Chapter 290: Having finally escaped the Hell of Middle-Aged Men, it goes without saying that I’m going to ignore middle-aged men.
Day 71 – Daybreak, Outside the third dungeon.
The ground is shaking and the monsters’ roar reverberates through the air. A stampede capable of swallowing an entire country is surging forward like raging billows. A despair known as dungeon overflow, the hell itself has bared its fangs, threatening to swallow everything.
「Lure them in, pincer and destroy. Center, hold the the line and pull back, the flanks crush them!」
「The fourth wave repelled. The overflow have paused.」
「Hurry and move the wounded to the rear. Rotate troops in the center, countless monsters still remain, I don’t permit anyone dying here!」
Monsters are formidable even inside a dungeon. Since waves contain countless different monsters with multiple special characteristics all pouring out at once it becomes impossible to beat them with a specialized strategy targeting their weak points. So there is no other choice but to suppress raging hordes of monsters through brute force. And if a floor master or a dungeon master join the fight it will turn into a complete hell.
But we will push through.
Us, the Frontier Army, continued to fight even without any hope for the future. Our ancestors fought through while having only the future of ruin, suffering in the present, and sorrow in the past. Hence, there is no way we can say something like『We can’t』. We are going to 『See it through』. Because at our back we have the happy present, and the fortunate future. The tragedy of the Frontier that went on and on is finally over. Behind us we have a happiness so great that none of us dared to even dream such a thing.
「Reorganization complete!」「Second group takes over.」「Medical treatment completed, they are ready to go.」「Wait for orders, rest while you can!」「「「Sir, yes sir!」」」」
I’m not letting any of them to the Frontier, but if possible, I’d prefer to kill them all at the entrance. This stampede is supposedly being guided into a specific direction, so there is no need to worry about it scattering… But behind us remain settlements that are yet to evacuate. And the neighboring domain of Narrogi doesn’t even have an army since their lord had run away… They don’t have anyone to protect the people.
We went into this battle fully prepared to die while having no intentions of giving up our lives, but the stampede is strong. Truly the most disastrous menace. But we are stronger! We heard explanations, comprehended them, and conducted countless drills for the sake of this moment, but as expected, the real combat is different… Us, the Frontier Army, is overwhelmingly stronger. This is the power of armaments from the oldest great dungeon. It not only has skills and effects attached, it’s loaded with them.
Having one’s strength and speed increased through equipment’s effects equals power. Scattering monsters we mow them down, the poorly equipped Frontier Army that was fending off monsters while always forced into fighting lost battles, is now overpowering monsters with the strongest equipment. This is precisely the power to protect the people that the Frontier was seeking all this time.
Just when I thought that we might be able to endure the stampede like this, even more bad news arrived, quite admirable how the flow never ceases, this one time it’s the worst.
「Is there no mistake?! Was it confirmed?!」
「It is definitely knights of the Church. 3,000 of cavalry alone. However, the report states that they are wearing equipment of the highest grade. We suspect that it’s most likely the Templar Cavalry Corps.」
「Can we send out a force? I don’t care if they can only stall for time.」
I’m well aware how impossible of a task this is. The current situation by itself is a miracle. The miracle of the Frontier Army, that kept being wiped out and annihilated by the brutally overwhelming might of dungeon stampedes, is now fighting one off right at the dungeon entrance. Striking down countless monsters with the overwhelming power of our weapons and armor, we are holding out without faltering. We are now having an upper hand in the hopeless battle against dungeon overflow, a feat that none of the previous generations of Omui managed to accomplish, as they all lost their lives fighting it. The Frontier finally obtained the strength to protect its people.
We are now slaying monsters with the equipment of the highest quality, numerous weapons of astonishing destructive power, which that boy prepared for us, casually saying that it’s a gratitude, bargain sale, rip-off, and whatnot.
And the sturdiness of the armor protecting the troops that fight without faltering. The man that while praised as the best smith in the land continued to work in the destitute Frontier where he couldn’t even make proper armor, having to work without access to an adequate iron, but continued to provide protection for the Frontier, making weapons and armor even if he had to look around for scrap-iron. The troops are now protected but armor in which he could pour all his might making. And it was also that boy who provided the best blacksmith with the best equipment and materials… So we won’t be able to look them in their faces from shame if we fell to some lowly monsters while protected by that armor!
And Shino clan is supporting us from the rear. The boys seems to be yet remember their and still calling them Stalker Girl’s clan, but if they had their name memorized before us it would be unforgivable in it’s own way! It is thanks to that clan, who finally returned into our service, that the Frontier Army, who is capable of nothing but fighting, now has eyes, ears, and mouths. Information and orders travel in a flash, being swiftly relayed where they should. It is because of Shino clan’s support that a small force of less than 3,000 is capable of fighting with the strength of an army counting in tens of thousands. While Shino Clan doesn’t have combat capability, being given large quantity of mushrooms and medicine, they are going around assisting wounded troops. And when a dangerous floor master or a large horde of monsters shows up in a dense crowd, they are backing us up with 『Magic Stone Hand Grenades』manufactured by the boy. They still seem to fret over the time they worked for the neighboring domain, but the great effort and the amazing performance they showed so far is something they can be proud of. That is the Frontier’s treasure, there is no ally more reliable.
But we’ve been had. There was another Church’s army lurking around. Moreover, out of all things, it’s the Templar Cavalry Corps. The mass-murdering genocidal unit. To think the Theocracy’s strongest heretic hunting knight order had made it inside the Kingdom. The Third Division must’ve let them in before the First Division took over the border protection. And they started acting at the worst possible timing.
「The Frontier Army can stay. Shino Clan volunteered to hold them back.」
「Stop them! They are planning to get themselves killed, I won’t allow anyone to willingly choose death. Go and tell them that it would mean disgracing that boy’s hopes. 」
At this rate, either us or the black-haired girls will be attacked from the rear. But the only reinforcements coming our way are the Royal Guard. With the Templar Cavalry Corps as the opponent, even the Royal Guard lead by Her Excellency will be at disadvantage. The opponent is armed with splendid weapons and armor that the Theocracy poured enormous riches and their exclusive magic stones techniques into. While us, armed by that boy and the best blacksmith, won’t fall behind them, the Royal Guard’s equipment, although the best the Kingdom has, is still a few tiers below their. We can’t allow them to clash.
Moreover, they aren’t going to make it in time. We will be attacked first, ending up pincered with the stampede on the other front. On top of that, they are cavalry, likely elites capable of getting away from surging waves of monsters. Since we can’t withdraw, then I won’t be satisfied unless we drag the Templar Cavalry with us.
「Princess Shariceres’ Royal Guard are heading this way. However… They will not make it in time. Let’s retreat to the Frontier.」
「Although we would’ve been forced to retreat anyway when the fourth dungeon starts overflowing, what a shame. Even though that boy is facing 40,000 enemies alone back at the castle while his comrades are fighting two other stampedes, we have to retreat from merely one. If it wasn’t for those stupid rebellions of those idiotic princes the Kingdom still would’ve had 30,000 troops. And with them now having destroyed themselves, we are played around by a few thousands of cavalry, forced to retreat, abandoning the people.」
「Omui-sama, you are the Frontier’s lord. I understand your care for the people of the Kingdom, but please pull back for the Sake of the people of the Frontier.」
「Were it three thousand small fries or one thousand elites I could charge them and take the commander’s head by myself… No, if it’s only 3,000 I might pull it off? Yeah, it’s just one thousand but three times, so it should wo…「Please, no! Please come back! You made a promise with Haruka-sama, right? Are you planning to break a promise with the Frontier’s savior?」…kuh, start preparing for retreat from the rear. Hurry!」
I’d like to at least cull the number of monsters, this alone might decrease the damage. But missing the time to pull back is what’s called foolishness. If we are to retreat it should be done swiftly and resolutely.
「Urgent report. Princess Shariceres’ Royal Guard charged the Templar Cavalry Corps at high speed. The Templar Cavalry Corps took devastating damage. After which the Royal Guard changed course towards the fourth dungeon!」
Charged at high speed… Looks like in this short time that boy managed to arm and equip the Royal Guard as well. Performing a long range high-speed charge at cavalry from such a distance is unthinkable without that boy’s equipment. It’s just impossible. And if the Kingdom’s elites are equipped with that boy’s equipment, then they should be able to fight on par with the Frontier Army. However, the higher the level gets the more difficult it gets to obtain adequate equipment, but is still how drastic of a difference large amounts of high-level equipment on high-level troops can make? Truly soldiers worth a thousand troops each.
「Alright. We are stopping them here. If we crumble here we’d become a laughing stock for the Royal Guard. Let’s leave the fourth dungeon to the Princess.」
「「「「Yessir, leave it to us!」」」」
However, there is also the fifth one. According to the message from the boy, it’s most likely five, with three as the minimum, then, while unlikely, it can be seven, and the worst case it’s nine. According to the Shino clan’s investigation, the Church started working on the ninth one, but ultimately continued only with five. We lack the fifth force… No, even the current situation is too good. Usually, it would take a combined effort of the entire country to crush just one stampede at great cost. Being able to stop three is nothing short of a miracle, and as it now looks like we might be able to stop even four, a greed begins to show, if only we could handle one more. How regretful.
「Floor master is coming.」
「I’ll go, open the way!」
Even though there is such a crisis going on, even though I have responsibility for the lives of my soldiers, and the important duty to protect the livelihood of the people. How troublesome, my blood is boiling, muscles are raging, while I’m overwhelmed by an exaltation that makes me want to shout. Clad in armor in which I can devote myself fully to battle, and with a sword to which I can entrust my life, I have a dungeon master in front of me. I have an opponent stronger than myself, and the means to fight it. Laughter is overflowing from within me, forcing my entire body to tremble.
「Push it back and force it into the dungeon! Charge!」
Lamenting continuous battle in which we cannot hope to defend everything we want, once we finally obtained the strength to protect, I was able to notice. We couldn’t win because we kept defending. At some point, we turned to merely a desperate struggle of resisting the threat of monsters. Just when was it that we forgot about utterly crushing and destroying the enemy?
The ancient founders of Omui fought with monsters all over the continent, and finally cornering them into the Frontier, sought to destroy them. And then, in the last battle of the Frontier the legends came to an end. Just when the monsters were about to be completely annihilated from the continent, the heroes were defeated. All because of a betrayal from human allies… The traitors that attacked their comrades from behind are the current Church. The War Goddess that led the heroes was thrown into the depths of the oldest dungeon, and with countless heroes falling in battle the strength to destroy monsters was lost from the continent. This is the history of the endless tragedy of the Frontier. A mere struggle without any heroes for the sake of going from one defeat to another.
But we are still fighting. We still can fight. Just like the legends of the old, just like the heroes that once fought all of the monsters to their near annihilation!
The repeated chain of defeats and ruin that we went through in our long history carved resignation into our souls. Before we noticed, mere resistance was all that we could think of, we implicitly accepted our incoming downfall. All because it was impossible. No matter how great were the sacrifices that we made in our struggle, we always fell short of protecting what we wanted, and being beaten down time after time, only the mountain of our corpses kept growing.
We had given up. We had accepted our doom. So all we could do was struggle, but even that produced nothing but defeats. Our spirit, our souls were broken… We had resigned ourselves.
But now it is different. Neither us, the Frontier Army, nor the Royal Guard are even considering resistance.Victory, complete and overwhelming, with enemies crushed, destroyed, trampled, and slain to the last is the only thing on our minds.
We’ve seen. The boy who annihilated countless monsters and killed the deepest dungeon. We don’t have a convenient excuse of it being impossible anymore. We were shown that it is possible, and even were given weapons to accomplish that.
It’s said that the elites that were led by the War Goddess were a group of heroes that all fought like champions from legends. They must’ve seen it too. Seen, that it is possible. And they were captivated by that strength. The strength that lies at remote, unreachable heights. And they must’ve yearned for it, and ended up striving for it. That is the heroic tale.
A person that keeps fighting without giving up In a world where everyone has resigned themselves. That must be what people came to call a hero.
I’m sure the hero (destroyer of common sense) that remains the object of everyone’s gratitude, admiration, and yearning, although they can’t tell it to him in person since he would hate it to death, is protecting the Frontier even now, moving down tens of thousands of enemies. That’s we can’t say that we can’t do it, we aren’t permitted to give up, we already set our eyes on it. On the strength of that boy, on the dream called happiness that he showed us.
「Surround the dungeon master, all troops, follow my lead and butcher it!」
Although the first thing we have to strive for is to have him remember our names. But compared to that, crushing dungeon overflow pales in difficulty. So let us crush it! Drop dead, you bastards!
Thank you. There’s a history lesson in this chapter.