Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi

Ofuro Ashitsubo

Chapter 351

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Chapter 351

Chapter 351: Southern War ② Melisbark Defense

Translator: Nat

–Aegir POV–

Libatis Capital City – Tortoent Central Citizens Square .

「All of us here are happy to have the reinforcements from Goldonia . Thanks for coming . 」

Trumpets sound and the soldiers of Libatis present their spears .

The men grabs my hand and shakes it enthusiastically .

It’s fine that you’re so excited to shake my hand, but how about looking this way for once .

This man’s gaze is way past me and to the citizens of Tortoent who are watching us and cheering .

「The pleasure is mine . I’m glad to be here so we can fight together, President White . 」

This man in front of me is the supreme leader of Libatis, President Christopher White .

「You don’t need to be so formal, Commander Aegir . Please just call me Christopher . 」

The president smiles .

If you get it, then how about you try addressing me instead of the citizens .

Well, I don’t want to call you by name anyways .

「Understood, President Christopher . 」

Nevertheless, I’m dealing with the person who has the highest authority, similar to a king or emperor in other countries, so I can’t be too loose with what I say .

I’m a proper adult too so I know the rules of society .

Apparently it’s forbidden to call the president of Libatis ‘king’ or ‘his majesty’ .

Anyways, this guy seems like he’ll be popular with women .

He’s somewhere in his forties, slightly shorter than me, has neatly combed hair, and is wearing clothes that fit well on his body .

He has an extremely handsome face and his body exudes an aura of cleanliness .

He doesn’t bother to hide his wrinkles or his thinning hair and is a good-looking man for his age .

Like that, he can probably make an extensive range of females his prisoner like from young girls to mature middle-aged ladies .

I want to gobble up lots of women when I grow to be that age too .

Is there magic or medicine out there that can make you into a refined-looking gentleman?

「Chris! Look over here!」

「I believe in you, Chris! Get rid of that cowardly South Yuguria!」

The president answers the citizens by raising his hands, which only makes them cheer louder .

「Addressing the kill without honorifics…… no, they’re using a nickname . 」

「It’s unthinkable in Goldonia . 」

Myla and Celia beside me are shocked .

If I were to go “Hey Alex, you doing well?” to the king, I would be hanged for lese majeste .

「Welcome, my a.s.s . How dare you call the army from Goldonia here! You should be ashamed!」

「What’s the military doing!? Did you eat and drink our taxes away!?」

So there are citizens who criticize him as well .

「They’re quite bold to badmouth the ruler to his face like that . 」

「The soldiers aren’t trying to suppress them either . 」

Is this what a president elected by the people looks like?

I’m glad Tristan didn’t come .

This kind of thing seems right up his alley and he might end up going missing .

「We can convene again tonight in the dining hall…… until then, I want to talk with them . They’re going to be people we’ll be working with in the future, after all . 」

Three austere men wearing military uniforms appear in front of me . Mmm, how boring .

I would have liked three women instead .

「What are you going to talk about with three beautiful women…… they’re clearly high-ranking military officials . Even if the ceremonies may be different, it is worth talking to them . Please focus . 」

Celia fixes the collar of my formal uniform and straightens out the wrinkles in my cape .

You say that, but two of the three men look like stuffy macho men .

It’ll be impossible for me to get myself motivated .

「I’m Brian Hailey and I’m the Secretary of Defense . You can call me Brian . I look forward to working with you Commander Aegir!」

Secretary of Defense must be a similar position to Erich .

If so, that’s pretty remarkable, although he seems a bit too friendly .

Is it a convention in Libatis to address people by their names after meeting them? To be honest, I want to reserve it for women to use .

He looks to be about the same age as the president, in his forties, and he’s one head shorter than me .

His body is muscular enough that people can notice from afar and his tidy brown hair makes him look more like a soldier than a minister .

He’s laughing heartily while slapping my shoulder .

「I am Jim Carrack, the person in charge of commanding the defense force in Tortoent . Commander Hardlett―― or would it be more appropriate to address you as Your Excellency Magrave Hardlett?」

This guy is in his thirties and is a muscular man about the same height as me . .

I can already tell from one look that he’s a brave leader type from his loud, clear voice and rough presence, although his words have a bit of spite in them .

He isn’t hiding his distaste for me at all…… no, he’s not even trying to hide it .

Not that it really matters to me, it would be gross if a muscle head like this welcomed me gleefully .

「A girl who is still young…… poor thing, she probably can’t disobey . n.o.bles who have their social status decided at birth are all evil!」

Jim looks at Celia and Marta sadly before directing his hostile intent towards me again .

The two girls tilt their heads and look up at me .

I have no idea what’s going on either .

「David Hilton, chief of staff of the national defense army . I look forward to working with you, Commander Hardlett . 」

He lowers his head slightly and gives me a quick handshake .

This guy is different from the other two in that he is slender, his eyes are downcast and his voice is soft .

He also seems to have two sides to him, the spitting image of a staff officer just like Leopolt .

「Nice to meet you, David!」

「……sure . 」

When I go by Libatis’s customs and address him by name in a loud voice, he makes an expression of discomfort and bewilderment .

Fumu, he’s nowhere near Leopolt’s level, since I can see his facial expressions changing .

Other than that, this guy seems similarly cold-hearted and unfazed for the most part .

I remember when I tried to jokingly go to the office while naked and Leopolt started the meeting without any emotion on his face .

Because of that, I sat down stubbornly in that state, only to get lectured for nearly an hour by Myla who came in afterwards .

Myla, Irijina, and Leopolt also finish shaking hands with them before finally taking a seat .

「Excuse me?」

「Sorry…… I can’t do anything for you right now……」

Jim looks like he’s about to cry as he holds on to Celia’s hand for a while during their handshake .

Is he aiming for my cute Celia?

His reaction seems strange, but I’ll be careful .

「Now then, I’ll explain the current state of battle . 」

A map gets spread out and colored tokens representing enemy and ally are placed on it .

Leopolt will like this method .

Brian starts to elaborate .

With Celia, Myla, and even Leopolt here, it looks like I don’t need to listen .

「The South Yuguria army has a total of approximately 100 000――」

The enemy is split up into three armies, 30 000 in the west, 30 000 in the south, 20 000 in the east, with the east army close to the border .

Hm, did I do the math wrong?

「Why have they pushed so far――」

「The enemy has a high-speed vanguard consisting of pure cavalry――」

Myla and David are exchanging comments .

Apparently South Yuguria used a vanguard of 20 000 cavalry to throw the Libatis army into confusion .

Believing in the non-aggression treaty, Libatis was not able to respond to being crushed and surrounded, leaving them with less than 60 000 forces to work with .

「About the enemy’s supply――」

Leopolt speaks up and then David replies .

Ooh, it’s a battle of the gloomy staff officers .

Leopolt asked if any resources were left when they retreated and David affirmed it .

Jim suddenly shouts out how they would never take any goods from the citizens .

As I thought, Jim has a personality that’s easy to understand .

Why is he snapping at me even though we’ve never met before?

「They made a forced unloading at Ilkstar――」

「South Yuguria had a large transport s.h.i.+p――」

The supply discussion continued .

It’s not very interesting and I’m getting sleepy .

「Fumu, fumu . 」

Celia sees that I’m not paying attention and is taking notes .

I’ll get her to show me later .

「Uu . 」

When I tried to suppress a yawn, I ended up letting out a fart instead .

I made sure it was silent, so I just need to disperse the smell and n.o.body should find out .

「The enemy charged with the large transport s.h.i.+p――」

「Half was sunk, but the attack from land on our naval base――」

The mood seems heavy, let me lighten it up .

I write “I love you, my beautiful Myla” while pretending to take notes on a piece of paper and show it to her .

「――!?」

She turns red in embarra.s.sment and then gets angry . Fufufu, it was worth doing for that reaction .

Leopolt should learn from her example .

「Despite experiencing an unprecedented economic boom, South Yuguria had that many s.h.i.+ps in such a short time……」

「Judging by the design, they used the Empire’s……」

「And their source of money……」

Next is Celia .

「――aau . 」

Celia blushes a little and then writes “don’t tease me” on a piece of paper .

I got a nice reaction on this side too .

「Sacrificing the expensive large s.h.i.+p――」

「That’s the enemy’s strong will to invade――」

How about Irijina?

I write “freshly roasted bone-in meat”, “beef stew with pumpkin and tomato”, “piping hot apple pie” and then show it to her .

「……muu . 」

Irijina’s stomach growls loudly, halting everyone’s conversation briefly .

For her stomach to rumble just by looking at a few words, that’s impressive .

「Could you let us know the status of your army so we can keep our coordination tight?」

I draw a picture of a d.i.c.k for Luna .

Fufufu, I’m looking forward to her embarra.s.sed expression .

「Lord Hardlett, can you bring over the squad diagram?」

Leopolt addresses me out of nowhere .

Don’t surprise me like that .

「Err, this?」

I hand him the chart Celia made .

Leopolt takes a glance, then scrunches it into a ball and throws it away .

「Celia took the time to make that, how could you!?」

And then I realize that I still had it in my hand .

c.r.a.p, I gave him the d.i.c.k picture instead .

「……nevermind . 」

Leopolt remains expressionless, though his extended hand was practically saying “hurry up and give it to me” .

「Hm?」

「Well now . 」

Brian and Jim look at our exchange suspiciously .

Our interaction doesn’t seem like that of lord and subordinate .

It’s all because of Leopolt, he made me lose dignity .

「The ultimate goal is to push them out of Libatis, but first let’s protect the current defense line and take the opportunity to recapture or destroy Ilkstar, the enemy’s supply base . Move according to that plan . 」

Brian closes the meeting with that .

It’s over at last .

Honestly, there’s no use worrying about why they lost or what they did with the supply .

We can leave that for after since the only thing that matters now is fighting and winning .

The enemy has more cavalry than us and will use them to disrupt us .

Knowing that is enough .

「If we get 100 000 reinforcements―― no, 50 000, we could make a counterattack . 」

David mumbles .

It’s not like I have a say on that .

「The kingdom is considering additional reinforcements . I’m sure they’ll send more soon . 」

That’s what Erich told me to say .

There is still a chance that they dispatch more so I’m not lying .

「Goodness…… this free country will also gladly welcome the great king’s army . 」

Jim’s words have so much spite .

I didn’t think he would be the bad-mouthing type . I wonder why he has so much hate .

Whatever .

I’m not going to bother improving a macho man’s impression of me .

It’s more important to prepare for the fight .

When I stand up, Celia and Marta follow me, taking the doc.u.ments and my hat and cape respectively .

I felt Jim’s hostility until the end .

A Few Days Later . Melisbark City .

「Is it about time for the enemy to come?」

I stretch on top of the walls of Melisbark .

「Yessir! We will definitely destroy the enemy and display Goldonia’s prestige!」

I have the commander of the seventh division army corps beside me, err Norta…… Norto…… North…… something barto Keith .

I’ll just call him Keith .

「I made sure to tell the soldiers not to show Lord Hardlett a disgraceful fight!」

This guy seems to be overly serious and maintains his straight posture in my presence .

It’s not exactly a bad thing, just a little tiring .

「According to the scouts, the enemy is roughly 30 000 strong and advancing at us in a straight line with their siege weapons . 」

I’m sandwiched between Leopolt and Keith .

Please stop, I feel four times more tired .

Melisbark is a mid-sized city to the west of the capital Tortoent connected by a wide road .

Even a child knows that the enemy will aim for this city first before going to Tortoent .

Holding such strategic importance, the city has an appropriate level of defense with gates and walls even more st.u.r.dy-looking than Rafen .

The walls are made of durable stone and ranges from 5 to 6 meters in height .

「Enemy spotted . They’re approaching from the west!」

The lookout yells and then alarm bells get rung throughout the city .

Soldiers move with a sense of urgency while the Libatis guards help evacuate the citizens to more robust buildings .

「Everyone, to your positions! Archers to the ramparts, infantry divide yourselves among the fire extinguis.h.i.+ng personnel in front of the gates . Cavalry wait on standby in the city!」

「It’s time……」

「We have Lord Hardlett with us . We aren’t going to lose . 」

The soldiers don’t seem unnerved .

It’s rea.s.suring since this is the royal army infantry’s first battle and also a demoralizing siege defense .

「This is actually my first siege defense . I’ve always been on the attacking side . 」

「I’m skilled in defense so allow me to a.s.sist you . I won’t let you down . 」

Myla proudly puffs out her chest .

「Of course, I’m going to be counting on you . 」

「Yes! If you poke my chest with that finger, I’m really going to get mad though . 」

I clear my throat and fold my arms behind my back .

The fight has begun .

「Commander Hardlett, I have something to say . 」

Who is it now, at such a time .

Oh, it’s the mayor of Melisbark . He greeted us when we came in, but I forgot his name .

「When the enemy begins their attack…… I believe that you and your countrymen will win, but the citizens are still in the city . 」

Despite Melisbark being a mid-sized city, it houses tens of thousands of citizens .

Evacuating all of them would take too long and it isn’t safe for them outside the walls .

「If the walls get demolished and battle breaks out in the city, there will be major casualties…… when that development is likely, if you could surrender as soon……」

「Come on now . 」

Don’t be thinking about what to do when we lose before the fight even begins .

「I know a commander has responsibilities, but I’m responsible for the lives of the citizens . 」

「Everything is progressing as planned . There is no need to worry at all . 」

When Leopolt answers calmly, the mayor reluctantly steps down .

「So what’s the real answer?」

「In the worst case scenario where we have to conduct urban warfare, we can still force our way through the center of the enemy and escape in the chaos . 」

I knew it .

That’s the kind of guy you are .

「Let’s fight well so it doesn’t come to that . 」

The enemy advances slowly from the west .

They’re in a standard siege formation with s.h.i.+eldbearers fortifying the front, archers following behind them, spearmen forming a neat line in the center, and then cavalry and light infantry deployed on both wings .

As reported, they have about 30 000 soldiers .

「A formation by the books without any openings . It’s likely they will stay away from any clever schemes . 」

Like Leopolt says, they will try engaging first .

「The enemy is closing in on the west gates . 」

West gates…… meaning they’re attacking from the closest gate .

It looks like they’re mounting a standard attack without any tricks .

「s.h.i.+elds and archers have stepped forward!」

「Archers, nock!」

We have 2000 archers and a loaded ballista .

They probably have more than double our archers .

「Loose!」

「Looseーー!」

Each side gives the order at the same time .

Arrows cross in midair and rain down on opposite sides .

「Gyah!」「Guwahー!」

「Gueh!」「Higya!」

Screams and groans alternate as soldiers fall one after the other .

「Next volley, looseー!」

「Don’t lose!」

The shootout lasted for a while .

「Both sides seem to be firing at the same pace . 」

「They’re well-trained . 」

The royal army was trained by Erich after all .

If the opponent is equally as skilled, they can’t be a motley crew .

They’re not as fast as the bow cavalry though . The mountain nation are a special kind of fast .

「The third volley is being exchanged!」

「Fumu……」

Our allies are not suffering many casualties with the defensive structures protecting them, however the same can be said for the enemy archers firing from behind their large s.h.i.+elds .

To begin with, the firing of arrows is the prelude for a fight and not something meant to settle it .

「They’re going to do it soon . Get the infantry ready . 」

Just as Myla antic.i.p.ated, the fourth volley wasn’t aimed at the archers on the ramparts .

The arrows flew in a higher arc and dropped in the city .

Not only that, the tips were wrapped with a burning cloth .

「Using flaming arrows to cause panic in the city……」

Myla obviously foresaw this would happen and already made the necessary preparations .

「They can’t see what’s happening on our side . Stay calm and douse the flames with water!」

「Just be careful of the wooden structures . This is nothing to worry about . 」

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Soldiers scattered throughout the city ran around with buckets of water to put out the fire before anything could happen .

「The mayor doesn’t approve of the citizens’ furniture being used――」

「Rocks or garbage or anything else is fine too! Just bring it quickly!」

The young soldier goes down again in tears .

I didn’t mean to yell at him, it just came out .

While we’re going back and forth, the enemy sends out soldiers in front of the rams to move the sand .

Guards begin throwing a flurry of arrows and rocks, defeating as many soldiers as they can, although the other side doesn’t give up .

「Throw everything you have . Rip off the bricks too!」

「The second ballista is unusable now! They’re too close! Throw the arrows directly at them!」

「The roof above the ram is tough . Aim for the soldiers in front―― ugyaー!!」

Allies who lean over to drop objects also suffer great casualties .

Enemy arrows still pour down like rain .

It didn’t take long for the countless enemy soldiers to climb up the ladders and onto the walls when we were busy dealing with the battering rams .

「It’s getting rowdy here . 」

I pick up a brick at my feet and hurl it at a soldier who reached the top .

The rectangular block blows off the first soldier’s head and proceeds to sink deep into the face of the man following behind, finis.h.i.+ng both .

「The battering rams are moving!」

「Mu . 」

I guess they succeeded in removing the sand .

Once again, the siege weapons inch closer to the gates .

「Something heavy…… that will do . 」

I pick up a corpse still wearing armor, but before I could do anything the ram tilts forward accompanied by a low rumbling as the weapon sinks .

「A pitfall!」

「That Myla, how clever . 」

A hole dug in front of the sandbags?

This courageless trap might have been a suggestion by Leopolt, no I’ll give Myla the credit .

「Destroy it now」

The enemy has more than one .

However, getting rid of this one will crowd the area in front of the gate and make their attack more difficult .

「Move it . 」

The stone bulwark protecting the guards on top of the city walls…… I swing my longsword against that bulwark .

「What is Lord Hardlett……?」

「Is he trying to destroy the wall?」

The wall breaks after several full-powered swings of my sword .

Now I have a clump of rock that weighs several hundred kilograms .

「Hold my sword . 」

「Got i―― waah! I-it’s squis.h.i.+ng me!」

I have to finish this quickly for Celia’s sake too .

I slowly pick up the large collection of stones .

「Eh? You’re kidding…… He’s going to lift that heavy piece of rubble?」

「I heard rumors about his monstrous strength, but even that should have its limits…… is he actually an orc?」

They’re saying whatever they want .

「Auuuu…… you guys, protect Aegir-sama from arrows! Become his s.h.i.+elds! Uuu, so heavy!」

Celia shouts to the others while struggling under my sword .

As she commanded, soldiers stand beside me and hold up their s.h.i.+elds .

I walk towards the ram with the chunk of stone in my arms .

Fierce attacks are ongoing on the walls though so going there with my arms tied is suicidal .

I’ll have to throw it from where I am .

「Eh? There’s still one meter between you……」

「Throwing it from there isn’t possible――」

「Uuoooooooh!!」

I let out a growl more beastly than I expected, lower my hips and unleash my load with all my might .

The large stone block raises up in the air a tiny bit before slowly falling diagonally .

「Good, right on target . 」

My aim was accurate and the piece of debris casts a shadow perfectly over the ram .

Allies watch on in silent amazement while the enemy similarly gazes up blankly as the ma.s.s of stone lands onto the siege weapon .

My projectile cannot be compared to the arrows and rocks the roof above the ram was meant to protect so the weight of hundreds of kilograms caved in the flimsy layer like it was paper .

The stake was broken under the impact and the entire siege weapon collapsed in on itself .

「Now, it’s just a huge obstacle . Now, it’s harder to attack the west gate . 」

Clearing up the sc.r.a.ps being held down by rock will take effort and time .

Even more so if they have to worry about arrows showering them from above .

「What kind of person…… no, he’s a monster . 」

「The rumor of Lord Hardlett being made of muscles and a c.o.c.k is true . 」

Getting praised by men is not what I prefer, although it’s not the worst feeling .

「The enemy is shooting!」

Perhaps trying to retaliate for their battering ram getting destroyed, the enemy catapults flings many iron b.a.l.l.s at us .

「Aegir-sama, let’s take cover!」

We won’t make it in time, Celia .

It’s more dangerous if we turn our backs to the barrage .

「Stay behind me . 」

I brandish my longsword .

The iron b.a.l.l.s are practically dropping straight down on us after being sent high into the sky .

14 of them in total―― only three on target .

「Hup!」

I put my back into deflecting the first one with the b.u.t.t of my sword .

The iron ball is heavy as it is and drops to the ground with added momentum .

If I don’t use my full strength, I’ll be crushed .

「Hmngh!」

A dull sound follows as the iron ball is deflected, flying straight up .

My hands hurt from hitting it too hard .

「One more!」

For the next one, I strike the ball, almost like I’m letting it slide on the flat side of the blade, killing all the momentum and dropping it on the spot .

I was more successful than before so I don’t feel much pain .

「And the last……one!」

My eyes have adjusted and I’ve gotten the hang of the method .

I can do something more interesting for this one .

I match my timing and swing my sword horizontally to bat the ball right back at the enemy with a bright metal clank sound .

The deflected ball was as powerful as a cannon and knocked over several enemy soldiers .

It may not be significant damage to the enemy, but it helps to improve my mood .

「Now that we’ve come this far, it’s actually kind of scary……」

「The secret of his power is rumored to be from absorbing the muscles of the men he’s eaten up to now……」

I think I may have done too much .

「Hardlett-sama! I brought objects from the city that you can use!」

The young soldier from earlier climbs the ladder with a bunch of things in his arms .

It’s too late now, although it will come in handy to stop the next attack .

A smashed jar, the remains of a bed, a broken brick…… it’s all trash, but it will all be the same when thrown .

Hm, this is――

「Hey . 」

I open the box and then strangle the soldier .

「What were you planning to use this for?」

Inside the box is a rotting radish .

「I-in place of a javelin……」

「Idiot, there’s no way you can use it like that!」

After yelling at him, I grab the radish and hurl it outside the city walls .

「Guwaaah!」

It actually flies straight into an enemy soldier’s throat and kills him instantly .

「……」

「……」

I awkwardly release the soldier .

While my attention remains devoted to the west gate after that, Myla and Leopolt take command in the other areas to safely ward off the enemy’s attacks .

I’m able to step forward with peace of mind because they’re here .

It’s getting late now .

I think it’s safe to say we survived the first wave .

For some reason, I feel as if my enemies have increased, but maybe it’s just my imagination .

Anyways, let’s restore my energy and prepare for tomorrow .

Protagonist: Aegir Hardlett . 24 years old . Winter . Wartime .

Libatis Reinforcement Army Supreme Commander

Subordinate Squad:

Goldonia Royal Army – Seventh Division Army Corps

Infantry: 10, 000

Archers: 1800

Cavalry: 1800

Hardlett Army

Bow Cavalry: 3950

Escort: 195

Chariots: 80

(including vacancies left by wounded)

Subordinates: Leopolt (chief staff officer), Celia (adjutant), Myla (commander), Irijina (commander), Luna (bow cavalry commander)

Gido (escort unit), Pipi (special cavalry), Pochi (hates cannons), Marta (night companion), Keith (corps commander, weak presence), Sekrit (spectating)

Current Location: Melisbark

Achievements: Defeated siege army, repelled Melisbark first attack

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