Chapter 51 – I Sent Them Away!
I could now see the main road from the western forest. And there was indeed a human army there.
The familiar banners… With the crests of the Schwarz Knights Order raised into the air, the army of two thousand were attempting to capture a group of winged people.
There were about fifty of the winged people, and they were the Tengu.
Their wings were badly damaged, and I doubted that they could get away.
The Tengu who called herself Asuha… These must be the friends that she spoke of.
They must have come here after fleeing from the Demon King Army.
And now the Knights Order was likely trying to capture them so they could be sold as slaves.
I turned to Iria and the others.
“The Tengu are all gathered into one place… And so it should be easy enough to rescue them. However, we must confuse the enemy first.”
And so I told them the plan that I had thought of on the road.
While making a certain something with production magic.
We had two thousand allies right here. Kijin, werewolf, Ent. On top of that, there were the slimes and Mopes… And so there were a lot of possible strategies.
But about one thousand had remained in the village.
The gates had been closed, and so things should be fine.
I then took out something…which was a wooden stick that was slightly taller than the forest trees, and had a cloth made of Mope wool strapped onto it. I then showed it to the others.
Iria looked at it with a puzzled expression.
“What is it…?”
“It’s called a flag. The people in front of us are carrying something similar, see? This is a tool that shows your…country or tribe.”
I explained, and then Mette tilted her head.
“Weren’t we supposed to hide until you gave the order? If we show something like that, won’t they find out that we’re in the forest?”
“Aye. That’s what I want. The enemy must believe that there are many more of us.”
“So it’s just like before. When we surrounded the enemy with torches at night.”
“Exactly. Well, a ruse. But don’t raise the flags until I raise my hand.”
“Okay… Still, you really are fast with that.”
Melk was watching as the flags kept coming out of my hand. Her voice was raised in a monotone ‘Woahhhh…’
As I made them while gathering the surrounding trees, I should have been able to make nearly a thousand.
“All right, it’s the same as last time. Everyone, take these and spread out to the north-south. Also, I want you to raise the flags, shout loudly, and shake some trees. We want to make it look like there is a great army.”
“If it has to do with trees, then you can rely on us.”
Ecleshia said, and then Melk followed with a ‘We werewolves are good at shouting, don’t worry.’
“Aye, I’m counting on you. Also, Mette, Iria, and Melk. I want you to select a hundred of your finest in case we need them. We might have to defeat the humans surrounding the Tengu so that we can free them.”
They all nodded, and the plan was put into action.
In the midst of this, I went out alone towards the Knights Order, which was desperately trying to capture the Tengus.
As a human was suddenly riding towards them on horseback, their faces turned to look at me.
However, no one had recognized me as Joshua yet.
And so I shouted.
“I am Joshua! Where is your commanding officer!?”
At this, the soldiers started to mutter to each other.
Eventually, a few knights moved away from the army and headed towards me.
I was surprised by the man in the lead.
It was Royg’s favorite. Villian.
Villian stared at me suspiciously at first, but seemed to then be convinced that it really was me, as his face became very red.
“Joshua! So this is where you’ve been!?”
“I should be saying the same thing to you. You are knights, but are attempting to hunt slaves. You are even more hopeless than I thought.”
“Silence! More importantly, bastard, is it true that you killed Gaius!?”
“Eh, that is of no consequence. I will not ignore what you have done here. Release the demihumans at once.”
Villian clicked his tongue and then raised his voice.
“And why do you think that I, a high noble, should obey the orders of a filthy, low-ranking knight! Nevermind that, Joshua! The captain says he will accept you if you wish to return!”
“Royg…? I don’t believe that.”
“Then come with us and see for yourself! That really is the only place for you! And he will raise your salary by tenfold!”
“…Nothing will be discussed until you free them. And you will swear to never hunt slaves again. And then maybe I will consider the offer!”
Of course, I did not want to return.
However, I had no problem with lying if it would help release the demihumans without injury.
“You are not in the position to be making demands! A mere production magician has no right to interfere with the direction of the Knights Order! Bah… I’ve had enough!”
Villian took out a lavishly decorated rapier and shouted angrily.
“We only need someone who can use production magic! And so I’ll cut off your legs and you can slave away in a room in the castle for the rest of your life!”
“In other words, you are challenging me? Very well. I wouldn’t lose to the likes of you.”
I used production magic to craft an iron sword, which I wielded with my right hand.
Upon seeing this, Villian rushed towards me on his horse.
“Feel the splendor of ‘Master Swordsman’ Villian’s sword!”
‘Master Swordsman’ was Villian’s crest.
In terms of sword skills, it was as good as Royg’s ‘God of War.’
His rapier was also made of black demon iron, and could unleash fire. He was a dangerous opponent.
Normally, I might have unleashed some powdered rock or poison mist at him.
However, if I was to be honest, I did not need such tricks for Villian.
Because I could see it.
He was full of openings.
This was someone who was proud of his crest, but did not put in the work to train with the sword.
And so his skill was not very impressive.
With just one swing, I knocked Villian’s sword from his hand.
“Im-imp-impossible!? How could my sword…!? Ahhhh!”
Villian’s face turned pale as my sword pointed at his throat.
“Villian… You wasted your gift. That sword and your crest… Why couldn’t you think to use them to help people?”
As the soldiers stood in shock, Villian began to laugh, as if to prove that the situation was still under his control.
“…To help people? Ahh! You speak of the motto of the Knights Order! Something about defeating the Demon King Army and bringing peace to the people! Did you really believe in all of that, Joshua?”
“I did believe it. That is why I kept fighting and crafting.”
“You are an even bigger fool than I thought. This war with the Demon King Army. It will never actually end. Surely you were also doing it for fame and fortune. It’s all a game, isn’t it!? Eee!?”
I knocked Villian off of his horse with my fist and then raised my hand.
To be honest, I wanted to cut him.
Those were not the reasons that I had fought. But people like him didn’t know what it was like to lose your home.
However, if I allowed my emotions to control me now, the Tengu might suffer for it.
And so I repressed my feelings and raised my sword.
Just then, the forest behind me grew clamorous.
Violently shaking trees, echoing howls, a thousand flags raised at once.
Villian saw this with a look of confusion.
“Wh-what!? Is this the demihuman… Joshua. You didn’t…”
“Aye. I am in league with the demihumans. It was we who…cut off Gaius’s head and drowned Barnish in a sea of fire.”
“Th-that can’t be…”
“What will you do, Villian? If you release the demihumans, I will allow you to escape.”
“Do-don’t order me!”
“Then perhaps I should cut off your hands, and you will be more cooperative?”
“Ah…ah… Wa-wait… He-hey…someone!”
Villian looked behind him as if asking for help.
However, no one stepped forward to help him.
It seemed to me that they were all very exhausted.
Some of them even had open wounds and bruises.
Their morale seemed too low for soldiers who had just captured some Tengus.
But now, a great army had suddenly appeared in the forest.
On top of that, they were now looking at the pathetic sight Villian made. It was no surprise that they did not want to fight.
“Sh-shame to you all! And you still call yourselves knights!?”
“Villian. You have hardly shown them what true knighthood is. Now, release the demihumans at once.”
“Don’t be so sure of yourself! …What!?”
The sounds of hooves echoed from the west.
When I turned to look, clouds of dust were rising into the air.
“Is-is that… The Grank Mercenaries!?”
Villian’s face turned pale.
The tigerfolk mercenaries were riding on camels…
So they were still in this area… No, I can use this situation to my advantage.
“Villian! I will not repeat myself! Release them now! Or you will find yourselves in the middle of a pincer attack, and every last one you will be taken prisoner! But only you will be made our slave for the rest of your life!”
“Wa-wait!! Fine, we’ll release them!! Hey, hurry and release the demihumans!”
Villian said, and then the knights released the Tengus.
“Was that not what you wanted?! Now hurry up and make them stop!”
“No, that won’t be happening.”
“Wh-what!? You deceived us!?”
“Did you think that I would care to negotiate fairly with slave hunters?”
“Wh-what are you doing!?”
I approached Villian and collected his armor and clothes, putting them into storage.
“If you want to live, you will run now! And don’t ever show your face here again!”
I raised my hand once more.
And then the demihumans began to emerge from the forest.
“Five minutes! You have five minutes to get out of this place!”
Without any clothes on, Villian began to run to the north.
He did not even give any orders to his men.
But upon seeing him, the soldiers threw down their weapons and fled to the north as well.