Wortenia Senki (LN) - Volume 14 - Chapter Pr

Hint: To Play after pausing the player, use this button


At the southern tip of Rhoadseria, one of the three kingdoms in the western continent’s eastern regions, countless figures stood on a hill to the north of Galatia, a city located on the border between Rhoadseria and Tarja.

It was a dark night. A thick layer of clouds hung in the sky, blocking off the moonlight and the stars. It was a night governed by monsters, especially at a spot like this, far from the barrier pillars that protected the cities and highways.

However, this place was even more desolate than most. There were no herbs growing here that could be used for medicine, and no monsters around that needed slaying. As a result, no mercenaries or adventurers would willingly come to this place. The only ones who would were those who sought a dark place to remain hidden from prying eyes—much like the figures on this hill right now.

At the front stood a man with his arms crossed as he gazed up at the sky. He was 180 centimeters tall, and he wore leather armor and a mask to hide his features, both an inky black color.


Even with his features hidden, his menacing air was palpable to all around him, like a blade glinting in the night. This man had clearly survived more battlefields than most people. Beneath his armor, which had been made using the Organization’s finest techniques, countless scars riddled his body, from bullet wounds to lacerations to even a scar from the fragments of a rocket fired his way. He was a seasoned warrior if there ever was one.

The man’s name was Samuel Kinkaid. He was leading the Hunting Dogs on this particular raid.

A completely dark night. It reminds me of that one time.

A certain memory surfaced in Samuel’s mind. It was from before he’d been summoned to this Earth. Back then, he’d been part of a covert operation in Afghanistan conducted by the United States of America, the world superpower. He’d been a captain in the United States Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance, and had been involved in an infiltration operation with his squadmates to collect crucial information.

Present-day Afghanistan is not a wealthy country. Or rather, it couldn’t become wealthy.

The country that would become Afghanistan has existed since ancient times, but it only took that name halfway through the nineteenth century. However, a portion of its land had been home to the Indus Valley Civilization, one of the four great civilizations of the ancient world. It is also a relatively large region, roughly two times larger than Japan, but it’s equal in size to its neighbors Iran and Pakistan, so it’s not especially vast. And on top of that, recent surveys have identified oil reserves.

Since Afghanistan is a landlocked country, transportation is limited to ground and air travel—a major disadvantage. Flying is by far the fastest mode of travel, but when it comes to ferrying large quantities of supplies, ships are still preferable.

Afghanistan is a multiethnic country, which has led to conflicts within its population. But there are many countries in central Asia, and all around the world, that share this issue. And though it is far from perfect, it does have its good points. For example, it has the Buddhas of Bamiyan, a cultural heritage site from the Ancient Orient period that draws in tourists from around the globe. If they were to make use of these cultural assets and their abundance of underground resources, they would match the financial success of their Middle-Eastern neighbors.

But Afghanistan is more than just cultural heritage sites and oil. Throughout its long and storied history, its land was stained with the blood of its people as they fought against a multitude of invaders. Its past is riddled with many dynasties and countries that took control of the land—the first being the Persian Achaemenid Empire, which reigned over the Ancient Orient.

At the end of the nineteenth century, Afghanistan won their independence from the British Empire. They’ve since gone through many revolutions, only for the Soviet Union, which competed with the United States for control over the world, to ravage their land. After that, they fell under the de facto control of the Taliban, a fundamentalist Islamic organization.

Thinking back to the country he’d served for years, Samuel felt a small lump in throat. He’d gone to Afghanistan under the orders of his homeland, and the reason why was by no means admirable. Indeed, the United States was greatly criticized for its operations in Afghanistan. People who’d never stepped out of their comfort zones and who ignored the weight of reality loudly denounced their actions. But those people knew nothing of the world’s cruelty or its coldheartedness. Only those who were there could know.

Someone had to trudge through the muck and the mud, so Samuel didn’t regret anything he and his comrades had done back then. After all, they’d been defending their homeland. Still, after witnessing the daily lives of Afghanistan’s people, Samuel couldn’t deny he felt conflicted.

Maybe that feels like a contradiction, and that’s exactly what it is. If someone wants to call me a hypocrite, well, they’re not wrong.

On the other hand, this was part of what made him human. In truth, he shared responsibility for the plight Afghanistan was in right now, even if he wished he didn’t.

No matter what I think, it won’t change the fact that the world powers toyed with them, and for many years, they couldn’t achieve the peace they needed to develop sad as that may be.

Perhaps what Samuel felt was pity. But as a soldier, his instincts compelled him to make split-second judgment calls.

In the end, being weak left one at the mercy of those stronger than them, be it individuals or entire countries. Those who weren’t bright enough to know they were being duped were doomed to dance to the crafty manipulator’s tune.

Even here, in this other world, that truth still rang true. Ideals like national peace and human rights were nonexistent here. It was a land of carnage where countries fought nonstop for their own profit. If they won, they would get glory and prosperity. If they lost, the country itself could be wiped off the map. Survival of the fittest reigned supreme.

In that regard, this world was no different from the battlefields Samuel knew. The places he fought were likewise spaces where the platitudes of peace and equality held no meaning. However, the similarities didn’t end there.

The living standards here are like the Middle Ages. Even that war-torn country is better off. If nothing else, they have electricity and cars. There’s a world of difference, but...

In this world, they would think electricity was simply energy, and verbal thaumaturgy had spells that used lightning. But even if they could conjure lightning and use electricity to an extent, they could only use it as a weapon to slay an enemy. They couldn’t use it as a tool to move things the way modern society did. The closest thing they had was endowed thaumaturgy, which used prana as an energy source.

The lack of modernity here made Samuel feel almost nostalgic.

This really does remind me of Afghanistan.

Not all of Afghanistan’s roads were paved, nor were there many street lights. Furthermore, Samuel remembered Afghanistan in a time of war, during which the cities’ power supplies were limited. Many of the soldiers he faced hid in caves dotting the wasteland, or hideouts in remote locations. Places like those only had the moonlight and the twinkling stars as light sources. So despite how different Afghanistan was from here, Samuel felt right at home, standing here in the dark night.

Yeah, it’s similar. Some things are different, but... 

Many things were different—the food, the clothes, and the language to name a few. One could list countless dissimilarities. This world was behind Samuel’s in almost every field imaginable. The living standards were low, and chemistry hadn’t been discovered yet, so it was clear that it was far less developed here.

But this world is far beyond mine in some things. Like magic.

The field of language translation was particularly advanced. Otherworlders could communicate without any difficulty, which led many to mistakenly believe that the people here spoke the same language. That wasn’t the case, though. The summoning ritual included a spell that enabled their minds to instinctively interpret the words.

The Organization included people of all ethnicities, from Americans like Samuel to Chinese and Japanese people. One member was from Uganda on Africa’s eastern coast and spoke Swahili. Even so, the Organization—with its multicultural, multilingual membership—had never struggled to communicate.

Nowadays, smartphones came equipped with translation applications, and people could carry portable dictionaries in their pockets. But even with those advances, this world was still superior. No application or dictionary could automatically translate another person’s words without any extra clicks or actions, nor could either allow one to converse as if they were speaking in their mother tongue.

However, the biggest difference between the two worlds was the fact that Samuel could operate at night without night-vision goggles.

Thaumaturgy, be it verbal or martial, it’s quite convenient. It doesn’t really sit well with me that I don’t know what principles make it do the things it does, though.

Night-vision goggles usually applied a green filter because it was set to the color in the middle wavelength of visible light, and it was the easiest color for the human eye to perceive. The same reasoning explained why it was best to look at something green when one’s eyes were tired.

Though he wasn’t wearing night-vision goggles right now, Samuel could see his surroundings perfectly well and in full color. Even the most advanced night-vision devices would make one’s vision feel off, but there was no such problem with thaumaturgy.

The single flaw thaumaturgy had was that it had to be learned. Also, it consumed one’s prana. Since Samuel hadn’t gained the use of the sixth chakra—the Ajna Chakra—yet, he couldn’t consistently reinforce his eyesight. If that was all he focused on, the effect could last for two days—assuming he wasn’t doing anything else. If, however, he reinforced his body for combat, it was doubtful if the effect would last half a day. Still, the positives greatly outweighed those negatives.

We can use thaumaturgy to reinforce our eyes, so everything is going smoothly for us. Normal soldiers have to carry around torches, though. 

Only a small percentage of people could use thaumaturgy. Those who couldn’t had to make do with living standards similar to the fifteenth century up to the early eighteenth century. For them, candles and torches were the primary sources of light. In other words, since they didn’t know the convenience of the light bulb, humans still struggled to operate outside after nightfall. One could carry lamps or candles, but those weren’t necessarily cheap, and most commoners believed in conserving what few resources they had. They just went to bed early. They would get up at dawn and finish their work and go home at sunset. Then they would eat their dinners and go to sleep. Hardly any would loiter outside at night, especially not on such a dark and moonless night.

A life of working at dawn and going home at sunset...

Modern society had TVs and computers, so there was no shortage of things to do regardless of the hour. If one were suddenly hungry in the middle of the night, it was easy enough to get something at a twenty-four hour convenience store or an eatery. Perhaps those weren’t the healthiest meals, but they were filling.

Things were different in this world. There were no televisions or computers, and no stores to satisfy midnight hunger pangs. The majority of people weren’t literate to begin with, so they couldn’t entertain themselves with books. To them, there was rarely a reason to light an expensive lamp or candle at night. The only ones who truly required light at that time were the old and sickly, who required constant care.

This meant that Samuel and his men wouldn’t run into any needless interruptions.

That’s something that we modern people, who have been bound by the shackles of time since birth, can’t get used to.

Samuel understood the idea of leading a healthy lifestyle, but having served as a soldier for years, he honestly didn’t distinguish much between night and day. Except for the rich and powerful, who could afford a clockwork watch, the majority of people relied on the sun to tell time.

All of these factors made tonight the perfect chance. Their target was Count Winzer’s estate, located within the citadel city of Galatia. They’d need to cross the walls to infiltrate the city. They’d chosen the least conspicuous route they could and memorized the route to Count Winzer’s estate.

But even the most carefully prepared plan could encounter unexpected developments. Someone could get injured or become ill, which would require a late-night visit to a doctor. A drunkard could stumble out of an alleyway, or a burglar skulking in the streets could cross their path. Of course, Samuel didn’t really think they’d run into such a situation. Honestly speaking, those scenarios were close to impossible.

Well, even if it does happen, we’re all experienced enough to act without hesitation to silence witnesses.

Samuel smiled bitterly. That was an obvious conclusion, given his past. Anyone unfortunate enough to run into the Hunting Dogs would be disposed of at once—as happened to all who laid eyes upon that which they mustn’t see. That was yet another truth that held true no matter what world you were in.

Samuel wasn’t proud of it, but his hands were already stained with the blood of many. Whether he’d used a gun, a knife, or his own bare hands, he’d stood firm on the battlefield under the orders of his homeland. The lives he’d taken clung to him with the passage of time, clotting like blood and staining him permanently.

After that, when Samuel was summoned to this world, he kept on fighting for the Organization, to defend the lives and honor of his comrades. That resolve led him to kill many foes, and not just armed opponents. He’d even mercilessly slain women and children. His top priority always was to fulfill his given missions. If it were necessary, he’d stoop to any means, no matter how dirty.

This time was no different. It wasn’t clear yet if their mission would succeed or fail, but either way, corpses were bound to pile up. Another body or two wouldn’t even be a drop in the bucket.

Still, Samuel truly hoped no such witnesses appeared. Though he was ruthless, he didn’t have the kind of warped mentality that enjoyed the act of murder. He would kill mercilessly when necessary, but he wasn’t twisted enough to want to commit senseless murder. Besides, acting needlessly could very well beckon further danger later down the line. Silencing someone was easy, but that could produce more eyewitnesses.

Someone could happen upon us silencing them. Sounds like something out of a suspense movie.

In fact, such a thing would be cliche in a movie.

No one would be walking around outside on a moonless night. The early bedtime is convenient for us; it keeps them out of our hair. The only other issue is time.

Samuel glared at Galatia. His plan this time was easy.

The Organization’s prized executive unit, the Hunting Dogs, was made up of otherworlders on the same level as the highest-ranked adventurers. They’d all learned countless tactics and techniques from veteran soldiers and police officers. And that training had included infiltration and sabotage. They were to the Organization what the Green Berets were to the United States, or what the Special Forces Group was to Japan. From their perspective, attacking a regional governor and taking a specific object from him wasn’t a simple task, but so long as they got the timing right, they could do it without fail.

However, the Hunting Dogs weren’t all-powerful. Samuel feared one thing above all: coincidences. Once could prepare for and deal with inevitabilities, but coincidences were unavoidable. As a mere man, the best he could do was prepare for all possible contingencies and try his hardest to succeed.

Either way, our top priority is recovering the firearm. We cannot fail.

Their mission was to recover a gun. They didn’t know what sort of gun it was or how it found its way into this world, but they knew Count Winzer definitely had a firearm in his possession.

A revolver typically held five bullets. If it was an automatic, as long as it wasn’t a modified model with a long magazine or something, it probably had a few dozen bullets. As an anti-personnel weapon, it was quite the menace. On the other hand, its threat was quite limited. Guns only became dangerous when they were loaded with ammunition. Certainly, they could still be used as blunt weapons even without bullets, but that wasn’t where their worth lay.

That was why firearms became the principal weapon of modern warfare. They were stronger than swords and knives. However, that only applied if ammunition was plentiful and both cheap and easy to produce. No place here had reached a production rate that could handle the mass production of bullets.

The Organization knew this, but it frantically sent the Hunting Dogs to collect this single firearm anyway. That was because their objective was to manage this world’s technological standards.

There are actual cases of this in the past. I can’t blame the Organization for being nervous. 

Samuel thought back to a world history lesson he’d had in high school. His school wasn’t a high-ranking institution; it was subpar at best. It wasn’t quite the lawless delinquent school one saw in movies, but he did have classmates who’d been suspended or expelled for possession of drugs or weapons. A few of them had even died before Samuel graduated.

This meant very few students listened in class. And since the students were so unmotivated, the teachers were likewise dispassionate about lectures. World history was the one class where that was different. The teacher kept using allegories to draw the students’ interest. They were a bit of a quirky, idiosyncratic person who would tour Japan during their vacations and visit ancient battlefields. They would often get derailed during lectures and tell the class stories about Japan’s particularities.

One day, the teacher told them of how western European merchants had introduced the arquebus to Japan in the mid-sixteenth century. Their ship got caught in a storm, and they found themselves on the Japanese island Tanegashima in the Satsuma province. They sold two arquebuses to the lord of the island, Tokitaka Tanegashima, who had his blacksmiths work on copying them.

After that, the arquebus became a common weapon in Japan. The Teppouki, a history book detailing the genealogy of firearms in Japan, said that the Portuguese merchants brought the arquebus to Japan in 1543. After that, the arquebus became one of the primary weapons in the Japanese arsenal, alongside the katana and the bow and arrow.

There is a theory that merchants and Japanese pirates who sailed near Asia and went as far south as the Philippines brought firearms to Japan even sooner. Whether the theory is credible, the fact remains that replicas of the arquebus were produced in large numbers during the Warring States period in Japan. It was said that by the end of the period, there were several hundred thousand arquebuses in Japan.

If the Teppouki is to be trusted, within just fifty years a single arquebus became that many firearms. It’s a good example of how there’s no telling what might trigger a technological innovation. 

Perhaps all of this was simply a miracle that took place by coincidence in the unique country that is Japan.

At the same time, Spain and Portugal were in their age of discovery and were exploring the world in pursuit of riches and glory. The treaties of Zaragoza and Tordesillas demonstrated how much power Spain and Portugal had. These self-righteous treaties drew a line across the world map, dividing it in two to decide which country got what land. They did all of this without any regard for the people living in these lands.

The white people of the time were impudent. The Church’s teachings claimed that they were the chosen superior people blessed by the Lord. They built massive galleons to cross the sea, determined to lift the veil of mystery hanging over the world.

Armed with the most advanced technology of the time, they intended to take the world by storm and conquer anything in their way. They had powerful ships, superior navigation skills, and weapons called arquebuses. Other countries didn’t even know what that weapon was, much like how Japan hadn’t.

Samuel didn’t think any country in this world had the same conditions as Japan had at the time. Since the Onin War, Japan had been in the Warring States period, which had stimulated the production of weaponry. Those particular circumstances led them to replicate the arquebus and produce it in numbers that matched other countries. That could possibly happen here too.

Still, I doubt the people here can do the same things the Japanese of the Warring States period could. The weapons that came here were revolvers and automatic rifles, and their structure is much more complicated than the arquebus.

In all honesty, Samuel didn’t know if it was possible for them to mass produce these firearms. Some people might call him racist for thinking so. And true, he did look down on the people of this world, calling them uncultured barbarians. But that wasn’t to say he was underestimating their abilities. The battles he’d fought in Afghanistan had taught him all too well not to underestimate his enemies. The people here might be technologically inferior to those of Rearth, but in all fairness, it’d be wrong to assume it was completely impossible for them to replicate a firearm.

That said, if the Organization really doesn’t underestimate this world’s people, I wish it would let us use the firearms we do have.

Modern warfare was built around the use of firearms. It also included knives, bare-handed martial arts techniques, and a gun’s bayonet, but firearms were the major players. On battlefields where the use of firearms was unrestricted, both allies and enemies were expected to carry guns. Melee combat was limited to cases where one couldn’t use a firearm, like if they’d lost their gun or run out of bullets.

Right now, Samuel and his subordinates weren’t equipped with any guns or explosives like C4. All they had were knives and swords.

Swords and spears are obviously useful weapons, especially here where group combat using antiquated weapons is the norm. I can understand why they’d forbid us from using guns so as to stop that technology from leaking. And our plan would work out just fine even without any. We were trained in guerrilla tactics and other forms of unconventional warfare, so no natives here can match us. But...

The cultural level in this world was somewhere between the Middle Ages and early modern times. Samuel’s analysis was equal parts an otherworlder’s scorn and a soldier’s coolheaded analysis.

Modern warfare wasn’t like the wars in Japan’s Warring States period, when they had to set up a position on the field and fight in formation. The creation of firearms changed the quality of warfare. Or rather, the advancement of firearms did.

The arquebus used in the Warring States period separated the gunpowder from the bullets, which meant that bows, swords, and spears still had a place on the battlefield. After all, flintlock weapons like the arquebus took time and effort to load. One had to use a rod called a pitcher stick to insert the gunpowder into the barrel and insert the bullet afterward. On top of that, the quality of both the metal and the gunpowder was poor, and the gun’s effective range was relatively limited. Regardless, they had a larger range than bows, and the thundering blast of the gunpowder’s explosion rattled and demoralized the enemy. As a result, the arquebus soon became quite ubiquitous.

One major factor behind that was that guns were far easier to use than swords or spears.

At the time, warriors and knights were career soldiers, but most of the army was made up of conscripts.

Most of those conscripts worked in professions unrelated to military affairs. Teaching them how to wield a sword or nock a bow was difficult. Handling guns, however, was much simpler in comparison. All one had to do was load a bullet and then pull the trigger.

Of course, anyone could aim and shoot, but landing a hit was an entirely different matter. Accurately shooting at a target wasn’t as simple as it might seem. Nonetheless, the ease of pulling a trigger somehow lightened the burden of guilt for killing the enemy, and training soldiers to use guns was easier than teaching them to use bows and swords.

But the biggest benefit was that guns could be used by anyone, without regard to gender or physique. Using a sword or a bow required muscle strength, so people with larger physiques had an advantage. Men like Samuel were preferred over women. This wasn’t so much a matter of discrimination, but a matter of the fundamental physical difference between men and women. However, none of that was an issue with guns. So long as one could aim and fire, that was all that was necessary. A child would struggle to kill a man with a sword or a bow, but even an infant could kill an adult using a firearm.

Despite the gun’s uniqueness among weapons, world history reveals that since the invention of the firearm, countries around the world have treated it much the same as a bow or a sword. This was because muzzleloaders of the time were built in such a way that after shooting the first shot, one had to clean the barrel and then load it with more gunpowder and bullets to shoot again. Not to mention, guns were expensive, and gunpowder and bullets likewise took time and funds to produce.

In the United States of today, one can buy a mass-produced bullet for as little as a dollar. But before the Industrial Revolution, each bullet had to be made by hand in a workshop. Guns couldn’t have been a primary weapon like they are today.

Plus, their strategy was to close the distance using ranged weapons like bows and guns, and then decide the battle through melee attacks.

Such was the background behind the invention of the bayonet. But all that changed when one genius entered the scene. In the mid-nineteenth century, Alfred Bernhard Nobel invented an ignitable detonator called dynamite. This led to the invention of the cartridge, a form of ammunition that unified the projectile and the gunpowder. This made it so one could shoot and load with ease. After going through so many developments and modifications, guns had an overwhelming advantage over swords and bows.

That teacher sure loved talking about the War of Independence, the Wild West, and Japan’s Warring States period. 

At the time, that teacher’s lessons had felt boring, but now Samuel wished he’d listened more seriously.

It’s ironic. Only after being summoned here did I see how blessed I was back then. Having the leisure to study... 

The things he’d learned then had helped him survive after he was summoned. The basic knowledge he’d gained in primary and middle school was especially practical.

The sensation of someone approaching from behind pulled Samuel out of his pondering.

“Is the check finished?” Samuel asked the figure without turning around to look at them. It was one of his comrades from the dark days he’d spent in Afghanistan. Samuel would recognize his presence with ease.

“Yes, Captain Kinkaid. There are no issues standing in our way! We can set out whenever you give the word.”

Samuel nodded. “Understood. But we can’t move quite yet.”

The man behind him wavered somewhat. “We still haven’t gotten the signal?” he asked.

“No, not yet,” Samuel answered, glaring in Galatia’s direction.

It’s the perfect chance, but the question is when will we get the signal to move in.

Samuel had received orders to attack Count Winzer’s estate several days ago. He and his unit had been in the middle of mercenary work in the southern kingdoms, so they were picked for the task because they were close to the city. A few days later, they regrouped with the Organization’s reinforcements and drafted the attack plan for tonight.

We got all our equipment, and we’re lucky enough to have such a dark night. And just as we brace ourselves for the go-ahead, we get an order to remain on standby.

It was, in a word, tantalizing.

But if, like she said, this order came from him, there really isn’t much we can do.

The image of a blue-eyed woman with long silver hair flashed in Samuel’s mind. She was a very beautiful woman, but not one Samuel wanted to get involved with. He was a true and pure warrior who always fought on the front lines. He took pride in himself and his ability to survive war. That woman was the exact opposite of him. Her role was to remain shrouded in darkness, constantly intimidating and extorting people. That was her job as an intelligence officer, but just the same, Samuel wanted as little to do with her as possible.




Unfortunately for him, he had no choice. She was his superior in the Organization. And Samuel wasn’t a low-ranking member either. As a senior officer of the Hunting Dogs, he had the highest authority as commander on the field. He was in charge of both his personal unit and a reserve force of roughly one hundred men. She was two ranks above Samuel. If Samuel were a colonel, she would be a major general. She was, in fact, the supreme commander of the Hunting Dogs. But she always hung back, manipulating people from the shadows, and he couldn’t bring himself to like her.

This time, however, instead of hanging back like she always did, she’d stepped into this operation personally. That fact alone had alerted Samuel that something was different about this situation.

Yeah, something is off about this.

She had infiltrated Galatia all on her own. So long as she got inside the walls safely, she could decide which way this operation would go.

All of this is assuming that person really did return, though.

A year or so ago, a rumor had spread among the Organization, a rumor about a certain man. Samuel himself doubted its validity, given how absurd it was.

The return of a hero...

Samuel had never heard of the man in that rumor. He had disappeared to the interstice of space-time fifty years ago. But his accomplishments hadn’t faded in the time that had passed. If anything, they’d become more vibrant. He was, after all, a key player in the Organization’s founding.

But either way, this meant that Samuel’s hands were tied.

Do we get the go-ahead, or are they going to tell us it’s canceled? I can only hope we won’t have any more irregularities in this operation.

Samuel silently prayed, looking up at the dark sky covered in a curtain of heavy clouds that hid the moon and the stars.

Share This :


No Comments Yet

Post a new comment

Register or Login