Chapter 48 Part 2: That unfortunate time when the demon lord's army came to visit
I woke up at the usual time, ate the same breakfast, and we're now about to begin our work at the usual time. However, there's something different today. A bunch of people are huddled up and asleep in front of the drawbridge. Well, I guess we should just ignore them and start our operations.
「As usual, prioritize your safety first. Inform me immediately if you discover anything strange. If there's anyone who doesn't feel well, don't force yourself and let me know. Well then, begin!」
Safety, promptness, thoroughness, and camaraderie. Is that all of it?
After I said that, we began transporting the mixing materials and stone bricks. Some of the workers managed to step on a hand or foot as we were doing that but nobody woke up so we decided to just leave them there and start working.
They're really getting in the way. Or rather, what use are these personal guards if they won't even wake up when they get stepped on?
A while after we began our work, the members of the demon lord army started waking up one by one but the ones who stood out were the guys holding their heads while drinking water. How unhealthy.
Well, I don't have anything to worry about as long as they don't say anything about "excitement & enjoyment". That would mean that they might to decide to pillage Beryl after all.1 I want to avoid conflict if it isn't necessary.
「Ahー, it smells like they're making soup. Even though I already ate a lot earlier, I can't help but feel hungry after smelling that」
「That's trueー. It sure has been a while since I ate stewー」
「Once we get back to Tephroite, I'll bring you to a nice bar」
A few soldiers who are helping with the repairs were having that exchange.
Is it the same as the reaction a Japanese person will have when they smell freshly cooked rice?
After that, once everyone from the demon lord's army finished slowly eating their breakfast, they started clearing up their luggage. As for us, it's already around 10 o'clock so it's about time for a short break.
As if to forcibly end that peaceful time, the soldier standing watch shouted.
「There are a lot of shadows approaching the front lines! Stay on guard!」
Is it the humans? It's probably a bad idea for them to attack while Maou-sama is here. How unfortunate for them.
「Their line is pretty long you know!? It's probably a large scale attack. Switching to emergency status!」
After that was said, a tense atmosphere filled the air.
「Alright, we'll end this here today. You guys should prepare for battle. As for me, I'll start my preparations once I finish using these leftover materials. I'm sure we're still going to be fine based on the speed of their march so please don't panic」
After saying that, we began quickly collecting all of the tools.
「Maou-sama, if it's alright, we're going to move the materials inside the gate okay?」
「Caam, stop talking in such a carefree way! You're going to lower the soldiers' morale!」
I was scolded by Maou-sama. Looking closely, the easy-going atmosphere of yesterday was gone and everyone has started wearing their armor and checking their weapons.
We can see the enemy so I don't think we should be in such a rush, but well, even I'm not done with my own preparations yet so who am I to say anything.
「The weather's fine, the skies are clear, and there's hardly any wind so if I had to guess, they'll be here before noon. At this rate, by that time, the backlight here would have already shifted. Although, there's no mistaking that the humans are in a better position than us even in terms of war potential. But, since the fort's stone bricks are white or greyish, if there are no materials in the way, we'll probably be able to manage here ourselves especially with those clothes」
「Oi! You guys move the materials inside the gates just like he said! The rest of us are going out to meet the enemy!」
With that, I went back to my room. I took the white cloth that I brought and laid it out on the bed. After that, I took some ink, diluted it in water, then splatter it all over the cloth to make random spots on it. Once that was done, I did the same with the wall using mud. To test if it would actually be difficult to see, I hung the entire cloth over the wall.
「Hmmー, I guess that's good enough」
「What are you doing Caam!? Hurry up!」
「Hey Keith, what do you think about when looking at that?」
I pointed towards the cloth hanging on the wall.
「A dirty cloth」
「No, not that. I was asking if you think it matches the color of the stone surrounding it」
「Ahー, a bit I guess」
「Thanks. It would be pretty difficult to see from a distance with this」
After that, I ripped the cloth into strips then wrapped it over my head, arms, torso, and legs. With that, today's camouflage is complete」
「You're still as odd as ever I see」
「I can say the same for you who stayed behind just to watch」
With that said, I prepared my equipment and then we positioned ourselves above the ramparts near the drawbridge. As we got there, they have already started boiling the oil and water.
「Sorry about that. It took a while to finish our preparations.」
It was just a half-hearted apology but the commanding officer there didn't get mad. After saying that, Keith tapped my shoulder then said.
「Well then, I'll be staying up top so don't die okay?」
「Isn't this where you say "you too"?」
「Do you actually want to die?」
「Haven't you heard that it's easier for you to die if you talk about children, a wife, or a lover on the battlefield? What you were doing was similar to that. I've heard that our exchange earlier would also make it easier to die」
He gave me a wry grin.
「Well, whatever. Just go already」
Thirty minutes after that, the humans stopped at just around a kilometer away and started putting their ranks into order.
「Ahー, I can't tell even with the scope. Hey, based on your experience, could you make an estimate as to how many of them are there?」
I couldn't really see so I asked a nervous soldier nearby.
「Uwee? Are you asking me? I-I don't know!」
「Ahー, un. Sorry」
After that, we heard a bugle-like sound coming from the human army so they're probably going to start to advance.
「They're doing the same thing as last timeー! They're thinking of surrounding us again!」
The same strategy from last time but on a larger scale is it? How bothersome. I should consolidate the information.
「Hmmー, what a beautiful square formationー. I'd estimate that they'd be able to surround at least three sides of the rampart. Since each side is 300 meters, if one human's width is about 1 meter, there are probably around 900 of them. Considering that they have at least 900 men, it's also possible that they have enough to surround the entire fort. If they're not just in a single line and they're arranged in a 30×30 formation then you probably have 3600 people at most to surround the entire fort. That's if they do split their forces though…」
「What are you murmuring about over there?」
The soldier next to me asked as he frantically looked towards the battlefield.
「Hn? Ah, just calculating how we're going to win」
When I checked the condition of the demon lord army, it seems like they still haven't charged yet.
They've come to a stop 200 meters away from the humans.
Looking at the humans' army this time, I saw that there was a large number of archers and lighter equipped soldiers manning siege equipment who were frantically drawing their weapons behind the main army.
I didn't want to think about them but there were also demonkin prisoners of war with crude shields and sticks standing in the front lines.
「You demonkin trash! Our swords and spears are always aimed at your backs no matter where you are! Remember, we can kill you anytime!」
Ahー, un. Gotcha.
Then, after another sound of the bugle was heard, the prisoners and the infantry all came charging towards us while a large number of arrows were fired from behind. Why is this scene so familiar? It's like those movies! Damn it!
『Image ・ above the fort ・ a downburst ・ an extremely small one ・ will remain active for 5 minutes ・Execute』
I'm just winging it so I don't know if it will work or not but don't underestimate a former earthling! I'll produce a downward current even when there are no cumulonimbus clouds around!
【Skill ・ Offensive Attribute・Wind: 3】 acquired.
I didn't use it for offense though!
「It's a sudden gust! I can't stand!」
While saying that, the enemy soldiers that were caught in the center were forced to lay down on the ground. An extremely powerful gust blew at every direction with the fort at its center and the arrows that were in the sky were forced back and down and pierced the earth.
The humans had 2 archer units with around a hundred members each. They even managed to shoot out a second and third volley but not one reached our location. The resulting rain of arrows caused the prisoners of war and the enemy soldiers to start running about, but because of the strong winds, they slowed down to a walk then eventually dropped to the ground.
「Now! Let's go!」
Maou-sama was also caught in the middle of the strong winds so I'm not sure if he's aware of what's happening to his surroundings but he issued the order to attack. The others, seeing their leader charge off, also followed suit.
「Maou-sama, aren't you a bit too quick!?」
『Image ・ a cracked stone wall ・ 100 meters ahead ・ 300m wide, 30 meters tall and 50 centimeters thick ・ with a 10 degree inward curve ・ Execute』
Together with a loud rumble, a wall that's as tall as a 10-story building appeared a bit behind the demonkin prisoners. However, looking closely, it's slowly starting to collapse.
It was being affected by the downburst so it started crumbling towards the enemy side. The sound of rocks hitting the ground resounded in the area. I feel like a heard someone scream for a moment but it was drowned out by the sound of the wind and falling rocks.
『I made it so that this wind would go on for 5 minutes but it seems like 2 minutes would have been plenty. 』 While I was thinking about that, using the ramparts as a shield, I waited until the wind stopped.
Bit by bit, the wind started weakening. I don't know if the mana supplying it was cut off but when everyone peaked their heads out to look, the debris of the stone wall that was there earlier was no longer there, just the gory remains.
Well, stones that weigh more than a hundred 100 kilograms flew at them after all. As expected, this is what happens if I don't test this beforehand. They would be lucky to be alive even if I lowered the wall's height to 5 meters.
I felt piercing gaze pointed at me. When I looked behind, it was Keith who was giving me a terrifying glare. I'll just ignore that guy……
I tried gesturing an apology to him but an arrow was fired at me. The arrow hit the gap between the stone bricks by my feet and when I looked at him, he had a smug look on his face. Iyaー, it's amazing how you can aim at the gap between the stones Keith-san.
Well, I'm not really sure what I'm going to say to him later though…
After that, I sat down looked at the soldier next to me then said.
「Sorry, I'm feeling slugging because I used too much mana so don't expect any more from me」
「Eh? Ha……? Okay……」
「Was that Caam-san's doing just now? That's unreasonable right? It prevented the arrows from reaching us and also annihilated their first battalion」
While I was resting, I heard comments like those from a distance.
I actually wanted to go to sleep but that would be inconsiderate of me as expected.
I used the battlements to look at the battlefield from time to time and when I asked, it seems like what I did actually annihilate most of the enemy soldiers. I wonder if that managed to lower the enemy's morale?
Maou-sama was slightly taken aback because he wasn't sure what was happening but once he regained his senses, he once again issued a command.
「Let's go! There's no need to stay on the defensive anymore! Now's the time to attack!」
After saying that, they treaded through the gory remains. Since the vanguard no longer existed, they were able to deal with the archers quickly and move in to attack. Somebody tell them to stop it. That's a sure way to get yourself surrounded you know?
A while later, once the humans managed to regain their footing through all of the chaos that ensued, all of the laddermen grouped up and ran past the demon lord's army.
That's actually pretty good counterattack for an army without a vanguard.
The archers on our side started aiming for them but even so, the ones who managed to survive set up their ladders then started climbing up. Did they not have soldiers to surround us? The laddermen were all focusing on the front.
『Does this mean that we're now on the cleanup phase?』
While I was thinking that, I heard a loud bang nearby. Looking to my side, I saw a ladder on the battlements and when I poked my head out to peak below, I saw someone running up.
Ahー, at least use both hands and feet when climbing, please. It's scary seeing someone run up at this angle you know?2 Iyaー, how dangerous. He's also a man so if he slips, he'll deliver a smiting blow to his nether regions.34
Once he reached the top, I shot him with magic.
I created a bucket's worth of hot water then threw it at him.
Because of that, the human who was in high spirits because he managed to reach the top fell back down to the moat while screaming.
「Iyaー, that was scary~. Who'd have thought that they would run up here」
While saying that, I made the ladder fall into the moat as well.
「Aren't you still feeling sluggish for using up too much mana?」
A soldier holding a spear gave me a wry smile while asking that.5
「Hey, what happened to the siege weapons?」
Arrows started flying towards us once again so while ducking behind the walls, I casually asked. The soldier next to me gave me a reply while holding his shield at an angle as he stared at the distance.
「Demon lord army focused their attack on it first. The humans tried to fight back but it was futile and everything was settled quickly」
「Thanks. Want some candy?」
I took out the candy pouch inside of my pocket then put candy in my mouth as I said that.
「N-no thanks, I'm alright」
「Got it. Just let me know if you ever change your mindー」
Hearing him say that, I took out a rock salt from my other pocket, used the blunt side of my machete to break it into small fragments then put it in my mouth. After that, I created a small 【waterball】 to replenish my fluids.
「Ahhh~~. I feel heavy~ Just tell me if an enemy come okay?」
「Since you're feeling sluggish, is it really alright for you to use your magic to drink?」
「Hmー? I……guess? At any rate, the humans sure are unlucky, aren't they? Things might have ended differently if they attacked while Maou-sama and his army was still on their way here」
「Caam-san, you don't have much self-awareness, do you? Your magic destroyed most of the enemy army you know!?」
「Ohー, is that soー? I just wanted to help decrease the battle time you know?」
After I said that, the soldier next to me gave me weird look. Oi oi, stop looking at me like that. I won't get motivated by that look unless it's from a beautiful woman you know?
We conversed for a bit after that but aside from when the laddermen managed to reach our location, I just lazed around looking at the sky and Keith.
Keith was shooting arrows from the top of the tower but he would look at my direction from time to time with a smug look on his face. Since I couldn't peek out, I was uncertain of what to do.
「Ahー, I'm starting to feel a bit better so I guess I should give our boys some backup~」
「That fast(to recover)!」
After I that sluggishly said that, I peeked out and saw that the archers behind were providing them with covering fire. Few of the lightly equipped soldiers were somehow able to reset their formation. They took the shields of the partially annihilated vanguards and were steadily approaching the fort. They were employing a passive strategy and were desperately defending the siege towers as they approached.
I don't know if it's because they realized that since it was pretty useless last time but they've now changed the length of the bridge so that it'll reach the ramparts. They won't have to fill up the moat with that change. Well, it'll still get destroyed though.
I'll just use the same magic I used to defeat the catapults from before.
I made a meter wide hole appear on the ground beneath the siege tower which led to its collapse. Voila, it's now a piece of scrap. Looking at it from the front, you could tell that it's easy to topple structure because of the design. Plus it's even more top heavy now that they've extended the bridge so that makes things even easier~.
While thinking about that, I continued dealing with the remaining siege towers.
「Hey hey, how is the demon lord's army doing?」
I asked another soldier who was holding his shield up to defend against the incoming arrows.
「How would I know!? They're probably dealing with the human bigwigs right now, right?」
「It's wonderful finishing a battle in half a day without doing anything!」
「What Caam-san did at the beginning was pretty huge though」
「Ahー, that. I just did that to defend against the arrows and rattle the enemy's vanguard a little. It ended up being too much though. The rest was just due to the stone wall collapsing. That's all I did. Our success is due to the enemy's morale came crumbling down once the demon lord's army dealt with the enemy archers」
「All you did you say? That in itself was a pretty big deal you know? It'll just end up sounding sarcastic so you should stop saying that」
「Thank you for the advice. Well, just let me know if something big is coming. You have better visibility after all」
A while after that, I tried to peak to see what's happening on the battlefield. It seems like the humans were unable to fully regroup after the thing with the stone wall happened earlier so by the time the demon lord's army captured and tied up the humans with flashy equipment, they pointed at them with their fingers and laughed at them. Then, before evening came, a black haired human wearing fancy armor realized that they already lost so he ordered their retreat. He had those with minor injuries run away, those who were late in running due to injuries deal with the corpses, and those who were seriously injured finished off.
Although the demon lord's army didn't come out of that battle uninjured, it doesn't seem like there were any casualties. 『Is this army actually quite amazing?』While I was thinking about that, everybody else was gathering the corpses towards the wreckage of the siege towers.
「What's up Keiー ugh!」
As I looked back, I received a nice punch to the stomach.
「We're you trying to kill me!?」6
He didn't sound mad but he wasn't in his usual mood either.
「Sorry. I wasn't thinking when I did that. That was totally my fault」
I said that while kneeling with my hand on my stomach.
「……then it's all good. We were able to survive that rain of arrows because of that wind so there were probably only a few casualties. Considering that, I'll forgive you」
「Don't thank me while looking like that」
「It hurts after all」
「Well sorry about that. However, I was in the brink of death myself because of you so I'm sure you'll forgive me」
「It was my fault so don't mind it……」
「I see. Want to go caress that prostitute woman's tail again?」
The pain was starting to wear off so I stood up.
「Well, I can't help but feel a pain in my heart every time after all. I'm afraid that I might get used to this…」
「You don't have to get used to it though……」
「……well, I guess that's true. By the way, Keith, are you going to meet with that favorite prostitute of yours later?」
His tail was wagging so I'm sure he was looking forward to something.
「D-don't be stupid! I'm not!」
「I see. Well, as for me, I'm tired so I'm going to sleep」
After that, his tail started swinging even faster.
Keith, aren't you much easier to read than Speck?
I was invited by the demon lord and Granade after that but I refused using my tiredness as an excuse. Once I finished eating in the mess hall, I lied down on my bed.
『It seems like 80% of the prisoners of war are still alive. I feel bad not being able to save all of them……』
After thinking that, I went into deep sleep.
While the demon lord's army was celebrating.
「Granade, tell me more about that guy Caam」
While drinking sake, he asked Granade that question with a serious look on his face.
「I don't know much. I can only tell you the things I know when we were still in our village. With his magic, he made well, tilled the wastelands and harvested the wheat. I haven't seen him use that kind of magic back in the village you know!?」
「I see. I didn't think that magic he used was even possible. To be honest, that guy scares me. I'm seriously worried……」
「That guy is kind and I haven't even seen him get mad once. He's just an honest and easygoing person so I'm sure it will be alright」
「Even if we don't anger him directly, what if something happens and he turns against us? That uncertainty is what I'm afraid of. To be honest, I don't want to have anything to do with him. Someone who's usually gentle is scary when they get angry, right? That's what I think」
After saying that, he emptied the contents of his cup into his mouth.
「Just when I thought the battle was starting, he shows us that magic and partially destroys the enemy's forces. It was because of that that we were able to reach the enemy archers that quickly. I think it's good that almost everyone in the fort was unharmed but he practically did that all by himself. In just that moment, he managed to lower the enemy force's morale you know? Do you think he had that all planned out?」
「I don't know but back in our village, he was smarter than anybody else and he even finished school a full cycle of seasons ahead of us」
「So he's smart. That's making me want to have nothing to do with him even more」
「Caam also came up with the sake you drank yesterday you know?」
「Aーah, I give up.」 I wasn't even able to win against that sake you know!?」
In order to get rid of that depressing atmosphere, he filled himself with a large amount of sake.
~Idle Talk 2~
During the time when Caam wasn't in the mess hall.
「Oi, that magic surely came from Caam-san, right?」
「Probably. We've already established that there's nobody else here that can do something like that during the previous attack by the humans, right?」
「But still, how did he do it? There wasn't a single arrow that reached us you know? What kind of magic is that?」
「How would I know? Why don't you ask the person himself……?」
「But that stone wall sure was amazing right!? It was even taller than the flag on top of the tower you know?」
「But still, I was really annoying trying to clean up those tattered corpses you know!? That sucked」
「If it wasn't for that magic, we would have been surrounded again you know? If you're not going to be thankful then just don't say anything at all. I just endured scooping up the entrails after all.」
「That's because you had it good. Werewolves like me have a better sense of smell you know? I can still smell it right now…」
「As for me, I was beside Caam-san at that time. Before he fired his magic, I heard him counting how many humans were there. I heard him mumbling about that so I asked what he was doing and he told me he was calculating how we're going to win」
「I really can't tell what that person is thinking」
「That's true」「Yeah」「I agree」
「He even asked me if I wanted some candy. You shouldn't be able to just thoughtlessly have some candy in that kind of situation you know!?」
「He licked on some salt after that」
「He sure did」
「Even though he was feeling sluggish for using too much mana, he still used magic to make water for him to drink. He started feeling sluggish again after that」
「I can't really tell if he's smart or an idiot sometimes」
「I'm pretty sure you guys now know that the rumor about not getting him angry isn't a rumor at all」
「That's right. This fort might collapse if you make him angry. He must have been holding back when he gave Gebiss that weak poison」
「Have you guys heard about that other rumor? I heard that Cravatte-sama thought Gebiss was using those prohibited plants when he went to check Gebiss's room but it was actually Caam-san who burned those dangerous plants while he was sleeping to get back at him. They said it was spread out by the guy who went with them you know?」
「We're lucky that this fort didn't get destroyed because of that harassment」
With that, the rumors about Caam became even more outrageous.
The rumors about him like 『Leisurely licking candy in the battlefield』 and 『Instantly annihilating half of the human's army』 were spreading out.