Chapter 121 – Bloodshot Eyes!?
When we returned to Fendel Village, I saw that the demihumans were running around busily.
“The defenses of the west are weak! Go around to the west!”
Everyone was rushing towards the walls, weapon in hand.
Asuha, who had heard the news from the Tengu scout, came to me as I tied the boat to the pier.
“Sir Joshua. It seems like the army has headed towards Varthburg.”
“Varthburg? Could they be the support that Solm requested?”
Solm had talked about sending requests to old comrades and lords.
Perhaps they had been received, and the men had come to help save the refugees.
However, it seemed much too soon for that.
Could they be an army of volunteers from a neighboring human city?
“In any case, I suppose they won’t be coming here then. So we can lower our guard to a minimum. Have the armed people disperse.”
“Th-then I will go and tell everyone.”
Mette looked a little wobbly on her feet as she ran to the village.
“However, I would like to go and confirm it… Yes, I will go tomorrow then. But since we don’t know what kind of people these humans are, it would be best to go in small numbers. Iria, Melk. Will you accompany me?”
“Of course, I will.”
“If it’s the same place, you can leave it to me.”
“Good. Then we will depart tomorrow.”
The following morning, we headed to Varthburg in the carriage.
According to the Tengu who had been out scouting, the humans who had entered Varthburg had not left. Perhaps they meant to stay there for a couple of days.
And so without encountering anyone, we were able to reach the bridge in front of the Varthburg entrance before sundown.
As the guard by the bridge recognized us, we were greeted kindly as we passed through with the carriage.
“Sir Joshua. You came to visit again.”
“I thought I’d bring some tools. And since we acquired some durable shells, I thought I could make shields.”
“Oh, those men might want to buy them then. After all…they are practically marching off to their death.”
“The Temple Knights Order. That being said, there aren’t even fifty knights with them. The rest are just farmers with farm tools.”
So the army of five hundred was the Temple Knights Order.
They usually protected temples and were typically made up of the children of wealthy nobles.
And while they were supposed to be independent, they were like a personal army for the temples that existed across all the human countries.
“In any case, we will go inside.”
“Aye, please do.”
And so the carriage continued on to the center of the village.
I saw some men petitioning the crowd around them while wielding farm tools.
“For the gods, let us fight the Demon King Army!”
“If we do not fight, then who will!”
Everyone’s eyes looked bloodshot.
When we were here last time, there had been no one like that. They must be the Temple Knights that the guard was talking about.
And the people listening around them were the Varthburg residents.
They were watching the speech with a look of slight distaste.
And so one of the residents answered the man who was speaking.
“We-we would also fight if we could. We want to fight and take back our homes. However, we are not strong enough to go against the enemy. Our numbers and weapons… It is the same with you. You’re all just walking targets.”
“What are you saying! The gods are on our side! We will not lose to those monsters! Or are you on the side of the Demon King, you bastard!?”
“Th-that is ridiculous!”
“Then why won’t you fight! It’s because you’re on their side, isn’t it!? I think this man should be interrogated!”
And then the man from the Temple Knights Order approached the resident.
If this continued a fight would likely break out between both sides.
And so I intervened.
“Now, wait a minute. These people have actually seen the Demon King Army with their own eyes, and only wish to give you a warning. This is not an enemy that can be defeated with an army of a few hundred.”
“That’s because you southerners are all cowards! It is why we had no choice but to stand up! Because it will be our cities that fall next!”
“But what will happen when you are defeated? Then your lands and homes will really be burned.”
“We will win no matter what! We will not be defeated!”
As the man shouted, the other Temple Knights raised their voices in agreement.
They were very passionate…
When I was fighting the Demon King Army in the south, I had seen people like them.
They were steadfast in their faith, and wanted to defeat the Demon King army for their gods. And so they would gather together from all corners of the human world.
They had no skill, but a lot of passion. Such people were known to never retreat.
However, because of this passion, even when they had the advantage, they would not take prisoners from the Demon King Army, and would kill all of the monsters. But from the perspective of the nobles, who wanted prisoners in order to trade for hostages, these kinds of stubborn practices were a headache.
And just like now, where they wanted to interrogate someone who they deemed a coward, they tended to cause a lot of problems.
Still, even then, it was strange.
If they were really this passionate, shouldn’t they have already volunteered and marched off to the south?
Of course, it could be that the Demon King’s recent momentum had caused them to panic about the safety of their homelands.
But even then, they seemed to have completely lost any sense of rationality.
Surely they understood that the enemy had tens of thousands of soldiers.
It was obvious that a few hundred farmers would not stand a chance.
Besides, there was something off about those bloodshot eyes… There must be more to this.
And so I said to the man,
“In any case, why are you quarreling with each other here, before fighting the Demon King? These people have also just fled and are tired. This is exactly what the Demon King would want.”
“No, we have to make things clear! The Demon King’s spies are here! The roots of the enemy extend to every village in the area! The traitors must be washed out!”
According to Solm, monsters were becoming more active around the human cities and villages.
And upon hearing this, the men must have become suspicious that there were traitors who were leading them.
Could this also be part of the Demon King’s plan?
In any case, it seemed that any attempts at talks were futile.
And so I said to the men,
“Then you will have to defeat me first. If the gods are on your side, then surely you will not lose?”
“You don’t have to ask twice!!”
The man raised his sickle and attacked me.
Iria was about to unsheath her blade, but I stopped her with a glance.
And then I reached out my hand towards the sickle that he was about to swing.
I held the handle firmly and absorbed it into Magic Workshop in an instant.
The sickle was covered in rust… There was no way you could use it to fight.
I immediately melted down the head and reforged it so that it became a spear.
“Y-you! My sickle!?”
The man was stunned at first by the sudden disappearance of his weapon, but he quickly started to swing at me with his fists instead.
As for me, I summoned the spear I had just made…and smashed it against the side of his face.
He rotated in the air before being slammed to the ground.
Then I addressed his friends who were behind him.
“I hope that you won’t take this personally, but with these weapons, you won’t stand a chance against the Demon King Army.”
“Ho-how dare yoouuuu!”
One of them then charged at me with a pitchfork.
However, it had cracks all over it, and could not be considered a weapon.
And so I crafted a shield out of Shield Shells and blocked his attack.
And then the tip of the pitchfork broke with a snap.
“I commend your passion, but now you have nothing but your bare hands. Do you still think that you can fight against monsters?”
“I-I can fight!! ARGHHH!!”
The man threw away the broken pitchfork and raised his fists into the air.
A voice boomed.
When I turned to look, I saw Solm standing there with an old man who was wearing priest garments.