“Second Solution” from The Living End
To the very end the mansion is a private residence. The government’s office building is in its immediate neighbourhood. Every day he takes his breakfast at home and has a habit of commuting to work by carriage albeit the short distance. From the time he became the city’s representative, it never even once happened for him to be late, even after becoming the head of a state, but just today he appeared from the entrance to his home being several minutes overdue.
The coachman, who waited anxiously, showed a smile for an instant when the figure of his employer at last made an appearance. But, understanding with a glance, he goes beyond worry and is clearly panicking due the weakened countenance of his employer.”A-Are you alright? Today you should rest…” (Coachman)”Ah, I don’t have such time… I haven’t taken responsibility for my choice…” (Minosol)
Minosol, who boarded the carriage finally after being supported by a maid, seemed to have fainted due to the reports he looked over right after he arrived at the government’s office building.
Even the secretary, who brought in the report, has a pale face.
“It’s a detailed explanation…” (Minosol)
“Yes. With no more than 3 cities and their affiliated villages of the former Vichy participating in our Pearson faction, it seems half of the remaining cities have sworn allegiance to Fokalore and the others have formed an alliance continuing Vichy’s system of government.” (Secretary)
“What has happened with the central committee?” (Minosol)
“Only one has withdrawn for the sake of swearing allegiance to Fokalore. The remaining 3 are preserving the central government, but because they give too much priority to the defense of their own cities, they can’t secure any backing from the other city representatives. If it goes on like this, it might also be possible that the committee will fall apart.” (Secretary)
“I see…” (Minosol)
If war alone is the only exchange of lives, it might be not necessary for Vichy to break in pieces this far, Minosol judges.
Though I guess that’s a strange thing to say for me, who dropped out first. But, if it’s mere war, you can mutually shave off the war potential of each other to some extent and at some point in time come to an agreement. Even if the defeated side has a painful experience in its finances and workers, it will probably end for them with just desperately reorganizing for a few years.
However, this time it was different.
Minosol considers the dreadful nature of the man called Hifumi to be a different aspect than his war potential.
Luring Vichy’s allied forces into Orsongrande’s territory, he severely defeated and cut down their numbers. After that battle, the shaved off territories came under a just rule due to Hifumi’s leadership, clearly without exploiting them. The majority of the population says that it has rather become easier to live. If they prove their abilities, I heard that they can even be employed as town mayors and civil officials and even city representatives can be dismissed uneventfully.
With this, for what reason should the inhabitants on Vichy’s side follow the leadership of the central committee? I guess it’s even inevitable that they harbor such doubts. In reality, many cities have changed sides to Fokalore because of that. Even among the cities remaining on Vichy’s side, there aren’t few places where the masses are revolting due to the representative showing an intention to remain.
“To sum it up, we have been defeated in battle as well as politics. Sooner or later, the name Vichy might disappear…” (Minosol)
The secretary lifted his head due to the muttering of just a few words, but Minosol waved his hand to not mind it.
Currently they have to think about how to protect this country.
“Please send a messenger to Fokalore once again. Just having raised its first cry, I want them to save this frail, infant country from danger.” (Minosol)
“As you wish.” (Secretary)
The geographical isolation can’t be helped, but on the other hand, if we stay in Vichy and resist to the bitter end, it’s not unlikely that we will be completely destroyed this time for sure.
Sticking out until the end now, Minosol chose to conduct themselves as friendly nation from the beginning to the end.
Because of the commanding officer of the Third Knight Order’s group, that stayed behind at the royal castle of Orsongrande, playing a central part, the removal of the prince’s faction made progress. All of the knights staying within the castle have been substituted by knights affiliated with the Third Knight Order. Even within the political sphere, the influence of the nobles belonging to the prince faction has obviously fallen.
Lotomago is the name of the Third Knight Order’s commanding officer. He was a man who was promoted in recognition of his accomplishments, not for distinguished military service but for his intelligence in the information warfare. He, who was born as third son of a not very prospering Viscount household, has an unattractive appearance giving of a feeling of constantly being sleepy with heavy eyelids. In any case, his features don’t stand out. Basically he is a type of character that doesn’t make an appearance on a flashy stage.
Currently he has come to the actual site, which is rare for him, to give directions, notwithstanding that it almost never happened that he left his office.
That Lotomago was now maintaining a watch over the Prime Minister Adol, even more so than over Hifumi and the prince faction.
The movements of the prince faction are largely influenced by Prime Minister Adol as well. Despite bringing many nobles together, he has had a high evaluation for his reliable work befitting his title until now. He is playing a big part in winning over the nobles with rational persuasion.
There is a rumor that this prime minister is secluding himself within the castle’s document room every night recently. Using a subordinate, Lotomago grasped it to the point of knowing that it is a fact.
Though he didn’t yet know for what reason he is dong this…
“… Really, there is such magic, isn’t that right?” (Adol)
Prime Minister Adol grumbled while rummaging through documents related to magic, that are being kept in the form of thin, engraved lithographs, in the dim reference room.
“Yes, of course. There is the summoning magic that Princess-sama successfully used. Even sending home is possible. There should be past records of that.”
“What’s so funny?” A voice filled with laughter can be heard from the back of Adol.
“… By no means I believed that the day, I would follow the talk of an evil spirit, would ever come.” (Adol)
“An evil spirit has such an evil reputation, riight~?” (Evil Spirit)
In front of Adol, who turned around, only a dark, pale face, shrouded in mist, is floating. That face, laughing with a clinging broad grin, was halfway wrapped in darkness.
“I told you that I’m a death god.” (Shinigami)
Adol snorted in displeasure due to the death god’s way of talking.
“It’s presumptuous for an evil spirit to call itself something like a god. Leaving that aside, help me search as well, you bastard. If we continue at this rate, there is no knowing when we will find it even if there was a record.” (Adol)
“I’m sorry to say, I still can’t restore anything but the face. Haven’t I told you at the beginning? Since I was slain by that katana of Hifumi-san, a part of my power is clinging to Hifumi-san and he wears it. At least I recovered my strength up to this point.” (Shinigami)
“Good grief”, it shook the unnaturally frowning face.
“Doesn’t your restoration take rather much time for something calling itself god?” (Adol)
“That katana is dangerous. How to tell you? It’s blessed with the divine protection of a War God, okaay~ ? As expected, even I was on the verge of extinction. Besides…” (Shinigami)
Completely changing from a smiling face, it changed its tone as if loosing its nerve and pouting.
“Since the person, who I kindly offered my darkness magic, isn’t using its power, the source of my power is scarce, you knoow~ ? With him believing that nothing but the darkness storage is useful, the force of my existence won’t rise no matter how much time passes in the current state.” (Shinigami)
“It’s a disturbing situation”, the death god complained.
“Force of existence, huh… ?” (Adol)
“Yea, we gods realize our form by relying on the faith of the people and thus obtain the power to manifestate in the world. Therefore, if he uses the power bestowed by me, the same power will be given to me as well.” (Shinigami)
“If that’s the case, wouldn’t it be quite convenient for you, if Hifumi-dono continued to fight in this world?” (Adol)
Due to Adol’s question, the death god’s tongue makes a sound of 「Tsk tsk」. If there was an index finger, it would probably swing it sideways.
“Even though I may appear this way, I’m a major god in my original world. Since the gods and the rising of their believers are weak here, my original world is far more comfortable. Hence it is necessary to go with someone if they are sent back with return magic.” (Shinigami)
“Our interests match”, despite the death god saying this, Adol has a grim face while consenting.
“Well then, do your best at searching. Let’s bestow hope upon Princess-sama. Because the program of despair has already been decided.” (Shinigami)
The pretext of despair called the notification of Prince Ayperos’ death was stopped by the prime minister.
Fokalore’s territorial forces, arriving at Münster, were split into two groups after having rested for one night.
A special task force with the goal of taking back the magic tools led by Origa and the main force that invades Horant from the front.
It has been decided that Hifumi will enter first and head toward the royal castle of Horant by himself after discovering the magic tools and leading the special task force together with Origa there. The schedule for the main force is to invade the cleared out Horant from the front with a delay of 1 day.
Hifumi and Origa, who led 10 chosen soldiers each, departed carefree toward the national border of Horant with a rail car remodeled into a wagon.
The clear, blue sky is spreading endlessly.
“Hifumi-sama, we were blessed with good weather.” (Origa)
“Ah, that’s right.” (Hifumi)
While basking in the warm sunlight, Hifumi, who sat down with a flump on the wagon, dozes off while returning a suitable answer.
The surface of the wagon has a size to the degree of a K-car. The others of Hifumi’s group are sympathizing with the two soldiers on driving duty. The other wagons are also manned by two soldiers each. The two wagons are basically vacant except for the weapons and food. Their purpose is to be loaded with magic tools.
The wagons, which aren’t heavy yet as there is only little baggage, make clattering sounds while nimbly advancing on the highway.
They have already passed through the village close to the border too. It is estimated that they will arrive at the border fortress soon.
“Once we get close to the border, lower the speed. I will get off to clear the path.” (Hifumi)
“Ha! By your command!” (Soldier)
The soldier, who somehow managed to catch Hifumi voice that was swallowed by the wind, answered in a loud voice.
Before long, there are dozens of soldiers standing close to Orsongrande’s side’s fortress that became visible in front of them. The once completely defeated border patrol has already been changed. A part of the soldiers, that have been dispatched as substitutes for the defense, were commanded by the Second Knight Order temporarily.
On the other side of the fortress there are Horant’s guards, I guess. A tingling air is adrift, but I can also see this with my far-sightedness.
Hifumi, who jumped off the moving wagon, advances towards the position of the two soldiers standing at the border.
“Thanks for your work. Let me pass for a minute. Ah, the lot in the rear as well.” (Hifumi)
“Ah, yes. Please go ahead.” (Guard)
The soldier, who apparently knew Hifumi’s face, opened the path with a nervous face.
“It’s fine if you aren’t this tense. I will dispose of the guys over there right away.” (Hifumi)
He smiled while drawing his katana.
When he looks at the end of the pathway of the fortress, he can see three soldiers from Horant preparing their swords.
“Ohh, as expected, the dolls won’t be deployed as border security, huh?” (Hifumi)
While murmuring without speaking to anyone specific, he lowers the katana in his right hand. As he swings it with a slow swaying, the soldier’s from Horant also showed an increasingly tense face due to Hifumi crossing the border.
“I’m Hifumi, an Earl of Orsongrande. I have some business or something like that with your king. Since I will force my way through, it’s fine to be a hindrance if you want to die.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi is slowly stepping forward as if giving them the time to choose. The soldiers of Horant were bewildered, but none of them tried to run away.
“Well done.” (Hifumi)
The second the distance to his opponents decreased to 5 meters, Hifumi broke into a run as if bursting open. The heads of the three soldiers were cleaved off in a flash. Without touching their bones at all, he cleanly severed only the soft flesh of the throat.
Waiting for Hifumi, who calmly went out from within the fountain of blood he had created, on Horant’s side, were the figures of roughly around 50 soldiers from Horant.
“Aye, thanks for the trouble to come meet me. Besides, it’s nice that you aren’t puppets. Now, decide. Run away or die, it’s one of those two.” (Hifumi)
Once the person in charge on site, thought to be a soldier of around 50 years, raises a roar due to Hifumi’s provocation, the soldiers came rushing all at once without order, ranks or plan.
“That’s a bad move, you know~?” (Hifumi)
“It’s better for me if enemies and allies are jumbled together. If you rush in disorder because there is only one enemy, you will probably hinder your allies”, Hifumi smiled bitterly. But he seems to be pleased with their will-power to plunge into it without hesitation though they are soldiers on the verge of death He is in a good mood.
Lowering his body, he slips in between the soldiers, deviating from the center where the enemies are concentrated.
With only this much the majority of the soldiers ended up losing sight of him.
Hifumi, easily slipping through the enemy group, approached the man in charge and soundlessly beheaded him.
At the time the soldier at the edge of the group turned his head around being doubtful as the voice of his superior couldn’t be heard anymore, the corpse of his superior, no longer having his head, fell to the ground. In front of him was the figure of the enemy who shouldn’t be there.
Even as he screamed, Hifumi’s left hand grabbed his face, pulled it down as if tearing it off and stabbed him to death.
In that manner he killed the soldiers from the back of the enemy group by cutting them up roughly. When all of them noticed and inquired into the abnormality of the situation, around 10 had died by Hifumi’s hands and further 5 were accidentally killed by their own colleagues.
Although they once again surrounded Hifumi, he sheathed the katana and clapped his hands towards the soldiers, who now kept their distance without closing in.
“Yo yo! It was quite a sweltering fighting style. So, how do you feel about killing your friends after going crazy earlier? For the fellows in the center of your group there were probably some who felt the feedback of their own weapons, right?” (Hifumi)
Some of them reflexively cast down their eyes due to Hifumi’s fully ridiculing words.
“Good, in that case…” (Hifumi)
Hifumi took out a simple metal staff from within his darkness storage.
“Shall we continue then?” (Hifumi)
In fact it is only the staff part of the chigiriki he took out. It ended up broken when he hit a tree during his own practice. Thus he decided to use it as staff.
Among the soldiers, who fixed their stance in panic, the soldier, who reacted the slowest, became the first victim.
The staff knocked into his temporal region with the force of Hifumi rotating it overhead. Including the simple helmet, his skull was smashed and the enemy died instantly.
Pulling back the swung staff, he uses the force of withdrawing it to attack a different soldier and kills him.
“Look, if you don’t counter-attack quickly, you will only be killed one-sidedly.” (Hifumi)
Circling around to the back of a soldier, Hifumi locks his neck with the staff and, standing back to back, he throws him over his shoulders.
The soldier, who was lifted up in a state of having his throat crushed, broke his neck and died.
Just using a stick without even a blade, he kills his opponents one after the other while even being only one person. It is already making the surviving soldiers getting ready to flee.
However, escaping from the battlefield will definitely lead to the death penalty in Horant.
Running away or not, the result is the same. Dying now or dying after being caught and tortured, that’s the only difference.
There were people who were viewing from a distance as the soldiers from Horant were killed one by one like that.
It was Origa and the Fokalore territorial soldiers who had crossed the border following Hifumi.
“… Is it alright to not help him?” (Soldier)
Due to the situation of being outnumbered albeit not having a single injury, a single soldier ended up unintentionally expressing this, but regretted it right away.
Origa’s eyes went below freezing point in an instant as they turned towards the soldier.
“Do you want to interrupt Hifumi-sama’s amusement? And, do you want me to receive a scolding once again because I couldn’t hold you back from that?” (Origa)
“N-No… I’m very sorry…” (Soldier)
“Shut up and watch. And, if you are able, learn Hifumi-sama’s techniques. That gentleman wishes for there to be more fighters among the inhabitants of this world. Not to fight together as allies, but to fight as opponents of that gentleman.” (Origa)
All of the Fokalore territorial soldiers being there are people who saw Hifumi’s battle in Rhone. As there is currently an one-sided massacre unfolding in front of their eyes, it’s probably impossible to fight that as opponent, everyone judged.
Ceasing to watch such soldiers, Origa ecstatically turned her gaze ahead where Hifumi was joyfully wielding his staff and striking his enemies dead.