Clown: And now~
Pierrot: ~ we would like to unveil~
Clown: ~ a tale of blood and war ~
Pierrot: ~ and fluffy ponies!
Clown: ~ yes, fluffy… what?
Clown: Where’d you get fluffy ponies? What the hell are fluffy ponies?
Pierrot: Why, stuffed animals of course!
Clown: This is clearly the wrong novel to be discussing such cute things.
Clown & Pierrot: And a disclaimer! Please remember that this story is fiction! If you suddenly feel a desire to go on a killing spree please see a psychiatrist and a lawyer! Enjoy!
The two entrances to the city were blockaded by Hifumi’s troops; and while one could enter the city if he consented to an inspection, no one was allowed to leave.
An infantry unit oversaw each of the exists, while the engineer corps set up an iron gridded fence–the grid being shaped in diamonds—so as to narrow the entrances. If needed, it could expanded or contracted.
The third corps—the scouts—moved between the guardhouse and the Manor ferrying information and documents; they would mingle with the crowd to gather opinions and rumors.
「There are no problems with the blockade. We prevented travelers from attempting to leave, but we do have citizens and merchants returning to the city. Although not one of them appeared at all suspicious, we cannot be certain that no one snuck in disguised」
Having heard this report, Hifumi ordered the troops to continue the blockade and the inspections, and departed into a city with a few soldiers following him. On the way he was joined by Alyssa, who would act as a guide.
「Why is it that we permit them to enter but not leave?」
Alyssa asked Hifumi while walking right beside him.
「The less we hinder exchange the better. As this situation continues the citizens will put up with minor inconveniences. However, if food and fuel stop entering the city, that won’t last long. Should they fear for their lives, they will soon revolt. Thus, so as to minimize the impact on the city, I plan to allow entrance into the city.」
And since the people believe it’s a temporary measure while the government is being changed, they shouldn’t mind being unable to leave too much.
「And the longer it takes other cities to learn of the happenings at Arosel, the better」
While talking he continued onward towards the busy city center while confirming the propaganda posted everywhere. Hifumi ordered city officials to post these to notify the citizens that they were now part of Orsongrande.
Furthermore, in the marketplace and other highly populated areas he posted criers who declared the same news for those who could not read.
The crier would be replaced by another after some time; currently, the speaker was the woman in the reception room who had begged Hifumi to spare her life some time ago. Standing one floor above the rest, she emotionlessly conveyed the information to the public who had gathered before her.
「On this day, Arosel has become a part of Orsongrande. Presently, all are forbidden from attempting to leave the city; this ban shall be lifted soon」
「We’re no longer a City-State?!」
「Where did all the soldiers go・・・?」
「There wasn’t even a war, and the government suddenly switches sides! What treachery!」
「What will happen from now on・・・」
The citizens, oblivious to the actual situation, hurled insults and complaints at the criers; Hifumi, however, ordered that these remarks go unpunished and the people remain unoppressed. There is no problem if all they do is complain; once they realize that there is no actual effect on their daily lives they will quickly accept the change.
Hifumi passed through the crowd.
Seeing a gallant figure escorted by soldiers in never-before-seen uniforms, the citizens figured him to be the Orsongrande invader; however, as her merely was entering the public facility and was not acting violently, they silently watched him.
So far according to plan, Hifumi thought.
「Now… what to do about their remaining forces」
「Forces? No soldiers remain・・・」
「There are others. That’s why I called for you, Alyssa, to guide me there」
「To the adventurer’s guild」
Arosel’s adventurer’s guild is right outside the marketplace.
The guild is an independent agency within the state and is boasts some strength; however, they also maintain a level of cooperation with the state, and when the state falls into some crisis, they have always promised to help.
Of course, they could not be mobilized as any other military unit in case of a war, but they could be formally requested to help; and, driven by love for their country, many would rise to the task. Of course, there are also plenty loners among them—those who don’t give a damn about what happens to this country or this city.
「We’ve come to meet you leader」
Hifumi said to the man behind the guild counter and showed him the guild card he had made in Orsongrande.
「Issued in Orsongrande・・・Hifumi-san, is it・・・huh?」
Seems like the identification was enough for the attendant to realize that the man before him was the one who had brought the city to his knees.
「That is・・・for what reason?」
「The country the guild deals with has changed. I’ve come to offer my greetings」
「If the guild wishes to oppose me, that is fine. But」
Hifumi placed a wrapped package on the counter his escorts had carried with them. The adventurers in the guild, as if hearing the entire conversation, were closely watching the scene unfold before them.
Their eyes were package on the counter; Hifumi removed the wrapping, revealing its dreadful contents.
The head of the city representative was neatly placed inside.
The anguish on the representative’s head inspired such fear into those present that they could not even speak.
「If you want to oppose me, but one of us will end up looking like this」
「P-p-please wait a moment!」
Replacing the attendant who had fainted with foam coming from his mouth, a woman asked Hifumi to wait and hurried inside.
「So those posters hanging all over the place were for real, huh」
「Then this city is now part of Orsongrande?」
「But there was no mention of a war happening!」
The adventurers were quite noisy, but neither the Hifumi nor his escort as much as bat an eyelid at this noise.
Right before they had entered the guild, Hifumi ordered them not to act regardless of what happens; so, they simply didn’t even recognize the presence of the adventurers. If someone needed to be killed, Hifumi would do it himself.
While waiting for the guild leader to arrive, as if he had noticed something, Hifumi asked his escort to wait outside.
「Yeah, it’s too cramped」
「It’s too cramped?」
Tilting her head to a side, Alyssa said and left the guild.
During this exchange an old man came from the back.
「So you are the one who had come from Orsongrande・・・muh」
The old man groaned when he saw the head on the counter.
「News did come from the government・・・but to think it would end like this・・・」
「I’m Hifumi, the new head of state」
Ignoring the old man’s groans and completely proceeding at his own pace, Hifumi said. The old man grimaced in return, but then nodded and responded,
「I am Lesh. The head of this guild」
Lesh was probably a mage. He had a white beard, wore a grey robe, and while his cane appeared simple, there was a jewel embedded into the handle.
「Now then, how are you planning to treat this city’s guild・・・apologies, seems we have another customer」
「I am a member of this guild! Let me through!」
A young voice was heard from outside the guild.
With a loud noise the doors of the guild burst open and in came a tall lad clad in golden armor followed by two beautiful women. One of the women was robbed, had red hair, and a staff taller than her. The other girl carried a bow and had green hair.
「Lesh-san! What the hell is going on?!」
The lad ignored Hifumi and called out to Lesh.
「We were out hunting monsters and suddenly the city is filled with Orsongrande troops. What’s going on?」
The robed woman followed up on the lad’s comment. The woman with the bow was silent, but then noticed the head on the counter and quickly turned away.
The lad then noticed the head on the counter.
「W-what abomination・・・! Those Orsongrande bastards! Guys, we can just treat them as enemies now, right?! Now that I have returned let’s launch a counter attack! We’ll free the city from these invaders!」
(You’re the only one who’s so fired up, though)
After looking coldly at the lad’s fiery speech, Hifumi addressed Lesh.
「Who’s this bloody idiot?」
「He is the top adventurer at this guild, Calikoff. He is strong but lacks a composure」
「Oh, and can I take his words as the official stance of the guild?」
Lesh met Hifumi’s gaze, and shook his head.
「No, all of our staff will serve you, Hifumi-sama. As for the other adventurers, it is their choice. We pray for your leniency・・・」
「Probably not going to happen」
Lesh closed his eyes at the response, and bowed his head as if praying.
A few adventurers decided to oppose Orsognrande’s rule after hearing Calikoff’s speech. As for Calikoff, after hearing about Hifumi from a nearby comrade, he faced Hifumi.
「So you are Orsongrande’s representative, huh・・・taking the city by cowardly tricks and killing the representative are heavy sins. Withdraw your troops at once and pay for your crimes!」
He shouted with a serious face; Hifumi looked at Lesh incredulously and asked,
「Is this guy for real?」
Lesh sighed and addressed Calikoff,
「Calikoff, it has been decided that the guild with serve Orsongrande and Hifumi-sama. The city has already fallen, can you please no cause any more problems?」
Calikoff replied engraged.
Little by little Hifumi grew annoyed.
「Ignoring all laws of war—who would yield to such tricks! Such actions could not possible be forgiven!」
「Forgiven by whom?」
Calikoff replied to Hifumi’s question.
「In that case, who decides that justice?」
「Justice isn’t something someone decides!」
「And yet our definitions of justice differ. But this has gotten annoying. Hey, those who will follow this old man’s command go over there. You’re in the way.」
At Hifumi’s command about half of the adventurer’s went behind the counter. They were those who were completely unaffected by Calikoff’s fiery speech.
「You guys, do you not love this city?!」
「Maybe they just hate how you force your views on everybody? Or they just hate you?」
Hifumi retorted and a few people reflexively nodded,
「Guh・・・ Very well, I will just have to show my justice with my actions! Now then, that’s a sword on your hip, isn’t it, draw it already・・・」
Without waiting for him to finish, Hifumi had already rapidly lunged at the robed woman behind him.
She did not doubt Calikoff’s imminent victory so merely observed it as a sport, so she couldn’t even react when Hifumi grabbed her head and crashed it hard into a wall.
Her body fell limply on the floor, her head clearly cracked. No one doubted that she was dead.
While he was still muttering the name of his fallen comrade, the other girl just reached for her bow but lost her head in the process.
Her head rolled up to Calikoff’s feet and stared blankly at him.
「Y-you bastard are・・・!!」
He never had the chance to finish the sentence.
The hand that was supposed to be grabbing his sword now ended at the wrist.
Calikoff watched dumbfounded as blood flowed from his wrist, and Hifumi used the opportunity to stab him through the eye.
His brain thus damaged, he fell a corpse.
Hifumi’s eyes darkened and he looked intensely at his blad.
「Hmph・・・it truly is more durable than a normal blade. Though I aimed at an opening, I still had to cut through armor, and yet not even a nick in the blade」
The other adventurers had now stood motionless, but Hifumi did not intend to let them off. If he did, they could go around causing problems, and, most importantly, they have already made their choice.
As if to check the quality of his sword, he continued slaughtering every single adventurer around him. Some were groaning without hands, some had their guts spilled onto the floor, some women were cut right in half, and some men now turned into bleeding daruma (limbless).
And surrounded by corpses Hifumi wiped his katana and again inspected the blade. Though he has caused such terrible carnage, he was not at all moved.
As for those watching this unfold, many lost consciousness. But every single one of them now felt nothing but fear towards Hifumi.
Even Lesh who has led a long life of pure combat had never seen anyone so specialized at killing people. And one who could do it so naturally.
「And thus we got that out of the way」
Hifumi said and turned towards Lesh’s group with a bright smile on his face.
「You won’t be able to leave the city for a few days, but afterwards everything will return to normal」
「Umm, how should we pay the adventurer’s from now on?」
「Do it as you have before. The only thing that has changed is the head of state. The city will run as it always has」
Saying that he’ll send help to clean the guild up, they watched Hifumi leave; and not one understood for what purpose Calikoff and the rest had to die.
And thus even when Hifumi-dono’s dominion would stabilize without many civilian casualties, and life returns to normal, there will probably be those who call Calikoff a hero and revolt.
「That’s a darn shame・・・」
But looking at Calikoff’s face, which stared back with only one eye, Lesh realized that he was not allowed to feel pity.