Chapter 0369 Intermission – King Abel’s Northern Tour Part 2
Outside the walls of Semington, the capital of Baron Avon.
A man muttered.
(Everything about this is totally unplanned for… I mean, bandits engaging in a siege battle? Is that not messed up?)
Thinking of that, the head of the bandits watched his men attack the castle.
(The guard working with us to grab the gold was supposed to open the castle gates. How come he didn’t? We were supposed to break in as fast as possible and steal the valuables… keeping everything for ourselves… and our role was to stay in Semington for an hour. At this rate we will be the ones losing out.)
But the man was reluctant to pull out of the agreement and retreat.
Because he knew that if he did that, he would be killed immediately.
(For f*ck sake, will you get on with it… almighty Empire.)
The first to set out from Carlisle to Semington was Gus Hyde, Baron of Avon.
He was followed only by four of his men.
(I’ve been careful… but I never thought they would attack Semington. When did they become so strong? I have beaten them down several times, but they keep coming back each time which I thought was kind of uncanny. But how did they come to possess that kind of strength…)
Now in his mid-twenties. Gus Hyde’s achievements in the Kingdom Liberation War allowed him to own a fiefdom in the north.
Even though he comes from a family of knights, he could never have hoped for a baron title.
However, his success in the war earned him a baron rank in the eyes of His Majesty the King!
As a baron in the northern part of the country, which is still in turmoil, his domain was larger than that of barons in other parts of the Kingdom.
Normally, a baron only has a manor or two.
Gus worked hard.
He tried his best to govern his fief with sincerity.
But now his fief was under attack.
Gus was riding his horse occupied with these thoughts.
That was probably why he did not notice the attack until it was too late.
The guard riding just to the left of Gus was hit by a fire-attribute magic attack and fell.
In addition, Gus’s horse was hit by the wind magic <Air Slash> and lost its front legs.
Gus was thrown off his horse.
And soon surrounded.
The men who surrounded him were wearing leather armor, but they had the aura of… formally trained men.
They were not bandits.
The northern part of the country borders the Empire just to the north.
However, the Emperor has been replaced, and they currently have a delegation which they sent alongside the Kingdom’s, to the Western Countries.
Under such circumstances, could it be that…?
(Shit, I’m dead…)
Gus closed his eyes involuntarily.
“That which formed the earth, that which made the world, the ancestor of all beings, lend me your power, <Stone Storm>.”
As the fast-paced chant echoed, hundreds of stones and gravels of suppressive fire struck the men surrounding Gus.
In addition, a swordsman, scout, and spear-wielder jumped in.
It only took a moment.
All ten of the men surrounding Gus were knocked out cold.
Even Gus, who was watching with his eyes open halfway through, could not grasp what had happened.
The only thing he could understand was that the three of them were, in retrospect, quite skilled….
“Are you alright?”
The swordsman asked.
Following the swordsman, came a magician and a priest.
Then the female scout said:
“That’s all of them around here. But there are hundreds more laying in ambush to the south.”
“Ambush…. You don’t mean against Sir Warren and His Majesty Abel!”
“Warren? His Majesty Abel?”
The swordsman inquired in surprise.
“Yeah. Sir Warren may be following after us with reinforcements. And His Majesty… knowing him, he probably won’t sit still and just wait in Carlisle.”
Gus explained briefly.
His status and his territory were under attack.
That perhaps Count Carlisle and His Majesty the King might be trailing after him to help.
But that may be a trap….
“Ah… now I understand. Their real target is His Majesty.”
The swordsman shook his head as Gus explained.
“What are we going to do, Hector?”
“If the attack on the city itself is a trap to lure out His Majesty, then His Majesty and the reinforcements may encounter some difficulties. As I’m sure the enemy must have a fairly good amount of forces on their side. As royal citizens, we ought to assist His Majesty, don’t you agree… so shall we head out?”
At the call of the swordsman called Hector, the scout, spear-wielder, magician, and priest nodded.
“…An ambush, huh? These guys are no bandits.”
“Yeah, looks like it. With the three powers on a joint mission to the Western Countries, though a little absurd… I’m pretty sure this is the Empire’s handiwork.”
“The new emperor, Helmut VIII, uh. Ryo told me to watch out for the newly enthroned bunch because they can do some crazy things to show they are as good as their predecessors… I guess he was right.”
“I wish he would do these crazy things in his own country.”
Abel recalled Ryo’s words, and Rin agreed, sighing.
Warren was already standing in front of Abel, repelling arrows and magic attacks with his large shield.
Count Carlisle’s army and the Royal Knights had suffered a heavy blow in the beginning of the attack, but they had regrouped and were now in a defensive formation.
The army and knights numbered a total of two hundred.
The number of ambushers was about the same.
However, the ambushers were attacking from high ground, making it difficult for the army and the Knights to counterattack.
“Lady Rin, the Magician Order is ready to fire.”
“Okay, stand by.”
The territorial Magician Order, led by Rin had finished casting and all that remained was to chant the trigger word.
It would also serve as the signal to turn the tables on their enemy holding the high ground… but for that to happen, they needed to seize an opening.
“The Knights will charge in the moment magician order begins their bombardment… but what about the timing?”
It was the moment Abel muttered that.
Screams and angry shouts rose from behind the ambushers.
Something unexpected had happened.
That was the trigger.
Under Rin’s command, the offensive magic of her territory’s Magician Order… only magic spells like <Sonic Blade>, which suppresses and divides the enemy, was unleashed.
With that blow, the front of the ambush force was almost completely annihilated.
Abel gave the order and led the charge.
Warren was right behind him.
Followed by the Royal Knights and the Carlisle County’s army.
They ran up the hill at once and reached the elevation where the ambush forces were hiding.
They charged and cut down the ambushers as they passed them.
Abel’s gaze caught a glimpse of the confusion among the ambushers.
A Swordsman, spear-wielder, and scout were defeating the ambushers in melee combat.
Furthermore, judging from the stone lances flying around, there seemed to be an earth-attribute magician among them as well.
“Thanks for your help!”
Abel yelled and jumped off his horse, cutting into the ambushers.
Warren followed close behind, blasting away at the ambusher with shield bashes.
From there, it became one-sided.
“You’re… Hector, isn’t it? Which means, you guys are members of ‘Morning Star’ huh, wow, it’s been a long time.”
“Abel, oh, sorry, Your Majesty Abel, it’s been a while.”
Abel laughed at Hector’s paraphrasing.
With his subordinates present, he couldn’t exactly ask to be addressed the same way he used to.
‘Morning Star’, a C-rank party that formerly operated out of the royal capital.
The party has a reasonably deep relationship with Abel.
They were also known as the party that was part of the resistance in the royal capital under Raymond during the Kingdom Liberation War.
Presumably, they were now working under Marquis Heinlein….
“I didn’t expect to find you guys here in the North, or in this manner for that matter.”
“Yeah. Well, we were acting under Marquis Heinlein’s orders as usual.”
Responding to Abel’s question, Hector chuckled and the other four smiled.
“Oh right, we’ve got to head to Semington. What about you guys, ‘Morning Star’?”
Abel asked the five of them.
“We’ll take our time making our way to Carlisle.”
Hector said, and Oriana, the scout, nodded.
“All right. Be careful on your way… though I suppose that’s a needless worry. I appreciate the help. I should be back in Carlisle tomorrow, so stop by the castle.”
Abel said, and Hector nodded.
Thirty minutes later….
The Royal Knights and the Carlisle County army had cleaned out the ‘Black Wolf’, a group of bandits attacking the castle gates, by cornering them against the castle gates.
The basement of Semington Castle.
The captured assailants and the key players of the bandit group ‘Black Wolf’ were being held there.
Their gruesome torture… before it was even carried out, the ‘Black Wolf’ executives fessed up.
It turned out that the assailants were indeed pawns used by the Empire.
The assailants were then eventually forced to give up whatever information they had….
“So it was the Empire after all…”
Abel frowned and sighed deeply.
“What are we going to do about it? Though, we don’t have much in the way of evidence, except… testimony.”
Rin asked, sipping her coffee.
Warren was silent as usual, looking at Abel.
“Even if you ask me that…. But we now know how that bandit group could keep resurfacing no matter how many times they were crushed. Because the Empire was funding them. But that’s far from being enough justification to go after the Empire. So we’ll need to dig a little deeper.”
“Well, we’ve Marquis Heinlein, so we’ll find out sooner or later, won’t we?”
“That’s right. I’ll make it his top priority.”
And so Abel’s northern journey came to a tumultuous end….