A Relaxing Journey by Horse
And so it was decided that Toshizou Hijikata and Jeanne would accompany me to Count Ismalia’s lands.
While Hijikata was a fashionable man, he did not do much to prepare, as according to him, they would not be meeting any women on the road.
Jeanne asked what use a servant of God had for fashion, and she only brought her usual armor and white clothes that resembled a dress.
And so preparations were completed very quickly, and we mounted our horses.
The reason that I chose not to ride a carriage, was because horses would be faster.
Besides, I knew that this negotiation would go nowhere.
Count Ismalia would waste no time in showing his true colors, and arresting us. And then we just had to escape and reunite with Eve. That’s when the real work would begin.
It would be a waste to bring a carriage if it was just going to be taken away. That was my reasoning.
When I told them about this, Toshizou laughed.
“That’s very logical. Everything you do is thought out, and you convince others as well.”
“And I suppose you also expect these horses to be stolen as well.”
“Yes. Obviously, Eve is taking care of my best horse.”
“That black one? Now that I think about it, does it have a name?”
“Yes. The Black King.”
“Ah, a powerful-sounding name. I can imagine it crushing enemy soldiers under its hooves.”
“It’s not that kind of monster.”
There were some Demon Kings who actually rode monsters that could kill human soldiers with their weight, but my horse was a little more ordinary.
In the past, Eve had asked me, ‘Why don’t you switch to a Sleipnir instead?’ But I refused.
Why? Because Takenaka Hanbe, the great tactician of the Sengoku era, was one of my role models.
“Ah. So you respect Hideyoshi’s old tactician.”
Toshizou sounded impressed.
Jeanne looked puzzled.
“Who is Hanbe?”
“A military commander of the Sengoku era in Japan. He served a general known as Toyotomi Hideyoshi. And though his master rose in the world, he never rode on any great horses.”
Jeanne was very curious.
“The reason was simple. If you are riding on an expensive horse, you’ll take good care of it.”
“Yes, you would.”
“But a horse is just a horse. There are times when strategies cannot be used because the horses were too valuable to lose. And so he never rode any on the field. At least cheap horses can be disposable.”
“Ah, how logical.”
“Yes, it is. And so I intend to follow his example.”
Well, that being said, my Black King was still a fine horse.
“You really think of everything, Demon King. I wish I could be like that.”
“Please don’t try and copy me Jeanne. Besides, you look good riding a beautiful white horse.”
Jeanne affectionately patted the white horse she was riding. The horse neighed in approval.
As I watched this with amusement, I realized something.
I looked at the chestnut-color horse Toshizou was riding.
“So you can ride a horse.”
“Aye, I’ve been practicing since coming to this world.”
“You said that you couldn’t before.”
“It wasn’t that I couldn’t at all, but I had little opportunity to.”
Hijikata Toshizou of the Shinsengumi was the child of farmers. And so it wasn’t as if he had trained with bows and horses as a child.
Apparently, he had opportunities to learn once he joined the Shinsengumi in Kyoto, but he was still not particularly good at it.
“It was an age where great black ships were arriving from the sea. Learning to ride a horse seemed like a waste of time. However, horses are useful in this world.”
“Aye, this world is flat and vast. The mobility of a horse is a great advantage. There is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to ride.”
When I did expand the army and created mounted corps, their commander would have to be an expert at riding. However, if there was no one suitable for the position, it would have to go to Toshizou.
As I thought about this, I saw smoke rising in the distance.
It was Jeanne who first warned me that something appeared to be burning.
“Could it be bandits? We always get attacked by them when traveling with you, Demon King.”
Jeanne said with a sigh.
I was about to say that the same thing could be said for her as well, but it was not necessary. This was because it was not bandits.
The thing in front of us was a wyvern.
They were a type of flying dragon, and this one was attacking people who were likely farmers who lived in the area.
The thing that was burning was a cart and whatever it was carrying. Perhaps they were on their way back from the city.
“Their horse has been eaten. The farmers should have just run away, but they are fighting back.”
“Well, horses are valuable to farmers. I understand their anger. However, they will be next on the menu if this continues.”
As I could easily predict what would happen next, I decided to save them.
No one objected to this.
“Now, we will defeat the wyvern. Which of you feels like you haven’t fought enough recently?”
I looked at Toshizou and Jeanne. Both of them raised their hands as if it was the most natural thing.
“You both raised your hands at the same time. Well, I suppose we’ll have to compromise. I’ll do it myself.”
What!? Jeanne was about to protest, but I ignored her as wind began to blow around me.
With a loud voice, I chanted a magic known as Air Cutter.
Saying it loudly wasn’t necessary to use the magic, but I wanted the farmers to notice our presence.
I shouted, and they looked towards us.
And they must have quickly realized that we were on their side. However, they still looked worried.
It was no wonder. They were fighting a deadly battle with a wyvern. And so I wanted to ease their minds as quickly as possible.
In order to see their relieved expressions, I launched the wind blades at the wyvern.
They stretched straight towards it. While wind was a friend to flying dragons, there was an imminent danger that it sensed. And so it stopped battling the farmers and took to the air. However, my wind blades still caught it.
“I have no grudge against you, but your luck ran out when you attacked these farmers.”
This was the Ashtaroth territories. In other words, my backyard. And the people who lived on it were my people.
I could not allow it to roam free when it was tormenting people now, and would continue to do so in the future.
And so I targeted the wyvern with the intention to kill, and attacked.
I doubt the wyvern even felt any pain. That’s how powerful the single blow was.
It was cleanly cleaved into two. From the head, all the way down to the tail. And just like that, it was no more.
Upon seeing this sight, the farmers muttered to each other.
“It-it’s amazing…like witnessing a miracle.”
It was Jeanne, and not I, who answered them.
She had a stern, yet noble and saintly expression as she said,
“This is what happens to monsters who hurt the Demon King’s people.”
They listened as if these were the words of God, and they bowed their heads deeply.