Chapter 73 – We Won!
“From the south!? Who are they!?”
Mette asked the Tengu who made the report.
“They are riding animals with humps on their backs! And they look similar to this one here, with the ears!”
The Tengu pointed at the child.
“Weretigers… The Grank mercenaries! Then everything is fine.”
Mette sighed with relief.
We were acquainted with the Grank mercenaries.
And so Mette believed that we would not have to fight them.
However, the Tengu continued in a flustered voice.
“A-and, behind them, there were about five thousand people with green skin who are riding on boars!”
Mette’s face went pale.
Green… They must be orcs or goblins.
And the boars would be Armor Boars.
Five thousand… It must be the main Demon King army. And the Grank mercenaries were just the advance party.
“Joshua. What should we do?!”
“There is not enough time to retreat… And showing our backs might just lead to a pursuing attack. We have to prepare to fight.”
It was likely that the Grank mercenaries had told the Demon King army of our existence.
Perhaps the Demon King army was not just trying to attack the humans, but us as well.
Mette nodded and then shouted, ‘Prepare to fight towards the south!’
And then the demihumans changed formation as if to block anything coming from the main southern road.
I was worried about this sudden approach, but the Mopes were rather excited. ‘Oh, good!’ they shouted happily as they turned their battle carriages to the south. Apparently, they were looking forward to a fight.
Indeed, the other demihumans were not at all afraid.
They just raised their voices bravely in reply to Mette.
“However…we should be able to talk with Bayron. And there is the matter of this child as well. I will go and negotiate with him.”
“Very well. But what about…”
Iria looked towards Royg, who was crawling on the ground.
He had finally noticed the approach of the Grank mercenaries, and had changed course to the north.
“…He is no longer capable of even the littlest mischief. Ignore him.”
He had lost his hands. And so the War God crest would have no effect now.
Even if he managed to reach a human settlement, he could not reveal his identity as Royg. The soldiers who had deserted him would have spread the word. He would face judgment as a criminal.
He would just have to live in hiding. And though he might continue to hate me, he might also be forced to repent for what he did.
It would clearly be a very brutal sort of existence… But he would have to accept it as something he brought onto himself.
And so Iria did not speak of Royg anymore, and turned her face to the south.
“Then let us go and meet Sir Bayron.”
“Aye. And you. Will you come with us too, little one?”
The weretiger child nodded silently.
While Iria did not say anything, she looked at the weretiger with a serious expression. As if to say that she would strike without hesitation if something happened.
That being said, weretigers were strong, and so it was necessary for Iria to be on her guard.
And so we took the weretiger and rode south on our horses.
The Grank mercenaries soon noticed us, and they slowed down.
Once they had stopped on the road, a few camel riders moved forward and approached us.
In the lead was Captain Bayron, and his daughter, Neia… While Bayron’s face did not move, Neia looked very surprised when her eyes settled on something ahead.
She was looking at the weretiger that Royg had taken hostage.
“Lise!! You are alright!?”
With something like a meow, the weretiger rushed towards Neia.
Iria quickly touched the handle of her sword, but I stopped her.
“Iria, stop… Bayron. So she is from the Grank mercenaries after all.”
“Aye… My daughter. I thought she was dead. But she is alive.”
Bayron said. His serious expression remained the same.
It seemed like the child called Lise could not talk yet, but she held onto Neia and was trying to tell her something.
Neia looked quite happy as she petted her younger sister.
Still, I would have thought Bayron would look more pleased to find out that his daughter was alive.
Could this mean that he really was here to…
“Bayron. Where are you headed?
“Surely you already know? These lands are unstable, and so we were ordered to take possession of it. In other words, we have come to subjugate you.”
“I see. But we have no intention of cooperating with the Demon King army. But we also don’t want to fight him.”
“Then we will just have to use force.”
“Bayron. Is there no other way?”
I asked, and Bayron looked exasperated.
“Hah… Perhaps you should have taken my daughter as hostage? Had you done that, I might have taken the Grank mercenaries and left this place.”
“We do not take hostages and threaten people.”
“You and your pretty ideals… It grieves me to say it, but you have nothing to negotiate with, now that your returned Lise.”
Bayron said coldly. Iria unsheathed her sword.
“Then perhaps I should take you hostage?”
“You! I won’t let you lay a finger on my father!”
Neia was about to unsheath her sword as well.
But then Lise stopped her.
“Li-Lise. Let go!”
“Neia, stop… The swine chief will be here soon.”
Bayron said, and Neia grimly sheathed her sword again.
“Joshua. The chief will come. If you have anything to say, you can say it to the chief.”
From behind Bayron, a horde of orcs approached.
After the orcs pushed the Grank mercenaries to the side, they stopped their Armor Boars so that they faced the army of the Fendel Alliance.
And then an especially large orc, who must have been the chief, and rode an Armor Boar that was the size of an elephant, came towards us.
He wielded in both hands a halberd that was ominously decorated with skulls. And even the orc guards around him were huge.
“Ah, Bayron! Is this the demihuman boss then!?”
“Yes, Chief Bish.”
The orc called Bish then stared at me carefully.
“Well, he looks a little like a human, don’t he? Not that I’m good at telling them apart!! Gahahaha!!”
Bish and his orcs burst into laughter.
There was no point in arguing here.
I just needed to say what I came here to say.
“I am Joshua. The leader of the Fendel Alliance of demihumans… We have no intention of fighting you. If you wish to continue to head up north, you may do so.”
“No, that will not do! We came here to subjugate you all! Just like these other filthy half breeds!”
Bish said as he looked at Bayron with disdain, though he also patted him on the back. And then he shouted at the demihumans.
“All you half-demons, listen carefully! While your blood may be impure, you will not be killed! But you must obey! If you agree to work for me…!?”
In the next second, Bish’s head was flying through the air. And Beyron’s scimitar was in his hand.
No one who was present could believe that Bayron would do such a thing.
“Oh, my hand must have slipped… Uh, I think I killed the chief.”
Bayron said coolly as he saw Bish’s body slip off of the Armor Boar.
While the orcs looked stunned and uncomprehending for a moment, they quickly directed
their axes towards Bayron.
“Bastard!? You killed the chief!”
“Well, it cannot be helped now… I suppose we will just have to fight the Demon King army.”
Bayron muttered, and then he went about cutting down the orcs, one after another.
Neia also sighed with resignation as she raised her hand towards the Grank mercenaries.
And just like that, the weretigers fell upon the orcs.
Bayron shouted to me.
“Joshua… Surely the time is now if you want to defeat them?”
I nodded and shouted at everyone.
And so the sudden battle began.
But the orcs had lost their chief, and been attacked from the side by those they believed to be allies. And so they fell into a great chaos.
From above, Asuha and the Tengus came.
The Tengus scattered black powder from the sky, and Asuha used her magic stone staff to unleash fire.
As the explosions sounded, many orc soldiers were blown into the air.
The sudden aerial attacks sent the orcs into a state of pandemonium.
“All right, Celes! Now!”
“Understood!! Let’s run over these orcs!!”
And then the Mopes in their battle carriages began to run.
As if to support them, Mette had the demihumans fire with their bows and crossbows.
One after another, the orcs fell under the rain of bolts and arrows.
And while some shot desperately at the approaching battle carriages, the purple iron armor protected everything.
And so the Mopes in the battle carriages and siege tower lost no momentum as they crashed into the ranks of orcs.
The impact of such crashes was incredible, sending orcs and Armor Boars into the air.
And the arrows shot from within were just as effective.
“Mette! Charge into the orc unit with the Golems in the lead!”
“Aye! Everyone! Charge!!”
Mette had the Golems and demihuman cavalry run, and then she led them into the orc army.
“Charge!! Drive away the invaders!”
By now, the orcs had completely lost the will to fight. And as Mette and the others drew close, they started to turn and flee to the south.
And so the battle quickly came to an end.
There was no death on our side, and yet we have driven away five thousand orcs.
The demihumans raised their voices and celebrated the victory.
It was then that I bowed my head to Bayron.
“Bayron… Thank you for helping us.”
“No, you misunderstand me. My hand really just slipped. Besides, it was simply a problem that had to be fixed. The Demon King army cannot win too many battles… After all, I had already decided to change sides.”
The Demon King army had taken cities as they advanced north.
If the balance of power shifted too much, it would affect their work.
That being said, this was too sudden a betrayal.
Surely the Demon King army would never hire them again.
As for humans, once they gain the upper hand, they would likely abandon them as well.
If that happened, there was only one option left for them.
“You know…Bayron… The Fendel Alliance is a demihuman alliance. Why don’t you come and live with us?”
“I’m sorry, but… We are not an easy-going tribe. Do not expect us to stay in one place and be friendly with everyone. No, we will just move on and aid the humans. So much of the north has been suppressed, and so they should pay us well.”
“I see… But you will always be welcome here. And if you need help, you can rely on us.”
“…Well, if things ever get that bad, we will do just that. But you should know that we are incredibly willful. Remember that.”
Bayron said with a laugh. And then they collected all the armor, weapons and supplies from the orcs, and headed to the south once again.
Did they really trust us…? No, perhaps it was because they couldn’t that they refused the invitation.
For so long, they had moved back and forth between the two forces. They would resist the idea of believing in anything too strongly.
As we watched the Grank mercenaries leave, Iria opened her mouth.
“We…won then. Against the army of humans and the Demon King. Up until now, we never stood a chance.”
Mette nodded in agreement.
“I cannot believe it… While we had help, it was still such a one-sided victory.”
“It is because of Joshua. Joshua is smart.”
Melk said as she rubbed her head against my legs.
I didn’t know why, but Asuha and Wiz were petting me as well.
Iria nodded with a smile.
“Yes, we have Sir Joshua to thank. It is because of him that we were able to win.”
The others all nodded.
“No, it was because of all of you… You all did well. Thank you.”
And then everyone smiled and nodded happily.
I doubted that I had ever been this happy after a victory.
…I had been able to protect a place where I belonged.
“…Let’s return. To the village.”
I said, and everyone raised their voices with an ‘Aye!’
And like that, we made our triumphant return.