Pursang which declared its independence from Vichy which is a combination of city-states.
Minoson, who became its very first head of state, was constantly driven to the wall since the time the nation was established. Although they became independent, Vichy, he considered to collapse soon, is still going strong and has even begun to interact with Fokalore which should have been hostile to them.
On the other hand Pursang, which ought to have a friendly relationship, is far away from Fokalore and thus people and goods come largely delayed. Hifumi, the feudal lord of Fokalore on whom he relied, has even decided to take a long absence from his own territory, to say nothing about keeping up the friendly exchange.
Looking for a plan to break the deadlock of the state of affairs in such circumstances, Minoson did his best to frequently gather new information. Even today one of the messengers, who has been sent in the direction of Fokalore, has come visiting his office.
“… The territorial forces of Fokalore have been deployed at the border between Orsongrande and Vichy, you say?” (Minoson)
Scraping his thoroughly thinned-out cheek, Minoson turned his look at the messenger who brought in the news. The area around his eyes is tinged with a darkish shade.
“To be precise it should be “stationed” I guess? It’s not like they have taken up a position against Vichy. Their objective is to protect the territory in response to the monsters who turned ferocious, I assume.”
The countenance of Minoson’s face is ghastly, but the messenger, who got used to that, reports the intelligence indifferently.
“In reality ferocious human-shaped monsters have been confirmed to linger in said area and there have been victims even at the guilds of the concerned areas. It looks like the current mobilization has happened upon a request from the guild.”
“The guild it is, huh? Usually the guild is requested to deal with monsters which can’t be managed by soldiers, however that’s a complete turn-around.” (Minoson)
“Haha”, with an awkward laugh Minoson placed the documents of the investigator on his desk.
“Come to think of it, if the other party comprehended such words like “commonly” or “usually”, they wouldn’t plunge Vichy into such a mess, eh…?” (Minoson)
Entrusting his back to the chair, Minoson lowered his dull eyes towards the floor.
He leaks a sigh.
“… Create a unit of around 50 people and have them join up with Fokalore’s feudal army. Tell them that it’s a cooperation for the sake of protecting the peace of the area and make sure they are taken along even if you use a slightly high-handed manner.” (Minoson)
Without understanding Minoson’s aim, the messenger gave an unenthusiastic reply.
“Common sense doesn’t apply to the feudal lord of Fokalore. If the other party is someone you don’t know what they will do next, let’s at least make a joint operation in order to be seen as close by Vichy, even if it’s forcibly. It will be fine if Vichy judges Pursang and Fokalore to be friendly with each other.” (Minoson)
“If they let me at least use them to such an extent”, Minoson muttered in a small voice without addressing anyone in particular.
Seeing his state, the male messenger felt our head of state has withered away.
If it was the time when Pursang was still a city-state, Minoson would probably make more plans while looking at the long term benefits. He would have likely moved in order confine something like Fokalore, that is nothing more than just one district, in his own plans.
Minoson might have ended up broken by the situation of Fokalore rushing ahead by oppressing and ignoring politics and thus betraying Minoson’s expectations.
“There’s no time. Depart immediately as soon as the formation has been completed.” (Minoson)
“Then I shall go to convey this to the military authorities.”
Exiting the room, the messenger was deeply in thought while walking towards the building where the army’s headquarters is located.
“Since there’s a world of difference in war potential and practical experience between Pursang and Fokalore, even if we joined up with them, no matter what, it won’t become anything but us being treated as burden or parasites. It gives a nice ring if you speak of it as support for the sake of peace, but will the sly foxes of Vichy really accept that at its head value?”
As result of the circulation of money and good weakening, the cost-of-living had risen and the closed shops, even in the streets of the shopping district, were standing out.
It’s uncertain whether the small voices of the barkers are reaching the ears of the people walking down the streets stirring them up in a coercing manner.
The expressions of the people are dispirited. Even their bodies and minds are exhausted by the situation in the country, which doesn’t seem to have a future, to a degree that one wouldn’t believe that we got independent just recently.
“In that case, what about the army? What about the impressions? I’m currently scared of the possibility of the citizens actually starving. Shouldn’t we first do something about this one way or another..?”
The man, who stopped, is lost in his thoughts while looking at the faces of the people.
“… Alright, I decided.”
Beginning to walk once more, the man set out to the army’s headquarters once again.
However, what the man, who finally reached the headquarters before long, told to the party of the army’s top brass was something totally different from what Minoson had told him.
“It’s an order from the head of the state. Organising a unit of around 10 soldiers, head towards Orsongrande and request an audience with the queen. I will also accompany them as ambassador.”
If you say that it’s difficult to deal with a party that doesn’t abide to common sense, it’s better to negotiate with a party that looks like they understand said common sense. The male messenger boldly decided to try acting as ambassador of Pursang without permission.
“Let’s hurry. It’s likely that we don’t have much time left.”
Whether it was the time left until the head of state discovered his lie or whether it was the time left until the collapse of Pursang; the messenger, who declared those words, didn’t know himself which of the two situations had no time left.
“Eh? Huh…? L-Lord-sama!?”
“Please have the horse take a rest. It will be fine to feed it something delicious since it kept me company on my long trip.” (Hifumi)
Hifumi, who suddenly appeared mounted in front of the inspection at the entrance of Fokalore, nimbly jumped off the horse, passed the reins to a baffled soldier and promptly entered the city.
The soldier watched the retreating figure of the feudal lord leaving, then he looked at the expression of the horse snorting and trembling and lastly checked the face of his colleague.
That soldier turned away his face right away though.
“Since this place’s fine, take the horse along as Lord-sama told you.”
The soldier, who is bewildered with the reins in his hand, walks towards the stable of the castle while timidly taking along the horse as told by his superior.
There’s no one who knew what would be done to him if he caused an injury to the horse by some chance.
As result of the horse being tired it was docile and walked slowly together with the soldier while observing the dearly missed view of the city it got used to.
“Good grief, this place has been peaceful for a while. Won’t some turmoil occur once again? With Military Director Alyssa being currently absent for the suppression campaign, Lord-sama will take direct command if it comes to a battle, won’t he…?”
This soldier, who was successful at the defence of the city, is currently holding the title of platoon leader as one of the longest-serving soldiers who had been picked from the capital as Fokalore’s territorial soldier.
Participating in the battle of Arosel, he had been personally present when the enemy was killed and made fun of by Hifumi.
“No, it’s different. That wasn’t something you’d call commanding or such. It was merely a display of slaughter.”
The only thing I did was to clean up afterwards. The soldiers, who saw the platoon leader making a dry laugh, were puzzled wondering what might be so ridiculous.
Shouts of joy can be heard from the direction where Hifumi went.
It’s probably the people of the city expressing their emotions due to the safe return of their feudal lord. As result of the city’s population radically increasing the ratio of people knowledgeable of Hifumi’s fighting style are very few. The platoon leader also happened to hear the stories which are told in the city’s bars with Hifumi as topic, but most of them were glorifications.
“The return of Lord-sama, huh?”
Immediately after thinking of being once again tossed into the middle of that mania and its scary other side, the platoon leader felt a restless emotion welling up within his heart. Although the invasion of Vichy and the expedition to Horant were difficult, those were definitely fun.
Currently it’s peaceful, however being able to observe those absurd battles from close-by once again is also something I’m looking forward to.
“Well then, I got to do my work diligently, eh?”
I wonder what will happen next, the platoon leader began to rejoice at his expectations.
“Welcome home.” (Caim)
“Ah, please leave me alone since I’m going to rest for a while.” (Hifumi)
“As you wish.” (Caim)
The surrounding staff members stare in wonder at the talk between Caim and Hifumi which is similar to a trivial everyday occurrence.
They were also surprised about the feudal lord returning without prior notice, but likewise they were astonished of Caim who welcomed him as if the feudal lord had simply returned from his daily routine.
With the inside and outside of the lord’s mansion being astir, the explanation of the staff members, who knew about Hifumi taking a rest within the mansion, finished with a minimum of noise, but the people, who came to know of the feudal lord’s return from the city’s soldier in front of the lord’s mansion, expressed their joy.
“It became an uproar.” (Paryu)
“That’s only natural. Even I understand their feeling of wanting to make a fuss.” (Doelgar)
Doelgar replied to the words of Paryu, who looked at the staff members going right and left, while knitting his brows.
Something like coming back after entering the wastelands alone is an unprecedented event. Even if considering Hifumi’s military gains, some of the residents have likely believed that he won’t be able to return safely from the wastelands to some extent. An unknown ratio of the others probably didn’t believe in the story that he had gone to the wastelands in itself.
“Considering all that, you are quite calm, Doelgar-san.” (Paryu)
“… I’m able to cool down myself if my surroundings are restless.” (Doelgar)
“I see.” (Paryu)
Even while those two were talking, the staff members received instructions from Caim to calm down the citizens.
Given that the state of affairs will be made known tomorrow, he is apparently going around telling them so that the feudal lord can peacefully rest today. Moreover, since there will be a grand celebration of the lord’s return, he asks them to strive in their work until then.
“I wonder if it’s alright for him to selfishly decide such a matter.” (Doelgar)
“Isn’t it fine? Since we haven’t been told who will make the announcement, it will be a good excuse if Caim-san announces it after listening to Lord-sama’s story. Not a single word has escaped from the staff members’ mouth that Lord-sama will appear at the celebration.” (Paryu)
Doelgar smiled at the words of Paryu, who picked up the contents of the staff members’ chats while writing something down in the documents, while scratching his head.
“Paryu, you have become quite strong, too.” (Doelgar)
“Is that so? Rather than that, please pass on the communication to not be negligent in preparing the goods particularly in regards to luxury grocery items since the city will sink in emergency demands for a while from now on.” (Paryu)
“And”, Paryu looked up to Doelgar and smiled brightly,
“Manpower is necessary for those preparations, right? Please create post’s steadily since there’s still much more of fresh influx to come.” (Paryu)
“Moreover I haven’t sent a letter”, Paryu continued.
“To his wife-sama, that is.” (Paryu)
The wife Paryu is talking about is Origa.
“Why again?” (Doelgar)
“It’s because I don’t want her to get angry. If I consider what will happen if his wife-sama gets to know that we stayed silent about the return of Lord-sama…” (Paryu)
“Alright, let’s procure men and horses from the army. I will arrange their return so that they can take his wife-sama and come back with speed as maximum priority. I leave the letter to you!” (Doelgar)
Looking at the retreating figure of Doelgar, who left running as if he was escaping from something, Paryu slipped a chuckle.
“It won’t do if I don’t send one to Military Director Alyssa, too.” (Paryu)
“It’s a hectic situation”, Paryu returned to her own office with a light pace.
The news of Hifumi’s return spread within the city in the blink of an eye.
Quite the percentage of the people in the continuously increasing population of the city doesn’t know the face of Hifumi. Only stories of him having the appearance of a young man with black pupils and hair, him using a thin sword and him splendidly slaying his enemies are circulating.
The hero’s return is directly connected to the invigoration of the city. Even when it became late at night on that day, the lights within the bars all over the city stayed on.
However, as there was no announcement of the feudal lord’s anticipated statement once it was the next day and then even the day after, an unresting rumour began to spread in the city.
As a matter of fact, it was at that time when Hifumi finally woke up from his long sleep.
Hifumi, who sat on the bed cross-legged, stared at his left hand and scratched his head with his right hand.
“This spells trouble.” (Hifumi)
All of the fingers of his left hand in front of him became stiff down to the second joint.
It’s completely as if they have turned into solid wood.