It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (125/130), enjoy~
“I know you meant to limit my actions, but you were too thorough. I suppose that’s what happens when you have too much on your mind about Vetu.”
“S-so that army is being led by you after all…”
Tris checked his surroundings as he asked the question.
Four Grantz soldiers were lying on the ground, bleeding profusely from arrow wounds that had pierced their vital points, and they were silent. The six Grantz, who barely survived, with their swords out of their sheaths, sank into the shadows of the trees and stared at the “Dwarves” without any fear. Even so, no one, including Tris, was unharmed. It would be very difficult to break through the encirclement.
However, if they did not make it through at any cost and reach the main camp, the enemy ambush force advancing behind Tris would probably attack the Grantz’ main camp.
While Tris pondered this, Brutus laughed as he toyed with the sword in his hand.
“You thought Vetu had sent me as a fetter on Her Highness, but you didn’t think I had a personal grudge secretly linked to Nidavellir, did you?”
Brutus smiled gleefully as he placed Tris’s chin on the bloody tip of his sword.
“Go in peace; I will send your wrinkled head back to Celia Estrella. You have been a valued vassal in her service since her childhood, haven’t you? I can’t wait to see what face she will make.”
Tris’s patience was at an end.
His eyes flashed with fury as he removed his hand from his side and grasped the sword’s hilt at his waist.
“I won’t let you take my head!”
Tris draws his sword in anger but is distracted by the pain in his side.
The stalled blade was easily intercepted by Brutus, sending sparks flying.
“Give up, you old fool; you won’t get anywhere by struggling!”
Tris glared at the victorious Brutus and shouted loudly while competing with him.
“Who cares! Break through the siege and inform the princess! There are about 2,000 enemy shadows heading for the main camp!”
“Haha, you fools――… kill every last one of them!”
Brutus shouted, and a storm of sword fights erupted behind him.
A battle erupted between the Grantz soldiers and the “Dwarves.”
A heroic shout and a shout of rage clashed through the trees.
However, the difference in numbers was hard to overcome. No matter how elite the Grantz soldiers were, they would soon find themselves overwhelmed if they were outnumbered. They were inferior even in terms of race characteristics, so it was a natural result.
“Give up, you old soldier!”
With the help of the “Dwarves,” they were down to a one-on-one situation instead of many-on-one, and the other was injured.
Despite these favorable conditions, Brutus was struggling against Tris.
“Don’t expect things to go your way.”
The blades collided. Tris’s sword, sharper than before, sent Brutus’s body floating backward. The look of astonishment on Brutus’ face as he stared at Tris was palpable.
“…Where did such power come from!”
Brutus threw a kick aimed at his side, but Tris swatted him away with one hand, knocking him out of his stance.
“I will not forgive anyone who insults the princess. This is your end!”
Tris, his face flushed red with rage, swung his sword with all his might.
“I told you it was useless. For an old soldier…”
The curtain fell with a startling end. A furious blow snapped the long sword and snapped Brutus’s neck.
The head detached from the torso and bounced and rolled on the ground with a victor’s smile on his face.
“You go ahead and wait; I’ll give you a sermon later.”
Wiping the greasy sweat from his forehead, Tris turned his gaze to the “Dwarves” surrounding him. At their feet, the body of a Grantz soldier was lying in agony as if to express his regret. Nearby, four Grantz soldiers were struggling against the “Dwarves,” but it was only a matter of time before they were annihilated in what amounted to a futile attempt to scratch their way out.
“…Get out of my way, you midgets! I must go to the princess.”
In a cloud of blood, Tris ignored the wound at his side and sprints away. His body was as light as it had been in his prime. The Dwarves seem surprised, but they grab their weapons and tried to block Tris’ movement.
“The opponent is as good as dead, but there is nothing more dangerous than a wounded beast. We’ll surround him and make sure he’s taken care of.”
Tris clicked his tongue as he heard their voices whispering to each other. He thought they would let their guard down against a wounded man, but the “Dwarves” were surprisingly cool-headed without being overconfident in their numbers.
With a roar like a beast, Tris raised his sword.
Even though he was caught and bounced back, he did not give up and attacked again and again. There was no contest. If he stopped moving in a situation where he was surrounded, he would surely be taken on the back.
“Get out of my way!”
He smashed one man’s neckbone with his sword blade, picked up a fallen axe, and threw it with all his might. It smashed the head of a “Dwarf” and splattered his brain fluid with a loud bang. Unable to withstand the momentum of Tris, who leaped and danced with his giant body, the “Dwarves” encirclement network collapsed.
“Are you alive?”
Tris joined up with the surviving Grantz soldiers.
“I’m not completely okay, but I can still go on. I won’t die here until I become one of the Five Great Generals.”
The young soldier, who was out of breath, talked lightly, and Tris laughed beyond amazement.
“If you’re that talkative, you’ve got a lot of fight left in you.”
Tris and the others stand back to back, pointing their swords threateningly at the “Dwarves” surrounding them.
“Tris-sama, how are your wounds?”
The young soldier asked Tris, his mouth agape with a bloodless look on his face.
“No problem. More importantly… this situation is not good.”
There are twenty-three remaining opponents, and it was impossible to defeat them all with only five left. This was something that everyone was aware of. The young soldier had no time for light talk at this point.
“Then that means you know what you have to do.”
The young soldiers nodded at the same time as if they understood what they had to do without having to say everything. Tris let out a small breath, put his arm around the young soldier’s neck, and pulled his ear to his chest.
“You, the youngest here, report to the main camp. The rest will open the way for you.”
But the horses left outside in the woods would already have been taken care of. The Grantz soldiers who had been sent outside to guard the area did not come, despite the commotion. It was natural to assume that something had happened.
However, it was too far for a human to go from here to the main camp on foot. Moreover, with his wounded condition, there was no doubt that he would eventually run out of strength. Above all, there was no way to escape if they released pursuers.
“So use my horse; you remember where it is.”
“…Did you know this would happen, Tris-sama?”
“I told you. I felt a strange sensation. How I wish it had been my imagination, but to come here and have the old man’s premonitions come true, I must have some sort of plague on me.”
“No, of course not! If it were not for Tris-sama, we would not have been able to discover the enemy’s surprise attack force. So stop belittling yourself like that.”
I’m sorry. Tris muttered a few words and then left the young soldier.
“…Make sure you live to tell the princess.”
The young soldier gave a regretful glance. Tris checked the dead bodies of his men lying on the ground and opened his mouth to those who remained.
“You guys… forgive me for taking you along for this ride.”
There were no words. The Grantz soldiers said nothing. Still, they nodded as if to show their resolve. Fighting spirits rose from their bodies as if to respond.
Tris muttered a heartfelt apology once more.
Then he exhaled deeply and let his voice come out from the bottom of his stomach.
“Gentlemen, see you at the Heroes’ Palace!”
Tris was the first to run. His face was as pale as a dead man’s. Even so, the high spirits emanating from his body were full of vigor and vitality.
Tris cut off the head of an enemy soldier who was startled by his sudden loud voice and ran at full speed.
At once, the area became noisy, and a fierce battle ensued.
The enemy’s coordination was disrupted when Tris and his men intervened. The enemy circle was shredded by the force of the attack. They tried to draw as much attention to themselves as possible in order to let the young soldier escape.
“Go! The princess must be informed!”
The young soldier ran off at a brisk pace.
He never looked back. He looked only forward and ran as fast as he could through the woods.
“One of them ran away…”
The enemy soldier tried to chase him, but a huge body blocked his way, and he had to choose to give up. Moreover, Tris skillfully used his body to create a blind spot, which hid the young soldier’s figure well.
“He is not running away. I gave him an important mission.”
Tris held out his arms to intimidate the Nidavellir soldier. He was determined not to let them go any further.
The “Dwarves” were the opponents, and if they did not catch up with him, he would be able to escape safely to the main camp.
“You old bastard…”
“Since your legs are so short, you won’t be able to catch up with him, will you?”
The “Dwarves” have the highest self-esteem of any race. Their faces flushed red with indignation.
“Don’t you “Human” get carried away!”
“You moles should just stay underground and not come up here!”
The sound of fierce sword fights was heard. Tris, who had fought back without a struggle, grabbed one of the “Dwarves” by the shoulders and head-butted him. Then with a flash of his sword, he sliced off one of their arms and skewered the body of one of them. With his sword still in his hand and the axe in the Dwarves’ hand, Tris leaped at his next prey.
(Princess… I’m sorry.)
Tris repents in his heart.
(I am unable to accompany you into the future.)
Still, Tris laughed. He was happy that his old body could finally be of use.
(But even if I can’t witness it, I will still watch over you, my princess.)
The axe of the “Dwarves” sunk into Tris’s arm as he stormed off with a devilish look on his face.
Even so, Tris did not stop moving forward, and his arm was swiftly swept into the air.
“Not enough, still not enough!”
Tris did not stop. In the meantime, the Grantz soldiers were being killed one by one.
One of their eyes was gouged out with a spearhead, and their flanks were cut off, but Tris did not fall.
“We met the enemy while the scouting, and we fought for our lives.”
Surely there will be those who will say that it was a futile death. He was not dying on the battlefield, which was the flower of war but struggled in a place where there ilwas no sunlight.
“But perhaps it is a fitting stage for an old soldier’s final moments.”
So Tris continues to fight.
Beyond the fear of death, he was proud to have served his country.
“My place of death is here!”
He no longer felt pain. Instead, he felt that he was losing his senses. Yet, strangely, he was still alive. But, as if possessed, Tris dod not stop.
He gritted his teeth and continued to swing his sword with all his might. He continues to buy time to let the only soldier escape. Even though all of his comrades were already dead, he continued to fight without giving up.
The “Dwarves” swarmed around Tris, the only one left, were like ants swarming around a cicada.
“This guy… where did he get this kind of power…?”
“Still not enough…”
Tris propped himself up against a tree and swung the tip of his sword unsteadily.
His messy bangs were blocking his vision, but his hidden eyes were not dead yet.
“What are you doing… it’s not over yet.”
The guts were spilling from the gutted belly, and the well-groomed beard was haphazardly disheveled and stained red with blood. The “Dwarves” is still unable to launch an attack in the face of the strange spirit that Tris exudes.
“You monster… I’ll kill you for sure. You guys get away from him and shoot your arrows!”
The bow is poised at point-blank range. All the arrows are aimed at Tris.
As the merciless order was given ― in the haze of his vision, Tris saw a strange sight.
All the sounds had vanished as though they had been fighting with all their might.
“What, there you are, boy!”
In the white world, a black cloak was swaying in the wind.
The young man turned around ― and ― reality returned.
Tris smiled as he stared at the rain of arrows approaching before him.
“I see… I see…”
It is said that when a person dies, memories come to the forefront of his mind like a running lantern.
If so, then the scene he just saw must also be like that.
“Then I have something to say to you.”
It was a miracle that he met a boy who was not supposed to be there.
“Kid! Take care of the princess!”
――He wished everything to that boy.
Suddenly feeling a breeze, Hiro raised his gaze from the map spread out on the floor.
“I-I’m sorry. Wise Brother, am I interrupting you?”
The voice caught his attention, and he turned to see Hugin bent over and stiffening at the open window of the room. Her face was so pale that she looked sorry for having disturbed Hiro’s thoughts.
“No, don’t worry about it. I was just going to take a break.”
After smiling at Hugin, who had her feet on the floor, Hiro stood up and approached her.
“You’re soaking wet, by the way. Is it raining?”
“Yes, but I’m sure it will stop soon. It looks like sudden rain.”
Hugin lightly flicked the raindrops with her hand, and Hiro looked around for something to wipe with.
Then Luca, holding a hand towel, appeared from the side and began to wipe Hugin’s head silently.
“Luca-neesan, I can wipe it all by myself!”
“I don’t mind. I like to do it. So just be quiet.”
After giving a wry smile at the exchange between the two, Hiro put his hand on the still open window.
“When it rains… I feel indescribable.”
The raindrops mixed with a pleasant breeze stimulated his cheeks, and he felt a tingle in the back of his mind.
“It’s nostalgic; it’s lonely ― it brings back bad memories.”
If melancholy sprouts in the atmosphere, the peculiar smell produced will make you feel sadness in your heart.
“By now, Liz and the others must be fighting on the battlefield…”
Looking to the western sky, he saw a swarm of white clouds flowing across the sky.
It’s just so quiet ― no one can imagine that there is a war going on on the other side of it.
“Wise brother, if it’s Liz-neesan, I’m sure she’ll be fine. She’s probably slashing at the enemy. And I can just imagine old man Tris shouting ‘Princess!’ right next to her.”
“No doubt about that.”
It’s easy to imagine, and Hiro laughed uncontrollably. Hugin, perhaps pleased by this, became more talkative.
“Old man Tris is so powerful that he can blow away the tiny bodies of the ‘Dwarves’!”
“I understand that the little red-haired girl is strong, but is this old man really that strong.”
Luca, intrigued, responded.
“He is strong. He was stronger than my brother. I had a few mock battles with him, and I could count on one hand the number of times I beat him. And after all, he is the one who raised that Liz-neesan, so he can’t be weak!”
Hugin, speaking excitedly, pressed him.
“I see… I’d like to have a meeting with him once.”
Luca nodded with a serious expression of bewilderment on her face.
“…Surely, it’ll be fine.”
Hiro told himself, turned his gaze away from the rain, and closed the window with a backward glance. He then turned his attention to Hugin, who had a hand towel wrapped around his neck.
“So… did you get any solid information?”
The friendly atmosphere was suddenly tense.
Hugin kneeled down on the spot, bowed her head, and gave her report to Hiro.
“Yes, it seems that most of the hostages were sold as slaves to the Principality of Lichtine.”
“…As expected. They really are a bunch of irredeemable people, aren’t they?”
Hiro sat down on his bunk, revealing his disappointment.
“I want you to inform Ghada. I’ll leave it to him to determine when the time is right and when he’s ready to move.”
“Understood. And what about the treasures of Utgarde?”
Apart from the treasury in the palace, there was a room in the basement that connects to Utgarde’s own room.
There was a large amount of gold coins and jewels hidden there. It may contained items drawn from neighboring countries, obtained from the slave trade, or looted from the rebels.
“…Let’s put that to a fancy use, as planned.”
The existence of the hidden room was known only to Utgarde and some of his close associates. Normally, Hiro and the others would not have known about this information. However, a spy under Hugin found out that Torkil, a close associate of Utgarde, had taken part in the treasure while Utgarde was away.
“Thanks to his greed, we were able to save our own pockets. It saved us a lot of pain in the pocketbook.”
“Then I’ll sneak in this evening and bring it out.”
After confirming Hugin’s nod, Hiro moved to the floor again, and then he was dressed to stare at the map.
“Wouldn’t it just be an itch to examine events taking place in a distant place here?”
Luca, who had bent down next to him, tilted her head with a blank expression on her face.
“When I’m under house arrest like this, I get anxious if I’m not doing something.”
After saying this, Hiro cast his gaze out the window.
The rain had already stopped.