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At the end of defending against the attacks from Horant without suffering any particular damage, the enemies disappeared from Münster’s defensive encampment.
The soldiers are taking turns between resting and maintaining as well as checking the tools used for defending. Imeraria has withdrawn to the rear together with Biron and they are taking a break in their respective tents.
Inside one of those, Sabnak, who is the one in charge on-site, busily gave orders.
“Inform me about the situation.” (Alyssa)
Once Sabnak, who was suddenly addressed, looked over his shoulders, he wondered for just an instant whether there was no one there, but when he lowered his line of sight, he discovered Alyssa looking up at him.
“Ah, Alyssa-… san.” (Sabnak)
Receiving a mysterious pressure from the soldiers of Fokalore, who are behind her, once he uses her name without an honorific, he adds a “-san” to her name in panic.
“Reinforcements from Fokalore, huh…? That’s welcome.” (Sabnak)
Surprised by their fast arrival that exceeded the expectations in his mind, he thought that he’d like them to not ransack the battlefield as much as possible, but he produced a smile even while his face was twitching.
“So, Hifumi-san and the others are…” (Sabnak)
“They will be here very soon. Origa is with him as well.” (Alyssa)
Alyssa immediately answers the question which had a thread of hope put into it.
Reality is abnormally harsh, Sabnak wanted to cry, but since he owns a title he has to keep it together at this place.
“We were attacked in this defensive encampment only once by Horant, but we were able to repel them. I can’t predict how the other side will move, however the surroundings of the national border have been completely occupied by Horant.” (Sabnak)
Sabnak, who told her the information he received from the observing soldiers, mentioned that he wanted to ascertain the state of affairs now anyway.
“I see… is it fine for us to borrow a corner in the encampment?” (Alyssa)
“I don’t mind, of course… what do you plan to do once Hifumi-san arrives?” (Sabnak)
Alyssa shook her head saying “it’s different” towards Sabnak’s question.
“Since my subordinates suffered losses by Horant in this time’s case, I will go rescue them as the one responsible for them. Hifumi-san will just watch.” (Alyssa)
“… Eh? That Hifumi-san will just watch without participating in the battle?” (Sabnak)
Due to Sabnak muttering “no way”, Alyssa got angry and puffed up her cheeks.
“It’s the truth! This is my revenge, so I will be the one to execute it!” (Alyssa)
Sabnak smiled foolishly, but his face became dark at the mention of the word “revenge.”
“Revenge… it is?” (Sabnak)
Sabnak hasn’t forgotten the time when he met Hifumi for the first time in Arosel. At that time Hifumi helped Origa and Kasha, who were still slaves, to accomplish their revenge going even as far as lending them his own weapons.
“So that means, you… no, the Fokalore feudal army will invade Horant?” (Sabnak)
“Of course.” (Alyssa)
“P-Please wait a moment! Currently I’m the one giving the orders in this place, but this encampment and military operation is under the command of Her Majesty Imeraria! Even though it’s already a difficult situation even at the best of times, it will be troublesome if you invade without permission.” (Sabnak)
“However, Hifumi-san has said it’s fine.” (Alyssa)
“That’s before thinking it over properly!” (Sabnak)
Placing his hand on her shoulder to plead to Alyssa while bending his back, Sabnak shows a face that looks like he is sobbing.
“Her Majesty the Queen and an Earl, both of them are people in high positions. You can’t decide something on your own accord without getting the permission from such people in high positions regarding such important matter, right?” (Sabnak)
“… I guess so?” (Alyssa)
“That’s how it is. … It would be great if you didn’t display high-handed absurdity like that couple, Alyssa-san. For starters, let’s discuss it with Her Majesty and Earl Biron. Come on, let’s just do that.” (Sabnak)
Seeing the state of Alyssa who seems to be agreeing with him at least partially, Sabnak sighed in relief.
If Alyssa went out for an unreasonable offensive, it would be also possible for this encampment to be broken through when it received a large-scaled counter-attack from Horant.
Sabnak, who thinks I’d like them to calm down somewhat and cooperate with us by just pushing back them back to the national border if possible, lifts his head.
“Yo. You became quite the big boy after climbing the ranks.” (Hifumi)
“Sabnak-san’s evaluation of us seems to be such.” (Origa)
With their horses lined up, Origa, who glares at Sabnak, and a smiling Hifumi were there.
“Please stop, Midas-san.” (Vaiya)
“… Vaiya, huh? What’s this about?” (Midas)
The one who stood before Midas, who was about to enter the capital together with Nelgal’s group, weren’t the underlings of the rebelling nobles or thieves, but the Vice-Captain of the Royal Knight Order, Vaiya, Midas realized after squinting.
“It has been decided that I’m the one in charge during the absence of Her Majesty and Captain Sabnak.” (Vaiya)
“That’s not what I want to hear. What I want to know is why it’s necessary for you to stand in our way.” (Midas)
The two of them are acquaintances despite having different affiliations. Vaiya is superior as he has a rank of nobility, but Midas is his senpai*. Being in different units, namely the Royal Knight Order and the ordinary knight order, they possess the same ranks as Vice-Captains. (T/N: Hard to localize as it contains different meanings in the Japanese language and the word “senior” wouldn’t be enough to explain those)
“It’s because of the carriage over there.” (Vaiya)
The one Vaiya pointed at is the one with Nelgal on board.
As the coachman and the soldiers, who are securing the vicinity of the carriage, belong to Horant, they are grasping the scabbards of their swords with tensed expressions due to the sudden situation.
“Is His Highness, the next king of Horant, boarding it?” (Vaiya)
“What will you do, if that is the case? What you are doing is equivalent to a grave, diplomatic affront.” (Midas)
“It’s an order by Her Majesty. I was told to welcome His Highness, Nelgal, and have him wait in the capital until the situation has settled down.” (Vaiya)
The decree, which Vaiya took out after saying “the circumstances have changed”, was definitely signed by Imeraria.
Midas hesitated while fixedly staring at the decree without returning any words either.
There’s the possibility of Vaiya having become a puppet of Horant or the rebelling nobles, but basically he is known for his high evaluation as being a trustable person.
The one who broke the silence was a soldier from Horant.
“Are you betraying us at this point after regarding us like allies!?”
Facing the flustered Midas, the enraged soldier of Horant at last took a sword in his hand.
Tension travels across Midas’ group and Vaiya’s group, which is lining up right in front of them. If they draw their swords here, there won’t be any choice but to cut them down without questions asked.
“Please wait.” (Nelgal)
The one who stopped the soldier from Horant was Nelgal who disembarked from the carriage.
At the moment he, who looks somewhat thin due to his anxiety, came close, Midas dismounted.
“Midas-san, is the decree, he possesses, the real thing?” (Nelgal)
“… There’s probably no mistake in that.” (Sabnak)
Hearing Midas’ reply, a grieving voice is raised by the soldiers of Horant, but after having calmed them down, Nelgal faced Vaiya.
“For such a decree to appear means that something happened in our country, right?” (Nelgal)
“That’s right, Your Highness, Nelgal.” (Vaiya)
“Please stop with the “Your Highness.” Although I have been designated as heir, I’m still a child in the middle of studying. I’m a youngster who merely has a distant, distant blood relation with His Majesty, Suprangel.” (Nelgal)
Vaiya, who has sweat gathering on the forehead of his stiff face due to the shy Nelgal, carefully folds the decree.
“We have observed an act of aggression towards Orsongrande by your country, Horant.” (Vaiya)
The soldiers from Horant became speechless due to that and same applied to Midas’ group.
“Aggression… could you inform me of the situation please?” (Nelgal)
Vaiya nods towards Nelgal who continued his question while having a pale face.
“The enemies from your country, who plotted an invasion into Orsongrande, have been held back by the troops of Earl Biron, who is governing the area of Münster, a city close to the national border and Fokalore’s territorial troops of Tohno Earldom, which have been stationed in Horant. They prevented the invasion by Horant.” (Vaiya)
“However”, once Vaiya straightens himself by spreading his feet lightly, the chain of the kusarigama, which hung at his waist, makes a sound.
“The soldiers of Fokalore’s feudal army, which protected your country, were killed by the troops of your country. The area of the national border has been at present occupied by soldiers from Horant.” (Vaiya)
One of the soldiers from Horant gulps.
Even if the authenticity of those details are a different matter, it’s currently clear that soldiers affiliated to Orsongrande were killed by soldiers from Horant, is what they have been told. At this point in time it’s similar as to ((both countries)) having returned to being fellow enemy nations.
“H-However, those aren’t Nelgal-sama’s instructions! You know that, right!?”
A single soldier raised his voice, but Nelgal stopped him by raising his hand.
“Even if it might not be my order, I can’t escape from taking responsibility for it seeing as I’m the country’s representative… is what you are saying, right?” (Nelgal)
Due to Nelgal’s remark, Vaiya, who paused while closing his eyes, breathes in.
“The people, who were in the instruction unit from Fokalore and who are assumed to be dead, use the same weapon as me. Although it’s been only for a short while, they are people with whom I trained while sweating together.” (Vaiya)
Grasping the chain tightly, Vaiya repeatedly took deep breaths and released his hand.
“Although I’m aware that I’m venting my anger, I want to beat down the power of your Horant, if I voice out my real feelings.” (Vaiya)
Vaiya took out yet another parchment and showed it to Nelgal after opening it.
“… However, on top of not having yet finished the coronation, as Nelgal-sama himself said before, it’s not like he is the son of the deceased King Suprangel.”
What was unfolded was a postscript to the previous decree.
“There is nothing I can do about having you stay in the capital, but I have received an order to welcome you politely and to make sure that you can rest there without any inconveniences. It’s the same for your guards as well. Please, I’d like you to accept the request from our country’s queen.” (Vaiya)
“It’s not something I can say carelessly, but I will keep it in mind.” (Nelgal)
Nelgal replied with a sad expression to the bowing Vaiya.
“I shall entrust myself to your country. Please take my escorting soldiers into your consideration as much as possible, too.” (Nelgal)
“I shall promise you that.” (Vaiya)
“Great. Furthermore, if possible, I’d like to have the privilege of sending a letter to Her Majesty, Imeraria.” (Nelgal)
Vaiya, who lifted his head, was puzzled.
“Letter, you say? I don’t mind, but… may I confirm what kind of content it’s about?” (Vaiya)
“No problem. It’s a petition for clemency.” (Nelgal)
“H-Her Majesty, Imeraria, will never consider something like executing you, Nelgal-dono.” (Midas)
Nelgal unintentionally spilled a smile due to the flustering Midas.
“It’s not for me. I’m merely feeling that I want her to spare the lives of the people, who are working in the castle, and the soldiers of my country if at all possible. What I’m afraid of is that those, who will apparently rampage in my birthplace, will be Her Majesty’s, Imeraria’s, confidants. Do not provoke the wrath of a superior? It’s just that.” (Nelgal)
The soldiers of Horant, who aren’t quite aware of Hifumi, looked at each other, but Midas, Vaiya and their men had a cold sweat different from the one before.
“Well then, today’s agenda is about the treatment of the girls, but…”
“Before that, please tell us who those girls are. I grasp that they are elves and beastmen. But what I want to know is why they have come to Fokalore.”
In a room within the feudal lord’s mansion. Doelgar threw that question at Caim who tried to literally start a meeting in the room that has been used by the civil officials for meetings.
Once Caim surveys the civil officials that gathered, there are Miyukare and Brokra, who are nodding in agreement, besides Paryu, who has become the mediator of Puuse’s group who arrived in Fokalore.
“Well then, let’s have Paryu explain.” (Caim)
After nominating her indifferently, Caim sat down while being expressionless and quickly finished his preparations to take notes.
“Eh, me?” (Paryu)
Paryu, who is the youngest, conveyed more or less what she had been told by Puuse’s group to everyone even while being tense due being pierced by the gazes of the other four.
“Umm, the elven woman is Puuse-san. The rabbit beastman is Viine-san, the dog beastman is Gengu-san and the tiger beastboy is Malfas-kun.” (Paryu)
The group, which had been sheltered in a city facing the wastelands, has been put on a platform wagon and has been transported until Fokalore yesterday around this time. Currently they are staying in an inn which is close-by.
The arrangement of an inn and such were Caim’s instructions, but as they were able to confirm that they have no hostility and that there are women among them too, Paryu, who was available to help, had temporarily taken over the duty of looking after them.
It was due to the judgement of Caim, who knew that they came to meet Hifumi, that there weren’t entrusted to other staff members.
“Located on the other side of the wastelands there’s a city where beastmen, humans and elves live together in a county called Swordland. It seems they came from there.” (Paryu)
“I see.” (Caim)
The one who obediently nodded while agreeing is only Caim.
“A country on the other side of the wastelands, huh? I knew of the rumours, but it really existed, eh?”
“It’s the first time I’ve seen an elf or such. That’s also a surprise.”
“I can’t imagine something like beastmen and elves living in the same city.”
Caim listened to the chats between Miyukare and the others, who exchanged their opinions, for a while, but once he judged that there won’t be anything similar to a conclusion, he turned his look towards Paryu.
“Paryu, I heard that their objective is to meet with Lord-sama, but did you learn the full details?” (Caim)
“Ah, yes.” (Paryu)
Paryu, who was once again exposed to their looks after they suddenly stopped their chatting, earnestly reads out the memo in her hand.
“It seems that the rabbit beastman Viine-san is a slave bought by Lord-sama. I was told that she was immediately set free after studying for a while, but… she is similar to us.” (Paryu)
“Though we aren’t completely free at all, are we?”
Due to Doelgar leaking “We are about to die due to work”, Miyukare glared at him and said 「It’s still better than going on campaigns」. The one who participated in the mobilisation of the all-male military forces was apparently quite stressed despite having been together with Alyssa.
Once the two become silent after being glared at by Caim, Paryu continues.
“That Viine-san is, umm….” (Paryu)
“Is it something difficult to mention?” (Brokra)
Noticing that Paryu was blushing, Brokra took the memo.
“Oh… The rabbit beastman called Viine-san apparently came here to be together with Lord-sama. The other people are her escort. Only the tiger beastboy apparently has the wish to become Lord-sama’s pupil.” (Brokra)
“Oh my, oh my, how lovely. She’s honestly in love.”
“Miyukare, you are too sly, right? Paryu, you are already 16 years old, aren’t you? Don’t get bashful over this much.”
Being somewhat embarrassed, Paryu held her cheeks with both hands.
Ignoring all of that chatting, Caim flatly said,
“Well then, please tell me your real opinion.” (Caim)
Everyone tilts their heads to the side.
“Don’t you understand that a very huge problem cropped up? She came here in order to get close to Lord-sama. In other words, it’s about a rival in love for the madam having appeared.” (Caim)
“So, what will we do?” Caim said while looking at the faces of everyone present one after the other, but none of them met his gaze.