TL note: I wrote a character’s name wrong: “Merin” is actually “Merino”. Yeah, she’s a sheep called like the sheeps’ race. I already fixed that in chapter 46, sorry for derping something this stupid.
Anyway, I didn’t expect we could make it before the end of the year, but we really did and I’m very glad about it!
Let me thank you all again for supporting these series so far, you can’t imagine how much I’m glad someone enjoys these and how motivational your support is for me.
I’ll keep trying my best in 2021 to keep the monthly releases I sadly failed to keep this year.
Wish you all a merry holiday and a happy new year!
Readying the spadework – Part 3
The sun was sinking below the mountains as the wagon proceeded quickly.
Their three-day trip was about to end but the coachman, which had been Karin for all this time, wasn’t at her usual seat.
“Number of targets: six. Distance: 700 meters. Moving to your seven. Aim.”
Aigle had taken her place and was now listing short commands while keeping a low tone of voice.
A very loud bang followed his instructions, exploding from near him. The smell of gunpowder wafted in the air, and a cartridge case ticked on the wooden floor of the wagon short after.
“Hit. Three of them are scared and moving to your nine. Aim.”
Karin pressed the trigger again in silence.
Two more roars of the rifle talked in her place.
“Hit. They all stopped on their tracks and regrouped, scanning their surroundings. Aim.”
Three more bangs, then Karin let out a soft sigh.
“Bullseye. No more targets in sight…! WHAT A SUBLIME JOB, LADY KARIN!”
“Argh! Don’t shout in my ears, you damn idiot!”
She kicked the bird’s shin with all her strength, but it felt like kicking a wall. It wasn’t very effective.
“Good grief… Merino, I need to reload.”
“Already taken care of it. Once you’re ready to go, pretend to pierce a few more.”
After rising her index and middle fingers in a victory sign, she tossed the elf another magazine with her usual sleepy expression.
Elsa gasped to seeing all the bullets inside the magazine.
“No matter how many times I see it… that rifle’s performance is just strange.”
“I guess so, this isn’t like the average rifle. The nobles usually use them for hunting or as decorations.”
Karin wore a bold smile while holding her favorite weapon.
It looked like an average rifle of that world, but the mechanics inside it were the very same of a sniper rifle of Takumi’s old world—the Earth.
Its range was way longer than all the other ranged weapons in that world, and only a very powerful spell could deflect one of its bullets, which would come from so far it would just be impossible to detect.
It was used to deal with minor monsters and chase them away, making them desist from attacking again. It was strong enough to put up a good show.
As far as Takumi told her, the antimaterial rifles were used to pierce through sturdy or armored equipment. Their bullets had bigger calibers and could easily pierce the hard skin and bones of monsters.
“Do you want to try shooting? It’s child’s play if you’re not trying to hit a target.”
“I-Is that so? It looked easy when you did…”
“Let me point out that you’ll dislocate your shoulder if you shoot the wrong way.”
“And you use it knowing that?!”
“Well, I’m an elf, so it’s not a big deal. The most important part of shooting with rifles is handling their recoil, not how physically strong you are, and I happen to be quite good at that.”
Elves were extremely good at understanding tools. They could lay their hands on one for the first time and yet show an unrivalled ability with it.
It was hard to show on close-ranged weapons, since they involved some physical strength too, but when it came to bows, propellers or guns, they were simply unmatched.
“You have to be as sturdy as that stupid bird or that idiotic dragon if you want to keep it at bay with sheer strength.”
“I-I see… so it uses a different technology compared to the traditional rifles, right?”
Elsa nodded not minding the two stupid demi-humans behind the elf who got in an idiotic pose.
Then, Merino chimed in their conversation.
“Karin is the only one who can use that rifle… no matter who else touches it…”
“What? Does it have a mechanism that allows only elves to use it?”
“No… it’s just a thing she loves because it was a gift from her master—Oopsie.”
“HYAAA~! Merinooo I’m not a meat-shiiield! Whyyy!”
Karin clicked her tongue and lowered her rifle when the woman grabbed the girl from behind and used her as a shield.
“Merino, spit something like that again and you’re dead meat, got it?”
“My… you always get so salty when you’re embarrassed, Karin…”
“Chloris, keep hugging Merino. It’s gonna be easier for me to end her like this…”
“Do you really want to shoot her THROUGH ME?!”
“Chloris… hang in there…”
“I’m only getting hanged like this! I don’t wanna hang anywhere!”
Then, the elf suddenly fired a question while looking at Chloris, who was about to cry from nervousness.
“By the way, can you two handle rifles?”
“More like… the entire demi-human division can… we get trained a lot too… that’s why we might be useful when it comes to war…”
“Mmmh… so Chloris can fight too?”
“I’m a scout, so I have plenty of chances to get into fights…! But I wanna be in the logistics like Merino…!”
The girl shrunk her body with teary eyes and Karin, silently looking at her, tried to picture her in battle… and scraped the idea the next moment. No, there was no way she could fight.
Then, Kunon yawned and stretched.
“Chloris doesn’t look like it, but she’s actually amazing, ya know? She just runs like crazy when she finds an enemy. Like, hella fast. Even when it’s the worst thing to do.”
“What’s exactly amazing about that…?”
“Like, a scout must survive to report what they find, so they gotta understand when to take another step or get away. Speaking as their commander, I assure you that when Chloris gets dispatched, you’re sure to see her come back! She’s a genius when it comes to that!”
“W-Well, no one would want to die, right…?”
Chloris pulled down her ears while shaking her head from side to side.
She looked like the most unreliable person around, but the truth is she was very trustworthy and had quite the number of achievements on her back.
“Anyway, Captain! We’re almost at the village, so you’re good with what we said, yes?”
“I’m here to keep an eye on your feudal-lord activities. The bird and the dragon are my bodyguards, right?”
“Yup, yup! Merino, Chloris and Lang will hide in this wagon until nightfall, then they’ll be dispatched! You need to make the right arrangements for that as well! Oh, and take this!”
Kunon took a bracelet out of her backpack and handed it over.
“What’s this…? A magic tool?”
“Yes, I use it in my unit to communicate with each other. You can only receive with that one, but you’ll still hear reports from everyone, so keep it with yourself all the time! Just in case!”
“I didn’t expect you would go as far as prepare something like this…”
“Things like this work even with our barely existent magic power and keeping up with everyone’s reports is very important~! We wanna complete our mission without losses! That’s how we work!”
Kunon let out a soft chuckle as she puffed out her chest.
They were proud of having kept all their comrades alive through so many battles even though demi-humans were seen as nothing more than disposable garbage.
“We’re almost there… time to hide for us…”
“Uuugh… It’s dark and scary under the wagon…!”
“Fear not, Chloris. If you happen to piss yourself, I will drink it for you.”
“I’d like this scummy-slimy-man to draw his last breath too…!”
“Hahaha, how mean of you!”
The three of them slowly entered the space below the wagon while bickering as Renunt Village’s entry finally was a step away.
Once they passed through the rudimental walls made of linked logs, they saw that every house was surrounded by bricks and chopped trees. The latter were probably brought there from the near forest.
That was the defense the villagers managed to put up against wild beasts and minor monsters.
“Right, Captain, I forgot to tell you one thing!”
Kunon suddenly called out to Elsa with a serious and bitter tone while the wagon stopped a short distance after the entry.
“Think only about your job, okay? No matter what happens.”
“Mh? Of course, that’s my duty and I don’t want to mind any more stu—”
“Yuppie~! You gotta keep that promise!”
Then, the demi-human jumped down the wagon with a beaming smile on her face.
Elsa didn’t get why Kunon said that just now and got down the wagon with a puzzled expression on her face. Aigle and Lewin followed right after her.
“Get the fuck outta our village, filthy demi-humans!”
Angry roars and hoots invested them like a storm.
Karin turned around to look through the cloth of the wagon and saw that many villagers were standing at the village’s entry, farming tools or weapons in hand, and were approaching them with evident hostility.
The elf got down of the wagon as well and stood her place, squaring them from head to toe.
“Sorry, but we are not here for a hit-and-run thing. We are here to protect you as feudal lords.”
“Piss off, liar! We never heard of demi-humans becoming feudal lords and we’d never accept it!”
“Yeah, he’s right! Why the hell would we hang our heads to beasts like you?!”
The torrent of insults and jeers only kept growing, and yet the demi-humans stood their place in a solemn silence.
“You don’t need to hang your head, but you shouldn’t go against Her Majesty’s orders.”
“Who fucking cares about that! Drop dead and shove your arrogance up your ass!”
The guy who yelled that threw them a fist-sized stone and many other villagers followed his lead.
“What the heck?! Hey—”
Elsa was about to snap, but Kunon rose her arm in front of her and started to leisurely walk under the rain of stones.
“We’re here just to hunt the monsters~! We’ll go home as soon as we’ll be done, so can we stay for some time~?”
“Fuck you! There won’t be worse shame than letting you in our village, you garbage!”
“Yeah, dammit! Who knows what you’re gonna do to our precious village!”
The big smile on Kunon’s face wasn’t shaken by insults or stones, but it disappeared suddenly the moment a stone hit her directly on the head, letting out a loud thud.
The impact was so hard that she almost fell on the ground, but she managed to keep standing.
Time seemed to freeze while her blood stained her golden hair red.
No one dared to move or speak as they held their breath in fear of what was about to happen.
“OUCHIIIE! IT HUUURTS! HOLY MOLY LOOK AT ALL THIS BLOOD!”
Kunon threw herself on the ground while shouting and started to roll around in pain.
“OH NO! HANG IN THERE, MADAME! MRS. FEUDAL LORD! OH GOOD FILIA, THE WOUND IS SO BIG!”
“DON’T WORRY, IT’S NO BIGGIE! LOOK, IT’S JUST A LIL CUT AND A BIT OF BLOOD!”
Aigle and Lewin hurried over and helped Kunon to her feet while shouting.
Then, the wolf-girl wobbled to Elsa, who looked as dumbfounded as all the other villagers.
“Fairstaaadt! Pweeease hewp meee! I couwdn’t make iiit!”
“What the heck?! What’s gotten into you?!”
“I thought I could persuade them if I just showed our good intentiooons!”
Kunon sweetly clung to Elsa while bawling.
The captain of the guards looked around her uncertain on what to do and saw the villagers jaw-dropped.
“Fairstadt…? One of the three Overlords…?”
“Why is she here…?”
The villagers were taken aback by that.
Elsa knew that was her chance—she couldn’t let it slip away.
“I am Elsa Fairstadt, of the Righteous Fairstadt family! Her Majesty ordered me to watch over the two feudal lords to make sure that they carry out their duty!”
Her voice was strong and resolute enough to draw all the people’s attention in a few moments.
“I expect an apology from this village’s inhabitants for the behavior you’ve shown us! I want to talk to the Renunt’s representative! Now!”
The villagers started getting noisy again, then some of them stepped aside and let a middle-aged man jump out of the crowd.
“I-It is my pleasure to make your acquaintance, Lady Fairstadt! I am the mayor of this village, my name is Leisel!”
The man bowed deeply in front of her and she nodded collectedly back at him.
“Lord Elvis Fortesea has ordered us to free your village from the monsters that are attacking you, thus we are here. You received a notice about it, right?”
“Y-Yes… we sent a request to the capital asking for reinforcements to handle the situation…”
Then, he glanced at Karin and her comrades almost to provoke them.
“…however, we have not been warned about the feudal lords’ race.”
“Regardless their race, they earned the title of official knights by defeating the best magic knights of Richtert during the challenge that Her Majesty had announced. However, they are yet to be acknowledged as feudal lords.”
“What do you mean…?”
Elsa took a deep breath, putting up her most serious face to keep up with her own acting.
“They fill all the requirements to be feudal lords both on paper and on the battlefield. However, as it is unprecedent that demi-humans earned such an award, I will make sure that they live up to their title.”
“Which means that… their feudal lord status will be revoked if they fail to carry out their mission?”
“Yes, and there is also another condition they have to meet. A feudal lord is trusted by their feud, so if they fail to earn your trust by solving your request, I will arrange the papers to have Her Majesty strip them of their status.”
Elsa came up with that story right off the bat.
Truth is that there was no way to strip them of their title or reverse its officialization.
However, clashing with the villagers who found demi-humans repulsing was better than having all of them killed by monsters.
She thought that once the demi-humans showed what they were made of by protecting the village, the villagers would trust them a little.
She then caught her breath to resume her speech, but the mayor spoke first.
“I understand how things stand now. However, I welcome you to withdraw if you are here to chase away or eradicate the monsters attacking us.”
Elsa looked down on the crooked smile of the man, her expression stiff and cold like steel.
“I requested another person to take care of that problem. He is someone from a good family like yours, Lady Fairstadt, unlike those nobody demi-humans.”
“Is that so? And who might that—”
“This turned out to be quite a pain.”
A man was walking up to them while letting out a listless sigh.
He wore reinforced clothes, an armorplate on his shoulders, where he rested his unusual huge sword, and a long cap. His sword was very thick and overall big, its surface was uneven like a grater’s and on the guard was fixated a huge shield.
The man yawned as he scratched his dark red hair, and judging by his little and unkept goatee beard and his sleepy expression, he was very tired.
“What’s going on here…? People keep screaming about demi-humans instead of monsters… what a pain… mh?”
The man stopped his listless advance and stared at Elsa in wonder without moving an inch for a few seconds.
“Hey there, Elsa! How’ve you been? What’re you doing here?”
He spoke to her in a friendly way, like a kid saying hello to their peer.
Meanwhile, the woman stared back at him totally taken aback.
“W-Wait, what are you doing here?!”
“Well, I happened to pass by! You know how I always wander around, right?”
He tilted his head as if he had just said an obvious thing.
Karin, looking at them chatting, sneakily approached the woman from behind.
“Do you know him, Elsa?”
“He probably has some business with you guys as well… he is Sigurd Fortesea, Elvis’ son and Kiad’s younger brother.”