Chapter 113


Translator: “Hakou”                             Editor: “Weasalopes”


To the north of the Royal Capital’s downtown, or in other words, on the edge south of the red-light district.
What stood there, is a three story building.
In a room one the top floor with a garden, was me preparing for my business trip.

「It seems the small nations in the north would likely be attacked by the Empire」

I explained to Imosuke and Dangorou as I stuffed some change of clothes and other small things into the bag.
Imosuke, who’s on the top list of my family, is a spirit beast that looks like the fifth instar larva of the swallowtail butterfly and his total length is about 20cm.
And there’s Dangorou, a friend of Imosuke.
It is a dung beetle with a total length of 15 cm, and this guy is also a spirit beast of mine now.
By the way, they were also the Vice Leader and General of the “Doom Corps” led by Dr. Slime. Although I haven’t introduced it, they have a higher position than Cool-san, “the first time eater Unicorn”.

「And the Knight Order have their hands full defending the western border」

Imosuke and Dangorou are on the bath towel laid on the floor as usual.
They both listened to me while leaning their body forwards, making the so-called thinking pose.
Originally, this is the case where Knights of the Knight Order should head there instead.
However, they have suffered a great deal of damage which greatly reduced their number of pilots and Knights. They are in no condition to support another country.
I look outside the window to find the heavy lancers, the criminals who are responsible for that.
They were grazing peacefully while wandering through the garden forest.

「And for some reason, they requested the help from the Merchant Guild’s Knight instead」

It was a direct summons from the King of Black Locust country.

「Lightning probably has some involvement in this too」

I’ve met Lightning when taking care of the matter with stone golems just the other day.
And that might have led to this request somehow or another.
By the way, there is a reason why I kept talking about my thoughts to them like this.
It was because they would get worried if I stayed silent. Therefore, I try to express it with my words as much as possible.

「That’s about it, I guess」

I took a little break after finishing the preparation for my business trip.
A day after the talk with Guild Master, which is today, would be the day I depart.
Just before leaving the house, I did a lot of skinships with them, like putting them on top of my head and did some brushing on their body.

「Now then… I’ll be out for a while. I’m counting on you guys to hold the fort while I’m away, alright?」

『Have a safe trip~』

Imosuke and Dangorou saw me off.
By the way, the heavy lancer is quite fond of them, but not so much to me.

「But well, it seems they do pay some respect to me, so it’s fine I guess」

Dangorou would be angry if they were in the way of my gardening activities.
If it has come to that, there’s nothing they can do. I’ve seen their figure wandering around sloppily a few times already.

「…..Fumu」

Before I closed the front door, I saw the scenery of the forest garden through the window inside my room.
There, the heavy lancers are either running around in the greenery or taking baths in the pond.
That calm scenery was burned into my eyes before I closed the door and locked it.
I went down the stairs to the street and caught a golem carriage taxi.
I told the driver where to go and headed to the hangar at the Royal Capital eastern gate.
I have some luggage with me today, so I took a carriage to go there.

(It seems the preparation is finished already. I expected no less from Herbivore mechanic)

Waiting for me in the hangar was The Old Lady who was perfectly maintained and polished.
Prompted by Herbivore mechanic, I opened the hatch to the cockpit.
Then, I put my luggage into the gap behind the cockpit, buried myself on the chair, and poured my magic.
The Old Lady woke up with a quiet humming sound.

「Good luck」

I responded to Herbivore mechanic that saw me off by waving my hands from inside the cockpit that still had its hatch open.
After that, I headed outside the Royal Capital’s eastern gate.
My destination is the Black Locust country. Geographically, it is located at the center of the northern countries.
That place will be the base where we ward off the pressure from the Empire.
Although only a few, there are also countries that are on friendly terms with the Empire among the northern countries. It seems that the Knight’s garrison has an important role to keep them in check.

(Let’s go!)

I started the Old Lady.
I walked slowly after leaving the Capital, and I increased my speed as the number of people decreased, then I used vernier movement by letting wind magic blow from the legs.
I ran straight along the road in the middle of northern wasteland.
I camped on the way, and the next day I arrived at the city in the Black Locust country.

(Is this really the capital of Black Locust country?)

Arriving at my destination, I felt a little perplexed.
Although I know this is a small country, I expected the capital to be at least as big as the city of Land Barn or Awoke.

(I guess the size is much closer to the Post city located between Awoke and the Royal Capital)

It’s a small town where I stayed for a night after running away to Royal Capital on a golem carriage from Elder Lich in 『Elsailles』, a brothel in Awoke.

(No, wait, it might be even smaller than that)

Bigger than the post town between Land burn and Awoke. About that big, I guess.
I pulled myself together and stopped just outside the town.
A Knight is a symbol of military power.
When entering another country, the manner is to stay outside and wait for pick-up. I feel like I learned that at the pilot school.
After waiting for a while, I saw a Knight who seemed to come to welcome me.

(Here it comes. As I thought, it’s that Knight)

Gachan gachan, a simple and retro looking Knight approaching with loud steps.
And when it stood in front of the Old Lady, it pulled one of its legs slightly behind and put one hand on its chest, what a gentleman-like demeanor.

(Ah! I should also…)

I got flustered.
I don’t have that kind of education. The only moves that ingrained in my heart was only the common bowing, but I don’t feel like that would suit a Knight.
So the action Old Lady took was bowing by slightly bending its knees while keeping her back straight.

(Ah! This is what a lady would do, isn’t it?)

I immediately realized my blunder as I did it.
This movement that the Old Lady just did was the so-called curtsy. It was what my opponent did at the tournament in the God of Business temple.

(W-Well, this Knight is a Lady so doing a curtsy befitting a lady should be fine, right?)

I forcibly convinced myself.
Then, under the guidance of the barrel-shaped Knight in front of me, I proceeded into the town of Black Locust country.

(So those are the Knights from the northern countries alliance, huh)

In the center of the town square there were already two Knights sitting on one knee.
Both of them had a shape that looks like stacked boxes and tubs, a simple, efficient shape that did not require much machining accuracy.

(Lightning huh….. It’s been a long time since I met him)

I felt a little nostalgic seeing the figure of the pilot who got off from the barrel-shaped Knight.
Last time, we were sitting in our respective cockpit, so seeing him directly like this was since the match in Holy City.
What I remember from him was just he’s an old man with a composed expression and a mustache between his nose and lips.
I also got off from the Old Lady to the ground to give my greetings.

「I’m Tauro, a pilot from the Kingdom’s Merchant Guild. I’m looking forward to working with you」

Lightning also returns greetings and politely expresses his gratitude for the stone golem matter.
His gaze that stared at me seemed dazzling for some reason.

(What is it, I wonder?)

I never felt this kind of gaze before.
It couldn’t possibly be he has some kind of affection towards me, right? If I were to receive lightning sword from the back now, I will surely be blown to the space where the soul returns.

(Hmm…. This feeling…)

If I were to find the closest feeling to this, then it would be when I received a service when I ordered.
I glanced across the town of Black Locust country. And what I saw was a poor and empty landscape.

(I feel like the me right now is like a regular employee for a listed company)

The Merchant Guild of the Kingdom which I belong to is a powerful organization. If the Guild Master wants it, he can easily dry up this country.
If so, then I can understand the respectful atmosphere they have towards me.

(As I thought, no matter what the world it is, there’s always the saying “Look for a big tree when you want shelter”)

I remember that when I was a student, my teacher often used to say “It’s better to be the beak of a rooster than the rump of a bull”.
It means, it’s better to be the leader of a small group than a subordinate in a large organization.

(He said it to the wrong kind of person though)

In the first place, Chinese historical figures who said this kind of thing and who they said it to are all elite people. They won’t even see a mere commoner like me as a person.
For a commoner that has no choice but to be a leader in a small group or a subordinate in a large organization would definitely choose the latter. At least that’s what I think.
I was envious from the bottom of my heart towards the employees of large companies that are well received.

(Whoops)

I was too engrossed in my thoughts, but following Lightning, I received another greeting from the other two men so I emerged from the depths of my thoughts.
Then I once again introduced myself.
Both of them are older than me and are the same dull old men as me.

(Hee… There are more people living here than I thought)

While listening to the other person’s self-introduction, I was distracted by the state of the town square.
There were a lot of townspeople that were rushing to see the Knights gathered here.

(As I thought, it’s a spectacular sight)

The town square was filled with four Knights including the Old Lady. It is quite spectacular.
There shouldn’t be much opportunity to watch this kind of scenery. It can’t be helped that the townspeople were rushing here to see this rare sight.

(Fumu, as expected, the Old Lady is the most popular ones)

My feelings got a little better.
Among the Knights that shaped like a piled up box or tube, there’s a Knight dressed in elaborately crafted separate parts of armor.
Even from my point of few, it really looked out of the norm. It’s no surprise that it’s eye-catching.
There were some spectators who tried to approach the Old Lady as close as possible. And the soldiers who tried to be a meat shield to protect the scene.
It’s a scene that brings a smile to my face. I’m sure I can count on them for the security.

「Now then, this way please」

Lightning who watched us finished our self-introduction. Said that and quickly led us into the castle.
We were taken into a small room inside the short corridor.

「I’m Tauro, from the Kingdom’s Merchant Guild」

While saying so, I kneeled in front of a dignified old man dressed like a king in a junior high school culture festival play.
This old man seems to be the King, apparently.
Perhaps because I thought him as “the president of a subcontractor”, I was able to talk without much tension. I read the surrounding air to decide whether that was good enough or not.

(It seems to be fine….)

The King doesn’t seem to care that much and there’s no bad vibe coming from either Lightning and the grandpa with ハ shaped eyebrows beside him who was the minister.
Receiving a gaze from the King, the grandpa with ハ shaped eyebrows stepped forward and opened his mouth.

「I’m sorry when you all just arrived but, is it alright to start right away?」

As none of us have any objections with that, and so the meeting to decide our future plans and actions began.

「Then, I will start explaining our current situation」

Lightning said, and started talking about this and that in front of a large map.
Everyone present listened quietly without making any sound.

(It’s amazing that he can control the stage like this)

The King, the old man with ハ shaped eyebrows who was the minister, the two old men from another country, and then me. The one who was supposed to be the youngest around here seems to be recognized by everyone.
While I was staring at him in admiration, he suddenly threw an unexpected proposal.

「Here, I would like Tauro-san to take command on the battlefield」

A beanball* flew at me after receiving various information about the Empire’s move, such as their base and the strength of their forces.
That ball wasn’t just a bluff, it’s completely going after my head.
I was so surprised that I couldn’t keep up with my thoughts and became mute for a good while.
Probably perceiving my response as hesitation, Lightning added some persuasive words.
(TL Note: “Beanball” is a colloquialism used in baseball, for a ball thrown at an opposing player with the intention of striking them such as to cause harm, often connoting a throw at the player’s head. A pitcher who throws beanballs often is known as a “headhunter”. Wikipedia)

「Our Knights are all C-class Knights. The difference in strength between us and Tauro-san who uses B-class Knight is as clear as day. So of course the strongest one must be the leader here, don’t you think?」

I knitted my eyebrows and think.
That might be true if we talk about fighting power.
All of the C-class Knights gathered here have a nostalgic appearance like tin toys.
If they all have the same level of fighting power as Lightning’s Knight, they won’t be the enemy of the Old Lady who fights from afar.

(But… I’m an amateur, you know?)

That’s right, I have zero experience about it and in the first place, I’ve never learned how to fight in a group.
It can’t be helped if I fall into a bad predicament because of my foolish decision, but there’s no way I can drag my allies with me, right?

「Certainly, the Old Lady is a B-class Knight. But, I myself have no experience to take command on a battlefield. For this role, I think it’s better if someone else would do it instead of me」

I gave such a reply.
The three, including Lightning, exchanged their gaze and Lightning opened his mouth again.

「The truth is, it’s also the same for us. No one here has any actual battle experience aside from hunting demon beasts」

It seemed that I’m not the only amateur here.
But there’s still a crucial difference between me and them.

「But still, I’m not a national pilot unlike all of you who are here. Old Lady, as you know, is just a Knight of the Kingdom’s Merchant Guild」

That’s right. Unlike them, I’m not representing my country.
I didn’t think I could stand on top of them, the representatives of their countries.
They exchanged glances with each other.
Then Lightning spoke again. While showing some kind of strength in his gaze.

「I understand where you are coming from. But even so, we still would like Tauro-dono to take command」

(Being pushy, aren’t they)

They are really persistent about this.

「Your power that helped me the other day was amazing. If it’s Tauro-dono who holds that much power, we will obediently follow your instructions. But if one of us takes the command instead, I’m afraid that there will be some discontent on the way」

He bowed after saying his arguments.

「That’s why, I beg of you to please take this role. I really wish that Tauro-dono would stand on the top to establish the chain of command」

I became worried because of how heavy the responsibility will be.
To be honest, I don’t want to assume a position with such heavy responsibility. I just want to join in at the bottom and put myself in a position where I can escape if things go wrong.
But if I became the commander, I won’t say it’s impossible but, it will be difficult to do that.

(But…)

I came up with something, so I gave it more thoughts.
There was a point in what Lightning just said. On a battlefield, the strongest person must take command.
After pondering about it for a while, I decided to accept it.

(For now, let’s just try and do it however I like. And if this doesn’t work in the end, well, I will think about it when that happens)
“To live as you like” is my guide in this world. Even the stone statue also said, “To live as you like.”
I don’t want to experience again that time when I was almost crushed by the heavy lancers because I have to comply with whatever the superior instructed me.
If it’s going to be like that, then I’d rather be in the position to give instructions.

「I understand. I will do my best as to not disappoint all of you」

To my reply, Lightning made a relieved expression. But not the two old man pilots. They had the look that said “Show us what you got”.
And true, not long after, one of them immediately asked for my instructions. It made me feel like I’m being tested.

(Now then, what should I do)

I repeat the explanation I received earlier in my head.
The Empire’s forces range from one to two B-class Knights and four to six C-class Knights. Their invasion target is here, where the Knights are gathered.
In this world, the outcome of a war will be decided by the battle of Knights. It seems there are many cases where they would end a war in one swoop as to avoid attrition and exhaustion.

(But before that, it wasn’t decided that we are going to attack them)

On the contrary, it could be said that we are here as a deterrent to prevent their attacks.
I decided to dig up the little knowledge I have and take a common response.

(Yes, let’s go with scrambling*)
(*TL Note: In military aviation, scrambling is the act of quickly mobilising military aircraft. Scrambling can be in reaction to an immediate threat, usually to intercept hostile aircraft. Wikipedia.)

We should always be on alert and detect the invasion of the Empire.
When I receive a report, I will make an emergency take-off with the Old Lady and confirm the enemy’s appearance with my high resolution eyes.
Then, while restraining them with long-ranged magic attacks, I will wait for Lightning and the other to come, it’s the so-called ambush attack.

(Well, the only thing I can do is limited in the first place)

No matter how big or small my magic power or the rank of my Knight, I’m still no good at close quarters combat. I still lack bravery and skill for it.
That’s why I’m fighting from afar using long-ranged magic attacks, my one and only technique.

(We can take position on a hill or something and have Lightning and the others lined up in front of me. There, I can concentrate to keep firing long-range attacks while they fend off the enemy that tries to get close to the Old Lady)

Even if it’s just a C-class Knight like Lightning’s, I don’t feel like I could win if they attack me head on.
At this opportunity just before the battle, I decided to reaffirm my resolution.

(It’s scarier to be killed than to kill people)

This is one of the walls that appears in front of recruits.
Bare hands, swords, pole weapons, and missiles. The higher the distance, the lower the height of this wall.
I have killed many demon beasts and have indirectly driven the Knight Order’s pilots to death.
But I never shot anyone directly.
I will die if I hesitate to do it when I need to.

(If it’s long-range attacks, then I don’t need to hesitate)

I nodded.
Setting aside the difficult close quarter combat, if it’s a long-range combat I’m sure I would be fine.

(I can surely do it)

I stared down on my palms on my knees. Then I squeezed it tightly with such resolution on my mind.
And one more thing I should consider, was to hold back.

(I should keep the enemy away and kill them off with long-ranged magic attacks)

Well, it depends on the enemy’s strength and the situation on the battlefield though.
The C-rank magic I used to destroy Hell Diver Bee’s nest. If I shoot that, I can destroy a forest along with the ground.

(But I don’t know what will happen next if I do that)

You might be called a hero temporarily. However, after that, you would be called as the enemy of humanity.
That’s what my sensitive self whispered to me.

(Depending on the situation, there’s no other way to do that)

Sorry but, I don’t wanna die.
However, overkilling it might also lead to my death, socially speaking.
Repertoire of women who want to play with me, delicious meals, spirit beasts that already like my family members, a comfortable workplace.
I don’t want to lose my present life. And in order to live happily, I must do well in various things from now on.
I glanced around the room and opened my mouth.
Then, I began to explain to everyone about my plan, emergency departure a.k.a scrambling.



One Comment

  1. Thanks for the chapter.

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