Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi Chapter 389
After South Yuguria’s army crossed the river, the Royal army slowly retreated towards the capital, having received a pressing demand from the king.
As long as the enemy can freely travel across the river, carelessly holding ground may result in getting flanked or possibly allow the enemy to directly attack the capital.
This would have been a chance for the enemy, however the damage caused by Erich’s tactics was big enough to reduce their attacks to sporadic ambushes. There doesn’t seem to be any danger of them pursuing us, though if we continue to retreat all the way to the capital, the enemy can go north without reservation and we would essentially cede all territory south of the capital.
If that happened, it would be hard to hold on to Rafen, so I thought I had to come up with a reason to go back, except Erich didn’t intend on doing that.
The Royal army’s retreat stopped at a mid-sized city named Vesla, which is located in the middle of Arkland and the capital.
Vesla is certainly not a small city, yet I have no memories regarding it.
I’m happy I get to stay at a requisitioned house instead of a tent this time.
I brush Celia’s hair as the morning sun spills in through the closed window.
She quickly wakes up right after I’m awake. Apparently, she can tell through her instincts.
「We came here during the Arkland war. Remember that purple cloak……」
「Ooh, the city where that female knight was? I didn’t think she was a virgin from how strong-willed she was. If I knew, I would have held back on my thrusts a bit…… she wasn’t in bed the next morning.」
I remember after Celia mentions it. Anyways, it’s in the past.
I hug the naked Celia close and scratch under her chin.
When I stare lovingly at the cute Celia who purrs like a cat, I feel movement on the opposite side of the bed.
「Nyuu, uunn…… the quality of the bedding is poor…… silk sheets…… horsehair pillow……」
Our quiet exchange seems to have woken Nonna.
She rubs her eyes and buries her face in my chest.
Nonna is of course naked as well and I can feel the ultimate pleasure of her breasts pressing against my stomach.
Celia competes by gluing her body to mine.
The feeling of her tight skin and toned body is not surpassed by Nonna’s boobs.
It’s been a while since I did Celia and Nonna together, so I obviously got fired up last night.
Regardless, I still couldn’t cum in the end. Unless I do something about Sekrit’s situation, my body will be applying the brakes.
Unfortunately, Natia is not in this bed.
She set up a tent in the garden of the house I was provided and slept by herself.
Obviously, I didn’t tell her to do that.
「It’s because Aegir-sama did that that she’s sulking.」
My nose is pinched by Nonna.
During dinner time yesterday, probably because a favorite dish of hers was served, her long ears for flopping about happily and I couldn’t help playfully biting them from behind. She screamed and angrily yelled “I told you my ears are sensitive!” before throwing something at me and kicking me in the groin.
At the entrance of her tent, she posted a sign which says “muscular men – entry forbidden”.
Her favorite food and diluted fruit alcohol, which was left as an apology, disappeared, so I assume her mood has improved.
A smile forms on my face when I was reminiscing, but then I noticed Nonna and Celia vanished from beside me.
Oh, they crawled under the sheets.
「We tried our best yesterday to no avail. At this rate, your health would be negatively affected. Your balls will burst.」
「I have to prevent loss of face from the other wives. I will squeeze it out for you.」
The two of them each extend their hands to my crotch and slowly pleasure me.
I escaped a pinch so I feel it’s deserving to receive a suitable reward.
Such thoughts run through my mind as I enjoy their service.
「What, who are you people!? Intruders!?」
Natia’s loud shout, uncharacteristic of the early morning, resounds from the garden.
「Where is Margrave Hardlett!?」
「We’re going to have to search the mansion!」
「What are you doing!? Don’t touch me!」
I can hear the hoarse voice of a man. Then, the door of the house was violently kicked open and I can hear the heavy footsteps climbing up the stairs.
Judging by the sound, there are multiple men, not to mention they’re wearing steel military boots.
Celia jumps out of the sheets, grabs the dagger left by the bed and stands in front of me.
「Making such noise so early in the morning…… Nonna, hide behind me.」
I pick up a metal candlestick near me and stand up.
Nonna scrambles hastily, wraps the sheets around her body and clings to my back.
Not long later, the door of the bedroom flings open.
「Excuse me! Is Margrave Hardlett in here!?」
「We request an audience!」
As expected, the ones who burst into the room are three fully armed men.
Celia and I lower our stances and get ready for battle.
「Nuu…… I beg your pardon.」
「Please forgive our rudeness.」
The men awkwardly avert their eyes after seeing the two of us naked and Nonna cowering in the back.
「Man, don’t you know the time from night to morning is reserved for embracing women?」
I ask while glaring at the men.
Celia signals to me with her eyes that she’s ready to pounce on them at any time.
There are still footsteps coming from the stairs, meaning these three guys have backup.
If that’s the case, it might be better if I launch myself forward and go wild instead of fighting half-heartedly in the room while trying to protect Nonna.
This is the Royal army headquarters, so it’s hard to think they came to attack with dozens of men.
Most likely, they took advantage of the lax security early in the morning and snuck in when nobody was looking.
If I cause a fuss, allies around me should notice the disturbance.
「There is something we must ask you!」
「Good grief, you couldn’t be any louder. By the way…………」
I deliberately pause in the middle.
Celia takes it as a signal and sinks her hips lower, like a spring being compressed.
Her healthily tanned thighs activate and her back arches tautly like a bow.
I can clearly see her muscles move because she’s naked. Her body is truly marvelous and I’m impressed by how she grew up.
Right before Celia was about to shoot out like an arrow……
I shout, causing her to stumble and fall forward.
Her cute ass wiggles in the air.
「I remember you. If I’m correct…… you’re the knight captain of Baron Balgoudal’s house, right? I met you at the banquet.」
He should be the feudal lord of the area slightly north of Erich.
Celia is surprised and Nonna sighs.
「……I am the captain of the escort unit of house Viscount Cetafidil.」
Right, that. I was a little off, but it was close enough.
「Indeed and the others are also serving under Cetafidil-sama.」
Oh, so that means they’re allies.
We almost killed them.
「……Nonna-san, share some of the sheets with me.」
「No way. They’ll see me, mine are big after all.」
「Don’t be snide!!」
As Celia pulls on the sheets while skillfully keeping her precious places hidden with her hand, she encounters Nonna’s resistance.
I stand in front of the men to help cover Celia’s naked body from their eyes.
「Now tell me, why have you suddenly intruded into my bedroom?」
「That’s right. Do you think such rude behavior will easily be forgiven? I will be protesting fervently to your lord!」
Anger is mixed in with my words and Nonna sounds terribly upset as well.
Celia, whose naked body was exposed, doesn’t say anything, but is staring at the men with murderous intent.
「I apologize for being impolite. However, because it is such an urgent matter, I hope you can have mercy.」
Whatever, just get to the point.
「Margrave Hardlett, we request that you accompany us to the capital.」
The men have surrounded me with their heads slightly bowed.
「Hah? Erich told me to remain on standby right here. Moving without notifying him isn’t a good idea.」
He specifically warned me not to do anything unnecessary before leaving to the capital.
I don’t know who their lord is, but nobody has a higher authority than Erich in the army so it’s impossible for his orders to be overruled.
「Please, we request that you bend the rules this one time.」
The men persist all the more.
「So long-winded. I won’t go.」
I would consider going if they were beautiful ladies. For men, I have no obligation of satisfying their motives.
Immediately after I responded, something shiny catches my eye.
It was a drawn blade, which they put right up against my throat.
Nonna shrieks and covers herself with the sheets, meanwhile Celia stops hiding her body and re-equips herself with the dagger.
「……what is the meaning of this?」
I glare at the man with the sword.
My initial impression of them wasn’t good, however I couldn’t make a pre-emptive attack if they were allies.
「We request for Lord Hardlett to accompany us to the capital to see our lord in order to appeal to His Majesty about the shameless Commissioner Radhalde’s unjust treatment and propose a change of personnel as well as punishment. Surely, the king would listen if you spoke.」
Holding a sword to my neck is hardly a request.
「Are you planning to start a rebellion?」
「If you want to talk about a rebellion, it’s Radhalde who started it! He used us retainers as sacrificial pawns and on top of that continued to lose remarkably to South Yuguria! That is a grave sin equivalent to treachery!」
It’s about that matter after all. The feudal lords’ armies suffered heavy losses during the retreat and there were even armies that were completely annihilated without a single survivor.
「I hear Lord Hardlett’s long friendship was betrayed and you were thrown into a difficult situation too. You were on the verge of dying and your lover lost her arm.」
I don’t say anything.
「I knew the injury was something quite serious. I realized it when I licked all over his body.」
「The wound on his back was particularly horrible…… although it turned me on a little.」
When Nonna and Celia mutter to themselves, the man overlaps by clearing his throat.
「Your grudge toward Radhalde should still be strong. Please, we insist that you appeal to His Majesty alongside our lord! If you agree, this sword does not need to be used and blood need not be shed.」
The man’s sword does not budge.
In my peripheral vision, I see Nonna looking worried and Celia waiting for an opportunity to strike.
I let out a small sigh before giving them my answer.
「Then we’ll have to take you by force!」
The one who charged at me wasn’t the man in front, rather it was the man to my side.
I thought so. He was the one giving off murderous intent, not the escort captain.
I take a step back to escape the sword at my throat and slip away from the thrust to my side.
The sword grazes my stomach and passes right by me.
Even though the sword passed me, the man who lunged hasn’t moved.
I grab his right wrist and pull him in the same direction as his thrust, only at a faster pace.
The man flies by at a speed several times faster than his initial attack and he crashes face-first into the wall, knocking himself out.
「Putting up a fight, are we!?」
Another man swings his sword from the opposite side.
I block the slash with the steel candlestick, which was set down and picked back up, then unleash a front kick to his unguarded abdomen.
The man shoots through and destroys the window, falling down magnificently.
「Why!? Why do you reply to Radhalde’s injustice with loyalty!?」
I use the candlestick to parry the attack of the escort captain who shouts in frustration.
「What do you know?」
I swing the candlestick as hard as I can.
The escort captain, knowing my brute strength, holds his sword with both hands and defends my strike.
「Erich is my friend.」
I abandon the candlestick and tackle the man, running while keeping in contact with him until his back collides with the wall, and since our momentum is so strong, we bust a hole in the wall and fall through, landing right in front of the stairs.
「Unlike you lot.」
I grab the man by the collars and hurl him down the stairs.
His body falls onto his buddies, who were running up the stairs after hearing the sound of fighting, and all of them tumble to the bottom in a jumbled heap.
「Friends can be forgiven.」
The choice of women aside, a few men whose names I don’t know will not affect the weight of the scales enough to change my relationship with Erich.
If you make friends on the basis of logic, they aren’t real friends.
Celia brings me the Dual Crater which was resting in the corner of the room.
「Guh…… I did not think you were so in love with Radhalde……」
「Don’t say something so disturbing. I felt my ass shudder.」
The escort captain gets up unsteadily.
Around him are five of his subordinates, all of whom eventually draw their swords.
「Hey, are you serious?」
I mumble as I descend the stairs.
「Of course! Unless we punish Radhalde, our lord and the dead soldiers won’t be――」
No, no, that’s not what I meant.
I stare at the men with my Dual Crater on my shoulder.
「I mean, do you seriously think that you’ll win against me? That’s what I’m asking.」
The men stop moving.
Their swords seem to be frozen in place and gradually, their hands begin to shake.
「If you want to do this, come at me.」
I take one step forward.
The man takes a step back.
「What are you going to do?」
Murderous intent emits from my eyes.
「U-unstoppable war demon Hardlett.」
One of them tangles up their legs and falls on their ass.
As I walk down the stairs at a steady rhythm, the men would match by taking the same amount of steps back, until they were backed against the wall where they inevitably wither from my murderous gaze.
Good grief, all that mattered was that they lost their will to fight.
I wouldn’t hesitate to slaughter them if they were really determined, but I’m sure troubling consequences would follow.
I swing my sword, signalling for them to drop their weapons immediately.
The men―― excluding the escort captain, one by one let their swords fall to the floor.
Intent to kill can no longer be felt from the captain and I even sense fear.
I’m guessing he has to put on airs in front of his subordinates and disarming himself isn’t an easy task.
Perhaps I’ll engage him in a friendly chat.
「If your plan was realized and Erich…… the Military Commissioner was expelled, then what? Nobody can take command better than he can. Your heart might become clear, but Goldonia will be destroyed.」
Contrary to his belief, Erich is winning on the battlefield.
Nobody could have predicted that the enemy would cross the river.
No greater commander than that guy will appear and the enemy will attack, thinking they caught a break.
「Resistance to the bitter end is not the only choice…… after outing Radhalde, the plan was to persuade His Majesty to make peace with South Yuguria.」
「Peace? Isn’t that surrendering?」
The captain looking down said it all.
「W-we were the ones who started it! Although the entire picture has not been fully grasped, many feudal lords support this idea!」
As a feudal lord, even if in the worst case the country falls into ruin, they don’t care as long as their own territory is safe.
I would incur too much enmity and be stuck sneaking away at night, so I’ll stay out of this.
「I understand the logic, it just doesn’t feel good.」
Patriotism is secondary to me, but cutting off Erich after he fought his best to secure victory while preserving myself is truly a horrible feeling. If he said, “I was treated as a sacrificial pawn so I hate Erich and I’m going to kill him. I didn’t think about what would happen after”, I would probably feel better about that.
「It would be perfect if Lord Hardlett acted……it doesn’t matter, it will happen regardless. It isn’t just us feudal lords, rumors are being spread that ministers of high nobility in the capital, and perhaps individuals of higher ranking, are in agreement……」
「Ministers, you said?」
What the heck? They’re going to gang up on Erich as he is facing the enemy and stab him from behind?
「I’ve changed my mind. I’m going to the capital.」
I repeat myself to the stunned captain.
「I said I’m going to the capital. Stop staring at me like that and get ready, moron!」
I tell Nonna softly as she sticks her head out from the second floor to see what is going on.
「You should get ready too. If you need help packing, use these guys.」
I kick the ass of a man who threw away his weapon.
「Does this mean you’re conspiring with them to start a rebellion?」
Nonna asks with a face that’s turning pale.
「Of course not. I simply thought Erich had no friends, so I would go provide some assistance.」
I have another reason which I’m keeping to myself because Nonna’s face would turn even more pale if I told her.
「Is it okay to disobey orders and leave the headquarters on your…… auu!」
I flick Celia’s forehead, stopping her from saying more.
「The enemy is unlikely to come here so conveniently. ……even if they did-」
The outcome of a battle in the capital is way more important than a battle here.
「Then let’s go.」
「No…… I mean……」
The escort captain is not speaking articulately.
Has he gotten scared after all he’s done? If he says that, I’m going to throw him to the ground.
「No, I just think you could at least put some clothes on…… you’re terrifying on so many levels……」
「Mu, I was naked, huh.」
That reminds me, I was getting serviced by Nonna and Celia right before the attack.
It feels like I’ve been moving around naked a lot lately.
「We’ll head out after I put on some clothes.」
「We shall accompany you.」
「To the capital!」
I hear the poor trio shout beside me.
They sound energetic, but when I look over at them, their hands are bound together with rope.
They definitely surprised in their sleep and got captured.
「Eh? They weren’t enemies?」
「「「My eyesー! My nose is burningー!」」」
In the garden, Natia had opened a bottle containing a bluish purple liquid and fanning the fumes with her hand.
The three men were exposed to the gases and various juices are leaking from their eyes, noses, and mouths.
「…… they’ve reformed so let them go.」
「Got it. They should heal naturally within half a day.」
The men are writhing in agony.
Half a day…… maybe it’s better if I punch them in the head and knock them out.
「The drug has an awakening effect, so they won’t go unconscious even if you punch them. They’ll only feel more pain.」
「Is that so, that’s pretty amazing.」
They’ll have to put up with this punishment for interfering with a person’s love life.
Now then, off to the capital we go.