Chapter 18 – Guidance
“As expected of the most fortified stronghold in the empire.”
I went sightseeing around Lobrion.
I can now somewhat understand Count Lobria’s complacency….
The walls were packed with fully armed soldiers. All essential facilities were also under heavy guard within the city. The guards were on the lookout for suspicious individuals on the roads as well.
Seeing all that, Elysia spoke up.
“There is no gap for even an ant to get through….Alec-sama, do you think something will happen to this town?”
“….well, it’s not impossible that something could.”
Even I don’t know what caused the town’s fall last time around.
However, breaking through the defense of this impregnable fortress should be impossible without help on the inside.
“If the walls and gates are this well fortified, then…..”
I turned my gaze towards the sea.
From the air, it looks like Lobrion’s harbor is located at the bottom of a sideways pot.
And at the entrance of the bay, two sturdy looking towers were standing on each shore.
Those two towers were connected by a couple of thick steel chains.
They couldn’t be seen right now, since they were on the ocean floor, but by raising them up to the water line, they can prevent ships from entering the bay from outside.
However, if for some reason those chains can’t be moved, or were destroyed somehow…..
The fleet of ships belonging to the Monster Kingdom on the other coast would be able to land in the harbor.
“Elysia, let’s go take a look at those towers.”
It was already evening, so there weren’t many people around.
Going outside the walls, we made use of 《Teleport》 to get closer to one of the towers that controlled the chains.
We first went to the northern tower.
There were more than a dozen guards at the tower’s entrance.
The tower itself was a small fort, capable of containing a few hundred people.
As we walked closer to the entrance, the guards brandished their weapons at us.
“This area is restricted!”
“I’m the Sixth Prince, Alec.”
Their displeasure was written clearly on the guards’ faces.
“There is no way a prince would just show up here…..ah”
Seeing the insignia on my chest, their expression changed at once.
“I-I’m terribly sorry!”
“Don’t worry about it….you acted according to regulations and that’s fine. You don’t let anyone in here aside from authorized personnel, right?”
“Eh? Ah, yes. Even we, the guards, need to show our credentials to pass here.”
This is a facility that’s nearly as important as the gates. As expected, they are heavily guarded as well.
“I see…..I have one more question then. Are there demons or monsters inside?”
“There are none. This is one of the most important places here in Lobrion. No demon, or monster of course, could be trusted to be allowed here. It’s the same for the southern tower as well.”
Demons are oppressed here in Lobrion.
If there were saboteurs inside, then I thought they would target here, but….
“Does anyone ever bring in demons with them?”
“Never. Ah, but….we humans can’t handle the maintenance of the chains. We rely on demons for that.”
“By the way, was there maintenance scheduled for today?”
“Yes. They are currently strengthening the center parts. There, you can see that tall one, right?”
I could see some people swimming in the sea and hitting the chain with their hammers. I could only see them as dots, but I think there were about thirty of them working.
“That’s the one who we bumped into before….”
It was too far for me to see clearly, but apparently Elysia could tell.
“The one we met near the gate?”
It was most likely the half-cyclops demon.
I heard that cyclopes are good smiths. They must’ve been the ones that made those giant chains.
“There is a resemblance. Though every one of them looks similar….perhaps….”
Elysia had a worried expression on her face.
“Guards…..contact Count Lobria right now.”
“A-and say what?”
“The chains are most likely already useless.”
“P-please tell me you are joking?”
“Then try pulling on the chains.”
“B-but, we can’t raise the chains without the command of the Lord.”
“If we don’t act fast enough here, Lobrion will fall.”
“Kh…..h-hey! Raise one chain!”
The guard in front of us shouted to his comrade inside the tower.
At first they questioned their orders, but finally a sound that shook the ground could be heard.
It must be from the movements of the winding mechanism used to raise the steel chains.
“There is no way it won’t move…..huh?”
The lookout noticed that the chain was not showing up on the water surface at all.
“W-why! H-hey, what about the others!?”
“I’m trying right now! I-It’s no good!”
A commotion broke out within the tower.
I said this to the guards.
“We can still make it! Have Count Lobria gather the soldiers in the harbor!”
“Y-yes! Hey, send the signal!”
A signal fire went up from the tower at once.
I also went up the tower and looked out over the water.
There were more than a hundred ships floating on the open sea.
However, all those ships started heading towards the opposite coast.
They must’ve wanted to launch their attack at night.
With the signal fire going up in the evening, they probably thought that their plot was discovered.
The lookouts on top of the tower let out sighs of relief.
“Don’t be stupid! We are still defenseless here! There is no guarantee that the enemy won’t try to enter anyway!”
Since it could’ve been a fake retreat, the lookouts still started preparing for battle.
One of the lookouts then spoke up.
“We need to catch those demons! It’s getting darker already! Get them before they escape!”
The demons that were hammering away at the chain started swimming towards the other shore of the bay after realizing they were discovered.
I spoke to a lookout.
“You shouldn’t divide your forces right now. I will go after them myself.”
“Y-Your Highness will? That will be a great help!”
After nodding to each other with Elysia, we used 《Teleport》 under the cover of darkness to get to the other shore where the demons were heading.
When we arrived somewhat close, we started running towards the shore.
“Can you give me some rope, Your Highness?”
“No, that won’t be needed.”
“Then, will we-”
“No, Elysia. I have no intention of killing them or handing them over to Count Lobrion.”
“Then, will you be letting them go?”
“That would be difficult as well. But….for now, I would like you to not kill them, Elysia.”
“I understand. I will do as you say.”
Elysia gripped her sword tightly.
We finally managed to reach the shore. Our surroundings have already gone almost entirely dark.
The next moment, the first sopping wet demon arrived on the shore.
“Haah, haah…..I’m sorry, everyone.”
“Don’t mind it, Yuuri…..This is just the same as always.”
“There was no guarantee that the Monster Kingdom would have treated us better either.”
Apparently someone apologized, then the others responded to that one.
However, one of them eventually noticed us being there.
“H-humans…..! You are the one from before!”
The one that spoke up just now was the one we saw almost falling at the gate. It seems the same one apologized to the others just now as well. His name was Yuuri, apparently.
Brandishing his hammer, he asked us.
“…..are you here to catch us?”
“No we are not. But stop running away. The guards will chase you no matter how far.”
“So you want us to just surrender then…..I’m sorry, but we have no intention of doing that!”
Yuuri swung his hammer at us.
“Everyone, I will hold them off! Run away!”
However, Elysia swung her sword and sent the hammer flying.
With the same motion, Elysia pointed her sword at the giant.
Judging that it was over now, Yuuri kneeled and bowed his head to me.
“Please…..please, let the young children go at least.”
“As I’ve just said, I have no intention of letting you go….since you wouldn’t have a chance of getting away anyway.”
Hearing my reply, not just Yuuri, but the other giants looked like they had given up as well.
That’s right. They wouldn’t be able to get away by themselves. That’s why someone needs to lend them a helping hand.
“…..so, come with me instead.”
“I will…. save all of you.”
Hearing my words, Yuuri and the other giants turned to exchange glances with each other.