of them.”

Those fierce warriors truly thought they could do that.

Clanaria’s greater numbers seemed to have the advantage on the great expanse of Corlal Field, but this terrain allowed full use of the cavalry, so it was the ideal battlefield for Domos and its primarily cavalry army. The battlefield allowed both sides to use their greatest advantage.

Domos held the high ground, so they could more easily grasp the full battlefield. That seemed to give them an advantage, but the terrain was fairly level and Clanaria was not at much of a disadvantage.

“Go, Lucy. Find out just how powerful these rumored Domos soldiers really are.”

Clanarian General Albare gave the honor of the vanguard to his beloved daughter. It was a nepotistic choice, but it also showed that he trusted his daughter’s military senses.

“Every warrior wishes to fight on the vanguard. I won’t let the enemy build any momentum. Try to keep up with me!”

With her silver uniform glittering in the sunlight, Lucy looked like a true War Goddess. The 500 horseback troops who followed her were the top elites chosen personally by Albare.

“The enemy vanguard is approaching with approximately 500 on horseback!”

Lorent lightly nodded at the report.

“So they’ve finally started moving. It is difficult to break someone who is focused on defense, but someone seeking victory is surprisingly fragile. We will finish this swiftly. The enemy likely intends to fight a quick skirmish to test our strength, but we will pull them in and destroy them.”

The Domos strategy had been given to the troops in advance. The first to move on Lorent’s instructions was the 1000-man vanguard led by Lumishas.

General Lumishas had been left in charge of the Domos vanguard and she had been the adopted daughter of the former king of Sulbey. And her virginity had been taken by Lorent.

The troops under her command were of course made up of Sulbey’s former retainers, so it was easy to imagine the complicated feelings in their hearts. They had fought so fiercely against Domos not long ago, but now they were fighting on Domos’s behalf as the vanguard against Clanaria.

Lorent’s official reason for selecting Lumishas for the vanguard was to allow her and her men to demonstrate their military prowess to their new master, but he of course had another reason.

If he placed this new unit in the rear, there was a risk of them firing arrows at the back of the Domos army during the battle. If that happened, Domos would be forced to retreat no matter how powerful they might be. To prevent that, he had placed the former Sulbey retainers in the vanguard as an implicit threat that he would have them immediately slaughtered from behind if they tried anything funny.

Even if they had their misgivings, they would be forced to fight under the Domos flag to ensure Lorent was pleased with their work. And if they did not, they would be drowned by the Clanarian troops pushing in like the surging waves. The former Sulbey soldiers would have to fight valiantly to save their own lives.

This was less Lorent’s own cunning and more a tactic developed during this age of war. Placing newcomers on the vanguard was the standard decision.

Domos’s vanguard unit was larger. Lucy did not want a head-on clash, so she circled to the right to hold them in check.

After a whizzing sound, an arrow pierced the forehead of what looked like a veteran warrior at the lead of the Domos troops. He flipped backwards and from his horse. He was torn to pieces by the hooves of his allies’ horses.

Lucy had fired her bow on horseback. She displayed incredible skill. And since the horsemen under her command were also skilled in archery, they avoided approaching too close, cleverly kept their distance, and fired arrow after arrow.

“Well done.”

“Oh? Not bad.”

Albare the doting father and Lorent the enemy commander voiced their impressions at the same moment. But the commander of the losing side was not just going to sit idly by.

“What are you doing!? Don’t let the enemy’s tactics get the better of you. Set up a wind barrier and crush them!”

As Lucy skillfully guided her horse, she fired 5 more arrows. But from the 2nd one, the Domos soldiers skillfully avoided them with their helmets and armor. And when she fired her 6th arrow, it flew off at an odd angle.

She could not have heard Lorent’s shouting, but Lumishas had immediately used wind barrier magic to block the arrows.

“Throw aside your bows and raise your spears. We’ll take this to them directly.”

The Clanarian forces led by Lucy and the Domos forces led by Lumishas who had set up a wind barrier charged toward each other in a large clump.

Female warriors and generals were not all that rare, but it was still unusual for the vanguard on both sides to be led by a woman.

Lumishas rode a palomino horse, swung her whip, and repelled the gathering enemy soldiers as she commanded her troops. She was 28. Perhaps because she was an outsider, the plain woman tended to be so taciturn you could forget she was even there, but she truly shined on the battlefield. Enough so that Lorent had given her troops to command.

Clanaria’s warrior woman shined just as much. Lucy fought from horseback while wielding her beloved spear named White Heaven.

Both sides refused to allow the other side to advance even a step and blood sprayed out and filled the wind as the area developed into a scene of carnage.

“Go help Lucy. Send in the next group.”

Even if Lucy was not losing, it was 1000-to-500. She would not last long. Both sides had clashed simultaneously, so Albare ordered 2000 men to be sent in as reinforcements. Clanaria’s army had more than twice as many men, so there was no need to hold back.

Before his vanguard could be swallowed up by a sea of overwhelming numbers, Lorent gave further orders.

“Order Lumishas to fall back. Have Kubdai’s 2nd formation shatter the enemy that pursues her!”

General Kubdai was 25. He had been Lorent’s aide since he was young. Their similar ages meant he had approached Lorent as something like an older brother. He had assisted Lorent as his second-in-command since before he took the throne. No one had Lorent’s trust more than him. He was not an especially fierce or intellectual general. He struck a nice balance between offense and defense and he was persistent. He was an unsophisticated man with a beardless and simple face and Ansandra had heard Lorent describe him as “a man who can always be used for something”.

Sure enough, Kubdai broke the leading edge of the Clanarian troops pursuing Lumishas’s unit and then swiftly moved away before the Clanarian unit could regroup and attempt a counterattack. It was the kind of hit-and-away tactic only possible for a cavalry unit.

The Domos army tried to break the enemy’s formation by repeatedly using their horsemen’s mobility to sharply advance and gallantly fall back, but Clanaria’s tactics were superbly skilled and their formation would not fall apart.

Albare knew he had twice the enemy’s numbers, so he kept true to his plan and always attempted to use his superior numbers to surround and eliminate the enemy. If the Domos troops showed an opening as they buzzed around like flies, he would not overlook it and he would send in reinforcements.

Domos was always on the offensive and Clanaria was always on the defensive.

However, that was only on the surface.

The Domos army’s attack would eventually reach its limit. Once that happened, it would quickly collapse. The Clanarian army thought it was only a matter of time.

“Order Hopard and Chamomile to advance the left and right flanks. But have them move slowly.”

Left General Hopard was a middle-aged gentleman with an impressive mustache. He struck a decent balance between results and personality, and he was being watched as a possible candidate for the next head general.

Right General Duchess Chamomile was a 40-year-old widow who was known for her thoughtfulness and archery skill. She was secretly Albare’s mistress and had been Lucy’s archery instructor.

Both of them had stable skill as commanders, so they moved with perfect coordination to flank the Domos army on both sides. Domos’s hit-and-away tactics were gradually working against them as Clanaria sent in their excess troops.

“Focus your magic bullets between the enemy’s right flank and center. Create an opening there.”

The Domos army was almost half-surrounded, but on Lorent’s orders, their front line launched silver light that flew toward the enemy as bands of glowing balls.

Magic bullets were the most standard type of magic. It fired a ball of magic about the size to fit in the palm.

Magic was convenient and magicians who had researched and trained in the field could produce fire, frost, gusts of wind, flashes of light, darkness, and more. Magicians could produce higher level supernatural phenomena with greater skill, a better environment, a superior catalyst, or a more complex ceremony. It was even said that it would be theoretically possible for someone to fly or cause an earthquake.

But the high level magic was too taxing on the user’s stamina and required too long an incantation, so even in the hands of the most well-trained magicians, it was not always useful in combat.

Conversely, magic bullets were a basic form of magic that fired pure magic power, so they were not much of a burden on the user and were fairly effective even in the hands of the average soldier. That made them perfect for combat. In other words, an attack from a thousand ants was more useful than from a single elephant.

They were not very lethal, but they would negate the magic cast on armor and shields and made those defenses more brittle. When used right, magic bullets could bring great change to the battlefield.

As a dense volley of magic bullets unbalanced Clanaria’s formation and a flower of magic light blossomed brightly, Lorent ordered a charge.

“Tell Almeida and Shigsal that they’re up. It’s their turn to go nuts!”

The unit of 2000 horsemen that had been preserved at the Domos rear guard now moved forward under two commanders.

Almeida was 36. He had fought on the battlefield since the time of Domos’s previous king. As a true Domos man, he had ridden more on a horse than walked on his own two feet. He had a stern face, tanned skin, a black beard, and the overall appearance of an old warrior. He was like a living embodiment of Domos’s militaristic personality. Nothing honored him more than leading the charge in a difficult battle and he had been disappointed when he had not been chosen for the vanguard in this battle.

Meanwhile, Shigsal was just as wild a warrior. He would turn 15 soon, so he was by far Domos’s youngest commander. He was the young master of the Pixy clan, a highly isolationist group even within Domos, but he revered Lorent like a god. Lorent likely wanted to raise him well, so he preferred to give him important positions on the battlefield.

Two of Domos’s fiercest commanders were on the attack. The intention was clear: As the concentrated fire of magic bullets opened a wound in the Clanarian army while they thinned themselves to surround the Domos army, those two would charge in and break through the center. It was exactly the sort of ferocious and daring tactic that Domos was known for.

Of course, Clanaria accurately saw through Domos’s tactic. To prevent it, they tried to fill the wound with men and horses. A deadly wall of spears, arrows raining down thick enough to blot out the sun, and blinding magic light wore them down.

And after much intense battle, Shigsal’s unit successfully broke through a gap like a fired arrow. This was due to Shigsal’s fearless valor as well as Almeida drawing away many more of the enemy.

Whatever the case, Shigsal’s unit tried to break through the Clanarian army using their momentum, but Clanaria was not about to let the blade stabbed deep inside them stir up their organs. They fought back with twice the intensity of the initial counterattack to the charge.

Shigsal was blocked by a wall of soldiers and horses and brought to a standstill in the center of the enemy formation.

Utterly surrounded, it looked like his unit would be crushed from all sides. They took great damage but were not utterly destroyed thanks to Shigsal’s efforts. The ferocious boy held a curved sword, rode amongst his own forces, assisted his struggling men, encouraged them, gathered the injured in the center, fortified their defenses, and waited for the reinforcements that were sure to arrive.

“Such energy in that one.”

Albare admired the struggling young beast with its leg caught in the hunter’s trap, but as the supreme commander of the Clanarian army, he was not satisfied with simply stopping the enemy’s attempt to break through their center.

When Domos’s troops had gathered on the right, he had ordered an attack on the center and left. He had the excess troops to do that. The center and right of Domos’s army had also nearly been routed.

But Domos’s frontline unit deflected and repelled the attacking Clanarian troops.

It was led by a man by the name of Vatistuta who had once been a great commander of Celeste. He had led the Celeste army and fought against Domos countless times. And during single combat with Lorent, he had continued fighting even after having his left arm cut off at the elbow. When Celeste had fallen, Lorent had not wanted to lose such a skilled commander, so he had showed the man honor and invited him into his own camp.

Of all the commanders on this battlefield, only Albare surpassed him in both past results and fame. His history of warfare was far longer than Lorent’s.

Even with only one arm, Vatistuta did not appear any less formidable. He controlled his steed without holding the reins, he swung his great spear with one arm, and he commanded his troops.

“Such solid defense. You would think they had planted roots in the earth.”

That impressed comment came from Albare’s aide, Uldarg. Uldarg was a young, courageous, and honest warrior. Albare secretly thought he could be his daughter Lucy’s future husband.

“But our own men are disappointing. How could they overlook this opportunity to grasp victory!? Sir, will you allow me take direct command?”

Albare used a hand to reject his hot-blooded aide’s suggestion.

“There is no need to rush. That unit’s role is to defend and they will not bring any major change to the battle. They will shake us a few more times, but that will never bring us down.”

Uldarg straightened his back and saluted at his respected commander’s expression of confidence.

Meanwhile, Lorent was racing across the battlefield with none of Albare’s calm.

To break free of this crisis with the slight time Vatistuta’s fierce attack had bought him, he sent in all of his reserve troops.

He took direct command on the front line as arrows and magic bullets whizzed by, worked to help his front line recover, and struck at the enemy formation with his personal troops whenever he saw an opportunity. Shigsal’s troops responded by making a last ditch effort, breaking through a point in the enemy troops surrounding them, and successfully escaped. But they took severe damage in the process. Loyal and brave Toce, an elderly man who had long served Shigsal’s clan, died in battle and 4 other noted retainers were also lost.

But this did not mean the Domos army had escaped its crisis. Shigsal had been rescued, but this had placed the Domos and Clanarian armies in an all-out clash.

In a battle of attrition where both sides fought to the last man, Domos had no chance of victory. They had to put some distance between the two sides if they were to make full use of their cavalry’s mobility.

“Have Carnap and Vatistuta’s units continue to the left, have Kubdia’s horsemen make a feint to the right before withdrawing, and have Lumishas’s unit advance in their stead.”

The situation demanded it, but withdrawing while continuing to fight was a difficult task. It pained Lorent that it was necessary.

“They’re crumbling.”

Albare smiled as his calculating eyes observed Domos withdrawing while making feints. Domos’s attack had reached its limit.

“Have Hopard’s unit quickly advance to strike the enemy’s retreating left flank. Do not let Domos’s main force escape. Pursue them and destroy them.”

Hopard’s attack with 6000 men was swift and effective. To beat Domos at their own game, he cleanly cut into one section of their formation and rushed forward. Domos could not surround the advancing enemy troops the way Clanaria had before because the Clanarian army began an all-out attack across the battlefield.

Domos’s front line melted like butter on a frying pan.

The trend of the battle was set. Vatistuta’s unit continued fighting on the front line with any sort of organization the longest, but even they began retreating while supporting their allies.

Even so, Lorent attempted a counterattack to turn things around. He worked to crush Hopard’s troops that had accurately cut deep into Domos’s formation to reach the core of their army.

“Tell General Stephan to circle to the enemy’s left side and cut off their escape route.”

The experienced old general who had served as Lorent’s tutor was not exactly quick-witted, but he had great skill built from the military, political, and diplomatic experience to match his many years. He was an undeniably vital part of the kingdom.

The 1500 horsemen he commanded moved in a clockwise semicircle and struck at the left side of Hopard’s troops who had advanced too far away from their allies.

Domos was attempting to cut Hopard’s troops off from their main force, have Stephan and Kubdai’s units surround them, and destroy them as the first step in causing the entire Clanarian army to collapse.

Even if it did not turn out that well, they could at least stop Hopard’s advance. And if possible, they hoped the enemy troops would draw back so Domos had time to rebuild their battle line.

“Not a bad attempt, but it is not enough. This was a trap that Albare, Hopard, and I worked together to set without exchanging so much as a word.”

Stephan’s horsemen were stopped by the light infantry led by Clanaria’s Duchess Chamomile.

“Aim for the horses’ legs.”

The soldiers held round shields in one hand and swords in the other. They all crouched on the ground and swept their swords toward the horses’ front legs.

That was why Stephan’s unit came to a stop.

And immediately afterwards, the 1000 infantry commanded by Carnap attacked from behind Chamomile’s troops.

Carnap had been a wandering mercenary until Lorent had recognized his talent and recruited him. True to that history, he had an excellent eye for tactics.

But Chamomile’s troops were not at all shaken by the pincer attack from in front and behind.

After all, they were 6000 strong. A pincer attack from 1500 and 1000 was nothing. Even if Carnap was attacking from behind Chamomile, Carnap was exposing his soft flank to the main Clanarian force. He would be destroyed soon enough.

Chamomile was an experienced woman general, so she did not mistake the importance of the factors around her. She ignored Carnap’s attack and worked at cutting down Stephan’s troops. And she aimed to destroy Domos’s entire army by attacking in parallel to Hopard.

“Gh.”

As Ansandra watched the battle play out, she sensed Dominic gulp as she too watched the battlefield.

Lorent was preserving a poker face as he commanded the front line on his steed, but he had to be sweating profusely where no one could see. That was plain enough to a woman who had slept with him so many times.

And even if Ansandra was an amateur when it came to war, she could still tell the Domos army was teetering on a razor’s edge.

“It seems a kingdom only as powerful as Domos truly cannot defeat Clanaria.”

Ansandra sensed anew how reckless her husband was as she held herself with her trembling arms.

“This will be the crack that ultimately breaks them.”

Confident of their victory, Chamomile gave her orders, but then she sensed a large flock of giant birds and her face clouded over.

“What!?”

She and her troops looked skyward in shock.

A flock of grim reapers spread their wings wide to fill the blue sky.

With her red ponytail blowing in the powerful wind, Naja looked down at the defenseless enemy army below and blew a cheerful whistle. Then she raised a long spear in her right hand and swung it down.

“Throw your spears!”

Naja’s flying dragon unit suddenly flew down with the deafening noise of flapping wings.

In the central plain, flying dragons were primarily used as messengers. There were simply not enough of them to put together a unit, so they were never deployed on the battlefield.

Using them in war made a great difference.

500 spears poured down like rain.

5 of them were targeted at Chamomile. 1 grazed her helmet, 1 injured her horse’s hoof, 1 stabbed deep into her thigh, 1 shattered her left fist, and 1 pierced her chest.

That veteran woman general’s eyes widened in shock as she fell from her horse and onto her back.

“Duchess Chamomile was killed!?”

That report brought a shudder to the Clanarian army.

As Albare commanded from the rear of the army, he stood in shock at the death of his trusted colleague and mistress.

“Rush the enemy formation! Follow me! Our flying dragon unit will hog all the honor for ourselves!”

Naja and her large black winged dragon flew down toward the 6000 soldiers unsure what to do with their direct commander gone. She raced across the battlefield sky like a whirlwind.

“Ah ha ha ha! This is the great central plain kingdom everyone was so worried about!? They’re so weak! They’re barely even worth mentioning! We could’ve taken them without bothering with that princess first! This kingdom’s pathetic!”

Naja guffawed with her healthily white teeth on display. Then her 500 flying dragon knights whipped up the dirt with their wind pressure and flew every which way.

(It was all for this!?)

As Ansandra watched the dramatic change on the battlefield, she realized her husband had kept the flying dragons in reserve to ensure he could take the head of one of the enemy generals.

Corlal Field was almost entirely flat, so taking the high ground only accomplished so much. But he had used that slight hill to position Naja’s flying dragon unit in an unseen position and then retreat to lure the Clanarian army within range of a surprise attack.

(That’s such a cheap shot…)

Ansandra was shocked, but she had to admit it was an excellent strategy. She felt vindicated in the promise she had seen in him, but another emotion also rose in her chest.

(General Chamomile…I’m sorry. I…I…)

She had known that women since she was little, but she had killed her. And from a position where she had to celebrate that death.

Unable to suppress what was rising inside her, Ansandra vomited.

“Good, now strike back!”

The Domos army began an all-out counterattack.

Assuming victory was theirs, the Clanarian army had hastily charged in and carelessly overextended their formation when they were struck. Domos did not overlook their bewilderment. One could barely believe they had been fleeing and crumbling a moment before. The horses turned back around and began a fierce counterattack. In fact, their previous retreat had been a bluff.

“Don’t fall behind the flying dragon girls!”

The Domos soldiers cheered.

“Naja! Naja! Naja!”

No woman in Domos was as loved as Naja. Ansandra might be queen and recently wed into Domos, but her popularity paled next to Naja’s. And while Dominic was respected for her talents, she scored far fewer points when it came to popularity.

Naja was a flying dragon rider to the core who had been riding them as long as she could remember.

She was cheerful, sociable, and openly sexual. Everyone knew she was Lorent’s mistress, but she was still loved. She was the Daughter of Domos born and raised in their ways.

Chamomile’s soldiers struck back at the morale-boosted Domos army. They were far from weak, but they were ready to flee after the sudden loss of their trusted commander and the attack from the flying dragons.

They were so disorganized they could easily have caused the entire Clanarian army to take flight.

“Don’t just stand around! Avenge General Chamomile! They had the audacity to swoop down in the middle of our formation, so make them pay for it with their lives! Do not allow a single one to return alive!”

On her white horse, Lucy rebuked the troops, rotated White Heaven over her head, and then thrust it forward.

A flying dragon crashed to earth and dirt blasted skyward.

Impressed by her brilliant display, the disorganized soldiers returned to their senses. They did not fully organize themselves, but they sporadically fought back here and there.

“Tch.”

Naja sharply clicked her tongue, brought her ferocious dragon around, raised her long spear, and charged toward Lucy.

As the long spear swung down from above, Lucy caught it on the center of the spear she held in both hands. She forcefully repelled the blow, grabbed the shaft at the base with her right hand, and made a sharp thrust.

Naja had her flying dragon twist its upper body out of the way.

“Die!”

“Die!”

The war goddesses of both armies cried out in unison.

The red-haired and violet-haired women swung their spears around and pitted their skills against each other.

Naja used the height of her flying dragon for powerful attacks and Lucy used the space around her for an ever-changing attack.

After they crossed blades 20 times, an arrow whistled through the air and grazed the wing of Naja’s flying dragon.

“!”

To repair their broken formation, Vanguard General Madelene and his cavalry unit had moved to the front line.

The 2000 horsemen led by Lucy’s former lover were Clanaria’s elites. They shot down the flying dragons with incredible accuracy.

“Damn, someone just had to interfere, didn’t they? Fall back!”

With spear at the ready and reins in her mouth, Naja used the squeezing of her thighs, the kick of her heels, and the shifting of her body weight to guide her flying dragon away without using her hands.

“Hey, you’re pretty good. I’m Naja! What’s your name?”

“It’s Lucy.”

“Until we meet again. We can settle this then.”

Naja rapidly ascended without waiting for Lucy to respond.

The flying dragon knights had appeared like lightning and wreaked havoc like a tornado, but now they left the battle as a whirlwind.

The appeal of a flying dragon was its mobility. If they remained in one spot, they would fall victim to arrows and magic bullets. Naja knew that from inborn instinct and actual experience.

After driving back the dragons with arrows, Madelene switched to a mid-sized sword in the right hand and a round shield in the left. Red light trailed after his magic sword when it was swung and he had dubbed it Crimson Princess.

“The enemy has fled! After them!”

Madelene was a womanizer, a man of insubordinate ambition, rich in administrative skill, and a top rate tactician, but he was also a courageous and skilled warrior in single combat.

He was known as a fierce commander for his results and he had used devious tactics that also covered all the bases as he raced across the wild battlefield. Even Lucy had to admit he looked like the greatest commander of his generation right now.

Meanwhile, Lorent was commanding his all-out attack.

“Now is our chance. Do not let up on the attack! The beautiful women of Curling are waiting for you with their pussies wet! All troops, follow me!”

The fierce king in black helmet and armor set Black Flame Hair (his black-haired steed that seemed far too large to be of Domos stock) in motion, took the lead of his personal troops, and cleared a path with his great sword named Fang of the Demon God.

The blade split helmets and severed arms. His great strength truly looked like a demon god to the Clanarian soldiers.

Both sides now had their main forces caught in combat.

Madelene commanded in his red cloak and Lorent in his black armor. They were so powerful that they naturally approached each other.

The first to notice and open his mouth was Madelene.

“Hey, savage. You attacked your wife’s home immediately after marrying her. You seem to lack character, a conscience, and common sense. But don’t worry, I’m willing to educate you. Put down your sword and beg for mercy. Civilized people like us are tolerant, so we will spare your life.”

“Such nonsense. But it amuses me. Now, how about you surrender? I will allow you to fight as one of my generals. To me, that seems a much wiser choice than dying for a doomed kingdom, but what do you think!?”

Their exchange of words was meaningless. It was no more than trash talk.

Madelene grinned and Lorent expressionlessly raised his sword. Both men faced each other from their horses.

The soldiers of both armies gulped. Every last one of them was interested in what was sure to be the greatest bout of single combat of the age. And both sides wholeheartedly believed their commander would emerge victorious.

Lorent swung his blood-wet blade and a red shower flew from it.

Killer intent already filled the battlefield, but this action contained much more intense killer intent.

Just as Lucy had suggested, they were two of a kind. They burned with unwise ambition and would do anything to achieve their goal. Everyone was aware they were more villains than heroes.

“Your wife is crying…”

“She is a crucial pawn for conquering the continent. I am taking good care of Ansandra.”

Madelene narrowed his eyes and Lorent calmly stared back. Killer intent exploded between them.

Lorent started forward first. His thick blade sliced through the air and a crimson shield caught it. Madelene pushed back with his shield and his mid-sized sword danced out.

Lorent dodged the crimson blade with an impressive sense of balance and made an incredible barrage while fully aware Madelene’s shield would deflect it.

Madelene had a shield and Lorent did not. That meant Lorent had to remain on the attack. The shield deflected his fierce and powerful blows overhead or to the right or left.

After around 100 exchanges, Lorent kept up the attack. Madelene endured it with his shield and occasionally found an opening and made a sharp slash, but his crimson blade was deflected and sliced through empty air. About 3 lines had been sliced in the black armor.

Madelene was primarily defending, but he was not at a disadvantage. He was letting Lorent attack all he wanted so he could strike back when the man grew tired, but…

“…!”

A crack ran down the center of his round shield.

Madelene was shaken. Lorent made another attack on that crack.

The red shield split in two and fell to the ground. The round shield was now a half-moon shield.

Madelene’s left hand had been crushed at the same time, so his face twisted in agony.

Lorent’s powerful sword had smashed the shield to pieces and he swung it down once more.

The courageous warrior in red armor had his head split open. The dead man fell from his horse.

“Waaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!”

Cries of despair and joy raced across the battlefield. Commanders of both sides had engaged in single combat and reached a conclusion.

The Clanarian army had lost Chamomile and Madelene in quick succession.

The shock was enough to devastate the soldiers’ morale. The entire army took flight as a great stampede.

“The enemy ranks have crumbled. Pursue them. Do not let a single soldier live!”

Lorent’s voice rang loud. But he was inciting his troops to action, not ordering them. Led by Almeida, Kubdai, Shigsal, Carnap, Vatistuta, and Lumishas, the Domos soldiers formed a ferocious torrent that swallowed up the fleeing Clanarian soldiers.

“We’ll be going too.”

Naja’s flying dragon unit was resting a short distance from the battlefield, but they flew back and joined the pursuit of the enemy.

“My troops are to fortify the rear and support the young master. …But the young master truly is powerful.”

Stephan renewed his loyalty to a king he was proud to have helped raise.

“What!?”

Albare had easily over 4 times as much experience as Lorent, but in all that experience, he had never suffered such a devastating defeat.

The main force of Clanaria’s army was destroyed and it frightened him to imagine what awaited them afterwards.

“We have no choice. I will command the rear guard. Have Hopard gather the rest of the troops.”

Nothing was as difficult as fighting on the rear guard after an utter defeat. He was prepared to die.

“Lucy, you must survive. I pray that our War Goddess has the protection of the Phoenix God.”

After muttering a prayer for his beloved daughter, Albare drew his sword.

“Clanarian General Albare shall fulfill his duty to the end. Domos savages, I shall rout you.”

<To be continued in Part 2>

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