Orsongrande and Horant decided to not directly interfere in Vichy’s disturbances.
With this being a declaration that they won’t support either Vichy’s nor Pyursang’s side, both countries stopped at just fortifying their border’s defence. In the case of an outbreak of refugees, they wanted to give permission for entering their countries based upon the refugee’s recorded social status.
It’s a measure they adopted because of the reports, stating that it’s likely a small scale war according to the situation, that reached both countries’ central governments. If they had more detailed reports regarding the turmoil in Pyursang, they might have gone to reinforce Vichy.
Of course that doesn’t mean they looked at it lightly, but because they closely observed the movements of Hifumi, whose territory is adjacent to Vichy, while feeling rather tense, they never became aware of the truth.
That is, with the exception of Fokalore’s administration.
“A rampage by Pyursang’s soldiers, it is?” (Caim)
Reviewing the report from a solider of Fokalore who has gathered intelligence about Vichy’s area, Caim returned his look to the assembled civil officials in the room without moving a single eyebrow.
“It’s related to the war between Vichy and Pyursang, but it seems the current situation is such that Pyursang’s soldiers have scattered and are attacking the surrounding cities. They are carrying out massacres that can’t be called battles at all. That’s what the report states.” (Caim)
“Vichy’s side has soldiers as well, don’t they? What are those guys doing?” (Doelgar)
Upon Doelgars’s question, Caim lowers his sight on the report once again.
“It looks like they have been defeated all together by Pyursang’s soldiers. At present they are apparently evacuating the people from the villages and cities close to Pyursang.” (Caim)
“They are that strong?” (Miyukare)
Everyone else had the same opinion upon Miyukare’s question.
Especially from the point of view of Miyukare who has campaign experience, it was unbelievable for the defending side to be torn apart by soldiers, who don’t work together in units and whose numbers are insufficient, unless there’s quite the difference in ability.
“We still don’t have precise information, but it appears that they are mostly operating like night burglars. They attack at random while travelling without caring whether it’s night or day.” (Caim)
“Even though Pyursang is small, I thought that the person who became king is relatively capable of negotiations, but… The people from the delegation were ordinary people, too.” (Brokra)
Brokra says while remembering the envoys who visited Fokalore. It didn’t seem like a government that will do such reckless acts at all, was Brokra’s impression.
“It seems that merchants, who are sensitive to information, are beginning to evacuate. It’s hopeless for them to survive if their goods and tools are stolen. Their reaction towards new information is quick. Being lured by that, refugees from the ordinary citizens will likely appear as well.” (Caim)
“What about Pyursang?” (Doelgar)
“They aren’t doing anything in particular. No, they can’t do anything.” (Caim)
Putting down the report, Caim fixed his eyes on the asking Doelgar.
Even while being aware that Caim doesn’t particularly blame him, Doelgar feels some discomfort from being directly stared at with an expressionless face. It resembles the strange inability to calm down when I was seriously asked a question by the teacher of my studying place in my childhood, his thoughts went gradually astray.
“We should be able to deal with them if they come attacking our side, but with Lord-sama currently absent, we can’t move the soldiers as we please. Even if we do, that’s probably something for when Lord-sama has returned.” (Caim)
Paryu takes a short pause to confirm that Caim’s line of sight turned towards herself.
“If there’s a possibility of people escaping, we should gather information, confirm and examine it, and have all soldiers cooperate. It’s wrong if we don’t prepare for accepting the refugees.” (Paryu)
Everyone agrees with the opinion of Paryu who is the youngest.
“Then, I will leave the assignment of personnel to you, Miyukare and Paryu.” (Caim)
“Sure. There’s still leeway as for the personnel. We have to also increase the number of guards and defenders.” (Miyukare)
“No, please let the soldiers rest as much as possible.” (Caim)
Because of the unusual word “rest” appearing from Caim’s mouth, everyone turned silent due to being startled.
Are they unhappy with it? Caim slowly looked at everyone.
“The news about the turmoil have already been sent to Lord-sama. It’s obvious that he will come back flying and poke his nose in Vichy’s affairs while leading soldiers again. There’s no way that we can send the soldiers, who only returned, to Vichy just like that, right? The currently stationed unit will handle the battle in Vichy’s area. If we don’t have them rest for now, unnecessary losses will appear among them.” (Caim)
There wasn’t a single objection.
Even Vichy’s central committee wasn’t able to grasp precise information regarding the rampage of Pyursang’s soldiers.
Although the damage is spreading slowly, it’s not like they are moving in a large unit. On top of increasing the damage while moving in small groups, their own troops just get defeated systematically as it’s said the the enemy 「Attacks without even minding being injured」. Nothing but such unbelievable details are being reported.
“What are we going to do!? What is Pyursang thinking!?”
The members of the central committee lose their temper as they can do nothing but confirm that neither of them possesses any relevant information even after meeting up.
“Let alone a declaration of war, there’s no contact from their side at all. In addition, they don’t even try to rule the cities and villages but just destroy them utterly…”
“Just like the act of madmen. It’s not only Minoson either. I can’t think anything but the entire lot from Pyursang having gone mad.”
The severally mentioned accusations towards Pyursang vanish without anyone being able to react.
What’s left is just a feeling of powerlessness.
“It’s already a situation that can’t be dealt with by the various cities themselves. For the sake of not spreading the damage, we should entrap the enemy by concentrating our country’s military strength just like before.”
“Yes, it’s probably plenty to leave a minimum of troops to deal with Horant’s and Orsongrande’s side on this occasion.”
“We have sent a lot of personnel to Fokalore for training purposes. Training units from Fokalore have also come to our cities. There’s no way that Orsongrande’s side will come attacking in such situation.”
At the moment they decided a rough plan, they selfishly established a city, which hadn’t sent a committee member, as line of defence and one-sidedly announced a recommendation for evacuation. At the same time they decided to gather the military forces from within the country.
There was a lot of criticism towards that manner of handling things especially from the cities close to Pyursang. But, being threatened with 「Then we will just abandon you」, they weren’t able to oppose the decision either.
With this, the turmoil will finish and the just newly established country named Pyursang will have its short lifetime come to an end, everyone in Vichy believed.
Five days later, at the time when half of the entire forces had been assembled from the neighbouring cities, a report, which was delivered to the central committee, plunged the city-state assembly called Vichy into the worst-possible crisis.
“W-We are being invaded!”
The members of the central committee had all gathered and greeted the soldier, who rushed into the council room, with cold stares.
“What are you saying at this point in time? We are in the middle of moving the army in order to hold back the invasion of that Pyursang, aren’t we?”
“No, it’s not from Pyursang’s direction! It’s from the opposite side!”
“What did you say!?”
A middle-aged committee member, who stood up with the force of knocking over his chair, shouted while succumbing to an agitation that made his face blush.
“Meaning Orsongrande is attacking!?”
The messenger denied those words by shaking his head.
“I-It’s demons… an army of demons came attacking in great numbers from the wastelands! It took me three days to get here, but it looks like they had taken up position on the other side of the national border when I left…”
“Demons, you say? Is that information correct?”
“I saw them with my very own eyes. Troops with grey skin lining up and a man on horse with blue skin, who’s likely the general, boldly standing in front of the army.”
After that it didn’t take much time for the committee to decide sending a request for reinforcements to Fokalore.
At the time he left the royal capital, the news of the war progress between Vichy and Pyursang as well as the stand-off of the demon’s army against Vichy reached Hifumi’s location.
Just reporting that he received instructions from Caim, the messenger from Fokalore hands over the written report and quickly leaves again. It’s in order to convey Hifumi’s current location to Caim.
“They finally came, huh?” (Hifumi)
“Aren’t they slow”, Hifumi muttered.
“The demons, you mean?” (Origa)
Receiving the written report from Hifumi, Origa scans through its contents.
Stretching her neck at Origa’s side, Viine took a peek as well.
“Come to think of it, I met with the demon’s king called Vepar-san. When I was travelling with Puuse-san and the others, we ran into her in the wastelands. Just as woman, Vepar-san was a particularly beautiful person, but…” (Viine)
She frowns while lowering the edges of her mouth.
“Did something happen?”
“Apparently knowing about you, master, umm… she talked badly about you…” (Viine)
Recalling the degree of her frustration which made her wail at that time, large drops of tears accumulated in Viine’s eyes.
“Vepar, huh? She properly became their king. Does her attack on Vichy mean that she was able to resolve herself to fight against me? Or did she deliberately choose Vichy while avoiding a direct clash with me…? At any rate, it will likely become more enjoyable than Horant.” (Hifumi)
“Hifumi-sama, the ones called demons, how do they fight?” (Origa)
Origa, who heard Vepar’s assessment of Hifumi from Viine, asks with a voice that contained her anger.
“Their strength lies in magic. It seems that there are many among them who possess unique abilities. There was a guy who could create strong barriers. And there was also another guy who could turn his voice into an attack.” (Hifumi)
“It was fun!” Hifumi smiles.
“Their abilities and strength was splendid as well, but their main is magic, I guess. Which reminds me, there was also a guy who could use electric shocks, wasn’t there?” (Hifumi)
“Electric shocks, you say?” (Origa)
Not understanding the words’ meaning, Viine looked at Origa, but Origa mentions that she doesn’t understand either.
“Ah… electricity. No, there’s lightning, right? It’s something like manipulating a small version of that phenomenon, I suppose.” (Hifumi)
After hearing Hifumi’s explanation, both looked at each other.
For them, who can use similar magic, it was something they couldn’t imagine.
Receiving such reactions, there was something Hifumi thought of for a bit, but as it couldn’t be helped even if he mentioned it here, he kept silent.
“I’m not very knowledgeable about magic, but as for its practical use and deployment speed in battle, the demons are the best, then the elves and at last the humans, I guess. I don’t know how much magic the beastmen can use, but aren’t they far below humans as it still hasn’t been long since they became able to use it at all?” (Hifumi)
“In any event, if the demons’ opponent is Vichy’s military, it’s very likely that they will be annihilated within a few days”, Hifumi predicted.
“That’s under the premise that they are intending to really attack Vichy though. Vichy’s chance of winning lies in the fact that they are the defending side and that the demons themselves aren’t accustomed to war. It depends on what Vepar is planning regarding that.” (Hifumi)
The demons, who were isolated from the other races for the extended period of several generations passing, have no combat experience besides fighting amongst themselves and subjugating monsters. Even the long battle against the elves is a talk from a distant past, and only remains in books and hearsay. Can they return? And how do they plan to move against the humans? Hifumi looked forward to this.
“If it were you, how would you handle it, Hifumi-sama?” (Origa)
Hifumi looked up to the sky upon Origa’s question.
“Let’s see… starting with battles in several steps, I would watch how the humans’ side reacts. And then I would have spies infiltrate while using the confusion.” (Hifumi)
“Reconnaissance, it is?” (Origa)
“Something like the intelligence from just facing each other in battle is of no importance. The reserve forces, provisions, a route in case of retreat, and in reverse, places where it’s possible for the enemy to circle around and stage an ambush; there are many such facts you won’t know unless you are on the other side.” (Hifumi)
Hearing the reply to Origa’s question, Viine understood why Reni, who received Hifumi’s teaching, regarded information highly.
“It seems that demons can disguise as humans. After sending in some people into the humans’ camp by having them disguise as the enemy’s soldiers, they can recover them while having skirmishes once again. And then they can form counter-plans.” (Hifumi)
“Since Vepar believes in cautiousness, she might possibly thinking like this”, Hifumi evaluated.
“Then there’s also the possibility that a spy will enter Fokalore as well, right?” (Origa)
“That’s to be expected.” (Hifumi)
There isn’t even a shred of sensing impeding danger as Hifumi nods lightly.
“Will we help Vichy then?” (Origa)
Accepting the explanation, Origa simplified it in her mind and judged that Vichy likely has no chance of winning. In addition to them having to split their forces for the battle with Pyursang, one can’t say that Vichy’s military prowess raised that much even after sending in training units. Moreover, seeing that they are an assembly of city-states, there’s no way that they have prepared a chain of command either.
Even if it’s not Fokalore, Vichy will probably lose unless they get powerful assistance from somewhere.
However, Hifumi denied that.
“No, we won’t help Vichy.” (Hifumi)
“… Then it’ll be the demons’ side?” (Viine)
Hifumi denied Viine’s timid question with a “it’s something else.”
“There’s no necessity to become an ally of either side, right? Let’s keep our thinking a bit more flexible.” (Hifumi)
Showing the left hand which was covered by the glove, he raises one finger for each.
“The demons, Pyursang and Vichy… currently those three powers are heading towards the battlefield. In that case…” (Hifumi)
He held up yet another finger.
“Even if a fourth power joins, it probably won’t matter.” (Hifumi)
While slowly swaying four fingers he laughs and says “it might be fun to take bets which side is going to win, you know?” Origa smiles and says 「In that case my bet on you, Hifumi-sama, won’t come true」.
Viine was troubled as she couldn’t follow the conversation since her knowledge about the human countries, Vichy and Pyursang, still wasn’t up to date.