Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi

Ofuro Ashitsubo

Chapter 383

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Chapter 383

Chapter 383: Central Plains Unification War ⑧ Arkland Great Battle: Part 2

Translator: Nat

–Aegir POV–

Finished with the attack on the enemy siege weapons, I followed the army back inside the city of Arkland .

I checked briefly and found out we suffered casualties which can’t be considered insignificant .

Because the enemy’s reaction was fast, we could not conduct a flawless withdrawal from battle .

「They stopped their a.s.sault on the city though . They will be unwilling to use their siege weapons next time and will naturally keep a distance when they attack so we can expect both their accuracy and power to drop . There are enough reasons which justify the deaths of those few soldiers . 」

Sekrit takes large gulps of water as she leans against my back .

How impressive that she can ride a horse facing the opposite direction . Also, don’t throw your canteen after you’re finished drinking, the soldier you hit is staring this way .

「I have returned . 」

「Umu . Then please set out for the west gate next . 」

Erich declares right as I come back to headquarters .

「……」

I thought I could at least rest a little and embrace a woman, but my silent protest doesn’t bear fruit .

I didn’t get to wipe the blood off my armor either .

「The enemy’s central army is challenging us to a field battle . If we leave them alone, they will circle around to the rear and there’s a possibility the capital’s logistics will be severed . 」

「A continuous attack?」

「The southern army may have pulled back their siege weapons, but they are still maintaining an offensive position . They should come at us again before the field battle is over…… I’m prepared for wave attacks . I’ll repel them all . 」

Erich smiles fearlessly as he gives out orders to the other commanders .

「That’s why I’ll use everyone I can . You’re a valuable a.s.set after all . If you’re available, I’ll make the most of your talents . 」

Erich puts a hand on my shoulder and whispers to me .

「Now that you have slept with a woman of mine, I’ll need you to go along with my requests . I don’t want to hear you say no after going so far as releasing your seed inside her―― now go . 」

I’m sure the others only heard the last two words .

It can’t be helped, I guess . I embraced Erich’s woman and most likely got her pregnant too .

I stuff my mouth with some of the dried meat and fruit-flavored water there .

「Eh?」

Then I put my arm around the waist of a young woman doing ch.o.r.es in the headquarters .

「Tell me if you don’t like it . 」

「Fueh? Eh?」

I steal the woman’s lips and slip my tongue in her mouth .

「Nnnhーー!! Nn, nnh! N…… uunh . Hamu, haahu…… chuu . Nnchu, mmchu, ahuu…… chuu~♪」

She resisted at first, but when I asked for one more time through my eyes, she consents by giving me a kiss and relaxing .

I was able to refill myself with the minimum .

「My tent is three away from this one! Three away from here!」

I raise a hand to acknowledge the imploring woman and leave headquarters .

I have to head to the frontlines before Erich and the other staff officers get upset at me .

「Nn . 」

Sekrit opens her mouth and sticks out her tongue so I throw her a piece of dried meat .

「Cheh . 」

I knew what she wanted, I just thought it would be more fun if I hold off until after the battle .

Hearing her click her tongue a second and third time, I once again depart for the front .

「Enemy totals 50 000…… no, they’re divided into two! 30 000 are heading straight while 20 000 are in the rear…… they’re circling around to the west gate!」

「Our forces consists of 30 000 from the Royal army and 20 000 of the feudal lords’ armies…… have 15 000 of the Royal army meet the enemy at the rear . The rest of the Royal army and the feudal lords’ armies will defend this place!」

A man who appears to be a commander makes a prompt decision .

I don’t have much to say . Erich told me not to say anything which would interfere with command .

「That’s the correct choice . The feudal lords’ armies of inferior maneuverability and cooperation can’t be used properly . To make the most of them, the only way is to a.s.sign them to a defensive mission of protecting a single point . 」

Unaware of that, the feudal lords get excited .

「It’s time to show our true worth! Display the glory of our finest Porcupine Knights . 」

At least their name is suited towards defense .

「What are you on about, our Exploding White Tigers will earn all the achievements . 」

I don’t know how they came up with that name . In my head, all I can see is a fox in a b.l.o.o.d.y mess with guts splattered everywhere .

「The last thing to say is loyalty to the king and current lord . Also, I pledge loyalty to the family head, the son-in-law of my granduncle’s cousin――」

What a distant relations.h.i.+p . I’m worried for him, he seems to be the type written in Erich’s notebook .

Then I hear three familiar voices .

「Our Starved Dog army will not fall behind!」

「Like a wild dog dying to eat, we will similarly defeat enemies with the same ferocity!」

「Not Starving Dog? It feels like our name changed a bit . 」

The poor trio is also partic.i.p.ating in the defense .

Before I knew it, their proud squad is lined up next to me .

「There’s no time to talk . 」

Not long after Sekrit warns me, I could hear an order from the enemy army .

The start of attacks should come shortly .

「The enemy is here . Gentlemen of the lords’ armies, I’d like you all to get into a box formation . A messenger will be used to relay orders to advance or retreat――」

The Royal army commander really has it hard .

There are plenty of feudal lords who have higher standings than he does, plus not all feudal lords can work well together, so orders must be given to each lord and their army separately .

As Erich said, they are truly not good for anything besides for livening up the atmosphere .

「Pardon me, Margrave Hardlett, I also need your squad……」

「I’m the only one in my squad so you don’t have to worry about me . I’ll watch what our allies are doing and move accordingly . 」

The commander is surprised yet slightly relieved .

He must have thought I would grumble and make things difficult for him .

An especially loud roar comes from the enemy side .

I think the commander just yelled out an order and the soldiers shouted in response . They’re charging in .

「For loyalty and pride――」

「Our powerful――」

「And glory――」

The feudal lords are still reciting useless prologues .

As I was about to say something, the leader of the three poor n.o.bles, Count Monas.h.i.+, stops me .

The Starved Dog army doesn’t belong to me, so it’s not my place to order them, well the little details shouldn’t matter .

I hop on Schwartz and draw my longsword .

「The enemy is coming . Kill――」

I point the tip of my sword at the enemy and inhale .

「Kill them all . 」

Schwartz runs forward at the same time as the shout .

The Starving Dog soldiers are staying back for some reason .

I guess it’s normal for them to conduct long speeches .

Whatever . My first order of business is to frighten the enemy .

「Kill the enemy, kill, kill, slaughter them all . 」

I charge as I let out a low-pitched growl .

Not long later, the vanguards of the Royal army and feudal lords’ armies engage each other in close combat .

「We will bring victory to our fatherland and Her Ma―― gabuh!」

「See ya . 」

Pa.s.sing by an enemy cavalry, I slice off the top part of his head above the nose .

「Tear the enemy camp apart . Don’t stop until your heart―― gugh!」

「Good bye . 」

I thrust my sword through the chest of the enemy commander leading the charge, then toss him to the side .

Gradually, no more enemies are left in my vicinity .

「T-that guy is dangerous!」

「Yeah, he’s picking off our allies…… could he be the rumored demon!?」

「Man, I was relieved after hearing the demon would be in the east too!!」

The entire line is disturbed when the three poor n.o.bles and I dug into the attacking enemies .

All that’s left is for heavy cavalry to penetrate the ranks from somewhere and get out through the back and then the formation will fall apart in an instant .

「Ooh, Lord Hardlett set a great example!」

「The Monas.h.i.+ faction went along too! If we don’t go, our reputation will be negatively affected . 」

「Onward, show them the strength of the Flame Dragon Manglers! Charge!」

The feudals continuously shout to their armies, telling them not to lose to me .

「Idiots……」

Sekrit muttered and I couldn’t help holding my head in my hands either .

「「「Uooooh!!」」」

I applaud them for being brave and letting out enthusiastic war cries, but I’ve left a messy melee behind me . They should have aimed for an area which was defended more spa.r.s.ely .

「Nothing will happen by just saying it . We’re going on foot . 」

Sekrit and I dismount from our horses .

We’ll make ourselves targets if we ride in the midst of clas.h.i.+ng soldiers .

I’ll also cut allies along with enemies if I use my longsword .

「Carry it and stay in the back . 」

I rest my longsword on Schwartz’s back, and he resignedly trots off with a sigh .

What kind of horse doesn’t show a trace of concern for his master?

「Isn’t he a little similar to a certain someone?」

Who might you be referring to? Anyways, we don’t have time for idle chatter .

I pull out my Dual Crater and hold it in front of my body with both hands at a slight angle .

「Fuu!」

I exhale deeply and take a step in .

First, I swing my sword down on the enemy soldier occupied by another ally soldier and cut him in half, then I immediately bring the blade back up and slice open the torso of a second enemy .

「Wielding this after the longsword makes it feel so light . 」

After swinging the sword back down again, I thrust at a third enemy, narrowly grazing the enemy’s neck .

Because I missed the center of his throat, his carotid artery was cut instead . Then, as my blade continues forward, I sweep my sword to the right for a horizontal slash to decapitate a fourth enemy .

「s.h.i.+t!」

When the fifth enemy’s sword comes down, I cut the fragile weapon in half right in the middle and then sever both of his hands with a return swing of my sword .

「This guy’s fast!」

I deliberately refrain from cutting the sixth, parrying his horizontal sweep and letting his momentum carry his body off balance before circling around behind him for a deep slash to his back .

I glance over to my side .

Sekrit is fighting bravely with her dual swords .

「This b.i.t.c.h!」「Darting all over the place…… agyah!」

She blocks the first enemy’s sword with her left blade and then cuts the second enemy with her right .

After both she and the first enemy takes a half-step backward, she knocks the first enemy off balance before simultaneously thrusting with both her swords .

「Gegoh……!」

Although the sword she aimed at his throat was deflected, the enemy couldn’t do anything about the other sword which stabs diagonally into the side of his body .

Sekrit twists the deeply buried sword to finish him off .

「Kiieeeh!」「Prepare yourself!」

Seeing an opportunity, two spearmen thrust at her from either side .

Their spears don’t come close to scratching her brown skin, rather they cross each other in the airs.p.a.ce where she would have been .

「She disappeared!?」「Is she a user of black magic!?」

「You guys are just too slow . 」

Sekrit bent her body low to the ground, almost like she was crawling, to avoid the spears and then stabs both enemies with one sword each .

「Gabh……」「How mortifying……」

Her twin swords accurately pierce through the windpipes of the two soldiers .

Of course, she gives an extra twist for good measure as soon as the blade stabs into the neck, granting her opponents an instant death .

「Fuuー」

Sekrit doesn’t bother wiping off the blood and looks for her next victim with eyes narrowed as thin as a piece of string .

She is unusually not joking around or tormenting her enemies excessively for once .

The wide grin on her face could not be hidden though .

「Hrngaaah!」

I hear a loud savage roar right next to me and feel the presence of something swinging in my direction .

Maybe I was looking away a bit too long, however I didn’t let my guard down .

I respond immediately by holding up my Dual Crater to block the wild man’s slash……

「c.r.a.p . 」

I couldn’t block the attack completely and my sword flew out of my hand .

He’s using a spiked ball-type weapon…… a morning star, if I recall correctly, and it’s a really large one at that . I underestimated the weight of the blow, which caused me to lose grip of my sword .

「Gahahahaha!! Demon, defeated!」

The man laughs heartily in a tone similar to Irijina’s, except lower-pitched, and appears to be at least 2 meters tall, wearing a full suit of heavy-looking armor with a helmet resembling a bucket . Although his face is not visible to me, I can tell from his voice that he’s ugly and has a small d.i.c.k .

「Stay still and become a sparkling achievement for the great knight, Bangarr-sama!」

The self-proclaimed great knight pulls his weapon back and prepares to swing at me, who is now empty-handed .

Obviously, I’m not going to be part of his achievements like he wants me to .

In the split second where he reaches the peak of how far he can pull back and right before he swings down, I leap up to grab the shaft of the morning star with my left hand and stop him .

「What the-!?」

This is the weakness of blunt instruments . The part below the spiked tip is just a stick so it’s easy to hold, plus there is no sharp edge for him to rip through and cut my hand . His options are to kick me or to compete with me in strength .

「Are you challenging me to a power battle!? Interesting, I’ll show you my strength――」

I’m confident that I won’t lose in brute strength, although it’s too foolish to compete on the battlefield .

I ball up my right hand and punch him in the side with all my might .

「Hmph!!」

A metallic thud rang out and considerable pain radiates throughout my hand .

But the man’s giant body wavers .

「Geh…… gebooh……」

I hear him make a disgusting sound . I’m glad his bucket helmet is covering his face .

「Uwah…… that was over the armor . 」

「Look, it’s dented in . How strong is he……」

I ignore the spectators, grab the man’s arm and throw him to the ground .

With his armor basically wrapping his entire body, I can’t find a gap to finish him off .

「This is good enough . 」

Using something like this is unbecoming of a knightly act, though I’m far from a knight in the first place .

I pick up a stray rock and swing it down repeatedly on his bucket helmet .

「S-stop, gugh, gogh!」

Everytime I hit him, a dent is made on the helmet and he lets out a pained groan . I disregard the slight crumbling of the rock and continue beating him over and over .

By the fifth and sixth time, the man’s limbs start to spasm . I think I’ve done enough .

「My sword……」

「Over there . 」

Sekrit finds my Dual Crater and points to it with her finger .

It’s right in the middle of a melee .

「And my longsword is on Schwartz…… I guess this will have to do . 」

I retrieve the bucket man’s morning star and make a run for it .

If I lose the Dual Crater, Nonna is going to pound me to death with her b.o.o.bs . That or she’s going to suffocate me with them, neither of which sounds too bad .

I swing the morning star wildly at the enemies in front of me as such ridiculous thoughts are circling around in my mind .

An enemy comes running at me with a sword, which I block with the spherical metal part of my club, then use to crush his head, breaking his sword in the process .

As an enemy cavalry charges toward me with a sideways strike, I knock him down with the metal club, then whack an infantry holding a s.h.i.+eld twice, smas.h.i.+ng him into the ground .

「……this is surprisingly usable . 」

「It suits you too . If a kid was to draw a picture of a barbarian, it would definitely resemble you . 」

d.a.m.n Sekrit, I’ll stick a finger up your a.s.s in bed .

「So you’ve come, demon! I’m not going to let you do as you ple-…… gah! Ogh! Gueeh!」

I pummel the knight three times and silence him .

Since I’m not cutting people up with a sword, I’m keeping the blood splatter to a minimum .

「Good, there it is . It’s not chipped or broken . 」

I let out a sigh of relief after checking the condition of the blade .

「Your back is wide open . 」

Sekrit spins and waves her two swords almost like she was dancing .

She deflects three crossbow bolts .

「Mm, thanks . 」

Hitting down bolts is hard even for me .

She’s pretty nimble to do that, and three of them too .

「Not really . I missed one . 」

Sekrit says as she pulls a bolt out of her thigh .

「Hey . 」

「Don’t worry . It missed my artery and it won’t hinder my movements . 」

She sticks out her tongue and licks up the blood on her hand .

「Thank me later in bed tonight . I’ll make sure you entertain me . 」

I’m definitely worried, although I can’t ask her to just abandon the fight . Even if she says she’s fine……

「Look, there are more important issues, like how our allies in the rear are colliding with the enemy . 」

Their side has 20 000 and our side has 15 000 . The moment I thought a hard battle would start, ally soldiers hidden in the gra.s.s appeared .

The total amount was merely 5000, but the sudden emergence threw the enemy for a loop .

「I see, so it was already known the enemy would circle around . What an excellent commander to be able to read this far . 」

The enemy quickly fell into disorder, allowing our allies to execute their offensive schemes .

With aid from the ballistae and archers in Arkland, the development was mostly one-sided .

「I expected no less from Erich . The rear is fine . 」

I get into a ready stance with my Dual Crater, prepared to concentrate solely on the enemies in front .

However, Sekrit grinned .

「I wonder about that . Concealing soldiers and ambus.h.i.+ng from the side is a fine strategy up to that point . But……」

The confused enemy with completely messed up lines were starting to get routed .

Seeing an opportunity, our allies chased after them, running …… outside the range of support fire from Arkland .

「They got baited and pursued too far . 」

Out of nowhere, enemy cavalry rushed out and charged into the side of the overextended army .

There were merely 3000 of them . However, the cavalry galloping at full speed exerted a pressure far greater than their actual numbers .

This time, it was our allies who fell into chaos after being split in the middle .

Orders were yelled and whistles blown, turning around the enemies who were fleeing not too long ago .

「So a trap was used to counter a trap . 」

「Or perhaps they antic.i.p.ated an ambush and kept forces in reserve…… Our opponents seem quite capable . 」

I re-evaluate the state of battle .

We are in a jumbled mess and taking turns attacking and defending, unlikely to finish the battle anytime soon .

Since both sides are in disarray, neither of us can really carry out any plans .

On the other side, the situation in the back is exceedingly bad .

Not only have our allies been divided by cavalry, because they carelessly ventured too far, they are in a position where the ally base cannot provide support .

「I’ll go extinguish the fire . 」

I try whistling to call for Schwartz .

Unfortunately, no sound comes out, although he sensed what was going on and came on his own with a displeased look on his face .

「Ooh, reinforcements, huh? Then we will also go……」

「It is a knight’s greatest ambition to save those in peril!」

「Let us go to their aid!」

The poor trio were about to give orders to their subordinates .

「No . Don’t come . 」

When I say it with a strict expression, the three of them fall on their backside in unison . They really are good friends .

「「「W-why not!?」」」

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The three of them speak all at once .

「Gyah!」

The man is blown into the air instead of cut in half .

Coincidentally, the man flies perfectly in line with my desired target and crashes into the commander running away while still wearing his heavy armor .

「Dowah!」

The impact breaks the horse’s hind legs, causing the animal to trip and flinging the commander to the ground .

No further instruction is needed after that .

Schwartz chases down the commander and crushes his skull with his hooves .

「Oooooooooooooh!!!」

I raise my sword in the air and roar out .

Hmm, compared to how I yelled in Zan Dora, this one is lacking ferocity .

Dammit Schwartz, don’t fold your ears like I’m annoying .

「He got the commander……?」

「A single cavalry rode in and did it……?」

「Halt the attack! Halt!」

The enemy cavalry stop moving .

With their supreme commander dead, they have no other choice except to abandon their charge .

It looks like the infantry stood their ground until the end .

With that, my role is done and I can let commander so-and-so do his best with everything else .

「I must avenge the commander . 」

「For the honor of our cavalry regiment . 」

All the heads of the stopped cavalry turn toward me .

This is not good .

「Schwartz, run!」

I break through the thinnest part in the enemy lines and exit the cavalry formation .

「Don’t let him get away, after him!」

「Kill him no matter what!」

My only choice is to run in the opposite direction of my allies .

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like I can join up with them with 3000 cavalry on my tail .

「Don’t you guys feel embarra.s.sed chasing one person with all your forces!?」

「Shut up, you were the one who attacked first! Just let yourself be captured and die, you demon . 」

Even after changing my course, the enemy still has me as their only target .

With the horses following me, it almost feels like I’m the one leading them in a charge .

Normally, Schwartz could accelerate and shake them off .

「You’re tired?」

Schwartz is breathing hard .

It seems I made him run too much . The distance between me and the enemy is shrinking rather than increasing .

When I tug on his ear, he looks at me with foam coming out of his mouth like he can’t run anymore .

「Idiot, if we get caught, you’ll be turned to horse meat . 」

I feel Schwartz go a tiny bit faster .

「Your favorite mares will get impregnated by other stallions . Young ones especially, one after the other . 」

Good, his speed has returned .

As I was thinking of heading back towards my allies, an enemy squad appears in front of me .

I was initially surprised that I may have mistakenly stumbled into the enemy camp, however I realize that this was just a small raid unit . Or maybe it’s a scouting unit .

「Hey, isn’t that the cavalry regiment? They’re coming this way?」

「What’s going on!?」

The scouting unit couldn’t imagine that the cavalry with me leading the way was their enemy .

Neither arrows nor bolts were fired at me . It’s probably wise if I don’t do anything unnecessary here .

「Schwartz, pretend to be a horse from South Yuguria . 」

Schwartz stares at me, telling me not to ask ridiculous things of him when he’s tired .

I enter the enemy lines while slowly dropping my pace .

Sure enough, the enemy doesn’t form a spear wall, still puzzled by the current situation . They must think I’m an ally .

I should have some room to breathe until the cavalry catches up to me and transmits the information .

If a high-level commander is here, I might as well finish him off .

「Maestus, Your Excellency, state of war is becoming uncertain . Please retreat back to the headquarters for now . 」

「The warfront will eventually reach a stalemate . There is no need for the commander to personally observe the situation . 」

「I thought I lured them out too, but it doesn’t look like the plan worked out that well . So it all depends on Acevedo . 」

Two splendidly decorated knights are speaking to someone using honorifics .

If what they said is true, then that guy is the commander overlooking the battle . If I take him out, the tide of battle may change .

I didn’t think he would come to watch . This is a golden opportunity .

「An enemy soldier has invaded――! It’s that guy!!」

「Tch . 」

c.r.a.p, looks like the cavalry informed this unit about me .

Everyone around me is looking this way now .

I don’t have a second to spare .

Silently, I jump off my horse and run toward the man named Maestus .

「Your Excellency!」

Before the knight could unsheathe his sword, I slice him in half from the top of his shoulder .

「I won’t let you!」

I decapitate the other knight who stands in the way .

Now, n.o.body is left between me and Maestus .

The situation is the same as before with the cavalry commander, although the risk of him escaping is slim because he isn’t on horseback .

「Demon……is that you?」

The man draws his sword in one smooth motion and makes a bitter expression .

Maybe he knows his own strength doesn’t reach mine . I can do this .

「I won’t let you kill His Excellency!」

One more person interferes .

Obviously, I’m going to cut him down quickly……

Except, the soldier is female and clings onto Maestus to protect him .

I stop my sword short .

「Save His Excellency!」

「Shoot your crossbow!」

I feel the sensation of a bolt hitting my back .

The moment I turned around, more than ten enemy soldiers jumped between me and Maestus .

「Che . 」

Going further than this is impossible .

I give a parting look to Maestus, hop on Schwartz and leave .

The enemy soldiers prioritized protecting him so they don’t chase after me .

That works out for me, since Schwartz seems to be at his limit .

「Your Excellency, are you injured!?」

「No, my life is saved because you protected me . So the demon referred to that man? Goursat, Argus…… both were killed in an instant . 」

I was one step away, what a waste .

Perhaps shaken from their general being in danger, the enemy stopped their attack and retreated .

Our side has suffered its share of casualties and we retreat as well, not wanting to fight anymore .

The gazes of respect from the corps commander and his subordinates feels pleasant .

I find a female staff officer around 40 years old who is staring affectionately at me and when I tempted her for a night visit, she silently handed me the key .

When I return to Sekrit and the poor trio and company, they have already settled things on this side .

With that said, it wasn’t a one-sided victory . Left with no options and unwilling to let the battle become a stalemate, the enemy soldiers withdrew .

After all of that, it seems the one who achieved the most in this battle is the Starving Dog squad .

「The valiant efforts of everyone in the Starving Dog army is beyond comparison . It can be described as the incarnation of a fierce G.o.d . 」

The commander of the Royal army heaps words of praise .

「……did you see what the Starving Dog unit accomplished?」

「Yeah, I never expected them to do this much . 」

The other feudal lords also commends . It would have been nice if I could see how much of a role they played .

「Still, they may be enemies, but that is too……」

「Granting death to invaders is the natural thing to do…… however showing humanity on the battlefield is……」

Something doesn’t seem right .

「Did you see it? That woman hunted enemies with an expressionless face and didn’t show any mercy to anybody regardless of whether they surrendered or were fleeing . 」

「When I asked about her, I found out she was Lord Hardlett’s lover . 」

「Shhh! His lover can do that much! Think about what would happen if you upset Lord Hardlett himself……」

Sekrit, what on earth did you do?

「Who knows . 」

Viscount Binbo and Baron Gokhin were huddled around Count Monas.h.i.+ and all of them were trembling .

「You didn’t see anything, right?」

「「「Of course, absolutely nothing . 」」」

Sekrit’s question was answered in sync by the three n.o.bles .

You guys are lords of a military faction, aren’t you?

「I find myself mysteriously unable to resist her . 」

「She has the aura of a very important person . 」

「She even took command of the army . 」

I won’t ask anymore .

「I’ll listen to the rest from you in bed . 」

「That’s exactly what I want . You owe me a favor too…… I’ll have you repay that in bed . 」

The consecutive mortal combats was tiring today .

I’m ent.i.tled to my time of embracing a woman at night .

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