Chapter 135 – Don’t Stand So Close To Me

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If you describe a shinigami in a few words, it gains its power of existence by being feared and it’s recognised as god-like damned being which gathers its energy from “people dying.”
As such the shinigami appeared in the room, where Reni and Helen are living, before going to Vepar’s place as  told by Hifumi.

“That means for Hifumi-san you beastmen are completely managing this city and I believe that he wants you to take defensive measures within all of Swordland, including the humans as well.”

“I see.”

“Is that true, I wonder…?”

Reni and Helen were cautious of the shinigami, who suddenly appeared out of thin air, in the beginning, but once Hifumi’s name is mentioned, they agree groundlessly while thinking isn’t it weird that he even has such acquaintance?
Thus the two listened to the shinigami‘s explanation while rubbing their sleepy eyes, but what came out of the shinigami‘s mouth were flowery words towards Reni and Helen, how Hifumi is evaluating them, to gain total control of the remaining human area by demonstrating their intelligence and that they should make their own country in its true meaning.

“You say that easily, but there are still many humans. Don’t ask for something impossible while even our own livelihood hasn’t yet stabilized.”

“What are you talking about. Haven’t you increased your manpower with the joining of the elves and moreover haven’t there appeared even people who can use magic among the beastmen?”

“Even so, that doesn’t mean we will be able to win if we fight the humans immediately, right? Inviting our mothers isn’t working out well either…”

It’s her own statement, but Helen inadvertently ended up hanging her head in shame.
The beastmen, who are living in the old slums have tried to invite their old beastmen friends, but there are many who avoid to be even close to the city of man. Although Reni and Helen dispatched messengers, it was difficult to summon their family who were on guard. “If we find an opportunity, sooner or later, it won’t do if we don’t persuade them by ourselves”, the two discussed before going to bed tonight.

“Let’s consider it the other way around. If the threat of humans vanishes, won’t you be able to brazenly go meet the other beastmen? Even the people on the slums’ side are mostly separated from their fellow relatives, right?”

“That is, true, however…”

“Therefore, if you create a peaceful city by trying your best here, the rest will work out as well. The establishing of a tight defence system now that the come-back of the demons is rumoured is also part of your both’s task as representatives of this city, isn’t it?”

Helen ended up silent without returning any remarks due to the smooth stream of words.
The more she listens to it the more she can believe the point of this skinny man, who calls himself a shinigami, to be correct. However, in Helen’s mind there was a sense of impeding danger of some unknown nature that rebelled against it.
Suddenly Helen noticed that Reni hadn’t uttered a single word since some time ago.

“Reni, what do you…” (Helen)

“Ku~” (Reni)

Once Helen looked at Reni, she was sleeping completely like a log while hugging her pillow and loosely sitting on the bed.
When she lightly hits her head, Reni opens her eyes in surprise.

“Oww!?” (Reni)

“Don’t go sleeping care-freely.” (Helen)

Helen sighed towards Reni who was somehow awakening while rubbing her eyes.

“What do you think?” (Helen)

“Mm~… shinigami-san, is Hifumi-san well?” (Reni)

“Huh? Yes, he doing very well. He is currently extremely lively due to the matter of causing disputes amongst fellow humans.”

Due to the question which suddenly came flying from out of the field, the shinigami opened its eyes widely for an instant but then answers with a smile.

“Humans, they usually do nothing but fighting each other, don’t they? And yet they are able to retain such large numbers well.”

“So, why are you here, shinigami-san?” (Reni)

“As I said, receiving a request from Hifumi-san, I came to give the two of you some advices.”

“I se~~e.”

Releasing a big yawn, Reni muttered that she understood.

“If Hifumi-san has said so, I will try doing my best.” (Reni)

“Reni… is that fine?” (Helen)

Reni returned a limp smile towards the uneasy Helen.

“Splendid! I’m also looking forward to your great efforts, you two!”

“Well then”, leaving those words behind, the shinigami completely disappeared like smoke.

“Reni…” (Helen)

“Let’s sleep, Helen? Tomorrow will be busy again.” (Reni)

“To prepare for fighting the humans?” (Helen)

“Why?” (Reni)

“Why… you say, didn’t we talk about that just now.” (Helen)

“What we said was stuff about If Hifumi-san has said so? If it is only that shinigami-san saying it, I have no particular intention to follow it?” (Reni)

“Eeh?” (Helen)

Reni, who put down the pillow and created a depression by hitting its centre with a *tap-tap*, looked at Helen’s face with drowsy eyes.

“After all it doesn’t mean that Hifumi-san has said something I’d like you to do it like this to us. Until now he had us only do what we wanted to do ourselves. Besides, did he ever order anything?” (Reni)

“Now that you mention it…” (Helen)

“Therefore.”

Playing her head on the pillow, Reni once again covered herself with the thin futon.

“Isn’t it alright if we try to do things as we like with everyone? Ah, I’m slightly worried about what he said in regards to the demons.” (Reni)

“Let’s consult with the elves tomorrow”, Reni says with a yawn blended in.

“We have to make plans.” (Helen)

“That’s right. We have to investigate what demon-san’s are eating.” (Reni)

“The preparation of the welcome will be difficult, won’t it?” Just like that Reni fell asleep in the blink of an eye.

“That’s the part worrying you? Good grief…” (Helen)

Helen, who ended up completely wide awake, stands up to get some water to drink.

“Even though you are intelligent, you are quite carefree.” (Helen)

Watching Reni who’s already sleeping peacefully, Helen renewed her intention to do her best together with Reni. She wants to support her important friend.

☺☻☺

It was about night after they went to observe the enemy’s movements when it resulted in a defence encampment being set up between Münster and the border due to the order of Imeraria who heard the story from a soldier.
After receiving that order, Sabnak, who wrote down orders to draft up the construction of the encampment at night spurring on his body, which hasn’t recovered from the fatigue of the travel, sighed from the bottom of his heart that it was agreeable for him to not turn up the next day and to play hooky.
Immediately following the construction of the encampment which took two full days, the invasion from Horant began.

“Great… you can’t say that, but should I say that it’s wonderful that Her Majesty’s decision was quick?”

“… Captain, you are very composed.”

The young knight, who took off his helmet and wiped away the sweat, looked at Sabnak with a gaze filled with respect.

“Even if I were to be impatient, it can’t be helped anyway. We finished all possible preparations.” (Sabnak)

The report from the soldiers who continuously monitored the border stated that their opponent has only around 200 infantrymen. Although the figures of magicians and anyone else can’t be seen, it has been confirmed that they are pulling several spear throwers.
The encampment, which was laid out by Sabnak against those, has shallow holes to stop horses, nets which were spread all over to hinder the infantry, groups of 100 permanently stationed infantrymen and thirty spear throwers of which the production partially started in the Biron Earldom.

“I believe he did well to prepare this many. While being your brother-in-law, he is a great person.”

“It was a unit we formed up in a hurry and moreover it wasn’t supposed to be used against anyone but the nobles as opponents. It saved me trouble.” (Sabnak)

“He’s proud that he can make the Captain of the Royal Knights at the the peak of his popularity say so.” (Biron)

Biron called out to Sabnak’s group, which is talking while staring in the direction from where the enemy is supposed to come, from behind.

“B-Brother-in-law-san? It’s planned for you to stay behind in Münster…” (Sabnak)

“That was the plan. Because Her Majesty will clearly see her retainers’ manner of fighting at the front, it’s wrong for me, who is her retainer, to stay behind in the territory.” (Biron)

“Eh? Her Majesty is…” (Sabnak)

Once Sabnak turns around his head with a motion like a rusted mechanical doll, he saw the figure of Imeraria, who is looking in the direction of the border on horse, over Biron’s shoulder.

“Y-Your Majesty! Please, retire to the rear!” (Sabnak)

“No. There’s no way I can have peace despite everyone fighting desperately. Besides, there’s something I noticed in this time’s case.” (Imeraria)

Imeraria, who returned the pipe for seeing at a distance to the pouch at her waist, looks at Sabnak from atop the horse.
Her expression was virile and imposing to a degree one would expect from a teenager.

“Only watching Hifumi-sama, I wasn’t even aware what kind of effort everyone from the knights and soldiers invested or how much you can fight. That’s why I was looking at a person like Aspilketa lightly.” (Imeraria)

“T-That sort of thing is…” (Sabnak)

Imeraria, who held back the flustered Sabnak by raising one hand, surveyed the encampment from the horse’s back.
A fulcrum is set up there according to the instructions of a knight and a large net has been affixed to it.

“What’s that?” (Imeraria)

Looking in the direction she pointed at, Sabnak replies,

“That’s a curtain to stop the spears of spear throwers, Your Majesty.” (Sabnak)

“… Is it alright although it looks like a net? Besides, it looks like it’s dangling a bit without being tightened.” (Imeraria)

Seeing the look of the uneasy Imeraria, Sabnak remembered that he had the same reaction when he saw it for the first time.

“It’s very likely to be torn if it’s not a net. If it’s stretched out too firmly, it’s also very probably that it will be pierced by the spears… It seems.” (Sabnak)

It completely sounds like I came up with it myself, the words of Sabnak, who thought so while talking, became anticlimactic at the end.

“In other words, this is also a suggestion from Hifumi-sama, you are saying?” (Imeraria)

“… Indeed, Your Majesty.” (Sabnak)

Imeraria, who sighed deeply, muttered “It can’t be helped, I guess.”

“Let’s consider it good luck that both sides have that knowledge and not only the enemy’s side and that our side is somewhat ahead in regards to that.” (Imeraria)

Given that she surveys the rest by herself, Imeraria advanced with her horse while telling them to hasten their preparations.

“Brother-in-law… Earl Biron.” (Sabnak)

“What is it?” (Biron)

“Once the battle starts, please withdraw to the rear while taking Her Majesty along even if it’s by force.” (Sabnak)

“I will handle it carefully.” (Biron)

The wryly smiling Biron and Sabnak shrug their shoulders wile facing each other.
The battle began with an exchange of fire between the spear throwers, just as expected by Sabnak, in the afternoon of that day.

☺☻☺

It was about evening and the battled had finished its first stage when Hifumi’s group and Fokalore’s territorial soldiers arrived in Münster.
Due to the somewhat restless air swirling about within the city, Hifumi, who walks while pulling the reins, closes his eyes partly.

“It seems like the fighting has already begun.” (Hifumi)

Once many soldiers enter the city after getting permission from the guards, the residents face them with looks filled with a mix of expectations and anxieties.
Reinforcements are a help. But, they cannot welcome an expansion of the front line.

“Well then, Alyssa.” (Hifumi)

“Yea.” (Alyssa)

Alyssa, who looked up at Hifumi’s face directly from the front, gently caressed the wakizashi located in the back on her waist.

“It’s fine to do as you like. I will watch.” (Hifumi)

“Got it.” (Alyssa)

Alyssa made changes to the ranks of the soldiers with a single order and headed towards the direction of the border by running fast.
The army, which advances while raising clouds of dust, leaves the city without lowering its pace while pulling many tools.
The residents, who saw their figures off in blank amazement, understand after seeing the black-haired young man calmly following from behind while mounted on a horse. The army of that Earl Tohno came rushing as reinforcement.
The populace was filled with hope due to the army of Fokalore which arrived right after the royal army in spite of originating from the opposite side of the country.

“Is that alright?” (Origa)

“What is?” (Hifumi)

Due to the question of Origa, who lined up her horse next to him, Hifumi turned only his look at her.

“Don’t you want to fight as well, dear?” (Origa)

Hifumi raised his voice in laughter at Origa who watches him with an uneasy look.

“Ahaha! You were worried about such stuff?” (Hifumi)

“P-Please don’t laugh. You are concer…” (Origa)

While stroking Origa’s head with his left hand, which was covered by a glove, after bringing his horse close, Hifumi skilfully fixed the position of the katana which shifted slightly due to the vibrations of the horse.

“Let’s see. I will talk about my real intentions to you.” (Hifumi)

Due to Hifumi’s remark, Origa gulps and stares at Hifumi’s face.

“I think, if I can go around killing each and every living person, I want to do that. If I can simply kill those in front of me without having to care about anything, I wonder how happy I will be.” (Hifumi)

“But”, Hifumi returned his sight to the front.

“In that case there will be no future. Of course it will end if I die, but if I ended up killing everyone, what will happen afterwards?” (Hifumi)

“That is…” (Origa)

“You know, I will be a loner.” (Hifumi)

The city, where the sun began to sink, is dyed in madder red.

“Therefore, by rapidly increasing those who can fight, I want an enjoyable wagering of lives. Without that I’m not actually feeling alive.” (Hifumi)

“I-I am!” (Origa)

Hifumi stopped his horse due to Origa suddenly raising her voice.

“I will be right next to you until the very end, Hifumi-sama! By all means, please fight with me at the time when all enemies to be killed have vanished. I became strong. I will put in great efforts to get even stronger. Therefore…” (Origa)

“I see.” (Hifumi)

While making the horse advance again, Hifumi gently stroke Origa’s cheek.

“Well, then I will leave it to you at that time. Please become an enemy that’s worth to be killed.” (Hifumi)

“Please leave it to me. E-Even I, at the end by your hand… ufufu…” (Origa)

Due to Origa spontaneously breaking into a smile thanks to the warmth of the caressed cheek, Hifumi continued his words.

“Besides, as I likely won’t fight this time, it’s unnecessary to worry about me.” (Hifumi)

“How about if Her Majesty the Queen and Alyssa lose to Horant?” (Origa)

“Ah.” (Hifumi)

Hifumi hit the scabbard with a sound of a whack.

“Well, half of it is no more than anticipation, but maybe it will happen.” (Hifumi)

“I see. That’s good.” (Origa)

The two leisurely advance through the city at twilight.
Their figures might appear as intimate pair of lovers if seen from the side. Even if the place they are heading for is a battlefield.

 


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