When the elves who remained in the forest returned with arms to the site where the demon was, the corpse of the demon, which should have been there, had vanished.
“Oy, there’s nothing like a demon around here, is there?”
Hearing the story that a demon appeared and moreover that it was defeated by merely two elves, the elves, who braced themselves and came along, glared at the two who previously met it.
“No, no! It’s the truth! Right?”
“Yeah, it was without a doubt a demon. We killed it with our magic. There’s no mistake in the location either. Look, there are still bloodstains remaining, right?”
At the place, he pointed at, black remains, which can certainly be considered bloodstains, were scattered on the path which was evened roughly.
If one looked closely, the bloodstains indistinctly extended towards the forest as if the corpse had been dragged along.
“… It’s continuing over there.”
“Let’s check it out. It will spell troubles if the demon is still alive and has escaped. Since there’s no doubt that it’s wounded seriously, we will finish it off with everyone launching their magic at it once we find it.”
The eight elves who were at this place agreed to that suggestion.
They advance while being cautious of the surroundings and covering for each other.
With the remaining elves being specialised in magic, they had confidence in being able to resist even if the demon came. However, there’s actually none among them who has real experience in fighting. Cornering the demons, the elves locked them up in that place is a story from long before they had been born.
When they advanced for around 5 minutes, one of them pointed at the dim vicinity where the space between the forest’s trees became fairly narrow.
There they saw the back of someone doing something while squatting and squirming.
“No, the blood has…”
The leading elf tried to tell them that it was different from the demon he had seen for himself, but three elves immediately invoked magic misunderstanding it as enemy approach.
“Demon! Come out!”
While throwing abusive language at it, they released wind blades, a lightning attack and a stone pellet spell.
All of the spells hit something and burst with a fierce sound.
One of them yells while clenching their fists.
In the next moment they hear a voice different from their comrades.
“What’s “alright”? Idiot.”
No sooner than the voice finished, the head of one of the elves, who released the spells, fell down with a “plop.”
The cut elf himself had his life ended while wearing a surprised expression wondering about his sight suddenly spinning around.
Surprised by the abrupt death of his comrade, the one who raised his voice into a scream is a young elf who released a spell just like the beheaded and fallen elf.
A katana pierces the chest of the young man, who looks at the tumbling head, as if being sucked into it.
As the katana is pulled out with a short sliding sound, the young elf presses his hands on his gaping wide chest, however large amounts of blood ooze out between his fingers.
Once the young man collapsed due to blood loss, the remaining six took distance in panic.
The one who attacked wasn’t a demon but Hifumi. (T/N: In other words, the worse option of the two)
Wiping his katana with a paper, Hifumi stands up openly while being displeased.
“On top of interrupting someone’s experiment, you even destroy the experiment’s body.” (Hifumi)
What was held up by the katana was the corpse of the demon which had turned into a ragged dust cloth due to serving as shield against the magic attacks.
“Experiment, you say?”
Hifumi, who discovered a fresh demon corpse at the wayside, noticed that the trees in the surroundings were different from the demon’s area as they had the peculiarity of the elven forest and apparently decided to test whether there’s an influence by those trees on the blood of the demon whose ancestors are similar to the elves.
Pulling the corpse along, he threw it down at a place dense with trees.
Since the one he was working on while squatting hadn’t much blood remaining anymore, he tried to cut open the body’s front in order to make the change easier to understand.
However, since the elves, who turned up in a group, suddenly fired spells at him, he ended up throwing the corpse as shield out of reflex.
“Even though I went as far as operating on it at great troubles, this happened. The wind blades and stone pellet were still alright but the lightning attack burned it. Like this it ain’t usable anymore.” (Hifumi)
Once the elves looked properly at the corpse, they saw that the skin had been cut open, the breastbones had been snapped off and the abdomen had also been cut open crosswise as the internal organs were smoldering and raising smoke due to being burnt by the lightning attack.
Someone vomited unable to endure it any longer and triggered two more to spurt out the contents of their stomachs.
“Something like that…”
“There had been three spells. Who’s the last one?” (Hifumi)
“Judging by the direction of bloodthirst, it’s either you or you”, he points at them one after the other.
The gazes of the remaining elves gathered on the man who released the lightning attack.
“You, eh?” (Hifumi)
“Please wait! I-It wasn’t me but someone else!”
The man’s words weren’t able to stop Hifumi’s motion.
Entrusting himself to his anger, the katana, which swooped down like lightning from a stance of being held above his head, cleaved open the lips and nose starting from the middle forehead, slid through the breastbones and tore open the abdomen in a single vertical stroke.
Although he has a bloody face and eagerly picks up the spilling intestines, Hifumi looks down on the man in front of him, who is looking with a face full of desperation as his guts are slipping out between his arm, with cold eyes.
“The experiment has ended due to you elves. You wasted my time pointlessly.” (Hifumi)
Once he cut apart the trachea and carotid artery by thrusting only the point of his katana into the throat of the man, Hifumi wiped the katana with a paper and threw that paper away.
Even the remaining elves decided to abandon the forest at this moment.
There are unexpectedly many people who want to meet with Origa, who is staying in the capital, as she is called the wife of the hero. Every day written invitations to evening parties and such arrived at the inn she is staying at from nobles and merchants.
Although she has sent a reply to pretty much all of them, each and every one was refused by Origa. Just showing up at the evening parties carried out by the royal palace, she finished the greetings without dancing and left in the middle of those.
From the standpoints of genuine nobles they were targets of contempt as noble, who had risen from commoner status, and his wife, who was formerly a slave, but with them being close to the queen and having this many military achievements, there existed a definite number of people who highly evaluated her stance as wife even amongst the nobles, since she stuck to her reason for refusing which was 「I want to refrain from participating until my husband returns safely」.
“Honestly said, it’s just because it will be annoying.” (Origa)
“… You have described it quite frankly.” (Imeraria)
Sitting opposite of Imeraria, Origa, who was tilting her cup with tea in it, wore a light blue dress which carried plenty of elegance for a noble of the kingdom if going by appearance. It even happened twice, thrice that she had been stopped by the surroundings as they greeted her wondering whether she was the daughter of some noble household or the heir of some unknown noble.
“I have decided to use my time for the sake of my husband. Something like forming deep connections with nobles all around isn’t what my husband wishes for. Besides, it looks like there are also many unpleasant fellows who look at me with filthy eyes.” (Origa)
“Considering all that, you were apparently able to attend the evening parties at the royal castle.” (Imeraria)
“Ah, there are people to whom my husband was indebted. As my husband can’t do it himself currently, it is the task of his wife to carry out his social obligations instead.” (Origa)
Putting down the cup, Origa smiled sweetly.
“I’m very thankful to you, Your Majesty, the Queen. I was able to meet Hifumi-sama thanks to Your Majesty. I gained the power to exact my revenge after breaking out from a helpless situation.” (Origa)
“Oh? The other party, who deceived you, Origa-san, has already…” (Imeraria)
“Yes, I killed him.” (Origa)
The maid, who prepared a second serving of tea shivered with a start due to the word “killed”, but as she continued her task in a manner as if she hadn’t heard anything, Imeraria decided to console her afterwards as she caught on the maid’s startling at the edge of her view.
“However, the people who ordered that are still alive.” (Origa)
“… If the one your words are pointing at is Viscount Hagenti, he disappeared to the public execution ground.” (Imeraria)
Origa opened her eyes widely due to Imeraria’s remark.
“Did you give the order for that, Your Majesty?” (Origa)
“Yes, of course.” (Imeraria)
How unexpected, Origa was surprised within her mind.
Since the time Origa acted as adventurer in the capital, the evaluation towards Imeraria had the image of her being naive as statesman, if one traduced her, and gentle, if one said it elegantly.
She familiarly gets in touch with commoners and carries out charity for the poor.
She might be splendid for a person who possesses wealth, but it’s inevitable for her to be evaluated as somewhat “dreamy” as royalty, she assessed.
“It’s only natural to put priority on the country’s interests in my decisions once I turned into a queen being responsible for this country while losing my status as princess who simply waited to be married off somewhere without holding any responsibilities whatsoever… I still feel somewhat out of place, however I believe that I’m aware of being in a position I ought to accomplish.” (Imeraria)
“That’s something wonderful.” (Origa)
Origa, who hid her surprised expression with a smile, praised her while putting together her hands in front of her chest and placing her thin fingers onto each other.
“However, it’s not only a single man at the rank of Viscount who is the other party for the revenge mentioned by me.” (Origa)
The figure of Origa, who restrained her mouth with a “Fufu”, seems to be lovely even seen from they eyes of Imeraria who is a woman, too.
She understands the young noble men who want to call out to her as they don’t know her true nature.
“It’s Vichy itself. Even the matter of them taking up arms against Hifumi-sama is inexcusable, but it’s obvious that it’s Vichy who influenced the corrupt nobles of Orsongrande from behind the scenes. My final objective is for everyone from Vichy’s Central Committee to be turned into corpses.” (Origa)
From completely talking like a dreaming maiden, Origa changes her words into a murky, dark desire for revenge.
“Then it’s your order for the army led by Alyssa-san to be currently at the border to Vichy, Origa-san?” (Imeraria)
In contrast to Origa, Imeraria doesn’t feel like smiling.
Having a dubious look turned at her, Origa smiled once again.
“That was ordered by my husband. Given that the monsters became powerful, he apparently told them to carry out a large-scale extermination operation to eradicate them once the preparations have finished.” (Origa)
“Then revenge towards Vichy means…” (Imeraria)
“You have heard from my husband. As the country is unexpectedly tenacious it’s difficult to cause its downfall with a simple attack from outside.” (Origa)
Even Imeraria, who has studied history, nodded while saying “Indeed” towards that statement.
“The reasons for a country to perish is the great number of internal problems. The country will be attacked and overthrown or absorbed at the point it lost its unity due to exhaustion from things like antagonism and epidemics.” (Origa)
In fact Orsongrande has a history of having annexed several small countries in its past as well. Several of those left behind became city-states forming Vichy, however Imeraria recalled that there were some people who used the occasion of financial collapse due to famines and statesmen mismanaging according to the kingdom’s records.
“But, the current Vichy is heading towards a friendly exchange with Fokalore. I believe they are on the whole doing that to maintain their stability as group of city-states, however…” (Imeraria)
“Ah, only one place is continuing to be against it as they consider the entire structure as faulty since it’s a nation. That’s a commendable aspect as well.” (Origa)
“… What are you planning to do?” (Imeraria)
Imeraria, who recalled having some knowledge about the nation which is opposing according to Origa, asks while having a bitter smile.
“I simply sent a letter. Of course I also got the permission to do so from my husband while receiving advice from him. Let’s have the privilege of watching as spectators while continuing our research on sealing magic?” (Origa)
“I will return to the research then”, in the end Imeraria wasn’t able to ask about the contents of the letter due to Origa standing up.