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Chapter 45 – The Road Leading To The Royal Capital
It was noon on the second day after we left Casemaian, and we were making our way along a road that stretched through a small forest. Yadar, the tiger girl, poked her head out of the back seat of the car and seemed to be in a good mood, catching the wind.
“See, it’s better in the daytime, isn’t it? It’s nicer, and the visibility is better.”
“Well, yeah. But I need you to take extra precautions, okay?”
“Oh, I got it!”
The Humvee is stronger and faster on rough roads than a bear-faced microbus, but it’s over two meters wide and nearly five meters long, so it’s hard to keep an eye out for oncoming vehicles (horse-drawn carriages) or people walking by.
I thought it would be easier if we moved around at night since we wouldn’t see anyone. Hence we tried moving around at night right after we left Casemaian, but this was unpopular with the ladies, who said that their physical condition and skin tone were not good the next day.
I was the one driving, so why not just sleep in the car?
So, we decided to camp early that day and leave early the next morning.
In fact, I found that daytime was easier in many ways. Although you don’t have to worry about being seen at night, you can’t cover as much distance as you might think, and it’s hard on the eyes with only headlights.
Besides, if we were to encounter an enemy at night, we would not be able to maintain our advantage with firearms. In the daytime, it would be easier to detect them in advance and deal with them from a distance.
It was rather shallow wisdom on my part.
“Myrril, how far is it to the royal capital?”
“Around 120 miles, I think.”
…Uh, that’s about 200 kilometers, right?
The road we are on is different from the one we took to escape from the capital, an eastern route that connects the capital to the empire.
The distance to the capital is longer than the previous route, but the reason is that this route has better visibility, wider roads, and fewer human settlements along the way.
“My guess is correct; Humvee can go faster on this road than on the road to Casemaian.”
“Well, yes. We can’t go this fast on the previous road. We can’t stop in case something happens.”
“But there are more bandits and brigands here. The better the visibility, the easier for them to attack. The merchants who travel to and from the empire have plenty of money, after all.”
“If they have money, why don’t they bring guards?”
“I think they must see the difference in strength between the two sides and decide to fight. That’s one way to live. Winning and losing are…”
The UZI sounded in the passenger seat. As we pass by, a man with a bow falls from a tree. The men hiding in the surrounding bushes looked away from Humvee, who remained stiff.
“It’ll be decided soon, won’t it?”
“Myrril, Misnel, Milka, Minya… Why are there so many names starting with ‘Mi’ among the Casemaians?”
“Yadar is different. She’s a beastman, after all.”
“Maybe it’s more common among Elves and Dwarves. Parents give them to their baby girls. It’s also an article of the Holy Spirit.”
“Mi,” if you pronounce it correctly. It’s pronounced “mee,” like ” mee-ru-ril,” “mee-su-nel,” “mee-ru-ka,” “mee-eunya.”
[T/n: I apologize, I do not really understand about this either.]
Well, even if you say it like that. I don’t know any of them. I’m not very good at remembering people’s names, and I’m not very good at languages either, so I’m getting confused. I’ll just nod my head and say, “I see.”
“Does Yadar have an official pronunciation?”
“Of course not. Yadar is Yadar.”
Yes, beastman are simple.
“Yoshua, did you just make fun of me? You thought beastman were simple or stupid, didn’t you?”
“No, I didn’t!”
Oh, man, her instincts are sharp. That’s a beastman for you…
“Shh! Yoshua, something’s moving in the back right corner.”
Minya, who had taken Yadar’s place on the rear gunner’s seat, poked me with her toe. It means there is something at the end of the forest, at the end of a loose blind corner to the right. It’s about 20 meters to the forest’s edge, which is covered by a protective barrier. I slowed down to take a look.
“Should we stop?”
“Keep the speed at this level and go around the left side of the road. Suppose there is no obstacle, breakthrough. If there is a roadblock, go straight back.”
When my vision opened up from the forest, I saw a fallen tree blocking the road. It was an obvious stumbling block.
There were eight men on either side of the path wearing the remains of dirty armor, either bandits or defeated soldiers who had become thieves. In their hands were spears and swords, and judging from their unity of command and their complete equipment, they seemed to be defeated soldiers.
There are three men with bows in the bushes at the back, and unlike the bandit archers we saw a while ago, they are not trying to hide. It was a sign of confidence that the archers would be able to defeat the guards of the merchants.
…If they were on the battlefield in the past, it means that they are not capable of learning.
I’m not going to stop even if I’m told to do so by a group of men who seem to be wild thieves. I did as Minya instructed and backed up to get out of sight of the enemy.
I’m still in range of the bow, but no arrows are falling, and the men with melee weapons show no signs of moving.
“Minya, don’t use the M60. It is a waste of ammunition.”
“Copy that… Yoshua, you’re being impatient.”
I hear you, but those 7.62mm NATO rounds are too much firepower for that flimsy armor.
By the way, in terms of the procurement price from Simon, the cheapest ammunition is AKM military ammunition (green-painted steel casings, cheaper than the 45-caliber pistol ammunition made by famous manufacturers), but I have five AKM on hand (four spares prepared as escorts for the machine gun seat, and one recovered from the loss in the battle against the hero. (Incidentally, the first one I used was torn to pieces and could not be reused.)
Myrril doesn’t seem to be interested in anything other than his favorite pair of .45s, so I gave one of the AKM I have to Yadar. I thought she would prefer to use the M1903, which she is used to handling, but she seems to be less particular than I thought.
“Yadar, can you handle the archer?”
“I’ve got thirty mags; I can handle all of them.”
As soon as she said that, she dismounted and fired three shots into the air. The archer fell and did not move.
“Oh, hey, don’t shoot the guy on the left!”
The other eight were about to be shot dead as well, so I hurriedly told her to leave the man who seemed to be the commander alone. When Yadar’s reply came back, seven of them had been shot in the chest and had stopped moving.
The old man, who had just had ten of his men killed instantly, was frozen in fear, unable to move a muscle. If I had been one second slower in my instructions, he would have been dead for sure.
“Wow, not bad, AKM, not as good as the M1903, but up to a quarter of a mile, it hits reasonably well.”
“I heard it’s not that accurate. Well, I haven’t used much other than the AKM, so I don’t know much about it.”
“What does it matter what the comparison is? All you have to do is get close enough to hit.”
“There’s a difference.”
Yadar smiled and nodded at Myrril’s words. It is a muscle head conversation.
I pulled my AKM out of storage and approached the slumped man.
“Tell me your affiliation, rank, status, and why you’re here.”
“Who the hell are you?”
A gunshot rang out, and the head of the corpse next to him popped off. After a short gasp, the old man’s mouth instantly became light, and he began to talk about everything and anything. The faces of Myrril and the others who were listening to this became dubious and cloudy. Maybe I’m looking at them the same way. It seems that the situation progressed faster and more rapidly than I expected.
“…Civil war in the capital?”
“Yeah, that’s right. The rumor that the subhumans led by the Demon King were going to attack was the trigger. The rebel army, led by Duke Lumois and Marquis Elkel, overwhelmed the royal capital. The royal family is all missing, as well as the hero, the sage, and the saint.”
“So, what are you doing here in such an emergency?”
“It’s because it’s an emergency! Nobles of the upper-middle class are desperate to survive. We lower-class nobles, knights, and commoners have no superiors to ask for instructions. Supplies and wages have been cut off. There is nowhere for any of us to go back to! The only thing we can rely on is our own strength!”
Chapter 46 – Spark of Civil War
On the evening of the day I heard about the civil war in the royal capital, I was entering a farming village called Yerkel. A flat, rural landscape dotted with small forests. The village population is probably around 100, about 50 miles from the royal capital, and since the edge of the village faces the highway, it is a busy stopping point for trading parties.
Yadar suggested that we stop here.
“I heard that there is a secret agent of the Liberation Army in Yerkel. His name is Likola.”
“A half-breed, yes. He looks like a human. He lives in a village and runs a small inn.”
“That’s very convenient. Why don’t we stay there tonight?”
“The inn will be a good place to gather information, I agree.”
“I hope the food is good. A bath would be even better.”
Minya’s attention was focused on her own needs. I hope you haven’t forgotten our business.
“Yoshua, the guards will go ahead of you. You look at the rear.”
I’m wearing a low-class merchant’s cotton outfit that I got in Casemaian. I put my conspicuous firearms and Humvee in storage and carried a small cloth sack on my back. The contents were salt, which I had divided into small bags beforehand. I felt like a traveling merchant doing small business with my hands.
According to Yadar, who had coordinated our royal-style preparations, the fact that we looked like we didn’t have much money was good for our safety.
Let’s not worry about it.
Myrril, Yadar, and Minya, who did not look like merchants by any stretch of the imagination, were dressed in linen clothes that looked like comfortable work clothes and shoulder bags that looked like travelers, craftsmen, or adventurers.
If anyone asks me what our relationship is, I will insist that they are my bodyguards. It would be unreasonable, but I don’t know about that.
Myrril has a small sword on her hip and a UZI hidden in her backpack. Minya also stubbornly refused to give up her sawed-off shotgun, but this right-handed hunting elf has a trigger-happy streak, so we decided to keep it until we left the village for safety.
However, it would be a shame if we were all left empty-handed, so I gave Minya a bow and Yadar a machete, but since I prepared them on the spur of the moment, I didn’t want them to get a second glance at me.
Yadar’s is a black carbon steel military machete made by Ontario, and Minya’s is a compound bow with a pulley. No one in this world has such a thing. I told her to hide it from the eyes of others if she could, but she still didn’t understand.
“Yoshua cares too much. The belongings of a traveler from far away are more or less curious, aren’t they?”
“Yes, yes, and if they ask, I’ll just say it’s a dwarven invention.”
With the three muscle brain girls in tow, I walked down what I thought was the village’s main street.
There are more stores than I expected, with farmers and merchants doing their daily business. So far, there didn’t seem to be any problems caused by the civil war.
“Over there is the Winged Dragon’s Tail Pavilion.”
“Oh, the wyvern was delicious, wasn’t it?”
“Hey, Minya, don’t talk about that outside. We’re gonna get in trouble.”
“It doesn’t matter if it becomes a problem.”
“Myrril, that doesn’t make any sense.”
“A problem is a problem because it cannot be solved. If you have the ability to deal with it properly, it’s not a problem. It’s like a stone on the street; you can just kick it away.”
Something called me. I turned around in disgust.
When I turned around reluctantly, I saw six very shabby men who looked like some kind of bottom-feeder manual laborers. They were looking at me and smirking.
I can’t believe it; this is a flag that I’m going to get tangled up. And it’s the kind of thing that’s guaranteed to happen until the other guy gets back at you.
“You’ve got a nice girl. It looks like you’re a merchant, right? So the woman is a product, right?”
Oops. It’s just like the picture of a typical low-life character. I’m impressed with it.
Myrril and I are both wanted persons. There was no way we were going into a brawl where there were dozens of people watching. I should pretend to run away with my rage through skills that I’ve cultivated in my life as a company employee and pull them into a secluded place to shut them up.
First of all, I need to nail the muscle brain girls not to do anything unnecessary…
The man who was shouting at me crumpled to his knees.
Yes, when the noja loli nee-san hits you in the side of the head, you will lose consciousness for a moment before you faint in agony. And then you can’t wake up.
It’s not painful or agonizing. It’s like, “I want to lie down.”
One by one, the men who were in a fighting stance fell over and quieted down, with each sound of flesh being gouged. Yadar’s cat punch blew away the man who seemed to be the group leader, and there were only two left.
“Master. What shall we do with these men?”
“…What’s with the tone, Yadar?”
“It’s an escort setting.”
Don’t call it a setting. I mean, don’t wave at me after you’ve just blown them off.
“I don’t care how you do it; you’ve already used your powers. What do you want me to do at this point?”
“I’m sorry, Master. I had no choice but to defend my Master.”
“No, no, no, don’t make it sound like it’s my fault. You all have been going at it from the start, haven’t you?”
Minya walks up to the men who have completely lost their will to fight. Her face does not hide her disdain and pity.
“And what do you wish to do?”
The two stern males stiffened as the small, slender girl stared at them with icy eyes.
She was the only one in this place who hadn’t gotten her hands dirty, but she had more experience shooting people than the three of us combined. The murderous intent in her eyes was not ordinary. The men screamed and ran away.
“I’ll give them credit for not leaving their fallen comrades behind, even if they are underlings.”
They dragged them away, leaving a trail of blood in their wake. It’s strange that they should have only been beaten by girls (bar reading).
The faces of the villagers surrounding us are all tense. After seeing what these girls are capable of, they can’t do anything about it, but you can tell that they think they are foreign beings that should be eliminated.
“…I guess we can’t make contact in the village anymore.”
“It is unavoidable. If we visit him in this state, his identity may be exposed.”
“Wait a minute. Who do you think is responsible for this?”
“It’s Yoshua’s fault that things got out of hand. I was just trying to do the right thing.”
“No, no, no, you look like you’re having a great time.”
“Actually, it was fun, wasn’t it?”
“Yadar, why don’t you do a little self-reflection?”
As we whispered to each other, we started to escape from the village.
Originally, we stopped by to gather information before entering the royal capital. It’s not worth it to stay long in this situation. We should move toward the deserted fields, get Humvee out, and then head for the royal capital at once.
Unfortunately, that was not going to happen. The perimeter of the village was completely surrounded.
“Is that the kingdom army?”
“…Hmm, I’ve never seen such military gear before. At least it was not one of the armies that had invaded Casemaian. Is that the local army?”
“No. I saw them back home, but I don’t think everyone knows that.”
Minya pointed to a banner in the distance.
“That’s the Imperial Army.”