Chapter 52 – Uptown Girl

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“Humph~” (Hifumi)

While stirring the meat of the wild boar monster type that had been plentifully thrown into the stew, Hifumi returned an indifferent answer.
Once she was able to meet Hifumi, having been guided by the territorial soldiers, Phyrinion calmly observed Hifumi as Biron’s messenger begged for assistance prostrating himself and explaining the situation of Münster with vigor.
Hifumi’s answer is the previously mentioned single word.

“Hifumi-sama, what should I do with these vegetables?” (Origa)

“Ah, keep throwing them in without minding it. I think it’s fine to not think that seriously about it since it is just stew.” (Hifumi)

“It looks delicious~” (Alyssa)

Alyssa is gazing at the stew while drooling due to the rich fragrance of the lard and the dashi from the broken down monster bones, which are boiling within the stew with loose, irregular movements, drifting around, completely unrelated to the tense atmosphere the messenger is clad in.
In the vicinity of the supply unit in the center, several groups were surrounding stews mimicking Hifumi.
Everyone is looking at their stews with a slack face.

“Erm…” (Messenger)

“Ah, for the time being you guys eat as well. The talks are after that.” (Hifumi)

Phyrinion stared intently at that rustical stew dish as she sat down next to the messenger and started to eat the distributed bowl with an ample amount of the stew in it.

“This is tasty, Ojou-sama.” (Krinola)

Krinola, sitting down next to her before she noticed, smiled pleasantly at Phyrinion.
For Phyrinion, who only ate the food she brought herself, even at the time of field training, she thinks of the taste to be bad if it’s the meat of a monster, but she isn’t able to deny the apparently delicious smell.
Looking at Hifumi with a fleeting glance, he is eating it, obviously enjoying the taste, alongside Origa’s group. ‘It will be rude to refuse at this point. I’m afraid to anger them.’
Resolving herself to taste it, her hunger is enhanced by the strong flavor.

“Ah, delicious…” (Phyrinion)

“That’s only natural since it was made by Hifumi-sama himself.” (Origa)

“Using the ingredients like this, it will even become such a delicious dish.” (Hifumi)

After eating up around 3 bowls in the blink of an eye, Hifumi looked up from the grassy place being completely satisfied.

“So, you want me to help with my troops since the cities in the direction of Horant are in danger.” (Hifumi)

The messenger nodded in a hurry towards Hifumi properly comprehending the story.

“Rather than the troops, I’m told to relay to you that Earl Biron wants to request Earl Tohno himself. Here, it’s written in this letter.” (Messenger)

“Pass it to me.” (Origa)

When Origa hands it over to Hifumi after receiving it, Hifumi, who violently opened it and scanned its contents briefly, stood up as if jumping up.

“You said the feudal lord of the region close to Horant is Earl Biron.” (Hifumi)

“Y-Yes!” (Messenger)

“There are still some interesting fellows in this country.” (Hifumi)

Following the writing about the request for reinforcements, which had a stereotyped writing style, there was only a single line thinly written as private message for Hifumi in the letter of Biron.
“Since there are plenty of enemies, I’d like for Earl Tohno to get rid of them without exception.”

◆◇◆◇◆

Almost all members of the Second Knight Unit, starting with the captain, Stiffels, were on standby in an insignificant farm village close to the border.
The wounded have been sent back to Münster and are receiving medical treatment there. Several members were sent as escorts in order to act as personnel to watch over Earl Biron’s moves.
Several houses have been rent and are used as lodging place for the knight order. The soldiers are camping outside the village.
With the attacks from Horant having calmed down, the current situation is that a few have remained at the border to stand watch there.
Just when the war council of the Second Knight Unit had gathered, the First Knight Unit turned up at the village.
The members of the Second Knight Unit rushed to see the circumstances due to the sound of horse’s feet. They returned to the place of the war council accompanied by Ribezal.

“Stiffels. Long time no see.” (Ribezal)

“I thought it was an enemy raid. Don’t surprise me.” (Stiffels)

It isn’t to the degree that the First and Second Knight Unit are on bad terms. Given that their workplaces are completely different, it has resulted in them meeting up directly seldomly. It is to the extent of the captains and vice-captains meeting each other in the castle occasionally.

“So, what business does the First Knight Unit, that should be secluding itself within the royal castle, have at the edge of this country?” (Stiffels)

Because he couldn’t conceal his irritation due to the disgraceful war situation, Stiffels glared at Ribezal.

“I cam to propose a common front. It isn’t the time of moving separately.” (Ribezal)

“Common front? Not as reinforcements but in a joint struggle, what’s there matter with that?” (Stiffels)

As Ribezal explained about the inheritance announcement of Imeraria and the acts of brutality within the royal castle by Hifumi, everyone of the Second Knight Unit was astonished.

“No way, for such things to have happened… Did you inform the prince about these matters?” (Stiffels)

“I haven’t reported it. Returning to the royal castle at this point can even result in harming the prince, if it is executed poorly.” (Ribezal)

“Indeed…” (Stiffels)

As Stiffels shook his head in disbelief, he could see that Ribezal wasn’t joking or exaggerating in the least.

“I think even you know about it. That man had now become a noble due to some mistake, but originally he is some unknown summoned person that we don’t even know where he is from. He is a rebel who killed the king! You don’t think that he will refrain from obviously turning antagonistic against the prince, do you?!” (Ribezal)

As Ribezal explains that the prince needs the First and Second Knight Order to join hands in order to stop the princess faction, Stiffels reaction isn’t unfavorable.

“Ribezal, I have a single question.” (Stiffels)

“What is it?” (Ribezal)

“How many knights and soldiers did you bring along?” (Stiffels)

“… 30 knights and no soldiers.” (Ribezal)

Stiffels laughed scornfully at Ribezal’s reply.

“It is ridiculous to call it a common front if you come here with a number of people that can’t even be called a war potential. It is our side who moved first for the sake of raising military gains for the prince.” (Stiffels)

‘And yet you complained about the prince following after us’ was what the eyes of Second Knight Order’s members, listening in the back, said.

“Tsk…” (Ribezal)

“You got it, right? This here is the battlefield of the Second Knight Unit. Go back to the castle, defenders of the castle.” (Stiffels)

Due to Stiffels’ blunt refusal, Ribezal decided to stop at the village for the night and then to return tomorrow to Münster temporarily.
Lodging his subordinates in several houses, Ribezal himself enters the house of the village headman about to spend one night on a bed in a detached room. Beirevra, who has been thrown next to the knight standing guard over him, calls out to Ribezal.

“Ribezal-sama. The Second Knight Order, overestimating their own abilities, didn’t even possess any interest in Your Excellency’s persuasion.” (Beirevra)

“Shut up, you are annoying.” (Ribezal)

“The Second Knight Order and the expeditionary force don’t stand a chance as Horant has developed a new magic tool. Sooner or later they will break through the border. Therefore, I can prepare a similar magic tool before that. If you were to repel Horant instead of the Second Knight Order then…” (Beirevra)

It became impossible for Ribezal to ignore those words of Beirevra, who continued to spin his tale without care.

“A new magic tool, you say? Is it this effective?” (Ribezal)

Beirevra floated a repulsive smile as Ribezal’s interest was finally piqued.

“The soldiers of Horant are almost completely recruited from the common populace. They are overwhelming knights and soldiers with this.” (Beirevra)

“Do you understand the significance of that?” says Beirevra as he is urged on by Ribezal to keep talking.

◆◇◆◇◆

“I am glad you came. Welcome.” (Biron)

“It’s been a while, brother-in-law-san.” (Sabnak)

Arriving at Münster as he led a reinforcements of 500 soldiers, Sabnak was greeted by a smiling Earl Biron.

“I never expected you to be the one to come.” (Biron)

“It’s regretful that isn’t Hifumi-san.” (Sabnak)

“No, not at all. Since I’ve thought that I have to do my best by holding out with just the territorial army, you are really saving us.” (Biron)

Besides, because he was fed up with nothing but strange groups showing up at the city, it was even more of a feeling of being saved. Sabnak had no other choice but to smile bitterly.

“Good grief, I’m unable to understand the enemies from Horant and the knight orders from our own country.” (Biron)

“However, I didn’t think that it would turn into a battle with Horant.” (Sabnak)

“Me neither. Well, I wouldn’t be surprised even if it was the Second Knight Order’s side who made the first move.” (Biron)

Prompted by Biron, Sabnak sits down on the sofa.
Having been presented with a warm black tea, Biron sits down on the opposing side as well.

“Well then, how’s the situation?” (Sabnak)

“Not good. Going by the reports from the border, they seem to be struggling for supremacy for the time being, but… I think they are using something identical to the magic tool you told me about. As they are facing enemy soldiers as opponent who don’t even change their expression when they suffer serious injuries, the mental and spiritual fatigue of our soldiers is accelerated. I guess it’s just a matter of time until the enemy breaches the border.” (Biron)

“If that happens, the enemy will advance up to Münster in a blink of an eye”, Biron is estimating.

“Of course, if the First Knight Order and the Second Knight Order join their forces, it might also be possible to some degree for them to win. But it will be difficult, I think. If one were to say even more, it is possible for the lot of the First Knight Unit and their likes to move in the direction of eliminating you and me.” (Biron)

“Such a… no, you could say that. They regard me and brother-in-law-san as part of the princess faction after all.” (Sabnak)

“That’s true. If I were in their shoes, I would let the enemy break through the border temporarily, produce a situation of a melee in this town and use the confusion to kill me before repelling the enemy. I don’t think they have the intention of extending the country’s territory even if Horant breaches the border.” (Biron)

Going by Biron’s analysis, Horant’s goal is to test the magic tools. “If that’s the case, they will quickly withdraw once they were able to assess their defined war results”, Biron said.

“Having said that, I don’t intend to allow the population of my fief to become sacrifices. Therefore, since I have thought up a plan, I want to request your cooperation, Sabnak.” (Biron)

“If it’s something I can do. And, what’s the plan?” (Sabnak)

“That is, look forward to the enjoyment after I managed to finish the preparations. Well now, don’t you want to talk to my wife now that you came here? Of course you will stay for dinner at our home, right?” (Biron)

“Since you will be able to meet your elder sister after a long time, it is fine to take things slowly”, Biron showed a refreshing smile.

◆◇◆◇◆

Finishing the meal, Hifumi once again felt like giving a reply towards Phyrinion, who conveyed the official directive from the princess.

“Oh well, it’s fine even if it isn’t Sabnak as long as you are useful. Ask Caim, who is at Fokalore, about the details. I’m heading towards Münster without delay.” (Hifumi)

Rather than such things, the battlefield is waiting for him, is what he is saying. Entrusting them to the small military director even though they are his personal soldiers, Hifumi straddled his horse and vanished on the highway in front.
Naturally Origa similarly chased after him as well.
For the left behind messenger of Biron it became a matter of heading towards Münster alongside Hifumi’s territorial troops who had likewise been left behind.

“You will be assigned a group as escort. Since the soldiers, who broke the prototype wagon some time ago, will miss the battlefield this time as punishment, it is fine to accompany them.” (Alyssa)

Being pointed at by Alyssa, the trio, informed about their punishment without hesitation, are dropping their shoulders and hanging their head.

“T-Thank you. Umm, why are they feeling down, I wonder? Shouldn’t they be happy if they don’t need to go to the battlefield?” (Messenger)

“We are Hifumi-san’s troops. Missing out on a battle is a disgrace.” (Alyssa)

Although he apparently didn’t understand Alyssa quite well either, rather than staying in the city continuing their everyday training, it was far more popular for the soldiers to join an expeditionary force fighting with various new tools.
Thus, accompanying the gloomy-faced trio, they arrived in the peaceful city of Fokalore the next day.

“Let’s meet Caim-san at them Lord’s mansion first.” (Phyrinion)

“Understood.” (Messenger)

With Krinola in the lead, they give the horses and carriage into custody and walk through the city.
(It’s prospering splendidly…) (Phyrinion)
There are many shops gathered in the centre of the city. Each of them are advertising their own goods with loud voices.
Various shops, small and large, are lined up. There are also plenty of goods of many different kinds.

“The liveliness is completely like in the capital, Ojou-sama.” (Krinola)

“Yes, it seems so.” (Phyrinion)

Rather than something like the merchandise, Phyrinion was bothered by the smiles of the residents.
One reason is that he is a serious criminal who murdered a king.
One reason is that he is a mass murderer.
One reason is that he is a merciless, cold-blooded person.
It can’t be seen at all that such man is governing the city. It looks like the residents are enjoying their life.
Even my impression after meeting and talking with him, if I had to say, rather than a frightening character, he gave me the impression of being an innocent, young noble.

“Yes?” (Phyrinion)

She caught sight of a single large building.
Written on the signboard at the entrance is 『Center of Fokalore’s Commerce, Industry, and Crafting Guilds』.
It seems to be some kind of public facility, but many merchant-like people and dwarves are coming and going. Occasionally there are some youngsters, holding packages, entering.
If you speak of a guild, don’t you usually imagine the adventurer’s guild mainly responsible for eliminating monsters? It was a completely mysterious facility as far as Phyrinion was concerned.

“What the heck has happened to this city… ?” (Phyrinion)

It looks like there are various things where it won’t be good if I don’t hear about them, Phyrinion advanced towards the Lord’s mansion aiming for the person called Caim.

 


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