It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (6/43), enjoy~
A small hill a short distance from where the rebel army had established their camp. Now that darkness had settled in, not even the light of the stars could reach this place, which was surrounded by woods.
In the shade of the grass, four men were hiding under their breath as if buried in the snow, watching the southern army. They were dressed in white so as to blend in with the surrounding scenery, and clumps of leaves could be seen all over their bodies, perhaps to mimic their surroundings. They even smeared mud on their faces.
“That’s enough. Shouldn’t we leave while we can before they figure out what we’re up to?”
“Shouldn’t we still observe them? In the meantime, Let’s send one man to report back.”
As the two men argued, another man who has a big body lying on the ground opened his mouth, choking back a sigh.
“There is no need to be hasty. The enemy is five thousand strong. I think it would be the same even if we didn’t report it.”
“It’s true; we have 30,000. It is not a difference in strength that can be overturned no matter how hard they try.”
The other one, an old soldier, snickered at the southern army’s encampment as he sipped his plundered wine. As the two soldiers continued to stand guard, the old man leaned over a barrel of wine.
“You guys ought to relax with the watching and have a drink. There is no meat, though.”
“There’s plenty of meat on the streets, though.”
It was human meat, though, the big man added with a sly grin.
However, the two guards didn’t seem to move until the shift change and didn’t show any reaction. The old soldier cleared his throat and sighed boringly.
“You kids are so damn serious and annoying. Do you want to keep on guard forever until you get old?”
“Well, old man. We’re on a mission, so you should keep things in check. We have to escape if we are discovered.”
The old soldier sniffed in amusement as the big man poured some wine into a wooden cup.
“You’re the one who can’t even stand up, so don’t get too cocky.”
“Gahahaha, it’s all right. I’m young, after all, and unlike you, old man. I can fight if necessary.”
“Hmph, you’re talking out of your ass, young man. Anyway, I wonder when our commander will be back from taking a piss.”
“He must have fallen asleep somewhere. He’s been drinking a lot, too.”
“In this cold weather, he might have frozen to death somewhere. That’s what happens when you’re too weak to drink.”
“You can’t give up on alcohol on a boring mission like this.”
The big man with a weird accent stood up abruptly and raised his hand to the old soldier who was giving him a suspicious look.
“I’m going to pee for a minute and look for the commander.”
“Be careful; you might slip and hit your head and die.”
“Old man, you better not be freezing when I returned, okay?”
As soon as he was told, the big man slipped and fell to the ground.
“Look. I told you, right? You’re not leaking it in your pants, are you?”
“It hurts ― of course not. I just got my feet caught in the mud…”
When the big man rubbed the ground, a persistent grinding sound was heard.
He raises his hand above his head, relying on the moonlight spilling through the trees.
From his wrist to the tip of his hand, it was stained red. Besides, a drop of liquid falls on the big man’s cheek. He wiped his cheeks with his arm depressingly and then looked back to see that the old soldier had disappeared.
“Huh? Hey, old man?”
He turned his head around. The two soldiers on guard were still there, but only the old soldier had suddenly disappeared.
“Hey, you guys, where’s the old man…?”
He grabbed the guard by the shoulders and tried to turn to look back, but gravity pulled them down.
“No way, hey.”
The two guards were cut off from the neck down. The big man backed away in fear, and the ground was wet with blood.
“What is this? I must be drunk…”
The man was so drunk that he didn’t know if it was real or not.
The big man ran through the woods with unsteady steps, hoping that it was a dream.
“Shit… I really don’t understand.”
His instincts told him that he shouldn’t be here. He felt his drunkenness sinking into him. But the body doesn’t. The big man ran desperately to the place where he had left his horse, falling down several times. He gets more scrapes and bleeds all over his body, but when he reaches his destination…
A small, disgusting scream rises from his throat. The sight that met the man’s eyes was the corpse of an old soldier hanging from a tree.
At the base of the tree sat a young man in black. His black eyes, darker than the darkness itself, were fixed on the big man.
He immediately tried to pull out the sword at his waist. But he could not move his arm, and when he looked at it, he saw that it was missing from his shoulder. The big man’s screams burst into the dark night, and his big body rolled around on the ground.
“Now, I suppose there’s not much information I can get from a low-level guy like you.”
The young man stepped on the snow and approached ― but then he disappeared from the big man’s sight.
“The night is long. I’d be happier if you were less reluctant to talk.”
The big man was kicked in the back and rolled over, hitting his face on the ground.
“How much do you know about the three demon generals? Especially I want to know about the guy named Baal.”
The big man’s sword was clutched in the young man’s hand as if he had stolen it at some point. When he saw it out of the corner of his eye, the big man waved his remaining arm to stop the young man.
“Wait, wait, wait! What are you going to do?”
A flickering blade sliced through his arm. A splash of blood, followed by the man’s scream, rang out.
“You’re hurting my ears.”
The big man’s head rolled around, making a path of blood on the ground, and stopped when it hit someone’s toe. The person was the man that the old soldier and the big man had called their commander.
He was tied up with a rope and had a cloth over his mouth.
“I hope you’ve sobered up by now.”
The young man, Hiro, removed the cloth covering the commander’s mouth.
“W-what do you want to know? I’ll tell you anything I know!”
“Well, let’s start with the man called Baal.”
“No one knows the true identity of Baal-sama. I-I’m not lying! Probably not even the Crown Prince Fraus knows.”
“…Then such a man is your chief strategist?”
“He was trusted by the previous king. Above all, for the sake of the country, Baal-sama continued to work with all his might. He’s very popular in our country now.”
“I know that much. Is there anything else?”
The commander’s lips quivered as he gnashed his teeth when Hiro flicked the blade of his sword at him.
“I don’t really know anything about him. It’s impossible for a mere commander like me to provide any details!”
“I see, now for the next question. Why did you attack the south?”
“You started it, didn’t you? You killed the king and kidnapped the princess! It’s enough reason to start a war. And the southern part of the country is full of humans, many of whom are cooperating with the Grantz Empire.”
“Did you see the king being killed? Did you see the princess being kidnapped?”
The commander became speechless and silent at Hiro’s words.
“You just heard about it, didn’t you? Baal, or Crown Prince Fraus, explained that an envoy from the Grantz Empire killed the king and kidnapped the princess. Isn’t that right?”
“Yes, that’s right. The old nobles also had informants.”
“And what about those who became informants?”
“I heard that they were killed on the spot, but some of them were thrown in jail.”
“I see. So they took the ones they could use as hostages and killed the ones they didn’t need.”
The man didn’t seem to understand what Hiro was muttering, and he had a quizzical expression on his face. Hiro lifted his sword silently as if he did not intend to explain.
When the commander saw the sword emitting a dull light, his blood changed.
“Wait! Please don’t kill me!”
“Don’t worry. I still have a few questions I want to ask you.”
“A-ask me anything you want!”
“Well, let me ask you this… who gave the order to commit such a barbaric act to harm the people?”
“It was Baal-sama.”
“Have you ever taken part in plunder?”
“No. I swear it. Most of the people who plunder are criminals.”
Although the demon race in the Levering Kingdom is thin-blooded, long-lived people make up more than half of the population. Criminals are no exception to this, and many of the facilities that house them are on the verge of being overrun.
That’s why they took advantage of this war to incorporate about five thousand of them into the army.
“Many of the regular soldiers have been influenced by them and are taking part in the plunder because of the orders of Baal-sama. But an honorable demon like me would never plunder…”
The commander couldn’t finish what he was saying. His head fell to the ground.
“I can tell you’re lying.”
Hiro threw away his sword and took a glance at the corpse with his frosty eyes before walking away.
“More and more, there was no reason to keep Baal or the Crown Prince Fraus alive.”
As if melting into the darkness, and even the moonlight sank, Hiro quietly disappeared.