“If that’s how it is, I will accept.”
“Thank you very much.”
Malfas advanced by himself through the forest to hide himself from the other beastmen and finally arrived at the former Swordland.
Both his hand have been bound, but after somehow succeeding in being let through to Vepar, he obtained permission to join the demon army.
The occupied human castle. It’s the place where the bear beastman Salgu, who stormed in to save the beastmen, fought against Swordland’s king a while ago, and where both of them were killed by Hifumi who barged into their fight, but there’s no way for Vepar and Malfas to know about that taking place.
Using the audience hall as is, Vepar, who sat on the throne, looked down upon Malfas.
“However, can I have you tell me the things you learned and saw at the time you went to the human cities without holding back anything? In addition, I will have you give me all the information you own about a man called Hifumi.” (Vepar)
Malfas didn’t show the slightest hint of pondering over the conditions named by Vepar.
It looks like he doesn’t think through anything, Vepar inclined towards taking it easy in her consideration, but for a convert to appear at this phase; I can’t carelessly trust him although I did accept him joining us.
“By the way, I think there were also humans with… those beastmen and elves, weren’t there? What happened to them?” (Vepar)
Malfas hesitated to give an answer to this question.
“… They said that they would rely on the human Hifumi since they can’t win against the demons.” (Malfas)
“I have the intention to capture human cities, so you might have to fight against your former comrades, correct?” (Vepar)
“I-I don’t mind. If they come out to fight… besides, my sister won’t appear on the battlefield… probably…” (Malfas)
Watching Malfas who tightly grasped both his handcuffed hands while averting his gaze by looking on the floor, Vepar assessed him to be a honest child. His spirit of opposing Hifumi probably originates from that aspect of his. Though he seems to have a simple character because of that.
“In that case, though it’s abrupt, I guess I’d like you to appear on the battlefield once to have you show me your resolve and ability.” (Vepar)
The expression of Malfas, who raised his head, showed him keeping his mouth shut tightly while waiting for Vepar’s words.
“I investigated the state called Vichy among the human countries. I plan to genuinely gain full control of that place, therefore I will have you join the invasion army. Thus, demonstrate your usefulness to me.” (Vepar)
“Understood. So when will I depart?” (Malfas)
“Tomorrow. The start of the invasion is tomorrow as well.” (Vepar)
In front of Malfas, who stares at her while not understanding what she has said, Vepar slowly stood up and raised her hands in a big manner.
“Answer to my life force and show me a path to that distant place.” (Vepar)
No sooner than her saying that, a small black spot appears and turns into a huge circle with a diameter of possibly three meters in the blink of an eye. Its surface that was flat and deep black spread while heading towards Vepar.
“This is a darkness spell. A transfer gate. With this I can send soldiers from this location to the human country at once. That’s why you will be able to suddenly attack after departing tomorrow.”
With a serious look, Malfas asked Vepar, who proudly looks down on him with her arms folded,
“If you have this, even at the time of the first attack… no, you will be able to directly invade into Hifumi’s city…” (Malfas)
“Ugh… Well, there are various conditions. Currently we can’t transfer anywhere except for Vichy.” (Vepar)
She phrased it in a way that made it apparent that she’s dodging the matter, but what Vepar said were facts. Receiving instructions in dark magic from the death god, she became able to draw up plans that use transfer gates which even Hifumi can’t use. However, on top of being influenced by compatibility and mana, Vepar couldn’t transfer anywhere besides places, which possess landmarks that were set up in advance, or places Vepar already visited once.
Moreover, the current size of its opening was the limit. Given the limit of its size that allowed around 2~3 people to pass through at once depending on their body sizes, they would likely be killed one after the other at the transfer destination if they thoughtlessly appeared in front of Hifumi.
Therefore she decided to first capture Vichy in order to prepare close to the other human countries. Though that’s nothing she would tell Malfas who is treated as common soldier.
Once she’s satisfied with the look of Malfas, who admires the transfer gate with its jet black opening, a single girl appeared from within that darkness. It’s Pheres who belongs to the demon army.
“Ah, it was you after all, Vepar-sama. Everyone got startled when the gate suddenly appeared in the barracks.” (Pheres)
“Oh, really? Sorry, sorry. Ah right, can you guide him to the barracks on this occasion? You can take off the handcuffs.” (Vepar)
“Yeees~. Come this way then.” (Pheres)
Being led by Pheres who came out of the gate speedily and without delay, Malfas fearfully went through the gate as well.
After waiting for several seconds and making sure that there’s no change, Vepar closed the gate.
She opened a big gate to put on airs, but it takes 80% of her mana to open such a gate, leaving aside maintaining it. Vepar entrusted her body into the throne due to her exhaustion that was accompanied by a light dizziness.
“Anyway, it seems like you got a handle on it, doesn’t it?”
“Death god… are you sarcastic? Even though I have to sit on the chair out of exhaustion.” (Vepar)
“What are you saying? Just being able to use it up to this point is already a great achievement.”
A skinny man in a tailcoat. The death god stands next to the throne while showing a creepy grin.
“Even Hifumi has mastered this, right?” (Vepar)
“He has the talent to do so. However, in fact he can’t use gates.”
Even the death god apparently doesn’t understand why Hifumi can’t use transfer gates. “The manifestation of the attribute also changes depending on the person’s elementary attainments and their image to what is called darkness”, the death god explained, but Vepar didn’t get it at all.
“So, what did you come here for?” (Vepar)
“I visited you to bid farewell.”
“… I see. Where do plan to go next and what do you intend to do there?” (Vepar)
Vepar believes that it’s not very desirable for the number of people, who can use similar magic, to grow stronger, but she doesn’t possess any means to tie down the existence called death god.
“Everywhere, or rather, I will go anywhere. It appears that the world is in the process of approaching my ideal. A conflict between the demons and an alliance of humans is going to start. Many lives will likely be lost.”
Vepar tries to not match her eyes with the death god who laughs eerily while licking its lips.
“You have a bad taste, you know?” (Vepar)
“I’d like you to not say that. After all this is also my job.”
“I shall give you my gratitude. The demons, who always existed in the shadows, will very soon become the leading actors of this world. That was the dearest wish of many of our ancestors…” (Vepar)
However, that’s not what Vepar wishes for.
She will initiate the battle, but she doesn’t wish for a world full of fighting.
“If the demons manage to control this world, the world will become peaceful in reverse. Once that happens, your preferred world will vanish, won’t it?” (Vepar)
“Indeed… I suppose I will come up with something new at that time. Well then, stay healthy.”
The figure of the death god vanishes and silence spreads throughout the audience hall.
The room, where oppressive shadows seem to stickily cling to the stone walls, is gloomy, as if expressing Vepar’s mental state.
“Let’s get the party started! I guess I will have the battle maniacs do as they please even if I fall into infamy.” (Vepar)
While firing herself up, she stands up as her body was slowly recovering its mana.
The full-blown invasion will start tomorrow. The new history of the demons will begin from there.
“Being able to watch him like this from a yet another angle while not going through training myself, he’s dreamy…” (Origa)
Origa gazes at Hifumi, who is training the knights of Orsongrande, while breathing roughly through her nose.
Because the weather looked like it would rain, their first training spot wasn’t outside, but indoors. It a place that’s usually used as dance hall and the location where Hifumi caused a bloodbath among the knights around Balzephon when they started a revolt before.
Right now it has been cleaned up prettily, but there are rumours that you can see ghosts, who lost their arms and legs, every night in there.
The floor of that hall has been covered by a carpet, which is useful as cushion to a certain extent, though it’s not to the degree of a tatami.
Even so, the knights, who were forced to do plenty of ukemi training on top of the hard floor this morning, seriously tackled the afternoon’s training even while having bruises from head to toe. Having removed their usual armour and wearing simple, thick clothes, they are working hard and earnestly.
“You are putting too much power into it. Can you lift up this guy with just your physical strength? Relax and feel the flow of power. It’s only natural for you to be able to control your own strength. Master the skill to make use of the opponent’s strength as you like.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi almost never shouts during the times he teaches others. He explains it dispassionately, rectifies the motions with logic depending on the situation, and in addition proves his argumentation by making his students personally experience it.
Things like making them grab his index finger and hurling them with just that one finger or making them fall down with a simple grazing of his shoulders look fake if seen from the sideline, but since all the knights experience it themselves, their eyes are frantically watching Hifumi’s movements to gather any knowledge they can.
If one were to ask where to find Origa, who is watching Hifumi, you would see her clinging to the entrance door of the dance hall.
Maids and civil officials passed by several times, but as none of them tried to call out to her, Origa completely immersed herself in her own world while totally ignoring their existence.
She leaked strange voices at times when she could catch fleeting glances of Hifumi’s knees due to the hakama coming off during the times he was showing ukemi patterns or when his chest widely showed due to him swinging his arms and spreading his body.
A maid, who unluckily happened to pass at one of those moments, went past Origa with a quick pace while taking as much distance as possible.
“So you were here?” (Imeraria)
The one who spoke up to Origa in that state was the queen of Orsongrande, Imeraria.
“Oh my. Your Majesty the Queen, how may I help you?” (Origa)
“I heard that you had entered the castle together with Hifumi-sama today, so I searched for you as I wanted to talk with you. Given that I was told by a maid that you are over here, I planned to check on the state of the knights since it’s a rare chance, but… what are you doing? No, even before that, please turn this way as I’m currently talking to you.” (Imeraria)
Even while Imeraria was talking, Origa clung to the gap in the door and didn’t show any intention to move. It doesn’t look like she has any plans to change that even after being directly cautioned by the queen.
“If you want to chat, it’s possible to do it like this as well. Please don’t be a hindrance to my observations of Hifumi-sama.” (Origa)
“… I understand. Well then, please listen to me just like that.” (Imeraria)
‘It’s pointless to even argue with her’, Imeraria judged. ‘It will only tire me out unnecessarily.’
“Tomorrow night we will have a conference regarding the measurements towards Hifumi-sama. Since there will be a training session tomorrow as well, I think it will be fine for you to come to the castle with Hifumi-sama just like today and stay over.” (Imeraria)
“… That means you have made your decision, doesn’t it?” (Origa)
“Yes, I was able to resolve myself to part with the hero. However, I don’t have any intention to offer my life for it. Since I’m a coward, I plan to fortify my protection several fold.” (Imeraria)
Imeraria talks towards Origa’s back while standing upright.
On the way of coming here, she has issued instructions to Sabnak who accompanied her, and since she has made sure that no one will pass through this place for a while, there’s no worry that she will be heard by anyone.
“The exact details I will explain tomorrow. And, there’s one more thing… I will borrow Hifumi-sama tomorrow night.” (Imeraria)
Origa turned around for the first time due to Imeraria’s words.
Her eyes that were sharp and full of hostility were plenty enough to make Imeraria freeze. However, thinking I must not pull back at this point, she continues to speak,
“I still need permission of Hifumi-sama himself, but… I believe that his child is necessary to me. The current countermeasures against the demons are probably sufficient with the magic skill support from Puuse-san, the combat power of Fokalore and the cooperation with Horant. But, what about the future? Once the demons adapt to the fighting with humans, they will be capable of dealing with us even better, right?” (Imeraria)
“I believe that’s something the future humans have to think about. Above all else, did you really think that I would simply nod to offering my husband’s seed due to such political reasoning?” (Origa)
“This is also for the sake of creating the world Hifumi-sama wishes for… hii!?” (Imeraria)
Before she notices, the iron-ribbed fan of Origa has been thrust in front of her throat.
“Go on. If you fail to persuade me, I will have you die here, without a care what grave crime it might be, Your Majesty.” (Origa)
‘Scary’, Imeraria trembled meekly, but beyond that, her rage surges out.
“What rudeness! At whom do you think you are pointing your weapon!?” (Imeraria)
“I know that, too. I really do.” (Origa)
However, Origa doesn’t show any inclination to withdraw her fan.
“No, you don’t know anything! Do you believe that I’m choosing to spend a night with a man just for the sake of the country’s future!?” (Imeraria)
A short, dry sound echoed through the corridor.
Origa, who struck the left cheek of Imeraria, silently looks at her.
“You, who obtained your desired place where you belong to, likely don’t understand. The feelings of someone like me who has to continue struggling in a position of bearing heavy responsibility while unable to hate the person who killed my family.” (Imeraria)
Origa doesn’t reply.
She simply looked at Imeraria who burst into tears.
“Even if you give me such reason, I’d like to have proof that this person existed even if it’s someone I will never meet again after sealing them. I want to personally experience a relationship with that person. Are you telling me to not even wish for that? Who do you think you are!? I am…” (Imeraria)
The one present there wasn’t the queen of a whole country. It was a single woman who cries as she wants to bond with her beloved partner while being well aware the act in itself is the lowest.
“I approve that it’s my defeat! The one who will stay by that person’s side to the very end will likely be you, Origa-san. But, even so there’s something I want.” (Imeraria)
Closing the the slightly opened door so that Imeraria’s sobbing won’t be heard in the hall with the hands behind her back, Origa stored the fan at the back of her waist.
“… Please ask Hifumi-sama. I will pretend that I never heard any of this.” (Origa)
“I’m very well aware that his existence is far too big for me to monopolize him. But, even I have my dignity as his legal wife. Please promise me just one thing.” (Origa)
Origa kneels down quietly.
“At the time you bear his child, I’d like you to not tell anyone about the child’s father. I beseech you that you definitely don’t tell anyone even if someone asks you.” (Origa)
After taking a deep breath, Imeraria answers Origa’s request,
“Understood. It’s not something I can tell anyone to begin with.” (Imeraria)
“Let’s meet again tomorrow”, were the parting words from Imeraria’s side. The tension and fear, which are still lingering in the core of her body, cause her knees to tremble.
Seeing off Imeraria, who disappears towards the other side of the corridor, Origa fixed he dishevelled dress and returned to observing Hifumi once again.
“It’s a big problem that my husband’s popular, isn’t it…? At any rate…” (Origa)
There’s no one present to notice her eyes that are peeking through a gap in the slightly opened door distorting into a smile.
“It looks like the new world Hifumi-sama aims for will become a very lovely place. Being sealed together for eternity is dreamy too, but if someone ever undoes the seal… yeah, a yet unpredictable future. A world dyed by death and battle. Hifumi-sama, it will happen very soon. Very soon the two of us…” (Origa)
Once one of the knights opened the door when the afternoon training finished, Origa wasn’t present anymore.