Kuzemu, who left the room to perform his official duties, entered his private room located in the castle just like that.
It’s a room for the sake of taking a nap in cases such as when he has no time to return to his principal residence. It’s a room that can be obtained and granted only to high-ranking staff members who work in the castle. Because it's a temporary accommodation to the bitter end, it’s only provided with a single bed, storage and equipment at the level of being able to prepare tea.
Kuzemu, who opened the closet and quickly changed into travelling clothes by putting on a coat, visited the office of the general who commands the soldiers without returning to his own office.
“It’s me. I’m coming in.” (Kuzemu)
A maid ran out of the room next to Kuzemu, who entered the room in a familiar manner after giving just a short notice, while fixing her dishevelled dress in a hurry.
“Oh, how surprising, Your Excellency, the Prime Minister.”
Even though his manner of speech is polite, the young man is shy while slowly putting his shirt, which had more than half its buttons undone, in order.
“Tannin, you bastard became the general who is in charge of this country’s army. Think about your reputation a bit.” (Kuzemu)
“No, no, being wooed by the other side, there’s no reason to refuse it either. So, what’s wrong for you to have such appearance?” (Tannin)
Without even a fraction of timidity, the man called Tannin asks while smoothing down the beard at the tip of his chin with a hand.
The appearance of Tannin, who is said to be in the first half of his thirties, is that of a soldier promoted after Kuzemu adjusted the current system. As noble of Horant, he was born into an Earl family as second son. For Kuzemu he is a man that is related to him as nephew.
Although he has the ability, his philandering is bad. He had to serve at remote regions many times thanks to his character which wasn’t liked by his superiors, but alongside Kuzemu seizing the power, he was summoned and raised to the top of the army after the ministers were disposed of.
It was a personnel affair with the reasoning that it would be easier to control the army with a blood relative, but seeing that Tannin’s sticky fingers were far worse than expected, Kuzemu regretted it a bit.
“A large force of 1000 soldiers from Orsongrande is moving towards this place. Get ready to intercept them immediately. I will come with you as well.” (Kuzemu)
“Oh dear, if seen from a military viewpoint, we should tightly solidify the entrances of the capital for a defence. What we should do following that is to counter-attack after waiting for the enemy to tire out. That way we will certainly win while our side will have little losses as well.” (Tannin)
“Moreover it’s fine to take it easy as there’s no necessity to go to a distant place”, Tannin smiles.
Kuzemu was hesitating whether to tell him or not with a bitter expression, but it won’t do if I can’t move at least the man in front of me as ally, he made his resolve.
“… In the worst case there’s the possibility that Nelgal is accompanying Orsongrande’s troops. Being supported by guards who are accompanying him as well, countrymen will likely not recognise him even if they were able to see his face, but for him to come to the capital is bad.” (Kuzemu)
On top of the army’s organization, the people, who know about the castle’s internal affairs, are mostly those working in the capital or its neighbourhood, some among those stationed in provincial cities and villages and there are also people who haven’t entered the castle even once in their life.
“In other words, before Nelgal arrives at the capital, we want him to go missing, is what you mean?” (Tannin)
“Right. That’s why it’s necessary to leave here and strike them at once. Currently there are at least 2000 soldiers who can be moved.” (Kuzemu)
“What about the capital’s defence?” (Tannin)
“It’s fine to forget about it. We will take the reinforced soldiers with us as well. There are around five bodies that can be used, but they will likely serve their role.” (Kuzemu)
“It can’t be helped. After all it’s no one other but His Excellency the Prime Minister requesting so.” (Tannin)
Once he put on a jacket, that had gorgeous decorations, and straightened the neck of his shirt, a strange dignity could be seen which was usually hidden by his non-serious nature.
“By the way, what about the aforementioned visitor?” (Tannin)
“If it’s that man, Gaap is sticking to him. I have entrusted the protection of the castle to Gaap, but it probably won’t be a problem.” (Kuzemu)
“Well, that guy’s research field lies especially in magic soldiers. As it’s different from the actual working forces we take along, it will be alright. Rather than that, there’s something I’m bothered with…” (Tannin)
Kuzemu knitted his eyebrows due to Tannin dropping his voice’s tone with a serious expression.
“What is it?” (Kuzemu)
“Somehow it appears that a reasonable number among the maids feel inclined towards our visitor. Is this the appearance of a rival, they ask.” (Tannin)
Once Tannin, who smiled at Kuzemu whose face was blushing, clapped his hands, the maid, who ran out not long ago, entered while looking downward in embarrassment.
Tannin stands up as well and when they face each other in the middle of the room, he quickly hugs Levy’s waist.
“Ah, my precious Levy. I must head to the battlefield from now on. Please, I’d like you to forgive this crime of leaving you behind, my beloved.” (Tannin)
Stealing the lips of the maid who opened her mouth to mutter words, Tannin, who entangled his tongue with hers up to the point that Kuzemu was on the verge of shouting, put strength into the arm hugging her waist and pressed Levy’s thin body against his waist.
“I will definitely come back to you. Won’t you please keep this room tidy until then? I intend to receive my reward for victory here.” (Tannin)
The maid nods lightly while leaking a hot sigh due to his large hand stroking her from the waist to below while saying that.
“Uncle, no Your Excellency, the Prime Minister, I’d like to request a house for the sake of welcoming her at the dawn of victory, please.” (Tannin)
Kuzemu sighed deeply as Tannin demanded that while looking over his shoulder. For the maid called Levy it’s probably her own home, but for Tannin will be a house where he keeps a mistress.
“… Got it. However, I rely on you to definitely make sure about the matter just now. I will ascertain it myself as well.” (Kuzemu)
“Leave it to me. Well then, I entrust the rest to you, Levy.” (Tannin)
Seeing off Tannin, who leaves the room after giving her a light kiss, Kuzemu begins to prepare for taking out the reinforced soldiers while remembering his anxieties.
“They came up to here. No one is allowed to be a hindrance… That’s right, let’s use those as well. It’s not a situation anymore where I should be holding back on releasing those.” (Kuzemu)
The scenario for after the repelling of Orsongrande. In short, I have to ponder about Hifumi’s treatment as well, Kuzemu pushes his way through the castle at a fast pace while releasing groans.
“They have gone out to strike at them? The populace, eh? There’s probably things they don’t want to show to the people of the castle. Ah~… Nelgal, huh? Even without that, their foundation will get unsteady if it comes to an attack on the capital.”
“It seems we are to watch home. For caution’s sake, it also serves as experiment of the methods we learned from professor. The castle’s defence has been strengthened, but it doesn’t seem like there will be any chance to test it.”
Looking at the sight of a large number of people lining up in the square, which was established in the castle, while standing next to Hifumi, Gaap showed a bitter smile.
“It looks like they will take 2500 soldiers. 2000 infantrymen, 300 magic soldiers… if it was a defensive battle, there would be a chance for us to have a turn as well, but this time that’s unlikely.” (Gaap)
While he gives a half-hearted answer, the intermediate soldiers, who received Tannin’s orders, form up in units. Generally speaking, the infantry is placed in front and behind the magic soldiers. When push comes to shove, the infantry will part left and right so that the magic soldier are able to go to the front.
The reinforced soldiers arrived while being tied with chains that appear to be magic tools.
All of the five reinforced soldiers will apparently walk in the front row.
“It looks like the big ones aren’t used as anything but a wall anymore.” (Hifumi)
That’s a wise move, Hifumi judged.
Weapons, which have the measures to oppose them revealed, are worthless as hidden aces. Capitalizing on their pointless sturdiness, they will likely serve as bulwark against the spear throwers which Orsongrande will probably use.
Meanwhile the departure started beginning with the front row. A weird carriage follows behind the ranks and files. Five horses slowly pull the large carriage which is similar to a prefab hut with wheels attached to it.
“What’s that about?” (Hifumi)
“Oh, those are…” (Gaap)
Starting to explain, Gaap cast down his eyes after raising his voice with an 「Ah」.
“I-I’m sorry. To tell you the details about those…” (Gaap)
“Are those strong?” (Hifumi)
“… Stronger than the reinforced soldiers. It’s something that was later on further developed by me. Please forgive me, but any more than that ((is impossible)).” (Gaap)
Hifumi, who judged that it’s apparently something fun going by his look, got excited by the existence of a secret weapon even he doesn’t know about and due to the general of Horant appearing to not be an idiot.
“Yea, that’s just right.” (Hifumi)
“If you don’t have something at this level, you won’t be interesting as study case for Alyssa and Imeraria. Isn’t that fine?” (Hifumi)
Gaap doesn’t comprehend the role of the man in front of his eyes.
“H-However, although you say that, I was told that it might be harsh even with more than twice the military force if one takes on those weapons…” (Gaap)
Doesn’t he notice that he is praising himself by saying such a thing? Even while keeping the details of those weapons ambiguous, Gaap talks about their threat.
However, all of that was ignored by Hifumi with a smile.
“It’s fine. If they die with just this much, that’s all there is to them. Will they try to hit someone collectively towards the direction of winning? That will only increase the numbers to be hit.” (Hifumi)
Due to Hifumi smoothly saying “The beastmen and such are easy prey as well”, Gaap realized.
Hifumi doesn’t take enemies or allies into consideration. His level of perception of them is just the colour difference of game pieces clashing against each other.
He turns his sight at the box-shaped carriage with the weapons on it.
(If this swaying Horant wins, it will result in us fighting the beastmen which would be brought along by this Hifumi-san next. And, if we won against them as well, next…) (Gaap)
Barrenness has a limit, too, Gaap felt a headache. If we lose, it will be the end, but even if we won, the next battle would come. As long as this man exists, Horant will be engulfed in endless battles.
“Hifumi-sama, the preparations for your meal are finished.”
“Lunch has been made by us. We will be happy if it suits your taste.”
Three maids approached as they held down their skirts which fluttered in the wind on the rooftop while facing Hifumi with fleeting glances of upturned eyes.
“Ah, really? Thanks.” (Hifumi)
Once Hifumi thanks them, the maids drag him to the dining hall by pulling Hifumi’s hands while looking happy.
The soldiers, who are on guard duty on the rooftop, looking at that enviously made Gaap uneasy as he watched.
“Dangerous guys might appear to be attractive. I can’t understand.” (Gaap)
Those are egoistic thoughts, but above being taught skills, I’d like to have Hifumi go back home as soon as possible, Gaap assessed.
Due to Hifumi secretly slipping out and his whereabouts becoming unknown on that night, a part of the maids grieved while Gaap felt relieved.
“Noo, I give up, I surrender.” (Tannin)
“Tannin! Is this a situation where you can laugh around care-freely!?” (Kuzemu)
Tanning and Kuzemu, who were together on a carriage at around the middle of the ranks, tried to cope with coming into contact with the enemy faster than they imagined, but they suffered fierce attacks from Orsongrande’s side at their vanguard.
It’s the second day after departing from the capital. It’s the period when the sun is at the zenith.
If it was like war until now, both armies, once they knew about nearing the enemy, would have representatives hold a conference and meanwhile take up positions. Clashing against each other was formerly the basics, but Orsongrande, which confirmed Horant’s reinforced soldiers according to the news from the front row, began to fire spears already after having observed them for several seconds.
“I also know about the power of those spears. But, if it’s the reinforced soldiers who don’t feel any pain, it’s irrelevant, isn’t it?” (Tannin)
“That is…” (Kuzemu)
According to what the soldier, who came to relay information, said, Orsongrande’s spears, which were shot precisely, destroyed the feet and knees of the reinforced soldiers in a flash and on top of restricting their movement, the spears were focussed at their heads.
“Before I head over here, two heads were destroyed and they became incapable of acting.”
“H-Have the magic soldiers attack! After all there are no remarkable magicians in Orsongrande!”
Due to the shouting Kuzemu, Tannin had their magicians step forward and ordered them to attack from a distance.
“During that time, please take the aforementioned gross ((things)) in the rear along. Let’s have this finished by using those.” (Tannin)
“I-Is that alright?”
The soldier and Kuzemu opened their eyes widely due to Tannin mentioning to use their treasured weapons even though the battle started just now.
“It’s fine. We will look like idiots if we lose due to being unwilling to deploy them, right? These things will end up routing them if they aren’t completely blocked by the enemy side bundling its strength. Hey, hurry up!” (Tannin)
Seeing off the runner who dashes away, Tannin grumbled.
“Well, if we make a bit of a comeback with magic, our chance of winning probably won’t be shaken as we outweigh them by numbers.” (Tannin)
Due to that remark, Kuzemu released the tension which entered his shoulders.
“If we don’t finish it quickly, the castle’s beauties might get stolen by our guest.” (Tannin)
While talking about something ridiculous, Tannin stood up and took his beloved sword which was sheathed in a flashy scabbard that had jewels embedded within.
“Where are you going?” (Kuzemu)
“I’m off to the front line for a bit. At these times something called “morale” is important.” (Tannin)
Accepting the reins of his favourite horse, which was made to run along the carriage, from a soldier, he easily jumps on top of the saddle.
“Well then, Your Excellency, the Prime Minister. See you later.” (Tannin)
The ones being surprised by the sudden enemy contact wasn’t just Kuzemu’s army.
“Aren’t we uncivilized to shoot spears all of a sudden!?” (Imeraria)
“What stupid stuff are you talking about? It’s obvious that it’s the enemy if those reinforced soldiers are there. You should praise Fokalore’s soldiers, who splendidly knocked them down after taking the initiative, and the kingdom’s soldiers who are doing their best in protecting them.” (Origa)
Nelgal revealed a wry smile at Imeraria and Origa quarrelling thanks to the fact that there won’t be any help after watching his surroundings.
Alyssa has quickly gone to the front where the soldiers of Fokalore are and hands out commands for the sake of assigning targets. Sabnak was driven away to confirm information and Vaiya was at the front line to begin with.
For not only Fokalore but Orsongrande’s royal army to shoot their spear throwers in alignment is probably Vaiya’s decision.
A knight, who came running from the front line, shouts towards Sabnak.
“It looks like we were successful in making the reinforced soldiers mostly powerless! I don’t know the total number of enemies, but we were able to confirm that their files and ranks are continuing equal to our numbers or above them!”
“How about the enemy’s movements?” (Sabnak)
Sabnak hands over a cup filled with water while asking.
“Thank you very much. The enemy is recovering from the temporary confusion, the infantrymen, who were behind the reinforced soldiers, are showing movements towards spreading out left and right.”
“I see…” (Sabnak)
“Sabnak-san, isn’t there any chance to tell them our side of the story?” (Imeraria)
Sabnak answered Imeraria’s question with a 「Though it’s regrettable, but no」.
“At least until the long distance battle ends, it will probably be difficult. Seeing that it’s very probable for magic soldiers being over there, I won’t allow it as Your Majesty will be defenceless.” (Sabnak)
“And if it turns into a rally with our side’s magic soldiers?” (Imeraria)
“That might be hard.” (Sabnak)
The number of Orsongrande’s magic soldiers is, to say it frankly, meagre.
Their skill levels are low as well. If someone at Origa’s joined the army, they would probably climb to the top of the magic soldiers in the twinkling of an eye.
“Since their numbers are low, it will take the shape of waiting until the opponent’s side runs out of mana by using a platform wagon as shield for a while, if it turns into a rally of magic. In that case, it means that we will be pinned down after leaving from here…” (Sabnak)
Going by past measurements versus magicians, enduring with large shields was considered to be an established tactic, but they weren’t able to disregard human losses either. This time we will make use of the usual trick of Fokalore to change the solid platform wagons into shields by knocking them over, Sabnak decided before their departure.
Once everyone turns their sight towards the fragile voice, there was the elf Puuse who raised her small hand.
“Can’t you use a magic barrier?” (Puuse)
Due to Sabnak plainly asking by reflex, Puuse is surprised and explains it briefly.
To put it simply, it’s a magic bulwark against magic, but there are many elves who have become strong at it because of the long sealing. Puuse can use it as well.
However, because only magic as means of attack was advanced in research among humans, that type of skill ended up being lost.
“If you like, I can help you with the barrier, I think.” (Puuse)
It was a welcome offer but, Sabnak feels reluctant to have her, who is just a guest to the bitter end, participate in the battle.
Even for Imeraria it’s the same. She had the drive of wanting to observe it as person who researches magic, but she restrained herself with This place is ((a battlefield)).
The only one not restraining herself is Origa.
“That’s wonderful. Please show us by all means. I will accompany you to the front line, too.” (Origa)
“Ah, yes.” (Puuse)
Even a platform wagon got taken.
“Please wait.” (Imeraria)
“Good grief”, Imeraria, who shook her head, gives the instruction 「We will advance to the front line together with this platform wagon」.
“It’s probably better if you take command at the front as well, Sabnak-san. At any rate, Nelgal-sama and me don’t want to miss an opportunity to make a speech. If they are able to deploy a barrier, there will likely be little danger, too.” (Imeraria)
“A-As you have ordered.” (Sabnak)
Once Sabnak gives a signal to the soldier steering the platform wagon, the soldiers begin to advance to the front by pushing their way through.
When Puuse starts to chant, Origa’s and Imeraria’s gazes focus on her.
(That’s not easy to do…)
While being stared at with serious eyes, Puuse, who chose the timing on her own discretion, deploys her mana and a faintly translucent wall extends by seemingly boiling up from the ground.
Immediately following that, magic attacks started from Horant’s side, but fireballs, rocks, wind and water, all of it scatters at the moment it comes in contact with the barrier.
“This is amazing.”
“I see, it’s the materialization of mana that holds no attribute…”
Within the mix of praising and analysing voices, Puuse blushed while concentrating her consciousness on the preservation of the barrier.
(It’s because I’m good at healing and barriers though.) (Puuse)
Puuse decided to stay silent about her being utterly useless in regards to offensive magic.
Suddenly Origa stood up and raised her voice.
“Hifumi-sama is watching.” (Origa)
“Eh? From where?”
Although it’s unknown how she sensed him, just as Origa says, Hifumi was care-freely observing from a place separated from the highway.
Even the rabbit beastwoman Viine, who heard Hifumi’s name, shifted her ears and head in hurry, but she wasn’t able to find him.
“I can’t stay like this. If we are observed by Hifumi-sama, I will fight as well… ouch!”
What hit the head of Origa, who stood up while grasping her wand in a hurry, with a clunk was a small stone wrapped in a parchment.
Only 「Stay silent and watch」 in Hifumi’s poor handwriting is written on it.
“Now that he mentions it, this is Alyssa’s trial…” (Origa)
Behind Origa, who sat down once again while being downhearted, the tigerboy Malfas, who was nervous due to the atmosphere of a battlefield, whiffed, looked in the direction from where the stone came flying, opened his mouth and became stiff.
The figure of Hifumi, which Malfas discovered, was that of the man who destroyed his village.
“Oh, what did the tiger cub see?”
Malfas ran off towards Hifumi in silence.
On the other side of Malfas, who fully demonstrated the physical prowess of beastmen with an expression of rage, the figure of Gengu, who chased after him in a hurry, appeared in the field of vision of Hifumi who is leisurely lying in wait.
“You are aaaahh!” (Malfas)
Despite there still being distance left between them, he leaps up while revealing the sharp claws on both his paws.
There’s also the difference in physique, but more than anything, something like an attack that was sent in a straight line to the degree of being stupid can be dodged by Hifumi with closed eyes.
Hifumi, who avoided it by tilting his head slightly, delivered a frontal kick into Malfas’ soft belly.
While watching Malfas who is rolling around while holding his belly, Gengu stood out-of-breath in front of Hifumi and bowed.
“Sorry for not contacting you ~ssu. I brought this tigerboy along as he said that he wants to receive training from you, Hifumi-san, but…” (Gengu)
“Oh, is that so?” (Hifumi)
Hifumi nods lightly while apparently having forgotten about being attacked.
Hifumi, who stood in front of Malfas who has fainted and is smeared with dirt, looked down on him with the hands in his sleeves*. (T/N: says pockets here but I don’t remember hakama‘s having any outer pockets like western jackets or such)
“Hey, tiger child.” (Hifumi)
The best Malfas can do is glaring at Hifumi who starts to ask a question.
“You are far too weak. Let alone you having not changed at all from before, you got even weaker? I told you that I would kill you the next time we met, but this won’t do. I don’t have even any motivation to kill you.” (Hifumi)
Origa, who approached from behind Hifumi without making even a single sound, addressed him in a low voice. The iron-ribbed fan is in her hand and she is gripping it tightly to a degree that blood is spilling.
“Did you finish your talk? If you don’t mind, I want to get rid of this rude fellow with my own hands.” (Origa)
Her cold gaze seizes Malfas.
He was also surprised about her having approached him, who is a beastman, without getting noticed, but rather than that, it was a shock for the beauty, that looked at him with a smile until not long ago, to request permission to kill him.
Tears due to a mix of pain and sadness overflow.
Trying to cut in there, Gengu kneels in a way of protecting Malfas.
“M-Madam! Can’t you please show some leniency!? This fellow is misunderstanding something as well, I think…?” (Gengu)
“How bothersome.” (Hifumi)
Muttering a brief complaint, Hifumi decided to explain it briefly at this place.
It’s about Malfas being one of the two children he overlooked at the time of crushing the village of tiger beastmen in the wastelands.
And about having told him to get strong the next time they met each other.
He didn’t tell his name though.
“… Then, without abiding to what he was told by you, Hifumi-sama, he is still as weak as he was. After all he is a brat who is stubbornly difficult to save. Well, even if I didn’t know, it was my mistake to have brought a guy like this in front of you, Hifumi-sama. Please punish us, including this dog as well, for being responsible. It’s the same sin for the elf and rabbit as well.” (Gengu)
Hifumi’s hand grasped Origa’s right hand which was raised overhead.
“Won’t you wait…? Hey, why do I have to stop you? Even though I’m enduring for the sake of Alyssa and that stupid queen, you…” (Hifumi)
While feeling the pain of her wrist being tightened to the limit, Origa gulped with a 「Ha」.
Shouldn’t I be the one knowing better than anyone that Hifumi is constantly thinking about wanting to kill others more than anyone else? Once she recalled, Origa, who noticed that he got angry at the time when she killed Ayperos, the younger brother of Imeraria, as well, felt as if it was Hifumi’s kindness to scold her, also including the pain of her wrist being constricted with a force similar to a vise.
“E-Excuse me. G-Grasp it tighter, punishment for me, more…” (Origa)
Flinging Origa away by releasing her wrist with a “phooey”, Hifumi brings his face close to Malfas who is squatting down.
“So, what will you do? I will kill you now if you give up. However, right… Gengu.” (Hifumi)
“How is Reni’s group doing?” (Hifumi)
Gengu, who was beffuddled for just an instant due to the abrupt question, swallowed his spit and began to talk.
“Having reached the point that many are living in the human city, the slums have grown rapidly ~ssu. There are also quarrels with the human part of the city, Reni-san and Helen-san are protecting the city by doing their best now… ~ssu.” (Gengu)
“There’s plenty of beastmen and humans. On top of that the elves are living together with them. If it goes on like this, the power will reverse in regards to the human-only city”, Gengu explained earnestly.
“Moreover, it’s been discovered that beastmen can use magic, too. Look there, the rabbitwoman Viine-san who is over there, she has learned magic with her whole heart in her wish for being helpful to you, Hifumi-san. Because of that she was able to come here to meet you ~ssu.” (Gengu)
“Hmm… then let’s do it like this.” (Hifumi)
Grabbing Malfas head, Hifumi forcibly matched his line of sight with Malfas’.
“You, go back to the wastelands. And then show me a part of your power by making good use of what you possess and destroy a human city. Once you are able to do that, I will be once again your opponent.” (Hifumi)
“A human city…” (Malfas)
Hifumi asks the shocked Malfas 「You can’t?」.
“Ah, how regrettable. Though you probably thought that even I won’t be able to win if you were able to unify the beastmen. Rather, a tiger has to refine a tiger-like group combat.” (Hifumi)
While making fun of him in a strange tone, Hifumi separates obviously having lost any interest in him.
By the way, it’s Hifumi’s misunderstanding, but tigers originally hunt individually and not in groups.
“At any rate, don’t disturb me as I’m currently observing.” (Hifumi)
While Hifumi sees them off with a wave of his hand, Malfas stands up after being helped by Gengu. Tears were glittering in his eyes, but his look has become completely that of a beast.
“You are called Malfas, right?” (Origa)
When called out by Origa, Gengu’s and Malfas’ shoulders quivered with a jolt.
“Work hard this time for sure to not make Hifumi-sama disappointed.” (Origa)
Gengu receives the paper, Origa quietly held out, in place of Malfas.
“It’s probably good for you to return to the wastelands by going back to Fokalore now since they can give you several soldiers to guard and guide you. Train for a while in Fokalore before you head into the wastelands. Show this paper to a staff member of Fokalore. It should serve you well.” (Origa)
“It’s a welcome offer, but why…?” (Gengu)
“Don’t you understand?” (Origa)
Although she’s smiling, she’s scary.
“Realizing Hifumi-sama’s desires are my goal of life now. If it’s for that cause, I will do anything. I will kill anyone.” (Origa)
While caressing her right wrist preciously, Origa looks up to the sky.
“Fight. Fight by involving all those who can fight. And kill Hifumi-sama with all of them.” (Origa)
“However”, Origa glared once again.
“If you are unable to do anything but lukewarm attacks like the one just now, your life and the lives of the ones in your surroundings will simply vanish. Engrave that into your heart.” (Origa)
“For there to be such magic…” (Tannin)
Was it a mistake to have deployed the magic soldiers in one go in order to win easily? Tannin grind his teeth in vexation, but it couldn’t be seen on his expression.
“It’s already fine to pull back the magic soldiers. We will reform the ranks by bringing the infantry to the forefront while screening with suitable spear fire.” (Tannin)
Tannin reviews the current state while listening to the soldier, who received the instructions, relaying them in a loud voice.
The advantage in numbers superiority shouldn’t have been overturned yet, he believed. For our side’s attacks mostly not reaching is painful, but on the other hand our own army’s losses are few as well.
“We will be forced back against our will by infantry as is, huh? Although it’s lacking in smartness, what’s certain is…” (Tannin)
The problem: Is Nelgal on Orsongrande’s side? Assuming he is, it’s very likely that it will turn into a melee once both infantries clash despite us having concluded where he is. Once that happens, it will be troublesome to search for a single person.
However, that ended up being a needless worry.
The person, they are looking for, made an appearance on the other side.
“Tannin-sama! Nelgal-sama… or a person calling himself like that has appeared!”
“… Oh?” (Tannin)
Tannin stared in wonder and grinned broadly after a few blinks towards the yelled words of the soldier who came running and was panting.
“Inform everyone, that’s an imposter. And tell them that the scoundrel, who impersonates to be the crown prince, must be eliminated by our hands.” (Tannin)
At the time Nelgal left for the front line, his appearance looked impressive like a high-ranking person, who wore an extravagant robe, and his horse, which possessed a magnificent stature, was equipped with a sparkling saddle that had jewels embedded within. It was somehow boastful.
(I thought such kind of acts will happen after the coronation though.) (Nelgal)
Once he proceeded at walking pace while smiling wryly, Orsongrande’s soldiers made a path for him and he was able to pass through the crowd of people until in front of the barrier.
With Horant’s magic attacks having ended, he can see that movement of the ranks has started while spears are fired sporadically.
“My dear soldiers of Horant!” (Nelgal)
Nelgal raises his voice which is getting gradually hoarse as he uses a volume he isn’t used to.
With him being apparently audible to Horant’s side’s front line as well, he pretty much realized that several gazes were facing his way.
“I’m the next king, Nelgal! Thanks to the kindness of Imeraria-dono, the ruler of Orsongrande, I arrived at this place. I will return to Adolamelk and hold a memorial service for His Majesty, the great Suprangel! I don’t know who is commanding the army, but open a path!” (Nelgal)
Due to him having boldly declared that, Horant’s soldiers were astir, but even that came to an end right away and the changes in the ranks continued even while he tilted his head to the side ((in confusion)).
“It seems that they decided for Your Majesty to be an imposter.” (Vaiya)
Once Vaiya, who approached casually from behind Nelgal, mutters that, Nelgal shakes his head and says 「How disappointing」.
“And, as I’m still not crowned, it isn’t “Your Majesty.” … As planned, please go ahead.” (Nelgal)
“Nelgal-sama… that might be difficult, but…” (Vaiya)
Turning around, Nelgal shows a cheerful expression.
“Originally that was something I had to do since a lot earlier. While receiving so much support, I won’t act as if reproaching your country. Besides, in a sense it’s good this way, is what I think.” (Nelgal)
“I-It’s good?” (Vaiya)
“Yes, it’s a good opportunity. If nothing had happened and if I had returned to the castle after finishing my studying, I might have been crowned. … But, with just being nominated, I still wouldn’t have any kind of achievements either.” (Nelgal)
Vaiya lacked the words to retaliate.
He is more or less a blood-relative of the former king, but it’s a quite distant relation. Of course there would likely be many complaints, too, Vaiya was able to imagine that easily. Even the former king Suprangel, who decided his studying abroad in Fokalore and not within the country, might have taken such measure in apprehension of those circumstances.
“It’s an excellent chance. If I triumphantly return to the castle after displaying my commanding as king in this place, it will probably make my voice and face known to the people of my nation. I’d like to have your country help for a bit longer, but accordingly I will stride across the battlefield majestically just like Her Majesty, Imeraria.” (Nelgal)
“That is…” (Vaiya)
Though a large part of that is due to Imeraria bearing a heart of rivalry towards Hifumi while she hides her fear. Even so that might be said by me since I’m aware of it, Vaiya felt.
“Those are promising words. Well then, just as planned, good fortunes of war.”
Once finishing the conversation, Vaiya, who tightened his expression, faces to the front.
“Elites of Horant! Have you still not heard my voice!?” (Nelgal)
While Nelgal was shouting in a thunderous voice, Vaiya quietly left from behind Nelgal.
“Your Majesty, Imeraria, there are no movements from Horant. It looks like they are a bit shaken by Nelgal-sama’s words, but beyond that…” (Vaiya)
“Is that so? … Then, please proceed as planned.” (Imeraria)
“As you command!” (Vaiya)
Vaiya, who bowed atop his horse, shifted his look to behind Queen Imeraria, who was on the platform wagon without change, even after Nelgal mounted a horse.
There he saw Hifumi who was indulging in pastry of the royal purveyor, drinking black tea and sitting on the floor of a platform wagon while ignoring the rabbitwoman who was continuing to tell him how much she wanted to meet him again with a flushed face as she approached him to a distance of being about to embrace Hifumi.
Moreover, next to them there’s Origa who seems to be thoroughly enquiring Sabnak about the rules and treatment of noble’s concubines and marriages in the kingdom. Sabnak has limited knowledge regarding the customs of nobles. As he isn’t well-informed about the law, except those regarding troubles on the streets, he is sweating with a miserable expression while being glared at for being hard pressed to answer.
“Umm, that is…” (Vaiya)
“Don’t mind it. Let’s hurry up for the sake of Nelgal-sama and Horant for now?” (Imeraria)
“Yes, as you wish!” (Vaiya)
Due to Imeraria’s words, which made her irritation clear as day, Vaiya makes his horse gallop to the rear in hurry.
“Good grief… Sabnak-san!” (Imeraria)
Sabnak stood up with a smile. He thought it was a lifeboat from Imeraria.
“What’s this as Captain of the Royal Knight Order, this predicament!? Don’t you think that you are lacking self-awareness as person who protects the royal court?” (Imeraria)
Sabnak is confused due to what he believed to be a reinforcement being in fact a pincer attack .
“Eh? No, but…” (Sabnak)
“It isn’t something overly nice, but the problem of men and women is an indispensable part in the noble’s society. Isn’t it also necessary to sometimes resolve a quarrel between fellow nobles by forcing your way through?” (Imeraria)
Ahead of Imeraria’s gaze, on the other side of the prostrating Sabnak, the nodding Origa is visible. And also the figure of Hifumi who is heartily tossing the sweets, she looked forward to herself, into his mouth while being served by a beautiful rabbitwoman. Imeraria, who got excessively angry due to that spectacle, snorted with a “Humph.”
“As there are also people who feel insecure about their position with the mistresses increasing by about one or two, please study it properly.” (Imeraria)
“… If you have any complaints, I will listen to them directly, Your Majesty.” (Origa)
“Oh my, I haven’t talked about you, Origa-san… or do you feel uneasy?” (Imeraria)
Due to Imeraria calmly fixing her sitting posture after turning her sight towards Hifumi and leaking a forced “Ufufu,” Origa tightly grasps her iron-ribbed fan with both hands and is on the verge of breaking it.
“O-Origa-san, calm down.” (Sabnak)
Ignoring Sabnak who tries to soothe her, Origa sat down next to Hifumi and gently placed a hand on his shoulder.
Hifumi holds the black tea in his mouth without showing any particular reaction.
“Madam, are you alright…?” (Viine)
Almost glaring at Viine who calls out to her in worry, Origa relaxed her brows with her fingers.
“I-I’m alright. A-After all I won’t lose to a situation of this degree as legal wife…” (Origa)
The soldiers, who received Vaiya’s message, in the vicinity of the platform wagons with their lively and carefree atmosphere advance to the front.
They are the soldiers of Horant, who joined Orsongrande’s side after accepting Nelgal’s persuasion along the way. Currently they are an unit directly commanded by Nelgal.
Their numbers are 2.000.
They advance orderly aiming for Nelgal, who is their supreme commander, in a long procession. They will escort the real king to his throne. The soldiers, who understood it as opportunity to achieve the highest of all honours, were filled to the brim ((with pride)) in mind and body.
Behind the mounted Nelgal the soldiers of Orsongrande were replaced by those of Horant before anyone really noticed. They, including many magic soldiers as well, are firmly staring at their fellow countrymen in front.
Ahead of their gazes was also the figure of Tannin who was was waiting and watching the situation on horseback.
“I give up, that’s too much.” (Tannin)
Tannin smiled bitterly at himself having miscalculated.
Nelgal was probably given a permit to depart the country signed by the former king Suprangel as something that proves his identity, but I didn’t think that a person, who opposes Kuzemu with only that much, will be able to rally such numbers.
“Good grief, I expected that uncle has aspects where he lacks in popularity, but… should I praise Nelgal’s side on top of that? He brought along a considerable number of soldiers.” (Tannin)
Although he is playing the fool, the sweat doesn’t stop flowing down his cheeks.
According to Tannin’s analysis, the soldiers directly commanded by Nelgal, who are currently confronting the 3.000 soldiers strong side of Kuzemu, are exceeding 2.000 in numbers. The rest of the soldiers, who were at the border, and most of the military forces lent by almost all nobles of Horant, who swore their allegiance to Nelgal, along the road to the capital.
The nobles’ thoughts are simple. Nelgal, who has a friendly relation to Orsongrande, is superior due to his economical future prospects. Of course, that also includes the meaning that they don’t want to fight with Orsongrande.
Naturally they haven’t explained it as anything but a simple battle for justice to the soldiers.
“If you are intelligent soldiers of Horant, you will be able to judge which side is just! You would know about me and you would choose to fight together with me! Me being here is proof of this. It’s evidence of me standing here as legal successor!” (Nelgal)
Nelgal’s voice can be even heard by Tannin.
Of course that speech is also heard by those in the surroundings. Their looks, which are from time to time examining each other uneasily, are gloomy.
“This will be harsh.” (Tannin)
Tannin’s small mutter wasn’t heard by anyone, for good or bad.
“I will look at the situation for a bit. Once I give the signal, ((send)) those gross ((things)) to the front line… no, release them behind the front row.” (Tannin)
The soldier, who heard the order, gives his opinion to Tannin in panic.
“Please wait. In that case the soldiers in the front row will end up getting dragged into it.”
“It’s what I decided.” (Tannin)
“Those are uncontrollable things anyway. Besides, the lot in the front row will betray us no matter what.” (Tannin)
“Well, watch it”, while glaring at the state of the soldiers who are in his and Nelgal’s surroundings, Tannin snorted atop the horseback.
With people appearing in front of their eyes whom they obviously know as they are soldiers from the same country, the soldiers of Tannin’s side, and especially the group in the front row, were confused.
“Those are, without a doubt, soldiers from Horant, aren’t they?”
“But, the order is…”
“The king is higher ranked than the prime minister, right!?”
“Ain’t it different since he still ain’t the king?”
With several of them exchanging words and letting their opinions freely adrift, they wait for an answer by someone. They are excellent soldiers thus they won’t make a judgement by themselves.
“As someone who will become king.” (Nelgal)
Nelgal’s words incite them.
“If you open the way, I shall treat you as my people. However, if you fall as low as being underlings of someone who monopolizes our state, there’s no way I can forgive you.” (Nelgal)
However, by no means is it easy.
“Though I don’t wish for battle, I will never hesitate to fight for the sake of guiding Horant towards being a righteous country!” (Nelgal)
The spears from Tannin’s side stopped and the magic barrier was released.
When Nelgal slowly advances his horse, his military forces advance as well.
The soldiers, who are bewildered and puzzled, retreated while breaking the ranks due to his pressure.
The things, which Tannin “transported” from the capital, were creatures which stopped being human.
They were even hidden from Suprangel. Kuzemu took over the research, which was ordered by the dead Crown Prince Veldore, and brought them even to a state where they can be used albeit being incomplete.
Apparently Veldore planned to apply this to all regular soldiers in the event this research was successful.
That research was called “Immortal Soldiers Project” at the time when Veldore was still alive.
“It’s Tannin-sama’s order. Prepare their release.”
“… Is that really alright?”
A soldier of the carriage, which transports… no, quarantines the immortal soldiers, knows about the carriage’s contents and therefore asks in return with a frightened expression.
“You are still better of. You know the timing to run away. But…”
The soldier, who conveyed the order, made a twisted face while watching his allies who are confused at the close vicinity of the front line. He was easily able to imagine the outcome once the immortal soldiers were released.
“It’s still only an order to prepare them. That doesn’t mean it was decided to release them at all.”
“That’s mere consolation”, anyone could comprehend that.
“I-I will stop! Do you know where I should go!?”
A single soldier, unable to endure Nelgal’s pressure, discarded his weapon.
“I-In that case I will quit as well!”
Once they lost all restraints, weapons are tossed away one after the other by the soldiers at the front.
“Wait! Deserting is a heavy crime!”
Once people, who leave the ranks towards outside the highway, start appearing one after another, the commanding officer orders all soldiers to return in panic, but even if there are those who are perplexed by his voice, there’s only few who abide.
“It’s much better than treason!”
When someone yells that, the surroundings agree to it and approving voices spread like a ripple on the water.
By now even Nelgal has stopped his advance and is watching the situation.
“… Even if they don’t become our allies, it will be fine as long as ((their ranks)) collapse like this.” (Nelgal)
At the preparatory meeting with Imeraria, she approved of Nelgal’s speech and consented to the soldiers accompanying him. They would head for the capital by passing through while being thoroughly cautious as long as they don’t become hindrances by not obeying.
If it seemed that a part of them would attack, it would deliver a considerable shock.
The attacks of Fokalore soldiers, who came into contact with the enemy first, were completely irregular, but Nelgal feels relieved in his mind as he was able to develop the situation according to his hypothesis.
Even now the chaos is lasting, but with the state of files and ranks apparently already gone, the soldiers, who escape, are gradually increasing. If it goes on like that, the front line will lose its function as army. Once that happens, any general, if they are decent, will likely return to the capital to retreat for a moment.
However, Nelgal saw a single matter that bothered him. On the other side of the enemy’s front line, which began to crumble, there was a strange, square carriage.
Nelgal has no recollections of a carriage that had such a shape. He pondered whether it might be a box-shaped carriage which was made for someone in the higher governmental service, but considering that no window can be found, even not a small one to degree of being pitiful.
It’s a critical moment, Nelgal was overly concerned. However, even so he won’t understand something he can’t see. He won’t see the box’ contents unless he doesn’t try to open it.
Mingling with Nelgal’s soldiers who have fortified the front line, several soldiers of Fokalore have taken up position in a part of the ranks and Alyssa was there as their commander as well. It turned into such situation once they ended up being pushed out at the time when suddenly a great number of allied soldiers of Horant headed to the front.
At the preparatory meeting it was originally decided that Fokalore’s and Orsongrande’s soldiers would yield their spot once Horant’s soldiers head to the front, but Alyssa and only around 20 soldiers have remained in order to grasp the state of affairs.
“Did you see anything, Director?”
The soldier, who gave Alyssa, who said that she can’t see well as there are many adults, a shoulder ride, asks with a smile while being watched with resentful eyes by his colleagues in the vicinity.
“The other side has been mixed up, but there’s some large carriage.” (Alyssa)
“Carriage? Has the son of a noble come here?”
“It’s not that gaudy. How to call it? It looks just like a big box.” (Alyssa)
While watching the other side through a pipe made with both hands, once Alyssa tilted her head to the side, the door attached to that box was opened.
Seeing the things that came out, Alyssa grimaced while extending her tongue out.
With far-sightedness soldiers, who wore a simple armour, could be seen at first. They weren’t tall or muscular but rather thin.
Their bizarreness was visible on their faces which could be observed beneath their smooth helmets.
“What, are those…?” (Alyssa)
The nose bridges are low as if they were chipped off, the eyelids dangled and drool was constantly spilling from in-between the violet lips. Though it’s insane on a first glance, their faces have violet and darkish specks all over. Alyssa didn’t know but, it was the post-mortem lividity of people who died by poison and similar.
Their expressions are flat as if caved in and they are merely absent-minded.
“I have seen those somewhere… ah!” (Alyssa)
What Alyssa recalled was the large number of corpses she saw in the town of Vichy called Rhone. Corpses of those who were killed while being expressionless and corpses which had decayed slowly.
Hitting the head of the soldier in front of her eyes with a *tap tap*, Alyssa descended from atop his shoulders in a hurry and grandly vomited right at the spot.
“Are you alright? Water, here you go!”
The soldiers, who have surrounded Alyssa in panic, offer towels and water bottles to her but Alyssa refuses while spiting out.
“Peh, peh… I-I’m fine. Rather than that…” (Alyssa)
The instant Alyssa tried to give some instructions, screams came from the enemy’s side.
The immortal soldiers began to attack the soldiers on Kuzemu’s side, which were nearby, first and not their enemy.
Don’t they possess swords? Recklessly swinging blades which were installed at the gauntlets on both their hands, they are biting and clinging at those who were close to them.
In order to save their captured comrades, the other soldiers cut at the arms and backs of the immortal soldiers, but let alone separating them, the immortal soldiers didn’t even react.
Once a soldier, who lost a great amount of blood after being bitten into the neck, used up all his strength, the immortal soldiers’ target shifted to another soldier who is still standing or walking.
“What are those…?”
Due to the tragedy being unfolded in front of their eyes, Nelgal’s surroundings were simply having their breath taken away while not knowing how to deal with the situation. Alyssa arrived there after pushing her way through, or rather jumping over the soldiers guarding Nelgal.
“Pull back the soldiers right away! Those are dangerous!” (Alyssa)
Without waiting for his reply, Alyssa grabbed the bit of the horse with Nelgal on it and skilfully changed its direction. Jumping on the horse behind Nelgal, she began to make the horse gallop by lightly striking its rear.
“What has happened? It looked to me as if the soldiers on the other side are killing each other…” (Nelgal)
“Though it’s simple to explain since not much time has passed, it’s Horant’s drugs or magic tools? I saw people who didn’t know pain or fear. And it’s the same with them.” (Alyssa)
Once they arrived in front of the platform wagon with Imeraria on it, Alyssa jumped off the horse and Nelgal stopped the horse by pulling its reins in panic.
“What happened? It looks like the other side is in an uproar, but…” (Imeraria)
“Ask Nelgal for an explanation!” (Alyssa)
Due to Alyssa running away towards the location, where Fokalore’s soldiers have gathered, while saying that over her shoulder, Orsongrande’s soldier turned angry looks at her, but Imeraria herself doesn’t care about that at the moment.
“Oh. Horant’s hidden ace made its appearance, didn’t it?” (Hifumi)
Hifumi, who heard the conversation, runs off as if being fired off by the platform wagon the minute he stands up and Origa chases after him in silence.
Even while Viine was perplexed by the sudden event, she started to pursue Hifumi after sending a fleeting glance to Puuse.
“I believe it will be fine if you take a rest here. Won’t you drink some tea as well?” (Imeraria)
Imeraria smiled at the wavering Puuse.
“Princess-sama, you are quite calm about it.” (Puuse)
“I got used to it already.” (Imeraria)
Ordering for black tea to be prepared, Imeraria turned her look towards the front line once again.
“Besides, now is still not the time for me to make my move.” (Imeraria)
Imeraria smiled while offering sweets.
“Let’s leave the fighting scenes to those liking them. What a lady flourishes at is a suitable scene that uses more wit.” (Imeraria)
“I see.” (Puuse)
Due to Imeraria’s way of talking like an upper class lady, Puuse opened her mouth in admiration. Going by appearance, she has a sweet, obedient character, but her lifestyle in the wilderness of basically spending time with gathering within the forest is close to that of beastmen.
“… Huh? But, the other day you mounted a horse and flew towards the battlefield…” (Sabnak)
Glaring at Sabnak who has remembered something unnecessary, Imeraria steps down her heel with a *clonk*
“Don’t you believe it’s weird that our army doesn’t react in any way just because I’m not moving?” (Imeraria)
“I will have them deal with it right away! Vaiya, where did you go!? Vaiya!” (Sabnak)
Seeing off Sabnak who jumped off the platform wagon as if running away, Imeraria grumbled 「Geez」.
“Your Majesty, Imeraria… it’s really difficult for me to tell you, but they are likely putting to use the soldiers who took a magic potion which was developed in Horant.” (Nelgal)
“What kind of drug is that?” (Imeraria)
“To the bitter end it’s a speculation, but”, giving that preface, Nelgal explains.
“Among the things which were researched by the Crown Prince who was subjugated by Earl Tohno… and died, there were some making it possible to dull a human’s fear and sense of pain. On the other hand there were also items which amplify the feeling of anger. It’s for a short period, but, looking at the situation, wasn’t it successful as it produced “soldiers who don’t feel any pain while being aggressive”…?” (Nelgal)
“I see. Those large soldiers seemed to be very slow as well. Those work with the size of a regular soldier, you say. But, won’t they be weaker than the large soldiers in that case?” (Imeraria)
“What meaning does it have to change them into the same size as a normal soldier?” Imeraria asks.
“The reinforced soldiers have difficulties to make use of their size. Their equipment is custom-made as well.” (Nelgal)
If they had the the size of common soldiers, they would be able to use the equipment of other soldiers as well and on top of that it would work out once they are crammed into cages like slaves. Even if they were given items looted from the dead, they wouldn’t complain either.
“In other words…” (Imeraria)
“If you use a large amount of immortal soldiers all at once, it’s possible to crush an enemy with soldiers who will come attacking even after getting cut or stabbed. That’s what it means.” (Nelgal)
“A considerably troublesome drug was developed there.” (Imeraria)
Nelgal tilted his head to the side due towards Imeraria who tasted the black tea after blowing on it with a “Hapheew.”
“A considerably, that is… you seem to have taken it quite calmly though…” (Nelgal)
“Nelgal-sama, for the people of Fokalore it cannot be helped that they do as they please in such way. Even my knights have some too indiscriminate aspects due to their influence.” (Imeraria)
Putting down the cup with the black tea in it, she smiles alongside a hot sigh.
“Only regarding their strength, I can trust in them.” (Imeraria)
“… That’s admirable. Well then I will return to the front line and fight together with your country and my soldiers… even for me it should be possible to become a ruler who is able to trust his people like you do.” (Nelgal)
Due to Nelgal returning to his horse in a hurry, Imeraria thought how enviable.
“If I were a man, I would probably be allowed to run around a battlefield like this as well.” (Imeraria)
“Since the elves mostly fight with magic, it has no relation to man or woman, but are humans different?” (Puuse)
Imeraria answered Puuse question with a bitter smile.
“There are also things called oppressive social rank, but it’s because I failed.” (Imeraria)
“Although I’m good at magic, I’m utterly bad with offensive spells”, once she jokes about it and displays it, even Puuse unintentionally smiled and replied that it’s the same for her as well.
“Even though children, who were strong at wind magic and such, played an active role by going to the front at the time of exterminating monsters, I was always kept indoors or cast healing from behind… although I can use binding magic more or less, it didn’t work overly well against monsters that move around…” (Puuse)
Once she hears the clonking sound of low-heeled shoes, Puuse lifts her face.
Imeraria had stood up and was pointing a serious look at Puuse.
“Puuse-san, won’t you allow me to hear further details about this?” (Imeraria)
Imeraria wanted a lecture in magic from Puuse.
While the surroundings were headed towards battle in hurry, Imeraria decided to bring Puuse over to her side.