A large armada of ships over seventy thousand strong was facing the Berkley fleet, a force over four times their size.
The Banfield house was using the massive fortress-class carrier as their flagship.
It was usually used as a temporary base for the pioneer planets, but it was deployed here instead because this was an emergency situation.
The generals had gathered on it and were currently discussing how they could deal with this plight.
“Why aren’t we attacking already?!”
“Commander, assault tactics are our only option here!”
“With such a difference between us, we won’t win unless we take the initiative!”
The generals were pushing for aggressive maneuvers, but the commander had kept them passive for an entire week.
Before the large scale battle between the two fleets, things were strangely quiet.
They observed each other’s formations, altering their own arrangements in response to what they saw, and constantly changed the distance between them before repeating the process all over again.
At this rate, it’d take a month or so before anyone actually attacked.
However, the Banfield house’s fleet– who usually slaughtered their opponents immediately with assault tactics, was slowly losing their patience.
“This is Lord Liam’s order.”
When the commander said so, the generals looked up.
“Lord Liam said to do this?”
“Wasn’t he currently stationed as an imperial army officer?”
“When did you get in contact with him?”
The commander went on to explain Liam’s current situation.
“It seems he’s currently heading our way with the fleet he’s created, and until then, his orders were to buy as much time as possible without engaging in combat.”
But it wasn’t that easy to change the mentality of those who had been implementing assault tactics for decades.
“Commander, this situation won’t change if we just passively wait for reinforcements!”
At most, Liam’s fleet would only bring an extra thirty thousand ships.
Just because their numbers would increase a little, the difference between the two forces strength wouldn’t really change at all.
The Berkley family would still have the advantage.
“I understand your feelings, but these are his orders.”
And Liam’s orders were things that must be followed.
To those words, the generals quieted down.
◇ ◇ ◇
The Berkley fleet’s flagship.
On the battleshi’sp bridge that was luxuriously built with rare metals, Cashmiro’s eldest son was currently hounding at Dolph,
“Hey, why aren’t they moving?!”
But Dolph wasn’t phased,
“Don’t worry about it, they’re only acting so passively because Liam isn’t here.”
“This is still different from what we planned.”
“I never expected everything to go perfectly from the beginning, but no matter what they do, it’s practically impossible for them to overcome the difference between our two forces.”
The weapon factories had prepared the newest generation of ships and mobile knights for them.
All of their personnel had been sufficiently educated and trained as well.
This was a fleet prepared using an immeasurable budget.
However, these results were born from the destruction of multiple planets for the creation of elixirs, and the suffering of the citizens bearing unreasonable taxes.
The thing is, neither Dolph nor the eldest son cared.
“…there are rumours going around saying that Liam has gathered his fleet from the army.”
“At most he’s only collected about thirty thousand ships, so even if he joins the battle then, our superior position won’t falter. While he may try a pincer attack, we’re still more than capable of fending off his two fleets. After which, in a final act of desperation he’ll undoubtedly order–”
“–the Banfield house to start an assault, right?”
“Precisely. That’s exactly why we’re still fine even if they aren’t currently charging at us. We’ve already won.”
They didn’t underestimate Liam, and had prepared as much as possible for this operation.
The Dolph of today was like Liam’s natural enemy.
(Liam… I’ll be sure to pay back the debt from the military academy. In one of those ‘real battles’ that you love so much, I’ll beat you down thoroughly!)
The eldest son felt relieved after seeing how confident Dolph was.
“I-I guess you’re right. We should be fine.”
The Berkley fleet was made up of trained soldiers, unlike traditional pirates.
Firmly following Dolph’s orders, they continued to face the Banfield house’s fleet.
Seeing how his easily his allies moved like his own limbs, Dolph was certain of his victory.
The situation wasn’t that different from what he planned.
This was because his loss against Liam became a driving force towards his growth as a tactician.
(I will make up for that day’s defeat with this battle. I’ve accepted that I’m the one who lost back then in the simulator, but the last one laughing will be me!)
◇ ◇ ◇
Sitting on his suitcase in the middle of space was the guide.
He was currently watching the two fleets in their stand-off while drinking a cup of tea.
The fact that he was in space didn’t matter to him in the slightest.
“…they haven’t moved at all. However, the victors of this war have already been decided. All that’s left is for me to enjoy how deep into despair Liam falls into.”
Even if Liam’s patrol fleet joined, his forces would only reach a hundred thousand at most.
But the Berkley family’s armada was over three hundred thousand strong.
There weren’t any big differences in their equipment’s quality or the skill of their personnel either.
The Banfield house was better overall, but that still wasn’t enough to overcome the disparity between the two.
“If their abilities are to an extent the same, then the side with the superior numbers is bound to win.”
While they still haven’t moved yet, once things started, it’d be impossible for them to stop until the end.
So the guide was actually quite enjoying this quiet time.
“Will this finally be the end of my connection to Liam, who has caused so much of my suffering?”
He felt deeply moved at this thought.
Liam was the first to ever drive him this far into a corner.
“…I’ll prepare an extraordinary hell just for him.”
The guide was happily looking forward to the sight of him crying and begging for forgiveness.
That’s when the unpleasant sensation of his skin burning grew stronger.
With just that alone, the guide knew that he was nearby.
“So you’re finally here, Liam!”
Warp holes manifested into being, and from them battleships started appearing one after another.
“FUHAHAHAHA! I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU, LIAAAAMMMM– eh?!”
The guide was so happy he even threw away the cup he was holding… but there were a lot of ships coming out of the warp holes.
In fact, there were too many.
“Hey, wait a second here! What the hell is that?! Why are there so many of them?!”
There was no doubt that Liam was nearby.
But something was wrong.
Undoubtedly, the fleet Liam had brought was– over a hundred thousand strong.
The guide was grasping at his head.
Liam’s fervent gratitude was burning his skin even now.
“Why?! JUST WHY?!”
◇ ◇ ◇
When I raised my head, Marie– who had brought me tea, asked me,
“Lord Liam, is something wrong?”
“Its nothing, I just thought I heard an acquaintance.”
I could’ve sworn I heard the nostalgic voice of the guide.
If I was right… does that mean he’s watching me right now?
Then that means my victory was guaranteed.
As I drank my tea, the operators brought in reports one after another.
“The twenty fourth fleet has safely warped in!”
“The thirty sixth fleet is awaiting further orders!”
“The enemy armada’s status has been confirmed! It doesn’t look like they’ve engaged in combat yet!”
Word got around that there were some fools who were trying to invade my territory. Hearing this, the commanders of various regular fleets said “Oh, then I’ll lend you a hand,” and sent their ships out to support me.
But since they couldn’t just abandon their post to protect the borders, only a hundred and twenty two thousand had come.
Even so, the effects of bribes were amazing!
And after that, the merchants started sending in supplies one after another, so I was easily able to move a fleet of this size with no problems at all.
I guess I was right to increase the number of merchants I was contracted to.
Tia made a suggestion,
“Lord Liam, in this situation we can begin a pincer attack. We might have smaller numbers, but if we charge in together with the Banfield fleet, we’ll be able to deal lethal blow to the enemy.”
“Is that so?”
As I was about to give the order, the commander rushed in and interrupted me.
He usually lets me do what I want, so was there something that I missed?
“Wait a second!”
“…Commander, do you have a problem with this plan?”
Tia scowled at the commander, while Marie started reaching for her weapon, but I stood up and told them to stop.
“Stand down, let’s hear him out– Commander, do you have any other suggestions?”
After giving a cough, the commander began to explain his reasoning,
“While it’s true that might be an effective move, you’ll incur too many damages that way. Once battles get this large, there’s a certain way they’re supposed to be fought.”
Eulisia sent a gaze full of suspicion his way.
“Then what would the ‘appropriate’ way be then?”
“–first of all, it would be better if we started exchanging blows at a distance.”
Crossing her arms, Marie started complaining about the commander’s somewhat cowardly suggestion.
“That’s too passive of a strategy. It’s not suitable for Lord Liam.”
Since when did people decide that there was a way to fight that was ‘suitable’ for me?
Even so, the commander seemed more serious about this than I’ve ever seen him before.
“Count… there’s a certain way that champions are expected to fight. While it’s true that you have numerous exploits when fighting against pirates, you can’t do the same thing when leading forces of this scale.”
Tia immediately drew her weapon and pointed it towards the commander.
“Such impudence! Are you seriously lecturing Lord Liam of all people of how a champion should fight?! He’s already become a splendid champion doing things exactly the way he’s done so thus far!”
As I thought, these girls really didn’t understand me.
I’m sure that in their point of view, I was an unparalleled and wonderful human being.
But that was just the delusion they forced on me.
“I thought I told you to stand down.”
I pushed Tia aside and turned towards the commander.
With how serious his gaze was, I had complete trust in the sixth sense that he had cultivated as a gambler.
“…okay, here are my orders. All ships are to keep their distance and attack at range. Make sure that a constant gap between our forces is maintained!”
Although it was a cowardly way of fighting, evil lords were supposed to be cowardly.
The only thing that mattered was that I won.
It didn’t matter how I fought.
Marie was surprised.
“Lord Liam?! Are you sure about this?!”
“It’s tedious having to repeat myself. Just follow my orders.”
◇ ◇ ◇
The commander was relieved.
(Don’t screw with me! Were you seriously going to give the order to assault with a fleet this large?! It’s far safer to keep our distance and shoot at them from the back.)
Having been able to avoid the assault order, the commander felt waves of relief wash over him as he vowed to never get involved with Liam ever again.
(As long as we keep our distance during this fight, this ship will never fall.)
The vessel Liam was currently boarded on was a custom model.
Therefore, it wasn’t that easy for it to sink.
“Okay, I want to shoot the main gun myself, so bring the flagship to the front!”
Liam gave the order to advance forward with high spirits.
Eulisia seemed surprised,
“Lieutenant general, are you sure you want to move to the front lines?”
“Well, it’s not like we’d be completely safe if we kept to the back either, right? At least at the front we can shoot down enemies ourselves. Hey, transfer controls for the main gun to me.”
(You’ve got to be kidding me! What the hell is this guy talking about?!)
◇ ◇ ◇
The Berkley fleet that was caught in the middle of a pincer attack was currently in a state of confusion.
Liam and his forces had chosen to attack from a distance.
While they could just shoot back– the problem was that the majority of their ships were built for close range combat.
Against long distance attacks, they were nothing more than sitting ducks.
A ship that was carrying a large amount of missiles exploded near the flagship.
Dolph swung his fist down on the control panel.
Apparently, the enemy seemed to be aiming for the ships that had less armour.
The eldest son grabbed at Dolph’s chest.
“Hey, isn’t this different from what you told us what would happen?! Why aren’t they charging in on us?!”
“Please calm down. In this scenario, we have no choice but to find and shoot down the enemy flagship. If we strike at their head, the enemy will surely fall into a state of confusion.”
“If it was that easy to figure out which ship the enemy’s leader was on, we wouldn’t be having this hard of a time in the first place!”
The Berkley fleet was searching for which vessel the enemy’s commander had boarded.
However, the Banfield fleet’s fortress-class flagship didn’t seem that easy to destroy.
And on the other hand, it was practically impossible to discern which ship the enemy leader was on among their thousands of reinforcements.
The flagship shook after taking a hit, and the eldest son fell to the ground.
“N-not in a place like this! I’m the heir of the Berkley family! Like hell I’m going to die here!”
Seeing the eldest son run away, Dolph scoffed,
“It’s fine, I never needed someone like him in the first place, but it’s true that this situation can’t go on.”
While they still had the advantage in numbers, if the enemy continued to fight at a distance, the circumstances would eventually reverse.
That’s when he heard a voice,
“–Dolph, I will lend you my power.”
Dolph whipped his head around, but there was no one.
Just when he was questioning whether he imagined it, one of the operators shouted out,
“We’ve located the enemy’s flagship!”
They had somehow identified which ship Liam was on from over a hundred thousand vessels.
That was outrageously lucky.
“We’re changing plans! If it’s like this, we’ll go on the offensive ourselves and target Liam!”
The Berkley fleet was going to launch a direct assault on Liam’s battleship.
The Sapling who had been reformed into a good childヽ(°▽、°)ノ “The first volume of the comic ‘The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs’, is now on sale! Woohoo~~! Please check it out~♪”
Brian(´；ω；｀) “…it’s painful for the afterword to be hijacked by others.”
Written by Mishima Yomu/Wai (三嶋 与夢)
Translated by KuroInfinity at slothtranslationsblog.com