Not my taste, but oh well…
Due to someone stuttering 「F-Fall back!」, the soldiers, in whose presence the gut-wrenching scene of the knights getting completely crushed took place, escaped from the battlefield with each of them wrestling to be first to get away.
Those words were a petition, released by a mere soldier as he succumbed to panic, but there’s no one caring about that. By clinging to the lure called retreat, they chose to run away from this place without caring about their responsibilities.
Watching the soldiers’ ranks falling apart in their escape, scattering all over, without any of their orderly fortitude from before the battle, the beastmen shouted in exultation.
“Alright, it went well!”
However, different to the beastmen, who were all smiles, the humans’ reactions were inclining towards bewilderment.
Welcoming the beastmen, who returned to the slums, with cheers, the beastmen, waiting for their return, received them warmly albeit slightly roughly. However, the humans came together and murmured about their anxieties from now on.
“I-Is it alright…?”
Even the man, who was not long ago saved by being carried away by a beastman, said that while drenched in sweat.
“The knights were killed… won’t we be killed by the other knights once we return to the city?”
“If we get blamed by the soldiers, our lives will already…”
Two small beastgirls push their way through the slums’ beastmen and walk up to the panicking humans.
It’s Helen and Reni.
“So, how about living here?” (Reni)
The humans didn’t know for a moment what to say to the suggestion provided by Reni without hesitation.
“Though there are many various things, you taught me, I want to thank you for, there are still houses that need repairs. There’s plenty things left to do.” (Reni)
“That’s right, isn’t it? There are also many things we still don’t understand, if it’s only us beastmen.” (Helen)
Helen agrees with Reni’s suggestion, too. The beastmen in the surroundings are showing a supportive attitude as well.
“But, this place is the city of beastmen…”
Reni was puzzled over a perplexed male human.
“… Is there any difference?” (Reni)
Seeing that their talk isn’t meshing, Helen laughed with her rabbit ears moving with a *ping ping* (T/N: pico pico)
“You humans probably look at the beastmen as one pack, but in the wastelands there’s nothing like that. Me and Reni might get attacked by tigers and wolves too, if we go into the wastelands.” (Helen)
“No one will mind the humans blending in at this point when we are living by mixing with other races anyway”, is what Helen says.
Due to those words not only the humans, but also the beastmen looked at each other.
The ones who are currently at this location are humans, rabbits, sheep, leopards, tigers, dogs, wolves, etc. If one were to talk about differences, there would be no end to mismatching appearances and customs.
“Since this place seems to be “A heterogeneous place different from the humans’ and beastmen’s society” going by Hifumi-san’s words, isn’t it fine for everyone to join as long as they aren’t bad people?” (Reni)
“Right?” Once Reni asked for confirmation from her, Helen showed a wry smile and nodded.
“There are humans, who got used to beastmen, and beastmen, who got used to humans. I think it’s just as that man says. However, I don’t believe it’s something to be decided by Reni and me.” (Helen)
“No, isn’t it fine?” (Gengu)
From among the group of beastmen, Gengu stuck out his face with its long dogman-like nose.
“Because Helen-san and Reni-san are the representatives of this city in name and reality at present, no one will complain, if it’s okay with the two of you ~ssu.” (Gengu)
Being struck by Gengu’s speech, Helen and Reni turn around their heads in a circle and see all the beastmen in the vicinity nodding with smiles.
Showing a smiling face close to bursting, Reni faced the humans.
“Since it’s as you’ve heard, this city will welcome humans, too.” (Reni)
“H-However, the knights and soldiers won’t stay silent about this.”
“You can’t absolutely call this a safe place to live in”, the humans were in a state of being unable to calm down yet, but Reni gently talked to them in order to have them regain their presence of mind.
And due to what she said next, the beastmen at this place were lost for words.
“Since Hifumi-san should have gone to the castle, it will probably work out somehow, won’t it?” (Reni)
“H-Hifumi-san, you say?”
The humans don’t properly know about Hifumi, who didn’t show his face unless to give instructions to Helen and Reni.
However, the beastmen, who encountered him in these few days, especially the bunch of the vigilante corps, which participated in the training, are showing pale faces, hard to recognize due to their fur.
The humans, who noticed their state, only sensed that something terrible was going on.
“R-Reni-san, you said that Hifumi-san has gone to the human city, but why is he headed for the palace, I wonder ~ssu?” (Gengu)
“Because he told me before that it’s necessary to go to the castle and talk with the king, he is probably now…” (Reni)
The beastmen, who dropped their shoulders while sighing, believed that the strife with the humans will continue for a long time to come yet, but they sighed as it seems to have become a needless worry.
“W-What’s this about?”
“It’s just as you’ve heard.”
A single tigerman answered to a human, who doesn’t comprehend.
“The problem is that there’s no way for Hifumi-san to just return after “talking.””
“Good grief. The ones welcoming the bunch of soldiers, which ran home, won’t just be the surviving soldiers.”
“Well, then there won’t be any battles for a while.”
With these words signalling the breakup, the beastmen headed home while chatting somewhat excitedly about the battle some time ago.
Helen calls out to the humans, who are left behind overcome with surprise, while being bashful.
“Oh well, since we have a place for you to sleep, follow me.” (Helen)
“There’s food as well”, being told that, the humans, who began to feel the emptiness in their stomachs for the first time, came to Reni and went with her.
The slums’ battle came to a conclusion far quicker than anyone expected.
The number of humans within the castle, who were killed until Salgu finally arrived at the king’s chamber, had been more than 30. The count is mostly compromised of soldiers and knights, who were killed protecting the royal chambers at night.
For the sake of cleaning up the king’s night fun with the beastwoman, the soldiers head towards the bedroom. Given that it was the king’s habit to restfully sleep by himself after returning the beastwomen to the prison, the soldiers on duty show up in the centre of the castle at the time, which was set as night-time, but what they found there wasn’t the usual scenery.
The halls are littered with corpses, which had their heads torn off or holes ripped into their bellies.
All of them were showing an expression of anguish while grasping their weapons tightly.
“It’s a disaster! There’s an intruder!”
While shouting that, the two soldiers leaped into the king’s bedroom in a state of emergency.
What they discovered inside are three corpses.
The catwoman, who was taken out of the prison on behalf of the king, the king, who is their lord, and a giant bearman, they don’t remember.
The catwoman’s head is twisted in an impossible direction. They understand at a glance that the king’s neck has been broken in the same way, too. The bearman is shedding a great amount of blood from parts of the head and his neck has been torn to pieces apparently sliced up by an edged tool.
“W-What shall we do?”
Because of the completely unforeseen situation, the soldier, who can’t decide, addresses his colleague.
“Like I would know…”
Even his colleague doesn’t know what would be good to do.
And from outside they can hear the voices of a crowd drawing near.
“Looks like the folks, who went to the slums, came back… mmh?”
The soldier, who observed the circumstances from the bedroom’s window, stares at the approaching group and screamed in a hysteric voice.
“They are recklessly running this way. The knights can’t be seen anywhere either…”
The colleague, who confirmed the situation outside the window after pushing his comrade away, perceived the soldiers, who have desperately come escaping to the castle, relying on the lights of torches with his eyes.
The soldier, who looked at that for a short while, hurriedly removes the armour of the upper half of his body causing him to be in a state of only wearing the linen cloth below.
“What are you doing?”
“Those guys have likely run away once the knights were done in. I looked at their expressions.”
As the lower leg part doesn’t want to come off readily, he cuts the leather belt with the knife, which was affixed to his hips.
“Look at the situation. It’s plain as day that the king and the beastman simultaneously killed each other, right? Besides, there’s also the premature withdrawal from the slums. They were probably easily defeated by the beastmen.”
The soldier, who lightened down his weight, hung the fixed sword belt at his waist with only his longsword and wallet.
“If you stay here as is, you will be killed by the beastmen, who are chasing the assault unit, which attacked the slums.”
“… I-I will go too!”
Taking off the armour in a rush, the soldier accompanied his comrade and left the king’s bedroom behind.
Hifumi appeared from the window in the room, with no one being there.
Hooking the kusarigama at a part of the wall, Hifumi, who hang onto it by grasping the counterweight, turns around and looks at the soldiers, who came scurrying home.
“If you watch properly, you will probably grasp that they aren’t chased by beastmen.” (Hifumi)
Even while judging the decision to escape as not bad, he complained that their observation wasn’t sufficient.
“Well, it’s fine. The country’s chains came off.” (Hifumi)
He looks at the king’s corpse.
His expression of rage and agony is a sublime comment.
“This fellow’s existence was too large. He will leave just as much of a hole, once he disappears. If the king had survived, the soldiers probably wouldn’t have escaped either.” (Hifumi)
The rest is the job of Reni’s group, with that Hifumi left the castle behind.
What remained within the castle is only a large amount of corpses and the live-in servants, who were sleeping without realizing anything.
And, discovering the tragic scene due to a soldier, who went to report to the king after escaping safely, the castle fell into chaos.
Zebul was blown away by a single hit with a log when he charged as vanguard in the assault on the slums, but he survived while being burred under the rubble within a deserted house.
“Guuh… by no means, to be hit by a log…” (Zebul)
The chest part of his metallic armour has caved in and it’s in a state of being a total loss no matter how you look at it as the joints are bent.
“Anyhow, I didn’t think that the beastmen would build a city. Oh well, it’s fine.” (Zebul)
Zebul’s face transforms while talking.
Growing sharp fangs in his mouth, his face turns into a dark green. Coupled with a slender face, his ears become pointed. He’s just like an elf from fairy-tales.
“The plan to have the humans and beastmen go against each other didn’t go well. There’s no necessity to take the shape a noble of this country anymore either.” (Zebul)
“Sorry. That can’t be allowed to pass.”
He intended to speak to himself, however Zebul, who was suddenly called out by someone, rolled over with a speed, one wouldn’t expect of someone injured, and picked up his sword.
“Who’s there?” (Zebul)
“You don’t have to worry about me. Rather than that, can you tell me a little bit more details about the “humans and beastmen go against each other” part, you talked about just now?”
The one who smoothly appeared from within the darkness was Hifumi.
As he was making way through the slums’ entrance, which was packed with corpses of knights, in order to return to his hideout, he sensed a presence in a deserted house and decided to have a look.
“You have long ears. An elf, huh?” (Hifumi)
“Besides, you look unwell”, due to Hifumi tilting his head to the side, Zebul, who prepared his sword warily, spit out,
“Don’t lump me together with such living dolls. I’m of the race which is called demon race by the humans. Putting that aside, who the hell are you, bastard? You seem to be different from the bunch that was together with the beastmen, but…” (Zebul)
While talking, Zebul prepared his magic.
The man in front of my eyes is dangerous, is what his senses are screaming at him. For Zebul, whose speciality lies with shape-shifting and who doesn’t have much of confidence in his combat prowess, it will be tough to directly compete by sword, he judged.
The instant Hifumi opened his mouth, Zebul pretended to raise the sword overhead and quickly stretched out his right hand in front of him.
“Thunderbolt! … Haa?” (Zebul)
Releasing his prided thunder magic, Zebul was certain of his victory, however the thunder travelled towards the suntetsu, that was thrown out from Hifumi’s chest, and hit that instead.
Faster than the suntetsu, which became burnt black, hitting the ground, both of Zebul’s legs were scythed down by the katana, released with a nukiuchi.
Zebul, who had anything below his knees taken away by a single stroke, fell on his backside.
As his face distorted in pain, Zebul throws the sword in his left hand, but it was swallowed up by the darkness magic cast by Hifumi.
“Demon, eh?” (Hifumi)
Hifumi placed his foot on top of Zebul’s belly.
Having lost his sword and both his legs, Zebul, whose body was pushed onto the ground, has a red face filled with anger.
“You are quite the lively one.” (Hifumi)
Has he also the trait to dull his sense of pain or such? Hifumi looked down on Zebul.
“So, let’s hear the answer to the previous question?” (Hifumi)
“Bastard, no matter what you fucker do, it’s too late. Swordland’s beastmen will likely reach the point of pro-actively clashing with the humans. You can’t stop the dwindling of humans in this country anymore.” (Zebul)
“Ah, that’s actually fine with me.” (Hifumi)
Zebul opened his eyes widely due to Hifumi’s reply.
“Humans and beastmen are going to oppose each other. That’s very nice. It was your guys’ doing that the soldiers and knights hated the beastmen profusely, wasn’t it? Thanks to that, it became very easy for me to do my things.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi felt a doubt. Although the soldiers and knights, including the king, have hated the beastmen abnormally, they expressly approved the existence of the slums. It didn’t make sense for the king to use beastwoman for sex either.
“This is likely very recent. You aimed at beastmen ostracism by actively inciting it.” (Hifumi)
That was very convenient for Hifumi. The antipathy was still limited to the people close to the king. The commoners, who still haven’t had those values drummed into them, accepted the beastmen.
“With this the 3 human powers, the human city, the wastelands’ beastmen and the slums’ beastmen drifted apart. If the king was killed, the nobles wouldn’t accept the beastmen. The wastelands’ beastmen naturally won’t participate in a city, which lies in the humans’ country. Being caught in-between, the pipsqueaks (T/N: chibi-tachi), running a mixed area, will likely be driven out by the administration and defence forces.” (Hifumi)
“Bastard, despite being a human yourself, you are leading the humans into peril.” (Zebul)
Hifumi nods toward the enraged Zebul.
“2 groups are no good. If it doesn’t become a 3-way-struggle, they won’t use their brains to strategize and defend themselves. There won’t be any scheming in battles either. That’s because it would be possible for contact people to come and go. The force, including the population, will probably continue to fluctuate from now on.” (Hifumi)
“They will have to use their heads in order to survive”, Hifumi nods in satisfaction.
“Y-You are mad… For the sake of the battle with the humans to become advantageous for us demons, we instigated the confrontation between humans and beastmen, however… to actually be used by a human…” (Zebul)
“I have put you through trouble. Teach me your guys’ whereabouts since I will report to your superior.” (Hifumi)
Although displaying hesitation, Zebul obediently answered,
“It’s deep within the elves’ forest. There you will find our demon races’ country. If you get carried away for just having killed me, you will suffer hell there.” (Zebul)
“Is that so? I’m looking forward to it.” (Hifumi)
With a small sound, Hifumi’s katana beheaded Zebul.