“Were we the last ones to arrive?”
“It appears so. But the ogre villages are the farthest from the battlefield, so it could not be helped.”
“Perhaps you’re right. Is the meeting starting right now? Or will it be in the evening like before?”
“I heard that it will be at night.”
“In that case, there is a place I want to go to first. I’ll be back by evening.”
“I understand. Please let me know when you return.’
Rig watched me as I left the camp.
The kobolds were currently pitching the tents. It was where we would be sleeping.
Eventually, I would have the ogres do it themselves.
As we had only just arrived at the hill, I didn’t know what the formation was at all. But I suspected that Lobos and the Gob-gobs were here again.
“We don’t even know the battle array of the enemy.”
Well, such details would probably be discussed during the meeting.
I hoped that we’d be assigned to a relatively safe place with weak enemies. It was with such thoughts that I walked to the town I had stopped at the previous time.
“…Hey, old tree. So you didn’t run away after all.”
The cherry ents were in the town square.
“Ah, it’s the Commander. It’s been a while.”
The old tree’s name was Elvan.
The last time I was here, he and the other five cherry ents had refused to leave.
“The enemy has come back. Are you sure that you don’t want to run away?”
“Of course, I am sure. If an old tree like me started to walk on the ground, I would wilt in a second.”
“Yes, yes. We won’t die until we turn into elders. The only thing to do is to stay rooted here and live.”
“Well, if your army protects us, what need do we have to run?”
They said lazily.
They had lived so long as to be bored. They had no sense of danger.
“Of course, I’ll protect you. But you never know what might happen. We’re not all-powerful. They might get past us. We might lose them. If the enemy does happen to get close to you, you must not attack them.”
“I know. Besides, the south side of the town is filled with miasma. No one can enter it. So as long as you continue to protect the east side, we can stay here peacefully and bathe in the sunlight.”
Corps Commander Nehyor’s main camp was north of the town.
And it was hard to imagine that the enemy would go there. So, it all depended on our ability to defend the east side.
“Very well. I won’t let a single one get through. Don’t worry.”
“We’re counting on you.”
“Please protect us.”
“Why don’t you sun bathe with us?”
I went around the town to make sure that it was safe, before checking on the old trees once more. Then I returned to the camp.
It was already evening. The meeting would be starting soon.
“Rig. What is the enemy army like?”
“I haven’t seen them at all. Perhaps they have not arrived yet.”
“But I thought we were summoned because the enemy came? How is it that they are not here?”
“We know their route from the previous invasion. And so we had people watching the roads. You were likely summoned once they suspected the enemy was returning.”
“I see. I suppose they were more cautious this time. And the enemy is coming back on the same route. The denizens of the Demon World really like to use brute force.”
I walked with Rig to the main camp.
“Alright, I better go then.”
“I hope that you… No, never mind.”
“Eh? What an odd one.”
And with that, I entered the tent.
The other Commanders were already gathered.
There were the Gob-gob brothers, the flying eagle, Bian. And the wise wolf, Lobos.
Corps Commander Nehyor had not arrived yet.
I suppose the adjutant was supposed to call him once everyone had arrived.
“Hey, everyone. How have you been?”
That was the Corps Commander as he cheerfully entered the test.
“Huh? Golan. Your mana level sure went up. I nearly mistook you for someone else.”
“You’re a lot stronger than you were when you fought me.”
The Gob-gobs and Lobos got to their feet. Bian’s wings were flapping. That was annoying. It spread dust everywhere.
And they were all staring at me.
“I’d prefer it if we didn’t talk about that here.”
I said calmly. The Corps Commander laughed innocently.
“Ah, yes. Golan cut off my arm, but I was able to reconnect it. See? It moves just fine.”
Every time he opened his mouth, the stares became angrier.
“Commander Nehyor… You-you really fought him?”
Lobos’s voice was shaking.
“Yes. Right after the army was disbanded. Golan paid me a little visit. And then he cut off my right arm and left hand.’
Damn it. Being stared at like this was painful.