I breathed out audibly as I watched the cloud of dust that arose from the enemy’s retreat.
A thunderous shout of victory then echoed from the surrounding areas.
“We repelled those humans!”
“This is the power of Fujiwara-sama!”
“We protected our town!”
Everyone from the Wolf tribe was delighted. It was a given since they have been treated badly and assaulted by human beings so far. That was why they were delighted when they saw the human army retreat hastily before their eyes.
The delight of the Wolf tribe had also caused something to change inside my heart. Is this the effect of crowd psychology? The sense of guilt from killing people was eased, and the joy of being able to protect the town became stronger.
But, it’s still too early to be careless. When the cavalry joins up with the infantry, what kind of action will they take? Of course, there is a possibility that they may invade again.
I stared at the cavalry’s back intently.
Please just retreat with the army troops behind them as it is.
Such thoughts occupied my mind.
Due to the uproar at the north gate, the messengers dispatched from each of the other gates arrived to check on the situation. I sent the messengers back to convey the successful repelling of the enemy.
A short while later, earth shaking cheers erupted from both the west and east gates.
In the end, the cavalry merged into the army’s rear and quietly left for the north. I’ve dispatched scouts to all directions in response, but not a single shadow of the enemy could be found.
I requested many people to keep watch, and finally dissolved the town’s defensive measures.
Later, I ordered the beastmen to bury the corpses of the enemies scattered all over the land. Furthermore, I asked them to arrest that one soldier who was left crushed under a dead horse.
Before long, the day was over, and darkness fell. Fires were lit on the stone walls surrounding the town as the beastmen took turns to patrol throughout the night.
Later that night, I laid on my bed, staring at the flickering shadows on the ceiling.
Did the enemy forces really retreat back to their country just like that? If their retreat was just a pretense, they should be attempting a night raid tonight.
I couldn’t sleep. All these anxious worries gave me insomnia.
I collected myself and slipped out of bed. I didn’t change my clothes and was still wearing my battle suit, so after equipping myself, I left the house swiftly.
I was greeted with chill and the clear night sky filled with stars.
Because there were no clouds to trap the heat, it was much colder at night as compared to the day.
I boarded the truck and left through the gate of my home. The headlights illuminate the main streets of the dark town. Before long, I arrived at the north gate and alighted. As if they were lying in wait, they called out to me.
“Fujiwara-sama, do you need anything?”
That voice, it was Jiharu.
“I can’t sleep. What about you?” I asked wearily.
“I’ve come to check on the situation.” The chief stated.
Currently the ones guarding the north gate were the Wolf and the Raccoon tribes.
For a serious person like Chief Jiharu, I had guessed that he intended to spend a night atop the stone walls.
The two of us ascended the stairs, and gazed towards the north when we reached the top of the stone walls. Pale moonlight illuminated the dark land around us, but the area several hundred meters ahead was nothing but pitch black darkness.
Something that you can’t see is terrifying, because you can’t understand something that you can’t see. Perhaps, enemies would approach from that darkness. When I think so, I become anxious as expected.
On that day, I stayed up all night, staring at the dark world beyond the stone walls.
The next morning, I gave an order to search for the enemy again. However, the report that came back showed no signs of enemy. It seems like the enemy has really retreated.
Thus, peace was restored in the town once again.
Well, since the town became peaceful again, there was something new that needs to be added to the town.
After lunch, I headed for the inn.
Changing the subject, there is no prison in this town. Every tribe was split into their own lands inside the town, and a sort of fixed autonomy governs each individual tribe. Any conflicts that arose within the tribe will be resolved by the tribe themselves.
With regards to public security, my responsibility would be, at most, dealing with disputes between members of different tribes. Even then, such situations were mostly settled by talks between their respective chiefs.
Therefore, one of the inn’s rooms that wasn’t used became a substitute for a prison cell for the captive knight from yesterday. As for the guards, I left two wolfmen equipped with swords to stand in front of the room. By the way, the swords they had were stripped from enemy corpses from yesterday.
“I’m coming in.” I called out in front of the closed door, but no reply came. However, I could hear some noises inside the tatami room.
I slid the door open. At the corner of the room was a young man with brown hair shrinking away in fright. Naturally, his armor and weapons had been confiscated, so what he currently wore consisted of a white top and bottoms that was worn under the armor.
“Wh-What is it?! Don’t even try to touch my finger, or the kingdom will not stay silent!” He shouted while trembling hard.
It was a line that I have heard from somewhere before.
“Ho? Do you mean that you are of a high position in the Kingdom of Sandra?” I asked mockingly.
“I...” The young man flinched at his own comment before gathering his thoughts for a little bit, and opened his mouth again. “Th-That’s right! I am the legitimate child of the Earl Baiden Haruku, Romatto Baiden Haruku! If you send me back to my country, you will receive a lot of money! That’s why you must send me back to my country!”
The attitude of this youth, Romatto, was rather defiant.
However, money, huh..? I won’t let it sway my heart. At any rate, my current funds are slightly below 50 billion yen. But now, information is more important than money.
“Rather than money, I want to hear your story. Please answer my questions without any lies. That is the only way for you to stay alive.” I requested.
Upon hearing my threat, Romatto instantly became frightened.
But, even if he didn’t say anything, I do not intend to actually kill him. It was merely a threat. However, it will be boring if I only threatened him, which was why I took off my head equipment to reveal that I am human.
[ED: Oi, oi. Aren’t you a little too casual about this?! But I guess it’ll help in the interrogation?]
“Yo-You… You are a human!?” He yelled, eyes wide in disbelief.
A carrot and a stick. In this town filled with beastmen, with me being of the same race would give Romatto a ray of hope and a sense of familiarity.
“Yes, that’s right. So, please trust me. If you answer my questions, I will save your life.” I stated.
“I... I understand.” He quietened down immediately.
“Well then, first of all...” I trailed off as I placed the sake that I dangled on one hand onto the table. “First, would you care for a cup of sake? If you drink sake, your mind would calm down a little, even if you’re in such a place.”
I took out the cup that was wrapped in paper from my pocket, and poured sake into it. The smell of the alcohol wafts over and stimulates the nose and one’s appetite.
A loud gulping sound could be heard from Romatto’s throat. Feeling tempted, he raised his arms in the direction of the sake.
“Here you go.” I offered a cup to him.
“Ah...” Romatto sighed unconsciously as he sat cross legged in front of the table, and stretched his hand to receive the cup. Then, he drank it all in one breath. “Kaahhh! This is some unusual sake, but it’s not bad!”
He placed the empty cup on the table in delight. It seems like he became cheerful somehow.
“Another cup.” He demanded.
“Oh, that’s fine.” I said as I refilled his sake again.
He drank it all in one breath again. It would seem that he liked the sake a lot.
“Now that it’s about time, can I hear your story?” I asked without refilling the empty sake cup.
“Hmm? Ah, that’s right. Alright, ask me anything.” He puffed up his chest.
“How did you know about this town?” I started with a simple question.
“Ah, about that, we were tipped off by the disciple of a scholar, that there was a beastman town in this land.” He replied.
A scholar’s disciple… It must be a student of Frost.
“To be honest, the guys who heard this story didn’t believe it at all, but that disciple staked his own life on it when he reported it. If he is going that far, you can’t help but believe it. Also, the beastmen were certainly heading south.” Romatto continued his story. “So, there is possibility that they had, indeed, come together to build a town. When we threatened the scholar a little, he mentioned the same thing. That is the reason why the army was dispatched here.”
After he finished saying so, Romatto flicked the cup to demand for more sake.
As expected, the reason was Frost and his disciples.
I poured refilled his cup, feeling empty.
At that time, was it too naive of me to save them? Feelings similar to regret started to spread within my chest.
No, it was too late for that now. In the first place, it wasn’t possible for me to abandon them. With the exception of saving them, there was no other choice.
[ED: Um, you did have a choice of just leaving them there or running them off??? No one said you had to kill or save them???]
[TL: well, if you just leaving them in the wild, they will get killed as well, either by the wild beast or by starvation. My poor and sensitive conscious will said I kill them]
“What is the reason for you to invade this land? This place should have been a cursed place for you. Even if you occupied this place, you would just suffer great damage from the shaking ground.” I asked another question.
“Hmm? No, we didn’t intend to absorb this cursed place. In short, it’s colonization. We would have the beastmen do the labour, and only to take the juicy parts.” The young man stated smoothly.
Romatto confessed the intentions turning the beastmen into slaves nonchalantly without any reservations. It seemed like he could say it in peace because he knew that I am a human. It might also be the effects of the sake, and the way I talked.
“However, the Kingdom of Sandra was defeated this time. It was the Red Dragon Knights, if I’m not mistaken?” I changed the direction of the questioning.
“Fu! We have four powerful Knight Orders in our country! Red, Blue, Yellow, and Green! Each Knight Order was named after the Grand Dragons! When these four Knight Orders join hands, taking down a small town like this is nothing!” He boasted, slamming the cup onto the desk loudly.
I see, so these four Knight Orders were the main force of the Kingdom of Sandra. This is just like what I have heard from Frost. If the other Knight Orders were on the same level as the Red Dragon Knights, then their size would also be about 2000 people. Added with militia from the lords of each territory, it will create the huge army of the Kingdom of Sandra.
“However, isn’t the pride of the Knights the cavalry? The walls of this town will not fall just by being sieged by the cavalry.” I asked.
“Hahaha! Didn’t you see the infantry units behind? The territories to the north of here are the lands of Count Abroshov, and Count Sarah Bona. The number of people enlisted are more than 4000 despite being drafted from from two territories only!” Romatto laughed arrogantly.
“That is surely quite frightening.” I commented absently as I quickly gathered my thoughts on the enemy.
“Isn’t it?” He grinned widely.
In fact, it is indeed terrifying. If this town was attacked by 4000 men, this town will be done for. But, the strategy here would be to fight against them first, before things can take such a turn.
“You are a human too, right? I’ve heard of you. The ruler of this town who’s a human, in other words, you. If you hand over this town, I will negotiate with the upper echelons to pardon and reward you. How’s that?” He offered smugly.
I shook my head in response to his temptation, and threw a new question at him.
“Isn’t there a way for the beastmen and humans to cooperate with each other?”
“Fuu, that is impossible. It’s natural for the weak to become food for the strong.” Romatto replied matter-of-factly.
“Is that so..?” I muttered to myself.
I never expected humans to coexist peacefully with the beastmen. If such a thing is possible in the first place, the beastmen would not have been driven to desperate situations. Even so, I still wanted to question it, to ask about it .
Even after that, Romatto continued talking about the circumstances of the kingdom smoothly while drinking the sake. Although there were many redundant parts of the story since I’ve already heard about them from Frost last time, the details being repeated increases the credibility of the story, proving that it is not wasteful.
The information gathered this time was the best so far. According to his story, they had intended to colonise this place. The kingdom didn’t seem to have any intentions of residing on this land.
In other words, this land is a place where they still can’t live in due to the harsh conditions.