Early afternoon on the highway, ranks of troops are advancing with a luxurious carriage in their midst.
The group, which expressly exceeds a number of 200, is the punitive force against the rebelling nobles led by Orsongrande’s queen, Imeraria.
“Your Majesty, we got in touch with a messenger from Earl Biron.”
“Well, then let’s meet directly with them. Over here. There’s no necessity to stop the advance.” (Imeraria)
A single knight, who was in the vanguard, withdrew with his horse until he was next to the carriage with Imeraria on board.
Imeraria had an appearance of wearing long boots with trousers for the sake of riding a horse, but unable to endure her sore butt on an unfamiliar expedition on the first day of departure, she obediently remained in the carriage, which has plenty of cushions laid out, from the second day onwards.
Not changing her clothes showed her enthusiasm of being able to mount a horse right away if something happens, but the true feelings of all her maids was for her to stay docile and leave the fighting scene to the knights.
Before long the young man, who named himself as messenger from Earl Biron, turned up an lined up his horse alongside the knight.
“Err… i-it’s a great honour- to meet you, Your Majesty. E-Excuse my rudeness of addressing your from atop a horse.”
“It doesn’t matter. We are a bit too many people to especially stop the advance. Rather than that, what about Earl Biron?” (Imeraria)
As a messenger is originally nothing more than a single common soldier, it doesn’t happen often for them to directly exchange words with a queen. However as the current time is regarded as war time by Imeraria, she handled it in the basic way of listening to the information from the related parties to the best of her abilities in order to implement the phrase Scrutinize information by yourself which she was previously told by Hifumi.
That has increased the favourable impressions of her by those working in the castle, but for the desperate Imeraria it’s difficult to take matters that far into consideration.
“I have been told by Earl Biron to report the entirety of the current situation to you, Your Majesty.”
“Let’s hear it. Ah, let’s have Sabnak-san listen as well. Won’t someone please go call him?” (Imeraria)
Once Sabnak, who was commanding the ranks at the front, arrived, Imeraria urged the young male messenger to talk once again.
Accordingly the messenger explained the details regarding the arrest of the rebelling nobles under Earl Aspilketa as well as the attack of Horant’s side and the resulting battle against Ma Carme’s instruction unit from Fokalore at Horant’s national border.
Since those were details he had already explained several times, his way of reciting had a practised tune, but he still spills tears at the passages about Ma Carme.
“… This, won’t it turn into a big problem?” (Sabnak)
Once Sabnak turned his look at Imeraria with a pale face, she nodded while firmly staring at the face of the messenger.
“I understood the situation. Will you return to Earl Biron’s place after this?” (Imeraria)
“No… I have a promise with Ma Carme-dono. As I already got Earl-sama’s permission as well, I will head towards Fokalore as it is.”
Imeraria smiles gently at the messenger who answered with determined words.
“If I consider the situation of Earl Tohno getting to know such information, it might be that I should confine you for the sake of avoiding problems as stateswoman.” (Imeraria)
“Be troublesome”, the messenger tried to say, but there’s no way to say such a thing to the queen.
“However, I won’t be able to forgive myself for something like preventing you from accomplishing the promise between you and that person. Sabnak-san.” (Imeraria)
“Please give him two guards that will escort him. And also a little bit for his travelling expenses.” (Imeraria)
“T-This much! This is too excessive as it's my own personal promise!”
Imeraria flatly tells the panicking messenger,
“Then this is something I consider as my private good deed. Besides, the receiver of the verbal message, Alyssa-san, can be called my personal acquaintance. Will you still decline it?” (Imeraria)
“Uuh… I shall accept it thankfully.”
The messenger, who bowed towards Imeraria as she nodded with an “Alright”, while on horse, headed towards the rear with two knights, who turned up, in tow.
“… Imeraria-sama.” (Sabnak)
“I did something selfish.” (Imeraria)
Sabnak bowed his head towards Imeraria who was showing a bitter smile.
“No. Your Majesty’s consideration was admirable.” (Sabnak)
“Thank you very much. Can you give me a bit advice then?” (Imeraria)
“If my shallow thinking will be of use to you.” (Sabnak)
Sabnak bowed his head once again while holding his breath as result of his future prospect that looks like it will be lying much more heavy on his stomach than any association with nobles.
“Doing such a thing! Do you plan to ruin Horant!?”
Facing Prime Minister Kuzemu who is standing next to the throne in the audience hall with a nonchalant expression, each of the higher ranking people of the castle, including the former ministers, yell their objections with flushed faces.
For Kuzemu, who has already finished the seizure of the castle’s soldiers, the important people, who were driven out of their posts, don’t feel like any threat although they are nobles.
“Oh dear, I’m a loyal retainer who, so to speak, showed distinguished war service by turning away the enemy nation that came attacking Horant.” (Kuzemu)
“Don’t screw around! How is a bastard like you, who monopolizes the national politics during the absence of Nelgal-sama, a loyal retainer!”
“Oh, did I praise myself too much, I wonder? Nevertheless, did you gather here to expressly state your trivial protests at this time where we are busy with the state funeral of His Majesty?” (Kuzemu)
“You certainly have free time now that you were relieved from your posts”, Kuzemu spits out and gives some order to a soldier who was on the same platform.
“Free time you say, that’s a nasty way to phrase it! I don’t want to be told that by a fucker, who is messing around by wielding his authority merely for his own sake without even showing a shred of condolences towards His Majesty having passed away, like you bastard!”
“In the first place”, another minister raises his voice.
“I heard you killed the subordinates of t-h-a-t man! Him having invaded the castle just by himself, even the proper crown prince was killed… There will be retribution without a doubt! What the hell are you planning to do about that!?”
The instant he heard those words, Kuzemu, who floated a carefree smile, suddenly furrowed his brows and showed an expression of rage.
“That’s it!” (Kuzemu)
The one Kuzemu pointed at was the man who referred to Hifumi’s revenge.
“Such loser mentality is no good! After that defeat, Fokalore’s soldiers have remained in this country while acting as if they own the place and have behaved as if they are more superior than our troops before we realized! Do you want to tell me that this is the way it ought to be in a normal country!?” (Kuzemu)
“B-But, as that was for the sake of this country, the late king has…”
“It isn’t all fine to just exist because it’s a country. This country and its people have to stand with their own power and also protect themselves. Where’s the meaning in the state’s existence even if we copied the technology of another country?” (Kuzemu)
Kuzemu, who regained his composure while talking, changes his tone as if humiliating himself quietly.
“However, for actually fighting him from the front, the opponent is…”
“Do you think that I haven’t prepared nothing whatsoever?” (Kuzemu)
And a slight vibration begins to resound during the audience.
“What’s this sound?”
“It looks like they finally arrived. … Well then, everyone.” (Kuzemu)
While feeling the vibrations which have gradually become larger, Kuzemu spread both his hands.
“Returning to the previous conversation, I wonder if you will understand anything if I am to speak about this country’s fitting way of fighting?” (Kuzemu)
“T-The matter of magic and magic tools?”
“Correct! If you take it even further, there are things like magic potions. That’s our speciality.” (Kuzemu)
The vibrations have become even bigger.
“As a matter of fact, our country’s defence capability had built plenty of foundation at the time of that battle. Losing the research results in the chaos, even the experimental subjects were lost, but the data was left behind.” (Kuzemu)
The ones who turned up from behind were subjects which were restructured with magic tools and potions. They were soldiers possessing bodies which were changed into gigantic builds with heights surpassing five meters.
Wearing exclusive thick armours, they are grasping very long spears with their fat fingers.
They are resembling Veldore who was killed by Hifumi at this location, but although their eyes are clouded with a pure white, they are obediently listening to Kuzemu’s orders.
Such huge soldiers came entering while making a stir with their footsteps, their whole bodies.
“W-What on earth is this…?”
“It's the inheritance of the late crown prince. We finally manage to make them useful, but…” (Kuzemu)
The eyes of Kuzemu, who looks down on them with a glare, shone dangerously.
“At any rate, they still haven’t adapted properly as elementary subjects. Their numbers are also too lacking to call them an army corps.” (Kuzemu)
Kuzemu orders the restructured, enhanced soldiers, who surrounded the former ministers.
“Break their limbs so that they can’t escape while not killing them and take them to the research institute.” (Kuzemu)
The huge hands easily seize grown men with one hand and break their limbs by twisting them completely as if they are breaking twigs.
Only Kuzemu chuckled among the reverberating screams.
“Well then, I wonder if the weapons of the Knight of the Slender Sword or whatever will be understood by our restructured soldiers?” (Kuzemu)
Once he is surrounded by several restructured soldiers, we will likely be able to torture him to death, he smiles. When that happens, we will be able to brazenly attack Orsongrande in retaliation.
By achieving this much with Horant’s technology, the country will certainly be restored, Kuzemu firmly believed in that.
As the provinces disorder was a matter of the central government, Orsongrande’s capital was at a height of activity.
The fact that the army made a move was well-known, but there’s no pessimistic atmosphere regarding that. If anything, it is taken as funds, which were gathered by the royal castle, flowing into the market and sharp-sighted merchants were wondering whether additional supply request would come in anticipation. The people were eagerly waiting for new tales of heroic deeds.
After Hifumi arrived at the capital in such circumstances with the two women in tow, the attention of the populace naturally focusses on them.
Be that as it may, the tree people weren’t ones to mind such stares this late in the game.
Once they entrusted the horses to the soldiers at the city’s entrance, they leisurely stroll the city on foot. The present, which concealed Balzephon’s head, is carried in Hifumi’s right hand.
“I got hungry. If I remember correctly, there was a good set meal restaurant. It’s the shop where I ate first after coming here.” (Hifumi)
“It’s the 『Dancing Cludo Pavillion』, right? This way, Hifumi-sama.” (Origa)
“The capital’s lively as well, isn’t it?” (Alyssa)
“I will get lost”, Alyssa grabs the right sleeve of Hifumi’s dougi and Origa twines her arms around his left arm.
Although he wears unusual clothes, they aren’t gaudy. Since he is showing himself in the capital by walking in the city care-freely, the city’s people watch them without too much nervousness.
The nervous ones are the soldiers among the patrols which they saw occasionally. Those hurrying to notify the office of the knight order and the royal castle in panic and those chasing after them indirectly in preparation for troubles. Among them there’s also a soldier, who was made to clean up at the time when ten assassins were slaughtered by Hifumi down-town. That person was already in denial and had a poor complexion.
Having finished their meal, they walk through the city while browsing the shops.
Because Origa’s face is popular in the capital’s shopping district, they head towards the castle while suitably dealing with the overlapping voices from all over.
“… So, what’s your business today?” (Adol)
“I thought that I should give a present to Imeraria.” (Hifumi)
“Aiming to suppress the rebelling nobles who headed towards Horant, Her Majesty is currently proceeding towards battle while leading the troops herself.” (Adol)
Prime Minister Adol, who has been entrusted with the role of house-sitting, greets them with an exhausted expression.
“Hmmm. Then I will borrow the balcony for a bit.” (Hifumi)
“I wonder whether it’s alright…”
Adol hurriedly chased after Hifumi who walks through the castle in a manner of being familiar with it.
While he advances through the hallways unhindered, the civil officials and maids step to the side of the hallways and bow.
“This is Earl Tohno! Please excuse me for not contacting you for a while!”
“Please show us your wonderful skill once again by all means!”
Arriving at the knights, they call out to him with flushed faces.
Hifumi exchanges greetings in a light manner and advances rapidly.
“Ah, Earl Tohno! Teach me various things once again, plea… Hiie!?”
At the moment a female knight called out to him, Origa’s look, which is similar to being shot to death, is turned at her from Hifumi’s back.
Once they walked for a little less than 10 minutes, they arrived at the large balcony which was constructed towards the plaza in front of the castle.
This is the place where Imeraria addressed the populace at the time of her coronation. It’s not rare for the prime minister and the ministers to publicize something here, with the exception of the notice boards at the city’s entrance and the plaza, if there’s something to announce.
If you put it the other way, it’s also a place where not many people stop by unless there’s such announcement.
“E-Earl Tohno, what the heck are you intending to do?” (Adol)
“Ah, it’s a valuable present, therefore I wondered whether I should inform other people as well.” (Hifumi)
He roughly tears off the wrapping of Balzephon’s head.
Ignoring the surprised Adol who has fallen on his backside, Hifumi jumped upon the railing of the balcony and called out in a very loud voice.
His targets are the soldiers and knights patrolling the city.
“Soldiers and knights who are protecting the capital! If there are fellows who want to fight, listen as well!” (Hifumi)
There are people who scream as they see the freshly severed head, which was held up very high, while holding their heads.
The called-out soldiers look up at the balcony and concentrated their gazes on the black-haired man whom they remember.
“This guy is the wasteland’s souvenir! Look! He is still alive even though he is no more than a head! This is the humans’ new enemy, a demon!” (Hifumi)
The people look at each other while talking noisily and exchange their opinions regarding the word demon severally.
Most of the population is puzzled, but the majority of the knights and many soldiers knitted their brows. It doesn’t seem like the existence of the demons themselves is generally known very much.
While feeling slightly disappointed about the shallowness of their reaction, Hifumi continues his words.
“The demons obediently stayed in the wastelands, but they have organized themselves alongside the birth of a new demon king! Even such monsters coming to attack after gathering might be only a matter of time!” (Hifumi)
Even though Alyssa knows about the true identity of the head not being a demon, she stays silent as she knows Hifumi’s aim.
As for Origa, she was unable to take her eyes off Hifumi, who is talking sonorously, while wildly breathing through her nose.
The one who is shaken up the most on the balcony is without a doubt the prime minister.
“Earl Tohno, that story, just what the…” (Adol)
Hifumi, who drowned out Adol’s voice with his loud voice, smiles while shaking his head.
“If you believe that you want to protect your country and this city, struggle desperately to become stronger!” (Hifumi)
「Yea!」, such voices reach him from all around.
Once Hifumi, who nodded in an exaggerated manner, jumped off the balcony, Adol timidly pointed at Balzephon’s head.
“T-That demon head, that is to say…” (Adol)
“This, eh?” (Hifumi)
Once it faced Adol after turning it around, Balzephon opened his mouth in agony.
“Uwaah… eh?” (Adol)
“I guess you remember him. It’s the face of the idiot who caused a rebellion in this castle.” (Hifumi)
“T-Then it’s a lie that the demons will come to attack?” (Adol)
“Who knows.” (Hifumi)
Giving the head to Origa, Hifumi tapped the hilt of his katana while watching her carefully wrapping it up once again.
“It’s the truth that the demons were released from the place, where they were imprisoned, and that there’s a new demon king. Well, whether they will come attacking depends on them.” (Hifumi)
“That is, if possible, I’d like you to refrain from making the people too anxious…” (Adol)
“You know, listen.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi suddenly opens his left eye widely and stares into Adol’s right eye. Adol can’t avert his sight from the black pupil which is at a distance of a breath’s range.
Alyssa ignored Origa’s small-voiced muttering of 「How enviable」 .
“That’s no good. Get ready by training so that you can deal with any enemy, no matter when they attack and who it is is what I’m telling the bunch of soldiers at my place. From now on they will begin to fight without following such stupidity as 「Now, let’s get ready for combat」 after the enemy is visible.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi, who talked with dignity, tells Adol to pass the freshly severed head as present to Imeraria and tries to return into the castle from the balcony.
Adol called out to him from behind while being unable to stand up due to fear.
“W-Where are you heading from here on?” (Adol)
“Let’s see…” (Hifumi)
Hifumi looks fleetingly at Alyssa.
When he met the sight of Alyssa, who is looking up to him fixedly, Hifumi spilled a laughter with a “Fufufu.”
“Let’s go and see how much the sheltered girl has grown, shall we?” (Hifumi)
“I don’t know if might snatch them away if there’s a nice enemy though”, brushing off the dust on his hakama with a smack of his left hand, Hifumi left the royal castle.