Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi - Chapter 271
A Few Days Later.
「The uprisings occurring in the other bases are weakening after the news of Karudia’s surrender. I’m sure they’ll be suppressed soon.」
Wittmann and I converse while inspecting the heavy traces of urban warfare in the city of Karudia.
「That’s perfect. This fight just felt gloomy for me.」
「Normally, this would be the end of the Royal army’s duties but……」
Wittmann comments in discontent.
With the main force crushed, the governorate faction army should be enough to handle the trivial rebellions on their own.
Yet Dunois still strongly insists for the union of the governorate faction feudal lord armies and the Royal army.
「Maybe this is not my place to say but …… it doesn’t look like Governor General Dunois has any talent in the military field. Did Lord Hardlett use your authority to give the order?」
Wittmann doesn’t seem to like the Royal army following Dunois’s opinion and standing by in Karudia.
Seeing me remain silent, he continues to question me further.
「Can’t we at least carry the siege weapons which take time to transport, like the ballistae, to the harbor?」
Wittmann seems surprised at my definitive rejection.
「……can you at least tell me the reason?」
「I can’t say anything right now. It’s not that I don’t trust you…… but just listen to me. It’ll become clear eventually.」
「……alright, I will consider my position. As a soldier, I will only focus on carrying out my duty.」
After that, Wittmann didn’t ask more, instead giving orders to soldiers to maintain public morals or remove remaining rebels.
I also had nothing else to say so I decided to take a look around the city.
I see residents who lost their homes wandering around picking up pieces of rubble to rebuild their huts.
I want to help with the repairs, but it’ll probably take them double the effort if I were to jump in.
「In the end, they’re insurgents who sided with the independent faction, it can’t be expected of us to protect them or treat them warmly.」
Dunois comes over to my side.
「That’s true for the men, but I feel sorry for the women. I can’t stand seeing pretty ladies becoming homeless. ……so, do you have some business with me?」
「The ally feudal lords’ armies are close to the city now. They’ll probably arrive tomorrow morning.」
Dunois has a forced, creepy smile on his face as he continues.
「The Royal army and governorate army has been patrolling the perimeter just in case anything happens but now it is unnecessary. I will order them to stand down.」
「Sure. I’m counting on you to take care of the governorate army. I will let Wittmann know. He seems to dislike you after all.」
As I sigh, I spot a slight grin appear on Dunois’s face.
While his smile remains creepy, it didn’t seem like this one was forced.
At that moment, a single horseman rushes into the city yelling.
「I have a message from Count Monashi!! Is Lord Hardlett here!?」
I accept the letter from the messenger and open it up on the spot.
After reading it, I sigh like like it didn’t say anything important, then shove the letter roughly into my pocket.
「Do you mind telling me its contents?」
Again, Dunois asks like it didn’t concern him.
His eyes seemed to be open wider than usual.
「It looks like the transport ship sent by the mainland has sailed up onto the shallows. The resupply on arrows will be a little late. The fight is already over so it isn’t really necessary though.」
「……indeed. Count Monashi should know of the fall of Karudia being the meticulous person he is.」
Dunois takes his leave after a single bow.
I call for Wittmann once again.
「You have orders, sir?」
「Yeah, the Royal army who are patrolling the outer perimeter of the city right now ―― have them stay on high alert. Fix the ballistae in your camp and distribute as many arrows as you can to all your archers.」
I switch to a softer voice unlike when I was giving him an order, which instantly perks Wittmann’s ears up.
「I’ll tell you what I couldn’t say before. However, you can’t share this with your subordinates or staff officers. There will be trouble if it gets out.」
I take Wittmann with me and hurry to where Leopolt is.
He will only get confused if I explain it.
Almost there now. As I thought, I’m not good at strategizing.
Next time I’ll leave it to Leopolt and Tristan.
「Lookout, can you see any lights outside the city?」
「I can see countless moving lights not too far from the city. Aren’t they the armies of the feudal lords who are scheduled to meet up with us?」
The lookout answers as Leopolt, Wittmann and I look at each other, then nod.
Everyone, including Celia and Myla beside me, are fully armed.
「They should be arriving in Karudia tomorrow. There’s no reason for them to march at night on a strict schedule.」
「They aren’t marching in a long winding line. They’re in a wide formation so it’s possible for them to transition to attack quickly.」
「Yeah. Why is Dunois here?」
Celia answers promptly.
「We can’t determine their whereabouts in the evening. The governorate army is stationed in the section near the gates.」
There is no mistake about it.
Now we just have to wait until they do something.
As soon as I plopped my ass on a chair and shoved each hand into Myla and Celia’s crotches as a joke, that moment came.
「Enemy attack!! Enemy attack!!」
A lookout shouts and the surroundings instantly become more frantic.
Rushing out of the tent, numerous flaming arrows can be seen dancing in midair, enough to cover the stars in the night sky.
「Enemy count unknown! They’re already invading into the city from the destroyed walls!」
Compared to the lookouts making a fuss, Leopolt is calm.
「How many casualties?」
「The Royal army was ordered to hide in their camp so they did not suffer any significant losses.」
「The governorate army did not follow orders! There is no reply to the message we sent!」
Another messenger runs over to us screaming.
「Have each battalion take defensive positions. The construction of camps should be finished.」
Wittmann also speaks in an unconcerned manner.
「Yessir! ……huh? Why is everyone so calm?」
The messenger tilts his head in confusion as he leaves.
He must have thought the sudden enemy attack and the strange movements of the governorate army would make us panic.
「Divide the whole army in two and head out to the designated spots, one group to the place where the walls are destroyed and the other in the direction of the gates where the governorate army is.」
「Archers and ballista squad set up in an elevated location where you can overlook the entire battle and provide supporting fire. Wait for instructions from us as to where to aim. Don’t shoot any arrows unless you’ve received your orders.」
Nobody is flustered or panicking in the headquarters.
There is nothing for me to do besides staying seated.
「The enemy has charged in! They’re engaging with the First Division Battalion!」
「The governorate army still has not moved!」
The battle within the city walls has started.
A volley of arrows fly towards the Royal army’s position.
Our allies quickly shoot back at the enemy.
The counterattack involving the ballistae was organized and actually had more impact than the enemy’s initial volley.
「W-what the heck!?」「The enemy isn’t in disarray! They’re firing back with incredible ferocity!」
The enemy had expected us to run around frantically when they ambushed us in the dead of night.
However, our furious attack put them on the back foot instead.
「We have plenty of arrows. Don’t hold back!」
More arrows fly according to Wittmann’s instructions.
The enemies are moving sluggishly now that we’ve thwarted their plan to flood in after causing chaos in our camp.
In a stationary shootout like this, our side with the greater skill has the advantage.
Not to mention the enemy is invading through the destroyed portion of the city walls while carrying torches so it was easy to aim at them even in the dark.
On the other hand, our allies are spread out and hiding in their camps. Having no lit torches makes it hard for the enemy to spot them.
Moreover, the unshieldable large bolts fired by the ballistae soar through the air accompanying the arrows with a low groan.
「The enemy’s raid has been halted completely! They’ve stopped moving!」
One subordinate keeps glancing over at us.
He must want to take this opportunity to counterattack.
「Counterattack with the bare minimum. Refrain from engaging in close combat and attack only with arrows.」
He only gets such an order from Wittmann.
「Everything is going as planned, only one more piece needs to be in place.」
When Leopolt turns towards me, the final piece moved.
「The governorate army has turned coat!! Governor General Dunois has rebelled!!」
The thing we were expecting to happen has come true.
It’s laughable how predictable things are.
Before showing Bakleylan’s letter to Leopolt, he was already plotting something with Tristan.
Apparently, he already anticipated Dunois was going to make a mess of things before the first battle even took place.
When I asked why he didn’t tell me, he said that I looked likely to leak information and didn’t trust me.
I wanted to turn him around and rape his ass, but remembered that he was a man, so I stopped myself.
「Dunois really doesn’t have any talent for the military. The Royal army stopped the ambush so participating now would only make the situation more chaotic. If they wanted to double-cross us, they should have done so right before the attack or waited for the moment when both armies become exhausted after struggling with each other.」
Myla nods while Celia takes notes.
Study well so I don’t have to think about it.
「Agor’s battalion is engaging.」
The development may have been predicted, but Wittmann is still making a grave expression at having to deal with attacks from two directions.
Meanwhile, Agor’s battalion is completely pushing back the governorate army.
「D-damn! So tough!」「Was Goldonia’s Royal army always this strong!?」
「You traitors! Force them back!」「In the end, they’re nothing but weak soldiers who we can rout if we remain calm.」
Our formation does not budge in the face of this double-layered ambush.
There was certainly a slight sense of panic among the soldiers immediately after finding out about the governorate army’s betrayal.
However, the Royal army is not so easy to break once they have gotten their defences set up.
After taking a deep breath, the 9 000 soldiers of low skill prove to be nothing more than an insignificant threat.
「But if we consider all of the feudal lords’ armies to be enemies, they add up to roughly 30 000 together with the governorate army…… that’s more than double our forces. They may force us into a hard fight when the sun rises.」
「Don’t worry. I had that lazy ass work for this very reason.」
I see some strange movements from the surging feudal lords’ armies.
Two or three green-burning signal arrows were shot into the air.
A few seconds later, the light from flaming arrows appeared in the center of the enemy army…… and those arrows rained down on the governorate army.
「What the-!? Why are they feudal lords’ armies shooting at us!?」「We’re on their side now! What are they doing!?」
Shouts fly past the soldiers as flaming arrows ceaselessly fall on their heads, all the while trying to figure out what’s going on.
Eventually, the governorate army starts firing arrows back at the feudal lords’ armies.
「So this is Tristan’s doing?」
「No, there’s more.」
Not too late after Leopolt spoke, this time sounds of a clash could be heard coming from the center of the enemy camp.
「As I thought, they attacked! Attack the army of Lord Yale beside us! They’re familiar with Goldonia!」
「Lord Serey’s army is attacking us!? So that secret message saying they were on Goldonia’s side was true!?」
The feudal lords’ armies and governorate army started to attack each other.
A huge commotion is made as they attack their allies.
「What on earth……」
「Betrayal, a night raid, and now friendly fire, how busy.」
I look at Leopolt while rubbing the dumbfounded Celia’s head.
「Tristan already realized something was off about the governorate army’s unnatural movements before the attack on Karudia. That’s when he investigated the commanders who have poor relationships with each other and sent out secret letters telling them the other has sworn allegiance with Goldonia. After that, we just wait until the moles get things moving and you get what’s going on now.」
「I see…… unless they are thinking of treachery, swearing loyalty to Goldonia wouldn’t particularly be much of a problem even if it were discovered.」
Wittmann seems to be impressed.
I’m also impressed with how soft Celia’s cheeks are. Why are they so squishy and fun to touch.
「The feudal lords’ armies are attacking each other too. What happened to them?」
「Tristan headed to the feudal lords. He tricked the messenger from Governor General Dunois with the same message, saying “that feudal lord is familiar with Goldonia”.」
「And they believed that?」
「In the face of betrayal, it is easy to make use of Governor General Dunois and get them to believe whatever you say by bringing up things like “in regards to the matter of that plan”. That and we have a trick to our attack too.」
Oh yeah, the attack of our archers was focused heavily on one side.
They ignored the enemy’s right wing and focused their attack more towards the center and left wing.
The friendly fire started from the left wing towards the right wing.
「We purposely attacked that way to create a sense of doubt. Besides, traitors are more sensitive to being betrayed than anybody else.」
In any case, the enemy is in a total state of panic and we should be able to repel them if we transition to attack now.
「Wittmann. Transition to a complete counterattack, chase them out of Karudia.」
「You don’t have to pursue them excessively. Take defensive positions after driving them out of the city.」
That’s good enough, right? I give a look towards Leopolt, who doesn’t answer, only swinging his head up and down.
The counterattack instantly begins and the traitors collapse almost immediately, retreating all the way outside the city walls.
Seeing an enemy with twice our number get wiped out in a flash like that is comical.
「We can’t annihilate the enemy. We have to make them think they can regroup and win.」
「That’s the hard part.」
It’s easy to look from overhead and say it, however the soldiers fighting on site are probably desperate.
The natural course of action is to crush the enemy as much as possible when an opportunity presents itself.
Even so, the Royal army is well commanded and remains faithful to their orders, not acting arbitrarily after chasing the enemy out of the city, obediently stopping their attack and turning back.
「It’s over for now. Just stay alert. I’m going to take a little break.」
I call out to Gido who is standing nearby.
「Can you summon the girls from the transport corps? Tell them to come over so I can embrace them.」
「In that case, 25 people would be coming.」
「Then you can pick three of your favorites.」
I laugh at the troubled Gido and turn back to my tent.
Considering Count Monashi’s letter, it should be about time now…… I’d like them to come soon.
「The city has already been completely surrounded. Our reinforcements are pouring in as well. Whereas you are isolated and have no support. If you surrender now, your lives will be spared!」
「Advising us to surrender? How shameless of you!」
The next morning, after resolving the chaos, the governorate army…… or rather the new rebel army, shouts at us.
Behind the one who yelled, where arrows cannot reach, Dunois can be seen.
With the distance between us I can’t see his expression closely, but it felt like he was looking at me with empty eyes.
「It does actually look like they have gathered reinforcements.」
The rebel army appeared to converge with some shadowy figures holding spears.
「Gido, what do you think?」
「They’re not holding spears, but actually wooden sticks, also what they’re wearing doesn’t look like armor.」
The mountain nation are blessed with unbelievably sharp eyesight. They can see the small details even at this distance.
「They must have gathered the surrounding citizens for an empty threat. It’s hard to think they increased their troops so easily. If we call their bluff, we can take care of them.」
「If we wanted a victory, we would have done so last night with our pursuit. It would be troubling if we routed them.」
Also, it should be time now.
I climb up to the highest point on the city walls and glare at Dunois.
Neither Dunois nor I have as good of an eyesight as Gido so it’s hard for the both of us to make out each other’s faces.
It felt like Dunois glared back at me.
I don’t know if he’s got guts or whether he was swallowed by insanity…….
A few arrows come flying at me.
Some archers must have thought this was their chance to shoot me.
They really are an unruly bunch.
「Aegir-sama! Watch out!」
Celia screams, but I’m not in trouble.
Those slow arrows drawing an arc before falling towards me are not even worth worrying over.
I grab a fallen shard of wood and strike down the incoming arrows with it.
With my bare hands, I snatch the last arrow in mid air and throw it away, prompting the enemy archers to slowly back down.
「He dealt with all those arrows so easily……」「Impossible…… we’re going to fight this guy, right?」
Before I knew it, Leopolt has come beside me.
How rare for you to come to the front.
「Were you perhaps worried about me?」
I ask him with a smirk.
「It’s not anything like that. They’re here.」
When I was about to strangle Leopolt’s neck, I notice he was pointing to something.
In the direction he was pointing to are multiple flags…… a line of Royal army flags.
「Reinforcements! Reinforcements have arrived!!」
Soldiers cheer as soon as they heard the lookout.
Wittmann also climbs up on top of the walls.
「Those are…… the second and third division armies…… the sixth division army has also come!!」
Three army corps for a total of 45 000 ally soldiers march in a long snake-like line.
They move in a way to circle around the rebel army who are surrounding the city while maintaining their distance from Karudia.
「Everything is pretty much going as planned.」
I abandon the letter sent from Count Monashi now that it has served its purpose.
Written on it was not a notice of supplies being sent, it was an announcement that reinforcements have just landed.
I didn’t make a request for backup.
Regardless, three army corps moved so swiftly.
Preparations should be made for this since we anticipated this from the start.
「The objective of this expedition was to suppress the rebel army and…… to exterminate Dunois. So that’s why a rebellion was purposely triggered.」
Giving judgement immediately to the Governor General would give birth to confusion.
But on top of failing to rule properly and inviting a large scale uprising, losing control and baring fangs at the Royal army is the kicker.
A situation was created where all the wrongdoings can be placed on his head.
Plus with all the allies and enemies who hate him after this, his successor – even a criminal one – would seem like a saint.
「So it was all according to plan from day one.」
Maybe the King felt something from Dunois too.
It all doesn’t matter now.
「The rebel army is falling apart! Each feudal lord is moving independently and are scattering their troops in an attempt to escape on their own.」
It’s only a matter of time before they’re completely trapped, there’s no way for them to win anymore.
The reason we didn’t rout them was so we can prevent all the ringleaders from escaping, including Dunois.
「Open the gates and chase after them. Don’t let them flee.」
The net has been cast.
There is no need to hold back anymore.
I guess the soldiers also had pent up frustrations for not being able to beat up the traitors.
They surge forward with an explosive cheer.
It was settled in less than half a day.
One Week Later. Central City: Odoros.
「Is there anything I forgot to mention?」
In Magrado’s former capital city Odoros, Dunois is tied to a pillar and has a pile of firewood at his feet.
Dunois doesn’t say anything.
His eyes don’t seem to be scheming anything, rather just looking out vacantly at the mass of people in front of him.
The man standing in front of the bound Dunois declares to the general public and the nobles from the former governorate faction and the former independent faction.
「He is literally the root of all evil! The reason this land was engulfed in war and the citizens were suffering is because of this evil man!」
Some people in the crowd shout out curses like “fiend” or “murderer”.
「We must deliver the hammer of justice to this demon!」
I unconsciously let out a chuckle, but Myla clears her throat loudly and covers it up.
He was called a Prime Minister then an insane man, a Governor General then a traitor, and lastly a demon.
The man looks in my direction for a second before Leopolt steps in between me and him, blocking his view of me laughing.
「His Majesty Alexandro has newly appointed a capable and compassionate Governor General, Griff Zilgray!」
The man named Zilgray has sumptuous wavy blond hair and walks in large strides, making his physique seem imposing.
He appears to glare at me for a brief moment, maybe he saw what I did earlier.
The Governor General who drew the attention of the general public speaks in a low and loud voice as expected.
「Everyone! I am the new Governor General, Zilgray.」
He continues on with some unimportant matters, in which the citizens seem undecided on his attitude, meanwhile I yawn.
「This internal conflict has caused great harm to all of you. His Majesty Alexandro regretted appointing Dunois, and thus told me to treat you warmly.」
Zilgray speaks loudly about several plans for favorable treatment.
They all seem to be desirable things to the citizens but nothing too extreme.
「Even so, that is like a gift from heaven to those who were treated coldly. And to those treated favorably, it isn’t anything upsetting. They’ll gladly welcome those implementations.」
「It was probably impossible to present ‘this’ right after occupying Magrado.」
Leopolt and Tristan made sure I was the only one who heard what they said.
By the way, Tristan used his head to do lots of thinking and declared that he would laze around lots to recharge, holing up somewhere until to day.
I sent two prostitutes his way as a reward but he actually turned them down.
Both of them were real beauties…… to reject women like that makes me doubt whether Tristan is actually a man.
Maybe I’ll check the next time he takes a bath.
「It gives me the chills……」
What drowned out our idle chatter was the applause and cheers from the citizens for Zilgray.
He raises his hand, waving to the people with a content expression, then sends me another glare.
I don’t think he heard what we just said…… oh well, whatever.
I didn’t have any interest in the inauguration of the new Governor General anyways.
I attended only because I was here and honestly just want to go home right away.
「But there is something that must be done before that!」
The cheers die down.
「We’ll purge the demon, use cleansing fire to purify the land for a new ruler, and allow everyone to reach an amicable settlement!」
The citizens echo the words “kill him” and “set him on fire”.
It felt like the same people from before started the chanting, but what does it matter.
The executioner hands a lit torch to Zilgray.
After raising it above his head in a grand manner, he throws it at the feet of the constricted Dunois.
Oil must have been sprinkled. Fire burst up with a loud gush sound.
「The evil has perished! It is time to reconcile!!」
The nobles of the former governorate faction and the former independent faction exchange handshakes in front of Dunois engulfed in flames.
Seeing that, the citizens cheer loudly and celebratory fireworks shoot up from above the roofs of the houses.
No matter how I see it, they had this prepared from the start.
「Hurray for peace!」「Hurray for the new Governor General!」「Hurray for liberation!」
I let out a sigh.
「Is it better if I cheer as well?」
「If that’s what you want, go ahead.」
I don’t say anything and drink some water after Leopolt’s cold reply.
The ceremony is over. It’s fine to get up from my seat now right?
Zilgray is glaring at me again.
Don’t tell me he’s interested in me.
And then Dunois, who had remained silent like his tongue was cut off, finally spoke up.
「Fu-…… fufufu…… fuhahahahahaha!」
His sudden burst of laughter made me laugh too.
「Wonderful. It truly is wonderful.」
Dunois’s lower half was already wrapped with the fire.
It wouldn’t have been strange if he let out a broken scream, but his voice sounded natural.
「You fiend. What’s so wonderful? Are you referring to your own execution?」
Zilgray and Dunois face each other.
「My fate is but a trivial matter. What is wonderful is this world, a world of betrayal and slaughter, and of deceit! After all these years, I’ve finally realized it. The real nature of this world that is!」
「That is the path you lived. Just go to hell quietly!」
The two of them seem to be conversing with each other, except Dunois’s eyes are not looking at Zilgray.
His eyes are clearly directed at me.
「I can see…… I can see it! The path that you are walking! Wahahahahaha, this is joy! So that’s how things will turn out!?」
「How unsightly, Dunois! Hurry up and burn to death!」
Zilgray curses while Dunois looks at me and laughs.
I don’t do anything except watch Dunois continue burning.
Eventually Dunois is totally engulfed by the flames, the rope binding his hands gets burned up and allows him to spread his arms toward the citizens.
The people also shout at him to go to hell.
「This world itself is hell, so I’m not afraid of falling to hell…… but one more thing.」
Dunois takes one last breath as the flames burn his body with greater intensity.
I don’t know if his vocal cords were burned too, but his voice sounds different from before…… it sounded like a low growl almost like a real demon.
「A deceptive King, barbaric feudal lords, ignorant people. Everything is equally similar to hell itself!! Oh heavens, oh the earth, oh God, oh demons! Please ensure my curse reaches its target――――――」
The citizens stop shouting insults at him when they hear his voice sound like it came from the bottom of the earth.
Now that I look, the feudal lords are also frozen in place and Zilgray’s eyes are wide open in astonishment.
Apparently his curse was quite powerful.
It was supposed to be the climax of the ceremony, however nobody could open their mouths to speak.
Perhaps using the last of his strength, Dunois collapses in a heap of burnt flesh.
Even in the flames, it felt like the corners of his mouth rose up slightly.
「So this is how you meet your end. See ya.」
It’s not like I was close to him or anything so I bid farewell casually.
I said so in a soft voice, although it might have sounded loud with everyone unable to make a sound.
Protagonist: Aegir Hardlett. 24 years old. Winter.
Status: Goldonia Kingdom Margrave. Great Feudal Lord of Eastern Area. Mountain Legend. Friend of the Dwarves. Friend of the King of Aless. Dragon Slayer Hero.
Citizens: 175,000. Refugees: 1600
Major Cities – Rafen: 26,000. Lintbloom: 5000. Vandolea Special Town: 9000.
Leopolt (staff officer), Tristan (slacking off), Celia (adjutant), Myla (commander), Irijina (commander)
Gido (escort troops), Christoph (escort troops), Wittmann (Royal army corps commander), Agor (battalion commander)
Army under command:
Escort Squad: 95, Poor Group Vassals: 85
Appointed: Polte (administrator of refugees)
Assets: 19,470 gold
Sexual Partners: 426, children who have been born: 55 + 555 fish