Chapter 18: Prashyufa
A few months have passed since the siege of Fort Kron. The Seventh Army made a steady and uneventful trip back to their country. During this time, Klauna had gotten used to being the general of the Seventh Army. She still didn’t understand the sudden unwavering loyalty from the others, but she made an effort to get along with them at least. It won’t be strange to say that she had even gotten rather close to some people she didn’t expect to.
Like Blackmask and the Watchtower Warrior. Both of which she still didn’t know the names of. Despite their initial looks and attitude, the two were really honest and hardworking men.
The Analysts had started to get along with the others as well. No doubt due to their officers getting along. Cera, Harbin and Medica proved to be a rather inseparable trio. They can often be seen together during breaks and often having pleasant conversations with each other. Seeing the three crests getting along with each other was rather weird, but it was a welcomed sight to the beaten up army.
It was much better than previously where everyone was at each other’s throat and the Analysts being shunned by the others. Klauna had deduced that this sudden getting along was probably because the troublesome ones were either dead or in the minority now. Or perhaps, the majority of the army was actually easy-going all this time and that the few toxic ones were the ones making the environment hostile.
Either way, it didn’t matter what the reason was. Klauna could not afford to make any mistakes— their lives were in her hands now. Better that they all get along as it increases their chances of survival further.
Although, despite most of the army moving along just fine, not everyone did. There were still some within the army that were not satisfied with Klauna being the general and then there were some of the soldiers still mourning over their losses. Then, there were those like Lina who simply lost their will to live or do anything.
There was also the fact that command had been lying to the Seventh Army. The situation was much more dire than the reports the messengers conveyed, where it was said that the Ak’hims were now stagnant and unable to push further.
It was all a lie. The Ak’hims had actually suffered tremendous losses. More than a quarter of the whole military has already been lost by the time they got back to Demon Territory. The humans had long pushed back against the demons in an attempt to take back their lost territories. Many other armies had been pushed out of the territories even. Some areas had humans pushing back even during the first six months of the war. A time period where command would tell sweet lies about their easy victory over the humans.
Command kept saying that the resources were needed by the other armies to keep up their war effort. The truth is there were never any supplies. The supply lines had been cut a long while back. The Seventh Army had been pushing on without knowing that the other armies had long retreated from the frontlines. It was a miracle that they managed to retreat as far as they did without getting their escape route cut off. A greater miracle that they even made as far as they did.
It only sickened Klauna at how much incompetence the ones running this war were showing. The few amounts of precious time that the army has right now was spent on getting real information about the current war situation. She entrusted this job to Kazakiel, Balestra and Blackmask which soon provided great results due to their surprising teamwork.
Klauna who thought the humans who were rather conservative and passive in nature, would just push the demons back to their territories before reinforcing their borders. The war would be lost for the Northern Demon Kingdom and the status quo will remain. Her plan of retirement was under the assumption that the humans would not proceed further into demon territory.
How wrong she was. The sudden war had sparked a deep seeth hatred within the humans. The acts that the other armies did during the first six months of the war made the humans decide that the demons needed to be exterminated. They seemed to have gathered allies now and it included the Elves from the Unifa Forest and the Dwarfs from Mount Capillary. It also included various other human countries within the continent. They were now called the Alliance.
Everything made sense now. Why the humans had numbers four times greater than their own despite the Seventh Army annihilating every single human army in their way.
As the Alliance began their counteroffensive, it quickly became apparent that retirement was no longer an option for her. Klauna needed to get the army up and running if she wanted them to live, the people whose lives depended on her. The very first thing she needed was manpower. More soldiers in the army.
And thus, she ordered everyone to retreat all the way back to the Citadel of Prashyufa, abandoning every checkpoint and strategic locations. The other officers did question her decision. They were already in demon territory, why the need to retreat all the way back to Prashyufa?
It was soon agreed when Kazakiel explained the real situation of the war to them, that the Alliance would soon invade the Northern Demon Kingdom. Klauna wouldn't be surprised if the Alliance had already invaded the Kingdom and was on their way to Prashyufa.
“Woah...” Harbin let out her voice in mesmerization at the sigh of the giant gate of the citadel.
Seeing Harbin's excited attitude, Cera let out a cough to grab her attention. “Beautiful isn’t it? A fortress citadel that was built since the era of the First Demon Lord. It was said that the First Demon Lord once defended this place from a force ten times his own."
"The impenetrable black citadel. It’s a place where the mountains around it form a natural choke point to the citadel. No army can proceed further into demon territory without first going through this fort. Even if they could, they would only get dispatched from the armies station within the fort who are trained in mountain combat,” Cera further explained to Harbin the history of the citadel.
“First time here Harbin?” Medica asked the young Analyst.
“Yeah... I’ve only ever heard of Prashyufa from stories. The stories don’t do this place any justice.” Harbin replied, still amazed at the sight of the wall.
“Keep your excitement to a manageable level. There are priorities that need to be done. We are not here for sightseeing,” Klauna said to the three who Klauna thought was too relaxed.
“Bu bu. You’re way too uptight about this, General. We are in the most defended place in the land. We can relax a bit here, right?” Poi said to Klauna. She could be seen just as amazed as Harbin.
“No. It’s not the enemies that I am worried about,” Klauna said as she stared off into the distance. Thousands upon thousands of demons could be seen. It seemed that the Seventh Army was not the only army who planned on reinforcing and resupplying at Prashyufa.
“Harbin, I need a favour from you,” Klauna called out.
“Ye-yes! What is it?” Harbin stood still in a rigid stance.
“I’ll leave the recruitment of new manpower up to you. Get the others to help you as needed. Be fast about it.”
“Roger. What about you Lord Klauna?”
“I need to secure the funds for more equipments. Tell Yuupiecca to meet me later. I will need his expertise.”
“I’ll tell Yuupie right away!” Poi answered as she sped off.
Klauna nodded towards Harbin and the others before moving away from the rest of the army.
* * * * *
In a busy avenue was Klauna sitting at a table. Across from her were Yuupiecca and the triplets, Yuuka, Yuuko and Yuuki sitting down. The four of them were looking at a bunch of papers. Inventory of what they have and what is being transferred to their army.
“You know when you said that you needed my expertise, I didn’t expect it to be paperwork,” Yuupiecca said as he sifted through the papers in front of him.
Klauna kept quiet and took a sip from the bottle of liquor she was holding.
“Harbin and the others are going to be mad if they see you drinking, General Klauna,” Yuuko said. The others nodded.
“If no one tells them, then nothing will happen,” Klauna replied.
Yuuko let out a sigh as she heard Klauna’s response.
“Where and how did you even get the money to buy all of this in the first place?” Yuupiecca asked. His eyes narrowed to focus on reading the inventory.
“Secret,” Klauna replied.
“It better not be illegal…” Yuupiecca added.
“I may or may not have abused my newfound position of general and exerted a little physical force, maybe even a little borrowing here and there,” Klauna replied as she drank more of the liquor in her hands.
The four gave her a wry smile at the response. Sweat dripping off the back of their heads.
“... I have to ask... why are most of our expenses on food?” Yuuka asked.
“This is a war. Although weapons and armour may be important, what's most important is how long an army can last,” Klauna explained to them as she took another sip.
“This is a massive amount though… It’s like you are feeding an entire city. This could easily last a few months, maybe a year. We aren’t going to have enough space to haul all of it.” Yuuka commented further.
“No need to worry about that it seems. We are sending a whole bulk of it to a warehouse in Divinatus.” Yuupiecca said as she scrutinized the paper in his hands. "To a guy named Sennari…"
“Divinatus? Why there?” Yuuki asked.
“The better question is, could these papers even pass Command? This whole thing stinks of fraud,” Yuupiecca asked.
“They don’t have to,” Klauna replied.
“Command is just a bunch of worthless incompetent fools. They will not notice this until far later. That’s if they even notice at all.” Klauna responded.
“And what will happen to us if they did find out much later?” Yuupiecca asked another question.
Klauna took a moment of silence to think about something. “I’ll take care of it if it ever comes to that."
“Wait a minute, if we aren’t going to send the papers to command then what are we even here for?” Yuuka asked.
Klauna gulped her bottle down before throwing it off to the sides now that it’s empty, the glass shattered into pieces as it landed on the pavement. The four of them gave Klauna a deadpan look. It seemed that Klauna only wanted an excuse to get away from Harbin and the others.
“Don’t look at me like that. There really is one thing I need your expertise on,” Klauna said as she took out a piece of paper from her pocket and placed it on the table.
“Can you guys make this?” Klauna asked.
The four of them moved their heads closer to the table to see the contents of the paper. They spun the paper around and did some sort of calculations with their hands. They then started whispering to each other regarding the logistics of the construction.
“The design looks simple enough; we can make them from certain lightweight materials. But… I don’t see what the point of it though,” Yuupiecca said.
“Make a functioning prototype first. I’ll explain later when we get to that point.”
* * * * *
It was evening, almost to sunset. After the small event at the avenue, the Analysts went back to their encampment. It was a small encampment made by the Seventh Army, in an open field near the barracks of the Citadel. If one looked further, one could see dozens of other armies setting up camp in the many open fields within the citadel as well.
Klauna was walking when she saw a whole line of Analysts lined up in neat rows in the encampment. Hundreds of them, just standing there in formation— waiting patiently for something. One of them spotted Klauna and she then motioned the others to look towards her direction as well. They didn’t make a lot of noise other than the small murmurs.
Having no idea what the whole thing was about, Klauna decided to walk past them in order to find her private tent. It was then that Harbin and the other officers came to greet her.
“General Klauna, we’ve done as you asked and recruited as many people as we could. Four hundred exact,” Cera said as she pointed out to the hundreds of men that were lined up in front of her.
‘So these are our new ranks in the army then. I forgot about it...’ Klauna thought to herself. She then took a good look at the men in front of her. About ninety-five per cent of them were Analysts, with the rest of the other crests within the five per cent.
“There is quite the amount of Analysts I see,” Klauna commented.
“These are as many people as we could find Lord Klauna… I wanted to find more but… the other armies had a head start. There was also the fact that the reserves would rather join another army. By the time I got to them, all that’s left were these guys,” Harbin responded.
“To be honest, I’m surprised there were this many Analysts in the reserves,” Klauna said.
Cera faced the four hundred recruits. “It wasn’t just the Analysts from the reserve army. Some of the people here are from another. The other armies… do not want Analysts in their ranks. A lot of them left their army when they saw Harbin and the Grimoire. Word spread quickly when they heard that the general of the Seventh Army was an Analyst. The next thing we know, this happened."
“Oh! The other crests are friends and family members of the Analysts present,” Harbin said to clarify further.
“I see… Why are they lined up like this though? Shouldn’t they be integrating with the army right now?”
Cera and Harbin smiled at each other before dragging Klauna to the podium for her to give everyone her welcome speech.
The seventh army was now 1712 units strong.