Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
「The Margrave’s Forces Face Opposition」
The Branier Territory of the Salma Kingdom.
Monsters lurked inside Ildoba Forest in the north, the elves of Rouen Forest prevented humans from entering and Fort Hill’s boundary wall sealed off Nozan’s Dimo Earldom in the south.
Due to these obstructions, the number of villages in this southeastern area was almost nonexistent despite consisting of wide and hilly lands as far as the eye could see, completely different from the cultivated areas around the Uiru River.
Thirty armed soldiers were currently patrolling this hilly area.
The group preceded two wagons that bore the Margrave Branier’s crest on their raised flags.
The wagons were loaded down with bags of food, extra weapons, and pavise shields. The soldiers guarding the wagons carried spears and constantly survived their surroundings.
They were one of the platoons dispatched from the capital of Branier territory, as per the Margrave’s orders, they were searching the area for the mysterious group and their unknown, monstrous pursuers.
A middle-aged man on horseback, who seemed to be leading the unit, was surveying the area.
“An unidentified, armed force, I was told it was related to a Nozan official. They should have headed this way…… but there’s no sign of them.
When the commander muttered that with a sigh, the young man nearby nodded his head in agreement.
“Maybe the platoon assigned to the district south of here managed to find something. We haven’t found any evidence of the rumored monster either.”
The young man was the adjutant to the platoon’s commander, he carried a shield on his back and rode his horse beside the commander’s in case of emergency.
“I’d like the credit for it, but I’d rather not run into them while they’re being chased by that monster……”
Saying that, the commander pulled the parchment he had received during the briefing from his breast pocket and scrunched his eyebrows as he looked at the sketch of the never seen before monster.
“Does such a strange monster really exist?”
The adjutant let out a dry laugh at the commander’s complaint and looked at the Pavise shields on the wagon behind them.
“Being issued the subjugation equipment for huge monsters, the fact that this beast has never been seen before, plus the platoon’s size all have me a bit worried.”
The commander gave a cheerful smile at the adjunct’s worries.
“There’s a group trailing behind us, right? In the case of us being annihilated, the messenger will retreat quickly, so it’s alright.”
The adjutant shrugged his shoulders and shook his head as the commander loudly laughed.
A cautious shout from the rear of the platoon interrupted the two’s conversation.
“A mysterious shadow approaching from the north! I repeat! A mysterious shadow approaching from the north!”
Every soldier simultaneously turned their heads northwards.
In front of the soldiers, the ground formed a slight slope and a deformed creature running as fast as a galloping horse entered the commander’s line of sight.
Its appearance was just as it had been depicted in the sketch. With its two heads and four arms, it’s upper body appeared as if two humans had been fused together while its lower body was that of a spider…… a figure that could only be described as deformed.
However, the features not drawn on the sketch caused the commander and soldiers to choke up and their eyes to budge.
The commander bel
ieved the creature to be a new type of monster, but the metal armor that covered its humanoid chest, the two shields it carried in one set of arms, and the two large claymores it carried made him doubtful of that.
The commander had encountered many humanoid monsters before, goblins, orcs and even the most dangerous of humanoid monsters: the Minotaur. The weapons they carried didn’t go beyond clubs, fallen branches or dull and rusted weapons that had been stolen from humans. Tactics and well-maintained equipment were the only advantages humans had over the physically superior monsters.
However, neither the armor nor the metal shields of the deformed human-spider hybrid showed any sign of rust and the blade of its swords had a decent shine to them. Humanity’s greatest fear, monsters capable of turning their greatest advantage against them, had manifested in front of them.
“That!? What is the world in that thing!? How can a monster use the same weapons as a human!?”
The adjutant’s frantic shout returned the commander to his senses.
“Don’t be discouraged!! Now is not the time to be thinking about that!! Everyone battle positions! Form the rhombus formation!! Deploy the shield corps immediately!!”
The confused soldiers immediately sprung into action at the commander’s orders.
Taking hold of the monster subjugation shields loaded on one of the wagons, the soldiers organized a defensive wall against the deformed monster.
“Spear wielders prepare your lances in-between the shield bearers! Prepare for impact!! Archers restrict the monster’s movements!!”
When the adjutant signaled for the volley, several people behind the shield bearer loosed their arrows in a high arc.
None of the arrows hit the charging monster, falling on both sides of the monster instead.
The archers continued firing arrows one after another, leading the monster down one path.
Once the deformed monster was within striking distance of the platoon, the adjunct issued more orders.
In response to the order, spears were thrust towards the monster from the shadow of the shield bearers.
Dull metallic impacts rang out as the deformed monster reacted like a human would and blocked the spears with its shields.
However, even if though its shields were rather large, the monster was the size of a minotaur and therefore it was impossible for it to completely protect its spider lower half.
The monster’s running speed and the positioning of the soldiers allowed a few of the spears to pierce the spider-like lower body. An unnerving hellish yell sprung from the monster’s mouths.
「Ugguuuuaaaaaaaaaa!!! Insects, kill!!!!」
A shock ran through the soldiers and commander when they heard the deformed monster’s agonized shout.
They had never seen a monster capable of human speech before, the only thing that came close were the devils from fairytales, and the possibility that this monster could be one terrified them.
However, there wasn’t time for fear to consume them. Most of the spears had shattered upon colliding with the monster’s shields, and the monster descended on the shield bearers.
The platoon fell into chaos as the smell of blood, the sound of shattering of bone, and frightened shouts enveloped the area.
“Regain your posture!! Use the shields to hold the monster back!! Aim the spears at its legs!!”
The commander ordered his men to focus their attack on the exposed lower body rather than the armored human torso.
While he didn’t know much damage managed to get through in the last collision, he knew there was no margin for more casualties on their side.
When the shield bearers tried to suppress the monster’s movements they would be sent flying, pavise and all.
However, the spear wielders desperately threw their whole weight into their thrusts at the spider section of the monster. The soldiers were covered in black as the dissolved, charcoal-like liquid sprayed out from the monster’s wounds.
The deformed monster’s power would result in multiple causalities within the platoon, but the scratches they left would become fatal so long as they kept it up.
Then another of his soldiers shouted another observation.
“Movement in the northwest!! There’s another one!!!”
The commander took his eyes off the ongoing battle and scanned the area northwest of their position.
He caught sight of the figure.
The ridge was slightly elevated over there and another creature revealed itself, releasing a roar when it located the ongoing fight.
Just one of the deformed monsters was enough to destroy half of the platoon, it was clear what the results would be if another one were to join the fray.
The moment the curse was spoken the deformed monster skillfully began running down the slope with its spider legs.
The joke he made with adjutant may, in fact, become reality…… the commander began to grind his teeth as the image of his family flashed before his eyes.
However, yet another soldier shouted a report.
“A large cloud of dust has been spotted in the south!! Mounted soldiers of unknown origins!! More than a hundred riders!!”
Both the commander and his adjutant turned around when they heard that.
The hundred cavalrymen took great pains to avoid the current battle as they ran through the plain.
Given the course they were taking, they certainly weren’t reinforcements, but it was impossible to determine the intentions of the other party in this confusing situation.
However, the commander’s intuition told him that they were related to the missing group they’d been informed of.
The eyewitnesses had reported a single carriage and a few guards, but group was ten times that size.
The neighboring Dimo Earldom was capable of fielding a cavalry of this size, but why would they appear in the middle of the Branier territory…… The mysterious monsters in front and behind him, combined with their appearance birth a bizarre answer in his mind.
…… Could these monsters belong to Nozan Kingdom?
They’d made deals with ancient devils…… the commander even wanted to mock himself for such a fairytale-like conclusion.
…… it was simply foolish.
If that had been the case, they would just annihilate the platoon with a pincer attack. The rational part of the commander’s brain dismissed the absurd idea, seeing as they were already on the verge of defeat.
“Unidentified horseman approaching our location!!”
The commander was lost in thought when he received the final report from one of his subordinates.
The commander’s eyes bulged and he audibly sucked in a breath when he saw the horseman approaching.
“What is that thing……”