I could see that the village was bustling even before we approached.
They were preparing for war. Ruro’s village was located on a small hill in the prairie. A row of bushes was placed on the slope and there was a dry moat surrounding the village. There was fire burning everywhere in the village that was surrounded by wooden fences even though it was still daytime. They were trying to show the enemy that they were willing to fight.
Why don’t you go exterminate the goblins yourself if you can defend your village like this. Did they send Ruro to exterminate the goblins by herself to sacrifice her or something? Methods like that made me want to vomit.
The road leading to the hill was crowded with people heading to the village and there were also people leaving in the opposite direction. Those heading to the village were armed and riding horses while those who were leaving the village were towing carts. Are the non-combatants taking refuge in other villages while the combatants gather here?
“… Who is the enemy?”
I asked Ruro a stupid question.
It must be the demon army. It was a stupid question which made me sound as if I had forgotten why I was here. The 2000-unit army led by Taibanka must have crossed the river. The ‘warrior clan’ in Walbolt must have realised this and got off their butts.
They could have given another sacrifice if it was just a group of goblins, but they couldn’t do that against a large army; they needed to organise some troops. I could believe this thought crossed their mind.
But Ruro answered unexpectedly.
“I think the ‘Church’ is approaching. Look over there, they’re burning the ‘Church’s’ banner.”
I looked in the direction she was pointing at and sure enough, something was burning. Next to the burning banner… were three people who were probably from the ‘Church’. They were hung up. Are they sacrifices for before the war?
“The ‘Church’? Why would the ‘Church’ attack this village?”
“They don’t need a reason to attack, but if I had to state a reason, then it would be because this village believes in a different ‘God’.”
The ‘Church’ was a monotheistic religion that worshiped the One and Only God.
It was apparent that those who worshipped other gods are rejected as heretics. Their intolerance towards other believers was the reason why Yoshinaga-san hated the ‘Church’.
“So, can your village win?”
“… They won’t. The ‘Church’s’ forces are strong. They can’t win if they’re afraid of mere goblins. Besides, a lot of warriors have betrayed us.”
Oh yeah, Ruro’s father betrayed his village and was a priest.
Ruro looked unconcerned as she walked along the bare rocks. Still, she must be in distress. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have confided that to me.
How much burden is this kid carrying on her small back?
“Ruro, is that you Ruro?”
The sentry standing at the village entrance looked surprised to see Ruro. How shameless. You all send her to be a sacrifice under the guise of subjugating the goblins.
“I have defeated the goblins.”
“Really?! That’s amazing. I thought you’d run away… Ah, nevermind, don’t worry about what I Just said. Anyway, I’m glad to see you’re back safe and sound, but we’re on alert right now as you can see.”
The man said as he raised his spear. Long. It was at least four meters long. His weapon was strong in tight formations.
“How far is the enemy?”
“Oh, they’re already near Ikka. Old man Ostbach will be in command.”
“Who is he by the way?”
The man looked at me questioningly. It wasn’t a surprise that he was suspicious of me since this place will become a battlefield soon and here I am.
“This is Hirano-san, my benefactor.”
“My name is Hirano.”
Ruro introduced me as we had discussed beforehand. I was Hirano, the traveller, right now. I wanted to experience this village as a human, not as a god. And I also hoped I could do something for the demon army while I’m here.
“Oh wow. You saved Ruro’s life? The village would normally welcome you for this, but as you can see, our village is in danger. I won’t ask you to fight with us, so you better leave now.”
“I see, but I’m also tired from getting rid of the goblins. I would like to rest a little. I would also be grateful if you would allow me to visit the village’s temple.”
The sentry’s gaze was fixed on the sword at my waist. I had scavenged this sword from the goblin’s nest for my performance. It would be too suspicious for the person who saved Ruro and defeated the goblins to be unarmed.
“Besides, I might be of use.”
“Even if you say that…”
Then I realised that I looked suspicious under these circumstances.
“If this clears up your suspicions then…”
I took the sword from my waist and declared.
“I am not a follower of the ‘Church’ now am I a spy. I swear on my name, Hirano, and the God of Spears.”
A smile gradually appeared on the man’s face when he heard this. So, he did think that I was the ‘Church’s’ assassin or something. I used the girl as an excuse to enter the village. It wasn’t a bad idea to gather information.
“Alright. Welcome to the ‘Warrior Village’, Hirano. Welcome back, Ruro.”
The wooden temple was placed in a prime location at the centre of the village.
Though, it was more accurate to say that the village was built around the temple instead of the temple being built at the centre of the village. The village was built to defend the temple, so one couldn’t go straight up to the top of the hill to reach the temple. The slope curved to the right in different places and there were high stone walls and earthen walls built all over the place. The house roofs were flat. It looked like they had built it that way so someone could stand on the top of the roof and shoot arrows at the intruders.
It was certainly a ‘Warrior Village’.
“What gods are worshipped at this temple, Ruro?”
“The <God of Wind>, the <God of War>, the <God of Strength>, the <God of Wisdom>, the <God of Healing>, the <God of Travel>, the <God of Spears>, the…”
They worshipped many gods here. The many gods are worshipped in this village without being forgotten. That must be why the ‘Church’ can’t tolerate this place.
“If the village is still standing after this battle is over… then Ruro will ask the chief if we can worship Hirano-sama here as well.”
“… I would be happy if you did that.”
Ruro had given up any hope of winning. Are the ‘Church’s’ forces that powerful?
I left Ruro at the entrance and pushed open the door to the temple.
The temple was peaceful even though the battle was about to begin soon.
There was only one God inside, although he was invisible to the human eye. He was sitting directly on the ground with his legs crossed. His eyes were closed as if he was sleeping.
He wasn’t wearing anything on the upper half of his body and only had a leather loincloth on. His arms were crossed as if to show off his strong body, and this gave him an intimidating appearance.
“Nice to meet you, I am Evil God Hirano.”
The god opened one eye and looked at me. His eye was menacing and profound. He wasn’t a giant god, but he was probably at least three metres tall standing up. His body which reminded me of the body of a strong professional wrestler and his masculine facial features indicated that he was some kind of fighting God.
“I am Rilfis, the <God of Wind>.”
Rilfis, the <God of Wind>. So, the spear that Ruro Banten was wielding is this God’s divine weapon.
“――― I’m surprised to see you here, Hirano, person who is connected to Yoshinaga.”
I was a bit surprised. I had not expected to hear Yoshinaga-san’s name mentioned here. I gazed at Rilfis once again. He was sitting down, and his face was right in front of mine. He stared at my face and then smiled.
“Eulenspiegel told me you were coming. I heard from Guiellenor about your connection to Yoshinaga. Well, sit down.”
“Oh, you heard about me from Guiellnor. I see.”
Guiellenor, the Elven God, was the handsome man who I had a Go game with in the Red Forest of Jonan a while ago. I crushed him completely since he seemed to have a thing for Yoshinaga-san. We promised to play Go together again. We’re connected in an unexpected way.
“Well, let’s drink.”
Rilfis reached out and pulled the large sake bottle and sake bowls towards us, then poured me a bowl. The sake smelled strong. It was cloudy white and had a few bubbles on the surface.
“It’s kumis TN: Horse milk sake. The sourness of this sake bothered me at first, but it tastes quite nice once you get used to it.”
“Thank you for the drink.”
I drank a lot of weird alcohol in my previous life. Spirits, absinthe, Chang Yu Brand Tzepao Sanpien. You name it, I’ve drank it. I won’t hesitate to drink something like kumis after all that.
“Oh, you’re drinking quite well. I’m impressed.”
Rilfis laughed as he poured more sake into my bowl and I offered to do the same for him. The way he gulped the kumis with a bowl as big as a rice bowl made him look like a hero from an old tale.
“This may be a weird question, but are you the only one in this temple, Rilfis-san?”
“Hmm? Yeah, the rest of them all fled.”
“Yeah, that’s right. They all fled. I’m the only one left here. Oh, and Eulenspiegel went to your place. This is the end of all the Walbolt gods. That’s it. I like how simple the situation is, but having too few gods is bad for our reputation.”
“Only one God…”
“You have my condolences if you came here hoping for a big battle between the monotheists and gods’ allied forces. I’m really all that’s left. The rest are probably in God’s Realm.”
“That can’t be.”
“It’s the truth. I don’t like Eulenspiegel’s idea of bringing in demons from somewhere else to win back our followers, but I hate cowards who throw away everything and run away even more. Well, that’s all relative.”
Rilfis gulped directly from the large sake bottle. Perhaps he found it troublesome to have to pour the alcohol into the bowl before drinking it.
“What’s the point of leaving behind your followers and running away…?”
“Who knows. You’re young. You’ve only just transmigrated here not long ago, right? That’s why you could say something that naïve.”
“Yes, I’m still a novice who has just been transmigrated as an Evil God.”
“I thought so. You give off that impression.”
|↑1||TN: Horse milk sake|