Guido Imperial Army began launching their offensive on Aspora town on the 13th of month four.
As both the main force and the detached force marched on the highway, Zaka's side had enough time to prepare the stand off.
At first they fiercely shot magic at one another. Zaka's side archers didn't spare their arrows as well. The other party didn't have archers with them.
Zaka's side suffered quite a bit, but so must the other party.
Afterward it turned into a melee, but the enemies didn't make any attempt to enter Aspora, they fought knights outside the gate and after some intense but short battle, they made a sudden and hasty retreat.
They stayed somewhere slightly away from the town and leisurely hunted and had meals there.
Zaka Kingdom's side retrieved their allies' dead bodies, and found some bodies from the enemy side. There was no doubt they suffered some loss as well.
The day after, the enemy didn't attack. In fact, they actually even played a game of strength among themselves as seen from afar. Zaka Kingdom's side shot a ritual magic at them. It failed to hit them since it was too far, but they scrambled in a hurry and encamped farther away. But afterward, they continued playing around like it was business as usual.
Guido Army launched another offensive on the 15th. They had an intense clash of magic before proceeding to close quarter combat again, both suffered great losses. But the enemy once again never made any attempt to break into the town and quickly retreated after a short bout of fighting.
That night, a knight of Tsubolt, Baiad Rengra visited Tranche Knights' commander, Grasud Koan. Baiad is the aide knight of Marquis of Tsubolt, tasked to lead Tsubolt's adventurers.
Baiad mentioned how the enemy has too many people on their side.
Commander of Smarc Knights who was currently staying at Aspora, Visca Kouen told them how his knights dealt a considerable damage on the enemy's army despite their crushing defeat. Yet the number of enemy who marched to Aspora on the 13th was too many, so it looked to the adventurers there. The adventurers took it upon themselves to get a certain party to count the enemy's number. It was a party of three, <Grindam>. They didn't participate in the battle and concentrated fully on counting the enemy.
The result was 980 people.
The enemy was originally 1000 strong, meaning they hardly decreased.
<Grindam> also counted without joining the fray on the 15th.
It was 960.
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That's just not right.
The enemy did suffer casualties. They left behind the corpses as well.
Yet they only lost 20 people in the last battle.
That wasn't the case on Zaka's side. After two skirmishes, they got around 400 people who were either dead or incapacitated.
The enemy couldn't have possibly replenished their forces as they had no means to.
What does this mean?
"Those folks got some seriously high healing capability."
This was the conclusion Grindam and other adventurers arrived to. No telling if it's their trait or due to a skill, but it's safe to assume that injured enemies have a high probability of returning to frontline so long as they're not dead.
Grindam reported this to Baiad who then went to Grasud for a consultation.
The situation had taken a turn for the worse.
Visca Kouen had always insisted on just going all out wiping out the enemy instead of barricading themselves in the town, which Gido Knights' commander agreed.
But it was clear to Grasud that the enemies have been trying to lure them out of the town toward a trap. They should simply fortify themselves in the town and deal them constant damage, even if this tactic won't make them victorious, they won't lose either. They could run into the dungeon if the enemy decided to raid the town for real.
The enemy could have ignored Aspora and marched on ahead, but that would expose their rear to danger, and they have to make their way back here sooner or later, so leaving powerful hostiles here is not an option to them. Hence, Zaka's side could simply devote themselves to defense. That should result in the enemy's eventual collapse.
They're at an advantage here with Grasud's method, but if in reality they're the only side taking a huge loss from fighting, it would flip the situation around.
There's the problem with morale too. Once it's dropped, the chain of command will only crumble and discontent will accumulate.
Grasud and Baiad decided to report this to the capital. Visca Kouen also wrote his own report to the capital, requesting permission to sortie out.
The capital's war council came up with a strategy after a long debate. It was as such.
Mashajain Knights which departed the capital on the 12th will arrive on Aspora on the 19th. Aspora adventurers who know the surrounding terrain well will be stationed in Nikuya town located just before Aspora. Under these adventurers' guide, Mashajain Knights will go around the forest.
Mashajain Knights will launch an attack from behind's Guido Imperial Army line when they marched on to Aspora town. Once the time is right, all the knights and adventurers in Aspora are to charge out and annihilate the entire hostile army.
Thus how Manfrey summed up the general strategy to Lecan.
"But if there truly was another hidden detached force, our knights would find themselves in crisis. However, could this hidden force truly be there? It makes little sense for that force to be excluded from all the clashes thus far if so."
"You can't say that for sure. Have General Boudo and his elite something joined the battle?"
"No, I have not been informed of their partaking. I do not think the Supreme Commander himself would head off into the front line however."
"Then those guys haven't gotten serious yet. That's what I believe."