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Chapter 50 – Harpy-san Feathers Are Beautiful
Our actions were swift.
After throwing the minimum number of stockpiled supplies into my inventory and releasing materials that might be used to develop tools, I, Sylphy, and the five harpies from the fort, for a total of seven people, ran for the frontline shelter. Leaving the patrol against Gizma to the harpies, we ran at an unthinkable speed in a normal march.
Sylphy has monstrous stamina, to begin with, and by combining command action movement with running, I can run at speed far faster than a marathoner, even at the speed of a jogger, and for a long time.
Along the way, though, we run into Gizma.
“We don’t have time to worry about it.”
Dor, dor, dor, the pump-action shotgun fires rifled slugs at Gizma, eliminating it quickly. It takes only a moment for it to enter my inventory.
“After all, Kosuke can fight just fine, can’t he?”
“As long as I have the right weapon.”
While reloading the ammunition I had shot, I ran again. On the first day, we passed through the first shelter, the second shelter, and reached the third shelter. The original plan was to move through one shelter in a day, so we were able to get here three times as fast.
“Let’s take a bath, eat, and sleep.”
While Sylphy and the harpies are tilting their heads, I build a bathtub out of brick blocks. The size itself is the same as the infinite water source. In other words, it’s 2 meters long, 2 meters wide, and 1 meter deep. I guess it’s big enough for a temporary bath.
“Then, fill it with boiling water…”
In my inventory, there is almost no passage of time. I have a large pot of boiling water in my inventory. I didn’t prepare them for a temporary bath but for pouring them on during a defensive battle at the fort.
“After that, adjust the temperature with water.”
Instead of setting up the bucket of water with a command action, I poured it into the boiling water to adjust the temperature. Fumu, this is about right.
“Now, let’s take turns soaking in the bath.”
“What’s this? Hot water?”
“Oh, you don’t have a bath culture?”
I remembered that bathing and wiping the body with a wet cloth was the standard in this world. I briefly explained about bathing, handed them towels, and instructed them to go in one by one. In the meantime, I had to prepare food.
“Ah, bathing is such a luxury…”
“Soaking in warm water feels so good.”
“Yes, this is nice. But it is definitely a luxury. It must be difficult to prepare so much hot water every day.”
I prepared the meal while listening to the voices of the harpies and Sylphy in the background. The harpies aren’t very good with their hands, so something they can eat with their hands would be good. A hamburger and a salad sandwich would be fine.
I think it was force majeure that I saw everyone taking a short bath while I was preparing the meal. Maybe it’s because they’re in a group of women, or maybe it’s just the culture of this world, but they don’t seem to mind being seen naked. Well, I didn’t prepare any curtains or anything like that for the temporary bath! Yeah!
While enjoying the feast for the eyes and also adding hot water to the bath, I served food to the harpies and Sylphy, who came up from the bath in turn, and I also took a bath. It was getting a little warm, so I added some hot water.
Oh, one of the harpies’ wings is floating. Hmm, it’s beautiful. The color of the harpy’s feathers varies from person to person. Pirna’s feathers are generally bluish, while the harpies accompanying us now are pink, orange, blue, brown, and jet black. This feather is blue, so it must be Fronte’s.
The pink harpy is Bron, the orange harpy is Fitch, the brown harpy is Flame, and the jet-black harpy is Ray. They all adore me ever since I made an air bomb and actually tested its power in an experiment. It seems that they didn’t like being treated like toilet birds.
Hmm, Fronte’s feathers are quite beautiful when I look at it this way. It felt good to slide my fingers over the feather, and it had the right amount of elasticity. Bird feathers are kind of cool, aren’t they? Maybe there is a functional beauty here to grab the air and fly.
I slowly relaxed my overworked legs in the warm water and got out of the bath after I was sufficiently warmed up. Naturally, I was completely naked, but I could feel everyone’s eyes on me. No, no, no, a naked man is not something you want to look at while you’re eating, you know?
My body has gotten a little more toned since I came here, but I don’t have a lot of muscle. I don’t think it’s a body that would be pleasant to look at.
“Huh? That feather…”
As I changed my clothes and moved to the table where everyone was eating, Ray, the black harpy, noticed Fronte’s feather that I was holding in my hand. All eyes were now focused on Fronte’s feather.
“Hiya! W-wait! Please throw that away!”
Fronte, the owner of the feather, turned red and flapped her wings. It’s so cute.
“No, I just thought it was beautiful. Wings are beautiful and cool, aren’t they?”
When I said that while sliding my fingertips over Fronte’s feather, she turned over, covering her red face with her wings. When I look at it, the other harpies are also red-faced and fidgeting. What is it? Did I do something wrong?
“Sylphy, did I do something wrong?”
“Kosuke… how would you feel if someone was teasing you with an enraptured expression, telling you that your fallen hair was beautiful?”
I’d either feel disgusted or insanely embarrassed. If I dropped a bunch of curly hair and the opposite sex teased me about it while smirking at me… I’d be so embarrassed.
“Truthfully, I’m really sorry.”
“N-no… I meant if you liked it, um…”
Even though Fronte was still red in the face, she laughed and flapped her wings. Well, what should I do? This feather. I wonder if I should return it.
“P-please take good care of it, okay?”
I felt like I had to take it, so I decided to keep it in my inventory. The item’s name is Fronte’s Feather. Oh, is it a unique item? It’s got a proper name.
“Um, well then, mine too.”
“If you’d like it…”
“M-mine too, please.”
For some reason, I got a feather from each of the other harpies. The colorful feathers gathered in my hands. Hmm, it’s like a treasure. It’s so beautiful. When I was a child, picking up a bird feather made me feel like I had found a treasure. Even a crow’s feather is beautiful when I look closely.
“Kosuke… your eyes are shining.”
“Eh? Really? No, I remember when I was a kid, I used to pick up bird feathers and put them in my treasure box. It’s like going back to my childhood or something like that… There was no Harpy in my world. And I also haven’t seen many birds around where I live, so I haven’t had the chance to get any.”
While enjoying the touch of the harpies’ feathers, I told everyone about my childhood. I didn’t have much access to nature, so I used to read many insect books and animal books when I was a kid. Thinking about it, it was probably my behavior at that time that made me long for nature and survival.
Anyway, every time I slide my fingers over the feathers, the harpies are twitching and writhing. Are they okay? Aren’t they breathing hard? I’m starting to get the feeling that I’m in danger.
“Anyway, let’s get some sleep in preparation for tomorrow. We should be able to reach the frontline shelter tomorrow.”
That night I had a dream in which I was tickled all over with feathers. I don’t remember exactly what it was, but it seemed like an erotic dream… I wonder if I had this dream because the harpies writhing figure was kind of sexy.
“…I felt tired.”
“…It’s probably just your imagination.”
The next day, I felt kind of tired and leaned my head back. For some reason, Sylphy doesn’t make eye contact with me. Hmm, for some reason, my lower body seems to be clearer…? Is it just my imagination? I think the reason my body feels sluggish is because I’m still tired from yesterday.
“Good morning. It’s another beautiful day today.”
The Harpies are in good spirits today. They are healthy, and their skin and feathers look strangely shiny. Did the bath work? I don’t know why, but they all seem to be a little red in the face, and they approach me and stroke my body with the tips of their wings. My body is tingling for some reason, but why is this?
“Is there something strange…?”
“What? Don’t worry about it. I don’t care.”
It’s necessary, after all; I thought I heard Sylphy mutter. What is she talking about…? Could it be that while I was sleeping, the harpies did something to me? No, no, no, that can’t happen. I’m not a dead sleeper. There is no way I wouldn’t wake up if they did something to me while I was sleeping. No way. It won’t happen, is it?
In the end, I couldn’t get the truth, even though I tried to lure in Sylphy and the harpies. Gnunu, I’m so confused.
Giving up on finding out the truth, I prepared breakfast, cleaned up the temporary bath, and ran through the wilderness again. Perhaps the Gizma in this area had left to raid the Merinard Kingdom; we couldn’t find a single one. At the moment, there may only be Gizma near the center of the Great Omit Wilderness.
We ran on and on, passing the fourth shelter and reaching the frontline shelter around noon. Sylphy and I stayed here to build the fort, and she will be guarding me. The harpies will be scouting the area.
Using the blueprint function, I quickly built the walls and constructed the dormitories. I also built a stockpile warehouse and a watering hole and installed last resort devices in various places. What’s the last resort? That’s the thing. Hahaha. Explosions are a form of art, aren’t they?
The next step is to enter the underground shelter and expand the deepest part to create an escape route. We’ll need a way out when a large army surrounds us. Considering that 800 people, or even more than 1,000 if not more, will be escaping, the escape underground passage should be large enough. Of course, this underground passage will also be equipped with the last resort. If they come after us, we’ll blow them up.
Next, I laid out farmland blocks on the inside of the wall and sowed crop seeds. This will be ready to harvest in three days, so we should have some food to spare.
After sprinkling the water, I set up the golem-style ballista on top of the defensive wall. I also put down about twenty arrows for the ballista as well. It rarely rains around here anyway, so they won’t deteriorate that much.
Once I had done this much, all I had to do was wait for the liberation unit to return. Flame, the brown harpy, is very good at night vision, so I asked her to scout out the Holy Kingdom’s fort in the Merinard territory at night.
Apparently, there is no major movement at the moment.
That’s how I spent three days in a temporary fort that was an extension of the frontline shelter. During these three days, I produced more improved crossbows and more crossbow bolts as well. In some cases, the liberated people would have to fight as well.
The improved crossbow is a new model that uses the principle of leverage to pull the string. The item name registered in the crafting menu is Goat’s Foot Crossbow. Is it because the shape of the lever resembles a goat’s foot? It sure looks like it.
By the way, I feel like I’ve been sleeping strangely deep for the past three days.
When I go to bed at night, I’m completely sound asleep until the following day. I feel like I have a dream, but I’m not sure what it is. I thought it was because I felt like I had an erotic dream. I wondered if I was pent up because it felt like an erotic dream, but it wasn’t anything like that. In fact, I even feel refreshed.
And not only the harpies but also Sylphy’s skin seems to be glowing. After all, this might be some sort of method of putting me to sleep and doing various things to me while I’m asleep…? I have a suspicion, but I have no way of knowing for sure. Should I ask Sylphy about this? I do think it’s time to question her seriously.
When I was frustrated with such thoughts, I received a report from the harpies who had been out scouting; the Liberation Army troops moved from the frontline forts. It was probably the same unit that left after us.
I apologize to the 50 liberation troops who have arrived, but we need them to help us harvest the crops immediately. With the fifty people here and the sixty Liberation Army soldiers who have not yet returned from the Merinard Kingdom, a total of 110 is the maximum number of trained soldiers we can send to the temporary fort.
In fact, there are a few more trained soldiers, but we have to devote a certain amount of troops to defend the main base, the frontline forts, and the smaller bases along the way, so the number is about the same.
But if it’s just to shoot crossbows, we can add another hundred or so. This is the number of trained soldiers who are capable of some degree of hand-to-hand combat.
“So Danan remains at the frontline fort.”
“We need someone to hold that place together.”
Currently, only four people are able to work as generals who can be entrusted with the base: Danan, Sylphy, Sir Leonard, and Ms. Zamir. Sir Leonard is in command of the Liberation Army in the Merinard Kingdom, and Ms. Zamir is in charge of the main base. If Sylphy is here, then Danan can’t move from the frontline fort.
We waited for three more days, fortifying the temporary fort, sowing seeds in the farmland, and steadily building up our reserves.
After the reinforcements arrived, I felt like my sleep had returned to normal. Yeah, I’ll question Sylphy when things settle down. As I was crafting a quick meal, I received a report from the harpies who had been out scouting that they had found the liberated people.
“It seems they’re being chased by the Holy Kingdom’s army. The main army hasn’t caught up with them, but they’re being chased by fast cavalry.”
“It looks like Sir Leonard and Shumer are acting as their leaders. I suggest air support.”
Fitch, the orange harpy, and Ray, the black harpy, give reports and suggestions. In response to this, Sylphy nodded powerfully.
“That’s right; it’s time to use it. Kosuke.”
“Oh, let’s do it.”
I took out the air bomb for the harpies and nodded. This is the official version of the Harpy aerial bomb, which has been tested several times since then, with adjustments made to the fuse operating time, the amount of explosives, and improvements made to the shell. The shape has not changed much, but the power has increased by about 30% compared to the prototype.
After completing the reconnaissance, I attached the Harpy air bombs to the legs of the five harpies who had returned.
“I’ll repeat it; your safety comes first. Make sure to drop the bombs from a high altitude where you won’t be shot down. Also, take the utmost care not to involve your allies. It’s a serious matter.”
“Yes!” said all of the harpies.
With a cheerful reply, the five harpies took off and soared into the sky. And once they had gained enough altitude, they flew away in formation in the direction of the Merinard Kingdom. I followed them with my eyes as I climbed up the defensive wall, but they soon became invisible to my eyes.
“Is it okay?”
“They’ve probably done a lot of training with the simulated bombs. They’ll be fine.”
“I hope it goes as planned.”
I also worried about Sir Leonard, Shumer, and the others. I don’t think that an old man who is faithful to his desires or a strong woman like Shumer can be beaten so easily, but if they are protecting the liberated people, they will be forced to fight hard.
Moreover, it is said that the cavalry, which is the natural enemy of infantry, is chasing them… If they manage to do well, they will be able to attack them with crossbows, I have distributed two hand grenades to each member of the team as hidden weapons, and if they use them, they will be able to manage it… No matter how many warhorses the enemy may have, they will not be able to withstand a grenade, and the sound may scare them away. I’d like to think they’ll be okay.
“We should also prepare for defense.”
I really wanted to set up pitfalls and mines, but such traps might hurt the liberated people coming to the fort. I had no choice but to prepare an empty moat lined with wood spikes. The rest is ballista, crossbow, harpies aerial bombardment, and hand grenades to somehow drive back the Holy Kingdom army.
If it seems impossible, we will abandon this fort and escape together through the underground passage to the frontline fort. In that case, we will pull the enemy into the fort and then carry out the last resort. I hope we don’t have to go that far.
“A real war… Let’s see what happens.”
I think we’ve done all we can. The only thing left to do is to wait for our fate.