Faster than anyone could raise their voice, a first victim appeared.
It’s that demon, who mainly gave an opposing advice towards this hunt, shielding his lord willingly with his body against Hifumi’s thrust.
“Guha… p-please r-run a-aw-away!”
The man, who received a thrust into his chest with the power to make his body float for an instant, pleaded even in this situation desperately to his lord to escape.
But, his stupid lord was only bewildered.
“Too slow.” (Hifumi)
While getting panicked due to his subordinate being stabbed in front of his eyes, he was easily beheaded by Hifumi who came in front of him.
“W-What have you…”
In the next instant the man, who witnessed his lord’s perishing with an anguished expression, has his face split in two from the temple by the katana and grey matter gushes out from within.
While sending the blood and brain fluid flying by swinging his katana, Hifumi deeply breathed out.
And then he inhales air through his nose.
“The air outside is pleasant. Previously I wasn’t able to breathe normally due to the dust.” (Hifumi)
The stench of fresh blood is drifting into the chilly air of dawn.
There were many people who ran away chaotically due to the sudden murder, but that will result in them having made the right judgement in the end. Although they will encounter later on bitter experiences due to being blamed by Vepar for having cowardly run away from a single opponent and will be sent to their sinecure, they will at least have long lives.
The unlucky ones were those who decided to stay in that place to fight.
“It’s only one opponent! Shoot him with magic to death from a distance!”
Someone, who was riding a horse, shouts while pointing at Hifumi.
In response to that, fireballs and lumps of earth were released from all four directions at Hifumi one after the other.
“Demons are better at magic than humans after all, huh? The speed is higher.” (Hifumi)
Even while admiring the spells, he avoids the magic attacks by smoothly swaying his body. Compared to the high-speed pellets fired by Agathion, these spells are quite slow.
Hifumi, who scattered an attack of a wind spell which came at him directly from the front with his katana, rotated the katana in his hand and sheathed it into its scabbard.
“Do you plan to surrender at this point in time?”
When he was mocked by some demon, Hifumi replied while looking bored,
“Are you an idiot? There’s no way for me to do something like surrendering to opponents I can defeat, is there?” (Hifumi)
While hitting the pommel with the palm of his left hand with a *pon pon*, Hifumi grabbed the dagger, which stuck out from the opened darkness storage, with his right hand.
“As it’s been a while since I yearned for some dagger practise, keep me some company.” (Hifumi)
The dagger, which was produced by the dwarf Pruflas, who’s currently in Fokalore, taking 3 days and 3 nights by using Hifumi’s katana as reference, is close to a wakizashi (T/N: in this case ko-wakizashi, see tool-tip) in its appearance, but its blade is thick and slightly curved giving it a boorish impression.
The wakizashi, Alyssa possesses, was forged by the excited Pruflas after he was harshly reprimanded and urged to improve it by Hifumi who saw this dagger.
Even while criticizing it severely, Hifumi carried it with him since he considered its sturdiness, although that adds to its weight, as its good point.
Holding it in a backhand grip so that the blade is facing outwards, he puts forth his right foot and sets up a L-shape stance with his legs while holding his left hand at his waist.
“That’s a bluff…”
“Don’t mind it! Keep on attacking!”
The magic attacks focus on Hifumi once again, but they don’t hit him all the same.
Someone, who got impatient due to Hifumi evading everything completely, ordered his subordinates to charge in.
“At least cut him, even if it’s only once! If we can create a situation where I can finish him off, I promise that you will be promoted as much as you like!”
Despite hesitating only for an instant because of the scene where numerous spells are flying about, all 5 subordinates raised their voices and rushed in due to those words.
They frantically dash onwards while holding spears and swords in their hands.
“Look properly at your opponent. Otherwise you won’t hit them.” (Hifumi)
Avoiding the sword of the man, who came running at the lead due to his fast feet, by stepping aside, he slides the dagger into the nape of the neck in a smooth, unhindered motion and kills that man.
Knocking down the approaching spearhead, he pins it down by stepping on it.
The soldiers, who ended up releasing his spear, fell forward with his current momentum and it turned into a situation of him himself having his throat stabbed by the dagger simply held out by Hifumi.
The remaining three stop their feet out of fear due to the first two spurting blood out.
Someone’s fireball crashed into the back of one of them with a roaring sound and he was blown towards the front as if flying.
His face, which is warped in surprise and pain, is caught by Hifumi’s left hand and slammed into the ground.
Hifumi steps forward without spending a glance at the soldier who died after convulsing once.
Nevertheless, the remaining two stood while grasping their weapons tightly.
Although it was an act changing it into a situation were they couldn’t back out of, it was also equivalent to not having an opportunity to raise to a higher position in the narrow, caged-in world of the demons. Without any war either, their social rank is decided for most of their lives at their birth.
What fell into our laps at that point is the great event of avenging the king. If we contributed to it, even without delivering the finishing blow… Betting on the gleam of hope, both soldiers prepared their respective sword and spear even though they were trembling.
Depending on one’s point of view this might be a moving tale. Their figures of entrusting the future of their families and themselves into a personal command might be seen as beautiful if watched by people in the same position.
However, Hifumi doesn’t respect such things.
“Die, you idiots.” (Hifumi)
Breaking the spear with an elbow strike, he stabs the dagger into the crown of the head. Then he kicks the wrist of the opponent, who held a sword, from below. Having released his sword, the soldier’s head is seized and Hifumi’s fist, which grasped the dagger as is, determinedly bashed into the soldier’s chin.
With the head making a full circle, the soul leaves the body in an instant due to the destroyed cervical vertebrae.
“Even if you acquire the strength to fight at the front, don’t stand on the battlefield with a scared mug after going with the flow without figuring out how to compensate for the lack in wrecking your brains. It’s irritating.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi was truly angry.
It’s not like I hate people who can’t fight. Cooks, civil officials and farmers, if they live their lives while giving it their best, that’s a good thing, I think.
But I hate uneasy fellows who are simply fighting by swinging their weapons without even scheming how to win and without putting effort into surviving while exposing their bodies at a place of battling.
“Besides, have you understood anything about your raison d’être?” (Hifumi)
The one Hifumi pointed at is the noble demon who ordered the charge of the demon soldiers who became silent corpses now.
“I-I was born having prestige amongst the demons…”
In the midst of him saying that, Hifumi rushed over and hit him resolutely.
The noble, who fell off the horse, holds his cheek while spitting out several teeth and wheezing unable to breathe as he apparently hit his back.
“It doesn’t seem so. It’s your role to let soldiers die for the sake of victory, right? But, thinking about what you should do to kill me, your enemy, in the end, no matter what methods you use, it’s a commander’s duty to use the lives of his soldiers for that goal, isn’t it?” (Hifumi)
That’s why Hifumi evaluates Imeraria, who was able to order her subordinates to not start a fight, while rejecting to surrender herself to revenge not once but even twice for the sake of creating a situation where she is able to definitely kill him, highly.
She will come to definitely kill him in a composed manner. For that reason she utilizes the maximum of her thinking and standing even if she doesn’t have fighting strength herself. That was Hifumi’s desired “way of humans.”
“There is also someone who continued to give her best to achieve her revenge while being in a position unable to do so by herself as slave.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi, who placed his foot on the back of the noble, who tries to run away while grovelling, slowly increased the foot’s strength.
“That person became slightly weird, but she continued to forge herself for the sake of getting revenge with her own power. She continued to put in great efforts to obtain power, even by discarding her pride, while being greedy to become strong.” (Hifumi)
“Gueeee… p-please stop…”
The noble, who can’t properly speak due to the pressure on the solar plexus while listening to the grinding sound of the spine, pleads in a feeble voice.
But Hifumi puts even more strength into his foot.
The noble is already desperate to just breathe. He is unable to do anything but grasping the ground while opening and shutting his mouth.
“You guys’ king was powerful. Even Phegor or whatever schemed to kill me. Even that woman called Bennia or such aimed at my life by using her own technique to the maximum of her ability.” (Hifumi)
Due to the pressure of Hifumi’s foot the nobles back began to cave in. Several ribs have already broken and were apparently stabbing the internal organs. Leaking blood from his mouth, the noble begs for help while shedding tears.
“I will kill you. I will kill all of you who are outside here. I thought about leaving behind some of you while considering the war potential of the demons, but I quit that notion. Even if I leave them alone, they probably won’t be able to stand in for Vepar’s role.” (Hifumi)
With the sound of water leaking and a scream as if he ran out of air, the noble used up all of his strength.
“Next it’s you guys’ turn.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi, who changed his hold of the dagger into an overhand grip, counted the number of remaining people by letting his look circle around.
There are 33 people remaining.
“I’d like you to explain to me what this is about!?”
The messenger from Vichy raised his voice in the tent set up for Alyssa who is the commander of Fokalore’s feudal army.
Alyssa, who is sitting in front of him, looks directly at the howling middle-aged man in puzzlement.
Miyukare, who is standing behind the chair Alyssa uses, is trembling with a vein popping up due to the rude behaviour of the messenger, but she endured it with a clenched fist thinking currently Alyssa has the lead role.
“I did explain to you, didn’t I?” (Alyssa)
Due to Alyssa tilting her head to the side with a ? floating above it, the messenger isn’t even able to hide his irritation.
“It’s not about the comment “Because the monsters are powerful, we came to exterminate them” as I heard as explanation by director-dono at the beginning.”
“But, there’s no other reason.”
“Do you really think that I’m able to believe in such a reason!? Although you have lined up with a large army at the national border, do I have to even tell the unknowing you how much uneasiness you are spreading amongst the people of each city-state compromising Vichy!?”
Once the messenger strikes the table with his palm, the cups shake and the baked sweet jumps into the air from its plate.
Alyssa grabbed that baked sweet before it fell down and tossed it into her mouth. As these were specially made by Caim, Alyssa loved those baked sweets dearly.
“But, there’s no other reason for us to come here besides that.” (Alyssa)
After chewing with her mouth, she drinks the tea which was lukewarm. It was personally poured by Miyukare for the sake of Alyssa who isn’t very good with hot things.
“In reality we defeated several monsters already. Although the soldiers’ training is held at the same time as well, that’s according to Hifumi-san’s instructions. I think it doesn’t cause any kind of problems though? The ones being troubled about the monsters are the city’s residents and you as well, ojisan, I believe?” (Alyssa)
“Gu… however, it’s a talk about whether it’s necessary for the army to have such scale…”
The gaze of Alyssa, which became narrow as if zooming in on him while being unsuitable for her own age and face, held a pressure to the degree of even stopping the talking of the messenger who had passed half through his forties.
“Even if there’s the possibility of some of my comrades dying, you believe it’s a good thing to decrease the fighting strength by decreasing the number of people because of minding other people?” (Alyssa)
“I have already experienced being killed by people I considered to be my comrades, but an injury close to death is exceedingly painful. It’s saddening and unbearable. Rather than some of my comrades suffering such a thing, I will think about ways for my comrades to return alive, even if they scare or anger someone. That’s my choice.” (Alyssa)
Alyssa thanks Miyukare for adding some tea.
During that time the messenger is sweating while struggling to choose his words.
“We have come here following the intentions of our feudal lord, Hifumi-san. He has given the order to subjugate the monsters while considering the benefits of everyone. But, if you dislike that, it can’t be helped, right?” (Alyssa)
Alyssa tilts her head in contemplation and matches her sight with Miyukare. Seeing Miyukare nodding, the messenger believed that his arguments finally got through, but reality isn’t that soft.
“You oji-san’s aren’t doing anything to deal with the monsters and are just voicing your discontent and grumbling at us, who are risking our lives to survive. Let’s decide who’s correct with skill, huh?” (Alyssa)
Alyssa laughs pleasantly, but due to the conclusion going beyond his expectations, the messenger’s face exceeds being ghastly pale and has already become white. It’s different when it’s that dreadful feudal lord, but for a young little girl to make such forceful statement, he couldn’t believe it.
“S-Such an absurd…”
“Neither Hifumi-san nor me have said anything strange. It’s simply a very important and simple talk.” (Alyssa)
Facing the messenger, who is shedding sweat like a waterfall and who has become small on top of the chair while being in panic, Alyssa told him slowly while chewing her words.
“If there’s something you desire, you have to obtain it with skill.” (Alyssa)
“Though it feels strange for me, who received help and education, to say that”, Alyssa’s laughing voice could be heard by the soldiers who are outside the tent.