Episode 58: A brute-force strategy.
In order to save the children from that other settlement who were caught by the slave merchants, Yamato decided to head out.
“That line of people over there, Yamato-ani-sama.”
With the guidance of the Han clan girl, Kuran, they caught up with the group of slave merchants traveling southwest on the highway.
Leaving the other Han clan boy behind, they went ahead to scout the slave merchants.
“I see, they are certainly slave merchants.”
In order to avoid being noticed, they surveyed from a distant hill.
A sturdy iron cage carried by the wagon in the center of the formation, surrounded by armed infantry, and cavalry in the outer perimeter.
From their appearance and the air they gave off, they appeared to be the mercenary group Yamato had heard rumors about.
Their vulgar laughs, the scoffing and threatening would surely scare off any merchant or traveler they passed by.
“Are those the children of the “Majiri people”?”
“Yes. There’s no doubt about it, Yamato-sama.”
While checking them from a distance with her good eyesight, Liscia responded next to him.
Her information, being the granddaughter of the village chief, was a blessing for Yamato who was ignorant of many things since he came from another world.
“At a glance they look like normal children.”
“Yes. The physical characteristics of the Majiri people are the same as ours.”
The children in the narrow and dirty cage had the same characteristics of the people of this world.
However, iron shackles were binding their feet and hands, depriving them of their freedom. Their once innocent eyes were now lifeless, like those of a dead fish, as they sat in the shaking cage.
“There are more opponents than I thought… Yamato-sama.”
“Yeah. Aside the slave merchant, the guards of the carriage also look strong.”
Looking at the opponent’s lineup from a shadow in the hill, Liscia spoke with an uneasy tone.
An enemy that attacked small villages and groups, the cruel slave merchant that threated children as products and his men.
The guards appeared prepared to counter an attack, and they were of considerable strength.
And on the other hand, Yamato’s current fighting force was not perfect.
Because of the time constraints, the group that came consisted solely on the fast light bow cavalry of the Han clan.
They numbered only about twenty horses, and the current difference in fighting power was quite large.
Another team, a wagon carrying the crossbow squad from the village, was scheduled to arrive later.
“Further ahead is the territory of the kingdom, Yamato-sama. Over there should be a border guard.”
“So, it’s a game against time, huh?”
Bringing hostilities and fighting out in the open in the territory of another country was dangerous.
The large group guarding the border might catch wind of the incident and sort out to quell it.
If this were to happen, it would be an overwhelmingly disadvantageous situation for them, since they would be considered the assailants.
Therefore, it was necessary to rescue the children of the Majiri people before the arrival of the crossbow squad, if they were to succeed.
It was a gamble, not only fighting against a higher number of enemies, but also against time.
“I believe we outclass them in mobility and range. However, if the battle were to become a melee, it would be very dangerous…”
Narrowing her eyes, Liscia measured the opponent’s force.
As an excellent hunter, she was able to measure the abilities of an opponent by the way they walked and the aura they gave off, even from this distance.
And true to Liscia’s words, the strength of Urd, that included the Han clan horse archers, was not very good in a fight at close quarters.
After all, everyone except for Liscia and Yamato, were still children.
There were a lot of dangers in close combat, the easiest one to picture was the arm’s reach.
To make up for that was the reason of the manufacturing of the Urd crossbow, and the fighting style combining the mobility and archery skills of the people of the grasslands, the Han clan.
“Yeah. We can’t let the Han clan children be put in a dangerous situation.”
If they fought against the slave merchant and his mercenary escorts by a surprise attack, it was possible to defeat them.
However, in that case, there was a possibility of someone getting wounded or even worse.
That was because the meadow will become a “battlefield”, and it was hard to predict what would happen in such a brawl.
Coming from another world, Yamato was learning about warfare from actual experience.
“Okay. This time, let’s go with a little of a “brute-force strategy”.”
The opponent’s forces and the light bow cavalry weren’t equal in numbers. While organizing in his mind the time constraints and the limits they had on reinforcements, Yamato devised the rescue strategy to be used this time.
“Brute-force strategy… is it? Yamato-sama.”
Liscia, who was also the second in command, looked towards Yamato with a little doubt in her mind.
For her, who excelled in commanding people, the words “brute-force strategy” felt inappropriate for the current situation.
“The strategy is simple. Liscia here will be the sniper. Kuran and the light bow cavalry will move and siege the caravan from a distance.”
Liscia was to be placed in the hill and using her Marionette Bow, she was to snipe the enemies from a long range.
The Han clan cavalry was to attack the opponents and annihilate them from a distance using the superior Temujin Short Bow and their mobility.
“Alright, Yamato-ani-sama! ”
At the prospect of saving the captured children, the Han clan girl, Kuran replied with a sparkle in her eyes.
She said they would surely avoid danger while carrying out that strategy.
“Understood. In that case, what would Yamato-sama do…”
While replying, Liscia turned towards Yamato with a questioning gaze.
“I’ll charge in alone and kill the slave merchant.”
“Ehh, Yamato-sama!? …But that is very dangero……”
“Alright, everyone, let’s move out! ”
While Liscia tried to object at such a reckless strategy, Yamato cut out her words and gave the command to start the assault.
And along with his beloved horse, Regal Wind, he ran down the hill towards the meadow in a straight line.
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