Naga and Harrigan were facing each other in the residence building of the fort.
Harrigan, as always, wore her thinly-made clothing, which exposed many parts of her body, and sat on a folding stool.
Naga was at first surprised by the witches’ clothing, but had recently gotten used to it.
Thanks to that, the number of times he became captivated by the witches’ scant dress was reduced compared to when he had first arrived…. However, he couldn’t stop thinking perverted thoughts once in awhile; he was a man after all.
Today as well, Naga sat at the table while wearing his hakama with flashy hues, the same one he wore when he fell into this world for the first time.
Rather than that, since those were the only clothes he owned, that was the only thing he wore.
Right now, both of them were about to analyze the extent of the Kasandora Kingdom’s military power and their disposition.
Otherwise, they won’t be able to determine the details of their strategy.
Yuki, who conducted the reconnaissance of Fort Ein, said:
“Judging from the time I saw them, I think there are around one thousand of them, and it will probably keep increasing.”
Saying that, the remaining issue, in the end, will be the assessment of the total enemy forces.
“What do you think about that Harrigan?”
Naga was looking for confirmation, and Harrigan responded.
“Kasandora Kingdom’s biggest mobilization of power will probably be more than 2000. If we consider the conscription of new units from the populace, there’s a chance it would range from 2500 to 3000, I think, but perhaps they won’t do so.”
“Why do you think so?”
“It seems that, a while ago, a battle between human armies concluded. Therefore, it could be said to be one of the reasons why it would be unreasonable to forcefully conscript their own citizens. What’s more, they have to pay attention to other countries’ mobilization.”
“Hm?” – Naga frowned and creased his eyebrows.
“Other countries? What do you mean?”
“Despite the fighting between each country calming down, as well as the support and backup coming from the church, if you show any weakness, you’ll be taken advantage of. Such is the way of this world.”
“I see. If you show a moment of weakness, you’ll be taken advantage of… is that so? I have the feeling it’s a story I’ve heard and seen before.”
For a while, a gruesome smile appeared on his face; nevertheless, it disappeared right away.
“In other words, we can’t take the protection of our base lightly.”
Seeing the unusual smile, which appeared on his face, Harrigan felt bothered, however, now wasn’t the time for questioning that.
“That’s right. If they recruit a new army from the public, the fact about the royal capital guard’s defense will be disclosed to the surrounding countries. Deploying newly recruited soldiers would mean the same as spreading around the news about the royal capital being vacant. Knowing that there are no guards will result in the nearby countries trying to aim for it, just like an empty nest, which is possible. That’s why, such conduct is out of the question.”
“Speaking of which, was it 2000… you were talking about?”
“I see it that way. At present, it would probably be their limit.”
“When it comes to that, their raid…. that’s right, it will depend on the extent of the preparations done by the Kasandora kingdom or something like that.”
Naga took the sketched map, drawn by Yuki, in his hand.
“From Fort Ein to this place, there are neither towns nor settlements. There are also no fortifications that could be used to store an army’s provisions. This means that, in order to support the invading army, they will have to carry the provisions themselves.
Naga muttered while focusing on the map.
“If so, they have to assign 300-400 of their people to their light and heavy troops reducing their actual army to around 1600-1700? Well, I wonder if it also depends on how long they expect the battle to last. Then, were we to consider factors such as their low level of armament, provision, and tactics…”
Raising up his head, Naga said toward to Harrigan.
“I wonder if it will be about 10 days til the start of the battle.”
Harrigan answered while making a difficult expression.
“About 10 days? Indeed, we nearly have no time left.”
“Kukuku”- Naga chuckled as he nodded.
“Far from nearly, we don’t have any time at all.”
His smile, which seemed to be pleased with the difficult challenge and situation, could be said to express a certain seriousness.
“Still, we have the weapons which their comrades left while fleeing. Good thing they didn’t have arrows and bows with them. What’s more, we got our hands on their horses.”
That’s right, at the moment Naga & Co. drove away the troops of Kasandora’s troops, who were occupying the fort, the enemy left spears and bows while fleeing.
Naga and the rest were able to pick up a good amount of the enemy’s weapons without making a great effort.
Nevertheless, the witches didn’t know how to use swords and bows.
With that, picking up the weapons would be useless.
Just what he was aiming for?
“Despite that, to think that the day when I’d ride a horse would come.”
She gave off a sigh.
“But despite saying so, I know it would be different in case of Ais, who runs way faster than a horse, but I think you’re probably different.”
“As expected, when it comes to a running competition, I can’t be compared with Ais.”
“You’re making quite the sad expression there, aintcha’?”
“To be honest, I don’t feel inclined to ride a horse.”
“Why is that?”
“No, how should I explain it?”
Harrigan eyes wandered around; nevertheless, she shook her head as if giving up and said.
“Isn’t it scary?”
“You? You mean you’re scared of horses?”
“No no, it’s not like I’m laughing. Still, to think that there’s something you’d be scared of, that’s quite unexpected.”
Snap – Harrigan pointed at Naga as her hair writhed and rose into the air. Seeing that, Naga waved his hand hurriedly.
“Wait wait! To be honest, I’m a little bit scared as well.”
Because Harrigan’s hair fell limp, Naga gave off a sigh of relief and said。
“Somehow, I feel like the horses here give off a different sensation in comparison with the ones I know.”
Making a suspicious face, Harrigan asked.
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t quite get it by myself, but, I wonder whether or not I rode horses a long time ago when I was much smaller. Somehow, the sense of compatibility with my body and the horse size are not agreeing with each other.”
“Is that so? So it has something to do with your lost memories…You still can’t recollect anything?”
Once Harrigan asked with a sad face, Naga answered nonchalantly.
“Should I say as much….? It mostly doesn’t improve, but, I’m fine that way. I’ll remember little by little without rushing.”
It was a manner of speech which made one unable say whether the concerned person had amnesia or not.
“Rather than that, I wonder if we shouldn’t return to the topic of horses.”
“It depends on whether the horse is big or small. If we plan to have a good command of it, the bigger one should be better. It can run long distances, and also has good endurance. You, who are witches, in comparison with humans are indeed faster and have better endurance, but still are inferior to horses. As long as it’s convenient, to obtain a result, you ought to use everything at your disposal. Isn’t it better to be prepared?”
“When it’s necessary, I’ll come to help you.”
While saying so and laughing, Harrigan sent him a doubtful glance.
“Even if you say help, how exactly do you plan to do so?”
“True. For example, by picking you up once you fall from a horse?”
“Wouldn’t helping me be something to do before falling?!”
“It’s fine, don’t be angry. Well… in that case, won’t you ride together with me on my horse? By doing so, you won’t have to control the horse, and also there’s no fear that you will fall, right?”
“O-Oh, this is what you mean? I see, it doesn’t seem to be half as bad.”
“In exchange, in order not to fall, you better cling to me, otherwise it might be troublesome, you see? I need you to clasp your hands around my lower back and put your strength into arms, so as to press your chest firmly to my back, you see.”
“So this is your aim?!”
Again, Harrigan’s hair became a bundle and rose up with a swoosh.
“Uwah, wait wait, that was a joke! Don’t hit me with your hair just because of a joke!”
Waving energetically with his hands in front of his eyes, Harrigan’s hair, which was raised in a bundle, fell gently. Naga sighed with relief deep within his heart.
(This girl’s hair is hard, it’s no joke. Were I to be hit with all her might, I’d certainly die.)
“Let’s get back to the topic.”
“I have no objections, but you see…”
“Well, if it’s related to horse riding, you will somehow manage it with a little bit of practice.”
“That’s right. I used to ride a little bit as a little child, so if I practice a bit, I’ll probably grasp that feeling from long time ago.”
“Oh, so there was time you rode?”
“I think I should have told you, but in the past, there used to be vagabonds who would control their horses and visit the black forest. That’s why; we would buy and raise horses together with other clans.”
“By other clans, you mean witches?”
“That’s right, I think this also should’ve been mentioned, but there are several clans of witches inside the black forest. Originally, we wouldn’t interact with them that often, even now, we would mingle with them every now and then.”
Hearing Harrigan’s words, Naga showed an expression of thinking about something.
“The other clans… is it unreasonable to request cooperation with them?”
At Naga’s question, Harrigan answered with a gloomy face.
“I’ve just said, but, we don’t interact that much. Furthermore, the clans of witches usually prefer to work within their own group, so they don’t have any regards for other clans. Not to mention, they don’t seem to ask for a help, unless they, themselves, are in danger.”
”Is that so? So you’re the same?”
“If it were to be the other clan requesting for our help because they are under attack, we would help. Nevertheless, as you can see, we lack manpower, which is not enough to make a difference. We wouldn’t be able to repel even the scouting troops with just 5 or 6 people.”
While folding his hands, Naga nodded, having a serious face.
“The other clans are much the same. They are occupied with protecting their own territory. If we try to rescue other clans only to be annihilated by ourselves, wouldn’t it be the same as putting a cart before the horse?”
“If the other clans are annihilated, our position will also be in danger. Look, don’t they say ‘the teeth are exposed to the cold if there are no lips’ ?”
“Do they say so…?”
“No…I think they did say so, but…”
Naga suddenly tilted his head.
“I know what you want to say. Once there are no lips, the next thing that is exposed to the cold are bare teeth, is what you say. However, unfortunately, there’s no person among the witches who would see the future that way. No… there is probably one person that is willing to do so… but let’s leave that for later. Since, for this battle, all the members are already under our leadership, we have to proceed in accordance with the tactics. If we were to add the guys from the other clans right now, it might cause misunderstandings, thus, it may lead to confusion. Wouldn’t that be troublesome?”
“Yea, it’s as you say. If we don’t have all the members operate in union, it will become a bother.”
“What’s more, if we can win this battle, they will probably change that watch-and-see attitude of theirs, and might become interested in listening to us. First, we, the Clan of Harrigan have to win.”
Harrigan declared in a strong voice.
“Well then, we can only do it in accordance with the plan.”
Naga nodded deeply, as he approved of her words.
“Providing that matter is solved for the time being, let’s go back to the main topic. Our strategy is what I explained the other day. Consider that the key to success and failure lies in how much preparation we can do until the enemy attacks.”
“10 days was it? Til then, we have to complete the preparations.”
“No, it requires time to transport and prepare at the spot. What’s more, there is possibility that the army of Kasandora will advance faster than what we expect. For that reason, yes, I’d like to finish the preparations in about 6 days, 7 at the latest.”
Harrigan raised her head as if staring at the room’s ceiling and said.
“Around 6 to 7 days? It seems we won’t have time to sleep or rest.”
“As for that, please give up.”
“I don’t care. If we can protect the fortification with that, we will do whatever it takes. Still…”
For the first time, a shade of anxiety was visible on Harrigan’s face.
“Can we truly repel Kasandora’s army with such a plan?”
“I should have probably told you. In battle, it’s about quantity not quality. Even if you’re mighty warriors, you cannot face an enemy of two thousand. Providing the terrain is a little bit complex, I can think of several ways, such as a night attack, or a surprise attack depending on the number of units. Nevertheless, in this case, these methods seem to be impossible. The only thing remaining would be to oppose the enemy with numbers.”
Saying that strongly, Harrigan made a miserable face.
“Despite saying numbers, you meant them….?”
“Their appearance does not matter. They will do the assigned job without feeling any unfairness or dissatisfaction. Isn’t that great?”
Saying so, Naga laughed heartily.
“They are guys with lots of fortitude.”
(Should say this guy has a couple screws loose…?)
“What? You still have some doubts regarding the tactic?”
“No, it has nothing to do with that.”
(I wonder if he’s not a little crazy. Just what kind of person are you, I wonder?)
Harrigan uttered those sarcastic words within her heart
“Rather than that, shouldn’t we begin building the actual army soon, as well as its training? We don’t have time, so if we don’t hurry…”
“That’s right, we don’t have time. From now on, we will work day and night.”
As Naga and Harrigan stood up from the folding stools, they left the plain room, with a wooden floor.
What kind of plan will Naga create?
And what did two of them mean by ‘building’ an army.
What kind of preparations will they arrange within the 10 days before the Kasandora Kingdom’s army attacks?
The battle between 20 against 2000 had been decided. This will mark the beginning of the war between the witches and humanity, as well as Naga’s.