068 Endless horrors p.1


Translator: yAmi

The sun sank into the west, casting an ominous afterglow across the horizon and into the skies.

Volden, a region of mountainous plateaus, was welcoming the season of autumn. Night came earlier than usual.

After turning the revenants in the abandoned village into ashes, the St. Gallen soldiers were preparing to camp in the wilderness of Volden. Marching at night was known to be difficult for an army, but it was even more so since this was the continent of Ithuselah, known to be overrun by human hating monsters. Blinded by the darkness and weakened due to exhaustion, an attack by these evil monsters would cause more devastation than a regular enemy army. Nocturnal monsters usually had night vision as good as owls or hearing as good as bats. In addition, their physical abilities exceeded that of humans. Fighting such monsters at night would be suicidal for the average person.

Therefore, they held back their desires to return as soon as possible and made camp in the cold autumn fields. A dazzlingly bright campfire was made to drive the monsters and wild animals away. The schedule to sleep and to keep night watch was set and the soldiers cooked dinner with whatever food they had left. Such were the preparations they needed to make before it got late into the night.

"And… we are still stuck in this rut."

"Yeah. The food we almost got our hands on was poisonous and inedible. It could be used to raze those corpses. The others in the main camp would be so depressed to hear the report."

The captain then exhaled a mouthful of purple smoke. What he was smoking was an intoxicant called tobacco, which is made by burning a special kind of leaf and inhaling the smoke. It seems it was a custom among some races such as dwarves and dark elves to smoke this. For the short-lived humans, it was said to be a poison that reduced their lifespan, but the captain treated it as he would for alcohol.

What he was holding was a paper cigarette. It could be smoked easily by simply lighting it without using a special pipe. It was developed by the Academy of Magic as a luxury item for mages. While it might be a hindrance to spell chanting if it's on the mouth, it was said to be popular to deal with mental exhaustion from mana drain. The mage that gave him these cigarettes had told him so. Well, from the captain’s use of it, it certainly did help to quell some of his irritated mood.

"I'm sure General Bauer is most down. All the strategies he had planned are working well."

"We'll end up attacking by force with our depleted soldiers. The main army will be coming over here where we were supposed to be restocking on supplies, so we'll meet them tomorrow? If we don't have any supplies, a revolt might occur. Hmmm, what a bummer."

"It's not going to be just a bummer. Man, I really don’t wanna be left to die in the mountains of Arquell."

The squad leader under his command said so with seriousness. As the captain of their group of 1000, he could not help but feel the same. Getting caught up in the collapsing army and dying in vain? Give me a break.

"What? You don't like the mountains? Where’s your hometown?"

"The Duchy of Canofer. I was born and raised in the port city."

The name mentioned was a sea-facing fiefdom near the borders of Allemande.

"Well, that’s a northern country famous for its sailors. What made you come so far south to join us in crossing the mountains on foot?"

"I'm not very good with boats......, so when I volunteered for the military, I chose to join the army, then it was decided that the army would be combined with the soldiers from various other territories for this expedition, and I joined too."

"Definitely a bad roll of the dice."

"Yeah, as you say. What's worse is that while we are having a horrible time here, the people from Gallerin are sitting around, pretending to guard the borders."

"Well, that sucks."

Another squad leader interrupted.

"The people of Gallerin, the people of Grandenburg, are really shit. They're just a bunch of useless bums fed by our homes, especially with the royal family......"

"I agree. The only reason we're at war at a time like this must be because those guys are licking their chops at the people of Arquell."

"It's really bad, isn't it? I was born in Danehill, a country in the east like them but they treat us like country bumpkins."

"Speaking of which, where is Captain from?"

"What, you don't recognize me by my accent? It's Vermin."

In response to his subordinate's question, the captain brought up the name of a new territory that had only joined the Federation a few decades ago.

The faces of the people around the captain instantly became different.

"Well, how do I put this......"

"I'm sorry for your loss, I guess......"

"Hmph, whatever."

The captain responded to the blatant pity by snorting.

The Kingdom of Vermin was a region that had little to do with St. Gallen. The official language used to be quite different from the St. Gallen language. The reason it was incorporated into the Federation was because it lost a war. Although the monarchy was guaranteed, it was a de facto annexation. Thanks to this, its domestic interests were snatched up by Gallerin and other territories, leaving it destitute.

"I've already abandoned my country, you know. Before this expeditionary force was formed, I was a mercenary. I used to show my face in battlefields all over St. Gallen."

The captain said as he spat.

Prior to the start of this war, there had been fifty years of peace, but that was simply because there had been no war between the four major powers. Whether it was the battle in which the Kingdom of Vermin was incorporated into the St. Gallen Federation, or the conflicts between territories, there were plenty of opportunities for mercenaries to profit.

"Haha, so you were a mercenary, huh? No wonder you’re so used to looting."

"Anybody can boast that they are strong on the battlefield......, but few mercenaries can truly convince others on an actual battlefield."

After all, mercenaries had no blood or territorial relationships with their employers. The only connection was money. There were no mercenaries who would fight to the death. Most of the mercenaries hired were there just to inflate numbers to intimidate the other party. From the captain’s experience, he was more likely to be in a situation where looting was happening rather than a war.

He reminisced for a while, but then came back to himself.

"Hmp...... stop with the boring stuff."

He put the cigarette in his mouth again and tried to exhale, but found that most of it had turned to ash.

"No, it's not boring, Captain. Let us hear more."

"Yes, yes. I'm sure the memories of a former mercenary are worth listening to."

"Don’t need to pretend. You guys will be spreading this around later, won’t you?"

"That's… well..."

"Yes, captain! If you share your valuable experience with the entire unit, it will contribute to the improvement of their skills!"

"Don't get carried away, idiot."

The captain said, and lit his second cigarette.

After the disastrous mission, he thought he would join his subordinates in a chat to help them vent, but he had unwittingly let slip too many unnecessary things. He thought to himself that getting older had made him prone to be distracted by the past. Apparently, it wasn't just the fats on his belly and under his chin that he had gained through the years.

When he looked up after a smoke, his men were still looking at him with a curious look on their faces.

"What the hell, you guys. I'm not going to say anymore."

"Oh no, please don't be stingy."

"You’re not gonna lose anything. It's not like we're getting a share of your loot."

When did you guys become this carefree? He frowned. The people who had blatantly tried to bootlick him or avoid him in the morning suddenly became friendly in the evening. What was going on? While wondering about the change in his men, he took a mouthful of cigarette smoke, tasted it, and exhaled.

"Oh I’m gonna lose something alright. Specifically, my lifespan and stuff. It’s a flag, don't you know?"

During the war, soldiers who told stories about the past would die. This was a common gossip.

Of course, the captain didn't believe in such things. It was just an excuse to end the long and tedious conversation.

"In the first place, if you have the time to be here gossiping, then I want you to use the time to handle your individual squads."

"No, no. I'm sure the soldiers would feel uncomfortable with us and their superiors around."
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