Operation Trojan Horse
“Can we really trust this?” asked Theo.
If the former kingdom soldier, Tosh, decides to betray us, the plan will fall apart and we’ll be wiped out. Everyone here was most likely thinking the same thing.
“Probably? Lord-dono……” Theo sighed in exasperation.
“No way around it. Logically speaking, his circumstances aren’t that different than yours, and now that he’s separated from the kingdom it’s not like he’ll go back. There’s little reason he’d betray us. Still……” I trailed off.
“You can’t tell what he’s really thinking?”
“Exactly. To him I’m an imperial citizen who has spread the empire’s oppressive rule. There’s plenty of space to doubt.”
“I can’t agree with you there, but we’re going to capture Fort Arkroy. We can’t avoid danger.”
Theo shook his head several times, his hesitation all but gone now. Seems like he’s made up his mind.
“Besides, we only created this plan because of him. He’s necessary for this operation.”
I had interviewed Tosh and asked him about his future plans, wishes, and any insider information on the kingdom’s forces.
After organizing all the information, I had explained the gist of the operation and asked for his cooperation.
There’d be compensation, of course. I had promised him I’d allow him to join in on the Radol’s new project when he completed his role.
Participation into this new project was something he greatly desired.
People won’t betray as long as they have something to gain—it’s a universal law. That’s why we can trust him.
“That’s right, we can trust Tosh-san. He braved the risks to share supplies with us when they were occupying Camelot,” added a white-haired girl, nodding to herself. Her head was peeking out of a nearby barrel.
“And why are you here, Lucia?”
I had known long before that she had wormed her way in here, but I figured I’d at least ask her once.
“U-um, you see. You know, even Grey needs a bodyguard, right?”
“Not necessary,” I replied.
“Yes. It’s not necessary,” added Theo.
Lucia pouted and ducked back inside the barrel.
I tolerated her following along because it was a lot better keeping her in sight that having her go and do something self-righteous. It was like a tacit understanding between us all.
Suddenly, the carriage lurched to a stop. I glanced outside through the curtains to see a stone wall in the distance that stood several meters high.
“Looks like we’ve arrived,” I said.
Theo and the rest tensed up and took their designated positions.
Predictably, Lucia hid herself deeper into the barrel.
The carriage started forward before coming to a stop once again. I kicked Analyze Environment into action and scanned our surroundings.
In front of us was a wall ten meters tall, surrounded by a deep moat. It was a sturdy fortress—Fort Arkroy.
According to Tosh, Fort Arkroy was separated into the first set of castle walls where the kingdom’s executives were and the supplies were stored and the second set of castle walls that surrounded the first.
Tosh, the young man with blue hair parted to one side, stood in front of the suspended bridge by the moat. Tosh then exited the carriage, whispered something to the gatekeeper, and handed him a letter.
The gatekeeper hurriedly waved a white and red stick. Then, the bridge lowered and the gates opened.
All according to plan.
The division within Fort Arkroy’s second castle walls was like a disposable piece—they wouldn’t mind too much if it were captured by the enemy. The first castle walls which towered above would easily repel any enemy that made it that far.
All their supplies were within the first castle walls too, so a siege didn’t pose that much of a threat. The kingdom’s executives treated the division within the second castle walls as basically no different than outsiders.
And so, we smoothly infiltrated the division within the second castle walls.
Still, the question remained. Would our disguise as a supply squad allow us to pass through the first castle wall?
We had four things to consider.
First, Arkroy’s general, Bull Hound, was on bad terms with General Ete Uco, and their soldiers very rarely mingled.
Second, a portion of the soldiers were not true kingdom soldiers, but soldiers from other countries that had been invaded. They had various skin and hair colors, making them difficult to distinguish from Radols. Those soldiers were often assigned to front-line squads that usually sustained heavy losses as well as to weak supply squads.
Third, distrust ran rampant between soldiers of the first division and the second, so the executives aren’t aware of every last second division soldier.
Fourth, Tosh was originally from a supply squad in the second division. However, Tosh was reassigned by General Ete after the latter had captured Camelot.
If we could make use of at least three of these, the Arkroy executives would move as we expected.
“It’s been a while, Tosh,” said a girl with short black hair. She placed her hand over her chest and gave him a kingdom-style salute.
“It has been, Captain Rose.” Tosh follows her lead and places his hand over his chest.
“I heard Camelot has been destroyed. I thought you had died for sure. I’m glad you’re still here.”
“T-thank you very much!”
“And the others?” She glanced back at the armored Radols and bit her lip.
“Yes. After the Radols attacked us, we escaped back to Camelot and were wandering about in the mountains before Wimp’s strategist, Kai-sama, picked us up. We regrouped with their supply squad and were on standby from afar, but the Radol soldiers burned up our food and water supplies. Then—” Tosh clammed up.
The black-haired woman lightly tapped his shoulder.
“I see. Kai……He understands the situation. You don’t have to say any more. It was a calamity.”
Tosh looked down as tears began to spill out. Soldiers began to gather around and give encouraging words.
Tosh is quite the actor. Wait, is he actually crying?
“I got it. We won’t tell that shitty general that you escaped from Camelot. He’ll probably condemn you all to death and pin the blame on us second division soldiers. Now then, what about those Materials?”
Tosh handed over a gun loaded with only four bullets. “These are from Kai-sama. There are more in the back.”
She briefly eyed the stuffed carriages covered in cloth and grimaced.
We planted tons of incomplete products like the gun inside. This carriage itself had 200 of them. Inspecting them all would take forever. A grimace or two was only natural as they would need several all-nighters.
After a few minutes, a needlessly flashy officer appeared out of an estate near the first castle walls with his attendants in tow.
Tosh had said that officer was one of the few soldiers of the actual army that lived within the second division. He monitored the soldiers to make sure nobody got up to any funny business. Not doing too hot right now, though.
He fearfully reached out towards the gun and fired several shots towards the armor before paling in the face and rushing into the first division.
After a painfully long hour had passed, the giant doors of the first gate opened.
When the inhabitants of this world have witness something inexplicable, they tend to either dub it as magic or a material. The former is a manifestation of talent, while the latter is an item dug out of a ruin. Both are unwieldy for humans, so they give their all to obtain it but don’t think twice about trying to reproduce it with their own powers.
With that being the case, they didn’t want the second division soldiers who were basically outsiders to touch this impossible to replicate Material. Truly foolish, but they were likely to usher us into the first division without inspecting it. I banked on that possibility.
And we won the gamble.
The iron door slowly slid open and we entered the first division.
The carriage I was on slipped past the castle walls, and the rest of the carriages soon followed after. Once the last slipped in, the iron door slowly slid to a close.
They were locked in now. It wouldn’t be easy to escape from here. This was their prison. No, it was their coffin.
It was almost time.
The final carriage’s horse suddenly broke off from the line and dashed away. At the same time, several shadows exited the carriages.
One soldier knit his eyebrows and approached the now-stationary horse-less carriage. “Hey, what are you doing!”
The moment the soldier tried to enter the carriage a pillar of fire erupted from inside that produced fierce winds all around.
The carriage burned up, soldier and all, and I leisurely exited the carriage and looked up.
“Now, everyone. The war begins. Let’s give it our all and spare no mercy as we slaughter our enemies fair and square!!”
All squads responded immediately. “Yes sir!!”
A heaven-shattering roar echoed through the first division and the battle to capture Arkroy began.