The vicinity of the Fokalore’s Lord’s mansion was crowded with the populace taking refuge from the front lines, the territorial soldiers, and staff members guiding them on top of the Third Knight Unit who lead the soldiers of the reinforcements.
The staff distributed meals to the populace and aided those with deteriorating health. Gradually the mood changed into it being something along the lines of a festival.
Those with a strong business sense erected stalls before anyone noticed. The staff members only arranged the locations of the food stalls and let them freely do business afterwards.
“This ought to be a time of war, but what’s with this situation?” (Midas)
Advancing on his horse while pushing his way through the masses, Midas’ group finally left the jammed area.
“The populace seems to have been kept away from the gate where the battle occurred.” (Young knight)
Listening to the report from a young knight who had heard the current state of affairs from the staff members, Midas breathed a sigh.
“Did they carefully consider the circumstances of the populace? Or is it because they would simply become a nuisance … ?” (Midas)
There is a quite high probability that it is the latter, he assessed, but didn’t voice out this thought as he had to hurry going forward on his horse towards the battlefield.
While also issuing instructions to all members to draw their swords, he scowled feeling a sense of discomfort.
“That’s odd…” (Midas)
“What is?” (Young knight)
“Don’t you think it’s strangely silent although they should be in combat? Rather, the noise coming from the direction of the Lord’s mansion is a lot more boisterous.” (Midas)
“Now that you mention it.” the young knight agreed to Midas’ remark. As they headed towards the actual scene, the horses advanced on the road that had at least a lesser amount of people travelling it.
Before long they could see an imposing iron gate at the exit of the city, but the door was widely opened.
“! … Did they break through? However, the enemies are …” (Young knight)
Trying to hasten their approach, they could see the territorial soldiers chatting leisurely while disposing of the enemies’ corpses.
As they were calmly talking with each other, they chopped up the corpses with magic and halberds, gathered them and tossed them into a hole. Drenching them in oil, each pile was burned.
Although the intense stench of the burning proteins was to such a degree that Midas had to pinch his nose, the territorial soldiers did it calmly having nothing but a cloth wrapped around the lower part of their faces.
Because they observed the relaxed state of the territorial soldiers in front of the mountain of dead bodies, all of the Third Knight Unit following from behind looked at them. All of them uniformly turned blue and some amongst them, not being able to bear the sight, even broke down vomiting.
Midas considered it to be pathetic, but it appears that the soldiers and knights from the capital can’t overturn the difference in actual combat experience of the Touno territorial soldiers anymore.
When surveying the area, Midas saw a single women, he felt having seen somewhere before, issuing orders to the soldiers.
As Midas dismounted from his horse and withdrew his hand from his sword, she apparently noticed him as well.
“I am Midas of the Third Knight Unit. We were dispatched as reinforcements, but …” (Midas)
“I am the civil official slave called Miyukare in charge of matters related to military affairs of the Touno territory. Welcome, I am glad that you have come to assist us.” (Miyukare)
As Miyukare responded with a bright smile, Midas recalled her to be included in Hifumi’s group of civil official slaves.
He happened to catch sight of her at the time various things were taught to her by Hifumi at the royal castle.
“I’d like you to inform me about the state of affairs.” (Midas)
“The Vichy general is dead. Right about now the remnants of the defeated army are fleeing from the chasing group led by the director of military affairs.” (Miyukare)
The battle at Fokalore has ended. All that was now left was simply hunting the remnants of the Vichy army.
“Where’s the enemy’s general?” (Midas)
“Who knows? I heard he was in some hole. About now he should have been cremated within one of them.” (Miyukare)
Midas groaned while curbing the area between his eyebrows.
Just like Hifumi, it seems that they, the Touno territorial soldiers and the civil official slaves, don’t care about who and what rank the enemy has in the least.
Dispose of them since they are dead and then be done with it.
“By the way.” (Miyukare)
Miyukare smiled brightly at Midas who was greatly troubled with the situation.
“Since it’s about time to finish soon, shouldn’t you rather head towards the mansion?” (Miyukare)
“Finish soon? … What matter is?” (Midas)
“Hifumi-sama’s disgusting play, that is.” (Miyukare)
Midas’ thoughts froze for an instant. Without saying anything in return, he jumped on top of his horse and rushed towards the Lord’s mansion.
Preparing the shuriken, Origa entrusted her back to the wall enduring the pain in her foot.
“Kasha, I won’t forgive you …” (Origa)
“Calm down! The Knight Unit has already broken into the mansion. Now that this has happened, Hifumi is already …” (Kasha)
Just as she started to talk, Origa threw her four-sided shuriken tearing Kasha’s shoulder.
Due to her avoiding on the spur of the moment, the wound was shallow.
“Origa, why … ?” (Kasha)
“I won’t bear it anymore. All the more if a Knight Unit had come, I must got to Hifumi-sama’s side.” (Origa)
As Origa prepared the next shuriken, Kasha, giving up, grasped the sword’s grip, withdrew it from its scabbard and took her stance.
“I will suppress you with sheer strength.” (Kasha)
“Give your best trying to do so. I will show you that I am not such a weak woman as you are.” (Origa)
Kasha closed the distance bit-by-bit. Origa, having her back against the wall as she couldn’t use her foot, had no other choice but move horizontally along the wall by slithering.
Taking care to not cause injuries as much as possible, Kasha wavered which spot she should attack.
“Without even having your wand, there is no way for you to defeat me.” (Kasha)
“Underestimating the abilities of your opponent like that is a bad habit of yours. Shouldn’t I have warned you many times to not do so?” (Origa)
Firing off the second shuriken, she aimed at Kasha’s feet.
Kasha jumped to the side while wielding the sword in order to avert the trajectory of the shuriken. In reverse she charged and hit Origa’s flank.
“Kuu …” (Origa)
Origa had planned to elude the attack by falling down but her body didn’t move as she thought it would. She wasn’t able to kill the force completely.
She collapsed lying upside-down and as Origa was breathing roughly, Kasha lowered her sword.
“With this you understand, right? Let’s go together … I don’t want to do such detestable thing like seriously fighting with Origa.” (Kasha)
Origa heavily rotated turning her position facing upwards and silently held out her right hand towards Kasha.
“I am glad. Well then, after this, together …” (Kasha)
A sound like grass being cut reverberated. Kasha’s flank has been gouged open by a wind blade.
An amount of blood, which would overrun a glass, dropped on the floor.
“… Ha?” (Kasha)
Because she doesn’t quite understand the visible condition of her own body, Kasha falls to her knees due to the sudden blood loss.
Spilling even more blood this way.
“Although you don’t even have your wand, why …?” (Kasha)
Looking at Origa with hazy eyes, she saw that the area of the robe around her arms was torn. Around the naked slender forearm leather belt with a fixed knife was coiled.
“Following Hifumi’s suggestion, I prepared a hidden knife copying the magicians of Horant. Giving your magician opponent the time to cast a spell was naive.” (Origa)
As they finished talking, both, Origa and Kasha, had collapsed on the floor.
At the point in time Hifumi stepped into the room entering it, Kasha was at death’s door.
For the time being with this Hifumi poured a magic potion, with the bottle making a *glug glug* sound, on Origa in order to wake her up. Seeing the unhurt Hifumi in front of her eyes, she misunderstood herself to have died.
But, once she looked closely, she could see Kasha lying in a pool of blood.
“Hifumi-sam … ?” (Origa)
“Ou, you finally woke up.” (Hifumi)
“I-I am glad you are healthy?! … Ah right, Kasha has called a Knight Unit to this mansion … !” (Origa)
Getting up as if she were a spring, Origa kept on talking while clinging to Hifumi. But Hifumi quickly tore her off causing her to fall on the floor.
“Calm down, moron. I got rid of the entire attacking Knight Unit. Currently Doelgar’s group is cleaning up the mess.” (Hifumi)
With a “That’s great” Origa was relieved spilling large drops of tears.
As Origa was sobbing, Kasha, slipping into the abyss of death, murmured with her consciousness being vacant,
“Hifumi-san … Ah, Pajou-san has …” (Kasha)
That knight had given her and Origa a chance to reconcile. Realising that she had failed and died, Kasha didn’t give a damn about everything and anything anymore.
“Kasha, apologise to Hifumi now. It isn’t too late yet …” (Origa)
Looking at Hifumi and Kasha alternately, Origa said so in her former gentle voice.
That caused Kasha to become unbearably sad.
“Origa, sorry … Hifumi-san too, I am sorry … I have been a fool …” (Kasha)
“Hifumi-sama, since she is also repenting …” (Origa)
Watching Kasha heading towards her death now, Origa couldn’t even hide her trembling.
But Hifumi watched Kasha without saying a single word.
“By now … everything and anything has changed, hey … not only I didn’t notice that, I wasn’t even approved by Pajou-san either …” (Kasha)
Looking at Hifumi, Kasha laughed bitterly.
“Hifumi-san, thank you for saving us when we were slaves … If you are fine with it, I want you to let me pass on as is … I think this manner of death is a blessing, to the extent that it is more than a fool like me deserves …” (Kasha)
Hifumi nodded expressionlessly.
“Thank you …” (Kasha)
Kasha slowly closed her eyelids to never open them again.
Painfully raising her breast up and down only once, her breathing ceased.
“Really, you have been such a fool …” (Origa)
Sitting down at the side of her close friend, she shed tears as she also stopped to pretend being tough.
Hifumi took a breath and placed his hands on his waist.
In his mind he hosted a little bit of compassion but no regret.
Most of it was occupied by anger.
Pushing his way through the crowd, Midas finally arrived at the mansion. He was greeted by an unhurt Hifumi, donning an expression of anger and Origa, being even more angry burning with fury.
Being guided to the office by himself, Midas discerned that the situation had turned out in the worst possible way.
Brooding over his own fate from now on, his feet became heavy.
“… So?” (Hifumi)
As Midas stood stock still without being able to look at Hifumi in front of his eyes, a short inquiry was thrown at him.
“T-The reinforcements weren’t in time. It’s inexcusable that we weren’t able to fulfill the role given to us …” (Midas)
“To the very end you insist that you came up until here to assist us? Is that what you are saying?” (Origa)
“O-Of course” (Midas)
He couldn’t even shift his gaze towards Origa.
“Is it common for the reinforcements to storm the Lord’s office with drawn swords in this country?” (Hifumi)
“U …” (Midas)
“Is it common for a Knight Unit, no, the royal castle to even use a friend to spy on the internal affairs?” (Hifumi)
“Ugu …” (Midas)
As Midas’ thoughts deviated into I would pay anything for just having a usable answer, Hifumi pressed on.
“Besides, it’s strange, isn’t it? Imeraria should have known that Vichy would attack the national border having prepared a sufficient war potential. Or rather, since she has induced this, shouldn’t she have sent reinforcements a lot earlier?” (Hifumi)
“No, such expectations … In reality the second son of a Marquis household, Debold-sama, had been dispatched as envoy of peace to Vichy.” (Midas)
“Is that so? That means an envoy of peace delivers such a provocative letter in this world?” (Hifumi)
The letter that was thrown at Midas was the on Hifumi had taken out from Debold’s breast pocket.
“This is … !” (Midas)
It had Imeraria’s signature. Thrusting unreasonable demands at Vichy, no matter how you looked at it, the contents couldn’t be called anything but hostile.
“Well then, I want you to properly convey to Imeraria that she has overstepped her bounds this time. Now matter how kind I may be, even I have my limits.” (Hifumi)
What kindness are you talking about? Were his thought reflected on his face? Origa pointed an icy gaze at Midas to the degree of making him shiver.
“It came to a point where it would be proper for me to receive yours and the princess’ heads. Shouldn’t you be grateful for the generous treatment of Hifumi-sama?” (Origa)
“I-I am very sorry …” (Midas)
While bowing his head in apology, Midas raised an 「Oya?」 having a question towards Origa’s just spoken words.
Going by the current way of the talks, it sounds like me and the princess can survive.
“There was far too little resistance, I guess …” (Hifumi)
“The degree of the scheme was too little, even for Pajou. Also, the soldiers of Vichy attacking straight from the front like idiots, didn’t divert from our predictions in the least. Although Origa seems to be able handling it well, Kasha wasn’t able to implement what she had been taught at all.” (Hifumi)
Midas suddenly couldn’t follow what Hifumi was talking about.
“Due to the long, long history of wars in my country and world, there are many substantial studies repeatedly refining the art of efficiently killing your enemies, such as those heavily armored, those riding a horse, those being separated from their allies and those being swift, no matter the circumstances. As a result of that, many created military strategies and weapons vanished, making it literally a struggle to survive for those.” (Hifumi)
Maa, though I ended up completely forgetting those things recently, Hifumi inserted an idle complaint in his mind.
“However, after coming here, the opponents I faced were only luke-warm opponents at best. I first thought that it was only this country, but it seems the other countries aren’t any different in that regard either. As I worked as adventurer and statesman, I always pondered about it and at last I reached a conclusion.” (Hifumi)
“Th-The conclusion is …” (Midas)
As Midas feared he would hear something absurd and his desire to escape from this place right away was almost stirred up, he resisted those up-welling feelings as he had to convey what Hifumi was going to say to the princess.
“There isn’t enough fighting in this world. There isn’t enough desperation to stake their life on fighting between people. Therefore I decided to make my move.” (Hifumi)
“What the hell are you planning to do …?” (Midas)
Although he didn’t want to hear it, he couldn’t help but listen to it.
And just as he thought, Midas regretted hearing about it.
“I will spread the methods of fighting in order for the human society to become self-aware and come to their senses all around the world. Oh well, if I drill thousands of people scattered throughout the world in the ways of war, my intent will naturally come true, don’t you think?” (Hifumi)
“In other words, you will raise well-trained people to pit them against each other all around the world? Is that what you are saying?”
“It’s a magnificent idea. Of course I will also do my very best to help you.” (Origa)
Even though Origa said this as if it was natural, Hifumi gave up while thinking No matter what I tell her, she will accompany me anyway.
“Ah! I will use this territory as is. Once in a while I will return here. I want a place where I can run various experiments as well.” (Hifumi)
As result the people brought up in this territory will become ‘people who might cause damage to Orsongrande in the future’.
That’s just madness.
(However, there is no way to decline this …) (Midas)
Most likely even Imeraria won’t be able to refuse.
Especially since this is the second time her life has been spared.
He even seized disadvantageous evidence.
As Hifumi laughed joyfully, Midas frantically endured strong stomach pains.