Chapter 93 – Prelude to War
A few weeks after the whole incident in the garden, during a sunny day around the middle of April, I went to the adventurer guild to get a quest. However, the air on the guild was different than normal. It is as noisy as usual, but a different kind of noise… And it’s busy, very busy. Besides, it seems that adventurers are in a bad mood as well.
In the tea room, instead of the usual relaxed air, people are seriously discussing with one another… What happened? For the time being, I decided to ask a receptionist before looking at the quests. “Good morning. Things seem to be quite hectic, what happened?”
At the receptionist’s desk, Airi-san also seemed to be pretty busy, but she looked to me and explained the situation. “Ah, Fujino-sama… Good morning… Eeh, an emergency request came early this morning… The army of the Soutinsu country has been advancing towards the border… All adventurers are to prepare for the departure. You can’t refuse unless you have special circumstances. Fujino-sama also needs to go. The king decided that we’ll be part of the defense line. The departure is in 3 days and it is a top priority request, all other quests have been suspended, so please see the details on the board.” She seemed out of breath, but she still explained it in one go.
There have been rumors since a while back, but did it finally come…? It seems like there were already tensions with the surrounding countries due to monopoly of rare ores and summons of heroes. There were also rumors of them contracting mercenaries a while back. It might be the fault that there have only been small skirmishes on the recent times.
It was common to have large battles every 10 years or so, but there has been no big battle on the last 40 years. “What is the size of the army and their current position?” If the adventurers are being forced to participate, Soutinsu’s army is probably on the tens of thousands. Considering that the departure is in 3 days, Soutinsu’s army probably departed a few days ago. It takes about 8 days by carriage, or 15 days on foot to go from the capital to the border area. Sobyuuru’s army should depart an advance team tomorrow to prepare the defense line.
“The information we got says that Soutinsu’s army has about 60,000 troops and departed from the capital four days ago. Sobyuuru’s troops dispatched 3,000 as an advance group, together with the border defense, they should have about 8000 people for the defense.”
60 thousand…! That’s almost the whole army! No, I don’t know the details of these days… 25… No, 26 years ago, 60,000 was about 80% of Soutinsu’s Army. I don’t know how much it grew, but I doubt it was much. In other words, they are departing with full strength while only leaving the bare minimum left, intending to end it all with a single decisive battle.
Our kingdom’s troops are around 120,000. If more soldiers are recruited, it could grow up to 200,000. Considering the strength of each nation, a prolonged battle would be disadvantageous for Soutinsu. Since our borders are with friendly countries, we don’t need to keep many troops, but village and guards are still necessary. If you exclude those, it should be possible to move about… 70,000 people? The kingdom has the advantage on the numbers, but we don’t know what will happen on the battlefield. It’s also possible they use forbidden spells on it.
I thanked Airi and headed to the quest board. There was a crowd of people in front of it, as expected. The content of the convocation was there in one big parchment.
It read: “The army of Soutinsu marches upon the kingdom of Sobyuuru. Adventurers are drafted to help on the border for an indefinite amount of time, until the case is settled. An appropriate compensation will be given according to the time spent there.“ There were other details on it, but it was similar to what Airi-san told me.
Three days later, in the morning, I went to the gate. On the preparation time, I did what I deemed necessary. First of all, I asked Chiffon-san to take care of Eru as usual. I’m worried because I don’t know when I’ll be back, but Eru is smart, so it will probably be fine. When I come back, I should give something to Chiffon-san as thanks.
As for the house… While I can’t do anything about the cleaning, I asked the Guild to take the money from my account to pay the rent. It would be sad to come back, only to see my home gone… There weren’t many more things to do, I didn’t need to prepare anything in particular for the trip. My equipment is in good shape, food will be provided by the country. Maa, I’ll bring some preserved meals, but there isn’t much else.
There were already other adventurers gathering at the plaza. I was in a bit of an isolated place, but the surroundings were quickly being filled. I don’t think there are a thousand of them here, but it should be close to it. I heard there are only about 20,000 people on the capital though? The number seems too big, they probably came from the surrounding towns as well.
Ever since the convocation, every day a group of knights could be seen leaving towards the border. The town’s people can see it, and rumors of Soutinsu’s advancement spread. When I went shopping, a lot of people asked me about it… Maa, I don’t want to fight in a war, but this is part of the obligations of an adventurer, so there is no choice. Hopefully it will end quickly.
Looking around, I could see many groups talking. Though there is one guy that seems to be alone, he is watching them while walking back and forth. Aah, he is uneasily looking at the ground. From his looks, seems like a beginner, probably F-rank? Just as he registered, a war broke out… Thinking of it, there are really few women working as adventurers, I heard it was about 20%, but isn’t it closer to 10%?
Eh? Why is no one looking at me? Am I too small to be seen from afar…? I’m participating too! I’m sitting atop my luggage a bit far from the rest. It would be impossible to see this many adventurers together if not for such a troublesome time. We will work together, so it would be better to get close to those I don’t deem dangerous.
By the way, some people end up being trouble on the battlefield due to no having the discipline of the army, or they get too stressed due to spending too much time on the field. At first, alcohol will solve it, but with time, they end up entering fights or assaulting the women. As expected, there are no knights that do this, but with adventurers, one needs to be careful with whom they’re close to… Due to that, the women tend to rest in groups, as they can trust it other more easily.
Maa, it won’t happen on the first days though. While I was looking at the adventurers, a loud voice came from the gate. “We are leaving for the border! The expected arrival time is in 14 days, so please be prepared! Troublesome behavior will lead to punishments by the guild, so please be careful! We’ll proceed without stopping at any villagers or town! Then let’s move out!” The groups started to move out. I decided to leisurely accompany the groups on the back.
Going to the border wasn’t very troublesome. I’m annoyed by the preserved food not being very tasty, and the soup we got from dinner being pretty bad, but it’s not a big dissatisfaction. Rather, the biggest problem was to not take a bath. To keep walking through the towns and villages, only stopping at night for camping… We keep on accumulating dirt gradually, it’s particularly bothersome for me that had the habit of taking baths daily.
Since I’m an adventurer, I could endure it for a few days, but I always got a huge relief whenever I got home, in those cases. However, there isn’t a place in which I can hide to change my clothes, and if I go bathe, I’ll need to endure the peeping from other adventurers. I don’t have any exhibitionist hobby.
Exposing myself or enduring the dirt…? Everyday was a tough day… I didn’t endure it until even half of the way. It happened on the fifth day of campaign. I suggested to a few female adventurers to take turns while bathing. They were also troubled by the current situation, so they easily complied, so we got a few more people and told the guards about it.
Half does the watch, and half bathe and change. We also washed the dirty clothes and dried them at a bonfire. Only the women were doing it, and the men weren’t allowed near. We couldn’t do it everyday though, I had to make do with a bath every 3 days. From time to time some guys tried to peek, but they were always driven out. We were scolded due to this hindering the march, but we still did it anyway.
And even with this delay, we still reached the border in time. The knights had already built a few tents in advance, so the camp was already set. There was a big tent with a few small ones around them, they’re probably reserved for the nobles. We, adventurers, had to set up our tents near the knights’ ones. I say it’s a tent, but it’s basically for sleeping, there was barely any space on them.
There isn’t much tension on the camp right now, probably because the war didn’t properly start yet. Still, there is still tension due to the looming danger approaching. However, that doesn’t mean it is quiet. The knights are constantly moving around, and plenty of people are still arriving and setting up tents.
“Long time no see, so Fujino-san also came.” After finishing setting up my tent, I heard a voice come from behind me while I thought on what to do after dinner. Takahashi-san, the former hero, was standing behind me.
“Aah, Takahashi-san, it’s been a while indeed, weren’t you placed as a guard for the capital?” I asked him.
“Haha, I have a huge debt to Soutinsu if I have the opportunity to repay it, then I’d rather grab it with my own hands.” Indeed, Takahashi-san was summoned to this world by Soutinsu and was deceived to come to Sobyuuru, he was about to be killed by a person he was a friend, right? Seems to be quite ironic to have their very own summoned hero turn his back towards them.
“It’s good to get back at them, but it’s not worth it if you get injured while trying to do that, so please be careful.” Small injuries can’t be helped, but long-lasting injuries that affect us even on the future are no good, my goal is to get home safely after all. Of course, we don’t have room for losing since it’s a war after all, but I guess we can try moderating between endangering ourselves and doing the safe actions.
Also, I’m also worried about how Soutinsu will act. I feel like they have no qualms on what actions they take or any humanitarian values at all. I heard it from the prince, but it seems the self-proclaimed demon who was manipulating the lesser dragon was also involved with Soutinsu. I’m not sure on what to do if they do something similar again…
There is also the danger of them using a large-scale forbidden spell that needs 100 people to be cast. Though it’s only a theoretical spell, it’s never been executed. But even without it, there are still large possible damages that can be caused by mages that use forbidden magics. It’s stupid to live life by tattering on those kinds of things.
“I know, I’ll be careful to not receive any big injury… So, did you meet His Highness Sedrim yet? I assume you came as a deputy commander…” He asked me.
“No, I didn’t even know the prince came… Still, deputy commander? Does that mean prince Edwin is the general?” I replied.
“Ahh, it seems Fujino-san is well acquainted with His Highness Edwin?” He continued.
“Maa, we’re more on the level of acquaintances… We’ll probably have an opportunity to meet soon, since it still seems to be quite busy before the war actually starts.” I clarified.
“Ah, seems like the captain is calling, then please do your best Fujino-san.” He walked towards another knight while waving his hand.
… I wonder if Takahashi-san can kill people? Unlike me, he is a pure Japanese, I think he might not have gotten used to the ethics of this world. Eh? What about me? I… I’m probably okay. I haven’t killed anyone yet, but I did it on my previous life. For now, I don’t feel anything. Rather, I am already used to the ethics of this world, I can’t say which one is better, but I think I’m happy to be here.