Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi Chapter 399
Rafen Mansion. Night.
I take a swig of alcohol and gaze out the window at the city.
The sun has set completely.
「All the citizens are out today.」
Rafen is not enveloped in darkness.
Countless torches and bonfires can be seen all over, resembling a clear starry sky.
Work continues through the night to repair the crumbled city walls and people whose houses were destroyed gather outside around bonfires.
「The only ones sleeping are the tired soldiers, huh?」
In this situation, neither enemy or ally have any effort to spare to attack the other at night.
Lintbloom’s request for reinforcements was also cancelled after we received notice from Claire that the enemy was defeated.
Although the Aless soldiers complained about wanting to fight more, they went straight to sleep likely due to the fatigue from their strict march.
「How far was the city damaged?」
I ask Adolph beside me.
I had him play an unfamiliar role as Supreme Commander.
He mocked himself saying he was inept, but I’m not going to blame him when the job was outside his expertise.
「The only structures that were significantly damaged were the city walls and the south gate. Then you have a portion of the residences in the south that were caught in the battle. ……With that said, many families in the southern region are relatively poor so if we correct the amount of loss, it’s not actually that much.」
Including my mansion, most of Rafen’s important buildings are concentrated in the center and north of the city.
「The problem isn’t the damage to the city, rather it’s the damage to the people. We lost a considerable amount of volunteer soldiers.」
Adolph takes out his records.
The list recorded the names of all the people who died in battle, and although it isn’t complete yet, the final total of deaths was tallied.
「At the very least 1000, and probably close to 1500.」
In terms of soldiers, that number isn’t a lot.
However, I let citizens who mobilized to protect the city die and I have to think of a solution.
「That can come later. If we get attacked once while we’re talking here, it’ll be unbearable to watch.」
Rafen won’t fall now that I’ve returned.
「Tell them not to worry because I’ll give some kind of reward. I have to apologize to Claire as well.」
Driving away external threats is the duty of a feudal lord, yet Claire did it as a merchant.
I’ll have to buy her a luxury item worth an eye-popping sum of money.
I feel my voice get harsher.
「Call Leopolt back immediately.」
What is he doing in the first place with my army under his command?
「A messenger has already been sent. ……maybe he can’t move because he’s holding off the enemy’s main force?」
「I know that.」
My voice gets even rougher and the attending maid’s shoulders start to tremble in fear.
If Leopolt was an average man, I would split the responsibility with him for leaving the territory on his own while I was away.
But knowing him, he’ll manage somehow, that’s why anger is building up within me.
「Can I come in?」
As I was wound up from the unnecessary anger, a voice as pretty as a bell broke the tense mood.
Coming in at 150 cm, with a small build, slanted eyes and a protruding tooth, is the cute and capable information officer.
If it isn’t Peticheri Mirkura, the information officer who has a complex about her overly cute name and has a love for big dicks and sex which belies her appearance.
「I can hear you……」
Peticheri clears her throat once and her face goes back to this cute serious expression.
The air somewhat relaxed after that exchange.
「The main cause for the enemy surprise attack has been confirmed.」
I also make a serious face.
To begin with, this attack caught us completely off-guard.
They didn’t appear on the south side, where it made sense geographically, they came from the improbable east.
The attack on Lintbloom was unexpected too.
「The enemy departed from Kisatto, made a large detour to the east and crossed the mountain nation territory.」
「They went through there? Fumu……」
The mountain nation territory is a completely barren land aside from the maintained road connecting Rafen and Lintbloom.
There isn’t a single town or village, there isn’t a path, there isn’t a stream to refill water from, and the number of monsters roaming freely is incomparable to that in the plains.
It’s a place where even large armies can be wiped out if they aren’t careful.
「I am of the same opinion. It seems the enemy was guided by someone who knew the area though. That individual is likely a betrayer.」
Peticheri’s eyes narrow as she looks at Gido.
Oh, Gido was also beside me? He was so quiet, I couldn’t tell.
Gido seemed to get enraged for an instant, but reconsidered and clenched his teeth.
There is a traitor among the mountain nation. That’s what she is saying.
Gido wants to deny it as well, but is it such an unthinkable thing?
「A family has been tasked with holding down the area where the enemy supposedly marched through. There are no further reinforcements from the same path.」
That’s all Gido says before he exits the room with a stern expression. You weren’t the one who did the betrayal so don’t let it bother you too much.
「One more thing.」
Peticheri brings her mouth close to my ear.
「The enemy attacked in a way like they knew Rafen didn’t have a proper army. They were able to pinpoint important structures like the sluice gate to the water supply. There is also someone giving inside information in Rafen…… one who is close to Lord Hardlett.」
「Another traitor, huh?」
Recently, it feels like I’ve heard this kind of talk non-stop.
「It’s my specialty. I will let you know as soon as I identify the individuals.」
She turns back before dashing off.
「……well, this is a serious matter to the kingdom.」
She probably wanted to say it coldly, but it’s cute how she’s turning red.
「And also, don’t you think you should cover Melissa-sama with a blanket about now?」
Peticheri goes back to a straight face and Adolph awkwardly leaves the room.
Melissa is laying on the bed with her legs spread out and looking up at the ceiling.
「……I understand your craving for women after battle, but you don’t have to go that far.」
Melissa is literally lying in the shape of the character “大” and occasionally twitches.
「It wasn’t my lust. My love for her exploded.」
Normally, I would love her passionately and finish by releasing, but the current me can’t ejaculate.
I kept ramming into her with my hard thing and Melissa ended up in this state.
Even though she is a former prostitute with an abundance of experience, she might not wake up for a while.
I did a horrible thing to her.
「By the way, Peticheri. How about one round before your mission……」
「Well then, if you’ll excuse me. After all, if this happened to Melissa-sama, then I would die.」
The number of women willing to help me do something about my cock just decreased.
Is there something I can do about Sekrit’s arm……?
「The main army led by Leopolt-sama has arrived in Rafen!」
Leopolt obediently listened to my order of highest priority and returned to Rafen.
Now the fear of Rafen falling has pretty much disappeared, but conversely, mostly everywhere else within my territory, excluding the eastern region around Rafen, has become unprotected.
「It can’t be helped. Rafen is the centre of the territory――」
「My women are in Rafen. Protecting them is the highest priority.」
Celia tackles my back softly. I wonder what’s wrong.
Now that I’m healed by Celia’s cuteness, it’s time to get down to business.
I sidestep Celia’s tackle and turn toward Leopolt.
「Did you fail to predict the enemy’s surprise attack? Or were you not able to move while taking on the enemy’s attack?」
The tension filling the air right now can be felt even by me.
It’s strange of me to blame Leopolt when I wasn’t here at a critical time, but this is something I have to confirm.
The surprise attack passed through the mountain nation territory, a direction in which we did not anticipate.
Leopolt led an army fewer in numbers than the enemy eastern army and engaged them.
It wouldn’t be strange if he simply did not forecast or knew but couldn’t act.
However, I figured this guy would have been able to do something.
In other words, it was possible that there was a worse choice.
Uncomfortable with the strained atmosphere, Tristan repeatedly weaves his fingers together.
Leopolt then opens his mouth with his usual expressionless face.
「I considered the possibility of a surprise attack. It was clear the enemy was acting as decoy so that was my next logical thought.」
「Although we had inferior numbers, the battle was in our favor. It was sufficient enough that we could possibly spare some forces to send to Rafen’s defense.」
I knew it. I thought he could the whole time.
Myla awkwardly averts her gaze from me and stares downward.
「Why didn’t you do it then?」
I don’t look away from Leopolt’s eyes.
「To win in the long run. I judged that Rafen did not require backup.」
「In other words, you knew about the surprise attack and chose not to send soldiers back.」
It was as I expected.
I don’t know how he plans to lead us to victory.
But this guy decided to abandon Rafen for that victory.
In other words, he’s abandoning my women.
I approach Leopolt until we’re barely touching and stare at him.
Since he’s slightly shorter than me, he has to look up at me.
He doesn’t seem guilty at all and is holding out his chest confidently.
Celia is beside me trying to be menacing to Leopolt.
Contrarily, Myla is anxiously trying to get in between us.
「Mumu? What are we looking a……mmgh.」
「Irijina-san, be quiet for a while.」
Irijina struggles as her mouth was covered by Luna.
A part of me wants to laugh at the comical sight, but the situation between Leopolt and I is still touch and go.
Leopolt didn’t give any excuses when he answered my question and he doesn’t avoid looking at me.
On the other hand, while I know it’s meaningless to blame Leopolt, his unapologetic attitude gets me a little annoyed.
The one who intervened before anything broke out was Tristan.
「Now, now. Why don’t we sit down and have some tea?」
Initially, Leopolt and I did not react, but Myla and Luna agreeing enthusiastically prompted us to follow suit.
「We’re sitting down.」
Leopolt complies with my instructions.
His attitude is poor yet he’s willing to listen, huh?
Leopolt and I take opposite seats so we can face each other.
Myla and Tristan sit on either side of him, with my personal army lined up behind them, whereas Celia and Irijina sit adjacent to me, with my followers sitting down as well.
I ask the question against after downing the boiling tea in one gulp.
「Why didn’t you prioritize helping Rafen?」
「Like I said before, I thought it wasn’t necessary.」
The only reason I didn’t slam my fist on the desk was because Celia tried to copy me and is reeling back in anguish.
Tristan once again steps in.
「It’s true that we believed it wasn’t necessary…… however, it holds a different meaning than what I think you’re thinking.」
When Leopolt eyes Tristan, he shrinks his head down into his shoulders and continues nonetheless.
「If we don’t explain, the Margrave will stay angry. What will you do if he ends up rampaging?」
Talking about me like I’m a monster? If Celia wasn’t trying to cool off her burnt tongue by blowing “fuu, fuu”, I would have kicked you.
「First, the reason why we didn’t return to Rafen to protect it. As Leopolt said, it was done premeditatedly. But we didn’t think it was okay for Rafen to fall.」
「What do you mean?」
I get up from my seat slightly and plop myself down onto the chair again.
「In other words, we judged that Rafen could sufficiently handle the enemy’s surprise attack. If we diverted some troops to Rafen’s defense, we would have no other choice than to retreat on the main front.」
「As a result, the city walls were destroyed, leading to urban warfare. If I didn’t return, the city would have eventually fallen.」
Tristan sighs and takes a sip of his now-warm tea.
「The procedure to enlist soldiers by turning Rafen’s citizens into volunteer soldiers was given to Adolph-san. The city also has various…… defense mechanisms. We thought that would be enough to repel the enemy…… but the size of the enemy force was greater than anticipated. And who knew they would also detour around through the east.」
Myla chimes in regretfully.
「The enemy’s directive clearly changed. They focused on sound military strategies up until now only to suddenly switch to consecutive risky maneuvers.」
「Their commander changed?」
Spoken like that, it’s pretty unskilled of me to leave the territory and do my own thing.
If I stayed near Rafen, I might have realized it.
A small smile creeps onto Tristan’s face when he sees my expression relax somewhat.
「Leopolt-san was considerably flustered when he heard the enemy ambush consisted of 15 000 soldiers. The report came in during mealtime and he was holding his fork and knife in the opposite―― ow!!」
Tristan’s face suddenly distorts.
Somebody kicked somebody under the table just now.
「It was an error for failing to predict their numbers, however retreating before the enemy’s presence would simply invite them to pursue. Thus――」
Leopolt interrupts and continues matter-of-factly in place of the agonizing Tristan.
Leopolt eyes Myla when a giggle escapes her lips.
I’m very curious about what this guy looks like when rattled. It’s a shame I wasn’t there.
「Since Rafen ultimately didn’t fall, I’ll let it go. ……Tristan and Myla, come report to me later.」
Hidden behind Leopolt’s expressionless demeanor is an annoyed look.
In consideration for that face, I’ll forgive him.
「Rather than that insignificant matter, regarding the advance from the east.」
Everyone goes silent when Leopolt brings up the next issue.
Running through the mountain nation territory with a large army is impossible, that’s common sense. At the very least, they would need a guide.
「I have a general idea, but first we will defeat the enemy.」
Gido and Luna hang their heads repentantly.
With the potential of a traitor in their midst, they can’t really act freely.
Uncovering them can wait though.
Here is where the next move will be made.
「Adolph. Conscript all the young men in the territory.」
The entire room stirred.
「……all of them?」
「All of them. Have everyone recruited by order of the feudal lord.」
I proceed to shift my gaze to Leopolt.
「I’ll personally be taking command from here. You will be my advisor.」
Even though I’m late, I still have things I need to do.
「First, we’ll rout the enemy army from Rafen. Then, we’ll crush the entire eastern army and retake all of our territory. That should take care of this matter.」
「Easier said than done.」
I pay no attention to Tristan’s remark.
「Doing it is easy. I’m not one for theory and logic…… however, I’ve always been good against opponents who use schemes.」
「Of course. How could I forget.」
Tristan nods for some reason.
Leopolt and Adolph prepare for the conscription while Myla runs around to reorganize the troops.
As they take action, I enter a room with no light.
「Brynhildr. I would like the strength of you and your subordinates as well.」
「What a selfish guy…… but-」
Brynhildr stretches up to the best of her ability and touches my chin.
「You look so handsome when you’ve come to a decision. Very well, I will listen.」
She grins and vanishes into the shadows.
With that, everything has been set into motion.
――A Few Days Later. South Rafen.
「An enemy force of approximately 10 000 has been confirmed in front. There are no signs of movement.」
One scout kneels before me and presents his report.
The main force of my personal army led by Leopolt, the army of Aless soldiers led by Gildress, and the mountain nation who came to me after hearing of Rafen’s crisis are all currently under my command.
It’s an army of over 30 000 and that’s on top of the continually increasing number of recruits being left in Rafen for defense.
「I thought they would run a little further away, but they stopped at a distance requiring less than a day to travel.」
「The enemy was receiving aid from a collaborator and travelling along the mountain nation’s path after all. With that area blocked off now, they can no longer retreat without support from their main force.」
Leopolt didn’t need to hear Peticheri’s report to know what the enemy did.
That doesn’t erase the fact he was duped by the enemy once though.
「When you think about it that way, they’re pretty unfortunate.」
Tristan is right, those poor things have nowhere to run.
It would have been good had they successfully executed their ambush, however, they failed and now they have no escape route.
「But the entire personal army has been mobilized here, which leaves all the territory aside from Rafen and its surroundings in enemy hands.」
We saw citizens and peasants carrying their belongings and fleeing to Rafen in droves before we set out.
「If something is stolen from you, you just have to steal it back. The same goes for women.」
I unsheath my Dual Crater and point it at the enemy in front of us.
「First, I’ll beat the adulterers to death.」
「The enemy also realizes we’re here. Since we have the bow cavalry, let’s have them circle to the rear……」
I shake my head at the proposals given by Myla and Celia.
「The enemy is a small force of the remnants of a defeated army, while we are……」
I look to the soldiers.
「Everything’s going to be fine now that the feudal lord-sama has returned!」
「Our counterattack begins here!」
「My wife’s home has been occupied by the enemy. I want to recapture it right away!」
Noticing my gaze, the soldiers raise their swords and shout energetically.
Despite being overwhelmed, their morale is still rather high.
Everyone has their own reason for fighting within the territory.
「Bring us to battle! To blood!」
「Has the time to show our bodies not yet come!?」
For some reason, the Aless soldiers have the most spirit overflowing from them, even when this battle is another nation’s matter.
「The formation will be a charging formation. That should be sufficient for a head-on attack.」
There is no need to use any tricks when we are superior in both morale and numbers.
We only need to charge straight at them.
「All-out attack―― go!」
The soldiers cheer and rush forward after the way-too-easy order was given.
I’ll try not to pay attention to Gildress’s voice, which is the loudest.
「Do you have anything to say?」
I turn to Tristan and Leopolt.
「Not really. I mean, we’ll win no matter what we do here.」
Tristan shrugs his shoulders.
「Nothing from me.」
Leopolt doesn’t say much either.
I thought he became meek after the enemy outmaneuvered him, but there’s no way he’ll let that get to him.
If needed, I’m sure more toxic comments will come from his mouth, so I’ll leave him alone.
Although it’s a stupid thought, I wonder what would happen if I put him and Gildress in the same room.
「Bow cavalry has made contact with the enemy!」
Celia shouts as if to blow away the wicked thoughts from my mind.
When it comes to a simple charge without any special tactics, the bow cavalry who have the fastest legs are the first ones to clash after all.
「A furious exchange of arrows between the enemy in front―― we’re winning! The enemy is collapsing…… the charge has begun!」
「Aren’t they being a little too forceful?」
After the bow cavalry single-handedly defeated the enemy archers, they charge in with their swords drawn.
They’re obviously displaying a fierce drive trying not to lose to the Aless soldiers, but they seem somewhat impatient.
「Push! Push them back! We’re going to rout the enemy by ourselves!」
Gido is standing in the front, frantically swinging his sword.
He brushes aside the spear thrust at him with his sword and cuts down his opponent, then quickly switches to his bow to shoot two more enemies, and smoothly, without hesitation, he switches back to his sword to finish off another enemy.
「Bring on the next one!」
Even as a man, I think this sight of him shouting is quite becoming.
He’s good-looking after all…… if I was that handsome, I would be able to ravage more girls.
「Fight hard and show your loyalty to the chief! I will not let us be thought of as the same as those idiots of Gukuto!」
Luna is firing arrows in rapid succession.
She doesn’t bother to use her sword and insists on shooting down every enemy with her bow.
A heavy cavalry covered with metal armor roars as he approaches.
Luna’s arrows have no effect against the gapless armor.
Luna stops her consecutive firing and focuses on aiming a single arrow.
As the enemy gradually gets closer and finally reaches his sword’s range, Luna looses her arrow.
Her arrow flies true.
As if being sucked into the only hole large enough to fit one arrow, Luna’s arrow stabs the cavalry in the eye and the enemy falls over with a thud.
That was amazing but too close for comfort.
If she missed, Luna would have definitely been cut.
「They probably know about it too. I mean the possibility of a trait―――― fmgh.」
I squeeze Myla’s cheeks before she could finish.
「We can talk about that later. Send a messenger, there is no need for the bow cavalry to attack so desperately regardless of whether we’re attacking head-on or not.」
I’ll have to speak to Luna and Gido afterwards too.
While Celia, who for some reason gets upset, pinches her own cheeks, the Aless soldiers and the infantry from my army charge into the enemy lines already half-devastated by the bow cavalry.
The enemy tries to fend us off with a square formation, but the development was one-sided.
Forced onto the defensive, the enemy could not counterattack and with no escape route, they could only run disorderly in different directions.
「Since they can’t run, it won’t be long until they die.」
「If not, the canonneers and archers will simply catch up and shower them with blows.」
There is no hope for the enemy to leave my territory alive at this point.
The only possibility left is――
「A new enemy has appeared to our rear―― they number more than 50 000! Over 50 000――!!」
「So they came!?」
I don’t even need to ask who they are.
The main force of the enemy eastern army arrived.
「So they came here instead of Rafen?」
Leopolt nods once.
Before we departed, we already anticipated two possible courses of actions for the eastern army to take after my army withdrew.
They would either bring their entire army to Rafen and try to invade again or meet up with the ambush squad we’re trying to isolate and wipe out.
We could naturally deal with whichever option they picked, but it would have been more troublesome had they went to Rafen.
For us, this development is welcomed.
「Halt the attack. We’ll strike the eastern army.」
I grab Myla’s shoulders.
「I’ll entrust you with 3000 archers and infantry. Suppress the remnants completely in an hour. You can do it, right?」
Myla straightens her back.
Lately, she’s been acting like a bigger Celia.
We stop our charge and turn to face the rear.
The surviving ambush unit tries to support the main enemy force, but Myla does what I asked and holds them down.
「The enemy army in front is―― ah! The enemy detached their cavalry! It looks like they’re trying to circle around to the back!」
「Moreover, their lines have separated to the left and right! They’re making a big detour in a formation never seen before! They want to get in between us and Rafen――」
「A blue and red flaming arrow was shot in the sky! Their meanings are unknown―― aah, a new enemy has appeared to the west! They total a few hundred……」
I turn to Leopolt.
「I see, it appears it’s true that their command has drastically changed.」
They’re clearly moving differently.
Somehow this feels unsettling.
It’s almost like when Nonna takes a walk with a dildo stuffed inside her.
「Right, I believe it’s a change in commander. I will update the information.」
Now then, they’ve made a whole bunch of moves.
「Tristan, do you know what they’re doing?」
「There are endless possibilities. I can’t see what the plan is at this point.」
「Everyone, follow me. We’ll charge straight at the enemy again.」
If we don’t know what they’re doing, then we just have to tear them apart with raw power.
We’ll use the dominance we had before coupled with the sky-high itch for battle. Schemes are unnecessary.
「……they might be planning something, you know?」
「We don’t know what it is though. We can’t be afraid of everything we don’t know.」
I retort the mumbling Tristan.
「Aah…… was I also done in like this?」
Tristan continues to grumble.
I pay no heed to him and look to Leopolt.
「I’ll directly command this charge. If the enemy does something, handle it.」
Leopolt lowers his head.
I turn to the soldiers and shout.
「We’re going to be charging into the enemy’s main force. Follow me. Schemes and tricks…… they’ll all be foiled by strength.」
I jump on Schwartz as soon as I finish.
Behind me, a collective yell with the force of surging waves erupts from the soldiers.
This is going to be a decisive battle.