The one entering Imeraria’s bedchamber after knocking was Sabnak’s wife, Shibyula. Only Sabnak, her and Prime Minister Adol, Shibyula’s father, knew of Imeraria’s aim.
And also what Hifumi might have done in this room until before-dawn.
“I have brought warm milk, Milady.” (Shibyula)
Shibyula put down a cup with steam rising next to the bed, and then took out a towel from a bucket with hot water and wrung it strongly.
“Please wipe your body with this.” (Shibyula)
“Thank you.” (Imeraria)
Shibyula, who answered the gratitude with a smile, fetched a pure-white nightgown from the closet and gently wraps it over Imeraria’s shoulders who had finished drying her body.
“The preparations for taking a bath will be done very soon. Please cleanse your body before your official duties.” (Shibyula)
“That’s a big help…umm, do I smell after all?” (Imeraria)
Imeraria timidly asked while sniffing the scent of her own body. By herself she can only sense a slight smell of Hifumi lingering within her own sweat smell.
“Yes. The mixed scent of man and woman is something very obvious to anyone besides the involved parties. If it’s the maids around here, I suppose this would likely develop into a somewhat juicy topic of gossip.” (Shibyula)
“I-Is that so?” (Imeraria)
Imeraria puts down the cup, buttons up the front of her gown in a hurry, and picks up the incense burner placed at her bedside as if having suddenly remembered it, handing it over to Shibyula.
“I’m going to return this to you before I forget.” (Imeraria)
“Yes. I have certainly received it back from you, Your Majesty.” (Shibyula)
“Does it really work?” (Imeraria)
Imeraria inclines her head to the side in doubt while patting her abdomen that still causes her pain.
The incense burner is a magic tool which burns a special, odourless medicine considered to steeply rise the impregnation probability of women. She has matched it with her menstruation cycle, but being worried nonetheless, Imeraria sought counsel from Shibyula who had borrowed the burner from her father.
Adol, who intended to hide the fact of him possessing such magic tool, reluctantly agreed lending it with a pale face since it was for the sake of the queen. Adol, who went without children for a long time, apparently got his hands on it after looking for it everywhere. The birth of Shibyula proved the tool’s effectiveness.
At the time when she was given the medicine and the incense burner while being told that anecdote, Imeraria wore an expression making it clear that she didn’t know what kind of face she should make.
“Since there’s not much time left anymore, all I can do is to pray that I was properly blessed with a child.” (Imeraria)
“Let’s have you get periodically examined. At earliest, you should know whether you succeeded in around two months. I tried it as well on the day I borrowed it, so if all goes well, I will also be able to counsel you on child rearing, Your Majesty.” (Shibyula)
It was the same with Adol as well, but Imeraria was bad at chatting “about such things” with acquaintances. Because she doesn’t have that much experience in it, she doesn’t know how to answer best.
“Anyway, please help me out once the child is born. I don’t have any plans of officially announcing the birth of my child. Ah yes, how about finding a person in charge of wet nursing and education?” (Imeraria)
“That would be a lifesaver. Once my child is born, I won’t be able to continue working as maid anymore.” (Shibyula)
“But,” Shibyula squinted her eyes.
“I don’t know whether it will be a prince or princess, but… are you not going to tell that child about its father either?” (Shibyula)
“I fully intend to speak about what kind of person Hifumi-sama was. But, I won’t tell them that he’s their father. I still haven’t decided, but I will eventually explain it away that my partner was a provincial noble who died early.” (Imeraria)
Shibyula was about to speak up, but then decided against it while holding the incense burner with its little lingering warmth.
“I’m terribly sorry to push something troublesome on you, but…” (Imeraria)
“There’s no problem because I have the opportunity to vent my emotions. Of course I will also serve as outlet for you, Milady. If it allows me to get along well with you, Your Majesty, it will be a blessing for me as retainer.” (Shibyula)
“Therefore I’d like you to give me any order without any reservations,” Shibyula says.
“Then, there’s something I want to ask of you, if that’s fine.” (Imeraria)
“Yes, Your Majesty.” (Shibyula)
“Can you please raise your child to be a friend of mine?” (Imeraria)
Shibyula opened her eyes wide in surprise, but immediately recovered a gentle smile after grasping Imeraria’s intention.
“With pleasure, Your Majesty. I’m very sure that this will be something wonderful for my child as well.” (Shibyula)
Looking at each other with smiles, both chat about their first experience and the man’s treatment for some time. Afterwards Imeraria heads to her exclusive bathroom and Shibyula takes the bedding with its fresh blood stains and carries it to the incinerator to burn it in secret.
And then a single document arrived at Imeraria’s place who came back from her hot bath.
It was a record of the battle against the demons that occurred at the national border near Rhone in Tohno Earldom, reporting about the successful defense. It also mentioned that the demons were hiding inside Vichy, or in worst case, had already occupied Vichy.
“The demons should have already retreated, no? Isn’t that too early? Just what happened here!?” (Imeraria)
But, Vaiya, who brought the document, and Sabnak, who attended the castle since early morning together with Shibyula, can’t give Imeraria a precise answer.
“Going by our estimations, a different unit switched with the one repulsed by Earl Tohno and attacked Vichy. They probably succeeded in invading or occupying Vichy. Otherwise it would mean that their traveling time was abnormally short.”
Imeraria pointed out, “That thinking is naive” to Vaiya who thought it to be improbable.
“I heard various stories about magic from Puuse-san. She says that there are many different kinds of magic besides barrier magic. As long as the caster is reasonably skilled, even flying in the sky is possible or such. In the first place, it’s questionable whether it’s too much of an exaggeration for… a person, who was summoned from another world, to be here, but it proves that it’s possible.” (Imeraria)
Imeraria predicted that it was possible to travel at high speed or transfer from one place to another with some kind of method. Since they were actually able to use summoning magic, the possibility of such methods existing isn’t zero.
“The opponents are demons. We are assuming that they have fields in magic where they excel over the elves. Using the common sense of humans here will likely pull the carpet from under our feet.” (Imeraria)
Imeraria lowered her look on the report once more.
“Well then, how should we move…?” (Imeraria)
There was a lot less time left than she was thinking.
“Shit! Ain’t that completely different from what the lot of the advance unit said!?”
A single demon soldier, who was frantically running while retracing the path towards his own camp, shouted as if spitting out his words as he looked in utter annoyance at the firm wall erected around Rhone, which was visible in the rear. He barely managed to scratch the wall with his prided stone-throwing magic, and far from making an entrance for the sake of charging in, he couldn’t even open a hole in the wall.
Although they were forced to withdraw at an early stage due to Hifumi, the demon soldiers led by Bashim, who managed to invade into Vichy, properly succeeded in sending their comrades into Vichy.
Using them as foothold, the demon army, which suddenly appeared inside the country due to Vepar’s transfer magic, gained total control of Vichy in the blink of an eye.
As they also had to worry about their numbers, they basically confined all those in charge at each place, confiscated the weapons and stopped any flow of goods with the exception of allowing food to be delivered. Even if the people escaped, the probability of running into demons would only increase the closer they got to the borders with Orsongrande and Horant. Besides those two countries, the only place they could go to were the wastelands. But in reality the people of all cities in Vichy couldn’t pick the option of leaving their city.
With that as precedent, the demon soldiers believed that the invasion of Orsongrande would likely easily come to an end, seeing that it’s also a human country, albeit a different one. As a matter of fact, even Vepar didn’t expect anything other than that.
Next to the cursing demon soldier, his comrade collapsed after being stabbed by a spear.
But, he doesn’t have the leeway to lend him a hand. If I stop moving, I will be the one to get skewered next.
The scream of yet another demon was audible.
Unable to stand the horror from behind, the soldier leapt into the shadow of a rock within reach.
“Ah, there’s still so much distance left to our camp…?”
More than 500 meters ahead he sees the battle camp they constructed. Although it’s called a battle camp, it’s nothing more than a simple assembly point serving as landmark where they gathered their luggage such as food. But, if I can get there, I should at least be out of the range of the weapons fired from the city, and my comrades are there as well.
However, he didn’t have the courage to run that far while turning his back on the enemy within a downpour of spears instead of arrows.
“I guess I have no other option but to wait for the attacks to relax…”
I don’t know when that might happen, but at least it’s better than dying. From a leather bag hanging from his shoulder, the demon soldier takes a sip of water and leans his back against the rock in complete exhaustion.
“Fuck! I heard that humans can’t use any decent magic, so what the hell was that?”
The soldier grumbles while being aware that he won’t receive any response.
Around 200 demon soldier surged into Vichy all of a sudden through Vepar’s transfer magic. For their numbers to be so scarce was because the demon race itself has a small population. But what might have been fatal for them was the lack in ability to command of the woman called Vepar. Or, it might have been different if she had an excellent aide.
She decided to preserve two thirds of their military forces. Let’s first wait and have a look and then divide the forces, she thought. If they had focused on Horant rather than Orsongrande, or if she had reversed the ratio of attackers and reserves, the demons might have been able to trample down the opposition to their heart’s content.
However, considering the defense capability of Vichy towards the wastelands, which they didn’t guard overly much, as standard, she estimated that they would be easily capable of breaking through the national border as long as they don’t run into some disastrous encounters.
By the way, Hifumi’s characteristics have been handed down to the entire army and they were strictly order to retreat at once when coming across him.
The plan created by the demon army was simple; destroy or heavily damage the border fortress and walls with magic and then break through with demons excelling in physical strength.
However, the demons and their collaborators, who began their magic attack against the city of Rhone, experienced something unbelievable.
The rocks and fires cast by them were completely blocked by a magic barrier. Furthermore, due to the spears coming flying in succession through hidden round holes in the wall, the magic attack unit was reduced by half in a flash and was forced to retreat at once after being routed together with the soldiers waiting for the charge.
Quietly surveying the surroundings from within the shade of the rock, the soldier discovered a tall demon with two spears growing out of their back lying on the ground.
“Dead, huh? Even if someone else has taken up command, I want to get back home for starters, but… will I be able to?”
We arrived at this place with the help of Vepar’s transfer magic. The next gate will open in three days. It’s for the sake of getting a grasp on the combat situation and to substitute the personnel. Even if I could get back home on a horse or by foot, I haven’t prepared that much food. And even if I collected the food of my dead comrades, I have no means to transport it.
“Should I go steal a carriage from a human city…? No, I don’t know the path through the wastelands to begin with.”
The soldier takes another sip of water while feeling desperate.
I have to somehow survive for a full three days. Thoughts about invading had already been blown away at this point.
“Humph, they weren’t worth all that fuss.” (Pruflas)
“Don’t get carried away. If the elven magic barrier didn’t exist, it would have become dangerous.” (Miyukare)
Miyukare admonished Pruflas, who is laughing at the escaping demon soldiers while peeking at the other side of the border through a loophole, with a sigh.
Fokalore’s soldiers are moving around in a hurry, putting strenuous efforts into inspections of the spear throwers, relieving the shooters and resupplying spears. By the way, the Orsongrande soldiers in charge of border security have huddled together in a corner after having lost their place to be and are preparing themselves for battle just in case.
“Well then, I will have you allow us to take a temporary break.” (Zanga)
“Then we will help out here in exchange.” (Reni)
Zanga and Reni inform Miyukare.
“Yes. Thank you very much for your cooperation. I’m very sorry about exhausting you, but if there’s yet another attack…” (Miyukare)
“I don’t mind. Please call us right away. After all magic barriers are the only things we are good at.” (Zanga)
“Well then, let me get some sleep,” Zanga returns to the hotel given as lodging house to the elves and beastmen while laughing. Several elves, who finished their duty of deploying the barrier, likewise followed her from behind.
The remaining Reni headed to the location of the beastmen on standby, ordered them to take breaks in alternation and returned to Miyukare once again.
Miyukare’s cheeks become slack due to her fluffy, white fur swaying as she comes running.
“Us beastmen can move at any time.” (Reni)
“You being here was a really great help. I will arrange for some food, so please take it.” (Miyukare)
“That helps…at any rate.”
Reni turns her eyes towards the top of the wall.
There she saw Alyssa assuming an imposing stance with her deep crimson mantle fluttering in the wind while observing the movements of the demons and giving firing orders to the soldiers.
After staring at her for a short while, Reni returned her gaze to Miyukare, showing a weak smile.
“Somehow Lord-sama resembles Hifumi-san.” (Reni)
Never! Miyukare looked up the wall with its height of around four meters.
Alyssa, who keeps her balance even while being hit by the wind, looked dignified, despite her small build. You could even say that her bearing resembles Hifumi at the time of training with the soldiers. It’s also possible that doing so was Alyssa’s aim.
“Eh, no way! Eh… no no!” (Miyukare)
Strongly shaking her head, Miyukare wiped away the overlapping images inside her head.
“Ah, Alyssa-sama isn’t as audacious as her predecessor. In addition, her cuteness is on a completely different level. How could you confuse her with a man whose eyes are cold and who doesn’t think of others…” (Miyukare)
“Really? I think their cuteness is similar though? Don’t you consider it adorable to watch them do what they want to do with all their might?” (Reni)
Miyukare was confused while watching the back of Reni, who is going back to the gathering of beastmen as she laughs with a “Hahaha.”
“Cute? That man is?” (Miyukare)
Alyssa called out to Miyukare, who is wracking her brain wondering whether all the beastmen have such a taste, from atop.
“Y-Yes! What’s wrong?” (Miyukare)
“Pleeease! Call Viine~!” (Alyssa)
“Understood! Please wait a moment!” (Miyukare)
Miyukare answers at the top of her lungs to Alyssa who loudly speaks to her, apparently having troubles to hear due to the wind, and heads towards the town hall at a quick pace.
“Ufufu…I knew it, she’s completely different from that man after all. With that man gone and because Viine is on communications duty, I can stay all day long next to Lord-sama as her assistant…” (Miyukare)
The person intends to smile sweetly, but looking at it objectively, it’s a wicked smile with only the corners of her mouth lifted, causing the surrounding people to naturally get out of her way.
“Yeah, I have to make that stupid war end as soon as possible. I’m sure that Fokalore will become a much more wonderful city under Alyssa-sama… No, it has to become so!” (Miyukare)
While also including one person with a partly impure motive, the foundation of Alyssa as feudal lord was in the process of solidifying.