Chapter 23 – Runaway

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“Let’s go!” (Hifumi)

Approaching the town’s exit, Hifumi called out sharply while holding his katana and galloping on his horse.

“Just a moment!” (Kasha)

Kasha, who was the coachman, raised the speed of the carriage in a hurry but it wasn’t a speed that could catch up to Hifumi no matter how.
In an instant they were separated. Hifumi vanished into the darkness in front. One of the heads of the three soldiers in front of the gate was severed. In the act of passing each other, it was cut and sent flying.
While using the momentum of killing him, Hifumi turned around and once again hurried on his horse. Slashing his katana from atop of the horseback, he killed yet another person.
Just one single soldier was left now. As the carriage arrived, the soldier was at last being successful in drawing his sword, the carriage arrived.

“Alyssa, get off.” (Hifumi)

Hifumi dismounted from the horse and pointed his katana into the direction of the soldier to keep him in check. Without shifting his attention he addressed Alyssa.
At once Alyssa jumped down from the carriage.
Immediately following after the forceful healing with restorative medicines, she didn’t seem to have any problems with movement.

“I am lending this to you.” (Hifumi)

Coming close to Alyssa, Hifumi passed on his katana to her.

“Huh? …” (Alyssa)

Though the soldier came slashing at them, he was easily forced back with a front kick causing him to be thrown down.

“Kill this guy with this.” (Hifumi)

“Th-that is …” (Alyssa)

Although Alyssa received the katana, she was hesitating upon being told to kill the soldier.
Maybe she recognized his face.
Once more throwing himself upon them, the soldier approached. Having a short blade driven into the inner side of his sword arm’s wrist, the soldier dropped his sword. Hifumi grabbed the back of his neck and pulled him down.
Immediately trying to get up again, Hifumi firmly stepped down on his elbow. Due to the build of a human being, the soldier wasn’t able to get up any more.

“From now on you will kill a lot of opponents. The person you just yesterday had a friendly chat with, might have to be killed today. First off, kill this guy. Kill the opponent that tried to kill you, in order to completely separate from this place.” (Hifumi)

Without any hesitation, Hifumi spoke those words. Catching her breath, Alyssa set up the katana without losing any time.

“That’s fine. Up until this morning he was your colleague, but now that he betrayed and tried to kill you he is an enemy. If you won’t kill him, he will kill you.” (Hifumi)

Although those were clichéd words, they were effective on Alyssa who had experienced it by herself.
Upon lifting her head, there was no trace of indecision left within Alyssa’s eyes.

“I am borrowing this sword.” (Alyssa)

Alyssa thrust the katana at the soldier who was still continuing to struggle.
The sharpened point of the katana penetrated with a smooth, unhindered motion into the back of his head ending his life simply like that.

“… I have done it.” (Alyssa)

“You did well. Next we move to the national border.” (Hifumi)

Hifumi gently took the katana from Alyssa’s hands and replaced it with the sword of the dead soldier. Turning his back on her, he went towards the horse.

“Hifumi-san, I, did I do something good with this?” (Alyssa)

“… There is no good or bad. I told you what you should do and you decided yourself to do so. That’s all there is to it.” (Hifumi)

Wearing an expression that showed she didn’t quite understand, Alyssa went back to the carriage trudging with the sword in her hand.
The first step went smoothly, Hifumi thought.
Only after killing a person from Vichy for the first time, I was going to decide the future depending on Alyssa’s reaction.
If her spirit was broken by this, I would have chosen a suitable place to leave her behind afterwards.
However, beyond my expectations, Alyssa regarded the Vichy soldier with a powerful hostile spirit.
Although she might have been conflicted within her heart, when the attack came this way earlier, she resolved herself and put her heart into balance.
Not parting with the sword that was stolen from the killed opponent is a proof that she hasn’t abandoned her will to fight on yet. 
Although there was a chance that she might bare his fangs at him, that in itself would be enjoyable as well. While laughing to himself, Hifumi returned atop the horse and they left the town behind by passing through the unmanned gate.

– National Border –

On Orsongrande’s side and Vichy’s side, both somehow managed to allocate soldiers taking charge to a certain degree within a few days.
From now on, all that was left was to increase the number of personnel coming here as it is. They would be divided back into their original unit upon returning.
On the Orsongrande’s border side, besides soldiers coming there was one more person, a knight.
It was Pajou.
In order to fully investigate the abnormal situation, she intended to stay here as visitor for a few days.
Currently, the corpse of the criminal who made his appearance here first and the corpse of Gothras, who was slain by Hifumi, were to be examined, as she was in the process of writing down the report.

“After all Vichy hasn’t formed an alliance with Horant yet, I wonder if they are not simply being used? The number of personnel loitering on their side of the border is identical to ours, was it only to experiment on the magic tool? But why? Acting in such way would make them enemies of two countries at the same time …”(Pajou)

As it is extremely unlikely to think about matters coherently with a worn out mind, I have to soon take a rest, Pajou thought, just as a scream reached her ears from a distance.
It seemed like there was someone fighting on the other side of the border.

“Good grief, there is no time to take a rest at all.” (Pajou)

While cursing, Pajou quickly equipped her armor and sword and rushed out of her own room.

The light of the dim torch only illuminated the necessary minimum of the location.
Basically the border wasn’t passed at night.
It was possible to fail to notice things in the darkness and judgement grew dull, too.
Rarely there were merchants and such who arrived at night due to ending up making a mistake in their planning. They pass the time by camping a little bit away before devoting themselves to passing through the border in the morning.
Today it wasn’t such a idiotic merchant but an assailant appearing.

“Listen! Annihilate the soldiers on the Vichy side! Do not leave one person alive!” (Hifumi)

While riding the horse, Hifumi swung the fundou of the kusarigama (T/N: If you don’t know what that means, reread the earlier chapters. 😉 )

“Plunge deeply up to the fortress with the carriage as it is! Immediately after disembarking, kill the group in the vicinity!” (Hifumi)

“””Understood!”””

Approaching the fortress, the two soldiers were setting up large shields side-by-side blocking the road.

“Stop!” (Guard)

“Who would stop here!” (Hifumi)

Magnificently jumping with his horse over the two soldiers, Hifumi wrapped the chain around the necks of the two defenseless soldiers in one go from overhead and dragged them down.

“Ha ha~ !” (Hifumi)

After about 10 meters of pulling them along, they were discarded. At the time of dragging them down, both of them had died by having their necks broken already.
The horses pulling the carriage quickly evaded the shields the soldiers dropped as they were hurrying on. The wheels of the main part of the carriage ran aground causing it to violently shake.

“Kya!” (Origa)

Origa having been thrown off balance was right away caught by Alyssa.

“T-Thank you.” (Origa)

While expressing her thanks, Origa noticed the quivering of Alyssa’s hand as she was touching her.

“Ano …” (Alyssa)

“It’s alright. Master is here and were are quite strong, too, okay?” (Origa)

Therefore it was fine, while gently smiling, Origa tightly held her magic staff as she was aiming for the right timing to jump off the carriage.
Suddenly the velocity of the carriage dropped.

“You are a hindrance!” (Kasha)

Apparently Kasha dealt with the enemy in front.
Hearing the voice, Origa immediately jumped off and although hesitating, Alyssa followed right after.
Disembarking from the back of the carriage, the pair faced the enemies separated to the left and right.
Having seen the moment arriving when the carriage plunged into the fortress, Hifumi left the horse after dismounting from it. He grabbed the head of a soldier, who was confronting Kasha, approaching him from the back and casually threw him at the fortress wall.
With only that, the soldier died.
Furthermore, he hit the soldier coming from his right side with the hilt of the katana causing him to become dizzy and then penetrated the blade through the eyes thus killing him.

“Gi!”

Clenching his teeth, the soldier raised his voice in death agony before dying after convulsing.

“Master …” (Kasha)

“Follow Alyssa.” (Hifumi)

Ignoring Kasha, who wanted to say something, Hifumi increased the corpse count while approaching the border.

“Orsongrande’s soldiers! Listen!” (Hifumi)

In a very very loud voice.
That voice of Hifumi, albeit yet quite a distance off the border, was heard by Pajou.

“This voice …” (Pajou)

“I am an Orsongrande noble called by the name Hifumi! Some of you soldiers should already know of me! Our country’s Viscount Hagenti was arrested! Do you know the reason for that?!” (Hifumi)

Hifumi’s voice carried over well.
Confirming the situation on the other side of the border, Orsongrande’s soldiers had heard it properly.

“Viscount Hagenti is a puppet of Vichy! Upon Princess Imeria’s decree I secretly infiltrated Vichy while risking my life. Viscount Kano was manipulated by Vichy. Again and again soldiers, who were manipulated by inhuman magic, showed up in our country and I was able to obtain evidence of their schemes! And furthermore Vichy tried to kill a young woman, who learnt of the secret behind the magic tool performance, too!” (Hifumi)

While talking, Hifumi killed two more soldiers.
Having displayed his abilities to some of the Orsongrande’s soldiers, there were some amongst them starting to believe that him having received the Princess’ secret decree wasn’t strange at all either.

“Although it was dangerous, I succeeded in rescuing her from the crisis! But, in doing so my circumstances ended up being revealed! Though I somehow managed to defeat the pursuers, it is regrettable that I can’t pass here!” (Hifumi)

As the soldiers turned their line of sight, there was a figure of a young woman desperately fighting while helping Origa and Kasha.
It was no one else but Alyssa.

“Soldiers of Orsongrande! Even though the national border is right ahead, there is no way to climb over the huge rock cliff! Don’t mind us, but at the very least lend us your assistance to rescue this young woman! For the sake of saving her, I want all of you to display your righteousness!” (Hifumi)

As they were addressed by Hifumi, the soldiers looked at each others faces while wavering.

… What is he planning? … (Pajou)

As she would before long arrive at the fortress, Pajou was perplexed on the way.
I don’t believe that Hifumi requires any reinforcement to begin with.
Then, why is Hifumi trying to have Orsongrande’s soldiers cross the border?
As far as soldiers protecting the border are concerned, that is a heavy crime.
Rather, the significance behind doing so is a lot more serious than an ordinary person doing so.
However it can’t be expected of Hifumi to know about that, Pajou considered.
Having arrived at the fortress myself, what would I decide to do in this situation?
If you think calmly about it, it will be unwise for knights and soldiers to cross the border of another country and thus invade it.
Even more so if the person they tried to rescue was someone having committed a crime in the other country.
No matter what, it is impossible.
However, choosing to not save them in this situation, the matter of not helping women and the matter of “not helping one’s own country’s citizens,” these two matters will still remain as facts.
Rather than a knight, it might have bad consequences if the general soldiers lose their trust in the country. Likewise these facts will get around to the normal citizens, too.
Protecting the rules and thus disheartening the retainers or deciding to put the priority on saving lives, huh? …
Finally arriving at the fortress, Pajou was surprised to find out that the young woman Hifumi had specified was no other than Alyssa. Furthermore a great number of corpses could be instantly seen having fallen on the other side of the border. She recalled Hifumi’s speech he gave just now.
『Although my circumstances became known, I managed to defeat the pursuers.』
If that was true, it was a matter of “Protecting a fleeing criminal who, while heading in the direction of Orsongrande, killed Vichy’s soldiers en route.”
The intervention by Orsongrande has already become a fact due to that.
Though I am not certain to what extent the other party is aware of matters, the significance to refrain from transgressing the border has already been lost.

Since it has come to this, we have to retrieve them no matter what it takes. It has also become necessary to tailor a beautiful tale about this. (Pajou)

Orsongrande is in the right. There is no other choice but vaguely denounce Vichy publicly, Pajou judged.

“All hands, draw your swords and assist them!” (Pajou)

Naturally holding a weapon too, Pajou started to run as vanguard. The other soldiers followed as well.
The reason was that the person-in-charge made the assessment.
Because of that their caution was easily dismissed.
Due to the fierce attack by the Orsongrande’s side with their overwhelming numbers, the number of Vichy soldiers decreased in a blink of an eye.

After all Vichy soldiers had been killed, Hifumi, who crossed the border, expressively showed his thanks towards Pajou.

“It was a very courageous behavior. I wish to express my gratitude.” (Hifumi)

“No, please don’t worry about it. Leaving that aside, because I want to listen to the detailed report, come this way please.” (Pajou)

To Pajou’s guidance, Hifumi’s group obediently followed.
Of course Hifumi was unhurt, the slaves and Alyssa too, to the degree of settling with a few scratched which hadn’t to be minded.
Entering a vast conference room in the barracks close to the fortress, the soldiers standing guard were told to not let anyone enter for a while. Pajou urged on Hifumi’s group to sit down.
After confirming that Hifumi’s group had sat down, she sat down on a chair herself too while breathing a heavy sigh.

“Somehow you seem to be quite worn out.” (Hifumi)

“Who’s fault do you think that is? … So, usually I would expect you to explain right away, but …” (Pajou)

“Catch it.” (Hifumi)

Retrieving a document from his darkness storage, Hifumi casually tossed it to Pajou.
After quickly looking through it, Pajou hung her head in shame and looked down from the corner of her eyes.

“Though it was impossible to read some parts, it seems that the lot at the central government of Vichy have used a magic tool from Horant to strengthen their soldiers. If those two countries succeed in cooperating, they are geographically the same as Orsongrande?” (Hifumi)

“In case this is real, you could say that …” (Pajou)

As Pajou was visibly squeezing out those words, Hifumi delivered the final blow.

“So, the representative of the town Aroseru, who received this as well, was arrested. He is still alive. He was left within the carriage.” (Hifumi)

“Isn’t that kidnapping!” (Pajou)

As Pajou slammed on the desk and stood up, Hifumi said without changing his expression.

“Did you have to expressively raise your voice so it could be heard by others? This was done rightly in order to completely save her from almost being killed at that place. With having this much evidence, the guy who can testify the validity of the document is here. What do you want to say before making a move? Vichy will reject everything like that.” (Hifumi)

“This judgement will be made by the royalty and the high ranking nobles, not by those on site.” (Pajou)

“No, not at all, you have decided on site just a little while ago. The situation has already started to develop. It’s too late now.” (Hifumi)

Upon Hifumi’s words, Pajou couldn’t do anything but watch his face in silence.
Olga’s group, who were sitting lined up next to Hifumi, likewise were silent having their breath taken away after becoming aware of how their actions had developed into such serious affair.

“… Anyway, please stay at the barracks today. I will submit a report to the royal capital.” (Pajou)

“Ah, there was the option to use birds as means of communication. Well then, while you are contacting the capital, please arrange for us to meet Imeria. Let’s see, 『The man, who accomplished the secret decree while also ending up breaking the law in order to save a maiden, wishes to visit Her Highness in order to express his apology』.” (Hifumi)

Wearing a doubtful expression, Pajou looked at Hifumi’s face.
What is he scheming? Pajou tried to possibly read his mind. He was floating a faint smile without change as he caught her gaze.

 


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2 thoughts on “Chapter 23 – Runaway

  1. Although should Pajou and the soldiers ignore Hifumi’s call of assistance i bet after dealing with Vichy’s Soldier he won’t hesitate to cut Pajou and the others for being cowards and failure as a knight and soldiers of Orsongrande

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