“……If you have the time to make light of this situation, then hurry up and go report to your captain already.”
Gunther finally managed to clear his throat and say something, I could easily tell that he was completely exasperated with and quite angry at the vice captain.
The white-bearded vice captain only tilted his head slightly, and without saying anything, rode his horse unhurriedly back to his squad. Although he did stop by the squad captain to say something, judging by their behavior it seems that they won’t be taking my orders.
I had ordered the vice captain to report on my analysis of the situation to his captain. Although I don’t have a specific position at Fort Jugfena, I’m still an Arxian noble, no matter if this is Fort Jugfena or even Densel land.
“……My lord, when we return to the fort, shall I submit a formal complaint against that senile old geezer?”
“Do as you like.”
It was incredibly easy to see that Gunther was in a very foul mood due to what had just happened. I thought back to the time last year when I had just arrived at the barracks under Gunther’s care. ……I was someone he wanted to kill. In a turn of events, he’s now serving right beside me and protecting me. I can’t even begin to describe just how much people’s hearts can change.
– Maybe, if I had given them a chance, they could have become good people as well. The family that I killed.
I decided to get rid of the idea that they could possibly have changed, and seal the thought away in my mind. I had already decided long ago that it wouldn’t happen, when I made the decision to get rid of them.
……Besides, now’s not the time to think about such things. Even though I was clenching my teeth, I noticed a rumbling sound that didn’t seem like it was caused by my teeth grinding.
“……Gunther, do you hear something?”
“What is it this time? I’m not as young as my lord is, my eyes and ears aren’t as good as yours……”
He’s still in his upper twenties, and he’s already claiming age…… But even so, he concentrated on listening for sounds without saying anything else.
“……Is this the sound of horse hooves?”
“Can you tell what direction it’s coming from, Gunther?”
“How would I know, do you think I’m a beast or something, you stupid brat?”
I’ll ignore for now the fact that Gunther slipped back to his old foul-mouthed habits, given the situation at hand. It’s not like I have anyone else that would take orders from me. But anyway, it seems that he’s finally lost his patience with me because he thought I was treating him like he had the senses of a beast, and he’s gone back to his more familiar way of talking to me. Although we’ve been together quite a long time as he’s been both my teacher and my subordinate, I never would have thought that I’d be learning more about his personality in such a time and location.
“If it was Claudia, I think it would be easy for her.”
“Don’t lump me together with that little girl.”
Well, that’s true, I nodded in acknowledgement, and kept listening for sounds. The rumbling sounds were getting closer to us, and now I could tell for certain that it was definitely the sound of horse hooves. But, I couldn’t really tell what direction the sounds were coming from.
Suddenly, Paulo came running back, having returned after I sent him off as a messenger to the central formation. Even though he’s only a soldier in training, he seems to be quite fit, as he’s not even short of breath.
“You’re really so fast.”
“Thank you for the compliment. Um, Ergnade-sama said that he would like for my lord to come see him personally in the center formation.”
At hearing Paulo’s message from Ergnade, I furrowed my eyebrows. He wants me to leave my army for the time being?
“……Got it, I’ll go.”
Well, if he wants me to come to him then I must go. His rank here at the fort, and on the battlefield, is higher than mine. The fastest method is for me to go there by myself on horseback.
“Gunther, take command for the time being. Paulo, get on and ride behind me. I’m going to take you along as a messenger soldier.”
“Whawhat, me ride my lord’s horse?”
“Hurry up already.”
Paulo is one of the soldiers in training to become a cavalry soldier in the future. There’s no way that he’d have been allowed to lead my horse previously otherwise.
He still seemed lost so I glared at him, and he finally hurriedly but smoothly jumped on behind me.
There seems to be a state of confusion in the center formation, the soldiers all seemed to be terribly nervous about something. The atmosphere was even heavier than when we were departing from the fort.
“Ergnade-sama, I heard that you called for me?”
“Ahh, Viscountess Kaldia. I’m glad that you came over immediately.”
He brought his horse next to mine, and with an excuse me, he suddenly picked me up and plopped me on his horse. I was shocked at what he was suddenly doing, but from above my head, I heard him saying in a tiny voice that this was so information wouldn’t leak.
Paulo suddenly had his hands full, controlling my horse by himself. He looked like how I did before my birthday celebration, all nervous on the horse.
“Sorry about that.”
“It’s nothing, anyway, what did you want to say?”
“The right wing has changed direction, and is now proceeding to deploy southwest. Just earlier we heard the sound of many horse hooves. There must be a large group of cavalry troops nearby. When I received your report, I wondered if the Densel army was up to a daring plan of some sort.”
We had headed directly east from Fort Jugfena to get here, so to be deploying our right wing southwest from here means that he’s worried about the enemy army invading our country from south of here. The elevation gets lower around here as it gets farther south. Because it can get quite sloped in certain areas, it may be quite difficult to find the Densel army immediately if they did take such a southern route. If the Densel army really has slipped west of us, the southern route is the most likely way they took.
Although we left some troops to defend Fort Jugfena and there’s the moat and gate, if they sent their full forces they could definitely overcome it. Even the soldiers that are usually on lookout are participating in the expedition today, the military presence currently at the fort is minimal.
However, to take the southern route to the fort, they would also have to go through the Monster Forest filled with all sorts of magical beasts. That’s why we hadn’t been on guard for them taking the southern route.
To safely go through that forest, it’s estimated that at least ten thousand soldiers would have been required.