Volume 7 Chapter 4 Part 3
“You said you’d follow orders, didn’t you?”
“It is indeed the duty of the citizens to obey the orders of the King, but we are knights first, and citizens second. Our duty as knights to protect the people is more important than our duty as citizens.”
“Do you know what will happen to you if you disobey the king’s orders?”
Actually, I don’t know what will happen either. Now I’m curious.
“In the worst case, I’ll be executed. If the king is the type of man who would execute a knight who fought to protect the people, then I will not follow his orders. Even if I were to be executed, my head is a small price to pay in fulfilling my duty.”
Yup. There’s the musclehead talking. A brawn-for-brain down to the marrow. The fact that he doesn’t even try to save his own skin makes him difficult to budge. I’ve never talked to a guy like this before, so I don’t know exactly how to stop him.
If he wants to charge straight to the enemy, then hey, he can be my guest. It’s his funeral. But sending every one of his men to their death is a whole different story. Now, I can strike early and reclaim Raijis, but it might not be easy. If I’m not careful, the Count’s forces might butt in and get caught in a Steam Explosion or something. I don’t care about the Count himself, but I’d like the rest of his men to stay put.
“So, would you follow the king’s orders if there are other knights to protect the people?”
“Of course. The goal is to protect the people, not to gain fame. Unless the order is to abandon the people, it’s only natural to follow His Majesty’s orders.”
“Then I want you to protect this city. Follow His Majesty’s orders, while we defeat the Empire’s forces in Raijis.”
I tried to sound as gallant as possible.
Suddenly the Count flashed a grin. “Big words,” he said. “I thought you were just a youngster, but it seems you already have the heart of a knight. You were not appointed as commander for nothing, after all.”
“So that’s a yes?”
“Now that’s a whole different matter. I have a question. How many people do you have in your squad?”
“Right now, there’s about twenty of us. The enemy in Raijis outnumber us, but what matters is not numbers. It’s having the power to win against the enemy.”
Normally, I’d be told that we’re at a disadvantage given our numbers, but the enemy themselves had already proven the edge of sending a select few elites. Actual skill can easily make up for a lack of numbers. Although, if the enemy is too strong for the others, I might be the only one standing on the front line.
“You are exactly right,” the man said. “Since the enemy is only a select few elites, there is a high possibility that it will be a battle of individual abilities rather than a group warfare, in which case, adventurers are more suited to fight than soldiers. If you have that Flame whatever with you, I will consider leaving the matter to your squad.”
Mylia again. I didn’t know she was such a celebrity. Apparently, this kingdom is starting to believe that a powerful adventurer equals Mylia the Flame Spear.
“Mylia’s not here. Unlike the time we fought Cardinal Georgis, she has no stake in this battle. But make no mistake. We’re way stronger than we were back then.”
The Count’s eyes widened. He peered into my face, and his mouth dropped.
“Eld… Yes, I’ve heard of you. Are you the Eld who led Count Meigis’ army and defeated Cardinal Georgis whose troops numbered ten times more than yours?”
“Yup, that’s me. So you know about that battle.”
“Why, of course. I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard that Cardinal Georgis’ army was defeated by a mere thousand or so troops. I didn’t know you were so young. I understand now why His Majesty appointed you as commander of this new band of knights. Are the members selected from the Count’s forces?”
“Exactly. Now do you want to leave it to us?”
This Count is not just a plain gutsy musclehead. He’s the kind of guy who actually gathers information, think things over, and ultimately push through with his indomitable spirit and mentality. I can already imagine what he’s going to say.
“I will not step aside that easily,” he said. “I must first test you to see whether I can leave Raijis to you or not.”
Yup. Saw that one coming. What a reasonable guy. Though he’s the type to talk with his fists instead of reason.
“All right,” I said. “I will fight the strongest one among your troops. If I win, you stay behind. Oh, it doesn’t have to be a single person. You can send ten or a hundred. I’ll take them all on.”
The Count’s troops numbered over a thousand while there’s only around twenty of us. If I can’t even handle ten or a hundred of them, he can tell me that his army as a whole is stronger, and I won’t be able to say anything back. It’ll be tricky since I can’t kill them, but I have some tricks up my sleeve.
I doubt the Count would say that, though.
“One person is fine,” he said. “If you want the strongest soldier in my army, then look no more. I will fight you one-on-one, and whoever wins will go to Raijis. Sounds good?”
“Of course. By the way, can I use magic?”
“War involves using everything you have in your arsenal. You can use magic, firearms, concealed weapons, whatever you want. But if you think magic is omnipotent, think again.”
So I’m gonna fight Count Gaze. Looks like I’ll have to fight a little differently than usual. I can’t just use Sticky Bomb or Deadly Pain to stun him, then use Steam Explosion to blow him to pieces.