Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi

Ofuro Ashitsubo

Chapter 174

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Chapter 174

Early Morning

「Hardlett-dono, the army has arrived at the perimeter of the mansion! We can relax now!」

「Oh, that isn’t the flag of the palace guards, is it? I see, they included the kingdom army from the suburbs…… so this attack was a fairly large scale one like I thought . 」

I lay Alice, who was sleeping against my chest, sideways on the bed while making sure she doesn’t wake up and then get up myself .

「I guess I should go greet them . I’ll need to confirm Erich’s wellbeing later too . 」

It would be pretty sad if he died from something ridiculous like this .

I spot Dorothea taking the children with her in the hallway .

「Dorothea, did the children cry at all? The army will clean up the mess outside and in the courtyard so wait just a bit longer . 」

「No, everyone is being good ……eeeeh!! Wait, wait!」

「I see, that’s good then . 」

「Dangling~」「Ayger-sama, dangling~」

I leave as Dorothea was trying to say something and head for the front door .

Oh, Leah is walking unsteadily while she’s half-awake .

She’s surprisingly quite courageous to be able to sleep like this .

「Fuah, good morninng . 」

Leah gives me a kiss on the lips as well as down there .

What a h.o.r.n.y girl .

The front door, which Irijina knocked down and temporarily propped up afterwards, couldn’t block any sound from the surface and I could hear the hustle and bustle of the gathered soldiers .

Oops, I can’t go out there casually and greet them unarmed, I’ll grab my spear .

「Hey…… what is this……?」

「How would I know?」

「Even if we know Lord Hardlett is capable of producing these limbless bodies in the garden…… something like this is……」

「I know what it is . I think Lord Hardlett has finally learned how to breathe fire . 」

「What the heck are you talking about, doesn’t that make him a monster?」

They’re saying whatever they want about me .

「Who are you calling a monster . 」

I push the door aside slightly and peek out .

「I-I beg your pardon!」「Lord Hardlett! Glad to see you’re safe……」

The gaze of the soldiers turn to me, or more accurately speaking, to my lower half .

「「M-monster!!」」

「What on earth is all thi- 」「Aegir-san! What are you doing!!?」

A hand stretches out and vigorously pulls me inside the house .

「What’s wrong, Mel? Using such strength . 」

「Look at how you’re dressed! How can you go out and greet the soldiers looking like that!?」

I’ve brought my spear with me though .

「Your spear is the only thing you’ve got! The rest of your body is naked!!」

Ooh, I did take everything off yesterday now that I think about it .

「Did you see it……hey . 」

「It’s huge…… He’s a demon in that area too?」

「He’s holding a spear, don’t tell me he hunted the enemy like that……」

「They got pierced……」

Mel lightly slaps me and complains while I put on my armor .

「Once again, thanks for your hard work . 」

「It’s great to see Lord Hardlett unharmed!」

About 100 soldiers from the kingdom army are outside and their commanders are standing at attention while saluting to me .

It looks like they’re planning to pretend they didn’t see the disgraceful behavior of mine a little earlier .

「Are there not enough palace guards?」

「Yes, we don’t know the whole picture either but we have reports saying Hardlett-sama’s mansion and Commissioner Radhalde’s residence as well as several other houses and venues holding parties were targeted, resulting in quite the number of casualties . 」

「And what of Lord Radhalde?」

「He seems to be alright for now . The person who gave orders to us is the person in question after all . 」

Fumu, that’s good then .

Now that I know he’s alright, I don’t need to personally go check on him, I’m sure Erich is pretty busy .

In particular, if I show up and wander about aimlessly, I’ll just get in the way .

「Then I’m counting on you to guard the mansion . Also, could you get a few people to clean up the courtyard? If it’s left like this, it might become cursed . 」

Even if the limbless corpses turn into zombies, they won’t be able to do anything, but it isn’t pleasant to have those things around .

「I understand . Rurui! You and your men will do the clean up . 」

The captain asks the unwilling soldiers to complete the task .

「Uu, I stepped on something…… is this a-……」

「The heart…… was pulled out……?」

「Then, please take care of it . 」

Just when I was about to disregard the scene in the courtyard and enjoy my mealtime .

「Hey you! Who do you think you are!?」「Surround them, surround them!」

I hear the neighing of horses and loud yelling, don’t tell me they didn’t learn their lesson and came here again after such a horrible experience .

Because the door is off-kilter, I can hear the voices pretty clearly .

「I’m not a suspicious individual! I’m the Honorary Baron Blaze, the lead information officer reporting directly to His Majesty!」

「Information officer?」

It’s fine that Irijina doesn’t know about this .

「Lord Hardlett, good to see you are safe . 」

The first thing Rebecca does when she enters my property is give me this polite lip service .

「Same to you . 」

「An insignificant person like me won’t get targeted . 」

Rebecca forces herself to smile and talks about some meaningless things, but something doesn’t look right and she seems really rushed .

If even I can see through her, then she must be in quite the bind .

「Well, why don’t you tell me what you’re here for…… or do you want to have a meal first?」

「No, I want to settle my business first!」

Rebecca hastily bends her body forward .

I also push myself forward in response, hoping to meet her lips if I’m lucky, but she gracefully evades me .

「Actually, the perpetrator behind this incident has been identified . 」

「Hooh . 」

Despite saying how she singled out the mastermind, her expression doesn’t settle down .

「However…… the perpetrator fled to the south…… so if you could a.s.sist us with the chase……」

I must be making a curious face .

She doesn’t know what to say .

「I will do what I can to cooperate, but this is isn’t my territory and I haven’t brought my army with me . You’re telling me to pursue them…… but how about getting the army’s cavalry unit to go?」

「That’s true…… but the Count’s territory is to the south……」

「Is the person on foot?」

「No, I believe he’s in a carriage . After a.n.a.lyzing the information we have, there is a possibility there are several carriages accompanied by cavalry……」

「Then it’ll be impossible . 」

I want to help Rebecca with her request but there’s nothing I can do .

Chasing after someone escaping on horse is a difficult task .

Forming a pursuing group with a small number of high-speed light cavalry might work, but if there are enough escorts on the other side, they can successfully fend off the party .

「But……」

「Something like that should be known to you as well, right?」

We didn’t have many intimate conversations with each other but I can tell Rebecca is an intelligent woman .

She isn’t someone who would talk about this without reason .

「……」

She must be pretty fl.u.s.tered .

「If you tell me your entire situation I might be able to help you, you know?」

I lightly embrace Rebecca’s shoulder as I speak .

She starts obediently telling me what’s going on without skipping any details .

「So it’s Marquess Hoover…… and the time limit is the morning on the day after tomorrow . 」

「Can’t you do something about it? I don’t have any other options on my end . 」

If I think about Marquess Hoover’s escape path, he’ll probably head straight south, pa.s.sing straight through Arkland and to the city with the Majino fortress .

With the area not informed of a rebellion yet, there isn’t anyone who has the authority to stop Marquess Hoover so there is no need to avoid being seen .

I might be able to catch him somewhere south of the Majino fortress if I race there on a speedy horse .

However it won’t be within the given time frame and I don’t think the King would overlook this .

「Hm, it doesn’t look like we can make it there in time with human methods . 」

Then I realized something .

It’s impossible for a human army .

But what if the army wasn’t human…… .

「I might have an idea . 」

「Really!?」

Rebecca closes the distance between us .

I want to rub her tight a.s.s secretly but now is not the time for that .

「Yeah, it might be a little troublesome though . 」

「I-if it will cost something, then I’ll gladly pay it! This one incident will determine my future!!」

「You really don’t have to pay anything . 」

I get even closer to the woman .

「T-then what do you want in return…… information!?」

「No, I want something even better . 」

I stare at Rebecca and place my hand on her shoulder .

「Uu……」

「I won’t do anything bad . 」

「Th-that will have to wait until after the plan is successful and after lengthy discussions……」

「One day…… no, could you let me be intimate with you for just 3 hours?」

Rebecca looks down for a brief moment before raising her head with a resolved look on her face .

「Fine! Now please…… help me!!」

Alright, now I’m suddenly motivated .

「Brynhildr! We’re going out . 」

「The sun is still out! Of course I won’t go-…… eeh, don’t take me with you my force! At least give me a coat with a hood!」

–Third Person POV–

The Next Day, Night, South of Arkland .

「Marquess, we have safely pa.s.sed Arkland as well . 」

「……」

Hoover doesn’t say a single word .

「If we continue rus.h.i.+ng forward we’ll approach the Majino fortress by noon . Once we get past the fortress, we’ll be fine . 」

One of the Marquess’s close aides was unable to bear the silence and spoke up again .

「How will we be fine……」

「Huh?」

「I’m asking you how will we be alright!! It was such a detailed plan! If everything goes as planned, the Government Affairs Commissioner and the hated Radhalde will die and the traditional n.o.bles should leave the King when he’s squirming about after losing both his arms!」

「Well t-that’s-」

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「And then I’ll return to being the highest in command of the military…… and I should be able to restore the glory to the Hoover family which has lasted for all these generations . I even went so far to use those fools from Magrado…… doesn’t this simply make me a rebel!?」

Hoover’s aide stands in front to protect his master, the two of them seemingly free from any fatal injuries .

「Marquess, are you alright!?」

「All of you, protect the Marquess!」

「Is the family safe? Alright, form a box formation and protect them!」

Torches roll to the ground around them and the knights and cavalry dismount from their horses to fortify the defenses .

With several dozen of his subordinates surrounding him, Hoover regained a little sense of security and raised his voice to take command .

「Everyone, confirm the enemy! They can see in the dark so be aware of arrows and prop up your s.h.i.+elds! 」

Everyone prepares themselves for the inevitable sound of raining arrows or the war cries of charging enemies .

But the only thing that can be heard was quiet whispering .

「n.o.body said we couldn’t eat as many humans as we want, right?」

「Yeah, seems like we’re free to eat as much as we want with this one . 」

「Their const.i.tution and complexion seem healthy . They look so tasty . 」

「We have until dawn . We can enjoy ourselves . 」

The quiet whispers eventually become laughter .

Then the pursuers reduce the crowd surrounding the carriage one by one, revealing themselves in the light of the torches .

Their bodies were covered in a black robe and their bare hands were not holding any prey .

They had delighted expressions with red eyes s.h.i.+ning like a blazing fire .

「What creepy guys……」

「Don’t fear, there are only about 20 of them…… they’re numbers are significantly inferior to ours . 」

「We’ll be fine as long as we remain calm!」

The soldiers start shouting as if to erase the fear they felt instinctively from the eerie smiles .

「It’s time to feast!」

In alignment with the shouted words, the cloaked individuals rushed in from all sides .

「Fear not, begin the battle!!」

Hoover raised his sword and roared .

But the fighting did not happen .

「Gyaaaah! 」「Hiiiih!」「Save meeee!!」

What ensued was a one-sided ma.s.sacre, no it was more like a slaughtering of prey .

The extended spears would stab into the opponent’s bodies but were taken out shortly after with a smile and the blankly staring soldiers’ heads would be torn off .

Any sword swung down would get broken bare-handed and a piercing cry of extreme pain accompanied the sound of both arms being ripped off .

The soldiers were the only ones screaming while the pursuers only laughed .

Hoover remained frozen with his sword above his head and when he eventually lowered his arm powerlessly, there was no one left to oppose the enemy .

「Hey, this guy is pretty good . Have a taste . 」

「Ooh don’t mind if I do, mine had some sort of sickness . I picked the wrong one . 」

In this unspeakable tragedy, the group of dark-clothed individuals squirm about and devour the dismantled soldiers greedily .

「What the-, this one’s already empty?」

「Try squeezing the calf . There should still be some left over . 」

「Wh-what on earth is this…… what am I witnessing right now?」

n.o.body answered Hoover .

Even the ones who were breathing could not say anything .

「We’ll head towards the fortress ……we have the money…… my son will contact the influential person in the city state……」

「This guy’s still breathing . 」

「Don’t stop their breathing . It gets hard to drink when their blood stops flowing unless you take them apart . 」

Hoover couldn’t look away despite the sharp screams coming from the soldier .

Several of the men getting bitten dried up completely a few seconds later .

「Tch, he died . 」

「Suck him later . There are still plenty of fresh prey . 」

Eventually, one of them approaches the frozen stiff Hoover .

「This one looks a little old but I guess quality over quant.i.ty . 」

「I am a Marquess of tradition with a childhood1 name of Lant……」

The cloaked man was about to tear off the mumbling Hoover’s head but Hoover’s life was saved .

「Don’t . We’re taking him . 」

「Siegfried? Is this the one we’re supposed to keep alive?」

The man shrugs his shoulders and leaves, moving towards an older lady who collapsed…… sinking his fangs into Hoover’s wife .

The feast would end at dawn, but it continued endlessly until then, leaving Marquess Hoover the last remaining person .

–Aegir POV–

「But still, how bold of you to use my household however you pleased . 」

「The one who consented was Brynhildr, wasn’t it?」

「You’re so-…… spoiled, it can’t be…… helped . 」

「Thank you Brynhildr, I love you . 」

「Hmph, this won’t happen again! Nevertheless, this is the first time the entire household has been mobilized . 」

「For the time being …… they’ll be the army of the night . 」

「Don’t expect me to send them out again just because you request it!」

「We’ll see when the time comes . 」

「I absolutely won’t! I won’t send them out again unless you’re really in danger!」

Protagonist: Aegir Hardlett . 23 years old . Winter .

Status: Goldonia Kingdom Margrave . Great Feudal Lord of Eastern Area . King of the Mountains . Friend of the Dwarves .

Citizens: 155,000 . Major Cities – Rafen: 22,000 . Lintbloom: 3500 .

a.s.sets: 60,200 gold (Silencing -100)

Accompanying: Mel (concubine), Leah (lover), Irijina (escort), Pipi (escort?), Dorothea (lover), Alice (lover), Kroll (s.e.xually frustrated), Rebecca (180 minutes)

s.e.xual Partners: 151, children who have been born: 32

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