Gate – Jietai Kare No Chi Nite, Kaku Tatakeri - Volume 1 - Chapter 8
And so, this was the field commander in question.
Early in the morning, Itami sat down diagonally across from the desk of the operational staff officer, ignoring his cold gaze as Itami browsed his favourite web novel sites on his phone
It had only been two days since he was able to use his phone on this side of the gate.
Before the antenna was set up, he could only use it on his vacation days when he went back to Ginza. After installing an antenna for mobile phone usage, it was possible to make personal phone calls from this side of the Gate too. What a joy.
’’I haven't checked it for a long time so there are plenty of updates. Oh, I should download this...’’
Unlike the novels in bookstores, web novels contain both original and fan fiction writings, allowing one to enjoy a large variety of works. The amount is so massive that it was impossible to read it all. Hence, it was a great fortune to find one masterpiece. Of course, there were some that you wouldn't want to continue reading after skimming the first few lines.
Sometimes, Itami would come across a series with great reviews in a forum, only to find it gone from the web. There were times when he wanted to read a series again only to realize it had been taken down. When he thought about this, Itami became depressed.
’’Ah~ Lieutenant, are you listening?’’
Itami tried his best to tune out the voice coming from behind him.
It was a pleasant sound of a woman, but he decided to play dumb. He was on break now, and didn't want to listen to anything work related.
However, the sound of the operation staff officer clearing his throat made it impossible for Itami to focus on his novel. During times like this, he really wished he had a private office.
It might sound normal in tone and volume, but Itami felt pain in his calf. Could sound hurt people? Did sound have the capability to attack in this world?
As he turned back while thinking about this, Itami saw Kuribayashi and Kurokawa looking at Itami with suspicious eyes. If he had to describe it using manga terms, it was a 'Jii tto' kind of gaze. By the way, the thing that induced a sharp pain in Itami's calf was the tip of Kuribayashi's boot.
For martial artists who reached a certain rank, their fists and feet were equivalent to weapons, even more so for Kuribayashi who had a close combat badge. Was she allowed to use force on defenseless people? The operation staff officer who should have been the witness to such cruelty looked with eyes of approval instead. It appeared that Itami had no allies in this fight.
’’May we have a word with you?’’
Itami placed his phone into his drawer, and turned around together with his chair.
Using a lazy tone to say 'It is useless to discuss anything with me right now', Itami expressed how he was feeling at that moment.
’’What's the matter?’’
Itami pressed his entire body weight onto the office chair, making it creak.
’’It's about Tuka.’’
Kurokawa was talking about one of the refugees under the care of the third recon platoon, the Elf with blond hair and blue eyes, Tuka Luna Marceau.
’’What about her?’’
According to Kurokawa, 'She is weird'.
Specifically, she would ask for two sets of meals when eating. Kurokawa hadn't thought much about it, thinking it was just a cultural difference, but it wasn't so.
’’Maybe she wants more to eat? Maybe her setting is an Elf that is possessed by the demon of appetite?’’
’’No. She asked for two sets of meals. Not double the amount of food, but two sets, including utensils.’’
Kuribayashi said as she flipped through her logs.
’’Hmm? Could she want to save it for someone? Such as a hidden pet or something?’’
’’One set would be left alone. As for clothes, the extra set she asked for are for men.’’
Itami didn't understand either. He had a slight headache, and memories he had already suppressed started surfacing.
’’Hmm~. Well then, did you ask why?’’
’’We couldn't communicate well with them, so we are not sure. But, we did ask Lelei-chan, who has the best grasp of our language about why she left the food behind.’’
’’She answered that she didn't know, and that no one else was there during Tuka's meals.’’
Silence mulled between them. Maybe she wanted to stay together with someone? Such a thought came out from Itami's mind.
’’Could it be, she had an imaginary boyfriend or something?’’
Itami said jokingly.
However, Kuribayashi and Kurokawa didn't react as he expected. They had thought about the possibility of Tuka having an imaginary boyfriend earlier.
’’To be frank, it would be better that way.’’
Kurokawa muttered worryingly.
’’Have you discussed it with a doctor?’’
’’A shrink did came over. He raised the hypothesis that she was treating her dead father as though he was still alive. But it was impossible for us to judge whether that is normal or abnormal for her species.’’
’’How about asking Lelei's teacher... Kato-sensei, wasn't it? That old man would probably know more.’’
’’We did, but his views were about the same as ours. According to Kato-sensei, she was of a rare race even amongst the Elves. His answers were 'rarely seen' and 'unsure'.’’
The phrases they knew right now were limited, so it was hard to understand complicated sentences.
'Couldn't understand', 'Insufficient information' and 'Inconclusive'... All these terms were simply translated as 'Don't know'. They would need to spend more time conversing with each other to differentiate these terms.
Itami's interest was perked when he heard that she was indeed an Elf. But compared to that, the important thing was the psychological condition.
’’The only thing we can do is talk to her, right? I'm not sure whether or not she is treating someone who isn't there as if he is alive, but we should do what we can to help her.’’
’’I think so too. To be honest, it's difficult to tell what's wrong and without knowing that, I can't help her more.’’
This caused Itami to think.
The tall and short WAC combo of the third recon platoon. Kurokawa was popular among the refugee children. Even the girl in black priestess clothing who troubled others by doing as she pleased listened to Kurokawa. (According to Lelei, she is not a child and is actually much, much, much older.)
Itami shifted his view to Kuribayashi.
’’I, I don't know. I am not trained in counseling, and so I don't know anything about psychology.’’
Indeed, this petite lady with large breasts was a muscle brain that could only communicate with her fist. Leaving something so delicate to her would be like asking a pissed off, drunken gorilla with a bad hangover to perform brain surgery.
’’I get it. I will try it out later. But I'm not sure if I can express my intention well.’’
’’The children started learning Japanese recently, I think we will understand each other's language fairly soon.’’
Itami wanted to point out that Tuka was not a child... but at this moment, the voice of Sergeant Major Kuwahara came from the corridor.
’’Commander, it is about time to go. Kurokawa, Kuribayashi, come back soon.’’
Itami followed the girls to the corridor.
With the command to 'Draw arms', the members of the 502 company split up into platoons and entered the armoury. The members of third recon platoon followed behind them to requisition their munitions.
They gathered before their barracks and tightened the flash suppressors on their type 64 rifles. Since it didn't have a washer, it could fall off when the weapon was used. After tightening their suppressors, they could then fix rifle bipods and/or bayonets onto them.
Black tape was also brought along and used to secure important parts, preventing them from falling off. They were going into a real battle, so if their maintenance was half-assed... Well, with the possibility of bayonet fighting, they had to be careful.
Deploying the bipods, the soldiers placed their rifles on their slings and secured their bayonets at their waist. The bayonets had already been sharpened in preparation for the battle. They were sharpened using a simple grinding wheel, but they were sharp enough.
The platoon members sat down together and loaded their issued bullets into their magazines.
Six magazines for each soldier. With twenty rounds in each magazine, that would be 120 rounds. And of course, grenades were also distributed.
Machine gunner Private First Class (PFC) Furata carefully placed his 5.56mm ammunition belt into the box of his Minimi.
Aside from his own rifle, Katsumoto was also given a 110mm infantry anti-tank weapon known as the 'Panzerfaust 3', which he placed onto the LAV. It would be impossible to damage the creatures known as dragons without this, so the amount of Panzerfausts that were issued increased.
The 12.7mm heavy machine gun on the LAV was operated by Sasagawa. The ratio of the black painted armour piercing rounds to tracer rounds on the ammunition belt had also risen.
After putting away the spare ammunition and materials, the platoon members practiced their formations with their weapons.
With the command of Sergeant Major Kuwahara, they switched swiftly between file formation, line formation and square formation.
They also practiced gathering and spreading out. Each member watching their own arc of fire, covering every angle. If someone went down, they practiced who would need to take over the casualty's task and what they needed to do. Everyone already knew this, but they still had to drill it repeatedly.
This was the culmination of studying old and new fantasy TV shows prior to the JSDF going into another world. The reason why soldiers with powerful weapons most often fell in battle was because they were cut off from their allies and overwhelmed. In conclusion, working together and supporting each other became an ironclad rule.
After Itami's group finished their preparation, they clipped their magazines onto their rifle and on Itami's command of ’’Lock and load!’’ chambered a round and put the weapon's firing selector switch to the ’’SAFE’’ position.
’’The JMSDF would say something like 'Battle Stations ready!'...’’
In the tense atmosphere, Itami's nonsensical words made everyone feel weak.
’’That's an anime meta right?’’
A female voice mumbled from somewhere.
’’Anyway, we are heading out to a potential battlefield, so everyone keep your guard up.’’
And with that, they left Arnus Hill and set off for the refugee camp built in an imitation of an apartment building.
There were twenty-five people in the refugee camp right now. Twenty-three of them from Koda village, one from an Elven village, and the Goth Loli priestess who joined mid-way through their journey here.
The housing itself was originally just a trailer, but considering the possibility that it might grow in the future, a building made to last for ten years for four families was also built. That might be so, but the people in the building weren't family or relatives. They just came from the same village, and the older ones cared for the younger ones.
There was no electricity, gas or water plumbing, but such things didn't exist in this world in the first place, so they didn't feel troubled by this. The children could use bottles to collect water from the spring nearby. As for sewage, they could dump it by digging a hole in the corner of the camp. In consideration for hygiene, dirty water was treated with bleach, while potable water was brought to them by Itami's group in plastic bottles.
Out of the three daily meals, lunch and dinner were provided by Itami's group.
As for breakfast, they prepared it themselves with ingredients which were provided to them by the JSDF. In reality, the portions were a bit lacking, so the children and elderly would wander into the forest to find wild herbs to eat. Lunch was type two combat rations while dinner was a huge pot of soup cooked by Furata and the other team members while they chatted with the children.
If they wanted to, the JSDF could provide all three meals for them, but they didn't so as to preserve their ability to provide for themselves. The JSDF wanted to support them in providing for themselves. Such was the basic principle of the JSDF when they were deployed in Iraq. If they could provide for themselves adequately, the next target would be for them to provide all three meals for themselves. If they could find some work, they might not be able to pay for their accommodations, but they would at least be able to pay for their meals.
That was the plan, but the JSDF wouldn't push them too hard. After all, the residents were two elderly women and one elderly man, two injured middle aged women, one injured man and the other nineteen were children.
By the way, the three injured people suffered fractures, so they couldn't perform manual labour, even though they could care for the children.
The interesting thing was that, Lelei, who was learning to communicate really fast, said that out of the nineteen so called kids, the Goth Loli priestess, the Elven girl and Lelei herself weren't children. So the number of children was actually sixteen.
So, how old were the three of them? The Goth Loli priestess probably wouldn't answer. According to Lelei, she was 'Not a child, but much, much, much older'. When questioned about the exact figure, the expressionless Lelei frowned and shook her head, unwilling to ask.
By the way, Lelei herself was fifteen. In this world she was considered an adult.
Elves have long lifespans that was a common setting in fantasy stories so it was easy to understand. Tuka said she was 165 years old.
They thought numbers would be easy to understand, but it still took a lot of work.
Lelei formed a circle with her thumb and index finger, and only extended her middle finger. If her other three fingers were extended, that would be a sign for 'OK' back on Earth. After that, she clenched her fist with her thumb sticking out, which would normally mean 'good job'.
But in her world, that meant fifteen, which was totally different from Japan. In the end, they used stones to compare the numbers, one was an extended index finger, five was a thumbs up, ten was making a circle with a thumb and index finger... that was the system.
With such a system, they counted to sixty nine. They could count further, but the fingers would cramp and it was impractical, so it was decided to ask about it later. In fact, Lelei learned to count in Japanese before that happened.
When Itami and the others reached the camp, Lelei and the children came out to receive them. When Kurokawa came out, all the children went to her.
The members unloaded potable water, food ingredients, medical supplies, combat rations and daily necessities.
In place of that, two canvas bags the size of pillows were loaded onto the HMV by two slightly older boys. They seemed rather heavy. After exchanging some words with the boys, Lelei and Tuka got onto the HMV.
Lelei was wearing a light brown hooded poncho in the style of Native Americans. On her feet were moccasins and she held a staff in her hand.
In contrast with her, Tuka wore a green T-shirt, tight fitting jeans and basketball shoes. If not for her long ears, she would look just like a typical high school girl from California. On her back were a bow and a quiver full of arrows.
The boys who brought the luggage returned to the refugee camp, where young boys and girls were working hard.
Midway up Arnus Hill, countless Wyvern carcasses covered the area. According to Kato-sensei, the claws and scales of Wyverns could be crafted into tough defensive equipment. Hence, they were valuable items. The children thus harvested them from the decaying carcasses, washed away the rotting meat and blood and dried them. This was the first time Lelei and Tuka would be going to town to sell these items.
This might be a job they could perform indefinitely. If that was so, it would help them achieve independence.
It wasn't clear what Rory the priestess' intention was, but she also got onto the vehicle. She was still wearing her black gothic dress, holding a halberd that looked really heavy in her hands.
As this was a good chance for Itami and the others to observe the interaction of the residents with the merchants for intel purposes, they offered to provide transport and escort them. Also, Yanagida claimed he wanted to see what would interest the merchants and came over with some sample merchandise.
On a side note, the dead coalition army soldiers and the corpse of the imperial forces that attacked earlier were all buried along with their weapons, equipment and their money purses by the JSDF.
It was a sizeable amount of wealth... After all, there were no financial institutions in this world, so the soldiers could only keep their money on them. There were also knights and nobles of high status buried here... But there were many ethical issues, so the JSDF couldn't just take them. In fact, this move resulted in a lot of currency in the local economy to disappear, hitting the empire and the surrounding nations hard financially, but these were issues for another time.
As many of the war horses that lost their owners were rounded up as was possible.
It was done out of fear of complaints from animal protection groups, but providing food for such a large number of horses was a problem. The goods left behind by the enemy included horse feed, but it would only be a matter of time before the supply dried up. Arnus Hill was surrounded by barren land, and there was no grass suitable for them to graze on in the forest slightly further away.
And so, finding people to take over the horses was added into Itami's task list.
As for the goods handed to Lelei, there were about two hundred dragon scales and three dragon claws, from just two wyverns.
That was after they sorted out the broken pieces and ones that were too small.
How many scales would they get by processing all the wyverns on Arnus Hill? Just thinking about that made all the refugees, be they young or old, including Kato-sensei, dizzy.
Just asking the refugees to live on independently made the refugees hang their heads in depression.
Be it building houses to live in, farming for food or hunting for games, it would be impossible for the elderly, the injured and the children to accomplish on their own.
When Lelei and Tuka were about to consider whoring themselves, the JSDF told them ’’we will help you’’ and gave them food and built homes for them. When they were troubled over finding jobs, they were given a free hand to process valuable items as they desired, allowing them to collect the scales from the wyverns on Arnus Hill.
The scales of 'dragons' were actually quite valuable.
It was like telling them to pick as much as they like from a mountain of treasure. Their responses were like ’’Is this fine? Is this really fine?’’
For the villagers and children who lived self-subsistent lives of relative poverty, the massive influx of income allowed them to buy things they once thought were unachievable... They thought about all the ways they could spend it, and they were still asked to take more, to take it all... Sadly, this was beyond the imagination of mere peasants.
Dragon scales could be divided into several categories, the market value would be dependent on the type and condition of the scales.
The highest level would be the scale of dragons, one piece in perfect condition was worth ten Suwani gold coins. Armour made from the red scales of a Flame Dragon (very difficult to craft) would be a legendary treasure, enough money to buy an entire nation. If it really existed.
The next grade would be newborn dragon scales. However, these two types of scales were basically impossible to find in the market. As mentioned earlier, it was impossible for man to hunt dragons. The only way to obtain them was from the skin shed by dragons or newborn dragons during molting. In reality, armour made from dragon scales had made appearances in some tales of heroes and legends, and the item itself was worshipped inside the temple of the god of war.
As for wyverns, nations with wyvern riders had a steady supply of them, so these smaller scales were cheaper. One scale was between thirty to seventy Silver Denari.
If you don't splurge, one Silver Denari could feed a person for five days. So if they sell all two hundred scales, Lelei's group would be rich.
But, they needed a suitable buyer for them.
To trade them for cash safely, Lelei hoped to sell them to a large store. However, she was worried about whether a large store owner would negotiate with a little girl... If a small store couldn't pay that much money, she would have to let them pay at a later date. Even though Lelei was a sage, she wouldn't know about receipts and account transfers.
Fortunately, her master Kato had an acquaintance who was a merchant, they could go there even though it was a bit far. The JSDF would be going with them anyway... And so, Lelei's gaze fell on Itami's group.
’’Hmm? What is the matter?’’
After locking eyes with Itami and being asked that, Lelei kept her usual poker face and stated the phrase which meant 'nothing'.
’’Well then, where is the shop of this Shooto person?’’
Tuka and Rory leaned over and asked. Lelei answered straight to the point.
’’Italica city, west of Tipilika city, at the foot of Romalia mountain.’’
’’Tipilika city, Romalia mountain, Italica city...’’
Sergeant Major Kuwahara had labelled the known landmarks on his map made from aerial photographs. He heard about the name of the places in the vicinity from Lelei, and had basically mapped out the area around Arnus Hill.
’’I see, Appian highway, Roma river, Gurlpaz plains, Dima mountain range...’’
Lelei seemed to be curious about the map that showed the vicinity in clear detail. The maps she knew would only sketch the hills and rivers, and the map would be considered good if the positions roughly matched. Therefore, it was only natural that she was interested in such a detailed map. Lelei pointed out the places she knew on the map and stated their names. Another thing that caught her attention was the compass.
Lelei felt the secret of how Kuwahara oriented himself and the map lay in that object.
Kuwahara who was already fifty wondered how much magnetic north deviated from true north in this world as he taught the usage of the compass to Lelei who he was treating like his own daughter. Well, they were sitting in a moving HMV, so the compass would shake a little anyway.
Kurata stole a glance at Kuwahara from the rear view mirror and muttered, ’’The old man known as the demon drill sergeant seems really happy when he is with cute young girls.’’
In the early stage of the sergeant's course, all trainees would have experienced his orders to run with weights, which had built plenty of frustration and anger in Kurata's heart. But all his grudges dissipated like the wind when he saw Kuwahara acting like a grandfather doting on his granddaughter.
Rory and Tuka were talking about something.
They were talking relatively fast in their own language, so Itami and the others couldn't understand. However, they could still tell that Rory was teasing Tuka. In the end, Tuka kept quiet with puffed cheeks. Rory had a mischievous smile as she looked at Kurokawa. Itami was wondering what she wanted to say when Tuka's face and long ears blushed red.
There was clearly something out of place.
Rory laughed heartily, enjoying how Tuka was panicking. Lelei said that Rory was 'Very, very old’’, but to see Tuka who was 165 years old being treated like a child was odd.
’’Commander Itami, smoke ahead, to the right.’’
Kurata who was driving pointed to the front right.
The exact same report was received via radio, the vehicle ahead also noticed the same thing.
Itami observed the origin of the smoke with binoculars, but couldn't confirm anything as it was quite some distance away. Itami stopped the convoy and asked Kurata, ’’Hey, will this road lead somewhere near the source of that smoke?’’
’’The road is heading right towards it.’’
’’Damn. This is the second time that smoke has appeared right in front of us. I have a bad feeling about this.’’
Itami then asked Kuwahara for his opinion.
Referencing the map, Kuwahara found the city labelled as Italica near the source of the smoke. This convoy heading for Tipilica was moving towards Italica.
Itami handed the binoculars to Lelei and asked for her opinion.
Lelei held it backwards, but changed it after realizing her mistake immediately.
’’That is smoke.’’
Lelei said in Japanese.
’’The reason for the smoke?’’
The smart Lelei understood Itami's question immediately.
’’Farmland, burn, no smoke. Season, wrong. Caused by man. Flier? But too big.’’
’’Not 'flier', it's fire.’’
After correcting the mistake, Itami issued his orders.
’’Watch our surroundings carefully, we are approaching the city. Keep an eye on the sky.’’
Kuwahara and Kurokawa picked up their rifles, covering the left and right respectively. Tuka joined Kurokawa and Lelei helped Kuwahara in observing the surroundings. The convoy moved off once again.
Rory squeezed between Itami and Kurata as she mumbled ’’Fresh blood’’ with a lusty smile.
Italica city was founded two hundred years ago by gathering the merchants in the region to construct a fortress city.
Politically speaking, this place was the cross road of the Dressia and Appian highways, and developed as a border city between the nations. But with the expansion of the Empire's borders, its political importance had declined significantly, and it was just a mid sized local market now. It doesn't have any local specialties, but the crops, livestock and handmade products such as cloth would be sent to the capital, so it served as a collection base.
Right now, this was the territory of the Empire's noble family, the clan of Count Formal.
Colt, the head of clan Formal had three daughters, Elle, Loui, and Myui. Aside from the youngest Myui, the other two had been married off to other clans. Colt was planning to find someone to marry into the clan after his youngest grew up to take over the family estate.
Myui was still single, and after Colt and his wife died because of an accident, misfortune started to befall the city.
The eldest daughter Elle and the second daughter Loui married into the Count Roen clan and the Count Missna clan respectively, so Myui had the right of succession over them. This was the law of the Empire and there were no grounds for them to dispute. However, the youngest Myui was only eleven, so whoever became her guardian... would become the de facto leader. And so, the power struggle began.
The talks between the two elder sisters started as a calm discussion and turned into ugly quarrels, pulling each others' hair in scuffles, and even went so far as involving their husbands. The soldiers of Count Roen and Count Missna fought a small scale war as a result.
But their fight did not escalate further. They had limited forces after all, and the husbands weren't blind with rage like their wives were.
The security within the territory was maintained by the vassals of Count Formal and the soldiers of Count Roen and Count Missna, so there wasn't any threat to the livelihood of the merchants and residents. The value of Italica lay with its trade, there would be nothing to gain if it was laid to waste.
And so, the situation became a stalemate.
The dispute of the sisters shifted into the courts of the capital, and Myui's guardian would soon be decided by the deliberation of the Emperor.
However, the situation worsened after the empire's campaign against the other world.
The heads of the Roen and Missna clans died in battle. Elle and Louise couldn't spare the effort to take care of the Formal territory anymore and withdrew their forces, leaving Myui with the vassals of Count Formal.
The young Myui couldn't control her vassals and the running of the territory became ineffective from neglect. There weren't many loyal vassals left, but there were plenty who had ulterior motives. Before she realized it, corruption and injustice were running rampant.
The citizens were wary and security deteriorated.
Loose bands of soldiers turned to banditry and started attacking caravans, grinding trade to a halt and stagnating the movement of resources.
Bandits and trolls formed a group together and numbered in the hundreds. Finally, Italica city itself was attacked.
Standing over the city gate, Piña loosed a few arrows at the retreating bandits and took a deep breath.
Wounded soldiers staggered around or collapsed from blood loss. Arrows were shot into the stone walls and the surrounding area was a mess. She spotted several citizens holding farm tools and sticks with a glance.
Outside the wall, the corpses of bandits and carcasses of horses were scattered all over the ground.
’’Norma! Hamilton! Are you alright?’’
Inside the broken gate, Norma was defending a barricade. He supported his body by putting his weight on a sword, his shoulders rising up and down as he panted. He lifted a hand to signal that he was well, but his armour was covered with arrows and signs of being hit by a sword.
His surroundings showed evidence of an intense battle, with bodies from the attacking bandits and defending soldiers everywhere.
As for Hamilton, she was already sitting on the ground.
Her legs were straightened with her palms supporting her body, barely keeping herself from keeling over. Her grip on her sword was loose.
’’Anyway, hah hah, I am, hah hah, alive.’’
’’What about me, princess? How cold!’’
’’Grey! Of course you will be fine, that's why I didn't ask.’’
’’Should I be happy? Or sad?’’
Grey, a man who looked about forty with a stout build, showed no hint of fatigue as he rested his sword on his shoulders.
There wasn't any blood on him. If there wasn't any blood on his sword, he had probably been hiding somewhere, which would explain why he still looked so energetic. He was the Knight Grey Co Aldo, a veteran of the battlefield who rose through the ranks.
In Piña's knight order, most of the knights were nobles. Since the knight order didn't have any real battle experience, such veterans were the real core of the unit.
The path to knighthood was narrow for soldiers. However, they would be treated like normal officers after they made it through.
Hamilton said with a complaining tone, ’’Princess, why are we fighting with marauders here?’’
It was a bit rude, but she had to say it out loud.
’’It can't be helped! I thought the army from the other world would attack Italica! Don't you all agree?’’
After completing her investigation of the areas around Arnus, Piña heard some news as she was planning to infiltrate Arnus Hill.
’’A large armed group appeared in Count Formal's territory, and is planning to attack Italica.'
After hearing this news, Piña thought the army from the other world had finally started their invasion. 'Are they sending out forces to suppress the surrounding territories before laying siege to the imperial capital?', she thought.
She had to take countermeasures then. For Piña, instead of meaningless reconnaissance, an elegant battle suited her better. She pulled out of Arnus, ordered her knights to head for Italica, while she and her group rushed there in advance.
No matter what kind of battle it was, not knowing the scale and battle potential of the enemy would be useless. If the enemy forces were limited, she would defend Italica and attack with a pincer attack with her knights that would arrive later.
However, she soon realized the ones attacking Italica were a marauding band. Most of the members were remnants of the former Coalition Army.
In contrast, the head of clan Formal in charge of the city's defences was just eleven.
She couldn't command in battle, and morale was at its lowest.
Piña was disheartened, but she couldn't stand idle and watch the bandits ravage the city. So she revealed her identity to the clan and forcefully took over command of the Countess' soldiers in defence of Italica.
’’If we can hold for three days, my knights will be here.’’
To be honest, they might arrive even later than that.
But the citizens and the countess' troops believed in Piña and fought with all they had. The enemy might be the remnants of a defeated army, but they were former soldiers and proficient in attacking fortresses.
The city didn't fall, but the gate that was supposed to be solid was destroyed, granting the enemy entry. With the help of the citizens and militia fighting with their farm tools, they survived the first day, but it felt like a defeat.
They had lost too much.
The small number of troops decreased, and the courageous ones of the militia fell in battle. What remained were casualties and exhausted soldiers. Just one day was enough to plummet the morale of the soldiers and citizens to rock bottom. Piña couldn't think of anything to raise their spirits.
That was how her first battle ended.