Chapter 98 – Detected!?
I woke up suddenly to the feeling of something scratching my cheek.
Yes, we had borrowed a room in the fortress, and I was sleeping in it.
When I opened my eyes, I saw Melk, whose ears were pointed upwards
As Solm and the others already knew that Iria and Melk were demihumans, it was fine for her to show her ears and tail. So I suppose she felt comfortable enough to not hide them here.
And it had been Melk’s fluffy ears that brushed against my cheek. When I looked down, I saw that she was sleeping soundly.
When had she come to sleep on my chest? No, recently, it was quite normal for me to wake up, only to find someone stuck to me like this. In fact, Iria was clinging to me from behind right now.
However, Melk’s ears suddenly twitched.
Then her eyes opened wide and she looked up at me.
“So-sorry, Melk. Did I wake you up?”
“No… There are…a lot of them coming. But first…this sound…”
I could hear the flapping sounds as well.
It seemed like it was approaching this room’s balcony.
Iria muttered as she woke up.
Yes, the sounds of the wings were quite familiar.
When I got out of bed and headed to the balcony, I saw Asuha in the sky, illuminated by the moonlight.
“Asuha? Wh-why are you here?”
“To make a report. A great host is approaching this fortress from the south. There are about a hundred of them. Something like a light could occasionally be seen from within the forest. They will surely arrive within half an hour. I told the others to warn Fendel as well.”
I did not know how Asuha even knew that we were here.
However, that was not important right now.
“It may be the Demon King army… I’ll go and tell Solm.”
I quickly went down to the first floor and rushed to the meeting room.
Solm had already woken up, and was fully armored as he appeared to be writing something.
He turned to me with a puzzled expression.
“Sir Joshua. You are not in the Knights Order anymore, so there is no need to rise so early.”
“I should be saying that to you. But nevermind that, Solm. I just received a report from a friend that something is gathering towards the south.”
“Indeed! Most of our scouts roam the southern region, but I have not heard anything from them.”
“This report was from the sky. At this rate, they will arrive here in half an hour. It would be best to be on our guard.”
“Hmm… I trust your judgment. Everyone, listen to me.”
Solm said, and then the other knights who were sleeping in the meeting room woke up.
“Prepare for battle. A hundred soldiers will stay here, while fifty former knights of the order will leave and gather to the south of the settlement. I will go on ahead and see what is happening.”
Solm said, and then he took up the great sword that I had crafted many years ago, and ran outside. And so I followed after him.
It was pitch dark outside. As for the settlement, there were just a few torches that lined the street. However, some people were already awake.
Solm turned to them and said,
“Listen to me. There may be an enemy attack from the south.”
“Do not be alarmed. We will protect you all. But you must go and wake up the others, and have them all slowly make their way to the fortress. There is still plenty of time, and it may be that this enemy is nothing at all. So do not panic.”
Those who were listening then did as he said, and went around to wake up the others. They did not shout about an enemy attack, but calmly said that they must go to the fortress.
And then Solm continued on to the south.
“The people seem to be very fond of you.”
“They are just kind enough to listen to what I say.”
“It is not only that. Besides, quite a lot of men from the Knights Order followed you as well.”
Judging by what he had said earlier, he had at least fifty knights who were formerly in the Knights Order.
“It is not so much that they have a high regard for me, but that we all have the same motive. Besides, compared to the Demon King Army of tens of thousands… No, when I entered the Knights Order, there were not even a hundred of us.”
“Aye. And so it is impressive that as many as fifty followed you. And I’m sure you will be able to gather many more. You should be more confident.”
“…Thank you, Sir Joshua. After separating from Royg, some have returned to their homes. Many quit before that, as they had become fed up with him. I’ve been writing to such men, in hopes that they will help.”
“They surely will. They will come.”
“I hope that you are right.”
Solm said with a nod.
As we talked about such things, we arrived at the southern edge of the settlement.
To the south, there were flat lands that were in the process of being cultivated, and beyond it, was a forest. But as there were only a few torches lit, I could not see clearly.
A few of the guards that were present noticed Solm, and they approached.
“…Sir Solm? Has something happened?”
“There may be an enemy attack. Have you noticed anything strange?”
“No. And we have heard no word from the scouts.”
However, it seemed that Melk and Iria knew what was approaching.
“The smell of boars…and something else that I’ve never smelled before… Cleaner than orcs. Also, there are sounds of scraping metal.”
“Could it be…horses that are in the lead?”
Iria said, and then Solm answered.
“Hmm… We cannot hear anything. But those horses may be the scouts.”
“In any case, we are defenseless like this. We should at least have a place to hide. Craft… Wall.”
And then a wall made of wooden panels appeared in front of us.
It was around thirty meters wide.
This should at least be enough to stop arrows and bolts.
Solm looked at it and muttered.
“Thank you. However, it is always surprising to see so much wood so suddenly…”
“Sir Solm! The fortress defenses have been… Huh?”
Armed knights started to arrive from behind us.
However, they were then shocked when they saw the wall in front of them.
“Sir Joshua made this. Ah, these men have never seen Sir Joshua work on the frontlines before.”
“It is only some wooden boards, nothing to be surprised by… Hmm?”
I started to hear the echoing sounds of horse hooves coming from within the forest.
And then what burst out from the trees, was a rider in light armor. It was apparently a scout.
The scout seemed alarmed to see the defenses at first, but he quickly spotted Solm and rushed towards us.
“Sir Solm! An armed group of monsters is coming from the south! They appear to be goblins, and some are riding on boars and earth dragons! …But, I suppose you’ve heard a report from someone else?”
“Aye. However, you did well to come here. Do not worry.”
Solm said, and then he shouted to the other knights.
“All of you, it as you just heard! The Demon King Army is approaching! With Sir Joshua’s wall as a shield, take up your positions!”
He said, and the knights raised their voices in reply. And then they took their positions along the wall.