|Translator||WhiteSamurai (Pacem Method), Obarou|
|Editor||WhiteSamurai (Pacem Method), Obarou|
Late in the night, we began making our way to the encampment of the human army's main force led by the empire's heir who came to the battlefield as the human army's supreme commander.
Their numbers are around two thousand. As expected of the main force, their vigilance is very strong, there were many sentinels patrolling the encampment.
On the other hand, our numbers are around 650 in total, five hundred being the elite elves that Father Elf gave me. We couldn't use the humans we captured as war potential since there's a chance that we'll mistake them for enemies with their equipment being the same as those of the human army's soldiers and end up killing our own.
With our numbers, it's best to avoid attacking them normally, that's why we're attacking them at this time of the day, because in the night, we can make use of the black skeletons' strength, moreover, because I can absorb magical power from the darkness, I can summon them endlessly. There's also the fact that if we manage to get rid of the lights of the human army's encampment, the tide of the battle will heavily fall in our favor who can see in the darkness.
But it's not like it's okay to just charge at them in the darkness.
As I said before, they have a unit comprised of enslaved demi-humans, some of which are racially stronger than us, so if this is not taken care of carefully, it can be very troublesome.
I sent some black skeleton assassins, some of my clones and the genin kobold after the slaves' master who I heard about from Rusty Iron Knight.
The slaves obey him only because of the [Collars of Slavery], so if I manage to parasitize his body and get him to remove the collars, they'll be able to move freely. Although there's a chance that some of them will take a hostile stance against us, I'll free them regardless, as I'm positive that most them will either run away or accept cooperating with us to attack the human army.
Fortunately, it seems like he's also a magician that cast a spell on the chimera to control it, so if we kill him after he frees the demi-human slaves, we'll be able to keep the chimera from attacking us. Moreover, if I eat the magician, I might get a special ability to control the chimera.
Yeah, it would be nice if it goes like this.
Everything went according to the plan until the death of the slaves' master. After he died, the chimera which looked like a mix between an elephant, tiger, snake and a crab with a height of nearly six meters perceived its master's death and started rampaging, killing the demi-humans who were trying to run away.
The demi-humans who couldn't respond immediately and run away got killed by the chimera. In a few moments, dozens of them died. As time went by, more and more of the demi-human slaves who accepted cooperating with us died and their numbers drastically decreased. Moreover, the turmoil led the human army to discover our existence, thus my plan to gradually and quietly shave down their numbers failed.
But as it couldn't be helped anymore, I gave up on it and started our assault. First, I dedicated myself to killing the chimera, while the others attacked the human army.
Eventually the sun soon rose and the movements of the black skeletons started getting worse little by little, soon the number of skeletons destroyed began to increase steadily. In response, the human army raised a war cry, improving their morale, then they started attempting to push us back, but there're no problems, as I have already prepared a countermeasure to sunlight.
In order to heavily damage the human army's morale, I didn't use it right away and allowed the black skeletons to get exposed to the sunlight. The sunlight countermeasure is simple, make a new clone, hide it inside the black skeleton's body, then turn it into slime form and have it cover the black skeleton's body when the time comes, thus cutting off the sunlight. Fortunately, there's plenty of blood in the battlefield.
The black skeletons who regained their strength after I applied the countermeasure surprised their opponents and slashed them down immediately. Because they were in high spirits after seeing the black skeletons' movements worsening earlier, their morales hit rock bottom very easily and they became an easy prey. I had them give especially extra attention to the officers. My slime-shaped clones also swung their tentacles like wipes at the humans, increasing the combat effectiveness of the black skeletons further.
Just by briefly looking at the battlefield, anyone could see that the humans' morale was dropping at an alarming rate.
Just try imagining it. Suddenly, slim-like tentacles with a strong acidity grew out from the bodies of the black skeletons who they were already having trouble dealing with, moreover, the tentacles' movements didn't seem random, rather controlled movements aiming at the openings that they occasionally show. It was unavoidable that the enemy's soldiers' morale dropped.
The number of soldiers who started showing despairing looks started steadily increased, and the tide of the battle gradually fell in our favor.
We might be able to settle this battle sooner than I expected, I thought so as I continued fighting.
In the meanwhile, one of my clones sneaked near the enemy's headquarters. I had it activate [Job-Sorcerer] and use a spell that obstructs the attention of the humans in its surroundings, in addition to activating covert-type abilities like [Job-Assassin] and [Recognition Interference] and equipping a magic item called [Hermit's Robe] that lowers the chance of getting detected.
All of this is to approach the empire's heir who's also the human army's supreme commander.
But I'm not thinking of killing him, the reason for this is because if I were to kill the heir, it would make this conflict a personal war of vengeance for the empire to avenge him. If the empire gets serious, we'll get easily crushed by the huge difference in numbers. That's why I have to avoid killing him at all costs.
I've been getting on good terms with Father Elf lately. There're many materials that can be harvested from this forest. And above all, I don't want to abandon our current base.
While considering all of this, I quickly got to where the empire's heir who is wearing a splendid armor is sitting. There were guards in the surroundings, but no one noticed me aside from him when I whispered in his ears.
I told him to retreat, then slid a flask containing a red liquid into his breast pocket, and informed him that this is the secret medicine that can cure the princess's disease and of how to use it. I also whispered many other things to him.
When I whispered "Did you get it?", he nodded his head quietly. Then, I promptly left.
After this was concluded, I contacted Asue-chan through the ear-cuffs and gave her the orders to create a great earthen wall which divided the two forces. We have already destroyed half of the enemy's forces too, so it should be enough.
Before they manage to break their way through the earthen wall, we quickly collected the wounded and as much as possible of the corpses of both our allies and the former slaves, in addition to the chimera's corpse. Then we withdrew.
To be honest, I wanted to bring home the meat of the promising enemy soldiers, but we didn't have the time for that. I ate my share in the midst of the battle too, so I don't have any other choice other than to be content with it. Not to mention that we got some good loots, like the chimera.
And so, by sacrificing the large numbers of black skeletons to stop the human army's pursuit, we managed withdraw to the base to treat the wounded. I requested a medical unit from the elves' army when we were withdrawing, and they provided significant aid in the treatment of the seriously wounded and thus many were able to survive thanks to their help. After they finished the treatment, the elves triumphantly returned to their village.
As for the former demi-human slaves, they're staying in our base, I allowed them to stay because in the end they're not opponents that I can't kill. They aren't our enemies, so I'll respect their will, if they want to leave, they're free to do so. I told them to ask someone about this place's rules and that I'll allow them to stay here for tonight for now, then left the cave.
In this war, there were casualties among us for the first time. A total of twenty: three hobgoblins, two hobgoblin mages, five goblins, six kobolds and four male elves have died.
The enemy's main force's soldiers were very strong, it was the most brutal battle that we fought in this war.
Fortunately, we were able to recover all of their corpses. After I took out their internal organs and ate them, the rest of their bodies were cremated. I manipulated the wind to scatter the smoke and prevent the discovery of our base. Some were offering prayers, some shedding tears and others just looking at the fireplace with empty eyes.
However, I wasn't really sad about it, not even a single tear came out.
The only thing I thought of is "I'll continue living and eat your share".
After observing the copses until they burnt down to ashes by the fire, I tended to my weapons while eating the chimera. After all, if I don't eat it before the time limit of [Absorption] finishes, I won't be able to learn any ability.
Ability [ Synthesis ] learned
Hmm, this is an interesting ability that I received from the chimera. It seems to be an ability than allows me to combine items or abilities, thus creating new ones. There seems to be various ways to use it, it seems to be a very useful ability, but because I'm tired today, I'll leave the experimentation for later. By the way, I had a similar ability in my previous life.
After arranging the sleeping grounds of the former slaves, I took a bath in the hot springs, then slept on my specially made bed.
Hmmmm... If things go well, this could be where the war and my contract with Father Elf ends. When everything is settled, I'll start making preparations to leave the forest, with that last thought, I fell into a deep sleep.