“I am Orkubo, the lord of this castle!” majestically says the conqueror-like orc who appeared in front of my army.
Wait, is he really an orc?
He’s clad in dazzling full-body armor and is straddling a huge, intimidating horse.
In his right hand is a colossal battleax that could probably chop off a dragon’s head if he swung it around.
My soldiers, who had formed a neat formation before the battle began, are overwhelmed by the aura emanating from the orc.
If we were to fight now, he would probably annihilate us.
After petrifying us with fear, the bizarre orc continues to talk.
“I know you people. You’ve come to defeat me, right? Very well. This castle was built to await challengers like you. If you want to wage war, then make your way up. That’s what the castle also desires. You will be rewarded with a grand prize should you be able to reach and conquer the castle tower. I hereby declare the start of a war, a castle siege. You will attack, and we will stay inside to defend it.”
“How impudent of you…”
After saying that, the orc instantly disappeared from our sight.
“Did he just teleport?!” says Lady Varlina next to me, her eyes wide open in surprise.
“Was it an alchemy spell?”
“Indeed… A spell only a few high-ranking mages can use. Not by a random orc!”
Yet another supranational revelation…
“All troops, advance! Seize the castle!”
“Wait, feudal lord! Are you certain about attacking the castle?!” asks Varlina, the inspector, as she grabs my arm. “It’s dangerous! That orc is too out of this world! We should retreat and come back when we’re more prepared!”
“We must call for backup! We can recruit from other territories or ask the demon occupation army to provide us with troops! You’re a feudal lord, so you shouldn’t be braving such dangers!”
I shake off her hand and raise my baton to indicate my orders.
“I am a feudal lord. And this is my territory. I am liable for any and all problems that arise here.”
If someone or something unknown is trying to do something in my territory, I must determine what it is.
A feudal lord must protect his people!
“Daring to attack his castle is the only thing I can do to find out his aim! Once again, all troops, advance!”
The like-minded soldiers show no hesitation.
“Lady Varlina, you are an outsider. Hence, there is no need to force yourself into danger. You’re free to stay.”
“My task is to monitor you. Failing to do so would violate my loyalty to the Demon King’s Army.”
Hmph, now you’re being conscientious.
“And the other party used alchemy, the magic used by the demon race. If they used the same magic to set up traps on the way to the castle, my wisdom and experience might come in handy.”
“Do as you wish.”
I dauntlessly advance my troops.
From now on, the siege between us humans and orcs will begin!
“All troops, halt!”
I stopped the troops, for it was not easily possible to advance any further.
There’s a moat before us— an orthodox ditch dug to prevent enemies from entering the castle.
“I suppose this is the first barrier.”
“Strange, though, there’s a bridge.”
As Varlina pointed out, there’s a “bridge” connecting it to the other side, or at least looks like one, as it was incredibly narrow.
At best, it was only wide enough to hold one foot. It is impossible to place both feet on it.
Such a narrow, almost beam-like structure connects this side of the moat to that side.
“…What is its purpose, I wonder?”
“I don’t know. A moat’s purpose is to keep out intruders, but they’ve installed an easy way to cross it…”
I don’t think it’s as easy as you make it sound.
The bridge is so narrow that you need to have a great sense of balance to cross it, or you might fall headlong into the moat.
“There doesn’t seem to be any other passage, so I guess we’ll have to cross that…”
“Indeed. Let’s proceed with extreme caution.”
For the time being, one of the soldiers climbs onto the narrow bridge and crosses it with arms outstretched.
“Ohh! We should be able to make it across that way!”
This castle isn’t as bad as I thought.
Or so I thought, but the castle began spreading its devilish wings.
“Feudal lord! Look at that!”
“Something has appeared from the other side of the moat!”
Why didn’t I see it before? Was it hidden until now?
Something wooden with a complex structure appeared on the moat’s other side.
Are they going to launch an attack with that?!
No. Judging from the direction it’s pointing, its target is obviously…
The soldier in the midst of crossing the bridge!!!
It’s a direct hit!
Even from a distance, I could tell that the projectile used wasn’t a stone but something soft made of cloth.
Nonetheless, it was powerful enough to make the soldier standing on the narrow scaffold lose his balance, and he tragically falls from the bridge!
“A-Are you okaaaaay?!”
I peer into the bottom of the moat to check on the soldier’s welfare.
As soon as the soldier reached the bottom, he turned into light and vanished.
“Huh?! What’s going on? It can’t be…”
“Don’t panic. That was also a teleportation spell,” says Varlina. “There are probably magic traps all over the bottom of the moat. If you touch it, you’ll be automatically sent somewhere. Where that is, I don’t know, however.”
“So, if you fall, you’re eliminated?!”
What a sinister trap!
“There you have it, humans.”
The next thing I knew, a goblin was standing on the moat’s other side!
He’s not just any goblin, either. I can feel imposing energy from him!
“My name is Gobukichi, and I’m in charge of the first obstacle, the Frustrating Balance Beam.”
“Frustrating Balance Beam?!”
What’s up with the irritating name?!
“You get the gist now, don’t you? The ballista operated by us goblin soldiers shoots out cushioned balls stuffed with cotton in linen bags.”
I don’t really get it, but that means we won’t die or get injured from being hit, right?!
“You’ll need to avoid the cushioned balls while crossing this balance beam. Once you get here, you’ll clear the first obstacle, the Frustrating Balance Beam!”
“What happened to the soldier who fell?!”
“Worry not. He’s safe in a different zone. Of course, we have to restrain him so he doesn’t move around freely.”
I guess we can only trust his words for now.
“There are many such obstacles built by my orc brethren. Can you clear them all and get to Orkubo at the castle tower, I wonder?”
“Curse you… Are you trying to make fun of us?!”
“Naturally, if you clear all the obstacles, we will release all the soldiers we have in custody. But I don’t think you guys can even clear the first one.”
“So, I’ll give you a handicap,” says the goblin as he snaps his fingers.
In response, several narrow bridges, or balance beams, extend from the other side of the moat.
“I’ve increased the number of balance beams from one to ten. If you all cross at once, of course, we won’t be able to aim at all of you with just one ballista. This should increase your success rate.”
“How dare you mock us!”
If that’s the case, we can’t afford to retreat.
We must make the most of our advantage!
“All troops, charge! Make the most of the ten beams and dodge the incoming balls!”
“Wait, feudal lord! It’s a blatant provocation! This could be a trap!”
“Hush, Lady Varlina! If you’re afraid of falling, you’re free to stay here!”
“That’s not what I meant! Fine, I’ll show you how agile we demonesses are!!!”
Thus, we worked as one to challenge the balancing beams…
And were partially destroyed.