Hifumi dropped Hagenti onto the floor, sat down and ordered tea from the waiter who was wearing a rather strained expression.
「 V-Viscount Hagenti….. 」(Sabnak)
Seeing Hifumi casually toss the Viscount on the floor, Sabnak was speechless.
「 Did you kill him? 」
「 No, he’s just stunned. 」
「 Is that so. 」
Seeing that Hifumi did not see the situation as out of the ordinary, Sabnak couldn’t help but tremble.
The two women didn’t think Hifumi’s abduction of the Viscount in such a short time as wondrous. At this point, Sabnak completely understood the Princess’ instructions of “Do not defy. ”
「 Then, is your discussion finished? 」
「 To hell with that, what happened to Viscount Hagenti?! 」
「 Ah, I entered through the second floor window, killed the magician who was present and brought him. 」
Sabnak was unable to digest the answer.
Disregarding Sabnak’s lost expression, Hifumi explained.
「 ……Hm, that dagger wielding magician seems to be from the country Horant. 」
「 Pajou said something like that as well. 」
「 I have heard that the magicians from Horant do not use staffs, but daggers specially processed with magic as a medium. 」
Hifumi recalled that he had not learned about this country and its neighbours.
I will have Origa and Kasha teach me about it tonight, no, now that this Knight is here, listening here is also fine. (Hifumi)
A man comfortably sitting and thinking, and a man in a daze; lying next to them, a tied up noble. Two women, discussing what to do about Hagenti. Unable to process what happened, the waiter took as much distance as possible and turned his gaze away.
「So, Before we get back to the story; about Hagenti. Do you want to kill him? Or hand him over to Sabnak?」
Hifumi wanted to eat something sweet, so he ordered something from the waiter, who brought him a peach like fruit to eat, and started listening to them once more.
…….So cute (Origa)
Origa thought secretly, watching Hifumi peel and eat the fruit bit by bit to avoid getting his hands dirty.
Kasha memorised the sight, different from the way her master usually ate.
「 Well, what is it then?」
「 Our enmity is with the merchant Beirevura. If you obtain information that leads to him, killing this man specifically is unnecessary. 」
Of course, Origa spoke after taking her master’s permission.
「 Fuuun~ 」
「Would you give me custody of Hagenti himself? 」
Requesting earnestly, Sabnak bowed down once again. Hifumi accepted the request after he confirmed that there was no hesitation in Origa and Kasha’s eyes.
「I, I’m really thankful! 」
「Instead of saying that, I want you to arrange a little something for me. You can think of it as compensation for my work.」
After Hifumi finished eating the fruit, he prompted Sabnak to sit down and held up three fingers.
「 First, since the remaining soldiers rushed to the city gates to control the situation, I’m going to massacre them. I want a cleanup crew. Second, there are two dead bodies in the 2nd floor of the Viscount’s mansion that I left behind so, let me see…… 」
「 Master, is it in regards the magician from Horant? 」
「 Yes, I killed the magician and just left the body there. I want you to investigate him, because I saw that guy at the Marquis’ mansion, Pajou too. 」
Sabnak wrote down Hifumi’s demands on a piece of parchment. While writing the name ‘Strauss’, he remembered having seen the name before. Though Pajou’s arm had been injured in the event, it had led to evidence of the Marquis’s smuggling operation; this was a well known fact within the Third Knight Corps.
No wonder, he was involved in that matter. I thought it was strange that the observing Pajou-senpai would be so valiant in those circumstances. (Sabnak)
A vivid image of Hifumi charging the Marquis’s estate while dressed as a senior Knight suddenly rose up in Sabnak’s mind. He heaved a sigh of relief at it not being the case at the Viscount’s estate.
「 And the third…..? 」
「 Tell me everything the Third Knight Corps knows about the state of affairs in this country and the neighbouring one. It will be necessary to do so before going to Vichy. 」
「 ……Um, to what extent? 」
「 Everything. I had planned to travel carefreely and gather intelligence while touring the countries directly, but this seems to have become quite complicated. 」
Seeing Hifumi sigh while shaking his head, Sabnak resigned himself to simply accepting all this.
「 To tell the truth, I wanted to arrest the Viscount a little more smartly and secretly get things going in the background but……. Can’t be helped, would you be willing to stay in town for a few days while I call for support? 」
「 Hmm, in that time you can give me all the information you have on…..Ah! 」
「 Master? What’s wrong? 」
「 I told the Viscount’s servants to gather in the hall….. 」
Seeing Hifumi’s chagrined expression, Origa let slip a chuckle and turned to Sabnak.
「 Sabnak, could you go to the Viscount’s estate in place of Master? 」
「 Eh, me? 」
「 Indeed, because if master goes, everyone is likely to be scared shitless. 」
Kasha agreed with Origa’s proposal.
The annoyed Hifumi insisted that he had been gentle with the non-adversary maid, but no one believed him.
「 Got it, I will go. At any rate, putting the town in order is necessary. 」
「 Sorry about that.」
Hifumi smoothly inclined his head at Sabnak who had stood up.
「 N-No, this too is my job! 」
「 Then, while Sabnak is going to the estate, are there other soldiers that need to be dealt with? 」
In the end, we still came back to a topic that reeks of blood. (Sabnak)
Separating from Sabnak, Hifumi and the two returned to the town entrance. Five soldiers were cleaning up the corpses.
Coming to a halt a suitable distance away, Hifumi observed the working soldiers.
「 What do you think? 」
「 Kasha and I, just the two of us are enough to kill them with room to spare. 」(Origa)
……. I intended to ask them whether they wanted to kill or arrest, but… (Hifumi)
Was this girl always capable of such brutality? Hifumi was more concerned about her, conveniently blind to his own character.
「 Well then, I’ll leave it to you. 」
「 Leave it to us. 」(Origa)
「 Yoshi! 」(Kasha)
Seeing off the fired-up duo and watching them run towards the soldiers, Hifumi contemplated on how to deal with slaves.
「 Is this event beneficial as well, I wonder? 」
His calm eyes reflected the tragedy orchestrated by the two girls.
Several days after the event, Sabnak worked tirelessly; putting out an urgent request to the town guard to monitor the comings and goings of adventurers, and cleaning of the blood and bodies was begun under the command of the temporary acting lord of the area.
Moreover, time flew when Hifumi visited the Viscount’s estate everyday to ask Sabnak something or the other.
When Hifumi arrived, Kasha and Origa trained in the garden of the mansion, the employed servants were worried.
「 If I say not to come, would they refrain from training on the premises….? 」 (Sabnak)
「 Don’t twist your words. If you’re worried, say what you want to say directly.」 (Hifumi)
「 Twist my words…… They are your slaves,yes? 」
「 Even if that’s the case, without explicit instruction, they move yes? Telling them each and every move is tiresome. Anyway, because of the fights in town recently, I told them to let their hair down. 」
Fondness could be heard in Hifumi’s voice.
Seeing his tender expression that contrasted with his everyday behaviour, and remembering his cheerful slaughtering of people, instead of amusement, Sabnak felt fear. He had never seen such a warped and selfish individual like this before.
「 The slaves adore you. 」
「 I think I’d use a different word. Come now, continue your instruction. 」
Seeing Hifumi’s expression while opening the map, Sabnak was moved by his desire to learn and unintentionally smiled.
The kingdom of Orsongrande, as the name implied, was ruled by nobles in a model similar to the feudal system. It varied in different places depending on the nobles in charge. Apart from the amount that had to be paid to the kingdom, it could be freely set by the lord of the area.
Though each lord had their own territorial army in addition to the Imperial army, in terms of both financial power and military forces, the Imperial family had overwhelming influence. Civil war did not seem to be a concern presently.
Only the northern side of the country faced the sea, it touched borders with other countries on the eastern, western and southern sides.
To the east was the merchant country, Vichy. The country was run by a parliamentary system in which several city-states were represented by representatives in an assembly. Being called the merchant country, the country itself sold metal and manufactured goods in neighbouring countries, the profit formed a large part of the national budget. As a result, many city-states promoted commerce and industry. Incidentally, good quality metal could be excavated from it’s southern mountainous area. A lot of dwarves lived there, so as to exchange and trade commodities made by the dwarves, it was a definite plus point.
The western side did not exactly have a clearly defined border, the vast mountainous region was filled with wilderness over which were spread many beastmen villages. The custom of farming being nonexistent, it was said they lived off hunting, but no details were known. Humans weren’t interested, simply avoiding the race as a whole. While Hifumi had heard they were “hostile to humans” when princess Imeraria had summoned him to “Fight the demi-humans”, Sabnak had a different story to tell. Orsongrande one-sidedly invaded to get more land and were hit hard by the guerilla warfare used against them, became impoverished and withdrew.
「 What a nonsensical affair. 」
「 Beyond the beastmen land, there is a country known as the Knight country, they too want the land in question. After all, in the mountainous and wild areas, ores and crystals can potentially be mined. Currently we have no choice but to one-sidedly buy them from Vichy. To escape from this miserable state of affairs, the King seemed to have thought that that land was necessary.」
In a past story, the prince who succeeded did not have appropriate judgement either, instead, the princess ruling the country now did not seem to be interested in the conquest any more, thought the Knights.
「 The south? 」
「 The magic country, Horant. 」
A genius magician in Horant gathered apprentices to train and research for the country. Most of the magic tools produced by Vichy are designed by Horant. Also, making use of weapons like daggers as a magic wand is known to some magicians, but the production methods are not released by Vichy.
On the west of Horant, sharing only a little bit of border with Orsongrande, is the country of elves.
「 Elves! Elves exist! 」
「 …… Uh, yes. They exist, but meeting them is unlikely. 」
It is said that most of the elves’ country is heavily forested, and the elves live quietly in the depths of the forest, not interacting with other countries. Any stranger entering the forest is immediately attacked mercilessly; Orsongrande and Horant have tried several times to subjugate some of the forest, to no avail. Unfamiliar to forest warfare, with arrows unexpectedly flying in from the shadows among the trees, even the magicians could not fight properly, and had to retreat numerous times.
「 For the time being, these are the state of affairs of our country and it’s neighbours. 」(Sabnak)
「 You saved my time. Thanks. 」
「 Ah, apart from that, could you come here tomorrow? 」
Listening to the tired-out Sabnak’s reason, Hifumi smiled and stood up.
「 At last reinforcements have come from the capital. It seems that Pajou senpai will be here as well. Regarding the man called Strauss, I believe she will give you the information directly. 」
「 Is that so….. Very well. 」
「 Gothras escaped. 」
Pajou, who seemed to have ridden in considerable haste, found Hifumi in the Viscount’s mansion. Out of breath, she cut her greetings short and explained the situation.
According to Pajou’s explanation, Gothras, who was awaiting punishment in the Knight Corps’ prison, had killed a guard and disappeared.
「 The Knight who was guarding him, his neck was snapped. The prison bars were bent, a feat of strength impossible for a human. 」
However, Pajou’s place was broken into, and the report related to Hifumi was stolen. Gothras could not be working alone, he had to be receiving some guidance, was the conclusion the Knight Corps reached.
「 We believe that someone helped Gothras escape. 」
Regaining her breath, Pajou finished reporting and straightened her spine. She bowed deeply to Hifumi.
「 This incident was completely our blunder. You painstakingly gave us an opportunity to clear up our mismanagement, we not only wasted it, but as a result you are deprived of information. The responsibility is mine. 」
Seeing her apologising with her head bowed and not moving an inch, Hifumi laughed.
「 The apology is unnecessary. Even if the information is concealed, sometime, somewhere, it will be revealed. Besides, there might be a guy holding enough power to bend prison bars, yes? 」
Looking up, Pajou’s eyes met a cold smile, the same one she saw at the Marquis’ estate. A chill went up her spine.
「 Ah, joy. A fellow confident in their physical prowess, there’s this technique I really want to try out….」
Everyone froze seeing the expression of warped joy on Hifumi’s face.