Gandalla was blaming himself as well.
That we should have killed General Renault faster. He apologized to us saying that he was having fun seeing how the enemy was falling deeper and deeper into his plan.
No, that’s not the truth. There’s not even the need to use my magic eye. There’s no way you would get happy by something like that. The Gandalla in the battlefield is more calm and composed than anyone.
This sacrifice…was leaning heavily onto us. Spiritually? Yes, of course, but that’s not all. The plan that was supposed to be going well was beginning to crumble. That reality was the worst for us.
The plan to increase the animosity between the Faris side and the Union side… By accomplishing that, we would drop the more than 50,000 man army into chaos, and with that opening, we would lead the Ludo Kingdom, which has around 10,000, to victory. That was our plan.
It was working perfectly in the middle. We stole a lot of supplies, and we fanned the hostility between the two factions.
…But the flow has changed. By using the execution of the demi-humans, their unity has increased. Renault and Klauri have given a ‘common enemy’ to their soldiers. They chose to gather their soldiers under the banner of hatred and anger.
It is a plain method, but a pack moves even under lies…
And in a really crafty manner, the General Renault has increased their marching speed.
In other words, he is taking away the stamina of his soldiers. He is making them tired so that they can’t fight with each other.
I see, it is not a bad move. In the times when my three brothers and I got into a fight, my mother ordered us to run all the way to the mountains, and the one who returned the fastest was the one in the right.
It is a good plan.
…Our initial plan…is about to fail.
It is being fixed in an advantageous way for them.
There’s a lot to reflect on. The plan of Gandalla was perfect. It was so perfect that we got too comfortable and messed up the timing. If we had made our move a day sooner, we would have managed to bring about good enough chaos.
We were controlling the board under the rules, but…we might have lacked the foresight of our enemies going against those rules.
To think they would create an enemy using sinless people… This is an incredibly dirty move considering it came from a famed knight. I can’t believe he is a man supposed to be worthy of being called a knight. Looks like the already aged Renault has chosen to be a sly politician rather than a knight.
It is not that we underestimated the enemy. It is the opposite. We overestimated him.
That’s what we have to reflect on the most this time around.
…Now then, pigs that were once knights, if you have become pigs that gorge on the profits while throwing away your pride, the Banjar Mercenaries will also answer in kind.
We will be going with a plan against pigs. They are not people, so I am not going to show mercy.
We are going to amend the plan to be even crueler. We decided on taking on a higher risk. We intend to increase our aggressiveness towards you pigs.
Hey, Renault and Klauri, your stupid farce has angered me, you know?
A bond that was preserved by killing innocents, huh?
I see, you may have fixed it on the surface. Yeah, it might not be a bad method to maintain the organization. You are way more skilled at management than me.
…But you see, the ‘bond’ that you guys formed, just how much union did it create? …My malice will bite through that thin surface of yours.
The darkness of the night came.
The Vaireid division soldiers who are now tired of the march were sound asleep. Only I was awake. That’s right, I have a job to perform after all.
I slip away from the barracks that stink of men. Aah, so sad. I have shared a decent amount of pains with you guys, and ended up getting along with them. If you guys weren’t my enemies, we could have even become friends. Thanks for the decent time.
…And, will you forgive my brutal self?
I take out the elf drug that Riel made. This one’s a bad drug. A really scary one at that. What kind of drug is it? …The kind that brings about a deep sleep.
I open the lid of the bottle, and by controlling the wind with magic, I create a mist with the poison.
It spread into the soldiers’ tents.
Too bad. I didn’t want to do such an underhanded tactic like this. Using poison, huh. Truly dishonorable. I wanted to kill you guys in the battlefield…
Aah, tonight I am a villain. Even though I am doing something like this, my face isn’t changing at all.
After covering 48 soldiers with the veil of death, I leave the tent. I went to the neighboring tent. I have 3 other bottles.
Now everyone, sleep like a log, without ever opening your eyes again. This is not a bad death… When thinking about the humiliation that you will taste if you were still alive, dying with your sweaty and exhausted body isn’t bad. If you wake up…what will be waiting for you guys is days of lost honour.
I will pray that an ‘arrow’ lodges deep in your heart while you are sleeping.
The silent destruction tactics were being performed at several points.
Making them get tired has come to bite you in the ass. This drug has a decently strong scent. In a normal situation, you would have people with sharp senses noticing it.
…But with such a deep sleep, they can’t tell.
My little sister who specializes in assassination comes down from Zephyr who had silently blended in the darkness. She had descended into this hunting ground by going down the rope Zephyr was holding in his mouth.
A Cait Sith wind user. Mia can run without making a sound and she works fast. She spread the poisonous mist in the tents here and there.
Ah, it is not only my little sister.
My beloved bow princess can do the exact same thing. She is also a good wind user after all. And she has a lot more knowledge about the elf drug than Mia and I. She made an even more complex poison for her use. She opened the bottle of two types of drugs and chemically combined them within the wind.
That one is a lot more odorless and has a wider range, so she can spread a poison with more immediate effect. She is weaker to Mia in terms of a silent rush, but her poison mist can curse more than Mia and I in one go.
We three divided the work and ran about performing this cowardly work. Everyone is doing a good job. In the blink of an eye, we cast a ‘sleeping curse’ to several hundreds of soldiers.
It will most likely take a while before someone notices this abnormality. We are aware of the shifts between the soldiers, so there’s no problem. We have time. Around 30 minutes. That much is plenty enough.
Riel and Mia stand in my shadow. I don’t order them with words. That’s right, there’s no need for words. Mercenaries can connect their hearts even without a sound. Right now it is a battle with time. Everything unnecessary is snipped off. Everyone begins to walk without opening their mouth.
They follow my shadow as I proceed. Mia vigilant of the left while Riel of the right. If we encounter a hindrance, we kill them within a second. That’s a shared notion of ours.
…Now then, it is about time to break my false persona.
I am done with playing as a Union guy. I am the fourth son of the Strauss household.
I release my magic power, and my black hair returns to its fiery color once again. My eye turns back from black to sky color, and the other one to the cool dragon raging gold.
I entrusted my eyepatch to Mia. But she isn’t giving it back to me. Nice, it is proof that my intentions are transmitting to her. That’s right, I don’t need it. Tonight I will be going full magic power. I will be more heartless and cruel than usual.
…First of all, I will obtain ‘soldiers’.
We were heading to the space where the slaves were lined up. The slave giants must be tired from the march as well. But I need to have them involved as well. Their strength will become essential in our victory.
- Chapter 26
At the time when I arrived at the place, Gandalla had already opened the cells around the area. The freed giants were enjoying the wind of freedom in this silent half-moon night they haven’t had for years or maybe decades.
The entire force is of 2,423 people. That is the number of giants released. All of the ones that have accompanied the army.
There’s a trick to how we managed to pull this off. It is the achievement of my group members, so I have to speak of it.
The counterfeit key Sharon made worked. He is a smart man after all. Always watching the world, and greedily gathering information that might be of use.
This time around, the blue eyes of Sharon were looking at the movements of the slave guards.
Gandalla was chained to the shitty role of being the ‘personal slave of Sharon’, but he was being placed in a different cell every day.
Why? Because placing the same slave in the same cell all the time is risky… Because if they were to do that, the bond between the slaves would strengthen, and it might cause a revolt. And there’s cases where they might slowly break a part of the cell without the humans noticing. In time, they could dash away in the darkness of the night where there’s no moon.
That’s why the management of the slave giants are being placed randomly every day in big cells where several tens of them can fit in. It is apparently pretty common in the Empire army, or so Gandalla says.
…Now then, about Gandalla, the ones who brought him out of the cell are obviously the slave guards.
Sharon has been asking them to bring his personal slave out from his cell every time. And each time he did, he would take a peek at the shape of the key that was used in the key hole.
Now then, there’s a master key for the cells in this place. If we had that, we could open any cell. Convenient, right? …Sharon memorized every trait of the keys that were used when Gandalla was taken out of the cells.
The scary thing is that, once he sees something, he can remember even the tiniest details. It is one of the special kills of this guy that excels in a variety of things aside from literary ones.
Also, even if he is an idiot, he is clever. Each shape of the keys, the magic power used when opening, and the sound, as well as the times when it is closed; by calculating them all, Sharon had formulated the shape of the master key. And then, he created a model of it. This is a story of 4 days ago.
We gave it to Riel at night, and had her do some ‘errands’. To the place of one dwarf that has the best technique.
Yeah, the old smith, Abotson. His fingers are still in good health, and he apparently made a master key for Riel without any troubles. A special mythril one.
Hm? The origin of the mythril? When Zephyr scratches his own body all year long, his magic silver scales drop down. By mixing iron and earth with it, you can make mythril. The old man was really happy that he could make a massive amount of mythril goods.
He made a good 15 master keys. Of course, they worked well. Sharon has never messed up in these kind of matters, and the old man is a master craftsman. The cells were opened by those fake master keys.
…And the old man also gave a gift to Riel. An improved version of the magic silver rasp, a mythril rasp. 30 of those.
They are crazy efficient.
Of course it is. When the old man was a slave a long time ago, he would sharpen a wire on his own and create a fake key, breaking free from a magic silver shackle on his own. It works the same way as the choker, so he knows quite a bit about how they work.
When I gave Riel the magic silver rasp and asked her to request him to make copies of it, he apparently caught on in what we were going to do and cooperated.
You must not underestimate a craftsman. When he saw the wasted rasp that Gandalla used, he understood the structure of the choker as well.
By seeing what parts of the rasps were worn the most, he saw through the peculiarities in the chokers, and on top of that, he licked the fine grains of magic silver, and apparently analyzed it with taste as well.
By knowing what kind of metal and how much it was mixed into it, you apparently can know about the shape it would take… That’s impressive. Well, the structure and the ratio of materials, if you know about those, you can even learn about which dwarf workshop designed it.
The choker that had been analyzed to its very design had basically lost utility. Even without seeing it, the old man saw through everything. We have really gotten a splendid ‘ally’.
This mythril rasp has a powerful ‘elf blessing’ carved in it. It was so specialized that I didn’t understand much about it, but well, the way of using it was simple and clear. You can use it anywhere on the choker, and as long as you have the crazy strength of a giant, it will do its job.
By doing that, the minute mythril particles will stick to the choker, and with that, the elf blessing will go through the choker, and the magic power will be neutralized. Meaning that a strangling spell cannot be embedded in it ever again.
…Good grief, what a strange story.
In terms of races, the dwarfs and elves who are supposed to be antagonistic towards each other are cooperating. Looks like ‘overcoming the boundaries’ is being performed by that bow princess as well. She is trying to understand the philosophy of the Demon Lord.
With the dwarf technique, you preserve the elf blessing, and with the strength of a giant scraping with the rasp, see, this is what happens.
I throw this chant towards the slaves that were gathered at the place. The slaves reflexively trembled at the fear edged in their memories, but after a few seconds, everything was proved.
“…It is a success, Captain. No chokers work.” (Gandalla)
Gandalla tells me this.
I only give a short reply. I believed in it after all. The struggle of Gandalla, the skill of Sharon, the blessing of Riel, and the technique of the old man.
When things go as planned, you simply get happy. It gives confidence.
“Now then, congratulations, Giants. Your freedom has been proven.” (Solje)
Saying this, I use my magic eye to check the faces of the slaves.
They are happy and also agitated. Of course they are. We are in the very center of the Empire army. It is basically as if we are surrounded, so you can’t feel relieved just yet.
…Well then, this isn’t my calling, but how about I do a little speech? Let’s test out my speaking techniques that I went through many pains to hone in these 9 years.
“Giants, if you wish from your very soul to be freed from slavery, there’s something that must be done. I have wandered the world, but I have only seen few who have truly been freed.” (Solje)
That’s right, many are not freed. Living at mountains, or deep in the valleys while trembling at the shadows of pursuers? There’s no point in that. Placing the label of freedom to something like that is an insult.
“Running away isn’t enough. If you do that, you haven’t obtained freedom in the truest of meanings. You must fight bravely. You must fight, or even if you run away to the ends of the world, you will be tied to slavery. You must prove it. Fight! Kill your fake masters and get back your own life with your own hands!!” (Solje)
A Giant asks me.
“…Sir Strauss, when should we fight?”
As expected of a brethren of Gandalla. Helps me that they understand fast.
“Please pretend you are still serving the Empire. Obey the orders of the General… When you guys will be revolting is…” (Solje)
I raise my index finger towards the sky. The giants follow that finger. The night sky only had the half-moon and a few clouds. That’s right, there’s nothing strange right now. Right now, that is.
“…Listen well, you guys will be attacking the Empire army when the dragon sings in the sky!” (Solje)
“…Understood, Sir Strauss!”
“Until then, you will obey the General. Obediently. Don’t let them notice that you guys have obtained freedom.” (Solje)
“We are better at pretending to be slaves than anyone else.”
“Fufu, must be. For now, I will give out the first instruction. You know what the 108 weapons’ accumulation is, right?” (Solje)
“Yeah, our weapons were carried there till evening after all.”
“Good. Then, head there now. The soldiers in the way should be sleeping as if they were dead because of the poison mist, but if you get caught…Sharon.” (Solje)
“You show them this note to the soldiers.” (Sharon)
Sharon distributes the note to the giants that seem to be the leaders.
He is showing his talent again.
At the time when we continuously attacked the supply units, I gathered the order documents as per habit. What was there was obviously the sign of General Renault. There’s no way Sharon wouldn’t be able to copy it.
“You can deceive them by saying it is the order of the General.” (Solje)
“…Understood, Sir Strauss!”
“…Just stop it with that. I am not your master or anything.” (Solje)
“No, this is our way of showing respect in our own way, last dragon knight-dono.”
“I see. Call me as you wish. If you are going to call a sinful person like me in that way, can you please stand by my side even if only for this war alone?” (Solje)
Good grief, these giants.
Now then…it is about time I go. I gather power in my magic eye and call Zephyr.
My dragon comes down from the night sky without making a sound. The results of the training are showing at an astounding rate. That’s an Endurance Egg boy for you.
….We crushed a lot of supply units in secret. That silent assassination experience has shown its fruits here. By eating the life of the soldiers, Zephyr has once again taken a step to becoming a true dragon.
The giants who saw Zephyr let out a sigh of amazement.
“Ooh, I see. So this is…a dragon.”
“A descendant of the people that defeated a Zeruaga, huh…”
“…That’s right. When you hear this guy’s song, you will return to being true warriors.” (Solje)
“Understood, Sir Strauss!!”
“Begin moving. Gandalla, I leave these guys to you.” (Solje)
“Yeah, of course, Captain.” (Gandalla)
Saying this, Gandalla returns to where his brethren are. Sharon moved on his own. He is also boiling to go -for the sake of her Majesty, that is.
“Well then, later!” (Sharon)
“Yeah, don’t go dying, okay?” (Solje)
“Got it. You too. The song I am making about you is still incomplete after all.” (Sharon)
The false hope-bringer disappears into the darkness with lute in hand. He is meek today as well. If he were this meek all the time, he would be popular with the girls. Well, women aside from her Majesty might only be people he likes to tease and harrass though…
“Captain Solje.” (Riel)
Mia and Riel call for me while riding on the back of the dragon. Nice, the two of them have a face filled with spirit.
And my black wings that shine in the darkness, Zephyr, witness my revenge with those golden eyes, okay?
…Ares, I will be fulfilling one promise of yours. I will be destroying one of the armies of Faris… Watch from a place higher than the sky, through the eyes of your grandson, okay?
“Yeah, let’s go, Zephyr. We are flying silently into the sky.” (Solje)
- Chapter 27
Zephyr had us three on his back and rose to the sky without making a sound.
He can now use [Invisible] in a good enough practical way. Well, he managed to use Dragon Flame as well even if incomplete, so this much must have been a piece of cake.
I give instructions through my golden eye. We are heading towards the tent of General Renault.
That place has around 14 tough guards, and at the sky there, Zephyr was flying without making a sound.
“…Let’s do this.” (Solje)
Mia and I dive from the night sky. My body that is not wearing armor was a lot lighter than usual. That’s not all that’s different from usual. What I am holding in my hands is not the dragon longsword…but a dragon spear. A heavy lance that’s favored by Dragon Knights since olden times.
How do you use them, you ask? I will show you now.
When you jump up from the sky and head towards your prey, the destructive power of the fall will be amplified by this tool that is used to destroy the flesh and bones of your foes!!
My eyes catch the body of a large build soldier. That’s right, he will serve well as a cushion. I will have you take the energy of my fall plenty well.
Delighted by the cruelty, my mouth distorts. My face became like that of a dragon…as I perform the killing!!
With the falling energy added, the dragon spear was like a dragon’s fang, piercing deep into the body of the soldier, and while going through the armor, it stabs all the way to the ground.
Having [Invisible] casted on both me and the soldier, the sound it created was killed along, completing a soundless death.
I slowly come down from the skewered corpse. Even though I jumped down from several tens of metres down, I was completely fine. A dragon knight descend and a kill done both at the same time…that’s how you use this dragon spear. <A Dragoon?!>
It is a traditional move of dragon knights. There’s most likely no one who has escaped death after getting hit by a surprise attack of this. I look to my right. Mia had come down to the ground right at that moment.
Mia used wind and made a brake in midair. Reducing the speed the moment before hitting the ground, and when she did, she rolled to disperse the damage.
After dispersing all the fall, Mia stood up and ran towards her prey without making a sound, and then jumped at the back of that soldier.
Mia takes out two daggers midjump, and when she reaches the soldier, she stabs into the opening between the chestplate and helmet, instantly killing the soldier.
Mia, who is loved by the wind more than me, found her next prey and moved from shadow to shadow with that small body of hers.
An arrow flies from the sky and pierces the cranium of a soldier doing its rounds.
Nice, Riel. Her sniping from the back of a dragon has increased in precision. She must have accumulated daily practice. I must not lose as the captain.
I erase my sound and begin running. We have to eliminate any hindrances… Before finishing matters with that guy.
I find a target… A pair, huh. Okay, we are teaming up, Riel.
I run towards the pair of soldiers. Right before I arrive at the soldiers, one arrow of Riel pierced the head of a soldier, and right after, my arm wrapped around the neck of the neighboring soldier.
I slowly break his neck. Losing his life, the soldier falls limp, and I have him lie down.
While we were doing that, Mia had killed the third one.
It is not only the Cortez dagger technique. Mia also has the wind magic I taught her. Especially the wind magic [Invisible]. For a small and quick girl like her, it works far better for her than for us.
No, it has probably surpassed the level of [Invisible], it is [Fairy Move]. The legendary fairy race assassin, Ashuran Zato, who holds the nickname Maiden of Death, utilized this technique. I wonder if Mia is close to that level of movement?
She can attack an enemy with a poison-coated dagger without the enemy noticing her presence. It is unfair just how good she is. In assassination skills alone, Mia would be the best one in the Banjar Mercenaries.
The fairy race, Cait Sith, who possesses speed that surpasses that of animals and is loved by the wind, Mia Mar Strauss. With the instruction of Garf and me, we polished her talent for the sole sake of assassination.
Mia called the wind and jumps close to 4 meters in altitude. She cut the throats of the enemy soldier in that way.
With the impact of her crashing onto him and his balance destroyed, she hits his vitals. It would be difficult to even let out a scream with that. Cause before his voice can come out, the air would come out from the opening.
The soldier that was working as a pair with him was shot by an arrow. Fufu, that Riel, I can feel your sense of competitiveness at not wanting to lose to her as a hunter.
That’s right, if you see the ‘art’ of Mia, it irritates you as a warrior, as a hunter, as a mercenary. We are aware that we are battle elites, so our hearts stir up.
We want to prove our own strength.
I hurriedly search for a prey…silently. That is the rule this time around. Shit, I am at a disadvantage here. Even with that, I approach the third enemy, and break his neck, but…by that time, Mia had killed her sixth, and Riel had shot her fifth.
We all have our strengths and weaknesses, but in this battlefield, those girls have better assassination skill.
Riel can kill as much as she wants from the sky, and Mia’s job is assassin. For a Dragon Knight whose selling point is destructive power, I can’t win against those girls in this silent battlefield.
I feel bitter and at the same time proud.
It is a complicated feeling, but when I look at the smiling Mia, I feel more proud than bitter.
Mia sheathes her bloody dagger and hugs me.
“…Ehehe, I am done, Onii-chan. I am the number one.” (Mia)
“Yeah, that was nimble technique, my little sister.” (Solje)
She must be happy to have killed six humans. I pet the black hair of the happy Mia. Her cat ears twitch and she reacts to my hand with a big smile.
“…Solje, we don’t have the time.” (Riel)
Riel had come down by using the rope of Zephyr and hurried me. Right, I want to praise you too, but…tonight we have to prioritize our job.
“I am counting on you two in cleaning up the corpses. Please hide the corpses before Sharon brings that guy.” (Solje)
“Got it. Solje…be careful.” (Riel)
“Don’t be rash, Onii-chan.” (Mia)
“Yeah, you guys too.” (Solje)
That’s right…I have business with that Renault guy that dirtied the concept of a knight.
I enter the tent of Renault.
It was a tent fitting that of a commander, its structure was extravagant. A sword in display, the Empire battle flag, a custom-made armor for Renault…the furniture is also great. A red carpet, leather seats, a stylish round table, and a crystal water jug on top of it.
What luxury. It is already on the level of a noble. You who should be the shield and the spear of the people living the way of the knight, have been distorted by coin, huh.
Your unstoppable greed for the material has degraded you into a pathetic pig.
…Hey, man that was once a knight, after losing your worth as a warrior and been numbed by coin, do you even have the qualifications to be called a knight anymore?
I arrive by the side of the bed where the old ‘knight’ is sleeping. He was breathing with a peaceful expression. I thought it would be problematic if he had a prostitute sleeping by his side, but he was sleeping alone.
That’s unexpected. If I was a general, I wouldn’t ever be sleeping alone. So this pig is more about money than pleasures, huh. Good grief, just how far have you strayed from your path as a knight? Leaving exemplar offsprings is the duty of us knights, you fool.
But that’s a relief. We don’t need to create a ruckus pointlessly. Involving a sinless prostitute in this would go against the way of the knight. I don’t really want to hear the screams of a woman if possible.
Okay, first, let’s wake up Renault. I can just cast the ‘curse’ on him later.
I take the water jug on his table, open the lid, and pour water on the face of General Renault.
Renault let out a voice of pain for a while, and finally, he opened his eyes, and snapped his upper half up. He was coughing violently. Water must have entered deep into his nostrils.
“Guha, gaha, geho! W-What?! What is ha—?!” (Renault)
“Your Excellency, it is terrible, the enemy is here.” (Solje)
“What?! Where?!” (Renault)
“Right in front of you.” (Solje)
Before Renault could make a ruckus, I grab his throat with my fingers, and seize his breathing. He struggled and tried to free himself from my fingers, but…his consciousness dimmed, and he lost the ability to struggle.
I tell him…just in what way he will be losing his honor from now on. This is a gift. He will be making us win this war, so I should at least give him that.
“…I will be casting a ‘curse’ on you. The curse of a dragon. You will forget about me. And when you wake up, you will lose your sanity and become a delusional man… Your eyes will become a tool that will link to my eyes, and your information will be bare to me.” (Solje)
“…Who…the hell…are you…?” (Renault)
“Solje Strauss, the last dragon knight.” (Solje)
I don’t know if he heard what I said or not, but…Renault slowly lost his consciousness in front of my eyes, and falls into the darkness of Hades.
We have to change our initial plans. I enjoy the danger.
Kukuku! …Thanks for making me resolve myself to being even more cruel for the sake of a grand victory.
You pigs, you have let me eat your flesh and life, and have pushed ‘something’ in me further, you know?
I let Renault sleep on the bed, and I…wait for that guy to come.
Will it take long? …I am growing impatient here, but…I wonder.
I don’t know. It is true that I long for it. And I am also enveloped in a mysterious tension. I have been spending a long time. Even when I went around looking everywhere, I couldn’t find him, and I was on the verge of giving up.
It is a mysterious feeling. It is difficult to put it in words. There’s times when you simply feel this way.
…After 15 minutes passed…finally, the time for revenge came.