After being annexed by Fokalore due to Hifumi’s shocking invasion, the people are passing their days without any major chaos.
Even the guild of the adventurers who are living in this city was managed as it was up until now, with the exception of Hifumi having killed several of its adventurers.
Reshi who is the master of the guild’s branch is also doing his job as usual.
At the time when Arosel was taken from Vichy by Orsongrande, there were some among the adventurers who were defamed to have attempted to protect themselves by buttering up to Hifumi of Fokalore. However, once everybody started to actually feel that life was getting better than it was in the time of belonging to Vichy, those rumours completely settled down.
But, Reshi was more troubled by the grave problem now than he was back then.
What has been piling up on top of his desk are reports and testimonies from the adventurers belonging to Arosel’s guild. They are documents which were collected by the guild’s staff.
Many of those are arguments among the adventurers themselves, snatching of prey and such. Those were common frictions one might even call daily occurrences, however what is reported in the divided documents is something that hasn’t been seen until now.
According to those documents, there are monsters which haven’t been spotted so far.
According to those documents, large specimen, which have more than twice the usual size, were observed.
According to those documents, the groups of monsters decreased while the individual’s power went up.
“What’s this about, I wonder…?” (Reshi)
Reshi stroked his white beard.
If pushed to say, Arosel was one of the cities which has too many mouths to feed. After their allegiance changed, it has shown an immense growth as stopover on the road towards Fokalore. The number of adventurers who are coming and going as escorts increased as well.
It was the common knowledge of adventurers that monsters aren’t very powerful close to places with many people. Do the monsters avoid those places because there are people there? Did people build their cities in places with weak monsters? No one knows about the truth by now, but presently that’s how it is.
Reshi’s current understanding after reading the reports is that this balance is rapidly deteriorating. There is a considerable number of victims, who were attacked by those irregular monsters, among the common citizens and adventurers.
Should I request the cooperation with other guilds or the country? As Reshi was hesitating about making a decision about this point, he heard the sound of knocking.
A single male staff member enters the room and gives his greetings.
“A messenger from Lord-sama has come, but…”
It’s probably not my imagination that he looked slightly pale at the moment he took Lord into his mouth, Reshi thought. This staff member is the only person who was personally present at the adventurer killing when Hifumi was in Arosel.
“A messenger from Earl Tohno, huh…? Of course we have to meet them, I suppose. Let them in.” (Reshi)
“As you wish.”
“Don’t let anyone enter afterwards until I tell you that it’s fine.” (Reshi)
Nodding a second time, the staff member leaves.
Before long two women appeared in front of Reshi.
Walking in front is a girl with unkempt red hair. A woman with a bit more set red hair is standing behind her.
Due to their roles being similar to one being on her first mission and one being the first one’s care-taker, Reshi absolutely wasn’t able to imagine what kind of business these two might have with him.
The girl smiles broadly.
“I’m the Military Director of the Tohno* Earldom, Alyssa.” (Alyssa) (T/N: author called it Hifumi Earldom, changed that … also Alyssa refers to herself with “boku”, which is a male pronoun, just for your information.)
“Nice to meet you. I’m called Miyukare and am acting as Alyssa-sama’s exclusive military advisor*.” (Miyukare) (she used “civil official specialised in military affairs”, that sound like a brain fart to me, so used something more proper :p)
“I’m honoured to meet the two of you.” (Reshi)
Alyssa’s introduction wasn’t polite at all, however Reshi faces her with a smile without daring to touch that matter. First of all, his maximum priority is “to not provoke troubles.”
“There you go, please take a seat in the sofa over there.” (Reshi)
Alyssa sat down obediently and Miyukare quietly stood behind Alyssa after bowing. Their roles are certainly a leader and their aide, but with Alyssa’s appearance of restlessly looking around the room, all of that impression is ruined.
“Does black tea suit your taste?” (Reshi)
Miyukare firmly watched the sight of Reshi personally pouring the black tea.
And, Reshi pours the black tea while being fully aware of that. Holding unncessary suspicions isn’t a good policy.
“Here you go. So, is there anything you wish to speak about with me?” (Reshi)
“Ummm… it’s about the monsters.” (Alyssa)
Reshi felt shaken within his mind, but due to his many years of experience he was able to successfully hide that.
“Monsters, it is? They are our, the adventurer’s guild’s, main target.” (Reshi)
“Isn’t anything peculiar about those monsters?” (Alyssa)
“Anything peculiar…” (Reshi)
He recalls the documents which caused him headaches not long ago.
However, he isn’t given the time to think it over carefully.
“The numbers of strong monsters increased or such, you haven’t head anything like that?” (Alyssa)
It can’t be helped, Reshi, who smiled bitterly, stood up quietly, grabbed the documents from his desk and spread them in front of Alyssa.
“This is a collection of reports about monsters which became large or ferocious and monsters who were seen for the first time. Even though I have the intention to, there are some points which are troublesome to deal with.” (Reshi)
Quickly scanning through the documents, Alyssa handed them over to Miyukare in her back.
Miyukare’s red pupils read through the documents with a speed similar to leaping.
“… Alyssa-sama, it seems there’s no mistake about this.” (Miyukare)
“Yea, after all?” (Alyssa)
Although lord and retainer don comprehending faces, Reshi can’t follow.
“Do you know something about this?” (Reshi)
“You see…” (Alyssa)
“Please let me handle the explanation.” (Miyukare)
Stopping Alyssa, Miyukare handed back the documents to Reshi.
“Not only in the territory of Fokalore, the same state of affairs can be observed in all of Orsongrande and even in Vichy and Horant.” (Miyukare)
Miyukare told the surprised Reshi that it was something not only independently discovered in Fokalore but in all of Orsongrande Kingdom.
“I see. As expected of what Hero-dono said. Others don’t have such keen insight.” (Reshi)
In reality it was the outcome of all of the finer parts being moved by Caim’s orders, but neither Miyukare nor Alyssa mention anything about that.
“If necessary I will have someone deliver these documents after transcribing them.” (Reshi)
“That’s not necessary. I have memorized the main points of their contents. Rather than that, there’s something important to talk about.” (Alyssa)
“… Let’s hear it.” (Reshi)
The one who addressed Reshi, who put down the documents and corrected his seating posture, was Alyssa.
“There are suspicions that someone has strengthened the monsters. From the fact that it’s extending over such wide scope while leaving an influence regardless which country it is, there’s a low possibility that it’s someone belonging to the countries Vichy, Horant and of course Orsongrande as well.” (Alyssa)
“… A being similar to a demon lord who appears in fairy tales. Isn’t it possible that it’s a country on the other side of the wastelands?” (Reshi)
“Earl Tohno has left in order to investigate them.” (Alyssa)
“That story was true!” (Reshi)
Reshi, who unintentionally raised his voice, glossed it over by coughing and saying “Excuse me.”
The matter of Hifumi having left towards the wastelands, and moreover by himself, reached him as rumour, however Reshi was one of those who discarded most of it as mere gossip.
“If I may speak frankly, given that the witnessing of powerful monsters and the number of actual encounters has risen, I wondered whether Lord-sama has brought up consultations with other countries, but… it seems that everyone, who is working as central figure of Fokalore, is looking far more ahead than people like us.” (Reshi)
Listening to Reshi’s words, Alyssa and Miyukare looked at each others’ faces.
“There is something we’d like to request from you.” (Miyukare)
“What may that be?” (Reshi)
Reshi listened carefully due to Miyukare’s remark.
“I’d like you to make the adventurers aware of it, about the matter of fiendish monsters increasing in number and about the possibility of a mastermind existing somewhere.” (Miyukare)
“… Isn’t it possible that this will trigger chaos?” (Reshi)
“If it brings whoever is hiding in the shadows into the light as result, that will be fine.” (Miyukare)
“If we know who it is, Hifumi will finish them off.” (Alyssa)
“Oh!”, for some strange reason Reshi could comprehend that.
“… I got it. I shall circulate the information little-by-little starting with those I’m able to trust. I’d like you to leave it to me to deal with the finer details. Would that be alright with you?” (Reshi)
“Of course, that’s no problem.” (Alyssa)
Once Alyssa and Miyukare exited the room after thanking for the black tea, Reshi entrusted his body fully to the back of the sofa.
“What’s happening…? While I’m still alive the world is changing in various ways, it seems.” (Reshi)
Reshi tasted the black tea he poured for himself, but it had gone completely cold.
Dawn in the elven village was greeted with an uproarious atmosphere.
Many corpses are scattered in a part of the village. Among them, there is the cruelly massacred body of Laboras who rallied the men of the village under him.
Even those, who didn’t leave their houses in fright while hearing the turmoil, are gradually emerging from their houses once the sun begins to rise. Gathering with their friends in panic once they see the terrible scene in front of their eyes, they begin to discuss at various places without reaching an answer.
Zanga, who foresaw such situation, instructed Shiku and Puuse to make an announcement that there will be a meeting to explain the circumstances to the villagers. Then she personally volunteered to act as Hifumi’s guide while using a wand to prop herself up.
At the edge of the village, in a different direction from the place where Hifumi entered, there’s a sturdy hut which used big logs although being small itself. “The magic squares have been set up in that hut”, Zanga explained while mixing in a 「Sorry for disturbing」.
The elves, who were on duty to use their mana for the sake of holding up the barrier, are quite surprised.
“W-Why here…? Eh, moreover together with a human…?”
“Stay calm. This person, well, won’t do anything if you don’t do anything to him.” (Zanga)
Probably, added Zanga in her mind and then sat down on a chair located in the middle of the hut she led Hifumi to.
“It’s been a while since I last breathed the outside air ~nee. This might not happen overly often either, but…” (Zanga)
The elves judged Zanga, who suddenly showed a lonely expression, as odd, but apart from that their wariness has increased due to the human they have seen for the first time.
Their vigilance was blown away by a brief comment of Zanga.
“For just an instant, we will make a hole in the barrier.” (Zanga)
“W-We can’t do such thing!”
A single elf raised his voice, but Zanga waved her hand while laughing with a “Hya Hya.”
“It’s not you guys who will do it, but me. Even though I may appear to be like this, I was the best elven magician back in the old days. I was completely unable to use offensive magic though.” (Zanga)
“If it’s related to protecting something, it’s better to not look down on me”, Zanga looked joyfully at Hifumi.
“Human-san, around when will you come back?” (Zanga)
“Don’t know. But I memorized this place here.” (Hifumi)
“I see. … Then I will make my request once you came back.” (Zanga)
Countless scripting, similar to symbols and characters, are lining up within several magic square-like circles and squares.
“Heave ho!” (Zanga)
Zanga, who stood up by using the wand, sits down in front of a magic square while being supported by the elves.
“If you walk for one minute along the path on the other side of this hut, you will encounter the barrier. Since the barrier will be raised open only for the path for about 3 minutes, go inside during that time.” (Zanga)
“Got it.” (Hifumi)
“Human-san, I didn’t hear your name yet.” (Zanga)
“Could you tell me?” Zanga asks.
“It’s Hifumi.” (Hifumi)
“Hifumi-san? It’s a strange-sounding name ~nee. But, it’s a good name. Hey, Hifumi-san, why did you deliberately come to meet the demons this deep in the forest? Even you probably understand, but they are aggressive and will likely attack you.” (Zanga)
While asking that, Zanga turned her look towards the magic square.
“… There isn’t enough fighting in this world. There isn’t sufficient killing with the life on the line, that whittles down one’s life force as if setting one’s soul on fire. Someone has to ignite a spark.” (Hifumi)
“So, that means that the demon race will be the trigger for that.” (Zanga)
Although Zanga is laughing with her shoulders trembling, the elves in the surroundings are baffled while thinking aren’t they talking about something outrageous, though I don’t quite get it.
“Well, then it won’t do, if we don’t struggle desperately for survival either. Even if we abandon the forest, the elves have pride. There’s no way that we will perish this easily.” (Zanga)
Due to the words of Zanga, who started to focus her mana while facing the magic square, Hifumi turned his back on her.
“That’s fine. You won’t be able to enjoy life much unless you don’t know when it will end.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi began to walk outside the hut.
I will be able to observe the techniques, magic and anything of the demon race, his feet hurry to advance with a feeling of impatience.
“I wonder what kind of fellow I will be able to meet first?” (Hifumi)
Taking out the katana, he affixes it on his hips.
“I pray for there to be a good demon king candidate.” (Hifumi)
His monologue vanished into the wind without being heard by anyone.