Chapter 45: That time when the enemy launched a surprise attack so I launched one myself too
It was the afternoon of the fifth day after I left Aegirine when we finally arrived at our destination, Tephroite.
We didn’t come across any other villages aside from the ones where we took our breaks so we arrived a day earlier than expected.
Also, while we were traveling, I’ve raised the status of the prisoners in my mind into 『unpopular old men』.
That’s because of all of the time I spent with them while we were traveling. Although I could have stayed in an inn in the villages we passed, I decided to sleep together with them in the stables at the bottom of the guard station while saying, 『I want my body to get used to sleeping on the ground』 as an excuse. Because of that, we didn’t end up in such a gloomy mood while we were inside the carriage on the way here.
Since I was basically free to do what I want during that time and I had a bit of time before I went to sleep, I asked the old men to tell me stories of their friends who have been in the army.
「If you go out to the battlefield, you should bring some handy things with you if you can」
Hearing such things, I realized that it would be better if I have some tobacco on hand so I went out to buy some.1 That completely slipped my mind since there isn’t anybody around me who smokes, plus there are only a few shops that sell them.
In exchange for the information, while the soldiers weren’t looking I snuck in some fruit wine and a hearty soup that I bought from a bar. They were all sobbing as they started drinking the soup in my cup in turns and the sake straight from the bottle.
「Who would have thought that even after becoming a prisoner, I would get to drink a hearty soup and some sake. Really, thank you」
I wanted to know why they were caught so I tried asking. It seems like they got into a dispute and cut off an arm of one of the members of a rival party during a raid subjugation request. Their entire party was held accountable, so that’s why they were imprisoned.
It kinda feels like they were all just imprisoned so that they would have a lot more prisoners to send to the frontlines though so from then on, rather than prisoners, I’ve started labeling them as the 『Unpopular old men』instead.
I could probably also attach that label to the werewolf and werecat old men back in the village but I think those guys would be popular with those that prefer the rugged type look. The fox eared old man looks gallant though so I think he was popular in the olden days but I’ve already given them the title of 『the three unpopular old men』 so it can’t be helped. Incidentally, as for the wine bottle, I had to return it to the bar in the middle of the night.
Once we reached the town, the old men were taken to a pretty large military cage while I was led to the room of some big-shot in the army.
「So your Caam from the rumors… What’s with that shabby appearance? I won’t even bother asking about your armor but weren’t you able to buy a decent weapon at least? I’ve heard of the rumors but I’m sure what Cravatte-sama heard was just an exaggerated version of it. You’re just a Rank 4 underling of the guild without any training after all so you’ll just get in the way of the army」
That was what the high-handed commanding officer told me as he was scanning documents in his hands. What’s with this shitty pig?
「Hmm, isn’t that quite a praiseworthy attitude」
「Yes, even without saying anything, I understand that I’m just a civilian without any experience」
「It’s good if you understand. Now leave」
「Well, there’s just one thing I want to ask. In the directive that I received from Cravatte-sama, it says that 『Until your departure, you will receive your accommodation expenses from Tephroite’s military affairs representative』. I’d like to receive the said accommodation expenses please」
「Don’t know! I’m not giving you anything」
「Even though it’s written here?」
He’s starting to get mad so I decided to fan the flames a bit more.
「Shut up! Go away!」
「Understood. I’ll just go and report this incident to Cravatte-sama directly」
Saying that, he tried to stop me by saying that so I went out of the room to run away. Since I remembered the path that was used when I was being led there, I exited the establishment at a quick pace.
After that, I began to make my move.
I went to the inn near the gate and asked for the price of their cheapest room. Then, after finding out where Cravatte-sama’s residence is, I made my way there.
Unlike the one in Aegirine, this town’s upper-class district is surrounded by a high wall and it seems like there’s only one gate to get inside.
I’m not really sure if they’ll let me in but I’ll try and see if showing them the directive works.
Reaching the front of the gates, I was stopped by the guard as expected.
「May I ask which of residents here you have any business with? Do you have a written invitation?」
There’s a chance that somebody from the upper-class districts is expecting some important guest so they were acting in a really polite manner. If I had to guess, the soldiers here aren’t from the military but are most likely employed privately by the people living here.
「I don’t have a written invitation but I have a directive that I have received issued by Cravatte-sama. I have something I wish to inquire with in regards to that so I was thinking of making my way there」
「Understood. We have been informed by Cravatte-sama that although he is currently busy, we can let anyone who’s looking for him in as long as they aren’t a merchant. Let me guide you there」
That’s good. If I was turned away, I would have had to use my own expenses to stay at an inn.
I followed after the soldier. We passed through a few intersections but we just kept on walking on a straight path.
After reaching a dead end, I was led to one of the larger residences there.
「We are here」
You didn’t really need to guide me here you know? You could have just pointed towards the path and told me to follow the road to the end then I could have handled it myself from there. If you did that, there would have been no need for you to abandon your post.
「Thank you very much」
After bowing politely, started to go back. Nnー, if only all of the soldiers were like this, I’m sure that I would get along with them better.
Looking at our exchange was another soldier who said.
「Welcome. Please let me guide you in」
This guy is probably privately employed as well. Contrary to his robust and intimidating appearance, he said that in a hoarse voice.2
From the residence’s gate, we walked around thirty meters before we reached the actual front door of the mansion.
「It’s a guest for Cravatte-sama. Please let him in」
The muscular man said that to a dog-eared girl wearing maid clothes who answered after he knocked. Then, he went back to his post.
Ahー, this maid outfit looks nice. It’s really plain and puts more focus on functionality so you won’t really mind if you get it dirty. It’s completely different from those with the high exposure frilly mini skirts. As expected, a maid outfit should be like this.
「Dear guest, if I may ask, what business do you have with our master?」
While I was thinking about that, she suddenly started talking to me so I was a bit surprised.
I showed her the directive and told her that even though I met one of the big-shots in this town’s military, I didn’t receive the funds that were promised so I came to report it.
「I understand. Please just leave your luggage over here and follow after me」
After saying that, she lead me to some kind of parlor room. As I was waiting, a fox-eared maid brought me tea.
「Cravatte-sama is on his way so please wait for a little while longer」
She immediately left after saying that.
From the way her sharp eyes were looking coldly at me, the fox-eared maid gives me the impression of being a total sadist. Makes you excited, right?
I didn’t have to wait that long before a refreshing Borzoi-like man entered. Is this Cravatte-sama? I stood up and bowed but he just said.
「Ahー, don’t worry about that. You can just be at ease. Nice to meet you, Caam-kun. I’ve heard all of the rumors about you. I haven’t heard the full story but it seems like that greedy pig said something to you, didn’t he?」
That greedy pig you say? This person just said something amazing without smiling.
「Yes sir. I showed him this directive while bringing up the matter about my accommodation expenses butー」
「I don’t mind if you just talk normally you know? I don’t really like formalities after all」
I was interrupted. The fox-eared maid earlier was behind him staring daggers at me so I was afraid of saying anything imprudent.
「I brought up that thing about my accommodation expenses but he just told me, 『I don’t know! I’m not giving you anything!』. When I tried asking again, he just told me to shut up and leave. If he needed to prove my identity, I was going to pull out my guild card but I had no chance to do it」
「Ahー, is that so? That pig doesn’t have anything else in his head aside from lining his pockets with his money so he’s probably unwilling to give that to you. I gave him 10 gold coins though… Give me a moment」
He told the fox-eared maid behind him to get something. He’s probably going to give me the funds himself.
「Ah I’d also like to ask when we’ll depart for the front lines」
「After 3 days I think. You should just do your preparations early and wait at the gates at that time since we’ll gather everyone in front of the gate before heading out. Tell the commander of the transportation corps that I sent you. You’re pretty easy to recognize with the color of your skin and your weird equipment so you don’t have to worry about them doubting you」
Is this guy really the noble who rules this area? I’ve heard that he’s a really nice character but compared to the nobles I know from manga, he doesn’t have any trace of majesty at all.
After a while, the maid brought back a tray with a cloth bag and handed it to Cravatte-sama. He placed it on the table to confirm the contents then handed it to me.
「That’s probably enough, right?」
I was surprised when I saw that there were 10 gold coins among the other coins inside. Isn’t this too much?
「No, it’s actually too much. While I’m on standby, renting a room in the inn near the gates is enough for me. I just came here to report that incident regarding one of the higher-ups in the military」
I panickily withdrew.
「Just take the amount you need then. You see, as much as how I would want to see that pig punished, it would difficult to dispose of him right now……」
「Master, any more than that and…」
She interrupted with a really cold voice.
「Ahー I’m terribly sorry about that. I shouldn’t really be complaining to a guest」
After that weird exchange, I decided to just take a single silver coin.
「Is that really all you need?」
「Yes. One night’s stay is just 3 large copper and 5 copper coins after all」
「But what about the remaining 5 copper?」3
「It won’t hurt my pockets even if I cover the remaining 5 copper by myself」
「What about your meals?」
「I’ll just take care of that by myself」
「That’s no good. I was the one who summoned you so I don’t want you to experience any inconveniences as much as possible」
He handed me 2 silver coins. He probably realized that I’ll just reject it if he hands over a huge amount. I would have been troubled there if he decided to forcefully give me that absurd amount of money.
「Hn? Is it not enough? Should I take out one more coin?」
「No no no, this is more than enough」
I immediately replied that while putting the two coins inside my wallet.
He probably knew I would react that way if he tried giving me more so he did that in order to make sure I couldn’t refuse. He is good at understanding somebody’s state of mind. This is probably as expected of a noble.
Then, after bidding farewell, I returned to my room at the inn and then waited till evening to go to a bar.
This town is so big that I think I’ll find one or two soldiers drinking in one of the bars by the main road. There will probably be some guys affiliated with the guild as well. It doesn’t seem like there’s an order to ban them from drinking even though there’s a war happening for some reason.
Oh good, there are a few here. I thought I saw someone wearing it at the gate earlier but there’s someone wearing a thin plate armor complete with a full face helmet placed on a chair. They’re a pair of beastkin. I should build up my courage here.
「Excuse me, I’ll treat you to sake so could I ask you something?」
「What is it?」
He gave a quite a vigilant reply but that’s understandable if someone you don’t know starts talking to you at a bar. I wasn’t ignored so we can at least continue.
「What do you soldiers think are the necessary things to bring when going to the battlefield?」
「Huh? Is that it? Let’s seeー」
He enumerated stuff like food, weapons, arrows, etc so I simply wrote all of them in my memo. His companion who’s drinking across him also added.
「Oil would be good as well so that we can lubricate the moving parts of the armor」「Ahー, that would be nice to have too. We can also use it to prevent rust」
「Ah. Thank you very much. Miss waitress, please bring us two of the same drink to this table」
After saying that, I gave them my thanks and then left.4
Hmmー, oil huh. That completely slipped my mind. Well, I don’t wear armor after all and you don’t really go to a battlefield to cook in the first place so I didn’t bring any with me. I’m sure that there’s some oil that’s used specifically for armor in the fort but I don’t really want to spend time looking for it. Well, instead of looking for that kind of oil, I’ll just buy a bit of oil that’s used for cooking as a substitute.
Also, if I can find tobacco there, I should buy it too.
I’ll probably find the addictive stuff as well. I wonder if those are good for something.
Three days later, I quickly finished my lunch then went to the guild branch to replenish the funds that I spent. After that, I went outside the gate to wait.
During my three day wait in this town, I had the chance to go up the wall so I decided to observe the military’s training.
At that time, 3000 men lined up horizontally were training with the Testudo Formation that the Roman Army used to defend against arrows from above. There sure were a lot of beastkin soldiers in this town.
『Hnー this isn’t good, is it?』I thought.
If it was a melee similar to a castle siege then I could probably manage somehow but if it’s on the plains then I’m sure it’ll end up with us just lined up while charging in. If this was during the time I was still alive in Japan, we would just be gunned down or fall victim to mortar fire.
I don’t know what the humans are doing to deal with a magic battle but they would probably just focus fire at this group.
While I was recalling that, a reptilekin old man started talking to me.
「Are you Caam-dono?」
「Yes. That’s right. Are you the commanding officer of the Transportation Corps? Also, you don’t have to use formal honorifics」
「I understand Caam-san. You can just call me Yaoul(ヤウール). Nice to meet you」
「Same to you」
Uwaー, what a really polite person. Even though I said that there’s no need for honorifics, he still didn’t remove it. I’ve had a bad impression of the soldiers because of all that I’ve met until now but it’s nice to know that they’re not all bad.
「I’ll just go over it again but Caam-san’s duty is to guard the Transportation Corps. Please stay at the end of the caravan」
「Understood. Where’s the carriage?」
「Let me lead you there. Please follow me」
We walked past a line of soldiers and continued on until we reached the very last carriage.
「This carriage is at the end of the caravan so please put your luggage here. I think there’s still some space for your rucksack inside but if there’s none, please just put it on top of a barrel」
Uwaー. How lax. If I had to say which one is preferable, I think it would be better to be strict if we’re talking about a military but I personally prefer for it to be lenient. However, it would be easy for a commando unit to attack us so I’d like it if we were vigilant at least.
In the modern area, a unit transporting goods frequently gets attacked by guerrilla units or targeted by an air strike after all.
With that lax mood, the pig started his speech about sending reinforcements and supply to the base in the frontlines. Or rather, I’m not really sure if that’s what that pig is talking about since I’m pretty far away.
Based on what I can hear, it seems like it would take 5 days on foot to reach there. Five days you say? Aren’t we going to be at a disadvantage if we take that long to get there? Well, what do I know? I lived during peaceful times back in my previous life and even in this world, I live somewhere that’s unrelated to all of this after all.
As I was thinking that, everyone else in the unit was already getting along while I was walking quietly by myself. Or rather, everyone is chattering so loudly that it’s starting to be annoying.
-4th day of walking-
「Hey Keith, we might get ambushed by the enemy soon. There might be scouts wandering around so be careful」
「That’s true. It’s about time so we should focus」
We were walking behind the caravan while maintaining vigilance. We really are at the end of the line.
By the way, Keith here is a dog-eared guy who seems to be also hired from the guild. During these few days, I found somebody who was also hired from the guild so I got along with him.
Instead of the droopy dog ears I’ve seen until now, he has the short upright type. That’s too bad since I think that droopy ears cuter. Ah, I’m talking about the animal okay?5
We continued walking while being as vigilant as possible. We need to pay attention to the back as well.
「Hey, are the beastkin’s noses good?」
「Ha? Yeah, it’s good.」
「Then please pay attention to unusual smells as well」
While we were walking, I noticed the unnatural shaking of the slightly tall grass on the plains. It might be just a goblin but it could be a human as well. I looked at Keith but since he was facing downwind, he didn’t notice it. Because of that, I created a small water ball and launched it on his feet to get his attention.
We decided on a signal if either one of us notices something beforehand so we don’t need to vocally call out to each other. I point two fingers to my eyes then look towards that thicket while pointing at it with the same fingers. This is the sign we decided for an enemy.
They might find out that we’re on to them if we act poorly so I extended 3 fingers and slowly folded them one by one as a countdown while I prepare my preemptive attack.
Dot sight, on.『Image・a small red dot of light at the center of my gaze・Activate』
I aimed at the direction of the enemy then started casting magic to flush them out.
*Boom!* Flame burst out as if a flammable gas was lit on fire.
「Enemy on the left side!」
Together with that shout, I produced an obsidian axe while the holding my shovel in my left hand then charged at them in one go.
Keith started shooting arrows to the humans who stood up out of confusion. Meanwhile, I drive my axe into the thigh of one of the humans while hitting the others in the head with the handle of the shovel. I didn’t really want to use it like an axe hoping that they would faint. They have helmets though.
After that attack, we found out that there were 10 enemies in total. Is this equivalent to a single squad? As for Keith, every single one of the humans hit with his arrows were splendidly hit in the vital spots or the thick blood vessels in the thigh. I’m sure that they would die even if we leave them alone and there wouldn’t really be any point in treating them. It’s probably best for me to prepare myself to kill soon.
The soldiers who came rushing after that surrounded the few people who were still alive. Hearing the noise, Yaoul came.
「What a huge achievement. Thank you very much for clearing them off before we were attacked. Please tie the ones that are still alive. We can either use them as bargaining chips or torture them for information. Iyaー, we have to make use of this opportunity」
After saying that, they finished off the ones that were dying while they guys I hit were tied up.
「Oーi. It’s clear. We can now proceedー」
The caravan began to move forward again after that but I continued being vigilant of the surroundings. It would be troublesome if there are other scouts after all.
While Yaoul-san was thanking me, I didn’t stop paying attention to my surroundings.
I pointed towards a thicket at a distance away.
「That thicket over there moved even though there’s no wind」
Because of that, Yaoul-san got the nearby soldiers to run to that thicket. The spears that they pierced into the thicket just went straight into the ground so it was probably nothing.
『Fourteen from the first unit were done in, four captured and only I was able to escape. It was a crushing defeat. They either had someone with really good senses or they were cautious. We were suddenly fired at with magic. That was probably a mercenary』
『I see. However, our mission is to destroy the goods they’re transporting so we somehow have to……No, we need to make sure to destroy those to prevent food, weapons, and medical supplies from reaching the fort. If we manage to do that, it would give us a huge advantage』
『I agree but our forces have been dwindled down so I’m not really sure how we should approach this』
『We need to link up with the third unit who’s lying in wait in the forest ahead. We need to somehow decrease the demons’ numbers there』
『Understood. You can also include my second unit to our numbers』
『Got it. Move quickly』
An hour has passed since the attack. Since there’s still a chance for another surprise attack, it was decided to greatly reduce our speed. Everyone was starting to gossip about how we were was almost attacked.
「Yaoul-san, can I have a moment」
I ran to the very front of the caravan because I had something to tell Yaoul-san.
「There’s a forest ahead and if I was the enemy, I would launch a surprise attack there. Since I’m not attached to the military, please let me go on ahead」
I don’t want us to get attacked once we’re already in the forest after all.
「Hmmー. It’s true that you aren’t a part of the military but you’re tasked to guard the Transportation Corps. However, since we already have the guys from the Infantry Corps guarding the front and our backs, I wonder if it’s alright. I’m not really sure but thinking about it from a different perspective, would you still be considered an escort if you’re far away from us? Well, I guess I can just leave that to Keith-kun. Be careful okay? Run away if it gets dangerous」
After saying that, I picked up my shovel then went back to the carriage to change into my dark green clothes. I covered my self with mucus then rolled over some grass I cut using 【wind cutter】 to make my improvised ghillie suit.
I received some strange looks coming from the Infantry and Transportation Corps but I just ignored them and passed through some bushes as I head into the forest with only my machete in hand.
I don’t want to kill but I don’t want to be killed even more. That’s why hopefully, there aren’t any dangers there. It’s way better than having to kill somebody.
The path is being maintained but this forest sure is deep. It seems like taking another route would take more time so we need to pass through this forest. I was informed about what dangers to expect and what monsters are lurking there so it seems like they have a map and other documents regarding this forest. It’s just there’s no way they’re showing that to someone like me who was just hired from the guild.
Thinking of this as something like a game’s event, I tried searching for places where enemies could possibly appear. I don’t really feel like doing it but since this is a job, there’s no choice but to do it. While saying that in my mind, I prepared myself.
Entering the forest ahead of everybody else, I crouched down and slowly walked away from the main path while trying not to make a sound. After traveling approximately 1 kilometer away from the entrance of the forest, I found exactly four infantry units.
If the Transportation Corps was surrounded on both sides by them, they won’t be able to run away. At least, that’s how I would attack if it was me.
I tried listening in for a while but I couldn’t hear them so I slowly changed my position. After 15 minutes of moving closer and traveling another 700 meters, I was starting to hear their voices.
『It’s about time, right?』
『Not yet, just a bit longer』
『I’ll just go piss then』
I’m not sure what they’re talking about since they aren’t using this continent’s common language but I’m sure these guys are the same as the ones earlier. After talking with each other, one of them went off on his own. ……I guess it’s going to be that guy then.
I can hear my a heart pounding so I took deep breaths to calm it down as I got closer. It seems like they were still on standby in the forest until the attack so they didn’t have armor on.
The human who got separated from the rest of his unit approached a tree then started untying the string of his pants. It seems like this person left his unit in order to urinate. Going off by himself like this, it seems like we’re being underestimated.
I already have no choice but to do this. I decided on this myself so there’s no way I can back out now. I’ve decided that I’m going to cut this human’s throat using my 『obsidian knife』 but I was unsure which way I should hold it.
I can already hear the splashing sound of urine so I take one more deep breath as I got even closer. I eventually decided to use the overhand grip so I used my left hand to cover his mouth then pierced his throat from the side. I kept my hand on his mouth just in case he struggles after that but his body just convulsed for a bit then slowly dropped to the ground.
My heart started beating even faster but it’s not over yet. I need to deal with the enemy while staying hidden. I once again crouched and slowly got closer while counting their numbers.
Fifteen people? With the one I defeated earlier, there would have been a total of sixteen people on this side. If I remember correctly, the group we encountered in the plains earlier had 14 people. It seems like the enemy really wants to make sure that the transportation corps doesn’t reach the front lines. At least, that’s what my intuition says. They decided that if they were to attack, it would be better to do it from both sides.
I noticed that my throat’s getting dry and I’m panting like I just did some light exercises so I shut my mouth in panic. I don’t think I’ll be able to defeat all of them with my knife so, even though I don’t really want to use it, it can’t be helped. I’ll lift the ban on the shot magic.
『I can create multiple stone bullets and fire it like a machine gun but it would be troublesome if those shots miss their vital spots. I don’t need to use gunpowder to fire them so it doesn’t make much noise. But since they aren’t wearing any kind of armor, these things will hardly make any noise at all. I’ve tried this out with different kinds of animals before so I’m sure of that so my last choice would be…』
While thinking that, I resolved myself to kill all of them.
『Image ・ 10 bead-sized malachite balls ・ @400mph ・ all shot out within a 3cm diameter』
I aligned the red dot in the middle of my gaze to the humans’ torsos then while trying to recall the shotguns in games. Then, I started launching malachite bullets one after the other.
I can hear the sound of the small pebbles piercing through flesh. My first shot took out two people. The second one completely tore through one person’s torso. The remaining enemies have already noticed me but it’s already too late.
Even when the humans saw their associates suddenly getting blown off, they weren’t able to react immediately because they still couldn’t understand what was happening. They couldn’t even utter a word because of their confusion.
『This is just a super realistic game. This is just a super realistic game. It’s just a game that lets you smell the scent of entrails and feel the warm blood spraying on your face』
I muttered to myself in Japanese while forcefully changing the scene in my brain as I mechanically deal with the enemies one by one.
『Hahaha, I don’t need to reload with this, do I? Aside from the pump action part, I can just keep on shooting out bullets indefinitely. Is that all of them? Ah, there might be more along this path. Should I just take this path and take them all out from the front? Should I plunder? I might get shot in the back if I do that though. It’s the enemy group’s camp after all. Ahー, that’s a nice duck. This will be of use to the team. Eat this! Emerald Spl*sh!』
While muttering those things, I continued dealing with the aftermath.
I’m not sure what I’m talking about but all of the 15 people stopped moving and turned into tattered carcasses.
Looking behind, vanguard unit of the infantry corps was starting to come into sight. Judging from their speed, I’ll have just enough time to finish up before they get here.
I went off the path again and ran while crouching for around 30 meters before I spotted another group of enemy soldiers heading in our direction. Because of that, I started being careful so that my footsteps will not be heard.
I found a blondie. I’ll keep my head down for now until he strays off the path a bit more. I wouldn’t want to get found out by everyone in the forest after all.
While making sure that my allies will not be hit by stray bullets, I started shooting at the enemy group.
『Fuー. Thirty one kills, zero deaths huh. I’m in good form today, aren’t I? ……Haa ……damn it. What the hell am I doing? Hahaa…… Damn itー』
I laughed as I looked at the remains in front of me.
『I don’t really feel like it but let’s try searching something useful from their drops』
As I was talking to myself, I found a leather pouch from the lower half of someone’s body. I picked someone who was at a relatively safe spot and started rummaging through his things.
『Human currency and tobacco huh. Well, that’s better than nothing. I’ve heard that I can convert this somewhere after all. Judging from the color, is this a silver coin? I now have 13 pieces of it……』
Taking the items, I push aside the grass stuck on my back and placed them inside one of my back pockets. After that, I started waving both hands while shouting at my allies.
I shouted as loud as I could to get the guys from the infantry corps to notice me. Then, a sheep beastkin who looks like a commanding officer riding a horse approached me.
「Identify yourself bastard!」
Ah, I was using Japanese just now. Furthermore, my whole body’s covered in grass and blood right now so I would obviously look suspicious.
「I’m Caam who was hired from the guild to guard the Transportation Corps. I received permission from Commander Yaoul to enter the forest to locate and deal with the enemies first. Please be careful from here on since there might still be more of them」
「Understood. Wait, these defeated enemies are!?」
「They were hiding by the bushes on both sides of this path」
Saying that, I used my index finger on both hands to point.
「Understood. I’ll have my subordinates confirm it」
After saying that, he went back and got the first four soldiers in the line and have them confirm it. A while later, the four of them came back with teary eyes and their mouths dirty.
「I have confirmed that there were more than 10 humans here」
「I agree. I don’t think they’re any less than 10 humans on this side」
「What’s with that report! Say it clearly!」
The four were flustered as they replied.
「It is difficult to do a proper headcount because their injuries are so severe. There are some without a body but there are some with a body but without a head as well. Well, actually, there was only one who died because his head was cut off」
Ahー, was that the guy who was urinating?
「It’s the same for my side too」
「Is that really true? Why were their bodies damaged to that extent」
He asked that while looking at me.
「Since I was employed to guard the Transportation Corps, after finding out that there were more than 15 of then, I thought that everyone would be in danger if I didn’t hurry and eliminate them so I used magic to clear them out」
「I…… I understand. I’ll put that in the report. You can now go back to your post」
I, who was covered in blood and grass, received glares from the members of the Transportation Corps as I passed by them.
「What’s wrong Caam? You seem like a different person you know?」
「Yeah, just don’t mind me」
「Your voice is also kinda low. Try and settle down a bit okay?」
「I know. Just leave me alone」
After I said that, both of us returned to our posts. Keith keeps on giving me this worried look. Is there something strange about me I wonder?
Once we got out of the forest, we stopped to rest so they started distributing our rations.
It was hard baked bread and dried meat as usual.
「Hey, how long are you going to stay in that?」
「You don’t take off your armor while eating in the battlefield so I’m doing just that」
We continued eating silently after that but Keith was looking at me like I was pitiful for some reason. After we finished eating, I was silently gazing at the sky with vacant eyes when Keith started talking to me in a low menacing voice.
「It’s fine already so take that off…… Wipe off your body as well since you reek of blood」
「But there might still be some enemies aheaー」
「Just shut up and do it! I can pretty much understand what’s wrong so that’s why you should listen to someone who’s more experienced than you」
I wonder if Keith noticed that this was the first time I killed somebody. While I was talking, he said that while hitting me in my stomach. He then grabbed my collar and got closer to my ear as he said that in such a serious voice you wouldn’t think would come from him considering his usual demeanor.
「If you get it then change your clothes」
I went inside the carriage after that. First, I produced a large ball of lukewarm water to wash away all the grass and blood from my body. After that, I wiped my body and dried the canopy of the carriage that got wet then I hanged my wet clothes to dry.
「Don’t you have anything that you can use to distract yourself from such thoughts? If you do, then you should use it」
After saying that, he went away to some place.
「Something to distract myself huh……」
For some reason, I feel like smoking the tobacco that I obtained earlier even though I didn’t really smoke that much in my previous life. I jammed the minced grass into the pipe then produced a fire in my fingertip using magic in order to light it.
I choked on the smoke when I first tried this in my previous life but that didn’t happen this time. I wonder if that’s because my Poison Resistance is showing its effects.
Whenever I breathe in the smoke, an indescribable taste fills my mouth. It feels weird. I’m not sure what this feeling is or if it’s even good. I know that you don’t really inhale the smoke from a cigar or a pipe and you just enjoy its taste but I think that the smell of the burning batter of baked sweets, caramelized sugar, and fresh fruits are better. However, since I already lit this, I can’t just put it out. I also can’t give it to somebody else since nobody else is around. The beastkin have a keen sense of smell so most of them probably won’t like this.
Since it can’t be helped, I’ll just finish what’s left. Wasn’t this thing that I’m doing called retrohaling or something?
Ahー, this is terrible. I don’t need nicotine, just give me sweets. While blankly staring at the sky and thinking about that, Keith came back and was staring at me at a short distance away.
「Hey, is this your first time smoking?」
「Yeah, this is my first time. I just…picked this up a while ago by chance. But I think that it would be better if this will be the last time. I might get discovered by the enemy just from the smoke and the scent after all. So? How do I deal with this?」
「How would I know! Just cast that aside and don’t dwell on it」
After saying that, I threw away the ash left on the pipe then stepped on it to put it out. I placed my spoils of war inside my rucksack then took out a piece of candy to put in my mouth but because of the tobacco, it had a different taste than usual.
「This is bad」
I’m not going to smoke anymore but I think there’s a serious possibility that I might get fat because food tastes so good.
Our break eventually ended and our caravan continued onwards. We didn’t experience any surprise attacks this time. Once evening came, we started setting up camp. As for our meals, they just gave us a light soup and hard baked bread so I immediately consumed those then.
After that, I started heading to a certain place. I decided to visit the prostitutes. It’s easy to figure out where someone with a bag full of money is going at in the middle of the night. Because of that, Keith was seriously making fun of me. I just wanted to be soothed you know?
「I think I’ll go too」
Why did you make fun of me when you’re going as well!
I lined up at a small tent in the corner of the camp then started looking for a suitable prostitute. Looking at the woman standing in front of that small tent receiving customers, it’s easy to understand what this place is.
I walked while being beckoned by women wearing risqué clothing, looking for a girl that I want. I found one. A fox-eared beastkin woman.
「Is it okay?」I asked.
After that, the woman led me inside of the tent. Since I don’t know how to move forward from here, I’ll just be honest and ask.
「This is my first time so could you please tell me how this works?」
「Let’s see…… To begin with, you need to pay first then I’ll attend to you until time’s up which is indicated by the water in this device running out. Since there are a lot of you in this camp, we aren’t allowed to accompany you for the whole night. So? What will it be?」
「5 large copper coins for one round」
「I’m sorry if this is rude but that seems quite cheap, isn’t it?」
「There are a lot of men here and we can just decide to finish up quickly if we feel like it as well. There are a lot of guys who leave once they let one out after all. Ah, because it would be troublesome to deal with it afterwards, you have to let it out outside, okay? Also, you can’t be violent」
That’s quite the frank explanation, isn’t it? Also, catching some kind of disease pretty scary.
「I got the gist of it」
After I said that, the woman entered the room first. Once I paid, the woman started taking off her clothes but I stopped her.
「What’s this? Do you prefer doing it with clothes on? Well, that’s fine by me」
Fufu, she giggled as she started filling the device with water. Then, she rolled up her skirt after that exposing her bushy tail. She was about to take off her underwear next but I also asked her to stop that.
「You have pretty eccentric tastes, don’t you?」
After saying that, the woman lied down so I immediately sat beside her and started caressing her tail.
「W-wait a minute, what are you doing!」
「I’m caressing your tail. I’m going to stroke it, hug it, fluff it and puff it」
「Didn’t you come here to embrace me?」
「Since I already paid, I can do whatever I want as long I don’t become violent」
I think the idea of the customer being able to do anything once they pay is horrible but I’m at my wits’ end here. While we were discussing that, I made sure I was tightly fluffing her tail.
「……Well, I guess that’s fine」
She deemed it acceptable so let me continue doing it. After caressing her tail for a while, she started talking to me again.
「We beastkin don’t let people we don’t really like to touch our tails you know?」
「Then why are you letting me touch it?」
「I’m working right now so that doesn’t really apply」
「Is that so……? Even I didn’t plan on doing something like this you know? However, I experienced something really unpleasant today so I wanted to do something that would cleanse my soul」
*Fluff fluff puff puff*
「What’s with that? Is that why you’re doing something like this?」
「Then, can’t you just do this with men?」
「That wouldn’t be cleansing at all」
「Moreover, do you think a man would be happy having another man touch his tail?」
「……I don’t think so」
「Right? Even I don’t want to cuddle with a man’s tail」
While we were having that conversation, I made sure to properly caress her tail.
「If it’s an animal, it doesn’t matter if it’s male or female but when it comes to demonkin, the appearance is extremely important you know?」
「Right, that’s certainly true」
As I continued playing with her tail, I started wanting to touch her ears too.
「Can I touch the ears on your head?」
「I see…… I’ll just give up on that then」
「However, if you tell me about what happened today, I can let you do it just for a bit」
She’s probably just using that to get some information about the rumors that were floating around while we were moving earlier.
「I’m someone who usually only does day labor requests from the guild so I almost never accept any kind of subjugation requests. That’s because I’m extremely cowardly, I don’t want to be injured and I don’t want to be killed. However, that changed because a friend invited me to do a subjugation request. Even killing a live pig or sheep was impossible for me but because of all the rumors of my achievements from that one subjugation request, I caught the attention of a noble leading me to be sent to the front lines. This afternoon, I experienced killing something that isn’t a monster nor an animal for the first time. You could say that I just lost my virginity I guess」
「……I see. That’s the same illness that new soldiers get, isn’t it? What’s important is that you don’t dwell on it too much」
「Moreover, I killed 31 in one go. I can still recall the sight of warm blood scatted all around and the smell of entrails in the air. I can also remember the way the body of the human who I slashed the throat from behind convulsed as he fell down. It’s making an already unappetizing meal even more unappetizing……」
Without noticing it, I start shedding tears.
「I see…… I’ll let you touch my ears for a bit」
It seems like I gained her permission.
The fox-eared woman’s face became slightly flushed as she trembled. I’m not sure if she’s embarrassed or just ticklish but I’m sure she’s just enduring it.
After she said that, she brushed away my hand so I went back to touching her tail. A while later, she said.
Because of that, I immediately stopped what I was doing and said.
「Thank you very much for hearing my complaints. It is as if I was splashed with water and my soul has been refreshed even if it’s for just a bit」
After saying that, she unrolled the cloth covering the entrance and showed me out.
Once I got back, Keith said.
「That really took a while, didn’t it? You look really refreshed. Don’t get so into it that you forget about the time alright?」
I actually enjoyed it in a different way than what he was implying but I just didn’t say anything to correct him.
I hope that tomorrow’s breakfast is a lot better than today’s lunch and dinner.
Inside the carriage the day after Caam mofumofu’d.
「You know, the rumored person who defeated the 30 humans who were about to attack us came to our shop yesterday」
「Eh? That weird person who stuck grass all over his body?」
「He didn’t have grass in his body but from his complaints, I think that he was actually the one from the rumors」
『What’s with that person with grass all over his body?』『I’ve heard about stories of that grass person defeating 30 humans who were about to attack us you know?』
That was all that the prostitutes were talking about yesterday afternoon.
「So, how was he? Was he good? Was he big?」2
「It ended with him just touching my tail. At first, he was saying things like 『It’s alright if you don’t take your clothes off』 and 『You don’t need to take off your underwear as well』. Because of that, I was starting to think that he was a pervert but he was actually just a really weird person. I feel like he’s just someone who deep down is really kind」
「Eh~. What’s up with that~?」
「It was his first time killing anybody, moreover he killed 30 in one go. Because of that, it seems like he caught that condition that newly recruited soldiers experience」
「It’s impossible to get just by killing 30 people you know? Are you sure that he’s just kind?」34
「But if it wasn’t for that grass person, don’t you think that our carriage would have been attacked as well? Didn’t he defeat them even though it was difficult for him? At least that’s what I think」
「I guess that’s true. I’ve heard that that person was just conscripted from the guild. I guess that’s probably why he would need to force himself to do that」
「Then, let’s just say that he’s a weird but nice person」
The carriage was filled with laughter after that. Thus, a strange rumor started spreading around.
~Idle Talk 2~
「Caam-kun has gone to the front lines!」
「Is that all that you have to say!? How cold-hearted, Suzuran-chan!」
「I mean, I just can’t imagine Caam getting so injured that he’d die」
(He can use recovery magic but it seems like that’s supposed to be a secret)
-His parents’ reaction-
「I see… I wonder if he’ll get to play an active role there」
「Is that all? Aren’t you worried about him?」
「「He’s our son after all」」
(He can use recovery magic)
-Suzuran’s parents’ reaction-
「So he’s finally going to a battlefield huh! He’s finally going to a place where he can go all out」
「I’m sure he will」
「Aren’t you worried!?」
(He has recovery magic so he’ll be able to manage somehow)
(He has recovery magic so I’m sure he’d be alright)
-3 idiots’ reaction-
「Frontlines huh… That’s unusual for such a cowardly guy like him. It was an order though so I’m sure that it couldn’t be helped」
「Aren’t you worried?」
「「「I mean, it’s Caam after all」」」
That evening while lying in the futon in Suzuran’s room.
「Everyone’s reaction to the news was so terrible. Why isn’t anybody worried about him?」
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