Because of the traps set by us and the Elven army, the humans lost a lot of their numbers, and it appears to have slowed down their advance.
Father Elf taught us nasty twofold, threefold, and fourfold combination traps; they seem to have been very effective.
The humans realized that internal intelligence had leaked because their route for advancing had become a trap-laden forest. So, as a countermeasure they temporarily withdrew their front to revise their strategy.
While one of my clones infiltrated to gather detailed information, we started to set up a surprise attack for the Supply Unit, which was scheduled to bring supplies to the humans stationed in the forest.
Supplies are a matter of life and death during a campaign. This being a forest, food and water is easier to come by than, say, a desert; but due to the enemy's large numbers they would need more food than that, and they're also useful even if morale broke. Besides that, arms and armor are also subject to wear and tear.
It'll be especially useful to reduce their expendables, like arrows, from here on. Also, as we can use the weapons we take, we'll be killing two birds with one stone.
The Supply Unit came along from the plains.
We can't attack them on the plains; because obviously, we are too few in number. Our numbers, including the 47 prisoners of war, did not even reach 200 people; the number of those who can fight is even less.
In comparison, the Supply Unit consists of more than 600 people. At least three times as much as us. Due to this difference in numbers, it would be stupid to attack on the open plains.
Well, they're not an enemy we couldn't defeat if we played our cards right, but considering the damage our side would take, it might be wiser to stop.
For that reason, we waited for the Supply Unit to arrive in the forest.
According to the information I obtained from Female Knight and Rusty Iron Knight, the supply unit had reached the kill point.
I looked at the slaves lurking behind me.
Although some of the slaves' faces went pale because of it, I raised my clones' control power over them using 【Parasite】; as a result, there were many among them that couldn't even move a finger out of their own free will.
It would be better if they would fight for me out of their own volition, like Rusty Iron Knight does, but I realized I don't have any other choice. To me, they are nothing but disposable pawns anyway.
Because it couldn't be helped if they'd look gloomy after this, I intended to make good use of them.
My next plan wasn't anything special.
First of all, since Rusty Iron Knight was an ally now, there were only 17 male slaves left. I had ten simple Noble Knights, who didn't have any 【Jobs】 like 【Magician】 or 【Enchanter】, go ahead to the Supply Unit.
Then, we pretended to pursue them.
Human Knights were running away, followed by screaming, armed Ogres, Goblins and Kobolds, high on murderous intent.
Watching something like this, it should be enough for the enemy to identify their friends, and usually, one would try to protect those who look like friends without question.
However, because their awareness would be be focused on their enemy, there was a chance they would not help. But, it was a great success.
After it was confirmed they had successfully infiltrated, we hid in a trench that we built a little further away and used our mass-produced Repeating Crossbows to fire arrows that were smeared with poison at our enemy, being careful not to hit the slaves. Those who could use magic used it to weaken them, and the Hobgoblin Shaman had 6 ghosts use 【Despondent】 on our enemy to add to the weirdness of the situation.
Because of the trees and bushes, the accuracy of our arrows and magic wasn't that high, but our enemy had the same problem. We just had to wait for the preparations to be complete, because all this was to gather them in one place, by stopping their advance, while we lessened their number.
After a while, the ten Noble Knights, who had been mistaken as friends by our enemy, began their assault.
They scattered the magic item 【Burst Seed】, which is an original creation made by Alchemist-san and me.
It’s made of materials you can find in the forest, like 【Oil Grass, Yusa】 and 【Burst Fruit】.
TL Note: Oil Grass is what it is and Yusa is the name, hence the hyphen.
Because it’s quite powerful, even though it’s easy to make, if you scattered it in a crowded place you could get about 50 victims injured or dead. Since it is so easy to mass produce, it's a very splendid magical weapon.
There is a chance you will kill yourself if you're too close to the explosion, but as I had the slaves use them, that didn't matter. They’re disposable pawns, after all.
I gave the order to keep using the Burst Seeds. If they died, we'd pick up the bones.
The explosions of the 300 scattered Burst Seeds thundered through the forest for a moment.
Despite the fact that the explosions had ended, our enemy was still confused. I instructed Asue-chan's party to make the ground under the feet of the Supply Unit collapse. Because we’d done something like this before, she completed the task easily.
They only dropped about two meters, but that was enough.
Because of the sudden change in footing, they lost their balance and were unable to run away. As before, we sent down a rain of poisoned arrows and a rain of magic from far away.
And the Elves, whom I’d told to climb the trees beforehand and stand by, sprinkled them with bottles of a venom that I had created myself.
As the venom was a quick-acting anesthetic, the soldiers who got hit dropped to the ground immediately. They weren't dead yet, but they wouldn't be able to fight anymore.
While I gave instructions, I also used 【Job - Minstrel】 and 【Red Crystal’s Tone】. The sound that emerged from my singing voice, combined with an instrument that resembles a guitar, strengthened my allies and weakened my foes.
Because the Supply Unit didn't have any strong soldiers, it wasn't really necessary, but one cannot be too careful. It was possible enemy reinforcements would be attracted by the noise of the exploding Burst Seeds.
That's why we couldn't scamp our work until the end, but we finished the plan without any problems.
Three of the ten Knights who used the Burst Seeds were caught in the blast and died, five were injured by the fragments and the remaining two returned unharmed. Those were all the victims on our side.
I thanked the three who died for their work. Because their bodies were dismembered by the explosion, we all had a bite while we collected the food and prisoners.
By the way, Redhead didn't come with us. Even though she was no longer opposed to eating monsters, she had to abstain from eating any in front of humans.
Some of the Supply Unit's members were seriously injured. As it was a pain to heal them, we killed them right there; that way they didn't have to suffer any longer. I ate all of their hearts and some of their bodies, and changed it into my own flesh and blood.
We ate as many dead enemies as we could. Only those who eat until their death will live. That is an article of my creed.
I also had the other Goblins eat their share.
We took those with light injuries as prisoners of war, but they numbered exactly one hundred; all of them males. There were a few women but they died due to the attack.
Well, it couldn’t be helped.
The numbers were sufficient; there’s not much need to capture more needlessly.
As there was an insufficient number of cuffs and collars, I solved the problem by spilling some blood and cloning myself, then inserting 【Parasite】 into their bodies.
Note: cuffs and collars - from the previous days; used for enslaving them
Fortunately, there were many miscellaneous raw materials, like blood, in large quantities.
Ability learned: 【Continuous Thrusts】
Ability learned: 【Helmet Splitter】
Ability learned: 【Stab】
Ability learned: 【Sneaking】
Ability learned: 【Armor Pierce】
Ability learned: 【Dance of the Sword Storm】
Ability learned: 【Attack Force】
Ability learned: 【Job - Ranger】
Ability learned: 【Job - Supply Soldier】
Note: Supply Soldier = tentative name, they’re a soldier in the Supply Unit
I obtained various Combat Arts that I had heard about from Rusty Iron Knight.
From 【Continuous Thrusts】 to 【Dance of the Sword Storm】, they were all Combat Arts.
In my case, I was pleasantly surprised when the experiment to activate my abilities and Combat Arts concurrently increased their power, compared to using them individually.
The prisoners and loot were brought back.
While we were on our way back, looking at the gloomy faces of our new prisoners, I suddenly thought of something.
We still had some space left in the cave, but it’s honestly complicated as the supply soldiers weren't that strong as pawns.
For that reason, I decided to distribute half of them to the Elves.
It was just a way of repaying my debt.
We walked to the Village of the Elves and had Father Elf buy them.
Because I have many pawns at my disposal, I have a wider range of options available to me, making this a prompt decision.
As payment, I received some useful stuff like magic items.
Incidentally, while we exchanged newly obtained information, I asked him about the secret medicine.
Even though it's strong, there are no side effects to its use and it also has many practical applications. Because the power of the 【Demigod of Deep Green】 is subtly mixed within, it's extremely rare and displays the effect of an all-purpose medicine. This... Wouldn’t I acquire new abilities if I ate it?
Deviating a little from my original thoughts, I came to a sudden realization; I only remembered then that I had already been given the Elves' secret medicine.
Look, at the start of day 54 when I met Father Elf. He gave it to me as a present, together with some wine, but as I was too impressed with the Elven Wine, it had been sitting unused in my item box.
Remembering this, I wondered why he had given me a precious secret medicine like that?
When I asked him, he answered that it was against the law to give it to "humans", but it wasn't against the law to give it to an "Ogre" who saved his daughter.
That's pretty twisted. So, if the Empire hadn't sent a human to get the secret medicine, they could have gotten it. I drank the medicine on the way back.
Ability learned: 【High Speed Regeneration】
Ability learned: 【Blood Elixir】
My blood was turned into the secret medicine.
To experiment, I made one of the slaves, whose wounds were not yet healed, drink my blood and saw an unbelievable sight.
All his wounds were healed in an instant.
What’s this? Scary.
If word got out about this, I might be targeted by humans for profit.
To look at the bright side, I raised my healing ability greatly; however, I still had the feeling that the resulting risk wasn’t worth it.
Since humans are greedy, arrogant, fragile, and obstinate, but great in number, I have to take care they don't find out.
No, even if it is discovered, I just have to kill those who find out.
While thinking about such things, we returned.