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Kuzemu, who left the room to perform his official duties, entered his private room located in the castle just like that.
It’s a room for the sake of taking a nap in cases such as when he has no time to return to his principal residence. It’s a room that can be obtained and granted only to high-ranking staff members who work in the castle. Because it’s a temporary accommodation to the bitter end, it’s only provided with a single bed, storage and equipment at the level of being able to prepare tea.
Kuzemu, who opened the closet and quickly changed into travelling clothes by putting on a coat, visited the office of the general who commands the soldiers without returning to his own office.
“It’s me. I’m coming in.” (Kuzemu)
A maid ran out of the room next to Kuzemu, who entered the room in a familiar manner after giving just a short notice, while fixing her dishevelled dress in a hurry.
“Oh, how surprising, Your Excellency, the Prime Minister.”
Even though his manner of speech is polite, the young man is shy while slowly putting his shirt, which had more than half its buttons undone, in order.
“Tannin, you bastard became the general who is in charge of this country’s army. Think about your reputation a bit.” (Kuzemu)
“No, no, being wooed by the other side, there’s no reason to refuse it either. So, what’s wrong for you to have such appearance?” (Tannin)
Without even a fraction of timidity, the man called Tannin asks while smoothing down the beard at the tip of his chin with a hand.
The appearance of Tannin, who is said to be in the first half of his thirties, is that of a soldier promoted after Kuzemu adjusted the current system. As noble of Horant, he was born into an Earl family as second son. For Kuzemu he is a man that is related to him as nephew.
Although he has the ability, his philandering is bad. He had to serve at remote regions many times thanks to his character which wasn’t liked by his superiors, but alongside Kuzemu seizing the power, he was summoned and raised to the top of the army after the ministers were disposed of.
It was a personnel affair with the reasoning that it would be easier to control the army with a blood relative, but seeing that Tannin’s sticky fingers were far worse than expected, Kuzemu regretted it a bit.
“A large force of 1000 soldiers from Orsongrande is moving towards this place. Get ready to intercept them immediately. I will come with you as well.” (Kuzemu)
“Oh dear, if seen from a military viewpoint, we should tightly solidify the entrances of the capital for a defence. What we should do following that is to counter-attack after waiting for the enemy to tire out. That way we will certainly win while our side will have little losses as well.” (Tannin)
“Moreover it’s fine to take it easy as there’s no necessity to go to a distant place”, Tannin smiles.
Kuzemu was hesitating whether to tell him or not with a bitter expression, but it won’t do if I can’t move at least the man in front of me as ally, he made his resolve.
“… In the worst case there’s the possibility that Nelgal is accompanying Orsongrande’s troops. Being supported by guards who are accompanying him as well, countrymen will likely not recognise him even if they were able to see his face, but for him to come to the capital is bad.” (Kuzemu)
On top of the army’s organization, the people, who know about the castle’s internal affairs, are mostly those working in the capital or its neighbourhood, some among those stationed in provincial cities and villages and there are also people who haven’t entered the castle even once in their life.
“In other words, before Nelgal arrives at the capital, we want him to go missing, is what you mean?” (Tannin)
“Right. That’s why it’s necessary to leave here and strike them at once. Currently there are at least 2000 soldiers who can be moved.” (Kuzemu)
“What about the capital’s defence?” (Tannin)
“It’s fine to forget about it. We will take the reinforced soldiers with us as well. There are around five bodies that can be used, but they will likely serve their role.” (Kuzemu)
“It can’t be helped. After all it’s no one other but His Excellency the Prime Minister requesting so.” (Tannin)
Once he put on a jacket, that had gorgeous decorations, and straightened the neck of his shirt, a strange dignity could be seen which was usually hidden by his non-serious nature.
“By the way, what about the aforementioned visitor?” (Tannin)
“If it’s that man, Gaap is sticking to him. I have entrusted the protection of the castle to Gaap, but it probably won’t be a problem.” (Kuzemu)
“Well, that guy’s research field lies especially in magic soldiers. As it’s different from the actual working forces we take along, it will be alright. Rather than that, there’s something I’m bothered with…” (Tannin)
Kuzemu knitted his eyebrows due to Tannin dropping his voice’s tone with a serious expression.
“What is it?” (Kuzemu)
“Somehow it appears that a reasonable number among the maids feel inclined towards our visitor. Is this the appearance of a rival, they ask.” (Tannin)
Once Tannin, who smiled at Kuzemu whose face was blushing, clapped his hands, the maid, who ran out not long ago, entered while looking downward in embarrassment.
Tannin stands up as well and when they face each other in the middle of the room, he quickly hugs Levy’s waist.
“Ah, my precious Levy. I must head to the battlefield from now on. Please, I’d like you to forgive this crime of leaving you behind, my beloved.” (Tannin)
Stealing the lips of the maid who opened her mouth to mutter words, Tannin, who entangled his tongue with hers up to the point that Kuzemu was on the verge of shouting, put strength into the arm hugging her waist and pressed Levy’s thin body against his waist.
“I will definitely come back to you. Won’t you please keep this room tidy until then? I intend to receive my reward for victory here.” (Tannin)
The maid nods lightly while leaking a hot sigh due to his large hand stroking her from the waist to below while saying that.
“Uncle, no Your Excellency, the Prime Minister, I’d like to request a house for the sake of welcoming her at the dawn of victory, please.” (Tannin)
Kuzemu sighed deeply as Tannin demanded that while looking over his shoulder. For the maid called Levy it’s probably her own home, but for Tannin will be a house where he keeps a mistress.
“… Got it. However, I rely on you to definitely make sure about the matter just now. I will ascertain it myself as well.” (Kuzemu)
“Leave it to me. Well then, I entrust the rest to you, Levy.” (Tannin)
Seeing off Tannin, who leaves the room after giving her a light kiss, Kuzemu begins to prepare for taking out the reinforced soldiers while remembering his anxieties.
“They came up to here. No one is allowed to be a hindrance… That’s right, let’s use those as well. It’s not a situation anymore where I should be holding back on releasing those.” (Kuzemu)
The scenario for after the repelling of Orsongrande. In short, I have to ponder about Hifumi’s treatment as well, Kuzemu pushes his way through the castle at a fast pace while releasing groans.
“They have gone out to strike at them? The populace, eh? There’s probably things they don’t want to show to the people of the castle. Ah~… Nelgal, huh? Even without that, their foundation will get unsteady if it comes to an attack on the capital.”
“It seems we are to watch home. For caution’s sake, it also serves as experiment of the methods we learned from professor. The castle’s defence has been strengthened, but it doesn’t seem like there will be any chance to test it.”
Looking at the sight of a large number of people lining up in the square, which was established in the castle, while standing next to Hifumi, Gaap showed a bitter smile.
“It looks like they will take 2500 soldiers. 2000 infantrymen, 300 magic soldiers… if it was a defensive battle, there would be a chance for us to have a turn as well, but this time that’s unlikely.” (Gaap)
While he gives a half-hearted answer, the intermediate soldiers, who received Tannin’s orders, form up in units. Generally speaking, the infantry is placed in front and behind the magic soldiers. When push comes to shove, the infantry will part left and right so that the magic soldier are able to go to the front.
The reinforced soldiers arrived while being tied with chains that appear to be magic tools.
All of the five reinforced soldiers will apparently walk in the front row.
“It looks like the big ones aren’t used as anything but a wall anymore.” (Hifumi)
That’s a wise move, Hifumi judged.
Weapons, which have the measures to oppose them revealed, are worthless as hidden aces. Capitalizing on their pointless sturdiness, they will likely serve as bulwark against the spear throwers which Orsongrande will probably use.
Meanwhile the departure started beginning with the front row. A weird carriage follows behind the ranks and files. Five horses slowly pull the large carriage which is similar to a prefab hut with wheels attached to it.
“What’s that about?” (Hifumi)
“Oh, those are…” (Gaap)
Starting to explain, Gaap cast down his eyes after raising his voice with an 「Ah」.
“I-I’m sorry. To tell you the details about those…” (Gaap)
“Are those strong?” (Hifumi)
“… Stronger than the reinforced soldiers. It’s something that was later on further developed by me. Please forgive me, but any more than that ((is impossible)).” (Gaap)
Hifumi, who judged that it’s apparently something fun going by his look, got excited by the existence of a secret weapon even he doesn’t know about and due to the general of Horant appearing to not be an idiot.
“Yea, that’s just right.” (Hifumi)
“If you don’t have something at this level, you won’t be interesting as study case for Alyssa and Imeraria. Isn’t that fine?” (Hifumi)
Gaap doesn’t comprehend the role of the man in front of his eyes.
“H-However, although you say that, I was told that it might be harsh even with more than twice the military force if one takes on those weapons…” (Gaap)
Doesn’t he notice that he is praising himself by saying such a thing? Even while keeping the details of those weapons ambiguous, Gaap talks about their threat.
However, all of that was ignored by Hifumi with a smile.
“It’s fine. If they die with just this much, that’s all there is to them. Will they try to hit someone collectively towards the direction of winning? That will only increase the numbers to be hit.” (Hifumi)
Due to Hifumi smoothly saying “The beastmen and such are easy prey as well”, Gaap realized.
Hifumi doesn’t take enemies or allies into consideration. His level of perception of them is just the colour difference of game pieces clashing against each other.
He turns his sight at the box-shaped carriage with the weapons on it.
(If this swaying Horant wins, it will result in us fighting the beastmen which would be brought along by this Hifumi-san next. And, if we won against them as well, next…) (Gaap)
Barrenness has a limit, too, Gaap felt a headache. If we lose, it will be the end, but even if we won, the next battle would come. As long as this man exists, Horant will be engulfed in endless battles.
“Hifumi-sama, the preparations for your meal are finished.”
“Lunch has been made by us. We will be happy if it suits your taste.”
Three maids approached as they held down their skirts which fluttered in the wind on the rooftop while facing Hifumi with fleeting glances of upturned eyes.
“Ah, really? Thanks.” (Hifumi)
Once Hifumi thanks them, the maids drag him to the dining hall by pulling Hifumi’s hands while looking happy.
The soldiers, who are on guard duty on the rooftop, looking at that enviously made Gaap uneasy as he watched.
“Dangerous guys might appear to be attractive. I can’t understand.” (Gaap)
Those are egoistic thoughts, but above being taught skills, I’d like to have Hifumi go back home as soon as possible, Gaap assessed.
Due to Hifumi secretly slipping out and his whereabouts becoming unknown on that night, a part of the maids grieved while Gaap felt relieved.
“Noo, I give up, I surrender.” (Tannin)
“Tannin! Is this a situation where you can laugh around care-freely!?” (Kuzemu)
Tanning and Kuzemu, who were together on a carriage at around the middle of the ranks, tried to cope with coming into contact with the enemy faster than they imagined, but they suffered fierce attacks from Orsongrande’s side at their vanguard.
It’s the second day after departing from the capital. It’s the period when the sun is at the zenith.
If it was like war until now, both armies, once they knew about nearing the enemy, would have representatives hold a conference and meanwhile take up positions. Clashing against each other was formerly the basics, but Orsongrande, which confirmed Horant’s reinforced soldiers according to the news from the front row, began to fire spears already after having observed them for several seconds.
“I also know about the power of those spears. But, if it’s the reinforced soldiers who don’t feel any pain, it’s irrelevant, isn’t it?” (Tannin)
“That is…” (Kuzemu)
According to what the soldier, who came to relay information, said, Orsongrande’s spears, which were shot precisely, destroyed the feet and knees of the reinforced soldiers in a flash and on top of restricting their movement, the spears were focussed at their heads.
“Before I head over here, two heads were destroyed and they became incapable of acting.”
“H-Have the magic soldiers attack! After all there are no remarkable magicians in Orsongrande!”
Due to the shouting Kuzemu, Tannin had their magicians step forward and ordered them to attack from a distance.
“During that time, please take the aforementioned gross ((things)) in the rear along. Let’s have this finished by using those.” (Tannin)
“I-Is that alright?”
The soldier and Kuzemu opened their eyes widely due to Tannin mentioning to use their treasured weapons even though the battle started just now.
“It’s fine. We will look like idiots if we lose due to being unwilling to deploy them, right? These things will end up routing them if they aren’t completely blocked by the enemy side bundling its strength. Hey, hurry up!” (Tannin)
Seeing off the runner who dashes away, Tannin grumbled.
“Well, if we make a bit of a comeback with magic, our chance of winning probably won’t be shaken as we outweigh them by numbers.” (Tannin)
Due to that remark, Kuzemu released the tension which entered his shoulders.
“If we don’t finish it quickly, the castle’s beauties might get stolen by our guest.” (Tannin)
While talking about something ridiculous, Tannin stood up and took his beloved sword which was sheathed in a flashy scabbard that had jewels embedded within.
“Where are you going?” (Kuzemu)
“I’m off to the front line for a bit. At these times something called “morale” is important.” (Tannin)
Accepting the reins of his favourite horse, which was made to run along the carriage, from a soldier, he easily jumps on top of the saddle.
“Well then, Your Excellency, the Prime Minister. See you later.” (Tannin)
The ones being surprised by the sudden enemy contact wasn’t just Kuzemu’s army.
“Aren’t we uncivilized to shoot spears all of a sudden!?” (Imeraria)
“What stupid stuff are you talking about? It’s obvious that it’s the enemy if those reinforced soldiers are there. You should praise Fokalore’s soldiers, who splendidly knocked them down after taking the initiative, and the kingdom’s soldiers who are doing their best in protecting them.” (Origa)
Nelgal revealed a wry smile at Imeraria and Origa quarrelling thanks to the fact that there won’t be any help after watching his surroundings.
Alyssa has quickly gone to the front where the soldiers of Fokalore are and hands out commands for the sake of assigning targets. Sabnak was driven away to confirm information and Vaiya was at the front line to begin with.
For not only Fokalore but Orsongrande’s royal army to shoot their spear throwers in alignment is probably Vaiya’s decision.
A knight, who came running from the front line, shouts towards Sabnak.
“It looks like we were successful in making the reinforced soldiers mostly powerless! I don’t know the total number of enemies, but we were able to confirm that their files and ranks are continuing equal to our numbers or above them!”
“How about the enemy’s movements?” (Sabnak)
Sabnak hands over a cup filled with water while asking.
“Thank you very much. The enemy is recovering from the temporary confusion, the infantrymen, who were behind the reinforced soldiers, are showing movements towards spreading out left and right.”
“I see…” (Sabnak)
“Sabnak-san, isn’t there any chance to tell them our side of the story?” (Imeraria)
Sabnak answered Imeraria’s question with a 「Though it’s regrettable, but no」.
“At least until the long distance battle ends, it will probably be difficult. Seeing that it’s very probable for magic soldiers being over there, I won’t allow it as Your Majesty will be defenceless.” (Sabnak)
“And if it turns into a rally with our side’s magic soldiers?” (Imeraria)
“That might be hard.” (Sabnak)
The number of Orsongrande’s magic soldiers is, to say it frankly, meagre.
Their skill levels are low as well. If someone at Origa’s joined the army, they would probably climb to the top of the magic soldiers in the twinkling of an eye.
“Since their numbers are low, it will take the shape of waiting until the opponent’s side runs out of mana by using a platform wagon as shield for a while, if it turns into a rally of magic. In that case, it means that we will be pinned down after leaving from here…” (Sabnak)
Going by past measurements versus magicians, enduring with large shields was considered to be an established tactic, but they weren’t able to disregard human losses either. This time we will make use of the usual trick of Fokalore to change the solid platform wagons into shields by knocking them over, Sabnak decided before their departure.
Once everyone turns their sight towards the fragile voice, there was the elf Puuse who raised her small hand.
“Can’t you use a magic barrier?” (Puuse)
Due to Sabnak plainly asking by reflex, Puuse is surprised and explains it briefly.
To put it simply, it’s a magic bulwark against magic, but there are many elves who have become strong at it because of the long sealing. Puuse can use it as well.
However, because only magic as means of attack was advanced in research among humans, that type of skill ended up being lost.
“If you like, I can help you with the barrier, I think.” (Puuse)
It was a welcome offer but, Sabnak feels reluctant to have her, who is just a guest to the bitter end, participate in the battle.
Even for Imeraria it’s the same. She had the drive of wanting to observe it as person who researches magic, but she restrained herself with This place is ((a battlefield)).
The only one not restraining herself is Origa.
“That’s wonderful. Please show us by all means. I will accompany you to the front line, too.” (Origa)
“Ah, yes.” (Puuse)
Even a platform wagon got taken.
“Please wait.” (Imeraria)
“Good grief”, Imeraria, who shook her head, gives the instruction 「We will advance to the front line together with this platform wagon」.
“It’s probably better if you take command at the front as well, Sabnak-san. At any rate, Nelgal-sama and me don’t want to miss an opportunity to make a speech. If they are able to deploy a barrier, there will likely be little danger, too.” (Imeraria)
“A-As you have ordered.” (Sabnak)
Once Sabnak gives a signal to the soldier steering the platform wagon, the soldiers begin to advance to the front by pushing their way through.
When Puuse starts to chant, Origa’s and Imeraria’s gazes focus on her.
(That’s not easy to do…)
While being stared at with serious eyes, Puuse, who chose the timing on her own discretion, deploys her mana and a faintly translucent wall extends by seemingly boiling up from the ground.
Immediately following that, magic attacks started from Horant’s side, but fireballs, rocks, wind and water, all of it scatters at the moment it comes in contact with the barrier.
“This is amazing.”
“I see, it’s the materialization of mana that holds no attribute…”
Within the mix of praising and analysing voices, Puuse blushed while concentrating her consciousness on the preservation of the barrier.
(It’s because I’m good at healing and barriers though.) (Puuse)
Puuse decided to stay silent about her being utterly useless in regards to offensive magic.
Suddenly Origa stood up and raised her voice.
“Hifumi-sama is watching.” (Origa)
“Eh? From where?”
Although it’s unknown how she sensed him, just as Origa says, Hifumi was care-freely observing from a place separated from the highway.
Even the rabbit beastwoman Viine, who heard Hifumi’s name, shifted her ears and head in hurry, but she wasn’t able to find him.
“I can’t stay like this. If we are observed by Hifumi-sama, I will fight as well… ouch!”
What hit the head of Origa, who stood up while grasping her wand in a hurry, with a clunk was a small stone wrapped in a parchment.
Only 「Stay silent and watch」 in Hifumi’s poor handwriting is written on it.
“Now that he mentions it, this is Alyssa’s trial…” (Origa)
Behind Origa, who sat down once again while being downhearted, the tigerboy Malfas, who was nervous due to the atmosphere of a battlefield, whiffed, looked in the direction from where the stone came flying, opened his mouth and became stiff.
The figure of Hifumi, which Malfas discovered, was that of the man who destroyed his village.