Magic Bullet In Magic Land - Volume 2 - Chapter 19
Chapter 019 - Convoy (First)
’’Karito, there you are. Father wants to talk to you about something.’’
’’Is there something else?’’
’’No, it's nothing like the attack of the Alwina armies, rest assured things are fine. It is just that....’’
After returning from guarding the castle walls together with other soldiers, Ordy and his daughters greeted Karito.
At that moment Ordy, who has the wildness and sharpness of a silver wolf, had a complicated expression on his face. From what Karito could read, it was news that he wouldn't be happy with, even if he should be happy with it.
’’I have received a message from the Imperial City summoning Karito. It seems like your achievement in this war has reached to the people in Royal Palace and they had become interested in you.’’
’’Even though I only know about half of it, but Karito's achievements are surely amazing. I wonder if they will give Karito a medal? Good job Karito!’’
’’Karito-san is amazing!’’
Even though the subject of interest was Karito, Reona was the one who showed delighted with her entire body. She embraced Karito tightly and pressed those fiendish mass of swellings on him. Rina also smiled happily.
However, Karito could not feel delighted. When he looked at Ordy's face, he could not perceive those words positively, like the sisters.
In most parallel world trips, when foreigners that participate actively in that world was called by the ruling class, it always means a new trouble. As the summoned person he feels like escaping, but in front of Ordy &co, he can only nod his head. If he escapes from his duty, it would make life difficult for his acquaintances in this parallel world.
’’If my paranoia is not correct, then I will probably just receive a medal or something of the sort and be done with it, but if it is the worst case situation, I may be forced to ...’’
’’Let's hope that things end peacefully but....’’
The obligation, in this case, could mean - being forcefully detained or dragged in as a member of the Belcania Alliance troops. Of course, anyone would be interested in the numerous weapons from a different world.
If he were Ordy's subordinate, he could probably be as he was, but then again it might not be so bad to at least secure a position in this world for himself. Rather than stubbornly asking for freedom and creating a scenario in which they will aim for his life due to being perceived as a threat, he would gladly become someone's subordinate instead.
Rather than solitary freedom, Karito would rather be constrained between his friends, like now.
(Anyways, it would be better to move as told, for now.)
Karito nods and says.
’’Understood. Let's go to the Imperial Capital.’’
’’...... Are you alright? Although you are from a different world, you belonged to an army of another country right?’’
He remembered having mentioned such things...
’’I would not be questioned for responsibilities by the army unless I return to my original world, and personally, I don't mind to be treated as a hired mercenary. Or perhaps, this, in a way are more problematic?’’
’’No, it is all right. It is said that the Royal Family, in previous wars, gave out medals to many mercenaries who participated. It also not uncommon to raise people with distinguishable merit to become an instructor for the army. But Karito, your case is different.’’
’’ Certainly, the way I fought will definitely stand out in this world......’’
Bombs that can explode from a distance, machine guns that can send numerous barrages, flamethrowers etc....
As he had been too showy in this war, there is no way to completely control people's mouths. The survivors of the Defence Force would open a path when they see Karito and stand at attention as if he's their superior. They would also talk about Karito and watch his every move restlessly. Karito was quite bothered by it. To make it worse, the reinforcement soldiers, who have not see Karito fight, found the Defence Force survivor's actions strange and would start to pay attention to Karito as well. It was a viciously repeating circle.
Even if he was appreciative of Reona's and Rina's companionship, for Karito, who was originally just a gloomy shut-in, having so much attention was rather disturbing. He is not an army general or an idol, so was quite uncomfortable.
Since he had made such a remarkable impression, it is natural for rumors to circulate.
’’Then this talk will be quick. Tomorrow morning you will ride together with the escorts of the captive in question. Reona and Rina will come along as well. We have decided to turn this town into a full-scale military base so the refugees will not able to stay.’’
’’Imperial City huh.... Rina has never been to Imperial City.’’
’’Yeah, I only know it from stories told by Onee-chan. I have been wanting to go too, but I never thought I would go under these circumstances...’’
’’Hey! Get up, it-is-morning-already!’’
’’Ummm, 5 more minutes....’’
Karito, who was forcibly shaken by Reona, uttered the standard line while in half asleep state.
It was the first time in more than a year that he shared a meal and sleeping place with the residents of this different world. Compared to his old world they have a habit to go to bed earlier and getting up earlier.
Karito, who had been sleeping on a rectangular wooden box as a bed, checked the time on his PDA without thinking―――― currently, it is before 6 AM. He begged to be allowed to sleep for another hour.
’’Come on, get up quickly! You are still young, don't turn into a bagworm!’’
’’In my world this reply was usual....’’
Although he said that, Karito raised his body, slowly, while still wrapped up in a blanket. He gave a big yawn and rubbed his drowsy eyes. His back hurt because he had slept on a hard wooden box.
Karito washed his face in order to refresh himself.
’’It is convenient since you don't have to go to well and draw the water every single time’’
’’Thank you very much, as always.’’
He poured the infinite bottles of mineral water into the wooden bucket. The cool water was the perfect temperature to wake the senses. Once Karito washed his face the remaining drowsiness was washed away with it. Compared to his body on Earth, he felt that the speed of his brain waking up was quicker in this <WBGO>body.
Following Karito, Reona and Rina also washed their faces. While Rina washed normally, Reona gathered water in her hands and shakes her head into the water, tail swinging in sync with her movements...just like a dog.
’’Then, which one should I choose today?’’
’’ Why do you always suddenly undress right before me?’’
Reona threw off the ragged cloth that covered the top and bottom, used as a substitute for sleepwear, nimbly. While complaining, Karito hurriedly leaves. This had been happening every day since they shared a room. Karito should have gotten used to it by now, but as expected, Reona's healthy nude body was still too stimulating to see the first thing in the morning.
She made a choice from the pile of clothes in the corner of the room. They were (goods procured, with her Father's permission, from an abandoned clothing shop). In line with her wild and active personality, she usually chooses clothes with a lot of exposure that emphasizes mobility over modesty.
As usual, today she picked up a mini skirt with plain, elongated cloth which wrapped around her chest, exposing everything but the most important parts. Even the hidden part up to the root of those tight thighs were threatened to be exposed with just a little movement. It is on the level where one does not know if the view is an eye-candy or a poison for the eyes.
In fact, besides Karito, it also gathered the gazes of several hot headed guys from Defence Force but no one dares to behave insolently. They remembered the might of Ordy's daughter that defeated the Sky Cavalry during the defensive battle. ..... Perhaps that is the one that fostering Reona behavior.
By the way, Rina dresses like a normal village girl. She loves a sturdy apron dress with simple patterns and varying colours. Her appearance and preference is the complete opposite from her sister.
After changing, it was time for breakfast. Today's breakfast is a provision from German army, a biscuit with jam, stuffed fat pork sausage and jelly. The drink is orange juice that had been diluted with water. It is popular with Reona and Rina because it had a different taste from squeezed fruit juice.
’’The food is delicious as usual. I am really envious of the people of Karito's world who could eat such delicious food.’’
’’Let me tell you this, this food here is devised for the soldiers to eat conveniently on the battlefield, ordinary people would eat differently ’’
’’ Different food? Does that mean that they are ate something even more delicious than this!?’’
’’Karito's world sure is amazing!’’
’’No, I don't mean it that way....’’
With that little misunderstanding breakfast ended and they prepared to leave the barracks towards the Imperial City. Food and water could be indefinitely provided by Karito, so their belongings were just clothes.
Just as they were about to leave the two-layered wall gate which surrounds the headquarters and barracks, a voice called out to them.
’’Reona, Rina., do you know where Karito is?’’
’’Oops! I didn't know that you all were together. I didn't realize at all. This is the first time in hundreds of year that I feel resentful over my unseeing eyes’’
Marian came closer to the three with quick steps. When Karito raised his voice, she made exaggerated movements then sighed gloomily. Marian can ’’see’’ the existence of spirits in place of naked eyes but, she was unable to see Karito, who didn't possess even a little bit of the ’’spirit’’.
’’What's the matter?’’
’’Ah, yes. It is about that lady, Hilda, you captured. I would like you to watch her until she boards the carriage, do you mind?’’
’’I don't mind but is it alright for me to be watching her? Even though she does not remember anything, she can completely beat the shit out of me.’’
’’What are you saying? Aren't you the one who caught her alive?’’
Marian had lost one of her arms in the fight with Hilda. Relying on Karito's voice, she extended her other arm to find his body and tug his arm to drag him towards the headquarters.
Marian's body temperature is cool, indicating the lack of presence of life, but the softness on his arm that he felt over her robe was definitely those of an adult woman's. Even though her figure was concealed by loose robes, the feeling of her chest on his arm gave him an estimation of her size...it is quite reasonable.
Despite thinking that he had benefited unintentionally, Karito still could not suppress his heart's excitement as he had lived a life without having any physical contact with women. Come to think about it, what was she like under her robe?
The dungeon where Marian brought him was not much different from the dungeons that Karito had imagined. Fire from candles hung on the walls light up the dark space that the sunlight never illuminates. A gloomy and damp feeling floated around. Hilda was locked and guarded in the deepest part of the dungeon, in an isolation cell. Three fully armed human soldiers stood in front of the door.
’’We will take her out of here, please open the door.’’
’’Yes, we'll open it now!’’
With a loud and heavy sound, the door reinforced with thick iron plates creaked open slowly. Karito grasped a shotgun loaded with a non-lethal rubber bullet as a precaution, his hand damps from nervousness.
A tattered wooden bed was the only item placed in the narrow space. Hilda was sitting on the bed with her head raised to look at Karito and Marian entering her cell. Her eyes shook with uneasiness and both her hands were restrained with alloy handcuffs that Karito provided, not wooden ones.
Hilda stood up shakily, as urged by Karito's group, her body trembled in fright at their every movement. He could not relate her as the same person who had cornered Karito and Marian. Although there are occasional stories about personality changes from memory loss, he couldn't help but be surprised to when seeing it happen, in person.
’’What will happen to me?’’
’’I do not plan to eat you up, so relax. I will be blindfolding you as we move to another place. I suppose it will be more convenient for you that way. Don't worry, you will only be blindfolded until you reach the carriage. ’’
One of the soldiers approached with a cloth on his hand and Hilda shuddered again but did not resist being covered by the blindfold.
While being restrained by 2 robust soldiers on the left and right, Hilda walked out from the dungeon with her own foot. Karito watched Hilda's every move as she followed behind Marian. Despite her field of vision is covered and both of her hands handcuffed, he noticed that her steps were unexpectedly steady. Even if she had lost her memory the result of training was engraved in her body.
They arrived at the small carriage with the escorts waiting right in front of the headquarters entrance. As soon as Hilda got in, the door of the carriage was closed and her blindfold was removed. The soldiers who had finished latching a thick steel bolt leaked out a sigh of relief. Although she looks like a weak beautiful woman after losing her memory, they were still nervous as they recognized her real self.
Feeling curious, Karito asked Marian.
’’What will happen to her once we arrive over there?’’
’’It is hard to say. First of all, her magic power will be sealed with a magic item so she can't use magic before the interrogation starts ― it is a standard procedure. However, in her case, she needs to remember her previous position before any talks can occur.. Well, that will be handled by the magicians who are good at mind intervention and memory tampering, so my role will be finished once I delivered her over there.’’
He does not know whether it will better for her to regain her memory back or not, but Marian only shrugged her shoulders.
’’I would rather have her not remembering anything.’’
’’I agree with that.
The two whose life had been targeted at their first encounter, laugh and share a wry smile.
Taking Marian along, they join Reona group's and boarded their wagon. The wagon was not a military wagon that is used to carry logistics but only a common worn out wagon with an attached hood. According to Ordy, it had been obtained from the people.
The escorting soldiers were riding on horses protecting the front and back of Karito and Reona group wagon as well as the carriage where Hilda boarded. Furthermore, surrounding the escort soldiers were refugees who were traveling to the Imperial City. Besides Karito's group, there were also a few other soldiers that is boarding their wagon.
Trying to match the speed of the refugees, their advance was much slower than when they had traveled to Citadel. The atmosphere was heavy and slow as the soldiers guarding the carriage sensed the exhaustion of the refugees that followed them like ants.
’’The view is all good but tell those in front to not let their guards down, the enemies may still be lying around somewhere for an ambush. Even if we are being escorted there may be some fools who will still attack us without caring.’’
Worried about Ordy who had warned his coachman, Karito called out to him.
’’By any chance, could the Alwina army be setting up an ambush to regain Hilda?’’
’’No rather your group should be alert against the gathering of remaining defeated soldiers who failed to withdraw due to their injuries and thieves’’
Ordy shook his head and Marian continued after him, knocking on the wagon with the tip of the cane she held it in her only arm.
’’In villages and towns which have turned into battlefields, groups of worthless lowlifes that attack the refugees who are barely hanging onto their lives will often appear.’’
Among the refugees who escaped the war, a lot of people brought small valuable items such as money and jewelries with them, rather than large items like household goods.
Moreover, the people who ran were mostly weak citizens, the number of women and children being much higher, making them easy targets for se*ual relief and slave trading. Escort soldiers also do not prioritize their protection so the sacrifice often expands, unilaterally.
They might also attack for the horses, but there are a lot of cases where a part of enemy soldiers and mercenaries abandoned by the main force turn into bandits and attack the refugees and neighboring villages.
’’The Alwina army has withdrawn in the same direction. Although our moving speed has slowed down, since there is no deadline for Karito's summon I had planned to escort all the refugees while delivering the prisoner, at least until the Imperial Capital.’’
’’Moreover it is a good chance to appeal to the soldiers to care for the refugees. Even if the people from Imperial City complain, I will cover for you, so don't worry. ’’
’’Thank you very much.’’
’’.... by the way, can you do something for this shaking?’’
Perhaps they had run into a stony path, Karito almost bit his tongue from the rocking of the wagon. When he went to Citadel before the shaking was not so bad, but now it felt quite terrible. the difference of civilization here is quite far apart from cars and trains. Karito thought that it is given that the carriage was not equipped with shock absorbers.
As the wheels rolled down the road, which was not paved with asphalt, Karito could feel his butt stinging. He couldn't believe that besides from him, everyone else were sitting down quietly. His experiences riding around a mountain stage in the <WBGO>with an ATV 4 wheel buggy was much bearable.
As a matter of fact, Karito began to feel uneasy, and his semicircular canals (of the ears) was also in a rather severe situation.
’’Excuse me, I will walk....’’
’’Is that so? if you are feeling uncomfortable is it not much better to rest in the wagon?’’
’’Even though you're really strong, you sure are weak in weird situations .’’
’’Leave me alone.’’
He jumped off the wagon ―and his eyes met with a child's.
The boy seemed to be no older than 10 years old. His figure was quite dirty with soot and dust and was led by an equally tattered woman, that seemed to be his mother, walking wearily.
He was barefooted. This young body was not suited to walk on roads with lots of sharp pebbles scattered around....... and it was just right since there was empty space since he alighted the wagon.
He picked up the mother and child and ushered them inside the wagon. Reona stretched out her hands to help them board the wagon quickly. The mother and child bowed their head repeatedly in gratitude.
Even though he had turned into a murderer, Karito still has the conscience remaining in his heart to commit this kind of small kindness.
Just as the unchanging sun in another world crossed the summit and slightly sinks down, suddenly Marian leaked out a questioning ’’Nn?’’ sound and raised her face.
There was a loose large curve slightly ahead, inside the curve was a steep slope, and the forest on outside of it. She called out to Ordy, while toying with her cane, in the wagon.
’’Order everyone to not go any further. Immediately’’
’’Understood. All members stop at once!’’
Without wasting time to ask why, everyone stopped immediately. Turning to the wagon canopy, Ordy raised his voice to his subordinates to stop their advance forward. As the group of horses and carriages stopped their advance, the walking refugees to stopped in follow.
Karito looked inside the wagon and asked.
’’..... there is quite a number of humans lurking in that forest. Apparently, the customer has become impatient.’’
In the next moment, an arrow flew from the sky and pierced the area around the wagon.
It was a surprise attack