The Tank Commander and the the rest of the crew that had ran away from the tank to save their lives were now telling the others about what little they had seen of the inside of the town. The Mechanized Scouting Unit had stopped advancing because their tank had been destroyed, and had decided to hold their ground there while waiting for the main force to arrive.
Considering that the Tank had been designed to resist attacks from even some of the stronger Summoned Beasts, the Commander of the Scouting Unit decided that the enemy must have been using a golem of exceptionally high caliber.
“Well, we also destroyed their golem, so it a draw this time around.”
“Grandahl are good with things related to magic, as expected.”
“What happened with the tanks that were with the main force?”
“It seems like they finally finished loading them, and they are being transported here this very instant. When all four of them are mobilized at once, it won’t matter if a Summoned Beast or a Golem stand in their way, there’ll be no way to stop them.”
The young vice-commander said that and looked toward the city of Barasse, with one of it’s walls almost collapsed and it's damaged gate. It was waste that they had lost one of their tanks here, but just with that one tank and a long-range catapult they had been able to do this much damage. Once the Assault Tanks and the main force arrived, a small city such as this wouldn’t even be a pit spot, he mused.
“That’s right. Until the main force arrives, keep the enemy busy with the catapult while also keeping unit on standby here. Make preparations to camp here, and also keep a lookout for any nighttime attacks.”
The city of Barasse was beginning to be enveloped by the dusk. The rubble that had been scattered in front of the gate had been cleared away, and the gate itself was shut tight. Treatment of the wounded and rearrangement of the troops was underway, and Elmerl, who had been going around checking the state of the city returned to the gate and grouped up with Richello and Gashe.
“Gashe, who is your wound?”
“It’s fine, it’s just a scratch. I was just blown away by the battering ram, that’s all.” Gashe said, and laughed.
Even more important right now was the fact that the Commander had to lie down, and the command was in a bit of chaos right now. They had been very anxious when the tank had entered the city, but it had retreated without being able to do anything, so they had been able to minimize the damage.
“That golem appeared at just the right timing.”
“Do you think the normal Adventurers living in the city lent us a hand?”
“Hmm...I dunno who was controlling that golem, but anyway, it helped us a lot.”
As they were talking, the sound of something hitting the gate echoed throughout the area. Elmerl and the rest immediately hushed their voices and backed away from the gate with tense faces, thinking that it was the Na’Hatome scouts or something, and stained to their ears. A knocking sound was coming from the gate. And then-
The time, the three of them exchanged dubious glances. They tried to get the guard who was on the wall to confirm who it was, but it seemed like whoever was knocking was standing directly beneath the walls, and they could not confirm his appearance.
For now, they opened up the gate just a little bit to see who it was, and there stood a boy with who looked to be about 12 and had black hair and a foreign-looking face.
“It really is a child. Have you been outside all this time?”
“How did you manage to stay safe?”
Making sure that there was no movement from the fires of the Na’Hatome camp in the distance, Elmerl and Richello invited him inside. Kou was relieved to see that they were both alright. Seeing them both togther even after meeting them after quite while made Kou happy, and he was thinking of where to start explaining, he caught sight of Gashe.
“Ah, it’s Gashe!”
“Oh? You know me too?”
“I’m Kou.” He took that old amulet and wore it around his neck.
It was trio of surprised faces.
“Could it be that you have returned to your original body?”
“Ah, I’ve not told you yet, have I?”
He remembered that in his letters, he had already told them that he had registered his composite body as an adventurer, but he hadn’t told them about his boy-type summoned body yet. He explained to them how he had also gotten this body from Professor Andagi, and how he used it when he had business around the city.
“Wait! Don’t tell me, that golem from before. That was also you?”
“Yup, I flew over in a hurry, and I was quite relieved that I made it in time.”
“I see.” After hearing of this, Elmerl and the rest thought back to the fight between the tank and the golem.
There were getting a lot of curious looks from the soldiers and the Adventurers passing by, as they were standing right in front of the gate, lively talking to a young boy.
“We were saved by you once again.”
In the lounge of mansion of the governor of the city of Barasse, which was also being used as an emergency headquarters for the army, army officers, members of the Adventurer's Guild and the Barasse nobility were gathered around a large table which had a huge map on it, showing the city of Barasse and the surrounding area. They were discussing how to deal with the onslaught from the advancing Na’Hatome troops. Due to the swift orders from the capital, reinforcements from the city of Curacall were on their way, and if they could hold out for just two more days, the advancing Na’Hatome would have no choice but to retreat.
“I believe that the aim of the Na’Hatome forces arriving here is to capture Barasse and using that as a headquarters to keep Curacall in check, all to aid the main force attacking from the west.”
“They’ll force us to deploy some of the strength of our main forces here, huh.”
The Na’Hatome forces that had landed in the port city of Lapa of Eptita and were now gathering in the border city of Pulse were estimated to be at least 1000 strong, and were also using long-range catapults and mechanized weapons to make up for an deficit in foot soldiers.
“As for defense, I have a suggestion- no, a request for the governor.”
“What is it?”
“I want you to change the commander.”
At the meeting, Elmerl requested that the old commander that had been in the knight’s unit of the regular army of Grandahl be replaced because there were some doubts as to his capabilities as a leader. Elmerl was so blunt that the whispers of confusion and indignation were heard from the other attendees. Incidentally, the old man himself was still resting, and so was absent.
“But, it seems like he is fulfilling his duty to protect the city?”
“This time, we just got lucky. He allowed the tank to get inside the city, and he was about to scatter the soldiers for no good reason...If the backup sent by the Gawiik party had not made it in time, he himself would have not made it out alive.”
“Hmm...But, you know…Ah, then let’s do it like this. You can take charge of the units from the Adventurers association, and make an independent force.”
“A force independant from the city guard? That would just make the battlefield chaotic.”
The governor was hesitating to remove the old commander from the command. Elmerl wondered if he some personal fondness for the man.
“No no, we will properly split up the battlefield in advance, so you just have to coordinate well afterwards.”
“Why are you going so far to take his side? As long as I will be responsible for the lives of the soldiers under my command, I will not accept this if you cannot provide a satisfactory reason.”
As the meeting for the defense of the city was going on in the in the mansion of the governor, Kou had met up with Nina and Lukabell in the building of the training school, which was being used as one of the shelters of the city. The students of the training school were helping with patrols, rationing of supplies and other things around the city.
“Eeeh! Are you really Kou-chan?”
“Yep, it’s me~”
“Wait, isn’t a human-type summoned beast a very expensive thing...It looks like the Magic Engineers of the capital are very grand.”
“The Professor is very rich after all.”
The three of them plus one cat were talking in one corner of the building. The cat Kou which had been resting on the knees of Nina woke up and then curled himself up on the knees of the boy Kou.
“So this is where you were Kou. Are you two on night duty? Don’t push yourselves.”
“Is Elmerl-san returning to the meeting?”
As the cat wrapped itself around her feet with a meow, Elmerl let them know how they had discussed about the plans for the defense of the city, and also how they had a bit of a fight regarding the commander. IN the end, it had been decided that the old commander would resume his duties as the commander as soon as he recovered.
“Good grief. That governor...Even in a situation like this, his true nature doesn’t change.”
“Did something happen?”
“Yeah...a little something.”
At the meeting, in response to Elemerl requesting that the old commander be replaced, the governor just said that the old commander had been put under his care by King Leozeos himself, and so removed any and all room for argument. Even those that had agreed with Elmerl’s request couldn’t say anything after the King’s name had been spoken. Elmerl didn’t know what were the circumstances behind that old soldier becoming the leader of the troops in Barasse, but it was clear in her mind that the governor was refusing to remove the commander from his post to gain favour with King Leozeos.
“And on top of that, he also justified having denied protection to Kou that one long time ago by bringing up the fact that he had come as a representative of the Gawiik party.”
Elmerl was very angry when the governor said that the Gawiik party had sent a powerful golem because the town had not got in their way when they had assassinated the Demon Dog Kou, and reminded the members of the Adventurers Guild members and others who had opposed the decision at the time that it had been decision with long-term interests in mind. However, since Elemerl was also hiding the existence of Kou from the rest because she didn’t trust the plans of governor, she couldn’t object too strongly.
“Well, what’s done is done, right? Water under the bridge. I’ve heard that getting too angry is not too good for your health and beauty, you know?”
“...This is about you, you know.”
Elmerl let out a big sigh, and then changing the subject welcomed Kou again, and after welcoming him, started to explain about their strategy starting tomorrow. The general plan was to hold out for reinforcements to arrive from Curacall. Specifically, they were to solidify the city’s defences and prevent enemy intrusion into the city. This would become complicated especially when you added those tanks to the equation.
“The Na’Hatome army is going to use the troops they have stationed in the neighbouring city of Pulse to attack this city. It’s highly implausible that the tank that Kou destroyed os only one they had.”
“That thing, it was very well built, you know.”
“Um...Elmerl-san, what did you mean that Kou was the one who drove off the Na’Hatome forces-”
Nina and Lukabell, who had yet to see Kou’s composite body were having a hard time imagining how such a small boy had fought against and destroyed a tank, and had scattered the enemy forces. Kou decided that since it had come up, he would show the two of them composite that was supposed to be his “real body” right now. With a flash of light, he un-summoned the boy-type summoned beast, and taking out the composite body from his dimensional storage, he possessed it.
“Vuouuooo” This is how it looks like~
The two were awed by the huge golem that had suddenly appeared with a sharp sound. Lukabell was frozen in place as he looked up at it, while Nina fell down on her backside. The cat Kou was unaffected, and was calmly grooming itself by the wall.
The third day after Kou had arrived to defend the city of Barasse. There were suddenly lots of signs of activity from the Na’Hatome camp visible from the wall of the city.
On the evening of the day before, a large transport of the Na’Hatome army had been confirmed coming from the direction of the city of Pulse, and the watch guard on duty reported that by the light of fires in the enemy camp he had seen among the transport several long-range catapults as well multiple tanks mixed in.
When dawn approached, they saw that the number of long-range catapults standing by over at the enemy camp had increased from two to ten, and although they couldn’t see the troops directly, just by looking at the amount of smoke rising from cooking fires just behind the camp, they could estimate that quite a large number of troops had arrived.
“It feels like the city will be flattened just by attacks from those ten catapults.”
“I think not even half of them are active right now.”
Besides the catapults that had been set up from the beginning were materials necessary for firing the catapult, and from what they could see out of the ten only four catapults had these materials ready. The rest were either not ready yet, or they had been set up just for intimidation, Richello observed.
“Well, even if only four are active, that is still a lot of power.”
Yesterday, the two active catapults had been occasionally firing flame barrels at the city, and because of that, the eastern wall of the city was already in very bad shape. The part of the wall and the gate which had been damaged in the first attack had been reinforced to some extent using wood and stone, but if they were broken down again, they wouldn’t be able stop it from crumbling down completely.
“The silver lining is that we are not completely surrounded. If we can just make it through today, reinforcement should arrive.”
If reinforcements from Curacall arrive at Barasse, it would become practically impossible for the Na’Hatome forces to take Barasse. It would become a fight where the Na’Hatome forces would would be fighting with a fixed number of troops and supplies on enemy territory against the Grandahl forces which could receive reinforcements again and again.
“They are probably aware of this...and will probably go all out trying to take the city today.”
Richello grasped what the enemy was aiming for after counting the number of catapults. They were probably planning to set them up inside the city as soon as they got control of it, temporarily fortifying it to repel the forces coming from Curacall. After that, they would call for more reinforcements while continuing to be a thorn in side of Grandahl.
“I short, these huge number of troops are not here to threaten Barasse into giving up, but are rather there to make Barasse into a headquarters that they can defend indefinitely, thus putting pressure on the Grandahl forces.”
“In that case, that would explain the makeup of their force well. For a force that is made for cutting through the enemy as fast as possible, their forces lean too much toward long-term defense.”
Richello was explaining all this in a tent that had been set up as a headquarters of the Adventurer's Defense Unit in the shade of the eastern wall of the city. As he wrapped up his explanation on a map that showed the city of Brasse and it’s surroundings, a voice suddenly called out to them.
“A moment please.”
As they heard the voice and turned around, there stood the commander with one of his men. For a moment, Elmerl’s face darkened, but almost automatically Richello took her hand in his to soothe her, and she stayed quiet.
After hearing Richello’s explaination, the commander asked him three questions, and after hearing his answers, nodded and went off towards the city guard headquarters. The short man that had been with the commander slightly bowed his head to Richello a couple of times and followed after the commander.
“...What was that all about?”
“Hmm, he seemed like a changed man.”
Even as she agreed with Richello’s apt observation, Elmerl couldn't completely shake off her doubts about the slightly changed commander.