“Hmhm, so far, so good.”
Looking down at the labyrinth of ramparts from atop an observation tower, I confirmed that things were progressing as I planned.
Raul’s army moved as anticipated, which was to split up into smaller groups so that they could find the exit faster.
Whenever a group runs into a dead end, I made the ramparts move so that they would be locked in.
As a result, Raul’s army has gone from 5,000 soldiers to only 1,000.
That being said, even if they didn’t do that and moved as one instead, they wouldn’t be much better off. In all likelihood, they would run into dead ends multiple times and be exhausted by the time they make it to the village.
So, in the end, simply moving as one couldn’t be called a flawless decision either, if there ever was one.
“…I know they’re our enemy and all, but I can’t help but feel a little sorry for them.”
“What…a labyrinth whose paths can be modified at will…how is this even remotely fair…”
Selen and Selius said so as they looked at the panicking soldiers with eyes filled with sympathy.
“The labyrinth’s still solvable, though. The more of them I trap, the less routes there are, making it easier to reach the exit.”
“Again, what’s the point of being so virtuous?”
By the way, I did think of making a three-dimensional labyrinth by also adding in underground tunnels, but decided against it in the end since it would be impossible to do in such a short time.
If only I had the time…it sounds a whole lot like a dungeon though…
◇ ◇ ◇
“Raul-sama! We’ve lost contact with another unit that has scouted ahead…!”
“Damn it! What’s going on here!?”
Raul’s irritation has reached critical levels.
He has been receiving such reports one after another. Apparently, the units that have went ahead to check on some routes have all vanished.
In anticipation of enemy ambushes, each unit had about 500 people. Like that, as long as the ambush wasn’t anything grand, the unit could repel it by themselves. Or, at the very least, hold on long enough for the main body or any other unit to arrive and provide help.
“A-actually…there’s this, uhm, preposterous, yes, preposterous rumor…”
“Enough beating around the bush! Just say it already!”
“They say that the walls…that the walls moved…”
At that moment, a rumble could be heard coming from somewhere.
It even frightened the horse that Raul was riding.
Actually, they have heard similar noises several times before, but they had no idea what its true nature was.
“Wait, don’t tell me…”
“I-I’m afraid so…”
Raul felt a shiver down his spine.
If the walls are really being moved, then no matter how much we search this damn labyrinth, we’ll never find an exit––
“N-no, that’s not possible! How can these walls be ever moved!”
Overcome by his rage, Raul kicked away the soldier that delivered the report.
The main body of his army was now composed of only roughly a thousand soldiers. Moreover, after traversing the labyrinth whose exit seemed less and less certain to exist, the soldiers were now tired, in both body and mind.
Even so, resting in such a place was just too dangerous. And turning back, well, Raul would never allow such a thing. The only option left was to keep moving forward.
And when the main body was composed of only 500 soldiers…
“It’s a gate…!”
“Look! Can you see the buildings beyond the gate!?”
“Then, is that finally the city!?”
For some reason, the gates were wide open.
Beyond the gate was a vast and vacant land. At the moment, about 200 armed individuals were waiting on that land.
At the head of that group was a person who Raul knew all too well.
“Luke! I’ve finally reached you!”
It was only natural to feel suspicious in this situation.
The enemy side has such splendid walls and gates, yet they kept them open. It would have made a bit of sense if the enemy side far outnumbered Raul’s forces, yet they were clearly numerically inferior.
Despite all of those signs, Raul—who was thoroughly consumed by his rage—gave an order to his troops to take the enemy head on and without regard for whatever trap that might be lying in wait.
Whipping his horse hard, Raul led the charge.
––––however, when they were but a mere 200 meters away from their enemies, the ground beneath them disappeared all of a sudden.