Because Hifumi’s expeditionary force had to replenish their supplies at Fokalore, they used the time to spend a night there. Deep in the night a group of about 20 people secretly left the city.
It was the third unit led by Alyssa.
For the sake of an advance mission, they went ahead and moved towards the national border.
“So, the reason is to kill the careless border company under cover of the night.” (Hifumi)
For some reason the commander of the forces, Hifumi, was running as vanguard ahead of the third unit.
“I think usually you would wait with starting until both sides gathered their troops, but …” (Alyssa)
The one following right behind Hifumi was Alyssa.
Moreover, three rows side-by-side consisting of the 21 troops of the third unit came after them.
Including them, all of the expeditionary force were given orders by Hifumi to act in three-man-cells.
“Discard the usual way of thinking. It’s not like we have to particularly watch out for some promise. No matter what you do while at war, the victorious side is justified. Don’t forget that the losing side has to yield everything to the winner.” (Hifumi)
“I-I’m sorry …” (Alyssa)
Aiming to suppress any sound, all of them were walking.
Hifumi wore something similar to order-made zouri¹ produced in this world as footwear. For all of the others he came up with the ingenious idea to attach cotton to the shoe sole of their boots in order to restrain the sound of foot steps.
Even so, although the foot steps of the troops were audible in their own way, Hifumi’s practically couldn’t be heard.
“Everybody, listen.” (Hifumi)
Inserting a break during the walking, they had only half of the way left before arriving at the national border as dawn was closing in.
Everyone was breathing heavily. Only Hifumi was lightly breathing and remained calm.
“After this we will extinguish Vichy’s war potential until dawn breaks. Before you are noticed by the enemy, kill them swiftly and in a reliable way. Everybody, take out your knives.” (Hifumi)
Without hesitation all troops followed the order and pulled out their knives from their waist.
The backhand grip of the knives was a custom made article and had a single edge which was new to this world.
Of course, Alyssa took out the same as well.
“Just as you were taught. Predict the visual field of your opponent. Only aim at the throat. Don’t make any sound. Don’t raise your voice.” (Hifumi)
While speaking Hifumi raised for each point a finger. Everyone nodded in silence.
“You were told the strategy before departure, there won’t be any changes. Go!” (Hifumi)
Without using any light, they vanished in turn, 3 soldiers each, in the direction of the border.
“I am off.” (Hifumi)
After making sure everyone left, Hifumi took Alyssa and went towards the border.
Different from the other troops, he boldly charged in from the front.
At the border fortress, there was a pathway going through on the Orsongrande’s side. Two soldiers were standing guard. The shining of the flickering and swaying torchlight could be seen.
Perhaps the rumors about going to war had already reached up to here. While paying undue amount of attention to the boundary to the Vichy side, they appeared to be quite tense.
There was no particular movement on the other side. The previously passing troops obviously had crossed the border without being noticed.
“Good work.” (Hifumi)
When they were suddenly greeted, they couldn’t help it but turn around.
In front of their eyes, Alyssa led by Hifumi appeared without holding any kind of light source.
“In the dead of the night … ?” (Soldier A)
“Maa, there are some circumstances.” (Hifumi)
With these words, Hifumi took out the passport and showed it to them.
It was a new document specifying him to be treated as viscount.
“This is … ! Excuse our impoliteness!” (Soldier A)
Straightening up his back, the soldier apologized. Hifumi lightly waved his hands in response.
“Don’t mind it. By the way, it looks like there is only two of you here, however, is it the same over there too?” (Hifumi)
Hifumi rose his finger pointing at the side of Vichy’s on the other side of the passage through the fortress.
“Huh? Yes, I heard that it is the custom for both countries to place a couple of guards at night-time.” (Soldier A, formal tone)
Given that the border was basically closed during the night, apparently the number of soldiers stationed was at its minimum.
“Is that so? Alyssa, I will take both of them down.” (Hifumi)
Being doubtful of Hifumi’s and Alyssa’s conversation, the soldiers gave each other a sidelong glance. Steadily they were approaching Vichy’s side.
Before anyone noticed, there was a katana hanging on Hifumi’s waist.
“N? At such late time, who is it?” (Vichy Soldier A)
When the Vichy soldier turned around, his head was separated from his torso.
“If asked by anyone, currently I am an invader.” (Hifumi)
Swinging the katana before the other soldier was able to detect the drawing, he was slain before he was able to show any kind of reaction.
The soldiers, who Hifumi’s group conversed with in the back of the passage just now, watched with a shocked facial expression.
Looking back, Hifumi stored the katana while laughing.
“From this moment on the war has started. Convey this to everyone trying to cross the border. They should be aware that they will be dragged into it and die, too.” (Hifumi)
While Hifumi was violating the national border at leisure, the soldiers in the barracks on Vichy’s side were killed silently.
The three soldiers patrolling the surrounding of the buildings had their throats sliced open and were abandoned just like that. The remaining soldiers died never waking up from their slumber.
At dawn, when the main part of the expeditionary force arrived at the border, everything was finished. Hifumi was leaning with his back on the border fortress and waited for them. (T/N: Orsongrande side)
The other troops boldly took a nap in the border fortress on Vichy’s side.
For the fist time experiencing a night attack, they were uniformly excited about it. Thinking about the influence on the military maneuvers from now on, Hifumi ordered them to get some sleep for now.
Seeing Hifumi’s figure, Origa descended from the carriage and came over in a rush.
“Master! There are no particular problems with the main body of the expeditionary force to report!” (Origa)
“Understood. Well then, prepare for the military maneuvers on the Vichy’s side of the border using the barracks as base. I will leave after eating lunch.” (Hifumi)
“As you wish.” (Origa)
Origa hurried back to her original position among the troops. Together with Kasha, they issued instructions to cross the border.
“Now then … I should take a nap, too, huh?” (Hifumi)
It wasn’t only the troops, Hifumi remembered his inner agitation as well.
However, different from the soldiers, it wasn’t due to the murdering a while ago, but due to the part of the coming battles.
He was preparing himself with the aim to act as violently as his heart desired.
He made a simple plan.
Even if his opponent didn’t move as he wanted, in that case he expected it to become interesting and thus came up with a plan that was as simple as possible.
As he was thinking about such things, Pajou approached.
“I wondered whether you couldn’t give me some information on the progress of the war.” (Pajou)
“The soldiers of Vichy who were at the border, several tens of them, died. Our side incurred no damage.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi answered her question smoothly as she was holding writing materials in her hands.
“I heard they were assaulted at the place they slept, but …” (Pajou)
“That’s the reason why I chose a night attack. Quite obviously.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi told her over his shoulder, as a matter of course. Pajou wasn’t able to say anything else.
Likely, in the future, I think there will be much more happening in this war that exceeds my own comprehension.
Reacting each and every time will only tire me out. Rather it’s better if it’s only getting tired as a single mistake by myself can easily end up with me being “disposed.”
“… I understand. I will also take a small break.” (Pajou)
It all started in the city near the border, Arosel, with the incident of a single young man visiting the mansion of the city’s representative on the last day.
“Is the representative of this city currently in?” (-)
A man suddenly appearing and without warning asking to be shown to the representative, the female servant got angry dealing with him.
Even under normal circumstances, for the sake of dealing with the document arriving from Orsongrande compelling them to allegiance, it was a strenuous effort to prepare the defense and consider the counter-measurements.
“Do you have an appointment?” (Servant)
At best it is someone without an appointment trying to sell something but still came around, I guess, the servant arbitrarily decided for herself exposing her displeasure in her words as well.
“Appointment, huh? I sent a letter a few days ago.” (-)
“A letter, huh?” (Servant)
In this world where there were monsters to consider in regards to the transportation network, the sending of letters was limited to only prosperous figures.
If the young man in front of me really is a visitor holding an appointment, I have made a mistake in dealing with him, the servant became anxious, but in reality that wasn’t the case.
“Ah, I asked whether he would become our companion and fight alongside us in the letter. I came here to listen to the reply to that.” (-)
Taking it out from his breast pocket, he showed a document to her. It was unmistakably an officially issued passport from Orsongrande declaring the man in front of her as an Viscount.
“Pl-Please wait a moment, Your Excellency.” (Servant)
Due to the totally unforeseen rank of the visitor, the servant shrieked with a shrill and nervous voice while rushing towards the office of the representative.
Hearing the report from her, the representative and the servants under him prepared in great haste to receive the Viscount.
No matter on what kind of reply he would decide, towards a noble, who didn’t take along anyone and came here by himself, the representative judged him to not be hostile and instructed that he should be handled courteously for starters.
In the meanwhile it was confirmed by a thin shaped servant from a distance, that Hifumi was the person, who had kidnapped the previous city representative Ortis and strangled him until fainting in order to obtain information out of him.
In the moment the servant saw his face, Hifumi turned towards the servant and faced him with a smile. The servant couldn’t stop to tremble and had to be taken to the medical office in the end.
Somehow or other Hifumi was invited to the reception room and sat down on the opposite side of a man called Kyulson, who immediately was inaugurated as city representative after Ortis passed away.
He was a merchant, in the mid-40’s, who had worked up his way in a single major company in his entire life.
Behind Kyulson was standing the female servant who had dealt with Hifumi at the beginning.
Somehow it seemed like she had the position of being his secretary.
“I have heard a little bit of rumor about Hifumi-sama already …” (Kyulson)
“I don’t need any roundabout greetings. First, let’s hear your answer. Then we can proceed the conversation from there.” (Hifumi)
Being interrupted in his attempt to exchange some modest greetings as opening, Kyulson’s nose became white.
Although he wasn’t a noble in Vichy, he had often negotiated with nobles coming from foreign countries, including Orsongrande, in the past. Yet he didn’t meet such a noble until now.
Judging Hifumi’s youth, Kiyulson concluded him to be a noble rushing for results due to his scarce experience.
“I am very sorry. Related to the document delivered from Orsongrande, we unfortunately weren’t able to carefully examine it yet. Please wait for the reply until then.” (Kyulson)
Towards the harmless and inoffensive reply of not committing himself in any way while at the same time asking him to temporarily return until Kyulson could come up with his answer, Hifumi laughed scornfully.
“Fu, the local administration here takes it obviously quite easy. The representative was kidnapped and even though questioned whether they want to resist their ruin or join the other side, they weren’t able to come up with a decision on how to deal with it within a few days either.” (Hifumi)
“… I can’t believe this was said by the criminal himself, honestly … Hey youngster, I think you should behave more modestly even if you are a noble. You do realize that it would be fine to arrest you as a criminal here, right? Since I will close my eyes towards the amount of rudeness you showed here, go back now.” (Kyulson)
Dealing with Hifumi, Kyulson’s look and tone changed.
“I understand that you want to rush the results due to your youth, but you are 10 years too early to stick your nose into the exchanges between nations. In the first place, the documents from Orsongrande are an aberrant threatening letter. Meddling in our national politics just because of some brat who managed to somehow get some military gains due to committing crimes, is this document supposed to be a joke? Looking down on our government will sooner or later cause you a painful experience.” (Kyulson)
“I see, in other words you don’t intend to accept our demands.” (Hifumi)
“Of course not. Do you think that Orsongrande has the necessary military forces to invade into Vichy? Just considering the financial clout to fund the military forces, there is no way for Orsongrande to win a war in a direct confrontation. That already applies to only this city. We have plenty of defensive forces to deploy.” (Kyulson
Apparently Kyulson had judged Ortis to be the only incompetent person. He didn’t seem to acknowledge the value of Hifumi’s ability overly much either.
Pondering about this, Hifumi sighed while leaning back on his chair and staring at the ceiling.
“I see that you haven’t thought about it carefully. Do you know why I came here by myself? Did you believe that I am a fool who trusts too much in his own strength? Did you make light of me as a idiot that wouldn’t consider to be attacked?” (Hifumi)
“… What are you talking about?” (Kiyulson)
“I wonder which of us two isn’t taking the exchange between nations seriously. Every last of you, why do you conclude your opponent would attack in an easily understandable way from the front?” (Hifumi)
While talking the faint smile floating upon Hifumi’s face slowly stiffened due to his anger.
“You said you are called Kyulson. Didn’t you consider the possibility of me killing you here? For example, did you think of the possibility of my subordinates secretly infiltrating and raiding the soldier posts in each place? Supposing that you lose all your pawns before the actual fighting begins, what will you do?” (Hifumi)
“I-Im-Impossible … But you haven’t heard my reply yet!” (Kyulson)
Kyulson’s face was soaked all over in sweat. He was nervous and his back became unsteady.
“This document itself was a plan to restrain your statesmen. You didn’t notice until the end, huh? Although trust is important, going this far is like a splendid flower field.²” (Hifumi)
While talking, he stood up and took out the katana in a very natural behaviour and then thrust it.
“! … !?” (Kyulson)
The point of the katana pierced through Kyulson’s lungs.
Watching him painfully breathing and scattering bloody vomit while thrashing about in agony on the ground, the female servant was dumbfounded. Falling on her bottom without grasping the reason for it, she just wept.
“Your representative will die very soon, what will you do?” (Hifumi)
“Pl-Please don’t kill me … pl-please … I-I don’t want to die yet …” (Servant)
Grovelling on the ground as the servant begged for her life, Hifumi’s ardor was dampened and he returned his katana into its scabbard as he watched Kyulson’s state, who had died unnoticed.
His eyes emptily staring with a facial expression full of anguish he died just like that.
“If you choose to not fight, announce it immediately in the entire city. This city has been annexed into Orsongrande from today onward.” (Hifumi)
Going to the extent of declaring this much, incidentally several troops of the third unit burst into the reception room.
“Viscount, are you fine?” (Trooper A)
“Obviously. How did it go on your side?” (Hifumi)
“The disposal of all soldier posts has been completed without any problems, Sir!” (Trooper B)
While Hifumi had gone to the meeting with the representative, Alyssa, after gathering information on the soldiers posts, had secretly infiltrated the city alongside the third unit, which had dispersed in the vicinity. They assaulted the soldier posts almost simultaneously.
Several of them bore light injuries due to the resistance. All soldiers had been killed.
The female servant, who still didn’t manage to get up, wore a face of disbelief listening to the contents of the talk.
“You heard it.” (Hifumi)
“The possibility of using soldiers has vanished. Relay this news to the citizens with only the staff of this mansion. Do it right away. Tell anyone who wants to complain, to come here. So I can kill them.” (Hifumi)
Although being hesitant, she quickly moved upon hearing Hifumi’s words. To leave the room, the servant crawled on the floor in order to spread the information about the soldiers of the enemy nation while looking pathetic at the same time.
“What about the first and second unit?” (Hifumi)
“As planned, they are blockading all of the city’s exits, Sir.” (Trooper A)
“Good. I will go check the situation. 2 teams will remain here. In case the servants show unusual movements, kill them.” (Hifumi)
“Yes, Sir!” (Troopers)
Taking the other troops along, Hifumi left the mansion in high spirits.
In this way, they had performed the world’s first one-sided invasion. The history of Arosel as small-scale city-state ended and it changed into a simple district city.
This truth wasn’t only circulated amongst the surrounding cities but also reached the central government in no time.
Thereupon Vichy became aware of the situation for the first time.
It became a fact that Orsongrande really intended to go to war with Vichy.
¹ Japanese sandals (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zōri)
² Some proverb? Not sure … but pretty much clear meaning either way.
キュルソン – Kiyuruson -> Kyulson