The soldiers of Swordland are holding their swords with both hands as well.
The soldiers, who are facing Hifumi, grasped those swords tightly. They broke into a run while motivating themselves with “There’s just one enemy.”
“You mad friend of the animals! Die!”
A single sword, swept sideways, approaches Hifumi rapidly.
But, taking one step forward, Hifumi prepared the katana vertically and hit his enemy’s elbow with it. Assisted by the weight and force of the soldier’s sword, the elbow broke with a dry sound.
At the point the soldier gave a short scream, Hifumi’s katana slips into the soldier’s neck.
The soldiers faltered from the smiling man, who deliberately bathed in the spurt of blood.
“Aren’t your swings fairly fast? However, it’s not merely about swinging it.” (Hifumi)
“You use the hamon like this”, Hifumi stepped into and hit the group, which was is in a sorry state, with thrusts. He stabbed both eyes of the soldier, standing at the forefront, up to the brain.
There are two left.
Hifumi slowly approaches the soldiers, who have already lost the will to fight, holding the katana, which is dripping with blood.
“W-Why are you acting as ally of the beastmen?”
“I’m not particularly their ally.” (Hifumi)
In reality he had crushed several villages killing more than 100 beastmen in the wastelands.
“If you become my enemy, it will be the same treatment for beastmen as for humans. If you cut them, meat can be seen and blood gushes out. Look.” (Hifumi)
With a sharp thrust he sliced the carotid artery of the asking soldier with a snapping sound* and a red fountain gushed forth. (T/N: パックリ or pakuri)
“All living beings trying to survive in this world have the same flesh and blood. I’m supporting the principle of equality, thus I won’t discriminate.” (Hifumi)
The soldier, who collapsed losing blood, died before Hifumi finishes his speech.
The remaining soldier has already let go of his sword and is retreating slowly.
“Don’t run away. Let’s enjoy it until the end.” (Hifumi)
The second the soldier turned his back unable to endure it, the katana’s point pierced through the back of the neck and was reflected in the soldier’s view.
How was the appearance of Hifumi, who looked down on him, reflected in the soldier’s field of vision, which was blacking out? In a state of having his eyes widely opened in terror, the last one passed away.
“He died, huh? The level of the underlings is around this much, eh? I wonder, will I be able to enjoy the feast a bit longer, if it’s a group of knights? Say, do you know?” (Hifumi)
Hifumi threw a question facing the shadow of a building close to him.
A large shadow of a person shows a sign of surprise and escapes without saying anything.
“Yes? … I wondered whether it will be a match with someone quite powerful, but… well, who cares.” (Hifumi)
“The next prey probably won’t come to today’s spot”, Hifumi wiped the katana with a folded paper and returned to the building, which he is using for lodging.
The one who escaped from being asked about his identity by Hifumi at the stage of the tragedy was no one else but Salgu.
He, who returned to the slums after observing the human area for a while, was surprised of the slum’s appearance, which completely changed in a short time.
“What the hell, this is… a human?” (Salgu)
In the slum city humans are walking alongside beastmen as if it was a common occurrence. Their state can’t be seen as anything else but them being close friends, with no distinction of slave and master.
Once he proceeded into the slum’s interior, reflexively hiding himself and moving stealthily, he discovered the remains of the previous slums’ appearance with old houses, which haven’t been demolished yet.
“Oh, Aren’t you Mr. Ally-of-Justice?”
The one who called out to Salgu, who is at a loss, was the one-armed dogman. It was the man, he met first, when he entered the slums.
“Is the rescue of beastmen or such making progress?”
The dogman, who is laughing loudly*, is completely different from the time when he met him the last time. He wore neatly tailored clothes. (T/N: *karakara*)
“What the heck happened to the slums? It looks like humans have entered, too.” (Salgu)
“Even if you ask what happened, I dun’ know either. What I know is that there’s work I can do as well. Even if it’s only for the obtaining of decent food.”
“Work, you say?” (Salgu)
Salgu tilted his head to the side due to the words he hasn’t heard about in the wastelands.
“Well, yea. Even one-armed I’m able to at least carry goods and hammer nails. Even this house, I was contracted to help with it. Well, I was mostly trained by humans though.”
Salgu faced his fangs at the bashful dogman.
“Is it that much fun to have been used by humans? In the end, if you have become a slave…” (Salgu)
“Your outlook is really narrow.”
The dogman shook his head and shrugged his shoulders with a “Good grief.”
“It’s different from being a slave. Working and receiving money for that work, you can buy food with it. I bought clothes, too. There’s no danger to my life either. You won’t be able to anticipate something like being able to relish variously tasting food in the wastelands, right?”
“But you don’t have to do something like following what the likes of humans tell you!” (Salgu)
“We lived by “us beastmen are fine” due to the “likes of humans.” Are you still unable to comprehend that? Even if you killed one or two humans, it will only be natural for our standing to not change, if we don’t change.”
“Though that’s second-hand telling of what the sheep jou-chan said”, the dogman laughs looking embarrassed.
Running about freely in the wastelands and spending time in nature without being tied by anyone should be the best for beastmen. But, the man in front of him is glad being used by humans and to associate with them.
“You are… what is it with you?” (Salgu)
The dogman can’t help but smile bitterly due to the words, which rushed out of Salgu’s mouth.
“Oi, oi, are you alright?”
The dogman, who drew near in worry, tried to place his hand on the shoulder of Salgu, who is much larger than him, but Salgu, displaying his nimble ability, knocked that arm away.
“You son of a bitch!” (Salgu)
Due to the dogman raising a voice of anger and pain, the claws of Salgu, who countered with swearing, attack the dogman.
The head, which was almost plucked off, drops limply and the dogman’s body falls to its knees and collapses.
Looking at the sticky blood attached to his right hand, the ears of Salgu, who came to his senses, heard a scream and he surveyed his surroundings.
There were humans and beastmen in the vicinity, but watching them retreat showing looks of fright, Salgu realized that he was the cause of the scream.
“I-It’s different! This is…” (Salgu)
“Someone! Please help!”
Salgu’s explanation doesn’t reach anyone.
It was a situation, where it was impossible to lend an ear to the overly selfish explanation of a 3 m big bearman, who is swinging around his bloodstained hands in a circle, trying to rectify his previous action.
“Guu… damn!” (Saulgu)
Pushing his way through the clamouring people, Salgu ran away from the area.
Plunging into a decayed, broken building, the day came to an end while he is pondering about an excuse scared of the pursuers.
The best he could do now was to frantically hold down the urge of wanting to scream having his emotions and faith stirred up within his mind.
Salgu, who confirmed that dreadful human having gone somewhere, walked unsteadily wishing for a hiding place in the area, where the humans live, as the situation of him being in the slums has become scary.
The mood of Swordland’s king, Buell, was extremely bad.
And, once again, plenty of reports have come in to cause his ill humour.
“… There are no reports from the soldiers dispatched to the slums. Without them even returning, it’s unknown what the cause might be.”
The king grabs the armrest of the throne with strained fingers. *Creak* is the sound reverberating during the quiet audience.
However, the knight, who came to report, cannot afford to stop his words.
“According to the information of people, who infiltrated by blending in with the carpenters during daytime, the beastmen apparently were reconstructing the slums’ buildings, incorporating engineering and starting sham shops. It seems they even heard the rumour of them creating agricultural land in one part, but that couldn’t be confirmed.”
The knight, who took a breath, stole a fleeting glance at the king.
He knows that the king’s flushing face is under a level of pressure looking to snap any time soon. If the knight wasn’t giving his report while being quite away from in front of the throne, he might have been slain in irritation.
“… There are talks that the soldiers were killed, but it appears that even among the beastmen it’s unknown who might have done it. Even the murder case of a fellow beastman…”
The king, who interrupted the knight, stood up and entrusted his voice to rage.
“Since when have the soldiers of this country become a gathering of weaklings, who are even unable to enter a city of beastmen! Although they are soldiers, don’t they even have the elation to be the pride of the knight country!?” (Buell)
“My king. Something like soldier won’t even exceed a gathering of plebeians, who went broke, after all. Shouldn’t you teach the foolish beastmen, who are imitating humans, their standing by deploying the knights here?”
A single, young man stepped forward among the knights lining up in a row in the audience hall. He has well-featured looks and blonde hair, which had a lax, wavy hairstyle. He has many aspects found in high-ranking nobles of Swordland with a good pedigree.
“… Then, if it’s you, you will be able to handle it, is what you say, Zebul (T/N: >> Zeburu <<)?” (Buell)
“I swear by my sword.” (Zebul)
With a pompous bearing, the man called Zebul laughed broadly.
“Well then, I order you, take some soldiers and sweep the slums.” (Buell)
“Please wait! If a knight moves to the current slums, the civilians won’t be unaffected either. It won’t be too late even after going ahead with an investigation here!”
A civil official, who had advanced to old age, advocated his opinion to the king’s order in a hurry, but for the king it was jarring and not a good advice.
“Investigation, you say? What will you do after the investigation then? Are you even telling me to leave it alone after getting all friendly with the beastmen!?” (Buell)
“I operate in order to protect the order of this country, for the sake of upholding that knights are justice. Even if a number of victims appeared among the commoners, I won’t mind it either.” (Buell)
“It’s as the the king states. Our Swordland is a nation composed of knights judging the beastmen. It stands depending on us military men dealing with the beastmen and teaching them their own place. There’s no necessity or such to deliberate thoroughly animal rights and the situation of commoners, who misunderstood it, this late in the game.” (Zebul)
The king nodded and the other knights also raised voices of approval towards the words of Zebul, who is spreading his arms and talking as if persuading his surroundings.
In contrast the civil officials are making bitter faces, but the position of a civil official in this country is extremely low. No matter how good their pedigree might be, they will be looked down upon, if they don’t possess military power.
“My king. It’s a precious opportunity, thus I think that I want to do it somewhat flashily, but what is your opinion on that? I feel as if the commoners and beastmen are making light of us knights. I should teach them about who’s a leader, being a strong person even among those visible here, with the exception of a single person.” (Zebul)
“I see… very well, try and show me your greatness. However, If you fail, you will pay with your life for the crime of disgracing the pride of the knights.” (Buell)
Zebul went down on one knee towards the glaring king with a nonchalant air.
“At your will.” (Zebul)
Why did it become like this? Helen couldn’t follow the situation to a degree that not only did she ask that herself many times within her head, but she also put it into words.
As soon as she moved out from the inn, where she spent several days, she is taken along to a city, where there are many beastmen. While she is given a house for the sake of living there together with Reni and is continuing to study, she consults with many humans and gives advice regarding houses and shops of other beastmen.
“Wouldn’t it be better for the entrance and exit of a bird beastman’s house to be at a high place, I wonder?”
“Since it’s not like they are always flying, even if they are birds, wouldn't it be even better to have them come and go below and on top?”
“Is this kind of size fine for the house of a tiger beastmen?”
“Since there are also many large fellows among them, I believe it will be difficult for them to enter and leave, if the height and width isn’t about this much.”
One after the other human carpenters turn up and throw questions at Helen.
While going around the neighbourhood’s construction sites, being all over, she answers the questions of the carpenters.
“Ah, geez! Take it a bit slower!” (Helen)
Helen rises her voice unintentionally, however since there are also the carpenters waiting at the next building, she is going to lose her presence of mind, if she doesn’t finish up quickly.
Given that Helen has also been aware that those are buildings for the sake of beastmen, she headed to the next building with a worn-out expression having no reason to refuse them either.
At the same time Reni was in the middle of a briefing session with beastmen in a newly built shop.
“The “money”, used by humans, has these three colours. This is the same as 100 coins of this and this is the same as 100 coins of that.” (Reni)
While pointing at the lined-up currency in turns, Reni slowly explains the value of the coins.
Of those lining up to study, half are beastmen, originally from the slums, and half are beastmen, bought as slaves by Hifumi, with around 10 each of both sexes.
“But, you know, it’s difficult, if you want to have to count each and every single one of such large number.”
“It’s alright. Ordinary people apparently won’t use this gold coin often. It will be fine, if you just make the price of the goods something easy to count… is what Hifumi-san said.” (Reni)
There are no people raising any complaints due to Reni embarrassedly answering “It’s second-hand knowledge.” Currently there’s no one as knowledgeable about businesses and the life of humans as her. Therefore it naturally turned into her accepting consultations and questions from senior beastmen.
You could also say that Helen suffered getting mixed up in that.
“Hifumi-san, huh…? As we haven’t seen him much recently, I wonder, what is he doing? Rather than a human, that person has an aura close to that of a ferocious beastman.”
The old sheepwoman of the same tribe as Reni laughed displaying her chipped teeth.
“Who knows… at the time I met him yesterday for a bit, he looked somehow happy, but…” (Reni)
“He is different from the ferocious beastmen, the old woman talks about”, Reni said bluntly.
“Hifumi-san is brutal for a ferocious person. But, do you believe that normal people are normal people? He treated me properly…” (Reni)
“Ah, sorry, Reni-chan. That wasn’t my intention. Besides, it’s probably only natural for beastmen to be attracted to strong people. Do your best.”
“Yea. I will do my best!” (Reni)
She didn’t understand what the old woman was cheering her on for, but Reni thought it’s probably about the learning given by Hifumi and gave an energetic reply.
The wryly-smiling old woman gently stroke Reni’s head and said “It’s because you are still small.”