Translator: “Hakou” Editor: “Weasalopes”
The northern part of the Empire.
There was a large group of Knights moving south in formation through the rocky wasteland.
It was early morning. Judging from the fact that it was early summer, the season with the earliest sunrise in the year, they must have been walking through the night.
「What’s with those guys?」
The one who whispered such words was one of the two adventurers. They had been camped here for several days, gathering lizards that live in the wasteland.
They had been camped here for a few days when an unusual vibration shook them awake and they hid behind a rock to see what was going on.
「Have they lost a battle or something?」
It was understandable that the other one had replied that way. Even though they were golems, the sooty, black, and dirty knights looked exhausted.
The impression he got from them was that of a funeral procession. However, they saw an unexpected figure and continued instinctively.
「…..You’ve got to be joking, right? Isn’t that the Rose Knights and the commander of the Imperial Knight?」
An elite group of Knights who have made a name for themselves inside and outside the Empire. And a man who, although not as famous as the Grim Reaper, is the pilot of an A-class Knight who is renowned as 『one of the strongest Knights in the Empire』.
It’s hard to believe that all of them were defeated together, given the momentum of the Empire in recent years.
「We’ve collected the required number for the request. It’s better not to get greedy and go back now」
The first person, feeling a bad premonition, his face turned cloudy, and made a suggestion.
He turned around and saw the basket for gathering quests made of woven vines. Inside, lizards were sticking their tongues out and retracting them.
「Yeah, I don’t know what happened, but it’s definitely not a good thing」
The adventurers waited for the line of knights to pass by. Due to the distance and the rocky terrain, they were oblivious to the disaster that had happened yesterday.
A funeral procession moving through the wasteland.
Their destination was a city on the southern edge of the wasteland. It was the domain of an old warrior, a knight-errant of the Imperial Guard, and the site of the next line of defense. It is the territory of the old warrior, the knight commander of the Imperial knight order, and the place where they will build their next line of defense.
(We’re stocked up on supplies, so we should be able to last a while)
The skinny old man scratched his cheek with his finger while looking at the line of Knights from the cockpit of the armored warrior.
Now that they had lost the Northern city that had been responsible for supplying the city, they had to get the large army to a place where they could be fed as soon as possible. They only have enough water and food to last them a few days, which they had loaded on their Knights.
『Passing through the Northern city, the Elven Knights penetrate deep into the Empire’s territory』
In anticipation of such a scenario, the old warrior’s territory was guarded by his private army. It could be said that the groundwork for welcoming the army was ready.
He let out a light sigh of relief and changed the subject of his thoughts.
(I never imagined that the range of the Spirit Cannon would be so wide)
The distance from the checkpoint to the Northern city was roughly ten times the diameter of the city. The inside of the circle with this diameter was literally turned into scorched earth.
The old warrior’s eyebrows were furrowed in deep thought. Since yesterday evening, right after he was hit by the Spirit Cannon, he couldn’t shake the big question out of his mind.
(According to legend, the Spirit Cannon crushed the Knights of the human race who were closing in on the Spirit Forest in a single blow)
This time, however, although the pilot lost his life, no B-class was shattered by the fire arrow.
Only the C-class was destroyed after receiving a direct hit.
(The power is a little too weak to deal a blow to a Knight. But it’s a very effective weapon if you want to kill a lot of people)
The old warrior did not know of any power that could take the life of such a wide area.
In the case of the Northern city, more than ninety percent of the plains were covered with nothing but shrubs, trees, and grass. If this had been the Imperial capital, the number of casualties would have been more than a hundred times greater.
(What are they aiming for? Are they trying to destroy the Northern city and reap the benefits that come with it?)
Unable to come up with an answer, the old warrior shakes his head from side to side.
『Resume trade and waste disposal』
These were the two things that the messenger from the elven race had demanded before. But what country would want to trade with someone who would burn their city if their demands were not met?
At best, the only thing they can do is dispose of their waste in the uninhabited, burnt-out field.
(I don’t know. I guess I’ll leave the brainy stuff to the Viscountess and the Count)
After shrugging his shoulders in the cockpit, the armored warrior’s gaze is sent backward. What he sees is the figure of a crimson A-class Knight walking with a slumped look at the end of the line.
It is the Knight of the Lord of the Northern City, the mature Viscountess.
(Every single one of my people has been killed)
A mature woman with long wavy hair wearing a mini tight skirt sat in the cockpit, her lips painted deep red was greatly distorted. In her mind, the scene of the city she had seen before sunset was playing over and over.
Charred corpses lying everywhere, their fists raised as if they were about to fight. They were especially numerous around the fountain in the square, and their overlapping bodies could be described as a mountain.
(I won’t forgive them. I’ll never forgive them)
As she unconsciously clenched her fists, the Knight’s fists also made a creaking sound in sync. Looking at her, the armored warrior stepped back and said via the external sound system.
『His Majesty will not remain silent. We will definitely make them pay for this』
“However”, the old Imperial knight commander sitting in the cockpit added.
『Now is not the time. If we continue and push into the forest, we definitely don’t stand a chance』
The Spirit Forest is the domain of the elves. There is no doubt that there are numerous traps and ambushes with attack magic.
That is why the Empire took an endurance strategy to cut off trade and let them run dry.
(She’s not replying)
The old warrior exhaled a small breath and shifted his gaze from the crimson A-class standing side by side to the Knights walking ahead of him.
There, a number of B-class Knights were pulling a hastily made cart. On it was the B-class Knights who had lost their pilots and the C-class Knights that were still in relatively good shape.
『His Majesty has been through many perilous times before. You know that, don’t you?』
She must have known about it too. Finally, the mature Viscountess’ A-class Knight raised its head.
Seeing this, the knight commander of the Imperial knight order added another word to encourage her.
『Until then, polish yourself and save your strength. When the time comes for us to switch from defense to offense, you will be the one to lead the way』
The crimson Knight turned its head to the armored warrior beside it and nodded deeply.
The early morning sun is slowly rising and approaching the middle of the sky.
This is the royal capital. The strong sunlight pouring down makes the cobblestones of the streets shine so brightly that it’s hard to keep my eyes open.
In the midst of this, I was sitting in my living room at home, tilting my head in front of my familiars.
「There is still no news whatsoever so far」
A caterpillar, a dung beetle, and a turtle were facing each other on a bath towel.
The three spirit beasts had sensed something strange last night, so I had gone to town in the morning to gather information.
「Even the guild master of the merchant guild was the same as usual」
Of all the people I know, Goblin Jii-chan has the quickest ears. That’s why I went to him first, but as soon as he saw my face, he invited me to play brothel.
「I’ve thought of a new way to play. Why don’t we try it after lunch?」
He told me that the competition won’t be based on the number of women we beat, but on their total age.
(The system is designed to give you a high score depending on the difficulty level)
In that sense, I think it’s a well-thought idea. But it’s going to be tough if that is all.
Everyone’s preferred age group, including mine, is much younger than Goblin Jii-chan’s.
「Instead of adding their age for the score as it is, why not make it the difference between you and your age instead?」
That’s why I suggested an appropriate idea and escaped.
I returned my focus to the familiars in front of me and told them of the conclusion.
「I don’t think the merchant guild itself has heard anything unusual」
After that, I asked the vice guild master and the tough-looking chief about it, but they also didn’t know anything about it. On the contrary, they gave me a puzzled look, asking me what I was talking about.
「I also wandered around in front of the headquarters of the knight order, but there was no movement there either」
The headquarters of the knight order is located further north of the Royal Castle, which rises north of the central square. If there is an emergency dispatch coming up, there should be a sign of a rush around the facility.
But so far, there were no signs of an emergency here either.
「But if you guys can feel it, then something is definitely going on. Either the information hasn’t arrived yet, or the Kingdom has nothing to do with it」
The three of them seemed to be convinced and shook their heads up and down.
「For now, let’s just watch the situation. If you feel sick, don’t be afraid to tell me. I’ll heal you right away」
A wave of admiration and praise came from them, and I flared my nose a little and puffed out my chest. It’s a borrowed power from the stone statue, I think I managed to impress them as their master.
「What is it?」
Then, a response came from Imosuke, the deputy of the 『Doom Squad』 and the leader of my familiars. He lifted his head and pointed it out the window.
The general, Dangorou, followed after. It seems that their only subordinate, the virgin eater monster, Unicorn is approaching our residence.
The Spirit Beast is sensitive to someone’s presence, so he always tells me first.
「Cool-san huh? I don’t remember having an appointment with her though」
When I looked at the time on the clock, it was the end of the morning.
「Probably it’s because I told her that if I don’t have any work to do, I’m usually home until noon」
Maybe she was in a situation and came to ask me for help.
The two animals, on the other hand, seemed a little disappointed. They were a little disappointed because the eggplants and cucumbers growing in the garden forest were still immature.
『Next time we’ll make her eat it』
『The thick, curvy, and big ones』
Unlike before, the two superiors have no intention of hiding. They moved to the entrance to greet her.
The turtle, on the other hand, stared at me with his round, dark eyes.
「You’re going back to the pond? You don’t want me to introduce you to her?」
Unlike Imosuke and Dangorou, I haven’t told her about Zaratan. I thought this would be a good opportunity to do so.
However, the all-knowing old turtle had a different idea.
「You just want to be known as a normal turtle, huh」
I am a great spirit beast that no one doesn’t know. I suppose there are times in his long life when he feels that way. Remembering the celebrities from my previous world, I was strangely convinced, so I grabbed his shell with both hands and carried him to the pond in the garden. As soon as I released him into the water, he swam away with a pleasant feeling.
Meanwhile, from the room, I receive a wave of Imosuke calling me. And immediately after that, a knocking sound can be heard.
「Yes, wait a minute!」
After wiping my wet hands with a towel, I headed for the door.