Awesome song, didn’t know that one yet…
The characters, written on the lithograph handed over by Prime Minister Adol, although old, were something Imeraria, who received education as royalty, was able to read to some extent.
“This is…” (Imeraria)
The details, which were written down there, evidently isn’t a spell formula for the sake of sending back. Having finished to read it, Imeraria wasn’t able to conceal her unrest due to the words mentioned at its end.
“Sealing spell formula…” (Imeraria)
If a magician with ability uses it, they will likely be able to seal even mighty monsters and powerful wizards, is what is written there. We pray that the day, where it will be necessary to use a spell to perform such a strong seal, won’t come, are the words finishing the record.
“Adol-san, what’s this about? This isn’t a return spell formula. You said, during the talk with Origa-san, that you have been searching for a return spell, haven’t you?” (Imeraria)
“Indeed. But I still haven’t found that spell yet.” (Adol)
“Then showing me this sealing magic lithograph… what the heck are you planning?” (Imeraria)
Once Imeraria looks at Adol as if examining him carefully, his lips stiffened into a thin line.
“… Everything is for the sake of this country, Orsongrande.” (Adol)
“For the time being I shall hear out your opinion.” (Imeraria)
“Thank you very much.” (Adol)
Bent on his knees, Adol talks with a stance of having his head lowered.
“At this moment our country’s situation is stable. I guess it’s in a state with no issues, you might even say it’s doing well. You, Your Majesty, were enthroned, the economy has stabilized and even the populace has calmed down, that’s what I’m observing. As long as you don’t think about the cause for this either, a large part of it will be on account of Earl Tohno.” (Adol)
Even Imeraria frankly consented to the story this far. As there was interference from Vichy regardless of Hifumi’s existence, it was an exceedingly great merit for the country that the conflicts with the other countries settled with Orsongrande’s complete predominance.
“However, for the future country Earl Tohno will change into a huge burden. He became a hero for this country, but if his territory continues to grow, the positions of the country and Fokalore will likely reverse in the near future. No, if you talk about the aspect of the trust by his people and the engineering, you could already say that Fokalore’s evaluation has surpassed the capital’s.” (Adol)
“While that may be true, as reason for rejecting Hifumi-sama…” (Imeraria)
“Your Majesty, the Queen.” (Adol)
With the knowledge of his impoliteness, Adol lifted his head and interrupted Imeraria.
“Everything is moving with Earl Tohno at the core. Although it’s an unbelievable story, I’m told that the basis of Fokalore’s commerce and industry has been handled with Earl Tohno’s views as foundation. His ability isn’t only that of doing battle.” (Adol)
“… Please, let me think about it for a bit. I’m deeply aware that I’m bearing the responsibility for this country’s fate. But, as for immediately accepting your arguments, it’s not like I have been able put my feelings about what happened to Pajou’s body in order yet.” (Imeraria)
Imeraria, who had cast down her eyes, slowly sighed as if adjusting her breathing.
“That was completely my error. Underestimating Hifumi-sama’s combat prowess, I belittled his intelligence. The one who stole her life was no one else but me.” (Imeraria)
“Your Majesty. Including me, all of your retainers are serving to follow Your Majesty’s heart’s desires. Please, don’t use words of repentance towards Knight Pajou. She acted on behalf of Your Majesty.” (Adol)
Barely keeping back her tears, Imeraria decided to look after the sealing spell and closed the meeting with Adol.
On the verge of leaving the room, Adol said at the last moment 「This is something for the sake of having him leave as hero without needing to kill him. Please, think well about it」. Those words were burned into her mind.
It was several days after he bought the beastmen slaves when Hifumi appeared at the slums. Without taking Reni and Helen along, he has only brought the dogman, Gengu, for guidance with him.
“If it’s at the location I was told about before, the place called slums should be ahead from here.” (Gengu)
The direction indicated by Gengu, was a path with a shabby atmosphere having accumulated remains of buildings and trash continuing into a narrow back alley.
“I previously came to a place with such feeling as well. Well then, let’s go.” (Hifumi)
“Please wait! If a human suddenly entered there, what kind of experience will they…” (Gengu)
Ignoring Gengu, who tries to stop him, Hifumi quickly enters the slums’ interior.
Giving up his persuasion, Gengo followed Hifumi’s back in a hurry, too.
Once they exit the narrow alley, they arrive at a residential area with buildings lining up, although the collapsed buildings are standing out. Sensing signs of someone living there from several buildings, Hifumi, who guessed that they were turning their sights this way, aimlessly walks around while tapping the hilt of the katana, worn at his waist, with his finger.
“Every last of them doesn’t come out and merely peeks this way from within the buildings.” (Hifumi)
“They are probably cautious. It’s likely not unusual for humans to come here to catch beastmen.” (Gengu)
“But, it’s just one human with only a single beastmen”, Hifumi says. Probably thinking that they would be easy opponents, it didn’t take much time for several beastmen to appear and surround Hifumi.
By the looks they have assembled a clique of various tribes such as leopards and bears. From Hifumi’s point of view, it’s pleasing with a zoo-like feel.
“I dun’ know why ya came here by yerself, human, but we ain’t do anythin’ bad ta ya, if ya leave yer cash and go.”
A leopard beastman, who lost one arm, brings its face close to Hifumi with a questionable attitude making it uncertain whether they are threatening or persuading him.
“Your breath stinks.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi sent the leopard beastman flying with a frontal kick.
The leopard beastman, who flew drawing a parabola without time to react, broke through a tattered house.
Did the wall act as cushion? Apparently avoiding to faint, the beastman unsteadily stood up and and grasped its belly.
“P-Please wait!” (Gengu)
Gengu rushed out in front of an enraged bear beastman.
“This person is someone, who will become a hope for us beastmen! Please listen to him even if it’s only for the story.” (Gengu)
“Hope, you say?”
“You will likely understand once you look at my clothes. Those, who became slaves of humans, won’t be able to wear such nice clothes, will they!?” (Gengu)
“Why are you doing something like being an ally of a human!?”
Disregarding the mutual dispute between Gengu and the slums’ beastmen, Hifumi approached the leopard beastmen, he sent flying.
“Do you still want to continue? If you do, I will kill you.” (Hifumi)
“… I give up. Life is precious.”
Leaving alone the leopard, who was hanging his head, Hifumi turned around.
“It looks like this guy has given up. Is there anyone else, who wants to pick a fight with me?” (Hifumi)
As it seemed that the leopard beastman was an existence similar to a powerful troubleshooter among the beastmen of the slums, there wasn’t anyone answering Hifumi’s call.
Sighing due to being very disappointed, Hifumi sat down on a fitting debris.
“Have the beastmen of this slum gather here.” (Hifumi)
“W-What the hell are you planning?”
Due to the leopard beastman’s question, Hifumi pointed his finger and answered,
“We will build your guys’ city in these slums.” (Hifumi)
The beastmen, who heard Hifumi’s words, opened their mouths dumbfoundedly.
Only Gengu surveyed the surroundings keeping up his smile.
“No matter how many times I hear it, it’s an interesting dream. I want to do it in one shot, too.” (Gengu)
During the time Hifumi has gone out to the slums, Reni, Helen and the other beastmen, who were left behind, stayed at the inn.
Be that as it may, that doesn’t mean they spent their time care-freely.
“T-To suffer such a…” (Helen)
It is Helen prostrating herself at a table in corner of the dining room set as reserved.
In front of her is a book made out of fine quality paper. Next to it there is a messy handwriting lining up on a separate parchment.
Reni was earnestly grasping a pen and studying besides Helen.
“Reni, what are you doing as if your life depended on it? It’s not what that human told you. Even among humans there are plenty, who don’t study.” (Helen)
“But, Hifumi-san said that I won’t be able to start looking like a ruler, if I don’t study…” (Reni)
“… Has he really said that?” (Helen)
Helen, who made an expression as if being astounded, stares directly at Reni.
“What to say… humans are still a bit scary, but doing various things such as tasks, writing and thinking, such things didn’t exist in the wastelands, right? You can even say that about this studying. Writing down many things I don’t know, it has reached the point that I’m steadily comprehending things I didn’t understand.” (Reni)
Reni put down the pen and grabbed Helen’s hands.
“Don’t you think it’s interesting? And, Hifumi-san said that he will build the first city of the beastmen race. It will be a city, won’t it? It will have various stores like the human city and beastmen of various tribes will work on things, they like and are strong at.” (Reni)
“Well that’s… if it’s going to be like that, it will be fun, I guess, but…” (Helen)
When Helen casts down her eyes at the textbook, there are the official characters and vocabulary lined up in a row. Although she somehow memorized the way of reading those, it was still far too difficult for her to write words.
She was told that Hifumi was able to read and write the general sentences in a few days, but Helen is doubting that.
“What do you want to do once the city is built, Helen? Is it a store? It seems to be interesting, even if you say you will grow vegetables, right?” (Reni)
“Growing vegetables and selling them in a store, even if I become a ruler?” (Helen)
“Eh…? I wonder what will happen?” (Reni)
The beastwoman in front of the two, having such conversation, had a damaged voice. Same as Helen she is a rabbitwoman, but, with an age of around 20 years, she is missing one ear from the root. Apparently it was cut off at the time she was caught by humans when she was still a child. (T/N: For an illustration, check the volume cover in the ToC)
“Both of you aren’t used to a human city. As a more important character than soldiers and knights, the king’s job is to manage the country by giving out directions. Although it’s not by all means, you won’t have the time to run something like a store, will you?”
The rabbitwoman with the slightly drooping eyes smiles gently at Reni and Helen.
“Becoming this old, I certainly didn’t think I would be allowed to study by a human. If I imagine future, it’s nice to have a dream. 10 years already passed since I was caught and turned into a slave, but it’s the first time I’m able to ponder what I want to do or what I will do like this.”
Listening to her words, Reni noticed something.
“Is that so? Helen, at the time, when we were in the wastelands, we just thought about our immediate safety and the matters of being able to gather food, but we did have a conversation about our future unnoticed during our talks with Hifumi-san.” (Reni)
“I see.” (Helen)
Helen also opened her eyes widely.
“If I remember correctly, the things, I talked about with you, Reni, increased as well, though it was just me being afraid of something. Talks such as about food or tools to be sold at a store…” (Helen)
“If the beastmen city is built and if it’s possible to invite everyone, it will become wonderful!” (Reni)
“Alright, I will do my best”, Reni once again clasped the pen with a rough nasal breathing. Helen also followed up by muttering Let’s do my best within her mind.
“Didn’t that human tell us to study something once we done with characters?” (Helen)
Helen voiced out her question in a murmur.
“Mmh~ that is.” (Reni)
Reni looks up at the ceiling and recount what she remembered,
“If I’m not mistaken, it’s the know-how of serving customers? Or something like that?” (Reni)
“What’s that?” (Helen)
“I don’t know.” (Reni)
While watching the two looking at each other, the one-eared rabbitwoman had an unfounded feeling to try believing into her new master. Though they have been associating with him for only a few days, looking at the state of Helen and Reni, he appears to be a nice master.
On a certain day in the local area, a strange commission was delivered to the craftsmen of Swordland.
From the craftsmen in the industrial fields, such as carpenters and blacksmiths, to chefs, like bakers and such, and even those employed in the service sector, such as inn employees, it reached various people.
Given that it had also an excellent reward, many of them headed to the designated inn.
They flinched at the beastmen lining up in a row there, but receiving a properly polite 「Please」 and seeing them enthusiastically trying to collect information with shining eyes, even if it wasn’t about a significant craft, on top of them listening to their speeches honestly, the craftsmen even were in a good mood before realizing it.
Gradually splitting the groups by the learning content, they get into the core of the parts of their professions.
From the start there is a considerable number of beastmen slaves within the city. It may be because there were also beastmen doing the shopping for their masters among them, that for commoners, with the exception of nobles, there was a weak feeling of shirking away from the beastmen’s existence in itself. The emotional part, which Hifumi confirmed by experimenting in the dining room of the inn, was no issue, but only if you restrict the talk to commoners.
At the same time the carpenters were requested to do a different job, too.
It’s a large-scale repair operation of the slums.
Being attentive to the astonishing detailed blueprints, the carpenters skilfully dismantled the old buildings in order, starting with the dwellings of the beastmen, and constructed buildings, to be used as stores, manufacturing cabins and moreover even smithies and bathhouses.
Given that the beastmen carried in wood, which was used as material, from outside in succession, the work advanced at a quick pace without being delayed.
Beastmen, who participated in the carpentry work, appeared as well and those, who have strength, and those, who are specialized in acrobatics, played a central role in tasks, that would usually require the help of several humans. Since it was steadily making progress with just the beastmen joining in, some among the carpenters appeared, who proposed that they wanted help with the work down-town as well.
The slums, which were occupied by deserted houses and debris, has gradually turned into a new city that can’t be called slums anymore.
The person, who has been providing the funds, had many obscure parts, such as the source of money, with him only appearing sometimes at briefing sessions. But due to the easiness beyond expectations to associate with the beastmen, who were said to be the investor’s slaves, and the virtue of monetary payment, there wasn’t anyone pursuing that point either.
Before long, beastmen, who have obtained the know-how in running businesses, have started to appear. At last the slums have finished the facilities to function as healthy city.
“Hyaa~ … Somehow it’s an amazing situation ~ssu.” (Gengu)
“There ain’t no appearance or shadow of slums either.”
The dogman, Gengu, and the one-armed leopard beastman walked to a nearby place in the city, where the shop area was created earlier.
“The human’s intelligence is somethin’ terrific. Although we used the buildings without thinkin’ anythin’ ’bout it, it was unexpected for them to have been built with various ideas to that extent.”
“Did we live by ‘us beastmen are great’ because we are strong and because we don’ quite understand human matters?” The leopard beastman spit out self-depreciating words.
“Moreover, until we were bought by Hifumi-san, we didn’t even consider to do such a cooperative work with comrades from other tribes and much less with humans ~ssu.” (Gengu)
“That’s right… However, there’s a single matter I’m worried about.”
The leopard beastman, having a serious look, stroke his chin with his remaining arm.
“Even among humans, aren’t there those coming to catch beastmen like us such as soldiers and knights? Leaving aside the normal humans, it won’t even be funny, if 5~6 soldiers come here, but…”
The leopard beastman’s worry was something occurring in reality.
At the time the carpenters returned from the slums when the day came to an end, several soldiers came entering the slums.
A single youth stands in front of them, who have been surprised by the appearance of the slums lining up clean buildings.
With his usual black hakama on the dougi and the katana hanging on his hips, it’s Hifumi.
“You are… not a beastman. What are you doing here?”
Once a single soldier asked for his identity, Hifumi smoothly drew the slender sword.
The sword has a curve with a single edge. The beautiful, as if charming people, hamon is reflecting the pale moonlight.
“If I were to say it one way or the other… I was waiting for intruders like you guys. This might be the most truthful answer. It’s something I have put you through every and every night.” (Hifumi)
“The people, who went to investigate and haven’t come back, are… everyone, prepare your swords!”
While feeling a bizarre atmosphere due to the young man laughing with a “Kukuku”, the soldiers drew their swords.
“You drew them. Then it’s fine.” (Hifumi)
It seems Hifumi will be able to enjoy this evening as well. He was thankful to the beastmen city, which became an excellent bait, though it cost money.