51. Chapter 51
After dealing with the aftermath of the deadly battle with the crawler, Walm’s group headed for the destination, the old castle called “Dandurg Castle”, around the border of Myard and Highserk.
Except for the army on the border with Liberitoa, 12,000 Highserk soldiers collected from the ones dispatched to annex Myrad and the ones nearby on the border, were deployed to the Castle.
Around the wall, corpses of soldiers and people were laying on the ground. Even before the main wave of monsters came, the fatalities had reached more than hundreds.
In addition to the water moat around the wall, a new empty moat and embankment were built on the outer edge. There were three castle gates, and in addition to the lifting bridge, there were two-story gates.
Walm looked at the eye-catching stones around the castle gate, which was the borderline Highserk. In addition to the embankment, there were horse fences. There was even a place where gravestones were piled up.
Foods like soup were served in a corner of the castle, and those who had escaped with a small amount of luggage were forming a long line.
It was a familiar sight to Walm, who had experienced the battlefield many times, but the scale was unusual. The entire area of Myard was being run over by the outbreak. It was inevitable that a huge number of refugees could be seen there.
However, Walm felt uncomfortable even though the situation in the castle looked calm. After all, even though it was a famous old castle good for a defensive battle, hundreds of monsters were approaching.
Even though the refugees couldn’t go further, they looked as if the dire situation had somewhat calmed down, perhaps they were relieved by the castle and soldiers, which were symbols of power. And believed that it should be safe here ――
The wagon and the escort team went through the castle gate, and were guided to the castle tower where one of the lords of the Myard territory originally reside.
One room in the living quarters was made of stone and was equipped with furnishings. There were 5 escorts including Walm, and 7 including Maia and Ayane, but the place didn’t feel cramped.
After putting the tools for treatment on the shelves, Walm headed to the brigade headquarters where he was ordered to appear. He left the place after leaving the rest to Moritz, believing that no problem would occur.
Passing through a long corridor, Walm reached a hall closed by a heavy door. Six guards were on the lookout at the entrance.
After confirming his identity with the guard, Walm entered the room.
“Excuse me. I am the Escort Captain, Walm. I’ve brought the healing magicians from Sarajevo Fortress according to the order.”
Walm corrected his posture and waited for the man in front of him to reply.
The old man with gray hair was Sigismund, the Brigade Commander of Highserk Army, who was in charge of Dandurg Castle. He had a lot of old wounds saying that he had been on the battlefield many times.
“Thanks for the hard work. It seems that a battle has occurred along the way, but to have killed a crawler alone, as expected of the one controlling 《Fire of Hell Gate》.”
Walm received compliments and praise, but denied it.
“It’s a great honor to be complimented. But I didn’t do it alone. I just hugged the crawler and kept burning it while the others helped me in stopping its movement. Besides, I was seriously injured and had to receive medical treatment.”
After a short silence, Sigismund suddenly laughed as if he couldn’t stand it.
Walm wondered if he had said something wrong.
Sigismund told the soldier inside the room.
“Did you hear that? This fellow just hugged and burned a crawler. I’ve heard of subjugation with a magic attack, spear, or great sword, but I’ve never heard of subjugation by hugging and burning it. As expected of someone favored by Gerard.”
After laughing a lot, the old general continued his words.
“The escort of the healing magicians will be continued by your group, but I need to ask you, to appear on the frontline. We’ve recruited volunteers from refugees and prisoners, but still, there’s not enough manpower. Up to now, we’ve defeated nearly 1000 monsters that came here. It would be easy if the small waves continue, but I’m sure the main wave will come soon. I will have you and one of the “Three Heroes” of Craist, work hard. As for today, you should rest and recover your energy for the upcoming battle.”
“Thank you very much… Excuse me but, could you please tell me one thing?”
“It’s just a foolish thought of someone like me, but the number of refugees in the castle is higher than the battlefields I’ve experienced so far, it may become a hindrance in the battle.”
Seeing innumerable Myard people gathering in the castle, Walm thought that it would be difficult to deploy soldiers and evacuate in an emergency.
At the end of the statement, Walm felt that some of the HQ soldiers had changed their expressions and the atmosphere had turned tense.
“…Sadly, many people don’t want to leave their homeland. But, you don’t need to worry about it now. Focus only on the task in front of you.”
“I understand. Thank you for your answer. Then, excuse me.”
Walm quietly withdrew in response to the compelling answer. But, he felt no doubt that he had touched on a topic that shouldn’t be touched.
Walm walked down the hallway and turned his thoughts.
It must be information known only to a limited number of generals.
Walm had been given power albeit small, to lead a squad scale unit. And even though he was an Escort Captain who had the title “Knight”, still, he had no real power in the military.
Walm didn’t deny that the limbs must follow the head and fight. He could only do that even if the head favored him. But still, as a member of the organization, if he stopped thinking and mindlessly follow the head, it might only lead to the decline of the organization. Even if his thoughts might not hold any significant meaning, he thought that he must keep trying to be productive.
What is the purpose of holding a large number of refugees on the frontline?
――Securing volunteers and civil engineering workers in the base. For sure the benefits aren’t few.
But, the consumption of food by citizens, which is larger than the number of troops, will put a heavy burden on logistics. Also in an emergency, soldiers must be dispatched to guide people…
“No way, perhaps they won’t properly guide them? There’s also a need for a lot of provisions after the emergency――”
Wait… refugees from other countries, soldiers from Highserk, the robust Dandurg Castle…
Connecting the words, Walm had come up with one possibility.
“Is it… a cage in disguise of a shelter?”
Saying so, Walm held his breath. He wanted to believe that the army wouldn’t go that far, but the madness of war, the madness of humans with the justification called “reason”, would be forever muddy.
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