The Things Left Behind
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The next morning… I woke up when it was still dim outside, and the sunlight was barely coming in.
It had been a while since I felt that my whole body was resting. It was completely different from the morning when I leaned back on a tree and woke up due to shallow sleep with stiff pain.
The warm futon that slowly wrapped the whole body felt like a hug from a civilization that I had almost forgotten. I felt that I had returned to the world where people live.
When I looked sideways, there was Carol. She was in the same bed, and she was lying on my side.
She had a beautiful sleeping face.
‘I can’t help feeling something. I don’t want it to come out. It wants to be wrapped in warmth.’
There was no drowsiness when I thought so. I slept as soon as the sun set, and at the moment, the sun was rising. I probably slept for about nine to ten hours. I shouldn’t feel drowsy.
I slowly got out of the bed. The knees and soles were injured and reminded me of the situation.
Fortunately, the lower half of the bed wasn’t sticky with blood, and the sheets and blankets weren’t wet at all. It seemed that the bleeding was very little. I put on my slippers and left the room so as not to make a noise.
I put on my jacket, put it back on my outer sandals. Then I put a piece of hard bread in my mouth in the kitchen. When I went outside, the early morning chills grazed my cheeks.
To make it easier to walk, I walked around the house counterclockwise along the wall, and I entered a small bard behind the house.
Various tools were thrown into it as it was when I saw it before.
A wood-splitting ax, a saw for removing branches, large and small hammers used for stakeout and nailing. The owner might be making simple shelves since the boards and wooden poles that were sawn as such were rolling nearby, and there were piles of wood chips.
Well, it would be easy to make a crutch. However, the previous one had a shape like a T with a horizontal bar added, but it seemed difficult to grip the bar in the middle of the pole.
It might be better for the center of gravity to have a ferrule in the middle, but it might be easier to use it if it was shaped like an F. When I made it before, I couldn’t use nails, but this time, there were many, so there was nothing I couldn’t do.
I thought it would be better to have a curve, so I used the bent branch material as the core, and attached two arms while trying it myself. When I attached the support diagonally to the handle, it was completed.
I tried it out. Even if I put my weight on it, I didn’t feel like it was going to snap.
I looked outside, and it was already dawn. Although it was a simple task, there were many things to do, such as using a drill or shaping it by using a chisel to attach a square bar to a round branch.
Carol was already awake when I returned to the house with the walking stick. It seemed that she looked sullen at the front door.
She had a walking stick in one of her hands. I didn’t notice it yesterday, but it must be in a closet or somewhere else.
Compared to the trash-like DIY stick that I made, it was a stick with a difference in build. It was a job done by a professional. Since it was a stick that was supposed to walk with both feet, the crutches would be better, and it would come in handy when walking indoors.
The grip was also wavy so that it was easy to hold.
“Hey, good morning.” (Yuri)
“…If you’re going somewhere, you could at least let me know. I was worried.” (Carol)
It seemed that she was worried. It was a difficult situation to raise one’s voice.
“Sorry. I thought it would be bad to wake you up.” (Yuri)
“It is actually better to wake me up.” (Carol)
‘Aah. I may think so if I’m in her position.’
“You’re right. I’m sorry.” (Yuri)
“It’s fine.” (Carol)
“That’s a good cane. Where did you find it?” (Yuri)
“It was in the room on the second floor.” (Carol)
‘It seemed that she searched up the second floor. Dang it.’
“I made a hot soup, so let’s have it.” (Carol)
“Sorry about that.” (Yuri)
“…It’s fine. Let’s go.” (Carol)
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After a simple meal with bread and soup, cheese and ham, Carol made me a cup of tea.
It didn’t feel too bitter when I drank it. On the contrary, it had a very mellow scent and it was very delicious.
“This tea is delicious. Why did you prepare it yesterday?” (Yuri)
“Aah, that’s because you can only have it once a day.” (Carol)
‘Is that so? I thought I should have it after every meal continuously until the wound is healed.’
“Is it poisonous if you drink too much?” (Yuri)
“Aah… uhmm… if you drink it habitually, you will develop kidney stone. I heard that it really hurts if you have that.” (Carol)
‘…Kidney stone, is it? I would like to avoid it. I have never experienced it, but I heard it’s an unimaginable pain.’
‘Basically, even in Shaalta, there is no practice of laparotomy, which is performed only for the cecum and urinary tract stones Of course, there is a high risk of death due to infectious disease, and it would be a life-and death journey, but since these two diseases are accompanied by the level of pain that it is better to die, everyone will go on a big journey without any other options.’
“My bad for asking.” (Yuri)
‘Urethral stones are more likely to be overwhelming for men.’
“You’re right. I should refrain from it.” (Carol)
“By the way, have you read Myaro’s letters yet?” (Yuri)
“…Yes. I read it.” (Carol)
Carol said with a strangely serious look. It might be the reason why she woke up late.
“I see. Then, you know that we’re in a really bad situation.” (Yuri)
“I wonder if we could have settled everything a day earlier. I can’t help saying that.” (Yuri)
“I almost felt overwhelmed for a moment.” (Carol)
‘That is… Well, it can’t be helped.’
“The problem is, if we can walk, we should walk to Reform, but it seems that is not going to work well.” (Yuri)
“Yeah, so are you planning to go to Kuonam?” (Carol)
Kuonam was a fairly large city that was at the north of Reform. It had flourished as a base for inland trade in Kilghina.
“No, the main problem that you can’t overtake the enemy’s front line even if you can walk, The main road should no longer be usable.” (Yuri)
Even if my legs and Carol’s legs were completely healed right now, we can’t walk fast in the forest similar to before this, without using the main road. Although the marching speed is slow, the enemy’s siege army will probably reach Reform first.’
“It’s difficult to hide and walk up to Shaalta. Until now, we have eaten a lot of food from the pursuers.” (Yuri)
‘It’s ironic, but if we didn’t have pursuers, we would have trouble eating.’
‘There is a large amount of food here, but it’s not possible to carry dozens of days’ worth. We can have at most five days, and basically we will need to procure locally.’
“Yeah… it’s difficult.” (Carol)
“I think it’s better to wait here for at least one to eight days.” (Yuri)
“Wait here…? Is it for Myaro?” (Carol)
“No, the enemy.” (Yuri)
“Enemy? Your goal is probably not to defeat them, right?” (Carol)
“My aim is their horse. The first people to come here are reconnaissance, right? Of course, they have horses.” (Yuri)
‘Although it is reconnaissance, they are probably a bunch of people doing influence reconnaissance. The main purpose is reconnaissance, but they would be properly armed, and if the discovered target is vulnerable, they will attack and trample it. In other words, they can be called an advance unit.’
‘On the contrary, if the enemy is so powerful and that there’s no chance of winning, or if it’s considered that the strength is at the same level, they will escape at once and bring back the information. In such an unprotected village, it may be looted in the meantime.’
‘In that respect, it is different from operations such as reconnaissance mission and infiltration reconnaissance, which are basically avoids except for unavoidable battles. Compared to those, this one is probably more aggressive.’
‘Reconnaissance that precedes the main unit of the army is always performed when a large unit advances through enemy territory, and if this isn’t done, ambush and surprise attacks will be carried out as much as possible. Such a simple work is a so-called daily work of the cavalry type, and it is also an absolutely necessary service for the movement of a large unit. Geographically, this village will surely be subjected to reconnaissance.’
‘Of course, those guys won’t wear plate armor like Canker. This is because the horse gets tired if they are too heavy. They should wear light dress, with a little body armor and a helmet attached to it.’
“Are you going to intercept and defeat them, or just rob their horses only?” (Carol)
“Well. If we get a horse, we will manage to overtake the enemy and reach Reform.” (Yuri)
‘Needless to say to Carol, this kind of reconnaissance is done ahead of the main unit. If we go out to the main road immediately after defeating the reconnaissance unit, there is no danger of encountering a large group of enemies.’
‘In a situation where a powerful unit annihilates the reconnaissance unit, the main unit will be hit on the side without noticing at all if they immediately go to the main road. Therefore, there’s no point in reconnaissance.’
“It doesn’t seem like a good plan. That is if you can definitely defeat the enemy reconnaissance unit.” (Carol)
“Of course, there is no guarantee of success. There is nothing I can do if the enemy comes by chance and there are hundreds of them.” (Yuri)
“I see.” (Carol)
Carol looked depressed.
‘That’s obvious, isn’t it? Although there is no other choice, this strategy is a strategy that seems less likely to succeed. My head hurts thinking of it too.’
‘Compared to the strategy of escaping from reconnaissance and running to Shaalta while the enemy is approaching, the success rate is extremely low… maybe about twenty to thirty percent. However, if we talk about the hope left behind, there’s a possibility that Myaro will come here again…’
“There are also other problems. Of course, we’re going to set traps and wait, but from Myaro’s letter, the enemy may not come today.” (Yuri)
‘Obviously, if they come at this time, there’s no way to go against them. At this time, it’s quite possible that the sound of a horse’s hoof can be heard from the main road.’
“Well, even if you’re in a hurry, the wound will get worse. So, let’s take it slowly.” (Yuri)
I said while sipping tea.
‘It’s not something to rush. Anyhow, this tea is really delicious.’
“Slowly… why do you have to say such a thing leisurely? We don’t have spare time, you know.” (Carol)
‘It feels like she’s cornered. Well, it’s a life-threatening event, so it can’t be helped.’
“The opponent is on a horse. There’s no point in making a lot of small traps. If we kill the horse, we will lose everything.” (Yuri)
“So, what are you going to do? Do you have a plan?” (Carol)
“Didn’t you read Myaro’s letter?” (Yuri)
“Do you think I’m a fool?” (Carol)
She seemed to be in a bad mood as if she was angry.
“Well, didn’t she write it? The souvenir.” (Yuri)
‘This house is a house that is dedicated for the village mayor for generations. There is a relatively large basement. In terms of floor plan, sixty percent of the total is above the basement.
‘The basement is underneath the floor except the bathroom and the room with a dirt floor. I know that because of the house where I was born, which is the house of the Hou Household.
‘There is no basement under the bathroom, the assembly hall, which is designed to be stepped with dirty feet, and the kitchen, which has a dirt floor because of the stove.’
‘This is because it is technically impossible to completely waterproof the floor, so if water is spilled, it will drip underground.’
‘For the same reason, there is no basement in the main residence of the Hou Household, which has a moat around it. The second residence in Sibyaku is near a river, but then, the warehouse is built on the ground.’
‘Originally, I wanted to use the basement as a food storage when I bought all the food for the unit, but then, it might be mixed with the messy and piled up items of the village mayor’s family, so I decided to rent another house.’
‘However, now that the fortress has fallen, there’s no need to refrain from doing so.’
The entrance to the basement was in the corridor near the bathroom, but Myaro hid the entrance. The door was on the floor, and the hole with the ladder was shaped like a lid with a door. But the wooden box, which had been put up rather carelessly, now completely hides the hole.
When the wooden box was removed, the hinged door with metal fittings on the square was there as it was before. I opened the door, and the inside was naturally pitch black.
‘I wonder if I can get off the ladder.’
When I put my cane in the hallway and got off with my right foot on the ladder, I was able to get off easily by supporting my body with my arms. It was a work that used the strength of the arm, but to begin with, I could do it because it was hanging.
“Carol, drop the cane.” (Yuri)
“I’m dropping it now.” (Carol)
I caught the cane that had been dropped. I carefully lit the lighter and searched for a lantern.
The lantern was left as it was in the place I remembered. I brought the flame to the oil-stained core to light it up.
In the same place, there was something like a basin with a handle tied with a rope. This would have been used to pull food out of the basement.
I threw a bundle of ropes towards Carol. Carol caught it without problems.
“If you tie it somewhere, you can come down.” (Yuri)
After saying so, I illuminated the basement with the lantern. There was a barrel that didn’t look natural lying around the center of the basement.
The barrel was rolled down, and black gunpowder was piled up high from the open end. This gunpowder barrel was a reused barrel after making sake. There was no means of opening that can reseal it back except for the small plug opened in the body part. The lid was split in half and opened, so if it was rolled and carried, the contents would spill.
It seemed that the members of the unit intended to throw it away, so they rolled it in from the big entrance outside. When viewed in light, the spilled gunpowder made a thick line on the rolling line of the barrel. Still, up to half of the gunpowder left in the barrel with the lid opened.
“Don’t step on the gunpowder. Walk softly so as not to roll up the dust.” (Yuri)
I said to Carol who came down the ladder.
“I know, but… isn’t it dangerous to use it? If you want the light, you should open the door from the outside.” (Carol)
‘That’s right. The other entrance to this basement is the door from the outside. It is quite large and has a staircase shape. That was where the members of the unit rolled the barrel. The path from inside the house to the basement is, so to speak, a back door.’
‘If you open the door from the outside, the light will enter the basement as the sun is already up.’
“It was disguised with soil over it. I saw it when I went around the house a while ago, and it’s weathered well in a bit over ten days. If you break it, it will be ruined.” (Yuri)
“Aah. I see.” (Carol)
“We’re good here. Let’s collect some food and go back.” (Yuri)
‘It’s dangerous if the lantern is dropped in some way, and there’s a possibility that the gunpowder which is dusted by stepping in the basement, enters the lantern. Well, the force of the fire will be a bit stronger when the gunpowder, that is rolled up to a certain extent, is burned.’
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