Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi Chapter 390
A Few Days Later. Goldonia – Capital.
「Your marching is too slow. That’s why you’re useless on the battlefield.」
I say to the escort captain――apparently named Bolf―― as Goldonia finally comes into our view.
Aren’t I supposed to your hostage?
Why does the hostage have to walk in front of you? You better follow like your life depended on it.
「Rather than us, the carriage……well.」
Bolf glances at the carriage, where a familiar voice can be heard.
「My bottom hurts! Can’t you go at a gentler pace? This thing is already cheap and shakes a lot as it is!」
「If we increase the speed, the madam complains……」
Nonna is riding the carriage.
It was one picked without much thought from the headquarters, so she ended up with a military-style carriage with nothing done to minimize rattling.
「Stupid idiot, don’t complain about a woman’s selfishness. You still call yourself a man?」
When I glare at him, Bolf twitches.
「T-then we’ll slow down.」
「Moron, I told you to hurry up!」
「Nonna-san’s ass is roughed up a little now. Your march is really clumsy!」
Celia, who is riding in front of me, twists her body to berate them too.
Her face is slightly flushed because I’ve been rubbing her ass the whole time.
Not to mention my hand is inside her shorts touching her buttocks directly.
I can also hear the other girls.
「If laying out cushions doesn’t help, would you like to use this? It’s a potion that eliminates pain.」
「No thanks, I’m scared. Also, Sekrit-san, don’t lie down sideways in this already narrow carriage…… ah, don’t pretend to sleep! You opened your eyes just now, didn’t you. How could you ignore me as the legal wife――」
It seems everyone has come along too, although Sekrit is in an extremely bad mood because of that.
She has stopped coming close to me and simply drinks alcohol for the entire day before going to bed in a huff.
「What a cutie, becoming withdrawn because she can’t monopolize me.」
When I think about that, I get happy and my finger naturally slips into Celia’s asshole.
「Aauu! Aaaa…… hauu……」
Celia’s body stiffens, her face melts and she lets out an erotic voice like she’s in heat.
Bolf and company have doubtful faces as expected.
「W-what are you looking at!? If you have the luxury to watch, slap your subordinates’ asses instead!!」
Celia is so cute when she yells in embarrassment that my finger sinks in up to the knuckle.
We continue pulling Bolf, who mumbles something about unreasonableness, towards the capital.
Along the way, we’re fortunate, or lucky, not to encounter any hidden enemy soldiers or ally forces.
It goes without saying that I don’t want to see enemies, but in this questionable situation, I don’t want to meet allies either.
If they’re on the side of the rebelling feudal lords, they might do the same thing as Bolf’s group, and if they’re on a different side, they might accuse me of being a traitor as well for going to the capital against orders.
In other words, both would cause trouble.
Goldonia – Royal Palace.
「Who are you people!? I didn’t hear about such a crowd being summoned to the palace!」
「Eei, it’s an emergency situation related to the kingdom, a mere servant should not say anything!」
A feudal lord and most likely his subordinates kick the maid out of the way and try to enter the palace.
I throw those men out the window before entering the palace myself.
It appears the palace is in a bind too.
At least the city is peaceful, so it doesn’t look like we are leading soldiers for a revolt.
「This is the Military Commissioner’s private room! You absolutely can’t enter without permission!」
「That guy is a villain who wronged the kingdom, and it is my duty as a feudal lord who received land from His Majesty to inspect the room! I have consent from a court minister, move away!」
The noble wearing fancy clothes slaps the cheek of the female soldier and tries to enter the room.
I grab the man by the collar and slam him into the wall before walking toward the throne room.
They’re aiming for Erich and things related to him after all, meaning they aren’t planning to directly rebel against the king.
Although what they’re doing is still pretty questionable.
「During last year, you told me you would divorce your wife and be with me…… it’s going to be summer soon, how long do I have to wait? I even offered you my virginity and did so much for you!」
「It’s wartime right now, plus things aren’t looking promising, besides, it seems this year will get hot…… look, the palace is in disorder today too, let me see how the situation develops a little longer…… okay?」
The man resembling a guard is desperately trying to avoid eye contact with the maid pressing him for an answer.
I step in between the two of them, steal the maid’s lips and then place my hand on the door of the throne room.
「You fool, do you understand what you’re saying? The actions of the feudal lords are clearly rebellious, what other way is there to deal with them than stripping them of their status right away and exiling them!?」
I hear Erich yelling angrily.
「That is not for you to decide. They still ultimately swore allegiance to the kingdom and His Majesty. The only thing you can bring about as Military Commissioner…… is a request to change personnel. Of course, I’m not saying that I condone their behavior, but I hear that you treated them like sacrificial pawns. In that sense, I can see where the backlash is coming from.」
The one who offered a reply was Kenneth.
「Someone who hasn’t stepped onto the battlefield should not be speaking like he knows what happened! If the Royal army matched their pace and marched sluggishly, all our tactics would fail. In actuality, the armies of the feudal lords that are highly skilled and have capable commanders survived.」
Hmm, timing my entrance is difficult.
「I see, it’s true that a certain amount of coldheartedness is required on the battlefield. If it brings victory, the vassal lords might also accept such treatment. But you have lost Arkland and are forced into a major retreat. Aren’t the lords simply asking you, “what was our sacrifice for?”」
I can tell Kenneth’s words left Erich speechless briefly.
「……the loss of Arkland was a great failure. However, the primary cause was the alliance between South Yuguria and the river fleet of city state Meldora, which was difficult to predict on the frontlines. In fact, isn’t it your job, as the person responsible for foreign affairs, to tell me?」
That was unexpected.
As the dispute becomes more heated, it is harder for me to step in.
I’m already here against orders, so messing up my timing would undoubtedly result in a cold reception.
「I admit that some blame falls on me there. Regardless, there is nothing to gain by arguing over whose fault it is. Right now, we must determine how to resolve the war.」
「This isn’t a matter to be solved, it’s win or be destroyed. You had previously displayed your comprehension in front of His Majesty.」
The conversation has changed from dealing with the feudal lords to the war as a whole.
「Yes. However, I should have said to think about negotiating after earning a grand victory. In our current state, with Arkland lost and unable to protect the western coast of North Teries, can I even expect anything close to a victory?」
「In order to protect the capital, our forces needed to be dispersed, which honestly stretched us quite thin. If you consider how far the enemy has stepped into our territory, chances are high that winning a single battle could reverse our predicament. This situation is still salvageable.」
It’s almost time…… no, not yet.
「’Still salvageable’―― is it? You’re going to bet the fate of the kingdom on an unreliable feeling like that?」
「Our enemy will not agree to a half-hearted peace. Either way, we have to fight to the bitter end.」
Nonna, having gotten tired of waiting, pats her chest and adjusts her dress.
Celia picks lint off my clothes.
「Let that become my role. Obviously, we can no longer negotiate from an advantageous position, but it should still be better than fighting.」
Before Erich could counter, the ministers interrupt.
「The Government Affairs Commissioner is right! Shouldn’t we try to make peace even if we have to cede some territory?」
「If we are defeated in resistance, the kingdom will be finished!」
「Lord Radhalde should stand down after failing militarily! Defer to tbe Commissioner.」
「At the rate we’re losing, there’s a possibility that the vassals will change sides and ally with South Yuguria!」
Those who Erich befriended chime in one after the other.
「There is no way the enemy will accept peace in this situation! We should prioritize maintaining hostilities until more substantial talks!」
「I’m certain there is more we can do! Young men can be recruited from the capital and each of the cities.」
「What can vassal lords do without their army!? If we strip their ranks, they’ll be nothing more than blockheads.」
People are arguing over each other and I can’t distinguish the voices anymore.
Celia and Nonna help check each other’s appearance.
Celia gets upset when a canteen emerges from between Nonna’s breasts.
Eventually, the other side of the door quiets down and Kenneth addresses everyone in a calm voice.
「Gentlemen, yelling at each other will bear no fruit. In the end, His Majesty makes the final decision……」
Not good, my role will disappear if the king gives his judgement.
「I humbly suggest that we…… refrain from further proactive attacks and stick to defense while searching for a way to attain peace. It may be a harsh negotiation, this Kenneth shall put his all into rectifying the uncertain problem.」
I have to go soon.
「First, we must appease the dissatisfaction of the vassal lords. A divided nation will only get taken advantage of…… thus we will follow through with their request of punishing the Military Commissioner――」
Unsettled murmurs fill the room.
「No, I won’t go so far and say that, since some blame rests on me. Instead, my foolish thinking involves temporarily relieving Lord Radhalde of his duties and ordering him to rest. Similarly, those who started the rebellion will also be suspended. The vassal lords can accept such a consequence for the Commissioner and order can be kept at the same time.」
「Ridiculous. Leaving myself aside, dismissing commanders during war is the height of madness, is it not!?」
It sounds like Erich has also approached the king.
「Radhalde…… I have――」
It’s now or never.
「Wait just a minute.」
My hand pushes the door open as I shout.
This is the perfect timing if I do say so myself.
What are those cries I hear?
Oh, I pushed the door too far and sent the two guards standing in front flying.
They were always there, huh. The only difference from what I usually do is that I entered without making a noise prior to pushing open the door.
I have no time to worry about them though.
Because of their shouts, everyone, including the king, focuses their attention on me.
I think I managed to avoid a cold reaction.
Nonna trails behind me and shows concern for the fallen soldiers holding their faces in pain.
「Lord Hardlett! You――」
Erich stops himself short.
He probably wanted to reprimand me for disobeying orders, but realized that starting an argument with me now would be useless.
That’s right, I came here to save you.
「Lord Hardlett? What are you doing here?」
「What is going on on the frontltines!?」
I don’t answer the annoying ministers.
Let’s see, where are Bolf and the others…… dammit, that guy is hiding himself in the shadow of the door.
He was barking about taking me to the capital and now he’s spineless.
I grab Bolf by the collar and drag him with me.
「This subordinate of Count Greydobal came to my place, and I came running after learning the situation.」
「You’re from Viscount Cetafidil’s house…… curse him, what kind of unnecessary plan is he trying to pull from the frontlines?」
I toss Bolf aside like I have no more use for him.
Then I step forward and stare at the ministers.
「Apologies for being rude, if I may say one thing.」
The king directs a doubtful look to me, yet doesn’t tell me to get out.
「How idiotic can you guys be?」
It felt like time stopped around me.
Nonna is frozen with a strained expression.
「M-mind your manners!!」
「It doesn’t matter if you’re Hardlett, berating those appointed as ministers is unforgivable!」
「Don’t speak with such a vulgar tone in front of His Majesty!」
The ministers bursts out furiously, though not loud enough to reach Irijina’s volume.
She’s truly a boisterous one. When she greets me in the morning during a hangover, my head feels like it’s splitting apart.
Just remembering her made me shout out on instinct.
Shocked, the ministers reel back, while Nonna falls over.
I furrow my brow and stare silently at them.
「What do I do now?」
「Eh? You didn’t think of anything!?」
I feign being quiet and whisper softly so only Celia, who is beside me, can hear.
I know peace and negotiations are futile, but if I’m asked to explain the reason, the only thing I can come up with is, “it’s impossible”.
Although I’m slowly learning more about being a skilled general, my oral communication is poor and thinking about various troublesome issues isn’t my strong suit.
Seeing Celia panic as she tries to find a way to help me is soothing.
In cases like these, there’s no turning back.
「…… Lord Hardlett. I assume you aren’t including His Majesty when you used “you guys”, but could you please clarify to us idiots what you mean?」
Kenneth uses a quiet tone, his eyes sharply fixed on me, meanwhile Erich doesn’t look like he knows what to do. Most importantly, the king’s widened eyes are locked on me.
「I am not proficient at negotiations nor do I have the standpoint to speak about foreign affairs. But first……」
My level of anger rises in my eyes toward those in front of me.
To be honest, I’m focused on the space between the ministers, more specifically on the breasts of the maid carrying the water jug. She doesn’t seem to realize.
「Shall we remove the traitor before starting the discussion?」
「Nonsense! Nobody here is less than a minister!」
After the initial surprise, disparagement and denials fly from all directions. Nevertheless, I state without hesitation and without averting my gaze.
「I received a report from my subordinate. A secret messenger traveling from the capital to South Yuguria was captured, and after questioning, confessed the name. The reason I came to the capital, going so far as disobeying Lord Radhalde’s orders, is for this reason.」
My claim was spoken with some murderous intent mixed with my anger.
Crap, that caused the maid’s hips to give out.
「You’re saying such an individual is in this place……?」
「Haha…… there’s no way……」
The ministers awkwardly look at their colleagues.
Outwardly, they deny my accusation although it’s clear some doubt is seeping into their minds.
「Aegir-sama, is what you said true?」
「No, I made it up.」
Celia looks like she’s about to cry.
If I didn’t say something like that, my flow would have been cut off.
「……there are traitors here?」
The king’s eyes sparkle.
It seems like my plan worked.
「No need for preamble. Disclose what you know at once.」
The king calmly pieces his words together, neither enraged or shaken.
「Right this instant.」
I take one step back, a slight smile on my face.
「Hey, what should I do?」
Celia becomes more frantic. Nonna is on the verge of fainting from the tension.
I guess it’s pretty pathetic of me to rely on my women.
「Pardon my impertinence.」
I unsheathe the Dual Crater, which I was carrying with me because I was intruded.
「Wha-!?」「Drawing your sword in the throne room!?」「Have you gone insane!?」
「Shut up, traitor.」
I advance forward, staring at everybody aside from the king and Erich.
The king holds up a hand, stopping the spear-wielding guards who were unsure whether or not to step in.
A single set of footsteps resounded with every step I took.
The ministers, Kenneth, and Erich are all frozen still.
「Follow along with my bluff.」
「Bring on whatever happens!」
Celia also turns defiant when I whisper secretly to her.
I walk through the middle of the ministers.
Peeking at the face of each one of them, I see that everyone appears secretive, yet also wary simply because of the presence of a man holding a drawn blade.
Thinking deeper, it wouldn’t make sense for a person who can be a minister to be unable to hide secrets.
What should I do if nobody reveals their faults? I can only continue walking and exit out of the back entrance.
While thinking of such stupid thoughts, pain shoots up to my brain from my foot. It seems like a pebble got into my boot.
Since the sole is made of steel, it hurts more than a normal shoe and my legs naturally stop moving.
It so happens that I stopped before an elderly minister.
I exchange looks with the man.
The elder clearly tries to pretend he is calm, but when I stomp my foot to shake loose the pebble, his face turns white and sweat uncontrollably drips down.
The old man shouts and takes out a knife hidden behind his back.
I get into a ready stance, trying hard to suppress my smile, except the man runs toward the king instead.
That’s to be expected. It’s clear who would win in a fight between me, wielding a full-fledged sword, and an old man carrying a knife.
His only option is to take the king as hostage.
In the end, that guy doesn’t intend to fight.
I could easily slice him in half, but not getting him to talk before that would inconvenience me.
I turn my sword and use the butt of the sword to hit the minister’s back.
A strike with the relatively lightweight Dual Crater won’t do much damage.
Still, it’s enough to knock over an old man.
The minister tumbles forward, his momentum carrying his body across the floor as if he’s trying to polish it.
He comes to a stop right before the king.
The king doesn’t give a single glance to the groaning man, instead he turns…… backward to the cage and says something.
The man extends a hand to retrieve his dropped knife.
Of course, nobody would allow him to do so. Erich steps between the king and the man and kicks the man in the face with his heel. Blood squirts out from his nose and splatters onto the pristine marble floor.
Before the man with a smashed nose could finish, Erich kicks him in the side and reaps his consciousness.
「Good work, Hardlett. I will show him hell on earth.」
The king says as he watches guards drag away the fainted man.
I guess that guy was trembling because of anger.
「Yes Sire, I thought it best if the details were spoken from that individual.」
Somehow, everything worked out. It was quite the tightrope act.
Celia soothingly rubs her chest, while Nonna falls on the floor in exhaustion.
The ministers don’t have the luxury to concern themselves with the two women.
「W-who would have thought the minister of trade, Marquess Supaiye …… was the traitor.」
「No wonder we couldn’t get information on the city states…… I can’t believe Marquess Supaiye……」
「It’s something unimaginable. That Marquess Supaiye!」
Kenneth looks at me, then awkwardly averts his eyes.
Was the trade minister someone he recommended? Well, it doesn’t matter now.
「You saved me once again.」
Erich says to me before smiling and raising his voice to address everyone else.
「Having a traitor in our midst doomed us from winning, but now we know South Yuguria’s method. Now tell me, is there anyone who still wants peace in order to placate the vassals?」
Kenneth can’t seem to agree with what happened and stays silent, the fact that a traitor was found among his subordinates contributing to his inability to speak, meanwhile the other ministers think to themselves if a decision would be made without expression of their opinions.
「Please wait. I have one more thing to say.」
Everyone focuses their attention to me again.
Nonna trembles, feeling a bad premonition from my use of polite language.
「There is something I must say no matter what.」
I direct my gaze to the king as Nonna feared.
I’ve had enough and got a little annoyed.
「……you are saying it to me?」
The king raises his hips and adjusts his sitting position on the throne.
I kneel down, my eyes fixated on him.
Even Nonna’s boobs are shaking.
「Does Your Majesty have any intention of winning?」
A silence so deafening that I could hear my own heartbeat enveloped the room.
「……what do you mean by that?」
The king’s doubtful expression transforms into one of irritation.
Erich gestures for me to stop, but things will worsen if I don’t continue.
「I don’t think Your Majesty wants to win this war against South Yuguria.」
「……I do not understand what you’re trying to say. Don’t uncharacteristically beat around the bush and say clearly what you mean.」
Neither anger nor distrust is on the king’s face anymore.
Nonna embraces Celia to escape from reality.
Hmm, I’m not good at speaking in a roundabout way. I can’t say it like that.
It may be a little direct, but I’ll say it outright.
「This is Your Majesty’s war. If you have no desire to fight, there is no way to win. I would like it if you clearly indicate whether you want to win or lose. If you want to lose, please say so quickly, since that would give me more time to run.」
As I am saying it, a rush of adrenaline courses through my body.
I’m not scared of anything anymore.
「Lord Hardlett……do you know what you just said!?」
「Criticizing His Majesty…… no, it’s verbal abuse!」
I ignore the ministers who interrupted, continuing to stare only at the king.
「……you are not concerned of Goldonia’s collapse. You do not obey me. Is that what you are saying?」
I shake my head.
「Far from it. I do not intend on forgetting the gratitude Your Majesty has shown by granting me land and status. Even now, I am fighting with my all to bring victory to Goldonia.」
I stand up as I speak.
「I, as well as the Military Commissioner and others, are risking our lives to win for Your Majesty. Nevertheless, the war is ultimately Your Majesty’s fight. Unless you exert the same effort, we will certainly not win!」
I have many thoughts towards the king’s attitude recently so the last part was said with a little more spirit.
Erich and I have been working unnecessarily hard because of that. Half of Erich’s struggles are my fault though.
「You are saying that I am not fighting seriously!? Who do you think you are!?」
The king stands up from his throne and bellows.
He’s completely enraged at me, which is in a sense easier for me to deal with than a silent anger.
I can see Rebecca making a horrified face behind the throne.
「I’m merely a single feudal lord. However, as the ruler of Goldonia, what has Your Majesty done since the start of war!? You ignored the enemy in front of you so you could search for traitors and sent a poorly trained army to the front lines!」
If he had some sort of strategy planned, my remark would be unbelievably careless, but if I can’t sense anything on the frontlines, it’s fine to assume he doesn’t, right?
「With all due respect, us feudal lords don’t understand the meaning of our sortie……」
「By no means am I lamenting my own sacrifices. I just feel pathetic accompanying the Royal army and not contributing, only dragging Lord Radhalde down.」
「We are training up soldiers in our own way, but aside from defending the rear or scouts, it is clear we are no match when it comes to fighting against great powers. Your Majesty, you are also aware of this, no?」
The poor trio also chime in nervously.
I completely forgot they were here.
In regards to the enemy crossing the river, that is outside the scope of both me and Erich.
Normally, it should have been prevented through foreign affairs or a scheme of some kind, and even if it wasn’t possible to prevent, with information officers on hand, it would be appreciated if we were notified at the very least so preparations can be made in advance.
The king could not respond despite his anger.
Reasoning aside, it seems I’ve been declared the winner through the volume of my voice alone.
I’ve been on the other side before where I give in to Irijina purely because she spoke in such a loud voice.
「If that fault lies with us involved with foreign affairs and also the information officers……」
「Then if the Military Commissioner and Lord Hardlett won during the initial engagement, Trisnia would not have fallen and the enemy would not have crossed the river……」
The ministers are still interfering.
I stomp my foot to silence them.
Nonna is cowering with her head buried in her own bosom. She might actually have fainted.
「Your Majesty’s duties encompasses all of that. If you believe I am incompetent or Lord Radhalde is incapable, you can dismiss us. If the information officers know nothing, you need only give the order to send them out. Your Majesty should be able to do everything and no matter what blunder is done by anybody, the final blame should be accepted by Your Majesty.」
Lecturing the king like I’m a better ruler is pretty laughable.
Even if he’s about to explode, I have to tell him what I think.
After all, I don’t think the current king understands.
「Arkland’s fall, the landing in Stura, they’re all my fault…… huh? It’s because I was worried for my own safety and did not exert a complete effort.」
It seems the king’s anger has somewhat diminished.
I may pass off domestic duties to Adolph, but responsibility comes to me if a rebellion breaks out.
If the army entrusted to Leopolt loses, the responsibility becomes mine.
The king looks downward slightly and Erich, with a rigid expression, nods subtly.
Celia, on Claire’s recommendation, had begun to invest in futures, but failed and that loss was also covered by me. Irijina had destroyed a table when she became drunk at another household’s banquet and that had to be compensated by me. That is what responsibility is.
The king closes his eyes and thinks and Erich nods once more, his head tilted to one side.
If my lower half commits a wrongdoing to a married woman, whether I want to or not, half of the responsibility is mine.
「……you don’t take all of it?」
「My subordinate came to discuss the state of his wife after introducing you to him……」
That should be good enough.
Before I knew it, the king retracted his anger.
I don’t know if it was my advice or my abuse or my desperation, but the king accepted my explanation.
The king was about to say something.
「Urgent report! It’s an emergency! Please take a look!!」
Someone shouts from outside the throne room.
「Wait a―――― no, come in.」
Permitted by the king, the guards open the door, allowing a knight in full plate armor to rush in.
「The enemy has made a move. It is thought to be the central army with an army of 30 000 strong. They are on their way to the headquarters in Vesla!」
「They are moving after suffering that extent of casualties!? We are still in the middle of reorganizing……」
If Erich is here, that means the position of Supreme Commander is vacant.
Not good. That means my disregard of his orders had a big influence.
If he says “my orders being ignored is also Your Majesty’s fault”, Nonna and I would be hanged together.
I have to find a way to shift their attention elsewhere.
I keep calm and collected, even going so far as smiling confidently, as I step before the king.
「Since I acted rudely, I will be the one to drive away the enemy. If I could kindly ask, Your Majesty and the Military Commissioner can come up with a plan for our victory on a larger scale.」
I stand up without letting the king say anything.
「Now then, if you would excuse me as I am in a hurry.」
I bow once and leave the throne room.
Great, I nailed it. They should forget about my disobeyal of orders. I want to think that anyways.
「A-Aegir-sama is so intelligent! I didn’t think you would consider something like the duties of a king!」
「Your head…… did you hit it somewhere?」
Celia and Nonna are being rude to me.
「I don’t know about my head, although I think I hit my crotch when I dismounted from a horse.」
「That’s it! Aegir-sama’s brain is no limited to―― hngyaah!」
I lift Celia by the nape of her neck and pinch her cheeks.
「Perhaps the cause is related to you not being able to ejaculate lately…… if that’s the case, what you’re really releasing in large amounts is your gray matter……」
Nonna just said something terrifying.
In any case, I hope the king has woken up after that.
I don’t want him to get upset and order my execution after.
Surely, Erich can cover me if that happens. I’ll trust him.
Ah, I left Bolf in the throne room.
I’m not going back to get him, so let’s pretend I forgot.
A Few Days Later. Near Vesla. Goldonia Royal Army Headquarters.
「This is bad, really bad.」
「It’s bad, indeed.」
「Um, the snacks ran out.」
Celia and I mumble in like mind.
Sekrit simply says she lost before going back to bed in a huff.
What we are referring to goes without saying.
Exactly like the messenger at the capital said, an enemy force of 30 000 is on their way, though that much is within expectations.
The problem is I only have 5000 ally forces.
「How did things turn out like this?」
「Err…… firstly, a few tens of thousands of soldiers were split apart from the north in order to protect the capital.」
「The tea leaves taste cheap.」
That much can’t be helped. As long as the river is under enemy control, there is a possibility that they will detour around our headquarters and directly target the capital.
「Then we have the corps which suffered major losses and retreated to the rear in order to regroup. They won’t make it in time.」
「There isn’t a tea set here.」
That can’t be helped either. A corps without soldiers, especially commanders, won’t be any help on the battlefield.
It’s natural to attempt reorganizing since we forecasted more time until the enemy’s next attack.
「Well, rumors of the feudal lords rebelling spread and caused disorder within the corps……」
「Spring water is definitely needed for it to taste good.」
This was unnecessary.
However, many noble feudal lords have family in the army. Unrest was unavoidable whether the rebellion was a lie or the truth.
「Still, there can’t only be 5000.」
If Erich came along, things might go better.
But I can’t say I’m close to those in the Royal army.
I’m sure Agor is doing his best, except he unfortunately doesn’t have the experience to mobilize tens of thousands of soldiers, so there is a limit to what can be done.
「The sun will rise soon. They will probably attack in time with the daybreak.」
It was evening when the enemy appeared in front of us, however they did not attack and set up camp instead.
They probably have a spy within our army and have a good grasp on our situation.
Rather than forcing a night attack and getting into a close fight, they’re going to wait until morning and aim to wipe us out in a frontal assault.
「30 000 vs. 5000, huh……」
Celia looks like she’s about to cry.
Nonna is muttering something as she’s drinking tea, which I’m sure is a form of showing courage.
「The sun…… is rising.」
I only have the Dual Crater with me.
I lost both the longsword and shield, and there’s no time to search for replacements.
Everything is progressing in the wrong direction, though I need to do all I can, since I spoke so sharply of the king.
It would be too pathetic if I ran home now.
「The morning sun―― aah!?」
Celia lets out a cute cry and I also can’t help groaning.
The enemy should be camped out a few kilometers away and the bonfires are visible.
But when the morning sun began to illuminate the earth, about 15 000 enemy soldiers can be seen not even 100 meters away.
The enemy soldiers are light infantry equipped with swords, shields and simple armor, however the reinforcements that came here are clearly the fatal blow.
Not to mention it doesn’t seem like the enemy in the campground has decreased, meaning these soldiers are a completely new opponent.
「Enemy light infantry numbering 15 000! All troops, get into battle positions! Battle positions!!」
Seeing someone on our side shout, the enemy erupt with a war cry and start their charge.
「The enemy is charging at us!」
「Prepare to intercept! ……shit, is this the end?」
I hear an ally become discouraged.
「If things get out of hand, take Nonna and run.」
「No way. I’m staying with you until the end.」
I mount Schwartz and have him run toward the enemy, followed immediately by Celia.
The enemy appears energetic and powerful.
It’s finally time for us to collide――right before contact, I raise my voice.
Their swords, shields, armor, and distinct cloaks, not to mention their individual presence, all feel familiar to me.
「Half the attack! These guys aren’t our enemy! I repeat, stop the attack――!!」
I yell as loud as possible and somehow transmit the information to the rest of my allies.
「Eh? What’s going on?」
「They are clearly not a Goldonian army……」
「They also seem different from the South Yuguria army.」
Both sides slowly decelerate and the force of our inertia collide, ending with me their shields lightly bumping into us.
A few allies get sent flying.
「Nu, sorry about that! It seems I ran too fast!」
「Hahahaha! Being as light as a bird’s feather, it’s obvious you’re going to fly away!」
The hearty laughter echoes.
「I-it can’t be……」
Celia can’t hide her disgust.
「They really came.」
When I dismount from my horse and step forward, I sense something part through the ranks to meet me.
No, it wasn’t simply a feeling, soldiers are literally being knocked aside with loud crashes.
「Oh, my friend and true man. It is nice to see you again!!」
There is only one person I know with that crimson cloak, the booming voice and both an oppressive intimidating presence as well as a heavy manly stench.
The mass of muscle leaps and wraps its burly arms around me.
Honestly, I want to throw him down, but I have to endure since they’re here as our reinforcements.
「My friend, I have come.」
「Yeah, I appreciate it.」
I return the embrace to be friendly, my heart pleading that he would let go soon, although he of course doesn’t get the message.
「Oooh, a hug between two men!」
「How beautiful! I can feel the sweat and throbbing muscles!」
「Get away from Aegir-sama! You, you!」
「……this is that.」
Celia attempts to pull me away, but the man hugging me is like a boulder and doesn’t budge.
I don’t want to believe that hopeful voice belongs to Nonna.
We are full of openings, yet the camped South Yuguria army doesn’t attack.
It is a natural decision in the face of an unknown force of 15 000 suddenly entering the fray.
One of the letters I wrote during the start of hostilities was addressed to this man…… Gildress, the king of Aless.
He is extremely suffocating and has no common sense, but if I close my eyes, there is no other man I would want as an ally on the battlefield.
「Anyways, I’m amazed by your boldness. I didn’t think you would land forcefully in front of the enemy. As expected, your level of courage is on another level.」
It’s already difficult to sail a ship in darkness because of the fear of accidents.
Furthermore, they would be totally vulnerable while disembarking from a ship, and still they managed to pull off such a feat as we were staring off against the enemy.
They truly have nerves of steel and a high level of skill.
「Nu? What are you talking about?」
Gildress tilts his head and flexes his biceps, confused at what I said.
I guess this is his way of saying that wasn’t a big deal to him.
「The river should be in the enemy’s hands, what means did you use to break past a fleet of their size?」
Celia asks curiously, her head also tilted.
Of course, she continues to tug me away from Gildress.
「I don’t understand what you’re saying. I mean, Aless never had anybody who was weak in battle!」
I’m the one who doesn’t understand.
「Well, you crossed North Teries to get here, right?」
「Indeed! The land route is too much of a detour! Going straight is the shortest!」
Gildress answers Celia’s question.
「Then you can only cross by ship.」
Gildress turns around.
The Aless soldiers laugh in unison.
「Gahahahaha, this is amusing!! Are the soldiers on the plains weak after all!?」
「You say we need ships to cross a river? Gahahahaha!」
「Wait, you couldn’t have……」
Celia’s cute reaction was drowned out by the collective roar of the muscular men.
「「「We swam here!!」」」
Celia and I give up trying to understand their logic.
I actually realized the possibility when I noticed how soaked Gildress was. I just mentally suppressed the thought.
Seeing 15 000 men vigorously swing their arms in the water must have been a disgusting sight. I guess it’s a good thing they did it at night.
「Using a ship to travel a few dozen kilometers is the height of weakness!」
「Using one’s own muscles is the sign of a true man. Don’t you think so?」
I can’t denounce him since he came to help.
Accept my agreement without any of my feelings.
「We entered the river in the evening and swam all through the night!」
「We got a good work out!」
Now I notice the wafting smell of sweat gradually becoming stinkier.
All of the Aless soldiers are dripping with sweat.
「S-so stinky. My nose is turning!」
Celia pinches her nose, while Nonna becomes nauseous and throws up her tea.
「Nuun. The smell of men is truly pleasant.」
I agree with my nose pinched.
Gildress finally releases me there and looks toward the South Yuguria army.
「By the way, what are they?」
「They are the South Yuguria army. Our enemy.」
Gildress’s eyes widen.
「What, so the enemy is before us!?」
「You came without knowing……?」
I can’t tell if he’s courageous or plain stupid.
Nevertheless, adding Aless’s forces gives us a total of 20 000, a sufficient number to fight with.
「Now that we have quadrupled our total strength, the enemy won’t find it easy to attack us. If we wait a little longer, more allies should come to our aid after their reorganization――」
「Men of Aless!!」
Gildress chops my explanation.
「The one called South Yuguria is over there! They are our enemy!」
「Uoooooh! So we have encountered the enemy already!?」
「What luck! I offer my thanks to the god of battle!」
「Hey, are you guys listening?」
Gildress’s red cloak flutters as he moves to the front of the soldiers.
「We cannot show an unsightly appearance to our friend and true man Hardlett. Let us display our courage and muscular bodies!」
「Oooohー! We are the men of Aless!」
「Ten kills per person! You should be ashamed if you only take down nine!」
Yep, they’re not listening at all.
「What do you have in your right hand!?」
「「「The sword of victory which will defeat the enemy.」」」
「What do you have in your left hand!?」
「「「The shield which will protect our nation.」」」
「What is it that holds those things!?」
「「「Our honed bodies of steel.」」」
「Here we go, men of Aless!」
Gildress and the Aless soldiers charge toward the South Yuguria army.
They leave us behind.
「……what do you think we should do?」
「We should stay away.」
We can’t really do that.
「All troops, follow me. Charge!」
「It’s an order. Let’s go for now?」
This is the first time the charge order has been this pitiful.
Although the start of the Vesla battle is miserable, it will soon become extremely fierce.