“Please, welcome home.” (Caim)
“Yea, it’s been a while.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi answered Caim’s greeting by waving his left hand.
Caim noticed that Hifumi’s left hand had been wrapped up in thin leather gloves, but he pretended to not have done so.
Caim knew that it was Paryu who bought the leather gloves for a part of Hifumi’s left hand as he requested from her after she visited his room, but while he hasn’t heard the reason from Paryu, he believed that there was no reason for him to ask himself.
“Shall I prepare your meal?” (Caim)
“Since I’m going to eat something suitable outside, don’t care about it. Let’s hear the current matters once I return.” (Hifumi)
“As you wish. Take care.” (Caim)
“Ah, right. Let’s have you come with me. You haven’t eaten lunch yet, have you?” (Hifumi)
“… As you wish.” (Caim)
Being seen off by many staff members, Hifumi left the mansion to stroll around while taking Caim along.
“Do you know some good restaurant?” (Hifumi)
“No. I’m always using my own room or the dining hall of the mansion.” (Caim)
“Hmm, I see.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi, who seems to be bothered by the yet stiff brand new dougi, walks while constantly shifting the area around his armpit by thrusting his hand into his pocket.
Once they arrive at an area where shops are lining up, the attention of many people gathers on Hifumi.
“Lord-sama! Welcome home!”
“Thank you as usual! Please drop by any time!”
The ones who called out to him from the shops were many middle-aged shopkeepers. Since Hifumi buys mainly food after departing to the city and occasionally purchases unusual dougi’s and such on a whim, unlike normal nobles, all of the storekeepers of Fokalore know the face of their feudal lord.
There were also some among them who appeared personally in front of Hifumi. It’s the students who have come to Fokalore in order to study.
“Earl-sama, if you don’t mind reading something we stumbled upon…”
Standing at the front, the little girl, who looks to still be in the middle of her teens, showed the documents, she held at her breast, to Hifumi.
Those were the transcriptions of the numerical calculations Hifumi had Caim’s group do some time ago. Seeing those, Hifumi almost burst into laughter.
“Fuha, have you always used these problems? … ah, it was calculations.” (Hifumi)
What was described there were numerical calculations asking for the volume of things like cylinders and quadrangular pyramids.
Naturally, Hifumi, who was just about to graduate from high school, can solve those while humming a tune.
Receiving a charcoal wrapped in a cloth, which is used as writing tool, Hifumi fluently filled out the calculation methods.
“It’s solved with this, right?” (Hifumi)
“T-Thank you very much!”
Once the blushing girl bowed, the male student with the same age readily came out in front from behind.
Differing from the girl, his expression is somewhat disappointed.
“Earl-sama, I have a question.”
“What is it?” (Hifumi)
“Just a moment…”
The female student tries to stop him, but ignoring her, the male student met Hifumi’s look.
“Tohno-sama, you have now the status of Earl and possess many deeds of arms, but I have heard that you have originally been a commoner.”
Hifumi shows a smirk due to the matter of him having suddenly started to talk about social status. Caim, who is restraining himself diagonally behind him, kept a watchful eye on the situation expressionlessly.
“My family is an Earl household which has the tradition of great men appearing one after the other since times immemorial. I have now come to study in Fokalore following the order of my father, but… how the hell are these calculations useful in any way? Speaking honestly, I don’t understand what meaning they have.”
The student, who snorted with a “hmph”, was smug about having finished saying what he wanted to say, but the female student behind him has ended up becoming completely pale.
That female student continues to get even further pale.
“Her home is of a lower rank than mine, but she is an elegant lady of a Viscount household. There are other things than these worthless calculations we should learn!”
Did he believe that it was time to attack? Hifumi listened to all of the statements of the student, who continued in a far more coercing manner than before, without saying a single word.
Once he heard them, he returns, without his smile crumbling,
“If you believe it to be pointless, it’s fine for you to stop, isn’t it?” (Hifumi)
The student, who prepared to advocate the necessities frantically, opened his mouth and eyes and showed a blank expression.
The female student has a face full of surprise as well.
“We aren’t particularly forcing you to come here. You have to decide by yourself what you should do.” (Hifumi)
“S-So, are you then admitting that this studying is useless?”
“It might be pointless for you.” (Hifumi)
The student looked like he wanted to give his outweighing opinion due to Hifumi’s reply, but he was dumbfounded by the following words,
“In any case, let alone not understanding the significance of what you learned, the problem lies within you not wanting to think about how to use it. It’s fine for you to go to somewhere else if all that you are wishing for are good marks. Even if you learn something stupid, it will just be a waste of time and paper.” (Hifumi)
“Are you insulting me who is the legitimate heir of an Earl household?”
“I haven’t told you anything but the truth.” (Hifumi)
“Besides”, Hifumi continued.
“What kind of charm does your household or her household hold? If you and me fought, do you think that my katana won’t pierce you if your father’s an Earl? If you like, we can test it right here and now though.” (Hifumi)
At the time he placed his hand on the katana at his waist, the male student ran away as fast as he could.
“… What’s that? How boring.” (Hifumi)
“This might be called an insult to the feudal lord. Since I will know him right away from the enrolment list, I will punish him later on.” (Caim)
“No, not necessary. He is still a brat. If he brings along 100 soldiers after whining to his Earl father to aim for my life due to an unjustified resentment with this, I will be able to enjoy it.” (Hifumi)
“As you wish.” (Caim)
The female student, who listened to the exchange between lord and retainer, bowed her head while staggering with a pale face.
“I-I’m very sorry, Earl-sama.”
“Do you also have doubts about the current study contents?” (Hifumi)
After making a worn-out face and looking in the direction where the male student left, she shakes her head.
“I learned in this place the ability to control the territory’s administration as well as the army’s operation with numerical figures. I will likely be married to some noble, but I believe that I want at least to be able to grasp the circumstances of the residents living there.”
Once he heard that answer, Hifumi placed his right hand on her shoulder, encouraged her with “well, please do your best at creating a “powerful territory”” and left while taking Caim along.
Powerful territory means literally a stable economy and possessing strong soldiers, I guess, Caim believed, but he followed after Hifumi without saying anything to the female student who saw Hifumi off while blushing.
The power chart in Swordland ended up getting completely rewritten.
Humans and beastmen, who were in an overwhelmingly inferior position due to their numbers, lived in the original slums, but with the addition of the elves, their numbers have increased and there’s almost no trace left of a slum once they put the buildings of the city completely in order.
Furthermore, even the idea of “magic by beastmen” proposed by Reni, at last showed progress at the time one week had elapsed after having gathered candidates and started training.
“… I did it!”
Holding a plain wand, a small water current appeared from the cheap, impure crystal, which served as support to manipulate the mana at the wand’s tip.
It was only an amount of around a single fist, but it had a force at the level of bending a board which leaned against a wall.
“Amazing! Even beastmen are able to use magic!”
The one frolicking around while holding a wand is the rabbitwoman who lost one ear.
Since she was purchased by Hifumi and had studies driven into her, she always carried out jobs related to accounting in the city, but after hearing about the magic training course, she participated out of interest.
Even so, she succeeded at invoking magic faster than the men who are chewing their fangs in a manner of causing bleeding from their gums while their veins are popping up in their desire to be useful in battle.
The surrounding beastmen had various expressions such as surprise and jealousy, but as they witnessed the moment of establishing proof that beastmen can use magic, they started to concentrate even deeper.
“Oh my, you succeeded at it already?” (Zanga)
Zanga, who sat so that she could watch the beastmen grasping their wands tightly, laughed with a “Hya Hya.”
Even Puuse, who is coaching them, shows a smile.
“The support of a wand is necessary, however I didn’t consider them to be able invoking it this fast. Those suitable for magic might be able to use spells with a lot more power.” (Puuse)
Unknown whether she has heard that chat or not, there’s a little girl grasping her wand desperately while being blended into the group of rough men.
It was the sheepgirl Reni.
“Uu~… Fiiiire, fire, appear~” (Reni)
“How about using water or wind?” (Helen)
“That’s no good! I want to produce fire!” (Reni)
Once she answers to Helen’s remark without facing her, she once again strives to focus her mind.
“It’s fine to be diligent, but… as expected, it doesn’t mean that you can use magic just because you are able to study it.” (Helen)
Helen, who is weak at such patient tasks requiring concentration, gave up rather quickly.
When she looks at the woman, who’s a rabbit just like her and is able to produce water and also wind, even she has a feeling that she will be able to do it if she tries, but as nothing happened even after trying for several days, he motivation is gone after all.
Although I think it’s evil towards Reni who is desperately warping her cute face, wouldn’t it be better for her to think more about strategies and tools like the ones taught by Hifumi since we will be helpless without a wand even if we can use magic with it? She ponders.
Just then Reni turns around by spinning and smiles at Helen.
“… I know what you are thinking about, but although it will be convenient if we can use magic, it’s not like it will be remarkable just because we are able to do so, right? It will be convenient if both can be used. It’s indispensable to have various people like those who are strong in magic, those who are strong at making traps and those who are strong at fighting directly.” (Reni)
“Yea, I understand.” (Helen)
“I see.” (Reni)
Watching the the back of Reni who once again concentrated on the spell unbeknownst whether it will come out while clenching her teeth with a “Gugigi”, Helen sighed in different manner from before.
“It’s a disaster! R-Reni-san is!?” (Gengu)
Gengu came rushing in, while raising a cloud of dust, at the plaza where they carried out the training course.
“I’m here. Gengu-san, what happened?” (Reni)
“Humans came to take refugee while being chased by humans!” (Gengu)
“… What’s this about?” (Helen)
Helen was puzzled with her ears dangling down.
“Ah, sorry ’bout this. I ended up panicking somewhat… in short, it seems like the city’s humans are under attack by other humans. A part of them is making a fuss that they wish to enter the slums.” (Gengu)
Reni and Helen looked at each others faces.
“Is it a quarrel between those of the same race? The ones called humans are fond of fighting after all.” (Zanga)
“Anyway, I will go to the entrance of the city.” (Reni)
“Take us along as well, Reni-san.” (Zanga)
Reni, who was stopped by Zanga, had a troubled expression.
“Zanga-san, since it might turn into a battle…” (Reni)
“If that happens, we will be even more useful.” (Zanga)
Puuse, who stood up in order to prop up the getting-up Zanga, and the gathered elves nodded firmly.
“This is already our home as well. Therefore, if we can help protecting this city, I’d like you to let us do so by all means.” (Zanga)
Hearing Zanga’s words, Gengu sniffles while shedding big drops of tears.
Although Reni hesitated for a little while, she looks at Zanga by lifting her face.
“Please help us, Zanga-san. Let’s protect this city together.” (Reni)
Zanga nodded while clasping the small, held-out hand with her wrinkled hand.
“Well, it’s a good chance to have you properly observe the elven magic.” (Zanga)
“Please bring a suitable amount of food for two people. Ah, we’d like to use the private room inside.” (Hifumi)
Seeing Hifumi who came entering unexpectedly, the clerk, who guided them to the private room while somehow keeping their calm, sprinted to the kitchen at full speed.
The share for two people mentioned by Hifumi will be similar to four portions. Even without that, since the cooking will be provided to the feudal lord who is an Earl, there’s no way for them to serve something unbecoming by any chance. Once he took a breath in relief, the corners of the lips of the clerk, who reported the details of the situation to the kitchen, raised when he imagined today’s sale.
Hifumi, who brought Caim along, sits at the opposite side of the table.
There’s no superiority or inferiority. They are facing each other just like friends.
“… Is there something you want to talk about?” (Caim)
“It’s fine for you to not worry about stuff like that. There’s just something I came up with.” (Hifumi)
“Let’s eat first”, saying that, Hifumi eats the served soup, which had vegetables all over in it, with the spoon held in his right hand.
It’s a cream-coloured potage soup with a smooth food texture and the sweet carrots and soft potatoes are delicious.
“This place is fairly delicious. You can eat slowly since there are also private rooms. It think it’s fine even if you come here to eat with your civil official colleagues.” (Hifumi)
At the moment Caim’s thoughts took the direction of how it was cooked and what ingredients were used while eating, Hifumi opened his mouth.
“Caim, once Origa and Alyssa have returned in a short while, I will go to the capital once again. I will leave matters to you during that time.” (Hifumi)
“As you wish.” (Caim)
He doesn’t ask about the objective.
And that’s fine, both, Hifumi and Caim, judge.
“And, I told you before, but very soon a large battle will start. No, I plan on making sure that it happens.” (Hifumi)
Caim nodded silently.
“I wanted to get ready for a bit longer, but this is about mankind. I don’t know where and how I will fall over. There’s also the possibility that this place will turn into a battlefield during my absence.” (Hifumi)
Caim’s expression doesn’t change due to Hifumi’s words.
“What place do you think will move, Caim?” (Hifumi)
“There’s no mistake that Vichy had been stirred up by Alyssa-sama’s moves. It’s likely that the internal dissension of Vichy will cause a spark by spilling over.” (Caim)
“I see.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi nodded delightfully.
“I went to play a bit with the beastmen and demons. I’m expecting that one of them or both come this way to drop by.” (Hifumi)
After that, Caim reported the state of affairs during his absence to Hifumi and Hifumi talked about political measures he thought of bit-by-bit while they slowly ate for around an hour.
And, different from both’s forecast, the first change happened in Horant.
After one week of Hifumi and Caim dinning together, they received a message that the king of Horant, Suprangel, died.
Moreover, without waiting a few days, a part of Orsongrande’s nobles gathered and started an invasion into Horant without obtaining approval from Imeraria.