Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi

Ofuro Ashitsubo

Chapter 504: Mortal Combat in the Rain

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Chapter 504: Mortal Combat in the Rain

A jet black enemy emerges to the shouts of soldiers.

「Hooh, so those are the rhinoceros beetles?」

As Rinuga and the others said, they are about one and a half meters tall.

They are a little longer than one and a half meters in length and overall one size smaller than the spiders.

This shape of theirs is something I’ve seen before.

「You can find them when a flower pot is overturned.」

「Ah, yes. Pillbugs.」

Celia nods in agreement.

Compared to the wiggling worms and the straightforwardly disgusting spiders, these bugs almost seem cute.

Their plodding movements are kind of charming.

Their weak point is probably the loud footsteps. It sounds eerie like the clattering of many layers of steel.

「But that seems rather annoying. Look.」

Sekrit points where allied soldiers are clas.h.i.+ng with a rhinoceros beetle.

「Put your weight behind your attacks! Thrust with the intention to shove the entire spear inside!」

Three spearmen approach with a running start and lunge with their weapons.

But the spears snap like they collided with a boulder.

「Focus fire! Give it a storm of arrows!」

Archers and crossbowmen coordinate their projectiles, but they all bounce off with soft clinks.

「Crush it through the sh.e.l.l! Show off the strength you’re proud of!」

Men circle to the sides of the sluggish rhinoceros beetle and swing their war hammers and also hurl large rocks.

The hammers either get repelled while sparks fly or break, and the rocks shatter on contact without leaving any marks on the insect’s sh.e.l.l.

「Aim……and shoot!」

The low-pitched plucking of a string accompanies the launching of a giant arrow.

The projectile containing the powerful destructive force hits the middle of the beetle’s body.

As expected, the beetle could not come out unscathed after taking a shot from a ballista at close range.

Part of its outer sh.e.l.l flew off and a light purple liquid leaked from the wound, but that did not change its walking speed.

「Not good.」

Erich and I commented at the same time.

The rhinoceros beetles are slow and weak to obstacles in terrain as described in reports, stopping or tripping and floundering when they reach a ditch.

However, allied soldiers can’t seem to defeat the vulnerable enemy no matter how much they try.

Eventually, the beetles entered the camp through avenues where ditches haven’t been dug or through gaps by walking along the ditches.

「Dammit, I’ll get……uggyaa!」

With a whack, one soldier falls.

Scanning for the cause, I see that his leg has been severed.

「These things have a sickle-like mouth! If you get too close……」

With a snip, the soldier’s torso is cut in half.

So that’s the rhinoceros beetle’s attack, it’s something that can pretty much be used only when it is touching its prey, but the st.u.r.diness of the beetle’s sh.e.l.l allows it to close the distance.

Unlike the spiders and worms, the beetles don’t make large movements, meaning they can march together like a black wave. They really are similar to heavy infantry.

「Aim the ballistae at the beetles! No wait, at the worms in the east……no, south!」

With the reserve army busy dealing with the beetles intruding into the camp, they could not seal up the holes in the formation of the soldiers fighting the worms and spiders. That leads to the support from the ballistae becoming spa.r.s.e and the battle in the ditches becoming unfavorable.

The number of soldiers a.s.signed to one enemy also gradually decreases.

「It’s possible to barely maintain an advantage over the spiders if we have four soldiers and some form of backup, but the best we can do right now is three soldiers.」

Leopolt, don’t say it like it’s someone else’s problem.

「Actually, it’s more like two soldiers around the ditches. We’re starting to be pushed back. It’ll be dangerous if things continue at this rate.」

Tristan chimes in with his eyes turned away.

Don’t mess with me you two, they’ll reach Nonna and the others who are in the middle.

To make matters worse, an additional threat appears.

「A spider……it’s big! It’s six, no seven meters!!」

「Crossbows……probably won’t work! Provide cover with the ballistae, don’t let up the attacks on the beetles!!」

This spider is especially bigger than the others.

It uses its giant claws like the other spiders and instantly tears the bodies of five allied soldiers as once.

Arrows break when they hit its body and spears are as effective as toothpicks.

The spider somewhat falters from the bolt of a ballista, but that’s far from a fatal blow.

The large spider crushes soldiers under its legs and destroys fences with a sweep of its claw.

Seeing this as their chance, the normal spiders flood in from the opening created.

As the disadvantage became more prominent, allied soldiers began to fall into disarray.

「Dingus, take command of the army.」

Spit sprays from my mouth as I leave one last word to Dingus and I also signal Leopolt and Tristan to help with my eyes before hopping on Schwartz.

「Huh? What are you……are you going to retreat by yourself!?」

Dingus panics.

「No, you idiot. You think I’d leave the women behind? I’m going out for a bit.」

「Going? Y-you mean you’re going to the frontlines!? The general of the army is going out!?」

I kick Schwartz in the belly.

「I’m coming too!」

Celia and company line up their horses with me.

「Follow behind me. The spiders don’t make any noise so always be aware of your surroundings.」

I wield my Keravnos first, twirling it above my head once before pointing it in front.

Then I move to where the enemies are about to breach and charge from behind my allies without slowing down.

The tip of my spear pierces deep into the head of the enemy in front of me.

Schwartz kicks the deceased enemy and I use that to pull my spear out.

I swing at the enemy on my right, knocking him in front, and allow Schwartz to leap and finish it off with a stomp.

Schwartz dodges the tube that targeted his landing by a hair’s breadth, and I counterattack by stabbing my spear in the same spot where the tube came out.

「These guys have poison. Be careful or you’ll die.」

Schwartz neighs and glares at me, mentally shaking his head at me over the close call he was in.

Next, when an enemy aims at Schwartz’s legs from the left, I plunge my spear into the top of its head and throw it at the worm trying to block our path in front.

「Right there!」

Celia’s dagger flies out in time with her voice. The dagger doesn’t veer off course and stabs the spider in the face.

A human would have died from that, but because it’s a monster she’s facing, the dagger lacks power and is unable to stop the spider from swinging its claw.

「Yaah!」

Even so, Celia was one step ahead.

She promptly blocks the claw with her s.h.i.+eld, then with the sword drawn by her right hand, thrusts it into the spider’s face before running off safely.

Now that I look, this time she has several regular swords instead of daggers stacked on her horse.

「You’ve gotten stronger, Celia. You can probably take out three or four soldiers with ease.」

A smile forms on Celia’s face when I praise her, but it quickly turns cold.

「I know.」

I turn my Keravnos around and thrust it at the spider trying to pa.s.s under my arm from behind.

It didn’t make any noise as usual, but I’ve grown accustomed to its silent presence by now.

「Alright, time to get down to business.」

I need to defeat the extra large spider first.

「Let me a.s.sist you.」

Myla steps beside me.

The two of us stand shoulder to shoulder to oppose the spider.

「Gyaaaaaaah!!」

The spider sticks out a tube at an allied soldier that is around the size of a human body.

Mere seconds after getting stabbed, the poor soldier’s eyeb.a.l.l.s get sucked into his head, his body shrivels up and only skin is left behind.

With that size difference, it would be faster to just gobble up its prey whole, I don’t get why it chooses such a disgusting eating method.

「I’ll at least avenge you.」

I approach the spider that tosses away the soldier’s remains at an angle and swing my Keravnos at its fore leg.

The spider hops backward in surprise.

The leg which is thicker than my own body doesn’t tear off, but the blades on the side of the Keravnos dig into it and draw out some liquid.

「Oh, mad are you?」

I flick the liquid that dripped on my spear to the side.

「Is that Lord Hardlett!? He’s attacking by himself!」

「That’s not good! We have to back him up!」

Allied soldiers rush to my aid.

「No need, stand down――I can hand-」

Two soldiers get dismembered faster than I can complete my sentence.

「You guys hunt the small ones. I’ll handle this one.」

I switch to my Dual Crater I charge at the spider.

「From the front!? It’ll crush you!」

An ally warns me.

I’m fine, it’s more important you pay attention to the small fry and ensure Nonna and the other girls aren’t in danger.

The spider stands on four of its hind legs and attempts to use the front four legs to strike me from above.

It is a move that isn’t any different from one that puny spiders make, this thing’s just large enough to cover the sky in the process.

「Dodging is obviously impossible.」

I tug Schwartz’s ears, getting him to stop moving as he wonders what’s going to happen to him.

「Yaaaaaah!!」

Myla screams as she runs at the hind legs on her horse with the momentum of a tackle and slashes them.

Myla’s sword isn’t strong enough against the spider’s bulky legs.

But her attack was well-timed, right when the spider s.h.i.+fted its weight. If I use a human a.n.a.logy, it would be like getting poked in the ankle with a needle when standing on your tiptoes.

The spider’s attack is disturbed and its body falls down in an uncoordinated manner.

I stand up on Schwartz’s back and jump to intercept the weak swings.

「Hmp!!」

Among the scattered swings of its forelegs, I slice one in midair, avoid one as I land with a roll, and then deeply cut another as I get back on my feet.

「Is it done!?」

「No, not yet.」

After all, it has eight legs.

It can still move without two.

I ready my Dual Crater and run at the spider.

Then, I leap and grab onto its body before it could stand up on the remaining six legs.

The spider thrashes to throw me off, but I won’t be falling anytime soon with all the hairs for me to hang onto.

「Yah! Tah!」

Myla is running around slas.h.i.+ng at the spider’s legs when it’s busy flailing.

Of course Myla’s strength and weapon won’t be enough to sever its legs, but she can at least further disrupt the center of gravity of the already unbalanced spider. The spider is too occupied with me to pay attention to Myla.

She gets a good attack in and the spider stops moving for a split second.

I loosen my grip and purposely let myself be shaken off.

I adjust my body in midair and fall directly in front of the non-moving head with my Dual Crater at the ready.

「It’s over.」

Utilizing the momentum from falling as well as my own might, I jam the Dual Crater into the spider’s head until the entire length of the sword is buried.

「Gueh.」

I somewhat cus.h.i.+on my fall, but I crash pretty badly.

Even though Schwartz was there to catch me at first, he moved out of the way at the last second, probably thinking I would be too heavy.

A second later, the spider that lost a chunk of its head and its life collapses.

「H-he did it……」

「He seriously did it……with no cannon or catapult, just a sword……」

I give Myla a kiss as she comes running back.

「I’ll take command here.」

Seeing the situation, Myla decides to stay.

I glance over at the soldiers.

「Only the smallfry are left. You better not let them through. Also, if something happens to Myla, I’ll execute all of you. Risk your lives to protect her.」

That’s all I say before leaving.

The rhinoceros beetles are already pus.h.i.+ng past the soldiers. They need help.

「Wahahahaha!」

I happen to spot Irijina laughing as she faces off against a worm.

Her spear can’t penetrate the worm’s thick skin, but she waits for the moment it opens its mouth to bite her and thrusts her weapon inside, killing it.

「Sora, sora, sora!! Hmp, hmp, hmp!!」

She repeatedly whacks the smaller worms with the b.u.t.t of her spear and finishes then off.

It’s a feat only Irijina, who is stronger than most men, can do.

「Those things will aim for the holes in your body. Don’t let them in your a.s.s!」

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「Not to worry! I haven’t been using my a.s.shole lately so it’s pretty tight! Wait, what are you making me say!!?」

Stabbed all over his thigh and a.s.s are multiple needles about 30 cm long.

Pus.h.i.+ng aside its fellow beetles is a particular rhinoceros beetle.

Its size is mostly the same as the others, but the difference is the amount of needles covering its body……based on their size, they’re probably closer to hairs. Schwartz probably got hit by those.

It’s more similar to a caterpillar than a pill bug.

「I’m coming to help, Aegir-sama……ugyaaaah!!」

Celia falls off her horse after rus.h.i.+ng in despite not being attacked.

Due to a past trauma, she can’t help hating caterpillars.

「Help Schwartz pull out the needles.」

That perverted horse still can’t stand properly.

I say as I resume a stance with my sword.

Unlike the time on a horse, I can lower my hips fully and utilize all my strength.

The weak point is still unknown, but since it has a mouth, I’m guessing the head is in front.

I raise the sword above my head and swing it down at the front part of the beetle with all my might, to which the beetle falters briefly before rapidly shrinking.

The sickle-like mouth disappeared……ah, so their head is on the underside of their body and they’ve only been sticking out their mouth?

「Over there?」

I get close to a rhinoceros beetle and grab the body from the bottom.

The bug weighs roughly 250 kg. It’s heavy, but I can do it.

I exert myself and use my arms to lift the black beetle.

「Hrgh!」

I turn around and slam it into the ground.

The part under the black outer sh.e.l.l is white and looks quite soft.

Its small face looks at me anxiously.

Then something makes a thud.

Luna shot the beetle’s face with an arrow.

The beetle writhes in agony from just the one arrow and dies.

That’s a weak point if I’ve ever seen one.

「Stick short wooden stakes into the ground. If you don’t have them, snap short spears in half and stab the tip into the ground.」

That’s Erich’s voice.

Even though he said he wasn’t going to interfere, he probably couldn’t hold back. The thought makes me smile.

In addition to the concentrated a.s.sault by the catapults, we now know how to deal with the beetles, so we should be fine.

Celia has finished extracting all the needles from Schwartz and are retreating slowly.

It’s about time I also leave……

「No, it doesn’t look like I can.」

I give up pretending not to notice the shadow from earlier and stare at it.

The big black shadow easily exceeds 20 m in height, its body is several times thicker than the worm’s body, and there are nine things growing out of the middle wiggling menacingly at me.

「It’s hereeee!!」

「W-we’re done for!!」

The refugees repairing the ditch and a.s.signed supply duties abandoned everything and crouched down in fear.

「I understand how you’re feeling. If Nonna and the others weren’t here, I would want to run from that monster too.」

I spit on the ground as I speak to myself.

Peeking behind me, I see Erich making a stupid dumbfounded face.

His eyes are wide, his mouth hangs open, and snot is dripping from his nose.

「If I can return home alive, I’ll tell everyone.」

Oh, now I’m a little motivated. Let’s exterminate this centipede then.

Protagonist: Aegir Hardlett. 25 years old. Autumn.

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. Mad Demon G.o.d. Secret Golden Lager.

Family:

Nonna (taking refuge), Carla (taking refuge), Mel (taking refuge), Leah (on a trip), Pipi (taking refuge), Miti (taking refuge), Maria (taking refuge), Catherine (taking refuge), Gretel (taking refuge), Melissa (taking refuge), Kuu (taking refuge), Ruu (taking refuge), Mireille (combat), Casie (4, 8 head figure), Rita (taking refuge), Yoguri (playwright), Alice (combat), Mother: Marceline (consultation), Daughters: Eldest – Stephanie (denied), Second – Bridget (agreed), Youngest – Felicie (either)

Sofia (encounter), Dorothea (in trouble), Claudia (combat), Clara (given up), Adela (taking refuge)

Celestina (reigning queen), Monica (mama attendant), Benel (coma)

Subordinates:

Dingus (eastern army commander), Rinuga (refugee leader), Rafaella (creampied)

Celia (taking refuge), Myla (taking refuge), Irijina (combat), Luna (taking refuge)

Leopolt (staff officer), Tristan (staff officer), Yakov (emergency sortie), Gido (recuperating, resigned), Mack (emergency sortie), Christoph (independent from mother), Guigue (good and evil existing together)

Adolph (stressed), Sebastian (frugal), Marta (preparing for journey), Sally (finding shelter), Maruru (finding shelter)

Jim (sortie, low morale), Suzy (sortie), Solana (given up), Altair (founder), Remia (victim)

Others:

Erich (looking stupid)

Sekrit (ascertaining), Ivanna (practising on her own), T-99 (battle start), Brynhildr (battle start), Natia (escape), Felteris (orgy, escape), Ijaris (escape), Yularen (escape)

Annette (free), Piris (insane, house arrest), Baroness Rukino Escaote (solace), Seika (accompanying, solace)

Busco (promoted), Gildress (training), Visitacion (confined home with child)

Non-humans:

Lammy (transplanting), Alraune (transplanting), Mirumi (hunch), Pochi (departure), Messerschmitt​ (sleeping, departure)

Tropical Smooth-scaled Monitor Lizard (pursuit), Schwartz (seriously injured)

————————————————————————————————

Army – Southern Goldonia (replenis.h.i.+ng, emergency establishment)

Reinforcements / Allied Forces:

Eastern Army: 14 500 ⇒ 13 000

Mixed Refugee Team: 6000 ⇒ 5800

Elves: Black: 200, White: 200 (on the run)

G.o.d Altair’s Army: 2200 ⇒ 2500 (charity work, inviting)

Teries Fleet: Battles.h.i.+p Suvorov, Battles.h.i.+p Leviathan IV (temporary), Large Combat s.h.i.+ps: 3, Medium Combat s.h.i.+ps: 7 (in repair)

————————————————————————————————

a.s.sets: -75 000 gold

s.e.xual Partners: 805

Children who have been born: 70 + 567

Current Location: Kisatto, abandoned fort

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