Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi Chapter 358
「They’re behind us!? What is the scouting unit doing!?」
「Did they breakthrough? Or did they go around?」
Our allies run around in a flurry.
「More importantly, a full scale attack is coming. We should focus on dealing with that first.」
「You must be joking, you think we can fight with the enemy behind us!? We should change our location!」
Angry yelling fly back and forth.
「If tens of thousands have circled behind, then that should mean the force in front has thinned. We can launch an attack……」
「The report said it was the eastern army. In that case, the armies are two separate entities. Simply put, we are being pressed from two sides!」
「But wasn’t the eastern army located far away from us? How did they detour――」
In a panic, hurried plans get suggested left and right.
It was utter chaos.
「So, what should we do?」
「Hggh…… mrrgh……so hot……」
I raise the question to Brian as I wrap a third blanket around Myla.
The only one who can put an end to the disorder is him, the Supreme Commander.
Brian and David waited about ten seconds in silence before standing up.
「Everyone will focus on stopping the attack in front of us. Do not worry about what is going on behind us.」
「There is no need to spare any arrows. Hit them with everything.」
When the commanders look like they were about to say something, David adds an order to seal their mouths.
「As for Commander Hardlett, I want you to use your high mobility army to engage the enemy to our rear.」
「You want me to defeat them on my own?」
Compared to the tens of thousands of enemy forces, my army consisting of bow cavalry and the royal army adds up to a mere 5000.
「If possible, yes…… if not, at least uncover more details about the enemy.」
In other words, this is like a brute force scouting mission.
What kind of a strategy is that?
「Puhah! Power scouting?」
Myla pops her head out from the blankets.
She looks sexy with a slight bit of sweat glistening on her skin, however I don’t have time to embrace her now.
「Right now, we are in a situation where we don’t know if they actually have tens of thousands or whether it actually is the eastern army…… any information would help.」
The difference in the strength of our armies is large, although I guess it’s fine considering we don’t need to fight to the death.
Let me check with Leopolt.
Well, he isn’t saying anything, which probably means he has no problem.
「Then the quicker the better. Let’s go prepare…… Celia, what are you doing?」
「……I’ll be right there.」
For some reason, Celia is covering her head with a blanket.
We separate from the main force, who will begin their fierce fighting soon, and head north.
「Enemy sighted. It doesn’t look like they’re trying to hide anymore…… they’re marching in the middle of the road.」
Split up into several smaller groups, the enemy army marches boldly with their flags held high.
Libatis light cavalry can also be seen running around the perimeter, although they can’t do anything.
「There looks to be 30 000. It wasn’t a miscount.」
Leopolt and I exchange a few words as the attack order is given.
Bow cavalry rush forward while the royal army cavalry also charge with their swords drawn.
「A defense formation is being taken by the enemy.」
Without any sense of panic, our opponent transitions into an anti-cavalry formation.
「For argument’s sake, it doesn’t seem impossible if everyone was on horseback like the bow cavalry……」
「Based on what I see, their ratio of cavalry is not that large. At the very least, more than 20 000 are some kind of infantry.」
Many spearmen and crossbowmen set up in front with archers shooting arrows from behind them.
Our allies stop charging and the bow cavalry return fire as they distance themselves.
「I don’t see the countless carts from the initial reports. Everything from this point will be purely conjecture.」
Light cavalry run out from the enemy lines to cross swords with the royal army cavalry.
Being at a numerical disadvantage, our allies fall back and rely on support from our chariots.
「I believe the enemy has a unit dedicated to transport, which maintained its composition of large carriages.」
「So you’re saying they transported the entire eastern army?」
The barrage of giant bolts from our chariots quickly made the enemy cavalry, who had no intention of chasing deep, pull back and reorganize themselves at a location were they can keep us in check.
Our bow cavalry also contribute to shootout with arrows, however Luna has told them to keep casualties to a minimum and therefore are firing outside enemy range.
Naturally, that would mean a decrease in power, accuracy and fatal blows inflicted.
「Even if they used large carriages, don’t you think they got here too soon? A little more than a week has passed since the start of this operation. The eastern army was transported from that far away?」
Wagons are definitely fast, but not as fast as cavalry.
Besides, horses need water and food to move too, so it’s not like they can run non-stop.
Furious shooting by the bow cavalry pushed the enemy back slowly and the rearguard soon made their appearance.
Ballistae were brought out, which in turn made the bow cavalry escape outside the range.
「There are two possibilities. The first is that the eastern army circled around through Malt’s territory.」
Malt cannot preserve border security when the effects of the disease are still lingering.
「That will end up requiring them to take a longer route.」
Leopolt uses a finger to tap a point on the map with the words “eastern army” written on it.
「Which brings me to the second possibility. Did an eastern army exist in the first place?」
What does that mean?
「We only confirmed the 30 000 of the eastern army in the start of battle. After that, their march was clearly slower than that of the western and southern armies.」
「Surely Libatis also had scouts attached.」
Leopolt doesn’t say anything.
With distance opened up by the bow cavalry and royal army cavalry, they begin to have a stare off against the enemy.
The enemy’s neatly-formed anti-cavalry wall approaches our army at a crawling speed.
「Very little scouting and information analysis was done. What would happen if the army was pretending to be there or if a spy participated in the analysis process?」
I don’t know that much.
「I suspect the eastern army moved immediately after the end of the first engagement and then met up with the transport squad. It was a card left in their hand which they could play at any time they wanted.」
After Leopolt said that, he gives orders for the bow cavalry and the royal army cavalry to halt their attack.
The army before us is strong and has endless ranks of soldiers.
It’s impossible for us to breakthrough.
「If we can’t get out from the back, we’re going to be surrounded.」
「Yes, in this scenario we should be prioritizing low losses rather than victory.」
I kick Schwartz’s belly and turn in a different direction.
No, I’m not running away.
This is a strategic withdrawal. A horse won’t understand what that is.
I see Sekrit tilting her head for once.
Again, she joined the fight without me knowing and got herself covered in blood from the chest up.
「A thorough retreat, detour and encirclement…… a formation in the Empire’s style…… perhaps…… if that’s true, then this is quite odd.」
She runs off somewhere while mumbling to herself.
「As reported, the enemy forces total 30 000. Getting past them with a half-decent army is impossible……we’re falling back.」
We turn our heels and head back to headquarters.
The enemy remains calm and collected, spreading out the army’s wings before resuming their advance south.
Brian slumps his shoulders after hearing my report.
If we tried to force our way through, we would fail miserably and suffer heavy losses.
「The enemy in front of us is not any easier. At this point, we’re fighting hard just to hang on.」
Distress is clearly shown on David’s face.
「The enemy behind us will likely arrive by evening. Of course having our backs threatened is a scary prospect……」
「More importantly, the morale of our soldiers will drop if they find out their escape route has been sealed.」
Jim is slumped over the desk with his hands on his head.
「Is there any way?」
Myla and Celia stare at the placements of ally and enemy on the map as they ponder a solution.
It looks like they can’t come up with a countermeasure.
「If we want to free ourselves from this situation, we should swiftly squash the enemy’s frontal attack, then move at least half our forces to deal with the rear threat. That way, instead of being sandwiched on both sides, we’ll only be fighting the enemy in front of us. We should be able to fight on equal terms until a problem arises with supplies.」
Brian shakes his head at Leopolt’s suggestion.
「Like I said earlier, the enemy’s frontal assault is no joke. We won’t be able to hold out if more than 20% of our strength is shifted.」
Leopolt sits back down, muttering “is that so” to himself softly.
Does that mean we have no options?
「If we can’t win, we should run. It’s better if we prepare now because things will get worse once we get surrounded.」
Retreating when the enemy is relentlessly attacking is a difficult task, though still better than retreating when surrounded.
「The enemy will pursue us persistently…… the casualties will be massive.」
「We don’t have much choice.」
Jim’s opinion gets cut down.
「Considering the damage we will suffer, enemy and ally strength will be reversed. We will once again be on the defensive.」
「With that said, there is no meaning in standing our ground when our desire to win is gone.」
Brian sighs and gives the order.
「Order all units to retreat. Retreat while minimizing losses!」
The war council ends and the entire headquarters takes action.
「I hope we can retreat successfully.」
Leopolt says as I proceed to wrap Myla with a blanket, who rejects me.
「If we allow a 30% loss of our forces, it will be possible. When we regroup close to Tortoent, we can create a situation where the enemy can’t carelessly attack.」
And then we’ll be staring at each other again…… seems like things will really drag on.
Maybe our options will be different if we received reinforcements from Erich.
「Mmm, it feels like I’m forgetting something.」
「If you’re forgetting it, then it isn’t something Lord Hardlett needs to remember.」
Is that so?
Well, I guess I’ll wrap Celia instead.
Myla exchanges looks with the blanket-covered Celia and then moves to my side.
Now she seems more willing to be wrapped.
As expected, the state of battle deteriorated at once.
It’s natural when the soldiers are slowly retreating.
When it comes to the soldiers’ morale, saying “hold on” is fine, but saying “start retreating” would make it drop.
Retreating practically means losing and even the lowest ranked soldier knows defeat is directly linked to the endangerment of life.
It was actually a testament to the ability of the Libatis army that they maintained order and didn’t fall apart completely at the same time they were told to retreat.
「The right wing is about to collapse. Send reinforcements.」
「No, I won’t send any. We should instead have the left wing step back to ensure they aren’t isolated.」
「Pull the spearmen from the center and have them retreat. They aren’t mobile so they’ll be left behind if they stay in the front.」
The Libatis army doesn’t stay still and inch backwards bit by bit.
Soldiers are being kept in line while the speed of retreat increases.
「I’m sure the enemy knows our intentions by now. They’ll be violently bulldozing their way in.」
The enemy mounts a forceful attack in a rough formation.
If we were aiming to counterattack, they are using a rather dangerous tactic. They could only do it because they know we wouldn’t.
「Yes. It’s safe to say that the enemy has a clear understanding of our situation. We are falling behind because of our lack of intelligence.」
Leopolt comments as he gives a few more small orders.
「Should I head to the front and try stopping the enemy?」
With how reckless they’re being, I can find an opening to kill a few commanders and stop their momentum even a little bit.
Leopolt grabs my hand before I could ride on Schwartz.
It’s rare for this guy to touch me. Not that it makes me happy at all.
「You will absolutely not go out. I need Lord Hardlett to stay here.」
「I’m not going to mount a full counterattack. I’ll just go wild a little――」
Leopolt repeats himself.
「You will not go.」
Leopolt’s unexpected insistence convinces me to remove the hand I placed on Schwartz’s back, and then I slap the ass of the animal to chase him away.
Schwartz bites my head angrily, and I brush him away as I walk away from Leopolt.
Myla and Sekrit comes to my side after I’m left feeling irritated from being won over by Leopolt.
「Kuku, it was pretty comical watching that unfriendly guy talk you out of doing something.」
Sekrit chuckles in amusement.
On the other hand, Myla has a serious look on her face.
「I believe what he is saying is correct. The Libatis army is not the only one affected by the retreat order. Our soldiers are staying calm because Lord Hardlett is standing strong. If by chance you get hurt…… they might be routed in an instant.」
Is that so?
I smile back at Myla and then squeeze Sekrit’s ass firmly.
「Ow. You’re going to get me wet.」
「……that kind of thing is also normal and will set the soldiers at ease, I’m sure.」
Celia snatches my hand from Sekrit’s body.
When I look in the distance, I see the sun is slowly starting to rise.
A surging development followed after that.
Finally, the eastern army showed their face to pincer us from behind.
Brian sends a force about 20 000 strong to intercept, trying to buy some time for the others to retreat diagonally.
The eastern army extends both wings to block us, but with 30 000 troops, they can’t thin out the formation too much.
To make up for that, the western and southern army in front of us strengthens their attack further, and yet our allies somehow continue to retreat without collapsing.
We slide away diagonally and don’t let the enemy surround us.
Arrows are fired back in defense while the cavalry shift accordingly when needed to alleviate pressure, all to help the retreat proceed smoothly.
「Only a little more and we will get free from their pincer. Although we are at a disadvantage in troop strength, we can somehow get everyone back!」
Celia exclaims with sweat dripping down her face.
「Looks like it. However――」
「What a relief!」
Right when Irijina excitedly spins her spear, red arrows fly up from the east and west of the army.
It’s the signal for communicating an emergency situation.
「Appearance of enemy cavalry from both sides! Each with 10 000! They’re charging in!」
「Aah, I knew I was forgetting something.」
When I think about it, the cavalry’s whereabouts were unknown.
I look over at Leopolt who has a calm expression…… so he chose not to say anything before.
「It wouldn’t have mattered if I said it. There was already no other option.」
「If you said it earlier, I might have done something different.」
My anger doesn’t last long as I calmly go into thinking.
Wait, Leopolt is the one who took command and he was also the one who thought of the next plan.
「Aegir-sama simply being here will act as the source of the soldiers’ courage!」
Celia follows up to appease me, but I guess it wouldn’t have made much of a difference if I knew or not.
The desperately held together Libatis army get visibly shaken up by the surprise charge of the enemy cavalry.
「An attack from the left and right at the same time we’re trying to escape from being sandwiched from the front and back…… this might be the end.」
「This is probably it. We will get into our own personal defense.」
My army, which had been in a combined formation with the Libatis army, immediately shifted. The infantry moved to the perimeter and the archers moved to the center in an almost square formation.
「Stay alert, shoot arrows only at the enemies coming your way. Cavalry will wait on defense until orders are given.」
「They’re collapsing over there…… isn’t that bad?」
「The enemy is coming from all sides!」
「Lord Hardlett isn’t panicking though. He’s squeezing a woman’s ass as usual. Maybe this is surprisingly not a big deal?」
I can hear some concern within the royal army, however nobody really breaks formation or runs away.
By the time we finished getting ready, shouts come from the Libatis army.
「Defend while you retreat! Match the spearmen against the cavalry!」
「The spearmen already retreated! The army is already stretched out so we can’t get into anti-cavalry formation!」
「Our coordination is a wreck! Headquarters isn’t giving any instructions either. They can’t decide whether to fall back or defend!」
And finally, the situation progressed to the last stage.
「Each squad retreat freely, retreat at full speed! Don’t worry about staying within your group! Abandon heavy objects, just focus on running north!」
「Fall back! Fall backー!」
「Which way is north!?」
「Do we throw our spears away too? Argh, I guess I don’t need it if we’re running. I’ll toss it!」
The Libatis army beside us split up into platoons or even smaller teams and scatter as fast as they can.
「Libatis army…… is collapsing!」
Myla couldn’t hide the anxiety on her face as she reports.
「Hey now, what good is dispersing like that?」
That might work if the opponent is on foot, but it doesn’t matter how much you run against cavalry, they’ll catch up.
No matter how messed up things get, you won’t survive if you don’t defend as you fall back.
「Chase them all down! Annihilate the Libatis army!」
Look, there they are.
I’ve been on the reverse side a lot. This is the first time I’ve been chased.
On the other hand, we stay in a square formation as we start moving back.
「Normally wouldn’t Lord Hardlett leave by himself first?」
That would be uncool.
I can’t abandon my girls here.
「I will stay here. You can do as you like.」
The enemy runs around either side of our slow-moving group and chases after the fleeing Libatis army.
It wasn’t like they didn’t see us.
「There’s still a group that didn’t fall apart!」
「They’re dead meat! Crush them!」
One enemy squad rushes toward us.
Archers and bow cavalry within our formation draw back their bow strings.
「Run through them!!」
A single order was given when they got close enough.
Over 5000 arrows soared in the air.
Fear did not appear on the faces of our allies as the arrows accurately assaulted the opponent as usual.
Meanwhile the enemy ran recklessly forward in the heat of the moment, without giving any thought to defense.
「What a volley! Cancel the attack! Halt!」
Slowing their charge only made them more susceptible to our bow cavalry’s inherent precision and continuous high-speed volley.
It didn’t take long for their attack to be snuffed out.
「Don’t stop moving. Fight while retreating.」
Next came a squad of enemy cavalry.
Spearmen quickly respond to block the charge, followed by a storm of arrows and bolts.
「Damn! These guys practically didn’t budge!」
「Don’t run in blindly. You’ll only get yourselves killed!」
When they put some distance between us to try and look for a weakness, Leopolt gives another order.
「Open up the ranks. Cavalry unit, charge.」
Infantry clear a path for approximately 2000 horses to run out.
Having suffered a counterattack and getting stopped in their tracks, our ally cavalry successfully finished off the weakened enemy cavalry, turning this area into the only place where our side is one-sidedly dominating.
「Stop attacking and withdraw immediately.」
Receiving another order, our ally cavalry return back inside our formation.
Another barrage of arrows rain down on the furiously pursuing enemy.
Command of the army is smooth almost like in a training exercise.
Enemies shout left and right as they surround us, searching for an opening to exploit.
「Intense assault on the south side, they’re pushing us!」
Fumu, should I get to work?
I jump on Schwartz.
Leopolt only moves his eyes to look at me.
「Don’t leave the formation.」
「Are you my mother or something?」
I grumble as I head out.
Our formation is still intact although being overpowered considerably.
「Momentum is in our favor. If we destroy one section, the rest will fall apart!」
「Don’t worry about losses. Keep pushing!」
「Push back no matter what! Don’t let them enter our ranks.」
「It’s over if we let them break through!」
I jump into the chaos, horse and all.
My longsword slices the enemy soldier in half.
On the return swing, my blade splits another soldier’s head open.
「Quiet. Saying that is bad luck.」
To shut his mouth, I thrust my sword in his throat and toss him aside.
「Ooh, it’s Lord Hardlett!」
「Now we can’t lose!」
My allies cheer for my arrival while the enemy shrinks.
「Don’t be timid! We are winning. This is merely an extermination of survivors……」
I run at the man who shouted.
Heavily armed knights appear in front to protect him.
「You may have won the battle.」
I slip past one of them and slam my longsword into his side to send him flying.
「But I won’t let-」
I deflect the second man’s sword with my arm guard and tackle him to knock him off his horse.
「-you annihilate us that easily.」
I grab the second man’s bent sword and jam it in the narrow hole in the third knight’s helmet.
「That’s how it is.」
I bring down my sword on the top of the targeted commander’s head, burying the blade through his skull and down to his chest.
When I twist my sword and forcefully pull it out, the commander’s body splits open with the sound of a ripe fruit being torn apart.
It was at this timing.
「Raise the flags!」
My flag…… the pitch black flag gets held up.
「C’mon now, why act like you’re in a parade?」
I instinctively complain to Leopolt, although it has a different effect on the opponent.
「T-that flag…… these guys are the demon army!」
「No wonder they’re so tough!」
「The outcome is clear. There’s no point needlessly incurring casualties against demons.」
Panic spreads and the enemy recedes like the tide.
「Oh, what the heck?」
Before I could swing down my sword, a soldier curses at me.
「Damn demon, I’ll exterminate you someday!」
I’ll get upset if I let them freely say whatever they want.
「So annoying. Why don’t you come right now, coward.」
Leopolt told me not to leave the formation.
If I don’t keep my word, he’ll be on my ass again, so everybody will have to come to me.
「One day I’ll display your head in front of the main street in the imperial capital, demon!」
The next to jeer is a female, a pretty one too.
I can endure that one to be honest.
「Don’t say something so sad, how about we go a round? I’m fairly big down there.」
「Pervert! Lecherous demon! H-how big are we talking?」
I return to the center after finishing my ridiculous exchange.
「It appears information on Lord Hardlett is being shared, for better or worse, among them.」
So that’s why my flag was raised.
「It is inefficient for a wolf to bare its fangs when hunting an abundance of fleeing rabbits.」
The enemy chooses to avoid us and instead tracks down the Libatis soldiers.
「At this rate, Libatis will suffer more than 20 or even 30 percent in losses.」
No matter how fierce the battle, casualties from a head-on collision can be known.
Catastrophic damage from pursuits like this will be calculated after the dust settles.
「There are squads in the Libatis army that are still maintaining order too. There…… and over there!」
I look where Celia points.
That’s…… Jim’s defense force and Brian’s squad.
It looks like those who are skilled are capable of enduring.
Also becoming aware of us, they slowly close the distance between us while retreating to a point where the both of us can help each other.
Maybe it was due to the raising of my black flag or maybe they were prioritizing the hunting of disorderly soldiers, but despite the severe attack, the armies which remained composed somehow managed to escape the predicament.
「Let us head to Tortoent while retrieving any scattered soldiers.」
David suggests and I promptly accept, although everyone else remains silent.
Brian hangs his head with closed eyes.
「……ooooh…… ooo……justice…… why……」
Jim leans forward and sobs with his eyes wide open.
C’mon, I know you’re frustrated, but that’s gross.
「A tally will be done when we reach Tortoent, however this is extreme…… the loss estimated is extremely large.」
David also looks downcast.
Myla, Irijina, and Celia get swallowed by the mood and all of them look glum.
Leopolt is the only one emotionless, no Sekrit is also facing down, except she is most likely holding back a smile.
The chase has ended by now and I can hear faint sounds from the enemy camp.
「All you brave soldiers. We have once again attained victory.」
The voice sounds familiar and at the same time too faint for me to be sure.
「Libatis’s asinine government and army cannot stop us. This fight proved that. We are the superior army and the superior country.」
I hear a ground-shaking cheer.
「Let us guide the citizens of Libatis who have been fed lies from an unenlightened government to a place with a true ruler, to the glorious Empire――」
Don’t tell me Wilhelmina is here.
I won’t go back even if she is though.
「Go forth, brave soldiers. No one can stand in your path.」
I hear another roar of the crowd.
The enemy’s morale is unbelievably high, that much is clear.
On this day, Libatis lost 70% of its total military force.
――Two Weeks Later, In Tortoent.
「Here’s the bad report~」
Suzy, as the liaison, hands over a document from command headquarters to Celia.
When Celia accepts it, she glares at Suzy.
Celia probably wants to say three things.
The first is how she speaks, the second is regarding the red dye painted on her nails and the noisily jingling accessories she’s wearing, and the third is how she didn’t say “battle report” properly.
If Suzy was a guy, I think I would take her down too.
She’s a girl, so I just have to put up with it.
The uniform she’s casually wearing in such a way that I can see her boobs and the constantly unguarded positions she puts herself in which reveal her underwear has nothing to do with my decision.
「Can I go out for a bit~?」
Suzy leaves the room.
When she bends down to pick up the bag she left on the sofa, I see her underwear.
Today she’s wearing a flashy red pair which digs into her fleshy ass.
She’s probably going for lunch break.
She won’t return in three hours or so.
「What’s with that girl! Her attitude isn’t the only problem, she has no intention to do any work!」
Celia yells as soon as the door closes.
「Calm down. Maybe she doesn’t have enough experience yet.」
The only things she’s lacking are motivation, ability, and manners.
「She has nothing left then! She’s basically here just to show you her panties!」
「That’s not all. Yesterday, I saw her nipples when she bent down.」
I soothe Celia as I read the report.
Nothing unusual is written.
Tortoent is currently under an encirclement by the South Yuguria army and is getting attacked intermittently.
Sturdy walls, plenty of siege weapons, and a stockpile of supplies within the city will allow Libatis to survive, however they have no margin to launch a counterattack against an enemy with close to 150 000 troops.
「Erich’s reply still isn’t here yet?」
「No…… it should have arrived though.」
Before Tortoent got surrounded, I sent a letter to Goldonia telling them of our overwhelming inferiority after the great defeat in the pitched battle and to send reinforcements urgently.
Celia wrote the letter and Leopolt checked, so no nonsense was written in the note and I don’t think the king is hateful enough to abandon an entire corps of the royal army.
If a force of ten thousand or more gets sent, the South Yuguria army can’t keep sieging us so easily.
「I don’t think Torotent will fall in one or two months, so I guess we wait patiently.」
I say that and feel for the bundle hidden under the desk.
Inside the wrapping is a shiny gold necklace which Suzy might like.
She seems to be an easy girl, so maybe I can get her to sleep with me if I get her in a good mood.
The problem is that if Celia finds out my intentions, she’ll definitely get in the way.
Suzy and Celia have the worst compatibility after all.
A girl who lets her guard down can be just as wonderful as an uptight girl.
Girls are simply the best.
–Third Person POV–
At The Same Time. Capital – Goldonia.
Several men gather around a table in a certain gloomy underground room.
Another man wearing a military uniform joins in.
「Ooh, Lord Craff. We were waiting for you.」
「Do you have something for us?」
「Lord Craff is connected to an important post after all.」
The man named Craff sits down without taking off his coat and then speaks.
「I had an important meeting with the Military commissioner…… and it seems the situation to the south is rather disappointing. We aided Libatis and suffered a major defeat…… that Lord Hardlett is requesting for reinforcements after struggling in battle.」
Gasps leak from the participants.
「Is the South Yuguria Empire really that formidable!?」
「Hmm, if Libatis falls into ruin, that nation will share a border with us. It wouldn’t be somebody else’s problem anymore.」
Everyone murmurs in concern.
「The Military Commissioner wants to send reinforcements as soon as possible, however……」
Craff scrunches up his face..
「With His Majesty away for rest, he cannot act on his own. Furthermore, His Majesty gave a strict order to not be bothered if something happened…… so we can only wait until he returns.」
Everyone expresses their anger.
「To go on vacation at such a critical time…… I question his sanity!」
「His Majesty, who is normally overly strict and a capable supervisor, might have gone mad. It doesn’t seem like he loves this country at all!」
Some people criticize the king, though those voices quickly die down.
「No, there is no doubt His Majesty is a great man who once expanded the kingdom’s territory.」
「That’s right, Goldonia is the powerful country it is today because of His Majesty’s wisdom.」
「The reason he has become like that is due to another.」
Everyone seems to have the same opinion.
「Yes. The suspicious woman called Rosario has led His Majesty astray.」
The men start badmouthing Rosario with intolerable words.
「We have to do something about her……」
「Umu, if she disappeared, His Majesty will return to being the intelligent king he was before.」
The men get irritated, but the atmosphere soon calms down.
「Nevertheless, us nationalists will not lose to anybody in terms of patriotism……」
「Still, we don’t have anyone who can affect the political situation…… and all of us are unable to get an audience with His Majesty.」
These men are self-proclaimed nationalists and gather every night in the basement to discuss the state of the world, however they are in reality sons of low-ranked nobles and knights, not the main bureaucrats who have influence over national policy.
When everyone was stuck feeling hopeless, one young man speaks up with a sense of importance.
「Dirys-dono…… you are an influential tax official in the capital…… however you don’t have enough power to offer an opinion to the king……」
The man opens a box in the corner of the room.
Packed inside the box are countless gold coins.
「Look here as well.」
Written on the scroll he rolled open is the schedule of the king’s vacation and the particulars about his security.
「……it even has the details about my dad’s palace guards. It’s accurate to the point of noting that a spot is vacant due to one soldier being ill.」
「Where on earth did you get this money and information……」
「I don’t know. It was delivered to my room addressed to the nationalists early in the morning. This is what I think.」
Dirys slowly looks around at everyone before speaking.
「I think this was entrusted to us by a great noble or perhaps a great feudal lord who shares the same sentiment of grief with the current situation as we do!」
Everyone cheered and stood up.
「With the funds and information we have, we can proceed to execute that plan.」
「The plan to remove that cunning woman, huh…… it was put on hold because we lacked the power.」
The men proudly pull out the plan documents.
Those papers listed out a shallow and poorly-developed strategy under the name of a plan.
「If we can be rid of that woman, His Majesty will surely wake up.」
「Absolutely right! We will kill Rosario and become the saviors of Goldonia!」
The men eagerly exit the basement and run off in separate directions to carry out their respective roles.
Nobody knew that one person in the group handed a letter to a shadowy figure in the back alley.