Chapter 32 – I Became the Leader of the Alliance!
After two hours of going through the forest.
We were so close to returning home safely.
The sun had risen, and it was now morning.
“Melk. Are we being pursued?”
I asked, but Melk shook her head.
“We’re fine. No one is following us.”
“I see… It seems like right now, they have completely lost the will to fight.”
It would not have been surprising for them to at least send one scout to spy on us, but I suppose they were too busy preparing so that they could leave as soon as possible.
Besides, they had seen an army of ten thousand. There could surely be no thoughts of continuing to hunt slaves in these lands.
And they had already lost so many men.
At the very least, they would not be able to do anything for a while.
Of course, we would also continue to monitor that fortress.
Either we could keep it empty, or perhaps post people there for some time.
As for our prisoners, I had released them.
Perhaps they would reconsider their actions after witnessing the ‘mercy’ of the alliance…
Iria must have been thinking the same thing, as she turned to me and asked,
“Do you really think they will stop?”
This time, we had managed to free the demihumans before they were sold off.
That being said, Cobis had been doing such things earlier, in other lands to the south.
So it was possible that he might go elsewhere and continue.
“I don’t know… But I feel that it might be too tempting once they’ve acquired a taste. I think it’s possible that they will return with reinforcements.”
“But don’t worry. They know now that they cannot touch us without getting burned. They will have to be more cautious. And we’ll have plenty of time to strengthen our forces.”
“Yes… That’s what we’ll do!”
Iria nodded in agreement.
It wasn’t just about building walls and making armor and weapons. Making clothes and growing crops was also important. There would be so much to do now.
And the stronger we became, the less likely it was that we’d be attacked.
These humans did not want to die.
They might hesitate if they knew we were that powerful.
However, I was a little concerned about Cobis’s connection to the Schwarz Knights Order… It was possible that he’d ask them for help.
And this was Royg.
If the slave hunters told him about me, he might be overcome by rage, and send out his knights.
As we continued through the forest, Melk asked me,
“By the way, Joshua. What is this about a Fendel Alliance?”
“Oh, that? Well, It just came to me suddenly. I thought it would sound more impressive to human ears.”
I answered, and then Ecleshia said,
“So it’s an alliance between the races of Fendel. Well, it wasn’t exactly a lie then.”
However, Iria seemed a little concerned.
“We’ve become powerful together…and were able to drive them away… But is it over now? Are we to have nothing to do with each other?”
As for me, I was against the idea of ending the alliance.
Surely it was best to wait and see that everyone could truly live in peace. Otherwise, all of our effort might have been for nothing.
However, my concern was unwarranted.
Both Melk and Ecleshia had shaken their heads.
“No. Melk and the others will stay here. If Iria allows it, that is…”
“We too would like to stay, if we are welcome… I believe that we must stay together in order to stand against the great numbers of humans. The Fendel Alliance should not be getting smaller, but larger.”
Iria then nodded without hesitation.
“Yes. We must continue to help each other. But then, I think we must have someone who can represent the alliance…”
So saying, Iria’s gaze turned to me.
And then Melk and Ecleshia did the same.
“Me-me? But I’m just a guest here.”
And they opened their mouths.
“N-not at all! This operation would not have been a success without you, Sir Joshua!”
“Mmm. We lack knowledge of battles and negotiations. I think Joshua is best suited to be the leader.”
“Melk agrees. And Joshua is the one who brought it up in the first place.”
“Th-that being said…”
Indeed, I had desperately devoted my body and mind to this battle so that no one would die.
But I was a human. I doubted the others would want me as the alliance representative.
On the other hand, the position would make it easier for me to offer counsel to others.
“V-very well. But it must be the chiefs of each race who talk and decide on important matters. I will just provide counsel and cooperate. And it will only be temporary. I will step down as soon as we find someone who is more suited for the role.”
I said, and then Iria’s face brightened up.
“Then it’s settled! Now, from today on, Sir Joshua is the leader of the Fendel Alliance!”
Iria shouted so that the others could hear, and shouts of joy erupted around us.
And like this, we returned to Fendel Village.
White smoke was rising, and I could tell that they were cooking something.
And then Mette came running out of the village.
I could see the expression of joy on her face.
“Joshua! Judging by your numbers… You succeeded in freeing them!”
Mette said as she saw the people returning to the village.
“Aye. And without a single one lost to battle. By the way, what is that smoke?”
“I thought that everyone would be hungry upon your return, so we quickly went out and hunted! …Everyone, we have thirty Hell Alligators and two Armor Boars that are already cooked! Eat as much as you like!”
“Mette… Even I hadn’t thought that far ahead.”
There were about fifteen Kijins, four hundred werewolves, and three hundred Ents who were now joining.
And since they would have been in a very wretched environment, they would be very hungry now.
And then Mette replied boastfully.
“Of course! After all, I am your wife! Why shouldn’t we help each other if we are a couple!?”
The moment she said this, I felt a chilly breeze flow through the area.
When I looked around, Iria was gone… No, she was suddenly standing so close to Mette that their noses were nearly touching.
“Mette. To think that you would try and beat me in front of everyone like this… I thought you were a simpleton like an Armor Boar, but you are more crafty than that… Yes, crafty like a Hell Alligator.”
The frighteningly chilly voice rang in the air.
What was it? It was the same atmosphere I felt when Iria was fighting… but it was stronger than that.
However, Mette was not about to back down.
She immediately shouted so that everyone could hear.
“I-I haven’t done anything wrong… And Joshua is a good husband!!”
“Oh…? So you are going to continue saying that.. In that case…”
Iria turned towards me, and as quick as the wind, clung to me with her arms.
“I know, Sir Joshua! This is a fine day to commemorate freeing everyone. Why not add a wedding celebration as well!?”
“Wh-what! You may be the princess, but I won’t allow it!”
“Then should we settle this with swords, Mette!?”
“I accept your challenge, Your Highness! But don’t cry when I beat you!”
“Hey, hey. Both of you! I’m not marrying anyone…”
I said, and then I saw a small wolf rubbing up against my leg.
“No. Melk will be Joshua’s wife!”
Iria was quick to answer.
“Then you will have to fight for him too, Melk! We’ll go to the lake, and see who is able to slaughter the most Hell Alligators!”
Iria’s voice was getting more hoarse as she spoke…
“Uh, um… Why don’t we all eat first? I’m sure that Joshua is hungry as well. Aren’t you, Joshua?”
However, Iria stared at her with sharp eyes.
“Ms. Ecleshia… Are you trying to get close to Sir Joshua by pretending to be the only normal person here?”
“N-not at all! …Besides, I wouldn’t have to resort to such tactics, when it’s abundantly clear that I am by far the most appealing one here! Don’t you agree, Joshua!?”
Ecleshia’s declaration reignited their anger.
Upon seeing this, Wiz the slime went between them and extended its body as a mediator.
Perhaps it was because of this, that no hands had been laid on anyone yet.
Could the alliance be crumbling already…? In spite of our triumphant return, I couldn’t help but wonder about it.