Germion Kingdom had 6 holy knights .
Lili the Scarlet Maiden who protects the north .
Sivara the Ripper Knight and Jize the One-Eyed Knight who protect the south . Gulland the Storm Knight, whose position was currently being borrowed .
Valdor the Twin Swords Knight who protects the east .
Zelkof the Knight of Destruction, who was confined to the center . These six are the present generation of holy knights that support Germion Kingdom .
The Majestic King Ashtal Do Germion gathered brave warriors throughout the land and opened his doors to them . Other than Sivara, Valdor, and Zelkof, who are nobles, Jize is a martial artist from the east, and Gulland and Lili are former adventurers .
Sivara, who was entrusted with the defense of the south, is working alongside Jize to manage the territory . Gulland was sent to work with them too, so now there was three of them working together .
Sivara appeared before Gulland and proposed to him .
“Reinforcements to the Holy Shushunu Kingdom?” Gulland asked .
“Yes . ” Sivara replied .
Gulland knit his brows as he frowned . Despite it only being afternoon, he already stank of liquor .
“I agree with Sivardono,” Jize said .
“Hah . So you want to get rid of the nuisance,” Gulland remarked .
Gulland glared at Jize, but the latter didn’t seem to mind at all as he argued .
“It’s true that you’re not looking forward right now, though . Just a few years ago, you were lauded a hero . But now, look at you . You’re no better than the thugs grumbling over their liquor . ”
“Hmph . You think so too, Sivara?”
“Well . It’s an order from above . ”
Sivara shrugged his shoulders and answered in that ever aloof manner of his .
“Actually, they were asking for me, but it sounds like a pain . Can you go instead?”
Jize glanced at Sivara with an unamused expression, but he did not appear bothered at all .
“…Fine,” Gulland agreed .
“Great . You have to work for your meal, after all,” Sivara remarked .
“Hmph . So, who am I supposed to kill?” Gulland asked .
“Why so bloody all of the sudden?” Jize asked .
“Isn’t that the sort of job you’re asking me to do?” Gulland asked back .
“You’re not wrong, but you’re not quite right either,” Sivara replied .
“We said reinforcements, right? That means we’re going to be interfering with the succession war of the war princess . Or at least, our king is, anyway . ”
“So, who are we supporting?”
“Blanche Ririnoie . A young lady at the tender age of 18 years . ”
“…So we’re to get her into debt and ask for a huge interest later?”
“Well, as for whether she sees it that way or not is another story . ”
“…Whatever . It was getting boring anyway . ”
After Gulland left the room while tottering, Jize finally spoke again and asked Sivara .
“That man obediently did as he was told, but…”
“Uh huh… Don’t worry . I don’t think he’s the sort to betray us . He swore fealty to the king too . ”
“I know you have an eye for people, but that guy really isn’t that sort of person . ”
Jize frowned . Although he’d heard that the man had sworn fealty to the king, there probably wasn’t a man in the world more ill fit for that image than Gulland .
“Oh, no . Gulland Rifenin has definitely sworn fealty to the king . He’s surprisingly dutiful . ”
Sivara said with a chuckle when he saw Jize’s expression .
“…Is that so?”
Jize became thoughtful . But try as he might to imagine Gulland swearing fealty, he just couldn’t do it .
“The king picked him up when his family was killed by monsters . Since then Gulland has worked desperately hard, but after a series of unfortunate events, he ended up where he is today . It can’t be helped if he wants to run away from reality with the help of alcohol . ”
“And here I thought he was an arrogant man… Hmm . ”
Jize stroked his chin as he thought to himself .
“Still, is that alright? For the crown prince himself to appear for the reclamation of the western region? Perhaps we should say something . ”
Jize asked as he knit his brows a little .
Gulland’s position was currently being borrowed from Sivara . So if Gulland were to start a war campaign at the Western Region, most of his achievements will be recognized as Sivara’s .
“I don’t plan on participating . Also, there are Kushain Believers and monsters in the south . It would be bad if the both of you left the south,” Sivara said .
Within the army, the crown prince’s expedition was already being spoken about . It is said that he would be leading adventurers and clans along with his army, totaling to 4,000 soldiers, to invade the south . Moreover, King Ashtal himself wouldn’t be against it .
“Indeed . It might be just as you said . But I will do as the king says,” Jize said .
Informally, orders requesting their participation also came for Sivara and Jize, but Sivara refused the order, citing the threat of the south as a reason .
“Well, another reason is that it’s a pain…” Sivara said .
“Oh, right . You don’t get along with Valdor-dono . ” Jize wryly smiled .
In response to that, Sivara shook, looking like he’d eaten a fly .
“Isn’t he the very picture of a sober and honest man?” Jize asked .
“You jest! He’s a rock head pretending to be a person! Besides, it’s not just him . All the other holy knights have personality problems too . Seriously, there’s just no end to my hardship,” Sivara replied .
“I see, I see… So, other than me, all the holy knights have personality problems . I see . ”
In a flash, Jize’s curved sword struck out and cut where Sivara’s carefree expression was just a while ago .
“Tch . And there’s this one guy with a terrible habit!” Sivara said .
“Let me share with you an old saying from my hometown . ‘The tongue is the source of all calamities’!” Jize yelled .
The sight of Sivara happily screaming for his life while Jize chased after him with a devilish expression was a normal thing to the people protecting the south . To them, this was nothing more than rough play between the two .
They simply looked warmly at them, thinking to themselves, ‘again?’ as the two holy knights played a game of tag with their lives on the line .
“Strengthen our defenses?”
“That’s what the king said . ”
The one who answered Shumea’s question was Ra Gilmi Fishiga, who led the bow and arrow army of Fanzel .
“I’m still the Commander-in-Chief here, so I think I’ll just leave it to you . ”
“That won’t do . The demihumans can’t do it and Bui-dono is going back . ”
Shumea made a strange face and became thoughtful, but immediately after, she sighed and nodded . Bui had to go back regularly to the Forest of Darkness to manage his villages . She knew this was necessary to minimize the friction between the goblins and the orcs, but it was a painful thing to her given that the werewolves and the centaurs that specialized in battle did not use their heads much .
“I suppose it can’t be helped then . Did the king give any specific orders?”
“Not much . He just said that there’s no need to stick so closely to the border . ”
Being told that there was no need to be so persistent with the border only served to make Shumea even more confused .
“Alright then . In that case, we’re no longer defending the border . Next… GUE GU!?”
Shumea turned around and was about to leave, but then Gilmi suddenly grabbed her by the nape of her neck, causing her to sound like a crushed frog .
“Wait . That won’t do . ”
“I-I was joking . ”
As Shumea replied while rubbing her throat, Gilmi lightly sighed . He had to consult her what to do .
“Not needing to insist on clinging to the border means that we can afford to bring the enemy into the Western Region as well . ”
“You can look at it that way too, but another way to look at it is that it’s okay to retreat . ”
The goblin forces specialized at single-mindedly attacking the enemy . Even Gilmi, whom the king has led to wage many wars, has not experienced many battles that could be called a clear defeat . As such, the words ‘it’s okay to retreat’ left him confused and his arms folded .
“I heard about it, you know? Was it Gi Gu-san? Apparently, he couldn’t catch the enemy army and had a hard time . ”
“True . If you look at it a different way, then our situation could be said to be the same . ”
“But before that we need to evacuate the villages . ”
“Can you do that?”
“It’s actually quite difficult . It’s right before the harvest, after all . ”
Gilmi first learned about the crops called wheat and their harvest approaching when he started talking to the human soldiers . These so-called wheat were kneaded to create the bread that humans ate . Gi Zu and the others couldn’t understand why the humans bothered to go out of their way to do something so difficult when it was possible to get meat throughout the year, but the truth of the matter is that things weren’t so simple .
Gilmi and the others tried eating this so-called bread, and they were indeed able to eat it . This was the staple food of humans . There were two harvest periods within a year . If those two harvests alone were responsible for providing for the whole year, then the farmers would have to put considerable effort to ensure that they produced enough .
There were also goblin farmers now, but when Gilmi talked to them, even they couldn’t help but agree that it took a lot of effort to produce crops .
“I see . In that case, we’ll have to lure the enemy then . ”
“The north is no good . We’ll have to lead them down south . ”
“…So we’ll have to play the role of the weak prey then . ”
“Think they’ll bite?”
“I don’t know, but to protect the people of the western region . We have no choice but to do it . ”
Shumea deeply sighed upon hearing Gilmi’s words .
“I’ve always been thinking this, but why are you goblins always looking forward? Don’t you ever worry?”
“Of all the people, I didn’t think I’d hear that from you . We are warriors . And warriors are meant to fight . What’s the point of worrying?”
The objective of the enemy is most likely to reclaim the western region .
To that end, the goblin army must be destroyed . Moreover, suppressing the western capital will also be a key point in reclaiming the western region . If they allow the goblins to live, their supply lines will be targeted . Destroying the few with a large army should reduce their losses . In that case, the odds of Germion Kingdom biting at the enemy in front of them will increase .
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“Exactly as I said . ”
A human and a goblin glared at each other for a while, but then they sighed and compromised .
“For the meantime, let’s focus on the battle plan . Is that girl, Pale, coming? If she were around, things might be different, I think . ”
“She didn’t say anything . I’ll send a messenger and ask . We might also need some scouts on top of an assassin unit . ”
Gi Ji Arsil’s assassin unit was divided into two groups . One of which was positioned at the western region . Gilmi decided that the assasins alone weren’t enough, so he also chose some goblins from his Ganra tribe with good eyes and sent them out as scouts .
“Bui-dono’s orcs need to come back . ”
“They were really useful when building moats . We also have to strengthen our camps . ”
“And then there’s the problematic demihumans…”
“Hmm… What to do . They’re strong when it comes to fighting, but… Maybe we can ask them to procure food . We’ll need some preserved food anyway . ”
“Very well . ”
Gilmi and Shumea agreed to let the soldiers take a little food if they wanted .
“What about the number of soldiers? Do we need to protect the number of soldiers to protect the towns?”
“It’s right before the harvest, so we’ll always be short of hands . ”
“As for the demihumans, we could get the help of the other races other than the werewolves and the demihumans, but… I don’t know if the minotaurs can be counted on . ”
“The Winged Ones (Harpyurea) are convenient to have, but they have a lot of enemies in the sky . ”
As they racked their heads, they turned the topic to increasing the number of soldiers to strengthen their camp .
“Maybe we should make a bunch of fortresses so we can respond to any plea for help?” Shumea asked .
“But if we do that and split our forces, communication will become a pain… We’ll turn into nothing but a disorderly mix of different races . ” Gilmi replied .
A human and a goblin came up with a rough outline of their defensive strategy, and then they carried it out . Just us as the king ordered, they decided to give up the border, but coming up with a plan that lured the enemy all the way into the western capital was a very difficult task .
Gilmi and Shumea worked singlehandedly on spreading their defensive net, and then they waited for the enemy to come . Eventually, they were notified of Germion Kingdom’s attack .
A brief summer visited Germion Kingdom’s northern mountains of the Snow God (Yggdrasill) . During winter, a wind would blow from the summit of the mountains, bringing with it a cold chill that spread throughout the land . It was only during this short reprieve of warmth that the wind would become a refreshing breeze instead of a chilling storm .
Lili, who has been entrusted with the management of that region since last year, has been managing it according to the footsteps of her predecessor, Gulland . The rough and fierce adventurers were all taken away by Gulland, so only the docile ones were left .
Accordingly, there were many among them who were honest, and despite being a beginner feudal lord, Lili was able to manage the fief . Despite her young age, Lili was trusted by the people . The fact that she was able to repel the barbarians greatly increased her popularity . The snow demons (yugushiva) that attacked frequently during Gulland’s term has barely made an appearance since the time Lili came to power .
To the people who knew nothing, they thought that this was because she was able to conquer the barbarians .
Within the temporary reprieve given by the brief summer, the green tips of the trees stretched themselves out and glimmered under the light of the sun . The wind caressing her face was soft . Lili tended to her office work while feeling the breeze of the wind coming from the windows .
A feudal lord had to be learned both in the sword and in government affairs . A representative government official will take care of most of the miscellaneous work, but there were still some that Lili had to take care of herself .
Puttingdown the magic sword, Sky Splitter (Vashinant), she loosened her scarlet hair that was usually bound together, put on clothes meant for men, and began signing the documents that were submitted to her .
“…No abnormalities according to the mountain patrol, huh . So, does this mean that the barbarians have really left?”
From the documents, she knew that the barbarians were most prevalent in their attacks during autumn and summer . This is probably because they needed to secure food for winter . They’re relatively peaceful during summer, but she still couldn’t afford to let her guard down .
If they manage to reach the base of the mountain, then even the villages will suffer . To avoid that, she established a platoon of guards that would patrol the mountain ranges in search of barbarians .
She appointed her former acquaintances, Bern and Neumann, and even used her connections to gather military men from the school of the Zweil Style Swordsmanship in the imperial capital . She gathered all of those into a unit and formed a new platoon of 500 soldiers . There are about 100 soldiers patrolling the mountain ranges .
That wasn’t actually enough to guard the northern part of the kingdom, but it couldn’t be helped since they were poor . Given their tax revenue, this was the most they could they do .
She also used her authority as a feudal lord to reduce taxes for peddlers and prioritize the exportation of the local meat specialty . It could be said that the only decent food industry in the north even without the attacks of the barbarians was dairy farming . The methods the dairy farmers employed varied depending on the season, but regardless of the method applied, they used the foot of the mountain all the way to the middle parts as their pasture, as these parts of the mountain were the ones that were guaranteed to be safe .
Lili toiled day and night and gained much success as a feudal lord, but even then, she couldn’t avoid catching wind of the rumors from the capital . Be it intel from the peddlers or idle talk from the nobles pining for her, as she was a young unmarried holy knight, the contents were all the same .
Crown Prince Ishtar was attacking the Western Region .
Germion Kingdom was about to send the best of its army with the soldiers from the eastern part to reclaim the Western Region . Although she herself wasn’t summoned, there was still a possibility that she could find herself caught up in the war . That was the sort of beast politics was . It could not help but involve other people .
Germion Kingdom is attacking the region ruled by that gigantic Goblin King .
“It would be good if they could stop him . ”
But she thought it was reckless . Even from the little information she had, she could infer that the Goblin King has likely gotten stronger and wreaked havoc in the south . The holy knights were strong indeed . She herself has just become one, but there was still a large difference in strength between her and the other holy knights .
But even then, she still thought that the Western Region was dangerous .
She has once had the opportunity of having an audience with Crown Prince Ishtar . He was a vigorous and promising young prince . His ability to judge her abilities without any prejudice of her background as an adventurer was a rare thing among the royal family .
He was indeed a crown prince worthy of following in the footsteps of the Majestic King, King Ashtal .
But even then…
Her body shook . She recalled that moment when she crossed blazed with the Goblin King . That pressure… To this day, her body still remembers it .
As brilliant as the crown prince was, he could not defeat that Goblin King . That was a king from whose every pore poured out an aura of dignity . That was a king who possessed an aura so great it would suppress anyone who stood before him . The aura of a being that was overwhelmingly powerful .
And now that he has lost Reshia and was full of wrath, what could possibly be more terrifying?
Even with a thousand army of ten-thousand horses, it was doubtful if they would be able to reach the king . But she also understood the common opinion among the people of the imperial capital .
The goblins’ reproductive ability .
Now that they have secured a bountiful land, their numbers will exponentially increase . If they are not dealt with immediately, they will pour in from the Western Region and swarm the imperial capital . Germion Kingdom had barely any information on the Western Region . Because of that all sorts of speculations were thrown around, and in the end, it was widely believed that the goblins were a threat .
As someone who has seen the goblin villages herself, Lili knew that the goblins did in fact grow abnormally fast .
She couldn’t even imagine how many goblins they had now .
Which is why it only made sense that Germion Kingdom would want to dispose of them as quickly as possible .
In the end, the only way for Germion Kingdom to win was for them to engage in a battle where the goblin numbers are reduced significantly . The sooner they could do that, the better .
Recently, there’s also been a rumor that a noble had gone out with his army, but was beaten back .
“But if they lose…”
Germion Kingdom will instantly lose its ability to defend . Lili didn’t know how much they were investing into this battle, but whether this was the right course of action or not, Lili did not know .
At the imperial capital of Germion Kingdom, at the corner where the mansions of the nobles were lined up, at a territory that was first-rate and vast even among those affluent, was a man by the name of Bedoru, who himself was the minister of the military . Unlike the holy knights that defended the four directions of the country, Bedoru was the leader of the patrolling soldiers under the king’s direct command and the imperial guards .
When it was late in the night, someone visited his residence .
“This is the payment for this month, Lord Bedoru . ”
“Umu . ”
The merchant nodded exaggeratedly as he handed money to Bedoru, who then hid that money in his bosom and happily nodded .
“Sorry to always ask this of you . ”
“Not at all . You have done so much for me Lord Bedoru . This much is nothing . Yes . ”
“Gulland will also be sortieing for the east soon . You must be at ease now . ”
As Bedoru laughed excessively, the merchant nodded his head like a broken doll .
“Yes . What kind of fate would await us merchants because of that man? Because of some half-assed power, we could not go against him… If not for your aid, Bedoru-sama, who knows what would have happened to us?”
“Ha ha ha! It is only a given to protect the peace of the citizens . ”
“Indeed . Still, the tyranny of the holy knights run deep and show no signs of stopping . ”
“Word has it that One-Eyed Jize has a habit of killing people . Apparently, he killed the refugees flowing from the south to kill time . ”
“That’s probably just a rumor, no?”
“Really? I’m just not good with these holy knights . They think they’re the only ones protecting this country . But the ones protecting this country are the soldiers and you, milord . ”
Good grief, the merchant sighed as he turned to Bedoru as if noticing him for the first time .
“Excuse me . That was uncalled for . For some reason, whenever I’m around you, my tongue always gets flippant . Please keep this a secret . ”
The merchant bowed his head and Bedoru nodded his head as if he was not at all unsatisfied .
“Indeed . To think that Lord Gowen, Gulland, and that womanizer, Sivara, lost to the goblins . Just what is going on? They are a disgrace to our country’s army . ”
“Hopefully, Bedoru-dono, you’ll be able to stand at the peak of the army sooner rather than later . We won’t spare any effort to support you . ”
“I’m glad to have your support, but the holy knights also have things worthy of note . You’ve heard of Valdor the Twin Swords, right?”
“Y-Yes . ”
“Although a relative of mine, I dare say he’s the picture of honesty . I’ll introduce him to you next time . That way you’ll get better at dealing with holy knights . ”
“I-I’m grateful, but… Oh, will you look at the time . It seems I’ve overstayed my welcome . If you’ll excuse me . ”
“…I see . That’s unfortunate . ”
The merchant left and rode his carriage back to his store in the night .
When the merchant returned to his room, he hurriedly entered his bedroom . In there was a girl sitting on a chair .
“Haa… Haa… Just as promised, I’ve given the cabinet minister the money and bad rumors of the holy knights are spreading . My daughter is safe, yes!?”
“Of course . ”
The girl with a short hair cut looked at the man like she was looking at an insect . She threw a letter at him . Under the illumination of the dazzling candles were the words his daughter had written with much difficulty, informing him of her safety .
“Let’s hear your report then . ”
After hearing his report, the girl nodded and threw him a pouch full of gold coins .
“Cover the losses with this . I’ll contact you again when needed . ”
“W-Wait . Please let me see my daughter . Just once will…”
The merchant clung to the girl’s legs, but the girl didn’t say anything and just kicked him away .
“So even a slave merchant has human emotions . But you have no luck . Give it up . You can see her again when everything is over . ”
“Betray us, and your daughter will die . ”
As the girl vanished from the window into the dark of the night, the merchant held his head .
“First, Gulland . Now, a kidnapper . Why is this happening to me? Is this really because of that mistake I committed against the saint?”
The girl that vanished in the darkness entered an alleys, passed through the poor district, and found herself in a small inn . This small inn was one of the bases the Soar to Freedom Clan (Elks Clan) created to gather information . These bases were hard to find, as they were run by people with no connection to the Elks Clan .
She quickly entered a room, wrote the earlier report on a small piece of sheepskin, hid it in a box, and fastened it to the leg of a bird .
“To the Western Region . Go . ”
She kissed a curse onto the message bird once, then she released it into the yet dim sky . After doing that, she finally heaved a sigh and lied on the bed .
One of the surviving members of the Elks Clan, Sophia, was steadily expanding the intelligence network into Germion Kingdom .
Tl Note: Twice as long as usual, so this will count as two releases against the queue .
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