Here’s the chapter, enjoy~
Chapter 59 – Antelope, Heading West
It was a sunny afternoon. Myrril and I were traveling quietly south along the road that connects the kingdom’s capital with Casemaian, keeping close to each other.
…It was supposed to be.
It was supposed to be a sweet road trip just the two of us, but now there were people around us.
“Uooh! As I thought, this is so much fun!”
“…Amazing, the wind is dancing…♪”
There are two muscle-brained idiots who squeeze the throttle at full speed, shouting and running fast.
Putting aside Minya, Yadar is terrible. Just after starting the car, she immediately pushed the gas pedal to the max. Constantly at full throttle. Is there nothing but zero or one in your life?
What kind of apocalypse is this? I was expecting it, but…
“Fast! It’s so fast! Much faster than Hanbi!”
Minya, please don’t use that line. It tingles a soft spot in the back of my mind.
“…Hey, Yoshua. Shouldn’t we be trying to keep a low profile?”
“That’s right, that’s exactly what you said.”
How is this possible?
It started with the fact that one of the major purchases I had made was a Ural with a sidecar.
The Ural is a classic motorcycle made by a Russian company called IMZ or something like that, and it started out as a copy of a Nazi German military motorcycle (horizontally opposed-twin engine BMW). And I’m not sure if it’s venerable or not. It’s supposed to be in active production with a few minor modernizations, but the fact that it’s looking like Nazi cosplayer sticks in the mind of a half-hearted military geek like me.
The sidecar’s wheels also drive, so it’s not bad for driving… it is my excuse for not wasting money.
I thought of putting Myrril in the sidecar for this road trip and going like a WW2 German messenger. I even got her a matching bowl-shaped helmet and goggles.
The Ural, which was being serviced before departure, was quickly spotted by the two muscle-brained girls.
“Oh, that looks interesting. What’s that?”
“It can only hold three people…?”
“I won’t give you this Ural. It’s for Myrril and me.”
“I don’t mind. I like that one better.”
“Hmm. That one looks interesting, too. It’s kind of thin and looks like a fawn. I wonder if I can ride that one.”
Simple firearms, machine tools, and vehicles were procured as teaching tools for the Dwarves to work as engineers for Casemaian. The Honda off-road motorcycles that were among them caught Minya and Yadar’s interest… or rather, they did.
Although they adore the Humvee with its extra armor and gun turrets and the yellow school bus Torajima-go, they have the brains to understand that those huge, fuel-hungry vehicles should not be allowed to run around for personal fun.
“Hey Yoshua, can I take a little ride in this?”
“I won’t break it. I’ll clean it up later.”
It was a mistake for me to agree to it, as I happened to be busy with other matters at the time.
Since I had six of the same bike, I had thought that I would be able to handle it even if it broke a little.
Before noon, I taught them how to start the engine, put it in gear, connect the clutch, and use the front and rear brakes.
When we went outside for lunch after the work was finished, I was surprised to see Yadar and Minya running around the plains at a crazy speed. And then I thought.
Maybe this is a bad idea. I can’t give something like that to those muscle brains.
Well, that’s what happens.
I had refused to go with them this time, saying that it was only for research and preliminary negotiations, but I was persuaded, albeit half-heartedly, by the argument that if we had to evacuate the refugees in an emergency ― and, to be honest, the odds were pretty high ― we would need a driver and escort for the transport vehicle.
After all, it was a last-ditch effort. There’s nothing better than having support in case of an emergency. Even though it’s a little bit difficult to believe these muscle-brained girls…
“Nice, my antelope! I’ll have to put the antlers on when I get back!”
“Don’t name it! I mean, stop naming things!”
“Don’t worry; they’re all ‘antelope’ now.”
They’re going to treat all Hondas of the same model (with a few color differences) the same. That’s not okay at all.
The meaning of covert action has been completely lost. I knew it was coming, but…
“Well, the kingdom is in chaos. There’s nothing to worry about.”
I nodded reluctantly to Myrril’s words. Yes, our destination this time was not the kingdom.
“Yoshua, take a right at the end of the road. Then follow the road for 50 miles to the union territory.”
“Hey, we’re turning! You guys better get a move on, or we won’t have enough gas to get to our destination.”
It was a matter of priority that we decided to let the kingdom in the middle of a civil war destroy itself on its own and pass through this time with as little disturbance as possible.
For the time being, we decided that it would be best to hold off on dealing with the kingdom that was not currently attacking Casemaian.
We can’t afford a three-front war at any rate.
Twenty-five years ago, when Casemaian fell, and a large number of refugees were forced to flee, not many people took refuge in the kingdom that had taken their homeland and was the enemy of their fathers.
Most of them had fled to the union territory.
Even if it was a pretense, the reason for their choice was that it was less racist and had more subhuman residents and citizens than the kingdom or the empire. As a matter of comparison, it was probably better than the other two countries.
However, now that we realized that the tribal union would easily sell out the subhumans to the kingdom after the incident with Myrril’s sister, Misnel, we couldn’t just neglect the situation.
Pointing to a sign on the side of the road, Myrril shouted to me.
“It’s ten miles to Tarantallen.”
“Alright, let’s get off a little further.”
I knew they would respond like that. Oh, muscle brains, you’re too predictable. You should take a lesson from Myrril, you know…
“I was hoping to stay on the Uraru a while longer.” [T/n: Ural.]
Yes. You’re in charge of the punchline, aren’t you, Myrril?
I ruffled the fluffy hair that appeared from under her helmet.
“Do you like it that much?”
“Of course. This is a private ride for Yoshua and me.”
Oh. That stuck in my mind. It’s a casual remark, but it’s very destructive.
We’ll travel the remaining 16km or so on foot. With minimal luggage and inconspicuous clothing, we tried to look like traveling townspeople, but in reality, our disguise was low.
We were met with suspicious glances from the passing merchant guards and the unseen watchers.
The eastern border of the tribal union with the kingdom is divided by large rivers and mountainous areas, making it impossible for ordinary people to enter or leave. The road we are on now is almost the only route that is passable for wagons.
Tarantallen, as the only entrance to the city, is also the most important warning point for the union side.
Myrril let out an exasperated voice at the sight of the majesty at the end of the road.
“It looks like a fort. No, it’s more like…”
“Yes. This is a fort itself.”
Chapter 60 – First, Knock On The Door
“That’s what Misnel told me. The security is very high. It looks like a fort, the guards are soldiers, and the gates are made of…”
Myrril swallowed the rest of the words, but we were all thinking the same thing. Yes. This is like the entrance to a prison.
In front of the trading town of Tarantallen, there is a large gate called the Judge Gate.
It’s supposed to “restrict access to the territory of the tribal union, protect military and economic independence, and ensure the pride and peace of the people,” but we already know that it’s just a facade.
At least, to the extent that they can easily sell out the people from Casemaian who were supposed to be under their protection to the kingdom.
“Stop right there!”
The guards at the gate stopped us.
There were two with spears and one with a sword that looked like the captain. All of them were light infantrymen wearing simple leather armor.
There are archers with longbows and mage-like figures on top of the gate that looks like a fortress wall. If we show any suspicious activity, they will probably attack while the guards are checking us out.
“Let me see your pass.”
“I don’t have one. I’m a merchant. Can you issue me one if I give you some money?”
As I stepped in front of the muscle-brained girls, I showed them my palm and shrugged my shoulders. The guards, recognizing that I was unarmed, cocked their chins at me stoutly.
“This is a self-governing territory for our tribal union. No outsiders will be allowed to enter. The only authorized traders are those who are guaranteed by the kingdom and the empire. Now get the hell out of here!”
I see, so they only deal with the official merchants of neighboring countries. I’m not sure what or how much they deal in, but it’s more than just collusion.
If there is no problem with such a roundabout trade, it also means that daily necessities are covered domestically.
“Just kidding. I’m not going to bother going in. I’m not particularly interested in a nest of shut-ins.”
I was just matching the other party’s attitude, but the mocking reply, despite the words, made them more cautious.
He put his hand on the sword at his waist and stepped away to keep us all in sight.
“What do you want, then? Depending on your response, I may be able to help you here…”
“I’m here to ask for the return of the people of Casemaian. I’d like to speak to the person in charge.”
For a moment, the captain looked dubious.
“You’re taking in the exiles?”
“Not exiles! They’re citizens of Casemaian, you rude people!”
“The people of Casemaian are not exiles.”
“A temporary refugee, to be precise. Now, Casemaian is being steadily rebuilt. In fact, it is the kingdom that is dying. I don’t know how much you know about that.”
The captain looked at me as if he were looking at something pitiful. There’s not much hostility in his eyes, even if they are laced with contempt.
“I know it’s a subhuman dream, but…”
“You haven’t gotten the message yet, have you? The 30,000 kingdom troops that invaded Casemaian were wiped out. In fact, only five hundred soldiers made it out alive.”
“You must be joking. Even under the foolish king, the kingdom’s army is elite. It’s impossible for them to fall behind you and your ragtag group…?”
There was a dull thud that echoed.
“Fumu. Is this the elite…?”
I’ve already done this stuff once. It was too much of a hassle to take them out in small chunks, so I threw out a whole pile of them this time.
The guards froze with their mouths hanging open at the sight of the fresh pile of corpses that had appeared by the Judge’s Gate.
“That’s about a hundred at most. If you want to see more, I’ll give you as much as you want. I can make 300 of these piles… Unfortunately, about half of them are still intact. …Just like that.”
With a thud, a pile of meat appears on the other side of the gate this time. It seems to have taken a while to realize that the object that looked like an assortment of iron, cloth, and minced meat was a corpse.
“…Wha, …what the hell is this?”
“Hurry up and answer me. We don’t have time for this anymore. Your superiors must already understand the situation.”
“Yes. The people of Casemaian know that the tribal union has betrayed them. Now it’s up to you to decide where to end this or fight to the bitter end. If you choose to fight us, we will soon be joining you in the mountains.”
The captain’s eyes swam. His subordinates were already on the run, waving their hands behind them to call for backup.
A few of the archers who had been nocking arrows at the signal turned their heads, and the mages who had tried to raise their wands collapsed. The guards hadn’t noticed anything out of the ordinary yet.
“…Function aside, it’s a gun that feels kind of hollow.”
Myrril shook her head reluctantly as she murmured. Please don’t complain about the gun that I lent you.
“D-don’t be silly! A mage’s bluff is meaningless to me! Even if you’re proud of the results of a battle against a bunch of mediocre…”
“That’s enough of that.”
I shoved something out of storage into the captain’s hand.
When he saw it, his eyes widened, and he froze. A crimson cloak and polished silver armor. It belonged to the Kingsguard, the most elite cavalry in the kingdom. The fact that there were no contents in it was simply because I was trying to see if I could make use of the materials with high smelting technology, but it was of no particular significance. There were hundreds of them in my storage.
The guards all turned to look at the red cloaks and silver armor that had been thrown out all around them.
“The war has already begun. The kingdom army has been crushed, the king has fled, and the country has entered a civil war. We won’t intervene, but we’ll do what we have to do in the meantime. Rescuing our people who have fled to the tribal union and the empire. It’s not out of the question that this could end peacefully.”
“…You expect me to believe that?”
“Believe it or not, it’s your choice. As long as our people are safe and sound, that’s all that matters to us.”
“We have no interest in the tribal territories themselves. Even though the Casemaian army is literally full of fierce warriors, we have no intention of invading. To be honest, we don’t want anything, land, people, or culture. We would be more than happy to give you small gratitude if you would just hand over our people quietly.”
The commander glanced to the back. No arrows, no magic attacks, no reinforcements flew in spite of the fact that the signal to attack was given. He should have understood the meaning of this.
“As long as you don’t turn against us, of course. I’m not squeamish enough to reason with someone trying to kill me with a sword and bow drawn.”
“Don’t get me wrong. I am keeping you alive because you are not a direct threat. And because you are supposed to carry the message.”
I thrust a piece of paper at the sweating captain.
“I’ll be back in two days. I will hear back from you then.”
“You can’t expect us to accept such a one-sided story!”
“I don’t care what you think. The decision is yours.”