Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi Chapter 327
–Third Person POV–
Magrado General Governorate. Governor General’s Office.
The Governor General of Magrado, Griff Zilgray, is listening to his subordinate’s report.
「The execution of those insurgents is finished. Unfortunately we couldn’t get any useful information, but we made it public that they were the remnants of former Magrado.」
Zilgray throws his pen uninterestedly on the desk.
His expression wasn’t exactly one of dissatisfaction.
「Hmph, it must be Hardlett’s cheap revenge, though there is no proof.」
Not too long ago, the General Governorate received a tip that a plan to assassinate Zilgray was ongoing.
「I expected Hardlett to respond but this is just pathetic.」
Zilgray was prepared for some form of retaliation after his own assassination plan failed, but he swiftly dealt with it, successfully arresting all the suspicious people before anything could be done.
Being the Governor General of such an unfriendly region, he had a high ability to maintain public order.
After that, a harsh interrogation was conducted until half of the suspects ended up dying, however Zilgray could not find any proof linking the individuals to Hardlett. None of them knew anything.
「Our plan was one step short of killing Hardlett, while his shoddy attempt was foiled before preparations were even made. As expected, he’s just a musclehead who knows how to fight and this is all he can muster.」
「That’s exactly right, our failure was because the assassins were incompetent. Your Excellency’s plan was perfect.」
The subordinate gives praise without a moment’s delay and is met with a satisfied nod from Zilgray.
「Either way, we have to think about the next plan. If we remove that troublesome man, then――」
At that moment, noisy footsteps can be heard in the corridor, which makes Zilgray rest his elbow on the desk and lower his eyebrows in annoyance.
「Your Excellency, it’s terrible!」
「You’re too loud. I told you to stay calm when you move.」
It didn’t take long for Zilgray’s tone to raise after he received the report.
「There was a raid on the warehouse in Patena!? What’s the damage!?」
「15 guards and 4 dock workers died――」
「I don’t care about that! What happened to the cargo bound for the capital!?」
Zilgray grabs the subordinate’s collar.
「Well, the attackers scattered the cargo all over the city, making it impossible to recover…… half a year’s worth of construction funds for the central nobles have…… it’s all been lost.」
The subordinate turns his eyes away as he finishes his report.
「How dare he…… how dare he, how dareーーー!」
Zilgray flies into a rage, wiping away all the documents, writing instruments, and the cup off his desk.
「That Hardlett, he’s done it now! I’ll kill him! I’ll definitely kill him!!」
Zilgray slams his desk furiously, then eventually calms down.
The subordinate inquires anxiously.
「Kill him…… kill that unpleasant womanizer this instant!!」
「With all due respect, the next assassination plan is still in the preparation stage. Defences have heightened since the last attack so taking him out isn’t that easy…… besides, acting carelessly may create more chances to screw up and if the Kingdom’s information officers catch our tail, it may mean a loss for Your Excellency.」
「Then aim for his women! The royal palace won’t butt in for some lover as long as we avoid the legal wife!」
Thus the fight below the surface continues.
「…… damn Zilgray, he crossed the line he shouldn’t cross.」
I pass the letter to Leopolt.
I didn’t expect to hear about the operation’s success from somebody besides Celia and company.
The letter was written by Rebecca the Kingdom’s lead information officer, telling me “Governor General Zilgray seems to be indignant after learning about Patena burning down and may take extreme measures. Be especially careful with your lovers and loved ones”, to give me advance warning.
There was more written in the letter, though it was of less importance to me at this point.
I don’t care if he wants to kill me, but targeting the women? What a disgusting guy.
「In the latter half of the letter, it says “it’s fine to continue doing things under the table, but aggravating the situation any more would warrant intervention”.」
Once Leopolt finishes reading the letter, he sets it on fire and turns it into ash.
It’s not a letter which should be left lying around.
Myla didn’t read the letter so she glared at Leopolt when he did that, but he remained composed.
「As we discussed previously, we will strengthen the security on the mansion and also increase the number of guards.」
That isn’t good enough for me. Defending and waiting for the enemy’s approach doesn’t fit my personality.
If I was being targeted, I wouldn’t mind embracing women while waiting for the opponent to make a move, but when my women are in danger, I end up being worried and unable to sleep at night.
「I have an idea.」
I whisper my plan to Leopolt.
「That would be getting our priorities backwards. I’d like if you used your head more.」
I know it’s a reckless plan, still there are other ways to tell me.
I grab Myla, who was trying to listen in, and pull her cheeks.
They’re smooth and all, but it feels like they’re lacking in elasticity compared to Celia.
「What are you doing!?」
The way she only protests verbally is the same as Celia. I’ll keep doing it.
「…… however I do understand that you want to settle things in one fell swoop. Let me make some amendments and I’ll come back with a new plan.」
With that, Leopolt leaves the room.
「Hn? Did he accept my plan?」
「My cheeks are going to stretch~」
Now that I think about it, Leopolt doesn’t exactly ignore the things I say.
Even though he makes snide remarks and does things I don’t tell him to do, he still follows my instructions.
「Looking at it that way, he’s quite the loyal retainer. He can be really irritating at times though……」
Regardless, I have to get ready now.
Inside the large rocking carriage, I silently inspect my longsword.
「This is a chance to redeem myself, I will definitely do my part.」
Myla, who is sitting beside me, is looking pretty tense as she is psyching herself up.
「It’s so fluffy. What’s in there?」
「It’s hard and grainy? It feels good for a cushion……」
Luna and Ruby seem to like Mel’s signature cushion and become more relaxed.
「Wahahaha! You won’t have any energy if you don’t eat!」
Irijina is eating some kind of meat. Everyone’s going to get angry if you spill any meat juice on the carpet.
「Listen to me. Nobody steps in front of me, this is an order.」
Everyone answers in unison. My intentions were to bring the girls who can defend themselves, but I would pay too much attention to them if they step ahead of me and I won’t be able to go wild like I want.
The carriage we’re all riding right now is the largest of all the ones we own and the one which is typically used when taking Nonna and the others for an excursion. In the large interior space, one can find Nonna’s change of clothes, Carla’s hunting bow, and a variety of cushions Mel knitted with her daughters.
By the way, there is a small space up in the ceiling which became Casie’s exclusive area.
Finally, the carriage that I’m supposedly riding is accompanied by many guards and has gone ahead of us one hour earlier.
The objective is to escape the heat, going to a far away lake with the family for a change of pace.
Since we’re taking a route away from the main roads, the path is narrower, which prevents the larger carriage from going fast.
Furthermore this carriage has extremely lighter security compared to the carriage I’m supposed to be on and that has gone ahead of us.
「There’s an obstacle on the path! Stop here!!」
The carriage stops abruptly, making all of us lose our balance inside.
At the same time, I hear multiple voices, too many to be guards.
Then, it’s the familiar sound of metal―― the sound of swords.
「They stopped! Without a doubt, this is the concubines’ carriage!」
「Team A hold off the guards! Team B complete the objective, show no mercy!」
I calmly and slowly stand up.
The carriage door was opened violently.
「Concubines of Hardlett! We bear no grudges, but please di――」
As a man attempts to enter the carriage with his sword held above his head, his face meets my steel boot.
The man, dressed in a traveler’s typical getup likely in an attempt to disguise himself, gets his face totally smashed and looks more like a suspicious person at first glance.
He shouldn’t be able to move after that.
「Uooh! What the heck is―― eh?」
The man waiting near the entrance of the carriage stares wonderingly at the sword that pierced his chest.
My longsword completely ran through his heart and the man fell after taking his final breath.
I step on the two corpses as I make my way outside.
I’m fully equipped, resting the longsword on my shoulder while keeping the Dual Crater at my hip and wearing the same armor I would during wartime.
That was probably the last thing anybody would expect to come out of such a fancy-looking carriage.
「I’ve been waiting for you. Thanks for not wasting any time and coming out so soon.」
As I make the comment, I take a huge swing with my longsword.
Everything from the chest up of the man standing roughly three meters in front of me starts sliding to the side.
「Why don’t we get started?」
The attackers seem taken aback at my fully armed appearance.
「That’s not what we were told! The concubines were supposed to be riding carriage at the back!」
「The scouts definitely said they saw women on it!」
「Isn’t that Hardlett himself!?」
When the final village was passed, Luna and Ruby looked out the carriage wearing regular clothes.
Of course now they are fully armed.
「What’s wrong? You’re supposed to be the attackers, right? Come at me.」
I take a quick look around me.
I would say there were about 30 or so of them total, whereas there are only 4 guards on our side, although they’re fully armed and took out a good amount of the attackers.
Excluding the guys on the ground, that makes 20 of them left.
「W-we can’t pull back now! Let’s go!」
The enemies charge forward collectively after the order was given.
I was already on the move before the command left the man’s throat.
「Uwaaah, it’s the war demon!」
「Don’t falter! That title is ultimately just a rumor…… higyah!!」
I run in a straight line towards the person who shouted the orders and swing my sword.
The man couldn’t do anything and my sword traveled from the top of his head to his crotch, cleanly splitting the man’s body in half like a piece of firewood.
How careless. Aiming for the boss is the fundamentals of battle. If you’re going to stand in front and give orders, you’ll obviously get targeted first.
Now their morale should go down.
「I’m not letting anybody escape. I have to teach everyone what happens when they try to hurt my women.」
Unlucky for you guys, I need all of you here to die.
The pathetic order urged the attackers into action.
A man rushes forward with his sword and is met with my shield.
When we made contact, I heard three sounds which came with the weak groan.
The first was my shield breaking his sword, the second was his hand breaking, the third was his body getting crushed.
His bones broke so quickly that a part of his body became all flimsy and he crumpled limply to the ground.
「Hiiih!」「So the war demon is real…… damn monster!」
I’m not in the mood to talk anymore.
I silently charge at the place where I hear the voices come from and whip my sword around.
My sweep takes out one enemy’s legs, while I use the rotational force to bash another with my shield.
I trip yet another opponent, then after he falls, stick my sword in his back.
These guys are no amateurs, however they fight strangely.
They’re not used to dealing with a battle-tested soldier in armor and fight like they’re brawling in the city.
「How about this!?」「I got you now!」
Two men come at me from either side, which I dodge by twisting my body.
I couldn’t completely get out of the way, so the blades hit my body, but……
「That’s not going to do anything.」
The edges slip off my arm guard and my shoulder armor and cut the air.
I know I’m wearing the extra sturdy dragon skin armor, but even if for argument’s sake I was wearing regular metal armor, their attacks won’t leave a scratch.
「This is how you cut people.」
As the two men are off balance from their swords deflecting off my armor, I send one flying with a front kick and then swing my sword down on the right shoulder of the other.
My blade tears through the armor worn by the man like paper, cutting diagonally into his body until the sword escapes at his hip.
The man lets out a nonsensical scream as his sliced upper body slides sideways, his insides spraying everywhere before both severed sections fall to the ground.
Umu, that one strike could have finished them off if they were wearing metal armor too.
I don’t know if the one who I kicked sprained an ankle or something, but the man pulls back while lying down.
When I went closer to finish him off, he suddenly threw sand at me.
I cover my face and crouch down.
「Hahaha! Sand isn’t used when you’re fighting refined nobles, right!?」
That man swiftly gets up and steps forward with his sword in hand.
When he closes the distance, I return the favor with a handful of sand of my own.
A surprise attack with sand is a pretty standard fighting move.
People may get on my case about fighting in a disgraceful manner if they saw me, but I’m only with family right now.
My throw was more powerful since the distance was closed so the man’s eyes are completely done.
He drops to the ground and writhes in an unsightly manner.
「P-please, spare me! I can’t fight anymore!」
「No, I’m gonna kill you.」
You put me in a bad spot by putting the lives of my women in danger, that’s why I can’t let you live.
I bring down my shield on the wailing man, turning him into squashed fruit.
That makes nine people.
「Don’t go up against Hardlett! Go after the women!」
The attackers change their target from me to the girls in the carriage.
During the time I was rampaging, the girls have already gotten ready for battle.
Luna and Ruby have climbed on the roof of the carriage with their bows over their backs, while Myla and Irijina stand in front of the carriage.
「That giant woman…… looks strong so aim for the weaker-looking ones!」
「……come at me if you want.」
Myla seems a little happy.
On the other hand, Irijina sulks a little. Is she bothered about being called big?
As Irijina was about to help Myla with the three enemies going for her, she signals to Irijina that no help is needed before dropping her hips low.
She specializes in using a standard one-handed sword and a metal shield.
That’s probably why the attackers determined she would be easy to deal with, however――
Myla took a quick step back the moment they slashed at her.
Two of the opponents end up cutting air, meanwhile the other one remains balanced and proceeds to swing his sword again.
「It doesn’t matter if a woman uses a shield!」
The enemy swings his sword down despite seeing Myla put up her shield.
He must be thinking that a woman’s strength can easily be crushed.
Myla doesn’t have herculean strength. Even with training as a soldier, she isn’t the type to overpower her foes.
Her skill is what makes her strong.
As soon as the opponent’s sword hits her shield, Myla lowers it diagonally.
The sword is deflected to the side and the man loses his balance.
Myla’s sword flashes horizontally for a single strike and takes the man’s head off cleanly.
The decapitated man’s momentum carries him forward totteringly for a few steps before the body falls over.
「This bitch! I’ll kill her.」
Myla’s sword locks the enraged man’s thrust.
「A disarm huh, that was often done to me during training.」
It would be impossible if I was using the long and heavy longsword, but the sparring sword I used got flung away countless times.
Before I knew it, the man’s sword left his hand and he stood defenseless in front of her.
The man didn’t have a chance to say anything more as Myla drives her sword through the man’s throat.
「You’re the last one!」
Myla goes on the offense this time. She pulls her sword back seemingly to slash at the man.
Of course the man’s instinct is to raise his own sword to block, but his face gets struck with Myla’s shield.
Myla was in position to use her shield from the start and set that up with an unnecessarily large motion of her sword.
After a second powerful hit with the shield, the man suffers a nosebleed and closes his eyes.
That was finally when her slash was unleashed, her blade gouging deeply into the man’s neck and killing him.
Myla is by no means weak despite her superior ability to lead soldiers.
No, there are not many soldiers even amongst the elite troops capable of competing with her.
Celia also loses a lot when she goes one-on-one with her.
「S-she’s not a good choice either! Go after the ones on the roof!」
The men change targets again, turning to Luna and Ruby who are positioned on top of the carriage.
「They have bows!」
「Close in on them and drag them down!」
Five men rush towards the two girls.
The distance between them was short enough that missing one shot could spell the end for the sisters, as far as normal thinking goes.
However there wasn’t any unease in my heart after I saw what Pipi and Gido do on a regular basis.
「Let’s go.」「Yes, big sis!」
Luna and Ruby nock one arrow on their bows, while keeping more arrows in their mouths.
After steadying their aim, the bowstrings twanged.
With every short exclamation of pain, each of the five men heading towards the carriage was shot down.
All of them were hit in vital areas like their eyes, throats or hearts.
Incredible precision and firing speed as expected.
Pulling arrows from their quivers was probably too troublesome, which is why they held them in their mouths.
「We did it, sis!」
Not many are left now, allowing the siblings to rejoice in high spirits.
「N-no good! They’re not opponents we can beat!」
「You’ll be finished if you leave empty-handed anyways!」
Whoever was left ended up going after Irijina.
「The weak-looking ones wound up being strong.」
「The strongest-looking woman may be weak then!」
「Looking closer now, she doesn’t seem very bright!」
The men point their swords at Irijina.
Unfortunately for them, she’s one level above Myla and Celia in terms of strength.
「Alright, everyone charge――――」
Irijina doesn’t wait for him to finish and runs her spear straight through one of the men’s faces.
「Damn scoundrels, get skewered!」
She swings her spear up, sending the man she skewered flying like a ragdoll.
「Wahahahaha!! Soft! Too easy!!」
Irijina is unfazed by the men’s attacks, twirling her spear to block their swords with ease.
An average man has no chance of winning against her head-on.
Irijina launches a sharp thrust which impales the man in the center of his abdomen.
The attack was too fast to react to, well even if he did block it, he would have been overpowered by her brute strength.
The man whose body was penetrated let out a long groan.
「I’m not done!!」
Irijina tosses the stabbed man aside, then swipes at the next man with the tip of her spear to knock him down.
She’s too much for them. It isn’t even close.
「Shit, she looks strong and actually is strong!」
Most individuals are as powerful as they look, with one exception being Christoph.
The final man got hit with a thrust at the waist, his body nailed by a tree, turning into an actual skewer.
「Don’t let them get away, after them!」
The four escorts also managed to rout the enemies.
Several of the enemies were defeated and laying on the ground, while the rest scatter in all directions.
「Leave one alive and kill the rest.」
Once the escorts mounted their horses, it wasn’t possible for the attackers to outrun them, resulting in a total slaughter.
Just like they were told, a single individual was knocked unconscious on the head before the rest were massacred.
「Kill that one too.」
I immediately run over when I heard the high-pitched scream.
「It’s a woman! Don’t kill her!」
I stop the escort right as he was about to bring his sword down.
Having lost her sword already, she admirably tries to stab me with a knife.
I casually knock it out of her hands before picking her up and carrying the flailing woman on my shoulder.
「Operation’s complete. Let’s go boast to Leopolt.」
「Stop! Let go! Kill me already!」
Thus ends the assault.
Leopolt insisted for one to be kept alive, however I already know the culprit without interrogations having to be done.
「So burning down the warehouse was effective after all.」
I realize I wasn’t smiling even after making the joke.
This attack was seriously aimed at my women…… at my lovers.
If not for Rebecca’s warning, who knows who could have gotten injured.
「If you’re so inclined…… I’ll teach you.」
Bloodlust unconsciously leaks out of me.
The woman on my shoulder was fully exposed to it and became frightened.
「Sorry sorry, I didn’t mean you. For you, I’ll be doing a gentle investigation from your head to your toes, don’t worry.」
As I grab the trembling woman’s ass, I turn to Myla.
「Go summon Leopolt and Tristan. The next move is decided.」
What a meddlesome fight, still I’m ready for whatever they come at me with.