Chapter 71 – I Was Disappointed!
“It looks like…they are arguing?”
Iria said as she looked at the expression of the man who was talking to Royg.
“That is Solm… He was the commander of the west expedition unit. So he has returned then.”
“He looks like the capable sort?”
Mette muttered next to me.
“It would not be an exaggeration to say that he is the most capable among them. He has been with the Knights Order longer than most. His comrades trust him deeply, and he is very cautious… He and his men are the elite among the elite in the Knights Order.”
Yes, this one was dangerous in many ways…
I had not wanted to make an enemy of him.
It wasn’t purely because of strength. He was someone who always had words of gratitude when I repaired or crafted weapons and armor for him.
And while the rich nobles who joined the Knights Order found him to be a difficult person, it was because Solm was content with honest poverty, and was respected by me and the knights who fought on the frontlines.
Iria squeezed her sheath.
“Then we must be very careful.”
“Indeed. But I do think that he will listen to what I have to say. Besides, he was not the kind of man who would allow slave hunting.”
As if to answer to these expectations, Solm began to walk towards me, alone.
Yes, now we would be able to talk.
But at the same time, I was disappointed in Royg. He had no intention of speaking to me anymore.
Once Solm and his steed were close, he spoke.
“Sir Joshua. It has been too long.”
“Solm. I see that you’ve returned from the west.”
“Aye. But only to find that the Knights Order has met its end. It was because of you that it all held together for as long as it did. But it is completely finished now…”
Solm muttered with a cresfallen expression.
“…Do you hate me for that?”
“Hardly. With a captain like that, it was our fate. Besides, the fault lies with me and the other knights. We could not stop your banishment and the slave hunting.”
“In that case, Solm. You did not come here to fight us?”
“Yes. In the first place, I only came here in hopes that you would return to the Knights Order. However, I do not even hope for that now.”
Solm glanced towards Royg with disgust, and then bowed his head to me.
“But, please understand this. It was only a small number of humans who hunted demihumans. And we have no intention of doing anything of the sort.”
“We understand that. And though we may hate the demihuman hunters, we will not be joining the Demon King Army either. The demihumans only want to protect their homelands.”
“I am relieved to hear that. In that case, my knights and I shall return to the north. I believe the captain will also give up on you… No, I will make him.”
“Can you do that?”
“I will use threats if he does not listen.”
Solm then returned to Royg, and they began to talk.
However, in the next instant, Royg cut Solm down with his sword.
Solm then fell from his horse and onto the ground.
“Bind his hands and feet and send him to the back! …Joshua!”
Royg didn’t even look at Solm as he shouted at me.
“Come back now! You and I shall sell all of these demihumans!”
I nearly wanted to cover my ears.
To ignore the warnings of his friend, hurt him, and then only speak of profit.
“Royg!! Forget such things and start again! Even now, it is not too late!”
“Shut up!! Don’t you dare give me orders! Camdan, bring him back here by force!”
Royg said, and one heavily armored knight with a greatsword came running towards me.
“I am Camdan, son of Count Crute!! And I challenge you, Joshua, to a duel!! Or one of those baseborn demihumans, if you prefer!?”
Camdan shouted as he pointed his greatsword at Iria and the others.
Iria unsheathed her sword and said to me,
“Sir Joshua. Please leave this one to me!”
“He is wearing armor of black demon iron. Be careful.”
Iria immediately moved towards Camdan.
“Your opponent is me!”
“A demihuman female thinks she can beat me!? Arrrgh!!”
Camdan raised his greatsword as he charged at Iria.
However, Iria’s blade flashed through the air, and Camdan’s arms and greatsword went soaring.
Camdan was too stunned to understand what had happened.
Normally, one would be screaming in pain and thrashing about.
However, it seemed like he did not feel any pain at all.
Iria must have coated her blade in magic flame. The stumps of Camdan’s arms were burned.
“Arrrghh!? My arms!? No! No!!”
As Camdan shouted madly, Iria’s blade pointed to his neck.
“Sir Joshua is merciful. I will spare your life if you leave now.”
Upon seeing Iria’s expression, Camdan immediately scampered away from the battlefield.
At the same time, the demihumans in the back erupted into cheers, while the Knights Order was abuzz with disbelief.
“B-Baydos! You are next!”
This time, the person who stepped forward was wearing armor but carried no weapons.
He must be a combat magician.
“I am Baydos, son of Margrave Glaydos! You filthy half-humans! Which of you can match my magic!”
“Oh, ranged attacks now? Then I will go.”
Mette stepped forward with her bow.
Baydos immediately raised both hands towards Mette and unleashed fire magic.
However, Mette dodged it and swiftly loosed an arrow.
The arrow pierced through the palm of Baydos’s right hand, and his left as well. The arrow stopped just before reaching his throat.
“Ahhhhh!! The pain!!”
Baydos could no longer use his magic. And like Camdan, he fled from the battlefield.
The excitement of the demihumans grew greater, just as those of the Knights Order became paler.
Now that Solm was out of the picture, these would have been the best of their fighting force.
Royg too looked frantic as he looked at his army.
“Royg! You have no chance of winning now! Perhaps it is time for you and I to face each other in battle!?”
These past few years, Royg had not swung a sword in earnest. He no longer went to the battlefields, and had stopped training.
And so I thought that with a little trick, I might be able to win.
The truth was, I had only fought Royg one on one a few times.
When our parents were still alive, we would often play-fight in the village.
However, Royg would later say that I was no match for him and his crest, War God, and so he stopped fighting me.
And the few times we did fight, it was clear that he was just hitting randomly. And he would soon say it wasn’t worth his time, and leave.
And Royg spoke the same way now.
“Yo-you aren’t worth fighting! Why should someone like me, who has the War God crest, lower myself to fight with the likes of you!”
At this point, those of the Knights Order had become completely quiet.
They must have believed that Royg would surely accept the challenge and win. After all, he had the War God crest.
But Royg shouted at his knights.
“Someone! Go and kill them! You will be rewarded!”
But no one stepped forward.
Royg must have hoped to use these duels to dampen our spirits, while raising the morale of his men.
However, it had backfired completely.
Furthermore, because he had attacked Solm, soldiers began to leave little by little. They carried the wounded Solm and moved away from the battlefield.
“Arrghh! Every last one of you is useless! …Archers! Fire!”
Royg shouted, and the archers, who were stationed in the back, raised their bows and unleashed a rain of arrows.
The iron golems held their shields up and protected me and the others from the arrows.
While some of the arrows reached the demihumans in the back, most of them did not, and were blocked by the Golems and their shields.
At this point, the Knights Order had no decent fighting force.
“We won’t even have to rely on Asuha… Mette. Give Celes and the others the order to charge.”
Mette waved her hand a few times to the back, and then smoke began to rise from within the demihuman army.
After a moment had passed, a cloud of dust could be seen coming from the south road.
What then came into view, was the Mope battle carriages.
“Baaahhh! Where are the bad ones!?”
As the cry of the Mopes echoed, a single, giant tower-like structure appeared amongst them.
It was a siege turret made of purple iron… Four stories tall, and large enough to fit forty soldiers. And it was pushed by ten Mopes. Thanks to the speed of the Mopes, it was only slightly slower than the battle carriages.
Normally, something like this would be used during a castle siege, but this time, it was used to intimidate.
I didn’t know if it was effective, but I saw that more of the Knights Order soldiers were running away to the north.
“Wait! I did not give you the order to retreat! Fight! And you still consider yourselves part of the noble Schwarz Knights Order!?”
Royg shouted. But none of them turned to listen to him.