Spirit Migration - Chapter 37
The sluggish atmosphere of the morning had yet to dissipate in the city of Barasse. In this time of emergency, there was no sign of the everyday life that the ones living here were used to, and an air of tension hung around the gate of the city. This temporary stillness was shattered by the alert shouted by the guard on watch.
’’Movement spotted among enemy troops!’’
The smoke from what they had guessed to be cooking fires had disappeared, and for a while they had been observing some kind of activity near the long-range catapults, but now it seemed like the attack had begun in earnest, as two tanks appeared from the directions of the plains, followed closely by a formation of foot soldiers;an estimated 500 of them.
’’Here they come...Kou, are your preparations ready?’’
’’Vuouuaa.’’ Yep, I'm ready~
The prominent composite body that had been helping the Defense Reinforcement team to carry wood panels replied with words of light. Elmerl, who had guessed that the enemy would be making extensive use of their long-range catapults had come up with the plan of slowing down the tanks so they couldn't get into the city, no matter if they wall were destroyed or not.
When the foot soldiers reached the wall of the city, the catapults would have to naturally stop firing, so they could leave slowing down the tanks to Kou, and the foot soldiers would be dealt with by the city guard while being supported by the Bowmen unit.
This time, the commander had no complaints either. Although this could be also attributed to the fact that he couldn't complain. As decided in the meeting with the governor, the command chain had been split, and the commander that was commanding the city guard had no say in the movements of the Adventurer's lead by Elmerl.
’’Enemy forces advancing!’’
’’Projectile from catapult incoming!’’ The watch guard shouted out the warning and crouched to protect himself. Immediately after, they heard a sound of a projectile flying in, and an explosion resounded outside the wall. The flame barrel attacks by the catapults had started. The consecutive attacks by the four catapults resulted in near constant explosions.
The long-range catapults had been installed such a distance away that fire arrows from this side could not reach them, and indeed, flame barrels fired from that side could only reach the wall if they had tailwind. However, in such conditions where the catapults were barely in range, there was a need to be extra careful, as some flame barrels could clear the walls and land inside the city purely by chance.
Even as they were hiding in the shadow of the wall with bated breaths, everyone was anxiously waiting for the explosions to end while discussing things like ’’If we can hold out here in Barasse, I think next we'll be advancing on Eptita.’’ As that was going on, a messenger arrived on a horse, rushing into area through the main street and announced:
’’Tanks sighted approaching the western gate!’’
TLN: Remember, until now all the fighting and stuff had been going on near the eastern gate.
Last night, when the Na'Hatome army had received reinforcements from Pulse that had made camp, a different unit had moved into a position where they could attack the western gate. They had lit fires in the camp showing off all the catapults they had prepared to focus attention on them, and using that and the cover of darkness had gone around the city towards the west gate.
They had known that reinforcements from Curacall were expected from the west sometime today, so if they were not careful, the Na'Hatome could be the ones who ended up in a pincer. As such, it seemed like they had not sent any foot soldiers to attack the west gate. According to the messenger that had just arrived, only two tanks were advancing on the west gate, and apart from them no soldiers could be sighted.
’’They did such a risky maneuver on the assumption that reinforcements are coming. The enemy is betting everything on this one battle.’’
’’They knew that we would be focusing our forces on the eastern gate. Kuh, they're going to keep us on our toes.’’
The eastern gate was being assaulted by the long-range catapults, and two tanks and an infantry unit was also advancing on it, so it would be difficult to take forces from here. Elmerl hesitated on what to do. At that moment, the old commander gave his men some orders and split the city guard into units, and adding a few soldiers to Gashe's Defense team made an Engineering unit.
’’I'll head to the Western gate. I'll leave this to you.’’
With an air that was really different from just a day before, the old commander left about half of the city guard with Elmerl and headed towards the western gate with the Engineering unit. Elmerl watched him go with a complex expression on her face.
’’We'll manage on our own here, so go help out the commander.’’
’’Vuvuaouu’’ Got it.
Kou took out his Magic Wheel and slid after the carriage carrying the commander. All the Adventurers and soldiers in the area were curious about this new method of locomotion, but they were soon distracted as a part of the wall began to crumble after a flame barrel hit it.
’’Hold out today, and it is our win! Let's drive them back!’’
The Adventurers and soldiers responded to Elmerl's encouragement.
In the years past when the first war with Na'Hatome had been going on seemingly forever with no end in sight, there was one soldier who threw himself into the war, and lead soldiers in both small skirmishes and battles of larger scales. He was made a member of the knights of the Grandahl army, and quickly rose in ranks. This was the old knight, Basclay.
At the time, the young Shishiou Leozeos had just succeeded the King, and due to his policy more and more magical tools were being introduced to the battlefield. Seeing this changing battlefield, the old knight was reminded of his own age, and deciding to raise his own successor, he made one of his men his personal assistant.
That young man was had been a failed Adventurer, and thus was not thought well of by his peers, but Basclay saw his potential as his commander, and taught him all of his techniques and knowledge. The young man absorbed all of this like dry earth absorbs water.
One day, a large battle was planned to happen in the area where Basclay and his troops were deployed, and King Leozeos himself rode out. In a meeting, details were given about the use of the new special weapons that used magic, such as carriages equipped with magical armaments or soldiers equipped with special armor;things that had not yet been adopted by the Grandahl army as a whole. The most efficient use cases and strategies for winning were discussed, and opinions were both given and taken.
Basclay came up with several strategies and planned them out, and shared them with his subordinate, and asked for his opinion and such. Basclay knew that if the subordinate could get major achievement in the upcoming battle, he would be promoted to a position where he could replace Basclay as a commander. And so, Basclay decided that it would be his last fight, after which he would give up his position.
The next morning, after spending a rare night drinking with his subordinate, Basclay overslept. As he hurriedly made his way towards the meeting place, he was told that the King's unit had already moved on. He couldn't see his subordinate anywhere, and when he asked those in the vicinity he found out that the young man had already left with the King's unit.
The young subordinate had proposed the plans Basclay had come up as his own to the King, and had went along with his unit. After a fierce battle with many ups and downs, King Leozeos came out victorious, and highly prised the one who had come up with the plans that had contributed to the victory.
After this battle, the Na'Hatome army, which had suffered heavy losses stopped it's invasion on all fronts, and the war entered a stalemate. Grandahl was now virtually victorious.
Some time passed, and a month after that battle, Basclay and his unit, still lacking one member, got some time off in the capital. He was invited by some of his old friends to a party held in the castle's garden, which he accepted without hesitation, with the intention of finding his old subordinate and asking him about what had happened that day. But...
’’You've thrown yourself into battle for too long. I'm sure you're a little tired.’’
Hearing his former-subordinate shrug him off with a seemingly lamenting reply, Barksure was astonished. All of the nobles there wanted to be together with the ’’young hero’’.
The young man had returned to the Capital before the army and the King's unit, and using the fact that he had contributed in the final battle and had earned King Leozeos approval had busied himself in making connections, and already had a lot of supporters. The only sympathizers Basclay had after spending a lifetime on the battlefield were the old members of his unit, and there were none of them in this gorgeous palace.
Realizing that he had been betrayed by his subordinate, who he had trusted and who he had wanted to succeed him, Basclay collapsed where he was standing due to the shock. This caused a slight disturbance in the area, and eventually King Leozeos also heard about it.
Soon after that, Basclay retired from the Knights, and his lifelong service to the army was recognized, and he was awarded a position as an army advisor in the city of Barasse from the King for his efforts;a calm life for the rest of his time. However, since the time he had collapsed in that courtyard, Basclay's life had lost all color, his consciousness was always covered in a haze, his heart lost in a mist.
That mist had let up a few days ago. As he had tried to make a suicidal attack on the Na'Hatome army's tank, a giant golem had appeared out of nowhere and stopped the tank. As he looked up at Kou's armor clad back, much like that of a knight, various memories and scenes rose up in his mind.
The Captain of the knights that had taught him sword fighting and tactics back when he was just a brat. Back then, there were a lot of knights that carried themselves such that they were indistinguishable from Adventurer's or common thieves. Knights which held pride and honesty near and dear were a minority, and only existed near the capital.
Even while surrounding environment was filled with betrayal, cheating and falsehood, that Knight Captain never allowed himself to become warped, and hung onto his beliefs and skills.
’’Hey Clay, no matter who someone else is, don't you think that you can only be yourself?’’
’’What the hell? That makes no sense.’’
’’Hahahaha! I meant, no matter where I go, no matter how far that is, I will remain me, and no matter what happens, you will still remain you.’’
’’Like I said, what does that mean? Isn't that obvious?’’
The boy Basclay had looked up to one such knight. After resting for some time while immersed in these memories, he finally recovered from the emotional damage that he had been carrying around all this time. So the ambitious young man had used him to raise to greater heights. So what? That's all that had happened. In fact, it meant that the plans he had come up with had been that much effective.
The commander and the Engineering Unit arrived at the western gate, and asked the guards stationed there for a status report. The gate had already been struck multiple times by the battering ram, and the warped and battered gate was being held together by wood that that had been hastily tacked on. It wouldn't hold out for long.
’’The enemy is just tanks?’’
’’Yes, we can't see any enemy soldiers.’’
’’We can already see cracks in the two pillars that support the gate. I believe it is only a matter of time before it breaks down completely...’’
’’I see...Well then, let's think of a countermeasure on the presumption that the gat is already destroyed.’’
Saying that commander Basclay got lost in thought, trying to come up with countermeasure against the tanks. Just then, the powerful golem that had been apparently sent by the Gawiik party arrived on the scene, sliding across the ground. It's body glowed with light, and words of light appeared.
’’I came to assist~’’
’’...That's it.’’ Seeing Kou arrive, Basclay hit upon an idea.
The Mechanized Tank of the Na'Hatome had attacked the western gate of Barasse multiple times now. The tank captain noticed some activity behind the gate, and presumed that they were trying to desperately reinforce that gate by building some kind of barricade. He signalled to tank No.5 to accelerate.
Tank No. 5, which didn't have a battering ram attached to it's front pushed Tank No. 4 from behind and drastically increased its momentum, plowing into the gate with the cracked support pillars. The crew, who had braced from impact, immediately realised on contact that the gate had finally broken completely because of the vastly different sensation compared to the previous hits.
’’Yes! We've broken through! After engaging the anti-personnel mode, we're heading straight to the Eastern Gate!’’
’’Two carriages sighted in front!’’
’’Multiple sighted on the sides too!’’
’’A desperate barrier using carriages, huh? Pay them no attention, and break through!’’
It seems like their prediction that the enemy would be focusing on defending the Eastern Gate so much that they would not be able to defend the Western Gate properly had been spot on. Although the fast thinking to try to stop the advance of the tanks using carriages was commendable, the defense was too weak to stop these tanks. The captain of Tank No. 4 gloated and gave the order to advance.
The battering ram collided with the carriage their way forward, and the carriage started to give way, creaking. But then it suddenly stopped, and the loud noise of the tank moving forward was suddenly replaced by a high pitched whine and the sound of metal striking something again and again.
’’Controls unresponsive! This is...the gears are slipping-’’
’’It's oil! Oil is spread on the stone pavement, and we can't move forward!’’
The plan Basclay had come up was to spread oil all over the pavement in front of the gate and then open the gate intentionally, luring in the tank and then sealing its movements by surrounding it with carriages. Getting the carriages into their proper place in such a short time could not have been possible without Kou's help. And then-
’’Alright! Set it on fire!’’
They threw heaps of dried grass soaked in oil on the tank that was stuck, surrounded by carriages, turning its wheels in vain, and then set fire to it. The tank was built to withstand light fire attacks too, but the grass was a special smoking type used to smoke out prey when hunting, and the tank was soon completely enveloped by smoke.
’’Vuouau’’ Here we go.
The tank tried to escape by turning around, but since it was surrounded with carriages laden with heavy stones, it couldn't move much at all. Then the other tank came to the rescue of the first. The saw coming out from a gap in it's armor cut up the frame of one of the carriages. Using a connecting mechanism, it then attached itself to the body of the first tank, which was surrounded by flames and smoke, and retreated at full speed, taking the first tank with it.
’’Close the gate! Put out those flames and move those carriages! Engineers and Kou, as soon the space is cleared, make preparations for digging!’’
Commander Basclay was energetically giving out orders. Before the tanks that had retreated recovered and charged again, they were going to start on the next plan. The half burned carriages were moved in front of the closed gate to act as a barricade, and taking the fact that the tank could break through them into consideration, they were now removing the pavement and digging a hole. The earth had already been plowed up where the tank wheels had dug in, so they were going to use that as a starting point to dig efficiently.
’’Hurry it up! The depth will be fine at about 1 Luuka. Make sure that shape of the hole is such that the tank cannot climb back out.’’
’’Vuuouoau’’ I'm going to dig too~
When Kou started to help with the digging, in almost no time, a huge hole ad been prepared. His was a strange way of digging, as the earth that was supposed to be come out of the hole never appeared, and yet a hole big enough to completely encapsulate that tank was prepared. The tanks were constructed in such a way that if one fell into the hole, the other would not be able to go over it to cross the hole.
It was quite different from his original plan, but in a way Commander Basclay's plan to use the enemy tanks as barricades was going to achieved, just in a slightly different form.
’’Great work, Kou. We'll be fine here now, so go reinforce the Eastern Gate.’’
’’Vuuavuau’’ Got it.
Urged by Basclay who was now extruding the atmosphere of a fully dependable commander, Kou equipped his Magic Wheel and headed towards the Eastern Gate to help Elemerl and the others.
The walls of the Eastern Gate which was undertaking the full brunt of the attack by the Na'Hatome troops was close to collapsing because of the attacks of flame barrels and the mechanized tanks.
’’Get away from those walls! They're going to collapse!’’
’’Enemy forces making to fire arrows!’’
One of the mechanized bow that Kou had torn off the tank was set up in the window of a building near the gate, and one of the bowmen positioned there fired of an arrow. The enemy fired off a volley of arrows that made over the wall and struck some stragglers that were late in getting away from the wall, but because most of the had already scrambled away from them, the damage was minimal. But a part of the gate and the wall had already crumbled under attack by the tanks.
’’The tanks are blocked by the rubble, and can't come in for a while. The enemy soldiers are going to rush in. Get ready to intercept them!’’
’’Alright, it's our turn!’’
The Adventurer's and the Defense unit lead by Gashe rushed forward, and getting into the the streets assigned to them, they took stances to push back the invading troops. And soon after, the Na'Hatome soldiers appeared, raising a battle cry. The soldier that had been the serving as the first one through was immediately struck by an arrow fired from the building with the mechanized bow.
’’Don't let them into the city! Push them back! Don't let them remove the rubble!’’
’’Elmerl! An attack from the mechanized bows of the tanks is incoming! It's dangerous there!’’
Even if they were blocked by the rubble, the tanks could still fire there mechanized bows, and they were letting off round after round like an artillery battery. With their backs to a wall, the guards equipped with shields protected their leader Elmerl by raising their shields high, but they wouldn't last long under the constant fire from the tanks.
Elmerl and the rest retreated under the shade of a building, and the arrows then began targeting the other Adventurers and the Defense unit.
’’Uwaaa! Th-This is bad!’’
’’We've got to do something about these arrows first...Ch!’’
As the Defense unit got busy dodging the arrows from the tanks, the enemy soldiers took this chance to begin removing the rubble. If this went on, the tanks and the enemy soldiers would enter the city. They tried to concentrate arrows and magic attacks on the tanks, but even when the tank received a direct hit from a magic attack, it didn't even move. What was more, it returned the favor ten times over by concentrating fire from the mechanized bows in the area where the attack came from. This lead to attacks from this side becoming less and less frequent, and didn't even amount to diversions.
’’This is bad...We have to drop the attack power of the tanks somehow.’’
Suddenly, the tank just in front of the gate changed his target and began firing at something at the far end of the street, as if it had noticed something. When Elmerl and the rest looked over, they saw Kou sliding over to them from the other end of the street.
’’Kou! What happened to the defense of the Western Gate?’’
Sliding through the rain of arrows that resulted from the concentrated fire, Kou joined up with Elmerl and explained to her that the situation at the Western Gate had been mostly resolved, so he had been come back to help them.
’’Vuououo?’’ The wall looks a bit broken, you know?
’’Ahh, we're in a bit of trouble here...It looks like you're unaffected by the arrows. Can't you silence that thing over there?’’
’’Vuoua?’’ I just have to break it?
’’Well, if the tank stops moving, we'll be out of immediate danger.’’
Nodding, Kou confirmed that he was standing in a position where his allies would not get caught up in the fire before taking out the internal-combustion magic weapon from the dimensional storage. And then, aiming at the the two tanks and the enemy troops clearing the rubble around them, he pulled the trigger.
In answer to the tanks' incessant firing, Kou began to return the favour a hundred times over with a loud whine by raining bullets on them. As the bullets impacted they let out smoke and sparks. They merely bounced off the armor of the tanks, but just the huge amount of bullets being fired was enough to get the Na'Hatome forces to prepare to flee.
The soldiers clearing the rubble all decided that this was too much and retreated behind the fallen wall and hid themselves in the shadow of the tank.
Using the Magic Wheel, Kou immediately accelerated after them, and putting the internal-combustion magic weapon that he had used just as a diversion in his dimensional storage, he took out the Magic Hammer that he had received as a parting gift from the Professor. The tank was damaged pretty easily if you tore off its armor and hit it. If that was the case, then he could just use this Magic Hammer to break apart the tank along with it's armor.
First of all, he would aim for the gear shaped wheels on the side of the tank to stop it in its tracks. Aiming for those wheels, Kou raised the hammer high, and then swinging it downwards he pressed the switch on the handle, igniting the internal-combustion engine attached to it. With a high pitched whistle-like sound, the head of the hammer was explosively propelled forwards and downwards from the explosive forces expelled out the back and buried itself into the side of the tank.
’’The armor on the side has been broken through! Fore wheels damaged!’’
’’Shit! What is with that superhuman strength! Retreat at full speed!’’
With its remaining wheels, the tank tried to retreat. Kou nimbly circled around it and raising the heavy hammer high above his head, dealt another blow to the tank. The rear armor became greatly warped, and the gear shaped wheel caught and stopped while making creaking noises.
’’Tank No. 3 is down!’’
’’Rescue the crew and retrieve the tank body! We have to do something about that golem.’’
The other tank retreated a bit and pointed it's battering ram at Kou. As he was tearing off the mechanized bow off of the body of Tank No. 3, the tank accelerated towards him. Hmm, how should I deal with this? Kou pondered. Just before the tank made contact, he pulled the composite body into the dimensional storage.
Because the huge body of the golem had disappeared just as the battering ram had seemingly come into contact with it, the Na'Hatome forces thought that they had defeated it and began to cheer.
Elmerl had been staring wide eyed at the rampage Kou had been causing, and took this chance when the enemy forces were in disarray to reorganized her own forces. In the battle the other day, Kou had had disappeared after destroying the tank, only to turn up later. Elmerl knew that Kou was an immortal existence and was not worried.
’’Retrieve the wounded and carry them to the rear! Ask Richello and the others to heal them! Gashe, you and your unit block that hole in the wall! The rest, remain alert near the gate!’’
The front of the gate was conveniently blocked by the body of the destroyed tank, so Elmerl sent the Defense unit to the hole in the wall, and then turned her attention to the Na'Hatome forces who were coming to retrieve the body of the tank.
With a loud bang, the armor covering the roof of the tank flew off. It was the tank that had used the battering ram and then came to the rescue of the other tank. As both allies and enemies focused on it, wondering what had just happened, the rear door of the tank opened and the tank crew came all but tumbling out. From inside the tank, everyone could hear the sound of something banging, and the tank body continued shaking for a while, after which the side armor of the tank flew off and an arm could be seen sticking out.
What the hell is that!? Is what both allies and enemies unanimously thought at this sight. The next instant, ’’that’’ golem tore through the roof of the tank, surprising the Na'Hatome forces and causing the Adventurers and the city guard to rejoice.
Kou had passed through the tank in his spirit body as it had charged at it, and getting inside the body of the tank, he had deployed the composite body and possessed it. He had gone on rampage from inside the tank. You almost felt sorry for the tank crew that had a golem suddenly appear inside their tank and began rampaging.
Having lost their tanks, and so their main attack power, the Ha'Hatome forces were starting to get pushed back. Just then, a message was brought by a messenger from the western gate.
’’Reinforcements from Curacall have arrived!’’