Chapter 159 – Timebomb


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Having his own subordinate soldiers, who came running towards him, being bisected in a single stroke made Bashim flustered.

“What the hell is this? Someone tell me what’s this about!” (Bashim)

“It’s an enemy attack, Don’t be so frightened if you are the supreme commander here.” (Hifumi)

“A blue horse is unusual”, carrying the katana in his hand, Hifumi approaches with a slow swaying.
The demon soldiers, who desperately ran away, had been altogether split into upper and lower body halves and died while stretching their hands towards Bashim as if asking for help.

“A human… it is?” (Bashim)

“Let me tell you something nice. Some of your subordinates died.” (Hifumi)

Bashim, who looks down at Hifumi from atop his mount, bit his back teeth while sweating.

“Human, did you bastard kill them?” (Hifumi)

“The ones I finished off were at a level that I could deal with them with one hand. The others were killed by Vichy… this country. If you are going to attack a place, you should at least know its name, don’t you think so? Within Vichy there’s a civil war… or rather it’s a partial rampage. It looks like your soldiers died after getting dragged into that.” (Hifumi)

“Are you telling me to believe that?” (Bashim)

“Not really. Do as you like.” (Hifumi)

While talking, Hifumi’s vicinity gets surrounded by demon soldiers.
Seeing Hifumi calmly continuing to talk even while being encircled from all sides, Bashim wondered whether Hifumi is some kind of lunatic.

“But you know, to properly gather information is Vepar’s order, isn’t it?” (Hifumi)

With the name of the sovereign mentioned, Bashim temporarily refrained from giving the order to wrap things once and for all up by killing Hifumi.

“Your numbers are too lacking. If one really considered taking down a country, there would be personnel in order to reign it and not just soldiers to attack it. Though it’s different if it’s plain annihilation, I guess. Vepar should know at least this much.” (Hifumi)

“… We are strong. If we observe one or two cities, that will be plenty.” (Bashim)

“One or two? Ufu, ahahahaha!” (Hifumi)

Hifumi, who had his fill of a bellyful loud laughter, muttered “What an utter let down” towards Bashim.

“You have to do much better if you are going to deceive someone. If you tell a lie and it’s immediately exposed, one will be able to see your true nature.” (Hifumi)

“You!! Though you are an inferior life-form!” (Bashim)

Once he roared, the blade of a longsword was created by Bashim from thin air in front of his eyes and at the same time it was shot like a bullet.
There isn’t even 10 meters distance between the two.
Bashim imagined the sight of the blade piercing the enemy’s belly, and thinking how that would be reproduced in reality right away, his expression warped, but it never came to pass.

“There’s no way for the blade to reach from this far away, is there?” (Hifumi)

The sword, which Bashim released, is piercing the ground diagonally behind Hifumi who was grasping the scabbard he is wearing at his waist.

“W-Wh-What happened…?” (Bashim)

“You aimed at my belly, right? That’s why I repelled it like this.” (Hifumi)

He swings the mouth of the scabbard left and right.

“As if such foolishness is possible!?” (Bashim)

“Told you.” (Hifumi)

The second sword was knocked down with the pommel.

“Something like firing it directly at me from ahead in front of my eyes is like telling me “Please defend against it”, right…? Good grief, Bennia and Phelgor were capable of doing a lot more different things.” (Hifumi)

Being compared to names he knows, Bashim tightly bites his back teeth once again.

“Putting aside Phegol who was the king’s aide, you are telling me that I’m worse than Bennia who didn’t command anything above a platoon?” (Bashim)

Hifumi replied to the enraged Bashim by laughing frivolously.

“It’s slightly different. If you can’t do anything but sending swords flying, it should be corrected to a lot worse.” (Hifumi)

Did he reach the peak of his rage? Raising a roar with unknown meaning, Bashim held up his right hand immediately and ordered the soldiers with a very loud voice,

“Everyone, attack him with magic all at once! The attribute doesn’t matter! Erase the insolent human so that not even a speck of dust remains of him!” (Bashim)

At the same time as the order reaches them, a variety of magic attacks, such as ice, flames, rocks and water, comes flying from the soldiers who were surrounding Hifumi.
Steam and sand swirls about, and a smoke, mixed with the colours of white and light brown, rises up at the place where Hifumi stood.
Once someone extinguished it with a water spell, only the hollowed-out ground was left there.

“… Humph. He was a human after all, huh? A fragile being.” (Bashim)

“If they hit, that is.” (Hifumi)

A sole answer was audible from behind the muttering Bashim.

“You bastard…” (Bashim)

Knowing the cold sensation at the nape of his neck, Bashim only turned his eyes, but his field of vision didn’t reach Hifumi’s face. Only the cold blade, which reflected his face wet with cold sweat, entered his sight.

“Cut it out with the attacks where you lose sight of your enemy. Not knowing what you opponent did is disadvantageous, right?” (Hifumi)

“Even if you kill me, there are still 20 soldiers here. Don’t believe that you will be able to get away…” (Bashim)

“You are furious, aren’t you? That’s good.” (Hifumi)

While keeping the katana closely at his neck, Hifumi grabbed the left arm of Bashim and twisted it.
Despite being on top of a horse, Hifumi doesn’t lose his balance at all. On the other hand, Bashim’s balance crumbles and he is a situation where he supports his stance somehow with the stirrup.
Even the surrounding demon soldiers have no other choice but to watch from a distance out of fear that they would accidentally shoot Bashim if they attacked.
Hifumi spoke up towards them.

“Currently you are attacking Vichy. Next to it, there’s a country called Orsongrande. I’m staying there. Come after gathering bigger numbers. If you do that, I will face you directly.” (Hifumi)

He removed the katana from Bashim’s neck, but Bashim can’t move due to his wrist being immobilized.

“The thinking that you are strong and the humans are weak resulted in this. You feel offended, don’t you? There might also be some fellows who are considering it as unreasonable, if they are a slightly stupid. So, since I’m a feudal lord-sama who possesses a heart as wide as the wastelands, I thought that I will give you an opportunity for revenge.” (Hifumi)

He makes a sound as if rubbing silk.
Without anyone noticing, the katana, held by Hifumi, was swung up from below.

“Guaaaaaaaaah!” (Bashim)

Having his left arm severed from the tip of the shoulder, Bashim finally ended up falling off his horse.
Holding up the arm while grabbing it with his left hand, Hifumi glares at the surroundings.

“I will return this arm if you come in front of me.” (Hifumi)

In front of the dumbfounded demon soldiers, he tosses the arm into his darkness storage and wipes his katana with repeatedly stacked papers.
While hearing the voice of Bashim, who has fainted in agony, from behind as the discarded papers flutter down, Hifumi leisurely goes home.
A person, who would try to stop him, currently didn’t exist in this place.

☺☻☺

Three days later than Hifumi’s party, Alyssa returned to Fokalore while leading the exhausted soldiers.

“I’m home~…” (Alyssa)

“Welcome back.”

Alyssa, who finished the explanation about their holidays and their assignments afterwards, had the unit disperse while having a completely exhausted expression herself as well.
Returning to the feudal lord’s mansion, Alyssa searched for Hifumi in order to give her report, but as he apparently left to meddle with Vichy right after returning and had departed casually to some place once again, she wasn’t able to meet him.
In exchange, she’s greeted by Caim and Brokra.

“Thanks for your hard work, director.”

Once she gulps down the cold tea, Brokra poured in her cup, in one go while sitting in a chair of the conference room, Alyssa prostrated limply on the table.

“In the end it didn’t become much of a training. Orsongrande and Horant became friends, and that was it.” (Alyssa)

“In this time’s matter Orsongrande has probably acquired a superior position in regards to Horant. And in addition, it’s only Fokalore and Münster who supported the royal army at all places. Together with the previous uproar in Horant, the two Earl households have become extremely powerful and influential voices within the country.” (Caim)

While feeling a sense of discomfort towards Caim who explains it with a tone completely like that of a teacher, Alyssa received another cup of tea from Brokra and sighed.

“Hifumi-san’s influential voice, or rather, his powerful influence isn’t something that started just now, is it? Even in the matter this time, he manipulated the princess… err, queen-sama and the king over there.” (Alyssa)

Due to Alyssa chatting as if she had forgotten that she participated in that expedition as well, Caim answered 「Is that so?」 without moving even one eyebrow.
Since he has finished listening to the reports from the soldiers who returned together with Hifumi, for Caim, who had all the fact stored in his head, it’s apparently no problem to ignore Alyssa’s impressions.

“However.” (Caim)

Caim placed a thick bundle of documents in front of the sitting Alyssa.

“It’s Lord-sama’s influence. And not only that. it’s necessary for you to grasp the influence of the Earl Tohno household and this territory. Since the current Lord-sama is fortunately the source of it all, there is little history that you have to remember, but regarding the circumstances inside and outside the country, you have to do it down to the basics.” (Caim)

Alyssa timidly extends a hand and looks at one paper titled 『History and the Beginning of Orsongrande』. A long, long essay with illustrations put in-between sometimes was written there.

“Y-Yeeaa…?” (Alyssa)

Next Brokra approaches Alyssa who doesn’t know how she should react.
She holds a dress in her hands.

“Umm…” (Alyssa)

“The study of history and politics is important, but for a lady it’s also necessary to practise dancing and etiquette, right? If it’s your age, director, I believe that a cute design still suits you much more than a beautiful one, but what do you think about this one?” (Brokra)

“I don’t understand what you are saying, Brokra-san.” (Caim)

Caim retorted from the side with a flat voice, that suited his expressionless face well, towards Brokra, who presents a frilly dress, making her eyes change into dots.

“It’s very likely a problem to be called a lady with an unsubstantial character. If she studies properly first, her performance will be great, right?”

“Different from you, Caim-san, there are no cool girls burying their noses in books all day long. If you don’t weave in some enjoyable content, the director will be pitiable, won’t she?” (Brokra)

“It will be embarassing as long as she doesn’t possess a proper political sense. You can’t compare social life with diplomacy.” (Caim)

“Since you can’t compare them, you have to consider their balance.” (Brokra)

“W-Wait a bit.” (Alyssa)

Alyssa stopped the two, who started a discussion about her training for some reason, by stretching out both hands.

“I can’t follow your discussion. But, why do I have, umm… to learn history, politics or dance? Or do I have to study such things?” (Alyssa)

“Huh?”

Brokra looks at Alyssa with a startled expression.

“… I see, it seems she didn’t hear about it.” (Caim)

“Ah… so that’s how it is?” (Brokra)

When Brokra was looking at the ceiling while curbing her eyebrows, the door of the conference room suddenly opened.
Caim swiftly lowers his head and Brokra follows up on him as well.

“Did you return? Good wor-… what’s going on here?”

Hifumi, who entered the room, picks up a document, lifts it up and scans over it.

“Being suddenly told to study, I’m totally lost…” (Alyssa)

“Ah.” (Hifumi)

Hifumi slaps his own cheek with his right hand.

“I forgot to tell you. Alyssa, please become my daughter.” (Hifumi)

“Ha?” (Alyssa)

“I’m asking you to become my adopted daughter, is what I mean. Since I will give you the territory such as Fokalore and various other.” (Hifumi)

Alyssa wasn’t aware herself for how many seconds she froze, but after plenty of time, she raised a voice that resembled a scream.

☺☻☺

“… Recently I feel like I’m fainting often.” (Imeraria)

Imeraria muttered while getting up from the bed and scooping up the oatmeal prepared by her maid.

“Umm, that’s not because of Your Majesty. It’s because you are troubled over various matters regarding a certain person…”

It was the maid who accompanied her to the battle with Horant that is frantically searching for words to comfort Imeraria who has an expression that seems to be on the verge of crying.
Directly after returning to the capital , She was also present at the place where Imeraria fainted due to seeing the severed head of the completely changed Balzephon put on display at the plaza right in front of the castle. The maid lost conciousness for an instant as well, but somehow managed to support Imeraria.
When she recovered more or less after a good night’s sleep, there was a document sent by Fokalore notifying her about an adopted child.
Due to not being in a normal condition, Imeraria fainted once again after she read the message of Hifumi taking an adopted child in the document. After that she was finally able to get up once it became evening.

“If I’m told that this is also the duty of a ruler, it will probably end with this, but… the one who summoned that gentleman into this world is defintely me… geez.” (Imeraria)

Imeraria, who ate around half of the dish, once again picks up and examines the document regarding the adopted child which was sent from Fokalore.
A noble taking an adopted child so that they can have the child succeed the family headship doesn’t really need the king’s permission. It’s been arranged that it will be fine as long as they at least request consent if it’s a current family head or a bereaved family.
This was once again a document composed with a content that might serve as role model due to its regular and well-ordered characters which can be considered to not be Hifumi’s own writing, only the signature lines up strangely poor characters which appear to really be Hifumi’s.
Imeraria didn’t particularly intend to object about the matter of Alyssa succeeding the territory. It might be something one-sided, but Imeraria feels some intimacy toward her born from the fact that they fought together.
If I can have her show presence in the upper class, which is a male society, as one of the few female feudal lords, it might become a good restraint towards the men who make light of a queen, she thinks.

“Excuse me. How’s your condition?” (Sabnak)

Imeraria silently handed over the document she received from Fokalore to Sabnak who entered after knocking as he probably received a report that Imeraria had woken up.

“?… This is…” (Sabnak)

“What do you think is his aim?” (Imeraria)

The one who probably knows the most about Hifumi inside the castle is Sabnak. Imeraria felt uneasy about him being too close feeling-wise to Hifumi’s side, but she judged that he’s appropriate as advisor.

“Ah… how to say it…?” (Sabnak)

“Is it something difficult to say?” (Imeraria)

“Not as long as I can state it with the premise that it’s nothing but my own guess.” (Sabnak)

Shifting the plate with the oatmeal to the side, Imeraria placed both her hands, with the fingers entangled, on the table and made a short pause.

“I don’t mind. Please let me hear it.” (Imeraria)

“Isn’t he planning to retire so that he can move about freely…? He might have lost interest in being a noble.” (Sabnak)

“Hasn’t he been moving around freely until now?” (Imeraria)

“To me it looks like he’s pushing his duties on Alyssa in order to begin preparing something big, but…” (Sabnak)

Imeraria felt impatient due to Sabnak words.

“… I guess I have to directly hear about it from the person himself.” (Imeraria)

Imeraria, who accepted the document from Sabnak after standing up, ordered while furrowing her eyebrows,

“Please send a summons to Earl Tohno. … Let’s use the war in Vichy as pretext.” (Imeraria)

However, that matter is naturally no more than a side business.
What Imeraria wanted to hear was just one thing.

“What do you intend to do to our world…?” (Imeraria)

Even if something happens, as person responsible for a country, as person bearing the responsibility of having summoned him and even after putting her desire for revenge aside, there’s something she has to do.
I might die, but it’s definitely my duty, Imeraria was determined.

 


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