Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi

Ofuro Ashitsubo

Chapter 461

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Chapter 461

Translator: Nat

–Aegir POV–

The enemy cavalry unit is divided into four groups and closes in on the allied soldiers near the wall from the flanks.

「A little over 20 000 cavalry, 7000 of which are heavy cavalry, oops and I can’t forget the 3000 in the second row holding crossbows. Wagons in the last row? 500 covered in steel plating…… I might have to pull this one off.」

Sekrit mutters as she switches her claw prosthetic arm.

She clicks her tongue when she finds a piece of someone’s guts stuck in between her claws and picks it out.

「Will we pull back?」

TOP ARTICLES1/5Mercenaries in Apocalypse Volume 1Chapter 29

Celia asks, getting into a defensive stance with her sword beside me.

She blocks the sword of an enemy who attacks during our conversation and slices his s.h.i.+n with a hidden blade in her shoe, dropping him to the ground.

「No, we’ll fight here. It’s not like we have collapsed yet.」

Erich and Leopolt are also back in the camp.

If they take care of the enemy cavalry, everything will be fine.

「Besides……」

I glance over at the 105th army corps and the Libatis soldiers.

These guys climbing up the ladders and turrets aren’t going to run so easily.

「It’s useless to think about it. We probably can’t afford to retreat.」

Sekrit lightly kicks my a.s.s.

「General Maestus made it in time! We’re saved!」

「Time to begin our counterattack! Let’s take back the top of the walls!」

The wilting morale of the enemy was instantly revived.

Enemies rush from three directions, the left and right of the walls and the wide stairs leading to the streets of Tortoent.

This isn’t the time to be in deep thought.

「Yakov take the right, Jim take the left, Celia and the escort unit guard the stairs.」

「You guys heard the general! Get into position!」

「Uueh…… I didn’t think we’d have to defend ourselves from a siege in the enemy’s stronghold.」

The 105th army isn’t suited for defense, but it can’t be helped.

「Everyone, tighten the lines!」

「If they see our flag, the citizens will revolt…… until then……」

The Libatis troops will also suffer in a defensive battle with their poor equipment.

At the very least, the chances of the citizens revolting is slim as long as we are stuck on the corner of the wall.

「What about me?」

Sekrit has attached the arm that can hold a sword.

「Stay with me, obviously.」

I answer, standing in front of the stairs.

Being an affluent city, the staircase is wide enough to allow 4 or 5 people to pa.s.s at the same time, but I only see enemy soldiers’ heads lining the steps at this point.

「Admirable.」

I twirl the Keravnos before adopting a stance with it.

It’s more advantageous to fight in an elevated location with the spear that has longer reach after all.

「Then just for today, I guess I’ll let you embrace me.」

Sekrit puts her back against mine, a sword in each of her hands.

Her body was slightly bent and ready to leap at any time.

She finally lifted the ban on s.e.x. Tonight, I’ll……

「Hey, wait. What do you mean by “just for today”? Have you been sleeping with other guys until now!?」

「No time for idle chatter. They’re coming.」

Once the enemy soldiers see me, they run up the stairs at me, yelling.

The one shouting at the head of the charging short spear users appears to be the commander.

「Point your spears forward and charge! Break through the stairs and――」

I descend the steps before he completes his order.

Not expecting me to attack immediately, the commander’s sword was somewhere in between being raised for an inspiring gesture and lowered in a defensive stance.

「S-so fast!?」

「I won’t forgive you guys!」

I use the momentum from coming down and strike him with the shaft of my spear.

The blow to his torso dents his armor like it was made of paper and sends the commander flying over the heads of his trailing subordinates, soaring toward the city.

「「「Eh?」」」

All of the troops were briefly stunned after losing their leader, but I’m not waiting for them to recover.

I twirl my spear, switching the b.u.t.t end with the tip.

「How dare you――」

Taking a firm step in, I lunge at the throat of an enemy soldier.

My spear pierces through the center of his neck and I feel the sensation of bone shattering.

He doesn’t make a single sound as he dies.

「――cheat with my Sekrit.」

I proceed to launch a front kick at the head of another soldier, sending him rolling down the stairs with blood, flesh, and bone spraying from his face.

At this time, the soldiers finally came back to their senses and resumed their battle stances.

Regardless, my jealousy and anger won’t be stopped.

「I’ll kill you all.」

One of the soldiers turns his spear vertically in an attempt to block…… that’s a fail.

The spear has a long shaft, making it easy to grab, so taking a defensive stance and waiting until the opponent gets close can only be described as a foolish act.

I release my hand from my spear and punch the enemy’s weapon away.

「A despicable cheater like you doesn’t deserve anything more than this.」

「Hiih, what are you talking about!?」

With the enemy’s weapon gone, I swing the back of my hand at his face.

Although light, the blow from my steel gauntlets was enough to knock him unconscious and give him a nose bleed.

I grab him by the helmet after he falls and throw him down the stairs at the other incoming enemies.

「「「Uwaaaaah!!」」」

Those running up behind could not catch the man in armor.

All of them end up being caught in the collision and nearly ten of them fall over.

「You’re wide open!」

Suddenly, an enemy soldier rushes in from the right side.

He’s not a failure, he’ll probably repeat another year.

Attacking out of my field of view is fine, but the staircase is wide enough for four people, meaning there is no blindspot.

If it appears that I’m wide open……

I meet his thrust with the tip of my Keravnos and deflect it.

I antic.i.p.ated this from the beginning.

「You got baited, d.a.m.n cheater.」

I lower my hips and unleash a powerful thrust on the unbalanced enemy.

It doesn’t stab into his face or his abdomen, it grazes his neck.

Of course, I didn’t miss my attack.

The Keravnos has seven blades beside the spearhead.

Moreover, they’re sharper than iron or steel.

「Ga……bh……」

The enemy soldier collapses holding his neck.

It wasn’t simply on the level of his carotid artery being severed.

His neck was gouged to the point that bone could be seen and the bottom part of his chin was gone.

Two soldiers behind also got their shoulder and cheek gouged respectively and each of them slid down the stairs while pressing a hand against their wounds.

I feel a little refreshed, but I hear Sekrit laughing her a.s.s off.

I’ll question her later, her lower half, that is.

I slowly raise my spear.

「How long do I have to fight by myself?」

「-!? Escort unit, what are you doing in the back!? Move out!!」

「Hurry and help Aegir-sama!」

The escort squad and Celia’s battalion rush over to the stairs and join the melee.

It doesn’t look like the enemy will break through for the time being. Let’s take a quick breather.

「So, Sekrit. Where did we leave off?」

「I can’t be dawdling around either. I have to demonstrate my loyalty to Goldonia and aim for a promotion.」

Sekrit smirked as she said something she wasn’t thinking about at all before heading to the front.

Great, how am I supposed to settle down this uncertainty within me? I want to believe that this erection is from the excitement of battle and nothing else.

Looking left and right, I see the 105th army and the Libatis group somehow holding back the enemy.

Jim is fighting hard and repeatedly looking at the city of Tortoent. He’s really hoping for the citizens to revolt, isn’t he.

「I don’t think the people will move the way he wants though.」

Confirming the situation is under control here, I s.h.i.+ft my gaze outside the walls this time.

「Hey, hey, seriously?」

I push my head into my palm unconsciously.

That’s how bad our allies are struggling.

「Turn the long spears to the left! Not the front, the left! They’re already in front of us!」

「That’s a decoy! The enemy rapidly reversed and changed course! I siad their true aim is the left!」

「It’s not left or right! Heavy cavalry emerged from the shadow of light cavalry…… arrows aren’t enough to stop them! Uwaaaah!!」

「In the first place, we’re up against purely cavalry here! Infantry alone can’t handle them!!」

While 20 000 cavalry is a frightening number, it’s not something our army of 130 000 cannot fight against.

Supposing we had equal numbers, if skilled spearmen form an appropriate defensive formation, infantry are more than capable of stopping cavalry.

That’s why this is not a matter of numbers or army branches.

It’s about the enemy’s command and skill.

「Squad 1, go with Plan C, evade the attacks and turn around.」

「Squad 2, Plan B, fight for a limited time and then turn around.」

「Squad 3, Plan A, commence the charge!」

The allied spearmen pointlessly move left and right and finally get broken through the side as they were moving.

The archers who were aiming to concentrate their barrage also unloaded everything on the light cavalry acting as decoy, leading to them being trampled by the heavy cavalry as they were reloading.

The enemy ignored the allied cavalry who ran to help and withdrew after one attack, but another enemy unit would flank from behind the allies who stopped moving.

They’re being totally outmaneuvered.

「Get into box formation! Focus on defending for now!」

「Gather together and fend off their hit-and-run attack! We have to kill the enemy’s mobility!」

Squads coordinate with each other and begin to form a rectangular shape.

They have spearmen at the very front, crossbows behind them, and archers and skirmis.h.i.+ng infantry further behind.

It’s an appropriate response, I would say.

When they’re being stretched in all directions, this is the only thing they can do.

However, as if ridiculing them, the enemy splits up and starts circling around the perimeter of the box formation.

「It is just as General Maestus said. Let us proceed to the second phase of the plan!」

「No need to force any attacks, chip away at their strength!」

「Light cavalry will protect the crossbow cavalry and the chariots, heavy cavalry will stay on alert for the enemy cavalry!」

Enemy cavalry wielding crossbows fire at the spearmen.

One by one, the allied soldiers go down…… it’s to be expected when both of their hands are holding the spear, their defense against projectiles is low without a s.h.i.+eld to protect themselves.

The situation doesn’t change even with allied archers firing back.

After all, the enemy is moving freely and shooting, while we are stuck in place. No matter where they shoot, they’ll hit.

「I’ve seen this strategy somewhere before.」

「It’s a strategy often used by your bow cavalry.」

Sekrit snuck up on me.

Right, the bow cavalry’s specialty is destroying anti-cavalry formations.

「That is too, right?」

Sekrit points to the chariots barreling at the box formation, firing their mounted ballistae.

That’s right, the chariots were something I took from the Federation and now South Yuguria is using them too.

「It happens with weapons and tactics alike. The Empire didn’t initially have cannons either. I hear they started developing them after the Federation by investing large sums of money, smuggling them from the Federation and researching them.」

Nevertheless, we can’t let things continue.

The formation is getting more messed up. Once they are disorganized to a certain extent, an all-out charge is sure to come.

「Not to worry, we have a clever one within our ranks too.」

When the enemy was about to charge, a group came running in, kicking up a cloud of dust, from outside the encircling cavalry. It was the bow cavalry led by Luna.

The bow cavalry run parallel with the enemy cavalry and release their arrows.

Many of the enemies were defeated by the shots from the originators, and their beautiful rotations were disrupted just like that.

「Tch! So they’re the ones from the rumors.」

「Don’t lose! Shoot back!」

During the time the enemy crossbows steady their aim, they are met with another volley.

「Change course, to the outside!」

After firing, the bow cavalry widened the distance between them and the enemy.

「I see, they have different range.」

Sekrit sounds amused as she comments on the discrepancy between the crossbows and the composite bows used by our bow cavalry.

The enemy’s bolts don’t reach the bow cavalry, while the bow cavalry’s arrows manage to shoot down the enemy despite a reduced accuracy and power.

The bow cavalry’s ability to shoot on horseback comes from their lifestyle and it’s not something that can be copied in a short amount of time.

It’s probably why South Yuguria tried to subst.i.tute the bows for crossbows, which are easier to aim. But when both sides match up against each other, the lack of range and speed of reloading ends up being fatal.

「Fire at highest speed. Shoot, shoot and keep shooting!」

I hear Luna shouting.

As dictated by her words, the bow cavalry nock and release their arrows at a speed almost like they’re acrobats.

「They’re too fast! They’re shooting once every three seconds!」

「W-we can’t keep up! At this rate, if we don’t undo the envelopment, they’ll wipe us out!!」

The enemy breaks off and scatters.

Cheers erupted from the allied soldiers in the box formation who found themselves in a desperate situation.

「It was inevitable. Copycats can’t win against the originals. Our problem is over there.」

The moment Sekrit finished, a section of the bow cavalry was blown away.

Seeing them as the greatest threat, the chariots decided to attack.

「Tch, the bow cavalry aren’t good against chariots.」

Chariots are essentially armored wagons.

The bow cavalry’s swords and arrows don’t have any effect and the range of the mounted ballistae pose a huge threat.

But before the bow cavalry could be wiped out, the heavy cavalry charged towards the chariots.

「Wahahaha!! It’s finally our turn!! Take that, and that, and that!!」

This booming voice I can hear all the way over here belongs to Irijina.

She approaches a chariot on horseback and, after taking out the soldier aiming the ballista with one thrust of her spear, throws a thick log into the spokes of the chariot’s wheel.

The wheel flies off and the chariot drops to the ground, sliding out of control from its residual momentum.

「Kuh! Defeat them! Protect the chariots!」

Irijina does not flinch a bit from the enemy light cavalry grouping up.

Whether it’s one-on-two or one-on-three, she continues to dispatch her foes with ease.

「I will support the cavalry. All units, advance.」

Myla, leading my personal army, moves up.

They number 15 000 including the conscripts and they are not an army that can be ignored.

The enemy hurriedly changed their target, freeing several more of the box formation who were in trouble.

Even so, the enemy doesn’t panic.

「Stay calm. It’s the same if we crush these guys. Go back to the first phase of the plan.」

「Squad 1, execute Plan B.」

「Squad 2, execute Plan C. We’re doing it again!」

Once again, they corner my army with well-organized movements.

「This is bad…… things will ultimately be the same.」

「Yeah. But, as far as I know, the only ones around you who will fall for the same trick twice is……that one.」

Sekrit jerks her chin to indicate Celia.

It’s a good thing Celia is too busy with combat to hear that.

「Alright, we have them on the ropes! Let’s go with Plan A, all-out charge!」

「Even their transport unit is exposed. Crush every last one of them!」

「Annihilate them!!」

The enemy begins to charge, seeing my army is about to collapse.

「Okay. Sorry for the delay.」

I hear Tristan’s lazy voice.

There’s no way his soft and listless voice can reach that far.

The wagon made to look like one from the transport corps fired the artillery it carried.

Unlike normal cannons, this particular weapon is lightweight and mobile, meant to be pulled by horses, however, if forced, it can also be stuffed inside a wagon.

They might have expected cannons, but they were a little shocked by the sudden bombardment from a wagon.

「Right, next is this.」

Infantry burst out from a group of wagons imitating the transport corps.

I don’t know the details, but it appears to be a collection of heavily-armed elites.

Scared by the cannon fire, the cavalry whose momentum was killed are no threat.

「Counterattack, go now!」

Myla orders for an offensive again.

Infantry engage the confused enemy and a brawl develops.

Although there are enemy soldiers running to provide reinforcements, by this time, most of our allies have returned to action.

「We somehow managed to hang on.」

I place a hand on my chest in relief.

「Still, it doesn’t look like we can win though. We should abandon this place and go back.」

So it’s just like Sekrit said.

We escaped a crisis, but it’ll be impossible for us to rout the enemy and attack the walls again.

Which means we’re isolated either way. Unfortunately, we have to run away.

And then, as I was wondering what to do…

「Oww…… what happened to me?」

「You were kicked by the enemy and fell off the walls. You’re lucky to still be alive, but the order for an all-out attack has been given by the higher-ups. We have to go and take back the walls with the others.」

I hear an unknown female’s voice and a familiar man’s voice.

「Haven’t our strong allies come and taken care of it already? We don’t have to try too hard and the enemy will run anyways……」

I turn around―― and my eyes meet with Christoph’s.

At the same time, an ally and enemy take out each other, leaving n.o.body in between us.

「――Christoph.」

「G-general!?」

Unlike last time, I can see him clearly.

He’s wearing plain armor with the South Yuguria crest on it and wielding a rather cheap-looking sword.

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「Christoph, what are you doing!?」

「You did well to come. I guess I’ll overlook your past obscenities.」

I hopped on the back of Schwartz, who looked at me like he’d leave me behind if I didn’t hurry up, and ran off alone.

Usually, I’d ride with Celia and Sekrit, but I only have to worry about the front now since no more threats are behind us.

It should be fine if I go ahead.

The cannonfire froze the enemies in the city, but the clearly skilled cavalry didn’t stop.

「Change of orders, defeat the enemies running from the walls.」

「They deliberately redirected cannonfire mid-battle. I can only surmise that an important group or person is at that location.」

I sheathe my Dual Crater on the run and switch to my Keravnos.

「I’ll have to force my way through.」

I swing my spear on horseback and clash with the enemy.

I pierce through an enemy as I pa.s.s by.

I sweep at the legs and topple the horse.

I feint blocking the enemy’s sword, bend the spear and strike the enemy’s body, knocking him off his horse.

While rampaging, I move away from the shortest path to the headquarters.

「Tch, making me detour――」

As I complain and try to change directions, several cavalry appear in front of me.

They are visibly shaken and try to put some distance between us.

I also recognize the flag above their heads――

I run right at that group as soon as my eyes register the design.

「An enemy is coming! Let His Excellency Maestus escape!」

「It’s a single rider. Shoot him down with crossbows!」

I twirl the Keravnos and deflect the incoming bolts.

One of them slips past and stabs into my side, but I can feel hurt later.

I approach the enemy, roaring.

Enemy guards keep coming, but I’ll ignore them and let Schwartz tackle them.

I keep charging, regardless of the hits I suffer on my cheek, thigh and back.

「……demon. It has been a while.」

The one standing in the center, Maestus, is already pointing his spear at me.

I can’t fight for long. Enemies are all around me and I can’t leave Celia and the others alone.

Understanding my situation, Maestus doesn’t run away to buy time.

That’s very gracious, but it’ll be a fatal mistake.

Both of us run at each other and our spears clash.

「Haah!」

「Nuun!」

I ward off his thrust with my spearhead and he counters by spinning the spear to bash my face with the b.u.t.t end.

I lean back and avoid the attack, allowing him time to recover and unleash a barrage of consecutive thrusts.

I block the first and second, then parry the third and return a thrust, but he lets the attack dig into his armor so he can drop a sweeping blow at my head.

「He’s good.」

When I intercept his downward strike with my gauntlet, the impact numbs my arm.

He easily dodges my one-handed exaggerated swing.

「Such speed with a single hand…… hmp, I guess there is some merit to being called demon.」

He aims a thrust at my eye.

I choose not to dodge and block it with my gauntlet instead, but he stops the spear before it reaches my arm, pulls it back and jabs the tip into my thigh.

「Guh.」

Blood squirts out of my leg, but it isn’t a serious injury.

I hate to admit it, this guy is more skilled than me.

「But……」

I raise my spear.

Maestus scoffs, thinking I’m an idiot for leaving myself open for an attack and readies his spear for a thrust at my chest, only to realize not even one second later, his hastiness and holds back so he could pull himself away.

My arm swings down my spear with the speed of a bolt of lightning and slams it into the ground.

「……if I let go, I would have been crushed. That was close, that was close.」

Maestus jokes at how close he was to death as he composes himself, more than a little fl.u.s.tered from my attack.

I twirl my spear idly as we stare at each other.

「Your Excellency――!! Fire the first volley!!」

Before I knew it, the crossbow cavalry arrived.

Several bolts stick into my back.

「Guwaah!!」

I let out a pained grunt.

Maestus smiled like he accomplished a great feat.

「Just kidding.」

When I return a smile, his smile freezes over.

「Uooooh!」

I leap off of Schwartz towards Maestus.

He immediately adopts a defensive stance to block the strike from my Keravnos.

That isn’t the extent of my attack though.

「Hmph!」

I put my feet together in midair and aim a kick at his face.

「Uugh!!」

Maestus managed to guard with his gauntlet, but he wasn’t able to completely distribute the weight of my attack, so his gauntlet sunk into his face, triggering his nose to bleed.

「As promised, I messed up your handsome face!」

I remount Schwartz after leaving a parting remark.

The ebon stallion looks at me with a face asking whether I’m okay and I respond by pulling his mane, telling him to run and not worry unnecessarily.

Luckily, the bolts. .h.i.t the Dual Crater.

The scream was just a little bit of acting.

Now that I check, the battle is over.

My allies have rea.s.sembled and surrounded Tortoent while the enemy cavalry entered the city walls.

「A draw due to injury, huh…… we were one step away.」

I gaze at Tortoent as I inspect my hand for wounds.

「d.a.m.n Christoph, what am I going to do with you?」

I have plenty of complaints and I also want to punch him.

Yet I have no intent to murder him.

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.

Subordinates:

Myla (fatigue), Celia (determined to purge), Irijina (cheerful), Luna (fatigue)

Gido (torn off), Pochi (lizard), Leopolt (staff officer A), Tristan (staff officer B), Agor (fatigue)

Yakov (fatigue), Mack (engineer corps captain), Jim (despondent)

Others:

Ivanna (degenerate), Sekrit (suspicious), T-99 (sleep), Brynhildr (ー)

Natia (bewildered), ??? (joined battle), Annette (princess of the 105), Piris (enraged, indignant, agonizing), Baroness Escaote (nursing), Seika (unsatisfied with nursing), Naesys (sisterly love), Nasis (sisterly love), Busco (low-life)

Army – Southern Goldonia

Under Protagonist:

Escort Unit: 70 ⇒ 50

Infantry: 4800 ⇒ 4300

Cavalry: 670 ⇒ 500

Archers: 680 ⇒ 600

Cannoneers: 380 ⇒ 360

Bow Cavalry: 7500 ⇒ 7000

Independent Celia Squad: 500 ⇒ 400

Conscripts + Security Unit: 10 000 ⇒ 9000

Cannons: 40, Large Cannons: 21, Dwarven Cannons: 15, Field Artillery: 15, Chariots: 35

————————————————————————————————

Reinforcements / Allied Forces

105 Army Corps: 3600 ⇒ 3300

Fleet

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 ⇒ 40 000

Conscripts: 60 000 ⇒ 50 000

Enemy Force: Regular Soldiers: 30 000? ⇒ 30 000??

Conscripts: 100 000? ⇒ 90 000??

Cavalry Army: 25 000 ? ⇒ 20 000??

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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