Chapter 126 - Chapter 21: Barbarians #5
The barbarian king departed from the fourth base and headed toward the fifth base, but it was literally just for a moment.
The fugitives joined up with the barbarian king, and he headed towards the north again. It was a move that showed indifference to the second base.
“It is an unexpected move.”
Vandal, who was lying in bed, raised his upper body and greeted In-gong’s group. He was four meters tall, so despite lying down, In-gong wasn’t eye level with him.
The barbarian king was ignoring the troops stationed at the second base and heading north. The fifth, sixth and seventh bases were already empty, so Vandal could only presume that the barbarian king’s destination was Takar.
It was truly an unexpected move.
However, Vandal didn’t share Felicia’s and Caitlin’s quandary. Of course, the barbarian king’s policy of leaving troops behind him and going to the north was strange, but he understood it.
Vandal noticed the two people’s confused states and explained,
“The barbarian king destroyed my army before heading north. There are two reasons for this. One, he was concerned about a rear attack. The other is to buy some time in order to block the road.”
“Block the road? Is it the way back over the Eastern Limit Line?”
Vandal nodded at Felicia’s question.
“That’s right. It is due to geographical reasons. It is impossible to cross the Eastern Limit Line toward Takar without going through Evian. There is something blocking the way beyond the limit line.”
An unknown land was beyond the limit line. They could guess based on the barbarians they saw, but there was no clear reason.
This time, it was Caitlin who asked,
"General Vandal, the barbarians fear... Are they worried about the reinforcements from the Demon King’s Palace?”
“That’s right. The barbarians are afraid the captains will interfere. Burning Takar means that Evian’s defenses have been breached. The captains are more likely to intervene.”
The Demon World was very wide, and the army captains were generally stationed in the north. Therefore, the captains rarely appeared at the boundaries, but there were incidents where it had happened. If Evian were broken through and Takar were taken, the captains were likely to move.
Vandal thought the barbarian king would lead the army and advance to the second base.
Only then would it be possible to create an easy situation to fight or escape the later reinforcements from the Demon King’s Palace. From the standpoint of the barbarians, it would be the worst situation if the troops of the second base joined with the reinforcements of the Demon King’s Palace.
Nevertheless, the barbarian king left the troops of the second base and headed to Takar.
"They aren’t lured here...”
In-gong muttered in a small voice. It was almost a knee-jerk thought.
The second base was a solid fortress. The walls were high, and there was even a moat. It wasn’t easy to occupy the fortress, especially when the old defense forces, Vandal’s army and the troops led by In-gong, totalled to almost 8,000. Therefore, it was the best for the demon king’s side to fight at the second base, while it was the worst from the standpoint of the barbarians.
Carack grasped In-gong’s words and frowned.
"Indeed, is this them taking the initiative in a big fight? Instead of going to a disadvantageous battlefield, they are forcing us to make a choice.”
The barbarian king was in the north. The intervention of the captains or reinforcements from the palace were all future events. When looking at the second situation alone, the troops of the second base were placed at a crossroads of choice.
Felicia frowned and said,
"We have abandoned three bases... It isn’t an exaggeration to say that the fourth base isn’t far from Takar. If we leave this alone, Takar really will be captured by the barbarians. We can’t allow that situation to happen.”
"But if we leave the second base in order to fight them, they would force us to fight in a place that is suitable for them.”
Currently, it was estimated that the barbarian king had between 13,000 and 14,000 troops. It was almost twice the size of the troops stationed at the second base. Moreover, the elite cavalry, which the barbarian king led, exerted great power when fighting on the plains. Fighting on the plains should be avoided as much as possible.
It was a dilemma.
If they let Takar fall, the Evian defense mission would fail. However, if they moved north from the second base, they would have to fight the barbarians in disadvantageous terrain. The barbarian king couldn’t let the initiative slip away. Instead of being dragged by In-gong’s momentum, he headed north to Takar first.
How should In-gong respond to this?
Vandal didn’t given an opinion. He just gazed at In-gong with calm eyes which didn’t seem to belong to an ogre. He seemed to be waiting for In-gong’s answer.
Felicia and Caitlin also looked at In-gong. Then all the people in the room, including Alita and Kaparang, focused on In-gong.
What would be his choice? How would 9th Prince handle this situation?
In-gong exhaled, then he answered in a quiet voice,
In-gong laughed at Caitlin’s surprise. He raised his eyes higher and gazed into Vandal’s eyes.
"We can’t let Takar be captured. If they want to make it difficult for us, then we just need to overcome it.”
The basis of the strategy was to make it difficult for the opponent. The more difficult they made it, the less of an advantage the enemy would have.
“9th Prince, the plan?”
Vandal asked. Alita and Kaparang also made interested expressions. It was because in this situation, In-gong couldn’t just come up with a simple solution.
“Don’t let the barbarian king take the initiative. Force the opponent to make difficult choices.”
In-gong replied in a calm tone.
The second base’s forces departed.
They numbered approximately 8,000. That was virtually Evian’s total power, except for the minimum needed to defend the bases.
The barbarians were willing to face the demon king’s army. So, instead of rushing, the barbarian king kept a normal speed. Since the starting points were different, there was a distance between the barbarian king’s army and the demon king’s army. In order to narrow the gap, the demon king’s army maintained a fairly fast speed.
The distance between the two armies gradually narrowed. By the time the barbarian king joined up with Paratus near the fifth base, the distance was narrowed to only half a day.
However, it was just up to there.
The demon king’s army remained exactly half a day away from the barbarian king’s army. They didn’t get any closer or further away. Whenever the barbarian king’s army stopped or reversed, the demon king’s army also did the same thing.
This happened in real time, so the barbarian king couldn’t force them to move closer.
Moreover, the difference in maneuverability was great. The demon king’s army didn’t bring a supplies unit, so it was one of the main factors that increased their speed. The soldiers didn’t have to carry supplies. Thus, their movements were slightly lighter. The demon king’s army stayed firm despite the barbarian king’s attempts to narrow the distance.
This time, the barbarian king was in a difficult situation. If he continued north, he would reach Takar, but the demon king’s army would be behind him.
Takar was its own area. It was a city that had the power to protect its huge wealth from the outlaws. So, naturally it had its own defense force. It was relatively easy to deal with Takar’s army, but it was a different story if the barbarian king had to deal with both sides at the same time.
The barbarian king was forced to choose: fight the battle at Takar in the north; or go to a place other than Takar and stop there.
Both options weren’t good. In particular, the latter method was a waste of time and materials. However, it wasn’t bad for the demon king’s army. From the outset, the purpose of the army was to protect Evian, not destroy the barbarian king.
Moreover, according to the results of Nayatra’s questioning, the barbarians were lacking supplies. It was because the leader of the fourth base had burnt all the supplies right before it had been occupied.
Although the barbarian king’s attacks were a success, he had gained few things from the third and fourth bases, while In-gong had taken all the supplies of the fifth, sixth and seventh bases. It was a type of field tactic. The basis of the strategy was to make it difficult for the opponent. In-gong didn’t miss this fact and the barbarian king was forced to choose.
Confronted with such a demand, the barbarian king responded once again.
“They are moving.”
In-gong said as he shared Green Wind’s gaze and looked at the mini-map.
The barbarian king was heading straight to Takar. He was increasing the speed of his advance, like he had made up his mind.
It was good that the entire Evian area was a wilderness. It was a wide wilderness without any particular obstacles, so it was possible to see far away. If it were a place other than Evian, he wouldn’t have been able to see the movements of the barbarian king’s army, even with sensory sharing and the mini-map.
Felicia and Caitlin, who explained every situation with ‘Shutra’, accepted it easily, but Vandal was different.
Unlike the two people who knew about his inventory ability, Vandal really didn’t know anything. Therefore, the ability to see a distance using the mini-map, and the ability to store enough food and water for 8,000 people was literally thought to be ‘great magic’.
In the end, Vandal just admired In-gong, like Alita and Kaparang.
The 9th Prince was a sleeping dragon. He had been hiding his claws for years, but he was exposing them now.
Carack remarked on In-gong’s words,
"Did the barbarian king decide to fight at Takar?”
If he stopped his army here, he would have to go back without any profit. Therefore, the barbarian king chose the unfavourable battle at Takar. If so, this was also good.
Carack delivered In-gong’s command, and the demon king’s army increased their advancing speed.
Then the next morning...
The barbarian king’s army arrived at Takar.
The sky was high and the winds were strong.
The barbarian king looked at Takar from the back of a giant, black horse. Next to him were Paratus and several other barbarians.
The barbarian king turned his head and looked back. He saw the demon king’s army which was a far distance away.
It was exquisite distance control. Although the distance was shorter than half a day, it wasn’t a distance in which the barbarian king could strike them suddenly. Additionally, they wouldn’t narrow that distance until the barbarians attacked Takar.
He had defeated the forces of the barbarian king at the seventh, sixth and fifth bases. Not only had he rescued General Vandal, he had also smashed the pursuing army. 9th Prince was an interesting enemy. According to Paratus and the survivors, he was still a young boy, so the barbarian king was curious about him.
‘I will find out soon.’
The barbarian king—Karatus turned with a smile. He was 2.5 meters tall with an athletic body, and he carried a large mace on his shoulder. Its size and weight were really great, so it wasn’t an exaggeration to call it a siege weapon.
The barbarian king’s eyes narrowed. He exhaled, and at the same time, a red aura appeared around him—the mighty power of War.
"Ara, the demon king’s army. Let’s fight hard.”
The barbarian king no longer looked back. He ran straight towards the gates of Takar like a black flash.
The 13,000 barbarians roared simultaneously. They pulled out their weapons and followed their king.
With a strong wind blowing, the battle for Takar began.
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