Two thousand two hundred and fifty men were in the field before Maple. What could have been just separate parties of men joining together has ended up being an entire regiment joined together. To put it lightly there were enough men to start conquering other cities and entire countries. Such a force could not assemble in the city so instead they were gathered right outside the walls of Castle Town.
Looking over the walls Maple felt her heart both sink and grow a little, "So many people…"
"Indeed." Said Commander Captain Advisor Alexandros as he stood next to her, "It seems many are wanting to fight for the country."
"Why do they want to do that?" Maple asked as she got away from the wall, "Doesn't everyone hate me?"
"Some of the men do, I am pretty sure of that." he admitted, "However all before you wish to defend the country. Their pride is greater than their hatred for the shield hero."
"I… I still want to thank them all for coming." She told the Commander while giving him a soft smile, "With this many people we can do anything!"
"I plan to order these men into their ranks, after that I can give you a chance to speak to all of them at once." He said while walking away, "Be ready in 15 minutes, since I expect our last orders to take that long."
"Yup!" Maple said before turning about and making her way towards her Private group of people, "Erhard, is my armor ready?"
"Just about there. There are a couple of dents I still need to work out." Admitted the smith as he hit the plates with a hammer, "Gotta be honest I did not think the army would mobilize, especially under you. I guess you have a way of changing people's hearts!"
"O-of course they will!" Rishia piped in as Erhard started laughing, "She is a Hero! She saved my people and many others!"
"Kyu~" Maple looked down to see Syrup rubbing one of their heads against Maple's leg as if asking to be petted.
"Yes yes, here you go!" Maple cheered while petting two of the heads, "Are you ready Syrup?"
"KYU!" It chirped with several grins.
"Oh yeah, Rishia!" Maple turned back towards her friend, "How many spells were you able to learn?"
"Uh, about five." The sorcerer claimed, "I've never read Magic Text this fast before. I don't know what happened between my days with a tutor and now."
"That's great! Be sure to make a big splash in the battle!"
"A-a splash!? B-but I didn't learn any water spells!"
"Big boom then!" Maple laughed before giving her friend a hug, "I trust you will destroy everything in our path!"
"Y-Yes! I will make the biggest boom!" Rishia returned the hug with a smile on her face.
"Alright Maple, your armor is ready." Erhard said, "Come over here and I will help you get it on."
As the Hero received their armor, the camp of men started to assemble. Many already established regiments had chosen to join, which made the organization of forces much easier on the Commander Captain.
In total about fifteen regiments were present. Out of them three of them were freeriders equipped with pistols and swords, two units of dedicated cavalry, six units of great swordsmen, and the remainder being halberdiers.
These forces had a history, each of them, back during the great wars that ravaged the continent. The men might be different but traditions and experience was shared between the generations. Once they served under General Aultcray, now they serve under the Shield Hero.
"And there we go, ready to go." Said Erhard as he looked Maple over a few times, "I should get my gear in order before we head out too."
"Thanks!" Maple cheered before seeing Alexandros walk up towards them, "Uh, are they ready?"
"Their ranks have been organized and set up on the other side of this wall. They are prepared to listen to every word that either of us say in preparation for the battle." He said before looking Maple over, "Shield hero Maple, you are about to speak to men who have prepared themselves to die for our Kingdom. I am willing to give you a chance to give them words, but don't say anything too dire to them."
"I-I won't!" She said before feeling her chest sink a little.
"I'm not trying to scare you, I will pick things up and spur the men if you lose track." He answered while taking a few steps towards the wall's edge, "Will this be your first time speaking to men like this?"
"Yes it is…" Maple had to sheepishly admit.
"Then I will make sure you don't ramble for too long." He answered back with a smile, "Now come over, I want you by my side as I start the speech."
Maple gave a nod, following him to the edge. Before Maple there were several groups of men arranged in a three by three grid. On their sides were more men mounted upon horses wielding both lances and guns. Maple was a little confused about the presence of guns, but put it down for later. She saw before her several thousands of men, and yet they were still so organized.
"Men of the Kingdom!" Shouted Advisor Captain Commander Alexandros, "Soon the Waves will arrive. In ten minutes we will be fighting for not only our lives but for the world's!"
His words carried themselves across the grounds which caused every man to stand up straighter.
"The Shield Hero herself wishes to speak to you all. I order you all to stand at attention until the end of her speech, am I understood!?"
A sound went through the people all around Maple, giving her the impression that they had all agreed to it. She felt her heart sink into the ground. Moments after though, a hand upon her shoulder and a smile from Alexandros, she knew she should at least try.
"E-everyone!" She shouted across the place for all to hear, "Th-thank you all for c-coming! I-I thank you fr-from the bottom of my heart!"
Maple knew she was stumbling for words. She knew she was messing up. However may it be the discipline of the troops or simply their respect she was able to continue without any jeers from the crowd.
"Today, y-yeah, today we, um, fight the good fight! Yeah we are fighting monsters!" She grew a smile as things started to get into focus in her mind, "With everyone, yes, everyone at my side we can d-defeat them! We will show them who is the boss!"
"So yeah, everyone, let's go beat them all up!" Maple said while raising her arms to the sky.
At the words the crowd gave a resounding roar of approval. Maybe Maple had won the hearts of a few, but really it was that they knew what they were all in for. Even if it was not the best speech in the world they could feel the strength and ebbs of authority in her voice.
Alexandros gave a nod before stepping back forward, "You heard her men, we thank you for coming, but now you must fight! We will defend the people wherever we appear and assist the heroes in striking down whatever bosses stand before us! Are you with me!"
With that a roar of men responded to the Commander, much more than what Maple got. However it did not hurt her heart that much to see it happen since she was not very good. Maybe, just maybe, she could get better at something like this.
"Alright men, we have only a couple minutes left before the Waves arrive. Confirm your positions and prepare for teleportation! Expect anything and everything!"
There was a last resounding applause as the Commander and Maple both walked down and back to the groups. At this time the smith, Erhard, had finally assembled his gear. Maple gave a shining smile as she walked up to them.
"You did pretty well kid." Erhard told her as he got out an axe and tested the weight of it, "It's got me invigorated."
"I-it was great!" Rishia said as she was trying her best to get some last minute reading in.
"Thanks!" Maple said while kneeling down to Syrup, "Ready boy?"
"Kyu!" It said before enlarging itself to the size of a small horse.
"It's almost time." Alexandros said as he looked at the timer at the edge of his view.
Maple, upon her mighty Abomination, steeled herself for what was to come.
A flash of light covered everyone's visions as they were transported through space and time towards the allotted location. Blinding as it was, they were able to slowly regain their focus. Vision clearing, they can see what could only be described as a hellscape before them.
The entire world had been turned purple. The sky above them ripped from one end to the other. Maple looked up to see monsters of all shapes and sizes coming down from above. It was scary, almost a frightful sight as she saw the world she once knew being torn asunder.
Still, she couldn't help but drool at the sight.
"Outriders, scourge the battlefield and see if there are any nearby villages!" Ordered the Advisor Captain Commander as he took a few steps forward, "Everyone else advance and face these fuckers head on!"
Maple looked around to see the army slowly making their way forward while keeping ranks. Maple looked around and noticed Erhard and Rishia standing behind her as things started getting underway.
"Shield Hero." The commander said to get her attention, "Take your caster and enlarge your mount. I want you to support us as the rest of the Heroes go to kill the boss."
"Yup, uh, where are they?" Maple asked while looking around for a moment.
"I cannot say. They might have simply appeared a ways away from our army thanks to our size."
"Yeah, that sounds right. Rishia hop on!" Maple said while reaching a hand down.
As the other girl ran up Erhard made his way towards the commander, "I guess I am here to protect your ass?"
"Of course, Erhard the Beastslayer." The commander said with a smirk.
"How long did you know?"
"The moment I saw you joined our little army." The Commander laughed while watching Syrup getting bigger and bigger.
Without any restrictions placed upon it, Syrup was allowed to become its one true size. It was huge, big enough to crush small houses underneath its feet. If the armies of Melromarc did not know it was friendly they would have easily mistaken it for a monster of the Wave.
Its numerous roars shook the entire world. The last restriction was of course the amount of heads it could have, tripling three heads into nine as it embraced its nature as an Abomination.
Nine heads meant nine breath attacks, all tearing under the terrain below its feet as it released turrets of every element imaginable. Fire, Acid, Ice, Water, Psychic, and even True Damage were all thrown into the world as Syrup released all it held within.
An arrow with the force of 100 oxen impacted Syrup's neck severing its head.