“What are they thinking!?” (Imeraria)
Totally unusual of her, Imeraria hit the desk.
Even Sabnak, who came to tell her the news, shows an enraged expression while pursing his lips just like Imeraria.
At the same time as the the information about the death of Suprangel, Horant’s king, reached them, they got a message that an alliance of nobles led by Earl Aspilketa (T/N: Asupirukueta) raised an army and was marching towards Horant.
“The war with Horant was over! It was finished with Hifumi-sama defeating the crown prince who started an offensive against our country!” (Imeraria)
Sitting down on her chair violently, she calmed her breath while sipping some black tea.
“They have sent exchange students to Fokalore and there are also soldiers who have gone to Horant from Fokalore to instruct over there. Moreover, right after the king of an allied country passed away…” (Imeraria)
“It’s a big problem.” (Sabnak)
“Please don’t talk as if it’s someone else’s problem, Sabnak-san.” (Imeraria)
“Good grief”, Imeraria faces a paper close at hand and dibbled the pen in the inkwell.
“The households supporting Earl Aspilketa… there’s even eight houses involved…?” (Imeraria)
While looking at the report listing the names of the participating nobles and the amount of soldiers they provided, she adds up the total number of soldiers.
Actually mobilizing military forces of around 500, they have apparently departed towards the border in groups by each group taking a 10th of the total amount as “escorts.”
Feeling a headache, Imeraria placed her slender finger strongly on her brow and curbed it.
“Haven’t they mobilized almost all of their territorial soldiers with these numbers?” (Imeraria)
“I fear that it’s likely so. Their aim is probably to completely take over Horant. I guess brother-in-law is… no, Earl Biron will confine them, but… likely they will cut their way through due to the numerical difference.” (Sabnak)
“The nightmare of the former Second Knight Order might be re-enacted on a larger scale.” (Sabnak)
Imeraria, who returned a nod towards Sabnak’s prediction, drums on the paper with the pen nib. A black stain spread slowly.
“… It’s different. This time Hifumi-sama won’t be there.” (Imeraria)
“A war will occur. Won’t he come running to participate in it?” (Sabnak)
“Expecting that to some degree, we can’t get too optimistic. Besides, even if it’s settled by relying on that gentleman, something similar will probably occur again.” (Imeraria)
Sabnak felt a doubt due to Imeraria’s words.
“So, you are saying?” (Sabnak)
Since I had a memory about the names lined up in this list, I pondered about it for the whole time, but finally I recalled it.” (Imeraria)
The eyes of Imeraria, who lifted her face from the document, were filled with sadness.
“They are all members of mother’s… the previous queen’s faction. After mother had died, they offered candid advice to me and Hifumi-sama at every opportunity.” (Imeraria)
If one refers to their influence, they were people close to not existing though, Imeraria sighed. Although the most they could do was spouting sarcastic remarks in the assembly hall, that sarcasm was plainly stressful.
Putting down the pen, Imeraria looked up to the ceiling.
“They are trying to oppose Hfumi-sama. Aren’t they believing that they can regain their influence if they raise deeds of arms? Since they likely know that I won’t stop treating Hifumi-sama the way I do, they think that they will be able to suppress me if they achieve deeds of arms exceeding those of Hifumi-sama.” (Imeraria)
“And they are probably planning to assign a puppet of theirs as my prince consort”, Imeraria says.
“What to say…? With all due respect, I can’t call that anything but shallow thinking.” (Sabnak)
“I’m shocked”, Sabnak shook his head.
“That shallow thinking is something that will incite the other nobles as well.” (Imeraria)
“… Thus, how will you deal with it?” (Sabnak)
“Right now I’m revoking the status of Earl Aspilketa and the nobles who dispatched their troops together with him as support. Please arrest all of their family members. I will decide their fate later on. Designate Earl Aspilketa, who is the household’s head, and all the other family heads of the participating nobles as our country’s public enemy. Notify all noble households that those, who don’t abide to the prohibition of sheltering them, will be punished.” (Imeraria)
“Ha! At your command!” (Sabnak)
Imeraria continued to speak to Sabnak who straightened himself with his heels clinking together.
“Sabnak-san, I want you to form a unit including the royal guards to pursuit the rebels and restrain the damage to Horant. Put emphasize on speed. I will convey to the nobles, who are along your way, that I want them to dispatch soldiers.” (Imeraria)
“At your will.” (Sabnak)
“And, I will take command in this pursuit battle.” (Imeraria)
“… Ha?” (Sabnak)
Not minding Sabnak’s bewilderment, Imeraria stood up.
“Since I’m not taken seriously considering that I’m a woman, fellows, who do things like that pop up. Let me show them that I’m able to fight as well.” (Imeraria)
Undoubtedly, the one she wants to show that aren’t the rebelling nobles, Sabnak had a hunch in his mind when he looked at that aspect appropriate of Imeraria’s age and calmed down albeit only a bit.
Though, it’s not like he can voice it out either.
“Since there’s nothing like a military uniform for me, let’s see… it will be alright with a riding habit. I will be able to give out commands from atop a horse. We will depart together with the troops once the preparations are in order.” (Imeraria)
Unable to stop the completely motivated Imeraria, Sabnak ended up with quickly organizing guard unit by choosing the elites.
“… Which reminds me…” (Imeraria)
“I have remembered something”, Imeraria muttered a few words.
“Nelgal-san, who is supposed to be the successor of King Suprangel, is studying abroad in Fokalore…” (Imeraria)
Recalling something quite important, Imeraria stopped Sabnak who was about to leave the room.
“Is it possible that the other nobles are aware of Nelgal-san’s whereabouts and situation?” (Imeraria)
“Let’s see… as we haven’t particularly hidden the facts, they might know about it if there are for example nobles who have their relatives study in Fokalore.” (Sabnak)
Upon those words Imeraria lowered her eyes on the list of rebels she had checked previously.
“… I think we have to at least confine those who look like they could become leaders to gather Horant if I cause a disturbance.” (Imeraria)
Due to Sabnak agreeing, Imeraria raised her face and continued,
“Besides, regarding Hifumi-sama, I guess we will keep him away some way or another. Even so, if it proves impossible to deal with the person himself directly, we will use someone close to him…” (Imeraria)
Imeraria, who came up with those thoughts in a mere few seconds, hit the list laying on the desk.
“Please contact Midas-san. Tell him to immediately head towards Fokalore while leading a mounted unit of 10 knights. If he’s able to join up with Origa-san on the way, have him act as her escort, please. If it’s Midas-san, he is acquainted with Hifumi-sama as well as Origa-san. As I have heard that he is a knight who is able to deal with them flexibly, he is suitable for the task, I think.” (Imeraria)
Be that as it may, neither of them really considered that Origa would actually get kidnapped or killed. However they were worried about recklessly stirring up matters at parts they didn’t want to get overly much provoked.
The last moments of the King of Horant, Suprangel, were gentle although no one took care of him.
Enjoying a wine produced in Orsongrande, which arrived from Nelgal who is studying in Fokalore, during his dinner, he was seen off by the chamberlains as he entered his bedroom with a red face.
Suprangel, who was already at an advanced age, often slept together with one of his favourite mistresses depending on the mood of the moment, but he basically liked to go sleep at ease by himself.
On this day he also fell asleep alone without calling out to one of his several favourite mistresses.
And, he never woke up again.
The next morning an uproar spread in the blinking of an eye due to the scream of the maid who came to wake the king up.
What made the timing bad was the absence of the heir, Nelgal, and for there being no influential person within the castle at that time either. Moreover, the civilian merchants, who were coming and going, heard the maid’s scream inside.
Spreading the news of the king’s death to the vicinity of the castle without there being anyone stopping it, the coming and going merchants spread it outside the country in a flash.
Going into a frenzy to manoeuvre within the castle to seize the initiative, the people, who engage in the national politics, circulated the rumour of the king’s death to the civilians as truth without being stopped by anyone.
Naturally the news are circulated by those who infiltrated from Orsongrande.
And, in that situation where no one can do anything, the information of Orsongrande dispatching its troops reached the castle.
“Well then, there’s no one else but those of you I called here. There are talks that soldiers are heading to our country from your own country. It’s about that.”
In the royal castle, which misses its lord, an old man, who hails from the same generation as Suprangel and who possesses the position of Minister of Government Affairs, began to speak slowly while facing the other party he had called.
“I have thought that our country realised a peaceful, progressive exchange after experiencing a disastrous clash with your country… with you guys’ lord.”
Deliberately stressing the close relationship with Hifumi and Fokalore, which is his territory, it turns into a wording aiming to restraint them, but the people themselves haven’t noticed.
They don’t have that much leeway.
“It’s just as you say, Minister-sama.”
In response, a man with the strange name Ma Kalme, who was entrusted with the task of being the captain of the instruction unit which was dispatched to Horant, gave an answer. Being asked whether his family name is Kalme by Hifumi, as commoner, who has no family name, he answered that both of them are his name and that name was memorable right away.
Only wearing a leather breastplate as light armour for a soldier, he ended up handing over his weapons at the time they entered the castle, but usually a large knife and a kusarigama are hanging at his waist while clinking.
Although his appearance gives a rustic impression with the conspicuous unshaven face, he handles leading a small unit flawlessly even if he is led by someone since he chooses his next action swiftly after properly observing his surroundings one way or the other.
“That’s why our boss… Earl-Tohno-sama dispatched us to this place. … So, what’s wrong with that?” (Ma)
Being asked directly, the minister gritted his molars.
If he makes a mistake in his choice here, the instruction unit might change into an aggressive unit just like that.
“L-Let’s talk honestly. I’d like to borrow your strength to avoid a battle by you persuading the soldiers who have been dispatched by your country.”
“Haa. Persuade, you say…” (Ma)
Scratching his shortly cut hair while grumbling, Ma Kalme groaned.
“That lot will likely be held back by Earl Biron at Orsongrande’s national border. No matter how I think about it, it’s probably not an action intended by the princess, ooops, Her Majesty, the Queen.” (Ma)
The minister showed a relieved expression due to Ma Kalme’s words.
However, Ma Kalme keeps going.
“Well, it’s probably pointless. As long as they don’t raise flashy military gains like our boss, they will be treated as simple idiots. Forcing their way through, they probably won’t pull back until they obtain a certain amount of military gains.” (Ma)
“As there’s likely some way for them to have a chance for winning, they won’t give up until they can realize results with that”, Ma Kalme continued.
“Well then… then, you guys…”
Ma Kalme laughed while stroking his chin roughly due to the minister having a frightened face.
“We won’t be able to persuade them, but we are able to fight them.” (Ma)
Ma Kalme, who took out a single parchment from his pocket, swung it around after picking it up with his right hand.
“A support demand has arrived from from Earl Biron stating “I request assistance in order to deal with the fellows who are trying to not only cause disadvantages to Biron Earldom but also to Orsongrande” came. Wahaha, if he phrases it like that, we won’t be able to refuse.” (Ma)
“Weelll, I give up, I give up”, he laughed.
“In addition to that.” (Ma)
Although he smiled, his eyes had a sharp glint.
“The soldiers of Horant who we did our best to train aren’t for the sake of fighting such retarded battle with idiots, who got lost in greed and prestige.” (Ma)
“Shit!”, he spit out and his former smile returned.
“We will borrow a location close to the border. Please also get ready in case we get done in by the other group. Well, we will do our best so that it doesn’t happen though.” (Ma)
“I’m itching for a real battle as it’s been a while”, the minister just looked dumbfound at Ma Kalme who left while laughing loudly.
“Hoo, that old man died, huh?” (Hifumi)
“The official report hasn’t arrived yet, but there’s likely no mistake in that. Since there’s no point in simply waiting for the follow-up report, I immediately wanted to return home once…” (Nelgal)
Nelgal, who received the notification of Suprangel’s death, first visited the feudal lord’s mansion where Hifumi is located.
He really wants to return to his own country in a hurry, but seeing that he is studying abroad upon a national policy, it won’t do if he leaves the area without notifying the representative of this place either.
“Luckily there are also the guards I have brought along from Horant. And we have horses and a carriage, too. I’m pondering whether I should return quickly first.” (Nelgal)
By all rights, Nelgal, who has the status of succeeding as king, should be someone above Hifumi, who is no more than single noble of Orsongrande, but the attitudes of both are completely reversed.
He was afraid that he would be beaten black and blue by Hifumi himself, but there’s also a part of him that admired the material he was able to learn in Fokalore.
“I will do my utmost to not cause you any kind of troubles, but I will be able to lead Horant in a good direction with the things I studied here.” (Nelgal)
Nelgal, who finished his brief farewell, said 「Let’s meet once again」 and left Fokalore.
“He is a diligent fellow. Although it’s alright for him to return without minding me in particular.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi, who doesn’t quite grasp his own influence, entrusted his back to the sofa and raised his arm with all his might while straightening his back.
“Mmh~… Vichy’s side hasn’t moved. This might have to wait for a while until they cause an uproar.” (Hifumi)
Washing down the baked sweets with black tea, Hifumi didn’t hide his yawn.
“What a boring peacefulness. Having said that, it can’t be helped even if I make a move…shall I try going to the workshop of Pruflas for a bit?” (Hifumi)
I won’t settle down if I don’t move my body, Hifumi, who decided to work hard at weapon development and at the same time to take a stroll, knocked the katana at his waist and left leisurely.
However, on that evening it became noisy in Fokalore.
Alyssa was carried into the feudal lord’s mansion while being wounded.