Summer is nearing its end.
Despite not a single cloud being in the sky, it doesn’t feel like the sun is burning us.
「All units, being marching.」
Following Erich, the other commanders echo the orders to their own squads.
With the ancient weapons confirmed to have stopped, we can now resume our advance.
「Time to give them their last rites!!」
TOP ARTICLES1/5Mercenaries in Apocalypse Volume 1Chapter 29
Everyone has to shout at least once so it’s really noisy and n.o.body can really tell who is saying what.
Furthermore, there is no way a person’s voice can win against the sound of stomping boots of tens of thousands of soldiers.
I figure it’s just an act and open my mouth to pretend like I’m yelling, but a yawn comes out.
Schwartz also seems annoyed by the ruckus and folds his ears backward.
Oops, I drooled.I guess I’ll wipe it on his mane.
Yakov comes up beside me with a face on the verge of tears and I notice the other soldiers look confused.
Why does he act properly only in times like these?
「Hey, get going already. I’m not feeling well.」
When I shoo him away with my hand, the other soldiers chuckle, asking each other “what was that?” before also marching.
「This is because you were doing it up until morning on the day of departure!」
「Those two from Meldora aside, there were also girls you didn’t know mixed in.」
I survey the situation on top of Schwartz with Celia and Myla scolding me from either side.
「A royal army of 50 000, conscripts with the name of va.s.sal lord army of 60 000, us with just under 20 000, and temporary recruits used for odd jobs of 10 000. That’s a grand total of 140 000」
Leopolt, don’t talk to me from behind. That surprised me.
「This is purely speculation, but I would say the enemy has 30 000 regular soldiers and over 100 000 conscripts. The problem is the cavalry unit which has gone missing and the villages surrounding the enemy. It’s an unknown number enough to leave anxiety in the back of our minds during our attack…… however, it isn’t exactly a reckless move considering their morale after we eliminated their trump card. Things may work out.」
Tristan b.u.t.ts into the conversation.
Hey, isn’t it strange that I’m on a horse and you’re in a carriage?
「It can’t be helped since I can’t ride a horse. Anyways, regarding the citizens around the enemy……」
Tristan looks at Leopolt.
Right, about that. No matter how many enemies we beat on the front lines, we can’t ensure safe logistics or resupply if we have to worry about enemies coming from the villages behind us.
We could burn down the settlements along the way, but that would turn more people against and also take an unnecessary amount of time.
「A move has already been made with cooperation from the Military Commissioner.」
「By the way, I have nothing to do with it.」
Tristan closes the window of his carriage.
「Mu! A plan that torments citizens isn’t a good one!」
Even Irijina sensed something.
She’s making a fuss.
「What kind of plan is it? Tell me.」
Although I personally don’t want to ask, it’s my responsibility to know.
「First, we will pay a fee to the villages along our marching route. The sum in my hand is an extraordinary amount.」
Gifting gold is quite the generous gesture.
Hearing it wasn’t anything cruel, Irijina holds back the arm she was about to swing in protest.
「In addition, if we encounter rebellious acts in any of the nearby villages by citizens or enemy soldiers disguised as citizens, we will burn down said village.」
So that’s the plan after all. This is more like Leopolt.
Irijina reacts and starts complaining.
「However, those who report the behavior of the undercover soldiers will be forgiven and rewarded with an extra sum.」
Turning a blind eye would result in the village being burned, but acting appropriately will earn them gold.
Irijina pauses to think about what’s going on. Is this too much for her brain to take?
「Currently, the plan has been implemented in 130 villages, 107 of which have informed us and 15 of which are scheduled to be incinerated.」
「Incineration is not allowed!」
Leopolt coldly addresses Irijina who is only recognizing key words at this point.
「Would you consider those villages that received money from us as neutral?」
「Mu? They’re the same as mercenaries. They’re our allies!!」
Irijina declares proudly.
「Then what if the mercenaries you hired helped the enemy or pretended not to notice an enemy raid?」
「That’s a betrayal!! It goes against justice and is unforgivable!!」
「This is the same.」
Satisfied with Leopolt’s explanation, Irijina leaves in good spirits.
It feels like she’s becoming more and more of an idiot lately. I hope she’s okay.
「So, 107 plus 15 is 122. What happened to the remaining 8?」
When I point it out, Celia gasps and puts her notepad away. I’m sure she was going to bring it up if I didn’t say anything.
Does she think I’m an idiot on the same level as Irijina?
「The inhabitants of those 8 villages said they owed a debt to officers of the South Yuguria Empire and would not accept any money―― so they were burned down on the spot. It’s easier to do when they are clearly on the enemy’s side.」
I knew it.
As long as we pay them, they have to become our allies or they’ll be killed. If they don’t accept, they’ll also be killed. That’s quite a demand.
「Here is the list of villages that are cooperating and aren’t cooperating. Please have a look if you’d like.」
Leopolt pulls out a sheet of paper from a pocket in his chest.
「Wait, so careless…… isn’t it an important secret?」
Myla quickly grabs it and hides it from the other soldiers, but Leopolt isn’t fazed.
「I admit I wasn’t the most discreet in its handling. I myself have lost a few sheets and shown it to unrelated soldiers by mistake. I might also have let an entire village catch a glimpse.」
「It was on purpose……」
The neighboring village was incinerated. The village next door secretly reported twice.
What would happen if the villagers learned such information?
It would sever the unity between the villages, and each village would start to act for their own benefit.
They would prepare an escape route. They would report suspicious individuals so they can ensure their own safety and gain money.
「What are the chances of the enemy using the same tactic?」
「It’s possible, but it’ll be too late. We’re the ones attacking. They won’t send a squad to punish the villages like us at this point.」
Then our plan will succeed.
「Uwaah. 4 villages in this area were burned, yet 6 villages still reported to us.」
「Over here, there is only one non-cooperative village out of the ones that cooperated, and there was an attack nearby where the neighboring villages…… will the people from the village survive after the war?」
Leopolt answers Celia’s and Myla’s concerns without turning his face to them.
「That’s none of my business.」
Myla makes a complicated expression that is 40% critical of Leopolt, 40% feeling unavoidable, and 20% dreaming of a liaison with me.
「I’m not thinking of anything weird! Incidentally…… there was a notice to all commanders from the Military Commissioner. The staff officer, Lord Dorcen, due to bad health, cannot travel to the front lines anymore. This does not bode well.」
I eye Erich on top of his horse, playing it off like it’s nothing important, but he doesn’t look at me.
――A Few Days Later.
「We are not far from Libatis. There are no signs of the enemy…… looks like they are choosing to confine themselves in their base.」
Leopolt’s plan appears to be working well as the number of elaborate attacks on us have noticeably decreased since crossing the national border.
Attacks to our logistics unit have also reduced to almost nothing and the army that struggled to keep up security last time has now been moved to the front lines.
「I think I saw some villagers killing each other with farming tools along the way too.」
I also believe I saw the same scene Myla did……
「As long as it is not an act that will harm us, there is no need for us to intervene.」
……such a reason was given to justify ignoring them.
「It would be a waste if we stirred up a storm and lost. Let us focus only on winning for now.」
For a change of pace, I pick up speed and ride up the hill.
「Tortoent…… we can see it.」
It is the capital city of the Democratic Nation of Libatis in the center of this region which was swallowed up by South Yuguria.
Its size rivals that of Goldonia more so than Rafen.
「Multiple turrets and watchtowers among many defensive structures have been spotted around the city.」
「There is no damage to the walls. It looks like there are sandbags and stones blocking the front of the gate.」
So they’re basically fully prepared.
「I don’t see any special weapons!」
I guess they figured bluffing won’t work anymore.
「Get ready to attack.」
We are already in enemy territory. Time is on their side.
And then, in a corner of my army…… some of the temporary soldiers yelled angrily.
「It’s the group of fugitives from Libatis. Only an extremely small number of them hoped to join, but they’re familiar with the geography so we brought them along.」
I squint and see Jim, Solana, and Suzy in the middle of the crowd.
The one raising her voice to those around her was Solana.
I see determination and resolve in her face.
「We’re finally here! Our native land which was destroyed by the inhuman South Yuguria, now is the time for us――」
Her speech was cut short.
The one who interrupted was Jim.
He silently raised his arm and drew everyone’s attention.
Gripped in his hand was the ragged and burnt national flag of the Democratic Nation of Libatis.
Jim slowly rotated himself, showing off the flag to all those present.
「Everyone, I don’t think I need anymore words. We are going to…… regain freedom for our home.」
He doesn’t let out a battle cry or bang his sword against his s.h.i.+eld.
But I could feel his fighting spirit from where I was.
「Leopolt, put them on the forefront.」
「Not only are they a temporary formation, their equipment is shabby. I believe the burden in front is too heavy for them to bear.」
Normally, a mishmash group composed of conscripts that is as poorly equipped as they are would be given the task of guarding the rear or setting up camp or defending the logistics base, not fighting with the enemy in front.
「They can do it. Put them in front.」
Leopolt does not argue any longer than that.
After he received the order, Jim found me and raised his sword with confidence.
Myla, standing beside me, raises her sword in response and Celia, somewhat delayed, does the same.
As for me, I simply smile back at Jim.
They’re fighting for a country that’s already gone.
And they’re willing to risk their lives for that regardless.
Sentiments of “how foolish” and “they’re trying hard” help to keep me calm.
However, I do feel a tiny bit jealous of them, about as much as the tip of my toe.
Celia, who is looking at me, and Myla suddenly blush.
Even Irijina, who is a little further away, looks down bashfully.
「The Aegir-sama just now was unbelievably handsome. I mean, you’re always handsome, but you were especially so just now!」
Celia slaps her red cheeks.
「It was similar to a sad warrior stricken with grief, like something out of a dramatic story…… wait a second!」
Myla puts a hand on her chest and takes deep breaths.
「Is that so? I looked like that?」
I remember that expression and pose in a s.e.xy manner.
「Lord Hardlett, we are starting.」
「……why are you always like that?」
Leopolt comes in with a serious face.
Obviously, he had no reaction…… although I’d be a little scared if he also blushed.
A thunderous boom tears through the clear sky.
The sound, which caused birds to fly away from a nearby tree, marked the start of war.
「Fired large cannons, dwarven cannons――and hit.」
Discharged just now was a large cannon capable of attacking from outside the enemy’s range.
Its aim is a wall incomparably thicker than Rafen’s and Trisnia’s walls.
All shots focus on one corner of the city wall.
「Almost all of them landed! Overwhelming precision!」
「Did we get ‘em!?」
Celia exclaimed happily, followed by Irijina.
A cannon has low accuracy.
For a normal one, you basically have to fire it and hope it hits.
To that extent, seeing all cannonb.a.l.l.s fired from the large cannons and dwarven cannons land where they were aimed surprised even those in our ally camp.
Obviously, our cannons are also way more powerful……
「The smoke is clearing…… the walls are still up! Only the surface crumbled!」
Usually, the large cannons would gouge holes in walls and it wouldn’t be strange if the dwarven cannons penetrated them.
However, in reality, it only resulted in fine powder falling from the walls.
「Volatile component characteristic in PCP-14 detected. Calculating strength――firepower of artillery used is lacking 47% physical energy. Mini genocide cannon recommended. Against the aforementioned wall, a weapon with 3% output――」
「So you’re saying we can’t destroy it, right?」
I expected as much.
Although the weapons they brought from the ruins were neutralized, the substance hardening the walls was not affected.
The city walls are already thick as is, if they add that extra coating, it’ll literally turn into an impenetrable wall.
「We were just confirming that fact.」
I mount my horse and look over at Erich, who was observing the development of events.
He nods and raises his right hand before sticking it in front of him.
「Catapults are on the move!!」
The heavy wheels of several catapults rattle noisily as they roll forward.
Signals were given for ropes to be cut, dropping the iron counterweights directly down, which flung steel b.a.l.l.s and flaming pots of oil at Tortoent.
So what if we can’t break the walls. Punching through city walls with cannons is a technique against the rules anyway.
No matter how st.u.r.dy or tall the wall is, it can’t defend against something we throw over the top.
「Next up, shoot!!」
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Catapults as large as towers shoot from the back while slightly smaller models follow suit in front of them.
This completes my steel umbrella.
I pull Celia close to my body and hold my make-s.h.i.+ft umbrella up at the arrows.
The umbrella is more than wide enough to s.h.i.+eld me and Celia.
All the arrows bounce off the steel plate, leaving the noise as the only annoying part.
The rapist dragon isn’t happy, but this is easier on me since I don’t have to deflect all the arrows one by one.
Moreover, the enemies won’t attack when I’m being bathed in arrows.
「Guh, it’s not effective.」
「Stop firing and take him down in close quarters! We’re only up against two people!」
The arrows cease and soldiers rush in from the left and right.
「I guess the umbrella has served its purpose.」
I go to pull my Dual Crater out from the steel slab.
「Wait, stay in cover for a bit longer.」
A dark-skinned figure jumps in from my left.
At the same time, three arms and two heads dance in the air.
It seems Sekrit also dropped down from the turret.
「Here we go, you guys. Climb up!」
「Hyaaha~! Hand over your women and money!」
Following Sekrit is the 105th army corps led by Yakov.
Accustomed to fighting on a rocking boat, very few of them fail to jump from the turret to the walls.
Meanwhile, more soldiers flood in from the ladders on the right.
「This fight is our fight. Let us join!」
Cutting to the front is Jim, as well as the former Libatis crew.
「S-s.h.i.+t! Like I’ll hand over this city to you!」
An enemy soldier slashes at him.
「Invader! This city is our home, a city of freedom!!」
Jim skillfully parries the enemy’s slash with his two-handed sword.
「Taste my blade of justice! Justice Kick!!」
Jim’s high kick explodes on the off-balance enemy soldier, sending him off the city walls.
「I’ll run this sword of freedom through all of you! Freedom headb.u.t.t!」
He elegantly evades the enemy soldier’s sword, then bashes in the enemy’s face with a powerful headb.u.t.t, instantly knocking the guy unconscious.
「「「We are justice!」」」
Shouting their battle cries, the soldiers of former Libatis climb onto the walls and engage in the melee.
「「「All hail justice!」」」
Despite being equipped with light armor, one-handed swords and small s.h.i.+elds meant for a guarding mission, they are able to compete on par with, and even surpa.s.s, the soldiers of South Yuguria wielding crossbows and those wrapped head-to-toe in a complete set of armor.
「「「Retake our native country!!」」」
South Yuguria’s constant influx of soldiers could only handle being pushed back so many times by the combination of the 105th army and the Libatis squad before finally showing an opening to storm into the city.
Seeing us gain the upper hand, an ever-increasing amount of soldiers acc.u.mulate below us.
If we can take control over a single part of the city, it will likely lead to tens of thousands of reinforcements flooding into the city.
「Shall we go?」
As I raise my sword, I hear someone mumbling at my feet.
「Ow, ow, ow…… I got hit all of a sudden and fainted…… what’s going on……?」
I kick the face-down soldier writhing in pain.
「Aaah, he’s done! He fell! He’s dead!」
「No, he landed in a pile of fodder. He’s alive!」
It happened right as I composed myself and took a deep breath.
「Enemies in the northwest――! Cavalry, in the thousands, no, over ten thousand!!」
I stick my sword into the ground.
「Argh, them again!!?」
In frustration, I kick an enemy soldier secretly trying to run away.
He rolls along the top of the city walls and unfortunately impales himself on a sharp metal shard, tearing his head off.
The allied soldiers gathered at the bottom of the city walls disperse.
Dang, we were so close too, how irritating.
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 (scramble), Celia (excited state), Irijina (scramble), Luna (scramble)
Gido (torn off), Pochi (lizard), Leopolt (scramble), Tristan (staff officer B), Agor (scramble)
Yakov (on the city wall), Mack (engineer corps captain), Jim (flames of justice)
Ivanna (lethargic), Sekrit (on the city wall), T-99 (sleep mode), Brynhildr (ー)
Natia (manufacturing drugs), Annette (princess of the 105), Piris (recovery), Baroness Escaote (nursing), Seika (unsatisfied with nursing), Naesys (sisterly love), Nasis (sisterly love), Busco (low-life)
Army – Southern Goldonia
Escort Unit: 70
Bow Cavalry: 7500
Independent Celia Squad: 500
Conscripts + Security Unit: 10 000
Cannons: 40, Large Cannons: 23, Dwarven Cannons: 16, Field Artillery: 20, Chariots: 45
Reinforcements / Allied Forces
105 Army Corps: 3600
Battles.h.i.+p Suvorov, Battles.h.i.+p Aless of Aless, and others: All grounded.
Transport s.h.i.+ps: 20
Ally Forces: Royal Army: 50 000
Conscripts: 60 000
Enemy Force: Regular Soldiers: 30 000?
Conscripts: 100 000?
Cavalry Army: 25 000 ?
a.s.sets: -10 000 gold
s.e.xual Partners: 794, children who have been born: 69 + 567
Current Location: Tortoent
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