Chapter 71. The Old Medusa (1)
The three cities, situated on the east side of the Rhine River, which came under my command, were Wittenweier, Bryzach, and Freiburg. I planned to create a single territory by combining these three cities.
Hence, by informing this plan to the emperor, I requested for an appropriate title.
“Not everyone in Bryzach, Freiburg is on your side, yet, my lord.”
I nodded my head when I heard Pappenheim’s report.
“Certainly, it will be different than Wittenweier. But, do not worry. There is a way.”
I immediately sent a message to Margarita.
-Mari. Please help me.
-Hey, it has been a while. Isn’t inquiring how I’m doing the first order of things?
Well, it’s kinda strange to ask how you are doing since you’re someone whose divine power is the Moebius strip.
-Haha, I’ve been well. Mari.
-It’s like bowing to a child in order to get him to send me a regard. Alright, what’s up?
I brought up the need for support from the Sisterhood of Walpurgis.
-That is not too difficult.
The Sisterhood of Walpurgis is an ally of mine. I’ve already promised to give part of the land west of the Rhine River to the sisterhood, once the area was recaptured.
-I pray for your support. Mari.
-If you are appreciative, do well to our little angel.
Perhaps, it was because of Margarita’s influence that the Sisterhood of Walpurgis has issued a statement in support of me.
[Our organization, along with Duke Valersted Valer, will recapture the southwest, and bring about peace and offer goddess’ benevolence.
That single statement was sufficient to turn the tide. The leaders of Bryzach and Freiburg raced over to Wittenweier by carrying gifts. That’s how great the Sisterhood of Walpurgis’ influence was in the southwest.
Then an extra influential event took place. About a month later, a special messenger of the emperor arrived.
“The royal letter of the emperor, who is blessed by the gods, the heir to the crown of Kairin, and the rightful master of the empire, will be read here!”
Finally, the emperor’s reply to my request has arrived.
“In response to the request of Valersted Valer, the knight of the empire, I place Wittenweier, Bryzach, and Freiburg into a single territory, and place it under Wittenweier’s countship. The capitol city of the countship will be Wittenweier, and you shall be named Count Valersted Pon Wittenweier. You’re to obey the laws of the empire, diligent in paying taxes, and serve me with all your loyalty!”
“Your graciousness is boundless! Your Highness!”
Finally, I’ve become the rightful Count of Wittenweier. It was an overwhelming experience.
“Ha… A country boy from Spandau has made it big.”
Now, I’m a respectable count. It was lucky that the interests of the emperor’s and mine were lined up, this time around. The emperor gave me the power in order to stabilize the empire’s southwest.
As long as the order of the emperor was handed down, there was nothing the free cities could do. Had they the military wherewithal, they might have resisted, but they did not have any influential people who could help them, nor did they have and army to mobilize.
On top of that, the special envoy of the emperor went around the cities in order to convince them. As they were threatened to be revoked from the empire, they eventually raised a white flag.
“We, Bryzach, swear to serve the Count of Wittenweier.”
“We, Freiburg, too, swear to serve the Count of Wittenweier.”
In the end, I’ve ascertained the free cities’ loyalties. The upper east region of the Rhine River was completely under my control, at this point. With this, half of the reason behind mobilizing the military has been achieved.
Walpurgis was happy as if it was her own business. The thing that made me most happy with this turn of event was the fact that, I, now, had the equal standing with her.
Up to now, I was feeling very apologetic towards Walpurgis for many things as I was not born in equal status to her. It wasn’t that I felt insufficient of my title, but it was because it was always her who has been helping and supporting me.
Since the last meeting, I’ve been receiving so much from her. And I was not able to pay her back in substantial way, but now I wanted to do more for her in return.
“Thank you. Countess Niederbayern.”
“Not at all, Count Wittenweier. However, addressing you in this way gives me zero warmth. Is it OK to just call you Valer?”
“Certainly. I wanted to make that same request.”
“Valer, you, speak informally, too. As we are of the same status, there is no need for formality.”
As I was so much indebted to her, I could not readily agree. She has suffered so much in the past, because of me.
“…I don’t like it as it feels distant.”
However, not knowing my inner feelings, Walpurgis looked somewhat disappointed. So, I told her that I’ll eventually change. As a compromise, instead of calling her Count Niederbayern, it was agreed that I would address her with her baptismal name.
“Thank you and I continue to look for your support. Walpurgis.”
“Of course. Valer. We’ll fight on together. By the way! Valer.”
As I asked her with my eyes as to what was going on, Walpurgis smiled.
“To celebrate your promotion, is it OK to give you a hug?”
I mean, please take it easy with dashing in that armor suit…..
Even before hearing me, Walpurgis, who was fully dressed in armor suit, rushed to hug me with all her might. Only lightly dressed, I felt the sense of my ribs crushing.
No matter what, Walpurgis buried and rubbed her head into my chest. The problem was that she was wearing her helmet. Then she subtly touched my body.
“Oh, your chest has grown wider?”
Her voice was cute, but her actions were more like a drunken old man in a bar. Surprised, I stuttered and tried to push her away. However, her arms were so strong that I could not separate her.
“Please, please stop feeling me!”
“What is that? It’s just a man’s chest. If you want to play hard to get, your chest should be as full as mine.”
“What, our Walpurgis is making dirty jokes?!”
“Hoohoo! Did you think that I did not know anything, like an innocent princess in a castle.”
Gosh, this woman. Was there such a side of her!
“Please stop touching me!”
“When we marry, you’re mine, anyway. You.”
“When did I say that I’ll marry you!”
“It’s too late to renege. You’ve already seen my bare skin. Hohoho.”
Well, it seemed that every day I spent with Walpurgis, the girl, I was discovering new things. And, I felt that I did not necessarily didn’t like it.
However, I thought differently as one hour of time has passed in this way.
“…Well, just exactly how long are you planning on hugging me, like this?”
The monsoon season has arrived.
The rain poured down. Everything, including the training, all came to a halt. Controlling the water level was more immediately concerning than the post monsoon battle. As there came a break of the rain fall in the mid monsoon season, I personally went to the field to supervise the levee construction.
“My lord, you’re kind to the territory’s inhabitants.”
Pappenheim, who was assisting me by my side, smiled lightly.
“I thought that you were going to become a merciless ruler that pillaged the territory’s citizens, after you rose to the Countship.”
“Hm, quiet. I am only delaying the inevitable. Hogs must be fattened up before the slaughter, right?”
“Then how come you are using all your personal wealth and get involved in this water level controlling effort? Are you not thinking about the future of this territory?”
Not close, at all. I’m only fattening up the pig, which will be ultimately slaughtered, after 10 or even 20 years. I’m a patient man.
“Ahem! That’s dangerous!”
I ran over to a laborer to help him as he was carrying materials in a shaky way. With one misstep, there could have been an accident.
Gosh, this is why they are pigs! I can’t take my eyes off of them. As I was complaining to myself, Pappeheim, who was next to me, concurred with his facial expression. It wasn’t a good vibe.
“You, you, too, go over there and help.”
As I expressed my displeasure for no reason, Pappenheim was fluttered.
“I’m a government official then how could I…”
“I, too, am doing the physical work myself, you can’t be serious.”
Finally, I felt better after putting Pappenheim to physical labor and seeing him covered in mud. Then that’s when the women from the village arrived.
“My lord. We’ve brought the lamb meat which you’ve asked for.”
I gathered the laborers and told them that there will be a brief break.
“I’ve prepared ample amount of lamb meat, so do take part.”
“Wow! Thank you! My lord.”
“This is precious food!”
Most of the laborers here were poor peasants. Seeing the meat, they went berserk as they gorged on the meat.
“Well, slow down. You will upset your stomachs.”
I admonished them, but it didn’t matter as they only showed sense of appreciation. Gosh, such a naïve bunch. Certainly, I should continue to rule this territory, rather than handing it over to other bastards.
Well, I suppose watching them like this was not such a bad feeling. As I was having such thoughts, there came a scream from a distance.
Hearing that scream made us jump while we sat in a circle, eating the meat.
“What was that? What’s going on?”
“I’ll go take a look!”Muddied Pappenheim got up from his spot, but even that was not needed. It was because what has happened could be observed from the sitting position. What was happening was that water suddenly rushed down from the up river.
“Move away! Move away!”
Such an accident would not happen just because it was a monsoon season. It wasn’t like there was a dam in the upriver, but as the situation was so urgent, there was not any time to have such thoughts, at all.
Carrying the two women, who were in shock, in both my arms, I began to run. Then everyone hurriedly ran, following me.
The rushing water completely destroyed the levee which was being worked on by us. However, that was not the issue, at this juncture.
“Oh my…. Dear god…”
Some anguished soul moaned. Seeing what was happening in front of us, I, too, felt the same way.
“What the heck…”
It was because countless corpses were floating on the river. The severed bodies, burned bodies, and swelled up bodies, along with enormous amount of garbage were, all floating down the river.
Hundreds of corpses were miserably being littered all over the place where we were just working at by the river bank. What was going on.
I gritted my teeth.
“Yes! My lord!”
“Send an urgent message to the cities in the up river. Is anyone under attack or not! And report to me on the status of Pajemut’s army on the other side of the river, too!”
It definitely couldn’t be Bryzach or Freiburg. That was because I’ve established a secretive communication channel after they became part of my territory. I would have heard had there been some catastrophic event.
If not Bryzach and Freiburg, then the city which was up river….
Rhinefelden was the front yard of the Sisterhood of Walpurgis. Did someone attack them?
Pappenheim, who went to check on the status, hurriedly returned to report.
“Pajemut’s Kukushirack’s army has not been mobilized! They were still at the ready due to the monsoon!”
“Then who is it!”
I tried to stay calm, but my voice was shaking. The fastest way was to make contact with Margarita. I took out the crystal ball from the magic pouch.
Unlike the usual times, there was not an instant reply. Did something really happen? I was getting anxious.
I called out in despair, but there was still no reply. How long have I been waiting? There came a nonchalant voice from the other side.
-Oh, boy. Did you miss me that much? I am too old to accept the heart of such a young boy. Although I look like a pretty little girl! Hoho.
She had the same demeanor as usual, but her voice seemed very tired. I immediately felt that something has happened.
-What is going on? There just came down a bunch of corpses with tons of water.
-Ah… Did they reach that far. I suppose that could happen.
-Calm down. Valer. You can’t lose your mind over difficult events which you may face.
What Margarita explained to me after that was something that I could have never fathomed.
-Currently, Rhinefelden is about to be overrun. An urgent message which I received said that the city has become flooded. A bunch of corpses, along with garbage, were floating around the city. Most likely due to hell taxation.
-What is really going on?
-It’s the demon king. Amunde, the 9th in the line to the power.
If it was the demon king that controlled water, even that recent flood damage could be explained. It was a mysterious magic that generated the water level not found even at the top of the Rhine River.
-Amunde is in the middle of attacking Rhinefelden after flooding it. We’re still resisting, but it’s as good as having been taken over, based on the reports.
-And nothing was done by the Sisterhood?
Rhinefelden is like the front yard of the Walpurgis’ Sisterhood. Did they do nothing?
-Unfortunately, the Sisterhood is also under attack. The demon king Amunde’s army has surrounded the Sisterhood. Valer, sorry, but I have to go now. The battle is still fierce. The demon king Amunde has personally come this way.
With that the channel to Margarita was disconnected.
“What the heck…”
I couldn’t understand what was going on. Certainly, in conjunction with the demon king Pajemut, the demon king Amunde was attacking Roelin? How did he come to this southwestern region in the middle of fighting a war in the south.
There was no time to think. I must mobilize immediately and help the Sisterhood of Walpurgis.
“Pappenheim! Get ready to move out…”
Wait, one second?
I hesitated right before issuing the order. If I was to make the move like this, I was concerned that I might be maneuvering according to what the enemy wanted me to.
It was questionable why the demon king Amunde has shown up here since he was supposed to be in the south. There was certainly some unknown conspiracy in this turn of event.
If I was to make a hastily move?
I wasn’t certain as to what kind of trap might be in the works. The Pajemut’s army, which was on the other side of the Rhine River, could suddenly launch an attack on Wittenweier, also.
-You can’t lose your mind in times of facing difficult situations.
I recalled what Margarita had just said a moment ago. I decided to think about it from the enemy’s perspective.
If this was a designed trap, and I was to hurriedly mobilize to help the Sisterhood of Walpurgis then what kind of trap would be most effective?
I tried to relive the past battle which was fought against the water demon king Amunde. As an old medusa, she was a master of military schemes. As with her old age, she had a lot of experience, and was a conniving demon king. I had the unpleasant experience of being cheated so many times by her.
I gnashed my teeth at the time, but now that has become the greatest asset to me, right now. Thinking about the past losses, I began to simulate the battle against the demon king Amunde.
And finally, I’ve arrived at a one possibility.