Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi

Ofuro Ashitsubo

Chapter 456

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Chapter 456: 456

The giant mechanical soldier’s movements were slow, but its stride spanned 20 m, and we only caught up when we flew out of the ancient castle and got close to the outside of Meldora’s city walls .

Incidentally, the guards of the ancient castle were all staring up at the sky dumbfoundedly .

It was a natural reaction to the sudden appearance of a giant . Luckily for us, that made our return trip easier .

When we neared the urban area of Meldora, we could hear the shouts of the Aless soldiers .

「What’s that huge thing!? Us men of Aless won’t lose though!!」

「Stay strong, my King! I’m coming to help right now!」

「Help is not required!! I’ll break through on my own! Nuoooh!」

The giant mechanical soldier with Tikuku on its shoulder charged into the Aless camp first .

However, the Aless soldiers don’t scatter . They slashed at the giant’s feet, climbed up and clung to the giant’s abdomen, and bashed the giant with rocks, but it had absolutely no effect .

「Sure enough, the Aless soldiers are being attacked . 」

「Yeah, it’s impressive how they aren’t running…… no, this isn’t the time to be saying that . 」

The giant mechanical soldier has grabbed Gildress .

He is somehow preventing the giant’s fist from closing completely by stretching out his limbs in an ‘x’ shape .

「Tikuku, stop! They’re our allies . The ones in the city are our enemies . 」

Tikuku responds to my voice by rotating her head once .

Simultaneously, the giant soldier stops moving and lets Gildress fall back to the ground .

「Adjusting information to distinguish ally and enemy . The savage party is friendly . Data input completed . 」

The mechanical soldier brushes off the Aless soldiers hanging on to its body like burs and then runs toward the city walls .

「Are you alright?」

「Umu, this isn’t enough to defeat a man of Aless . 」

Thankfully, n.o.body was killed yet .

「Anyways, what is that thing? Just when I thought the s.h.i.+ning weapons stopped, it appeared from where you guys went . 」

Hmm, it’ll take a while to explain, so let me simplify things .

「We entered the ruins of the Birubiru civilization and shut off the light weapons . Tikuku was there and Natia also came with us . That big guy is also on our side . 」

「I see, got it!!」

「Lord Hardlett……wait, he understood that!?」

「Eh, that was good enough?」

「He’s a person more extreme in ‘that’ sense than the Margrave . You’ll lose if you overthink it . 」

Tristan explains to Agor and Natia .

It’s better than a long-winded story in this situation .

Meanwhile, Tikuku and the giant soldier encroached on Meldora’s walls .

「What’s that!? It came from the ruins!」

「T-then, isn’t it on our side? It’s attacking Aless . 」

「I want to believe that, but it’s swinging its axe at…… run away!!」

The giant’s axe shatters the enemy soldiers’ faint hope .

A watchtower standing 20 m tall established outside the city wall was split in two by the giant axe .

The five Meldora soldiers on top of the turret danced in the air along with countless fragments of the defensive structure .

「What power! Wasn’t the watchtower also reinforced!? It was smashed into smithereens with one blow!」

「More importantly, we still can’t get the magic cannons to work!? We might be able to defeat that thing if we shoot it . 」

「Nothing in the ancient doc.u.ments say what to do when they suddenly stop working!」

As the enemy soldiers fall into a panicked state, the other giant soldier swings its axe .

「「「Uwaaaaah!!」」」

The enemy soldiers who ran out from the turret were greeted with an attack beyond their common sense .

Those hit directly turned into red jam and the bodies of those nearby were torn apart .

While those further away did not die instantly, they were knocked down by the shaking of the ground caused by the impact of the axe, then heartlessly trampled by the giant’s feet .

「Counterattack! Shoot something even if you don’t have your magic cannons!」

Volleys of arrows concentrate on the mechanical soldier from the surrounding watchtowers and various areas on top of the wall .

Large bolts. .h.i.t their mark with ease .

Even cannons and catapults, which are normally not suited against moving targets, land hits one after the other .

It’s all only to be expected when the mechanical soldier is so sluggish .

If it was just 2 m tall, I could probably hum as I fight and trip it .

However, it’s 20 m tall and its size overwhelms everything .

「It’s not…… effective . 」

「Oh G.o.d……」

Regular arrows were not even worth mentioning as the larger bolts simply broke into pieces on contact and the cannon b.a.l.l.s made nothing more than a soft instrument-like noise, leaving no visible scratches on the body of the mechanical soldier as all the failed projectiles fell to the ground .

A final desperate arrow flew and hit Tikuku right in the forehead but also bounced right off .

She rubbed her brow with both hands and then shouted .

「Continue the order . Search and destroy . 」

The two t.i.tans stick their left hands in front of them in response to Tikuku’s order .

Attached to the limbs were crossbows――obviously with bolts larger than normal ones .

Unlike regular crossbows, the weapons attached to the giants’ arms are controlled by many gears .

I don’t know how it works, but there appears to be numerous bolts loaded in a spiral shape .

『Kill . Everything . 』『Destroy . Everything . 』

Bolts fly out from the crossbows .

It wasn’t one at a time, two to three bolts were launched every second non-stop .

I could no longer hear what the enemy soldiers were saying .

All meaningful words turned into a mix of screams, angry roars, and deathroes .

Ballistae, catapults, cannons, and archers who abandoned their bows were all wrecked .

The bolts did not soar in an arc when fired at close range, and add to the fact they were fired at a downward angle, their power were comparable to cannons .

At three shots a second, they were near unstoppable .

Troops lined up on the walls were sent flying like toy soldiers and the turrets collapsed after being riddled with holes .

「Uwaaaah!!」

The emotionless death G.o.ds showed no mercy to their fleeing opponents .

When they exhausted their targets on the ramparts, they s.h.i.+fted their aim to the scattering enemy soldiers on the ground .

『Search and . 』『Destroy . 』

Their ruthless a.s.sault rained down on the flesh and blood of the humans .

People and the nearby area blew up, and shrieks echoed with every step the mechanical soldiers took .

It seemed like a one-sided annihilation, but the survivors ran in the defensive towers within the city walls .

Not only did they have magic cannons installed, they had normal cannons and catapults, so they were able to resume the counterattack .

――although it had no effect .

Naturally, the aim of the giant soldiers changed to the towers, but the defensive structures withstood the storm-like barrage of bolts .

「S-see that!? You won’t destroy towers reinforced with granite and steel so easily!」

「That thing is big, but slow! It can’t leap over the walls! Keep firing!」

Fragments of bolts fly and hit Tikuku in the face, causing her to go silent again .

It surely doesn’t seem likely to collapse from the endless shooting .

An axe could do it, but there is some distance between the mechanical soldiers and the walls .

Although the walls of Meldora are 10 m high, they are too tall for the 20 m giants to step over .

If we a.s.sume the walls are strengthened, it would take time to break with the axe .

「It’s finally our turn . I’m heading out . 」

When I stand, Tikuku also stands on the giant’s shoulder .

「Allowing use of the destructive ray . Set sights on all unwarranted buildings in front . 」

A high-pitched sound screeched and gradually grew louder .

I look up and see both eyes of the mechanical soldier glowing blue .

I’m getting a bad feeling .

「Burn them to the ground . 」

At the same time Tikuku spoke, two blue beams burst out at the enemy .

One beam traces horizontally across the city walls .

The other beam runs up over the walls and licks the defense tower .

The bright flash disappeared in an instant and left a blue light where the beam touched .

One blink of an eye later, the blue changed to red .

The city walls crumble……no, not just that .

The parts exposed to the beams liquefy, and the upper parts of the wall collapse after losing their support .

Within a few seconds, one side of the four walls surrounding the city was reduced to a flaming h.e.l.l of melted stone, rubble, and humans that fell there .

The defense tower was an extremely gruesome scene .

Like water poured on a mud castle, the entire tower dissolved starting from the bottom .

「Brutal……」

Natia covered her mouth in awe .

If the left and right collapsed, there might be some people who were flung out .

But the entire tower melted, so one could only imagine what happened to those inside .

More so when the outside was bright red……

「So this……is what they call war?」

Agor asks me .

I can’t give an exact answer, but I understand how he can be immersed in those sentiments .

「They’re the ones who used the weapons from the ruins first, so they’re getting what’s coming to them . 」

「Yes, that’s right . That’s why we can’t bring them out . We have to find a way to seal that place up . 」

Tristan mutters with an unusually serious gaze .

It’s over now .

The giant soldiers step over the destroyed walls and walk into the urban area .

We slowly follow them .

「Um…… isn’t this bad? Can that girl differentiate between citizen and enemy?」

I hastily look at Tikuku when I hear Celia whisper .

「Many unlawful structures detected . Eliminate them all . 」

『Kill . Kill . 』

Not good . It doesn’t look like she can tell the people apart .

「At this rate, the women of Meldora will die . Enough, halt!」

I cry out for Tikuku to stop .

「The enemy no longer has abnormally st.u.r.dy city walls or the weapons from the ruins . From here on out, we’ll go with the method we’re most familiar with . 」

Agor and Celia draw their swords, and Mack pounds the ground with his warhammer .

Tristan retreats to the back, while Natia also withdraws, a little saddened .

Gildress roars as he takes off his armor .

As for me, I give some thought before choosing to use my newly obtained spear, Keravnos, over my Dual Crater .

Right now, we have the upper hand and allies are all around .

It’s the perfect time to test the ease of use of this spear .

「Charge!」

We rush into the city .

「They’ve broken through, we’re done for!」

「No, look carefully! The big guys have stopped moving! The same thing that happened to our weapons might have happened to that . 」

「I want to believe it…… no, I will believe it! Against human opponents, we still have a chance!」

Morale of the enemy soldiers seemed to have decayed, but they surprisingly still formed a line of defense with weapons in their hands .

The Aless soldiers, who challenged the giants to hand-to-hand combat aren’t normal, but it’s not like the Meldora soldiers are weak either .

「Nuun!!」

Mack faces off against two light infantry wielding a sword and s.h.i.+eld .

「He’s huge, but he seems slow!」

「We can beat him!」

Mack, who in no way can be considered agile, allows the first move to be made on him and endures the various thrusts and slashes with the thick club-like handle of the warhammer .

As Mack transitions to counterattack, his large windup leaves him vulnerable .

「Idiot, die!」

The enemy soldier lunges his sword at a gap in Mack’s armor, right under his arm .

However, instead of making a flesh-gouging sound, the attack resulted in the sound of the tip of the enemy’s sword snapping off .

「Wha-, this guy is wearing two layers of armor!」

Mack is well aware of his own weakness .

Therefore he chooses to fight with heavy armor, utilizing his superior frame and brute strength, rather than evading the enemy’s attacks .

「Nuun!」

Accompanied by a hoa.r.s.e battle cry, Mack swung his warhammer, which was ultimately too slow, and barely dodged in time .

His missed swing was not a complete waste .

「Dowah!」

「The ground……!」

Mack’s strike landed on the ground, which caused enough vibrations for the enemy soldiers to stagger .

One of the soldiers, who was unable to keep his balance and fell to the ground, was met with an unavoidable follow-up attack to the stomach that crushed his armor .

Mack then immediately let go of his warhammer, grabbed the other soldier and broke his neck .

「You’re basically doing the same as the mechanical soldier . 」

I smile and get ready with my Keravnos .

There just so happens to be two enemies in front――

「I won’t let you!」

――but Agor steps in between us before they could come to me .

He’s equipped with a regular sword and s.h.i.+eld .

One of his swords broke in the ruins, but since it was a rather common broadsword, he could find any number of replacements .

Against the two opponents, he initially showed an orthodox stance, but switched to target solely the right enemy at the last moment .

「Hmph!」

He deliberately yielded the preemptive strike to the enemy, parrying the incoming sword with his s.h.i.+eld so he could open the enemy soldier’s guard and slip in for a thrust to the neck .

「Next!」

Then, he drew in the slow-to-react soldier on the left, sidestepped to let the enemy stumble forward, and countered with a deep slash to the back .

He keeps the number of foes as low as possible, opting for a reactive approach where he blocks and parries with his s.h.i.+eld…… a fighting style focused on fundamentals that is very appropriate for a diligent person like Agor .

「You raised your arm . 」

「How kind of you!」

A latecomer who was watching the earlier fight hesitates in attacking .

That mental conflict created an opportunity for Agor to step in and slash at the enemy soldier .

Such a frontal attack was naturally blocked, but Agor pressed the advantage he gained to bash the enemy’s head with his s.h.i.+eld, stunning and knocking over the enemy soldier long enough to deliver a finis.h.i.+ng blow .

He doesn’t stupidly attack with the same formula over and over .

It seems he has improved his skills over the course of many battles during the time period I haven’t seen him .

「The most important skill, leaders.h.i.+p, is still not quite where I want it to be . I lament my lack of talent in that aspect . 」

「I won in the recent exercise . Aegir-sama, your right side!」

Celia was the one who shouted .

Exactly like she warned, several arrows were flying toward me from that side, so I casually avoided them .

They were shot from a small tower in the city area .

It’s made of stone and about 8 m tall . It’ll be hard for me to pull them down .

「Leave it to me!」

Celia runs toward the tower .

Aless soldiers are already trying to scale the side of the tower, but encounter resistance in the form of arrows and rocks .

「If you’re a man, stay still!」

「Nnu, there’s no way I’m not a man!」

「I’d stay still even if an arrow stabbed me in the head!」

Celia runs at full speed and leaps, using the Aless soldiers as stepping stools to climb higher .

She probably won’t get hit by arrows or rocks like that .

「She’s incredible . 」

To be honest, Mack and Agor have done it before, but I was confident I could do better .

This, however, is impossible for me . At best, I would slip off, and at worst, I would crash into a rock and faint in agony .

Celia ascended to the top of the 8 m tall tower in mere seconds .

「Someone’s coming! Draw your――gueh!?」

「This girl’s quick――gyah!」

Things became chaotic in the turret and the enemy’s resistance ceased .

Without anything hindering them, the Aless soldiers zoomed up the tower and brought down the tower .

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「We did it!!」

After a short breath, Tikuku continues on .

「In general, the amount of magic power in a person tends to be proportional to their intelligence . 」

「Mack, come here!!」

Mack runs when I yell and I throw the Keravnos at him .

「Point the spear at that piece of debris!」

「……what?」

Mack does as he is told with a confused face .

Suddenly, the spear crackles and glows blue .

It was a world of difference compared to the time Celia used it, but a baby lightning bolt shot out .

I s.n.a.t.c.h the Keravnos away from Mack and point it at the rubble .

Far from the electricity I wanted, not a single spark scattered . .

「How strange . Even I guy like him who is supposedly all brawn can emit something, yet someone like me with overflowing intelligence can’t!?」

「……nuu . 」

「The amount of magic power in a person tends to be proportional to―― please refrain from excessive touching . 」

Celia covers Tikuku’s mouth .

My last hope is next to me .

「Everyone, raise a cry for our victory!! Lots of things happened, but let us celebrate this win! That’s what it means to be a man!!」

Gildress is so loud he makes me want to shut my ears .

This guy is truly someone who has muscles for brains and thinks only of fighting and women .

If this guy can shoot lighting like nothing, I don’t know what I’ll do .

「Grrrnnh……」

As I was struggling internally, an allied soldier burst out of a civilian residence .

「I found the king of Meldora, Busco!! He was hiding in the bas.e.m.e.nt of a house!!」

「Capture him right away . I’ll go too . 」

I ran off, carrying the Keravnos with me .

King Busco is kneeling on the floor of the large plaza of the Meldora palace with his hands tied behind his back and Aless soldiers surrounding him .

「This is it . 」

「Uuuuu……」

The pale-faced Busco trembles . I guess it’s fine to drop the honorifics .

「Well…… what can I say?」

I inspect Busco from above .

He’s an ugly man with a balding head and his face looks like a compilation of distorted spare parts .

In addition to his face being covered in sweat, plenty of oil is dripping all over and an unpleasant sour smell is coming from him .

Looking at his entire body, he has a pot belly, and fairly short legs, which, most likely due to his weight, are bow legs .

He is wearing an abundance of jewellery, notably rings on all of his fingers, each fas.h.i.+oned with a large gemstone .

「You’re horribly grotesque . I’ve never seen a more unattractive man . 」

「Buhi……」

I couldn’t help expressing my thoughts out loud, but Busco simply shakes in fear .

Judging by that reaction, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference from what he looks like on the inside compared to what he looks like on the outside .

「What should we do? We could hang him right here or take him back to Goldonia……」

「There is no point bringing back a coward who hides during war . Let’s kill him now . 」

When Gildress answers Celia’s question, something that doesn’t resemble sweat or oil starts oozing out from Busco’s body .

「Fumu……」

I turn and speak to Gildress .

「If I remember correctly, he partic.i.p.ated in this war because of some misfortune?」

I think I heard about him during our march .

If I recall, his wife was stolen or something .

「I don’t remember, but his subordinate said that was the case . 」

If so, it would leave a bad taste in my mouth to let things end here .

It would be troublesome if he haunted me for misunderstanding .

And I’d hate to see a ghost as ugly as him .

As I bend down to pick up a fallen sword, I see Gildress’s Light of Aless and shake my head .

「Well, it can’t be helped . 」

I draw my Dual Crater and untie Busco’s ropes .

「What!?」

「What’s wrong, my man!? Are you s.e.xually frustrated!?」

Not only Celia and the others, the Aless soldiers also sound baffled .

「In a strange way, this guy fought for his woman who was stolen . Which means, he needs a last chance . 」

I set the Dual Crater in front of him and step back .

「Use it to fight Gildress . I’ll release you if you win . That’s fair, isn’t it?」

I don’t believe for one second that a fat guy like him can defeat Gildress, but I can at least give him an equally powerful weapon .

Just try not to get too much of your filthy sweat and oil on it .

「……my friend . 」

Gildress shakes as he gazes downward .

Is he angry that he has to fight for his life after coming this far?

「Nuun!」

Gildress suddenly punches himself in the head .

「Aye!! If he’s fighting to retrieve his woman, then I obviously have to accept the challenge!! How stupid of me to even think about tying him up and executing him!!」

Blood trickles down from the cut he inflicted on his forehead, but Gildress smiles at me .

Everyone else is silent .

「Updating ethics standard . 」

Tikuku’s soft voice resounded more clearly while everyone stayed quiet .

「Man! I’m impressed that you noticed! I narrowly diminished my manliness!!」

Gildress stands in front of Busco with a big grin on his face .

「Now come! If you best me, I will let you go and return your woman as well . Let us fight!!」

Gildress removes his armor and cloak, leaving himself in only his red pants, his sword and s.h.i.+eld, before letting out a roar .

Meanwhile, Busco picks up the Dual Crater with a s.h.i.+vering hand and stands up――

However, he drops the Dual Crater, which clanks as it hits the floor .

I specifically lent it to you to fight, what are you doing?

「There’s no way I’m a match for the Aless king――! I don’t want to die! I don’t want to diiiee―― I’ll abandon the throne! I’ll also give up on my wife! So please……spare my lifeeee!!」

Busco grovels on the floor in tears .

Gildress’s face becomes blank and he turns his back on the pathetic sight, putting on his cloak and armor again .

「I’ll spare you . 」

He spoke in a subdued and calm tone I never expected from a guy like him .

「Are you sure?」

Gildress slowly turns around .

He has a clam expression, but I recognize that look .

It is one of disappointment, scorn, and resignation . I’ve never seen him that angry before .

「O-ooooh! T-th-then……」

Busco crawls along the floor .

Gildress rests his foot on his face to stop him .

This guy does plenty of abnormal things all the time, but he won’t trample on any opponents’ dignity .

In Gildress’s eyes, Busco must not be a person anymore .

「I won’t kill you . You’re not worth killing . 」

Gildress pushes Busco over with his foot .

However, Busco doesn’t protest and crawls on the floor again .

「I can’t exactly give a man……no, a b.a.s.t.a.r.d like you a woman . Hand over your wife, daughter, and all your lovers . My friend and I will take custody of them . 」

「Sure, I understand . 」

「Updating ethics standard . 」

I nod .

Thus, Meldora had completely fallen .

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