Not my taste, but whatever…
The information that Hifumi invaded Horant has been brought not to the king but to Veldore. For that to happen, Yugu manoeuvred within the castle. But that’s something Veldore doesn’t know.
“They stepped into our country, you say?” (Yugu)
“It looks like he annihilated our border guards.” (Messenger)
Yugu, who listened to the report along Veldore, sighed.
“However, if it’s a small group of 10 people, it will be simple to crush them before they manage to reach the capital.” (Veldore)
Hearing the words of Veldore, the soldier, who came to report, timidly remarked,
“That is… they have already broken through two cities. They are believed to arrive at the capital within a few days…” (Messenger)
Veldore, standing up suddenly, threw the porcelain sake cup in his hand on the floor.
“Why weren’t we informed of this before?” (Veldore)
The soldier, who had completely shrunk away, knelt while trembling.
“Please calm down, Veldore-sama. … This might be a good opportunity.” (Yugu)
“What do you mean?” (Veldore)
Yugu had the soldier withdraw and lowered his voice so that others wouldn’t be able to hear it.
“I will propose a plot like this.” (Yugu)
Quietly whispering the plan into Veldore’s ears. It was a method to spectacularly and honorably rise to the crown in a way desirable for Veldore.
Although Veldore was laughing and grinning broadly, he felt a sudden doubt.
“However, the king’s surrounding is guarded by the soldiers of the Imperial Guard. They don’t smell like soldiers I could entice to my side. Won’t it be impossible to advance the plan without having such pawns to begin with?” (Veldore)
“You are jesting. I have prepared the strongest private army ・・・ You think they aren’t?” (Yugu)
“… You want to use that, huh?” (Veldore)
“It’s just the right opportunity. Let’s show the people the strength of their new king.” (Yugu)
The private army of Veldore, that Yugu refers to, are soldiers in name only as they are experimental bodies, but although they are in a condition possible to be controlled, they repeatedly went through experiments of implantation, medication and such. You absolutely can’t show their faces and figures in public as their appearance can be called nothing more but “something vaguely human-like.”
“There’s no necessity to be worried. The combat will be limited to within the castle only. At the time they are shown to the public, their whole body will be entirely covered in armor.” (Yugu)
“Uh huh…” (Veldore)
“Please leave the arrangements to me, even including that area.” (Yugu)
Velodore thought for a moment as Yugu made an elegant bow, but no other good plan came to mind.
“Very well, we will adopt Yugu’s plan.” (Veldore)
“Please leave it to me.” (Yugu)
Yugu, who raised his face, laughed while twirling his mustache.
Silence is spreading during the audience.
In front of the princess, who is standing next to the throne, the Third Knight Unit’s Captain Lotomago and Prime Minister Adol are kneeling. On both sides of the room guards are lined up in a row. Their faces are uniformly grave. Everyone’s facial expression except that of the princess is clouded. They aren’t mourning for the prince. That is in consideration of the princess who knew about the death of her brother.
There is no one but Imeraria who genuinely mourns over the death of the prince.
“… My brother has been killed by Hifumi after all…?” (Imeraria)
“No… we have received the report that the prince was killed by someone called Origa who is Earl Tohno’s attendant.” (Lotomago)
It was Lotomago denying Imeraria’s suspicion.
He, who belatedly received the report, forced the information upon the princess disregarding Adol’s protests. Adol, standing reluctantly next to him, tried to do a follow-up for Imeraria.
“Origa-san is…” (Adol)
Imeraria recalled her giving off the impression of always wanting to be at Hifumi’s side and that she was a woman with a lovely face and eyes concealing a strong ambition while being of the same age as her, although she didn’t talk much with her.
Imeraria, who was about to lose her strength due to Lotomago’s words recounting the circumstances at that time, frantically strengthened her legs to keep standing.
What came over my younger brother. I wonder if he went to the battlefield thinking of it as going on a pleasure jaunt as he has been manipulated by his surroundings. Although still a child who had yet to go to the front, he became engrossed in fooling around and being waited upon by women.
No matter what, Imeraria didn’t bear any grudge against Origa.
Once she heard the circumstances and learned about the extent, it was obvious that her younger brother didn’t have the qualifications to be the king. She couldn’t consider it anything but him reaping what he sowed.
However, in the end he was the last other remaining royalty. Despite great efforts put into protecting him, she ended up losing her young brother easily and lost hope herself too.
Imeraria is barely standing due to nothing but her responsibility as royalty.
“… Is there anyone else who saw the actual scene?” (Imeraria)
“Ha! Except the knight who reported it to me, there is someone from the Second Knight Order, who returned today.” (Lotomago)
Lotomago, obtaining Imeraria’s permission, had the waiting knight enter the audience room.
It was Vaiya, who came entering while holding his helmet under his arm and straightening his back quickly.
Coming to a stop slightly behind Lotomago and Adol, he quietly fell to his knees and bowed his head.
“I give you permission to speak freely. Please tell us everything you observed.” (Imeraria)
Having been permitted to stand up so that everyone could hear him clearly, Vaiya explained in detail what happened for the situation to progress towards such an outcome and the kind of situation the Second Knight Order, First Knight Order, Hifumi and Biron had been in, while cautious of making eye contact with the princess.
Everyone who was at the audience, listened attentively to the report without interrupting.
Even more than the merciless annihilation of the prince faction by Hifumi, Imeraria was lost for words at the enhancement of the live-experiment imitation-soldiers performed by Vichy.
Furthermore Vaiya reported that a part of the Fokalore feudal army, en route to return, is accompanied by the rescued former soldier of Horant and that they are currently taking a rest in borrowed barracks of the capital.
“And, what’s the matter with Hifumi-sama and the main force of the Fokalore feudal army?” (Imeraria)
“Earl Tohno and a part of the soldiers have gone ahead to invade the territory of Horant. Having completely annihilated the enemy’s border guards, they are headed for the capital of the enemy nation. The main force is following Earl Tohno with a delay of half a day.” (Vaiya)
Imeraria was at her wits’ end due to Vaiya’s words.
“Even though we didn’t even hold peace talks with Vichy yet… Though it is probably futile to try stopping him as well.” (Imeraria)
“At any rate”, Imeraria looked at Vaiya standing in front of her.
“You are a knight belonging to the Second Knight Order, right? I thought your standpoint was to support my younger brother. Why are you on the side of the Third Knight Order’s Captain Lotomago?” (Imeraria)
“Ha! I’m just a single knight. Since I only followed my captain’s policy, I think I want to keep a distance from things like political deals and factions myself. However, due to the failure this time there are only a few survivors of the Second Knight Order. Because it reached a situation about which nothing can be done and as we didn’t have any authority, I consulted with the Third Knight Order’s captain about our future course.” (Vaiya)
Lotomago, who fully grasped the circumstances, agreed to look after the Second Knight Order and apparently ordered him to report that to Imeraria.
“I see… Understood. From this point on the Second Knight Order is dissolved. The Third Knight Order will be treated as Orsongrande’s sole knight order. I will entrust the continued captaincy to Lotomago.” (Imeraria)
Lotomago opened his mouth due to Imeraria asking him whether that’s fine.
“With all due respect… I won’t object either and will gladly accept serving as captain of the unified knight order, however I think that you are too generous to grant me this post, especially in regards to consolidating the knight orders.” (Lotomago)
“However”, Lotomago lifted his head.
“It’s undesirable for anyone but Imeraria-sama to consolidate the core of the national military forces. Supposing that the imperial guard is the only other organisation besides the knight order, I wonder, in my humble opinion, whether it would be fine for it to take the shape of Imeraria-sama being in command.” (Lotomago)
The prime minister also expressed his approval towards Lotomago’s recommendation.
If Lotomago had stayed silent, he would have ascended to the highest position concerning the national military affairs, the knights in the surrounding thought as they exchanged looks with each other.
“Understood. I highly appreciate the good sense and judgement of Lotomago. And for the newly organised Imperial Knight Order… do you want to nominate anyone?” (Imeraria)
“Ha! Although he is young, he is a knight possessing pragmatic judgement. I nominate Sabnak. And as his advisor and vice-captain, Vaiya over here.” (Lotomago)
Due to Lotomago’s words, Vaiya, who had knelt down again, spontaneously raised his head. It was the first time he had heard about being recommended.
“Let me ask for the reason.” (Imeraria)
“Sabnak is an acquaintance of Earl Tohno. He has been influenced by the Earl in a good way. Either way, I think that he is also able to handle things flexibly. He even has such degree of managerial ability that he had been requested by the Earl to aid in the administration of the territory. He has insufficient experience, but that’s no problem to begin with.” (Lotomago)
After having said this much, Lotomago looks at Vaiya with a fleeting glance.
“Even Vaiya here gathered the already scattered soldiers and returned alive while his knight order was devastated. He also experienced actual combat and seems to be quick-witted. It looks like he even has the ability to only keep a supportive relation with Earl Tohno. Isn’t he a capable and valuable person that parted with the knight order, he belonged to, for a reason? He brought to me suggestions how to increase the strength of this country’s soldiers thanks to new discoveries.” (Lotomago)
“Suggestions, it is?” (Imeraria)
Lotomago was relieved within his mind because of Imeraria having an interest in the matter.
It’s very likely that the fronts in the vicinity of the country will spread from here on out. I would have been troubled, if she wasn’t sensitive to suggestions affecting the national defense.
“Yes. It’s about the training of the Fokalore territorial soldiers carried out according to Earl Tohno’s guidance…” (Lotomago)
The establishment of the new Imperial Knight Order, following the idea of Lotomago and Vaiya, was acknowledged on the same day.
Vaiya would become the acting captain of the Imperial Knight Order until Sabnak returned from Münster.
Vaiya, who was even ready to be expelled from the knight order, became nervous due to being suddenly appointed an important post, but Sabnak, abruptly learning of his appointment as captain of the Imperial Knight Order from an official document delivered by a messenger, was even more confused. Reading the document, that was handed to him through Biron, he raised a silent scream. Even going as far as to suspect it being a vicious prank, he didn’t come out from his own room for a while.
“Oh, magicians discovered.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi, who was advancing on Horant’s highway in high spirits, chuckles as he has discovered several people wearing robes mixed among the group approaching from the front.
Within the group, being a military unit of around 30 members, including the soldiers holding swords, there are 5 people having the suitable appearance of magicians. They are properly assembled in the middle of the soldiers’ ranks.
Due to the defenselessly approaching Hifumi, the soldiers, being combat-ready, told him to stop.
But Hifumi ignores that.
While Origa’s group was on standby slightly separated at the rear, they were checking whether there was something like an ambush lying in wait in the vicinity. Even this was because of Hifumi’s order.
“You are magicians, I guess? There just a few things I want to ask about the institutions of the capital.” (Hifumi)
The magicians faced the man, who suddenly appeared in front of them, with sullen faces.
“You bastard! We are a special unit directly under the command of Yugu-sama!” (Soldier A)
The ignored soldier suddenly and forcefully drew near to threaten Hifumi.
“You’re annoying.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi’s left hand hit the face of the soldier, who came in front of him, with a slap.
Although no one in the surrounding saw it, it was a dirty strike fully hitting an eye with the index finger.
“Ugigi…” (Soldier A)
Leaving the soldier who crouched down and held his face due to the sudden pain, Hifumi turned to the magicians.
“The institution in charge of researching magic tools is probably close to the castle, right? Tell me the location.” (Hifumi)
“W-Who do you think are…” (Magician A)
The magician, taken aback by Hifumi’s behavior of extreme high-handedness, was barely able to squeeze out those words.
“Ah, I didn’t introduce myself yet.” (Hifumi)
“Sorry, my bad”, Hifumi sneered.
“I’m an Earl of Orsongrande, Hifumi.” (Hifumi)
“So, the location is?” The soldiers curtly took a distance from Hifumi, who repeated his question.
As the soldiers took out their weapons in a hurry, Hifumi’s mouth crooked and he leaked his dissatisfaction.
“What’s this about! Although I started a peaceful conversation, I get this treatment.” (Hifumi)
Once he looks, the magicians are grasping their daggers and have begun to chant something.
Even the soldier, who held his face, stood up and drew his sword with a furious expression having a deep red left eye.
Hifumi, confirming with a glance that he was surrounded in a circle, suddenly made a big step.
Blowing one magician away with a front kick into his stomach, only one person was separated from the group.
The magician after bouncing two times, collapsed, becoming completely limp just like that.
“It’s fine if only that guy remains.” (Hifumi)
While saying that, Hifumi retrieved the sansetsukon from his storage.
“Well, let’s do it” (Hifumi)
“Don’t make fun of us!” (Soldier A) (TL: yea, he’s still alive…)
As Hifumi avoided the approaching soldier from the start with a light sway of his body, fire and wind spells came flying from the magicians.
With their way of having attained a considerable amount of cooperation, their attacks have been skillfully shot out-of-the-way of the soldiers holding swords.
“Heave ho.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi, deciding to close the distance to the man who came assaulting with his sword, quickly seized his neck and switched places with him.
“Ugiyaaaa!” (Soldier A – finally dead)
The man, wounded by wind blades and having his body covered in flames, rolled around for a moment, but then stopped moving almost immediately.
“It stinks.” (Hifumi)
Frowning due to the stench of meat being burned, Hifumi is attacked by soldiers one after the other.
Though they were quite expert in their methods of attacking while shifting the vanguards, Hifumi saw through a certain flaw they had.
Getting close to the person trying to withdraw, he stabs the throat with the tip of his staff killing the soldier.
As that soldier was thrown into the ranks of the other soldiers due to the force, chaos spread for an instant.
“It looks like you practiced with opponents that aren’t moving. Living things are different from wooden dolls.” (Hifumi)
It might be valid if the opponent’s goal is an escort target or group battle so that they can lure the opponent to exhaust themselves by switching their ranks in a fixed rotation, but it’s different if the opponent is a small group and even more so if the opponent doesn’t stop moving around.
As he completely stepped into their ranks, Hifumi, storing away the inconvenient sansetsukon before anyone noticed, gripped a suntetsu in his right hand while the group was bunched up together without being able to swing their swords.
“You are far too close to swing around long swords~” (Hifumi)
He is burying and stabbing the suntetsu successively into eyeballs, heads and temples of the foreheads.
It’s a mass production of corpses and heavily wounded.
“Occasionally such melee is fun.” (Hifumi)
Storing away the suntetsu, he laughs merrily holding the kodachi, which was something that wasn’t produced and used in this world, in a reverse grip.
Gently cutting through the carotid artery just as he is passing by, he stabs a different opponent as he slips past the spray of blood.
Furthermore, grabbing the neck of the next enemy, he draws the soldier to himself while slippingthe blade into the armpit where there is no armor.
Hifumi doesn’t miss several enemies trying to quietly break away after he plastered the highway with fresh blood.
As a single person of those withdrawing tried to retrieve the magician, who was lying down at the side, an iron pebble sank into the back of his neck.
“I have business with that guy. Restrain yourselves from taking him away.” (Hifumi)
At the time Hifumi said that, more than half of the soldiers from Horant had fallen.
The other soldiers of Horant, noticing that there are people trying to get away, understood the state of affairs and scattered away from Hifumi.
A single person of those withdrawing clicks his tongue.
“You guys didn’t have an interest in fighting from the start. You had a reaction as if you even knew my face.” (Hifumi)
As Hifumi points that out, they raise a groan.
“Bullseye, huh? It looks like it’s necessary to listen to your guy’s story for a bit, riiight?” (Hifumi)
Changing the kodachi to an overhand grip by rotating it around, he holds out the blades point in a stance with one leg bent in front and the other extended behind. Still having a pebble in his left hand, he is playing around with it with his fingertips.
“Well then, do you want to attempt escaping? Or do you want to test whether you can win?” (Hifumi)
“I won’t allow any choices besides those two”, Hifumi said as he swung the kodachi.