After sneaking out of the royal castle, the First Knight Unit’s Ribezal brought around 50 subordinates with him and went towards Horant. His goal was the city of Münster, where the Second Knight Unit was stationed.
Ribezal was impatiently rushing his horse along the highway, but suddenly, a person could be seen standing on the road.
It was a suntanned small man around the age of 30, who was signaling by swinging both of his arms in a big motion, but Ribezal had no intention to respond.
“Out of the way!”
Although he shouted with a loud voice, the man didn’t seem to have the intention to make way for them. Ribezal was then surprised by the man’s next words.
“You’re Ribezal of the First Knight Unit, right?”
Ribezal damned himself inwardly as he unintentionally halted his horse. Stopping here means he recognized the man’s existence.
He looked closely at the man, but his eye color couldn’t be seen as he was smiling so much that his eyes turned thin. But it was not a man he had any recollection of.
“Do you have any business with me?”
“Yes, I’m known as Beirevra, and honestly, I’m a spy from Vichy…”
The words of the man called Beirevra immediately put Ribezal and his men on guard. As they put their hands on the swords by the waists, Beirevra flusteredly shook his hands.
“P-Please wait! I was waiting here because I wanted to help you!”
“You said you were waiting here? How did you know I was coming this way!? Furthermore, you say you’re a spy from Vichy, but this is the border of Horant. This is on the opposite side.”
“Well, you see, a guy named Hifumi was looking for me and it seemed as if the country would sell me out. So with the help of an intermediary, I went over to Horant…”
It seems that by the time Vichy’s army was defeated, he had betrayed his country and used a fake name to cross Orsongrande in order to reach Horant.
“And then as I was about to leave the capital, I heard that Hifumi had arrived at the royal castle. I thought someone from the castle should hurry over towards the Second Knight Unit over by Horant, so I left the capital early in order to wait here.”
But never did I think I’d meet the captain of the First Knight Unit, he clumsily flattered.
“So, what’s your objective?”
“Yes. I thought that perhaps you’d like to become colleagues.”
Seemingly embarrassed, Beirevra scratched his head, as all the knights made suspicious faces.
“There are no advantages for me, so there’s no need to talk about it.”
“Oh? I’d certainly be of some help, right? Because I can arrange some of Horant’s magic tools, you see.”
“Magic tools? What use would they be?”
“Well, if you were to check what happened to the Second Knight Unit over at Münster, you’ll know.”
Not understanding what he’s implying, Ribezal ordered his men to capture the still smiling Beirevra.
“I don’t know what your goal is, but I’ll decide what to do with you after seeing the circumstances.”
Being pulled into something, Ribezal felt that it was best to keep the small man alive for now.
Beirevra was bound without any particular resistance, and was brought with Ribezal as they continued towards Münster.
Hifumi and Origa were riding their horses along the highway towards Fokalore in a good mood.
The reasons for their good moods were different, but the time was spent in a comfortable and carefree manner in the warm weather.
“Hifumi, there’s a response from the echolocation. There are 20 people 10 minutes ahead of us. They seem to be carrying weapons.”
For a moment, Hifumi didn’t know what she was talking about, but then he recalled the wind magic used for searching, that he named himself.
Now that you mention it, that thing existed, Hifumi thought, admiring Origa as she put forth great effort to increase the accuracy.
“Weapons, huh. Are they bandits?”
“Most likely. It’s close to the highway, and there are few monsters, after all.”
They didn’t stop the horses as they spoke.
“That reminds me…”
“What is it?”
“About the promise to pursue Beirevra – it might be somewhat hard. Since we didn’t get an answer from Vichy, by the time we finish dealing with the central committee, he might’ve escaped somewhere.”
Origa covered her face.
Truthfully speaking, killing Beirevra was the reason she was initially together with Hifumi, but before she noticed, she started using Beirevra as an excuse to stay beside him. She had thought more than once or twice, that if they don’t find Beirevra, they’d stay together like this forever. But of course, the desire for revenge on Beirevra had still yet to disappear.
“… I believe that as long as I journey the world together with you, we’ll be able to catch him at some point.”
In response to Hifumi’s short answer, Origa felt miserable. Wasting the consideration of Hifumi, as well as delaying the conclusion of the matter, in order to ensure a place she could call her own. Origa felt she was dishonest.
Aside from her dispiritedly worrying, Hifumi quickly jumped off his horse and tied it to a suitable tree. It’d be troublesome if the horses escaped, so he thought about leaving the horses here before killing the opposite party.
“There’s no need to hesitate. If you think you should kill, just kill. That’s reason enough.”
Hifumi muttered a few words before he left, swinging the counterweight of the kusarigama in his hands.
It seems like he misunderstood the reason Origa was feeling down, but more than anything else, that Hifumi showed concern for her made her happy.
Responding to Hifumi, Origa grasped a shuriken in her right hand, before running to catch up with him.
“Since when did the Orsongrande soldiers deteriorate this much!?”
Crushing the war report in his hand, Stifels struck his desk.
“Well, Horant may have a fewer amount of soldiers than us, but even if we assault them with arrows and magic, or cut off their arms, they still charge right at us. Truthfully speaking, it’s abnormal.”
No one in the Second Knight Unit had any knowledge of the magic tools used in Arosel or Rhone. Just that as they were following orders to push against the Horant soldiers, they were completely suppressed mentally. In addition to the knights they had around 3000 soldiers, but they had already lost about a tenth of them.
“Moreover, their magicians seem to easily perform inhuman acts, like getting their own allies caught in their flame spells. It frightens our soldiers, so the morale is plummeting.”
As the reporting vice captain made a bitter face, Stifels violently sat down in his chair.
“Anyhow, Ayperos is currently at the headquarters. If we keep this up and fail to rise any military achievements, we can’t return to the capital. We need to inflict at least some damage to the enemy, so we can’t retreat.”
He filled his cup with alcohol, and drained it all at once.
“In the first place, Horant suddenly trespassing the national border is the problem! With no official statement, this is a complete surprise attack… Behaving like bandits, the magic country Horant sure has fallen.”
Stifels complained, but what he wanted now was a concrete plan as to how to deal with the current situation.
Glaring at the vice captain, Stifels smacked his lips.
“It can’t be helped, we need to borrow Earl Biron’s territorial forces. We’ll increase our numbers and push them back in one go.”
But before he could send someone, prince Ayperos arrived.
“Stifels. How is the war progressing?”
Ayperos, still in his teens, had brought with him several of his chamberlains, doing his best to make a dignified display.
“Yes. Horant’s resistance is stronger than we expected so we’re currently struggling for supremacy. The strategy we have now is to force them back.”
“I see. Tell me when it’s about to be decided.”
When they are about to win, Ayperos needed to come out to take the helm.
Aiperos said he looked forward to it, before taking his leave, as Stifels unpleasantly saw him off.
“Coming out afterwards…”
This was all done in order to give the Second Knight Unit some achievements, but Stifels didn’t know what to do with the prince who were butting in more than necessary.
It seems like witnessing his sister Imeraria actively participating in the national politics, and getting the support of the people, had made him somewhat impatient. Maybe the throne would be snatched away like this, so that’s why he made that previous announcement to Stifels, as well as bringing with him a huge number of chamberlains and his private army.
But he didn’t let that private army participate in the battle, and only used them as an escort. A lot of people were brought with him, so the city of Münster was about to burst. Far from being a help, they were rather a nuisance.
“At any rate, we’ll increase our soldiers and strike the enemy with overwhelming power! Send a messenger to Earl Biron.”
Hifumi let out a sigh as he looked at the sickle he had just reaped several human lives with.
“It’s quite damaged. I’ll need to reforge it when I get back to Fokalore.”
The bandits, whose numbers had already been halved, were glaring at Hifumi with their crude weapons in their hands but when they saw their dead comrades on the ground, their legs didn’t let them step forward.
“I’ll need to use another weapon for now.”
Instead of the kusarigama, Hifumi fetched his pick and swung it lightly.
“This one is still okay.”
Hifumi glanced behind him and saw Origa smiling. Beneath her feet were the bodies of three bandits, who seemed to have wanted to take her hostage.
All at once, attack!”
At the words of the man who looked like the leader, the remaining 10 men all attacked.
“Do that from the beginning instead.”
One person got his throat pierced by the pick.
Before his eyes got dark, the next person had already had his neck grabbed and thrown down on the ground, before getting his heart pierced.
Averting an incoming club, Hifumi kicked the person in the crotch with all his strength.
“Scheme a little bit at least. This is dull.”
Finishing with the pick, he retrieved the spear he took from Ribezal.
“7 left. I wonder how many seconds you can hold out for.”
“Don’t mess with us!”
The head of the bandits, who was brandishing a longsword, got both of his legs cut off, after which Hifumi decapitated him.
The bandits who lost their leader threw their weapons on the ground and began to scatter in all directions.
But if he were to let away his precious prey, he wouldn’t be Hifumi. He thoroughly transformed them all into corpses.
“Nice weather… I hope it’ll stay like this all the way until Fokalore.”
Origa felt some ordinary everyday happiness looking at Hifumi merrily killing people.
Earl Biron curtly refused the request for reinforcements the Second Knight Unit’s vice captain brought with him with his visit to the Earl’s mansion.
“But why? We’re asking you in order to cooperate to protect this city…”
“I also took the protection of the city into consideration before I refused. My subordinates also confirmed the war situation, and the soldiers from Horant are behaving strangely.”
‘That’s something you should also know about’, Biron said as he stared at the vice captain.
“With an abnormal opponent who don’t feel exhaustion and just keeps relentlessly attacking, I don’t think you can just meet them head on. It’d be better to exhaust them by defending, while waiting for reinforcements.”
“Yes. I’ve already sent a messenger. It’s quite a distance away, but they should arrive before the defensive wall collapse.”
The vice captain couldn’t hide his irritation at that carefree manner of speaking.
“Is this really the time to stay calm!?”
“Oh? Didn’t prince Ayperos say that you were ‘struggling for supremacy’? Furthermore, if we put importance on the walls, don’t we have enough defense?”
Of course, Biron was sarcastic, as he knew about the crisis with the army over by Horant. But as it was virtually the same thing Stifels had said, as well as being the truth, there was nothing the vice captain could say.
“So, what size of reinforcement did you request from the capital?”
If he could calculate the reinforcements coming, he could integrate them into the plan they had.
“I believe it was around 4000 men from an outskirts region of the capital.”
“You didn’t request reinforcements from the capital?”
“Huh? Then where from…”
Biron elegantly tipped his cup of tea a little, enjoying the smell of tea, before smiling.
“If requesting something, a strong person is preferable, right? So I requested the lord of Fokalore, Hifumi. If he’s as strong as the rumors say, he should be able to play a significant role in the fight against Horant.”
“Wh… How can you…”
Seeing the vice captain not being able to close his mouth after hearing that, Biron felt a little better.