070 Battle of Clavicule 1 p.1


Translator: yAmi

The soldiers marched in silence through the wilting autumn fields.

The sight of more than 10,000 soldiers moving forward without so much as a whisper or a whimper might appear as eerie enough for some to think it was a queue towards Hell’s gates. And when all of them had their cheeks hollowed and looked like they were hungry, it was even more terrifying.

Their true identity was that of St. Gallen's army that had invaded Volden. And after the Volden guards of Arquell had been scattered, there was no way there would be any other army walking around in the numbers of ten thousand. Though, reinforcements from the royal capital should be on their way now.

There was only one reason for the emaciation of the soldiers. Starvation.

The food supplies they acquired were destroyed in a fire. The Kingdom of Arquell employed a scorched-earth strategy. As a result, they could not replenish the food they lost in the fire and the current situation was such that they could not even provide for themselves on a daily basis. In addition, whenever they did find some food, it would quickly be sabotaged and lost in another fire. Not to mention a thousand soldiers going missing after being sent to gather food.

The expeditionary force headquarters decided to attack the western part of the province with all its forces.

If they did nothing, the soldiers would starve. There was even the possibility that the soldiers would desert or revolt. Before that happened, the western part of the Volden, where a large amount of food was stored, needed to be captured. They had to feed the army and then prepare for the coming reinforcements of the Kingdom.

Retreat was not an option. Currently, they had only ravaged the eastern half of the province and taken over a few fortresses. It was a disproportionate result for an army of 40,000 that braved the mountains to carry out the surprise attack. If they were to turn tails and retreat, their own state and other states would be questioning the invasion and criticism would fall on the expeditionary squad.

In addition, it was extremely difficult to cross the mountains again without food or fuel to create fires. There was a good chance that the army would be reduced to half or even to a quarter just by retreating.

Thus there was no choice but to fight. Fight and win it all. It was the only way.

Supported by such a tragic thought, they continued on their way.

"In the end, we ended up like this......"

General Jürgen Bauer muttered to himself as he stroked his skinny horse in an attempt to hide a sigh that escaped him. His face was much thinner than before.

Since he heard the report of the loss of their stockpiled supplies, he had been secretly preparing for a full scale attack. He had hoped to avoid it somehow, but now there was no choice but to carry it out. The anguish of being forced into such a situation was obvious on his face.

A staff officer who was well aware of their situation picked up the conversation.

"I guess we have no choice. After all, our remaining supplies will not last for many more days."


Their plan for resupply was based on looting the area so they could effectively ignore their logistics. This also allowed them to launch a surprise attack quickly. Initially, there was no problem. As the saying goes, "A wise general forages in the enemy's land". It was completely valid for them to rely on the enemy's land to secure food. Even if a scorched earth strategy would be an effective countermeasure, nobody had thought the feudal lords who depended on the income from the land would dare to do so.

However, it seemed that the lord of Volden was different. Without hesitation, he set fire to his own territory, preventing them from acquiring supplies and cornering the St. Gallen army.


"Don't worry, General. We are starving, but the enemy is few and weak. If we can defeat them, we will be able to feed ourselves well."

As the staff officer confidently asserted, the Arquellian army was indeed weak. At the very least, the forces defending this region were weak. They were unable to respond to their spread out attack, and were defeated by them. Now there were only 2,000, or at best 3,000 troops left. It was unlikely that they would be able to resist the St. Gallen army which numbered a little less than 40,000.

It would be a bit of a hassle if the Volden lord ordered the soldiers to hole up in their fortress city, but even so, they had a good chance of limiting their casualties to between 3,000 to 5,000. If they had 35,000 soldiers left after attacking, they would still be able to go toe-to-toe with the enemy’s reinforcements after a quick reorganisation. General Jürgen Bauer had that much confidence.

"Ah. This will be a victory. I’ll make this a victory."

Bauer declared strongly.

They had to win at all costs. Attack the provincial capital of Volden, take their supplies and the fortress, and execute the enemy lord that put them in this dire situation. That would be the bare minimum they had to do to even get a start on this war. The main event would be the fight against the enemy reinforcements that should arrive in two to three weeks. This mere prelude cannot hinder them any further.

The first problem was the fort that controlled the western exit of the basin of the mountains ahead, which connects to the provincial capital. For some reason, the Knights of the Imperial Guards, who were considered to be the most elite in the enemy country, had been sent there. They were only a small army of a hundred or so, but their strength could not be underestimated. For now, they need to allocate about three thousand to bring them down.


From the front, a single horseman came galloping, shouting at the top of his voice. It might be a report from the soldier sent to scout the area.

"We have trouble, General! The Arquell army has left the provincial capital of Volden! They're already in position in the basin ahead of us!"


Bauer raised his eyebrow.

How strange. Most of the defenders in this area had been wiped out at the start of their surprise attack. Since their attack was sudden, Volden did not have time to gather soldiers for mobilisation and their numbers were small. Even if they were able to scrape together some soldiers now, their size should only reach a tenth of theirs. It was impossible to challenge them with so few. In such circumstances, their only option would be a defensive stall at their fortress, where even a small number of them might be able to resist for some time.

The report was only just the beginning.

"There are more than ten thousand of them! There should be at least 15,000 of them!"

"How can that be!?"

The staff officer could not help but stare in disbelief.

It was completely ridiculous. More than ten thousand? How were they able to gather that many? This was more troops than what they encountered at the start of the skirmish. What's more, it's more soldiers that a single count family in the Kingdom of Arquell could privately hold. Where did he get such a large number of soldiers from?

"There must be some mistake. Somebody verify it."

"But I saw them with my own eyes! That number is—"

Bauer pondered in silence as the messenger and his immediate subordinate argued back and forth.

Suppose the number of soldiers in Arquell's army was well over 10,000. Where did all these people come from?

"Don’t tell me......"

※ ※ ※

"I didn't expect you to be able to bring so many people into the army."

When Elisha Rosmond Balbastre, Commander of the Second Order, met with Tullius, who was leading the army, she said this directly without so much as a greeting.

The words contained dismay, surprise, and some disgust. Whether he sensed it or not, Tullius Shernan Oubeniel had a vague smile on his face. Then he scratched his cheek and said,

"Ah, the people are very angry at this war and the atrocities committed by our neighbours. They gladly responded to my call for soldiers."

How shameless, Elisha thought, keeping the words to herself.

They were in the central part of the province of Volden, in a mountainous basin that connects the east and west. Their position was tailor-made to prevent the advance of the St. Gallen army. The Second Order received news of the Provincial Guards sortie and decided to join them here. Together they were able to defend against the enemy forces in this area.

Of course, Elisha was now worried of extraneous actions that might take place from now. If she was going to defend Volden, then she would rather wait it out in this fortress and prepare for the enemy offensive. That way, they could wait for the Royal Army to arrive and destroy the enemy together. And yet, it seems like Tullius was ready to send the forces out to battle in the open that would certainly create unnecessary casualties.
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