Chapter 229 – Hostage Liberation Operation
The suppression of Gleiseburg did not end swiftly.
“Locked up in the lord’s mansion, huh?”
“Yes. Moreover, it is said that some of the Holy Kingdom soldiers and guards’ spouses and children are being held hostage.”
This was done by the aforementioned Ehrwig and other anti-subhuman maniacs. They are demanding either that we, the newly born Merinard Kingdom army―in other words, the Liberation Army―withdraw quickly or let Bishop Ehrwig and his gang escape.
Since they are holed up in the lord’s mansion along with those in need of rescue, of course, we cannot destroy them with artillery fire as we did with the city walls. Incidentally, the lord’s mansion in Gleiseburg is more like a fort than a mansion.
Although it is not surrounded by a moat, it is a solid structure made of stone, and the gate is also made of wood and reinforced with iron or black iron. It seems difficult to break through the gate with a log.
I heard that Ehrwig and others had been giving a very nice speech from the roof of the lord’s mansion until a little while ago, but Ellen and I could not hear what they were saying because we arrived in front of the mansion after the elite soldiers led by Danan had conquered all of Gleiseburg, except for the lord’s mansion.
“They were saying all they wanted, that the subhumans were messengers of filth and depravity, that we were born with sin in our hearts, and so on.”
Pirna, who was standing on the opposite side of Ellen from me, said so, shrugging her shoulders and striking a “Yare-yare*” pose. Surprisingly, Harpy’s wings are very flexible, or rather, they can move not so differently from a human arm. I wonder what the skeletal structure is like.
“I wonder about what to do… Well, I’m going to suppress it.”
“Can you do it?”
“It can be done any way I want. I can make a hole in the wall or dig underground. The problem is that if we are too slow, they might escape. A lord’s mansion might have a secret escape route or two.”
“Escape routes leading out of town? I’m not saying there aren’t, but it’s not the kind of thing you’d find in a lord’s mansion in a normal rural city.”
Ms. Zamir denies my fears. I see. So that’s how it is. Well, if there is an escape route, they won’t demand that we retreat or let them escape, will they? It is possible that the demand is a decoy, though.
“Let’s go with the quickest way. We’re going in. Tell Danan to organize a raid party. Meanwhile, Ellen and Ms. Zamir, let’s talk to the POW guards to find out more about the structure of the lord’s mansion.”
I asked a nearby Liberation Army soldier to pass a message to Danan, and I took Ellen and Ms. Zamir with me to the place where the Gleiseburg guards who had been taken prisoner during the attack on Gleiseburg were being assembled.
Apparently, many of the guards had been forced to follow Ehrwig after their families or loved ones were taken hostage by Ehrwig. Even if he could have gotten away with it, it would have been a bad move considering the relationship afterward… Well, it is said that Ehrwig is a fanatical mainstream bishop, and he was unwilling to turn his back on the subhumans and run away or give in, no matter what means he had to use.
With Danan, I gathered information about the structure of the lord’s mansion from the guards, who were lightly restrained with their weapons taken away, and discussed where we should open the entry point. Some of them pleaded with us to stop when they heard that we were going to raid the lord’s mansion to capture Ehrwig, but we managed to persuade them and get some information from them.
We also asked if any of the captured guards or Holy Kingdom soldiers were on Ehrwig’s side, but unfortunately, there were none on Ehrwig’s side. Those who were on his side seemed to have been killed in action. If there had been, I might have been able to get more detailed information.
“Are the hostages being held in the dungeons or in a room on the second floor near the rooftop staircase? That’s the question.”
“Either way, we should be able to get them under control quickly. As long as the hostages don’t die, you can handle it, right?”
Danan says to me. Well, that’s true, but… don’t you think we should be more concerned about the safety of the hostages? I told him that it would be more dangerous to leave them as they were. The bishop might throw a tantrum and execute the hostages.
“Well then, I will create a diversion.”
“That should be my line. It is you who should be careful, Kosuke. There is no sanctuary here like the cathedral in Merinesburg, and there is nothing you can do if you are poisoned with the basilisk poison. Never do anything rash.”
“Yes, I will be careful.”
I was worried about Ellen’s diversion, but she was worried about me too. Well, the diversion is that she is going to use her position as a saint to engage in conversation with Ehrwig while being protected by elite soldiers, so there is certainly no danger. I’m going to accompany the raiding party to suppress the attack, so it is true that I’m in more danger than she is.
This time I will be equipped with a submachine gun for close-range use only. It is a type that uses .45 caliber pistol rounds and comes with a silencer. The design is quite old, but I like it because of its high productivity and reliability.
No, to tell you the truth, I’d rather use a more modern gun, though, wouldn’t you? Productivity, or rather, materials, you know? In the future, I can procure slime materials in abundance from Lime and others, so if I can make polymer-based materials from slime materials, things will be different again. I would like to innovate in processing technology, but I have no idea how to go beyond the golem processing table. I feel that some drastic innovation is needed.
While I was inspecting the equipment, the formation of the raiding party by Danan seemed to have been completed, so Ellen, along with her escort, moved forward to the front of the lord’s mansion and began calling out for Bishop Ehrwig to come out. At the same time, I, Danan, Ms. Zamir, and a small elite raiding party moved to the wall near the entrance to the dungeon. The watchful eyes from the rooftop were glued to the sky as Pirna and the other harpies flew low overhead.
The plan this time was as follows.
First, Ellen and the harpies would create a diversion from the front and from the sky, respectively, to loosen the surveillance. Then, the raiding party will sneak up to the lord’s mansion, and I will use my mithril pickaxe to quickly break down the walls and move in. First, we took control of the dungeon and then quickly secured the hostages. I get information from the prison guard about the hostages who are not in the dungeon and secure the hostages. As soon as the hostages are secured, the leading unit will move in with the following units and seize Ehrwig. Then, together with the following units, the entire area of the building will be taken under control.
“The physical barrier is basically useless when I’m around, you know.”
“Certainly, from a defense commander’s point of view, Kosuke is a nightmare.”
If you want to incapacitate me, you’ll have to kill me or keep me drugged or something. No matter how tightly I’m restrained, as long the restraints are restraints, I can always put them in my inventory. Oh no, if they cut off my hands and feet or bury me in a wall or something that can’t be stored, there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m imagining that and am a little scared to say it myself.
“Copy that. Prepare to move in.”
I reached the desired location, took out the mithril pickaxe from the shortcut, and tapped its tip against the wall of the lord’s mansion. With a light thud, a stone wall 1 meter wide, 1 meter high, and 1 meter deep disappeared. The stone wall was not even one meter thick, so it was penetrated by a single blow.
“Let’s widen it.”
I further expand the entrance by swinging the mithril pickaxe and collecting the shelves and barrels that seem to be blocking my way in my inventory. It seems that this is a storage room or something. I pull out my submachine gun from the shortcut and step into the lord’s house.
I am second in line behind Ms. Zamir, who is leading the way. At first, Danan objected to this, but Ms. Zamir, who knew the offensive power and convenience of my weapons, encouraged him, and we settled on this lineup. Ms. Zamir, holding a short spear made of mithril alloy, descends the stairs to the basement, stops at a corner, and peeks around the corner.
“There are three of them.”
“Shall I clear them all out?”
“I’ll take care of the two in the front. Kosuke-sama, you take the one in the back.”
“Roger that. Be careful not to get in my line of fire.”
Ms. Zamir nodded her head and ran out of the corner, and I followed her.
The prison guard who was trying to do something was struck in the side by the hilt of Ms. Zamir’s spear, and he collapsed helplessly. The other was struck by Ms. Zamir’s muscular tail, knocking him off his feet and sending him to the ground. As I watch, I aim my submachine gun at the other prison guard in the back. I aimed at his right shoulder.
The .45-caliber lead ball easily penetrated the leather armor protecting the guard’s body, releasing all of its kinetic energy inside the man’s body.
The man who was hit by the gunfire fell flat on his back. One of the shots seemed to miss and hit the stone wall in the back, and the sound of pieces of the shattered stone wall falling to the floor and the sound of brass casings ejected from the sub-sync gun bouncing on the stone floor reverberated through the dungeon.
As Ms. Zamir stomps away at a prison guard who has fallen on his tail, she calls on the elite soldiers in the back to take control of the fallen prison guard at the back of the cell. If all I wanted to do was kill him, I could just shoot him again, but unfortunately, I don’t know how to subdue a strong man. I must leave this kind of thing to the professionals.
I decided to leave the prison guards to Danan and the others and deal with the hostages being held in the prison. The people in the dungeon looked frightened when they saw Ms. Zamir following me.
“We are the newly born Merinard Kingdom’s―in other words, the Liberation Army. We are here to suppress this city. But we don’t intend to do anything terrible to you. If anything, we are here to help you.”
The hostages looked frightened and bewildered at my words. It certainly doesn’t make sense that we’re here to save them when we’re here to take control of this city!
The hostages were all women. They ranged in age from small children to elderly people, but all of them seemed to be related to the guards or soldiers of the Holy Kingdom.
“Anyway, just know that we don’t intend to do anything terrible. Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? Is anyone sick?”
I asked around and found a few people who were sick, so I prescribed a Cure Disease Potion. They seemed anxious, so I took a sip in front of them and showed them, then handed it to them, and they took it. It’s a little less than the prescribed dose, but it should be enough as long as they don’t have any illnesses that could kill them.
I talked to the prison guard and the people being held as hostages and was able to confirm that all the hostages were there. It would have been troublesome if they had been scattered elsewhere, but this was an unexpected stroke of luck.
“Hostages secured. Commence entry of follow-on units.”
“Copy that. We’ll have the follow-on unit move in.”
After making contact with the follow-on unit waiting outside using the golem communicator, we returned to the surface again. Once we meet up with the follow-on unit in front of the storage area, we will begin full-scale control of the area. Well, since we outnumber them in quality and numbers, there won’t be any surprise from here.