Volume 5 Chapter 4

Volume 5 Chapter 4, “Without the Hero, the Demon King’s hands are tied”

 

——— The Holy Crusaders, the Centre, a Sloppy Camp

Boom!

……Boom!

Musketeer of Light: “Sigh…”

Spearman of Light: “I’m hungry.”

Artilleryman: “Is the Crown Prince Marshal really not going to bring us rations?”

Musketeer of Light: “That can’t possibly be… Moreover, we have supply units to our rear, I’m sure lots of food are about to arrive.”

Spearman of Light: “Then why…”

Artilleryman: “I’ve heard that the nobles are just stashing all the food away.”

Musketeer of Light: “What is the Ash Green King doing?”

Spearman of Light: “The Church promised us that this would all be provided for.”

Artilleryman: “And it’s bean soup again…”

Scout: “Ah, I wish we could have some hot bread every now and then.”

Musketeer of Light: “I feel like I haven’t eaten that in a very long time.”

Spearman of Light: “Yeah…”

Scout: “…” Stomach growls.

Musketeer of Light: “…” Stomach growls.

…Boom!

……Boom!

Spearman of Light: “… Hey…”

Artilleryman: “What is it?”

Spearman of Light: “This soup…”

Artilleryman: “Yeah.”

Spearman of Light: “Isn’t that the forbidden—”

Artilleryman: “Shh!”

Artilleryman: “You can have some too!”

Scout: “Potatoes.”

Spearman of Light: “Is it alright? To eat that?”

Artilleryman: “Shut up. This was among the things we raided from them.”

Musketeer of Light: “H-here.”

Artilleryman: “Well, it’s food, so I’ll eat it.”

Musketeer of Light: “N-no…”

Spearman of Light: “It’s actually delicious. I had some a long time ago.”

Musketeer of Light: “Really?”

Spearman of Light: “Yeah.”

Artilleryman: “We have to eat it, we were forced to.”

Scout: “Yeah, that’s right.”

…Boom!

……Boom!

Artilleryman: “Dammit! Dammit!”

Throws bowl down.

Spearman of Light: “What’s wrong, are you hurt!?”

Artilleryman: “I’ve had enough! Enough! Just what are we doing here! They told us we would have lots of bread to eat!”

Spearman of Light: “…”

Artilleryman: “Am I wrong? Am I wrong!? Did we not follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit to march into the Demon World!? Did those oh-so-mighty nobles not promise us lots of bread to eat? Damn them!”

Spearman of Light: “Damn…”

Artilleryman: “This soup is just salt water with several beans in it, how are we supposed to be full! Look! Even before the battle begins, we won’t be able to lift a finger, will we!?”

Spearman of Light: “Perhaps if we go before the Repentance Committee…”

Scout: “Shh!”

Musketeer of Light: “In the end, we have descended to the depths of hell coming to such a place to eat these heretical potatoes…”

Artilleryman: “That’s right. All of this…is the fault of those damn nobles…”

Spearman of Light: “Stop!”

Artilleryman: “You think so too, don’t you!?”

Spearman of Light: “Stop! Don’t make an enemy of the nobles! Do you want to be killed! I’m sorry. If you really want to die so much, leave me out of this! But, they have paladins, armour, and powerful weapons. If you want to die, go ahead.”

Musketeer of Light: “Damn. Damn!”

Artilleryman: “…… ……”

Scout: “…I want to go home.”

Spearman of Light: “Hurry up and eat.”

Scout: “…”

Musketeer of Light: “…”

 

——— The Pavilion of the Holy Crusaders Besieging the City of the Gate

Small-time Royalty: “The supply units?”

Noble Lord: “That’s right.”

Proud Marquis: “Then…”

Arrogant Knight: “They were ambushed by the Southern Alliance and the Demons, all they could defend are these 20%.”

Noble Lord: “Why? They were equipped with muskets, weren’t they!”

Proud Marquis: “Precisely!”

Arrogant Knight: “Perhaps they were defeated by superior numbers.”

Small-time Royalty: “So what happened to the food we have left?”

Arrogant Knight: “The Lord of the Kingdom of Copper has very quickly taken custody of the supplies that his subordinates managed to protect for himself.”

Small-time Royalty: “What!? This is not the place to do something like that. We have to take back those rations right now!”

Noble Lord: “Wait.”

Small-time Royalty: “But.”

Noble Lord: “The garrison units were deployed with an average of 2,000 soldiers to every logistics depot. These were comprised with a core of lower nobility, and a serf-based musketeer force to make up the remainder.”

Small-time Royalty: “That’s right. The Kingdom of Copper also has lower nobility guarding its logistics depots. That’s why the Kingdom of Copper recalled all the limited supplies controlled by the surviving depots, right!? At this rate, these limited supplies will be passed from serf to serf until they all disappear!”

Noble Lord: “But, think about it. The garrison units were defeated and retreated, right?”

Proud Marquis: “Yes…”

Noble Lord: “That’s right. Recalling the limited supplies is essentially admitting to the failure of defending them, and taking responsibility for it. In order to cover up this responsibility, what do you think they would do?”

Small-time Royalty: “…Then…”

Proud Marquis: “What. There are still supplies out there.”

Arrogant Knight: “Hmph. The serfs will have to starve, but they’re all just organisms that sprout out from the ground anyway.”

Small-time Royalty: “But doing that will make everyone very uneasy for sure. That being said, I hear the Crown Prince Marshal has returned?”

Noble Lord: “Yes, it appears he’s in the formation tent on the South side of the siege.”

Proud Marquis: “Then I suppose his logistics attempts have failed too?”

Arrogant Knight: “No, it appears that he has come with 800 carts of food.”

Noble Lord: “But the crucial issue is, did he come with gunpowder?”

Proud Marquis: “Well…”

Noble Lord: “Noble Lord: “On top of that, the supply units.”

Small-time Royalty: “Huh?”

Noble Lord: “More than 20% of the units jettisoned all their valuables and fled, but had the Crown Prince Marshal come earlier, he should have been able to rescue at least half of them, right?”

Proud Marquis: “That’s…”

Noble Lord: “…”

Small-time Royalty: “Don’t tell me…”

Noble Lord: “Of course His Royal Excellency wields the greatest power among the Holy Crusaders. That has never been in doubt. And it’s true that he has distinguished himself over anyone else in this war… But the loss of nearly all our rear supplies is definitely not a small responsibility.”

Small-time Royalty: “B-but. The Crown Prince Marshal was on a mission to penetrate the Lands of the Pale, so the responsibility of command for the garrisons… It’s not his fault that he was unable to make it in time.”

Noble Lord: “Yes it is. He had the responsibility to ensure that there was no possibility of him being unable to make it in time.”

Small-time Royalty: “…!”

Proud Marquis: “Hahahahahha.”

Arrogant Knight: “…Hahahaha.”

Noble Lord: “Take a look at this City of the Gate. Have you ever seen such a massive city? The capitals of the Kingdom of the Lake and the Kingdom of Branches look like mere grain trading towns in comparison. Even the Holy Imperial City cannot compare to its behemoth size.”

Small-time Royalty: “Th-that’s…”

Noble Lord: “Of course, the advantages of seizing this City are all about its expected scale. If we were able to seize this growing city, then all the riches and glory would end up going to that young and illustrious hero from the Empire. No matter what, the Crown Prince Marshal cannot afford to slip up.”

Proud Marquis: “Really?”

Small-time Royalty: “Mmmm.”

Noble Lord: “That’s right. It has been happening for a long time. While our noble armies induce this City to capitulate, we have been taken in by the persuasive words of the Crown Prince Marshal. That’s right! He’s pushed the responsibility to those pigs in the South. In this way, he was able to bury his responsibility in this debacle. This was something we should rightfully have considered.”

Proud Marquis: “Hmmm.”

Small-time Royalty: “But it’s not like we can stop him, can we?”

Proud Marquis: “That’s true…”

Arrogant Knight: “His heroics are the backbone of the Holy Crusaders after all.”

Small-time Royalty: “That’s true.”

Noble Lord: “And he has the full support of the Church.”

Proud Marquis: “You mean the Primarch?”

Noble Lord: “What the Primarch desires is the capitulation of the City of the Gate. We cannot allow the seat of the Holy Spirit to be besmirched in this manner any further. Rather than committing forces against the Southern Alliance, if we concentrate our forces to take down the City of the Gate, then use this fact to shake the hearts of those heretics, surely that is what His Holiness would desire.”

Arrogant Knight: “Indeed! Indeed!”

Small-time Royalty: “In that case…”

Noble Lord: “Hahaha. Hurry and raise this to the Council, everyone will…”

Proud Marquis: “Got it. I also have some friends among the nobles who would be interested.”

Small-time Royalty: “I’m certain the other royalty will support it as well!”

Noble Lord: “To our successes.”

Proud Marquis: “Indeed!”

Arrogant Knight: “Hahaha. Let us drink to the Glory of the Spirit!”

Small-time Royalty: “Drink!”

Noble Lord: “Drink!

 

——— The Demon World, the Rearlines of the Holy Crusaders

“Hurry, it is the Crown Prince Marshal’s orders.”

“Move, move.”

“Where are the saw bits!”

“Move it to the pavilion!”

Strategist: “What is our location?”

Scout: “On this line, we are but 4 li away.”

Holy Imperial General: “4 li…”

Strategist: “On horseback, we’ll be there in two hours.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Yes.”

Holy Imperial General: “Is it alright to continue preparing the way we have been doing?”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Yes. Prioritise the anti-cavalry stakes. From what we understand, the Southern Alliance is mainly comprised of infantry, but they also have powerful shock troops. In eight or nine out of ten encounters with them, the battle was decided by the power of the Paladins of the Lake. We cannot underestimate these cadre of Paladins who have earned the epithet ‘The Winter Roses of the Isle of Light’. Their commander is, the Female Paladin.”

Strategist: “You’d think she wouldn’t just be the commander, but the grand commander of all their forces.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “If we understand this, we’d have a lot more insight.”

Strategist: “With the Lone Winter King among them, it’s clear the Southern Alliance is serious. This one battle will decide the fate of the Alliance. Their grand commander is the Iron Fist King, and while he’s not a person I agree with, I will admit that he is more than a capable commander. They clearly do not intend to lose. They’ve assembled the best of their generals, the best of the cavalry units, and sallied out to meet us. This is why our rear guard had no chance against them.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Any news from there?”

Scout: “No, the scouts could only get till there… Once they get closer than 4 miles, we lose contact with the majority of our scouting units.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “I can’t say I know their grand commander personally, but their frontline commander is that woman.”

Strategist: “Really?”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Yeah. We saw her command at the Plains of White Clovers. Now that she’s in charge of the Southern Alliance, that’s going to be something else. She’s not just a person with a burning passion, her unyielding metal will has to be considered.”

Holy Imperial General: “She certainly has an otherworldly grasp of tactics.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Well, yeah… No, it’s nothing. Get the scouts to pull out. And let’s get more details from them.”

Scout: “Yes! Understood.”

Crown Prince Marshal: (If we are to clash spears, we’ll need to understand their thoughts a bit more…)

 

——— The Plains of Strange Cliffs, the Southern Alliance, Forward Vanguard

Paladin of the Lake: “That is all!”

The Female Paladin: “Hmm.”

Aide-de-Camp: “What a strange formation.”

The Female Paladin: “Yes.”

Dual Swordsman of Beasts: “That formation…”

Aide-de-Camp: “The rear guard of the Holy Crusaders comprises of two layers of anti-cavalry stakes, they’re thin constructions made from the branches of shrubs. This much we understand. They are intended to prevent the charges of our cavalry. It may not be able to take too much, but it will definitely soak up quite a lot of the musket shots we fire at it as well.”

Paladin of the Lake: “I don’t understand why, but their formation is wavy as well.”

Aide-de-Camp: “Indeed…”

The Female Paladin: “It appears they are attempting to use enfilade.”

Paladin of the Lake: “Enfilade?”

The Female Paladin: “This formation alternates between protruding portions and indented portions. If we aim to attack the protruding portions, the back lines can simply fall in and reinforce those portions. Units which retreat to the rear then support the front lines from a different direction.”

Dual Swordsman of Beasts: “Hmm.”

The Female Paladin: “In other words, it’s a partial encirclement. This formation is a killing formation designed to take advantage of the muskets. The indented portions are designed to concentrate fire from the other two sides. Just by creating these enfilading formations, our attrition rate rises dramatically. This is a formation that’s advantageous to the side with greater firepower and numbers.”

Paladin of the Lake: “What…”

Aide-de-Camp: “That’s the first time I’ve seen this.”

The Female Paladin: “The biggest compliment for the Holy Crusaders has never been their sophistication. Consider also their innumerous swords and the zealous fervour that burns within them.”

Aide-de-Camp: “A powerful enemy.”

Dual Swordsman of Beasts: “They are led by that man then.”

The Female Paladin: “I wouldn’t say leader. But, he’s their greatest general. A truly powerful commander.”

Aide-de-Camp: “…It seems we are under pressure now.”

The Female Paladin: “If we want to break through that formation, we’re going to incur a great deal of sacrifices on our part as well.”

Dual Swordsman of Beasts: “But they’re hunkered down like rats in a cellar.”

The Female Paladin: “I fear they are trying to pull apart our formation. They’re attempting to bait us into the attack, and finish us off in one fell swoop. That’s the way they fight.”

Paladin of the Lake: “In that case, why don’t we take a deep breath and play slippery around them?”

Dual Swordsman of Beasts: “Such a cowardly way of fighting is not the way of the Beasts!”

The Female Paladin: “I also oppose it… At this rate, the Holy Crusaders will continue their attack on the City of the Gate.”

Paladin of the Lake: “Then we have to lure them out!”

Aide-de-Camp: “I don’t think he’s the kind of man who would go along with that.”

The Female Paladin: “Hmm. An information war.”

Aide-de-Camp: “Indeed. Luckily, we have the support of the Tribes of Beasts and Fairies.”

The Female Paladin: “Right now, both sides want a decisive battle. If we attack them full frontal, we’ll just turn into food for the muskets, and they too do not want to leave their formations. At this rate, the first one who moves becomes readable in the palm of the other’s hand. We too are trying to hide our hand and read theirs. For that reason, we need more information. I fear, we have two requirements.”

Aide-de-Camp nods.

The Female Paladin: “The first, how long can the walls of the City of the Gate hold? This is important. At present, we have no way of establishing contact with the forces within the City. However, we need to raise their morale by letting them know that reinforcements have arrived.”

Aide-de-Camp: “Indeed.”

The Female Paladin: “The other one is how much supplies the Holy Crusaders have remaining. Particularly, their food stocks and gunpowder. The levels of those two supplies will decide the extent to which they can maintain their current strategy. No matter how good the Crown Prince Marshal is, he can’t produce supplies from thin air.”

Aide-de-Camp nods.

The Female Paladin: “Acquiring these two pieces of intelligence are of utmost importance. At the same time, we have to guard our own intelligence from the enemy.”

Paladin of the Lake: “How shall we do this.”

Dual Swordsman of Beasts: “This is our job.”

The Female Paladin: “This is very important.”

Aide-de-Camp: “Leave it to us. We understand the geography of the area better than anyone else, no matter what, we have the powerful Beasts with us. When it comes to scouts and intelligence, they outclass any force no matter how large. On top of this, we’ve also got Fairies hidden throughout the area.”

 

——— Across the Demon World

“Kurultai?”

“Yes! Kurultai!”

“The Humans have been pressuring the City of the Gate again and again. The Demon King is resisting them to the very end.”

“Where is it going on? The plains again?”

“No, this time it’s the City of the Gate.”

“Don’t tell me this Kurultai is about the war with the Humans?”

“So it would appear.”

“Kurultai… War sure is scary.”

“But we have to go. The Demon King has called it. Perhaps there is something we can do to help the Demon King.”

“In that case, send news.”

“To the Tribe of Scales, and the Tribe of Wings.”

“Kurultai…”

“Have you seen a Human before?”

“Nope.”

“I bought this pot made by Humans from a Dragon merchant the other day.”

“Humans. What are they like?”

“If they’re able to attack this far, they must be a very warlike race.”

“So, like the Beasts?”

“I sort of get the feeling they’re like the Demons of the Pale.”

“That’s true.”

“In any case, a Kurultai. Let the elders know!”

“That’s right, this is a big issue!”

 

——— The City of the Gate, the Walls, Logistics

Boom…!

Boom…!

“For the Holy Spirit!”

“Long live the Holy Spirit!”

Volunteer Archer: “Ah, those guys… they…”

Human Engineer: “No matter how close the walls are to crumpling, this is the wall the Disciple Engineer made! It’s not the kind of wall you can destroy with swords and spears. What weird people!”

Engineer of the Pale: “I wonder wat they’re trying to do.”

Beast Soldier: “Don’t waver! Stay vigilant and repair.”

Volunteer Archer: “Just what are they doing…”

Boom…!

Human Engineer: “Blood… Their blood is sticking to the walls.”

Engineer of the Pale: “Don’t pay attention to it. Alright, we’re done here.”

Beast Soldier: “Head back into the City and get the next shift.”

Volunteer Archer: “Right, got it…”

Disciple Engineer: (This is the limit… The walls were a lot stronger than even I could have imagined, but this is the peak of the stress they can take. It does throw our guys into an odd state, so I suppose this is a sort of fear attack too…?! I should really have studied military sciences more. These people are weird. These Humans… have they no respect for human life!?)

Engineer of the Pale: “Supervisor, we’ve got more rocks.”

Disciple Engineer: “Ah, right. Mix it up and try to repair the damages to the foundations. Woah! There’s just ten of you?”

Booom! Boom! Boom! Boom!

Giant Builder: “—!”

Volunteer Archer: “Get down! Get down!”

Human Engineer: “Sir!”

Human Engineer: “Wh— A surprise attack!? What are they thinking! They’ve suddenly concentrated fire here?!”

 

——— The City of the Gate, the Holy Crusaders

Disciple Bard: “Are you alright? Here, water. Drink.”

Artilleryman: “Sorry, ah… Ah…”

Scout: “Water, please…”

Spearman of Light: “Drink this.”

Militia of Light: “…Damn.”

Disciple Bard: “I’m sorry. There’s no more bread…”

Artilleryman: “No, it’s fine. We haven’t had bread for months…”

Spearman of Light: “Why…”

Artilleryman: “Because we’re all members of the Kingdom of Pig Heads.”

Disciple Bard: “Eh?”

Artilleryman: “…We, the Holy Crusaders, are peasants. How about them?”

Spearman of Light: “Yeah.”

Artilleryman: “That’s why we can’t be commanders or even unit leaders. Those positions are for knights and noblemen. Even the commanders of us peasant units. As members of the Kingdom of Pig Heads, that’s all we can do.”

Scout: “…”

Spearman of Light: “Even though we’re supposed to be from the same Crusades, they really treat us very differently.”

Militia of Light: “But it’s still better this way.”

Artilleryman: “Thank you… To begin with, it’s been a long time since I was even treated any way at all.”

Scout: “That’s true… Oh we have to go.”

Artilleryman: “I understand.”

Boom!

Spearman of Light: “What’s going on!?”

Artilleryman: “We’ve got to go make tents for our Lord. The Kingdom of Copper refused to cooperate with us, and so when the surroundings get smelly from the sulphur, we have to relocate the tents. For this reason, we have to keep going around continuously hacking down logs.”

Scout: “And if you don’t move quickly enough, you get whipped…”

Spearman of Light: “Are you alright…?”

Militia of Light: “…This isn’t acceptable.”

Disciple Bard: “I’m going to go see your Lord! Why can’t he just not move the tent! What meaning is there!?”

Artilleryman: “Hahahaha. Thank you… But if you even get close to them, they’ll kill you.”

Scout: “Well, let’s go…”

Spearman of Light: “But…”

Militia of Light: “…”

Disciple Bard: “…”

…Boom!

Artilleryman: “Thanks, guys…”

Scout: “…”

Spearman of Light: “I heard something.”

Militia of Light: “What?”

Spearman of Light: “It seems that a Bishop of the Church is having a congregation, and giving out wheat as well.”

Scout: “Nah. I’ve only been once, but it was smelly and disgusting. I don’t want to go a second time… I really don’t.”

Artilleryman: “But, bread…?”

Scout: “Even then.”

Spearman of Light: “I want bread too.”

Militia of Light: “Me too…”

Artilleryman: “I’ll try to join in tonight as well. It’s just a repentance ceremony right? Keep your head down and you get wheat. It’s fine, no matter what, I’ve got to eat something, otherwise I can’t get any work done. If I can get some white bread, I’d exchange even my life or my soul for it.”

Spearman of Light: “Understood. I’m going too.”

Militia of Light: “…”

Disciple Bard: “Guys… Guys……”

 

——— The Holy Crusaders, the Formation Centre, the Pavilion of the Hundred Chevaliers

Ash Green King: “…”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Are you awake, your Majesty?”

Ash Green King: “What time is it?”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “A few more hours to sunrise.”

Ash Green King: “I see…”

Boom!

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Haha, what is the matter.”

Ash Green King: “Hmm. Nothing… It’s just…”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “It’s just?”

Ash Green King: “I do like running my hands through this hair.”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “It is an offering for your pleasure then.”

Ash Green King: “…”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Haha. Do not make that face.”

Ash Green King: “So it belongs to me?”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Yes.”

Ash Green King: “These fingers too?”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Yes.”

Ash Green King: “And these breasts?”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Yes.”

Ash Green King: “And this mouth?”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Of course.”

Ash Green King: “—”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Express your desire, your Majesty.”

Ash Green King: “What a farce.”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Why? I have offered you this white body many times. Why can you not believe the actions of this offering?”

Ash Green King: “It is the duty of kings not to believe the honeyed words of women.”

…Boom!

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Hahahaha… this is the type of man that turns me on.”

Ash Green King: “It’s a matter of policy.”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Are you chasing me away?”

Ash Green King: “Do you enjoy this?”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “…Yes. I have no lust for powerful, but I get giddy in the presence of strong individuals.”

Ash Green King: “…”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Have I spoilt your dreams?”

Ash Green King: “No. As you wish, I will drink of this poisoned cup.”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Indeed.”

Ash Green King: “Come closer.”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Yes.”

Ash Green King: “…Sunrise is still far away.”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “What’s with that face. Are you not content?”

Ash Green King: “Do you want to become mine?”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “…Yes.”

Ash Green King: “So this is what you’re into.”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Stop playing. Ah… You’re a mean person.”

Ash Green King: “What are you saying. Am I not just fulfilling your wish?”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Yes. As many times as you want. I will grant your every wish. After all, sunrise is still far away.”

 

——— The Demon World, the Southern Alliance, the Battlefield

The Female Paladin: “…”

Disciple Soldier: “Madam?”

The Female Paladin: “…”

Disciple Soldier: “Madam Paladin?”

The Female Paladin: “Ah. Sorry. What’s up… Ah, that’s the Crown Prince Marshal’s defensive line.”

Disciple Soldier: “Hmph. Pathetic.”

The Female Paladin: “It’s a splendid defence. They’ve got anti-cavalry stakes, mud walls, and while rudimentary, they even have watchtowers. Those dirt piles appear to be for extinguishing fires too…”

Lone Winter King: “Are you alright? Feeling unwell?”

The Female Paladin: “No, it’s nothing. My chest is just feeling a bit tight.”

Iron Fist King: “I feel the same. It is a formidable defence.”

Lone Winter King: “Will our defence be okay?”

Disciple Soldier: “Firstly, we don’t know the range of the enemies’ cannons. But we seem to be at a safe distance for now.”

Iron Fist King: “In other words, we are at a loss on how to continue.”

Seneschal: “That is correct.”

Iron Fist King: “We’re going to need to know this to plan our strategy.”

The Female Paladin: “How troublesome.”

Lone Winter King: “…If what the Female Paladin has suggested is correct, then the Crusaders themselves are in rather distressed situations.”

The Butler: “This is true. According to my spies, it appears unrest among the Holy Crusaders, especially among the serf armies, grows worse everyday. On top of this, even without considering the food crisis, it appears that the great disparity between the lives the nobles are leading and the ones the peasants are is becoming more apparent by the day. Trouble is brewing.”

Lieutenant of Metal: “Spies? Are they okay?”

The Butler: “Nyohohohoho. It’s a simple matter to infiltrate such a large army. My underlings didn’t even need too much effort to slip into their ranks. The troops already treat them like one of their own.”

Iron Fist King: “To begin with, an army of that size is definitely not just comprised of soldiers. They’ve got fletchers, blacksmiths, stablemasters, prostitutes. It’s even possible that they might be sheltering all kinds of refugees as well.”

Lone Winter King: “That’s right, their problems are severe then.”

Lieutenant of Metal: “What problems?”

Iron Fist King: “Their hunger… The nobility and royalty of the Central Kingdoms are not aware of it. No, they have no intention to make themselves aware of such issues. The starvation of the people is not part of their personal reality. They have become accustomed to living a sheltered life within their mansions and palaces, but for the starving people, they can expect no support from above.”

Disciple Soldier: “…”

Lone Winter King: “In any case, from now on, I have a role to play as well.”

The Butler: “Yes.”

Lone Winter King: “We’ll monitor the Holy Crusaders, and report on their movements to the best of our abilities. On top of this, I want to reach out to the Holy Church. Can we set up some kind of communication…?”

The Butler: “Understood.”

The Female Paladin: “Is it possible?”

The Butler: “Who do you think you’re speaking to! I have never been discovered when stealthing around in my entire life. Do not humiliate me!”

The Female Paladin: “…”

Aide-de-Camp: “…”

Disciple Soldier: “…”

The Butler: “And they seem to have a lovely lady with them, nyohohohoho. She’s got great tits.”

Aide-de-Camp: “…Ah. That person.”

The Female Paladin: “Please don’t say anymore.”

Slap!

The Butler: “Oww! What was that for!”

The Female Paladin: “Stop it with the daydreaming and let us know what intelligence you’ve got?”

The Butler: “Can’t you give an old, loving Butler a break? She’s surrounded by all these ugly musketeers.”

The Female Paladin: “My beloved blade would happily cleave an old man’s head from his neck.”

The Butler: “Hmph. What a heartless bitch.”

The Female Paladin: “Hurry up.”

The Butler: “It’s because you’re heartless that your chest has no motivation to grow.”

The Female Paladin: “Hurry up and tell us!”

Aide-de-Camp: “I’m not sure why, but she seems rather tired of this…”

 

——— Five Years Ago, the Kingdom of Branches, the Portal where Demons were first discovered

The Female Paladin: “Hey Hero.”

The Hero: “Yeah?”

The Female Paladin: “What sort of childhood did you have?”

The Butler: “Yeah. I want to know as well.”

The Mage: “…”

The Hero: “It was… pretty normal I guess.”

The Female Paladin: “Really? I’m sure you had some kind of elite training, right? You probably spent everyday training and drinking bitter strength enhancing tonics.”

The Hero: “That’s just abuse!”

The Butler: “You lived in the Holy Empire, if I remember.”

The Hero: “Yeah, but my house was inside a thick forest on the borders of it.”

The Female Paladin: “Oh, so you lived the forest life.”

The Hero: “I suppose so.”

The Butler: “How did you train up your swordplay and magic?”

The Female Paladin: “I’m very interested too. At first glance, your swordplay is unbelievable. After seeing it for a long time… it’s still unbelievable. But after seeing it for a really, really long time, it’s clear that you’ve got your own style to it.”

The Butler: “Rather than your swordplay, it seems that your magic has a certain element of scholarship to it, is it your personal school?”

The Hero: “…”

The Butler: “?”

The Mage: “…… ……”

The Female Paladin: “So?”

The Hero: “That’s a secret. One of the 72 secrets of the Hero.”

The Butler: “Is that so?”

The Female Paladin: “Ah, how unfortunate… So the Hero won’t talk about himself then.”

The Hero: “I don’t really have much of a past, but we’re fighting, right? It doesn’t really matter where I learnt it from, as long as it’s useful.”

The Female Paladin: “That’s true.”

The Butler: “That’s very true.”

The Hero: “Hmph. I’m tired. We’ve still got tomorrow ahead of us, so I’m going to bed. In any case, the Mage will fall asleep in 30 seconds after having some food.”

The Butler: “Hahahaha. Sleep is really her hobby.”

The Female Paladin: “And your hobby is perversion.”

The Butler: “Well, enough of that.”

The Hero: “I’m going to bed. I’ll just sleep on that ledge over there. Let’s wake up when it’s bright.”

The Female Paladin: “…Failed again.”

The Butler: “That’s not true.”

The Female Paladin: “Seems he really doesn’t want to be asked about it. But, that must have been a tough time for him. What has he seen…”

The Butler: “That’s probably true.”

The Female Paladin: “…”

The Butler: “But that’s fine too. Rather than someone who’s not able to find himself, it’s better to be someone who has already found himself.”

The Female Paladin: “What do you mean.”

The Mage: “…Old.”

The Female Paladin: “Oh you woke up?”

The Mage: “…Old memories, were awakened. It hurts. To think where I stand.”

The Female Paladin: “?”

The Butler: “It’s fine even if you don’t understand. You, the Hero, and the Mage, you’re all still very young.”

The Mage: “… Old man.”

The Butler: “Nyohohohoho. It’s true that I am old.”

The Female Paladin: “I have no confidence. I became a Paladin of the Lake from a young age, honing my swordplay and prayers everyday. Everyone has always been good to me. Even though I was often seen as a genius. I always wanted to compete with the Hero, I always wanted to prove myself and get the power he has.”

The Butler: “…”

The Female Paladin: “But, after actually meeting the Hero, I no longer want that. No matter how quickly I move, no matter how hard I swing my sword, the Hero will always be ahead of me. In the time that it takes for me to recite a high-speed incantation, the Hero has already launched two wordless incantations… The Hero’s battle sense is so adept, so much higher than mine, that most of the time I cannot even comprehend what he is trying to do. I don’t understand the world that the Hero perceives. I tried to chase after the Hero so fervently, but the Hero has always run ahead of me. Sometimes he pauses to wait for me, and in my shame as I catch up to him, I have a small taste of his loneliness, and acutely understand my powerlessness.”

The Butler: “I see…”

The Mage: “…Unrelated.”

The Female Paladin: “Eh?”

The Mage: “…In that case, we should be together. That’s all. Simple.”

The Female Paladin: “…”

The Mage: “…If we are together to the end, we win. I don’t really understand, but as long as we do, we win.”

The Female Paladin: “Yeah.”

The Mage: “…If you’re not interested in winning, we can return to the pub.”

The Female Paladin: “That’s not true.”

The Mage: “If you don’t believe, you can give up.”

The Female Paladin: “Where I excel at is enduring to the very end. The armour I wear is the very defence of the Church, the iron wall that keeps the peace.”

The Butler: “Oho.”

The Female Paladin: “What is it?”

The Butler: “No… Ahem, ahem.”

The Female Paladin: “This might be hard to say, but just staggering about from place to place enduring sleepless nights does take a toll on my self-control and self-discipline.”

The Mage: “…If only your breasts could grow the way your attitude does.”

The Butler: “Hey, hey.”

The Female Paladin: “Hmph. Fine. A servant of the Spirit of Light will not concern herself with such trivialities.”

The Mage: “…Won’t allow it anyway.”

The Female Paladin: “Hmph. That’s my line anyway.”

The Butler: “I certainly can’t believe that you’re not interested in it at all. I’m sure the Hero wouldn’t be able to compete in this domain anyway.”

The Mage: “…I’m going to bed.”

The Female Paladin: “What are you doing!? The person taking over the Hero’s shift is me, so this is my place.”

The Mage: “…Kuh.”

The Butler: “Should have thought this through.”

 

——— The Holy Crusader, the Centre, a Dark Tent

Sober Clergyman: “Your Grace.”

Attendant Bishop: “You were here?”

Sober Clergyman: “Yes.”

Attendant Bishop: “…The light?”

Sober Clergyman: “Best not to light it.”

Attendant Bishop: “Indeed…”

Sober Clergyman: “Thank you for agreeing to an audience.”

Attendant Bishop: “It’s a dangerous bridge.”

Sober Clergyman: “Yes.”

Attendant Bishop: “Can you confirm the thing you have promised?”

Sober Clergyman: “Yes. Regarding the Holy Order of the Lake and the Holy dioceses of Branches, the Lake, and Wheat, without adding to the oppression of the adherents, they reserve the rights in the unfortunate event of the outbreak of war… This decision was confirmed by the Southern Alliance. Here is the document.”

Attendant Bishop: “—”

Sober Clergyman: “We are all adherents of the Spirit of Light. The Spirit wishes for peace… That is why we do not desire for war.”

Attendant Bishop: “Well… yes…”

Sober Clergyman: “…”

Attendant Bishop: “…”

…Boom!

Sober Clergyman: “The warfront seems to be at a stalemate.”

Attendant Bishop: “I am merely a clergyman. Born as a child of the church, till now I have hidden in the Church from the dangers of the world outside. I know nothing of the world… However, yes. I must say that it is clear that if we continue at this rate, victory is not within our grasp.”

Sober Clergyman: “…”

Attendant Bishop: “Have you nothing to say?”

Sober Clergyman: “According to the teachings of us at the Holy Order of the Lake, the Subterranean World is also under the protection of the Spirit. The Demons are children of the Spirit as well. Though it is clear that some of them have lost their way. However, we believe that the central tenets provide a suitable answer.”

Attendant Bishop: “…Indeed.”

Sober Clergyman: “Let us consider religion and the world separately. But, your Eminence.”

Attendant Bishop: “Yes.”

Sober Clergyman: “While we may practice religion, our bodies exist in the world. And to spread the faith, we will require time.—However, in this interim, there are some who cannot afford to wait.”

Attendant Bishop: “…”

…Boom!

Sober Clergyman: “This is a world of innocent souls subjected to disease and pestilence from birth. By the grace of the Spirit, we survived the epidemics which plague the land, but the world is not so lucky.”

Attendant Bishop: “I am listening.”

Sober Clergyman: “…”

Attendant Bishop: “To be perfectly honest, I do not understand it. I have served the Spirit for 50 years. I may be imperfect, but I have prayed sincerely. However… I have not heard the voice of the Spirit.”

Sober Clergyman: “…”

Attendant Bishop: “Have you heard Her voice? Does the Holy Order of the Lake enjoy the voice of the Spirit?”

Sober Clergyman: “…No we haven’t. We do not know why we don’t hear Her voice either. But we feel that not hearing it is also a blessing on its own.”

Attendant Bishop: “…Blessing?”

Sober Clergyman: “Yes. Because we cannot just get instructions from her, we have to think further, and we can aim and achieve further.”

Attendant Bishop: “…That’s”

Sober Clergyman: “I understand this interpretation is different from what the Church thinks.”

Attendant Bishop: “Yes…well…”

Sober Clergyman: “We do not hope for war. We do not wish for war with our fellow Humans in the Central Continent, as well as this destructive war the Holy Crusaders are currently waging. Do you believe the Spirit wishes for this? On the other hand, do you think that without attempting any peaceful means, by using the Holy Relics as a pretext, to suddenly command a massive army to invade, is? This Crusade will cast a long shadow on the thousand-year history of the Church, as comrades in faith, we are anxious for this not to be the case.”

Attendant Bishop: “…that’s…that is…”

Sober Clergyman: “I understand it is difficult to reply.”

Attendant Bishop: “…”

Sober Clergyman: “We just want you to understand what we hope for, and allow that to inform your decisions. What we hope for is an early end to this divisive war. For this reason…”

Attendant Bishop: “?”

Sober Clergyman: “We might be willing to provide the vaccinations against smallpox.”

Attendant Bishop: “What!?”

Sober Clergyman: “This is a joint extension from the Southern Alliance and us at the Holy Order of the Lake, I hope you understand.”

Boom…!

Sober Clergyman: “Our Holy Order of the Lake has considered that it would be appropriate to entrust this to a sincere clergyman and incorrupt official like yourself… You too are doing your very best to protect the equal lives of the children of Light. And you want to hear the voice that we cannot hear.”

Attendant Bishop: “The Spirit…”

Sober Clergyman: “The Spirit’s, and the voices of the adherents.”

Attendant Bishop: “…”

Sober Clergyman: “I humbly entreat you.”

 

——— The City of the Gate, the Hall, the Study

Door opens.

The Demon King: “Who is it?”

Attendant: “An audience, your Majesty.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “Your Majesty. I have returned.”

The Demon King: “How was the secret mission I sent you on?”

The Witch-Queen of Banshees: “Hahaha. I would think so. Welcome back.”

Young Merchant: “It has been a long time.”

The Demon King: “If it isn’t the Merchant!”

The Witch-Queen of Banshees: “And this is?”

The Demon King: “Yeah, this is—”

Fire Dragon Lady: “The leader of the largest merchant’s union of the Human World, I have brought him to seek an audience with the Demon King.”

The Demon King: “Eh?”

Young Merchant: “Forgive me, Demon King.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “Should I have introduced you as my husband?”

Young Merchant: “Once this is all wrapped up, I expect to have full compensation.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “I’m sure we’ll find a position for you.”

The Demon King: “What do you mean?”

Fire Dragon Lady: “As you entreated, I have brought reinforcements.”

The Demon King: “I haven’t entreated any kind of reinforcements. It’s not as if the entire Demon World is about to be destroyed. You should know this.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “You may be the ruler of the Demon World, but I am a Councillor on the Self-Governing Council. Should I not defend this City? Or should I retreat to the Flaming Mountains, bide my time and wait to retake the City? Your Majesty, with respect, you know nothing.”

The Demon King: “That’s… But, this City.”

Young Merchant: “To the Scholar, surely this is the final line of defence?”

The Demon King: “Merchant…”

Young Merchant: “But it turns out you’re the Demon King, after all. You’ve really surprised me. How many times have I been surprised by you.”

The Demon King: “I did not intend to do that.”

Young Merchant: “Of course. I don’t think you were lying.”

The Demon King: “The contract we signed.”

Young Merchant: “This has nothing to do with our positions, it is merely an expression of the binding of our shared interests.”

The Demon King: “…”

Young Merchant: “—Nonetheless, I am somewhat dispirited. Scholar. That day, I thought I was drawing closer to you, but it seems you were completely not what I imagined. Just when I thought I had you in the palm of my hand, it seems there was a block of ice there too.”

The Demon King: “To begin with, I did try to keep my identity secret.”

Young Merchant: “That is not what I meant. It’s not disgraceful or anything, though it is somewhat shameful.”

The Witch-Queen of Banshees: “Shameful!?”

The Demon King: “…”

Young Merchant: “Are you angry? Hurry up then.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “What are you saying, Merchant…”

Young Merchant: “You should have just brought me your issues in full disclosure of your status. Stop with the waffling about and do your job.”

The Demon King: “I am doing my job. Aren’t I? But the strength of the Human armies…”

Young Merchant: “You can’t.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “!?”

Young Merchant: “To begin with, your job is the Demon King, isn’t it? You’re supposed to direct the defence of the City, right? You’re supposed to be the frontline commander, right? The only problem is that you do not have the expertise to do so. That’s not a problem, as long as you use the correct people.”

The Demon King: “…”

Young Merchant: “Your strong suit is your boundless long-term vision and broad worldview, as well as your penetrating sense of balance. You have extensive knowledge on the broad perspective of global strategy, a well-guided sense of purpose, and you earnestly want to help all these people to the very end, don’t you? The second strongest bonds which exist are cost-benefit analysis. And the first are divine connections, isn’t it? In fact, I’m rather disappointed. Please think faster.”

The Witch-Queen of Banshees: “Who is this…”

Young Merchant: “I understand that the loss of your important official has made you rather sad. But the road you are attempting to walk down is not one where there would be no casualties. If you consider it numerically, it doesn’t matter if you lose someone, you still have to do your job, right? Your first priority is to protect the soldiers you see before you.”

The Demon King: “…”

Young Merchant: “Am I wrong?”

The Demon King: “—No you’re not.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “Your Majesty…”

The Witch-Queen of Banshees: “Your Majesty!?”

Young Merchant: “Very good.”

The Demon King: “Give me two minutes.”

Young Merchant: “…”

Fire Dragon Lady: “…”

The Witch-Queen of Banshees: “…”

The Demon King: “—My first question would be, ‘What should I do now?’”

Young Merchant: “Yes.”

The Demon King: “Once we answer that, my next question would be, ‘What sort of end do we want from this war?’”

Young Merchant: “Yes.”

The Demon King: “In that case, I will decide on an answer… For Humans and Demons alike to pull back their wounded, to keep their spears. And for a peace agreement to be signed. If this City falls, the Demons will hate the Humans. The Humans would see the Demon World as just another place to colonise. This will merely open up another thousand years of war. The City of the Gate is the critical point. If we do not want to see a bloodstained history ahead of us, we must defend this City to our dying breath.”

Young Merchant: “Indeed. The Crusaders are indeed powerful. The destructive power they command is more than any that has ever fallen into the hands of Humans before. However, on reverse, they have weaknesses too. And that is logistics. This is why it was imperative for them to attack the Demon World so rapidly.”

The Demon King: “If we abandon the City, engage in a scorched earth strategy, we can stretch their supply lines, we will destroy them in time.”

Young Merchant: “Correct.”

The Demon King: “However, that is not acceptable. It will cause a thousand years of resentment.”

Young Merchant: “Indeed… This is what I have noticed.”

The Demon King: “…I see.”

Young Merchant: “In that case, you will have to fight. Though there is no requirement to engage with the enemy.”

The Demon King: “Oh?”

Young Merchant: “To begin with, holing up here in this City like a turtle is not going to create victory. All it does is prevent defeat.”

The Demon King: “Yes… All we are doing is defending and hoping that the Holy Crusaders will have no choice but to retreat. I can’t believe I could not see past that. This is…uncharacteristic.”

Young Merchant: “Indeed.”

The Demon King: “Eh?”

Young Merchant: “This is a very heavy thing to say, and in fact brings me great pain, and I am somewhat ashamed to even say it, but at present, until my strategy comes to fruition, I am acting in the capacity of the Demon King.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “This is correct.”

Young Merchant: “Yes, it’s fine even if you cannot understand. All I ask is that you try not to take too much offence at this. In a manner of speaking, under circumstances such as these, I too have a duty to protect this City. So, for now—leave it to me.”

The Demon King: “But—”

Young Merchant: “The Fire Dragon Lady and I will be borrowing this study…”

The Demon King: “The reports…”

Young Merchant: “Leave the handling of these reports to the officials and the commanders. The Demon King has to do the job of the Demon King.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “I have awoken as well. In order to save this City, we have to put everything on the line.”

The Demon King: “But I’m right here.”

Young Merchant: “Your hands are tied.”

Fire Dragon Lady nods.

The Demon King: “—My hands?”

Young Merchant: “Yes, without the Hero, the Demon King’s hands are tied.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “That is why we will support you.”

The Demon King: “—”

Young Merchant: “Please go and find him.”

The Demon King: “But. We… The Hero and I at that altar… And our contract… The Hero and I…”

Door slams open.

Messenger: “Your Majesty!”

Fire Dragon Lady: “What’s happening! Speak!”

Messenger: “The South Gate has just been broken through!”

The Demon King: “What!? That wall was definitely heavily damaged, but even so it can’t possibly have been destroyed so quickly? Just what is going on!?”

Messenger: “The Holy Crusaders, they did something unimaginable. They… the Humans… the Humans…”

Young Merchant: “Calm down.”

Messenger: “The Humans blew themselves up! We though they were the standard group of fanatics charging the wall with spears, but then an enormous explosion erupted. The Fortress Commander immediately gathered all the garrison, and are waging a battle across the Southern Boulevard! What should we do, your Majesty!”

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————-————————-

Explanation

The Humans are exploding: The Imperial Japanese Army used to do such ridiculous things as well, and we’re not just talking about the kamikaze attacks by aircraft belonging to the Imperial Navy. Even before World War II, the Imperial Japanese Army was known for confronting tanks it did not have the firepower to defeat by having infantry charge at them while hugging landmines.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

 

——— The City of the Gate, the Southern Boulevard, Street 6

East Fortress Base Commander: “Form up! Spearmen! Formations!”

Dragon Commander: “Take down the shopfronts to the sides!”

Human Militia: “But…”

East Fortress Base Commander: “Now is not the time! We lose everything if we lose. Damnit! Barricades up!”

Dragon Commander: “Archers are you ready!?”

Longeared Bowman: “Ready!”

East Fortress Base Commander: “Free fire! We have the advantage here. Lock down the road and force them to stop here! Close all entrances! Form up!”

Ahhhhhhh!

Musketeer of Light: “Spread out and advance!”

Vanguard of Light: “As the Spirit wills it!”

Boom! Boom!

Human Militia: “How did the wall just—!?”

East Fortress Base Commander: (What’s going on…? Was the destruction of the wall outside of their calculations as well!?)

Dragon Commander: “It seems like the Crusaders don’t have much will to fight as well.”

East Fortress Base Commander: “They haven’t got too much coordination as well.”

Dragon Commander: “The musket and cannon sounds are very sparse.”

East Fortress Base Commander: “…Push them back! They haven’t managed to form together yet! At this rate let’s push them back.—Shortbows take down the guys on the sides! Move!”

Dragon Commander: “Do not stop! Spearmen advance!”

Human Spearman: “For freedom!”

Spearman of the Pale: “For peace!”

One-armed Beastman: “Take this! And this! If you value your lives you will flee now. You will take not one step further! Not one step!”

Middle Aged Volunteer: “Push! Push!”

Boom! Boom!

East Fortress Base Commander: “Eighth unit! Loop around the Purple Temple and attack the enemy from the left flank of the Southern Boulevard! Archers support! Beasts will expand into the surrounding buildings and take the high grounds.”

Dragon Commander: “Move! Don’t stop! The enemy are many, but we will crush them with ease.”

East Fortress Base Commander: “Hey, what’s the situation outside!”

Human Militia: “?”

East Fortress Base Commander: “Nothing, I just had a bad feeling. How are the defences?”

Dragon Commander: “The surrounding commanders of the South Gate are facing the Crusaders en masse, some of them are manned solely by volunteers, it’s not great.”

East Fortress Base Commander: “I’ll go sort it out. Banshee Blades, with me!”

 

——— The Demon World, the Rear Lines of the Holy Crusaders, the Crown Prince Marshal’s Tent

Crown Prince Marshal: “You’re saying we’ve been ordered to attack the Southern Alliance!?”

Strategist: “What!?”

Messenger: “Y-yes. That’s the message from the royal council and the Primarch…”

Crown Prince Marshal: “I don’t understand. It’s true that besieging the City of the Gate, which we have no idea how long it can hold out for, wastes money, which the nobles value more than blood, at an incredibly rapid rate. Even I believe that this Crusades has been a great waste of our resources. I do understand that we have reached a stage of food and supply shortage. The solution to this is to strengthen and preserve our supply lines.”

Messenger: “Yes, the City of the Gate is confirmed to have massive stockpiles of food. Storming the City is the best way to preserve our supplies…”

Strategist: “If we had only considered the long-term implications, we would not be at this stage.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “What is going on. How have they reached this conclusion? We will preserve our position in the rear.”

Messenger: “But…”

Holy Imperial General: “Say it!”

Messenger: “Well…the responsibility for the destruction of the rear supply areas and rear guards is now with the Crown Prince Marshal.”

Holy Imperial General: “That’s stupid!”

Messenger: “No, I’m sorry, but there’s more! In any case, the people who proposed this…in order to appease them, orders have arrived for the Crown Prince Marshal to engage the Southern Alliance…”

Holy Imperial General: “!”

Strategist: “Without cannons.”

Messenger: “The cannons have been repositioned to assist the capture of the City, are the words of the Ash Green King.”

Holy Imperial General: “What…”

Crown Prince Marshal: “…”

Messenger: “Messenger: “I apologise, but the full powers over the overall direction of the Crusades are vested in his Holiness the Primarch…”

Holy Imperial General: “Kuh.”

…Boom! Boom!

Strategist: “What!?”

Holy Imperial General: “There’s a large sound from the City of the Gate…”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Scouts!!”

Scout: “Yes!”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Find out what’s going on in the City of the Gate, and the movements of the Crusaders! I want a detailed report!”

Scout: “Understood!”

Messenger: “Your Imperial Highness!”

Crown Prince Marshal: “What?”

Messenger: “This goes against the direct orders of the Royal Council and the Ash Green King—”

Crown Prince Marshal: “I’m just trying to understand the situation. It’s important to understand what’s going on in all our surrounding to carry out our mission.”

Messenger: “Messenger: “But…”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Enough. Go back and tell them. As long as the Southern Alliance remains, there will be no supplies from the rear. I await their full instructions…”

 

——— The Holy Crusaders, the Centre, the Hundred Chevaliers

Ash Green King: “Oi!”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Oh?”

Ash Green King: “What is going on?”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “What are you talking about?”

Ash Green King: “Why was this completely unprotected, pointless attack launched!?”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Pointless?”

Ash Green King: “Those walls are strong enough to endure muskets and cavalry charges. Let alone swords and spears! What kind of completely stupid idea is this! On top of that!”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “On top of that?”

Ash Green King: “To waste lives in such a cavalier fashion…”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “We can’t have that, Ash Green King.”

Ash Green King: “?”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Their dedication is proof of their adherence to the Spirit. To call that cavalier, pointless, stupid – these are words of a heretic!”

Ash Green King: “Do not speak to me of faith!”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “The Holy Crusaders are an army of faith.”

Ash Green King: “Even so, the command of the frontline is my responsibility. Causing pointless anarchy on the frontline and eroding the morale of my soldiers is something I cannot tolerate as a commander!”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “This was a direct decree from his Holiness the Primarch.”

Ash Green King: “—!”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Don’t be so surprised. The Primarch observed the cruelty endured by the soldiers on the frontline, and felt their pain from within his own heart. This is an informed decision he made based on his own eyes.”

Ash Green King is stunned.

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Hahaha. These soldiers who have dedicated their blood and lives to the Spirit, are surely partaking in Her constant serenity, they live in eternal joy!”

Ash Green King: “What a lie.”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Hahahaha.”

Ash Green King: “!?”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Don’t make that face. This is not the first time. Have you forgotten?”

Ash Green King: “I have never embraced a woman that I did not intend to devote my affections to, or intend to cheat or deceive. I have never, and will never.”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “Will I have.”

Ash Green King: “…”

Leader of the Hundred Chevaliers: “I believe we are in the same boat. The boat which is the Holy Crusade. If we fail to take that City, you and I will both burn in a black fire. Hahahaha. That City must burn, and its fire will light our futures forever. It is for the will of the Spirit. Hahahahahahahahha.”

 

——— The Demon World, the Wilderness

Elder Sister Maid: “Are you okay?”

The Hero: “Yeah. The Demon Thrush just let me know that the Fire Dragon Lady has returned. Seems like things are getting heated up.”

Elder Sister Maid: “?”

The Hero: “The Demon World is getting heated up.”

Elder Sister Maid: “Yes.”

The Hero: “On the contrary, we lack time. Think we can meet closer to the City of the Gate?”

Elder Sister Maid: “You would be able to help then.”

The Hero: “What are you going to do now?”

Elder Sister Maid: “I suppose I’ll have to fulfil my end of the arrangement with the Crown Prince Marshal.”

The Hero: “That’s slightly repulsive.”

Elder Sister Maid: “Well…yeah, it is the polite thing to do…”

The Hero: “Well, that’s not what I meant.”

Elder Sister Maid: “I’m a bit ashamed of the way I’m dressed, but we are on the road…”

The Hero: “That’s not true.”

Elder Sister Maid: “You’re very kind.”

The Hero: “…No I mean, well.”

Elder Sister Maid: “Hahaha. I’m trying to dress like the Chief Maid.”

The Hero: “Ah, well it does seem like you’re succeeding.”

Elder Sister Maid: “Ahaha. Well, yes. I’ll be heading to the Crown Prince Marshal. I did promise him after all.”

The Hero: “—I intend to follow you there, but have you calculated this yet? He’s a fairly formidable opponent, isn’t he? Determined and also cool-headed.”

Elder Sister Maid: “Really? I thought he was a cool-headed, but soft and kind person.”

The Hero: “Eh—? Really!?”

Elder Sister Maid: “He’s got what you have. A sense of responsibility.”

The Hero: “I see. That guy does seem to like intrigue, he’s not averse to double-dealing?”

Elder Sister Maid: “Umm, well…so are you?”

The Hero: “Huh. Eh. Eh!?”

Elder Sister Maid: “Hahaha. But yes. I do have some calculations. I think the Crown Prince Marshal will listen to what I have to say.”

The Hero: “You think he will.”

Elder Sister Maid: “All of this is wasteland.”

The Hero: “Eh? Yeah. The white clover they spoke of appears to have been a lie. But, most of the Demon World is actually like this.”

Elder Sister Maid: “I know. It’s dry, and without forests, the winds blow very harshly. But she intends to create a lush forest right here.”

The Hero: “Really?”

Elder Sister Maid: “Yes. That’s what I’ve heard. And after calming the weather near the Portal, she intends to bring in irrigation technology to turn all this wasteland verdant again.”

The Hero: “…Really?”

Elder Sister Maid: “That’s what the mistress is considering.”

The Hero: “I had no idea.”

Elder Sister Maid: “It will take a lot of time.”

The Hero: “I don’t actually know a lot about her, it seems.”

Elder Sister Maid: “Really?”

The Hero: “Well, yeah.”

Elder Sister Maid: “I thought you got along well.”

The Hero: “Well it’s hard to say. Though we definitely don’t get along badly.”

Elder Sister Maid: “Yes.”

The Hero: “Umm, well—this is an adult relationship!”

Elder Sister Maid: “Hahahaha. Sure.”

The Hero: “Are you that kind of person? Is this your real face?”

Agghhhhhh!

The Hero: “—!”

Elder Sister Maid: “What’s happening?”

The Hero: “…Death? Gunpowder? Destruction… Blood… Sulphur… Blood…”

Survivor Mercenary: “What? What?!”

Mercenary Archer: “Hey. Black smoke?! Is that…the City of the Gate?”

The Hero: “Death—What… What’s that?! It’s bad. What’s happening, it’s all black!”

Mercenary Archer: “I see an orange flare, it’s a large attack!?”

Small Mercenary: “Scouts move out! Young Mercenary, you follow!”

Young Mercenary: “Got it, let’s go!”

Survivor Mercenary: “What’s going on. Hey, boss?”

Elder Sister Maid: “Let’s move quickly. Pick up the pace, people.”

The Hero: “Sorry.”

Elder Sister Maid: “Eh?”

The Hero: “I can only accompany you up to here.”

Elder Sister Maid: “Hero.”

The Hero: “Spell of Flight! Charm of Speed! Armour of Lightning! Supersonic Flight!”

Boom!

Elder Sister Maid: “Hero!”

The Hero: “I’ve kept my hands bound until I knew what was going on for real. And right in front of my eyes, these people… They destroy, they murder, they burn!”

Resourceful Young Man: “Wow! What’s he doing!?”

The Hero: “I have had enough of this shit!”

<< Chapter 3                                                                                                                                                                Chapter 5 >>

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