“What an idiot! Do you plan to win against this number of opponents?” (Balzephon)
Although Balzephon started to dash towards Hifumi raising his voice to yelling, he lost sight of Hifumi in the blink of an eye as he was moving, as if gliding, in the dance hall crowded with the other knights while laughing.
“Tsk! Where did he go!?” (Balzephon)
He surveys his surroundings while turning in a circle, but he isn’t able to spot Hifumi’s figure.
“You can’t say it’s always advantageous to have large numbers.” (Hifumi)
Striking the head of a single knight, he enters the blind spot of his opponent before he can turn around and strikes yet another knight.
“I guess it’s inevitable for you to obstruct each other with such experiences?” (Hifumi)
“There you are!”
A knight, who was brandishing his sword, slashes at the back of the talking Hifumi.
“Don’t speak. You have to do a surprise attack.” (Hifumi)
While saying these words, Hifumi lightly placed his hand on the shoulder of the knight, who was in front of him, and changed places with him in a swift movement.
The knight, who planned to hit Hifumi instead ended up hitting his own colleague with his sword, was beheaded while being perplexed.
“You are far too close to each other. That results in you cutting your own allies, if you swing your swords poorly.” (Hifumi)
The knights, who personally witnessed the friendly fire, have an indecisive attitude even while preparing their swords.
Being in a separate location, Balzephon instructed all of them to disperse.
“Everybody, fall back to the walls of the hall!” (Balzephon)
Hearing his voice, the surprised knights are slowly withdrawing.
Hifumi, who was left all alone in the centre of the hall, sheaths his katana and laughs daringly.
“Is this the correct answer, I wonder? So, what will you do next?” (Hifumi)
“How arrogant… although the Second Knight Order was destroyed, you likely only attacked captain’s group from the back after they were exhausted from the battle. Us knights won’t fall behind a country-bumpkin like you bastard.” (Balzephon)
“Look at the reality.”
Hifumi shakes his head as if being incredulous about Balzephon’s words.
He knocks with a finger on the pommel of the katana at his waist.
“We have so many knights here, why won’t the fellow, who has already come out in front of me and told me to fight him one-on-one, come forward? It’s simple. You saw your colleagues getting killed. You are probably aware that you won’t be able to win.” (Balzephon)
The knocking sound of a nail hitting the metal fixtures of the pommel is resounding.
Balzephon glares at the knights in his surroundings, but all of them are trying to not make eye contact and avert their sight.
“You worthless bunch! Don’t you have pride as knights!?” (Balzephon)
“No, no, if you say this much, you have to take the lead and come forward yourself.” (Hifumi)
Saying this while laughing, Balzephon stared at Hifumi with a bright red face.
“Ah, if you are scared of this, let’s go bare-handed.” (Hifumi)
Once Hifumi drew the katana, together with the scabbard, from his waist and quickly tossed it into his darkness storage, he showed his palms.
“Hey, set up your sword properly. Since I’m not wearing any armour, you might kill me, if you hit me. If you hit me, that is.” (Hifumi)
“You underestimate a knight far too much, bastard. I will chop you into pieces and present your corpse in front of Imeraria.” (Balzephon)
Balzephon stepped forward correcting his sword stance.
While gradually shortening the distance to Hifumi, he dispatches the knights, who are in Hifumi’s back, with a glance, that lasted only an instant.
Balzephon, confirming that both of them nodded, purposely spoke in a loud voice.
“That’s impossible in this situation.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi slowly advances diagonally forward.
With only that alone, to say nothing about Balzephon’s sword, the two swords, swung downward from the back, don’t hit either.
Hifumi, who circled into Balzephon’s back as if smoothly passing through, kicked the backside of his opponent’s knee with the tips of his toes and locked an arm around the neck of the kneeling Balzephon.
Constricting the neck together with Balzephon’s right hand holding the sword, Balzephon’s consciousness is slowly getting muddy.
“Hey, try having a look at your surroundings. There’s no knight trying to approach in order to save you. What’s a knight? Are they guys, who also abandon their friends to save their own lives? Are they running away from battles only caring about appearance and weapons?” (Hifumi)
Due to Hifumi’s voice from right close-by, Balzephon’s head has become a sloppy mess.
What is the pride of a knight I wanted to protect? What is that lot looking from a distance as I’m getting killed this very minute? Just what the hell did I want to become…?
“Your brain still works, I guess. What can you do to survive right now? Is it holding your head high and brandishing your sword? Is it being proud of your noble birth?” (Hifumi)
Balzephon thought. He literally thought in desperation.
I ended up dropping the sword due to my arm losing strength because of the pressure of the constriction. It’s also impossible to grip Hifumi’s arm with my left hand. I can’t move my feet well due the kneeling posture either.
At last his vision became a cloudy white.
“… This guy was also only at this level, huh?” (Hifumi)
With a disappointed voice of Hifumi audible, the strength of constriction is raised even further.
Balzephon ducked his head with all his might and opened his mouth. Somehow managing to open his front teeth to the degree of 2 fingers wide, he bit into Hifumi’s arm resolutely.
On the verge of having meat torn off, Hifumi released the restraint and separated from Balzephon.
Balzephon, who got out of the predicament, gained distance from Hifumi by rolling on the ground without caring about his own appearance.
“*cough*… *cough*” (Balzephon)
“Your choice just now was good. There are people even saying that biting is vulgar and such, but it’s an effective attack. Teeth are strong.” (Hifumi)
As Hifumi was talking calmly, Balzephon looked at him with eyes filled with tears while coughing and rubbed his neck staying silent.
“Now then, just now you literally bit yourself to survival, but… what’s your next move?” (Hifumi)
“… I was able to calm down due to being close to death. I won’t be able to become an ideal knight anymore. Therefore, there’s no meaning in putting up a front either.” (Balzephon)
While saying this, he removes his armour with clattering sounds and drops it on the floor.
“I have understood. I’m no match for you bastard.” (Balzephon)
Balzephon, whose figure became agile, muttered “Finally free.”
“Next time I will win.” (Balzephon)
Once he finished saying that, Balzephon turned his back on Hifumi and ran with all his power.
Without change he rushed out from the narrow exit for the servants, the knights and nobles usually didn’t use.
Hifumi didn’t chase after him.
“How nice. How far will he get? My anticipations increased by one more… well then.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi matches the sight of each of the knights, who saw off Balzephon suddenly escaping in blank surprise.
“Only one chose life rather than honour, but what will you guys do?” (Hifumi)
“If it’s now, I will give you a big service. I will finish you all at once while unarmed”, he said.
The knights let their looks swim for a while. But if it’s such large number against an unarmed opponent, he apparently gradually became generous. One after the other set up their sword with a grim expression.
“That’s great.” (Hifumi)
Stepping forward with his right foot, Hifumi holds out both his hands in front and takes a relaxed stance.
“Let’s do this thoroughly until either of us dies.” (Hifumi)
Due to the instructions of Midas and Vaiya, who regained his consciousness, the soldiers are guiding the populace to the plaza in front of the royal castle.
“At last the coronation ceremony is starting”, several soldiers loudly exclaimed, cautioning the people to advance slowly without running.
“Midas-san, this side is finished.” (Vaiya)
Vaiya, who concluded the stationing of the soldiers, ran up to Midas and gave his report.
“Understood. Since I will be continuing with the assignments of the guards for the venue, get in touch with Captain Sabnak.” (Midas)
“Yes, sir.” (Vaiya)
While issuing instructions to the soldiers without break, Midas, who remained at the plaza, made sure that the populace gathered in front of the royal castle.
At the time many people entered the plaza and the noise settled down, Midas unintentionally looked upwards and saw Sabnak’s armoured figure appearing on the balcony. Imeraria slowly showed herself accompanied by Shibyura, taking the breath of the people.
“It’s the princess!”
As someone raised their voice, the people’s gazes instantly turned towards the balcony.
Even the soldiers, while paying attention to the surroundings, turned their looks upwards against their better judgement.
“Everybody living in Orsongrande, on this occasion I, Imeraria Torie Orsongrande, will succeed my father and rise to be the ruler of this country.” (Imeraria)
A great majority of the gathered populace expressed joyful looks and applause reverberated.
Seeing this, Imeraria smiles delightfully.
“Thank you very much.” (Imeraria)
Imeraria, who regained a serious expression right away, inhales a large breath.
“This country has been exposed to many crisis. Battles have occurred, a great number of soldiers and knights got injured and a not negligible number of them perished. There are also the great accomplishments of Earl Tohno. Although these resulted in victories, there were sacrifices as well. I won’t forget this fact.” (Imeraria)
Everyone listened carefully and silently to the speech of the new queen.
“For them, who risked their lives to protect this country, I have the obligation to create a good country, where everyone can live in abundance. If there was a result of having protected it, I believe it to be the mission to make such country. I’m well aware that I’m an unreliable, young ruler with shallow experience. For this reason I will promise all of you. I won’t become an egoistic tyrant.” (Imeraria)
Imeraria, who declared that with a refreshed expression, slowly returns into the royal castle while receiving cheers and applause to the degree of feeling an earth tremor.
While men and women were exchanging their opinions about the just heard declaration, they returned to their daily lives in succession.
Midas, who followed up on the dissolution of the populace, noticed himself shedding tear before he knew.
“Pajou, it might be something different from what you had been aiming for, but Imeraria-sama, firmly standing on her own feet, announced her path. There might be many problems, however I believe it to be a plenty satisfactory outcome.” (Midas)
Anxious about the fate of this country and the princess, he recalls his colleague, who lost her young life. Secretly splitting away from the mass, Midas spilled a stream of tears.
There were already less than 12, of the group surrounding Hifumi, remaining.
The group, who assaulted their unarmed opponent with swords, having their necks, arms and feet broken, were forced either to faint in agony, to toss themselves about in great pain or to die.
For those, whose limbs were still alright, the most they can do is to drag away their injured comrades to separate them from Hifumi.
Even as they slashed desperately, Hifumi directly steps into the bosom of the attacking knights, as if completely sticking to them like a magnet, and with his held-out fist, similar to two wedges, he hits their chins and ribs.
Once they drop their swords due to the pain, their arms will be arrested and they will get thrown. Crashing into the solid ground with their heads first, their necks will be broken or, if they are lucky, they will faint due to the damage suffered by their heads.
Even if they tightly gripped their swords, their faces will be grabbed and the back of their heads will be thrust into the floor causing a flower of blood painting the floor. Or they will have the insides of their elbows beaten, which naturally causes them to injure their faces or feet with their own swords.
“Impossibles… the opponent isn’t even using a weapon.”
“Shit! Why doesn’t he die!?”
Frightened people, angered people, Hifumi continues his attacks without discrimination.
On the contrary, to finish it up, using the force of the sword swung downwards by a knight, he arrested the knight’s arm, quickly circled around, let the power flow downwards from above and crushed his face, nose first, into the ground making him faint.
One of them had their helmed seized and their cervical vertebrae broken by twisting.
One of them had their sword stolen and died by having it thrust into their own face.
One of them had the flesh of the throat torn off with fingers and bled to death.
There were still some alive moaning, but within the hall painted in red with blood, the last one, trying to run away, had his feet constricted and fell over. With him having his neck broken by being stepped on only Hifumi was remaining standing.
As expected, it was a large number, Hifumi, who inhaled a breath due to overflowing with emotions as it had been a long time since he handled a large number of opponents bare-handed, exhaled in satisfaction.
Amply savouring the smell of blood, he goes around delivering the finishing blow carefreely.
There were also some begging for their lives, but with a single word of 「Too slow (T/N: osoi)」 he snatches their lives away by twisting their necks or stepping on them without using the katana at all until the very end.
Hifumi, who suddenly noticed a presence entering the dance hall he remembers, slowly turned his look towards the open door.
“… Although it was such amount of knights, did you spare that person…?” (Imeraria)
It’s Imeraria who stood there.
“The most energetic guy was also the smartest and ran away. He is probably the mastermind.” (Hifumi)
“I dealt with the lot left behind, but there’s still the possibility of something else lurking somewhere”, Hifumi laughs.
“Hifumi-sama, just now I finished the coronation ceremony.” (Imeraria)
Rather than a crown, she was bestowed a diadem with detailed ornaments and gleaming in golden colour so that it was more suitable to call it a tiara. It was on top of Imeraria’s soft, silver hair.
“I see.” (Hifumi)
With these short comment, Hifumi placed his heel at the neck of the last fainted knight and put his weight onto it.
Hearing the thick groan, Imeraria averted her eyes.
“Watch it properly. This is the result of you not being able to firmly lead the knights.” (Hifumi)
Due to Hifumi’s words, Imeraria put her breathing in order and surveyed the inside of the hall.
“What on earth do I have to do so that it doesn’t end like this… ?” (Imeraria)
“Don’t know. In my case, at the time I considered them to be suspicious, I would screw them up? … No, this much had better be important for you. It’s convenient to reveal the idiots. In fact, this many idiots came gathering.” (Hifumi)
“Besides, there’s also a worth in doing it as there were so many opponents”, Hifumi says.
Did they guess the state of affairs? Groups of Fokalore soldiers entered and began to skilfully clean up the corpses.
“Well, this is your way of doing things. I have likely my own way of handling things. The desired outcome is probably different as well. Because you wanted to kill them, you did this. You likely have no choice to do it this way whether you like it or not.” (Imeraria)
“Think and think about it. You won’t get an answer until the results appear after trying. After all, if I look at the battle just now, I could have died. There’s nothing strange about that either. Considering the things you can do, deciding to do your best and using everything you can use, it’s fine to be sad or happy once the results come out.” (Hifumi)
Just before leaving the room, Hifumi looked back at Imeraria.
“Observe your surroundings. Though those, who are usable, might come gathering on their own accord, it’s a totally different story whether you will be able to understand the things you see and the seen things.” (Hifumi)
Does he plan to sleep? Hifumi said 「Good Night」 and left.
“That’s right, isn’t it? The prime minister, Sabnak, Vaiya-san and Lotomago. I should request the support from Midas-san as well. Besides…” (Imeraria)
Imeraria remembered the faces of the people, who gave her many cheers and applauses not long ago.
Imeraria, who headed towards the audience hall at a quick pace, sat on the throne and summoned Lotomago. She ordered him the suitable measure of chasing the escaping Balzephon.
This was the first decree of Queen Imeraria.