“Ouch, ouch!” (Sabnak)
Ignoring Sabnak who rolls around on top of the platform wagon due to the pain caused by the lash, Imeraria sent for the nearby Alyssa.
“What is it?” (Alyssa)
“It seems like you don’t have any longer intention to learn polite speech… well, I guess that’s fine. Have you heard anything from Hifumi-sama?” (Imeraria)
“No, nothing.” (Alyssa)
Alyssa shakes her head.
It appears that she was just left behind at the time of Kuzemu’s abduction and sent back here.
“… Then, what does Hifumi-sama want us to do?” (Imeraria)
“He explained that clearly, didn’t he? He told us to do our best since he prepared a location which we have to capture while risking our lives, right?” (Alyssa)
Due to Alyssa tilting her head and asking “What are you talking about?”, Imeraria, who grasped the lash tightly to a degree that it changed into the shape of the character U, corrected her sitting on the chair.
“Let me change the question. What do you think will happen inside that castle?” (Imeraria)
“Who knows. I think we will understand once we go there, but… let’s send someone as scout?” (Alyssa)
When Imeraria shifted her look to Nelgal who is nearby, she could see Nelgal shaking his head with a sigh mixed in.
“… Please, I leave it to you.” (Nelgal)
Originally it should probably be Horant’s side’s task to send scouts, but those, who possess such skills, currently don’t exist anywhere but Fokalore.
If Origa was here, it might have been possible to investigate with echolocation, but an user, who can use such particular magic except Origa, doesn’t exist.
“Two people, follow me!” (Alyssa)
Alyssa, who jumped off the platform wagon, took two soldiers, who jumped up as if it was first come, first served, along and quickly disappeared from in front of the castle. It seems that she plans to observe the castle from another platform wagon.
“As expected, she acts promptly.” (Nelgal)
Imeraria was greatly perplexed at Nelgal who admires Alyssa.
“Her excellence is nice, but… her not necessarily being our ally is not so advantageous…” (Imeraria)
Nelgal looked up at the castle once again while answering with nothing more but a groan.
Kuzemu is still hanging there just as before, but it seems that he has already no strength left to scream. As if hanging his head, his head is lowered in a crestfallen manner.
“Let’s have a preparatory meeting until Alyssa-san returns. This place is Horant. What kind of plans do you have, Nelgal-sama?” (Imeraria)
Imeraria, who confirmed that Sabnak stood up unsteadily on his feet, asks while staring at Nelgal.
Nelgal gulped. It might be called a question regarding “the current situation” if only examined superficially, but in his ears it sounded like a demand to clarify their standpoint as “nation.”
(What is she thinking about…?) (Nelgal)
It might be a keen viewpoint, but Nelgal felt a tension he couldn’t erase.
Imeraria is asking how I plan to deal with Orsongrande which has intervened in Horant’s internal affairs, Nelgal believed.
Unable to conceal his hesitation, Nelgal, who brooded over it for a short while, clearly stated,
“Please, let me continue the cooperation with your country. After my coronation, I will have the privilege to express my gratitude without fail. … I don’t possess the authority to talk at equal rank with Your Majesty the Queen at the current point in time. All shall follow Your Majesty’s heart’s desires.” (Nelgal)
“You heard him, didn’t you, Sabnak?” (Imeraria)
“Yes, Your Majesty.” (Sabnak)
Imeraria gave instructions to Sabnak, who bowed his head respectfully, in a flat voice.
“Arrange for spear throwers and soldiers who are strong at long distance attacks. I don’t mind if you borrow Fokalore’s help either. That man called Kuzemu or such is a nuisance. Let’s get rid of him.” (Imeraria)
Nelgal attempted to say something, but gulped it down at once.
“We found that box on the other side of the castle’s gate where the soldiers enter. We didn’t realize it until we got inside the building.”
Just when they were able to prepare the spear throwers, Alyssa’s group returned.
Though we don’t know how once we step through the castle gate, which is still open after the soldiers within the castle ran away, won’t immortal soldiers jump out from that box?
“Do you know the whereabouts of Hifumi-sama, Origa-san and rabbitwoman-san?” (Imeraria)
“Not at all. They were in a place where they can’t be seen inside the building.” (Alyssa)
“I see. Got it.” (Imeraria)
Imeraria stands up quietly and places her right hand on Alyssa’s shoulder.
“From now on it’s necessary to resolve this situation under mine and Alyssa’s orders. If we are able to do that, Hifumi-sama might become a bit more obedient as well.” (Imeraria)
“That might be the case.” (Alyssa)
Alyssa added it probably won’t be the end though in her mind.
“Well, then will we gain control of the castle by having everyone charge?”
“Yes, we will show them something like that.” (Imeraria)
Due to Alyssa not understanding well, Imeraria muttered “it will be alright” to her.
“Without a doubt certain people are inside the castle. Fortunately there are people here who are knowledgeable about this castle, too. There’s absolutely no necessity for us to move according to Hifumi-sama’s plans either.” (Imeraria)
The explanation of the details seems to have finished. Neither Nelgal nor Sabnak are interrupting her speech.
“Alyssa-san, you will act as guide together with the two soldiers of Horant and Nelgal-sama and I will come along as observer. Sabnak-san and Vaiya-san will serve as my guards. We will infiltrate the castle with these six people.” (Imeraria)
“Won’t we be discovered by Hifumi-san?” (Alyssa)
“That doesn’t matter.” (Imeraria)
Imeraria laughs with a “Fufu.”
“Even if we are discovered by Hifumi-sama, he probably won’t come to interfere with us. To begin with, that gentleman shouldn’t make a move. If he did something like that, it would end with Hifumi-sama’s victory in the blink of an eye.” (Imeraria)
“In the same way it’s hard to believe that Origa will come to meddle with us”, Imeraria guesses. After finishing the preparations of the ordeal, they are expected to watch how Imeraria and Alyssa deal with it.
“I will explain the strategy.” (Imeraria)
Imeraria got worked up and said “This time we will definitely cause Hifumi to be surprised.”
At the time when the uproar in the castle began, Tannin came back to the capital city in secret.
“Good grief, they rushed until this place in the twinkling of an eye, didn’t they? See, it was correct to run away.” (Tannin)
Hiding his horse close to the entrance of the city, he approaches his own mansion, which is located close to the castle, while making sure to avoid public attention.
Originally there are many soldiers patrolling the area with its many noble mansions, but influenced by the turmoil at the castle, they have apparently been mobilized to keep away the neighbourhood’s residents.
“The servants ran away, too…? Though that’s fine since it’s convenient.” (Tannin)
While thinking gathering the luggage by myself is troublesome, he enters through the back-door and not the front-door.
“… Is there no one here?” (Tannin)
Being suddenly greeted, Tannin released a jumpy voice.
“Ah, y-you are… Levi, aren’t you?” (Tannin)
“Excuse me for surprising you.” (Levi)
The one who spoke to him was the maid who was seduced by him inside the castle.
She wore the same clothes as the time when she was in the castle. While he wonders from where she entered, she slowly walks up to him from inside the building.
“I have awaited you. I feel happy that you came back safely.” (Levi)
“Ah, yea. Thank you. That’s great, but why are you here?” (Tannin)
“All the servants were ordered to evacuate from the castle… I’m also prohibited to enter the castle until tomorrow.” (Levi)
Due to Levi lowering her look, Tannin is struck by her usual impression of frailty that she might be easily broken. However, he noticed that there was something else besides that.
“You did well to come here.” (Tannin)
“Yes, I was able to come here after being told about the circumstances.” (Levi)
Levi talks with a smile.
“Given that that there was talk about me being received by you, Tannin-sama, that matter is…” (Levi)
“T-That is…” (Tannin)
For Tannin it was no more than a feeling at the level of being caught by one of his lovers, if said diplomatically, but Levi understood it as him wishing her to be his wife.
Rather, it’s Tannin’s bad habit to obtain women by causing a misunderstanding like that. She is merely yet another one who was deceived by him.
“However, it’s cruel. I was called a “pitiful child who was tricked” by the female servant who was house-sitting.” (Levi)
Levi’s smile doesn’t falter. No, her laughter becomes louder.
“It’s different, isn’t it? There was even the talk of preparing a home for me. Thus, thinking that it’s a good opportunity to gather the luggage of this mansion to some extent, I came here.” (Levi)
Tannin, who by no means did expect her to be able to come to his home, placed his hands on both her shoulders and brought his face close.
“Listen, our relationship didn’t advance this far yet, did it? We will go at it much slower…” (Tannin)
“Such a! Didn’t you tell me that you would come to pick me up once the battle ended?” (Levi)
“The battle hasn’t ended yet. That’s why you were told to leave the castle, right?” (Tannin)
“Then, why are you here, Tannin-sama?” (Levi)
There was no way for Tannin to tell her that he ran away and thus he hesitated to speak.
“Umm… look, it’s that. There’s that bad guy called Hifumi or such in the castle, right? He hates me who draws the attention of others. Therefore it was decided that I will wait for orders here for caution’s sake.” (Tannin)
While even he feels that it’s a lame excuse, he talks as if it spills out from his mouth.
In reality it’s Tannin who hates Hifumi. From Hifumi’s point of view, Tannin’s level of treatment is that Hifumi can’t even remember his face.
“Yea, it’s a really deplorable matter, but I can’t be negligent until this battle ends. At least, once he leaves the castle, it will become a bit better. I will likely be able to welcome you with open arms.” (Tannin)
Tannin speaks to Levi, who showed a response of apparently believing his skilful persuasion, as if showering her with promises and presses a kiss on Levi’s lips.
“You poor Levi. Can’t you endure for just a bit longer? He might target this place here even if it’s cowardly. I’d like you to hide yourself for a little while. It’s also for the sake of your beautiful face and wonderful body not getting injured.” (Tannin)
“Tannin-sama… to go that far for me…” (Levi)
Seeing her entranced expression, Tannin judged that the immediate danger passed.
“I will give you some funds for the time being then.” (Tannin)
He slips one gold coin he has on hand into Levi’s white, small hand and firmly grasps her hand with both his hands.
“Let’s meet in the castle again once the surroundings settle down. It would be the greatest if I received a passionate kiss from you at that time.” (Tannin)
Tannin, who hugged Levi’s shoulder and kissed her once more, guided her to the back-door, which he used himself before, and bid her farewell there.
“See you soon.” (Tannin)
Seeing off Levi who leaves with a light stride, Tannin entered the mansion and became shocked after seeing the spectacle at the entrance.
“What’s this, about…?” (Tannin)
The senior maid, who has been cut, had collapsed with an expression of anguish and was bleeding from her abdomen.
“If it comes to a castle defence battle, it’s actually the theory to close the gates and pour boiling oil and stones from above.”
Hifumi, Origa and Viine chased out the servants, who were inside Horant’s castle, and gave the instruction to Gaap to prepare for attacking the enemy by using all of the soldiers.
Given that it was an “examination” to the bitter end for Hifumi, just as Imeraria expected, he has no intention to do a real castle defence battle. However, he prepared traps of the level that they will likely die if they are careless.
Hifumi, who did the proclamation to Imeraria and the others, decided to care-freely eat a meal in the dining hall while being accompanied by Gaap.
Currently Origa and Viine are displaying their talents in the kitchen while using the ingredients in the castle as Hifumi eagerly waits for his meal.
“Boiling oil, you say…?” (Gaap)
“The advantage of liquid is that it will enter any gap no matter what armour or clothes the attackers wear. If it directly hits the nerves, they will likely be unable to endure the pain. Since it won’t be an instant death even if they swallow it, for example, they will die after fainting in agony or going mad. Or they will survive while suffering after-effects.” (Hifumi)
“But then again, even if they don’t die, this world offers the chance to heal it as long as they have money”, Hifumi drank from the cup with black tea while smiling.
Even Gaap, who listens while having a pale face, understands the advantages of that. He himself didn’t seem to be capable of giving the order to actually implement that since it’s scary for him though.
“In case the enemy entered the castle, you can enact surprise attacks from hidden rooms or… ah, that’s right, it’s something that was done in the castle of the demons: there’s also the method of dropping the ceiling.” (Hifumi)
“The ceiling?” (Gaap)
“I don’t understand the mechanism too well, but there was a similar trap at the time I was there. Luring me into a room, they dropped the stone ceiling of that room. If you skilfully block the escape routes, the enemy will be crushed flat in one go.” (Hifumi)
He hits the table with his palm with a *clap* to imitate the ceiling.
“Eh? That… was done, you say?” (Gaap)
“I got caught in that trap. I never expected them to set up such a trick. That time was fun.” (Hifumi)
When he happily talked about the demons’ king being powerful and there being some among the demons who come up with various things, Origa and Viine turned up while carrying the dishes.
“Sorry for having kept you waiting.” (Origa)
“Yea, thank you.” (Hifumi)
Viine stared at Origa, who blushed after being thanked by Hifumi, with pleasant eyes.
Dishes with some grilled meat, a soup with shellfish all over, a pile of salad and bread, which was heated in an oven, with cheese and butter in-between are lined up on the table and a nice aroma spreads.
“Well then, let’s eat?”
Origa and Viine sit down on both sides of Hifumi. Gaap sits in front of Hifumi. Gaap felt envious, but he was somewhat nervous due to the force emitted by the two women.
“So, Hifumi-san, what will we do from now on?”
“It’s decided.” (Hifumi)
Stabbing the thick meat with a fork, he looked delightful due to the overflowing meat juice.
“The preparations are finished. The rest is them being troubled one way or the other while we watch as unconcerned spectators.” (Hifumi)
The spices influence the meat, he chewed, nicely and the deliciousness of the fat, which seems to start melting, spreads inside his mouth.
“This meat is great. Let’s take some for our return home.” (Hifumi)
“That will be troublesome”, those words were on the tip of Gaap’s tongue, but he swallowed them down together with the bread.