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At the time Imeraria, who was accompanied by fifteen knights including Sabnak and the same number of guards led by Earl Biron, arrived at a spot from where the border could be seen, the morning sun already guaranteed a clear visibility.
Even while inhaling the fresh, chilly morning air within the thickets off the highway, Imeraria dons an expression of dissatisfaction.
“Why would it be wrong if I didn’t wear this thing?” (Imeraria)
Wrapped up in a cloth that had grass and leaves attached to it, Imeraria, who is facing the front while pinching the cloth with her thin fingers, turned a criticizing look towards Sabnak who is next to her in the same attire.
“Please endure it. These are for the sake of making it difficult for our opponents to find us. Rather than that, please look at that.” (Sabnak)
Ahead, where Sabnak pointed at, there were soldiers walking around busily in the vicinity of Orsongrande’s military station and barracks in front of the border and there were also citizens, who were carrying out some task while mingling with the soldiers, visible there.
“I wonder what they are doing?” (Imeraria)
“I fear that it’s likely that after confiscating the facilities on our side, they are having carpenters and such remodel them.” (Biron)
Biron answers calmly.
It’s a world where such things such as lenses don’t exist as the civilization is inexperienced in processing glass, but there’s the method of easily looking at a distant place with a plain pipe. Even the one Biron is using was a plain pipe made out of wood, however it was still better than having nothing.
Imeraria, who peered into the pipe she was handed, confirms the equipment of the soldiers located in the area of the barracks and judges that there aren’t any magicians.
“It doesn’t seem like they are boasting a considerable amount of people. If it’s just the soldiers, there’s around 20 of them, isn’t there?” (Imeraria)
“Yes, that’s right if you just count those on this side ((of the border)).” (Sabnak)
Sabnak, who is peering through both his hands which he has arranged in a tubular shape, said “the problem are the soldiers on the other side.”
“The parts which can be seen from here; they don’t seem to be unusual devices. Possibly they might construct them from now on though. If they are remodelling like mentioned by Brother-in-law… Earl Biron, there’s also the possibility of them bringing in some devices.” (Sabnak)
“If it’s a large-scale magic device to the degree of using an entire building, it will become a big problem. Among the ancient magic, which hasn’t been classified yet, there are also spells for large-scaled annihilation, I’ve heard. If Horant has discovered and developed something identical…” (Biron)
Imeraria ponders while fixedly staring at the border.
I wonder what Hifumi would do in such situation?
(I have a feeling that he would attack them from the front…) (Imeraria)
While smiling wryly within her mind, she remembers something she was told before.
“Sabnak-san, Earl Biron, please set up a system of continuous observation of the vicinity of the border by cooperating with each other. Inform me at once if there are any changes. And…” (Imeraria)
She hesitated whether to give them the order or not, however, since she understood that she had to do so, she squeezed out her voice by putting strength into her stomach ((persuading herself)) that it was her task to obtain results by moving people.
“Please carry out reconnaissance by closing in on the border as far as possible during the night. If possible, confirm even the soldiers on the other side ((of the border)).” (Imeraria)
This being a dangerous mission, their lives won’t be guaranteed if they are found.
Even so, it’s still better than putting the country at risk.
It will be unbearable if I don’t think about it in such way.
“Your Majesty.” (Biron)
Biron smiled while showing his white teeth through a gap in the cloth covering him.
“The soldiers have been training for the sake of not bringing your determination to naught.” (Biron)
“That’s right. If you think that it’s necessary, you should do it steadily. Even I believe that that order is to be expected. Rather, it was an order that should be given by me.” (Sabnak)
“Please leave everything to us”, being told that from both sides, Imeraria’s heart became lighter albeit only a bit.
Retreating slowly, Sabnak and Biron issue instructions to their respective soldiers.
Taking off the cloth used for camouflage that covered her, Imeraria brushed off the grasses which clung to her riding habit.
“By the way, this slightly, well… unique attire is whose idea?” (Imeraria)
The soldiers exchanged glances due to the question of Imeraria who returned the cloth to a soldier. They apparently didn’t want to believe that Imeraria isn’t aware at all.
“Umm… it was taught to us by the soldiers from Earl Tohno’s territory. Since it’s easy to observe while being difficult to be spotted from a distance, they said.”
“… Is that so?” (Imeraria)
Even while wavering whether she should be scared or delighted due to Hifumi’s education being thorough beyond her imagination, Imeraria had reached the point of being able to consider it quite calmly.
“Now I’m curious. Were you taught something else by Hifumi-sama’s soldiers?” (Imeraria)
“Yes. From individual to group combat, attacking an encampment and in reverse, the methods of defending one, also…”
The soldier, who received a direct question from his queen, eagerly recalls the training and lists its contents even while being stiff due to nervousness.
Among those there was something that bothers Imeraria.
“… Have those methods been taught in each territory by other instruction units?” (Imeraria)
“It’s likely just as you said? There existed something like a textbook.”
“I see. Thank you.” (Imeraria)
“N-No! I’m sorry!”
The soldier, who was thanked personally by the queen, retreated holding the cloth, he received, dearly while being ridiculed by his comrades for his stiff, overly ceremonious movements.
“That means that it’s very likely for Horant’s side to also know the same methods…” (Imeraria)
“Troublesome seeds have been sown”, Imeraria grieved.
There was also the notion of asking Hifumi for help in the composed part of her mind, but she wasn’t able to consider that as being correct no matter what.
“… What shall we do?” (Puuse)
“I didn’t consider it this far ahead, but… is it pointless to start a conversation?” (Viine)
Seeing the figure of the worried Puuse, the one-eared rabbit, Viine, answered frankly.
The girls, who left the wastelands after experiencing a number of long days, hesitated how to get in contact in front of the entrance to the highway leading to the city of humans that could be seen at last.
The girls didn’t know, but they were right next to a small town located en route the highway and positioned around the half point between Fokalore and Arosel.
“It’s because we are of the beastmen race. Just showing our faces, it wouldn’t be odd for us getting attacked either ~ssu.” (Gengu)
“This isn’t a situation to laugh about.” (Malfas)
Due to Gengu scratching his head while say “Well, I give up”, Malfas shakes his head.
“Puuse-san, let’s go to have a talk at least. Even if we consider various things in this place, it won’t change anything.” (Viine)
“… That’s so, isn’t it? Got it.” (Puuse)
While teasing her with a “Maidens in love are powerful”, Puuse told Gengu and the others to run away immediately since she herself and Viine will restraint ((the attackers)) with magic if push comes to shove.
“Understood ~ssu. Say, let’s try having a talk with them at least just like always said by Reni-san.” (Gengu)
<<– _ –>>
“Moreover, that’s not a human but an elf? It’s the first time I’ve seen one!”
The guarding soldiers became agitated due to the group of beastmen and elves appearing all of a sudden.
Originally it’s a situation where they should call for reinforcements in a hurry, but the soldiers, who ended up forgetting even that due to the overly unexpected circumstances, didn’t do anything but staring at the beastmen who were steadily getting closer.
“Umm… is it alright?” (Puuse)
The one who addressed them is Puuse.
It was decided for her to talk first as her appearance, except the ears, is the closest to humans.
The soldier, who was addressed, gives an answer with an unintentionally excited voice due to her well-featured appearance unique to elves once he sees her from close-by.
“We came from a city that is located on the other side of the wastelands. As it’s the first time for us to have come here after all, I’d like you to instruct us.” (Puuse)
Puuse, who timidly talks to the soldier, who is taller than her, with upturned eyes, might be regarded as cute ojou-sama from somewhere if met for the first time.
Even while the soldier’s heartbeat accelerates with a throbbing sound, he looks at the beastmen waiting behind Puuse.
The dog beastman is scary as he seems to be really strong, but the others are a rabbitwoman, who has no more than one ear for some reason, and a tiger beastman, though that one can’t be seen as anything but a child.
“They are my companions. We are travelling in order to meet a certain person.” (Puuse)
“A certain person, you say?”
“It will be a help if you know him”, she says as preface.
“It’s a man called Hifumi-san. He has black hair and is a bit unusual.” (Puuse)
She doesn’t mention what’s unusual.
“Hifumi? Hifumi… aah!” (T/N: name is written in katakana)
Once he looks at his colleague next to him after raising his voice, that one’s eyes are likewise opened widely and form a perfect circle.
“I-Isn’t that Lord-sama!?”
“There’s no mistake… what to do… a-anyway, have them come to the guard office.”
The guard office, they are using, isn’t prepared for something like visitors at all as you can’t say that they are attentive to cleaning by any standard, just like it’s the case with many all-male households. To a certain extent there is a small table and chairs for the sake of listening to the story of the suspicious people they brought in.
The soldier, who raised an angry voice, tells Puuse 「Please wait for a minute」 with a frivolous smile and moves to a slightly separate place while pulling an arm of his colleague.
“Why is it no good?”
“Think properly. There’s such a pretty woman. Perhaps Lord-sama might have found her in the wastelands.”
Due to the soldiers rising his pinky while saying that, the face of his colleague became pale.
“Try imagining Lord-sama ((finding out)) us having her enter such cramped guard office. We will be literally changed into being just heads.”
“T-Then, what shall we do…?”
“At any rate, have them wait. I will hurry to notify the captain.”
Saying that, he dashes away with all his strength and once the soldier delivers the report to the person in charge, even the person, who was informed, stands up unintentionally and isn’t able to do anything, at least in his own position. Or rather, he doesn’t want to make such decision either.
“Escort them to Fokalore swiftly… no, politely, pay attention to being courteous, escort them while paying meticulous attention!”
His order was already close to being a scream.
Hifumi suddenly pondered while killing the bandits.
“A large-scaled war; practically there hasn’t been one in this world, has there?” (Hifumi)
“Gyaaaa… r-release me!”
The voice of a bandit, who is lying face down while his wrists are immobilized under Hifumi’s feet, is audible.
“Talking about large-scale, I wonder what’s the extent?” (Origa)
While hitting the head of another bandit with her iron-ribbed fan, Origa turned a smile towards Hifumi.
“Let’s see. For example military forces of 100.000 or 200.000 clashing against each other. It’s a battle where several 10.000 of people will be killed.” (Hifumi)
The bandit, whose shoulder joints were disconnected by the momentum of Hifumi turning around, had his neck stepped on and broken at the time he raised a loud scream.
“There wasn’t such thing? Even if you assemble all military forces of Orsongrande, it likely won’t go past 50.000.” (Origa)
“I see. The general battle was in the form of the troops clashing with each other on a plain. Even if you consider the practical use, that is the limit, huh?” (Hifumi)
“That’s right. There’s the method of managing it by deciding the soldier’s roles and and organization accurately, but that didn’t exist before your esteemed suggestion, Hifumi-sama. At most they classified ((the troops)) by magicians or infantry.” (Origa)
Avoiding the sword swung down by the next bandit, Hifumi hits them lightly with his fist and breaks their nose.
The left hand, which the bandit raised to hold his nose, was caught by Hifumi, its wrist was twisted and then broken.
“That’s all? (Hifumi)
“What is?” (Origa)
Origa’s wind magic severs the head of a bandit, who tried to escape, from behind.
“Even at the time of the war with Vichy and when we did sham battles with others, there were many fellows who would leap into enemy territory without any kind of hesitation.”
Origa slipped a chuckle due to his statement which was completely blind to his own shortcomings in the situation he was currently in.
“It will be fine if everyone is as strong as you, Hifumi-sama, but… I was also like that before, but everyone has the opinion that the power of their physical strength and weapons is the most important.” (Origa)
“However, this will change in the future”, Origa killed yet another with wind magic.
During that time Hifumi broke the necks of two bandits.
“Tools will be introduced by wars. Even magic won’t be simply for attacking but will be used for magic tools and magic potions, too. Traps will become popular, defences will also vanish since the soldiers will go out to fight. There’s many, many ways. For the attacking side as well as the defending side the necessity to consider it plentifully will appear.” (Hifumi)
With all the bandits besides them dead, the two are standing together in front of the cave which has been made into their hiding place by the bandits. Origa affixes her iron-ribbed fan to her waist and searches the inside for people with magic.
“It’s fine if we can observe that in the battle with the current Horant.”
“At least Alyssa will do it properly.”
“The problems are Horant and Imeraria, huh?”
Origa, who finished the investigation of the interior, takes the iron-ribbed fan into her hand once again.
“It seems Imeraria-sama is accompanied by Sabnak-san. Horant was also sufficiently trained by your soldiers, Hifumi-sama. Besides, Horant also has magic and magic tools. … There’s 16 people inside. Three among them can’t move. They appear to be women. They still seem to be breathing.” (Origa)
“I see.” (Hifumi)
She didn’t say anything further as both of them understand why those women are within a cave where there’s bandits.
“There’s isn’t any particular sensation of something unusual.” (Origa)
“Then, shall we go? I leave the women to you.” (Hifumi)
Origa follows behind Hifumi, who steadily enters unarmed with his katana affixed to his waist, while preparing her iron-ribbed fan.
Origa doesn’t fail to hear Hifumi muttering a single word.
“If the world was involved by fighting all at once.” (Hifumi)
“Geographically the capital might turn into the main battlefield. If it turns into a war of humans versus demi-humans, let’s see… the place with the highest probability ((to become the main battlefield)) is my territory, huh?” (Hifumi)
Hifumi, who crushed both eyes of a bandit with the thumbs of both his hands in passing, killed him by slapping the bandit’s back of the head against the wall of rock just like that.
“The demons will come to kill me. If she proceeds matters cleverly, Imeraria will likely do that as well. I wonder how about the beastmen. They might try to not get involved overly much. If I’m in a state of being surrounded, even Vichy’s neighbourhood might come attacking again.” (Hifumi)
“My goodness, that’s an enjoyable future outlook.” (Origa)
“Isn’t it?” (Hifumi)
Hifumi, who kicked away the corpse into a corner of the passage, mutters “Be that as it may.”
“The feudal army still hasn’t arrived?” (Hifumi)
“They are also your soldiers, Hifumi-sama. Undoubtedly they will catch up right away.” (Origa)
Two days later Fokalore’s territorial soldiers caught up with an abnormal quickness for the marching speed of an army, but at that time the bandits and ferocious monsters, which were in the vicinity of the city, had been completely disposed of.