The battle began with a surprise attack.
“An attack from behind!”
It was just at the moment when Alyssa, who was in the centre of the long file created by 500 soldiers, finished the maintenance of her wakizashi in the canopied carriage.
The instant she heard the voice, Alyssa stood up soundlessly and turned her look towards the rear.
“Miyukare-san, stay here.” (Alyssa)
“G-Got it!” (Miyukare)
Being inexperienced with battle, Miyukare steps into the carriage while lowering her body in this suddenly strained atmosphere.
At the same time, Alyssa jumped off the carriage.
“Director, it’s this way!”
Being called out by a soldier on the platform wagon which was travelling parallel to the carriage, she nimbly jumps onto the rear side of the wagon.
The platform wagon of Fokalore’s feudal army, which had experienced one improvement after the other, adopts things like cushion materials to suppress the sounds of the many large wheels rising its appearance and performance remarkably.
Becoming as big to let easily 5 people board one wagon, there’s no problem even with Alyssa herself joining.
The platform wagon advances as it makes an unique sound of *shuru shuru* due to the axles and cushioning, made out of monster hides, rubbing against each other.
Responding swiftly to the previous voice, the soldiers went ahead by separating from the ranks of the non-combatants and prepared their weapons while facing towards the rear.
“Be cautious of attacks coming from left or right! One third of our numbers will deal with the rear!” (Alyssa)
While giving orders in a loud voice, they arrive at the end of the file.
“A human-shaped monster!?”
One of the soldiers steering the platform wagon screamed.
Alyssa also saw that bizarre figure.
Both its arms and legs are oddly longer than those of a normal human. All of its nails are sharp and thick.
It easily possesses a height of three meters. Its body, which had barely any clothes remaining, was hairy and had an amount of ugly, swelled-up and enlarged muscles.
Only its head had a face strongly tending towards that of a human. Alyssa had memories about that face.
“That is… if I remember correctly, in the capital…” (Alyssa)
It was no one else but the knight Balzephon which Alyssa had provoked in the castle and lured to the dance hall where Hifumi was waiting.
She still recalled his expression of trembling in rage.
“The human-shaped monster… Balzephon, it was him.” (Alyssa)
Alyssa had a bitter expression due to their misfortune of not encountering it while waiting but coming across it while withdrawing.
Once she surveyed the site, she saw several soldiers being injured and shedding blood. Creating a wall by toppling over a few wagons, they shot spears at Balzephon.
“Send the injured to the ranks in front after I attract its attention!” (Alyssa)
Alyssa jumps out using a wagon as foothold while shouting.
“That’s dangerous, director!”
The soldier, who operated a spear thrower in the shadow a wagon, tried to stop her, but she quickly slipped through his hands.
“It’s been a while!” (Alyssa)
Balzephon shifted his focus and opened his hollow eyes widely due to Alyssa’s voice.
It totally doesn’t look like there’s consciousness dwelling in them. It seems like he doesn’t even recognise Alyssa.
Towards an opponent that has merely half the size of himself, Balzephon simply raises his arms overhead to attack.
“Without any particular reaction, eh? In that case.” (Alyssa)
As he swings down his long arms she barely wards off the long nails aiming at her face with her wakizashi. She used the impact on the level of destroying her balance violently towards the momentum of moving forward with a somersault.
And yet she didn’t come out of it unhurt. Her cheek was cut deeply and blood was pouring out.
A heartbreaking cry is raised by the soldier who saw that, but she has no leeway to react to that.
Closing in underfoot of Balzephon while rolling forward, she swung her wakizashi and cut open a calf.
Two, three spears pierce into his back as he squats down while raising a scream.
The moment Alyssa, who passed through underfoot, tried to pursue him, she saw something unbelievable.
Although she should have definitely cut up the muscles and caused an injury to the tendon of his ankle, he has already stopped bleeding and the wound is on the verge of being completely closed.
“That's a lie…” (Alyssa)
Alyssa movements stop albeit only for an instant.
Aiming for that moment, Balzephon drew out a spear, which caused pain to him, and casually threw it at Alyssa.
It was good luck for her that the spear had no blade and was only sharpened at its tip to be used by the spear throwers.
Having the collarbone of the hit shoulder broken, even her right arm, which she tried to protect with the wakizashi, got dragged into it and the forearm was fractured by the strike.
Although she somehow managed to switch the wakizashi into her left hand, Alyssa, who ended up collapsing due to the impact, has received damage at the level of making it difficult for her to stand up.
“Director! Everyone, shower it with all the spears we got! We will save the director!”
Three soldiers risk their lives by leaping in front of Balzephon and at the same time the rear unit makes sure to pursuit by firing the spears simultaneously. There are also some among them who throw the spears with their own hands.
Covering Alyssa so that the spears won’t hit her, the three soldiers thought of only protecting Alyssa even while they were scared to death by occasional spears hitting their armours within this rain of spears that was falling down steadily.
Even Balzephon, who knocked down spears while displaying his own ability, was naturally unable to handle such an amount and took flight away from the highway with several spears pierced into his body.
None of the soldiers try to chase him and they all rush over to Alyssa at once.
“Director! Are you alright!?”
Sweating profoundly, the groaning Alyssa opens her eyes and surveys the vicinity.
Countless soldiers are peering worriedly at her face.
Even the soldiers, who risked their bodies to protect her, two of them get down on their knees getting ready to place her on a stretcher by supporting Alyssa’s neck without even wiping their faces which were smeared with dirt.
The remaining soldier is laying at Alyssa’s feet while facing upwards without moving with a twitch.
The soldiers, who noticed Alyssa staring dumbfoundedly at the unmoving man, strongly closed their eyes.
“That guy, at the time the monster swung its spear…”
The soldiers report the circumstances with squeezed-out voices.
“… Such a…” (Alyssa)
He has become the first casualty in combat after establishing the Fokalore feudal army trained by Hifumi.
There were also accidents during training and deaths from diseases and afflictions unrelated to the military. It wasn’t the first time they bereaved a soldier, but the matter of him abandoning his life in order to protect her, even more so in front of her, in combat, stirred up Alyssa’s heart to the extent of making her forget the pain of her own injuries.
At the time she fell into a frenzy, Miyukare, who made her way through the soldiers, slid in front of Alyssa.
Without minding getting dirty, she kneels down in front of the lying Alyssa and applies a clean cloth on Alyssa’s cut cheek.
Showing surprise only for an instant due to the obviously fractured arm, Miyukare, who immediately assessed the situation of the surroundings, gently hugged Alyssa while being cautious of not touching her arm as much as possible.
“Let’s get your injuries healed first. That’s the job of the person who was protected.” (Miyukare)
The soldiers placed Alyssa, who lost consciousness just like that, on a stretcher and carried her to the carriage upon Miyukare’s orders.
“Carry the corpse to a carriage or wagon that has space left, too.” (Miyukare)
As they agreed upon the case something happened to Alyssa, the command is transferred to Miyukare.
“Are we close to a nearby city? There’s a city close-by in the direction we returned from though.”
While pointing her look at Alyssa, who’s being carried, Miyukare thought about the question posed by a soldier leading a platoon with closed eyes.
“… Let’s head towards Fokalore as planned. I’m certain she will get treated with magic potions if I request it from Lord-sama.” (Miyukare)
The expression of Miyukare, who saw the soldier nod while saying “I see”, was completely like that of a fierce god.
Becoming bloodstained from her face to her chest at the time she hugged Alyssa, she is overwhelmed by anxiety as well as rage and dons a harsh gaze at the level of being able to kill people with it.
“You will return to Fokalore at full speed. You will move at maximum speed using a platform wagon with 30 people on it, including the director and the corpse. You should arrive within once day if you don’t rest.” (Miyukare)
“As you ordered!”
While separating from the soldiers in order to organise things, Miyukare bowed her head facing the soldier who was placed on a stretcher with a cloth covering him.
Even the soldiers, who were in the vicinity of the stretcher, mourn over his death while standing at attention.
“Thank you very much. Because of you risking your life, a precious person for me and everyone was saved. Please watch over us as we will definitely deliver the person you protected with your life to Fokalore.” (Miyukare)
At the time Miyukare voiced out words of thankfulness once again, she could hear sobs leaking from someone with her ears.
“… So?” (Hifumi)
Alyssa, who returned to the feudal lord’s mansion, receives treatment in the medical room and is put to sleep within her own room in the building.
And currently, in front of Hifumi, who is in his office, several soldiers with the rank of platoon leader and Miyukare are standing in a line. They are bowing their backs with an angle of 90°.
It was Miyukare who answered Hifumi’s question.
“After repelling the human-shaped monster, we took Director Alyssa and hurried to return as fast as possible. Please take properly into account that it was the selfish wish of an incompetent person who has no military gains after we suffered losses. Could you please heal the wounds of Director Alyssa with the magic potions you possess, Lord-sama?” (Miyukare)
“Please”, the soldiers matched up their voices following up on Miyukare’s words.
“You know.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi sighed with a “fuu.”
“I don’t particularly care about someone’s military gains or whether there were any losses. I don’t mind in any way to apply the magic potion if it’s Alyssa’s own wish.” (Hifumi)
“Thank you very much.” (Miyukare)
“However, before that I’d like to ask you one thing.” (Hifumi)
Miyukare and the soldiers, who raised their heads, noticed Hifumi smiling.
A soldier points at Hifumi’s left hand which was covered by a glove.
“Was that human-shaped monster or whatever strong?” (Hifumi)
One of the soldiers answers as Miyukare hasn’t seen the battle.
“It was strong. It caused such a serious injury with one blow of a spear at the director and it warded off the previous attack of that skilled director, too. Also, we confirmed that its injuries quickly healed even when it was cut and pierced by spears.”
Hifumi is staring at the soldier, who talks with a serious look, while smiling.
“Its wounds were healed? How about the cuts? Were those closed up by bulging flesh? Or was it closed up from the wound’s edges? There are likely various manners of recovery. Besides, how about the healing speed?” (Hifumi)
The soldier explains as many details as he can to Hifumi who is asking in a somewhat excited manner.
Hifumi listened to that with a strange degree of good mood.
“Lord-sama, please give us the chance to have our revenge with a rematch!”
Hifumi flatly declines the petition of the soldier who was filled with intense fighting spirit.
“It’s an opponent that has done in the current Alyssa one-sidedly, right? Isn’t that one far more interesting than the troubles in Horant? There’s probably still quite some time left until the demon bunch gets here. I will take care of that fellow. In the first place, can you guys deal with it anyway?” (Hifumi)
“Uuh… Please take care of it.”
The soldier, who hadn’t the confidence to bring it down definitely if speaking honestly, withdrew obediently. The fist, he tightly grasped in frustration, is filled with a strength to cause blood oozing out.
“Don’t be so discouraged. That guy is probably a monster released by the newly crowned demon king. Since there will likely come other underlings of the demon king, it will be fine for you to get your revenge to your heart’s content at that time.” (Hifumi)
“Demon king…” (Miyukare)
Miyukare, who doesn’t believe in that, made a bitter face, but she remained silent as knows Hifumi’s aim. However, should he really talk about this here? She had those feelings.
“Ah, I went to check out the state of the demons for a bit at the time when I was in the wastelands, but a new demon king was born. Since the battle with the demons will start sooner or later, you will be able to fully enjoy your revenge for Alyssa and the guy who died. Train in order to be properly ready for the battle until then.” (Hifumi)
“Ha! At that time, please give us the chance to slaughter the enemies by all means!”
After bowing all together, the soldiers left. Only Miyukare remained in the room.
“… It’s a lie, isn’t it?” (Miyukare)
“The birth of a new demon king is the truth though? I don’t know whether it’s related to the monster.” (Hifumi)
“I’m shocked… isn’t something like the possibility of the demons starting an offensive a big problem? So easily…” (Miyukare)
“It’s fine. Such people think simply.” (Hifumi)
Standing up, Hifumi affixed the katana to his waist.
“Since the enemy will come, we are going to kill them. We will die if we lose. Since I have adjusted it to some degree, we likely won’t be defeated if we go at it with the intention to die.” (Hifumi)
While laughing loudly, Hifumi tells her that he is going to see Alyssa and also leaves.
Being left all alone, Miyukare tilted her head to the side.
“Somehow I feel uneasy…” (Miyukare)
Miyukare felt a sense of discomfort, but she didn’t have the spare time to calmly think about it in this place.
On top of a large number of people returning soon, there was also the first battle casualty. She can’t see anything but a future of being worked to death as civil official in charge of military affairs.
“Let’s get everyone help out.” (Miyukare)
She was worried about Alyssa, but deciding to leave it to Hifumi albeit feeling frustrated, Miyukare headed towards the other civil officials at a quick pace.
Alyssa, who was lying on the bed at the time when Hifumi entered her room, turned her look towards him with her face being wrapped up in bandages.
Given that she can’t move her fixated shoulder, she can only move her eyes somewhat.
“Ah, Hifumi-san… it’s disgraceful, this appearance.” (Alyssa)
While saying “Don’t worry about it” due to the feeble laughter of Alyssa, Hifumi brought a fitting chair close and sat down next to her bed.
“I saw you at the time you were far more tattered. It doesn’t matter by now.” (Hifumi)
“Good grief… it’s different in various ways from that time…” (Alyssa)
Hifumi addressed Alyssa, who pulled up the blanket up to her face with her healthy left hand, in his usual manner.
“It seems you fought against a human-shaped monster. How was it?” (Hifumi)
“Monster… is it? That is probably that knight who escaped from the royal palace’s dance hall, I think.” (Alyssa)
“What’s this about?” (Hifumi)
Hearing Alyssa explanation, Hifumi pondered about it.
“Well, it’s fine either way, I guess? The matter of him being an underling of the demon king if he has a human shape has credibility. If he catches the eyes of the capital or the knights, it will be fine as long he makes them lose face or grills them. … Oops, will you be able to get over it quickly?” (Hifumi)
Having suddenly torn off the blanket, Alyssa’s figure being wrapped up in bandages became exposed.
The slender, flexible, trained, small body had currently medicine and alcohol as disinfectant substitute applied to it and she was only wearing thin trousers on the lower party of her body.
“W-Wait a moment…” (Alyssa)
“Stay still. It’s not the first time for you anyway.” (Hifumi)
Taking out a magic potion from his darkness storage, Hifumi quickly checked Alyssa’s body while removing the lid.
“The injuries are the shoulder and arm as well as the cheek. Is there anything else?” (Hifumi)
“… No, the rest’s fine.” (Alyssa)
Taking off the bandages and fixations which covered Alyssa’s body from her right arm and shoulder up to her breasts, Hifumi casually applied the magic potion on her upper body half with its smooth and insufficient ups and downs.
Alyssa stiffened her body for an instant to due to the coldness, but once her wounds heal and her pain decreases, she gradually loses strength.
“Hey, Hifumi-san…” (Alyssa)
“What’s up?” (Hifumi)
“A single soldier died in order to protect me…” (Alyssa)
“Yea, that’s right.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi, who confirmed her body to be healed after using around 70%, put his hand on the bandage on her face.
“Following you, Hifumi-san, I became a director one way or the other, but such a situation is, well, no good, right…?” (Alyssa)
“No, not particularly.” (Hifumi)
He gently spills the remaining magic potion on Alyssa’s cheek.
“You yourself decide whether something’s fine or no good. Among commanders there’s likely many who deem it acceptable if there are a lot more casualties among the enemy than among their allies.” (Hifumi)
In order to check whether the injury on her cheek had fully healed, Hifumi stroke Alyssa’s cheek with his right hand and placed it on top of her head with a *pon*
“I will be troubled if you aren’t there. As it’s fine to do it your way, please consolidate that passionate lot.” (Hifumi)
Floating tears with a *sniff*, Alyssa held both her hands due to the right hand which was placed on her head.
Its heat is transmitted to her and an excessive grief fills her chest.
Alyssa pushes her face into Hifumi’s belly as her tears begin to overflow and her expression crumples. Placing her arms, including the one which was healed just now, strongly around his back, she hugged him with all her might.
Her mumbled crying voice continued to resound in the room until Alyssa fell asleep after getting worn out from crying.