LIKE TOY SOLDIERS
Completely disregarding the silent Pajou and the Orsongrande Knights, and the equally silent Alyssa from Vichy, Hifumi called out to Origa and Kasha.
Saying so, Hifumi turned towards the horses, only to be stopped by a panicking Alyssa.
An over-the-shoulder drawl came back,
「 Don’t mind him, he’s just like that…. You’re from Vichy, yes? I am a Knight from Orsongrande, Pajou. And you? 」
Noting the difference in status between them, Alyssa unintentionally shrank and spoke timidly.
「 I’m pleased you were able to survive the incident. 」
Somehow, she gives off the feeling of an adult woman… (Alyssa)
「 Aah, y-yes. 」
Originally, the Vichy side should be documenting the bodies and damage, becoming important in their investigations. Moreover, the scene of the crime was on the Vichy side, thereby falling under Vichy’s jurisdiction, no matter the involved parties.
Alyssa was definitely not going to avoid a penalty for this.
While waiting for Hifumi, Origa overheard the conversation. She gazed at Alyssa with pity in her gaze, Alyssa seemed to not have noticed the predicament she was in.
The poor girl…. (Origa)
Entering Vichy would not be a nice event. The other side’s Knights would be the source of plenty of problems.
「 Anyway, Alyssa-san, isn’t there going to be assistance from Vichy? 」
Seals and signatures of approval are necessary from both sides for merchants and travellers to cross boundaries. In case either of them are missing, it is considered as an illegal entry into the country.
Of course, there is the aspect of national defence too, evacuating the place is a problem.
The Vichy side had been completely annihilated, leaving no available means of communication. Hifumi returned on horseback to where Alyssa was contemplating further actions.
Hifumi passed her the documents; Pajou took them and affixed the necessary seals and signatures on it. Meanwhile, the corpse of the soldier had been dragged over.
Alyssa called out to the waiting Hifumi without hesitation.
「 I have a small request… 」
「 Please convey the current situation and inform that I am requesting reinforcements. 」
「 However, you will have to tell me about the town in Vichy. 」
Entirely believing Hifumi’s made-up reason of sightseeing a large town, Alyssa happily gave them a detailed explanation.
Alyssa replied to Origa’s question with a smile.
「 Hee, the road passes by Horant, the place from where those evil magic tools came from. 」
「 Hm? Orsongrande and Horant’s borders also touch, did you take a deliberate detour? 」
Originally, when the genius magician established Horant as independent, a considerable part of Orsongrande was invaded. As a result, there were a few skirmishes and now there is little interaction between the two.
「 Ah, I understand. 」
「 Therefore, if a magician from Horant ‘lawfully’ enters, there is a possibility of obtaining formal permission to leave Vishy as well. 」
Therefore, though unable to discern at what level, there might be someone with power in Vichy connected to Horant in no small way, Pajou surmised.
Though complicated in various ways, Hifumi is troublesome, but not irresponsible so as to decline the request that requires leaving the country.
「 Well then, in any case he’s entering Vichy to take in various sights. 」
Hifumi, who had collected the permit from Alyssa announced their departure to Origa and Kasha.
They advanced along the highway, reaching the town called Aroseru by carriage in about 2 hours.
「 Somehow, it does not look too different from our country 」 (Kasha)
While showing the permit at the entrance of the town, the soldiers there directed him to their in-charge in the guardroom.
「 Mechanical? 」
「 Ah, but aren’t serious soldiers supposed to be like that? 」
Though somewhat cautious, it couldn’t be helped so Hifumi entered the guardroom. He displayed the coin denoting his peerage to the person in-charge.
His eyes were unfocused.
Hifumi explained that all the soldiers at the border post have been killed, apart from Alyssa. When he explained that immediate assistance was required, the man thanked him for his cooperation in a smooth voice without looking the slightest bit thankful.
「 We are staying here, yes, but the hotel has not been decided. 」
「 Is that so? We’ll do that then. 」
「 Then, we must be going to the border post, please excuse me. 」
With a perfunctory bow to Hifumi, the man left along with a subordinate.
「 Somehow the reaction of the in-charge and the soldiers at the gate seemed a little strange. 」
「 I’ve seen someone in a similar state before….. where was it? 」 (Hifumi)
「 After all, like in Fukaroru, are the people here planning a dirty trick too? 」(Origa)
While they were taking, they reached the hotel. Since Hifumi had learnt the written characters, he could recognise the name.
The horses were tethered outside,they pushed open the wooden door and went in. There was a small counter in what appeared to be a spacious dining hall.
There was an old man with an unsociable expression on his face sitting at the counter.
After depositing a pile of silver coins on the counter, the old man took out 2 keys from under the counter.
The old man fell silent after telling them the necessary information and writing down the key numbers.
「 Lie down a bit before dinner. We may have to move at night. 」
「 After the group confirms the situation at the border, some will return to report. By that time it will most likely be night. If we have to move, it will be then. 」
「 Our opponents will not be simpletons without strategies like Alyssa. 」
Hifumi entered his room immediately after saying that.
Kasha shook her head resignedly while Origa laughed.
Origa entered the room while Kasha followed, lost in thought.
「 ……. Those fellows are easy to understand. 」
Several armoured men passed by on the street after darkness fell and pedestrian traffic declined.
Badly beaten up, left cheek swelled and dried streams of blood coming from the mouth.
Watching the sorry situation, Origa and Kasha both murmured “How cruel”.
「 Why was Alyssa arrested? A soldier from their own country…. 」
「 She was the only one who survived the scene of the crime, could that be it? 」(Hifumi)
「 It would be to confirm what the witness knows and to keep secrets that may get someone else into trouble. Torture, drugs…. Drugs? 」(Hifumi)
「 That’s it, drugs! If I remember correctly, there were drugs to stabilise the mind and if addicted, it leads to a state of losing emotions. Similar to the fellow who had that magic tool attached to him… 」
「 Is something the matter? 」
「 Fight here? I’ll pull out the lighting magic tool…. 」
「 Eeh!? 」
「 No, saving a girl while enemies are coming, it does not sound like master…. 」
「 I said a while ago that I was not a homicidal maniac. What Alyssa knows and may hear in the future may be valuable information. Besides, 10 people isn’t bad for a warm-up, and you two have not been instructed on how to fight in the dark. In any case, we’ll meet guys like these again. At that time, kill them well. 」
Apparently Origa too, from her relieved expression and a quietly muttered 「 As expected from master. 」
Mulling over those doubts, Hifumi quickly pulled out his kusarigama, stuck it in the roof and quietly climbed up.
「 Grab the chain and climb up. One at a time. 」
「 ….. Escaped huh. 」
In the dark of the night, the soldiers left in the same direction Alyssa was taken.
Hifumi stood on the roof smiling, pleased at having a new prey.