Kurama spread the news throughout Fort Silke. The kingdom’s forces had been wiped out.
The Radols had 64 who suffered heavy wounds, 256 who suffered light wounds, and 0 deaths.
On the other hand, the kingdom’s forces had 6,321 deaths.
Though the enemy had lost their will to fight, they were still desperate during the cleanup battle. If their commander were in good health, he could rearrange his forces and strike back with more power than we were anticipating. That’s why I prioritized killing the commanding officer with a mushroom cut.
With the brains of the operation down, the rest of the kingdom’s forces quickly broke down to mere targets for firing practice, but Kai Lodos, an officer who immediately took command after Commander Wimp, unconditionally surrendered and the battle ended with the Radols’ overwhelming victory. And so we took in 628 kingdom soldiers, some of whom were heavily injured, as prisoners of war.
You could say the reason our casualties were so low was because the kingdom’s forces had so quickly surrendered.
I had entrusted the cleanup operation to Theo and ordered him to only report back if something extremely unusual occurred. That’s why not I, but Theo, a Radol, had made the final decision to take the enemy in as prisoners of war.
Attacking someone who has surrendered might seem simple at first, but it wasn’t that easy. A cornered rat will bite a cat, was it? As the battlefield was littered with boulders, unexpected casualties might spring up. The best way to keep our casualties at a minimum was to accept their surrender.
However, people didn’t always choose what was beneficial to them; they might do the something stupid out of hatred or fear. Above all, it wouldn’t have been strange for the Radols to just murder everyone given what the kingdom has done.
That’s why I think Theo’s calm decision to accept their surrender was an excellent one.
There were still plenty of points regarding necessities like food for the prisoners of war, but I would handle that from the shadows. I could just wrap it up after the fact by saying that we seized it all from Fort Arkroy.
In any event, we were currently holding a memorial service for the deceased.
The 6021 kingdom soldiers were lined up in front of me.
“A moment of silence!” shouted Theo. Everyone placed their left hand over their chest and closed their eyes. This was probably how the Radols mourned their dead.
The people of this world mainly buried their dead, but doing so required manpower and land, neither of which the Radols had a lot to spare right now.
That’s why they opted for cremation this time.
“I guess it’s starting……” I murmured and marked the bodies with Analyze Environment. Then, I poured my magic power into the corpses.
If I guessed correctly, this would produce a certain something.
And like I thought, crackling sounds began to echo about.
“It’s a success.”
I grabbed the red crystal that had fallen on top of the blonde commander’s chest.
This was a magic stone. Adding a certain amount of magic power into any corpse would produce one. I discovered such when Sylphy had handed me ten magic stones before we had headed out on this journey.
Apparently, the Ancient Dragon was constantly in a cycle of losing its body and reincarnating, and the seven blue magic stones were fragments of the soul during reincarnation. Maybe this mechanism applies not just to Sylphy, but to all intelligent species in this world? Once that question popped into my head, I tested it out on the corpses of the kingdom soldiers in Camelot to find magic crystals had popped out.
When Sylphy dies, her flesh begins to dissolve and reconstruct a large part of her soul. This all occurs on its own for her, but we humans can only do it through being reborn. After our soul is reincarnated, adding a bit of magic power will turn the remaining soul left in the body to a magic stone.
It’s still uncertain why monsters possess a magic stone in their bodies, but it definitely has something to do with reincarnation.
I stored all the magic stones into my Item Box.
“It’s truly nauseating.”
They’re fiendish, even by my standards. This line of work will definitely send them to hell.
Still, it’s much too late to be thinking that now. Yes, their one-way fate has already been cast. Their regrets won’t be forgiven, and I don’t plan to.
I raised my hand and quietly and slowly began my incantation.
“—Sleep — “Flame Rondo” — cremation”
It’s an improvised spell that raises the area around it to the hottest I can make it. All it does is burn. Its sole use is for cremation.
The flames burned the soldiers down to ash.
I turned my back to the ash and set off.
“It’s our victory!!” cried Calogero, the man with undercut hair, from atop the fort walls. Soon, Fort Silke was engulfed in cheers.
“Lord-dono, the time to attack Fort Arkroy has come,” said Theo amidst the rumble of cheers. He squinted his eyes, prepared for the harsh attack we would soon need to do.
“I’m sure you know, but this is the real deal now.”
Everything that’s happened up until now was a result of the enemy misunderstanding our true strength.
Fort Arkroy still had over 1000 soldiers, while we had suffered many wounds. Fatigue was also building up, so we could realistically only gather around 400 people. We needed to capture the fort before its supervisor called for reinforcements.
Once called, a large force would surely come marching into these lands, now with their prestige on the line. The soldiers would be on an entirely different level to the ones in Arkroy. The Radols were still severely lacking in manpower to go into a head-on fight with the kingdom’s forces.
At worst I’d need to step in, but there were still many powerful unknowns out in the world like that monocled monster. Placing too much trust in my own abilities would land me in a situation of all pain and no gain.
That’s right. It’s like a card game where the first person to play one of their cards is at a disadvantage. It’d be much better to move after seeing what your opponent plays.
“Yeah, of course,” replied Theo. “Like you had ordered, we’ve pinned down the end of their supply lines. Now we can attack at any time.”
“I see. Then let’s go with tonight like we had planned.”
Well, the operation is embarrassingly by-the-book and simple.
Theo nodded and headed back into the fray of celebrating soldiers. He sucked air into his lungs and boomed, “Everyone, silence!!”
After a few seconds, everyone looked above the castle walls at us, put their heels together, and straightened their backs.
“Tonight we move to take back our pride. Defeat means the end of us Radols. That’s everyone here. Understand? We can’t lose!”
Now isn’t that something. The looks on their face did a complete 180.
“The soldiers remaining in Arkroy are the cream of the crop. Some are mages, so this won’t be like the overwhelming victory we’ve just experienced. Some of us will surely make our way into hell.”
Theo stopped speaking and closed his eyes.
I understood where he was coming from. The operation’s success meant an all-out war, and we were up against twice as many soldiers as we had. Despite our firearm advantage, we were sure to suffer many losses. It’s like he’s sending his own brethren off to their deaths.
Theo opened his eyes and took a deep breath once again. “But don’t fret. Even if you die, we will continue living on. I guarantee it. Why? Because we have the Wise Mountain King!!”
He turned back towards me and straightened his posture.
“Salute to our lord!!”
Everyone, from those without injuries to even those who needed treatment, stood up and raised their arms.
Their fiery will pierced through me. What an interesting bunch.
“I expect you all to fight well,” I said.
And with an ear-shatteringly loud roar, our operation to take over Fort Arkroy began.