Once Imeraria finished reading the delivered report, she sat down on a nearby chair.
She raised her hand to rein in the maid who rushed over from the side, she was standing at the ready, in a panic.
“I’m alright. I only felt a bit tired.” (Imeraria)
With a frail smile she ordered the prime minister to be summoned and read over the report once again.
“Something like forming a treaty between a nation and noble’s territory… This is something like slighting our country. Originally this would probably make him a target of disciplinary actions, but…” (Imeraria)
If I consider the citizens as a whole, for them it will mean the opportunity to obtain cheap magic tools on top of him having defeated the enemy nation. It’s very likely they won’t comprehend what’s wrong with that, Imeraria estimates.
The report might have also reached the prime minister. Faster than she expected, there was knocking on the door to her office.
“As you have ordered, I have come.” (Adol)
“Though I think you’ve heard about it, it’s about Horant’s matter.” (Imeraria)
Prime Minister Adol, having obtained Imeraria’s permission to stand at ease, told her that the report has reached him as well.
“I also considered whether we should punish Earl Tohno, but realistically it’s probably impossible. Assuming we do something reckless, Fokalore might oppose Orsongrande… no, there might also be a not so small number of nobles supporting Hifumi-sama. The situation is that all the former Vichy territories have been annexed by Fokalore.” (Imeraria)
“I’m also agreeing with Imeraria-sama’s view.” (Adol)
“Then, it’s fine to carefully watch the situation?” (Imeraria)
“I considered whether this isn’t a good opportunity.” (Adol)
As Imeraria asked “Good opportunity?”, Adol excused himself for being presumptuous.
“It’s the long-awaited chance to hold Imeraria-sama’s coronation ceremony while at the same time celebrating Earl Tohno’s military gains. The opposing nobles won’t be able to meddle at a moment’s notice, if Earl Tohno is close by.” (Adol)
Imeraria decided to agree with this suggestion of the prime minister as good idea, but once she carefully considered Hifumi’s character, she noticed a point that should cause apprehensions.
“Won’t this turn into a situation of “being used” which he hates the most?” (Imeraria)
“It’s probably necessary to explain it in advance and get his consent. If we also prepare something to please Earl Tohno, it will be even better.” (Adol)
Due to Adol answering pridefully, Imeraria lowered her eyebrows.
“What in the world are you planning? I already don’t want to lose anyone else thanks to thoughtlessness, however…” (Imeraria)
“You may be relieved. In my humble opinion it will be alright as long as we discuss about a proper request for Earl Tohno. To put it simple, he will participate by himself without knowing that he is being used in a disagreeable way. It will be fine if we just directly request it from him sincerely.” (Adol)
“Because it’s just at the right time where we are also asking him to coach the soldiers of the national army”, Adol said.
“If you consider him with the intention to become hostile against him, he is indeed a terrifying opponent, but if you rely on him as an ally, there won’t be anyone more reliable either.” (Adol)
Imeraria closed her eyes to think about Adol’s words.
“… Understood. We will use your plan, prime minister. However, I will be the one to directly talk with Hifumi-sama about the request. Please tell the knight order to invite Hifumi to this place once he enters the capital.” (Imeraria)
“As you wish.” (Adol)
Adol, who hang his head deeply, got teary eyes.
“And, I congratulate Imeraria-sama from the bottom of my heart for the succession of the throne.” (Adol)
Even though Imeraria realises his trembling voice, she shows a whiff of a smile.
“In one way or another it caused you to worry, eh? Please support me from now on as well, okay?” (Imeraria)
“At your command!” (Adol)
For a short while Adol wasn’t able to raise his face.
Hifumi, who swiftly finished up this and that in Horant, mounted the horse, he had Suprangel concede to him, and already came back as far as the national border of Orsongrande to Horant.
He left the territorial army heading towards Fokalore with the words “It’s fine if you return while also properly doing some sightseeing.”
At first he freely travelled on the highway, but as the amount of people moving on the highway increased the closer he got to Orsongrande, he reluctantly got stuck with travelling besides the highway where it wasn’t paved.
“What happened?” (Hifumi)
Almost the entire flow of people advancing on the highway is heading in the direction of Orsongrande, just like Hifumi. Using carriages and wagons, there are many people moving together with their entire families visible. Sporadically he catches sight of merchant-like people who embarked on carriages loaded with some goods.
“Say, the highway is awfully crowded. Did something happen?” (Hifumi)
He called out to a merchant riding on a carriage close-by with the only reason for his choice being the proximity in the height of his view.
“Ah, there is some very grave battle going on in the royal castle of Horant. I heard many soldiers have died. Since there seems to be a rich territory accepting anyone in Orsongrande, everyone is aiming to go there.” (Merchant)
Hifumi arrives at the called-out merchant even though there are many people moving around them. He is selling food and daily necessities to the masses along the road.
“Given that I’m selling my goods by moving within Horant, the right business opportunity popped up. That’s the kind of guy I am.” (Merchant)
As the density of people increases the closer it is to the border, it might be profitable for business. He answered with a pleased expression.
“I see. Thanks.” (Hifumi)
Throwing a gold coin to the merchant, Hifumi headed on.
Advancing on the highway for another two hours, there is an excessive congestion of carriages right before the border.
Because there is the danger of losing carriages or wagons if proceeding off the pavement, everyone is waiting to go ahead with a resigned expression.
“Oh, this is?” (Hifumi)
Albeit a small amount, the scent of blood came drifting from further ahead.
Instinctively the corners of Hifumi’s mouth rise.
While advancing in a hurry offside the highway, he adjusts the location of his katana hanging at his waist.
Soon the source of the congestion came in sight.
“Line up! Stand in a row!”
A man, wearing the equipment of a common soldier from Horant, is raising his voice quite loudly.
Several other people are lined up. It seems he is doing an inspection or interrogation of them one by one.
A single soldier blocked the way of Hifumi approaching on top of the horse.
“Don’t you have a strange appearance. Tell me your reason for coming here.” (Soldier)
“Before that, listen, when I passed through here a few days ago a lot like you wasn’t here, but what the hell are you doing?” (Hifumi)
Clicking his tongue, the soldier drew his sword.
It causes a commotion among the commoners, who were in the vicinity. Some also take a distance.
“Answer the question without nitpicking!” (Soldier)
Ignoring the yelling soldier, Hifumi watched the exchange of the group at the front. He discovered the soldier receiving money from the people there.
“Toll… eh?” (Hifumi)
“That’s right! You have to pay one silver coin if you want to pass here!” (Soldier)
Due to the soldier’s words, who doesn’t even try to hide it anymore, Hifumi pointed at a single woman with her children.
“Hey, you. Listen to me for just a minute.” (Hifumi)
“Is there a system of giving charity to dumb soldiers in this country?” (Hifumi)
“Eh? Umm, that…” (Woman)
While alternating her look between the soldier and Hifumi, the woman is puzzled what kind of answer would be good. The soldier is scary, but it seems Hifumi’s eyes are scary as well.
“You! Are you taking me for a fool!?” (Soldier)
Taking a step forward with his left foot in rage, he raised his sword overhead, but the soldier’s movement suddenly stopped.
The katana, drawn and held with the left hand in a backhand grip, is piercing the soldier’s left eye.
“Didn’t I tell you? A dumb soldier.” (Hifumi)
While saying “You should listen more closely to what people tell you”, the eyeball flies off due to Hifumi pulling out the katana and shaking the blood off it.
At the same time as the dead soldier fell, screams rose from the surroundings.
“Shut up!” (Hifumi)
Due to Hifumi’s roar, the people, who tried to escape, stopped their feet as well.
The other soldiers came rushing over as well. From the fact that all of them are wearing a similar-looking leather armour, Hifumi understands that apparently are soldiers of Horant.
A single one among them stepped forward and looked at the collapsed soldier.
“… What the heck is this about?” (Soldier)
“I killed him because he came slashing at me with his drawn sword.” (Hifumi)
He is holding the drawn katana in his right hand.
“I will ask once again, what are you doing? Though, judging by appearance, it seems there are two choices to pay money to pass through or otherwise be sent away.” (Hifumi)
“We are prohibiting the travel that hasn’t been approved by either the king or a feudal lord. Only those paying the price to obtain permission can go on!” (Soldier)
Throwing out his chest as if trying to daunt him, the soldier stares at Hifumi atop his horse. In a casual manner he puts his hand on the sword at his waist.
“Permission, eeh… ?” (Hifumi)
Hifumi surveyed the uneasy looking commoners in a circle.
“However, doesn’t it seem like there isn’t any guy handing over such official papers? In short, I wonder if it’s a story of giving a bribe? Do it more boldly.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi, who laughed scornfully without warning, continues further on,
“So, even setting those guys aside, are you going to take money from me as well?” (Hifumi)
“Tsk. Bastard, tell me your name and aim! Whether you pass through depends on the amount of money.” (Soldier)
“If you are a citizen of Horant, it is only natural to repay us for working for the sake of the country.” Continuing to listen to the words of the soldier, Hifumi ended up being unable to contain a loud laughter.
“Ahahahaha! What bad luck! I’m not a citizen of Horant.” (Hifumi)
He took out the traffic permit signed by Imeraria from his pocket.
“I’m a noble of Orsongrande. Since I want to return to my territory, hurry up and open the way.” (Hifumi)
The soldier, who took a long hard look at the document, opened the path while shivering in anger or fluster.
Just as he reached a position, where he was surrounded by the soldier, Hifumi stopped his horse and turned his sight towards the people, who were on the highway.
“Ah, which reminds me, I’m one of the feudal lords as well. The place is known as Tohno territory which has the city Fokalore as its core, but…” (Hifumi)
The people, who heard the name Fokalore of the Tohno territory, began to suddenly get noisy. If the story of the merchant was true, they were headed towards that place.
“If you are going there, you will be welcome. As Earl Hifumi Tohno, a noble affiliated with Orsongrande, I’m approving your passage as applicants. Of course, free of charge.” (Hifumi)
The people almost raised their voices in joy due to Hifumi, who unexpectedly proposed this matter on his own accord, however a soldier was the first to raise his voice.
“Don’t screw around! What are you pulling here as noble of a foreign country!?” (Soldier)
“However, didn’t you say any noble and any feudal lord before?” (Hifumi)
Though it is completely a sophism, it will be perfectly fitting if the goal is to provoke them, Hifumi is smiling.
“All of you, draw your swords! This guy is a criminal who only calls himself a noble!” (Soldier)
Upon those words every soldier present drew their sword.
“You drew them, eh?” (Hifumi)
Looking around by turning in a circle, Hifumi made sure that all soldiers set up their swords and muttered a single question.
Promptly jumping off the horse, he bisects a single soldier without hesitation.
While standing up, he wards off another’s sword to the side and slices him with a reverse hassou stance. (T/N: Now this one was a major pain to translate. The way he kills the soldier is a kendo move called suriage [gives a point in a kendo match], describing the motion fully is way difficult so your best choice is to watch a video or a kendo anime. The hassou no kamae is a stance of having the sword grabbed with both hands and raising it upwards at one side near the shoulder, now do the reverse and you got it… whatever that would actually mean in kendo stances)
As the encirclement was broken by two soldiers having collapsed, he let the horse get away.
“Hey, if you draw, you have to slash. If you hold your weapons, you have to kill.” (Hifumi)
“Gugugu… get him!” (Soldier)
The soldier, with a deep red face, chose to have them, including himself as well, slash at Hifumi at the same time, but the outcome was something tragic.
Some have their heads sent flying, some are dumbfounded at having their bellies sliced and are staring at the sight of their own organs spilling out and some have fainted in agony due to losing their limbs…
The last remaining soldier came assaulting with his sword in total desperation, however having him drop the sword by striking its middle part with the left hand, Hifumi makes a full revolution holding the katana and cuts off the lower part of the soldier’s right arm.
While shedding large quantities of blood from his arms, the fallen soldier before long dies of blood loss.
The people, who saw the entire spectacle unfold, are looking at Hifumi with completely frightened facial expressions.
“Good grief…” (Hifumi)
At the time he put his katana back into its scabbard after wiping it with a paper, the soldier, who had his arm loped off, died.
“Because my area’s territorial soldiers will come here a few days later, it’s fine for you talk to them if you feel like it. Rather than those fellows, they will treat you properly, probably.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi, who found the horse that had come back, ran up to the horse in joy and gently brushed it. Once he nimbly mounted it, he quickly went his way.
While the people, ending up not having to pay any money, don’t comprehend what has just happened, they pull themselves together and continue walking.
“Am I fated to be chased by work no matter where I go… ?” (Sabnak)
If it was to be like this, it would have been alright to rest at the place of brother-in-law for a bit longer, Sabnak lamented in his newly provided office within the king’s castle.
At the same time as Sabnak returned to the capital, an official ceremony was held for the first founding of the Royal Knight Order due to Imeraria’s coronation. The captain was Sabnak and the vice-captain was Vaiya. Several people were chosen from each, the Second and Third Knight Order.
Consolidating all the remaining knights, those were reshuffled into an organisation that was merely called knight order. The former captain of the Third Knight Order, Lotomago, was appointed as its captain and there were three vice-captains including Midas.
There is no hierarchical relationship between the two knight orders. The main duty of the Royal Knight Order is the protection of the royalty as well as the castle. The knight order leads the army to maintain the public order and for military activities.
Having been appointed in a hurry, Sabnak was dressed in the new order’s uniform that was handed to him by Imeraria herself. The first assigned task for him is to draft and practise the security protocol of the coming coronation ceremony. It was major task.
“Why is there so much work?” (Sabnak)
Having dispatched Phyrinion to the Fokalore territory as my replacement, I feel relieved in my heart, but being responsible for that side might have been better if it’s like this, he clearly judges.
At any rate, since it is a fresh unit that has been formed just recently, let alone cooperation, the order’s members just finished meeting their comrades. No matter how much Imeraria is the only protection subject, I can’t help but feel there will security holes in this wide royal castle and its surroundings even if I wrack my brain devising a plan.
“Excuse me.” (Maid)
The one to enter the office was the new maid, who was assigned to Sabnak.
“A letter has arrived from Royal Knight Order Vice-Captain Vaiya.” (Maid)
“Ah, thanks.” (Sabnak)
The given letter was a rolled up parchment having a thorough wax seal.
“What!? Such exaggeration…” (Sabnak)
While tearing off the wax and reading the contents, Sabnak spilled tears.
The letter from Vaiya states that while waiting for Hifumi in Fokalore following Imeraria’s instruction, there are requests from other fiefs flooding in to train their soldiers and educate their civil officials. He lightly and in a comprehensible way writes that even the former Vichy territories are in the process of switching over to the same political system as Fokalore. At the end he wrote to report about the “Engagement to Phyrinion-san” to report about it to his superior officer, Sabnak.
“What the hell is this? Though I’m not able to enjoy food and women as I’m busily running about…” (Sabnak)
“Isn’t this way of calling me weird? So, what is it?” (Sabnak)
As he asks while holding a handkerchief to his eyes, the maid says expressionlessly,
“If you like, you can join me for dinner?” (Maid)
“… Won’t you stop it, if it’s out of pity?” (Sabnak)
“No, it isn’t.” (Maid)
This maid is outrageous, he shook his head.
“I just wondered whether this was a chance to gain money and power by marrying a rich and powerful man.” (Maid)
Sabnak cried. (T/N: Owned, lol)