I have acquired strong soldiers in the wraiths and werewolves.
I have also acquired a reliable commander named Hijikata Toshizou.
I feel like the Ashtaroth army is finally an actual army.
That was how important having Hijikata Toshizou was.
There are many famous sayings about the importance of a commander.
An army of sheep, led by a lion, is better than an army of lions, led by a sheep.
There are no cowardly soldiers under a superior general.
The quality of your troops was important, but the quality of their commander was even more important.
As if to prove this, the monsters almost immediately started to behave differently when Toshizou was put in charge of them.
They moved more quickly and procrastinated less.
The demon commander had intimidating eyes, but he worked harder than any of them, and he trained harder than any of them. And perhaps that was inspiring to see.
Even the orcs, who were known to be lazy, began to swing their spears of their own accord.
Maybe this man would be able to make these useless orcs into fine soldiers in a matter of weeks.
I said this to Eve, and she agreed.
But added a 'however' at the end.
“Who knows if there even will be another week for us.”
I did not have to ask her what she meant.
We all knew that Sabnac would be attacking us soon.
"You have dealt Sabnac a humiliating blow. He will have to attack you in order to save face."
I agreed and continued.
"I have attacked his base and taken his treasures. Even if he is weak after his fight with the count of Ismalia, he will still attack. His pride will not allow him to do anything else."
"He was manipulated, and so he will have to attack me now. Nail-biting until he can build a larger army will make his subordinates look down upon him."
"Such men are often like that."
“It may sound stupid, but Sabnac is a Demon King who relies heavily on his personal reputation as a warrior. Perhaps he really has no choice. Still, it will be easy to make use of it.”
"Yes. Will you stay in the castle and fight him off?"
"Indeed. We went and dug a moat, we might as well use it."
A siege then.
"However, holing up in the castle would be boring. We will lure him in, and when he is even weaker, we attack."
"That sounds good."
And so I called Hijikata Toshizou.
I needed to tell him about our plans.
Toshizou listened to me with a cool and calm expression.
"Very impressive." He said with a hand on his chin, once I had finished.
"There is little doubt that victory will be ours now. However, there is one weakness in this plan."
"Splitting the army into two. You will require two commanders if you are to do that."
"I happen to have two commanders. Me and you."
"You do seem to trust me, but I might just betray you on the battlefield."
"And then I will lose."
"It means little to me, but do you have any means of dealing with such a betrayal?"
I say flatly.
"I've thought about it, but nothing comes to mind. Toshizou, if you betray me, I am lost."
"Oh? This plan depends entirely on me then?"
"You could say that."
"You cannot be serious."
"Perhaps I am just mad. I am but a newborn Demon King. Normally, I should be kissing Sabnac's a.s.s and groveling at his feet. And yet here I am, attacking him and declaring war. This defies any normal idea of strategy. That is why I will ignore any orthodox methods."
"…Indeed. It is not so much that you trust me, but that you have no choice."
"You could say that."
"At least you are honest. Let me ask you again, will you really prepare the best possible place for me to die?"
"Toshizou, you said that you died under a barrage of bullets in some place called Hakodate?"
“And this army did not even have ten thousand troops, correct? Oh, I shall provide you a much more grand and glorious battlefield. It will be a war so great, that it will split this world into two. A battle that will live forever in this world's history. And you will be commanding it. You will not face ten thousand bullets, but one hundred thousand arrows.”
“…One hundred thousand arrows, huh? Well, you certainly put Enomoto and Kondo to shame in terms of scale. You will either become the Great Demon King or a swindler, that is for sure.”
"I would definitely prefer the former."
"Very well. I like that. I am the type who will cut down a general that I do not like. From the back no less. But if you will have me, I will lead your troops. At least on this occasion, I will believe your lofty words."
"You will not regret it.
And with that, Toshizou stepped back.
He was going to go and organize the troops.
He spoke with eloquence but was also quick to act.
I thought then, that any Demon King would be lucky to have him as a subordinate.
Well, lucky, but also in danger. They would always be close to death. This Hero was probably one of the hardest out there to handle.
I didn't know any of the other Heroes, but somehow, I was certain of it.