Chapter 05

Translator: Blushy
Editor: SenjiQ

All I could say to the soldiers who carried the two frantic women, who had yet turned twenty and were crying was this.

“Good work. Sorry, but get out of the room right now.”

I knew that my voice was really low. The soldiers ran out of the room as if to escape, without even a salute. 

I certainly didn’t issue any detailed instructions about handling the girls, but even if that’s true, they didn’t need to treat the girls like this. What’s the point of letting a man with a similar build to the bandits carry women who looked as if they were captured and tortured by the bandits? It would only make them more fearful. 

I praised my past self for gathering the young women of the village ahead of time. I left the women with a tub of hot water and a clean cloth and left the two girls to them. 

“Wipe them down. Let’s eat when you’re done. It’s a simple meal, but I made sure that there’s enough for everyone.”

“Yes, My Lord.”

One of the strong-willed village girls looked at me and responded. The other girls either nodded fearfully or blatantly averted their gazes from me. 

It was just before noon when we found traces of the bandits around the lumberjack’s hut, which was located to the far north of Neza Village. The soldiers spent a long time in pursuit, and I received word that they had found the bandits two hours ago. From there, the fief army managed to rescue the girls, and although days were long during the summer, it was already dinner time. 

The meals were mostly prepared by the village chef’s wife, but I had bread and fruit from the Golden Hill Mansion since I didn’t know what the abducted girls could eat. Claudia and three soldiers who had accompanied her brought the food here, and I thanked them by giving them some fruits. 

“Hmm… fruits…”

“I didn’t… have any meat dishes prepared. I’ll have them prepare some for you after the bandits’ case is completely resolved.”

I pacified Claudia, who looked like she was going to shrug, and instructed the women in the vicinity to prepare the meal before turning my gaze back to the two sobbing girls. 

The two women were so young that they could still be called girls, and both of them looked terribly tragic. I could imagine what had happened to them after the army had found their hair, but both girls had their hair mangled. It was obvious at a glance that they had been hit since there were bruises all over their bodies, and they had cuts and teeth marks on their hands and legs. The clothes they were wearing were tattered. The clothes covering their chest and their skirt had been torn off. 

The pain they had suffered had become more evident as the women in the village had wiped their bodies clean. 

I’m glad that the clothes of Kaldia are loose since their bodies are covered in wounds. If they wore a corset or wrapped their arms and legs with cloth tightened with string, then it would be painful for them just to wear clothes. I stopped the women from trying to wrap sashes around the girls since they were in the presence of the feudal lord and shared the food that had been brought with the girls. 

“Please eat. Your body will warm up if you eat.”

After cleaning themselves and eating until they were satisfied, the two victimised girls finally seemed to have calmed down since they knew that they were surrounded by women they knew. Their eyes, which were now shaking in anxiety, were no longer focused on their surroundings, but on Claudia and me, the strangers, and their bodies had stopped trembling. 

I felt a little gloomy about what I was about to do. I had to ask the girls about why the bandits had taken them. I was obliged to do this even though I knew that this would drag out their fears after they’ve finally regained their composure.

“… Have you calmed down a bit?”

We stayed in the same room even though there was nothing I could do for them so that they could get used to my presence. I hated myself a little for doing this too. Despite those feelings, I took out my bundle of notes and charcoal. 

The two girls nodded, nervously. All the women, including the two girls, had an expression on their faces that said that the conversation was finally beginning. However, the mothers next to the girls, looked at me in a somewhat reproachful way. I ignored them as if tearing them out of my consciousness and began talking. 

“I want you to tell me everything you can remember about what the people who assaulted you were doing and saying.”

I didn’t ask if this was alright since this was information I had to hear at all costs. 

The two girls turned pale in an instant. They were probably trying to dig up those hellish memories as they held back their tears.

At that moment, the charcoal in my hand crumbled. It seemed as if I had unconsciously tightened my grip on the charcoal. I told myself to calm down as I wrapped cloth around a new piece of charcoal. 

The village women stared at me with their eyes wide open. 


The bandits numbered around twenty. All of them were moving around on beasts. 

According to the girls, there were two middle-aged men who seemed to be the leaders, and they often disputed with the group members over which paths to take. There also seemed to be many others who were filled with resentment over the amount of food and the fact that they didn’t raid villages.

The bandits had tried to get the girls to lead them to Lecheneaut Village, which was located to the northwest of Neza Village. However, there were no roads leading to Lecheneaut from Neza. Thus the girls have never visited Lecheneaut and were used as playthings for the bandits. 

――― This is too suspicious. It seems that the bandits are moving around in a conspicuous way. They dared to stay in one place, approach a village and kidnap girls while holding onto their retreat route so that they wouldn’t be caught. They had been moving straight towards the centre of Arxia Kingdom until they entered Kaldia and had slowed down here and there. They might have slowed down because they couldn’t find a route to pass the vigilance of the fief, or because they needed to plunder a village for food. But I have a feeling those aren’t the reasons why they slowed down. 

It was clear that they weren’t an ordinary bandit group from the way they broke through the border and cleverly used the fief lines to fend off their pursuers, and their intentions were too…

“It’s a diversion.”

Claudia, who had begun mapping the movements of the bandit group on a map of the Jugfena region, grumbled while nodding to herself. 


She turned towards me when she said those words.

“Ah, it’s a tactic where a group with excellent mobility attracts the enemy army and takes their attention away from another group who are moving in a different direction. In short, it’s a decoy. The movements of a decoy team and the movements of the bandits are similar.”

“… I see. So, this is war then?”

A diversion group has invaded from the neighbouring kingdom. This meant that there was someone working behind the scenes. I knew that the bandits had come here for a reason, but I was uneasy since I didn’t know what that reason was. However, if it turned out to be a decoy, then this might be a clue to the enemy’s plan. 

“… War? Yes. Then, let’s think about the reason behind this war!”

“What does the enemy want from this tactic?”

“Do you know?”

I closed my eyes and my mind wandered through the information I had.

… There are some people sneaking around within the kingdom as well. There are two groups of people going in and out of the north; a faction of the church who are dissatisfied with the current noble system, and northern nobles who object to the decisions made by the kingdom. The power to overturn this kingdom doesn’t exist with the Church, who don’t have power, nor with Nordsterm, who only have funds, ――― but what about Rindarl?

“We don’t have enough information to tell what the enemy wants.”

“I see…”

I only have information from within the kingdom. If my predictions are correct, then those within the kingdom will move in response to those outside of the kingdom. I don’t know how much their interests align, but the leaders’ objectives are far out of my reach. 

“Let’s catch the diversion group first. If we leave them alone then they will do something showy to get our attention. We might be able to get the information that we’re missing from them through interrogation if we capture them.”

“I don’t know if they’ll give up information if we interrogate them… But the fact of the matter is that they’ve escaped from us quite successfully so far. How do we catch them?”

“They’ll attack a village sooner or later. That’s when we’ll strike. We’ll set a trap for them, so they won’t be able to get away.”

Neither man nor beast can move without food. I can read their movements if I can tell it’s a diversion… Even if I can’t, Claudia can with her natural talent for all things related to warfare.

“Which village will they target, Claudia-dono?”

Her expression quickly changed when I asked her this question. Her girly innocence disappeared, and her eyes looked deeply thoughtful, which was usually unimaginable on her. 

“… They know the territory. But they probably don’t know everything. Their tracks show that they had to detour a few times since they couldn’t pass through the road. The fact that they kidnapped these girls to lead them to Lecheneaut is proof of that.”

“They probably only know about the fief lines, the general locations of the villages and the names of the villages.”

“I don’t think they know everything about the villages either… So, they’ll either be in Lecheneaut or Milda.”

Claudia named the two villages that were located to the northwest of Neza. 

“They probably know that we are closing in on the south, so they won’t go there. There are only hills to the east of Milda, so the view is great. I can’t narrow down where they will go since there probably isn’t one leader… It also depends on if the enemy knows about these locations, but they will go to Milda Village if they want to be cautious. If morale is their priority, then they will go to Lecheneaut. There’s a high chance that they’ll go to Lecheneaut.”

I nodded and rolled up the map.

“Then, let’s go. I’ll leave the search and pursuit to the Sill Tribe and form a team to trap them with Gunter and the soldiers who are used to setting up the settlement.”

“Certainly, Elju-dono.”

“… My name is Eliza, Claudia-dono.”

“Ah, sorry, Eliza-dono.”

It was only for a brief moment that I thought that her abilities to read the enemy’s movements were reliable before she said my name wrong again and I slumped over.




Lecheneaut Village was sealed off first and bandits were led towards Milda Village. There was no time to make preparations to catch the bandits in Lecheneaut, Neza’s neighbouring village. 

I left driving the bandits to Milda to the Sill Tribe warriors who were led by Theomer and Rashiok, and after dividing the Sill Tribe and fief army among Lecheneaut, Neza and Karon, Claudia and I, along with a small number of selected soldiers, moved to Milda Village. 

… We must capture them here. The enemy is also running out of leeway. If they recognise that they have been cornered any further, then they will probably divide up to scatter their pursuers. They might start looting villages to cause chaos. 

The people of Milda Village were as distrustful and wary of me as they had been when I came here for my birthday celebration. Of course, their attitude towards me wouldn’t change since I hadn’t made any contact with them at all since ordering for the formation of the vigilante group last summer. I let the soldiers rest before having them prepare the trap while feeling the piercing gazes of the villagers. 

There was an irrigation channel across Milda Village. Luckily, it had remained largely undestroyed, even during my father’s misrule, and was quickly repaired by Earl Thelesia. I knew of its existence, but this was the first time I had actually seen it in person. I didn’t get to see the irrigation channel last year, during my birthday celebration, since we had only passed through the centre of the village. 

The source of the water came from underground water that was flowing out from Amon Nohl to the north, and the water was pure enough to drink since it was purified several times while it was flowing down. I was so impressed that I drank the water straight away. Then, I gave water to the horse I was riding. I wiped off my sweat and fed the horse. 

Right next to the village, I saw the soldiers had finished their short break and started digging trenches that would serve as the trap. The trap was set up well, as I had expected, thanks to the large number of tents that had been gathered from the surrounding fiefs for the new citizens that I had accepted, and to the soldiers who were selected from those who had sent up the encampment. 

――― I could even see that some of the villagers had surrounded us at a distance and were casually holding farm tools in their hand. Their hateful and hostile gazes mixed in with the heat waves of the hot summer air. 

When my father was the feudal lord, his main pawns, the soldiers of the fief army, had been the object of hatred and fear to the people of this fief. Those soldiers were the first thing that Earl Thelesia and I disposed of. There wasn’t a single soldier from those days left in the current fief army. 

Regardless, the villagers of Milda Village stared at the soldiers with gloom. 

… The gazes they directed towards me were equally as gloomy.