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Imeraria’s aim was hidden, even from Sabnak let alone Alyssa.
Even in the decree given to Vaiya through Shibyura, there wasn’t anything written but merely to organize the troops and dispatch them as reinforcements as quickly as possible.
That was unexpected. Although they weren’t informed about anything, there was no reason for the army’s upper military stratum around Sabnak to object if it’s for the sake of opposing the military forces of Horant.
When Imeraria revealed to the opened war council after Alyssa came back, that she had ordered for reinforcements to be dispatched, Sabnak and Biron looked at each other’s faces, but because neither considered it to be a bad move, there wasn’t anything in particular to refute.
“That’s all from me. Alyssa-san, I appreciate your efforts last night. I’m sorry for doing this at a time when you are tired, but may I ask for your report?” (Imeraria)
Though Imeraria said it like that, it is evening already. Alyssa and the soldier from Fokalore, who returned after finishing the night attack had slept properly.
“Yea. Um…” (Alyssa)
Lowering her eyes to the documents gathered in her hands, Alyssa explains the details which she had read in the material recovered by her comrades.
It was recorded that the giant soldiers are referred to as “reinforced soldiers” in the documents which were collected, and that there are apparently still several bodies remaining in a military installation in the capital city.
She regarded the containment of the reinforced soldier with the casting net, implemented as countermeasure as satisfactory.
Generally there isn’t anything special that might become a threat except the reinforced soldiers. The spear throwers, the reinforced soldiers and the thick layer of magicians, which is Horant’s original forte. Those three elements have to be dealt with.
And with the number of magicians being low, it might be considered as very likely that some of them are concentrating on creating magic potions and adjusting the reinforced soldiers in the capital city.
Everyone listened to Alyssa who was talking even while stuttering, silently and attentively.
“For the time being, this is the extent we learned.” (Alyssa)
“How is the situation on the other side of the national border currently?” (Sabnak)
Alyssa starts off with 「It’s at the time of today morning」 towards Sabnak’s question.
“Most of the buildings have been burnt down, one building is still okay and that’s where the soldiers and magicians are gathered as well. I think there aren’t more than 30 of them either.” (Alyssa)
“That means there’s also the option of suppressing them on the other side of the border for now.” (Biron)
Imeraria listens to Biron’s words with her eyes closed.
“If they lose their base, they won’t be able to move a large number of troops in a hurry. Since it’s probably necessary to prepare even if they are based in a nearby town, it will naturally become difficult for them to invade our side.” (Biron)
“I see. If the other side has around 30 people, it’s likely not that hard to occupy an enclosed position even with their current military forces.” (Sabnak)
Sabnak agrees to Biron’s opinion.
“What is it?” (Alyssa)
Having opened her eyes, Imeraria faces Alyssa.
“It seems you haven’t seen Hifumi-sama, but where did he go?” (Imeraria)
“I don’t know?” (Alyssa)
An extremely simple answer is returned.
“… Then, how about Origa-san?” (Imeraria)
“Saying something like how about eating a cold and delicious menu or such, she apparently went to Münster this morning.” (Alyssa)
“… Is that so?” (Imeraria)
Setting Origa aside, Imeraria was worried in various meanings what Hifumi is doing, but as it is no use minding it too much, she decided to push it into a corner of her mind.
However, she suddenly realized.
“Sabnak-san, if I remember correctly, we were told that Hifumi-sama will observe Alyssa-san’s battle, weren’t we?” (Imeraria)
“Y-Yes, I heard something along those lines.” (Sabnak)
“Alyssa-san, did you encounter Hifumi-sama after entering Horant?” (Imeraria)
Alyssa tilted her head to the side.
“I haven’t seen him? I didn’t meet him at the time when I went to other side of the border either. Though I think that he probably watched from somewhere, I didn’t know about it.” (Alyssa)
“That means…” (Imeraria)
Imeraria was at her wits’ end.
“There is the possibility that Hifumi-sama went into the heart of Horant by himself.” (Biron)
“Eh, w-what for…?” (Sabnak)
Sabnak is surprised. Even though Biron opened his eyes widely, he pondered while stroking her chin. His beard has grown during the hectic coming and going in his territory and encampment.
“A preliminary inspection… I think?” (Biron)
Everyone’s gazes focussed on Biron who mutter this brief comment.
“In the matter this time, Earl Tohno talked about leaving it to Alyssa-san, right? Since that’s the case, didn’t he head to observe the deeper parts of the enemy’s movements as the battle with Horant will take a new step next?” (Biron)
“Do you really believe that?” (Imeraria)
Imeraria’s eyes are filled with doubts.
“No, not at all, ha ha ha… honestly said, I don’t understand it well either. There probably isn’t anyone among the people here apart from Alyssa-san who has the possibility of properly understanding the thoughts and nature of that man?” (Biron)
Those words pierced Imeraria’s heard like a stinging needle. That’s because she was apparently told that she probably still doesn’t understand Hifumi.
“Even if he came back two or three days later while holding the heads of Horant’s leaders, I wouldn’t consider that to be odd though.” (Biron)
“I don’t think that will happen.” (Alyssa)
While writing something at the bottom of the report with charcoal with a scratching sound, Alyssa denied Biron’s prediction.
“Seeing that Hifumi-san “himself said” that he will leave it to me, I don’t believe he will do something like helping me as long as I don’t make a blunder like yesterday morning.” (Alyssa)
“H-However, if it’s Hifumi-san, won’t he try to kill the magicians and reinforced soldiers by raiding the royal castle in Horant like he did previously?” (Sabnak)
Alyssa, who lifted her face, shakes her head side to side while facing Sabnak.
“That shouldn’t be so.” (Alyssa)
Alyssa muttered while scrubbing her right hand, which ended up becoming black due to the charcoal, with the sleeve of her left hand.
“That’s because what Hifumi-san wants to achieve is for the “war to continue endlessly.” I don’t expect him to do something like ending it.” (Alyssa)
Due to Alyssa frowning as her hand won’t become clean though her sleeve was turning pitch black, a maid who was unable to just watch, gave her a wet dish cloth.
As Alyssa thoughtlessly wipes her hand, all present are dumbfounded.
“Then, where do you think Hifumi-sama has gone?” (Imeraria)
“Mmh~… I believe there’s no mistake that he has probably gone to the castle in Horant or such. Doesn’t he intend to do the same as he did to the beastmen of the wastelands there?” (Alyssa)
While saying that, Alyssa returned the dish cloth to the maid.
“He is certainly telling them “work harder” or such.”
“That’s why we have to attack while doing our best as well”, she says and pushes a filled paper into the centre of the table.
On it are the positions of Horant’s buildings Alyssa checked out before withdrawing, and the attack details noted down.
“We have to to fight with Horant while going for it, okay?” (Alyssa)
“Y-Your Majesty…” (Sabnak)
While comparing the particulars described on the submitted paper and the expression on Alyssa’s face, Sabnak whose expression shows that he doesn’t know what’s best to do next, called out to Imeraria with a miserable voice.
Imeraria, who showed a dazed expression for a short while, shook her head and stood up slowly.
“I guess it’s fine. I thought that it wouldn’t do unless I just showed something that can surprise Hifumi-sama. Yesterday my way of doing things ended up being wrong, however… we will hasten the preparations right away. Alyssa-san.” (Imeraria)
“I want to borrow you and your soldier’s power. Won’t you please cooperate with me in order to startle Hifumi-san? … Mostly like Hifumi-san’s evaluation of you, Alyssa-san, will climb higher if we succeed.” (Imeraria)
“What do you want to do?” (Alyssa)
Due to Alyssa latching on in an instant, Imeraria almost revealed an evil smile.
“Let’s end the war with our hands. Let’s finish the dispute perfectly by stealing a march on Hifumi-sama. I have decided on the means for that.” (Imeraria)
When Imeraria talked about her plan after the reinforcements have arrived, Sabnak and Biron were against it, but Alyssa raised her voice with a 「I fully agree!」 and Imeraria pushed her own way through with that.
When the war council finished, the soldiers gazed in a strange manner at Sabnak and Biron, who appeared from the tent with pale faces and Imeraria and Alyssa who came out side-by-side while chatting with smiles.
Paryu, who had escorted Viine’s group to the capital, was relieved of that burden once she entrusted the beastmen to the knight order. Since there was also the matter of her being an official in a territory, she decided to take advantage of the situation by having Vaiya take care of their transfer to Hifumi.
Although they used a highly efficient carriage, which was created by Pruflas’ team who are the dwarves of Fokalore, it doesn’t change the fact that it was quite the forced travel. At the moment she saw off Viine’s group together with Vaiya at their departure, although there were also soldiers of Fokalore attached to her as guards, Paryu felt the accumulated fatigue in both her shoulders.
She tells her escort that the whole day will be a holiday and decides to depart tomorrow at noon.
Watching the soldiers vanish into the city while looking happy due to the unexpected holiday, Paryu returns downtown through the gate and heads towards the highway.
Given that she was born in a village that is located one day by foot from the capital, she visited the capital many times to purchase daily necessities and to transport the harvest.
Her parents died due a widely spread endemic disease. The only child Paryu came to the capital with the villagers, who have scattered but she, who didn’t have any particular education besides being able to read and write the letters and who had no one to take care of her either, visited the Ular Shop by herself after eating to the limits of her stomach with the little money she had on hand and became a slave.
She believed that she would get a relatively good treatment even as slave as she was a young woman who was able to read and write, however by no means did she expect to become a civil official after being bought by a noble afterwards.
Even the meal she savoured after careful selection in a restaurant as her final meal before becoming a slave was as delicious as the kind of food that appears in the dining hall of the lord’s mansion in Fokalore.
When she walks along the flourishing shops while remembering the events at that time, she has a feeling like that’s a remote past from a distant time already.
“Ah yea, I guess I should buy everyone souvenirs?” (Paryu)
Accessories for Brokra and Miyukare who are women like me. I think alcohol is excellent for Doelgar? Settling on that, she walks through the city.
“Caim-san is…” (Paryu)
Since she didn’t hit upon an idea, she decided to make a choice while looking at the store.
And then let’s return after eating various dishes, Paryu resolved herself.
After all there probably won’t be any things that can be eaten anymore once Lord-sama achieves his target.
Viine’s wastelands group heads towards Horant together with 10 knights who had gone one day ahead of the main army as an advance unit of reinforcements alongside Vaiya.
Each of the knights is riding a horse. The carriage with Viine and the others on board, the chamberlains of the Knights, and the wagons where materials such as food and similar are loaded, are lined up.
Since no one of Viine’s group can steer a carriage, the coachman is a male servant from the castle.
“We ended up coming quite the long way.” (Puuse)
Even though Puuse lets her feelings show fully, Gengu nods while smiling.
“That’s right, ain’t it? But, we once we return can boast to our friends . Certainly it’s only us who have come to such place among the beastmen. As for the elves, it’s only you, Puuse-san, right?” (Gengu)
“That’s probably true.” (Viine)
Malfas opened his mouth with a 「But」 towards the smiling Viine.
“Hasn’t someone come this way from the wastelands together with the person called Hifumi-san, I wonder?” (Malfas)
Everyone within the carriage freezes.
However, Malfas doesn’t notice that.
“Viine-nee, you have been properly saved from slavery by that Hifumi-san, right? In that case, even at other places…” (Malfas)
The one who interrupted Malfas’ speech in panic was Puuse.
After sending a fleeting glance at Viine who makes a gloomy face, she points her index finger at Malfas.
“Umm, even if you looked at the city’s people, there were many people who had seen elves and beastmen for the first time, right? There shouldn’t be any others besides us who met with Hifumi-san. Okay?” (Puuse)
“I see.” (Malfas)
Malfas agreed obediently and Viine had a relieved expression as well.
“At any rate, even humankind is engaging in turf wars, aren’t they? The guys in the wastelands are like that as well though. I guess it’s something that doesn’t change much in regards to humans and beastmen?” (Gengu)
Apparently trying to change the topic, Gengu leaked a sigh through his nose while staring at the Knights in Armour who were visible behind the carriage.
“I guess so. But, since it’s a “similar place” like this, won’t it be possible to cooperate as there will be people who build cities together with everyone like Reni-san?”
“I see.” (Gengu)
“Yea yea”, Gengu nods and hands the baton to Viine.
“That means if you are successful at becoming a “couple” with Hifumi-san, Viine-san, that will become the very first step towards the goal Reni-san is aiming for. ~ssu” (Gengu)
Viine’s face becomes bright red as Gengu laughs.
“S-So-Something like a couple… anyway, if I can be close to master…” (Viine)
“Oh well. Things start from there, don’t they? It looks like Hifumi-san is heading towards the battlefield currently, thus that will likely have to wait, right?”
Due to Puuse’s argument, Viine said that she doesn’t want to do that.
“If Hifumi-san is fighting, I will help as well. That’s why I have practised magic. I couldn’t bear to just wait without having any kind of role.” (Gengu)
“At such time I will help, too! If it’s an opportunity to return the favour, that’s also what I’m aiming for!” (Malfas)
Due to Gengu declaring that in excitement, Malfas is enthusiastic about joining in as well.
Watching their state, Puuse wondered whether there might possibly be a chance to tie a relationship of friendship between humans and elves.
One might say that this would certainly be a wonderful future.
However, from the point of view of the elves’ ancestors, who fought while shedding blood, this might become a betrayal. No, won’t they welcome it if it results in peace after all that fighting?
While watching the highway beyond the coachman on the carriage that shook more violently than the one they boarded together with Paryu when they headed to the capital, she considered trying to ask Hifumi about the story of the demons.