The men around me rise up from their seats at the commotion .
Guards also hurry and draw their swords .
「Don’t move! If you do, I’ll kill this man! I’ll really kill him!!」
The boy who circled behind me threatens the guards .
It’s comical how hard he is trying to stretch with the height difference being more than 30 cm .
「What can I say here?」
I smile sheepishly and look at Erich .
In front of his subordinates, he has a stern face, yet he doesn’t appear to be very worried .
「That brat…… what is he thinking?」
「He must not know . How foolish . 」
「Will his head fly off or twisted off……perhaps his body will be sliced in two or broken in half?」
「What a waste . The a.s.s of a young man at that age is exquisite . 」
The young man frantically waves his knife, paying no attention to all the murmuring .
「Release my mother! I’m not going to repeat myself a third time! This guy is going to die!!」
「Seika, how could you!? P-please stop! Do you know what you’re doing and who you’re doing it to!?」
Contrary to how Erich and I are acting, the Baroness panics and pleads the young man to stop, but he isn’t really paying attention to his surroundings .
「Hey, your knife isn’t touching my neck . If you aren’t tall enough, then I suggest you sit me down . 」
I don’t want to be standing pointlessly, so let me sit .
「Uu! S-sit on that chair! If you try to run, I won’t show any mercy!」
What’s going to happen now?
「Quickly, free my mother――!」
It’s not a very pleasing act to crush a boy desperately trying to protect his mother .
However, I don’t think there is much time left to think any further .
I see Celia crawling towards me at the feet of the guards .
She’s already close enough to reach me in a single jump .
「I guess this is it . 」
Celia won’t hold back against anybody who dares to point a weapon at me .
At this rate, the young man will get his throat slit .
And on the off chance that the boy retaliates and somehow injures Celia, I don’t know what I’ll do to him .
「Hey . 」
I suddenly raise my left hand .
「Wah! I said don’t――」
When the boy’s gaze wanders, my right hand grabs the dagger and tosses it away .
It was easier than fooling a harpy with a cat toy .
Seeing the body become unarmed, Celia pounces .
「Don’t hurt him . 」
Almost simultaneously as those words came out, the young man’s feet were swept and he flipped over .
Leopolt steps on the young man’s arms to hold him down .
「You were looking for a chance too?」
Leopolt had a hand on the hilt of his sword .
One wrong step and the boy would have been cut down .
「Were you that worried about me?」
My eyebrows s.h.i.+ft up and down while I ask him .
「The situation is a trivial one, but the blade is real, and I simply thought the possibility of injury would not be worth the risk . 」
「Just admit it . You couldn’t help feeling worried . 」
The corners of my mouth lift up and a snicker escapes from my nose .
What a dishonest guy .
「More importantly, it might be too late . 」
I turn back to the boy and see Celia with her sword drawn, about to thrust it into his chest .
The young man is thras.h.i.+ng wildly, tears welling in his eyes, while his mother let out a scream like the world was about to end .
「Hey, don’t kill him . 」
「This guy pointed a blade at Aegir-sama and isn’t a female! I’ll get rid of him…… mahgmgh . 」
I pull Celia’s cheeks and then stand in front of the boy .
A good idea just popped into my head .
It will hurt me and the boy in various ways, however, he would have definitely been executed otherwise .
「You’re called Seika, right? Your mother is a traitor, and she can’t escape death . Normally, that would apply to you too……but, you’re still a kid . I can let you go if you want . 」
I purposely present the offer in an arrogant tone, which causes Seika to bare his teeth and yell at me .
「I’m not going to abandon my mother! Once I’m free, I’ll kill everyone here to save my mother!」
The Baroness screams at the top of her longs .
「Stop it Seika! Be a good boy and listen! Your mother orders――」
「No, I don’t want to!! I’m not going to abandon my mother after my sister and run away alone! I’d rather die right here!!」
Once his restraints were removed, the young man quickly stands up and runs at the guards holding his mother captive, still bare-handed .
That’s a pa.s.s .
「Very well . 」
I grab the boy by the head, lift him up and turn him to Erich .
「Lord Radhalde . This young man, while part of a family of insurgents, demonstrated his will to protect his mother all by himself . Why not give him a second chance?」
Erich looks at me, trying to guess my true intentions .
I take a deep breath and direct my voice to every other partic.i.p.ant in the trial aside from Erich .
「The boy will fight with me, and if he wins, will be pardoned along with his mother . How does that sound?」
Everybody laughs .
「A brat like that fighting Lord Hardlett…… and winning?」
「Hahaha, it’s more likely that the noose of the gallows snaps . 」
「It’s so ridiculous that it won’t even be entertaining . 」
Erich seems to realize what I was trying to do and looks at me questionably .
「Letting off a rebel with one match…… that’s-」
I don’t really mind .
「It’s only if this guy doesn’t decline . 」
I peek at the boy’s face .
「Lord Hardlett……? Two hundred kills…… dragon slayer…… war demon…… you mean that Lord Hardlett……?」
He might not have recognized my face, but he knows my name and starts trembling because of it .
「Will you do it? Or not?」
The young man closes his eyes for a few seconds, then re-opens them with determination .
「I’ll do it! The promise of saving my mother when I win, you better not take it back!!」
His body is jittering, sweat is pouring out from all his pores and his voice is even more shrill .
Yet, he declared clearly what he desired .
「He’s foolish, but…… he’s got guts . 」
「Umu, I thought he would only beg for his life . 」
I grin back at Erich .
「So, that’s what he said…… how about it?」
Erich returns a sour look .
But the others are already excited for our match .
If this was a palace where n.o.bles are gathered, it would be a different story, but this is the front lines where soldiers and knights are, so it’s easy to support such bouts .
Erich, as the supreme commander, also doesn’t want to be a stick in the mud and disappoint his men .
And judging by what I heard in the trial, the Baroness was only part of a subordinate family . Besides, it’s not like Erich wants to kill her . It should be fine if we keep up appearances .
I glance at those around me to gauge their reactions .
A large majority of the people are fine with the fight being held, although some who are more cautious and stricter with adherence to rules disprove inside their minds .
As I thought, I need to come up with a little trick . I think the mother may be concerned, but it can’t be helped .
I take two oak staffs used by the city guards and give one to the young man .
「We’ll have a match with these sticks . The first one to get knocked out or admit defeat loses . 」
In a fight with these staffs, we literally whack each other with blade-less rods .
Since there is no pointed edge, physical strength is the best way to knock out the opponent, meaning I have the upper hand……frankly, my opponent has no chance of winning .
「Lord Hardlett is quite cruel to suggest a staff fight . 」
「With swords, he could end it in one slash…… will he split the opponent’s head in half or break each of his opponent’s limbs in order……」
Spectators whisper amongst themselves, trying to predict how I will kill the young man .
「Aaah, Seika is going to be killed…… I can’t…… this is way too cruel……」
Sadly, I have to leave the sobbing Baroness alone right now .
I ready my stick as I ask the young man in a w.i.l.l.y-nilly tone .
Seika responds by reflexively getting into a stance, his hand shaking like a leaf .
「Should we stop?」
I unleash the murderous aura I’ve been keeping suppressed .
Dry gra.s.s at my feet flutter from the air pressure .
Seika’s legs wobble like a newborn fawn, tears fill his eyes and he finally wets his pants, but he maintains his posture .
「No!! Let’s do it!!」
「That’s how it should be . 」
Seika’s small body charges forward as he lunges at my chest with his staff .
His step-in is not good enough and the distance he transitions to attack isn’t optimal, however his form isn’t bad .
As a male of a n.o.ble family, it appears he’s done some amount of martial arts training .
His thrust is aimed right below my chin .
「Targeting a vital area is the correct move . 」
I squeeze the tip of his staff in between my index and middle fingers .
Seika’s eyes widen in surprise and exerts more effort into the thrust, but his staff doesn’t budge .
Unfortunately, the gap in strength between us is enormous . It’s at least several hundred levels apart .
「Aegir-sama can easily stop any attack from that brat with one finger!」
For some reason, Celia sticks out her chest with pride .
Maybe it’s because I did the same against her when we sparred in the past .
I laughed it off back then, but in reality, it hurt so badly I thought my finger would break .
That’s why I used two fingers this time to be safe .
I hear laughter erupt around me .
They are all certain of the conclusion of the fight and are finding entertainment in seeing Seika flounder .
It’s honestly an unpleasant sight for me, but things will be inconvenient for me if I ended the fight immediately .
I have to act as the villain and torment the boy .
「What will you do next?」
I let Seika take a few steps back without counterattacking and wait for his next move .
He chooses to raise his staff above his head and then swing it down at me .
I can already tell that it’s a feint .
Such exaggerated motions will only hit people who are fast asleep .
「How will you attack me?」
I position my staff over my head, biting on his bait .
「You fell for it!」
It would have been better if he didn’t speak before landing the hit . The person will realize what is going on even if he actually fell for it in the first place .
The young man halts his attack mid-swing, changes the grip on his staff and uses the opposite end to strike me below the belt .
His pre-attack chatter was unnecessary, however, his movements aren’t terrible…… his muscles and physique cause his swing to be awfully slow, enough to make me yawn, but he has a nice sense for offense .
The staff makes a dull sound when it hits my crotch .
Suddenly, the laughing spectators freeze and silence momentarily dominates the vicinity .
And then, Seika’s staff cracks apart .
I casually adjusted my pants after his attack nudged my d.i.c.k a little to the side .
「Someone give him another staff . 」
「Eh…… no way…… that was a direct hit……」
A replacement staff was thrown to the boy who had a look of disbelief on his face .
Seika’s strike was accurately aimed at a critical spot; my crotch .
But my d.i.c.k is more durable than an oak stick . That’s all there is to it .
「Aegir-sama’s extra thick, vein-covered thing won’t lose to some scrawny twig!」
Celia shrinks in embarra.s.sment after realizing what she shouted .
Natia nearly broke her s.h.i.+n bone when she kicked me there .
「T-that’s Lord Hardlett for you…… he has a terrifying tool down there . 」
「I was thinking of hiding the daughter of our branch family…… perhaps that’s too pitiful……」
「Come now, young man, just stop . This is a waste of time . 」
「Even ten strong knights cannot defeat Lord Hardlett . You don’t have to suffer if you want to die . 」
「Seika…… enough…… surrender…… beg for forgiveness……your mother will die by herself……」
None of the audience feels any sort of tension regarding the match .
They start hurling jeers at Seika . This is fine for now .
「I-I’m not done yet!!」
Seika’s courage is replenished when he sees his mother on the floor in tears and he gives his forehead a wake-up slap with the stick before running at me again .
I evade the childish attack easily with minimal movement of my body .
Seika’s eyes don’t even appear to follow me .
He left himself wide open after missing, so I grab his belt and lift him while he’s still facing the ground .
He’s pretty light for a 15 year old boy .
「Hey! Let me go!!」
Seika wildly swings his stick at my feet and chest, but his attacks are devoid of any power as he remains hanging in the air .
Either way, he is as weak as he looks .
「Hahahaha, he’s like a kitten . 」
「If he wasn’t a rebel, I might have wanted to raise him . 」
「Why don’t you put him out of his misery, Lord Hardlett? I’m sure you can do so by spanking his b.u.t.t until he cries . 」
The mocking continues .
It’s natural . Such an overwhelming difference in power really dissuades the spectators from watching seriously .
There’s a zero chance I’ll lose to Seika . It’s impossible .
Erich also gives me an unhappy stare as if telling me to finish up already .
――this is all fine .
I casually toss Seika to the floor .
「Kuh……making a fool of me! I’m not giving up――!?」
In the instant he gets up and re-grips his staff, I swing upward……holding back as much as possible .
Seika truly has an inherent battle sense and reacts instantly, receiving the staff swung up from his feet to his chest by quickly pulling his own staff up .
Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the physical strength to withstand the blow . The young man’s small body was sent flying at a speed that made it seem like he didn’t block .
He flies in an arc and lands on his chest .
「Gah…… gehogehoh!! Hiih!?」
By the time Seika lifted his face after coughing, I had already closed the distance and readied another swing .
Seika blocks again, however, his staff, which was damaged from the prior strike, broke apart, showering his immature androgynous face with wooden fragments .
An especially sharp one cuts his forehead, spilling blood onto his handsome face .
I don’t let him scream any further and step on his back……I ensure not to press down too hard .
「What kind of joke is this?」
I pull his head up forcibly by his hair .
The jeering completely stops at this point .
「You’re going to fight me, win and save yourself and your mother . That’s what you said, right?」
Seika bares his canine and glares at me with a murderous intent .
It took some effort to get him to make that angry face .
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「You and your mother are traitors . You’re as good as dead, so you have no option except to struggle clumsily, grasping at the tiny possibility to survive . 」
It’s not out of the question for me to get knocked out when I’m lackadaisical .
I’m going to emphasize the damage if I get hit, so it better not be in my back or my leg or somewhere else that’s weird .
He yells, or rather shrieks, prompting me to tense the muscles in my neck .
To my dismay, the strike landed somewhere unexpected .
The staff thrusts into my body .
It wasn’t my neck or my head .
It was below the waist, above my thigh――
The oak rod plunged right into my a.s.shole .
It pushed parts of my pants along with the tip .
I couldn’t believe the sound that came out of my mouth .
Celia squeals .
「My mother――! I won’t lose! I won’t surrender!!」
「Idiot! Not there! Nnughh……」
Seika, whose consciousness is already fading, yells and shoves the stick further in .
More than just the tip is in now .
The intense sensation of a foreign object entering my body brought me to my knees .
「At this rate, Aegir-sama’s a.s.s will break!」
Losing her patience, Celia runs over to me .
Seika finally pa.s.ses out, his hand still gripping the staff, while the stick breaks after inserting about thirty centimeters into my a.n.u.s .
The people around us start to stir again .
「W-what’s going on here? The boy is the one who fainted……」
「But isn’t Lord Hardlett incapacitated? I mean, the stick went in one third of the way,」
「This kind of detail was never agreed upon . n.o.body would have thought a tie was possible……」
I listen to the audience discuss with both arms and legs on the ground .
Unfortunately, I can’t afford to say anything .
One person steps into the middle .
「This match will be Lord Hardlett’s loss . 」
It’s Leopolt .
He declares as such and bows slightly to Erich .
「……Did it look like a tie?」
Erich stares at me, somewhat disappointed .
Hmm, I think my scheme was exposed .
Leopolt points at Celia, who is desperately trying to pull the stick out of my a.s.s .
「Before the match was decided, there was interference from this individual . Receiving help in a one-on-one will obviously result in a loss by disqualification . 」
After giving Leopolt a look, he checks with the others watching the fight .
When he sufficiently gauged the general opinion, he sighed and declared Seika the winner .
The mother and child hugged each other tightly and both pa.s.sed out, the son from his injury and the mother from relief, and were subsequently carried off .
Things went according to calculations for the most part, stick in the b.u.t.t aside .
It’s not an official fight, but if rumors of me losing to a kid get spread, my reputation might drop .
If my reputation of being a monster changes, that might be convenient for me too .
Celia finally manages to yank out the staff, eliciting a small shriek from the surroundings .
Naturally, the result wasn’t all bad .
「Being rebels, promising to take them into my custody will affect the kingdom’s prestige . For now, Baroness Escaote and thus her son Seika will be pardoned . ……they will be entrusted to Lord Hardlett . Since you offered it, I expect you to take responsibility!」
「I will accept the burden of my defeat . 」
There it is .
Now, the young man, and more importantly the Baroness, belong to me .
I can’t release traitors to the public, so they will be traveling with us .
I don’t intend to forcefully make the mother mine by taking advantage of her gratefulness, but she’s a widow in her prime age .
She is obviously starving for men, so using an a.s.sertive approach will eventually lead to a physical relations.h.i.+p .
If I think this way, a drop in reputation is insignificant .
「First, I need to introduce myself properly . I also have to come up with an excuse for treating her son poorly or else she’ll hate me . 」
「Aegir-sama, wait! Your a.s.shole is still gaping!」
I call out to Leopolt in pa.s.sing as Celia chases after me .
「Knowing you, I figured you would choose execution, since it would have been the less troublesome solution . 」
Leopolt answers as usual, his expression unwavering .
「It’s groundwork laid in preparation for a situation far in the future . 」
Far in the future? What is he talking about? Whatever .
I’m going to see the Baroness right away .
Protagonist: Aegir Hardlett . 25 years old . Summer .
Status: Goldonia Kingdom Margrave . Great Feudal Lord of Eastern Area . Mountain Legend .
Friend of the Dwarves . Friend of the King of Aless . Dragon Slayer Hero .
Elf Mediator . s.e.x King of White City .
Myla (militia commander), Leopolt (staff officer A), Tristan (staff officer B), Celia (jumped)
Yakov (bandit), Irijina (commander), Luna (bow cavalry commander), Gido (pervert), Pochi (chivalric lizard)
Ivanna (lethargic), Brynhildr (rage), Annette (princess of the 105), Sekrit (training)
Piris (recovered), Harty (motivated), Nonna (b.o.o.bs)
Baroness Escaote (fainted), Seika (fainted)
Army – Southern Goldonia
Escort Unit: 60
Bow Cavalry: 7000
Independent Celia Squad: 400
Conscripts + Security Unit: 17 000
Cannons: 40, Large Cannons: 23, Dwarven Cannons: 16, Field Artillery: 20, Chariots: 45
Reinforcements / Allied Forces
Aless Soldiers: 13909
105 Army Corps: 3500
Battles.h.i.+p Suvorov, Battles.h.i.+p Aless of Aless, and others: All grounded .
Transport s.h.i.+ps: 20
Ally Forces: Frontal Warfront – Royal Army: 50 000
Conscripts: 35 000
Frontal Warfront – Regular Soldiers: 2・50 000
Conscripts: 40 000
Cavalry Army: 25 000 ???
Magrado Local Army: disorganized .
a.s.sets: -10 000 gold
s.e.xual Partners: 786, children who have been born: 69 + 567
Current Location: Trisnia (adjusting military force)
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