Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi

Ofuro Ashitsubo

Chapter 362

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Chapter 362

Translator: Nat

–Aegir POV–

――Day After the Fierce Fighting .

「Please don’t move . 」

Celia changes the bandages around my neck, careful not to wrap them tight enough to strangle me .

She’s really skilled to do that in a rocking carriage .

Leopolt’s plan of spraying lime with an explosion proves to be effective in stopping our pursuers as we can’t see anybody behind us anymore .

According to a scout, they’ve abandoned the chase and are starting to regroup .

It’s safe to a.s.sume they gave up because of the distance to Goldonia territory .

「Does it hurt? Can you breathe?」

I smile and nod in response .

Apparently, the injury I suffered in my neck would have been a life-threatening one if we didn’t have ointment .

Thinking back, I was breathing through the hole in my throat and not through my mouth .

The medic told me my life isn’t in danger for the moment, although anything can happen and it’s better if I rest as much as possible .

When I tried to speak, only a strange gravelly sound came out and my throat hurt, so I was advised not to say anything for a while .

After Celia finishes wrapping the bandages, she fixes my collar to hide my neck, ensuring I don’t look uncool .

「It’s done for now…… still, you should rest . I alone will listen to what that person has to say . 」

That person is referring to Jim .

I was planning to see him after getting treated .

「Aau . 」

I pat Celia’s head and shake my head slowly .

Just listening wouldn’t hurt .

Besides, I have a feeling it’s going to be an important topic .

「Then I will act as Aegir-sama’s voice! Even if Aegir-sama can’t say anything, I can understand everything through your eyes . 」

「Chief!」

When Celia and I alight from the carriage, the bow cavalry who stuck close for the entire trip hurries over to me .

I’m glad she didn’t get hurt, since I wasn’t able to pay much attention to her during the melee .

「A……ight……」

I wanted to ask if she was alright, but a strange sound came out .

It can’t be helped, so I touch her body and convey my question through my eyes .

「Chief, your voice……well, I get what you want to say . Of course, I don’t mind . 」

The girl opens up the front of her clothes and guides my hand to her b.r.e.a.s.t.s .

What kind of look was I making?

「Ah, the bottom too? Sure, go ahead . 」

When I shake my head, she strips the piece of clothing covering her lower half and leads my hand to her crotch .

She takes it off like she doesn’t care who’s looking .

Rather, I can feel the girl’s love for me exuding from her eyes .

I guess that answers my question about her health .

I can be at ease and go see Jim .

Before that, I’ll squeeze her b.r.e.a.s.t.s for a little bit .

By the way, Celia understood what I really wanted to say, right?

「……」

Why is she looking away?

「Ooh, you came! I was going to come to you…… calling an injured person goes against my justice . Anyways, sorry!」

Jim apologizes in a loud voice .

Celia wanted to complain from the start, however she was beaten to the punch by the overly loud Jim and remained quiet .

It was my desire to come, there’s no need for an apology .

I convey “I don’t mind” through my expression and gestures .

「Aegir-sama says he doesn’t mind . 」

Celia glares at Jim .

Jim seemed puzzled for a minute until he realized the bandage around my neck, then lowers his head one more time before continuing .

「So…… this is Goldonia’s border . 」

「Yes, once we get over that hill along the road, we should see the small river and pioneer village on the border line . 」

I didn’t know that . Thankfully, Celia answered for me .

「……so we’re safe from attacks . Refugees are protected here . 」

「Yes, if the enemy doesn’t cross the border and come for us, that is . 」

Jim closes his eyes and nods .

「They are people who have lived in free lands and breathed free air . The monarchical system in Goldonia may seem foreign to them . Even so…… can I ask that you look after them? Please!」

Jim lowers his head again .

He’s apologizing lots today .

Let me think .

Libatis has a very peculiar system of government and I don’t know whether people from there can integrate into Goldonia’s society .

The only reason I agreed for them to accompany us was because I like Brian and Jim .

「You’re the only one I can rely on . I beg you……do it for my justice!」

I know it’s late to point out, but is “justice” some kind of universal magic word?

Whatever, in the worst case I can put them somewhere in my needlessly large territory .

As long as they don’t start any rebellions, they can practice their democracy or anything else they want .

「……Aegir-sama says he’ll do something for them . 」

Celia is truly able to deduce what I’m saying through my eyes .

Jim heaves a sigh of relief and smiles .

「That’s a huge help…… thank you so much . 」

He then takes his greats.h.i.+eld, greatsword, and shoulders his bags .

「What are you going to do?」

Celia asks in my place .

Her tone is similar to mine .

「I left something in Tortoent . 」

「Are you dumb, you can’t possibly be thinking of going back now . 」

I’m entertained by how Celia is imitating the way I speak with her cute voice .

It still surprises me how she understands every word and phrase I want to say .

「I know it’s stupid . Nevertheless, I can’t leave it behind…… it’s my wife, you see . 」

The air freezes briefly .

Then I kick Jim before Celia could read my eyes .

「Are you an idiot? If you’re a man, you would bring your wife even if you had to toss out other old men . I misjudged you . 」

Celia scolds him in a strict tone, adding in a murderous gaze as well .

She looks cute to me regardless .

「You’re right…… I’m not qualified to be a husband for not being able to protect my wife . I’m the lowest man…… yet…… I decided to protect the seed of the future entrusted to me by His Excellency Brian . 」

Jim stands up and looks at the pendant hanging from his neck .

「My wife is the finest woman . I just couldn’t protect everyone with her because of my position…… as a soldier, I can’t forget my duties and mix public with private affairs . 」

I can’t agree with that .

Suzy has an important position and she’s mixed with the refugees .

「There’s no way that stupid girl is important . Ahem, so what are you planning?」

Celia asks and Jim looks at me with eyes filled with determination .

「As a soldier of Libatis, I abandoned myself and did my utmost for the sake of freedom . The refugees have reached a safe place . 」

Jim grips his pendant tightly and then carefully slips it back into his s.h.i.+rt .

The number of injuries suffered by the refugees in that battle was zero .

That was due to the brave fighting of Jim and his soldiers .

Jim fought hard with his greats.h.i.+eld and greatsword .

I heard he kicked, thrown, lariated and flying double-legged kicked enemies left and right .

「My work as a soldier is finished . Now I will go back for my wife as a husband . 」

Jim turns around and walks south .

Rescue is impossible .

Simply arriving at Tortoent is probably impossible .

「Do you have a deathwish?」

My question is directed at his back .

Celia was the one who spoke .

「I don’t intend to die . If I die, then I can’t hug my wife . 」

Jim performs a Libatis-style salute to me and walks off .

He doesn’t plan to use a horse I guess .

「……」

Celia and I send Jim off .

We watch the back of the man who will absolutely not return .

「Fuu……」

I exhale heavily and look at Celia .

I was satisfied with his last answer .

He could die quickly if he wanted to die . Jumping into a situation which he might not return alive for the sake of saving his wife is a different story .

「…… you can’t . 」

I persistently stare at Celia as she shakes her head .

I’ve been acting recklessly since yesterday .

I’m sure Celia, Myla, and Leopolt will have much to say to me when I get back .

「……I won’t allow it . 」

Don’t be like that .

Celia puffs her cheeks and her eyes turn watery .

「……wait! Come here!」

Celia extremely unwillingly yells at Jim .

In the distance, I hear the faint roar of Pochi .

Two Hours Later . Near Tortoent .

「W-what can I say? I don’t know how to express it in words…… ooh, this view, what justice this is . 」

The distance we spent an entire day walking at a strict marching pace was travelled in merely two hours .

Of course Schwartz can’t do something like that .

We were riding Pochi .

Jim and I flew in the air on Pochi .

Tortoent must have capitulated by now and enemies should be wandering all over the roads .

Endlessly cutting through the swarms would be impossible, even on Schwartz, besides he’s hurt .

I considered sneaking in, except time is of the essence and I’m not suited for infiltrations .

Not to mention Jim has a loud voice and big body, so that option is ruled out .

And that’s where Pochi comes in .

Pochi is an armored lizard that can also fly .

As an added bonus, Pochi can also breathe fire .

「Keep it up, Pochi . A bit more to go . 」

Pochi cries out to answer Pipi, who gives out instructions on its head .

Having grown larger recently, Pochi’s cries sound more like stomach-rumbling roars than cute growls .

「I never imagined myself riding a dragon before…… this is unbelievable!」

Jim seems a little crazy from flying for the first time .

I understand his feelings, since I was far from calm the time I was picked up by that eerie bird .

「Seeing Libatis from the sky like this, I can truly admire its beauty…… someday I will definitely take it back!」

“Being determined is fine, but we’re about to land . Get ready . ”

Is what I want to say . I can’t speak loudly yet .

The sound of the wind is also deafening and drowns out my voice .

I’ll get Pipi to speak for me .

「Mu, got it . 」

Pipi nods, then turns to Jim .

「Your face from the side doesn’t lose in beauty to the nice scenery . 」

I want to yell “Wrong!”, except I choke .

Jim emotionlessly widens the distance between us .

It’s still too big of a burden for Pipi to handle .

Pochi turns its head around and cries out .

We’re here .

「Do you know where exactly your wife is located?」

So Pipi can do it if she tries .

How come she misinterpreted so badly before?

「My house is a little bit west of the center of the residential district, in the direction of the red bell tower . You’ll know it when you see it . My wife is there . 」

Good thing it’s beside a tower .

That can be spotted from above quite easily .

「Try not to kill any citizens . I don’t want to sacrifice anybody for my own sake . 」

I glare at Jim as if to ask him whether his wife or the citizens are more important .

Does he have no ill feelings toward them for supporting the decision to surrender?

I would probably want to create more casualties…… although women are different . Women are my form of justice .

「They’re both important to me . My wife who I love more than anyone and the citizens who I must protect, both are more precious than my own life . 」

Let’s leave the question and answer period at that for now .

We are finally soaring directly above Tortoent .

The thick city walls and the durable gates don’t hinder our progress in the sky .

「W-what is that!?」

「Dra……gon? Eeeeeeh!?」

As expected, Tortoent has already been captured and the South Yuguria army is occupying the city .

Sentries on top of the walls are pointing in shock .

We circle around the air above Tortoent, looking for the red tower Jim described .

Tortoent is quite a large city when I look down from the sky like this and it is harder to find such a visible landmark than I thought .

「What’s that!? Uwaah, it’s coming this way!」

「Hiee, it’s a dragon! Run!!」

Flying around in broad daylight means everybody in the city can see us .

Not only are the South Yuguria soldiers panicking, so are the citizens of Tortoent .

Everywhere we go, the people below would run in the opposite direction .

I feel bad for the people, but this is a good opportunity .

While the city is in chaos, the South Yuguria army will find it hard to take action .

Jim shouldn’t have a problem if I take advantage without harming anyone .

「What are you doing? That is definitely part of the enemy remnants! Get rid of it as ordered, shoot it down!」

「Eh, how?」

Arrows and crossbow bolts fired upwards from South Yuguria soldiers don’t come close to reaching .

Their own allies complain when the projectiles come falling back down, which quickly stops any further attempts .

「There! On the other side of that tower!」

Jim points .

「There are too many houses to land there . Get down in the plaza over there . 」

Pochi listens to Pipi and folds its wings, descending rapidly to the designated spot .

「It’s coming!」

「Intercept it! Her Majesty is here, we can’t yield to one or two dragons!」

Judging where we are going to move, the South Yuguria soldiers rush toward the plaza we plan to land in and ready their crossbows .

Pochi and Pipi look at me, asking what they should do .

I a.s.sume the citizens have already ran away since I don’t see any there .

I stick my hand out and sweep it from right to left―― the motion implying “mow them down” .

Pochi inhales deeply .

「Steady your aim! At the moment they land――」

Right before the enemy commander could give the command to shoot, a stream of flames burst out from Pochi’s mouth .

「Mgyah――」

「Pii――」

Those flames engulf an entire squad of soldiers .

They weren’t simply burnt to death .

Everybody directly exposed to the intense heat did not writhe in pain and instantly turned into blackened remains, while their metal armor melted and left a pool of thick red liquid on the ground .

「Landed . 」

Pochi comes down on the scorched earth and h.e.l.lfire without hesitation .

The vibrations from its landing shattered the human-shaped remains and scattered the ashes to the wind, a phenomenon similar to when you blow into a fireplace which just finished burning .

Jim and I dismount soon after .

I had concerns about weight so I’m only carrying the lightweight Dual Crater with me .

「――」

I silently point up diagonally .

Pipi, understanding my intentions, prompted Pochi who, after a ferocious roar, let out another spurt of fire in the direction I indicated .

Although nothing was. .h.i.t, seeing that scene would make anyone believe the flames could burn the sky .

「Uwaaaaaaaah!!」

「Hiiiiiiiiih!!」

The South Yuguria soldiers who came running to intercept us couldn’t stand and fell to the ground in fear .

While average situations aren’t enough to break their spirits, this giant flying fire-breathing lizard can’t be considered average .

「M-my legs…… feel weak…… can’t move……」

「I-I think I wet myself . Someone save me……」

If Pochi spewed fire horizontally in a circle around the plaza, it would do way more than hurting citizens, it would turn the surrounding area into a blazing h.e.l.l .

Scaring everyone should be enough until we can bring back Jim’s wife .

「I’m on my way! Please be safe, my beloved wife!」

Jim dashes out of the plaza and runs straight to his own house .

「W-what are you…… gya!」

The South Yuguria soldier who shows up in the alley gets cut down with no questions asked .

「b.a.s.t.a.r.d, that uniform! You should have surrendered!」

I slice off the arm of the soldier aiming a crossbow at Jim, then cut off that soldier’s head with the return swing .

Jim is only thinking of his wife .

He’s leaving his back completely unguarded and needs me to protect him .

「Uooooooh! Wife, are you alright!?」

I hear the house of Jim’s house opened with a dropkick .

「J-Jim! You’re alive!?」

I hear a female’s voice .

So he found her .

「Ooh……my wife! Eileen! Eileen!!」

「Aah, Jim! Jim, my love! Nmu, nchu, mnchu . 」

Jim and his wife kiss pa.s.sionately at the entrance .

「Uoooh!」

I deflect the sword of the charging soldier and slice open his stomach with one slash .

He sinks to the ground while trying to keep his intestines from spilling .

「I believed in you, Jim, that you would definitely come back for me!」

「Sorry to keep you waiting, Eileen . My dear!」

「You b.a.s.t.a.r.d!」

I knock away the spear thrust at me with my arm guard, take a step towards the enemy soldier’s chest and stab his heart .

A fountain of blood gushes out as he loses strength .

「South Yuguria can’t hope to stop our love!」

「That’s right, we can overcome any adversity . 」

「Prepare yourself!」

A single cavalry charges forward on a narrow path .

I purposely wait until he gets close, then use a stack of wooden boxes left on the side of the road as a platform to leap up and avoid being tackled by the horse, then cut off the rider’s head as the horse runs past .

「Eileen, let our love burn hot enough to scorch the sky tonight!」

「Of course, Jim . Let us make love for the entire day!」

I stomp on the ground .

「「Hah!」」

Jim and his wife are brought back to reality from their own world .

I love to flirt as well, but there is a time and place for everything .

……oh I see, this is what Myla talks about all the time .

「Eileen, come with me . 」

「Yes . I’ll go anywhere with you!」

Jim protects Eileen, staying alert as he runs .

Unlike our way here, it doesn’t look like I need to worry about him on our way back .

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Having achieved our objective, we return to the plaza where Pochi is supposed to be .

I manage to hold on to my sword with tingling hands and charge forward .

They shouldn’t have enough time to load the cannon for another shot yet .

「He…… cut…… the cannonball?」

Jim’s body acts quickly, although his mouth remains open in surprise .

Jim’s wife and Solana also have their mouths hanging open .

The women look a bit s.e.xy like that .

「Eh, you’re kidding . 」

「No, no…… that’s not . 」

「Mu…… nu……」

Pa.s.sing by the enemy cannoneers, I feel nothing from them which tells me they’re going to reload or engage in close combat .

All of them are frozen in place and just turn their heads as I go by .

「Impressive, right?」

I ask tauntingly .

Only using my instincts to challenge the cannonball was a fairly risky gamble .

I won’t do the same thing again so this is probably the last look they’ll get .

The commander is in the same posture with his arm swung down like an uncool bronze statue .

We slip by him and reach the gate .

However……

「It’s closed shut……」

「They made it here……?」

South Yuguria is thorough in everything .

They closed all the gates as soon as they were attacked .

「The gate is mechanically operated…… it won’t open unless you manipulate it from the top of the walls . 」

I have to climb up the wall now? ……what should I do……

Before we could rack our brains, enemy soldiers on top of the wall start to panic .

「I-it’s coming! It’s coming straight at us!」

「Shoot it, shoot it! Ballistae aren’t effective either! Aim the cannons!」

「Ah…… uwaaaaaaah!!」

It happened right after that scream .

Something came cras.h.i.+ng through the walls, making sounds of destruction so loud that the earlier explosions seemed like toys, and creating a giant hole .

Broken parts of the wall around the hole crumble loosely and soldiers on top of the wall fell down .

Also accompanying the crash was a cloud of dust which blanketed a large area .

I cover Solana with my cloak to protect her from any debris .

Similarly, Jim s.h.i.+elds his wife with his body .

A familiar roar and Pipi’s voice can be heard from within the dust .

「There wasn’t a place to land, so I flew in!」

Apparently, Pochi picked up speed from above and dove right into the walls .

Being as hard as a ma.s.s of steel and building enough momentum, Pochi easily destroyed the wall .

Pipi beckons us happily with dust all over her face, meanwhile Pochi seems to be suppressing tears .

It probably got hurt from such a reckless act…… I’ll feed it a whole cow when we get back .

「Get on, let’s run before the dust clears . 」

We somehow managed to cross a dangerous bridge .

This has been happening all the time since the fight with Libatis .

I’d like if we could win in a more comfortable manner .

「All that’s left is…… to search for Christoph, I guess . 」

I wanted to find him if I had time, but it’s looking impossible .

「Stay alive . If you survive, I’ll make you captain of ten…… no, of three . 」

「Woah!」

Pipi suddenly shouted .

Pochi is wobbling unsteadily because of the added weight from Solana and Eileen .

Flying on top of what was once the Libatis president’s office…… is the flag of South Yuguria, which Pochi’s tail accidentally hits .

Its steel tail breaks the roof of the president’s office, knocking off the tri-colored South Yuguria flag and causing it to flutter to the ground .

「Haha, it’s trivial yet somehow I feel a bit happier . 」

Jim chuckles sarcastically .

「Hmm, I swear I saw something just now . 」

When we pa.s.s the president’s office, I thought I saw the figures of two humans .

Turning backwards to confirm, it felt like someone was staring at me from the balcony .

Pochi was moving too fast though and I couldn’t see what it was .

「Whatever . 」

Thus, our Libatis battle ended .

–Third Person POV–

Special Interrogation Room – Christoph .

In a certain damp underground room, Christoph can be seen tied up .

「Are you ready? You appear to have a decent body, but n.o.body has been able to withstand being tortured by me . 」

A single woman stands in front of him .

She doesn’t have any emotion on her face and is holding a frightening, b.l.o.o.d.y clipper-like tool in her hand .

「Heh, my mouth is tighter than a closed sh.e.l.lfish . 」

Terrifying screams come from the room next door .

This is a room prepared by South Yuguria for interrogation―― for torture .

The woman squeezes the clippers in front of Christoph’s face, deliberately making unpleasant snipping sounds .

「First I’ll rip your nails . Next, your teeth will be yanked out and then your tongue will be cut . After that, needles will be stuck all over your body, and then your limbs will be severed one by one . 」

「Keh, how underhanded . It certainly fits the wickedness of this country’s ruler . 」

When Christoph acts tough, the woman’s face fills with anger and she slaps his cheek several times .

「I won’t tolerate any negative remarks of our nation and Her Majesty . I’m going to make you spit out everything you know―― hm?」

The woman’s face is now showing shock .

To be expected, Christoph, who was only acting before, is now in tears .

「……what the?」

「P-please…… don’t hurt me! I can’t handle anything painful, any suffering, anything ticklish, anything hot, or hunger . 」

「……」

The woman remains silent briefly, then once more slaps the man’s cheek .

「Please be easy on me! I’ll answer anything you ask me!」

The woman tosses away her torture tool and sighs .

「So that’s all the information you know?」

「Yeah…… d.a.m.n, how pathetic . I can’t face the general after yielding to torture like this . 」

The torturer boredly rests her elbow on the table .

「Still, this is the first time I’ve seen such a spineless man who looks nothing like his appearance . A ten year old child puts up more of a fight than you did . 」

After saying that, she takes the information gleaned from Christoph and throws it into the fireplace .

「Eh?」

「Something so meaningless can’t be considered information . What a waste of effort . 」

Sighing again, the torturer continues .

「And you…… you say you’re the longest friend of the great feudal lord Hardlett before he gained status and also his very first subordinate . Is that really true?」

「Yes, it is!」

Certain he won’t get hurt anymore, Christoph responds in a cheery voice .

「You say that you have a deep personal relations.h.i.+p with him and accompany him to bars and brothels . 」

「That’s right!」

The torturer looks pitifully at Christoph .

「Yet you have not an inch of land to your name . 」

「Ugh . 」

Christoph bends backward like he took a physical blow .

His restraints have already been undone since they wouldn’t be necessary .

「Your position is a low level soldier . 」

「Hagh!」

Christoph suffers another blow .

「B-but the escort squad is a similar group of elites like the imperial guards……」

「He was obviously feeling sorry for you . 」

Christoph collapses to the floor .

When he did, he hit his head on the way down and knocked himself unconscious .

「So, what should we do with him? He’s no use, so do we kill him?」

Another strange woman, impervious to the screaming and yelling around her, appears and asks .

「No, if he’s a.s.sociated with Hardlett, there might be a way to use him . Throw him in prison . 」

The torturer stands up and grins .

「Besides, his body is still pretty nice…… and his face is my type of handsome…… fufufufufu . 」

Christoph’s captivity crisis continues .

Protagonist: Aegir Hardlett . 24 years old . Winter .

Subordinate Squad:

Goldonia Royal Army – Seventh Division Army Corps

Infantry: 4100

Archers: 900

Cavalry: 700

Hardlett Army

Bow Cavalry: 2400

Escort: 150

Chariots: 45

Subordinates: Leopolt (staff officer), Celia (worried), Myla (worried), Irijina (trigger happy), Luna (commander)

Gido (escort unit), Pipi (armored lizard rider), Pochi (flying heavily-armored high-powered giant lizard), Sekrit (temporary squad member)

Suzy (seeking asylum), Marta (worried), unnamed bow cavalry (deeply in love), Solana (rescued)

Christoph (being tortured)

Current Location: Back to Goldonia

Achievements: Defeated siege army, Successful defense of Melisbark, Defeated magic squad, Broke through surround of Tortoent, Recaptured Jim’s Wife

Repelled cavalry + part of eastern army

a.s.sets: 2050 gold

s.e.xual Partners: 585, children who have been born: 68 + 565 fish

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