Chapter 91 Occupation of Irz
Although there were irregularities like the annihilation of Kievan’s squad and the scout troop, the crusaders finally occupied Irz on the 25th of the month of Shinyou.
The main army moved only after long and detailed reconnaissance due to which it took so much time.
“They have completely escaped.”
It was only natural. Although Norz had no proof that the villagers had all evacuated and moving towards Spada, he had still predicted it more or less.
Norz had further predicted even worse things.
“Not just the villagers, provisions, commodities, anything valuable have already been lost.”
His aide, Sister Sylvia’s report only substantiated it.
In the first place, it was clear that the adventurers were using Scorched Earth tactics just from the fact that the adventurer guild had been burned down.
“Tch, damned demons, trying to be insolent.”
Norz, who had experience in various battles back in the republic, was well aware of what such tactics will have.
But even then, he realized that the current situation was only worth cursing a few times.
“But, it’s not a big problem. We have the resources collected from the previous villages. Have them quickly carry it all here.”
Scorched Earth tactics could only show their full effect when the enemy has no way of procuring supplies at site.
At that point, Norz had no reason to worry since they had sufficient supplies gained from previous villages.
“Then, let’s prepare according to that.”
Norz was expecting a few words of sarcasm so he felt uncomfortable from the obedient agreement he got.
“You’re unusually thoughtful today Sister Sylvia.”
“Fighting is your role. If governing a village is not required then my job is only to prepare supplies.”
It was her usual cold attitude but her words did have some modesty.
“Hou, is that so?”
“ee, that is so. I won’t speak unnecessarily so please command freely.”
“I’ll do that.”
Unexpectedly she did know her place.
She had been uselessly speaking all the time, but now that a battle has become inevitable, not a single word of opposition came from her.
After all she must have curried the Cardinal’s favour with her cleverness and womanly weapons, now that an actual battle is at hand, she’s nothing but a girl who can follow orders.
That was how Norz interpreted Sylvia’s attitude change.
Leaving aside whether it was correct or not, the current situation was delightful for Norz. There was no way they’d lose to demons but if his aide had kept on talking uselessly, it would have spoiled the cheers of victory.
“fu, tomorrow I’ll be able to rampage after a long time.”
“What? Don’t you know that those demons are lying in wait at the Kuar village? There will obviously be a battle tomorrow.”
Don’t you know even something like that? Sighing as if implying that, Norz further spoke.
“Kuar is the only village in this region with walls of stone. If they are going to gain time for the villagers to run away then obviously they’ll chose this village that has the strongest defence.”
“But, according to the reports of the scout troops, there were no signs of enemy in Kuar.”
He ended up asking her again.
“There’s no one at Kuar.”
He felt embarrassed but soon after his thoughts moved into a different direction.
“Wait, does that mean that the army and the adventurers ran away with the villagers?—–fuhaha such cowards!!”
Since they had destroyed Keiva’s squad and scout troops, Norz was thinking that the demons will fight head on.
But after attacking the scout troops, if they ran away then that meant that there was no ambush at Kuar.
“Could it be they thought they could stop us with that simple attack and this half-assed scorched earth tactics, no, maybe they had a falling out among comrades? Well whatever. If the demons have all run away, there is no need to be vigilant. Let’s make the army advance quickly. We can’t let even a single demon run away!!”
Norz had become passionate to start pursuing but Sylvia remained in her usual low tension and continued her report.
“I’m changing the topic but a sealed letter for you has arrived. The sender is Bishop Gregorius.”
“It can’t be an order to return, right?”
Although Kievan’s squad had been annihilated, it was not at a level where they would be ordered to return. In the first place Gregorius himself was in Daedalus, but he had not sent any report.
Norz who had occupied villages one after the other, there was no way he would have any problem or dissatisfaction.
After thinking of various possibilities, Norz removed the seal looked at the contents.
Norz unintentionally muttered.
“Is it a request for reinforcements?”(Sylvia)
“It’s the opposite. He sent reinforcements to us. Here read.”
Sylvia took the letter and spoke after reading it once.
“I saw ominous black shadows towards the place where Norz Priest Head is going, is what is written. Is this some kind of a code?”
“Don’t know, probably he means those words in a literal sense. Bishop Gregorius is a suspicious self proclaimed [Prophet], you didn’t know?”
Norz called his current direct superior ‘suspicious’. Even in this world there is no such thing as an accurate future prediction. Still, calling himself a [prophet] will obviously lead to doubts.
“So is this a [Prediction]?”
“He’s the same as a back-street fortune teller. Anyone can make wild guesses and prove a few true.”
But, since he never clearly gave any prediction randomly, he was able to reach a position as high as a bishop.
“Rather than [prediction] it is more of an [estimation]. Basically, he is a crackpot and calls his estimates as predictions, though I don’t know why.”
“ ‘Ominous Black Shadows’ is what is written here but does that mean that the Bishop has sensed some kind of threat and that is why he sent reinforcements? That’s the only probable explanation.”
In the letter, neither the details of the reinforcement sent nor their numbers, which squad, nothing has been written.
It should be about 1000 soldiers but what he could not understand was the reason behind this timing to send reinforcements.
If there really is a force that could threaten Norz’s army, then it must be either a large army of undead or a black dragon had appeared.
But this vague [prediction] could not be interpreted. The true identity of the ‘shadow’ could be a sudden accident or a revolt in the squads as well.
After he had thought that far, Norz didn’t feel that this reinforcement was truly meant for helping him.
Worst case, this reinforcement would mix with his squad, and after the western region of Daedalus was captured completely, they would assassinate him and the achievement would be taken by the Bishop.
In that case, the Bishop will definitely say ’Norz Priest Head fought those despicable demons till the end and lost his noble life’ and cry for him. But the dead cannot be rewarded materially so his superior, that is the Bishop himself, would reap the awards.
“……At the current stage, reinforcements are not needed. If another squad came, then don’t merge with them and don’t let them move further than Irz.”
“Yes, i understand.”
Yes, Norz could complete the mission to capture western Daedalus without any problems. Even if he was not assassinated, he’ll be troubled if the achievements were divided due to stupidly accepting these reinforcements.
Bishop Gregorius was his direct superior in the Crusaders but that didn’t mean he could be trusted.
This reinforcement sent due to the cryptic [prediction], Norz interpreted that it was but one of the trickery prevalent inside the Crusaders.
“fun, always making trouble uselessly.”
Norz cursed his superior without hiding it even a bit.
Cyprus Mercenaries that moved along with Norz’s main troops had also stationed in Irz by the 25th.
Ai snuck and looked around the village while avoiding the eyes of the soldiers so that she doesn’t get yelled at.
After moving around, she sat down randomly and took out a [portable food] out of her pouch that was made of unknown ingredients and started eating.
“Disgusting, couldn’t they have put a little more flavour?”
It looked like a chocolate bar but as Ai said, it had no taste and had texture like hard bread.
It was a thing that made people doubtful to eat even when extremely hungry.
“Tsumiki, wanna eat?”
The black cat sitting around her legs turned and ran away.
“You don’t have to reject me so badly……”
Ai glared towards the direction the cat ran away.
“yoo, what are you doing in such a place, Ai?”
“uuwa, this shit food just became shittier.”
Ai’s displeasure was clearly seen in her words.
“aa, that’s really shitty, you’re amazing to have actually eaten that.”
“You were the one who distributed it to everyone right?”
“Really? Can’t remember.”
Ai looked away as Cyprus started to guffaw.
Cyprus was accompanied by two women mercs as guards.
In contrast to Cyprus who wore no armour, the women were clad in thick steel armour.
Since those 2 were wearing helms, their expressions could not be seen. Ai ignored them and spoke.
“Don’t give something disgusting like this ever again. If all food became like this, it’ll start a rebellion. Or rather, I’ll be the first to kill you. I gently and slowly stab tour heart with a knife and kill you.”
“About that, well, it seems like those clever bastards burned every eatable thing in the village, so it’s difficult to find something good to eat.”
“Eh? No way!”
“Really. You also saw things burnt here and there right?”
No matter how much Cyprus said irresponsible things, Ai wasn’t able to deny his words just this time.
Ai knew how much provision her mercenary group carried, so she also knew that they needed to supply their reserves every now and then.
And if they are unable to procure it locally, they would definitely run out of their current stock within 1 week.
“Then ask the Crusaders to share some with us. They should have some surplus right?”
“Not possible. Bowing to that filthy old man and asking for help is impossible for me. My pride won’t allow me to.”
Ai knew that this man could have his own merc group starve just to maintain his own appearance, that too without any ill intentions. And it was really true as well.
“Deal with it. I still have my share of food, the tasty ones.”
“And for everyone else?”
“Die. You should really die.”
Maybe because they reacted towards AI’s half-serious words, the two guards put their hands on their swords.
Ai, who was sitting, could see their expressionless faces from beneath the helm.
Ai thought that those faint expressions looked more like those of a slave rather than a soldier.
“You’ll be fine with portable food. As long as you have water along with it, you can keep on living. So everyone should get along and eat it. I won’t eat it though.”
Whether he realized the reaction of the 2 or not, Cyprus continued speaking in his usual joking style due to which the women did not draw their swords.
“Rather than that, Ai you could just eat with me. Why don’t you come to my place tonight?”
“I have lots of alcohol and cannabis as well. It’ll be fun!”
Disgusted from Cyprus gaze that was licking all over her, she gave the words of refusal.
“It’s fun only inside your head. If you’re starving for women then go look for someone else.”
“But only Ai’s left among our group and I’m bored of these ones. I can’t lay my hands on Sister and there aren’t any demons here.”
“I don’t care.”
Ai, who was at her limit for talking with him, put the last bit of food inside her mouth and stood up.
“For the time being, as a captain, do something about the food.”
“weeii.” (T/N: half-assed sound for acceptance lol)
With even glancing again towards Cyprus, Ai left the place.
She hadn’t decided whether to return back to the camp or to roam around more, but for the time being, she wanted to get away from this disgusting man.
“aa, Ai-chan really is difficult to tempt.” (Cyprus)
Cyprus spoke looking bored. As he turned around, he raised his fist overhead and struck it directly on the face of the woman standing beside him.
The dull sound of the hard fist striking flesh and bone resounded.
Without raising even a single scream, she fell down as her nose bled. The other who did not get hit didn’t even seem to care about it.
It was normal to hit them. There was no reason behind it. They were not allowed to even ask for a reason.
“aa f*ck f*ck, why are there no demons here? Don’t run away, it’s troublesome.”
He struck the fallen woman with her boots countless times.
As if crushing an insect, he showed no mercy or restraint.
“Seriously, what should I do? I won’t get either food or women for some time— should I keep on advancing—– No, that won’t work, that would be dangerous after all. Shit, no choice but to be patient.”
After grumbling, he finally raised his head.
“Well whatever. I’ll just give some randomly. The food will hold till we catch up to those demons at least.”