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239 Battle

Eastern region of Duke Armenia’s territory.

Normally it was a port city filled with life. Right now the very air was tense.

The attacks and occupation aimed precisely at the police force and government offices plus the armed group standing guard at the port–it wasn’t anything odd that smiles had been wiped clean from the few people’s faces who were still outside.

“Sir Dida! More than a third of the first team is injured!”

Under this situation, I had accepted an order from milady to stand off against the armed group at the port while trying to defend the government office.

The uniform they wore was from the Acacia Kingdom.

Everything she had worried about was displayed right here as reality.

Even if we had considered the possibility, we had dismissed the thought with the idea that it couldn’t happen. Now the worst scenario had become our reality.

We couldn’t figure out what on earth had really happened…I thought this with exasperation even in the moments of tension.

The enemy rose with the sun, invading the city.

Me and the police team joined forces to stop their encroachment.

The eastern region had been quite developed from the very beginning. The complexity of the region plus the proliferation of small side roads was a boon for us.

Because of the road situation, only a limited amount of enemy troops could enter at one time.

Taking advantage of the terrain, we arrayed our team into a defense form.

Even so, the truth that the situation was worsening hadn’t changed.

“Sir Dida! More than a third of the first team is injured!”

“It’s about time to let them retreat. Next is the second team. We need to make the replacement so swift that our enemies don’t have time to strike.”

Although I sounded just as cool as usual, my heart was filled with unease and panic.

There were still only a few heavy casualties, but they would only increase over time.

More importantly, our whole team was exhausted.

Too many of them hadn’t been through a real battle, so prolonged periods of tension drained their energy.

At this rate, how many more days could we hold on for…

If this defense line were disrupted, it would be all too easy to go straight to the capital.

After this city, there wasn’t enough equipment or buildings to defend against them.

More importantly, the people would be ravaged…and milady would be filled with sorrow.

And I couldn’t allow that to happen.

Scratching my head, I glanced around.

Even if only a little, I wanted to escape the spiral of negative thoughts.

And then I saw a group of men. They were carrying the injured from the back toward the hospital.

“Who are those people? They’re not from my team.”

They weren’t wearing police uniforms either.

Normal outfits, the kind you would see anywhere on the street. A group like that running around the battlefield was quite out of the ordinary.

“Eh…yes. We’re the local team of volunteers.”

“Ha? You guys, get out of here! As you can see, this place is dangerous. If something happens to you I won’t be able to handle that.” I yelled at them.

They stood in shock for a moment, then glared back at me.

“You’re risking your life to protect us. How could we stand by and do nothing?!”

“It’s our city! Even if we can’t fight, let us help what we can!”

The men shouted.

Their aggressive demeanor left me speechless.

“Don’t just stand there, come and help with the injured! That one needs help right now, go over! Move this one over there so he can rest!”

A woman ran out from behind.

Observing the men who were moving the injured, she gave them instructions

“Hey, hey…this is no place for a girl.”

I had been staring at the men, but came back to my senses enough to reach out and grab the woman’s hand.

“What the hell are you saying, and what are you doing with my hand?”

She glared at me.

“I study medicine in the capital. My knowledge is useful, don’t tell me that women can’t help!”

I was shut down by her sheer presence.

But after my thoughts began to spin again, I couldn’t help but laugh.

During that time, she kept issuing orders too.

“Yes…I suppose it has nothing to do with gender.”

I said this quietly to myself.

In my mind, the image of milady, who should have been staying safe in the capital, appeared, as did Tanya.

Yes, I should have known that from the beginning.

They were both people who had discovered their own paths and moved forward along them.

Suffering, working hard, walking along a road that wasn’t even or fair. Their accomplishments couldn’t be measured by the sheer fact of their gender.

Is that not what I thought…

They were probably doing their best to support me right now.

Even though originally I wanted milady to escape to the capital to stay safe.

“Hey, you over there…! Sorry, for now I’ll have to leave this people to you. But if you feel like things are getting dangerous, get out of there immediately.”

She smiled fearlessly when she heard my words.

“You’re just like milady.”

Her smile was overlapping in my mind with Iris’s.

“Really? I’ve always wanted to be like Lady Iris!”

I had said the words quietly, but her eyes were filled with light when she heard me.

“Lady Iris is the reason I’m studying medicine, and why I’m here. I have nothing but admiration for Lady Iris, who gave me this opportunity and always works with her full heart and soul. I want to be active in society like her.”

She said this with a gentle smile.

Her eyes…no, her whole body were filled with those emotions.

“Sorry, I said too much. Excuse me then.”

The next moment, she put on a serious face and hurried toward the medical area.

I couldn’t help but laugh when I recalled those eyes.

They really were quite alike.

“All…right!”

I slapped myself on the face.

“First line, keep it moving! After this I’ll have to ask you guys to help out.”

I issued my commands while I talked to the volunteers.

“W-what’s going on.”

“Now that I’ve found a few handy folks, I wanted you to help us make something.”

I drew a rough sketch map on the ground.

They were all similarly confused to see what I’d drawn.

“Um, we can make that…but is it actually useful?”

“Absolutely. It’ll be quite a lot of help.”

“Okay…Hey, you guys, grab some wood! Get a few tools and rocks from over there!”

They didn’t ask me again, following my orders and moving quickly.

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