Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi
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Chapter 276: Kroll’s Battle
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Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi
Author :Ofuro Ashitsubo
© Wuxiaworld

Chapter 276: Kroll’s Battle

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–Aegir POV–

Early in the morning, a meeting is being held in the mansion.
Surrounding me are Leopolt, Myla, Celia, Irijina, and Melissa who is also worried.
Sitting beside me is Kroll, who is wearing a dark expression.

「Leopolt, report your findings.」

I order him in an austere manner while pointing at the map of the capital spread out on the table in front of us.

「Understood.」

He replies in his usual monotone voice, letting out a sigh before he starts to talk.

「First I will report on the target’s movements from yesterday. After shopping at a miscellaneous goods store, he roamed around the capital, then spent one hour talking in the park.」

I start tapping my foot out of irritation.

「When it got darker, he went to a restaurant to eat…… at this store.」

I reach the limits of my patience.

「It’s not like you to ramble on with all this useless information. The important part is how far he put it in. Just the tip? Or all the way to the root? And also, whether he came inside or not.」

「Uwaaaa……」

Kroll lets out a pathetic voice but he can’t turn his eyes away from reality.
If you don’t get a grasp of your situation first, you can’t win.

Leopolt’s gaze seems to gradually grow cold. Celia doesn’t seem to have any interest in the matter either.
On the other hand, Irijina is enthralled and would have probably made a mess of things if I used her in the operation instead.

「……from what I saw, he did not go that far. After dinner, he only gave her a tiny kiss before heading back home, and while the man invited her to an inn, he was rejected.」

Oh yeah, when I got home yesterday after eating dinner with Count Monashi, Alma was already there.
So he didn’t reach that critical stage even after getting to eat with her. What a worthless man. In that case, Kroll’s chances of winning may still be pretty high.

「Uuuuuu…… Alma…… kissed……」

Kroll is still making pathetic sounds. I thought that just now was a pretty promising report.
Leopolt continues without paying attention to Kroll’s groan. It looks like he wants to get this over and done with.

「After that, I followed the man until he reached his residence. As I reported last night in haste, the mansion belonged to a mid-level merchant family though his standing is unknown. The guards were alerted so we retreated to avoid being detected.」

「My apologies. I was the one who made that blunder.」

Gido lowers his head. Going by his expression, he doesn’t seem satisfied with himself.
It can’t be helped. The escort squad is not geared for covert operations. Sneaking around and doing investigations is not their strong suit.

「I’m not concerned with his background. Getting Gerald’s name and address is plenty.」

I place several letters on top of the map.
Those are from Rebecca. I commissioned her to do a private investigation for me last night.

As expected of the capital’s proud lead information officer, she completely exposed this guy in one night.
I’m glad I wrote ‘urgent matter’. One day, I want to completely expose Rebecca too.

「Gerald is the second son of Geissler, who is a middle-class weapons dealer. Because he doesn’t have to succeed his family business, he seems to be living as he pleases.」

Celia was disinterested at first, but seeing Myla nonchalantly move beside me, she quickly begun reading the documents in my place as usual.

「The second son of a merchant family…… I have a bad impression of them so you should be careful around him.」

Melissa speaks in a worried tone.
I agree. On top of not having the responsibility of succeeding the business, they have a large pool of funds at their disposal so the second sons of merchant families tend to be problematic.

「Er, let’s see here…… he appears to have three lovers at the moment. In the past he has often also gotten women, mostly employees, pregnant before abandoning them.」

「……the worst.」「What a disgraceful guy!」

Myla and Irijina are upset.
What a stupid man. He just needed to make all the women he’s made pregnant belong to him, what a waste.
The more women you have, the better.

「He takes money from his family and spends it wildly. Apparently, he is the leader…… of a group of youngsters he gathered from around the city.」

「In other words, he flaunts his money to get delinquents to follow him and then acts like their boss.」

This guy is getting more worthless by the minute.
If he has the money to throw at idiots, he should use it to play with prostitutes instead.

「He solves most of his problems with money, and is nothing but a small fry unrelated to any larger criminal organization.」

Celia goes on to mention Geissler’s family structure and main clients, even reading the name of the partners the head of the family is cheating with.

「Finding out all of this in such a short time…… how reliable and frightening at the same time.」
「She is dangerous. We must not let our guards down.」

Myla and Leopolt’s faces become cloudy.
Why worry, Rebecca won’t become our enemy.

Celia continues reading.

「Uu……, a-ahem! According to the testimonies of the girls he abandoned, Gerald has a small dick…… And it appears Geissler has lent some gold to Viscount Binbo yesterday.」

So he took out another loan ……I’m not going to shoulder your debt again, you hear.

「It’s a good thing he’s small. With the both of you being small, you can fight on even terms, Kroll.」

I pat Kroll’s shoulder, though he doesn’t seem too happy.

「I have to save Alma…… from that worthless scum of a man…… I have to do something……」
「That’s right, I’ll support you but it has to be you who sees it through to the end.」
Kroll looks at me and nods.

「Saving a girl from a villain! I’m getting all fired up!!」

Irijina is pumped.

Celia hands me back Rebecca’s letters with a pouting face.

「Read the last part yourself. I don’t want to look at it.」
「Hm? ……fufufu, what a cutie.」

Written at the end of the letter is an informal note saying “I mobilized 20 officers for this investigation. I did it for you because I owed you, but please refrain from making anymore personal requests”.
Also at the end is a simple drawing of what appears to be Rebecca’s face…… I guess Celia got jealous over that.

「Umm…… what is everyone doing?」

A voice suddenly calls out to us from behind. It’s Alma.
The early-rising girl has woken up.

「Uooh!」
「Ugyaa!!」

In order to distract Alma from looking at the map and documents on the table, I threw Kroll forward on instinct.
However Leopolt moves calmly to hide them from sight, resulting in Kroll’s pain becoming for nothing.

「Kroll was being scolded for a mistake he made.」

Nice follow, Myla.

「Is that so…… it’s still early for breakfast but since everybody is up, shall I make something?」

「It’s fine. Everyone will be going out for an important business today. Alma can take the day off.」

「Eh? Even though I rested from noon yesterday as well?」

I insist it’s fine for Alma to take a break by giving her some allowance.
If she’s going to meet Gerald again, that will be our time to settle things.

「W-wait Alma. I have something to ask you!」

The writhing Kroll who was unnecessarily slammed into the floor recovers.

「……What is it?」
「You met up with a friend yesterday, right? With who…… and what did you do?」

After staying silent briefly, Alma looks down at the floor.

「It has nothing to do with Kroll. I just went out shopping for a bit.」

While staggering to get up, Kroll continues asking.

「……did you have fun?」
「……yeah.」

Alma’s cheeks turn a pale red.
She runs off, saying she has to wash her face.

「K-kissing that guy…… was fun? Uuu, Alma’s going to be stolen at this rate……」

Kroll falls to his knees. Then I realized a change.

「Kroll, your crotch……」
「What?」

「No, it’s nothing.」

I thought I saw something bulge out from his crotch, maybe that was my imagination.
Kroll has been impotent for so long after all. I’m sure it was my mistake.

「We have all the information. We just have to wait for Alma to go out before we start our operation.」

When I use a more forceful tone, Celia and the others straighten their postures and salute.

「Celia, pick a few members from the escort squad who are quick on their feet and form a scouting unit. I’ll leave the reconnaissance and tracking to you. You’re in charge.」
「Right!」

「Myla, organize a support group for Celia. If you see that she needs help, don’t be afraid to jump in.」
「Yessir!」

「Irijina, choose a few members with a nice build and form the assault squad. However, don’t make any moves unless you get an order from me.」
「Got it!」

Alright, this is good.

「Leopolt will stay by my side and take command of the whole operation.」
「……」

Leopolt stares at me through slightly narrower eyes than usual. He didn’t give me any response.

「Each and every one of them are idiots.」

He just woke up…… no, Tristan’s probably going back to sleep.
Be quiet. I’m not taking you anyways.

「There’s something I’m curious about so I’ll stay in the mansion. I think this matter is much more important.」

A disloyal person like Tristan needs to be punished.
I’ll get a mountain of those green peas he hates to be piled on his plate for dinner.

After that, all of us hid in the storage closet, pretending to go out, and waited until Alma left before commencing the operation.

「We received a message from the scouting unit! The target has arrived at Geissler’s shop and met up with a man.」
「She’s here!」

I am using the second floor of a certain brothel as headquarters.
I am acquainted with both the shop owner and the prostitutes, and as long as I’m renting a room, I won’t attract any attention.
It’s not strange for men to enter and leave frequently either so the messengers reporting to me don’t look suspicious.

「The scouting unit will continue to tail the target, only retreating if cover is blown and will pass off the mission to the support group. Support unit will, on the assumption that the scouting unit will scatter, cover a wide area around them and prepare to provide backup without delay.」

Leopolt gives out the instructions.
His expression is exactly the same as if he were ordering soldiers on the battlefield, though there is a tinge of fatigue in his eyes.

「The assault squad requests permission to head out!」
「Denied. Be good and stay still.」

What does Irijina intend to do by charging forward all of a sudden?
Rushing in and beating up Gerald would make us look like bullies.

「The target has entered the Grupp bar.」

Grupp, huh…… I’ve been in there once and thought it was a place where no-good punks hang out.
I didn’t think the son of a wealthy merchant would take a girl to a place like this for a date.

「Have the scouting unit enter the bar. Split up and take different tables so it doesn’t look suspicious. Support unit, surround the building and monitor both the front and back entrances. Assault unit will stay on standby in a nearby bar until new orders are given.」

Leopolt’s orders are precise.

「But it’s frustrating. I want to be on the frontlines too.」
「Lord Hardlett stands out too much. Everything we’ve done will be wasted if you’re discovered.」

I don’t sense any intentions from him to stop me.
Honestly, it feels like he doesn’t care whether the plan is ruined.

「I won’t screw up. I’ll be in disguise. Kroll, you come too since you’re the main actor.」
「Right!」「Do whatever you want.」

I put on a hood to cover my face.
Next I wrap myself in a cloak to hide my body and try to walk while looking down as much as possible.
I’ll immediately find a spot nearby when I get into the bar and watch the events unfold.

As Kroll and I enter the bar, Celia beckons us to sit next to her.

「That appearance…… did you get stopped by the guards?」

Celia asks worriedly.
I did. But I asked them to overlook it this time. I’ll have to apologize to Erich later.

「So where’s Alma?」
「She’s using the toilet right now. Over there is that guy called Gerald.」
「Him……」

I look to where Celia points and see a man propping his feet up on the table while chugging alcohol vulgarly.
His face is the same as what I saw before but the effeminate feeling I got from him yesterday is gone. He’s a proper delinquent now.

Not long later, a group of boorish punks who were drinking nearby approached Gerald with nasty grins.

「Gerald-san. That girl, is she feeling up to doing it yet?」
「She’s got a pretty face…… but her body is lacking.」

「Heh, doing a flat girl once in a while isn’t too bad. Besides, she’s remaining chaste despite being in love with me. Forcefully pushing her down and fucking that kind of girl really gets you going, doesn’t it?」

「You never change Gerald-san, you’re terrible. So, you’re gonna pass her around to the guys after you’re done with her, right?」
「Yeah, wait how many people are here? If everyone gang bangs her, she’ll break after one round.」

Looking around, I see all the punks grinning.
So this place is the hangout for the hoodlums who obey Gerald.

「That’s nothing, if I really try to seduce her I’m sure she’ll quickly spread her legs. If she still refuses…… I’ll just hold her down and fuck her on the spot. Doing her on the table might be amusing.」

「Hehehe, the bartender is also Ruth’s brother. He’ll pretend not to see anything. It looks like there are customers here besides us but there are more than ten of us. We’ll find a way to deceive them.」

Gerald and his buddies laugh vulgarly.
I want to stand up and break their bones, however that would ruin the plan.
We’re ultimately here as support, Kroll is the one who has to fight.

「……」

Kroll hasn’t been responding or saying anything for a while now.

「Sorry Gerald, did you wait long?」

Just then, Alma came out from the toilet.
Gerald brings his feet down from the table and his buddies return to their original seats.

「No, I didn’t wait long Alma. Besides, I’m having a fun time waiting for you.」
「Geez…… you’re saying stuff like that again.」

He’s using a sweet tone of voice completely different to how he was talking before. How frightening.

「Anyways Alma. I have a favor to ask you today.」
「What is it, Gerald?」

Gerald clasps Alma’s hand with both of his.
Alma looks at him with a slightly blushing face.

「I’d like for you to spend a night with me today.」
「Eh!? B-but I already refused yesterday. I don’t intend to do anything like that.」

Alma quickly pulls her hand away. However Gerald proceeds to grab her arm with more force.

「I want to sleep with you. I love you. Will you…… become my girl?」

Those words alone were nicely said, but seeing his behavior leading up to that point makes me excessively annoyed.
It’ll be a real problem if Alma says yes.

「…… no, I don’t think I want to after all. I can’t really explain well right now, but I have――」

As soon as Alma declined, Gerald wiggles his finger, signalling the men around him to stand up.

「Eh? What?」

Alma is soon surrounded ―――― but then Kroll suddenly jumps in.

「Alma!」
「Kroll!? Why are you here…… did you follow me!?」

「I’ll apologize to you as many time as you want later. For now, just come with me!」

A flash of anger seemed to wash over Alma’s face, though it quickly loses to Kroll’s serious expression and words.
Answering in her place was Gerald.

「Oi oi, she’s on a date with me right now. I don’t know who you are, but you’re quite the ugly one aren’t you.」

Kroll glares at Gerald.

「I heard about your sinister deeds. I’m not going to let you do as you please with Alma!」
「Sinister deeds? Kroll, what are you saying?」

Gerald stops putting up a front despite seeing the confused Alma.

「Oh really…… you heard about me. Then it can’t be helped.」
「I can’t let Alma fall into the hands of a fiend like you…… guah!」

Kroll gets sent flying, then rolls on the floor.
A buddy of Gerald’s probably kicked him from the side.

I stop Celia and the guards from standing up.
I want to back him up as well, but not now. This is Kroll’s battle.

「Kyaaaah! Kroll!」

Gerald responds to Alma’s screams by laughing.

「Ahahaha! That’s what a small fry gets for butting in.」

Gerald laughs loudly. Several of Gerald’s buddies gather around Kroll and stomp on him.

Right when I was about to stand up and prevent the situation from deteriorating any further, one of the punks fell over.
Kroll grabbed his leg and pulled the man down.

「Uuooh!」

After punching the fallen man in the face once, Kroll stands back up.

「Let go of Alma…… I won’t let you do anything with her.」

「Shut up!」

One of the men punches Kroll in the cheek.
Kroll staggers from the blow, however he returns a powerful punch right below the forehead of the man, knocking him out.

「Let Alma go! She belongs to me!」

「Keh, mere commoner. Oi, hurry up and beat him already!」

「What are you saying Gerald, stop this! Please stop him!!」

Alma screams, seeing Gerald’s true nature.

「Hey Celia. The second son of a merchant family isn’t a commoner?」
「No, he’s a commoner.」

Well I don’t really care about his details. I was just curious about the fact itself.

Even with all the men surrounding him, Kroll does not take a step back.

「Alma will be in trouble if I lose here. I’m not going to be defeated!」

He dodges the punches thrown at him or blocks them and returns a with a punch of his own.
Kroll’s got plenty of experience in actual combat and has, for some reason, gotten an increase in fighting capabilities after becoming impotent.

「T-this guy’s actually pretty tough!」「Shit, how can he dodge attacks from behind!?」

Kroll manages to defeat two men despite being surrounded by over ten people.
However regardless of how strong he is, his body still hasn’t grown into a full adult’s body.
Without a weapon, his body will eventually reach its limit.

「Bastard!」
「Guwaaah!」

One of the men took out Kroll’s legs by swinging a chair at him from behind.
Kroll was unable to stay standing and fell to his knees, quickly getting beat up by the other men.

「Noo, Kroll! Kroll!」
「Hmph, making things hard for me. So this is your man?」

Gerald grabs the fallen Kroll by the hair and pulls his face up.
Celia and I start getting ready.

「Let Alma ……go ……」
「…… how amusing. Tie this guy up. Let’s fuck Alma repeatedly in front of him.」

Gerald releases the limp Kroll, then squeezes Alma’s breasts through her clothes.

「Y-you’re terrible Gerald…… did you want to do this from the very beginning?」
「Of course. Someone like me is going to sleep with a useless girl like you. If only you made things easy by spreading your legs, I wouldn’t have to go through with all of this. For that reason, I’ll make you more of a mess.」

That was the moment.

「UOoooooh!!」

Kroll stands up abruptly and punches Gerald in the face.
Letting his guard down, Gerald took the full brunt of the fist, bouncing back into the table before rolling to the floor.

「I’m going to protect Alma! I’m definitely going to protect her!!」

Kroll stands in front of Alma. He’s got a black eye, a cut on his forehead and blood covering his face.
Even still, he hasn’t lost his fighting spirit.

「……kill him.」

Gerald stumbles as he slowly gets up, his pretty face is swollen up horribly and he had to spit out a broken tooth.

「No, killing is a bit too much……」「I’d rather not live in a jail.」

His buddies waver, not having the resolve to go that far.
Gerald shouts again in a loud voice.

「I told you to kill him!! I’ll get my father to erase the record of you killing some damn brat!! You guys want more money to play with, right!?」

Feeling left with no choice, the punks take out knives from their pockets.

「Stop this! How did things turn out like this!? Kroll, run away!」

Kroll gets into a stance as he hears Alma scream.
Even in the face of blades, he doesn’t look willing to back away and expose the girl behind him.

「You pass, Kroll.」

I stand up and Celia dispatches the messenger.

「If you’re going to hate someone, hate Gerald-san…… now die!」

One of the men thrusts out a knife from the hip aimed at Kroll. At first glance, it looked like Kroll’s body was bent and he got stabbed in the chest.
A few drops of blood splattered on Alma’s face, eliciting a short squeal before making her faint.

But I’m no longer panicking.
Kroll didn’t get killed. The knife only caught the side of his body.

「He saw through it.」

Kroll delivers a counter punch, smashing the man’s nose.
Seeing that, the rest of the men charge forward with their weapons.

「Kill him! Kill himmm! Killl hiiiiimm!」

Gerald shouts maniacally.
As one would expect, fighting all of them at once is difficult for Kroll. However there is no need for him to do so.

「Time to rush in!!」

Irijina destroys the door of the shop and bursts in.
She’s leading some of the most muscular-looking and burly guys from the escort squad.
None of them wore armor to remain inconspicuous in the city, but the air of intimidation given off even while unarmed was worlds apart from the pathetic punks in the store.

「W-who are you guys!?」「Interrupting us all of a-…… guwah!」

The assault squad led by Irijina pounce on the surprised men.

「Wahahahaha! Victory goes to the one who strikes first!」

Irijina and company don’t waste time asking questions and punch the delinquents. She’s certainly right that striking first is part of the basics…… well, whatever.
As the melee commences, the escort squad don’t falter to the knife-wielding amateurs.
Rather, it was a one-sided sweep.

「Uwaaah!」
「Aah, Christoph got hit!」

Christoph was the only one who got punched, hit a chair and was knocked unconscious. There were no problems other than that.

Kroll felt relieved when we jumped in, falling forward to protect Alma.
I approach him in the middle of all the chaos and prop him up.

「You did well. You’re a splendid man now even though your dick still isn’t big.」

When I look back, Gerald already ran away.
Running away by himself even though he’s similarly small, what a worthless guy.
Our objective was never to defeat him so I guess it’s fine to let him go.

「Bastard! You’re on his side too!?」

One man jumps out of the crowd to attack me.
But he’s totally amateurish and his movements are slow, so I easily grab his weapon-holding hand with my left hand.

「Too slow, plus you’re as weak as a woman.」
「H-hiih……」

The man tries to pull away from me to no avail.
He frantically tries to rip my hand away but couldn’t even budge me.

「You guys ganged up on some unarmed kid, and even had the gall to pull out knives. How spineless.」

These ill-mannered idiots need to be taught a lesson.
I squeeze the man’s wrist.
The more I do so, the more cracking sounds I hear until I finally feel something come loose in his hand.

「Gugyaah――!!」

The man lets out a pained scream and pisses his pants before passing out.
Irijina and the others have pretty much beat up the rest of them too.

「Wahahahaha! Victory, victory!!」
「Everything went as planned.」

And then I hear a whistling sound coming from outside.
Not good, we caused too much of a fuss and now the guards are coming in full force.
If they catch me, Erich is going to get terribly angry.

If I run away, they’ll probably think of this as nothing but a random brawl.
It’s not uncommon for drunk customers to break out into fights at a bar, and the guards shouldn’t investigate too deeply into the incident.

「Myla-san is keeping them at bat! Let’s make our escape quickly!」

While carrying Kroll, I kick down the back entrance and run back to the mansion.

Protagonist: Aegir Hardlett. 24 years old. Winter.
Status: Goldonia Kingdom Margrave. Great Feudal Lord of Eastern Area. Mountain Legend. Friend of the Dwarves. Friend of the King of Aless. Dragon Slayer Hero.
Elf Mediator.
Citizens: 176,000. Refugees: 2400
Major Cities – Rafen: 27,000. Lintbloom: 5000. Vandolea Special Town: 9000.

Kroll (man), Alma (reflecting), Irijina (victory), Tristan (scheming)

Army: 7500 men
Infantry: 4500, Cavalry: 1000, Archers: 600, Bow Cavalry: 900, Temporary Refugee Guards: 500

Reserve Army: 2500
Cannons: 20, Large Cannons: 15, Dwarven Cannons: 16

Assets: 18,449 gold
Sexual Partners: 427, children who have been born: 55 + 555 fish
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