Entering the ruins of the church, inside a spacious hall, where the altar originally stood, there was a middle-aged man sitting in a huge wooden chair, surrounded by several standing men. Probably his subordinates.
Bifron jogged forward, whispering something in the ear of the middle-aged man.
Having listened to what Bifron was saying, the man rudely looked at Hifumi, and started talking in a deep, resounding voice.
“It seems some of our guys are indebted to you, but who are you?” (Torkemada)
“The new Lord. Are you Torkemada?” (Hifumi)
“Correct. So, what business does the Lord have, coming all the way to our garbage heap?” (Torkemada)
Torkemada glared with bloodshot eyes. He had probably been able to daunt many people with that gaze, but Hifumi didn’t really care.
“I came to ask you whether you want to die, or follow my orders.” (Hifumi)
Laughing scornfully, Torkemada put a nearby wooden flask towards his mouth. The content smelled like alcohol.
“I heard you were the manager here in the slums. I was thinking of gathering the inhabitants here and have them choose whether to submit or not.” (Hifumi)
“Hahaha, don’t be so hurried, youngster. So, what will you do if I don’t obey? Set the soldiers after us to kill us? There was an aristocrat making the same demands before, but we sent him home as a corpse.” (Torkemada)
Speaking in a joking manner, the surrounding subordinates started laughing.
Hifumi didn’t respond, or rather, he didn’t really listen to what Torkemada said.
“I don’t care about that. Just do it. Also, you smell. You should at least wash your body.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi frowned, waving his left hand around in an imitation of Torkemada. Torkemada himself stopped laughing, and put on a grim look.
“That’s the kind of serious look you should listen with. This is the moment where your life or death is decided.” (Hifumi)
“Don’t get carried away. Don’t think a youngster like you can act brave here in the slums, and then return in one piece.” (Torkemada)
He once again threatened in a deep voice, but Hifumi only responded with a sigh.
“I can’t get through to you, can I?” (Hifumi)
With a rattling sound, Hifumi retrieved the metal chigiriki he used in the battle in Rhone. Although, the retractable function for the chain had broken, so it was more like a flail with a long handle. As he couldn’t fix it on his own, he could only use it as it was for now.
“Oh, you want to fight?” (Torkemada)
Judging that it was a weapon, Torkemada grinned broadly and turned to Bifron standing beside him, about to tell Bifron to be Hifumi’s opponent.
The chigiriki made a dull sound as its weight was driven into his temple.
Hitting the weak part of the cranium and continuing straight ahead, it clearly reached his brain.
“Move before you ask someone whether to fight or not. Idiot.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi nimbly pulled back the chain and swung it around, as Torkemada fell down from from his chair with the whites in his eyes showing.
The underlings couldn’t understand what happened for a short moment, but came to their senses as they heard the sound of the dead body hitting the floor.
“You asshole! Kill him!” (Mob A)
As the subordinates were about to draw their swords, Bifron hurriedly commanded them to stop.
“Why are you stopping us!?” (Mob A)
“Bifron, he killed Torkemada! We can’t let him go back alive!” (Mob B)
“Even if we attack in a group, we can’t win. Torkemada died because he didn’t understand that… Lord, could you please give us your name?” (Bifron)
Having somehow calmed down the subordinates voicing their dissatisfaction, Bifron showed that his hand had separated from the sword.
“It’s Hifumi. Your manager has died, so Bifron, can you substitute for him?” (Hifumi)
“Manager… well, he only managed the people here. As we don’t have a grasp on the huge number of people in the slums, we don’t know where people are.” (Bifron)
“Aahh… So it’s like that. What a bother.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi scratched his head, shaking the chains. The listless Bifron took that moment to quietly ask him a question.
“I’d chose to follow you over dying. If I weren’t going to follow you, will the soldiers come again?” (Bifron)
Torkemada was talking as if he was filled with composure, but during Viscount Hagenti’s rule, soldiers were dispatched to the slums. They had huge losses, and while they managed to drive back the soldiers with force in the end, a considerable amount of people in the slums died. Only after running around, confirming that all the influential people back then had died, did Torkemada start behaving like the boss of this gym. And since joining an appropriate group makes it easier, Bifron had joined Torkemada.
If soldiers were now dispatched like they were back then, the people in the slums would easily be disposed of.
“Why are you asking whether I’d send soldiers?” (Hifumi)
“Well, nobles and Lords are like that, so I figured…” (Bifron)
Bam. The sound of the chigiriki hitting the floor made Bifron take a step back in surprise.
“If someone obstructs me, I have the the privilege to kill them. I won’t let anyone else take that away from me.” (Hifumi)
Everyone in the church ruins felt as if asking what the hell Hifumi was talking about.
Although nobody, even Origa, comprehended it, it was the same reason why Hifumi stood on the main street in Rhone by himself.
He even gave such strange order saying that it was alright to only kill those guys who entered the side roads.
“I don’t understand the minds of guys who use their subordinates to kill people.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi angrily snorted with a “fun~” as no one kept up with him.
“The conversation has deviated. As it has become tiresome, I will leave it to you afterwards. Tomorrow morning, those who obey me will lose the status of trash, the others will have to get out. Those remaining in the city will be killed. I think that’s easy enough to understand.” (Hifumi)
“W-Whether they are going to believe this story or not …” (Bifron)
“It doesn’t matter. It will be their end if they aren’t able to sense the danger.” (Hifumi)
Biding his farewell, Hifumi gave them a light greeting of “see ya tomorrow!” as if he was a student while leaving. Bifron sank to the floor with a thump.
“Bi-Bifron-san …” (Mob A)
“You lot better obey him as well if you don’t want to die. This here are the slums. You will die if you insist.” (Bifron)
Seeing him having his view facing towards Torkemada, the other men one by one told Bifron that they would obey.
Apparently it was the simple logic of obeying Bifron who is stronger than them.
“Ah, will we keep this a secret from the other groups so that we can comfortably get rid of the guys from the other groups?” (Mob B)
As several others agreed to that sort of idea being proposed, Bifron told them to better stop it.
“What do you think will that Lord-sama do at the time he learns that we hadn’t passed on the announcement to the other groups?” (Bifron)
Standing up, Bifron looked at everybody.
“Didn’t you listen? Anyone who becomes an obstacle will be killed by that guy.” (Bifron)
As Bifron left the church ruins to go inform the other groups, the other guys also tagged along.
The expression ‘civil official slave’ is a word coined by Hifumi. With the exception of Fokalore it hadn’t circulated yet.
Although their position as slaves, and their status as civil officials made the people confused in the beginning, but when they started actually working, they just said “ah, so that’s what the expression means”, and understood.
With the administration service being completed, the war reserve funds could be definitely collected under the name of taxes. Other than Kasha’s principle of saying “something is wrong with these people”, only the 5 civil official slaves were put to work like slaves just as that title implied.
The result of tallying the family register was the knowledge of there being close to 50.000 people in Fokalore even if the slums were excluded. Although there were dozens of staff members, only 5 people managing the government affairs by themselves doubtlessly was a matter of overwork.
Attached under Alyssa, Miyukare took part in the office work on matters closely related to the territorial army. She considered that to be an especially comfortable situation for herself.
In reality the management related to armament was easy too as the loss was originally small as well. Before Hifumi became aware of it, the method to learn how to use the tools and arms made by the dwarves became difficult as those were unfamiliar.
For the women who served as civil officials in the capital this was a new workplace supported by a peaceful environment without having superiors that acted self-important or nobles making fun of them for being women of common birth.
“A-Ano … Miyukare-san, I don’t understand this, but …” (Alyssa)
Alyssa was scanning through the documents as if clinging to the massive desk in the office with its long fur carpet spread out. Someone who came approaching with a *tota tota* timidly held out the documents to Miyukare at her secretary desk.
“Alyssa-sama. You asked for the subordinate standing in front of me, right? You have to be prepared to entrust substantial things to those below as one standing above others.” (Miyukare)
“A-Ano … I am sorry …” (Alyssa)
Alyssa got openly depressed as she was lectured while receiving the documents.
You could see her already small body becoming even smaller.
“Moreover, because the document is incorrect here regarding the count of people, it can’t be used as final count. Since there aren’t 200 people with even the recruited soldiers, you have to understand at least this much, please.” (Miyukare)
“A..u …” (Alyssa)
As it was something possessing comparatively strong backbone, Miyukare saw Alyssa ending up completely dispirited.
She tightened her face, that almost began to grin, with will-power, placed a hand on Alyssa and changed to a soft voice.
“Alyssa-sama, I am very sorry for saying such harsh things. But it is fine to leave such miscellaneous tasks to me.” (Miyukare)
“But, if that’s the case, I think it will become difficult for Miyukare-san …” (Alyssa)
What a lovely child. It took Miyukare all her effort to withhold the nosebleed due to Alyssa who wasn’t even ten years younger than her. Barely, without revealing her facial expression, she pretended to be calmly thanking her.
“Such a lowly slave like me receiving such consideration, thank you very much. I was appointed as Alyssa-sama’s assistant. Since this is my duty, please rely on me without holding back.” (Miyukare)
“Is that so? … Although I don’t quite understand, thanks Miyukare-san!” (Alyssa)
As she endured with a mind of steel to not embrace the brightly smiling Alyssa closely, Hifumi entered the room without even knocking.
Of course he had taken a hot bath and changed the dougi smelling like garbage.
“Ah, Hifumi-san!” (Miyukare)
“… Don’t leak such sickening mood.” (Hifumi)
“Ara, you can say that it is an important element for smoothly handling the work that the subordinate and the superior get along with each other.” (Miyukare)
Hifumi wasn’t good at talking with Miyukare.
As she didn’t even care about speaking her mind without holding back even though being a slave, he felt some indescribably bad affinity with her.
(I think I am to blame for not seeing through such a fellow, but …) (Hifumi)
Her hobby doesn’t match her high-quality, Hifumi recognized about Miyukare.
Standing out in calculation and practical work experience amongst the 5 people, she is the most “capable personnel” since she also possesses experience as civil official, he assessed.
“How can I help you, Hifumi-san?” (Miyukare)
“Since I will clean out the slums tomorrow, you have to assign a number of people to prepare dealing with the aftermath.” (Hifumi)
Miyukare’s side reacted sensitively towards Hifumi’s words.
“… Have you done something again?” (Miyukare)
After the defense battle at Rhone, they had reorganized the territorial army, reviewed the weapons damage and ordered repairs and brand new ones.
Furthermore while being rushed by Caim of the financial affair department, they calculated the final expenses. Miyukare recalled the situation of not even having time to sleep.
“You just have to gather some manpower. Take someone being in charge of the family register including around 20 people and wait outside the slums to register those guys as residents tomorrow morning. Assign an appropriate workplace like a workshop or whatever.” (Hifumi)
This will reduce the labor shortage, because of that Hifumi had a complacent mood. Miyukare was at her wits’ end.
“Will it prove successful to use the guys from the slums?” (Miyukare)
“This will depend on your guys’ education. I leave it to you, military director Alyssa” (Hifumi)
“Ah, yes! Understood!” (Alyssa)
After hitting Alyssa’s head with a *pon pon*, Hifumi immediately left.
“Again a troublesome matter …” (Miyukare)
Although her deployment was like playing house, given that for some reason the soldiers of the territorial army listened well to the things Alyssa said, there were only few troubles in relation to the soldiers of this territory.
A large number of people grasped the situation of Alyssa, who was moving around her small body restlessly, having no dignity and yet she oddly excelled at something like issuing quick instructions.
Even if it might be fine because of Hifumi’s discerning eye, Miyukare absolutely couldn’t accept it since it was somehow vexing.
“Well then, we should prepare to meet the Lord-sama’s unreasonable demands.” (Miyukare)
“Miyukare-san, you are not allowed to speak bad words about Hifumi-san in such way, okay?” (Alyssa)
“… I am very sorry. My true opinion leaked out.” (Miyukare)
How could such excellent child become emotionally attached to such bloodstained man? Miyukare was boiling with jealousy.
It was the time to finally decide the details of the troops organisation fielded against Vichy when a letter from Horant to Imeraria arrived.
Looking at the delivered documents which took a full 5 days to arrive from the city closest to Horant, Imeraria held the middle of her forehead feeling a headache.
Due to the anxious words, Imeraria raised her face and looked at Pajou.
“Pajou, it is written here that Horant claims the massive killing of citizens in Rhone to be the responsibility of our country. However going by the details I read in your report the cause was apparently some magic tool from Horant.” (Imeraria)
“I swear that there are no lies to be found in the contents of the report you have received from me … Will Horant cooperate with Vichy?” (Pajou)
“It seems so. Although I think it won’t come as far as an invasion because they have to ascertain the validity of Vichy doing something like “Revenge” against our country going by the contents of the letter … I wonder whether I should gather some soldiers on the main road on Horant’s side just to be sure.” (Imeraria)
In spite of being remembered of a certain person being first on the list of many hot-blooded people causing many to be troubled while Imeraria was worried, Pajou drew close all of a sudden.
“However, regarding this matter, there is movement to dispatch troops in the direction of Horant in the name of Captain Stifels of the Second Knight Unit.” (Pajou)
“What is he selfishly …” (Imeraria)
“That is, it seems he spread a rumor of having somehow obtained the approval from Prince Ayperos (T/N: >> Aiperosu <<)” (Pajou)
Imeraria learning that the name of her younger brother was used without the person himself even knowing about it had a hunch that he wouldn’t comprehend it even if she explained it to him.
Although she was an amateur as well, this was even more so the case for the prince, who doesn’t know a thing about military affairs.
Unrelated to the royal castle’s intentions, different to Imeraria who had been moving for the sake of the masses, it resulted in him almost never leaving the castle under the protection of his mother. Even Imeraria was surprised at the degree of him being raised ignorant of the ways of the world.
For this reason, even if her younger brother inherited the crown, she considered to support him herself.
“With all due respect, it appears the prince faction is opposed to the matters of the princess who is thought to be intimate with Hifumi-san …” (Pajou)
“I have no intention to compete for the hegemony with my younger brother.” (Imeraria)
“I-I am very sorry. I have said too much.” (Pajou)
Being slapped with a warning, Pajou hurriedly shut up.
“This before an important battle. I don’t want to cause unnecessary losses. I don’t want to expand the disputes within the king’s castle either. Let’s do it in the way I ratified this time. But, you should do your best to draw in the capable talented people amongst the soldiers into the Third Knight Unit.” (Imeraria)
“I will obey respectfully.” (Pajou)
“… Though there is something I am thinking about, in the end it has become nothing but completely brutal matters. Even though I wanted to take care of the life of the people becoming a lot calmer until just a little while ago.” (Imeraria)
Now she was only thinking of wanting to start moving quickly against Vichy. Imeraria gently covered her eyes with her slender fingers.