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Each time Hifumi swung his katana, the barrier locking him in was torn down a bit.
“Eeh!?” Puuse screamed, surprised by what was taking place below her eyes and lacked any common sense.
“Something even the demons wanted to tear down…what a thoroughly messed up man.” Vepar shook her head while casting a sidelong glance at Puuse who was hurriedly fixing the spell’s structure.
When Vepar looked at Imeraria, wondering whether this wasn’t a complete failure, the queen had been fixedly staring at the situation without a change in her expression.
“I had expected for something at this level to happen. I believed that Hifumi-sama’s left hand and his weapon, which is sturdy beyond abnormal levels, might be capable of realizing something like this.” Imeraria said indifferently, faced Puuse, and ordered, “Puuse-san, leave the countermeasure against that to Origa-san. It looks like she wasn’t in time now, but please deploy the barrier once more.”
“How do you plan to stop him?” (Vepar)
“Please wait!” Imeraria’s reply to Vepar was suddenly interrupted.
Everyone turned their eyes towards the door leading to the balcony. The one standing there was the rabbitwoman who had lost an ear, Viine.
Was it because she was angry? Or because she put strength into it? Either way, she furrowed her eyebrows and pursed her lips while having shifted her focus on Puuse.
“Puuse-san, what was that about….master’s sealing!?” Sabnak blocked the path in front of Viine who had started to walk while shouting.
“I’m sorry, but protecting this place is my job.” (Sabnak)
“Please don’t stop me!” (Viine)
Sabnak was greatly troubled as he restrained Viine’s shoulders who tried to proceed onward. If this had been a hoodlum or an assassin, he wouldn’t hesitate to draw his sword for Imeraria. But, it was someone he knew and an unarmed beastman. Moreover, someone who could be called Hifumi’s loyal retainer.
Imeraria’s voice was audible from behind Sabnak who was hesitating, “Sabnak-san, please keep restraining Viine-san just like that.”
“Ye-, eh? Ah, yes!” (Sabnak)
If it had been the past Imeraria, she would have likely told him to release her right away. Sabnak was bewildered by the unexpected order for an instant, but he didn’t let go of Viine.
“Viine-san, you said sealing just now, didn’t you?” (Imeraria)
Imeraria and Viine glared at each other as if to probe each other’s thoughts.
“…From who did you hear about this?” (Imeraria)
“Of course from master!” Viine immediately replied.
Vepar cast her eyes downwards and shook her head. Puuse widened her eyes.
“In other words, you’re saying, Hifumi-sama is aware of our aim, the sealing?” Imeraria clenched her teeth with her shoulders trembling.
She raised her eyes. She couldn’t see his face and look because of the distance, but she felt like Hifumi was laughing while looking at her.
At that point a question suddenly popped up in her mind.
“Viine-san, why is Hifumi-sama here despite knowing that he might be sealed? The possibility that he will be sealed should at least vanish if he didn’t come close to the royal castle.” (Imeraria)
“That is…nothing he told me about…” Viine answered as if spitting out her twisted mixture of sadness and bitterness.
Imeraria even felt pity for her. And the feeling she harbored towards Hifumi was rage.
“That man is thoroughly looking down on women!” (Imeraria)
As far as she knew, there were more than five women yearning for Hifumi. It’s not that I welcome it turning into an outburst of lewdness, but that treatment towards Viine is just too much, whatever the circumstances may be, Imeraria thought in anger.
“Viine-san, you devote yourself to Hifumi-sama even while being treated like that?” (Imeraria)
“There was just not enough time for me! The time to for Hifumi-sama to get to know me while being close to him like the madam and Alyssa!” (Viine)
That was apparently the reason why she wanted to stop the sealing.
Imeraria, who pondered about it for a short moment, put aside Viine’s situation for the present, and ordered, “Sabnak-san, please hold back Viine-san like that. Puuse-san, please continue.”
“We will watch Origa-san’s movements. Once she makes her move, there will be another opportunity.” (Imeraria)
Puuse acknowledged and started to cast the spell again. Viine called out to her from behind, but being from a race that wasn’t suited towards combat, she apparently couldn’t free herself from Sabnak’s fairly trained arms with the strength of a woman.
“So, what do you actually plan to have Origa do?” (Vepar)
“Have do is a faulty way to express it. This is something Origa-san herself had requested. At that time I heard the details about the left hand’s special trait allowing it to absorb magic.” (Imeraria)
The moment when she looked down at Hifumi while quietly placing her right hand on the handrail of the balcony, was the exact moment of Hifumi swinging his left hand and shaving off the faint remains of the barrier.
“I will have Origa-san cut off that left hand.” (Imeraria)
At the moment Hifumi had extended his left arm, they could see Origa running towards Hifumi.
Origa properly observed how Hifumi swung his left hand and katana against the faintly visible barrier, easily tearing it apart like some candy art, while taking on the demons.
No matter how often I watch it, his fluent movements are fascinating, Origa sighed passionately. It wasn’t just her body that was throbbing.
She was vigilantly watching for an opportunity to attack Hifumi, but she didn’t release any bloodthirst. There was no way that she wanted to kill Hifumi. Her look was filled with love. It was the look she, who prided herself to have seen all of Hifumi and yet not having been able to fully grasp him, always turned at her beloved husband.
Hifumi should also be aware that he was being watched, but something like that didn’t matter to Origa at all. What was important was to discover that one moment.
Severing the left hand that invalidated any magic; she would move after finding the instant allowing for that.
“You’re a nuisance.” (Origa)
She kicked a demon soldier, who had jumped at her as if to wedge himself between the two, flying and sent wind blades at the place where he had fallen, cutting off his head. That movement was so smooth that it was not inferior to Hifumi’s. Or rather, it somewhat resembled Hifumi’s movements.
Her detailed footwork, the places where she looked, and the defensive body movements when in front of an opponent; if someone slightly experienced in combat watched it, they would likely regard the movements of Hifumi and Origa to be alike as two peas in a pond. That’s how much Origa had observed Hifumi and chased after his back. Closer than anyone else, faster than anyone else.
“Get out of the way!” (Origa)
She struck the thigh of an enemy soldier with the folded iron-ribbed fan, and then delivered a second blow against the man’s head who had fainted in agony.
Origa forcibly twisted her body, slipping past the flank of a demon soldier, who swung his sword down as if flopping onto her, and unleashed wind magic at the soldier’s back without even looking back at him.
Before Origa’s very eyes, who had started to run while neglecting the soldier that collapsed while spreading a fountain of blood, Hifumi had returned his katana into its scabbard, turned himself towards the barrier’s remains, and was about to swing his left hand while looking as if it was bothersome.
In an instant she judged that to be a good opportunity.
Origa kicked the ground powerfully but as quietly as possible, going around towards the left side from behind Hifumi.
Knowing the property of his katana, going around to the right side would be dangerous. Especially if it came to Hifumi’s level, the act of drawing his katana and attacking in one stroke possessed the power of an instant-kill technique if one’s stance were to be slightly bad.
If it was his left side, he would only be able to swing the katana anew after drawing it. Even if he could absorb mana with his left hand, he had only the choices of punching or grabbing living beings with it. Even if she were to receive a counterattack, it would be plenty possible to defend as long as it was the fan in Origa’s hand.
She opened the fan, and drew it back below her hand.
Her aim was the wrist, a place she had seen and touched many times, and the spot where the black part began.
She would cut at that place with her fan.
She approached as if pushing her face into Hifumi’s left back. When the scent of his sweat reached her nose, she suddenly broke into a smile.
The name of her lovable husband escaped from her mouth.
Origa had no hesitation or reluctance to attack him. She didn’t think that Hifumi would become overly weak from just losing one hand, and it was impossible for Origa to love Hifumi less because of something like him missing a hand.
The question here would be about the love coming from Hifumi.
Even now Origa believed that she had received much more of his love than she deserved. Above all that, Origa strangely couldn’t believe that his feelings of love towards her would cease from it turning into a battle against him.
She immediately knew that she hadn’t been wrong about that.
“Uh-oh. Ooh?” Hifumi wildly raising his voice reached Origa’s ears.
There was feedback, but it was lacking.
“…You wanna have a go?” (Hifumi)
“I might be wrong, but…that might also be one of your wishes, Hifumi-sama.” (Origa)
Blood was flowing from Hifumi’s left wrist. It looked as if an artery had been cut, and the back of his hand had been deeply torn apart.
“No, not at all. I knew that you were scheming something with Imeraria. Even what it was, to some extent. I see, what Imeraria had requested in the end was your skill, huh?” (Hifumi)
Hifumi glanced in the direction of the balcony while laughing.
Meanwhile he tried to use his left hand, but even though he could move his fingers a bit, he couldn’t put any strength into them. It was fine to think that he wouldn’t be able to use his left hand anymore.
“That hand will become a hindrance towards sealing you, Hifumi-sama. The surprise attack succeeded partially, but…for the sake of us staying married for eternity, I shall fight against you.” (Origa)
“I wonder whether you could call this a matrimonial quarrel? Well, whatever. On that day when you chose me, I decided to accept everything you do. If that’s your decision, I will accept it without any protest.” (Hifumi)
“Hifumi-sama…thank you very much!” Origa answered with a smile plastered across her whole face.
Her cheeks, chest and other parts of her entire body overflew with passion. A deathmatch with her beloved. The exchange of body and mind understood by only this married couple began with Origa’s surprise attack and now continued with Hifumi drawing his katana.
“You want to seal me, right? Then try showing me the best of this world!” (Hifumi)
“Sure! Allow me to show all of it to you!” (Origa)
Origa’s magic literally cut through the wind. Not just one or two, but five small wind blades drew a big arc and rushed upon Hifumi,
Matching their timing, Origa advanced as well while tightly grasping her fan.
His chest was filled with the hope that he might be shown the currently best while being prepared for it to be somewhat insufficient.
“The madam!? Why!?” (Viine)
Even while being restrained by Sabnak, Viine apparently saw the confrontation between Hifumi and Origa. Sabnak reluctantly arrested Viine, who was struggling even more fervently, by binding her arms behind her back. He felt the springy sensation of her flesh at her legs and arms as could only be felt from a beastman who survived the wastelands while being regarded as fragile.
He decided to not think about his hunch of having seen his wife at the door to the balcony.
“Viine-san, Origa-san wishes to be sealed together with Hifumi-sama. The surprise attack failed, but in order to stop Hifumi-sama’s feet…although it’s not just that…she chose to fight against him.” (Imeraria)
And Imeraria explained that Puuse was trying to lock up both of them in the barrier.
“Please stop it then all the more!” Viine was already screaming with a tearful voice, probably because of the fear of being left behind.
Approaching Viine who was struggling as if to throw off Sabnak, Imeraria gently placed her hand on Viine’s, and then wielded it with all her strength.
The sound of flesh being hit reverberated.
Imeraria hadn’t slapped but instead punched Viine’s face.
Not just Viine, but even Sabnak was dumbfounded.
“Stop bawling like a baby. It’s unsightly.” (Imeraria)
Once Sabnak loosened his hold after being told to let go of Viine, Viine sat down, obviously having lost the strength in her legs.
Looking down on her, who was holding her cheek, Imeraria continued, “Even if you kick up a fuss here, I won’t stop. Hifumi-sama and Origa-san won’t stop either. Neither will Puuse-san.” She made a short break, breathing in deeply, “What you can do right now is to choose between two options. Either look on enviously how the things will pan out while doing nothing, or go over there.”
Imeraria was pointing at the plaza where Hifumi and Origa were fighting right now. There were still many demon soldiers around them. On this side the knights and on the opposite side Fokalore’s soldiers were fighting.
There were some among the demons close to the plaza’s center who died after getting dragged into the matrimonial quarrel.
“Either you go over there with the conviction to be sealed, spending an eternity with Hifumi-sama, or you stay here, betting on Hifumi-sama cutting his way through.” (Imeraria)
“But then again, it’s also possible that you will get dragged into the battle and be killed in no time, if you were to go over there,” Imeraria added.
Once Imeraria finished speaking, Viine blinked her eyes repeatedly for a short time. No sooner than putting strength into her knees and standing up, she wiped away her tears.
“I will go. …Puuse-san, thank you for all you’ve done for me so far. Your Majesty, please excuse my rudeness. And, thank you very much.” (Viine)
“It’s fine.” (Imeraria)
Imeraria felt that it was the first time in a very long time for her to smile.
“I’m a kindred soul who loved the same man. I can’t proceed along the same path, but…please become happy by all means.” (Imeraria)
Everyone except for Sabnak froze. He shook his head and donned an expression as if having swallowed a bitter pill.
“Ah, umm…okay. Thank you very much.” (Viine)
“Y-Yes, excuse me.” (Viine)
Her agility as she jumped off the balcony could be called proof of her being a beastman. The expression of Viine, who headed towards the plaza with her skirt rolled up, looked bright.
“Sabnak-san, make sure to forget what I said just now.” (Imeraria)
“O-Of course!” (Sabnak)
“Now then,” Imeraria advanced to the edge of the balcony. Very soon the barrier would be reconstructed. Imeraria tightly grasped her wand as her chest was throbbing out of nervousness, “Let’s start.”
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