Here’s the chapter, enjoy~
Chapter 19 – The One Who Escaped
As I parked the microbus in front of the city gate, about ten people appeared to greet us from within the city walls.
They were carrying a variety of weapons in their hands, but none of them looked very strong. Perhaps the beastman and elves we carried are the most elite force currently available.
…Or maybe, the reason why they are in the Revolutionary Army or the Liberation Army is because of the unavoidable circumstances, and the beastman and the others’ main occupation is probably as farmers or hunters.
“What is this?”
“Is that a carriage? I don’t see any horses.”
“The thing on the front is a bear face, right? I’ve seen bears in the Dark Forest.”
“Bears aren’t that cute, are they?”
After a few moments of waiting, the gates opened, and we were welcomed in. The children sat in the back seat and did not get off, so we entered the city in the microbus.
…Oh, this is that, isn’t it? It’s like in “The Gauntlet” movie. The one where the bus gets shot from both sides by the cops and becomes a beehive. So far, the only thing that stings is the gazes.
There were forty to fifty people living in Casemaian, at least the ones that caught my eye. There were few women and children. I wonder if they couldn’t escape or if they were somewhere safe. They were also talking about how they were devoting people to patrolling and monitoring the area, so I estimated that there were around 100 people in total.
I stopped the car in the front yard of the church-like building, where it was wider, and told the kids to get out of the car so I could store the car. They complain, but I ignore them. This is not your toy or your secret base.
“I wanted to ride it more. Can’t you just leave it like this?”
Myrril, you too?
It’s fine to leave it there, but since it’s directly connected without an engine key, there’s a chance that it might start running while someone else is playing with it. To prevent accidents, I’d better store it away.
“It’s insane to let a human into the city. Who knows what he’ll do?”
“I’m not asking you to trust him. Just stay out of harm’s way.”
“How do I know he won’t hurt us?”
In the vestibule, the bear-man who had come with us in the microbus explained the situation to the people who had gathered. From the way he looked back at me from time to time and shook his head with some difficulty, it seemed that there was a lot of opposition to my acceptance, aside from Myrril.
During the discussion, I was met with looks of caution, anger, contempt, and even some murderous intent as I stood at a distance. If the situation was a war against humans, well, that’s what would have happened.
Thank goodness they’re not all against me and want me gone immediately, but there’s room for discussion.
Myrril is standing in front of me, trying to take care of all the bad intentions. I’m grateful for that, but I’m sorry if it has caused the beastman, elves, and dwarves to distrust her as well.
“Myrril, don’t worry about me; you should join the conversation over there…”
“But you know…”
“When I say no, then no! As far as I could tell from their words, they must have survived to this point after years of hardship. I understand their deep-seated distrust of humans. I understand that they are wary. But I can’t stand it when they look down on Yoshua like that!”
This noja loli is really a good girl…
But there’s something that’s bothering me. From what I’ve heard, people seem to think that Myrril is being used as my slave.
I guess they misunderstood me because of what I said when I tried to force Myrril to stay with me.
In other words, well, it’s my fault.
“Wait, how could you misunderstand me! I’m not Yoshua’s slave, and he doesn’t have any slaves in the first place!”
“How can you be so sure? If you have any facts to prove it, please tell us. You can’t prove anything, can you?”
I’m not sure if it’s only inflammatory words, tit or tat, or something like a kid’s quarrel, but the small man who seems to be a dwarf gives Myrril a piercing look.
I don’t know what kind of imagination led him to make that face, but I didn’t do anything to deserve it.
“Oh, well, I’ll tell you what. First of all, I don’t have any money.”
It was Myrril who looked most dismayed by my words, which I thought I had managed to help out.
What is it? I’m a man who doesn’t choose the means to achieve his goals despite my appearance, you know?
“I don’t have any gold or silver coins, or even copper coins, to buy a slave. Even if I were to force myself to capture one, I’d probably have less strength than that kid… Helma, right? I’m no better than her. Of course, I’m also slower than a beastman.
I started to feel a bit nervous. The beastman, in particular, took a bite out of my explanation.
Probably in a different direction than I intended.
“Hey, you’re kidding, right? Aside from his legs, his strength is… I mean, yeah, he may be right?”
“No, really. If I pushed him, he would have been blown up and not be able to move.”
That’s right. That was unexpected, but it worked pretty well.
Hearing Helma’s overly honest words, the subhumans, the beastman and others changed their attitudes. Their hostility and malice disappeared, and they looked at me as if they were looking at something pitiful. Oh no, I think I’m going to cry.
The elf man looked at me, tilting his head. There was a light tickling sensation all over his body as if he was appraising me.
“…Hmm, his magic power is also average. It may be high for a human, but it’s poor for a mage.”
I was so disappointed that I fell to my knees.
I knew it somehow, but I’m really that bad, huh…
“But, you know, he took off the slave’s collar. With magic.”
“What? Can you take off a slave’s collar? I couldn’t get it off no matter what I tried.”
I took the slave’s collar out of storage and threw it out nearby.
“If anyone is having trouble getting it off, bring them to me later.”
“Oh, this is… you didn’t cut it off, huh? You really did remove it by magic.”
“Yes, he did. He also told me that he killed the kingdom’s mages and cavalry and that he brought the adults who died trying to protect us here. And he also gave us food and blankets.”
The beastman children who I had brought here tried to convince the adults to help me.
It was too late to follow up ― and I didn’t mean to give them the blanket ― but it seemed to soften their attitude a little.
“Hey, you. Is it true that you carried the body?”
Oh yeah, I forgot.
I asked them to spread a blanket on the ground, and I took the three bodies of the “Casemaian Liberation Army” out of my storage and handed them over.
The recipients were four elderly men and women and a young woman who looked like they were family members of the deceased. They all looked like they were about to cry, but they nodded and stroked the bodies lovingly.
“They seemed to have fought bravely to protect the children. By the time we got there, they were already dead… I’m sorry we couldn’t help them.”
“It’s okay. My brothers always said that. They always said it was their duty to protect and reclaim those who were captured.”
“If we had not sensed the danger with the magical light they were using to fight, we would have approached them unprotected and would have been killed as well. In that sense, they are a lifesaver not only for the children but for the two of us as well.”
“…I’m glad you said that, and my brother, too…”
The rest is inexpressible. The beastman’s girl broke down in tears, and the bereaved family members around her were gently comforting her.
“…Well, okay. We’ll allow you to stay. Helma and the others should keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn’t do anything strange.”
The residents, who had been blaming me and the others with venomous faces, broke up and went back to their homes and jobs. The remaining beastman children looked at each other, their tails hanging down in unison.
“Eeehh… that’s troublesome…”
“But I don’t hate this guy because he has good food.”
“Well, if he gives it to me again, I can keep watch.”
…Hey, wait, does the person being watched have to pay for the cost of the watcher?
I mean, maybe I should teach these little beastman boys and girls that being overly honest is not a virtue. Yeah.
I turned around to see if I could organize my things in storage for now, and the warm-eyed Myrril confronted me.
“…Yoshua, I think you should choose your words a little better.”
“Well, I’m glad it worked out in the end.”
She shook her head at my unintentional response. No, no, no, I can’t react when you look at me like a mother looking at a stupid child like that. Especially for a little girl who’s only half my age.
The way I see it, you have a habit of underestimating your own value. I don’t know what made you do it. So this is my selfishness.”
The serious-looking Myrril looked at me straight in the face.
“Remember that. I will not allow anyone who is important to me to be neglected.”
Chapter 20 – The Sound of Military Boots
“The kingdom’s army has begun to move.”
The elves of the Casemaian Liberation Army brought the information to Myrril and me.
As expected, we were not invited to the war council, but they seemed to be concerned about us. Maybe they are expecting us to be a force to be reckoned with.
“So the war is starting, after all.”
Whether it can be called a war depends on the strength of the kingdom’s army. Looking at the number of people on this side, it is likely that it will end up being a local conflict at best or even a simple massacre at worst.
Of course, I’m not going to talk about it. Instead, I ask as calmly as I can.
“How many soldiers are there?”
“According to the scouts who have infiltrated the capital, the total number of troops is less than 30,000. Infantry 22,000, cavalry 3,000, archers 1,000, mages 200, transportation 2,000, carriages 800.
“…That’s a lot.”
Not just a lot, but 30,000 against a hundred barbarians. That’s insane. What are they thinking? The transportation corps alone could kill us all.
Myrril and I were going to rent a house in the abandoned part of Casemaian to discuss our future, but there was no need for that for the time being. There may be no future. Or, rather, the future that I had just pictured for myself was definitely not there.
A gloomy feeling spreads in my chest.
From the perspective of the kingdom’s army, this is just a subjugation. This is just a cleanup battle to nip a rebellion in the bud. It was clear what the excessive mobilization of troops indicated. Just like the other territories they had annexed and absorbed, they were making an example of those who had rebellious intentions. Even if they surrendered, they were not allowed to surrender. Women and children would be slaughtered at will, without regard to their status.
“Oh, and by the way. There is a rumor that concerns me. It is said that the hero who is summoned from the other world… and his companions will take the lead of the whole army to defeat the abomination that overflowed from the demon forest.”
――Oh, man, seriously?
I tried to keep my face calm so that it wouldn’t tense up. I could see that Myrril’s gaze was directed at me, but I avoided eye contact and tilted my head questioningly.
This is, could it be that my presence has brought in too much force?
“Oh, a hero, huh? Another high-profile guy comes out of the woodwork. …So, what’s this side’s strength?”
“There are about 100 that can fight. I’d estimate that only about half of those can be put on the line as a frontline force.”
Right? I knew that. They call themselves the liberation army of a subhuman country, but in reality, they are just like a bunch of bandits. They can’t even compete with the regular army.
The subhuman troops with leather armor are powerless against regular soldiers wearing armor and carrying swords and possibly shields. No matter how powerful the elves’ longbows are, they are not enough to penetrate the shields. Even if they had that much power, there were only 20 elven archers at most. They would not be able to stand up to 10,000 enemies. It’s not just a matter of numbers anymore. The numbers alone are more than enough to be a big problem, though.
“…So, in terms of frontline strength alone, it’s 50 against 25,000. Or more.”
“Pwahahahahaha! It’s almost funny how far this has come, isn’t it?”
I know, I know, but Myrril-san, please read the atmosphere. The elf-san’s face is dumbfounded, his blood is drained, and he looks like a haniwa (a clay figurine).
“Hey, don’t look so irritated! Aside from myself, who do you think this guy is?”
“Eh, wait, Myr…”
“The name of this man is Tekehu Yoshua, a fantastic and outrageous mage. Just like the hero, he is a monster from another world. He has already declared war on the foolish king of Saliant face to face. I have already assumed that he will challenge the kingdom before long!”
――Myrril-neesan, that’s too much!
There are some things that I feel I’ve told her and some things that I haven’t before I came here, but even before that, the image of me is 100% fictional, far removed from reality.
Moreover, she kept her position as if she had nothing to do with it!
I don’t know if it’s a fake smile or an affectionate smile, but the elf’s lips curved slightly.
In fact, if there’s anything they can cling to, they’ll cling to it, even if it’s an illusion. Otherwise, their feelings will be crushed before the war begins.
To the north is a dense forest where magical beasts roam. It’s impossible to escape to another country again after having escaped. Subhumans have always been oppressed in every country. What kind of country would want to protect them by turning the most powerful country against them?
There is nowhere to run. If they are defeated, they will die here. And of course, that means us too.
“By the way… has that scout seen a strange big bow on a cart?”
The elf’s eyes narrowed at Myrril’s casual words.
“Why, have you seen it?”
“You saw it, didn’t you? How many?”
“…4. And about ten smaller ones that the soldiers carry.”
Myrril looked at me with a desperate expression for a moment. If the mechanical bows kill the people here ― and they certainly will be if they are shot with them ― her eyes are telling me that it is her fault.
I smiled and shook my head. That’s not going to happen. I would never allow the technology that Myrril had created to be used as a tool to kill her comrades.
I slapped the little dwarf girl on the back with my hand. There was a resounding thud, and she let out a girlish scream and recoiled. I scratched the head of the teary-eyed dwarf girl and smirked at her.
“Hey, hey, hey, don’t give me that sour look, Myrril-chan!”
“You said it yourself; who do you think I am? A fantastic, outrageous, monster mage, right?”
If you’re going to make a mess of it, you’ll have to ride it to the end with your eyes. It may sound like I’m holding a root, but you’re right. I’m a small person. Anyway, who is Tekehu Yoshua?
“T-that’s right. You can defeat a hero who also came from the other world, right?”
“He’s just an idiot, isn’t he? I could beat him with one punch.”
Oh no, I’ve covered this girl’s crazy story even more. Stop it already. If I raise the bar any higher, I won’t be able to pick up that act…
The dwarf girl and I look at each other with a wicked smile. Our hearts are in each other’s hands, for better or worse.
The elf also doesn’t understand the meaning of “one-punch”, but he seems to have picked up the meaning of “easy win”.
“…Is it okay to trust it…?”
“Of course you can! Right, Mir!”
“Yeah, of course!”
Cheerfulness is part of strength. And bluffing is part of the skill. That’s what the Japanese salaryman is.
Just look at the life of a company employee who has survived by crawling from the bottom to the top!
“So, I have a suggestion. …Or rather a favor.”
The elf stiffens a little at my words. There is no distrust in his eyes. I’m sure he’s still in the mindset that anything can do if he can rely on it. He nodded and urged me to go on.
“I’ll kill 10,000 of those 30,000. I will also prepare the means to kill the remaining 20,000. In return, I want you to lend a hand. Promise me that you will fight with me until the end?”
The elf’s face contorts into a grimace for a moment. And then, finally, a real, not fake, smile appeared on his face. This is the first time I’ve seen an elf smile like that, and it was surprisingly childlike and innocent.
“Of course, even at the cost of my life!”