The Invasion Begins
Ria bestowed an army to the nobles that used the be the lords of their lands, aiming to split Cordova’s territory.
Of course there was still the danger of each being defeated, but even so it would expand the war front and allow them to choose which territory to suppress all at once.
The old lords that had become her staff officers were enthusiastic about it. That was probably called for, for one to regain their ancestral lands, it would be strange if they weren’t in high spirits about it.
The army that Ria had left in their custody weren’t the ogre and Casalian elites.
It was primarily comprised of the allied forces between Manesh and the other feudal lords, so even if they failed, the expected damage would be minimized.
As a result, although there were territories this was effective on, there were also territories they failed on recovering as well.
Ria, together with her staff, studied the cause.
Well, it was probably natural. The territories that had had an effective government beforehand welcomed their former lords with open arms. As for the lords that had foolishly imposed themselves even more strongly than Cordova, their fiefs’ populations supported Cordova’s army.
As for the nobles that recovered their territories with their own power, they were left to manage their territory as before. In the cases where the Ogress army was necessary, a curtailment of their territory would be done.
At this late hour, mankind didn’t have the flexibility to treat nobles with extravagance.
“It looks like Cordova’s government was even more unappealing than expected.”
One of the staff officers said such a thing, but that surely was so.
Particularly the countries that had been annexed in the previous several decades, they immediately rebelled with the outside pressure on Cordova.
“All things considered, what is with the countries that continued with exploitation even worse than Cordova…”
Ria placed her hand against her forehead? Mou, are you dumb? Do you want to die? It had that kind of feeling.
Cordova had set its sights on countries like that at the start, though eventually it annexed its surrounding countries after growing its national power.
Although it seemed that their governing body was considerably intelligent, to think that they could continue with that same strategy forever was Cordova’s failing.
Ria believed that something like a country that could last in perpetuity didn’t exist.
Even the empire that boasted of its three thousand year history disappeared with an unknown cause.
There were five kingdoms, Casalia included, with a thousand years of history, but royal families that had great power—Casalia, Lemdria, Istria, Labra and the like—were on the brink of collapse.
Although Casalia couldn’t be said to be at the point of collapsing, it was definitely was a risk of it.
Being able to overcome that was mankind’s strength.
It wasn’t the system’s power. Although the system was certainly useful for ruling, when it expands, it wouldn’t be rare for it to torment society. 
And for that, a prominent individual’s power was needed.
Ria didn’t put any faith into democracy. Of course, neither did she put any into socialism nor communism.
As for what seemed the best to her, it was a saint dictatorship. 
By having a ruler with few failings, it was an absolute despotism. When a talented person could fill its highest seat, it would be the most efficient. 
Of course in truth, it was nothing but empty theory.
Ria didn’t consider herself as something like a saint and Guinevere was very skilled in things regarding politics.
However, right now, to destroy Cordova and to fight against the demon king, it seemed that Ria must stand at the top.
Even though she didn’t want to.
Although she truly wanted to be pardoned from the role, when it came to authority, pedigree, personal military might, and charisma, at least in the northwest part of the continent, there was no one more fit for the post than Ria.
“It’s about time to start our plans from Cordova’s interior as well, huh?”
Naturally, Cordova had nobles other than its royal family. There was a king that was the country’s centralized rule, but that didn’t mean there weren’t nobles.
Ogress would recognize the nobles that were supported by the people. In other words, they planned on recognizing their territorial rules.
It would be good if they abandoned Cordova with that. It would be a very good thing for them to reach the point of betraying Cordova.
“Perform the formalities at once.”
Ria left the actual work to her staff officers. She would think about the general situation.
Although there were various minor things to consider, it was still necessary to crush the enemy’s main forces in the end.
That, and occupy Cordova’s capital. They would crush its royal family, making so that it would never stand up to rise again.
No, rather, they could recognize and support royalty that were popular with the public as the legitimate Cordovan earls.
That way the country could be divided if it went well. They would prevent having to waste resources on capturing it.
That sort of strategy was something considerably interesting so long as it was left to her thoughts. But whether or not it could succeed is another thing entirely.
Conversely, she also thought about her opponent’s stratagems.
In fact, due to Ria’s appearance, most of Cordova’s plots had failed.
What were their stratagems thus far? Snatching away their opponents’ strength through things such as pressure, conciliation, segmentation, and in the end: annexation.
The countries that they should have annexed, due to Ria’s interference, had united.
Of course, there were very likely plots instigated to break this Ogress alliance apart.
However, right now, Ogress had succeeded in victory after victory over Cordova in succession, so there was no reason for the allies to break apart.
Unlike Cordova, Ria had not demanded anything unreasonable of the countries that she gained. For now, at least.
She wasn’t pressuring them to be annexed, either. It was an alliance with nothing but advantages to it.
In fact, Shashmeer and the like continued as half-independent city-states.
Ria’s purpose was to solidify a national strategy.
To deal with the Millennium.
Ria would abdicate, turn the young prince into a puppet, and leave the regency to Guinevere to administer national politics.
She was the only one with the ability to do so, and her motivation… well, it was likely even greater than Ria’s.
Be it the Great Collapse or the god dragon’s successor, she’d think about them when the time came.
They were things a long ways off. Probably.
And so once again, Ria would leave on a journey.
How many people would come with her this time?
She’d take Carla. She’d somehow persuade her with flattery, no matter what it took, she’d take her along.
Shizuna would probably follow along with her. Somehow or another, she liked being bullied by Ria.
What about Fio? She herself would probably want to. But was it alright to kidnap a noble daughter so often?
Irina would have to be taken along of course.
Maal would probably come. Gig also wouldn’t be a problem.
(Lulu and Carlos have gone and found happiness by themselves, dammit!)
Surprisingly, Serge probably wouldn’t come. For him to realize his harem, he had to raise his nobility.
(Ah, but I’ll have to find a mare bride for Matsukaze soon.)
Drawing a map of her future in her mind while having such wild delusions, Ria prepared to approach the fight right in front of her.
The Ogress army began its invasion.
They could have waited for various plots to take effect, but by first applying military pressure, they would raise the success chance of their plots even further.
Villages and towns that existed on the map were all suppressed like carpet bombing the land.
They wouldn’t attack citizens, with soldiers being bound by a slave contract that would expire after a period of time.
This stance of Ogress’ army not practicing oppression was more or less popular with the masses.
But Ria didn’t let down her guard. Since there were changes, there would be those who hated the changes.
For those, they would unfortunately be removed.
In order to limit the victims, they would make sure there were the minimal required sacrifices.
On an occasion where they’d passed through a town like that, Ria was targeted by assassins.
Usually, it would be dealt with by her guards, but there was an assassin with terribly amazing skills among them as well, even approaching Ria directly, managing to stab her in the arm with a poisoned knife.
For the assassin that she’d cut down with her already re-sheathed katana, Ria had just that much composure.
“It isn’t serious. The blood of a dragon flows through me. I won’t die from poison.”
She spoke to calm down those in her surroundings that were fussing over her.
It was true, there were no dragons in history ever killed by poison.
There was poison occasionally mixed into her meals as well, but that wasn’t a problem either.
Rather, the thing Ria made sure to pay attention to was things targeting Serge.
It was the same with Carla, but although she was an important person who could replenish their forces, she also had the same all resistance as Ria.
Serge was able to make a resistance magic pushed to the limit while in Manesh, but he could still die from something at the level of hydra poison.
Their supplies were handled by his space-time magic, there was no one that could substitute in for him.
“That’s why you can’t attract attention. At least until the fighting is over.”
Even though it sounded heartless, there was a bit of a joke hidden inside. 
Their supplies being handled by Serge’s magic would be the ultimate winning factor of this war.
There were various advantages for them, such as Ria’s individual strategic capability, her Gift’s ability to command, the ogre corps’ fighting power, and Manesh’s technological strength relative to Cordova. Even so, there were to two things.
Ria’s ability to manufacture arms and armor and Serge’s transportation ability.
After all, what was war? Gather a lot of people, feed them, and furnish them with arms to fight.
“War is about numbers, aniki.” 
Towards the staff officers that made puzzled faces, Ria said she was talking to her elder brother that had died long ago… at least, that’s the story that was made up.
Among the staff officers that consented one way or another, Serge was the only one to laugh.
As a matter of fact… this old joke would also add to Ria’s mystique.
A young, undefeated, invincible, and beautiful general that sometimes said things that couldn’t be understood. And then, the young mage in charge of logistics that was able to understand them.
As there must have been some reason for it, her staff officers that had served long years in the military reviewed strategy books and military classics. Although they were trying to spontaneously improve themselves, if Ria knew about it, she might have fainted from the despair-driven agony.
Two weeks into Ogress’ invasion into Cordova’s territory.
With the resistance seeming as though none existed at all, the Ogress forces invaded the territory.
As for Cordova’s lack of resistance, that was simply because it took time to prepare.
If they had just poorly prepared their war potential, they would have been easily defeated by the large militaristic might of the Ogress army.
Organize a large army and defeat them in battle. That was the response the Cordovan leaders went with.
However, that took a longer amount of time than expected.
It was as simple as the document procedure going slowly, although it was also a problem with their expanding government structure, but to be even more simple, they had trouble organizing soldiers and food for them.
They may have thought them to be a rebel army and not an enemy, but when they arrived at a village that should have become a cornerstone for war supplies, they were attacked by a small group of people. However, as they recognized them to be beastkin, there was no mistaking it.
Unlike Ogress’ regular forces, they were brutal.
First of all, as something required by all living things, they made sure to destroy water sources as much as possible.
Throwing corpses and excrement into the water wells, they limited Cordova’s means of procuring water.
And they burned food storages without exception. Cordova had no choice but to release its military stores, so its supply lines naturally lengthened.
And to defend it, they conscripted even more troops.
Even so, the Cordovan army was somehow able to mobilize with twenty army corps. A large army of 240,000.
Meanwhile, the invading Ogress army had a large amount of military troops at around 250,000.
The place they would confront one another? A place the Ogress army had set up at ahead of time, Maza Plains.
The war that would be referred to as the Maza Plains Battle in the future was just about to begin.
- I have no idea what the ‘system’ here means. Author used システム here out of seemingly nowhere? Return
- Yeah, apparently that’s a thing. A well-minded dictatorship… Google returned this nation as an example: Meenat. Return
- Despotism is where the ruler holds absolute power. Return
- I think the joke is that he would immediately stand out once it was over…? Return
- Direct quote from Mobile Suit Gundam: 戦いは数だよ、兄貴. Return