The Adventure of a Boy with the Mind of a Middle-aged Man

The Adventure of a Boy with the Mind of a Middle-Aged Man Chapter 32

A Merciless Crushing Blow—Wimp

“There’s a fort near the summit?” asked Wimp.

He and his comrades had been deployed for Camelot under General Blu’s orders. 

They had been steadily ascending the mountain, but soon received reports of a fort right in the middle of the path up at the summit. These people had, of all things, built a fort dead center on the path up the mountain. 

In the end, it was just a fort built by savages. We had over 7000 soldiers and even 20 mages. It wouldn’t take that much to down a fort built by magic-less savages.

“We’ll occupy the fort and use it as a base for our suppression of Camelot,” Wimp continued.

“Please wait!” said a man with an unshaven face and long brown hair tied up, immediately rejecting Wimp’s proposal.

He was Kai Lodos, a subordinate of Wimp’s and someone who held the position of a military advisor. 

Wimp was a noble, and he usually wouldn’t have any foolish and dirty commoners by his side.

However, Kai’s strategical prowess stood head and shoulders above the other nobles, much to Wimp’s chagrin. Thus Wimp decided to bend his principles and hire Kai as an advisor.

“What?”

“There wasn’t a fort there just a few weeks ago. We should advance after we’ve done enough reconnaissance.”

Reconnaissance was definitely by the book, but we are up against those savages, no? Is there really a need to go that far?

“Stop joking around! We have over 7000 soldiers, you know?” yelled one young officer.

“That’s right! Just try and stop our advance against those savages! We’ll become laughingstocks of the kingdom. Are you trying to make us cowards!?” added another.

“Your opinions are principled, and I don’t have any intention to argue against them. But we have over 7000 soldiers at our disposal. Aren’t you a little too cautious?”

“You normally wouldn’t be able to build a fort in just a few weeks, much less those poor and struggling Radols. There’s always a reason behind the inexplicable, and we could suffer heavy losses if we take that reason lightly,” said Kai.

It’d be bad if we were to suffer more losses than we expect. That could very well be putting the cart before the horse. Our upper brass is hard-headed, and they very might well use our losses against us to take away our status.

“Send out the scouts.”

“Commander Wimp!”

“At worst we’ll have to wait a few days. Please understand. We should pull out all the stops, even if we’re up against ants.”

“Sure……” the other officers hesitantly agreed.

Wimp sighed in relief. They were young officers from the kingdom’s nobility, some of which were the sons of high-rank nobles. It’d be troublesome later if things didn’t go smoothly here.

At any rate, they were just in a hurry to obtain more achievements. They were sure to settle down after we hunted a tribe of bandits.

“Thank you for understanding. Now then.”

Kai bowed once and exited the tent.

“A mere commoner acting all cocky!”

“Seriously. Why does our commander have a commoner like him by his side?”

Because he’s way more brilliant than you all, of course. Well, it’s not like I’d ever say that out loud.

◇◆◇◆◇◆

“A giant iron gate? And you say those savages made that……”

There was no way they could have made that sturdy fort in just a few weeks. In that case, was it the empire? No, we would have heard at least a rumor of that many people heading into Radol lands. That meant a third party……

“This is just plain abnormal. We should retreat for now!” advised Kai, to nobody’s surprise.

“What are you saying! Do you understand what you’re saying!? We won’t get off lightly if we retreat before anything’s even happened.”

“He’s right! I don’t care if you want to be labeled a coward, but don’t drag us down with you!”

Taking down a sturdy fort placed a heavy burden on the soldiers. Kai truly believed that they should retreat for now and reassess their method of attack.

The problem was—

“Commander Wimp! This is the time to teach those savages a lesson!”

“Yeah! Let’s blow that crude fort down with our mages!”

We had already won this war. The only things I needed to be careful of were how many of my soldiers I lost and these ignorant nobles’ impressions.

Their dispatchment here was only a stepping stone of their future success. Unlike Wimp, a middle-class noble, these high-class nobles shot up the social ladder. In the not-too-distant future, they’d even become Wimp’s commander after they came back from this mission. 

It wasn’t a good idea to worsen their impression, but heavy losses here spelled something far worse.

“Damn you savages. You really built something annoying.”

“E-excuse me!” said one guard as he tumbled into the tent. He then whispered into Martha, the son of Archduke Saruman’s ear and handed him a document as I recalled that guard was his retainer.

Martha read through the document before standing up triumphantly, pointing his sword at Kai, and yelling, “You traitor!!”

“What do you mean traitor?” asked Wimp.

“Just earlier, my troops attacked the Radol’s supply line, where we found this document!”

Martha elatedly showed the scroll to everyone.

It read—

“To all in the kingdom’s expeditionary force, I advise all forces to stop and turn back. Please retreat the moment you find an opening.”

One by one, the officers unsheathed their swords and surrounded Kai.

“He’s a traitor! Kill him!” ordered Martha.

Kai sighed and closed his eyes. Then, the officers raised their swords.

“Wait, wait wait! We don’t know that Kai’s a traitor for sure! In the first place, that letter never said a thing about Kai!” Wimp interjected.

“What are you saying! That commoner general was the only one who wanted to retreat. Of course it’s him!”

“I’m saying that this could all be a ploy. Martha-dono, I’m the commander here, so follow my orders.”

I mean, Kai has no reason to betray me now of all times. This is a cunning ploy by our enemies, no matter how I see it, and there’s no reason to fall for it helplessly.

“Then we’re going to restrain this commoner!” 

“Alright. I’ll entrust him to you. However, he’ll be dealt with afterwards according to military law. I firmly forbid you to enact your own punishment. Are we clear?”

“Fine……. I understand,” Martha said, clenching his teeth as he forcefully dragged Kai away with his guards.

Good grief. In any case, I couldn’t have those ignorant boys get hurt, so I planned to have them guard our supply lines in the back. They’d surely quiet down with the good bait that was Kai. 

Still, now I definitely couldn’t turn back, and if I ordered as so, their suspicion would definitely fall upon me.

“If this is what they were aiming for, then they really are a crafty bunch!” thought Wimp.

And while somehow managing to suppress his anger, he dished out orders to each of his officers.

◇◆◇◆◇◆

As we marched onto the valley of the mountain, we saw a giant building enter our vision.

It was a giant fortress with an iron gate that towered over the center of the road.

Just like Kai had advised, it’d be bone-breakingly difficulty to take down the fort.

The iron gate was the most annoying of them all. Its enormous size meant that neither battering rams nor catapults would be able to break through.

Also, no matter how foolish these savages were, they wouldn’t let us set up quickly—they’d definitely throw out some soldiers to impede our progress.

We would completely annihilate those soldiers and then begin setting up our catapults with covering fire from our archers and mages before striking into the iron gate. Then, we’d wrench it open with a battering ram.

If that iron gate were more durable than we imagined, we’d have no choice but to scale up the walls with overhead ladders. Either way, we wouldn’t get anywhere without shaving away at the enemy’s main forces.

They were just savages in the end; we knew how much they were capable of. This would probably just end in our one-sided stomping.

“Now then, how will they move……”

The iron gate swung open, and 100 knights on horseback came charging out.

They must be running out of steam now, so defeating these soldiers would be a massive blow to their forces.

“Those idiots. You would have lived a little longer had you just holed up inside.”

Then, with a smile on our faces, we declared war.

I then turned back to those foolish clowns and ordered our attack.

……

…………

………………

“How?”

I kept repeating that question in irritation. Their knights were running circles around our kingdom’s knights, moving in ways a normal horse could never. Our horseback squad was one of the most powerful in the world, and they were completely and utterly outclassed.

Moreover, we had 500 archers and a battalion of 20 mages providing supporting fire. We should have come out on top ages ago.

“How can they move like that? Is it magic? No, they’re savages. They can’t use magic……”

Everyone knew that the Radols were remarkably bad at magic. There might have been exceptions, but it was unrealistic to think that that many Radols could use magic.

That meant—

“All forces retreat!!” yelled the enemy Supreme Commander, snapping me back into reality.

The Radol’s horseback squad rushed back into their fort. It looks like we’ve fatigued them earlier than I had thought. I’d be troublesome to let them rest up inside. Let’s eradicate them before that happens.

If we dealt a fatal blow to their main force here, the attack on the fortress would be effectively achieved.

“Don’t let them escape! Kill them before they enter the fort!” I shouted at the top of my lungs, and our horseback squad began their pursuit. 

Our horseback squad began to swing down on the Radol’s rear, but—

Bang!

Blood splattered into the air, and the knights began dropping off their horses.

Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!

Four more booms reverberated in the air. As if eaten by the noise, four more knights dropped to the floor.

There’s no doubt that it’s some type of device like a bow or magic.

I think it came from the fort walls, but that’s quite the distance. A bow could never reach that far, so it must be magic.

A strange sound certainly accompanied it, but I’ve never heard of a spell that could precisely target someone at a distance a bow couldn’t reach. If it’s a new type of spell, then there’s no way we can let them keep it.

Once I wrapped my head around this situation, several explosive sounds ripped through the air, and the ground in front of the horseback squad erupted.

“Wha?”

A strange voice slipped out. Then, the explosions intermittently erupted from the ground in front of the gate and ripped everything apart.

Before even a minute had passed, the horseback squad had been entirely wiped out.

My head wouldn’t spin. How could it? In mere moments, our entire horseback squad had been annihilated and were now just clumps of meat rolling on the ground.

Was that magic as well? Any spell with that much destructive power would need a giant magic circle, but I didn’t see anything of the sort. These iron pipes above the walls shined, and then the knights began dropping like flies. That meant those iron pipes were Materials!

In that case, this was bad. If I didn’t reorganize our forces, we’d be wiped out!

“What are you guys doing! Fight, goddammit!”

We’d all die at this rate, so I frantically gave orders to the magicians, my direct subordinates, around me, but they didn’t move an inch and just trembled as waterfalls of sweat poured down their faces.

“I at least, need to evacuate.”

I kicked the side of my horse and weaved through the soldiers.

However, an explosion erupted over my head and boulders began raining down, proving my efforts futile. The scenery before me flowed strangely slow as I was buried in rubble.

……

…………

………………

I opened my eyes to intense pain and found myself trapped between the rubble. My left arm was completely broken, and my left leg probably wasn’t faring much better, as all feeling had left it.

“I need to escape.”

—Terrifying.

That heartless Material allowed no form of resistance and killed our forces left and right!

—Terrifying.

We had over 7000 soldiers, but they all died in such a short amount of time!

—Terrifying.

Most terrifying of all was how they so easily trampled over us like we were bugs.

“I need to escape.”

I ignored my body’s screaming pains and used my sword as a crutch to escape this hell.

I moved my leg, but—

“Here’s one!” said a male voice. The sight of a man with the Radol’s characteristic black hair and a black Material entered my view, and a fear so chilling my blood began to run backwards entered my body.

“He’s the Supreme commander of this expeditionary force, right?”

“—”

I tried to open my mouth.

“The Mountain Sage King said to kill you. Don’t think badly of me.”

With another explosive sound, I lost all ability to retain my consciousness and dropped dead.


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