The battle over the Carorolaia magical silver mine ended in victory for the Dalimarx family, but the battle wasn’t over yet.
The pursuit for the rest of Meisenav Family, which systematically retreated leaving behind scapegoats, had not slowed down, and the hunt for the remnants of the defeated army kept intensifying.
On the other hand, the captured prisoners weren’t killed.
Many of the ordinary soldiers who didn’t have families with the financial means to pay the ransom were turned into slaves for mining.
The aristocrats and wealthy people who were released couldn’t escape financial difficulties due to the payment of a large ransom.
Thanks to the efforts of healing magicians, many of the injured were able to maintain their composure, but there were also those who were unable to pass the harsh night to see the next morning’s sun.
Luckily, the laceration on Kuwen’s thigh was calmed down by the cauterization and further treated by a healing magician.
Herbs were ground and smeared on a cloth sterilized with alcohol, then used to cover the wound.
So, there was no fear of leaving aftereffects, and as long as he didn’t force himself to move which might cause suppuration, the wound would eventually close.
“I got it”
The one who ran in was Kalim, holding his helmet with both hands.
Inside the removed helmet, which was turned upside down, were the provided hard black bread, small potatoes, withered cabbage and chives, and miscellaneous beans.
“Compared to before, it seems there are more items.”
Kuwen stood half up and smiled even though he looked pale as he was still lacking blood.
“We won in a shorter time than expected.
Must be the leftover provisions prepared for a long war.”
The capture of supplies left behind by the enemy must be one of the other reasons too.
After all, they left in that confusion.
It wasn’t possible to burn all supplies when retreating.
If even one-third of it could be destroyed, it would be a good one.
Walm didn’t participate in the raid on the enemy’s main camp because he devoted himself to the enemy of the branch castle.
It was a real shame to miss the treasure trove, but he had to give up on it because of his eyes.
If he had been targeted by many when he was in a bad shape, even though his opponents might be just the remnants, he might have been killed as well.
That said, although Walm couldn’t participate in the quest for gathering supplies from the enemy’s headquarters, he had been scavenging for the corpses of enemy soldiers who had been burned to death.
While the other soldiers were slow to work due to the high temperature and the smell, Walm, who was used to it, was able to collect without much problem.
He already had more than the promised prize prepared for those with silver plates, moreover, he got some coins too.
Half of the branch castle had turned into a pile of rubble, and there was no problem with getting things to burn.
The broken wooden pillars and the wreckage of the abatis, which were used to block the invasion of enemies, were cut into reasonable sizes and set on a fire to heat the pot.
Cut vegetables with a knife, and sometimes tore them by hand.
Then put it all together in, and sprinkle the salt.
Steam rose from the pot, raising the hungry level.
The bleeding had been stopped, but Kuwen had lost a lot of blood.
He had preserved meat on hand, but it would be wise to avoid meat that would be difficult to digest.
Besides, the boys might be not that happy to eat meat amidst the stench of burnt corpses.
“Here it is”
Walm received a bowl of soup from Kalim.
Carry the bowl to the mouth.
It permeated the empty stomach.
Let out a breath slightly and threw in a bite-sized piece of black bread.
The black bread in hand brought back a distant memory.
“Eh What happened”
Kuwen asked Walm with a dubious expression.
“Nothing, I just remembered my comrades from the Highserk days.”
“I want to hear.”
Kalim’s eyes shone saying that he had the interest to hear more.
It’s not such a big deal, but, well…
Walm began to tell his story.
“My superior, the Squad Commander.
On top of having a non-standard body, he did a lot of unreasonable things.
He crushed the goblin’s head with his bare hands.
Because he didn’t have a skewer, he uses his own hand to hold meats while grilling them on fire.
He was the kind of person who would kill three enemies with a single swing.”
“…Umm, was that person really human”
“Not an ogre or something”
The two looked at Walm with suspicious eyes as they couldn’t believe the story.
“He should be a human.
Well, many said that rather than fighting him, it would be better to fight an Ogre.”
That’s what the soldier who ran away from the ramparts on the Myard border said.
With that in mind, Walm continued the story.
“Anyway, he had a wild way of eating, and eats hard-baked biscuits without problem.”
Hard-baked biscuit, which had been carefully baked for preservation purposes and had lost its moisture, was a formidable opponent for teeth as its strength far exceeded the black bread.
According to one theory, it was said that a soldier who had a hard-baked biscuit hidden in his chest could possibly block an enemy’s arrow infused with 《Strong Shoot》.
“Y-you mean, “that” things What kind of chin he had”
“I guess, he could even chew bones.”
Everyone had tasted the biscuits once, so it was easy for them to imagine.
Walm, who got the responses, continued further.
“Some challenged the hard-baked biscuits one after another, and were defeated.
The viewer group, including me, couldn’t hold our laughter and laughed out loud at seeing the blood flowing from the gums and the chipped teeth.
It escalated into a civil war between the members of the squad.”
In particular, the troublesome three idiots who talked about chivalrous spirits or those bull**s and immediately asked for a fight.
It was so annoying.
“It’s so intense, to the point that other squads starting to bet.
The face of those infight, including me, would get swollen due to the fistfight.
In the end, the Platoon Commander who rushed to the commotion gave an order to suppress it.
Then, after eating, everyone fell prey to the Squad Commander’s fist.
I tried to escape, but I received a sharp blow to the head and went down to the ground.
After that, the hard-baked biscuits were soaked in soup or water, except for the Squad Commander.
Then we were given strict orders to eat it, saying that we’re soldiers, and not a child.”
Starting with small talk, the silly chat continued.
Walm went to tell the story of him with his brothers running in his hometown forest from wild animals, and about how they went to pay respects to the land with a hoe and plow the next day.
Also, about how his brothers led him to go peeping and got caught, then punished together in the center of the village, scolded for a whole day.
As Walm told stories of his childhood, Kuwen and Kalim told similar stories.
After all, it was centered on failure stories.
Then, the topic switched to the claimed land.
New land had been claimed for development, and the two of them had captured goods and coins to the extent that they didn’t have to borrow money for buying agricultural tools from the Lord.
If the two of them decided to grow up like this and had a family, they would surely be able to feed their descendants and children in the neighborhood while telling a story of their youthful bravery and actual experience of battle.
They would be similar to the uncle in the Walm’s neighborhood who told about his military service days.
Several people of Baron Josh’s retainers passed behind Walm and the boys who were having such a conversation.
It was strange.
The branch castle was cleared of enemy soldiers during the day.
Even if they were looking for a defeated soldier or a runaway prisoner of war, who would hide in a base full of enemies Normally, they would be running away even one step further.
Walm suspected that it was about assassinating or recapturing a prisoner of war, but they were clearly looking for something else rather than an enemy.
The chat stopped and silence rose to the atmosphere.
The sound of the firewood that had just been put in could be heard.
“…Walm-san’s fire is blue, right”
It was Kalim who got to the point.
Walm wasn’t so insensitive that he didn’t know what that word meant.
It was only natural that there were people who would associate the blue flame with the skill 《Demon Fire》.
Most of the defenders of the corner tower and the surrounding ramparts were killed in action, but they weren’t completely annihilated.
Even if Walm hid his face with a mask when he used 《Demon Fire》, he might be seen by someone from afar.
“Actually, it seems that Josh-sama and Edgar-sama’s retainers were looking for the soldier who set the branch castle on fire.
When I went to pick up the food, I was asked if I had any idea…”
Walm exhaled a long breath and looked up at the sky.
Of course, right…
In a flashy way, Walm had set fire to the most important stronghold, the branch castle, and slaughtered and wounded many allies.
It was more natural to think that he wouldn’t be able to escape some form of punishment or perhaps, even lynching.
“Of course, I said I didn’t know.”
It was a favorable word.
Walm struggled in thinking about how severe the punishment he would receive if he was caught.
Would he get turned into a slave Beheaded He could only hold his forehead without knowing the answer.
“Walm-san, let’s run away.”
Kalim lifted his hips and approached Walm.
“That’s right, we were saved by Walm-san.
If it wasn’t for that blue flame that was accompanied by the hot wind, I wonder if we would have won the battle.”
Walm was no saint.
It was true that escape was the first option that came to mind.
And he wasn’t persistent enough to deny it.
“…I’m glad I was able to fight you guys.
When I first met you two, I honestly felt heavy at the thought of fighting with such rookies.
But, the two of you fought well.
Besides, the memories and feelings of the past that I had forgotten… albeit a little, I’m able to regain them back.”
Those were Walm’s sincere thoughts.
The noisy but innocent words of the two people saved his heart.
Otherwise, he would have been living with abominable memories forever.
“Haha, D-don’t cry.”
Walm let out a laugh at Kuwen, who was in tears.
“Our hometown is a village called Yulepez.
But, after we go back, we plan to build a village on the claimed land.
If you don’t have a place to go, why don’t we build a village together”
It was a sweet, tempting offer.
If Walm hadn’t participated in that war, if he had been a nomad with nowhere to go, and if it hadn’t been for his damn eyes, he would have been joining them.
“Thanks for inviting.
Really, I mean it….
but, I can’t go.
I lost my eyes during the war during my Highserk days.”
The two were seriously listening to Walm’s story.
And they had questions.
It would be so.
Because both eyes of the person who said he lost his eyes were still there.
“It happened in a terrible place.
Surrounded by more than 100,000 monsters, my comrades-in-arms, acquaintances, and many people all died.
It was hell.
In such a situation, I had the monster’s eyes transplanted.”
Walm circulated his mana, focusing on his head.
And his eyes transformed.
The pupils narrowed vertically like reptiles, cats, or perhaps monsters.
The two, who gazed at it, were stiff.
“Are you scared”
“There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
Bravado or Truth Anyway, Kalim answered proudly.
“The transplant was a success, but I couldn’t receive any treatment afterward.
It’s the after-effect.
Without the medicine, my eyes would melt away.
I was told so by a healing magician in the border city, Kopetsk.
I need to travel to heal my eyes.
That’s one of the reasons why I joined this civil war.
I don’t know if I’ll find it.
I might end up going to the Aleinard Forest Alliance instead of the Labyrinth City.
So yeah, I have to go.
Thanks to you guys, I’m able to make up my mind.
Thanking them from the bottom of his heart, Walm patted them on the shoulders.
“If, you finish your treatment, please come and visit us.”
“I’m not good at making promises… but I’ll try my best.”
The unfulfilled agreement Walm made with the girl crossed his mind.
He wasn’t confident enough to say that it was a promise.
Even though he himself thought it was cowardly, Walm decided to take precautions.
“I’m about to go.
If I stay too long, I may get arrested.
Walm packed his things and left the place.
All in all, it was a somewhat peaceful war without much enthusiasm, but there were things he gained.
After all, he was always avoiding memories of the past, but now that he had tried to face it face-to-face, it wasn’t all as bad as he expected.
Now, Walm was alone on the dimly lit night road, being immersed in sentimentality.
In such a slow flow of time, the demon mask vibrated as if asserting itself.
As usual, the reputation for being bad at reading the atmosphere wasn’t just a rumor.
He didn’t know if it was comforting him or provoking him.
“I’ve never thought, the longest relationship I would have, would be with you.
Really, the world, is revolving in a mysterious way.”
Even though Walm grumbled at the face, his feet didn’t stop.
Slowly, his body completely blended into the darkness.