I’m Sorry, Onii-sama! V2C3

Lady of the Inferno Part I

The small commander paid us a visit that day, although you could tell she would someday grow up to be beautiful, she looked like someone far removed from the violence of the battlefield, she looked too much like——yes, she looked too much like a normal noblewoman.

“What is this report? Do you remember what I asked for?”
“Yes ma’am! The commander asked for the volume of water in the river, the terrain and the weather of the past four months.

The man had certainly been given that order by the girl.
He had given the report after changing the numbers, but even if she noticed the falsification of the numbers, a young lady who was brought up without ever leaving her own estate has no way of knowing how much of a disparity there actually is.
Underestimating her, he was thinking about how to use the gold he got for the falsification.

“Yes. You can tell just by estimating by eye right? The amount of water flowing the river is several times the number written here.”

She is probably related to a ruined knight and was sent to the front lines.
Incurring the displeasure of this young commander will not affect his career.
In the first place, his life was a basic one, struggling to live from day to day.
Just because a little girl with an official position is making a scary expression, there is no fear at all.

“Seems like it. The enemy’s water magicians are probably manipulating the amount of water.”

This has been going on for a while, after he said that, the girl closed her mouth and once again dropped her gaze to the report.
There actually are water magicians deployed to this battlefield.
To fire magicians who are less able to wield their power the more moisture there is around, that is their greatest concern.
Yes, in the end, these magicians only think about themselves.
No matter what results the magic they use creates, they leave the clean up to others.
Considering that the ones who actually cut down people and deal with the fortress are the soldiers, this much venting should be allowed.

“Then please report how many water magicians have been deployed.”
“Based on our investigation, we believe it is about three.”

The instant he reported that while thinking those thoughts, the copper girl lifted the edges of her mouth in a thin smile.
Ah, she believed it. What a stupid child.
From what has been confirmed, there is at least twice that amount.
When it comes to a battle between magicians, the overwhelming difference in numbers will be a huge obstacle.
But as he was holding back the urge to smile, the voice he heard was not the expected one.

“——I have understood very, well. Keika.”
“Consider there to be at least three times the number of water magicians than in the report, please dam up the water upstream. I will give you thirty minutes. Can you do it?”
“……may I borrow the earth magicians?”
“Please bring along as many as you like.”

The woman in military uniform that had been standing by behind the girl ran out of the tent after a hurried salute.
As if saying this was the end of the conversation, the girl crumpled up the report, he was no longer even reflected in her eyes.
This was not the development he expected.
Why. Like this, the additional reward———

“Commander? What……”

I said I understood, her small lips moved.
The report full of falsifications was engulfed in red flames within the girl’s hands.

“That you do not have any intention of ending this war.”

The copper eyes of ‘the mere noblewoman’ as she turned around was dyed with anger.

A year has passed since I have succeeded as the head of the clan.
Right now, I have come to the border with the neighbouring country——meaning, the battlefield.
The battlefield that had been the topic in high society and assemblies for a while.
The situation worsened day by day and at this point, I was finally sent out as the current head of the Rujil clan.
We have arranged a magnificent stage for your first battle, please take care, and I was sent off.

My first battle, is just in name, they had hindered me from going onto the battlefield until the situation became too bad, before finally throwing me in.
Magicians that did not belong to any clan had been sent in, but three months ago, the fortress that had been used as a military base fell.
Rujil magicians were hastily dispatched, but due to the geographical disadvantage, there was no developments and the problem finally made its way to me.
The battlefield that only had small skirmishes a year ago, is currently a large-scale invasion into our country’s land.

The fortress across the river that had been established on the front lines, has fallen.
The enemy has already begun building a bridge across the river, using the famous impregnable fortress as a stronghold.
If they cross the river, there are only plains without any obstacles.
This land is famous for being an agricultural area and has tall mountains on the way to the territory governed by powerful nobles, so dispatching reinforcements is difficult.

A situation where reinforcing is difficult.
Plains without any obstacles.
Once they cross the river, it is over.

What do they want me to do.
First of all, why did an impregnable fortress even fall, it makes me want to hold my head.
There is still time until that appears in the story, so I thought it wouldn’t fall so easily if magicians were sent in.

……even if I consider that someone was pulling the strings, it is abnormally well done.

When I looked around from a watchtower with a telescope in hand, it is immediately clear how much damage has been done.
The allied army had probably shot magic around randomly without thinking.
The crops in the farms are burnt, the well water polluted, the earth gouged and the trees are still smouldering.
If agricultural land is damaged this much, it will take years for the harvest to recover.
And looking at the long term, there might be effects on the capital.
The ones that arranged this for my first battle intend to blame any further damage on the Rujil to weaken the Rujil.

To break through this situation, I must end it quickly.
That is what the Rujil’s current head(ace) is for.
……just that, before solving this problem, there is the large problem of the plentiful water source and water magicians deployed by the enemy.

Taking into account the problems after the war, it is best to throw in fire magicians to regain control of the situation quickly.
Their magic takes form most easily and can produce large results in a short amount of time.
But even if fire magic far surpasses the others in offense, it is also a magic that is most easily affected by the environment.

Water is extremely irritating to fire magicians.
Lighting a match on a day where there was rain takes a lot of effort.
That is why when magicians specialise in fire, they generally have to learn wood or wind magic as a sub.
But as a characteristic of the family, ‘Origa’ can only light fires.
I have taken measures for that but……

“Commander. The signal has come from the detached force. And the person mentioned before has come to see you.”
“Understood. I will come over now.”

After sending Keika ahead and hearing from her report that there was a riverbank, I had requested aid from the clans of wind and wood.
Even if it is difficult to get the heads to come, I asked for a few skilled personnel.
But it seems like some things happened in congress and reinforcements from either clan did not show up.
I had found something suspicious about the marquise Harvester, who I am close with, being unable to send reinforcements, but I gave up since I couldn’t do anything about it.
But, is this good or bad luck?
He has sent one person who has undeniable skill.

“This way.”

When I approached the tent the messenger had lead me to, the messenger tried to say something with a troubled expression.
But the volume of the voice from inside rendered that explanation unnecessary.

“No matter what, it’s strange for a fortress where magicians were deployed to fall overnight. And it’s a fortress that gives that country no benefits in securing. Have you investigated the reason for them to send men?”
“My apologies, the situation at that time is not clear.”
“We should investigate properly and judge the situation. According to the situation, consider retreat. Like this, no matter what we do———”

From within the tent, I can hear the familiar voices of a young man and a soldier drawing closer.
One’s voice was raised in agitation and the other’s voice was completely fed up.
Aah, what a pain, I somehow put a lid on and wrapped up the part of my heart that thought that.

‘I have heard you came as a representative as the knights-in-training. But knights seem to believe in running away. I have learnt something new.”

I am grateful that reinforcements have been sent over———but of all people, it had to be the heir of the clan of wood.
It seems like a choice made after serious debate since sending him officially would be difficult.
Officially, it seems he had been sent over to learn about the front lines of the battle as the top student, or just on the job training.
Even though I wanted to avoid all contact with the hero’s troupe as much as I could, I have been given a chance to fight together with him.
……it’s good that Gil-sama did not come along.
My body had grown cold when I received the message.

“It has been a while, Atlas-sama.”

It’s been a year since we’ve met, you’re grown a little bigger, our relationship is not such a fun one where we can say such societal greetings.
Thanks to the seeds of the rumors spread by this person, I have suffered in high society over the year, so my words were filled with resentment. I can’t help it.
Rather than my poison, he seemed more surprised at my appearance and opened his eyes wide for an instant.

“Knights don’t prioritise running. We devote ourselves to protection. We protect the king, we protect the people.”
“Was that so? My apologies for my ignorance.”

He started correcting my poison in an excessively serious manner———ah, this part of his personality was troublesome in the light novel too.
In fact, it was stranger during the ball last year.
Based on his character setting, his personality is overly serious, inflexible and walks a righteous path.
What was he thinking, when a person like him, cornered a younger child like that in a public place.

If I listened to his talk about chivalry, it will take too much time, so for now I lightly apologised and warded it off.
When I prompted him to take a seat, his expression changed for an instant and he awkwardly opened his mouth to say something, but shook his head.

“Why are you putting off determining the cause. Even if we recapture the fort like this, the same thing will happen again.”
“I guess.”

……as expected, he chose that.

This person is not a character ‘I’ liked, but his nature of cutting to the heart of the matter is likable.
And the way he thinks, prioritising what should be prioritised and putting a temporary lid on his feelings about me.
It is because of this personality that he managed to become Gil-sama’s best friend.
When I raised a hand to signal to clear the area, the soldier seemed relieved and left the tent after giving a brisk salute.
After confirming that the presence of people around the tent had disappeared, I opened my mouth to speak.

“They are strangely attached to that fort. Even though the number of official magicians in that country is low, they are deploying that many across the river, that’s not sane. If we attack without understanding the reason it will just be recaptured again immediately.”
“I certainly think that the number of people sent in is abnormal.”
“Then we should hurry up and ascertain the reason. It would be good if it was just some ore vein or leyline with high mana though. And the cause for the fall of the fortress overnight even though there were magicians.”

Normally, on abattlefield of this scale, three magicians would be on the high side.
Magic is just that strong and there are just that little magicians.
Considering that, I can understand his point.

“At that time, there were five magicians deployed to the fortress. But not a single one was able to send a rescue signal, investigating the cause is difficult. And, ”

The instant I tried to continue speaking, mana coiled around me, causing goosebumps on my skin.
I involuntarily clicked my tongue and looked at the youth, but he stayed silent with a baffled expression.

“……nothing. Anyway, there is no choice but to think about it after recapturing the fortress. We do not have the time to spare. If we do not end it before winter ends, it is the peasants that will suffer. The situation is already like this this year, there are supplies for now, but how long will that last?”
“Can we manage it by winter? Here, er.”

Even while concentrating on seeing the invisible magic, I could tell what he hesitated to say and could only smile bitterly.
Even if he is still training and yet to have experience, the lack of morale in this battlefield is too clear.
Eavesdropping, falsification, random firing of magic———
It is such a mess that you cannot even tell who is an ally and who is a traitor.

“But we have no choice but to do it. That is my role.”

Come, this way, looking around as I lead him outside the tent, I still could not find what I was looking for.
They are elusive as mice, and since even their numbers is unclear, it is a shame, but there is no way to deal with them.
Glaring at the invisible existence, I clicked my tongue softly again.

The chief’s guarentee of Atlas-sama’s ability as a knight was recorded on the commission from the training knights that I was given,
When returned it after scanning through it, he was equipping his sword at his waist with eyes filled with enthusiasm.

“Father has told me to cooperate as much as I can. What should I do?”
“……nothing. The plan is for knights and soldiers to standby at the back. I was also going to request this of you, a knight-in-training.”

His eyes opened wide in shock.
Well, that would happen. He came because he was requested for but the only thing for him to do is to watch.
The hand that had been enthusiastically resting on the sword at his waist has the signs of training———the title of top knight-in-training is probably one he had obtained through ability.
And I also believe I understand the pride he bears about that.

“I did not ask Harvester-sama for a knight-in-training.”

I had requested for a skilled magician, I did not request for someone with the resolve of a knight.
That is the official stance since he was sent in from training, but it would be troubling for him to believe that and stand on the battlefield.
The thinking of giving up the initiative to protect the people must not be used to deal with this situation.
Because magicians are cruel, harsh and powerful.

“While your sword protects one, magic will burn away ten.”
“Are you making fun of knights!?”
“There is an overwhelming lack of magicians, so we have to rely on the knights. I am not making fun of them. But there is the right person for the right place. Do you understand?”

I understand that marquis Harvester-sama worries about the future of the declining clan of wood and wants to broaden the possibilities for his son.
So that he doesn’t get warped by delving too deep into magic like ‘Origa’, he sent Atlas to a normal environment, knight training.
Since that was also described in the light novel, I have no intention of denying that.

“This is a battlefield. There is no reason the knight has to be you.”

Even if they are declining, Harvester-sama is the head of one of the five great magic clans. The pressure is unbearably large.
If a different path is prepared for him by his father, I can understand why he would want to escape there.
That is the path he chose and the choice he made in the story.
But this is a battlefield that didn’t show up at all in the main story——that is why.

“Thus, there is nothing a knight-in-training like you can do here.”
“……then there is something I can do as a magician?”

This person’s theme in the light novel was this.
Should he be a knight, or should he be a magician?
Originally, this conflict should have occurred at Gil-sama’s side.
This is not something he should be facing at this place, having it pointed out by the villain.
But no matter what, I need someone to take on the role of protection that I am unable to fulfill.

“I have given orders to dam the river upstream, the amount of water has decreased a lot. After that I would like Atlas-sama to dry up the water in the river. Use all the water to make a shield of trees on the opposite bank that can block heat.”

I have taken measures to dam up the river, but the slowly flowing water is still a dangerous amount for my magic.
Since the signal has come, this should be the limit that the dispatched force that Keika is leading can do.
In a situation with this much water, unless I use magic with my full strength, my fire will be erased by the enemy magicians.
That is why I must resolve myself.

“There is this much water. If they made a move, it will become a little troublesome.”
“……this area, by myself?”
“If I use fire, the land will definitely be damaged. At the very least, I would like to avoid damage caused by the heatwave. There are two other magicians that can use wood magic here, please bring them along.”

I can only use fire.
That is a setting that was decided from the start.
That is why I only have the options of burning or not burning.

“I should be able to set up a protective membrane.”
“Of course that is possible. But a fortress that has fallen once is useless, so I will burn it down. I want to focus on that.”
“Burn down the fortress?”

Ignoring his surprised voice, I rang the hard soles of my shoes.
Watching the messenger run over and salute, I took a deep breath.
———okay, time to resolve myself.

“Commander. We have completed the evacuation of the residents. Should we warn the enemy soldiers?”

“There is no problem as long as we can secure a few captives, there is no need for that. I will burn away everyone else

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