𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟏𝟐: 𝐁𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐥𝐞 𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐌𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐧’𝐬 𝐅𝐨𝐨𝐭 (𝟏)
The next morning, we, the “Hope”, were inside a carriage.
We were heading to the mountains west of Gaillia, a two-day walk away, for a mountain hunt.
The reason being, the rebels who opposed the royal family had fled into these mountains.
Their numbers were said to be less than a hundred, but if they were to engage in guerrilla warfare in the dense forest, even the proud knights of the kingdom would have a hard time.
Their forte is large-scale battles on the plains.
It’s a different story when you’re dealing with enemies who smear mud on their faces and bodies and hide in the shadows of trees and bushes.
So, those who excel in such inglorious battles were called upon.
In other words, adventurers and mercenaries.
Orders were issued to the adventurer and mercenary guilds scattered throughout the neighboring cities, and the ruffians who excel in irregular warfare were selected.
The number was indeed five hundred. The number of clans exceeded thirty.
We were one of the clans that were sent in.
The official reason for the selection was that we had been successfully completing extermination requests one after another. In reality, they were choosing clans that the guild wanted to earn credit.
After all, it’s an order from the royal family.
Just participating adds prestige, and if you perform military feats, you might even receive a medal.
Moreover, we are going in with an overwhelming majority, and the surrounding area is secured by the kingdom’s regular army.
At worst, all we have to do is drive them out of the mountains and onto the plains.
It’s not just a good deal, it’s a job that a small clan like us wouldn’t normally be offered.
I’m very grateful to Jennifer for somehow squeezing us into the frame.
It was worth inviting her to barbecues and flattering her all the time.
“Do you feel indebted because of such a cheap barbecue party?”
I feel like I just saw a strange hallucination.
Am I tired?
It’s been a while since I’ve had a human-to-human combat, so I might be a little nervous.
More so than me, the three girls are.
“The enemy is the rebel army. . . not human. . . the enemy is the rebel army. . . not human. . .”
I put my hand on Miliaria’s head, who was muttering to herself.
“Are you okay?”
“. . .I’m brainwashing myself.”
“That’s the spirit. You have to be a little crazy to kill a person.”
I then mess up her brown hair.
Killing a human requires a certain kind of resolution, a certain kind of acceptance.
Like what Miliaria was doing just now, convincing herself that the rebels are not human is one way to do it.
Killing one’s own kind, that’s how much mental pressure it involves.
Once you clear that, humans are not that strong of an enemy.
They don’t have the agility of a wolf, the power of an ogre, or the ability to fly like a harpy.
In other words, they are enemies on the same level as us.
If there is no overwhelming difference in ability, there is only one factor that determines the outcome.
“It’s the intent to kill, isn’t it, Nel-san.”
Asuka answered in a slightly tense voice.
This level of tension will probably work in our favor.
“Yes, the will to kill absolutely controls life and death. You remembered well.”
It’s something I taught her before.
I think it was when we were fighting goblins.
Asuka has grown a lot since then, and when she was able to defeat goblins with ease, she became a little complacent.
It’s not unusual. When people get a little stronger, they tend to be dominated by a sense of omnipotence. Anyone.
And, as expected, I was surrounded and almost killed.
That’s when I taught her the rules of the battlefield.
There’s no such thing as a weak enemy when someone is coming at you with the intent to kill. Even women and children, with just a knife, can kill a grown man.
Items and techniques don’t matter.
The determination to kill at all costs is the greatest weapon.
“There’s only one thing to tell Asuka. Don’t let your guard down. That’s all.”
“I had a good sleep.”
Meisha, who got off the carriage, stretched out.
She had been sleeping all the way until we arrived, for about four quarters (eight hours). The only time she woke up was for a bathroom break.
She’s so laid-back that I want to ask if she’s okay.
So, I couldn’t help her relax in the carriage, but it seems there’s no need to worry at all.
“The fight against the infidels is the same. The only good infidel is a dead one.”
That’s what she said.
Among the three girls, Meisha is the most unwavering.
She’s a brave woman who proudly declares that the world is all about meat.
But she’s only sixteen.
Maybe it’s because Asuka and Miliaria are childish, she naturally became determined.
“If it gets tough, you can tell me anytime.”
I stroke her silky blonde hair.
In a sentence without a subject.
“Mama Nel is kind. When the time comes, I will give you my virginity.”
“Why do you guys only say things like that?”
I laugh bitterly, and go “washawasha”.
Meisha squints as if ticklish.
Now, we set off in the morning, but all the clans arrived on the battlefield when it was almost dusk.
After a night of camping, we’re going to start hunting in the mountains the next morning.
That’s what General Kytes, who commands the entire army, explained.
He’s a big man who looks in his late forties, and the large sword he carries is undoubtedly a magical item.
He’s a true veteran warrior.
And probably, a huge trickster.
This man, he’s calculated everything. No doubt about it.
I beckon the three girls with my fingers and whisper in their ears.