… Bahnseim’s main camp.
Still carrying out battle within the city of Beim, their heads were troubled with the war progress that wouldn’t go anywhere come so far.
The order from Celes was a vague one along the lines of ‘crush Beim’, and the words slaughter them also came out. But to what extent would they actualize it? And how far did they have to go for Celes to be satisfied? Those were the questions.
It was a battlefield with uncertain conditions for victory. But to Bahnseim, rather than a battleground, Beim had been a hunting ground. But come this far, Beim was gaining its own flow.
The Supreme Commander tapped his index finger against his staff as he contained his irritation.
“Can’t we drill magic into the city to silence them? The moment we could no longer use our numerical advantage, we’ve stagnated have we not?”
One of the generals folded his arms as he looked down.
“But if we destroy all of the city’s functions, the Labyrinth managed by the city will become unmanageable. In the worst case, there is a risk of it running out of control. It’s a Labyrinth that exceeds a hundred floors down, so we can’t even predict the damage from that.”
The reason they couldn’t just annihilate Beim at once, was the existence of the Labyrinth. Offering any unskillful stimulus to it could worsen, or perhaps rampage it. By a Labyrinth much smaller in scale than Beim’s, a country once their neighbor had fallen.
That in their minds, once Bahnseim’s side secured the Labyrinth, there was a necessity for them to manage it.
But the city’s interior fell under the terrain advantage of Beim’s residents, and a confined space was an easier combat field for the adventurers.
Even so, in number and quality, Bahnseim’s army wasn’t losing out, but…
“That royal guard kid hasn’t come back either. Having casualties spread across the main force any further would be…”
As the Supreme Commander murmured, a messenger burst into the tent.
“Message! The forces within the city led by the Viscount have faced annihilation at the hands of adventurers! The form of a female knight in red armor was confirmed at the scene!”
A knight brigade chief stood, and hearing the report, a wrinkle descended ono his brow.
“When we solidified the knights and Baronets to move together, they target the Barons and Viscounts next.”
Continuing on, a pale-faced messenger raced into the tent.
“Message! Our camp within the city has been taken. A female knight in green armor flooded in with a few thousand soldier, causing our unit to retreat!”
One of the generals cried out.
“Send reinforcements! Kuh, they’re on a roll.”
And once more, a messenger burst in. Covered in mud, and borrowing the shoulders of two soldiers, the messenger was terrible exhausted.
“What is it this time!?”
Out of breath as he was, the messenger relayed the message.
“… The elite force led by royal guard captain Breid has faced defeat. Their survivors number a few thousand. Lyle Walt of South Beim went right on to occupying Redant Fortress… South Beim’s troops number in the low thirty thousands, by estimate… their army waves the flag of Cartaffs… rescuing Beim’s people as… they head this direction.”
That report made the Supreme Commander stand in surprise. He spoke to the generals in the marquee.
“You mean to say he prepared such numbers!? … Pull out the units within the city at once. We need to reorganize our formation! At this rate, we’ll face a pincer!”
Just how many soldiers remained in Beim? And within the city, Bahnseim had received casualties they couldn’t ignore.
On that battle where Lyle had cut off their path of retreat, the expressions of leisure were blown off the faces of Bahnseim’s generals…
I split my force and left some in Redant Fortress, to give a bit of insurance.
“I don’t think they’ll betray, but those sorts of people are too proficient they bring harm, is what I think.”
Riding Porter, I lay down and turned my eyes not to Valkyrie Unit One and Two glaring at Monica, but to Eva, who had a memo pad in hand.
“Hey, when you’re the one who requested I make a song of your ancestors, don’t think about anything else. So Fredricks-san met that quilin, right? Rather, despite being so cold to his children, what do you mean he was an animal lover? Hey, just how do you expect to turn this to a song or story?”
Hearing her complaints, I lay across the sofa.
“Sorry. But I’ve got a lot to think about. And the Fifth had his reasons. He was a kind man. Kind, and awkward.”
Eva shrugged her shoulders, writing down some more notes. And looking over her memos, she spoke.
“Aren’t you overthinking it? We entered Zayin territory, so they can’t follow so easily. Well, there’s still the possibility they’ll invade.”
As Eva worried over Bahnseim’s movements, I turned her a smile.
“Don’t worry about that. It seems their forces have already reorganized, and they’re waiting for us over there. Fearing a pincer, they split their forces in two, but even so, they still have a greater number than us.”
Even if Novem’s unit in Beim was doing its best, we had a need to hurry of our own.
In the Jewel, the Third thought to himself.
『Even if we had a ship, just how many could we send in one trip. I think dispersing war potential and sending it successively is a bad move.』
The Seventh laughed.
『I’m sure they can’t shoot any flashy magic out of fear of the Labyrinth. We have Novem on that side, so I’m sure they’ll overturn an extent of absurdity. No~ as expected of a former goddess. No, evil god, was it? Well, it doesn’t really matter either way.』
They really were loose people.
Facing Monica in Porter’s loading tray area, Unit one reported to me.
“Oh, a report from my sister in Zayin. It seems Zayin has prepared a rest stop for us. Once we get that far, we’ll be able to give the soldiers some rest.”
Hearing that, I raised my torso.
“That’s a huge help. Give Aura and Thelma-san, and Gaston-san my thanks.”
By the time they were looking for us in Beim territory, we had entered the four-nation alliance, and set course for the port.
The reason being that I felt sorry for conducting a surprise attack every time, and I wanted to fight them head-on for once. That one was the Third’s suggestion. Having thought up scorched earth, he was considerably dirty. The Third Generation Head was extremely dirty.
… Miranda took charge of thirty Valkyries alongside the soldiers they had brought in from South Beim, and the adventurers and soldiers who’d joined them in Beim.
Looking only to numbers, they didn’t have three thousand, but their equipment was in order, and they were fighting while circulating any needless personnel to the back. Looking at a map of the city, they kept watch for enemy movements as they surrounded any foe they found to beat them down.
Miranda lined up some crates, spreading the map on top of that, and sticking in an indicator.
“So I’m sure the evacuation is proceeding, right?”
When she asked a bearded veteran-esque adventurer, he nodded.
“We’re doing it. However, this is the first I’ve heard of evacuating to the Labyrinth. Is a nest of monsters really someplace you can take refuge in?”
Miranda looked at the adventurer.
“There’s no helping it, is there? We don’t have any ships to evacuate them on. The merchants fled to save their own skins, didn’t they? Then we can only do what we’re capable of.”
A population too high… it had developed by magic, and magical treatment was also a factor of the increase in population. On top of that, Beim’s supplies relied heavily on import. But they were even able to expend their massive imports, exporting other things for income. The reason they were able to do so was because of the massive Labyrinth they managed.
And their increased population was, at this point, just dragging their feet. There were insufficient locations to shelter them, so Miranda’s unit chose to use the Labyrinth.
“And the Labyrinth is too unexpected they they’ll hardly notice. If they do enter it, that in itself is the unchallenged realm of adventurers, right?”
On those words, the adventurer nodded. Placing a hand on his head, and smiling a bit.
“It’s true, I don’t get the slightest feeling we’ll lose there. And right now, we’re fighting within a mountain of rubble.”
Magic and fire, but then, the flourishing cityscape of Beim had collapsed, with rubble rolling around the roads. There were many buildings that had caved in, and now they were merely ruins.
Around, the soldiers of Beim were looking at Miranda. And the adventurer who’d had the role of getting them together until her arrival offered a word.
“… If only folks like you guys had come sooner.
Did he hate Miranda, or perhaps the upper echelon that ran away? There was no mistaking that his feelings were complex.
Miranda let out a light sigh.
(I’ve got to skillfully guide them towards hating Beim’s merchants and Guild higher-ups. But even so, they keep sending goods and soldiers in succession, but… now that the enemy’s offensive force has weakened, it may be a good idea to step back and regroup.)
On the encampment prepared by Zayin, we let the soldiers rest.
From there would be a forward march to Galleria’s port, and the ship there would take us to Beim.
With those plans unfolding, in my tent lay Clara, who was worn out from operating Porter. Monica put out snacks and drinks for our guests.
In that tense tent interior. It was twilight outside, and perhaps the soldiers were drinking ale, as I could hear some rowdy voices.
The energized voices outside, and the sound of Monica preparing tea, I could hear it well. In that tent where I could even hear Clara’s sleeping breath… Eva had escaped from the tent at full speed, successfully fleeing from this dangerous air. The Third in the Jewel was exhilarated.
『Hooray! It’s getting interesting around here. A tea party with these members, if it were me, I’d have refused. Good going, Lyle.』
That didn’t make me happy. That didn’t make me happy at all.
“… Um, Lyle-dono? You’ve been quite busy these days, but how is your body faring?”
Thelma-san who came over to greet us. Naturally enough, she had soldiers of Zayin, she had come over to raise our morale. Perhaps Aura-san was too busy to move, so the previous generation’s Holy Maiden Thelma-san had come.
But in Zayin, the songs of me and her were in fashion, and with their spread, it seems Thelma-san had become conscious of them.
At times her face went red. The ones looking at her were Gracia and Elza. Zayin’s minstrel elves were performing their songs to the soldiers, and when they heard our song, they had rushed into the tent.
What’s more, when Thelma-san was there.
“Lyle, what is the meaning of this? I heard you didn’t particularly have anyone in Zayin…”
Gracia looked at me with a frigid expression. Elza with cold, emotionless eyes… no, she was a little teary. It hurt the heart.
“No, that was just a song. I’m telling the truth. When I saved Zayin, there were strange rumors of Aura-san as well, but it does seem that one is on the decline, or rather…”
There, Elza stood.
“S-so there’s more!? Just how many women have you laid hands on!? I-I did hear the number was high, but this much is…”
From the Jewel, I heard the Seventh’s grim voice.
『Now how will you overcome this crisis, Lyle? I can’t think up any plans to overcome this one. How will you cut through this disadvantage! Prove your worth, son of Walt! 』
He was definitely enjoying this. The Third’s voice was serious.
『Why don’t you just push them down already? I’m sure it’ll become a pain, and it’ll trouble you for years to come, but… that’s just what I’d like to see. No! Turning to Clara-chan here is also valid, don’t you think!?』
These guys really were the worst. Within that tension different from the battlefield, I tried to think of what sort of excuse I’d give… when my body suddenly lost its power.
There, Thelma-san approached me.
“Are you alright, Lyle-dono!?”
“G-get away from him! Think of the age difference, former Holy Maiden. And for Lyle to use such transparent means to throw smoke over the topic… wait, Lyle?”
Elza peered into my face. And Gracia looked at me…
“This is… it couldn’t be, with this timing? Why? No, I’ll admit it woulsn’t be strange for it to happen in that situation.”
There, Monica looked at me as she quivered.
“… Fever time. It’s time for fever time! Finally, the time has arrived for the true chicken dickwad to come out!”
Gracia looked at Monica, tilting her head.
“Fever time? No, I get what you want to say. But it’s downright dangerous to send him at the enemy in his post-Growth.”
Elza seemed to understand, as she nodded.
“R-right. We need to isolate Lyle. So let’s use Rusworth’s–”
Gracia grasped Elza’s collar and lifted her up.
“Bitch! Where did you plan to go with those words!? Out with it! Look me in the eyes and say it!”
Elza averted her eyes. Thelma-san rested my fallen head on her lap, and tried letting me rest. This is troublesome. It feels so motherly, extremely comfortable.
Within that boisterous tent, Monica spoke to Gracia and Elza.
“Quiet down! There’s no need for such ruckus. For the Chicken Dickwad, never has it happened that he’s failed through post-Growth. More than that, you need only think this is where it gets serious!”
My body gradually grew heavier. And feeling that intense fatigue, I spoke to Monica.
“Wait. Wait a second. Don’t phrase it as if the post-Growth me is the true me! Please don’t.”
From the Jewel, the Third in a shaking voice.
『What timing. Lyle truly is a man who’s got it.』
It seems the Seventh shared his opinion.
『Wonderful. Thinking of our boat ride from Galleria to Beim, I thought that time-wise, just maybe… this is that best timing thing.』
Wrong. It’s definitely not. There’s no way this post-Growth will last until we arrive in Beim… probably. That’s what I’d like to think.