Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi Chapter 360
Libatis – Tortoent.
「Aegir-sama, bad news!」
Celia bursts into the room.
Marta, who is sucking my dick at the moment, was startled and bit down by accident.
She looks at me as if trying to say sorry, although her tiny teeth can’t injure my cock anyways.
Rather, it provides additional stimulation enough to make me start to cum.
「Can’t you wait until I finish in a little bit?」
「It can’t wait. If you have to release, then do so while you take a look.」
Celia covers my lower half, including Marta, with a blanket and then hands me a sealed letter.
That letter was torn in various places and had something that resembles blood on it.
It looks like the letter came from an unpleasant situation.
「It’s from Erich-san. A messenger, disguised as a soldier of the South Yuguria army, jumped in through the gates right in front of my eyes. Unfortunately, his injuries were too severe and he died right away……」
If that guy risked his life to deliver this message, then I should read it immediately.
「Ng, ng, ngh…… ubhbh……」
Distracted by Marta’s desperate service, I open the blood-stained letter.
The letter’s contents are even more shocking than the condition of the letter.
「This is…… troubling to say the least.」
「May I take a look as well?」
「Sure, my seed has stopped.」
Celia, being the sincere person she is, hasn’t read it beforehand.
She peeks her head out from beside me and becomes speechless.
「A royal command ordering all armies of the kingdom to gather in the capital…… there is no hope for reinforcements…… do not expect any reinforcements. No way……」
Celia’s pale face tells the whole story.
I don’t want to see Celia that way so I tickle her sides, but she doesn’t react.
「Go call everyone here. Gido is with a woman right now so give him five minutes.」
Celia promptly responds and dashes off.
Late at night, even President White still dressed in his pajamas has come in the meeting room.
While Celia glares at Gido for making her wait, I speak up without delay.
「I’ll start with the conclusion. Goldonia won’t be sending any reinforcements.」
There was a moment of silence, followed by gasps of surprise and bewilderment.
「……does that mean they will be coming late?」
Brian asks slowly.
He’s probably worn out from being unable to deal with the anxiety after the earlier defeat in battle.
「No, they’re not coming at all.」
If they were late, Erich would have included the time in his letter.
In other words, additional soldiers will absolutely not be coming.
「That’s not what we agreed on!」
「We were expecting backup from Goldonia, that’s why we chose to defend a siege!」
Nothing can be done even if you tell me that.
Besides, we had no other choice than to hole up in the city after losing so magnificently.
For the next while, everyone expressed their concerns in a tumultuous shouting match.
Celia steps in front with intentions to protect me, however complaints fly over her head.
Well, she’s healing me so I’m fine.
「In any case, we have to rework our plans if reinforcements aren’t coming.」
Brian settles everyone down and then turns to President White.
「Fortunately for us, we have an abundance of food and supplies in the city. If we fortify the city’s defenses using the walls and solicit help from citizens to exhaust the enemy when they attack again, there is a chance we get free from this siege.」
Currently, the enemy’s forces are easily over 100 000 and they are continuing to grow stronger.
Libatis on the other hand has more or less 30 000 including the injured, then you add my army, which is no match for South Yuguria.
If we consider the 150 000 people in Tortoent, it’s not impossible to put up a fight assuming several tens of thousands get conscripted.
Goldonia would do just that, I wonder what Libatis will choose.
President White thinks hard before nodding.
「I understand what the Secretary of Defense is saying. However, this is not something he can decide, nor is it something I can decide alone.」
Now he’s looking at me.
「Tomorrow, I will be holding an emergency congress. I would like if Commander Hardlett also participates.」
President White pats my shoulder..
I nod and agree, but what the heck is a congress?
――The Next Day.
After being guided to the congress, I listen to the exchange between the President, the members of congress and Brian.
I don’t think I can fall asleep.
「Nobody told me the battle was going to be as bad as this!」
「This isn’t just a minor lost battle!?」
「How does the military intend to take responsibility!? You tax thief!」
「They’re so noisy……」
The abuse from the members of congress is annoying, but the earth-shaking jeers from those around the congress hall, likely citizens, are also something else.
「It’s because they were told unnecessary things. The masses are foolish so it would have been better to act while hiding the truth.」
Leopolt, uninterested in the argument, participates in idle chatter for once.
「At this rate, nothing will be decided.」
Celia is also fed up.
Discussions with such angry arguments often end without anything being resolved.
Our expectations would be betrayed.
President White slowly climbs the stage during the heated debate and declares clearly.
「Silence…… the members of congress elected by the citizens will now announce the details of the peace negotiations with South Yuguria Empire.」
I accidentally spoke out loud.
Leopolt silently shakes his head as he listens for the continuation.
Brian and Jim, who are sitting at a distance from me, are also surprised.
So not even his own people were told about this?
「I have to say that since the earlier defeat, we have unfortunately fallen into an extremely disadvantageous position.」
President White addresses the audience with exaggerated gestures.
「I will not deny that the conditions for peace are humiliating to us.」
Let’s see…… “temporary delegation of command of the military”, “temporary delegation of diplomatic power”, “revision of tax system”, fumu fumu.
「Doesn’t that make us a vassal state!?」
「We can’t concede so much to our invaders!」
Members of congress raise a fuss.
Even Brian is in opposition.
「They are certainly not desirable terms. However we have not conceded everything. The foundations of our country, freedom and democracy, have been maintained.」
Let’s see…… “guarantee of the citizens’ assets”, “preservation of democracy and the system of government”, interesting.
「Being able to keep our assets is meaningless when they can adjust the tax. Not to mention we can’t resist if the military is taken away from us. These conditions don’t leave us with anything.」
After making the citizens powerless, South Yuguria can just beat them up without any regard to the promises after all.
「We should not accept those conditions! Have you forgotten how this war started!? It was started by an opponent not worth believing!」
Brian and other soldiers shout their opinions.
It doesn’t affect President White at all.
「Is that so…… then Secretary of Defense, please tell me our chances of victory in the current state.」
Brian stands up with a bitter expression on his face.
「……at the moment, the South Yuguria army has surrounded the capital with more than 120 000 soldiers. Our army is being reorganized and has approximately 30 000, with Commander Hardlett adding 15 000 soldiers from his army…… altogether making 45 000.」
The members of congress are reminded once again of how dire the situation is when they hear the numbers and they all sigh audibly.
「I believe we have slim chances in a field battle. That’s why we’ll issue an order to conserve supplies while preparing for an extended siege defense, then request citizens to join the army to strengthen the army――」
「Conserve? Don’t tell me you’re going to put a restriction of the assets of the people!」
「Turning citizens into soldiers!? You better not be thinking of mandatory conscription!」
「That goes against the freedom in this country! Those are not words which should be coming out from a soldier’s mouth!」
Members of congress grow angry.
「Listen to what I’m saying! O-on top of that, we can make the enemy give up on sieging if we continue fighting. At the very least, get conditions not essentially equivalent to a complete surrender―― please, if you could stop yelling!」
Brian desperately shouts back to no avail.
「We’re in this pinch only because the military was useless to begin with!」
「How many lives must you lose to your cause!? Did you think you could get people to understand you!?」
「Saying whatever you want because you didn’t get elected! Step down, I motion for a change in personnel!」
I don’t know what’s what anymore.
Maybe I’ll touch Celia’s leg―― it feels strangely hard…… oh, it’s Leopolt’s leg.
That’s the worst feeling ever, I should replace you.
After the members of congress have argued for a while, the president once again returns to the stage.
「The Secretary of Defense has thought of his best plan for winning. I admire your talent and that heart which loves this country.」
It looks to me you’re denouncing Brian though.
「If we win that way, will it really be considered a victory? Is there any meaning in a victory which kills citizens and burns the fortunes they have amassed?」
What an exaggeration, I don’t think he can say that if you look at a pioneer village which actually got attacked by bandits.
「Thus, I propose we accept terms for peace. Our most important duty is to think of the interest of the public after all.」
It would be nice if anything is left for them at all.
「This is truly a decision which determines the fate of a nation. Members of congress, please deliberate――」
There’s no need for me to listen on.
The Libatis government has agreed to peace with the South Yuguria Empire―― essentially announcing their surrender.
I return to the headquarters along with the dumbfounded Brian and Jim.
I’m in no hurry. Reorganizing the army and fortifying the defenses are no longer necessary.
「Don’t feel down. Many things in this world don’t work out favorably. I myself have a precious person to go back to.」
I don’t any response back from them.
They look as if they came from a funeral and that gloomy mood is contagious.
「Most of all, it’s this.」
Cheers of delight, totally opposite to how quiet we are, can be heard.
President White is speaking to the citizens of Libatis about accepting peace.
It was chaotic at first, almost to the point where anything could trigger the start of a rebellion, but if I look at the results, the people surprisingly accepted the decision quite easily.
「The war will be over soon. When that happens, food and clothes will come in just like before. I can go out in the city whenever I want.」
「I don’t have to put up with eating smoked meat now.」
「The price of vegetables is going to drop.」
「I can plan a vacation with my girlfriend again. Good going, Chris!」
Everyone is more interested in their daily lives than they are interested in the conditions of peace.
「If war is over, the temporarily imposed sales tax will also be eliminated.」
「That really lowered profits and I couldn’t do anything about it.」
「Just end the war somehow. I only care if my son comes home safe from the army.」
All the citizens are cheering like they won the war.
「Why…… even though freedom is the most precious…… we even risk our lives to protect it so our children and grandchildren inherit can inherit it…… how come they don’t understand that justice……」
「Maybe I expected too much of the people.」
Jim and Brian tilt the brims of their hats down and pass through that area.
When people pass by and see our military uniforms, they curse at us quickly before becoming entranced by President White’s speech again.
「Well, that’s how things are I guess.」
While freedom and all that other stuff is nice, most people, when given the choice, will prioritize their own life first and then their assets second.
It isn’t a bad thing or an unnatural thing.
To be honest, I’m not much different.
I only value the lives of my women more than my own, that’s all.
I feel sorry for Jim, but “protecting freedom” is not realistic. The focus should be whether you, yourself, live freely or not.
Once you reach the point of using the freedom granted to you to protect others, it is not freedom for you or anybody else.
In other words, the choice of protecting or not protecting freedom is also a part of freedom…… gumumu.
「Aegir-sama, what’s wrong? Ah, you have a fever!」
Celia puts a hand on my forehead and gets flustered.
「You were thinking about something difficult just now, weren’t you. Aegir-sama isn’t suited for such tasks and you end up getting a fever if you do them too much.」
Celia is always so nice to me.
Anyhow, I don’t particularly love a free country or a free system and I don’t think I want to risk my life protecting it either.
「My justice…… my country……」
「No matter what I do, I will leave behind my ideals for the future.」
My thought is simply wanting to provide some help now that I see those tears of frustration run down the cheeks of Jim and Brian.
Three days later, Libatis formally notified South Yuguria that they have accepted the terms for peace.
「We have officially surrendered…… no, as soon as the cessation of hostilities comes into effect, we will be disarmed. I don’t think it is a situation to be excited about, but until that time, I want everyone to continue staying alert as usual.」
The commanders nod in response to Brian’s instruction.
Morale is no longer existent, not that blaming Brian would do much at this point either.
「South Yuguria wants the reinforcements of Goldonia to also disarm and appear at the headquarters.」
「Understood. I will make preparations.」
Leopolt answered before I could say anything.
「……I’ll leave you to it. Sorry for all the trouble.」
Brian smiles sadly and leaves.
「Hey, why did you say that?」
Just because Libatis surrendered, it doesn’t mean we need to turn ourselves in.
I thought we were going to take advantage of the confusion and run away.
「Of course we will not turn ourselves in. If we get arrested, they will find some reason to execute us, or at the very least we won’t be able to return to Rafen.」
Leopolt cautiously pays attention to his surroundings as he continues.
「This moment when surrender has been declared is when the enemy’s guard is the most lax. Late at night today, if we open the gate from the inside and force our way through, we can return to Goldonia territory.」
「Preparations for battle have been completed yesterday.」
Myla adds with a dignified expression.
「So you lied to Brian.」
「Our survival is top priority. That said, I did not exactly lie.」
「He probably meant “understood” to the surrendering and “I’ll prepare” for the escape.」
I didn’t want to be captured so easily either.
However the enemy is completely surrounding Tortoent and the Libatis army won’t act.
「Can we breakthrough on our own?」
「It is definitely possible.」
What a strong declaration.
「We are not only aiming for when the enemy’s guard is down. At night when visibility is poor, they cannot distinguish whether our squad is the only one trying to run out.」
「The enemy commander will have to consider the possibility of the entire Libatis army retracting the agreement to surrender and mounting a surprise attack. Which means they must monitor the entire perimeter of Tortoent and can’t carelessly break their encirclement. Our objective is not to attack the enemy, it is to break free, and that is entirely possible.」
So we can manage if we focus on escaping.
All hell will break loose after our actions though.
「They might take that chance to start an all-out battle. Since the gates will be opened for our exit, the inside of Tortoent would quickly be filled with enemies.」
In regards to that…… Leopolt trails off.
「It’s none of my problem. My first and foremost priority is my own life, followed by Lord Hardlett’s life.」
He just nonchalantly put himself above me.
「Aegir-sama is number one for me!」
Good girl, I’m happy you said that Celia, but you should value your life more.
If Celia died protecting me, my heart might stop from the shock.
I don’t care about Libatis, it’s Brian and Jim I feel bad for.
「Then shall we give up and turn ourselves over to South Yuguria?」
「No, let’s do it.」
I’ve grown to like Brian and Jim, so I wanted to help them if possible.
However I absolutely can’t let Celia or Myla become prisoners.
I don’t think South Yuguria will stop after catching us.
This is not the place to change the order of my priorities.
「The problem is after day breaks, where I believe the enemy cavalry will grasp the situation and chase after us. As long as we have infantry, it is impossible to shake them off. It will be a tough fight.」
My entire army is on horseback, whereas the royal army is mostly on foot.
「Worst case scenario, we might have to cut them off completely.」
「Don’t do that until the last possible moment.」
I’m not saying that simply because I don’t want to abandon my subordinates.
If I leave my allies behind this time, nobody will want to follow me afterwards.
Erich would also lose his trust in me.
「The only time that will be allowed is when the lives of my women are in danger.」
I’m not going against my principles.
And so, night comes as we wait fully prepared in front of the north gate, torches snuffed so our eyes can adjust to the darkness.
Impressively, no Libatis soldiers are around.
They probably went to sleep thinking there’s no need to be alert anymore.
Soldiers normally stationed at the gate are not there and we can open the doors without trouble.
On the opposite side, the top of the gate is lined with an excessive amount of dazzling flames.
The diligent South Yuguria soldiers are not sleeping and should be looking at the fire.
Just as I was about to swing my hand to signal the troops, somebody grabbed it.
「――we’ve been discovered?」
It was Brian.
Things are getting messy now.
Our escape already involves lots of obstacles and we have to add friendly fire to that?
「Don’t worry. I didn’t come to get in your way.」
Brian gives a signal.
Appearing behind him are a few soldiers and some others who obviously don’t look like soldiers.
Ooh, Suzy is also there.
「They are people who don’t agree with the decision to surrender, from the right we have―― nevermind, there’s no time.」
「Please, I want you to help them escape. Even if Libatis is destroyed, the eyes of justice will show themselves once again as long as they are alive. Jim, you too.」
「The Secretary should also……」
Jim cuts his sentence short when he sees Brian’s eyes and simply nods back.
He’s going to be escorting the refugees.
「Now go. We will do our best to cover you.」
「You’re not going to surrender?」
「The agreement hasn’t taken effect yet. Besides, it’s not something you should worry about.」
His eyes are determined.
No more questions.
「Open the gates. Pour water on your torches.」
The door creaks loudly as they swing open.
That sound should resonate at night and the enemy should realize the abnormality.
We’re not secretly running, we’re breaking through by force.
「Charge. Run forward.」
Raising a war cry, I lead the charge with the escort squad behind me, followed by the cavalry and the infantry.
「A night raid――!」
「Impossible, those guys surrendered!」
「Reinforcements then!? Or perhaps they deceived us?」
My bow cavalry aim their arrows at the enemy and release a volley in unison.
Their eyes have gotten accustomed to the night, enabling them to shoot accurately.
Arrows fired back by the enemy in haste fly off in different directions .
They seem somewhat vigilant for an assault at night, though the brilliantly glowing fires hindered the time it takes for their vision to calibrate to a sudden decrease in light.
It was merely a few seconds, which to us were precious.
「Run through them!」
Holding a spear easily over 3 meters in length, I charge straight at the enemies in the frontmost line.
I took it from the Libatis spear unit since they’re being disarmed and won’t need it anyways.
The long reach will be useful.
Schwartz’s speed carries my spear through the abdomen of an enemy soldier.
I swing the skewed human around to throw the enemy ranks into disarray.
「Damn monster. After him, don’t let him esc―― guwa!」
The group of enemy soldiers get trampled by my bow cavalry.
Our first priority is running out in a straight line.
Another person gets added to my human skewer and when I try swinging the spear again, I hear a dry cracking sound of the shaft breaking.
「Aah, so brittle.」
I draw my longsword and slam it into the soldier trying to exploit the opening created by my spear snapping.
The body of the enemy with a split head deliberately gets kicked left and right by Schwartz.
Killing more people doesn’t mean anything.
The goal is to create a wider opening for everyone to charge through.
At that moment, soldiers on the enemy side shout out.
「Flaming arrows are coming at us from all over Tortoent!」
「Surrendering was a lie after all!?」
Arrows are being shot in all directions from within Tortoent.
Although the aim is questionable, they can’t be ignored either.
Enemies who were chasing us stop moving to brace for the additional attack.
「Is it Brian?」
Unlike me, Brain is from this country.
Doing this will most certainly result in some kind of punishment.
That’s just Brian’s resolve, he’s not doing it out of concern for me.
As long as the refugees escape with us, his feelings will be fulfilled too.
While running through the gap in the enemy lines, the bow cavalry shoot left and right to incite chaos.
The chariots also unleash a barrage of ballista bolts. In addition, the blades attached to the wheels are hard to see in the dark, keeping the enemies at a distance more than required.
Arrows are indiscriminately fired by the bow cavalry.
Knowing our allies are either in front or behind, the chances of friendly fire are smaller. Getting hit just means they’re unlucky.
Lastly, the infantry push aside confused enemies away with shields and swords, leaving no solicitude behind.
「The light of freedom will not be extinguished! Get into justice formation!」
Jim’s small group of soldiers is guarding the refugees tightly.
A bunch of highly motivated and skilled individuals were gathered for the job.
By no means is South Yuguria weak, yet they seem to be easily overpowering the enemy soldiers.
「Justice will not yield to the likes of you!」
Jim is also fighting well.
He’s wielding a greatsword in one hand and a greatshield in the other, kicking, punching, and headbutting those in his way.
Ooh, there’s his Lariat too.
「I can’t lose to him.」
I sweep my longsword under the enemy propping up a shield in front of me and scoop him up off the ground.
My sword quickly makes its way to the right to decapitate the enemy targeting Schwartz’s legs from the right, meanwhile Schwartz jumps up to avoid another enemy coming from the left.
「The demon is here again! Shoot him, kill him!」
Crossbows focus their bolts at me.
Seeing the trigger finger move, my body instinctively sticks out my shield to deflect the incoming projectiles.
The bolts themselves are difficult to knock down, but it’s easy to block them when I know they’re coming――
I feel something hit me from the opposite side.
My back was also being targeted and a bolt stuck into my body through a gap in my armor.
Fortunately, my muscles stopped it before any real damage was done, so I swiftly pull the bolt out and toss it away.
Celia is periodically checking on me as she’s fighting, although she hasn’t noticed what happened yet.
If I worry her needlessly, she’ll get injured herself and I don’t want that.
「A little more. We can do this.」
We’re almost through.
We won’t stop now. If you get hit and fall down, we’re going to leave you behind.
He looked like he was going to fall off his horse.
Christoph twisted his body like an acrobat to avoid the spear thrust at him, almost falling off in the process.
Judging by his expression, he didn’t plan to do that, it was a product of coincidence.
「So you can do it if you try!」
「That’s the first time I saw you do anything cool!」
Christoph gets praised by the escort squad.
When I was about to join in the fun, a jolt of pain shoots up my body from my side.
Let’s refrain from idle chatter for now.
Ultimately, we successfully broke through the enemy’s encirclement of Tortoent with Brian’s assistance and some effort by the allied forces.
The real battle is yet to come.
We are still far from Goldonia territory and it is unlikely we won’t be chased by the enemy cavalry.
「There they go.」
「Yes, they’re gone.」
Brian and David smile before giving the order to halt the attack.
「Stop the attack. Raise the white flag immediately. Send a messenger. The contents will be――」
“That attack was by reckless rebels acting on their own, not by the will of the Libatis government. We have no intention to cancel the declaration of surrender. We promise to cooperate with your country and punish the concerned individuals”
Brian doesn’t break his smile.
「Hahaha, don’t make such a face. We could not protect our nation so this is an appropriate reward. Besides, I have left a seed for the future. Becoming a despicable traitor is a small price to pay.」
「…… it certainly may be a small price. At least let me accompany you or it wouldn’t be fair.」
Brian and David smile as they walk towards the hurrying military police.