Volume 4 Chapter 157: The Great Battle of the Vaughan Plains

The southern region of the human’s Coristel Continent, on the south border of the nation of swordsmen—the Gabriel Empire, the southern part of the Sarnia Duchy, the military post of the Gabriel Empire’s allied army on the Vaughan Plains.

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The camps of the one hundred and fifty thousand human troops spanned across the vast expanse of the Vaughan Plains, where flags of various emblems and colors could be seen. These were the flags from the various duchies. Obviously, the flag that flew the highest was the one that belonged to the Gabriel Empire.

Bella, Lisha, and Princess Kriss had brought nearly six thousand troops from the Sarnia Duchy’s army and rushed to the allied army’s campsite. As for the other girls, Bella let them remain behind in Sarni City. She did not have much faith in the outcome of this defensive battle led by the Gabriel Empire.

The armors worn by these five thousand odd troops were not uniform at all, and they were all dressed differently. They looked more like a ragtag bunch assembled together hastily than a proper army. There was no other way to tell that these soldiers belonged to the Sarnia Duchy if not for the “Lily” flag being hoisted above their heads.

“Duchess Bellina, your army… they’re all mercenaries whom you’ve employed?”

“That’s right! Marshal Krisman, it’s no wonder you’re a Grand Marshal. You’re incredibly astute. This army has been filled by mercenaries that I have paid for. The peasants in my territory are all too terrified, and they refused to participate in the battle! As their Lord, I have no choice but to bear the expense of employing mercenaries!”

Krisman, who was one of the three Grand Marshals of the Gabriel Empire, had a conflicted expression on his face. This group of Grand Dukes and Duchesses from the border were getting increasingly cunning. The higher the rank, the more calculating he or she was. Grand Duke Bellina did not even bother to bring her own troops. Instead, she decided to spend her gold on employing mercenaries to make up the numbers.

The night before, Bella had changed her mind at the last minute. She had been touched by the courage that the residents of Sarni City had shown and had wanted to use them as cannon fodder. However, in the end, she decided not to.

Bella had spotted the oldest son of the Renald family, Leonard. He was supposed to be Princess Kriss’s fiance. After they saw him, Kriss had sidled up to Bella’s side, as though she was a small child. Her hands gripped Bella’s arm so tightly that her knuckles had turned white.

The sight of it left a forced smile on Leonard’s face. He felt that there was a vague green glow that hung above his head since Bella was also a girl. She was even a Grand Duchess at that, which meant that she was of a higher rank and status than he was. Even if he wanted to, he did not know how to do it as this was the first time he had been cuckolded. To make things worse, the other party was a woman, and he was at a loss at what could be done.

“Younger sister, have you gotten into an argument with your husband? Now now, don’t be naughty. There’s nothing that cannot be worked out.”

Just as the situation was getting awkward, Princess Kriss’s older brother—Prince Daniel, first in line to inherit the throne of the Gabriel Empire—came up to smooth things over. This dashing young prince with short, jet-black hair, had an arrogant look on his face and barely even looked at Bella.

In Prince Daniel’s heart, nobles like Duchess Bellina who had bought their titles were not even on equal standing with the viscounts who have had their titles officially conferred by the royal family. Bella absolutely despised anyone with this ridiculous sense of blood superiority. Therefore, both of them had never seen eye to eye with each other. She ignored the prince and dragged Kriss away.

Prince Daniel and Princess Kriss had a strained relationship. She had left with Bella soon after and did not greet her brother at all, blowing Prince Daniel and Leonard in the wind.

“Hold on… wait…”

“Brother-in-law… you have to do something about this! That… that Grand Duchess Bellina is holding on to my wife and not letting her go.”

“You do not have to worry about this, brother-in-law. I will help you.”

Even though Prince Daniel had agreed to Leonard’s request, he did not dare to do anything to Duchess Bellina for now. The Imperial Union of the various human empires did not have any rules about a girl claiming another girl as her own. What Bella was doing was not illegal in any way; it meant that he could not take away her title without any rhyme or reason, even as the heir to the throne.

There was no use of sending an appeal regarding this issue up to the council of the Imperial Union, either. The main bulk of the council was led by the “philosophical powers” of the fraternity who had been thwarting any efforts to restrict same-sex relations. Prince Daniel was aware that he could not afford to offend the immense power that the fraternities had.

“Bella, you have to help me! That guy and I cannot possibly…”

“Don’t worry, Kriss. Why don’t you just stay by my side? No matter how powerful your old man is, he would not dare to create trouble in my territory.”

Bella was attending Marshal Krisman’s provisional battle conference with Princess Kriss and Princess Lisha. She was the only one who was participating in this battle against the Ogre invasion. None of the male saviors of the Olsylvia Academy had come along. The God Chosen Knight, Scott, and the God Chosen Mage, Adelaide, had already gone up north to aid in the battles there. Also, the God Chosen Swordsman, Akmans, had left for the eastern region to defend the coastline against the Oceanic race’s invasion.

It was understandable that most of her comrades did not wish to engage in this particular battle. First of all, they probably underestimated the power of the Ogre race. Also, such missions did not give as much credit as compared to the battles against the Demon Race. The only thing that really irked her was that Norris, the Holy Priest of the Radiant Church, kept trying to get the Holy Maidens Susan and Hayley to return to the Radiant Vatican.

Bella had anticipated this and had sent Hayley and Susan to the Darkness Sacred Region right under Scott’s nose. Since she had found out that the Radiant Pope had mysterious ways to control President Maria and the four Holy Maidens, she no longer trusted the Church. Thus Bella had automatically ignored the order that the Radiant Church had sent to summon the Holy Maidens back to the Church.

Bella had met many other familiar figures in Marshal Krisman’s commander tent. Among them was the lord of the Grand Duchy next to her territory, Duke Brandon. Other than Duke Clande, she also met with General Pamela, who was here as a military inspector of the Manasvir to determine if more backup was required on this battleground.

Princess Pamela had immediately turned pink after making eye contact with Bella. She stood up, walked over to the seat on Bella’s right, and sat down. This made Prince Daniel, who had been trying to flirt with her, incredibly awkward. Which hellhole did this Grand Duchess crawl out from? Forget the fact that she had stolen his sister away from her fiance, she had something going on even with the girl he liked—Princess Pamela.

Princess Kriss sat on Bella’s left while Princess Pamela was on her right. Princess Lisha was seated diagonally on the left behind Bella. It was rather unusual for a Grand Duchess like her to be surrounded by so many princesses. However, as it was wartime, the other lords did not think it was the right time to bring it up.

“Ahem, everyone, I believe that all of you are aware that the Ogres are closing in on the Gabriel Empire. This allied army will be leading the attack to defeat the ogres here in the Vaughan Plains.”

According to Marshal Krisman’s military strategy, the allied army will be the primary force against the Ogres. Even though the various divisions had been allocated well, Bella felt that something was definitely off. Marshal Krisman had been informed that the invading army only consisted of around ten thousand Ogres.

This was definitely a mistake. Bella had sent some of her demonic beings as spies, and they had reported that on the frontline alone, there were at least fifty thousand Ogre troops. This was five times more than the intelligence that Krisman had gotten. She had thought of giving him a fair warning. However, she had kept this information to herself even as the meeting ended.

There were only around a hundred and fifty thousand human allied troops. If they knew that they were going to be up against fifty thousand Ogre soldiers, they would lose heart even before the battle began. Without the assistance of a Dragon Knight, the humans and Ogres were both at a disadvantage on the plains. At the moment, the human army still had three times the strength of the Ogre army.

The only Dragon Knight on the allied army’s side was Princess Lisha, but her original steed, the Golden Dragon Princess Laceman, was not suitable to be summoned for such battles. Since a T-Rex steed could not fly, it did not pose any significant threat to the opponent’s army.

“Princess Pamela, Princess Kriss, once the battle begins, could I trouble the both of you to lead the—”

“No, I will be right with Duchess Bellina. Marshal Krisman, you do not have to take me into consideration.”

“Me too. The rest of you can do as you please.”

Marshal Krisman was getting a headache as Pamela and Kriss were refusing to leave the Grand Duchess Bellina’s side. Combat abilities aside, the quality of five thousand mercenaries that she had brought differed significantly as well. Some of these mercenary groups would leave once they realized that the fight was not in their favor. Those who would not abandon their mission were few and far between.

The battle on the Vaughan Fields between the Gabriel Empire’s allied army and the Ogres commenced precisely at noon. The one hundred and fifty thousand human troops consisted of eighty thousand military regulars from the Gabriel Empire, which would be the central force of the attack. The other support troops from the various Lords would flank and cover the Gabriel Empire’s army on both sides.

The five thousand mercenaries led by Bella were on the right of the empire’s army. She was dressed in a knight’s light armor and was riding a snow-white warhorse. Princess Kriss and Princess Pamela each rode a burgundy warhorse directly behind Bella while Lisha remained further back.

The few dragon princesses whom Bella had hooked up with before had to return to the dragon valley temporarily. Other than Lisha, the other girls who were knights had rushed up north to aid in the battles, leaving Bella with only a couple of Dragon Knights. She fully intended to keep her ladies close to her during the campaign, in case things went south, and they needed to leave.

Tempted by the first batch of soldiers, the Ogres’ vanguard of nearly forty thousand wolf riders charged into the human allied troops’ formation and surrounded them. At Marshal Krisman’s command, the frontline of the battalion, which consisted of the Gabriel Empire’s soldiers, raised their shields and marched forward in unison in an attempt to block the wolf riders.

The human troops on both wings attacked with their infantry as the first simultaneous wave of attack. Their target was the left and right flanks of the Ogres’ wolf riders.

The first of the wolf riders were quickly blocked by the shield formation that the Gabriel Empire’s troops had set up. Many of them were rebounded off by the force of hitting the shields, sending the ogres off their steeds. Without warning, they were hacked to death by the long swords that the soldiers carried behind the shields.

At the moment, the human allied army had an advantage due to their large numbers and managed to kill thousands of Ogre wolf riders at one go. Bella remained unmoved as her employed mercenaries rushed into the battle. Since battle mercenaries were paid by their kill count, they had charged right in to maximize their remuneration.

“Marshal Krisman, the initial encounter appears to have gone well! You’ve accumulated so much credit just by eliminating the first thirty thousand. I will report these amazing results to my father during the commendation ceremony when I return home.”

“Thank you, Prince Daniel. It is an absolute honor to receive such appreciation from you.”

With the apparent upper hand, Prince Daniel looked at the battlefield in front of him with a satisfied grin on his face. Eliminating ogres was an excellent way to accumulate military credit and was second only to reducing the demon race in battle. However, it was easy to go up against ogres. Firstly, they did not have mages, and secondly, ogres did not own any sizeable military equipment at all. If the humans were lacking in military credit, all they had to do was to kill a few more ogres to make up the numbers.

While Prince Daniel was basking in the relish of his current success, the tides began to turn on the battlefield. From a distance, huge boulders started to rain down on the troops. The only way that stones this size could be hurled over was by using a giant catapult.

As the human allied army did not engage many mages, once they were attacked by the boulders, the entire formation fell apart. Many of the human soldiers had been crushed into mush by the rocks before they could even escape.

“That’s strange. How can the Ogres own large scale battle equipment like this?”

Bella sat calmly on her horse, staring down at the giant boulders falling from the sky without a hint of fear. Instead, she was rather curious as to how the Ogres had managed to obtain their new battle equipment. In hindsight, considering the capabilities of the Ogres who had tried to assassinate her, Bella began to feel like they must have someone powerful supporting them.

A loud rumble from moving steeds signified the approaching large numbers. On the other end of the Vaughan Plains, more than one hundred thousand ogre wolf riders sped over with vigor and were definitely coming to kill. These ogres rushed towards the human allied army like a black flood.

“Oh my goodness, where did all these Ogres come from?”

“Quickly, let’s retreat back into the city. We have no advantage here in the plains.”

The human allied army instantly descended into chaos. The first to fall apart were the troops on the left and right who were led here by the Lords. This ragtag group of soldiers was only here to join the ride in hopes of a victory. Now that everything had turned against them, they could not handle the pressure at all.

Other than the horde of wolf riders coming at them, these riders were flanked by werebear warriors that were dressed in heavy armor. This was the first time that the Ogres had appeared in battle with armor, and the allied human troops were terrified at the spectacle. Without the cover of the city walls, the only thing that they could have used as an advantage in their battle against the Ogres were their armor and equipment.

Marshal Krisman turned solemn. The number of Ogre troops had increased exponentially, and there were at least two hundred thousand of them. Before, the Ogres could never activate large quantities of fighters like this. In the first place, they did not have enough food supplies, which meant that they did not have much to spare for their military.

When Prince Daniel saw that the tides had turned, he escaped with Leonard, his previously gallant words forgotten. When the allied troops saw that the members of the royal family had left them here to die, their morale dropped to an all-time low. Many of them fell into despair, abandoned their armor, and attempted to escape.

Bella’s mercenary troops had already been overrun by the wolf riders. Based on their armor made from the skin of beasts, these appeared to be of a much higher level than the cavalry troops who had tried to ambush her.

The Ogre army seemed to have gotten hold of some information about Bella and already knew that she had a Dragon Knight with her. Once they gained the upper hand, the Ogres immediately attacked the troops on her side.

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Bella dismounted from her horse to face the oncoming aggressive horde head-on. She stood proud, like a Valkyrie, and killed every single wolf rider that stood in her way. Attaching her shield on her back, she grabbed a giant sword from Lisha and began to spin on the spot with the sword grasped tightly in her hands.

Due to her immense strength, the giant sword barely weighed more than a tiny block of wood. She brandished the sword and spun round and round, creating a small Sword Tempest where she stood. Following the movement of the Sword Tempest, the wolf riders in the vicinity were all hacked to death, together with their giant wolf steeds.

The elite wolf riders had never seen such maniacal methods of fighting where dozens of Ogre soldiers were killed in an instant. Anywhere that Bella passed, she left a pile of dismembered Ogre soldiers in her wake. Behind her, Lisha held a human-sized shield in each hand, using the impact force from the shields to crush any wolf riders that tried to get in their way.

Lisha’s strength was not any less than Bella’s, and many Ogre warriors had been sent flying after colliding with her shields. Within moments, Lisha’s shields were already covered in flesh and blood of the Ogres.

Kriss wielded her Red-Black Twin Swords and like a trained dancer, weaved her way through the wolf riders’ formation. Any wolf rider who was unfortunate enough to be near her had been sliced to pieces. The amount of bloodshed in her vicinity was comparable to the battles that Bella and Lisha were currently fighting.

Under Lisha’s protection, Pamela did not have to endure any attacks from the wolf riders. If any of them approached her, they would be blown away by Lisha’s shields. She stared at the three girls in front of her who had unleashed their merciless sides, which would take some getting used to.

With the combined efforts of Bella, Lisha, and Kriss, the thousands of wolf riders who were attacking them had been beaten beyond recovery. However, this would not hold for long. The other sections of the allied army had already been soundly defeated, and the remaining survivors were frantically making their escape.

Seeing how difficult Bella and her party were to handle, large groups of heavily armored werebears rushed towards them with increased ferocity. Also, as though on command, the Ogre’s long-range military equipment began to hurl large boulders in her direction.

“Lisha, prepare to retreat! Use the secret tunnels to return to Sarni City.”

After slaughtering a few wolf riders, Bella had already planned to leave as the central position of the allied army had been compromised. Under the attack of the heavily armored werebears, the formation of Gabriel Empire’s armored troops had instantly disintegrated as many soldiers were cowering in fear at the sight of the menacing werebears who towered over them.

“I understand. Older sister, come quickly.”

Lisha retrieved a few of the small wooden tubes that Bella had given her and threw it towards the Ogre army as though it was a grenade. The wooden containers exploded on impact with the ground, and thick smoke billowed out. As the wolf riders could not see what was happening, they dared not pursue any further. Bella and the others made use of the distraction to retreat and make their escape.

The Gabriel Empire’s allied army camp on the Vaughan Plains was engulfed in flames. To prevent the Ogres from getting their hands on the backup stores of food supplies, the retreating Marshal Krisman had ordered for the camp to be set alight.

Only around fifty thousand defeated soldiers returned to the Gabriel Empire’s border defense line. More than one hundred thousand of their comrades had died in battle on the Vaughan Plains. Once Marshal Krisman reached the other side of the empire’s border, he immediately sent out an order to seal it, leaving the life and death of the other duchies nearby to fate. The Gabriel Empire had more problems than they could handle.

However, the thing that was giving Marshal Krisman a headache was the fact that Princess Kriss had left with Grand Duchess Bellina. It was highly likely that they had left for the Sarnia Duchy. This would spell a ton of trouble for him.

At most, the Sarnia Duchy only had around fifty thousand troops in its military while the invading Ogre army was at least four times their size. If Princess Kriss were to be taken prisoner by the Ogres, the authority of the Gabriel Empire would be undermined. Other than Princess Kriss, Princess Pamela and Princess Lisha had left with the Grand Duchess Bellina as well.

- my thoughts:
Late; sorry.
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