Chapter 79 – Scorched Earth Tactics
“I’m the leader of [Element Master], Kurono.”
I introduced myself as the leader to the 50 adventurers in the lobby along with my newly created party name.
It was not something like a powerful speech made by the American president in a Hollywood movie. All we did was confirm the details of the quest, introducing the members who will have the central role etc.
Though everyone was obediently listening to me for the time being, but all I have shown till now is only my power I used while beating Vulcan. It will still take some time before they trust me as a proper leader as well.
For a rank 1 adventurer with almost no experience like me, I had no other choice but to shown clear achievements from here onwards.
As I resolved this, it was now the next day – 21st of the month of Shinyou.
“But, to not even able ride a horse properly, are you even an adventurer?”
“Shut up Vulcan, I’m concentrating right now, don’t disturb me.”
As we departed towards Irz village early morning, I had already started to make others doubt my abilities as a leader.
The one I’m currently straddled to is probably the high class giant horse that was used by the commander of the force that attacked the Irz Village. This horse that had long sleek black hair like a girl was captured while repulsing the Crusaders.
At first it was going to be taken by someone else but since I became the leader, I also ended up getting it as well. It seems the leader is supposed to ride the best horse at the front of the force always.
Well that’s not all. It also seems to be a reward for me since I killed a lot Crusaders in Irz village.
I got a great horse but I was just a high school student in a literature club, half year as an experimental body and only three months as an adventurer. Just when the hell would I have had the time to learn something like horse-riding.
No, well I knew that horses were the best vehicle substitute in this world.
Even I wished to ride them one day but if you suddenly give me a horse and say ‘Ride this and lead the adventurers in battle!’, isn’t it impossible?
Ah, by the way, Fiona-san splendidly climbed her horse and was smoothly running along the highway right now.
It seems she is a bit superior as an adventurer………gununu.(T/N:Sound of getting irritated)
“Gahaha, try not to fall down hard, Mr. newbie leader-san!”
“Shit, damned Vulcan, should I use full burst on you one more time….”
Riding a Bicorn proportionate to his own giant size, Vulcan laughed loudly as he passed by.
By the way, a Bicorn is a subspecies of the famous Unicorn.
As the name suggests, it has two brilliant horns and looked more like a goat rather than a horse but was infact big enough to let even the 2m tall Vulcan ride on it easily.
“I would have practiced this earlier if I knew this would happen.”
“Kurono! Work Hard!”
“Thanks Lily, what would I do without you, seriously.”
Lily sat in front of me. It looked like she was sitting there to not fall off suddenly but it was actually the reverse. Thanks to Lily being here, I am able to show some speed even on my first try riding a horse and am not falling suddenly.
Fairies really have a fantasy-like power that allows them to connect with animals by just touching.
Thanks to that brilliant ability, Lily is working hard to prevent me from falling off from the horse. I really am useless. I end up depending on Lily for everything. Crap, I feel like crying now.
“Are you crying?”
“I’m not. Dirt entered my eyes a little—-“
“Ah, don’t release your hands!!”
Please, reach the destination quickly.
As I prayed, I enjoyed my first time riding a horse.
Our destination currently is not Spada but the deserted Irz village.
As the representative of the 12 adventurers that came here, Vulcam came to ask me.
“We are too many for scouting but too few for making a defensive line. What’s the purpose behind us coming here?”
“Sorry for not explaining in advance since I was in a hurry. Well I wanted to explain en route but, you saw my sorry state. Really sorry.”
The adventurers laughed a bit but I ignored it and continued explaining.
“We came here to burn each and every store house and warehouses here in Irz Village.”(kurono)
Maybe because my answer was unexpected or imprudent, everyone looked at me with cold gazes.
“You bastard, do you even realize what you’re saying? Isn’t this your village as well? How can you say something like that so easily?”
“I understand you will oppose this but this is a plan to stop and slow down the enemy, so I want you to understand.”
As I expected, the adventurers are well versed in killing monsters and survival skills, but they are not knowledgeable about proper Military tactics and strategies.
Even a person from peaceful japan has knowledge about strategies, well that might be over exaggerating but, I still learnt a lot through various mediums like novels, documentaries, and fiction.
“This is called scorched earth tactics.”
“Scorched earth tactics?”
So they really haven’t even heard of it. They look at me with wondering gazes.
“Simply speaking, it’s a strategy to destroy any facility or food products that might be used and taken by the enemy before running away.”
It seems this Vulcan can’t even use his head as expected. Other adventurers seemed to understand a bit from my short explanation.
“If the enemy finds large amounts of food stocked here, that means they’ll be able to eat well, that in turn means that they’ll be able to fight sooner. Understand?”(kurono)
Since we are trying to hold them off, it’ll be troublesome for us if they can fight quickly.
“Oo, basically, we have no reason to gift the enemy with meals, right!?”(Vulcan)
“That’s right. If the enemy is unable to procure food locally, they’ll have to bring it from other places. That will further make their advance slower than normal. What’s important for us is to buy enough time to run away to Spada. This’ll help in achieving it without fighting them directly.”
“I understand the logic more or less.”
Vulcan made a face like he understood only half of it but continued,
“But is that fine? Will the villagers accept burning away all their food they had stocked till now?”(Vulcan)
“Vulcan, you actually were thinking about the villagers? You are good guy unlike what your face suggests.”(kurono)
“Shaddup! So, what is it!?!”
I don’t know whether he’s embarrassed or actually angry but he approached me with a threatening look.
“Everyone won’t agree with it, they’ll definitely go against it. That’s why I came back now when the evacuation of Kuar village is finished.”
“You’re gonna deceive them?”
“I’ll take the help of Village Head Nahad to somehow persuade the villagers later. Right now, it’s more important to hold the Crusaders back as much as possible. After the evacuation to Spada is complete, I don’t mind no matter how much they blame or condemn me. But till that time, I’ll do whatever it takes to use the best plans and policies available. That’s why I became the Leader. That’s why, please, trust me during just this quest at least.”
If they don’t accept me here, then I would have really failed.
I didn’t show it on my face but I was anxious whether they would accept me with just these few words.
But, near my legs, Lily smiled and said ‘It’s alright!’.
“Whatever. We decided that you’re the leader. Noone’s gonna complain now. But, if you f*ck up even once, I’ll change with you as the leader, don’t forget that.”
Vulcan really is a good guy even with that face. I could only hear that as ‘I’ll change with you even if you mess up, so don’t worry’.
“Thanks. I’ll give out simple instruction so hear me——–“
Just like how I came here on a horse, everyone else also came here while riding on something.
Just like how I didn’t have a horse, not everyone had ways to travel fast.
In this different world that could be compared to the Middle Ages on Earth, the cost of horses wasn’t very high but it was still not something anyone could easily get.
To have a personal horse was natural for only Rank 3 and above adventurers.
And the number of adventurers that came with me right now were 12 excluding me, Lily and Fiona-san.
Most had horses, but there were some that used monsters as mounts like the Bicorn used by Vulcan or the Giant Ghoul used by the Skeleton race Magician, etc.
By the way, a ghoul wasn’t a zombie but was a hyena like monster of the Undead race.
Think of the mount used by this Skeleton-san as a giant zombie dog.
There are times where a party uses a carriage to travel but this time only the members of [Vulcan Powered] were using it.
Vulcan had a giant body so he chose to ride on his favourite Bicorn instead.
The reason I chose a horse rather than going by foot was, as I explained earlier, because we didn’t have much time.
Since it’s an army of only humans so one could calculate and estimate the time required to come here, but in the end it was just an estimate.
Raising the speed through magic, or transferring a unit itself, could also be possible.
As long as the opponent’s tricks and hands were still unknown, it’s better for us to be as fast as possible.
And thus, we needed to burn all the food here in Irz village before the Crusaders come here.
If possible I want to destroy the village head’s house, the guild building and other big buildings as well.
Their troops had been deployed with the guild as a centre so it’s confirmed that they were using it as the command centre.
Destroying useful buildings and burning food and grains was what Scorched Earth tactics is meant to be.
“Did Kurono-san go to a knight school or something?”
“No, I only went to a ‘normal’ school. I didn’t learn this properly. I’m just trying to make use of what an amateur like me knows about tactics. I’m actually doubtful of how much effect will it have.”
As I gave an explanation I continued to prepare burning the grains etc.
The only one who asked was Fiona-san, but it seems the rest were hearing as well.
“Also, this isn’t a perfect scorched earth tactic either this time. It might have no effect at all as well.”
“Is that so? Not having food is fatal in my opinion; I wouldn’t be able to bear it at all.”
Well it might be true for Fiona-san who quit her work because the food was bad.
“Normally, it would be perfect to burn away the fields, houses and even the nearby forests as well. Also, this tactic is the most effective in snowy, cold areas. If they lose food along with fuel to light fire, it could kill them there and then.”
“I see. I did hear things even in the Republic about abandoning invasion due to hard winters.”
Well, it’s common even in my world.
“We are low on time as well as manpower, so we can only pray that an incomplete one will also have some effect.”
As my final ‘parting gift’ I poured the final oil can on the grain storehouse.
With this, the preparations are complete. All that’s left is to put some fire on it and the whole warehouse will go up in flames.
When I was about to do that, lily pulled my robe.
“n, what happened Lily?”
I thought she might want to say something against me burning the hardwork of villagers as well, but I saw unrest in those eyes of hers that had become serious.
“Oi Kurono, the enemy is coming here!”
The one who shouted that was an Elf girl with a bow who was a member of the [Three hunting Princesses] that had been keeping watch of the surroundings.
She looked like a young girl, but she was a rank 3 veteran adventurer.
The girl stopped her horse in front of me and quickly explained the situation.
“Susan discovered 7 cavalry warriors coming here from the highway.”
Susan was a solo rank 4 thief.
She looked like a human but was actually of the slime race. I had asked her, who was quick witted to keep watch and it seems she has already discovered enemies.
“Only 7? Not more than that?”(kurono)
“They are the only ones running on the highway.”(Elf)
It must be scouting unit.
“They must have come to check this place since their squad got repelled here.”(kurono)
The enemy is an army of humans. They won’t go through the trouble of making a large number of troops to avoid the highway and go through the forest to launch a surprise attack.
They have the superiority of numbers, so I doubt they’ll decide not to launch a frontal attack.
“What shall we do?”(elf)
I didn’t even need to think before answering.
“Attack them. Don’t let even a single one get away alive.”(kurono)
“Roger! That’s how we like it!!”
The Elf girl showed a determined smile and left to tell others to get ready for battle.