The ‘mercenary way’ meant looting.
Steal, burn and kill those who resist. It was a simple and clear way to procure supplies. It was a method that Cartier was familiar with. It was a common sight in this war-torn world.
They leave when they have obtained a certain number of supplies and then loot villages on their route. Or perhaps, they had attacked the caravans in Pazan. It was a violent method that was difficult to manage in the end, but it was common in the north.
At any rate, it was quicker than naively waiting for the merchants to buy supplies.
“You’re reckless. We’re within the area that the <Succubus Princess> rules.”
“You’re right. But as long as the <Dethroned Crown Prince> dies, we won’t have to gauge anyone’s feelings. Am I wrong?”
Cartier’s reply was a smile.
Smart mercenaries are hard to deal with but she didn’t dislike them.
Even if they don’t attack Alunaha, the battle will be over if they catch or kill Draco here. It was a better plan in the long run. It would be easier to rule from the side of an empty city rather than a city that was exhausted from a siege. If possible, she wanted to settle the matter with the <Dethroned Crown Prince> in an open battle.
Safort had brought enough men with him for her to do so.
“Shall we begin?”
“As you wish.”
Safort agreed and sent a brief message to his men.
The mercenaries encircled Draco’s force to block their escape route. The Night Demon group was also doing a great job. It was Safort’s own unit.
The placement of the unit was so clever that if Draco tried to break through, he would be pushed towards Ri Gudang’s main force.
“We’ve been fighting these kinds of battles with bandits in the north.”
He was a master at dealing with small to medium sized enemies.
Draco wouldn’t be able to get away unscathed in this situation no matter how good he is.
“Let’s hunt the <Dethroned Crown Prince>.”
Safort waved his hand down and the encirclement closed.
Then the battle began.
His body was hot.
Three people had already been slain.
The battle was so chaotic that Draco had to take up arms himself.
The forest to the west, along the road that connected Pazan and Alunaha, was already filled with the smell of blood.
The trees were low compared to the depths of the forest. They had to fight while pushing through the undergrowth. It was difficult to walk. It was, but the enemies had the same problem. Draco was barely able to keep alive thanks to the condition of this area of the forest.
“This isn’t good, Taibanka.”
“Yes, it’s very bad.”
The encirclement had closed.
Looking closely, there were less enemies in the south, but Ri Gudang’s main force was beyond that point. It was an obvious trap. No, this level of trap was enough to put Draco in danger.
Simply put, there was nowhere to run.
It was possible for him to escape deep into the forest if he sacrificed 200 of his elite force, but Draco’s pride prevented him from doing so.
“Stay together tightly.”
He gave the order and the men gathered.
Even La Benan, a civil official, had picked up a spear. Everyone was desperate.
There was no sign of resignation in the eyes of the soldiers because the one leading them was the <Dethroned Crown Prince>.
He was a genius at tactics and was great at being resourceful.
He wasn’t sure who had said this, but everyone believed it now.
This became his reputation somewhere along the way. He put in a lot of effort to make everyone believe that he was.
He studied history, thought up outlandish plans, and devised clever schemes.
Draco defined himself as such and improved himself in that way before he was called the <Dethroned Crown Prince> and was just the grandson of the Great Demon King.
He must get them out of this place even without the help of his Evil God.
He must show that he can win for the genius Draco, who was a fake image created by someone else, to become flesh and blood.
“We will break through the enemy line.”
He stated a tactless plan.
It was a tactless plan, but he had no other choice.
“In which direction?”
Taibanka asked and Draco pointed in an unexpected direction.
“To the east.”
“The east, you say?”
Draco and his men were now on the west side of the road running north to south.
To the south was the enemy’s main force. From the north, the enemy’s detached force was approaching as if to lay siege to the area. So, the standard practice was to retreat to the west. They had less people in the west and the enemy would have no choice but to slow their pursuit if Draco and his troops fled deep into the forest.
Even so, Draco chose the path that would lead them to the main road.
“I see, the small pack.”
Draco nodded. If they go to the east, then they will have to fight against the small pack.
There were a lot of enemies there, but they were nothing more than a bunch of non-combatants who were carrying luggage.
Of course, he had some concerns.
It was the surprising stubborn resistance of the small pack that got them in this predicament in the first place. Moreover, they were still people fighting a hidden battle in the forest, so soldiers who had their spirits broken would occasionally appear on the main road stark naked.
It was a plan that depended on luck.
“May the Evil God Hirano watch over us!”
He preached Hirano’s name.
He didn’t make this decision out of resignation, thinking that he would just be a man of this degree if he died here.
He made it to live.
So, he would try his luck here.
He readied his sword, cleared away the undergrowth and stepped forward.
He rushed out onto the road.
Strangely enough, there was little resistance. The pressure of the charge was preserved.
Suddenly there was a commotion to his right to the south.
He parried the enemy’s attack while looking to his right.
There, he saw victory.
Lukshuna was in the middle of the fishbone formation.
Chef Gilgida, who was standing next to him, gave out the order.
200 elite soldiers of the Gonane army, led by the Gonane Demon King Chef Gilgida, were charging forward in an orderly fashion.
“Do you think we made it in time?”
“I believe we made it in time, Gilgida-dono.”
“You can call me Chef. Lukshuna.”
Lukshuna acted quickly when he received the news that poison had been released into the river.
He had an audience with Chef Gilgida through Galdana and requested that he send reinforcements.
His request was granted.
The Demon King himself would personally head out.
The mud-slurpers were a rare race of people, who along with the centaurs, could rank among cavalry without changing their appearance. The march was swift.
They attacked Ri Gudang from the south. The fishbone formation was a boorish formation.
Like fish bones, the wedge-shaped formation was lined up with countless rows. They attack in order from the front. The mud-slurpers who make up each bone are sister soldiers from the same nest, born of the same Princess. Their unity was tight.
They broke through the enemy’s vanguard and pierced the soft ‘throat’. The following wedge then rushes in and amplifies the war results. Their only goal was the commander’s head.
This was a tactic that the mud-slurpers excelled in on narrow streets.
“The enemy seems to have centaurs with them.”
“Horses have four limbs, Gonanes have twice as many limbs. There’s no reason for us to lose.”
Chef Gilgida’s voice was calm but full of anger.
Water was deeply involved in all aspects of the mud-slurpers lives. Lukshuna understood this after living with them.
They have many words for water.
‘Soft water’, ‘hard water’, ‘water with lots of phlogiston’, ‘rich water’, ‘dead water’. Water in all its various states had a name, including those that Lukshuna didn’t understand and those for which their common language didn’t have a vocabulary that could be used.
Pouring poison into the water that was so precious to them was nothing short of blasphemy, and Lukshuna understood why this deed had made Chef Gilgida so furious.
The fishbone formation that had charged forward collided with the centaurs.
With two pairs of four arms, a bow on the upper pair, and a spear in the lower pair, the mud-slurpers’ force was strong. The centaurs began to retreat after two or three small hits.
The centaur’s mobility was as good as stifled on this battlefield, which was flanked by trees on both sides.
The centaurs had yet to reach Ri Gudang’s main force, but the current was already being decided.
“Lukshuna. I will lend you 100 of my Gonane daughters. You may go and look for Draco-dono.”
“Thank you. Then, I will be on my way.”
Lukshuna started running after he had received Chef Gilgida’s permission.
Will he make it on time?
No, he will make it on time.
His palms, arms, stomach, and legs; everything was blue.
Dadda was inspecting his own body as he dodged the pursuit.
According to his comrades, who had burnt down the granaries with him, his back, bottom, and everything else was dyed blue.
The colour had settled in his body and couldn’t be removed by washing it off in the spring.
Strangely, he hadn’t died.
Dadda was prepared to die when he was exposed to the poisons. And yet, he didn’t die.
He continued to flee through the forest and rushed to join Draco, but his body showed no signs of abnormality.
His comrades told him that some poisons were ineffective unless they passed through the mouth and entered the stomach. They also said that it was likely that it was that kind of poison since they were planning on releasing it in the river.
That was reasonable.
But Dadda believed nothing happened to him because of something else; something that was outside of reason.
He had certainly died at that time.
There was no way he would survive after being poisoned by the <Succubus Princess>.
But he was alive again. Wasn’t that the will of God?
Yes, that was a miracle.
His late father had taught him that the flow of nature was harmonious and unwavering. The wind’s gentle breeze, a grain of rain, even the seven shimmering colours of sunlight are all established by the flow of the world.
The only thing that existed outside of the bounds of this harmony were Evil Gods and Gods.
He was sure that he felt hot blood rushing through his body.
Dadda was reborn again from a miracle.
His heart was pounding with premonition.
And then he came.
The sky, which had been clear until now, was suddenly covered with black clouds.
Thunder began to roar, and lightning flashed in the air. I was using <Miracle> in a lavish way.
I think the show is important in times like these.
The werebears were staring blankly at the sky.
When I nodded my head, Edward hesitated for a moment, then he materialised.
“Children of the werebears.”
All the werebears prostrated themselves at once after hearing his voice.
It was the first time that Edward had appeared before the werebears in a hundred years, according to the time in the lower world. None of the werebears had ever seen an Evil God before.
“My name is Edward. The Evil God, Edward.”
The werebears were in awe.
They rubbed their foreheads against the ground and prostrated themselves before the Evil God’s authority.
Edward, as expected from a champion, used a very firm tone. His overflowing divine majesty made not only the werebears, but everyone want to be in awe.
“You have neglected to perform rituals for me in the past and that is an unforgivable sin.”
Edward actually didn’t come down from the Divine World because of his unusual vow of not going down to the lower world until he lost at mixed martial arts. Yoshinaga-san and I both agreed that there was no need to mention that here.
“But I was impressed by your earnest spirit after that.”
Forgive the werebears.
Edward had disagreed with this.
He had said that the werebears had done nothing wrong. It was his own fault for indulging in the martial arts in the Divine World.
Truthfully, I thought that as well.
But he couldn’t admit that. I understood that.
Gods and believers aren’t friends.
They needed to make this distinction.
He knew this; he understood it but…
Edward slowly descended to the ground.
This wasn’t part of the planned scenario. It was completely ad-lib.
A blue werebear stood near where he had landed.
Was he poisoned?
But why is he still alive if he was poisoned?
And I have a feeling that I’ve seen that blue colour somewhere before.
Where was it? I’m certain I saw it in my previous life.
“What is your name, blue werebear?”
“Hah, it is Dadda. My name is Dadda. I am the son of Ladda.”
Edward put a hand on Dadda’s shoulder and nodded solemnly.
His magnificent figure was just like a story depicted in the stained-glass windows of a church.
“The name Ladda sounds familiar. Is the Evil Priest, Ladda, who protected my temple and the werebear’s state, your father?”
“I am honoured that you remember my father’s name, Evil God-sama.”
“Is your father well?”
“I am afraid that he is now under the cold ground.”
“… I see.”
Edward nodded gravely.
The Evil Priest who Edward knew the name of had died before he knew it. He must have his opinions on that.
“<Blue> Dadda. I will convey this through you.”
“The children of the werebears are forgiven here and now.”
I created a loud thunder at that moment. Immediately after, the dark clouds dissipated, and the sky started clearing up.
The werebears were just crying.
The bond between the Evil God and the werebears had been restored.